Yesterday I was reminiscing about my old friend who passed away, Linda Smith, but it also got me thinking about a mutual friend of ours, I’ll call her D.

To me D. represents the opposite of Linda’s generous unselfish nature.

People seem to think that children’s publishing is a more benign world. But there’s a book out there about the industry that is aptly titled: It’s a Bunny Eat Bunny World.

The irony is that D. was the one who introduced me to Linda. And all the while that Linda was alive D. was chummy and chatty to both of us (among many others).

Linda introduced D. to her agent. And when her agent rejected D., and D. was still pottering around trying to get published, Linda tried again. Insisting to her agent that he’d be sorry.

D. was very poor.

D. was a born-again Christian, (which immediately drew me to her because it’s not always easy trying to adhere to faith when you’re in this business).

The agent read the story and was immediately able to sell it to a major publisher.

It ended up a huge hit.

No one was happier for D. than Linda.

And all of us, who considered ourselves D.’s friends, were equally happy for her.

As soon as Linda died, D. cut off all ties with every acquaintance she’d made through Linda.

It was shocking. No explanation. Nothing.

Every email went unanswered. She stopped posting on writer sites she’d been known to frequent.

At first I thought maybe she’d been pestered by people trying to hitch a ride on her star. But if that were the case why had she alienated even equally successful authors?

It didn’t make any sense.

This was a person I thought was a friend. We corresponded regularly.

I was naive and stupid.

I wondered if she were angry at me. I emailed her asking if I’d done something wrong. No answer.

I’m not often fooled by people, but in this case I certainly was.

In the meantime her star has continued to rise, I guess. She’s got a lot more books published although they haven’t been as successful as her first.

Maybe something happens to people when they’re that desperate for success.

Heaven knows I’ve felt that desperation too at times. Especially when I was first starting out.

But what price do you put on your dreams? Do you give up your morality and decency as a person?

I think some people believe they have to bite and claw their way to the top. They believe that adage ‘nice guys finish last’.

I’ve spent a lot of years comparatively in the shadows. It’s a good vantage point to see where people really stand.

I’ve gone to fancy author events where other authors snubbed me because I didn’t announce how many books I’ve had published.

Within the Canadian publishing industry I really don’t advertise my success. Not sure why. I mean my website’s up there for anyone to see, but most people don’t look you up.

Besides, I find it illuminating to see the way people treat me when they think I’m inconsequential. There’s power in being ‘misunderestimated’. (Just ask George W. Bush!)

If it never gets any better than this, this is more than I ever dreamed of! How can I not be happy?

And I’ve done it without abandoning my friends and without biting or clawing at anyone. So far I’ve done it with my faith and my morals intact.

I’ve done my best to live up to Linda’s legacy, and help others who are striving for their dreams too.

God-willing I will not stray.

The idea that I could abandon my morals in my quest for success scares me more than anything.

Please note: This post has been edited since I put it up.