How about a proper introduction to this novel?
Here's the pitch:
She Taught Me Everything
When 26-year-old Nicola Jones gets that phone call in the middle of the night––the one she's been dreading her whole life––she doesn't stop to ask questions.
What else does she need to know? Her charismatic older sister Viv has been in a car crash.
She packs a bag and races to her sister's hospital bedside.
Until then, she would have said she and Viv were as close as––well, as close as sisters. Once in Nashville, however, Nicola discovers that Viv has been concealing one terrible secret after another.
With her own life on hold as she waits for Viv to wake, Nicola must delve into the mystery of their shared past and decide what their future will be.
She Taught Me Everything is a story about sisters and secrets, and about the choices we make that shape a family.
Like a rose smelling just as sweet, that quality that keeps people chasing their dreams in the face of rejection...
Call it what you will. I like temerity. And sauce.
I have my very first rejection letter (from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine!), which was a formulaic "Thanks, but this is not for us," along with a list of multiple-choice adjectives. Some anonymous, hard-working reader at the magazine had circled the word "opaque" before sending it back at me in my self-addressed stamped envelope.
Being in the eighth grade, I had to look the word up, and even then, re-reading my feverish and (it still gives me a pang of shame) incoherent story, I had to agree.
Nevertheless, I continued to shoot submissions into the literary stratosphere. Nobody claims it's easy; luckier yet, I had no concept that I might be resistible. Srsly.
Getting that first acceptance letter (from a tiny 'zine produced in someone's mom's basement) was nice. I should have celebrated it more vigorously, but my myopic high-school eyes were straining toward the next thing.
Later, when I'd amassed a portfolio of newspaper and national magazine stories and what-not, publication didn't seem like all that and a side of fries.
I've said that I lucked into journalism (thanks Diane Roback of Publisher's Weekly! Thank you Jon Wilson of the St. Petersburg Times!). Heartfelt gracias, Kevin Walker of the former Tampa Tribune!
I do appreciate every door journalism has opened for me. Go on –– walk right up to anyone, armed with a pencil stub and a cub-reporter notepad, I dare you! But that wasn't my dearest ambition.
A published novel, that's what I wanted. Yeah, baby –– and not just one.
Do I have any advice for aspiring writers? Yes: Polish them brass balls, puff out your metaphorical chest with self-esteem, cling to your belief in yourself, and take joy in every little victory.
When victories are not forthcoming, change the battlefield.
I wrote a novel a while back. It's a thing.
I'm writing an additional two more, though I've been feeling a sense of a cork in the bottleneck...
But having written the living bejeebers out of that first novel, and hooking up with a dang high-powered literary agent (in Manhattan! Squee!), and the agent not working out for me (in super slo-mo! actual years passed!), and fully exploring the advice of so many writers before me (Keep trying! Never surrender!), 2023 seems like the time to take a different route.
Independent publishing. AKA self-publishing. These days, publishing my own dang book means I need to relearn the business of publishing and more or less form my own publishing house. And my own public relations strategy. Et cetera.
So after waiting waiting waiting, I am angling my toes into the the starting blocks and getting ready to get ready to go. But first, a timeline.
Chicken, meet a dozen eggs.
Here are some of the administrative bits and bobs I have to put in order and execute:
And heeeer we go, she said, with an uneasy giggle.
Those of you sweet readers who are still with me, thanks! I can't tell you how cheering it is to know you're out there interested in my stacks of words.
Hope to brag some good news soon. I'm thinking late summer/autumn 2023 to bring this novel to market. If you have advice, don't hesitate to drop me a line. There's so much to learn about all this...