A little love for the family

On the fifth day of Christmas…

Even though those twelve days are supposed to start on December 25 and run to Epiphany, Jan. 6, I want to offer my gratitude for the people and things that make the writing life possible for me.

Today, I’m celebrating my family—and yours.

Are you a writer? If you are, I hope you have a family like mine.

My writing days began back when I had hardly learned to write in cursive. I remember being in my grandmother’s house. She showed me essays and stories my mother wrote as a young student. Mary Kathleen, she said—that’s what I was called back then—you could be a great writer.

I believed her. And I set out on the wondrous journey that has taken me to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the suburbs of Maryland. I’ve been published in the U.S. and Europe, I’ve covered stories from Rome to Baltimore to Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles.

While my grandmother has gone to her great reward, I continue to find support from family. My husband, who tolerates my addiction to putting words on paper. My children, who read my books and do what they can to cheer me on. My mother, who read my first manuscript. My father, who buys extra books and sends them on to friends and family. My brothers and sisters, who humor me when I start talking about how I spend my time.

Family makes writing possible.

I think that every time I show visitors around at the Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore. Edgar was a young writer who came to live with his grandmother, his aunt and his two cousins in a minuscule row house. He shared a room with his cousin. It was from this house that he took the first steps on his glorious writing career. He had his grandmother and Aunt Maria Poe Clemm to thank for that. Rather than send him out to support the family, they allowed him to scribble away to produce the first stories to gain a large readership, and even a bit of prize money. I’m grateful for Mr. Poe’s family and their support of this great writer.

So thank you, family. Thank you for tolerating my time spent at a keyboard. Thank you for cheering every time I finish a chapter or a book. Thanks for crossing your fingers when I pitch a new book or send a query. Thanks for being excited for me when I am asked for a partial or full manuscript or—best of all—when I am signing a contract to publish a new book.

My family makes my writing possible.

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