Just received news that DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND, the short story anthology I contributed to last fall, is one of 2008's top ten bestselling books among independent bookstores.

I will confess that I contributed without a great deal of consideration: the cause was good, Toys for Tots. The tease was fun: a mystery that involves one of the winter holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. And a short story never seems like work. It's more like a break from the harder work (for me) of novel-writing. A story formed in my head, I wrote it down, ran it through my sister-check system to see that it made sense, and sent it off. The lovely and talented Tony Burton of Wolfmont Press chose it along with twelve others, and TA-DA! six months later, we're in the top ten!

So the question is: How does an author know what's going to bring success? This business is such a crap-shoot. Things an author sweats over and plans for can fall flat while things she does on a lark are rewarded. Maybe that's a question for all of life...we just don't know when something will pay off, so everything has to be as good as we can make it.

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Comment by Peg Herring on February 24, 2009 at 12:52am
I agree, although lots of beginners are clamoring to know where to start. I sometimes disappoint them with my advice, but I'm always honest and tell them just what you said above.
Comment by Pate Grantwell on February 22, 2009 at 12:04am
Congratulations! As for your question, no one can predict success. That's why I frown on seminars and how-to books that purport to know how a writer can achieve success. That is not true. You can teach grammer and syntax. You can give advice on story structure (emphasis on the word "advice" because no one really knows what story style anyone will embrace), but you cannot teach success. If that was possible, the people teaching it would simply practise what they preach and reap the success.
Comment by Peg Herring on February 21, 2009 at 7:56am
I love that song!

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