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By Sherry Harris, in sunny (finally) Northern Virginia

Recently, Jessie wrote a one-word titled post, “Kindness.” That started Barb thinking about doing a series of posts with one-word titles. Barb picked “Gratitude“. I continue the series with “Joy.”

I expected my family to be happy for me when I got my book deal and they were – some tears were even shed. I knew Barbara Ross would be happy because she is the one who put me in touch with her agent, John Talbot. My writing friends also celebrated with me. But the depth of support from so many different people really surprised me.

I keep in close touch with a group of my Delta Zeta sorority sisters. Facebook has expanded that core group. These women know how long I’ve been writing. Our friendship is deep and spread over many years but I was still amazed by their joy.

Right after I could tell the world I finally, finally was going to be published, I attended my high school reunion in Davenport, Iowa. I went to a big high school, the kind that was so big that when I worked on the yearbook there were pictures of kids I was pretty sure I’d never seen. Many of those attending the reunion came up to congratulate me. People I knew well, people I knew but didn’t hang out with, and even people I was just meeting that night. They all were so happy for me.

Another surprise was the support from two Facebook groups I belong to with other military spouses– Hanscom Wives Past, Present & Future and Nova/DC Military Spouses. My protagonist is a military spouse. If I have a question, they answer. Christine Stanisewski Weissman, who started the Hanscom page, wants to throw a Facebook launch party for me. We’ve never even met.

We moved from Massachusetts back to Northern Virginia, so I joined the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime. (I’m also a member of the New England chapter – it feels a bit like having dual citizenship – two groups to love.) I’m getting to know this great group of women. They’ve welcomed me into the fold with open arms.

I couldn’t talk about joy without talking about the Wicked Cozy Authors. Last March I reached out to Jessie Crockett, Julie Hennrikus, Edith Maxwell, Liz Mugavero, and Barbara Ross asking them if they’d be interested in doing a blog. I tend to be an idea, not action person. Before I knew it, they had the blog up and running– by May 1st in time to launch Liz and Edith’s books. It still takes my breath away. And then best-selling author, Sheila Connolly, joined us with a monthly column. Last June while Jessie and Barbara were both staring down deadlines, Jessie suggested doing daily accountability goals. We all jumped on that bandwagon but it quickly went beyond writing goals. We’ve shared frustrations, successes, and yes, joy.

Joy also comes from sitting at my desk writing, from having a deadline (I’m looking at you November 15th), from thinking about covers, launches, and holding my book in my hands for the very first time.  I read the difference between joy and happiness is that joy is internal and happiness comes from external events. I know that all the happiness has given me joy.

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