Taking Risks and Reaching Out

by Kassandra Lamb

statue of children dancing

(photo by Andreas Praefcke, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia) Commons)

Shannon Esposito and I are doing our happy dance again, because we have a new member in our misterio press group.

But I must say that we approached the idea of inviting this new author with some trepidation. Not because we didn’t think she would be great (we did), but because it had been awhile since we’d brought in someone new.

Our little group had gotten quite cozy and comfy with each other. Did we really want to upset that?

We asked the other authors, and the general reaction was “Sure, invite her in!” So we did.

Please help us welcome Gilian Baker to our little band!


Gilian is a former writing and literature professor who finally threw in the towel and decided to just show ‘em how it’s done. She has gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding blogger & ghostwriter to her CV. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good to entertain cozy mystery readers the world over.

When she’s not plotting murder, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggled up with her husband watching British mysteries, or discussing literary theory with her daughter.

Our hesitation about issuing the invite to Gilian reminded me of past risks Shannon and I have taken. A few didn’t turn out quite like we’d hoped, but most of them have. And wouldn’t life be dull if we never took risks nor reached out to others?

I remember how hesitant I was about spending the money on a writers’ conference back in 2011. The conference was near enough to my home that I could drive, but still it was a lot of money when you figured in hotel room and meals on top of the registration fee. But if I was going to get my new career as a fiction writer off the ground, I needed to network.

So off I went.

During a break between sessions, a few attendees were standing outside getting some fresh air. None of us knew each other, so of course the conversation was a little inane. One woman and I somehow ended up comparing hairdressers (I think it started when I admired the lovely blonde streaks in her hair).

Later I ran into the same gal at the last event of the day, one on e-publishing, a new- fangled thing at the time. Then we collided again in the line to get our free glass of wine at the cocktail party that evening.

As we chatted about this brave new world of e-publishing, we became more and more excited about the possibilities. While others were schmoozing with the agents and publishers, she and I were huddled in a corner, plotting (and getting a little tipsy).

That woman was Shannon and the plot we hatched was to start misterio press. That evening I went out to dinner with her and her family (It was a “Hey hon, look who followed me home; can I keep her?” kind of scene 😉 ). By the end of the evening, a new friendship was budding as well as a new business venture.

Taking risks is hard, and letting a stranger into your territory is definitely taking a risk. We certainly don’t want to be naive and trust just anyone. We do want to evaluate a situation and weigh how much of a risk we are really taking. And perhaps we may want to look at contingency plans, should things go awry.

dead tree

photo by Walter Baster, CC-BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

But sometimes our instincts tell us to give someone (or some idea) a chance. You all know I am big on trusting one’s instincts.

And what happens if we never take risks?

Stagnation happens. We stop growing and learning.

What happens to a tree when it stops growing—when it stops reaching for the sunshine? It starts dying. Its leaves shrivel and its branches dry up.

So even though it’s always a little scary to reach out to someone who’s essentially a stranger, it can have huge payoffs.

And here we are, Shannon and I—strangers at that conference five and a half years ago—but today, we have a successful indie press going, with six wonderful authors!

Champagne_flutes_glasses_bubbles by Jon Sulllivan pub domain wiki

Please grab a glass of virtual bubbly and toast our newest member with us.

Here’s to Gilian! And to taking the risk to reach out. Cheers!!

What risks have you taken in your life? When has reaching out to a stranger paid off for you?

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological suspense series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

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  • Reply
    Barb Taub
    March 14, 2017 at 3:32 am

    Nice job on the risk-taking and welcome Gilian.

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      March 14, 2017 at 3:47 am

      Nothing ventured, nothing gained, eh Barb? 🙂

    • Reply
      March 14, 2017 at 10:20 am

      Thanks, Barb! I’m thrilled to be a part of this amazing group of women!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for the hearty welcome, ladies! I’m honored to be among you and so very glad you took a risk on me!

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      March 14, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      Every day, we’re more and more pleased to have you in our little group, Gilian. You are a delight to work with!

  • Reply
    K.B. Owen
    March 14, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I don’t think I’d ever heard the full story of how you and Shannon started out…very cool! I’m so happy we’ve added Gilian to our group. Welcome, Gilian!

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      March 14, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      You should have seen the look on Dan Esposito’s face when he came to pick Shannon up. But he recovered quickly and was very gracious. He even refused to let me pay for my own dinner. Now I consider him a friend too.

      Isn’t it funny how fate works sometimes. If either of us had decided against that conference, if we hadn’t made small talk during our break… and now, if Gilian hadn’t reached out to us to do a guest post during her book launch, we never would’ve met her or had the opportunity to invite her to join us.

    • Reply
      March 14, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      Thanks, Kathy! I loved hearing the story too. I love serendipity and believe whole-heartedly that we should follow our intuition. It’s so cool to see things come together so easily.

      BTW, I’m reading your latest book, The Mystery of Schroon Lake Inn and loving it! It happened to be the first release from MP after I joined the group, so it was a natural place to start. I’ll work my way through everyone’s stuff…gonna take me awhile. LOL.

  • Reply
    Shannon Esposito
    March 14, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    I’m so glad to have Kass as a business partner (& friend, of course!) because I am not good at reaching out or risk-taking. But, something about our dynamic makes me want to try new things. 🙂 And I’m so glad Gilian reached out when she was promoting her new mystery & I wish you all the success in the world, Gilian! Glad we’ll get to watch your career grow & be a part of it.

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      March 14, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      Haha! That’s funny because I always think of you as the brave one, Shan! 🙂

    • Reply
      March 14, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks, Shannon! I’m over the moon to learn from you all!

  • Reply
    Kirsten Weiss
    March 14, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Welcome, Gillian! It’s great to have you with us!

    • Reply
      March 14, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      Thanks, Kirsten! Hope your launch is going well! Can’t wait to read the series! Sounds like so much fun. Oh, I love your tarot readings on your site! When I saw them, I had to read mine–I’ve been doing a reading for each month, though not based on my sign (I’m an Aquarian). I’m happy to say our readings were in synch! 🙂

  • Reply
    Vinnie Hanse
    March 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    I’m late to the party b/c I’m over here in Hawaii for Left Coast Crime–networking, of course. A big Aloha to Gilian!

  • Reply
    Vinnie Hansen
    March 14, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Shannon, do you have any idea why my name is showing up as Vinnie Hanse (sans the final N)?

  • Reply
    Vinnie Hansen
    March 14, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Never mind, Shannon, I think I fixed it.

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