Guest Post: Edith Maxwell

Mistakes, Regrets, and Happy Endings

We all make mistakes. Right? I’ve made a few doozies in my life, and had a few close calls, too. The big mistakes tend to be associated with regrets, and I like to think I live my life with as few regrets as I can.

When I was in my twenties, a very long time ago, my dear father recorded a cassette (remember those?) for FARMEDANDDANGEROUSme with clips of me and my siblings and parents talking at various times during my childhood. Daddy was always recording things on his reel-to-reel tape recorders. After he sent me the cassette and I listened to it, a song came on the radio that I wanted to record and I didn’t have a blank tape. Yeah, you guessed it. I recorded over that priceless collection. I told myself he would be glad to make me another copy, but I hadn’t realized how much work had gone into it, and how short life is. He passed away a few years later, leaving me neither him or a new copy. Sigh.

I made a couple of mistakes in my personal life. The biggest one was marrying a man who was not a good husband or a nice person. I left that marriage, though, and not only do I have two fine, happy, well-adjusted sons in their twenties from it, I also have a caring, funny, smart partner of more than eleven years.

I almost made a mistake signing up with a small press for my first mystery, a press which turned out to be fraudulent. I ignored a few red flags, and the press wasn’t listed on the several warning sites I checked. When my ebook release date was only a few days away and I still hadn’t seen any edits, though, I finally paid attention and withdrew from my contract. As emerged in the weeks following, this guy (who did not have an editorial staff behind him, as he had said) was exposed as stealing art off the internet for covers, and worse. All most all the authors withdrew. That was a close call for me. I’m grateful that it turned out all right – the ending we all want for our mistakes, right? The following year, a reputable small press, Barking Rain Press, accepted and published Speaking of Murder. In addition, I wrote a short story of murderous revenge, “Just Desserts for Johnny,” which Kings River Life Magazine published in 2014, and which was nominated for an Agatha Award this year.

One recent decision I made, which I was afraid might be a mistake, was quitting my day job as a technical writer two years ago. I wasn’t as old as I had planned to be and hadn’t saved as much money as I expected I would have. But trying to write contracted mysteries around the edges of a demanding hi-tech job with an hour’s commute in each direction and no working from home? It was making me sick. As it turns out, things are fine. We have enough money for what we want. I now have two more multi-book contracts. And I sit upstairs in my home office and write fiction every day, which is the healthiest job I can imagine. I don’t regret that decision one bit.

Readers: Any mistakes you’ve made that turned out all right? Who else out there tries to live life so you end up with no regrets?

***

Agatha-nominated and Amazon-bestselling author Edith Maxwell writes four murder mystery series, most with recipes, as well as award-winning short stories.

Farmed and Dangerous is the latest in Maxwell’s Local Foods Mysteries series (Kensington Publishing). The latest book in the Lauren Rousseau mysteries, under the pseudonym Tace Baker (Barking Rain Press), is Bluffing is Murder.

Maxwell’s Country Store Mysteries, written as Maddie Day (also from Kensington), will debut with Flipped for Murder in November, 2015. Her Quaker Midwife Mysteries series features Quaker midwife Rose Carroll solving mysteries in 1888 Amesbury with John Greenleaf Whittier’s help, and will debut in March, 2016 with Delivering the Truth.

A fourth-generation Californian, Maxwell lives in an antique house north of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors (http://wickedcozyauthors.com), and you can find her at http://www.edithmaxwell.com, @edithmaxwell, on Pinterest and Instagram, and at www.facebook.com/EdithMaxwellAuthor.

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7 thoughts on “Guest Post: Edith Maxwell”

  1. This is so encouraging, Edith. I work from home as a freelance writer and editor and I do love the work, but it is hard to write fiction in my “spare” time. I applaud your decision to “earlier” retire!

    Thanks also for sharing your story of the fraudulent press.

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  2. Edith, thanks for visiting. I’d say most of your “mistakes” were more gambles that paid off (aside from the tape fiasco, of course – what a loss). As a technical writer myself, I’m looking forward to the day when I can leave the day job, although I don’t have an hour commute (more like 20 minutes in good traffic). Congrats and much future success!

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  3. It can be a fine line between knowing what a mistake is and a blessing in disguise. Great stories, thanks for visiting!

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  4. Love this post, Edith! Especially inspiring to hear about your early retirement…nicely illustrates what someone once told me: when you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing, the universe supports you.

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