By Annette Dashofy
Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology was out. I’d seen the ads. I’d posted about it on Facebook. I’d tweeted about it and blogged about it. I even had a copy of it on my Nook.
Yet, it didn’t feel real. Other authors’ books on the Nook felt real. But not mine.
Other people told me they’d received their trade paperback versions of it, so I knew it was out there. Well, part of me did.
I decided I’ve gotten too good at lying to myself. Oh, I’m a lousy liar to anyone else. But I write fiction, so in sense I tell lies every time I sit down to work. And if what I write is any good at all, I have to believe it. I have to be convinced that my characters are flesh and bone with secret pasts. They have to bleed real blood and cry real tears. If I don’t believe that, how can I expect my readers to believe it?
So I live in a fantasy world with my make-believe friends. And it’s okay, because I’m a writer.
But I started to think this whole Fish Tales thing was yet another figment of my fertile imagination. Or maybe a dream. After all, I had no hard evidence that the book existed anywhere other than in my mind.
Until Monday afternoon when I drove to Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont to pick up my copies of it. I pulled one out of the box and checked the contents page. Sure enough, there was my name and my story listed. I thumbed to page 137 (yes, I have it memorized. Heck, I may play that number in the state lottery!) and discovered it hadn’t all been a cruel joke. “A Murder Runs Through It” was there right before my eyes.
And more copies of Fish Tales sat on the store’s shelf.
Sorry for the fuzzy picture. I think my hands were shaking.
I was early, so I set up camp front row and center with my fellow Sister in Crime and former Working Stiff Laurie Kassim, who whipped out her copy of Fish Tales (did EVERYONE get theirs before I did???) and asked me to sign it.
And a little cross promotion never hurts.
Okay, I really hope this isn’t the peak of my career—I still want to get a full novel (or two or three or thirty) published—but Monday night was definitely a high point. And with all the rejections and disappointments in this business, we have to celebrate each success in whatever form it takes.
And, for what it’s worth, I no longer feel like a fraud.