Skip to main content

What’s the most powerful #lesson you’ve learned in your #life ?

By 30/11/2015writing
    While blogging, one of my joys has been making friends. Over the years and despite the miles, someone on the other side of the world can become a real friend, in the truest sense of the term. Once such friend is, Guilie Castillo-Oriard, talented author, large-hearted dog rescuer, and awesome friend.

She’s recently had her book “The Miracle of Small Things” published via Truth Serum Press, and if you haven’t read it, I urge you to get yourself a copy, pronto! There’s something for different kinds of readers: for the lover of short stories, of narratives, of language. It is also a love letter to Curaçao.  I’m thrilled to welcome her today on this blog. Take it away, Guilie!

The Miracle of Small ThingsToday marks the end of the MIRACLE tour. A whirlwind five weeks—actually, a whirlwind year. Plenty of firsts. Plenty of awesomeness. Plenty of lessons.

And one seriously unexpected surprise.


  1. Don’t underestimate the post-contract / pre-publication revisions.

I expected revisions to be a snap—MIRACLE had, after all, already been published (in the Pure Slush anthology 2014 A Year In Stories)—so I agreed to a 30-day deadline. It took me five months to deliver the manuscript.

Chances are that, even in the last proof copy, you’ll find a mistake that’ll keep you awake nights wondering how you missed it in the previous tetrazapzillion edits.

2. Get a jump on author blurbs.

If you want fellow authors to provide blurbs, approach them well in advance. (No, it’s not the publisher’s job.) Nothing says inconsiderate like a one-week deadline—for a favor.

3. Are you absolutely sure every single word in the book is yours?

They sneak in when you’re not looking: song lyrics, lines of poetry. If they’re going to make it onto the published page, you better get your copyrights straight. A credit in the book’s copyright page will usually suffice—unless you’re quoting significant portions. Check it. Yes, yourself.

Miracle of Small Things Guili Castillo-OriardTHE SURPRISE

  1. The greatest satisfaction won’t be what you expect it to be.

Getting published is validation, right? I’m an author. So it took me by surprise that holding my book in physical form, fabulous as it felt, wasn’t the highlight. No, the non plus ultra was the incredible generosity I got showered with. Even from perfect strangers. The launch in New York happened thanks to four people I’d never met, three of whom had never heard of me. Friends traveled miles, even all the way from Curaçao, to be at the event. They shared the book with their circles. Fellow authors wrote reviews and promotional blurbs.

And this tour! So many bloggers interrupted their routines to host me, they tweeted and shared and commented and visited back. So many in their audiences responded so warmly, even bought and read the book, and took the time to send me a message to say they loved it. To say thank you.

I’m the one who needs to thank you. All of you. Beyond any success MIRACLE sees in sales or reviews or awards, it’s the open arms and generosity I’ve received from you which feel like the Nobel prize.

Special gratitude to lovely Damyanti, for hosting this closing post of the tour on Daily (W)rite today.

What’s the most powerful lesson you’ve learned in your writing journey?

Guilie Castillo-Oriard

Guilie Castillo-Oriard

ABOUT THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS (Truth Serum Press, Aug 2015): Mexican tax lawyer Luis Villalobos is lured to the tiny island of Curaçao anticipating a fast track to the cusp of an already stellar career. But the paradise we expect is so rarely the paradise we find.

Available as paperback and Kindle, epub, iBook, Nook, and Kobo formats. Find it on Goodreads and Facebook.

ABOUT GUILIE: A Mexican writer and dog rescuer who moved to Curaçao “for six months”—and, twelve years later, has yet to find a reason to leave. Her work has been published online and in print anthologies. THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS is her first book. Find Guilie on Facebook and Twitter, at Quiet Laughter where she blogs about life and writing, and at Life in Dogs where she blogs about life and… well, dogs.

I suspect that the support Guilie has received is definitely because the writers’ community is generous, but it is also in large measure due to the beautiful, open generous soul that Guilie herself is. I’ve been touched by her kindness and her writing; and I know, you will be, too. She’s a great friend to have, and her book is a must-read this holiday season!


Are you a lover of short stories? What’s the latest anthology you’ve read? Do you know Guilie? Buying her book? (I bought it for a few friends in the States!) What’s the most powerful lesson your reading/ writing/ life has taught you? As ever, the comment space is for you to talk, and Guilie is an excellent conversationalist. I’m sure we’ll all have wonderful chats if you talk to her in the comments!

Please join the conversation via Facebook: head over to Daily (w)rite’s Facebook page! If you like this post, have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the Subscription button in the sidebar.

Click to tweet Guilie’s book: The Miracle of Small Things by @Guilie73 is a must-read this holiday season! READ MORE: @damyantig



Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Matt Carlson says:

    Thanks for your blog post. Shared, liked and all that good stuff 😉

  • This was extremely helpful as, although I have published before and The Surprise is not a surprise. I am experiencing the other items at the moment , with a traditional publisher. I like the sound of Miracle very much.

  • dgkaye says:

    Thanks for introducing Guilie and her book here. I’m off to investigate! Great advice shared here by both of you. 🙂

  • Maliny Mohan says:

    The article was very informative! I could use this as I am working on my manuscript.

  • mdellert says:

    Reblogged this on MDellert-dot-Com.

  • Great one!

  • Ruth2Day says:

    great blog, thank you for the tips and thoughts inspired

  • Get a jump on EVERYTHING! That’s what I learned. You always feel like it’s too early, but it’s like planning a wedding…one day it’s too early and the next thing you know, it’s publication day and there’s so much you should have done months earlier!


    • Oh, man… Stephanie, you’re not kidding. The publication date seems so far away—and then it’s there and you’re like, “Whaaa?” Hahaha… Definitely my case 🙂

      Thanks so much for the visit!

  • WriterlySam says:

    Being kind to everyone you meet and fostering friendships with kindred spirits. Tis just the beginning for you, Guilie–you’ve many more great stories to share and I look forward to reading each one! *waves to Damyanti*

    • Thank you, Sam! And I look forward to reading (and hearing!) yours 🙂 That is, indeed, a powerful lesson, and one we need to globalize.

      So glad you came by!

  • Hello Guilie and Damyanti.
    Yes, I love short stories…actually, I’m a flash fiction junkie. 🙂
    Guilie is one of my first blogger buddies. Her book is waiting on my kindle. Can’t wait to read it!
    The amazing support/kindness amongst blogging friends/writers is a powerful thing. You have to experience it, to understand it. <3
    Congrats once again, Guilie!

    • Was I really? I’m honored, Michelle! You’re a fabulous blogger, and a kind and wise friend… I’m lucky to be a part of your community 🙂

      Thanks so much for the visit! Your enthusiasm and support mean so, so much.

  • Mayur says:

    No …..
    Being human

  • What a lovely introduction, Damyanti, and I wholeheartedly agree that the discovery of friends all over the world is a blessing. Great lessons, Guilie. A few that I hadn’t considered. And, yes, the incredible generosity of friends as well as strangers is the very best part of publishing. 🙂

  • emaginette says:

    It must be great to get it out there. 🙂

    • It is, Anna! And you’re about to find out yourself, I hear… Cover reveal, blitz, and your own tour coming up soon, right? I’ll be around to pay forward all this support I’ve received 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • G.B. Miller says:

    The most powerful lesson that I’ve learned, is that you don’t have to pay to get published. I’m one of those rarities, in that I was published by a vanity press, a traditional publisher, and self-published the proper way. If you’re going to self-publish as a stand-alone entity or as a hybrid, spend your money where it needs to be spent: graphic design (covers); editing, formatting (if you can’t do it yourself). You don’t need to give anyone anything to publish your book.

    • So absolutely true, G.B…. Paying to have a book published seems to defeat the purpose, doesn’t it? Thanks for the input and the visit!

  • ksDiary says:

    I’ll surely give it a read Guilie! And thank you Damyanti for introducing her to us 🙂

  • The most powerful lesson I’ve learned in life is that my ideas are not always the best and I need to listen more than talk

  • This looks like a beautiful book! Thanks for all of the tips Guilie, and thanks for the post Dee! I haven’t written much but I love writing little short stories. My problem is I never have the patience to finish anything. In writing a story that is more than a couple of pages, what is your advice to keep going and not lose interest in your own work. Thanks 🙂

    • Good question, Aubrey… I think we all struggle to finish the stuff we write, no matter the length. (And, by the way, shorter fiction is harder to write, probably because it demands such conciseness and precision.) In my experience, what makes it easier is being in love with the story and the characters. When these people begin to matter to you to the point where leaving them “stranded”, as it were, feels like a betrayal, then you’re more likely to find the energy and perseverance to stick with it.

      Thank you so much for the visit and the interest. I’m glad you found the post useful—and I’d love to know how it goes with your own writing 🙂

  • To love and forgive all equally!

  • G.U.M says:

    Reblogged this on GUM: Growing Up Millennial.

  • violafury says:

    Guilie! I am so happy for you! I really cannot wait to read this book. Yours is a radiant spirit and filled with joy and I’m certain your book reflects that. Fair warning: I’m replacing my “eleventy-billion” with “tetrazapzillion” with my new ridiculous number of times I have to repeat something! That truly cracked me up, but you’ve always had a penchant for making me laugh. We need a #TeamDamyanti Chat hour. Soon! Please pleasepleasepleaseplease with sugar on it!
    Love, hugs and stuff, Mary

    • Thank you, Mary! Yes, let’s have a Twitter chat soon! It’s been much too long. Ha, and glad you liked the tetrazapzillion word… Has a good and hefty ring to it, doesn’t it? And I’m very happy I can make you laugh 🙂

      Thanks so much for coming by, and for all the shares! You’re a fabulous friend.

  • This looks like a wonderful book.

  • The most powerful lesson I have learned from life is that every pleasure is wrung out of the incessant nay-saying of the universe. Don’t know who said that first, but I find it to be true.

  • Sha'Tara says:

    The question was, “What’s the most powerful lesson you’ve learned in your life?” The answer: That intelligent, sentient, self-aware life is based upon compassion; that where compassion is lacking, by the same negative factor is quality of life lacking.

  • Denise Covey says:

    Loved Guilie’s book tour. Sorry to see it end. Editing must be the slowest work in the universe. Luckily I love it! Thanks for sharing your writing to publication journey, Guilie, and thanks for hosting her Damyanti. I’ve reblogged this post. (Getting used to the little extras on Word Press).

    • Denise, you’re a star… Thank you so, so much for the reblog and for your kind words 🙂 I’m lucky to have friends and supporters like you!

  • Denise Covey says:

    Reblogged this on Denise Covey – Cafe Writer and commented:
    I love Guilie and her book, The Miracle of Small Things.

  • Writing sure teaches us a lot of lessons! Nice to see your friendship.

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti and Guilie – it’s lovely seeing the camaraderie and the sharing of knowledge that we get via the blogging world. So much to learn, understand and appreciate … cheers to you both – Hilary

  • wallcat says:

    Thanks for the recommendation. Sounds interesting.

  • Read Guilie’s words and find the magic you seek. The Miracle of Small Things epitomizes great style. As far as the most powerful lesson – forgiveness, especially of self.
    And Guilie, your tour isn’t over, just slowed down a bit. There’s a lot more to be shared!

    • “find the magic you seek”… That’s a beautiful thing to say, Yolanda. Thank you so, so much. You’re right on that bit about forgiveness, too… Forgiving ourselves is a tough one. But so necessary 🙂

      Thanks for coming by!

  • Gay Degani says:

    Wonderful discussion!!!

  • Vidya Sury says:

    You’re right, Damyanti! Who wouldn’t virtually hug Guilie? I always think of her exactly how she looks in that photo – warm, gorgeous, witty and wonderful! Truly, what a gift our writer community is!

    Guilie, such valuable lessons! Thanks for sharing. I am grinning thinking of the mammoth editing task my writing will be!

    I’ve heard that once the first book is out, the others will follow quickly. I am expecting that to be true of you! Love and hugs!

    P.S.: Damyanti – your photo in the sidebar is fabulous!

    • Aw, Vidya—thank you!!! You’re absolutely right, this writer community is a fabulous thing, and we’re lucky to be a part of it. Glad you enjoyed these lessons… Yeah, editing is a gargantuan thing (which is why I’m such a fan not just of independent editors but of publishers, especially the small presses), but it’s absolutely worth it—and especially for a voice as powerful and compassionate as yours. You’ll come out the other side shining like a diamond 🙂

      Thanks so much for coming by, Vidya—and for your support and your friendship, and your contagious enthusiasm for life 🙂

  • Susan says:

    I remember Gulie from 2013 when I first did the April A-Z and I was clueless about eg how to sign in, in order to take part. She was so kind and helpful from the beginning. I’ve always loved her posts and was a verrrry luck winner of her e book The Miracle of Small Things. Thank you for this post Damyanti, you too are one of the most special people I know, you can never know how grateful I am for your open and generous hearts.

    • Susan, thank you! 2013 was my 2nd A-to-Z challenge, and I’d received so much help the year before that I was glad for the opportunity to pay it forward 🙂 Thank you so much for being a part of this virtual community… Your thoughtfulness is a source of great joy to me.

  • The friends I’ve made along the journey has been the biggest thing and the greatest surprise.

    • Great thought, Alex… You’re right, these friendships with people on the other side of the world, from completely different cultures and backgrounds, with new outlooks and perspectives… This is the biggest thing. Thanks for visiting 🙂

  • Ananya Kiran says:

    Yes I agree with u..I enjoy Guilie’s writing as well..Thanks for sharing this post !

  • Thank you so much, Damyanti! You’re so right… The greatest pleasure in blogging is the friendships we forge along the way. You were my first blogging friend, the one I learned the basics from, and through the years you’ve been a constant and enthusiastic source of support. How fitting to end this blog tour here, at Daily (W)rite… Your friendship fills me with gratitude every day 🙂

  • Arlee Bird says:

    I think Guilie has had a very fortunate debut unlike some stories I’ve heard from other published authors. I agree that attitude has a lot to do with success and Guilie has got good attitude. Looking forward to more successes from this talented writer.

    Go Guilie! We have some more Battle of the Bands collaborations ahead if all works out well.

    Arlee Bird

    • Lee, thank you! I do feel fortunate… and, like I just said to D, it’s because of these marvelous friendships—friendships like yours 🙂 I’m so looking forward to the next BoTB collaboration! The last one was huge fun.

      Thanks so much for the visit, and for your kind, kind words. They mean the world.

  • ServiceS says:

    What is this book about? Gratitude in what form?