Monday, March 4, 2013

Three Achievements I’m Most Proud Of


I’ve had my share of successes and failures in my life. Here are the achievements that stand out in my mind. Two of them are related to my writing career.

1. The publication of my first book.
I was in seventh heaven when my children’s novel, And Don’t Bring Jeremy, was published back in 1985. (Was it that long ago?) Publishers Weekly reviewed it-- “Levinson’s first novel promises to launch her career as a gifted, sensitive author”-- and included one of Diane deGroat’s drawings. A book club bought the paperback rights  before the hardcover came out. In time, Jeremy was a nominee for six state awards. I was thrilled. Surely, every book I wrote from here on in would be published. Hah! Was I in for a rude awakening.

But there’s a nice ending to this story. And Don’t Bring Jeremy is now available in e-form through Untreed Reads. This week it’s 30% off the regular price of $3.99: http://store.untreedreads.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6_335&products_id=710

2. My father was a difficult man with a bad temper. At 92, he was living alone in the Florida condo he’d shared with my stepmother. Always athletic, he was now beset with various problems—in need of cataract surgery, falling occasionally, and suffering severe shoulder pain. My husband and I often flew down from NY to take Dad to doctors, and to do what we could to help ease his life. I hired aides, and he would fire them for sitting around and “doing nothing.” Dad's doctor told him he needed to move to an Independent Living facility, but Dad was having none of it.

On one visit he agreed to look at residences. I don’t know what I said, but finally Dad agreed to move to a facility near his condo. To this day, I can’t believe we signed the necessary papers, moved Dad and his belongings, and settled him in his new home—all within three days.

3. Last week I was bursting with pride as I drove home from my Long Island Sisters in Crime meeting. Member John Nolan had just given a most informative talk on mistakes criminals make, discussing actual cases he’d supervised when he was Commanding Officer of Nassau County’s Homicide Squad. The month before, member Linda Frank gave a brilliant talk on DNA, which she used to teach.

Three years ago I'd come home from my first Malice Domestic convention knowing I wanted to start a Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime. I convinced my friend and fellow writer, Bernadine Fagan, to help me co-found a group. We contacted Sisters in Crime members in the Long Island area and held our first meeting in August of 2010. In December, Hank Phillippi Ryan, who had offered to be our first guest speaker, came down from Boston to give us an unforgettable presentation.

We are a small but active group of mystery writers. After my presidency of two years, Charlene Knadle took over the office and is doing a wonderful job. The Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime continues to flourish.

What achievement are you most proud of? Write and let me know what it is.


12 comments:

Patricia Gligor said...

Marilyn,
What achievements am I most proud of?
I'm sure there are other accomplishments from my past but what immediately comes to mind is the publication of my first two mystery novels, something I dreamed of all my life.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Pat,
I think publishing our first book(s) will always rank high.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Me too when it comes to publishing the first novel--but pretty exciting with the rest too. Really, though, I am proudest of my five kids. Looking back, I don't know how I did it when they were all kids--at times it was messy.

Palmaltas said...

In 2001 I submitted a short story, titled Cotton, about my father when he was a little boy to Boys Quest Magazine. Two weeks later I received a reply and before opening the envelope, I assumed it was a rejection since the reply came so soon. But it was an acceptance! The story would be published in Feb/March 2004! I had never been so thrilled as tears poured down my face wishing my father had lived to see his story in a magazine.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Marilyn,
I'm proud of my two sons, and of my daughter-in-law.
Five kids must have kept you very busy during the growing-up year.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Pat,
I'm sure your father would have loved seeing your story about him in a magazine.

Now that I think of it, my first published story was called "Gone Forever," which was printed in my elementary school newspaper. It was about a dog who was run over.

Jim Cangany said...

Hi Marilyn, Great post. I'm most proud of the fact that after over 22 years together, my wife and I are as still happy together as we were way back when. After that, my two wonderful sons. My next proudest moment will be June 14, when my debut novel is published. Counting the days!

marja said...

My first published book and my first fan letter kind of share the best moments. Thank you for sharing, Marilyn!
Marja McGraw

J.P. said...

Glad to have come across your blog, Marilyn. Congrats on these achievements; no matter how recent (or not) they are great ones to remember.

Publishing my first suspense novel (due out in two weeks!) is definitely a highlight of mine, as is finishing college. I don't count personal things like marriage/family because I didn't do those all on my own. :)

Marilyn Levinson said...

J. P.
Congratulations of publishing your first suspense novel. That is an achievement. So is finishing college.

Gloria Alden said...

Winning the Love is Murder contest for a short story - "Cheating on Your Wife Can Get You Killed," being accepted for both the FISH TALES AND FISH NETS anthologies, and most of all for my first book of the Catherine Jewell mystery series, THE BLUE ROSE and getting lots of praise for it from those who read it.

Marilyn Levinson said...

All good reasons to be proud, Gloria.