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The Good Life in the “Little Time”

I used to be vaguely jealous of “overnight successes.”

lightning missed me

I used to be vaguely jealous of “overnight successes,” in a “I wish it was me” way, until I realized those successes are only overnight to the people who didn’t know them before that night. I might even have wished—once or twice—that success lightning would strike one of my books. That I’d wake up with the name of my book on everyone’s lips. 

But after thirty-four (yes, you read that right) years in the publishing business, I’ve come to realize that what struck my books was a lightning—bug. Lol

And—even more important—I’m okay with my life in the “little time.” 

Let’s face it, I’d be awful and fancy book-signings and red carpets for the screen adaptations of my books. I don’t really like to travel and uncertain health as I age, have caused me to cut out conventions, too. (I do have one bucket list item that I’m determined to check off—now that we have an RV so that I can basically take my hermit house with me—and that is Roswell, NM. Otherwise my driving trips are to family and back from visiting family. lol)

Am I settling? I don’t think so. For thirty-four years I’ve had the fun of learning the craft of writing and the business of writing—two very different skills. 

I published my first novel (The Spy Who Kissed Me though back then it was called Pig in a Park) in 1998 to rave reviews. No really, seriously rave reviews—and this was for a book that was digitally published when digital books weren’t cool. lol

I’ve been able to write—and publish—every book I’ve written. As of the date on this blog I have published 25 original novels, 12 short stories, have bundled my short stories and novels into 9 collections. This makes me happy except when it is time to update all of them. lol

I’ve received actual real, hand-written fan mail. 

I’ve received actual real, email fan mail. (“You write the most unique time travel I’ve read in my 40 years of reading SF.”)

For the most part, my books are well reviewed and received (there was that one review where the reviewer thought I must have been drunk when I wrote it—which is hilarious if you know me at all and that one where the reviewer thought I was too funny. Lol And yes, I’ve received some reviews that made me sad, but I don’t expect everyone to like what I write. Hey, I don’t like everything I read!)

I’ve met wonderful authors and publishers, and I’ve tangled with a few less than wonderful of both—learning experiences all of them. 

I’ve made some amazing reader and writer friends from all over the world! Not bad for a travel-adverse hermit.

In conjunction with Veronica Scott, I’ve published three volumes of Pets in Space anthologies and we’re working on #4. Two of those volumes have hit the USA Today Bestseller list and two were nominated for Library Journal Best Books. 

Have I made a million dollars? Nope, but my business—after many years in the red—is self-supporting. 

Has one of my books been made into a movie? Again, nope, though I came really close once. 

I feel very blessed, even without making it into that elusive “big time.” I was able to transition into independent publishing at the right time, which has meant I could continue to write and publish the books I wanted to write without waiting for a publisher to tell me yes or no. This had kept me a (mostly) sane person. Lol The hubs claims I kill him in every book—but he’s not dead in real life. Lol

I am no longer jealous of any author who hits it big because I know how hard they worked before success hit, and now I also know how hard it is to keep at this business no matter where you are on the success ladder. Lighting strikes because they kept moving and working to be in the right place for success to happen. 

The other thing I’ve learned is that when I’m sitting on my tush in a place of envy or jealousy, nothing good ever happens. It’s only been by letting go and rejoicing with my friends—and even for strangers—that I’ve been able to release my own creativity onto a (mostly) uncaring world. Lol

When I’m asked what advice I have for new authors—now after many years in the fire—I’d say: Be kind, be wise, be generous, and be grateful. 

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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