A Red-Heeled Toast
I'm sitting at one of my favorite haunts, People's Park in Waukesha, Wisconsin. It's not necessarily where I meant to be. I just finished attending the launch event for the book of my client-turned-friend (as all of them become after literally pouring their lives out to me for the pages we create!), Steve Palec.
My husband was in a meeting. My big sister (and awesome cheerleader) was out of reach at an event of her own. My kids were grown and at school and work. I glanced down and happened to reflect on my red stilettos. They may well be my shoe of choice. I'm not gonna lie; I feel fierce in them. I remembered that, about--gosh--I guess it's almost 14 years ago now! . . . well, that's when my first book, in 2006, "The Tale Travelers Book 1: Henry's History" came out.
Man, I thought I'd made it that day. (Hell, I thought I'd made it when I had an email that had the word "writing" in it!) But, here's the thing. A single children's chapter book by an unknown author didn't stop the world for everyone else. (WHAT?!?!?) My husband was on travel; my closest friends worked with me in a bookstore, so book releases were hardly anything unique; my family was in other states; and my kids were too young to really support a parental dream.
Well, here I was - ecstatic at having MY first book in my hand and I wanted to celebrate, but I was kind of alone. I still remember what I was wearing that night . . . a brown tank top (so, we used to wear spaghetti strap tanks in public? Amen to the end of that trend; I can't keep up with the arm toning!), a red and brown skirt, and? RED HEELS! (I hadn't really thought about it until tonight.) And, that night, with no one else to celebrate me but--well--ME, I went to Bennigan's (so I've classed up my drinking game a bit since those days!) and I toasted myself and my first release. Nobody there knew me from Adam and the red heels I wore then were to MAKE ME feel confident, but it was a celebration of accomplishment. I had no idea what that day would lead to.
It led, in synopsis, to 11 Personal #1 International Bestsellers (as of today!), 70 other authors sent to #1, more than 80 projects managed, and thousands of coached authors and prospective writers over the years. And that's just what the numbers measure. They don't tell you about tales told and lives changed and businesses started and sold to grow on and build others' dreams and put out even more stories . . . and on and on and on and on . . . (I'll spare you the down & dirty details). In short, it led to the dream . . . coming true.
Today, after 22+ years in some form of career in writing and publishing. AND, coming up on 14 years since that toast of the first publication, I happily attended the launch of Steve's book. . . my 60th! And, because I've decided to hang up my pens for a bit so to speak, and forever from the world of co-writing, I left this successful event from which multiple #1s were already earned, and realized I needed something - someone, to process this self-selected finale. I decided to go to my favorite haunt and toast the end of a chapter, along with the end of another book launch. Once again, I was alone in my red heels, toasting a celebration of words.
But this wasn't the same as Bennigan's. I was in a town where my own publishing company grew. I knew the bartender. My family joined me before I even got to finish this blog and those red heels? I don't need them to FEEL fierce . . . I just am. It's been a kick-ass journey . . . that I've walked in kick-ass stilettos . . . and I wouldn't change a thing.
And if you want to see the culmination of lessons learned and partnerships created and art developed, I hope you'll pick up a copy of "IN AWE" TODAY - on its release day. (Just click the pic below.) And, over the next month, you'll see some major changes fall into place in here, just in time to turn the page on the year and the continuing story. I hope you'll follow along!
Yours sincerely and forever in writing,