Monday, September 9, 2013

A New Beginning and a Sad Goodbye

Mary Sullivan

Even though it's been a few years since I sent my daughter off to school every September, and years and years since September meant a new school year for me, I still think of September as a time of new beginnings. Perhaps it's because I live across the street from both an elementary school and a middle school, and watch the children head off to their first day of school with such excitement.

This September does mark a new beginning of sorts for me, though. Three Harlequin authors and I are starting a new venture in Toronto, with our inaugural event only two weeks away. We've organized a new bi-monthly reading series here called Night Out with Authors, which will showcase genre fiction. Each evening, we will present three or four authors from different genres who will read from their novels. The other founding authors are Ann Lethbridge, Kate Bridges and Margaret Moore. Those of you who read historical romance will recognize their names.

Our first event, on September 23rd, will feature me, Molly O'Keefe and Susanna Kearsley. Our first night leans heavily toward romance because we know so many wonderful romance authors. November will showcase local historical, paranormal and mystery authors. Every subsequent event will feature local authors.

I wonder whether we are very much like the people who live in areas with fabulous tourist attractions that we never visit. As readers, we take recommendations for 'new-to-us' authors from friends and family, and these days, cruise the Internet looking for new authors, but often have talent in our own backyards who we've never read. The greater Toronto area has a wealth of talent that absolutely astonishes me.

As a fun exercise, try going to your local library and asking them about local authors and see who they recommend.

This venture has been a lot of work, more than any of us had anticipated, but I'm filled with excitement waiting for our opening night.

There has also been a sad, but timely ending in my writing life. For eleven years, I belonged to a fabulous critique group. Recently, we decided it had run its course. We are now published and, between varied deadlines and promotional work, along with personal responsibilities, were finding it more and more difficult to meet and to critique work.

I'm not sure where those eleven years went. They flew by. For the first eight or nine of those, we met every week. We were determined, disciplined and focused. We learned to write together and were unflagging in our support of each other in a truly difficult industry. Our efforts paid off. Today, we are published authors. With much respect, I want to send a big shout-out and thank you to Sinead Murphy, and to Ann Lethbridge who writes historical romance for Harlequin, Maureen McGowan who writes Young Adult for Skyscape, and Molly O'Keefe who writes Superromance and now single title for Bantam Dell—all truly fabulous authors. Wow, it was an awesome ride.

Have you ever belonged to a group or were part of a collaboration that you really enjoyed, and that filled you with a strong sense of purpose, until there came that sad, but right, time to say goodbye?

Someone who comments today will win a copy of my October release, BECAUSE OF AUDREY.


Kathleen O said...

Mary, I am so thrilled that you and are doing this Nighout thing in Toronto, home of my birth, but as I don't live in TO any longer, it will make it hard for me to attend. But I hope to get to one of these great nights in the future.
As for saying goodbye, I think when I moved away from TO and all my friends who I saw nearly everyday, was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Now it is maybe once a month I get to see them.. But we still phone each other all the time.

Anonymous said...

I have left many great groups of friends when I changed my job or school. It is hard, but I always find new friends. Now, i keep in touch with many of my old friends on Facebook.

mary sullivan said...

Kathleen, I hope you can come to one of our Night Outs, too.

It must have been so hard to leave your friends. Long distance phone plans can be a godsend!

mary sullivan said...

Tammy, isn't social networking great for keeping in touch with both old and new friends?

linda s said...

Be still my heart. I thought you were saying you were stopping writing... Whew!
Congratulations on your new venture. I wish you resounding success.

mary sullivan said...

Thank you, Linda! Fingers crossed that the readings are popular.

Kaelee said...

I once belonged to a group called stitch and b*tch. I was the only one without any children but because of that I brought a different view point into the group. My brother-in law's wife was part of the group. Right about the time she divorced my brother-in-law, another member moved away and it was time to end the group. I did enjoy getting help from a couple of the people on projects that I started. I was able to help others on projects when I could. It was a great afternoon out for all the ladies.

mary sullivan said...

Kaelee, it sounds like you belonged to a wonderful group. Great title! LOL

Anonymous said...

From MarcieR

I read about Night Out on your website and boy, do I wish I lived in Toronto!

A few years back, B&N's event coordinator had Fiction classes and she had some authors come in and talk about a chosen topic. I was sad to see that end, even though no one else wrote romance but me it was still cool to hang with other writers.

mary sullivan said...

Marcie, that is exactly our intention with this series--to bring readers and authors together in a casual atmosphere, so there can be mingling and interaction. I wouldn't be surprised to see a certain number of aspiring authors there, too.

Mary Preston said...

I've never belonged to any group that fits this. I'd love to join a knitting or crochet circle.

Jo's Daughter said...

No I never fitted in with any group sadly. That hasn't always been easy growing up/older, dealing with loneliness. But I have wonderful parents and a great sister and we are a group of our own :)

Laney4 said...

Can't say that I have, since I have lived near my hometown all my life (including 30 years in this house).
I remain friends with several from previous places of work ... I see fellow parents from when my mid-twenty-year-old kids were in school, often having lunch/spending time with some parents still ... I spend the day, several times a year, with a few high-school chums from, gasp, 40 years ago, even though we live up to 2.5 hours apart ... and I still play badminton in various cities, so I see those people all the time too.
The bottom line is that I haven't had to say goodbye ... yet ... unless you count funerals ... so I consider myself quite lucky. The Internet helps with a lot of these friendships, as we can keep in touch a lot more easily and more often than back in the days of sending letters in the mail.

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