My two best tips for writers - especially those who have not yet been published.
The first is to persevere. If you love the language, rejoice in finding the just-right phrase, and delight in the cadence and rhythm of dialogue, then write through your uncertainties and know that rejection is only a signal that you have not yet found the right home for your work.
I saw my name bylined for the first time when I was 10, in a local bank newsletter in Brooklyn that published my poem. I decided then and there to be a writer. By the time I had lost myself in the make-believe worlds of Heidi, Henry Huggins, Dr. Dolittle, and Nancy Drew, knew I wanted to write novels.
It was a long and winding road - from TV and stage actress in college to probation officer as a newlywed to newspaper reporter when my PTA press releases caught the eye of a local city editor, and finally, when I sought to have the same hours as my kids, to substitute teacher.
I loved subbing - and when I discovered there were no books on the subject, I decided to write one. I met an agent at a writer's conference who perused a few of my published articles and asked me to send her an outline and three chapters.
So, I went home and wrote them - and the result was, 'Substitute Teaching: A Handbook for Hassle-free Subbing,' which is still in print, and which gave me the confidence to venture into novels - which leads me to second tip:
Attend as many writer's conferences as you can. A good conference literally hums with inspiration and offers the means to help you hone your craft and the chance to connect with the writers, agents and editors who can become the bridge to your publishing career.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have six mysteries in print, with a seventh, 'The Miner's Canary,' due out in November 2022. But I also know that fortune is just a part of it. I still have a 'day job' I enjoy, writing for RISMedia, publishers of Real Estate Magazine. But I treasure the time I spend exploring my world and dreaming up stories that engage me.
"Syndrome" was inspired by a nurse I knew who had left the convent to pursue her passion; "Sing Sweetly to Me" by a forensic psychologist in the prison system who opened my eyes to the dangers - and "Kiss Mommy Goodnight" by a small article that caught my eye in the local paper.
Ideas are everywhere, and in today's digital world, there are more publishing options than ever. Stick with it. Fine-tune your craft - and most of all, enjoy the ride.