The hardest part about writing is believing by Gillepsie Lamb – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gillespie Lamb will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The hardest part about writing is believing

Belief is a floater that drifts across our conscience. It’s a balloon of our own creation, the walls of which grow thinner and thinner as it expands in us. In short, belief can mean everything and still prove ephemeral.

Writers must believe. They have no other option. Believing in ourselves is the critical component in writing success. All other parts of the writing life are dependent upon it. Belief is so fragile, yet so important.

Why is it so hard to believe in ourselves and our individual skill sets? Because belief is not a scientific assessment. It’s a feeling. It is conviction constructed mostly of unprovable hope.

We cannot pull from our wallet an official certification that testifies to our creative writing bona fides. Can’t do it. The closest we come are awards on shelves or walls that affirm we have won something. Such official recognition might validate us, but it does not certify us.

It’s like manufacturer Brand X that produces a shiny, functioning widget. It looks good. It functions as advertised. It’s a top-seller. But Brand Y over there also is pleasant to behold, gets the job done and is popular. Which is the better product? Consumer Reports ventures an opinion, but it never is definitive.

In the same way, Author A pleases readers but do does Author B. Who is the better storyteller? Poets & Writers magazine gives a nod to Author A. Harvard Review likes Author B. In split decisions like that, we like to think whichever author piles up more plaudits breaks the tie and is the winner. Maybe, but nothing short of unanimity is decisive in contests of opinion.

I remember judging journalistic competitions and usually having to pick a winner from among two or three accomplished writers. They each produced well-researched and effectively presented articles or delivered persuasive commentary pieces. How did I choose among them? Simple. One of them used a favorite word of mine or alluded to something dear to my heart. Every judgment about writing skill is similarly subjective.

So, what are we to believe? Well, once we more-or-less master the mechanics of the discipline, I think each writer has to answer this question: Do I like how and what I am writing? That’s the test. Don’t ask, will anyone else like what I am writing? Is my writing what judges are looking for? Will the “the literary community” approve?

Let’s get personal: Do I think everyone who reads my two novels, The Beamy Courage of Gerta Scholler and my new one, The Junkyard Dick, will conclude they are the best books ever? Unlikely. I have my fans and they are growing in number. But my #1 Fan is… me. I stood by me as I developed my skills, never budged from my side when indifferent agents and publishers looked past me, always prodded myself to try new things. Thanks, self. I couldn’t have succeeded without you.


As an addendum, let me add that I believe in something else, something that hadn’t even crossed my mind before last May. That was when the Texas town of Uvalde suffered the horror of a mass shooting. I live in Uvalde and, of course, it impacted me emotionally. It also affected my marketing plans for this reason: My just-published novel, The Junkyard Dick, is set in Uvalde. The story is full of references to the multi-cultural town—its live oak trees in the middle of streets, clear-water river swimming holes on the edge of town, favorite eateries and so on.

Marketing that sense of place became problematic because I knew some people would conclude that I was capitalizing on tragedy. I wanted neither the perception nor the reality of that. So, I formed a nonprofit into which will go my royalties from The Junkyard Dick plus a contribution from the publisher. Those moneys will launch a fund to support new programs that will foster creative-writing skills in elementary-age children in Uvalde. The organization is called The Story Inventors Club Inc.

I believe starting the organization was the right thing to do under the startling circumstances. I believe it will enhance the writing education of Uvalde children and I believe in them. You can learn more about this by visiting the nonprofit website, Thank you.

Salvage yard operator and part-time sleuth Tak Sweedner is asked by a buddy, Roque Zamarripa, to investigate a murder. Tak says OK and for his trouble is assaulted with a tire iron. Then he’s run off the side of a cliff-the investigation really goes downhill at that point!
Tak calls up gal-pal Emma to help him and soon discovers his feelings for the woman go beyond palling around. When she asks him to give up his investigation and concentrate on her, Tak balks. She might better have asked a bulldog to give up its bone. It would be like quitting, Tak said, and he wasn’t a quitter.

Can this blue-collar crime-solver hang in there to get the bad guy… AND win his girl?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Sunday stroll with dog…

I scratched behind the dog’s ears when it strolled over for companionship. We were a lazy pair. His eyes pleaded with me for a walk. So, I carried the bowl inside, rinsed it, grabbed a hat, and we headed out to the pasture behind the house. Otis trotted ahead and periodically ran back to jump against me and trot away again. A fun, fun dog.

I unhooked the pasture gate for us, and we moseyed north into my thirty-five acres of south Texas soil. We moved past clumps of blackbrush and sumac, through stretches of buffalo grass, and under a live oak whose branches seemed to defy gravity in their undulating horizontal reach. I admired several Beauty Berry shrubs near the western edge of the property that were favorites of wandering white-tailed deer. Certain times of the year, hungry deer virtually stripped the plants of their lavender fruit.

Otis padded down the bank of a dry gulch that foamed with runoff after heavy rains, but normally was no more than a pleasing variant in the landscape, cutting southeast across flat terrain. The dog poked its head into a guajillo thicket on the other side. The bush wasn’t good for livestock but was great for honeybees. Preserving it was my contribution to the local honey industry.

Otis lifted his leg to fertilize the bush and we began to walk the gulch back toward the house. A black-tailed jackrabbit sprang from hiding and Otis gave chase for half a minute before returning to my side with tongue lolling from the side of his muzzle.

About the Author: Gillespie Lamb developed writing skills as a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist before leaving journalism to become a freelancer and pursue less formulaic writing. He published his first novel in 2017, a middle-grades reader about a girl who rode an “orphan train” from New York City to Kansas. It is titled The Beamy Courage of Gerta Scholler. This second novel is his initial foray into the mystery genre. The setting of The Junkyard Dick is the rural Texas region where Lamb lives.

Gillespie Lamb

Website | Goodreads

My latest novel, The Junkyard Dick, is a mystery set in Uvalde, Tex. It contains numerous allusions to Uvalde streets, restaurants, swimming in the Nueces, and so on, and positively characterizes this multicultural, county-seat town where I happen to live.

One week before I began marketing the book through my website (, Uvalde became a national byword for school shootings. A minor consequence of that tragedy is that suddenly my book became awkwardly positioned in the marketplace. Many people naturally will see promotion of a book about Uvalde at this time as shamelessly cashing in on the tragic event. I want neither the perception nor the reality of that.

So, I have created a nonprofit that will benefit elementary fiction-writing programs in Uvalde—or create such programs out of whole cloth. Any royalties I receive from the book will go into the fund along with contributions from the publisher, Black Rose Writing. That will just be seed money. I will be soliciting donations to the fund from the literary industry and associated artistic ventures, from local and regional community organizations and businesses, and from readers anywhere who find comfort, escape or inspiration in fiction.

I am calling the nonprofit “The Story Inventors Club,” which is appropriately juvenile so that it might appeal to young people. It will be dedicated to the proposition that young imaginations are capable of producing fictional stories of merit and enduring value. The hoped-for legacy of the Club would be creation of a new generation of prose (and poetry) to delight readers, and the instilling of enhanced cognitive, language and communication skills in some young people.

So, as a consequence of all of the above, I now will be promoting two things: (1) a novel that I believe in on its literary merits, and (2) a Club that I believe can build a new and creative legacy upon the ashes of misfortune.

For more information on this Club, please go here.

Buy the book at Black Rose Writing or Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Thank you for hosting me on this tour. If a reader has a question, I’ll be glad to respond.

  3. (2nd Try)
    Thanks for hosting me on this tour. If your readers have any questions, please fire away…. Gillespie Lamb

  4. I enjoyed the guest post and the excerpt, Junkyard Dick sounds like a great mystery to read!

    Thanks for sharing it with me and have a spectacular week!

  5. I really like the cover and the excerpt.

  6. Marisela Zuniga says

    Congratulations on your release and thank you for sharing more about yourself

  7. I have enjoyed reading your guest post and I am looking forward to reading The Junkyard Dick

  8. What is your favorite thing to do during your time off?

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