In this crazy business of publishing, where we really have no idea what’s going to happen next – FaceBook changing every few minutes, people posting bad reviews on Amazon to harm another writer’s numbers, ebooks outselling print books, getting a book “published” with absolutely no editing -- I’d like to tell you a success story.
Ten years ago Jackie Rod attended my Fiction Writing class at LSUS. She had recently retired after teaching for thirty-one years at both the high school and college level. A newbie to the writing world, she was passionate about learning and, by the end of the quarter, she was hooked on writing. Not for money – although, of course, that’s nice! – but because she loves every minute of it.
Over the years I have watched Jackie’s progress from a novice to writer but, more than that, I’ve watched her life change to revolve around writing. Of course, her family and close friends always come first, but she’s immersed herself in the writing world, including taking additional classes, going to workshops and conferences, and honing her craft. Along the way, she’s made hundreds of friends and met some of the really big names in publishing.
On top of that, she shares what she’s learned, paying it forward to anyone who is willing to listen. She regularly teaches writing classes, conducts workshops at writing conferences, edits for newbies and multi-published authors, meets with writers for lunch, and judges contests for several writing chapters. She’s made dozens of wonderful friends and has built a “tribe” of people who, in turn, share their knowledge and experience with others.
Jackie's first foray into the publishing world was writing short stories which appeared in several anthologies published by a small press about six years ago and she now has a dozen anthologies under her belt. The most recent project was an anthology, Forever and Always: A B&B Anthology, set in Shreveport, Louisiana. Nine authors have imagined what stories the walls of the Victorian home on a shady street would tell over the years from 1905 to present day. Jackie’s story is set during the Vietnam Era, when lovers were separated by a war across the ocean, as they often have been.
She has also published a collection of her stories, Georgia Stories on My Mind,Her books are available on Amazon and at several independent bookstores in the Atlanta area.
Jackie belongs to Romance Writers of America (RWA), Atlanta Writers Club, Georgia Romance Writers, NOLAStars, and Walton Writers, and is a valued member of them all.
My point? For Jackie, and for me too, writing isn’t just about producing book after book, fighting with social media, or money. It’s really about the relationships you build in a crazy world. It’s the laughter around a table, where the people at the next table lean back in their chairs to figure out what you’re talking about. It’s the joy of a friend’s book doing well. It’s the creativity of brain-storming sessions where weird and wonderful ideas are exchanged.
And, ultimately, it’s the life-long friendships you find. Jackie is my forever friend and I honor her for all she does for other people.
I also love her books. J