Friday, November 25, 2011

Paying It Forward by Heather Rainier

Read all the way to the bottom for a chance to win a free copy of one of my books. Follow the blog and leave a comment with your contact e-mail for a chance to win.

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 Snowflakeis 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.

Happy Holidays!


Western Lovin!! said...

I would have to say that I am inspired by my husband. He is more wonderful than I deserve and he is always going above and beyond the call of duty for anyone he meets. He may often hear me cussing him several generations back, but he also makes me want to be a better person. His supportive and unwavering devotion means the world to me. Without it, I would not be in graduate school now.

Leslie said...

Payed the bridge toll for the 4 cars behind me one day and a few days later lost my rapid transit ticket. No cash...stuck in SF. A man asked what was wrong and i told him so he went over and bought me a ticket to get home

Heather Rainier said...

...Perfect examples of paying it forward, ladies. You never know when you may be in need of someone willing to do the same. Ella, Your lovely husband sounds very much like mine. If it wasn't for the sacrifices he's willing to make and the patience and support he shows me daily, I never would've started this journey as a writer. Thanks for commenting, you're both in the drawing;-)

bw said...

Heather, What a great column! I work in a hospital and from time to time, buy lunch for the person in line behind me. Sometimes that is a visitor or a patient, it doesn't matter to me it helps them no matter who it is. Keep up the great writing!

Amy J said...

Mine comment isn't about me but about my six year old daughter, Maggie.
She has a girl she goes to school with who uses a walker (I'll call her Kate). Last week classes were heading out to recess and Kate was struggling at the door to get outside. A couple of classes passed her during her struggle. Maggie's class was going by also. Maggie stopped and said "I help you" and they both went out for recess. (I was already proud of her at this point but it gets better) Maggie was unsure when one of the other teachers came and asked her name. (thought she was in trouble for something) Maggie told her and the teacher told her she had seen how helpful she had been to Kate when others passed by and was very proud of her. Maggie looked at the teacher shocked because she didn't think she did anything special. The teacher was impressed even more by Maggie because most kids would have been looking for the pat on the back for helping and Maggie was just doing what needed to be done.

She is my inspiration in life, I wanna be like her when I grow up.

Tammy said...

Heather you are one of a kind, I am thankful that someone did insist you make a facebook page because you have enriched my life and encourage me too. The pay if forward is something I wish everyone would at least try to do.
One day my daughter and I was sitting at a taco restuarant eating. We watched this man outside pushing a shopping cart of food with 3 small children with him. They aparently had to the foodbank at the church. It was hot this particular day also, so they walked in after making sure their shopping cart was secure close to the front door outside so they could see it through the windows. They walked in with a couple of canned drinks and a sleave of saltine crackers and peanut butter and took a table. My daughter watched wideeyed at all that went on. She whispered why arent they getting tacos mom? I felt sick knowing the reason why and I listened at the father gathered his children round talking to them. One of the kids was whimpering about wanting a hamburger and the father shushed her. I knew in that feeling of wanting to give your child something but unable to cause I had been in that position once upon a time myself. So my daughter an I gathered up our trash and went to the trashbin then over to the counter. I placed and order of food and drinks for the small family then made sure they got themselves a hot meal. That day has made a lasting impressed on my daughter cause has done simular things herself.

Susan said...

I am a big pay it forward person, though I usually do it quietly. Right now I am helping every other week at work to ship boxes to the troops (the school system I work for does 20 boxes a WEEK!! They adopted 4 units in Afganistan).

I have done lots of other things which will remain nameless (because for some reason it is more special that way).

Thanks for the great post! Perfect for the holdiay season!

Karen O said...

I've been on both ends of "pay it forward" and will continue the tradition as long as I can... Knowing that help comes when it was/is needed is a great feeling no matter which side of the scale you've landed on!
Thank you for starting your Facebook page, it's been great getting to know a bit about the person behind the books. Always a big fan.

Dragon Momma said...

Many years ago, when my cousin Maggie came home with her first baby, we all fell in love with Vicky. She was adorable! So happy all the time, rarely fussy. When she started to walk, that is when we noticed....she was diagnosed with Phosphorous Rickets. It caused her tiny little baby legs to bow out like she had spent weeks riding horses. She was still a loving and precocious child, enchanting everyone she met. We found out that Shriner's Hospital had doctors that could do the surgery, no cost. My father one day, mentioned about this little great niece of his while at the garage, getting his work truck tuned. The man who owned the garage looked at my father with a look that bespoke shock. Herm, he said...I am a Shriner! Bring her to my house next Saturday. If she seems like a candidate, I can sponsor her! We brought Vicky. Not only was Eddie there, but 4 other Shriners! They ended up fighting about who would sponsor her. She got her surgeries.

Fast forward many years later.... I saw a Shriner standing near the stop light one day, here in Georgia. He had his collections bucket. Yup, I did...I emptied my wallet in that bucket and said, Thank you and God bless for all you and your fellow Shriners do! Each time I see them, what ever I have extra, goes in.

Remember this about Shriner's Hospitals. They are privately owned, not government supported. Everything that they do, surgeries, treatments, etc., are done thru private donations. They have at this time, 12 hospitals close to closing for lack of funding. Even if ONE closes, that means children who desperately need it, won't be able to get the treatment they need.

BTW, after being told that Vicky would not be any taller than 5'2" or 5'3", she now stands 5'9", thanks to Shriner's Childrens Hospital.

Stacy Wilson
dragn_lady at yahoo dot com

ps..sorry for the wicked long post, but this was so very near n dear to me.

The Righteous Perverts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dawn Gore Meador said...

Heather, what a wonderful blog post :) A person's character can be seen by how they treat and interact with others. I have seen you pay it forward and it has always been a blessing to know that your heart is just as big as your imagination. I am blessed to call you friend.


Luna Wildwood said...

Fabulous blog topic! Sometimes even a small gesture can make a person's bad day less crummy. One of the simple things I've done is buy someone a coffee. They were just having a lousy day and a coffee with an old fashioned chin wag for them to vent out their frustration was an easy way to help them relax.

Heather Rainier said...

bw (beth) many times, unless they work there, people are not eating at the hospital by choice. What a great way to lighten their load:)

Heather Rainier said...

Amy...Our "me"-centered culture seems bent on breeding the compassion out of our children at times. It's great to hear about little ones showing compassion for others. It's also a testimony to the kind of parents little Maggie has:) Kudos!

Tammy...well done on taking feeling compassion for others to the next level and really acting on it. As the child of a struggling Single mom I've been on the receiving end of such compassion and it has far-reaching effects that you may never have imagined.:)

Heather Rainier said...

Susan, this is a very important aspect of "paying it forward" that is very important to note. It does our hearts good to hear of times when we have followed our hearts and done soemthing to help others. But if we did it so we could toot our horns here on Earth, then we've recieved the extent of the blessing here on Earth.My husband calls doing things for others in secret "not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing." I'm thankful for you reminding me of that prinicipal:)

Heather Rainier said...

Stacy, your stories always bring a chuckle, smile or tear to my eyes. Where would many of our friends or families be without the help of the Shriner's Hospitals? I think we all know someone who has benefited from their generosity. The next time I see them collecting funds I'm going to make sure and pay it forward for you and Vicky, too.:)

Dawn...just stop before you get me crying. I have hot romance to write and here I am getting all sentimental:)

Luna...sometimes simple is best, isn't it? Coffee takes so little effort. Taking the time to listen to others cannot be undervalued but it seems to be one of the hardest things to do, to just sit down and say, "Tell me how you are," and actually mean it...

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments. Even thinking about all the wonderful stories you've shared makes my heart lighter. so, the net time you're out and about, busy with your holiday errands, I hope you take a look around you and see how you can pay it forward...Love to you all this holiday season <3

Heather Rainier said...

Hey, and Karen O, it's been great getting to know you also. That advice I got to go ahead and jump in on Facebook was great advice. I've met so many lovely people there, including you <3

Dragon Momma said...

Heather, growing up, it was always a pay it forward time, tho we did not have that definition then. My father worked as a police officer part time at night after his "real" job and on weekends. During the winter, it was NOTHING to wake up in the morning and see a strange face or two sitting at the table a little shell shocked. My father would have responded to a car accident, or someone stuck in heavy snows, and he'd call mom and say...add more water to the soup, I'm bringing someone home. He would never, ever let someone spend money to stay in a hotel. Nor would either parent take money for the warm place to sleep and a hot meal or two. It was the satisfaction of knowing that person was safe. He'd even have them call home, or where ever there destination was, to let others know WHERE they were, who they were with and that they were safe.

I guess some of that rubbed off.

Heather, I thank you for your kind words. I also thank you for the Shriners! God bless, sugar.

Susan Bloomingdale said...

What a timely post as this is the season to give. I'm a teacher and find that many of my students need help all year long. Several of us provide goody bags and meals to our families through anonymous drop off donations monthly. It truly makes a difference in their lives all the time, not just during the holidays. Each time we gather items, more and more staff join is definitely rewarding.

swamimommy said...

wonderful thought for THanksgiving. As for paying it forward, I guess mostly I think of my mom and how she always was so tolerant of everything even if she didn't agree with it. And she would try to tell you if there was something she thought was wrong with it, but she'd let you go ahead and make your mistakes. I try to do that with my kids, friends and patients, let them know what I think and why, but let them make choices. great concept.

Heather Rainier said... a teacher the example you're setting for your students and those fellow teachers who join you in your efforts is commendable. I hope that your efforts bear fruit that you are able to glimpse in your students lives from time to time.

Swamimommy...I think you're ahead of the curve. How many of us moms know what's best for our kids and go out of our way to pound it into them, regardless of knowing that they'll just go out and make their mistakes anyway, OR on the other hand, save them from every challenging situation they might learn from. It's a good reminder for me. Sometimes paying it forward means allowing others to make their mistakes so they learn a valuable lesson on their own. LOL, I'm just rambling now...

Thank you to all the ladies who left comments on "Paying it Forward" and my previous blog post "Heather Talks Cars". All your names were entered into a random drawing yesterday. Congratulations to Amanda! Thanks also to those of you who've purchased Lydia's Twin Temptation, and left comments on my Facebook wall after reading it. I really enjoy hearing from you. Happy Holidays!