At a recent book signing, someone asked me if I felt any different as a published author, and I said, "Mmn, that's a good question." Actually, I hadn't thought about it, had not contemplated whether I had changed in some way since the book became a real thing that I could hold in my hands. I went on to say how nice it is to be able to pick up the book and just look at it. Sometimes I read the stories again and again and think about all that inspired them. Sometimes I marvel that after all these years, my dream of being a published author finally came true, even though there may have seemed at times no real priority in making the dream a reality. I know that even back then (when I was much younger, and since, as I have grown as a writer), that in the background of my consciousness, I was waiting, wanting, thinking about, dreaming about the day when my work would be read on this level. I will not go into what inspires a writer to write and why I dreamed this dream in particular; rather, I will say that ultimately I longed for a connection with my readers: to have them read stories that I wrote, stories I hoped they would enjoy. The idea that they can now pick up my little book and read a story whenever the fancy strikes them is perhaps what inspired the dream in the first place.
Which brings me to the reality of being published. Some truly good people have contacted me, either after they have read a particular story they liked or after they have read the entire collection, and they have offered me their feedback. That, my friends, is the best gift ever for this writer. To hear a reader say that she cried after she read "Drowning for Words," or listen to a reader explain how real it felt ("as though I was in the room") after reading "No. 1 - Mother's Choice" (from the story "Trio"), or have a reader declare "The Meeting" one of her all-time favorite stories - well, statements like these and others have served to fulfill me in a way I never expected. The criticism is there, and I am sure more will come (actually, I welcome it because it only serves to help me become an even better, stronger writer), but for now, I am happily wallowing in comments like "Amazing" or "Truly unbelievable." If I have changed or become different in any way since the book was published, dear reader, please know that you might be the ultimate reason why. I treasure and appreciate you.