The Gift of Promotion by Debra H. Goldstein
When I was a child, I believed in fairy tales where everyone lived happily ever after. With age, I learned that no matter how hard one wishes, life isn’t always perfect. In fact, sometimes it simply sucks. This week was one of those times – my mother died.
My mother was my greatest promoter. From personal experience as a Holocaust survivor who came to America at age ten with her nine-year-old brother, she understood the power a single word of encouragement has. Whether I wanted to be a singer, even though I can’t sing four notes in sequence, or a comedienne like Carol Burnett, she never dashed my hopes. Of course, she later admitted relief when I opted to be a lawyer and then a judge. I was afraid she would be upset when I stepped down from the bench to pursue writing full-time, but she became my largest promoter.
Mom loved giving people a copy of my novel, Maze in Blue, whispering how a new book has been acquired but its contract isn’t finalized yet, or showing them various bound anthologies that contain one of my short stories. She wasn’t quite as vocal about the short stories or essays appearing in e-publications or magazines.
This week, sitting in the hospital with my mother, I only had access to my smart phone and I found it interesting that a list serve I follow was having a heated discussion that exactly reflected my mother’s novel vs. short story behavior. The upshot of the discussion seemed to be that authors and readers don’t promote short stories and short story anthologies with the same oomph as full-length novels or novellas.
With a tip of my hat to the memory of my mother and the success and happiness she knew I found in my first year of writing instead of being on the bench, here’s to the short stories and essays that have appeared this year:
A Political Cornucopia – Bethlehem Writers Roundtable featured November 2013 story reprinted on November 24, 2014 by King’s River Life. http://kingsriverlife.com/11/24/a-political-cornucopia-a-thanksgiving-mystery-short-story/
Thanksgiving in Moderation – a family fun Thanksgiving tale included in The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fourth Meal of Mayhem published by Untreed Reads. Note: on December 1, Untreed Reads is running a CyberMonday sale!!! http://store.untreedreads.com/
Hot and Cold – King’s River Life – http://kingsriverlife.com/11/01/hot-and-cold-a-mystery-short-story/ (November 2014)
Bake, Love, Write – one of 105 authors providing a dessert recipe and essays on romance and writing
Early Frost – The Birmingham Arts Journal (April 2014)
The Rabbi’s Wife Stayed Home – Mysterical-E – http://Mystericale.com (April 2014)
Who Dat? Dat the Indian Chief! - my favorite mystery story of redemption included the short story anthology - Mardi Gras Murder (February 2014)
Two other short stories won competition prizes, but have not yet been published and my 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue was reissued by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery in May 2014.
The list serve discussion highlighted a problem with promotion of our works that all writers can easily remedy by awareness and simple actions. Although I have tried to promote equally, I know I can better use the tools of my mother’s legacy for myself and for others.
My mother gave me the confidence through words of encouragement to believe I can succeed at new endeavors. I am so glad she had the opportunity to share in the happiness of my new writing career. Although there will be no more telephone calls with words of empowerment or declarations to her friends of how wonderful my writing is, even when it is not, the gift of using words to encourage, engage, promote, and live life to its fullest will always stay with me and be something I can share with you and pass on through my children and grandchildren.
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Erica Green – a survivor, a role model, and my heroine – 4/8/29 – 11/20/14.