This summer and autumn, it’s been hammered home to me a number of times that it is important to show gratitude by “paying it forward.” From the beginning of my career, I have been fortunate to have a mentor who cared enough about me to tell me what I needed to hear, even if it hurt. Unfailingly, her advice has paid off.
I literally put my heart out there with my first erotic ménage romance, Divine Grace, a little terrified of how people might react to what, up until that point, had only rattled around in my head. It was a daunting task to take the "book of my heart" and ruthlessly revise it into something other people might want to read. Being told hard truths about my work and being expected to act on those truths was a daunting task. Producing a sexy, polyamorous romp was actually going to take some work.
Because someone believed in me and didn't give up on me, I didn't give up on myself. I accepted those encouraging words and direction and have applied them as much as I was humanly able to everything I wrote, revised or edited from that point forward. Along the way, as I was ready for it, I was given that piece of advice I sincerely dreaded..."You really need to set up a Facebook profile." Honestly, my initial reaction was groaning acquiescence. I may have even whined and pouted a bit, but I did it because I trusted my mentor.
I was in for the surprise of my life as I encountered more and more of my readers and made friends with other writers on Facebook. With the exception of the occasional creeper dude, Facebook has been a fantastic place to interact with readers and be part of groups of like-minded people. Among those people are the Righteous Perverts, which is a group made up of readers and authors. What a bunch of creative, unique, naughty, talented supporters. I love them all!
But I digress...I received so much great advice and direction over the course of the last sixteen months that when the opportunity to encourage fellow aspiring writers came along, I knew I had a responsibility to pay forward the time and care that my mentor took with me. Writing a book is easy. Easy. Easy. Revising and editing a book is very hard work. It's no longer your baby. It’s a product in need of merciless shaping, revamping, or cutting and rearranging. It's daunting for a new writer. I wouldn’t be true to the concept of paying it forward if I hoarded the information I'd received to myself. I believe when we are blessed, we need to pass that blessing on or risk losing it.
In the process of encouraging those authors, I directed them to Lesli Richardson's blog for writers, Write Your Ass Off. I have a lot of respect for Lesli, and the experience and know-how she’s gained over twenty-plus years of writing is distilled in her writing tips on that blog. Her blog article entitled “You Are Not a Special Snowflake” is legendary and something every author, aspiring or otherwise would benefit from reading.
I'm writing this as I wallow in a Thanksgiving-turkey-induced daze, so maybe I'm feeling a little bit sappy, but I'm very grateful for the direct and indirect mentoring I’ve received since opening that first acceptance email from Siren Publishing. It’s my fervent hope that no matter what the aspirations or level of success of those reading this are, that when the opportunity to pay it forward comes along, they will act on it. You just never know what might come of it.
My latest book, Lydia’s Twin Temptation, released today, November 25th. Leave a comment telling me about your experience as the recipient or the giver of the “Paying It Forward” concept along with a contact email. The names of everyone who comments on today’s blog post or the blog post from November 14th are going in a random drawing for a free copy of one of my books. If the winner already owns the entire Divine Creek Ranch Collection, I can put the winner down for a free copy of Their Divine Doctor which releases on December 23rd.