You’ve Got Fan Mail

I got some fan mail the other day in the form of a handwritten note that was sent to my mom, who, in turn, forwarded it to me. It’s from a woman who works as a library assistant at the public library in the small town where I grew up. She was also one of my babysitter’s some 40+ years ago.

11 June 2015

Dear J—— & B—,

I just finished reading Pamela’s book, “Blood of the Scarecrow”. It was great and a lot of other library patrons agree. Since we put it on the shelf, it has gone out a lot and got rave reviews. Please tell her how very proud of her I am. And tell her to keep up the good work.


Lena S.

Yeah, it chokes me up a little bit. It’s the third piece of “fan mail” I’ve gotten. The first was from my godfather after I’d had a few article published for our local county paper, saying how much he enjoyed the articles and how well written they were. The second was from a distant cousin in regards to the same articles.

These are humbling.

First and foremost, I write because I have to, because I can’t not do it. Second, I write in the deepest hopes that others will read my words and be happily entertained, creepily frightened, and maybe even inspired a little bit. Sharing what I write has not come easy to me. For years I was too self-conscious and deprecating to let others see my stories or poems. If someone found a mistake or typo I took it as deeply personal, instead of them simply pointing out a way to make what I’d done better. Thank God I’ve since gotten over THAT! bit of editing nonsense. Last, I guess I write for the notion of “fame and fortune”. The odds are deeply against me, but I keep playing Submission Lottery and hoping that one of these days another publisher will find me worthy to bear their stamp of approval. Even then, it’s more to make the stories available to all the people who have asked me when the next book is coming out or who have wondered about my current project than the money.

Many people have paid me compliments in the form of Amazon reviews, Facebook posts, emails, or on a more personal level, spoken to me in person to say how much they enjoyed “Blood of the Scarecrow”. I let the compliments pump me up for the next big thing. I need that little charge to realize that what I am doing does matter to others besides myself. It inspires me to plug on with the dream. It makes me realize that I really am blessed as a writer, even if just a tiny bit. Some are never able to finish their novels. Some never get published at all.

I’m always working on it. Even if it looks like I’m staring off into space, chances are my brain is somewhere in the next novel plotting the next scene. Thank you to everyone who has ever complimented or encouraged me with my writing. Thanks to those who have pointed out mistakes to help me improve on my craft. Thank you for being more patient while I try and knock sense into one publisher after another to get that next book out to you. Thank you for being ‘my fans’. You all really mean more to me than words can ever say.

Secret Agent Man.

As some of you may know, I’ve been actively seeking the services of a reputable literary agent since November mainly because of the advice of one Scott Westerfeld of YA fame. Before that, I was sending solely out query letters to publishers. I wasn’t having any luck with the publisher route so, hey, what harm could it do by listening to someone who actually has a clue!? Nada.

Almost immediately, the rejections started coming back. What a big ole ego boost that was, but those recent rejection letters got me to thinking, well, one of them in particular. In the reply was this remark, “It’s just not something I am comfortable representing.” Hm? An odd thing to say when the person in question clearly states they are interested in the horror/thriller genre on their website. It then dawned on me, maybe he was referring to the mention I made of having had some erotica published. It never occurred to me until that moment, but I’m glad it was mentioned.

Erotica, especially the sort I’ve done, is certainly not for everyone. That’s fine. Sci-Fi isn’t for everyone. Horror isn’t for everyone. Fantasy isn’t for everyone. Westerns aren’t for everyone. That’s why there are so many different writing genres to begin with. I don’t go around bragging about the erotica, but it’s part of my history as a writer. It’s where I started to see my dream become reality. Truth be told, it was never my first choice nor something I gave ANY thought to creating until it actually happened. But, I’m not going to hide it from an agent or publisher I think would be suitable for the paranormal thrillers I am far, far more interested in writing and seeing published.

I don’t want to work with an agent who isn’t okay with my past writing history. I’m not asking them to promote it in any way. It’s there. It is what it is. We move on and expand our horizons. Anne Rice did it for God’s sake and what’s good enough for Anne is certainly good enough for me.

So, I thank you, secret agent man (whose privacy I will respect) for the rejection and your comment. Even if you weren’t even talking about the erotica, it did open my eyes about it being included in my query letters. I will continue to include it because I refuse to hide it. I’m not ashamed of it and I certainly don’t want to work with anyone who would want me to keep it hidden.

I sent out another agent query letter yesterday.

Yes, I included a very brief mention of the erotica.