Guest Post

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Margaret Cunningham, Author Guest

This week we welcome Margaret Cunningham, a Mobile native, as our guest blogger. Margaret has three novels and many short stories already published. With ten stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, she has learned a lot about the writing and publishing business. Her novels are “romantic comedies with a little mystery thrown in” and are set in and around Mobile and the gulf coast. They include Lily in Bloom, One True Place, and just released Always Charlie. We welcome a fellow Southerner to our site and appreciate the tips for writers that she brought us.


The Road to Publication
Margaret Cunningham
By the time I finished my second Nancy Drew mystery, I knew I wanted to write a novel. So why did it take forty years? Well, I lacked the time. And the talent. I have never taken rejection well. And the muse of inspiration had it in for me, resulting in chronic writer’s block. I knew that getting something published would put me on the highway to success, but how? Finally, the muse looked my way. Imagine my surprise when I learned that her name was not inspiration but realization. Blaming her was getting me nowhere!
First realization: There would never be hours of leisure time to while away writing. And the talent part? So what if I wasn’t going to be the next Eudora Welty? I still loved to write, right?
So I took fiction writing courses, subscribed to writer’s magazines and served on literary committees. I won a few contests and submitted stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul. My credits and experience grew. I polished my queries and novel synopses until they sparkled. Lily in Bloom was published in May of 2008.
In an effort to smooth others’ paths to publication, I humbly offer these thoughts:
Anyone who has a life (and therefore something to write about) doesn’t have the time to write. They make time.
In every profession, there are geniuses who make it look easy. They got where they are through hard work and practice.
If you can learn from it, that old fact of life called rejection eventually leads to acceptance.
Write what you know. Write what you love. Create characters that you find interesting and see where they take you. To me, this is the most fun about writing. Well, actually, it’s the second. Getting published is the most fun.      Margaret Cunningham

Margaret P. Cunningham’s short stories have won several national contests and appeared in magazines and anthologies.  She grew up on her father’s nursery in Mobile, Alabama, where she lives with her husband, Tom. She enjoys writing, reading,

gardening and “beaching it” with her friends and family. Several of her books have one the Golden Rose Award for Best Contemporary Romance. Thank you, Margaret.
         
Write like you mean it,
Mahala


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