Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dreams and Excuses or Dreams and Persistence?

Dreams and excuses go together. For example:

     I want to spend a summer in the Swiss Alps...I can't leave my job for two months.
    I want to begin a new career...I'd have to take a pay cut.
   I want a body like Angelina Jolie...I like to eat bagels and cream cheese.  

Then there comes a day when we ask:

A big dream for me was writing a novel and oh the excuses I used not to pursue it: I don't know how; It would take too long; I don't have time; I'm too old to break into the publishing world...

And then I met Ludima Gus Burton at a Saratoga Romance Writers of America meeting and in a moment my excuses were gone:

In her own words, here is how Ludima became a published author:

"If I can do it so can you. When I was 71 years old, in 1991, I wrote my first novel in pencil and long hand in six weeks. What triggered this fantastic accomplishment? I was too lazy to go to the Amsterdam, NY library for my usual bag of books. I said to myself, 'I'll write my own book.' —which I did.

I thought it was perfect.

Alas, editors didn't and Lessons in Love became my first rejection. In the following nine years I wrote five more books. The rejections kept coming until my folder was four inches thick. These simple, easy romances were the hardest thing in the world to get published.

Did that deter me? Hell, no. (Please excuse the language from an older woman!)

I realized I had to learn the craft. I joined Romance Writers of America and Saratoga Romance Writers, went to many conferences, attended workshops and read how-to books.

Finally, in 1999, Avalon bought my first book, Only For a Year, followed quickly by The Tycoon and the School Teacher (2000), The Love Potion (2001), and the  Wedding Cake (2005). PublishAmerica published my fifth book, A Surgeon's Miracle when I was 87. At age 88, I sold my sixth book, The Christmas Ball, to Write Words, 2008.

Never a Cougar, published by Write Words, 2010, was my 90th birthday present to me! I intend to make more dreams come true.

I never give up.

And don't you either."

Ludima Gus Burton is now 93 and in the process of writing her eighth novel. She lives in upstate New York with her daughter. Ludima was born in Farrell, PA in 1920. She married Guy Burton in 1945 (died in 1981), has two daughters, and taught English and social studies for thirty years.

By the way, I'm just waiting for some reviews, and then my first novel, A Stop in the Park, will be released (late summer).

Ludima is right. Dreams really do come true. It just takes persistence and passion. 

What do you think? Do dreams and excuses go together...or dreams and persistence? I guess it all depends on how badly you want that dream.   


Nothing like reading a good romance novel on a lazy summer day. Ludima Gus Burton's latest novel, Never a Cougar, is a perfect beach read. From the back cover:

Love knows no age limits. Kay Holland, a fifty year-old widow, doesn't want to be called a cougar. Although fifteen years separate them, thirty-five year-old Drew Lawrence, isn't her cub. She must, however, overcome her own doubts of age difference, his son and her daughter's opposition and social prejudice to have any hope of a happy ending.


In honor of the romance, we'll add a little drama to the song this week. In this scene from My Best Friend's Wedding, Dermont Mulroney sings The Way You Look Tonight to Julia Roberts. 


"Dreams do come true. Go for it!"

Ludima Gus Burton


  1. To stop dreaming is to die. I don't know who said it, but it's true. If you are looking for honest input on your book pre-publishing, I will be happy to help. You can email me on:

  2. Hi Gwen ~ I agree completely. Luckily, I don't have that problem. I dream big and often. I would love your honest pre-publishing opinion and will be e-mailing you. ~ Peggy

  3. How encouraging is that! Love it!

    1. It really is encouraging. I feel so motivated after spending time with Ludima.

  4. Love her story! She's my new hero--make that "heroine!" Great post!

    1. Hi Sandra ~ You would love Ludima. I feel lucky to know her. ~ Peggy

  5. Enjoyed that encouraging story! Found you through the Fiction Writer's Guild at LinkedIn :)

    1. Hi Madison and welcome. Do you have a website or blog? ~ Peggy

  6. Hi Peggy,
    I so enjoyed this post. Please tell Ludima that she is simply beautiful and to keep up the great work that she is doing as well as to keep on setting the example that dreams do come true, if you have the persistence and the faith to keep going. Don't quit and Don't give up are two of my principle beliefs. Persistence is necessary if you want to keep climbing higher and higer.
    Thank you for this very inspiring article.

  7. Peggy,

    What an inspiring story. I could barely handle writing one book!! I really admire her for her health and accomplishments at her age. she loooks great too.


  8. Hi Peggy,
    You have a lovely website here. Ludmilla's story is especially inspiring to a recently retired aspiring novelist like myself.

  9. There are times when I just want to throw in the towel, and just trash what I have written thus far. After reading your article, I said to myself,"shame on you." What an awe inpiring message to us fledging writers. Thank you for the wake-up call.
    Take a look at my blogs I would appreciate your most candid comments. Blessings.

  10. Peggy - thanks for this post! Needed the encouragement today. Sometimes I feel behind the game since I began writing later in life. If she can write a novel at 93, maybe I still have time at 52. LOL. Love this post!

  11. Peggy congratulations to all of your accomplishments, the most important: not giving up.

  12. Ludima, what an inspiration for someone like me, considering early retirement and "second" career options.
    I am curious about PublishAmerica. Their website has a different feel then many traditional publishers.
    Can you shareyour experience with them?

    1. Hi Carol ~ Ludima said she replied to you but I don't see it. I'll get information from her when I see her next. ~ Peggy

  13. I LOVE this story! In fact, I'm posting a link to it on Twitter and on Facebook.
    You rock, Ludima!

  14. Wow!!! So many posts. Ludima is going to love this when she checks in.

  15. Hi Peggy,
    Beautiful post and very inspirational to encourage anyone who has ever thought of giving up on the long road to publication. thanks so much for sharing!

  16. Such a great post--so inspiring! Makes me feel young--I've got a big head start on this young lady, I'll have to make the most of it.

    Thanks for following my blog--I'm following yours, and it's great!

  17. Peggy, Ludima is such an inspiration and you are too. Congratulations to both of you for making your dreams come true. I am going to put a link to your post in the comments section so everyone can catch it.

    Best of luck to you both!


  18. What an inspiring story. I love it.

  19. I found this story so inspiring! I think sometimes we let dreams and excuses rule our lives- but everything is much better we lead with dreams and persistence. Ludima is a great role model and I loved hearing about her start as an author. Congrats to both of you!

    Also- I am a big fan of My Best Friend's Wedding!