February 21, 2013

Made It Moment: Colby Marshall

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 9:09 pm

Chain Of Command

We’ve featured around 275 Moments in this forum, so you will understand why it comes as a surprise for me to say that I have never read anything like this one. Colby Marshall got to do something with her first book that I don’t think anyone else has. To say much more would give the surprise away, so I am going to turn things over to Colby. But I’m also going to add this. May we all get the chance to give such joy as writers. If we do, we will all have truly Made It.

Colby Marshall

I’ve dreamed of that moment when I would sign a copy of my own book for someone since I was a little girl. I wrote a “newspaper” for my mother on loose-leaf notebook paper using a number two pencil with articles about the family dog and my sister and her best friend’s school science project. Years went by, and it seemed like the dream was far away. That is until one day recently, when I found myself sitting inside the Cheesecake Factory in Birmingham, Alabama, waiting to hand-deliver StairwayPress.com’s 10,000th book sold—a book that happened to be written by me.

The lucky fan arrived, unaware I’d brought a special surprise just for her from my publisher. I had with me a check for a thousand dollars. I whipped out my book during dessert, and I wrote, “Here’s to many more cheesecakes together,” absolutely clueless what to write in such a milestone of a novel. Our waiter took my book as his cue to bring out the obnoxiously large fake check to use for pictures, and as the fan said, “Oh my gosh!” over and over again, I handed her the real check for the money. She was beside herself, and I was beside myself, too, when I heard that with this money, she plans to take her grandkids to Disneyworld.

As I rode back to my hotel that evening, I couldn’t help but giggle out loud. What other job in the world could I have where I would get to do something that much fun? I’d just gotten to make someone’s day and send a few kids to Disneyworld all because one reader had supported me and paid $14.95 for my work. I laughed some more, and maybe even shed a happy tear as I realized not only had I done that, but I’d gotten to sign my book, too.

Writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, Colby Marshall is a contributing columnist for a local magazine and a proud member of International Thriller Writers as well as Sisters in Crime. She’s active in local theatres as an actress and choreographer. She lives in Georgia with her family where she is hard at work on her new thriller.

February 13, 2013

Made It Moment: Jane Risdon

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 9:57 pm

Sometimes there is a Moment that hasn’t quite happened yet, or an author who is hoping for that Made It sensation to arise. When that happens, I often think it’s important to publish a little taste of that writer’s work–at times, this blog has been the first place a writer ever shared her prose.

Today’s guest, Jane Risdon, has been published before, but as she embarks on the long and awesome process of novel-writing, I wanted to give readers a chance to hear both her voices: the one in fiction, and the one just beginning to experience that Moment.

I know it’s coming.

Jane Risdon

I suppose I’ve enjoyed many ‘Made It Moments’ during my lifetime.  Most have been directed and facilitated by me on behalf of others – artistes – whom I’ve managed in the Music Industry.  Although I’ve been instrumental in bringing about success for others, including Number One hits in China and SE Asia, Top Twenty hits in the USA, Movie and Television Soundtracks, including The Jersey Girl, Power Rangers, Baywatch and Sinbad, I have yet to experience my own full blown ‘Made It Moment’.

Having always wanted to write and always finding excuses not to, I found myself free from all the time constraints and excuses about two years ago.  I decided to stop dreaming of writing and just get on with it.

An old friend who used to be my husband’s Fan Club Secretary was also a Pop/Rock journalist at the time, and she had turned her hand to writing. I guess I thought if she could do it, then so could I.  Mind you, she has umpteen books published and is award- winning too.  Aim high I always say!

To cut a long story short, she read my stories and encouraged me. The result has been a series of Short Stories and Flash Fiction pieces, which I’ve received great feed-back about.  Three stories have been published in ‘real’ books and others via Kindle.  I am writing four novels, including one co-written with my friend who invited me to write with her.  I am thrilled she has belief in me and so I guess to date this might be considered my ‘Made It Moment’. I feel very honoured and privileged to be writing with such an accomplished and successful writer, and I really am hopeful that this is just the first of many more personal ‘Made It Moments’.

An excerpt from Ms. Birdsong Investigates:

Amelia Payne closed her dressing-room door and leaned against it.  Her head was fit to bust as the blood pounded her temples.  She held on to the handle steadying herself, her legs felt as if they were floating from under her.  Think, think, she told herself trying to take deep breaths and centre herself.  Think.

After a while her breathing calmed a little and her temples didn’t thump as much and she moved to her sofa and sat down heavily.  She felt totally drained.  She closed her eyes and leaned against the back of the sofa, the soft fabric soothing against her skin.

Eventually she leaned over the arm and grabbed her handbag from the floor. Opening it with shaking hands she took two tablets from the bottle inside.  Then she moved into her bathroom and filled a glass with water and swallowed the pills.  She checked her watch: Linden wouldn’t be home for a while yet.

She splashed her face and wrists with cold water, leaning heavily on the basin, taking deeper breaths.  Amelia closed her swollen eyes.  When she felt strong enough she opened them and gazed at herself in the mirror – Christ, she looked a mess.  Her mascara was all but gone, so was her lipstick, and her hair looked as if she had been making passionate love all night.  She smiled wryly at her image in-spite of everything.

Moving back into her dressing-room she locked the door and removed her clothes. Her trouser suit was covered in grass and mud streaks.  She put them inside the wash basket,  removed her mud-caked shoes and lay them on the bathroom floor.  She ran a bath and automatically added her favourite bubble bath.  Sitting on the edge of the bath still shaking, she managed to put her hair up in a cloth cap then lowered herself into the hot water, sinking right up to her neck. Amelia closed her eyes waiting for the pills to kick in: her mind longing for numbness.

After years on the road and in recording studios, Jane realised a life-long ambition two years ago when she began writing. Jane was thrilled to have two stories included in an Anthology, ‘Telling Tales,’ written in aid of The Norfolk Hospice, and another in an Anthology in aid of Women’s Aid, Breakthrough and Women for Women, ‘I Am Woman’ Anthology Volume One.

She is also working on a novel with a co-author about their exploits in the 1960’s Music Business, which they hope will be ready for publication during the early part of 2013.

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