by Kassandra Lamb
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.
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!
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.
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