My success is minuscule compared to many writers, but my M.O. is not buckets of money. I like money, because it represents freedom, but I don’t neeeeeeed money or prestige.
I set out my goals here. I want my writing to connect with people, places, and things that excite me.
So when I picked up the phone and a neighbour named Rhonda asked me to join a new book club, and said maybe they could do my book for the next meeting, I was deeeeeelighted. (Also, surprised to hear that they’d hesitated to invite me, thinking I might be too busy. Ask me! I’m always looking for fun.)
And they did pick Code Blues, the first Hope Sze novel, which was awesomesauce. I just had to giggle in embarrassment when Rhonda told everyone it was a fun, quick read, and that they’d enjoy the Montreal references, but that parking tickets are now $52, not $30. Oops.
Steve Steinbock, the reviewer from Ellery Queen, Facebooked me seven reasons that I had to come to Bloody Words, the mystery conference in Toronto. (The list was hilarious. If I get permission, I’ll post it, but probably the funniest was (2) to join me, Howard Shrier, and Ken Wishnia in a Yiddish cussing contest.) I’d considered going after my friend Rebecca Senese told me about it, but the $190 conference seemed steep. After that message, though, I told Matt, “If Ellery Queen asks you to go to a conference, you go.” So I’ll be in Toronto June 6-8. And I have to say, it made my day that Steve was asking me to come. I’m a very small potato. Unbelieveable when someone higher up in the French fry industry says, Hey. C’mere.
Then Yasmin tweeted about my blog on Emergency Room: Life+Death at VGH, and I looked her up and realized that she’s one of the stars of the show. In fact, she got the closing words of the final episode. And the most hilarious parts is, she tagged my friend Anna to read the blog post…and Anna is the one who highlighted it in the first place, because she’s my Vancouver General Hospital friend who used to work in Montreal.
So it’s come full circle, and the closest I’ve come to a blog post going viral. In this case, it’s more like my blog post going water cooler, because it’s a relatively small group of people, but still. Shelagh Rogers. Need I say more?
Another Twitter win was that a new friend/fan made up a hashtag for Dr. Hope Sze, #HopeIsCool.
I’ve never met @vmchick, so this here I am, connecting with new people who have excellent taste. #livingthedream
“You’re quite the celebrity at the dentist’s office,” said my husband Matt, and in fact, when I made it for my appointment, Maria (the secretary), Dr. Levon Kichian (our dentist), and Kim (a dental hygenicist) all bought copies of Terminally Ill. “I started reading it already. Very intriguing,” said Dr. Kichian.
Look closely. Combines dentistry & bloody theme. Photo by Terri Heisele.
At the hospitals, they’re quite used to me writing, but if I call for a consult or for an admission, a staff member might say in passing, “Congratulations on your book” (which means they don’t plan to buy a copy, but they’re aware of my fifteen minutes of fame. Cool enough), or “I started reading your book. It’s beautiful. Now I have to buy the other two” (well, only Dr. Shah said that. But here’s hoping!).
One last win: Kobo’s Mark Leslie Lefebvre had pushed me to talk to bookstores. I found it hideously embarrassing, but I got over it, and now the Hope Sze books are available in the following select locations:
R&L’s Book Nook in Alexandria
58 Alexandria Main, Alexandria, ON K0K 1A0; (613)525-9940; email@example.com
Église Ste. Marie de l’Assomption, Cp 119 4172 Route 34, K0C 1L0; (613) 662-YOGA(9642); firstname.lastname@example.org
7340 regional road 23, K0C 1J0; (613)551-4806; email@example.com
Fassifern General Store; RR 5 in Alexandria, ON; (613)525-2144
You can also order any Olo Books/Windtree Press book from your local bookstore. Just go in and say, “Here’s my money,” and they’ll make it happen.
Thanks, exciting people. You rock!
“Only connect.” —E.M. Forster