Monday, May 3, 2010

Turning Points in Life

Well, I'm home from the RT Convention with plenty of stories to tell, but I have some news to share first.

I'm thrilled to announce that My Lady Below Stairs, my novella in A CHRISTMAS BALL, has finaled in the 2010 Reader's Crown (the contest sponsored by Rom Con, the new Borders Books Romance conference being held in Denver this year!) Click here for the list of finalists in all the categories. I'm in extremely fine company.

This story is very dear to my heart. I was about half-way through writing it when I was diagnosed with colon cancer at the end of 2008. I was hustled into surgery and was profoundly grateful when we learned that the cancer had been discovered at an early stage and my prognosis is excellent.

But surgery is no light matter. I went through several months of constant pain. This was during the time when I was doing my 50day/50blog Vexing the Viscount Tour. My writing production on My Lady Below Stairs slowed to a crawl of 2 pages per day. (I did meet my deadline. I'm a fanatic about that. I'd have to be dead myself to miss one.)

In the midst of pain and weakness, the time when I slipped into the fictive dream of My Lady Below Stairs was the high point of my days. And when I turned it in, my editor said it was the funniest, sexiest thing I'd ever written. (I'd blame the drugs, but I was off them within a couple weeks of surgery!)

Finishing that novella taught me something about myself. Norman Mailer says, "Being a real writer means being able to do the work even on a bad day." My Lady Below Stairs convinced me that I'm a real writer. It was a turning point in my career and in my life.

And now I'm so delighted that this novella has been honored by the judges of the Reader's Crown Contest like this. Thank you, whoever you are!

I'll be sharing about my RT experience during the rest of this week, so I hope I'll see you here again! Right now, I need to get back to TOUCH OF A THIEF, my current WIP. It's due June 1st and I'm 250 pages in. I'll keep you posted on my progress as I go through the writing marathon my new contracts have set for me.

Today's question: Has there been a time in your life when you learned something about yourself that changed things for you?


Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

A few years back, I held medical proxies for three relatives at the same time. My dad had Alzheimer's as well as other conditions and needed extra help. So did my aunt, his sister, who had her own conditions. At the same time my DH got whomped with severe asthma...many, many hospital visits. I remember the first time I sat in the ER with him (after I'd been so panicked they had to put me in a separate room for a while) so I could orient him when he regained consciousness, and some instinctual part of me reached for the rainbow colored legal pad where I was drafting my WIP. I told myself if I could write there and then, I could write through anything. I did. I can. I do.

Dad and aunt passed, DH's condition is manageable and writing gets more daily time now, but I will always count those first written in the ER pages as the acid test.

J.K. Coi said...

That's an inspiring story, and I'm SO GLAD you're okay! Congratulations on the final and I look forward to hearing your RT stories :)

EmilyBryan said...

Anna--How awful for you. I always think it's harder to watch someone you love suffer than to go through something yourself.

EmilyBryan said...

JK--Me2! Life is so precious. As Thornton Wilder says in Our Town:
"Oh, Life! You're too wonderful for anyone to realize you."

Gillian Layne said...

I wasn't a medical concern, but a few years ago DH needed to leave his regular 9-5 job for a traveling position. When I was forced to handle a full time job, the house, and three kids on my own for weeks and occasionally months at a time, I knew I could handle writing, too.

We'll all be cheering you on as you conquer those deadlines!

Deb said...

Emily, thank you for sharing your post today. My dad's memory is not good right now and he's losing weight. The dr. has tested for Alzheimer's, but says it is not. So, we also need to delve further and see if it is dementia or depression or another condition. I find myself not wanting to face reality of what this could mean, but know I have to do so.

I did find out 14 years ago that I am a strong woman, but it meant defying my parents' wishes. I met my now-husband and he had baggage, but I knew I loved him and that he was a good and kind man. Eventually, after A LOT of stress, I married him (12 years now) and my family came to the realization that he is a good person and good to me.

God Bless.

EmilyBryan said...

Gillian--Life throws new things at us all the time. Glad you've been able to roll with the changes!

EmilyBryan said...

Deb--Yay for you! As Mlle. La Tour says in Vexing the Viscount, "A woman must be willing to make her own choices . . . and pay for them." I'm glad your choice worked out well for you!

The Viking Princess said...

I'm gald you doing better...God bless.

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Princess! Hey, I heard about a new Viking romance coming out. THE VIKING by Bobbi Smith from Kensington. Not sure of the release month, but it's this year.

Glynis Peters said...

Thanks for sharing your post, Emily.

I had a breakdown and my counsellor taught me that I could share my poetry. She then made me write a short story and get things out of my head.
She turned my life around, and you know where I am at today. :)

Writing keeps me sane, short and simple. No more drugs, just me and my pen.

EmilyBryan said...

Brilliant, Glynis. As a music major, I know a little about using the arts as therapy. There is something about the act of creating that forges new connections in our brains and making those connections feels good.