Sunday, October 19, 2008

Small Wonders

It's been an interesting few weeks for me. I've been across the country and back, lived in a couple different houses, driven up and down the Eastern Seaboard (not for fun, sadly), uprooted the kids, and now, finally, have gotten my husband and myself and the kids and pets all in one place, in one state, and am settling in. It's not perfect yet, but with every box unpacked, every beloved knicknack placed, I can feel myself relaxing. Getting comfy. Every laugh from the kids, every precious item appearing in a place that it will come to inhabit, is a small wonder for me, letting me know we're headed the right way. That everything is going to be just fine.

It's been like that with writing, at least for me. My path to publication, in the great scheme of things, was pretty fast. So there's been a lot of learning along the way for me, and with the rush of three books in two years, it's taken some time for me to start settling in. You get comfy. Though the dizzying excitement of that first sale, the first cover, the first sighting on a bookshelf, has faded to warm pride and pleasure, and though it would be (and sometimes is) easy to get more focused on the stress of production and deadlines than on just enjoying being creative, I still find that my journey into writerdom, if that's actually a word, is marked with the occasional shining gem of a thing that reminds me how cool this all is. Just when I need it, it always seems like some small wonder or other will turn up, either teaching me something new, or helping a little of that Brand New Author glow return...or both.

As you might have guessed, I had one of those moments today. I was combing through my email, entering my newsletter subscriptions into my contacts, smiling over a sweet email that a reader had sent me, when I realized two things: since Dark Highland Fire was released just a few weeks ago, I've been flooded with newsletter subscriptions. And every last one of my reader emails this months has been asking what's next in the series, and when they'll be able to get it.

Stupid though it sounds, it dawned on me, all of a sudden, that I am developing a readership. Not just a few people picking up the book on a whim, actual readership. People who look for books with my name on them. People who might like to know what I'm doing. Like...with that newsletter I hadn't quite figured out what to do with yet! So I spent the afternoon fussing and fiddling, and came up with a nice newsletter to send to this groups of lovely people who enjoy my writing, and who sometimes send me notes letting me know. I made plans to update my website AGAIN with more review quotes and a new blurb for the upcoming book, even though I just updated a few weeks ago. And I let myself bask a little in that small wonder that these have become necessary things...because now there are readers out there who actually notice.

It's just a little thing, I suppose, but for me, some of the most wonderful moments in my career thus far have been when the abstract becomes real: a letter from a fan, an awesome review, and of course, just picking up my own book in a bookstore and holding it in my hands. Today's simple realization of a nicely growing career let me catch a little of my New Author Glow back once again. I think I'm headed the right way...and everything is going to be just fine:-)

What are some of your own small wonders, the little things that have meant a lot to you?



  1. Kendra,
    Been getting a few of those myself--like a reader who emailed me and then came to the chat because I told her about it. Cool stuff, that!

  2. Kendra,
    Congrats on getting the family finally settled in one place. I know that's been a long journey for you all. I enjoyed your post and your acknowledgment of another milestone in your writing career. I'm so happy for you that your books have found a following and your newsletter mailing list is growing!

  3. Kendra, what a lovely experience you are having. The adventure is in the journey, right? I have one of those "glow" moments every time I am lucky enough to share one with my fellow Casa sisters. I had a personal one when Deb asked me how many ARCs I wanted--sort of brought the reality into focus. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Glad you are settled finally. Moving is hard. I hate moving Clearly whatever our original tribe, it was not a nomadic one.

    I guess a small wonder to me this week was seeing my book on the shelves for the first time on Friday, even though it is not out in stores yet. Someone at Sourcebooks kindly managed to get a few copies out to the store where I was signing.

    The fact that ten people bought books in the space of an hour was a real wonder. Made me very happy.

  5. One of the great blessings in my odd pathway to the bigger writing world is starting as a web-based chapter-by-chapter story poster. I spent nearly 2 years building up a readership, and the hundreds of loyal fans of my Saga have been one of the greatest inspirations for me to keep going! If not for their encouragement I never would have taken the steps to being published and know for certain I would have given up when the going got tough. The negatives can drive you down, but the wealth of positive support sure pulls you up. Knowing that people are dying for more of what you as a writer uniquely have to offer is both amazingly wonderful and daunting. Now I have to work even harder to make sure that I keep giving them my unique brand of storytelling!

    Hope life settles soon for you Kendra. And by the way, I just started 'Dark Highland Fire,' am only on the 4th chapter, but you can add me to your list of faithful readers! I am loving it already!!

  6. "...beloved nicknacks placed." What a wonderful, phrase to evoke the "I'm home at last" feeling.

    My new author glow had its wattage turned up the other day when on the Booksamillion site, a post from a reader said,"It [SEALed With a Kiss]was so good, I immediately ordered five more copies to give to my daughter and neices."

    As you say, it reminded me "how cool this all is."

  7. Thanks for sharing, ladies! I knew you all would understand just what I meant:-)

    Cheryl, that is VERY cool!

    Marie, thanks for the congrats...the journey continues, but hopefully from one spot instead of many!

    Christina, what with this whirlwind writing experience, I have decided that the adventure is DEFINITELY in the journey, and I wouldn't trade a moment of it. It's crazy, the learning curve at work! Love your personal "glow" moment...and you're very right, it's wonderful to have our Casa sisters to share with!

    Michele, LOL, I think my original tribe must not have been nomadic either! Ten books in an hour is awesome, and I still get a charge every time I see my book on the shelves...congrats!

    Sharon, I think your path is fascinating, and I'm in awe of what it must have taken to produce for such a big audience at such a constant rate! That's extremely inspiring. And thank you SO much for the compliment!!

    Mary Margret, I don't think I'll ever equal you for lovely turns of phrase, but I'm glad you liked mine:-) And what a wonderful "glow" moment!

    It really is extremely cool, all of this:-)

  8. Congrats on getting THE BIG MOVE accomplished, Kendra!

    I truly HATE moving! I think Michele and I must be in the same tribe. If it were up to me, I'm sure mine would have never left Ireland, much less came all the way to California. :-)

    Last night I experienced a not-so-small wonder. I FINALLY saw The Wild Sight on the shelf of a bookstore -- MULTIPLE copies, face out! What a thrill! This was my long held dream finally come true.


  9. Agreed, Cindy, that is a BIG wonder, and you should totally bask in the glow of it! Congrats to you!

    My ancestors probably just got kicked out of everywhere, because everyone in my family hates moving:-)

  10. Congrats Kendra and everyone I am waiting for books to arrive so as I can read them there are 4 source books in the order.

    It must be such a thrill to see your books on the shelves after all the hard work you put into them and I gotta say as a reader I love seeing them as well you Ladies have opened up a whole new world for me
    Thanks Guys

    Have Fun

  11. Thanks, Helen! Readers like you make it even more fun! Hope you're enjoying all of your reading:-)

  12. I have student stalkers too--by their own admission. It's really wonderful when you can do something positive that helps others in their writing career. So it's lots of fun when students say they enjoy my courses so much, they want to be on a list to be notified every time I come up with a new one! :) Sharing our joy of writing with others with the same dream means so much to me. :)