Murder by the Book for Hank Phillippi Ryan. Her new hardcover release, THE OTHER WOMAN, has gotten wonderful reviews and made several bestseller lists, but that’s not why I was there. I wanted to meet her because she has been so generous with her encouragement over the past few years after reading my entry in NWHRWA’s Lone Star contest.
For “civilians”—non-writers who have never entered a writing contest—let me clue you in here. Contest judges can be kind, helpful, constructive, encouraging and on occasion make a suggestion that takes the writing to a whole new level. Other judges can be picky, petty, hurtful and even downright nasty in their criticism. Unfortunately, my entry had gotten a more than its share of the latter in previous contests and I was getting discouraged.
Then I got back the entry Hank judged. It was a hardcopy back then and I still have it. She gave it a very high score, but not a perfect one, however, it was her comments that showed she “got it.” She said she loved my writing and would like to read the rest of the story and gave her name and contact information—very unusual for a judge. I emailed her a thank you and got a lovely reply asking me to keep in touch and let her know how the submission was going. And I have.
When I introduced myself on Saturday, Hank immediately remembered DEYROLLE, the oringal title of the story, and told me again how much she loved my writing. I admitted that it hasn’t sold yet and I was getting a bit discouraged. Her reply? “You’ll sell and one day we’ll laugh about this.” And her sincerity made me believe her.
Hank is only one of the generous authors I’ve met on this writer’s journey. In what other industry do successful professionals give their time, knowledge and friendship to newcomers trying to break in? And yet, go to any RWA meeting and published authors do just that. Like Hank, so many author friends have gone out of their way to help me along the road to publication. Extraordinary women like Sophie Jordan, Tera Lynn Childs, Colleen Thompson, Shana Galen, Dee Gist—just to name a few—have given me and so many others the encouragement and tools to follow our dreams. What a priceless gift!
Give a shout out to someone in your life who has given you a lift when you needed it!