Monday, August 11, 2014

Grow Big Dreams

This is a wall hanging (paint on a wood canvas) that
my good friends Sarah, Karen & Joyce gave to me last
week. I love it!
by Marilyn Brant

Last month, a longstanding writing dream of mine finally came true, and the outpouring of cheers and support from fellow authors, reviewers, book bloggers, and readers was absolutely amazing to me. Also, in celebration, some of the dearest people in my life (my nearby friends and family) surprised me with treats to mark the special occasion and, really, just to show me how much they care.

The gifts themselves were lovely -- and I've included pictures of some of them in this post -- but the biggest present was the fact that all of these wonderful people, who'd shared this milestone with me, knew how long and hard I'd worked toward this dream...and they'd been there from the beginning.

My son, now fifteen, doesn't even remember a time before I was a writer. I've been at it for fourteen years of his life, and he's tolerated sharing my attention with his "electronic sibling" (i.e., my laptop) ever since babyhood. When he was eight, the manuscript that eventually became my debut novel was up for RWA's Golden Heart Award, and he gave me his "lucky quarter" from his coin collection to take with me to Dallas for the conference/award ceremony. I think he squealed louder than I did when I told him over the phone that According to Jane had won.

My son made me a "Celebration Candy
Cake" -- complete with M&Ms, Milk
Duds, and Reese's Pieces on top -- a
chocolate lover's fantasy dessert.
My high-school-teaching husband, who'd married me over twenty years ago and thought I'd always be a teacher, too, didn't skip a beat in encouraging me to completely change career paths and follow my passion for fiction, if that was where my heart was... In fact, he was the one who'd insisted I go to my first local romance-writer meeting in Chicago, and he urged me to take a leap of faith and attend the 2003 RWA National Conference in NYC, just so I could find out for sure if this was really the journey I wanted to take. He's read almost every manuscript I've ever written -- over a dozen of them now, the poor guy -- and, as someone with a master's degree in English Lit who'd once been a professional proofreader, he even volunteered his excellent proofing skills for many of my stories. Yes, I know he's awesome.

And my wonderful girlfriends who live in town with me -- Sarah, Joyce, and Karen -- have been there to celebrate everything from my first publishing contract (over six years ago) to every local book signing and library presentation to various book club visits and a ton of unusual events in between. Sometimes this even involved taking overnight trips across state lines. They are, in a word, remarkable, and I was so damn lucky to meet them a decade ago.

Flowers my husband brought home for me,
right after I told him the exciting news.
It's one thing to have a big dream -- and mine was to finally hit the New York Times Best-Seller List -- but to have people in your life who are willing to share each step in your crazy writing adventure, celebrate with you when things are going well, and listen to you weep in your hazelnut coffee when the challenges seem to outweigh the delights...that's priceless. Dreaming big dreams may be an individual thing, but achieving big dreams, well, that takes a village. Sometimes, a metropolis.

So, my heartfelt appreciation goes out to every person -- both in the writing world and outside of it -- who gave me a smile, good advice, or an encouraging word to help me keep my spirits up during those times of struggle. There were many, and there will be more in the years ahead. This profession is such a roller-coaster ride, I know... And thanks, too, to those same people who danced with me (virtually or in person -- perhaps only stopping for chocolate/dessert breaks) when there was a reason for joy. I'm hoping there will be more days like that ahead as well.

I wish all of you the BIGGEST of dreams and, just as much, I wish you the supportive people who'll be there for you on your journey toward reaching them. When you get there, be sure to tell them thanks :) .

Who are some of the people in your life who have been most supportive of you??
Marilyn Brant is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women's fiction, romantic comedy and mystery. She was named Author of the Year (2013) by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She loves all things Jane Austen, as well as Sherlock Holmes stories, traveling, music, chocolate & gelato. Her latest romantic comedy is Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet (July 2014), and look for the expanded women's fiction edition of The Road to You, entitled The Road and Beyond, coming in September!


  1. I never stopped smiling when I heard the news and you SO deserve it!!
    So here's another Woot Woot from me :)

    1. Deb,
      You have been one of those incredibly supportive people for me from the beginning, and I am ever grateful to have someone as lovely as you in my life. Thank you so much, my friend!!

  2. Marilyn,

    Congratulations. That is so huge! I'm so thrilled for you.

    1. Oh, Karin, thank you!!!
      The best part of it all is getting to celebrate with so many wonderful people -- thanks for being one of them ;).

  3. Congratulations! So happy for you. :)

  4. Thank you so much, Sara!!
    I truly appreciate your good wishes! xox

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