First Cup of Coffee – November 20, 2023

Balancing the desire to strive for more and better against the need to recognize how far we’ve already come and having gratitude for what we’ve achieved. Also, the role of serendipity in any creative career.

Serendipity and Success – Acknowledging the Reality

A lil reminder that my FALLING UNDER trilogy is now re-released and on Kindle Unlimited! These books are NOT fantasy, but are contemporary erotic romance. If that’s the kind of thing you like, then you may like these!

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is hard work vs. luck as applies to authorial success.

One of my least favorite pieces of advice from successful authors is when they declare something along the lines of “Just write a good book!” This happens a lot with debut authors, happily reveling in the out-of-the-gate success of their first effort. I say this because authors who’ve had lots of trunked books or only midlist success almost never say this.


Because they know that writing a good book isn’t enough.

Yes, writing a good book is key. Improving our craft as authors is critically important. That’s where the hard work comes in. At least, one kind of hard work, the foundational kind. If the books aren’t written and revised and polished to the best of our ability, there’s nothing to sell.

On the other hand… luck is a huge factor in publishing. It just IS. That’s why I roll my eyes at any successful author who fails to acknowledge the role of serendipity in their rise to (relative) fame and glory. As human beings – especially ones with egos sufficient to withstand the slings and arrows of creative life, which is rife with downs as well as ups – we like to credit ourselves with being awesome. Are we fortunate or are we just that good?

We’d all like to think we’re just that good.

The thing is, lots of creators are really good. And lots of good books go nowhere. Acknowledging the role of serendipity in success not only keeps us humble – remember that ego is the enemy! – but also should reassure us when things don’t go our way. Authors careers, as previously noted, are rife with ups and downs. We can’t control the luck. What we CAN do is work hard and put ourselves out there so the luck can find us.

Best of luck to you all!



On Further Serendipitous Hijinks

3_23 moon cropWe had fierce dust storms in New Mexico yesterday, which at least makes for amazing sky colors. Here’s the nearly full moon setting at sunrise – still one of my favorite sights. 

So, yesterday I had an interesting moment. Kind of a continuation of this run of serendipity despite sad events. It’s really been a strange few weeks, with many highs and lows.

At this point we’re packing up to make the long road trip for R’s funeral. He was David’s brother, who died much too young from cancer. We’re hoping to drill through a few windows in the winter storms twixt here and there to gather with our extended family on David’s side. One of those people is our daughter, whose birthday was on Monday. A happy note is that we’ll be able to give her birthday presents in person, a rare event these days.

Yesterday, David and I went into town to shop for her gifts. We found the Perfect Thing after several stops. Once we had that, I made an impulsive excursion to buy a vital accessory. I went to my favorite place to buy that accessory – can’t tell you where in case a certain birthday girl reads this – which, like Saturday’s excursion, involved hijinks through different parking lots.

I was standing at the counter, buying my stuff, when out of the sitting area came… guess who? Yeah – Neil Gaiman. He smiled at the counter gal helping me, nodded at us both, saying thank you and good evening. 

I managed not to have a fangirl meltdown. But it was close.

And no, I didn’t introduce myself. I chickened out. And besides, that would be *really* stretching my Meet Your Heroes luck!

Still, can you all believe it? My timing is just… I don’t know what to make of it.

Never mind that the counter gal friend of mine tipped me that Neil comes in most days. I may have found my new favorite hangout.

Oh, and Harlan is again up for your voting pleasure in the Ultimate Hero smackdown. You can vote all day, as many times as you feel moved to do so, today – March 23, 2016 – until midnight US Eastern Daylight Time. tumblr_o43ln6XpAO1un3364o3_500

Cheers, everyone!

Promo Pushes – The Good, The Bad and The Serendipitous

Santa RosaWe continued our tour of New Mexico – and David’s ongoing quest for a good fishing spot – with a visit to Santa Rosa on Sunday. I, naturally, make an ideal fishing companion since all you have to do is park me in a chair and let me read. No fish were caught, but I did finish reading a book and started another.

I call it a win. 🙂

Today I’m over at Word Whores (yeah, the schedule got messed up), talking about my most successful planned and serendipitous promo pushes. I’m also at Books and Tales, where I talk about Graham Joyce, his recent passing and how much I liked him – both as a person and an author.

On a happier note, I’m also at Paranormal Romantics, following a reader suggestion and analyzing the number and variety of descriptors that Rogue uses for Gwynn in the Covenant of Thorns books. Like this one:CoT 1Also – very fun! – there’s a Goodreads giveaway going on for The Tears of the Rose! This book, the second in my Twelve Kingdoms trilogy, comes out November 25, but you can get it early via this giveaway!

Bringing the Serendipity Back to Contingency

020We went hiking yesterday at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, tucked away over on the Cochiti Pueblo. We’re trying to get back into our weekend hikes and New Mexico has so many lovely, overlooked places to do that. It was a deliciously warm and sunny afternoon, we got out of the house, away from work and got to play. !

Highly recommend!

*makes note to take own advice in future*

So, when I looked up the Word of the Week – “contingency”- I groused to myself and speculated on which of my bordello-mates picked such a dull word. Mulling it over, I decided I’d pretty much only ever used the word paired with “plan,” such as a contingency plan for if things go all to hell. “Contingency” by itself is really a word only lawyers use, right?

Turns out it’s much more interesting than I thought! Head over to Word Whores to find out why.