Because I’m an introvert, I have not been successful at connecting with readers on sites like Goodreads. Everything I read says I need to put myself out there and interact with others, but I seldom find the time or courage to do so. It has probably slowed my growth as an author and it’s something I have to work on.
However, when a reader contacts me, I am always up for a conversation. As a perfectionist who's never been happy with my accomplishments and who also has a bad case of imposter syndrome, messages received from readers and listeners have been crucial in keeping me positive and motivated. Not only have the conversations been confidence boosters, many have turned into friendships.
One treasured friendship is with Don Theye, who wrote to me after reading 25 Perfect Days. After some back and forth, I entrusted Don with my short story "Every Precious Second" which I'd been sitting on for years because I didn't think it was good enough. Don wrote back immediately and said I had to publish it. I listened and even had him narrate it. That story is often credited as a fans favorite. My daughter and I even stayed at his house in South Dakota for several days for vacation. I've learned a lot from Don and am glad I recorded one of our conversations on my old podcast, “Unlocking” (Episode 31)
Not every connection goes as deep, but I do consider many of my devoted readers as friends. Chris Nicholson and Rebecca Dotson have read and reviewed nearly every one of my books and are always helping spread my darkness. Lorraine Gonzales and Jasmine Thomson have been incredibly supportive of my writing, with Jasmine's daughter Meghan writing a book report on one of my earliest works.
A conversation I had with Linda Moore helped me look at myself in a different light, and her reviews and recommendations of my work always leave me smiling. Dustin Andress is another friend I made through messages. He's been giving me positive feedback since Brightside so it was incredibly cool to see him win the recent 22 Days of Death contest. Dustin won a Kindle Paperwhite by having the most correct guesses in Try Not to Die: In Brightside, which goes to show he has a good handle on how my twisted brain tends to work.
Thank you to those I mentioned and all of you I've forgotten. Don't get mad; we'll just assume the memory lapse is due to the traumatic brain injuries and cannabis. If you've left a review, recommended my work to a friend, or simply left a message telling me my book didn't completely suck, I am very grateful. Thank you all for reading and listening. I hope you'll stick around for more.