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Several years ago I attended the SCBWI summer conference and one of the wonderful people I met was Rachel Marks. Super talented as both a writer and an artist, she had an incredible joy for life, due in part to being a cancer survivor.

Rachel was rooming with Paige Britt and both of them had gotten special recognition for the manuscripts they had submitted. Our foursome was rounded out by Cindy who, like me, was a teacher when she wasn’t writing. The four of us hung out together and read each others stories. I don’t think I have ever laughed as much as I did that weekend. I hated to go home because we all lived in different places and I seriously wished I could have these amazing people in my life, face to face, on a daily basis. We’ve stayed in contact over the years, but nothing will ever match the synergy of the four of us together that weekend. It was magic.

So imagine how thrilled I was on Saturday, when casually looking over the Amazon Top 100, to see Rachel’s book, DARKNESS BRUTAL, debut at #4!! The book hasn’t even released yet and it’s already hitting the top of the charts! Sweet!!

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Paige has also had a great year. She went on to sign with the agent we all longed for and her novel, THE LOST TRACK OF TIME, debuted earlier this year, receiving a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly! So cool!!

I LOVE seeing things like this happen for people I know. These are not overnight success stories. It took years of writing and disappointment, rewriting and tears. Which makes their success even sweeter.

Congratulations to my awesome writer friends Paige and Rachel! I’m SO excited for both of you!!