Every day, I open my email and get bombarded with all kinds of crazy stuff and I’m not even trying to read any of the garbage. But sometimes, I get a joyful note from someone who I’ve helped, or I just wrote out of the blue to thank them for telling a beautiful story.

Recently, I received an email from author, Marcus Sakey, who has written tons of books, the ones I have most loved so far being Brilliance and A Better World. He also had a movie made out of one of his books, and has starred on a TV show called Hidden City on The Travel Channel. I wrote him on his website to thank him for writing his books and how one of them really hit home. I told him:

I know you are a busy man, but I wanted to say hello and tell you how much I enjoyed Brilliance and A Better World. I wrote a review of A Better World on Amazon and posted some thoughts on my blog ( They affected me that much! So, I hope I didn’t overstep. I am new to fiction writing and have only published the first in my series (Caitlin Ferguson mysteries) on Amazon, and a lot of my thoughts come from my past law enforcement experience. Your research intrigued me as I have called in a lot of favors from my old cop buddies in order to make the story real. My advice to other writers has been to contact the experts, but there are so many who don’t and their story is weak and I am disappointed. I was not disappointed in your work.

So, I just wanted to say thank you for your research and your intriguing story. I look forward to future books in the series.

 A few days later, he replied:

Hey Drusilla,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write, both to me directly and on your blog.  Both are much appreciated.

Congrats on your own work, by the way!  You’ve got the right idea, using the resources you have.  Nothing drives me crazier than reading a scene that is just fundamentally ridiculous.  I’m thrilled mine rang true to you.

All my best, and again, thanks.

Now how cool was that? It took me a few minutes to write up a review and take a chance to write someone famous. He was so kind to respond and give me encouragement. The lesson I learned out of this is that you don’t have to ask for anything, and you don’t expect anything. Instead, I’m grateful for the connection with another writer.

 A lesson this summer for me is:

I keep reading. I am so inspired by authors who take a chance and put their work up, and then become famous! So, when I’m feeling frustrated with my work, I choose a book to go into someone else’s world. It gets me back on track and I get right back to it. I don’t expect compensation, so when it happens, I’m thrilled. I refocus on the work. As a new writer, when we start out, everyone thinks they are going to be a rock star and make millions. That only happens to a teeny tiny amount of people. In reality, most of us just want to tell our stories, and tell them well. My advice to new writers is this:

Write the book. Do what you can and move on to what you truly want to say to the world.

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