Monday, March 10, 2014

Bright Idea #64: Learning to Dance

Early this year I found an interesting call out in Total Funds for Writers, a valuable resource for writers made possible by C. Hope Clark.  In early January, she mentioned that Dancing with Bear Publishers (DWB) were looking for submissions that would fulfill the following description:

"Have you been married to your childhood, high school, or college sweetheart and are still in love like the day you married?  . . . Then send us those true stories of everlasting love."

Immediately I got in touch with Debbie Ropollo, the submissions editor, and explained that Tim and I had been married 45 years and still loved each other. Heck, most days we even LIKE each other.  She encouraged me to submit my family memoir/essay "My Forever Valentines" in answer to DWB’s special call out for a Valentines’ publication.  I hadn’t heard of DWB publishers but Debbie was so personable and their mission statement was impressive.

A few days after I submitted my article, I received an email from Debbie with an attached contract.  A contract seemed a little unusual for an anthology, but not one to look a gift publishing op in the mouth. I read it, electronically signed it, and returned it.  

Imagine my surprise when Maria McGaha, the owner of DWB, welcomed me into their publishing family.  At the end of her note, she enclosed the link to my Kindle book.  

BOOK! What book?  

Dancing With Bear had turned My Forever Valentines into a Kindle book.  I was surprised, delighted, delirious, thrilled, and absolutely amazed.

When I recovered from shock, I spread the news.  My writing partner Amy could probably hear me shouting from five miles away.  I emailed my family, close friends, acquaintances, and probably strangers.  I posted the link and picture on Twitter along with a blurb about the book’s contents.  I bought Google’s promotion plan for a month.  This holiday piece was time sensitive and I wanted to give it a little push.

I posted an initial announcement on my Facebook page.  My greatest encourager, Tim, reminded me that I needed to do this on several occasions since FB pages fill up quickly and items get missed.  Several friends bought the book and responded with kind comments.  Thanks to Hope Clark’s Shy Writer Reborn, I discovered Amazon Author Central where an author can post pictures, comments, or get a scoop on how things are going with your book. The whole e-book publishing experience was a rush and I learned a lot of valuable information that I plan to use.  Just for people like me, Hope wrote a whole chapter on Amazon Author Central with hints on media marketing, building a writer’s platform.  Excellent advice for budding authors and even late bloomers like me.

The little book on Kindle couldn’t have come at a better time for me.  This season of the year brings rain, dark skies, and thoughts of kicking the habit – the writing habit, that is.  I need a little encouraging kick in the pants however I can get it.   provided the nudge to get on with bigger things.

And as an added plus, I get to build relationships with the staff at Dancing with Bear Publishers, which is never a bad thing.  Their interesting name, by the way, comes from a romantic story written by the owner.  Pull up the web page,  and read it.  I guarantee it will warm your heart’s cockles, whatever they are.  Who knows?  Maybe you too will learn to dance.

~~ Sheila Hudson

Sheila's work appears in Chocolate for a Woman's Soul series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Patchwork Path, From the Heart, Vols. 1 & 2, plus numerous periodicals including Costumer Magazine. She established Bright Ideas to bring hope and inspiration through the written word.  Sheila has also served as president of Southeastern Writers Association.  Read more about Sheila on her website.


  1. Big congrats, Sheila. So happy this worked out for you. And I'm thrilled to have been the connection.

  2. Thank you, Shelia, for your kind words. You story is wonderful and I'm so happy to have been the one to help get it out for the world to read!

    Marie McGaha

  3. What a wonderful story. I am so glad the book came at the perfect moment for you and that you did not give up writing.