Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In Gratitude, Part I

We at the Stiletto Gang have been in existence almost a year, by my accounting. It has been a lot of fun, blogging about this and that and learning about my fellow writers and all of you posters, who always let us know when we’re on the right track, and when we’ve ridden off the rails. We’ve prayed together, laughed together, and shared some excitement, like when new books come out. And we are all very grateful here that you take time out of your busy schedules to see what we have to say and how we have to say it and when you think we’re right on. Thank you for that.

I wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge Marian, Marilyn, Rhonda, and Susan, who have become wonderful friends and sounding boards throughout the past year.

1. Marian, or the Northern Half of Evelyn David: Our Monday go-to girl, I remember back in January of this past year, we presented at a library in Vorhees, New Jersey, and had a fabulous time. Seeing her talk to some of the at-risk writers who came to hear our talk was inspirational, and although I already had met Marian once before, I was reminded of how special this woman was. It was at this event, as I shoveled pastry and coffee into my pie hole, that she asked me if I’d like to join the Stiletto Gang. There wasn’t a moment’s hesitation. Marian is a marketing force to be reckoned with. Me? Not so much. I was honored for the invite and I was not about to say no.

Marian has taught us the proper usage of “OY!” (my new favorite expression, peppered into ALL conversation), poo-poo-poo (correct my spelling, Marian…this is a catch-all and ward off for all bad things, I believe), and how to prepare Passover dinner correctly. (Not that I’ve done this yet. Maybe next year?) She has shared her thoughts on writing, family, and life and I for one, am extremely grateful for her insights.

2. Marilyn: Our friend to the Far West—thank you, too, for all of your marketing genius, but most of all for keeping us abreast of the goings on of your large, extended family. I don’t know how you keep them all straight! It has been a pleasure reading about your remembrances, hearing about your book signings and visits to writing conventions, and learning about the members of your family. I appreciate your “stop and take time to smell the roses” reminders every now and again; who of us don’t need those? And I enjoy learning from your vast experience. You are truly blessed, Marilyn, and we are lucky to have you with us on this venture and in the world.

3. Rhonda: Our Southern Evelyn. Someday, we’re going to sit at one of our kitchen counters and eat that apple cake, which I have yet to make (slacker that I am). Somehow, I just know, despite having never met, that we are kindred spirits. Rhonda is our techno-goddess—you’ve got a Stiletto problem, Rhonda’s got a solution. And her solution comes with patience, and I think a smile (I can only guess). Never in a bad mood, always willing to help, always looking for ways to keep our site fresh and vibrant. Rhonda doesn’t disappoint. She’s got a full-time job, a full-time writing gig, and a busy life (she actually takes care of her yard, from what I gather…something I can’t do for the life of me) and manages to do everything with aplomb. I look forward to the day, as I know Marian does, too, when we can meet.

4. Susan: Our newest Stiletto girl but the one whom I’ve known the longest, despite having never met in person. Back when “Murder 101” was just a twinkle in my and St. Martin’s eye, my editor said we needed some blurbs. She told me that she was going to go to Susan McBride, who she proclaimed “one of the nicest people she knew” and who might be willing to read the manuscript and comment. Well, if you bought my first book in hardcover, you’ll see that not only did Susan read and comment, she gave me a rave. And I think that went a long way in getting the book noticed by a readership who loved Susan’s Debutante Dropout Mysteries (I’m a HUGE fan) and were looking for something similar. Thank you, Susan. I’ll always be grateful to you for taking the time to take a chance on a new writer and for lending your support. And I’m thrilled that we have you for the Stiletto Gang once a month. Your thoughts on life and living are in complete agreement with ours, but I always learn something new. We’re both survivors and we’re finding our way in that designation but together, I’m sure we’ll forge new paths. Best of luck with the new “Debs” series—I, for one, am loving the first one!

I have so much to be grateful for this year but only six hundred words (I’m over at almost 900). If you don’t mind, there will be more of these. In gratitude to all of you.



  1. Maggie,

    Thank you so much for your generous and kind words. Your insight into Rhonda, Marilyn, and Susan is perfect. We are all so blessed to have found each other. I've learned so much from each member of The Stiletto Gang -- and our many guest bloggers.

    As for you, Ms. Barbieri, your intelligence, good humor, and wise perspective makes this blog -- and our lives -- so much richer.

    Oy! I'm verklempt :-)

  2. Maggie, that is the sweetest post ever, I swear! I am so happy to know you (tho' I hope we finally meet in person one of these days) and so honored to be part of this wonderful blog. Okay, now that I'm all teared up, I must go find a Kleenex.

  3. Thanks Maggie. You're a fun,smart, kind lady and we're very lucky to have you blogging with us. Did I mention good writer????

    Everyone should run out and buy a copy of "Quick Study" for someone on your holiday shopping list!

    aka The Southern Half of Evelyn David

  4. Oh for goodness sake, I left a comment yesterday and it disappeared. I too wanted to thank you gals for inviting this old lady to join you at such a remarkable site. I love telling people I belong to the Stiletto Gang!

    I've met Evelyn and Susan--both wonderful writers and lovely women.