Special Risk: A Little History

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This week I published a book on IngramSpark and Amazon.com. It’s called Special Risk and it’s a story about an insurance investigator who is searching for a missing guitar and bumps into a crime family that turns out to be VERY interested in her. It’s the first part of a three-part series.

I’ve been a reader since I could put words together. I’ve been a writer since the age of twelve when I finally figured out I could write stories for myself. They were awful, of course, but I was only writing for me.

I studied writing over the years, did well in writing classes, and got an undergraduate degree in English with a writing emphasis. I wrote briefly for a newspaper and a restaurant guide. I wrote and edited an internal newsletter for one of the libraries I worked for. I attended writing retreats, conferences, and classes that covered what to do as a writer and what to do as a business person. Everything helps to lay out the steps.

Along the way, I found Pennwriters, a Pennsylvania coalition of writers at all experience levels. Through them, I located the 4th Wednesday critique group and then a year-long program called A Novel Idea that pushed me to complete the writing of my novel.

Nobody can prepare you for the reality of what happens when you finally say, “Okay, I’m going to publish this book.”

Oh, the questions! Have enough people read the book to tell me what needs to be clarified, changed, or removed entirely? Should I go through a traditional publisher or self-publish the book? Do I know someone in the industry who can help me?

My first attempt at publishing was in 1985. I got very close to publication with a romance novel that grabbed the attention of one of the large publishers at the time, but between their call to me at the end of one day and a follow-up call the next morning, the deal was dead and my agent gently suggested that I put the book on the shelf for a year or so and try it again later. “What else do you have?” she asked.

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I had nothing ready and nothing I could finish quickly. That’s my personal curse: I write slowly. Between 1985 and now, I’ve had two other completely different careers, but I have written in one way or another the entire time. I rarely attempted to publish, however. I contented myself with word counts and false starts on many, many stories. I’ve written two novels in between that first romance and this mystery/thriller. This time, I thought, I should publish the book.

In case you haven’t noticed, publishing options have changed over the last ten years or so. I read enough and attended enough sessions about self-publishing to be attracted by the idea, so that’s what I chose to do. I couldn’t have done it without some fantastic editors and an extremely talented designer, but I did it.

As you can see, now I have the books to prove to myself that yes, I am a writer, a published writer. Believe me, there’s nothing like the satisfaction that comes from seeing your hard work take physical shape. Or digital!


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