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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Holiday Gifts

My favorite thing about the Holidays is finding that "perfect gift" for the people in my life.  I love the feeling of having paid attention to the wants and desires of my friends and family, and finding the thing they might not even remember they admired or commented on.  It's my own version of a treasure hunt; seeking gifts all year to give during the Holidays.

But this year, I was surprised with the most unexpected gifts - things I never even thought about needing or wanting.  The kind of gifts some people don't even realize they're giving.  The gifts of words.

First, it was my friends and family who gave me words of encouragement as I wrote and re-wrote Marking Time.  And as they read the various drafts, their words were complimentary, constructive, critical, and always supportive.  Then I published Marking Time and the gifters-of-words expanded out to people who heard my book was out, who didn't even know I'd been writing one, who wondered where I'd found the time to write with two children, and most precious to me, the people who looked at what I'd done in writing and publishing my book, and saw the possibility of realizing their own creative dreams.

As people began to buy and read Marking Time, they started reviewing it.  First it was my lovely friends and family whose words of encouragement translated into endorsements of my writing, characters, and the story itself.  Book reviews on Amazon can make all the difference in the world to an unknown writer's visibility and the marketing of their book, and those reviews are vital to gaining readers.  And then I started getting reviews from strangers ~ people with absolutely no vested interest in my success loved my book!  What an incredible feeling!  When an 8th grade teacher with a YA book review blog not only gave me five stars, but also interviewed me for her website and told me there's a waiting list for my book among her students, it was better than Christmas!

Even more generosity poured in among my community at a Holiday Boutique where I signed my books.  It wasn't just the book sales, which were wonderful, or the encouragement and support, which was incredible, it was fascination with the story I'd written, and the idea that their child or grandchild would love just this kind of book.

I truly hope that my words, in Marking Time, give my readers even a fraction of the gifts I've been given by friends, family, and complete strangers.  Those gifts of words are an absolute reminder that the most precious things in life can cost nothing.  Words of support, encouragement, delight and appreciation, in any context, and to anyone who has touched your life, are the very best gift of all.

I wish you and your family a peaceful, joyous and wonderful holiday season, and a New Year full of love, inspiration, and magic.  Happy Holidays!