April 11, 2012

Made It Moment: Ellis Vidler

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 7:40 am

Cold Comfort

Not only is Ellis Vidler published by one of the more exciting small presses out there–one I can confidently recommend any writer seeking publication submitting to–but she writes suspense with just the perfect lick of romance. If that’s your genre, check out Ellis’ work–you’ll be glad you did. But first, read Ellis’ Moment. From exchanges we’ve had, I know that some readers of this blog are caught in a stage I remember all too well. One where you don’t feel entitled to call yourself a writer and you’re questioning this dream of ours. It applies to people who aren’t writers, too–anyone who’s ever doubted the legitimacy of his or her devotion. Ellis knows what that’s like. And she knows what happens when the sun comes out and you finally get past it.

Ellis Vidler

I remember this one well—the moment I felt I’d made it, that I was a real writer. I’d been going through my usual guilt over the time I took from my family and responsibilities while pecking away at my IBM Selectric. I was so proud of that typewriter, my first big purchase especially for writing.

Another big step was going to my first writers conference, the South Carolina Writers Workshop. We all sat in a large meeting room, listening to wonderful and often funny speakers, chatting, sharing experiences. Then they announced the contest winners. Third, second, . . . and first place to Ellis Vidler for “Restitution.” I just sat there, unsure of what I’d heard. It’s sort of the same way you react to an obscene phone call—it takes a minute for the message to sink in. Then my friend Bobbie Christmas poked me and I woke up.

It’s difficult to describe all the feelings I had. Shock, joy, and then the one that changed everything—justification. I won $200, and it made me believe in myself, that I could do actually it. I’d only entered for the feedback, never expecting anything more, but I’d won. And so my family was condemned to a life of sandwiches, doing their own laundry, and all the other things I ignored so I could write.

These life-altering moments don’t necessarily equate to success, as in getting published. That took another ten years, but not even the letter from Silver Dagger offering me a contract did as much, though I have to say that was a fantastic experience.

Sometimes its very hard to believe in yourself when you constantly hear that the odds are so against you. Everyone considers your writing a time-sucking hobby, an excuse to avoid housework (okay, maybe sometimes), and a hopeless dream, but it’s also a release and a joy, even if you’re never published. I believe though, if you seriously work at your craft and keep improving, if you make an effort to learn the business, you’ll get there. It may be a long time coming, but if you really love writing, don’t give up.

May the force be with you!

All of Ellis Vidler‘s stories have some degree of romance and a lot of suspense. Her first book, published by Silver Dagger Mysteries, was Haunting Refrain. Cold Comfort is her new romantic suspense from Echelon Press. The second was The Peeper, a suspense novel co-authored with Jim Christopher. Her collection of three short Southern stories, Tea in the Afternoon, is available on Kindle.


  1. Hi Ellis, sounds good. I like romance with a touch of suspense.

    Arthur Levine

    Comment by Arthur Levine — April 11, 2012 @ 8:22 am

  2. Thank you, Arthur. I’m glad, because I consider it an important part of life. It adds another dimension to our characters.

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 11, 2012 @ 8:52 am

  3. What a perfect made it moment. It gives me hope of getting our of second place. Just dropped by to say Hi. Gave you tweet & Facebook notice.

    Comment by Nash Black — April 11, 2012 @ 8:59 am

  4. Nash, you’re always so nice. Thanks. Yes, there’s always hope. As I learned in Hunger Games, hope is the only thing stronger than fear. So keep it up!

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 11, 2012 @ 9:02 am

  5. How funny that you likened the announcement to an obscene phone call. LOL!! Sounds like you’ve definitely earned your stripes, and I’ve added your book to my TBR list. Good luck.

    Thanks for another wonderful “Moment” Jenny!

    Comment by mountainmama — April 11, 2012 @ 9:07 am

  6. I just finished reading Cold Comfort, and can attest that Ellis has made it…. it’s a rip-roaring suspense novel with wonderfully developed characters. My review of it will be up this week.

    Comment by RP Dahlke — April 11, 2012 @ 9:09 am

  7. Jenny, LOL, it’s the shock. It takes a few seconds to believe what you’re hearing. But then it’s definitely on the happy side.

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 11, 2012 @ 9:20 am

  8. Rebecca, I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. It was fun to write, and I got to go to Williamsburg and McClellanville for research. No wonder I love writing!

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 11, 2012 @ 9:27 am

  9. Ellis, Thanks for sharing your moment with us. Your book sounds good and it is on my TBR List.

    Comment by Kellie — April 11, 2012 @ 9:42 am

  10. Wow! Thanks, Kellie. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know–you can be honest. I’m tough. :-)

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 11, 2012 @ 9:55 am

  11. That is such wonderful advice and comfort for an inspiring writer who doesn’t quite feel like a true writer yet, wondering if the sacrifice is worth it. Thank you for sharing. Can’t wait to read your book, that is right up my alley. :)

    Comment by Amanda M. — April 11, 2012 @ 10:43 am

  12. Funny…I consider housework a chance to avoid my novel. :)

    That was a nice Moment. I feel a lot like what you described, a lot of the time. Without the success.

    Comment by SavvyBlue — April 11, 2012 @ 11:03 am

  13. Thanks, Amanda. We all need encouragement. It’s easy to get discouraged, but just keep trying and working at your skills. Persistence is the key. Good luck!

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 11, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  14. SavvyBlue, that’s a rock and a hard place many days. Which is worse, housework or untangling the plot mess I’ve worked myself into? One thing is that neither will go away while you procrastinate. There are many days when I opt for burying my head—that’s when I spend a lot of time on Facebook or Twitter. Best of luck!

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 11, 2012 @ 11:11 am

  15. Ellis, you are always such a tremendous supporter of other people and their dreams. I have two of your books in my queue and am anxious to read them.

    I love the same thing Mountain Mama did—the obscene phone call delayed processing moment.

    Continued success to you, Ellis. Thanks Jenny, for another great post.

    Comment by Peg Brantley — April 11, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

  16. Peg, I’ve yawned all day at work and it’s your fault! I’m reading Red Tide and can’t put it down at night. I’m almost there and can’t wait to get home and finish it. It’s an exciting book! By tomorrow I’ll be ready for the next one. Hope you’re busy writing. :-)

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 11, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  17. Housekeeping or writing? Easy decision for me. Feeling like a real writer for me still comes and goes. Nice thoughts to share.
    Una Tiers

    Comment by Una Tiers — April 11, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

  18. Well, Una, I usually chose Solitaire over housework, but sometimes even over writing. Have to let the ideas gel, you know.
    Of course you’re a real writer. I’ve read Judge vs Nuts and it’s good. Definitely qualifies.

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 11, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

  19. Ellis, nice to meet another dedicated author on the Moment. May the force continue to empower you, too.

    Okay, going to pound my keys and avoid the dog hair blowing around on the hardwood floors. :)

    Comment by "Doctor Barbara" - Barbara Ebel — April 11, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  20. Hi, Barbara. I’m with you–peck away and ignore the dog hair. The story is what matters. My dogs serve as story advisors so they need to be present, which means there’ll always be more hair. Thanks for stopping by.

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 11, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  21. I, too, had an IBM selectric! I wrote many a short story on that machine, while my house went to heck and my children roamed wild and free! Of course, those tales languished in rejection-limbo, but I gained a lot of experience using that wonderful machine.

    Comment by Connie J Jasperson — April 11, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

  22. I can attest that Ellis is not only a terrific writer, but she’s generous with her expertise without limits. I’ve been a beneficiary of that generosity. Ellis has forgotten more about writing than I’ll ever know. I feel grateful to call her a friend and writing partner.

    Comment by Polly Iyer — April 11, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

  23. Connie, I still have some of them, mostly beginnings of truly awful novels. It’s fun to read them again sometimes–they make me feel I’ve improved though I still have a long way to go. I learned from mine too. Sometimes I had enough white-out on the page that it cracked when I tried to retype a line.

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 11, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  24. Polly, my friend, you’re too generous! You’ve taught me so much and made me see things in my own writing (often stuff I chose NOT to see)–believe me, it’s all mutual. Thanks for being there.

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 11, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

  25. Awesome Ellis! Keep believing. Thanks for this moment, Jenny. Best,

    Comment by Pamela DuMond — April 11, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

  26. There’s something about sitting alone and rummaging through your brain to write something that others will read that makes a person wonder if it’s all worthwhile.

    I know just how you felt when you won that award!

    About that housework – I’m always playing catch-up with that.

    Morgan Mandel

    Comment by Morgan Mandel — April 12, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  27. Thanks, Pamela. Some days it’s harder to believe than others, but we have to keep on.

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 12, 2012 @ 9:31 am

  28. I just downloaded your book. I think there is this wonderful moment of shock and surprise when we get lauded for what we’ve done. Especially when we’ve worked really hard to get there. I’m looking forward to reading “Cold Comfort.”

    Comment by Lil Gluckstern — April 12, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

  29. Morgan, I’m beyond catch-up. I need to rent a Dumpster and start over. Just save my computer and dump the rest. :-)
    I think that award remains special because it was the first real sign of anything positive. I wish all you still waiting the same feeling.

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 12, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

  30. Lil, thank you so much. I hope you like it.
    You’re right–it really is a shock when, after all that time and work, someone appreciates it. Well, truthfully, my mother always did, but she was about the only one. I know I have far to go, but I believe I’m on the right road.
    Wishing you a happy journey too!

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 12, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

  31. A perfect Made It Moment! Thanks for sharing it with us, Ellis.
    We all get discouraged as writers at times. This brought a smile to my face.

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — April 13, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  32. Jacqueline, we all need to help and encourage each other in this business. There are so many times when we need to hear a good word.

    Jenny, thanks so much for having me. It’s lovely to connect with like minds and know we all share those ups and downs. You’re always there with a virtual smile and pat on the back when we need it. I want to be there when you hold your book in your hands for the first time. Getting closer!

    Comment by Ellis Vidler — April 14, 2012 @ 5:41 am

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