Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – At which point do you consider yourself to be successful? by Susan M. Toy


Delighted to share a post from the archives of Susan M. Toy that will be of interest to all of us who write books.

At which point do you consider yourself to be successful? by Susan M. Toy

(This is primarily meant for authors, but could possibly work for any creatives.)

At what time during the life of your book will you declare yourself to have been successful? Not successful according to others, but according to you – yourself. When will that moment come that you declare yourself to be a success as a writer?

– When your book has sold thousands of copies and is listed everywhere as a big bestseller?

– When you’ve made enough money on sales to have covered any out-of-pocket expenses for publication and compensate for the inordinate time you spent writing the book?

– When your book receives the 50 reviews or 100 reviews required by online sales sites to push it into the next level and generate more sales?

– When many bloggers and online reviewers want to promote you and your book on their sites?

– When you hear privately from friends and family, or even complete strangers, that they have purchased and enjoyed reading your book?

– When you receive reviews and promotional blurbs from advance readers who have enjoyed your book and praise it?

– When you type “Final File Ready For Formatting” and send that off to be professionally formatted, published and made available for public consumption?

– When you push back from the computer after finishing up those final edits of your book and know that you have done everything you could to make this the best book possible … you’ve written the story the way only you can tell it, you’ve had the book professionally edited, the cover has been professionally designed, and your editor and any beta readers who have helped you are in agreement that this is a great book. Is this the moment you consider yourself to be successful?

Now flip my list over and read in reverse order.

If, like me, you can say – honestly – that “when you push back from the computer” is the moment you consider yourself to be successful then you’ll be able to look at the rest of these achievements with great satisfaction, if and when you achieve them. Because while they will show to others that you have reached some level of success, none will ever match that initial success you feel in actually writing and finishing the book! There are so many, many people in the world who, every day, say, “I’m going to write a book. How hard can it be?” You know, after having completed writing a book, exactly how hard it is! But … you were successful in having finished writing and that, to me, is something to celebrate – even if you only celebrate with yourself and in your own mind. No one can ever take away that sense of accomplishment and, once you have completed your great book, there is a terrific amount of satisfaction in having done the very best work that you are capable of doing.

All the rest of the “goals” on this list are icing on the cake, or coloured streamers on the bicycle handles, as JP McLean declares! If you are self-satisfied that you’ve written the best book you can then you will find readers for that book. And the other levels of “success” will follow on. Eventually.

In the meantime, give yourself a satisfied pat on the back!

©Susan M. Toy.

Thanks Susan… I hope you have given yourself a pat on the back…’Doing’ the best is all that matters

Susan’s book One Woman’s Island is now in print. I read and reviewed last year and can recommend.

About the book

Running away from Canada, Mariana hopes to forget a failed marriage and the death of her husband by embarking on a whole new life. She moves lock, stock, and two cats to the small Caribbean island of Bequia. But the move brings more than she could have imagined. New friends ask her to help solve a recent murder in the expat community. And then there’s the problem of her neighbours, a young woman and her children. Seemingly abandoned by family and friends, Mariana believes they need her help! By becoming involved, Mariana is carried along from wanting to simply “live with the locals” to being overwhelmed by their culture, one so vastly different to what she had left behind in Canada that she doesn’t know who among her expat friends she can turn to for advice. So she carries on regardless and discovers that Bequia isn’t exactly the tropical paradise it had promised to be.

One Woman’s Island is the second novel in the Bequia Perspectives series that picks up again a few months in time after the first novel, Island in the Clouds.

The most recent review for the book

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to move to an exotic island and begin a whole new life? Author Susan M. Toy has brought that dream to life for the reader. Mariana, the main character in the book, is grieving for so many things. Her life in Canada had been one of loss and longing. She’s looking for a fresh start in the Caribbean island of Bequia. Once she gets there she is met with more than she bargained for. She becomes an unwilling bystander in a local murder mystery.

The expat community that she becomes a part of is not exactly the emotional balm that she hoped it would be with its strange and colorful characters who are living with secrets and emotional turmoil of their own. The local culture of the island is something of a culture shock for a woman finding her way solely on her own in a strange new place. This little island with so much natural beauty reveals itself as a character with a personality all of its own that winds itself hauntingly throughout the story. This book is moving, engrossing, and leaves you wishing for more of Susan M. Toy’s writing.

Read the reviews and buy the book:https://www.amazon.com/One-Womans-Island-Bequia-Perspectives/dp/1927950112

And Amazon UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Womans-Island-Bequia-Perspectives/dp/1927950112

Also by Susan M. Toy

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Toy/e/B008WXIJ46

Read more reviews and follow Susan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1316805.Susan_M_Toy

Connect to Susan via her website: https://islandeditions.wordpress.com/

I am now looking for assorted Festive posts for December, recollections of Christmas past, family, humour, short stories, poems, recipes etc.. Have a delve through your previous December posts and if you are not planning on re-using.. pop them over to me at sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – Two Sisters by author Susan M. Toy


blog-sitting

A very special family photograph and story now of two sisters. Author Susan Toy has many reasons to be thankful for her supportive older sister, not least for home-baked oatmeal cookies.

About Susan M. Toy

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Susan M. Toy has been a bookseller, an award-winning publishing sales representative, a literacy teacher, and is a tireless promoter of fellow authors and their books. She’s also an author and publisher, under the imprints, IslandCatEditions and IslandShorts, and has published eBooks written by other authors, as well as two novels and a novella of her own. Susan shares her time between a verandah on the island of Bequia in the Caribbean and the deck of a trailer near the eastern shore of Lake Huron in Canada.

Two sisters at Barry’s Farm near South Lake at Minden, ON by Susan M. Toy

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This is a photo of me with my older sister, Betty, taken in 1955, so I was 2 at the time and she would have been 14. We were visiting Barry’s farm close to our cottage on South Lake at Minden, ON.

Our parents had bought the cottage the year I was born and I spent every summer there until I was 16 or so. Betty, being that much older, was already entering high school by this time, so I don’t remember much about her from the late 50s. After high school, she went to nursing college then met and married Martin when I was 11. Theirs was the only wedding for which I was ever a bridesmaid. And it was a great wedding, too! We still have all the old home movies Dad shot that day. And movies from summers at the cottage when Betty and Martin would visit.

They led busy lives, as a nurse and policeman, especially working shifts and holidays, so we saw them even less. Until Betty gave birth to the family’s first grandchild/great-grandchild, and then we saw them a lot, especially at family gatherings. I was in Grade 13 by that time, and babysat for them often, but went away to university in September of 1972, so saw my sister less again. She gave me my first cookbook though, which I still have, and a yogurt maker (also still have and used it again just yesterday), and while I was at school she would send me packages of her home-baked oatmeal cookies that I loved. I hoarded those cookies in my residence room, eating slowly and savouring them.

I met Dennis during that time, and moved West after graduation, so we only saw our families when we made the long trek back East or they came to visit us.

Fast forward a few decades and I now see my older sister a great deal more. After our parents died, Betty became the “matriarch,” as we jokingly referred to her, but also was the keeper of family memories, because she had been around longer before I was born, and knew the various connections on both the Canadian and Belgian sides of the family.

She’s also the glue attempting to keep us, including our other two siblings and various long-lost cousins, together. Betty and Martin have both been a big help to Dennis and me these past years in giving advice on purchasing a used car and trailer and helping to make my transition back into Canada every half year much easier. They’ve financially sponsored the print editions of my novels, and have read and enjoyed everything I’ve written.

They recently celebrated their 52nd anniversary, and I still remember that as being the best wedding I ever attended in my life.

But best of all is I know that, 62 years later and just as in this photo, my big sister still has my back! Thanks, Betty!

©SusanMToy 2017

About One Woman’s Island

51hb-tptcfl-_uy250_Running away from Canada, Mariana hopes to forget a failed marriage and the death of her husband by embarking on a whole new life. She moves lock, stock, and two cats to the small Caribbean island of Bequia. But the move brings more than she could have imagined. New friends ask her to help solve a recent murder in the expat community. And then there’s the problem of her neighbours, a young woman and her children. Seemingly abandoned by family and friends, Mariana believes they need her help!

By becoming involved, Mariana is carried along from wanting to simply “live with the locals” to being overwhelmed by their culture, one so vastly different to what she had left behind in Canada that she doesn’t know who among her expat friends she can turn to for advice. So she carries on regardless and discovers that Bequia isn’t exactly the tropical paradise it had promised to be.

One Woman’s Island is the second novel in the Bequia Perspectives series that picks up again a few months in time after the first novel, Island in the Clouds.

A recent review for One Woman’s Island

I received “One Woman’s Island,” part of a collection of e-books as a New Year’s gift from a nice lady-friend, who is aware of my Wanderlust and my partiality for cross-over genre novels.

First, the setting captured my attention. I had never heard of the Caribbean island, Bequia. Having traveled extensively in my younger years, I noticed with pleasure that the exotic background of Susan Toy’s tale is not sugar-coated, but deftly rendered with a keen eye for the daily lives of the locals in this “tropical paradise” (which turns out to be no paradise at all) and a fabulous ear for Caribbean dialects. Toy’s style is fluent, yet at the same time delightfully willful. That’s one of the features that makes “One Woman’s Island” stand out against many other thrillers.

There is a taut plot – quickly moving forward – and for sure enough excitement, but the atmospheric aspects of the novel are more important to me, being a lover of literary suspense novels I particularly like the way Toy describes how expats and locals treat each other. The stubborn involvement of the main character, Mariana – who is seeking emotional refuge after a cold marriage and the death of her husband – when she encounters the violence hidden underneath the beauty of the island, is at the same time endearing and frustrating. As well as trying to solve a murder, Mariana takes her neighbors, a child-mother and her children, under her wings, but she is powerless, in spite of all her efforts, to counter the deep-rooted ancient ways of the locals, when things get rough.

The characters are not always what they seem to be, and more than often they surprise the reader. In spite of the fluid readability of the novel, there is much going on under the surface. In my eyes, this is an important feature that separates a good novel from a mediocre one. By the way, I’m a great lover of Caribbean food, and I thought it an original idea of Susan Toy to incorporate local recipes into the novel. First, you frown, then you think, My, that sounds delicious, and then you wonder if you could cook it yourself. Conclusion: a surprising novel that leaves the well-trodden path of so many thrillers….

Also by Susan M. Toy

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Toy/e/B008WXIJ46

Connect to Susan via her blogs: http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/

and: https://readingrecommendations.wordpress.com/

My thanks to Susan for sharing this lovely post about her family and please show your appreciation by sending off around the Internet.. Thanks Sally