Monday, October 12, 2009

My Happy Place

Who needs the New York Times? Publishers Weekly can go pound sand. And Oprah? Who'd want to sit on that stinkin' couch of yours anyway?

I have something even better than anointment from that Holy Trinity of book arbiters: A Happy Folder.

Recently, I had one of those days when I couldn't write a thing that didn't suck. When I pouted that PW hasn't reviewed my books, even though they've sprinkled their stars upon some of my fellow Midnight Ink authors. When I pondered hanging up fiction and returning to journalism.

Then I remembered that newspapers are sounding a death rattle, that nobody's hiring, and that friends and former colleagues in the media are losing jobs right and left.

In other words, not a happy day.

Until I got an email from a reader, telling me she loved my book. I thought back to why I left the news biz. I wanted to make people laugh, to bring some levity to a post-9/11 world that felt sad and deadly serious. And here was somebody writing to tell me I'd managed to do just that.

That's when I got the idea of sifting through my emails to create a feel-good folder. I'd fill it only with nice notes from readers. Here's one, from a woman in Birmingham, Ala:

My doctor had been concerned about my rising blood pressure, from stress of constant terrible news on TV. Your book was the perfect antidote: I laughed, felt like I actually knew your very real characters, and was so thoroughly relaxed that my blood pressure went down!

Here's another, from a reader who discovered the Large Print editions of my Mace Bauer Mystery series:

I get migraines from eye strain. It has been a long time since reading was fun for me until your books.

And another one, from a woman who said she's eagerly awaiting Book 3:

I couldn't wait to write and tell you how much I loved your book... funny, clever, LOL, great read ...

After paging through my Happy Folder, the day didn't seem so depressing after all.

PS to Oprah, if you're reading this. I didn't mean it about your couch.

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