New Year Shout-outs

29Dec10

This post is inspired by a recent Facebook shout-out from my virtual friend, Susanne O’Leary, a Swedish-born citizen of Ireland and author of five novels.

Susanne encouraged her many Facebook friends to speak up if we have “enjoyed the blessing of meeting people online that you never would have met any other way. This is my end of the year shout-out to the many “friends” I have never been in the same room with but who have inspired, amused, comforted, encouraged, and touched me in so many ways. Here’s to another year …”

Well, Susanne’s sentiment is one that I have almost daily, and being of more than slight Irish ancestry, I am entitled to be sentimental when approaching New Year’s Eve. (I do not go out on New Year’s Eve and get all sloppy sentimental drunk. I regard that particular evening as Amateur Night. Heh.)

I became acquainted with Susanne on the Authonomy website, along with perhaps another hundred or so of my FB friends. There are so many that I think of routinely, it’s hard to begin. I’ve already blathered about the folks at The Book Shed who pulled me from Youwriteon.org and set me on a path to literary competence. John Hudspith, in particular. Gillian Hamer, Lorraine Mace, Sheila Bugler, Jane DIxon-Smith, Liz Miller, Jo Reed, Nick Poole, Danny Gillan. Those folks not only gave me the kind of frank, tough and true criticism than any aspiring writer needs, they gave me the confidence to believe that I wasn’t wasting my time – that I could actually achieve my objective.

When I arrived at Authonomy, the place was still operating in beta mode, and the Book Shed folks were all over the editor’s desk. In short order, I detected the fine combination of talent, humor, humility and honor in many, many people who remain in my thoughts routinely. Alexander McNabb, Amethyst Adams, Bren MacDibble, Heikki Heitala, Robb Grindstaff, Dan Holloway, Irene van der Rol, Jared Conway, Janet Colley, Jason Riley, John Sexton, Jude Polotan, Kate Kasserman, Leah Petersen, Lexi Revellian, M. Cid D’Angelo, M.M. Bennetts, Maria Bustillos, Marion Stein, Philippa Fioretti, Rachel Lewis, Sandi Dent, Sian O’Leary, Tony Barker, and many dozens of others. (I know there are folks I love who I’ve failed to mention. Give me a poke, will ya?) These folks gave my work their time, their attention, their expertise – but they also gave their trust, their friendship. I hope I have served them well for it, and I will continue to do so.

Because of them, Diary of a Small Fish actually became something that I thought might have a chance at mainstream publication, so I hobbled over to Agent Query Connect to get some help hammering out a passable query. There, I met another thriving community of aspiring novelists – all in the same boat, all one inch closer to the Brass Ring. Calista Taylor, Jean Oram, Jemi Fraser,  John Betcher, Matt Sinclair, Nicole Franco, Richard Lewis, R.S. Mellette, and a dozen more operating under pseudonyms. We’ve helped each other, shared information and frank opinions, and helped out a lot of folks coming along on our heels.

With their help and encouragement, my search for agency representation succeeded, and in May of 2010, when Agent-of-the-Year nominee Christine Witthohn signed me up, I was introduced to yet another fabulous roster of writers from her list. Liz Lipperman, Rochelle Staab, Cassy Picard, and a dozen others. Rochelle and Cassy took me under their wings and have been indispensable in helping me bring along manuscript #2, Law & Disorder. Christine and her husband, literary lawyer Jeff Mehalic, are folks a guy like me just couldn’t be luckier to have pitching for me.

Then there are the many friends who’ve been true beta readers for Small Fish, and haven’t given me any bullshit in their responses. Some of them I’ve known for over 40 years. One, Mark Russell, was a classmate in high school. We reconnected on Facebook not long ago, when I discovered that Mark was an aspiring writer too – he’s written this brilliant children’s serial story titled Buster the Black Lab. Mark read the finished manuscript of Fish and promptly passed it on to one of his NY publishing contacts and several others. He’s a True Believer, and has since landed one of the publishing industry’s major league heavyweights as an agent for Buster. Readers of the young frye, like Jason Riley and Kate Kasserman, Maria Bustillos and her husband, Oliver Corlett. Others were John Betcher and his wife, Lynn, Brian Sullivan and his brother, Paul.

I save a special place in my heart for two people:

The incomparable Kate Kasserman, whose voracious appetite for fiction cannot be satiated. Kate read at least two complete versions of Fish, early and late, and her observations were astonishing to me – because the highest objective for someone in my shoes is to know that someone feels, truly feels, what is in the heart of his narrator.

And the equally incomparable Maria Bustillos, who proudly calls herself a “big dork,” and has the brain wattage to prove it.

Maria and Kate’s feedback finally made me understand what it is about Small Fish that makes it work. Truly, before they explained it, I had no idea.

So to all of those folks, and the dozens I failed to mention, I salute you, I thank you, I love you.

Happy New Year. I shall raise my glass to you all at the appropriate hour.

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16 Responses to “New Year Shout-outs”

  1. You failed to mention me and I shall never recover. Best wishes for the fulfillment of your publishing dreams in 2011. Me, I’ll just keep taking the money from Amazon.

  2. 2 Phillipa Fioretti

    I agree with your sentiments on New Years Eve, Kate Kasserman and Maria Bustillos. And efriends.

  3. Marion – check your eyeglass prescription, dearie.

    Philippa – you’re in that special class of multi-venue darlings.

  4. Well said. And you’re welcome. DOASF was a pleasure to read. . . all the versions

  5. What a lovely post. So many end of year posts on blogs but rarely one as thoughtful and heartwarming as that one.

    Best of luck in the new year!

    🙂

  6. Pete, thank you. I’m glad I made you do it. (the post I mean). Until I joined Authonomy, I had no idea one could connect and come to like so many people in such a special way. I have also formed a writing partnership with my fellow Swede and hugely talented writer, Ola Saltin (who I don’t think you mentioned), so meeting online can lead to so many rewarding things.

    Happy New Year to you and may next year bring you love, happiness and prosperity (in that order).

    Susanne ♥♥

  7. 7 M M Bennetts

    And I shall be expecting to add a copy of Small Fish to my shelves sometime soon! So get on with it, lad.

  8. I wanna know why Philippa and MM are in black and the rest of you are in pink.

  9. It’s the mood we’re in.

    BTW, I’m not an Irish citizen. I still have my Swedish passport. They let me live here anyway.

  10. Pete, just…<3 ❤ ❤ . And a splendid 2011 to you too!!! (I have to admit I kind of don't see why I get credit for reading a marvelous book. I believe the appropriate direction is that *I* thank *you*. And I do.)

    E-friends are the finest thing about modernity, I think. Even if I get my much-coveted colonies on the Moon and Mars, e-friends will still rank higher 😉 . Pete said it a lot better than I could (I am only *part* Irish), so I will piggyback shamelessly here and send my love to all. I appreciate you and am grateful to you, always.

  11. I agree with Kate about online friends being the best thing to come out of this modern age. Best wishes to you, Pete, and to all of our mutual eFriends in the coming year.

  12. 12 Anne Howard

    Happy New Year to you too Peter, and Happy Birthday!!

    It’s 36 deg C here, 40 predicted for NY Day. I have been sailing on the best harbour in the world yesterday (Sydney) and tonight (NYE here) we will be partying in a friend’s penthouse in Double Bay with an excellent view of the fireworks.

    Cheers to all,
    Dr Anne.

  13. 13 Sian

    If you can’t be slushy at new year, when can you be? What a lovely, sentimental post and I couldn’t agree more.

    My very best wishes to you, Pete, and all my other on-line friends. Have a wonderful 2011!

    Sian xx

  14. 14 Maria Bustillos

    Very touched, and not least to be in such talented company, dear Pete. Here’s to a magnificent 2011 for you, with hopes for sharing a brace of martinis (and some Legal Seafood to go with ’em) sometime in the coming year. Lots of love, M.

  15. Thanks for including me in such fine company, Pete. You too have been a great help to me, and I look forward to a wonderful 2011 for all of us.

  16. What a terrific post! This is a great idea 🙂 I’m honoured to be included in such a list! I wish you all the best that 2011 has to offer Pete – enjoy every moment!!


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