Monday, May 6, 2013


I wrote my first mystery back in the dark ages of Christian publishing. I typed the first few chapters on my college portable typewriter and sent them off to Moody Press in Chicago because I knew they printed mysteries. I had read one.

I knew nothing about publishing, knew nothing about protocol, knew nothing, period. I just had a story I wanted to write.

I got a letter from Moody a few weeks later saying they’d like to see the rest of the book. Talk about excited! I was about to become rich and famous. (Remember, I knew nothing. Nothing.)  All I had to do was write the rest of the book.

So I did. Every time I finished another chapter, I sent it off to Moody. It was slow going because I was a lousy typist, and I inevitably made my mistakes at the bottom of the page and had to retype the whole thing.

As each of these chapters winged their way to Chicago, some nice editor gathered them and saved them all until I actually finished the book. I do not remember how long this process took, but I had two little guys at the time, so it wasn’t quick.

Then came the letter saying they were offering me a contract. I had no idea what a rare and wonderful thing this was. All I knew was I wrote a story and they liked it and would publish it. Well, of course they did and would. What else?  Now I was on my way to fame and fortune.

Needless to say, the book sold poorly as do most first books. I who had visions of movie deals was very disappointed. Then came the real blow. The book was remaindered to a mission in the Orient for seaman. I never knew whether they were American sailors stationed in the Far East or Oriental sailors. Either way, I figure they weren’t interested in a book with a screaming woman on the cover.

But I was infected by the writing bug, and I’ve never recovered. Through the years since I’ve learned a few things about how to present myself, taught a few classes on how to write and published a bunch of books of many kinds and on many topics though my favorite writes are still suspense and mystery.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned the name of that first book. It’s not something I want people reading now that I know what I’m doing. I just chalk it up to learning and taking that first all important step. I started and I finished.


  1. Gayle, If I'd been offered a contract by the first publisher to whom I submitted my first novel, I'd still be crowing about it today.
    Just goes to show you're 1) talented and 2) modest.
    Thanks for sharing--and for the good advice.

  2. Glad you didn't quit, even if you won't tell us the name of that first


  3. Thanks for posting this.This is awesome!!

  4. You are so talented!!! Really nice!!!!

  5. Great read! Thanks for posting!