Thursday, October 27, 2011

All For One . . .

By Nancy Gideon

Today, I’m filling in for Loralee here at the Back Fence. Instead of my flat Midwestern syllables, pretend you’re listening to her lively Texas drawl. I’ll even throw in a couple them there y’alls to make you feel right to home.

I don’t go to the movies very often any more now that I have a big screen and Netflix. There’s the astronomical cost and inconvenience of traveling to the theater, the fact that you can’t put the picture on hold to run to the bathroom or to get a refill on your drink, the seat kicker behind you, the whisper and gigglers next to you, the person constantly edging by in front of you right at the good parts. On the other hand, there’s the popcorn.

It takes an Event to make me fork over $20+ to go to the movies: a big action picture that requires the heart-pounding explosive quality of the surround sound or a really hunky hero I can’t wait the extra few months for the transition to DVD to see (okay, Clive Owen, Gerry Butler, Christian Bale or Robert Downey Jr!). Otherwise, the minute the lights go down, I lean back in those comfy seats, finish said popcorn . . . and fall asleep. That’s an expensive nap! So, it was with reluctance that I agreed to go to see The Three Musketeers remake. It was in 3D, which I find distracting and more than a little irritating, and Rotten Tomato reviews found it, well, rotten. But it had Ray Stevenson (who along with Jeremy Renner, is moving up on my Gotta See Twenty Feet Tall list) AND my son was paying! After shelling out $14 for snacks, I settled back in my seat preparing to get some shut eye and the unexpected happened. I was thoroughly entertained.

I’d fallen in love with the Michael York/Oliver Reed version of the movie when a teen and this update had the same tongue-in-cheek romp quality. It was all about the larger-than-life swashbuckling and the 3D was awesome (as was Ray Stevenson with sword and doublet buckling that swash!). But what I adored about the film was the underlying message driven home in the last few minutes of the reel with the sentiments “I don’t believe in king or country. I believe in us” followed by the obligatory “All for one, and one for all!”

All for one, and one for all. That struck a chord with me, particularly after the past month, and it has everything to do with why I’m writing this post. I belong to a fabulous critique group. Loralee is one of its eight members. I’m not a joiner by nature and I’d rather have teeth pulled than share my work with others. It was so out of character for me to ask admittance to the inner circle of this already formed group back in the early ‘90s. It wasn’t because I wanted someone to critique my stuff. It was because writing is a solitary and often lonely business, and I wanted to feel the sense of camaraderie I’d noticed between its members. I was lucky number five to join, and three more were carefully vetted in after that. I wasn’t sure what I expect to get from the group. Like-minded people with similar goals, I thought. But what started as a gathering of writing colleagues evolved over the years into something more akin to a tight sisterhood of dear friends. Musketeers.

The eight of us are nothing alike. We write in different genres, come from vastly different backgrounds, and have careers that span educators, retiree, account exec, stay-at-home mom, business owner, and legal assistant. We’re single, married, divorced, have families young and multi-generational. We’re published (and publishers!) or are working to become so. We don’t always agree, we don’t love everything the other writes. But what we all have in common surpasses those differences. What we share is creative passion and the fierce certainty of having each other’s backs.

One for all, and all for one.

When I was asked if I’d be the guest hostess on Loralee’s blog (two days ago!), I’d just spent a twenty-five hour weekend, aside from my forty hour work week, building a virtual Haunted Open House, had written four guest blogs, not including my own two posts, was outlining a new non-fiction chapter, attending an after work professional meeting, updating my website, worrying about upcoming contract negotiations and family issues, and generally running on empty to the Nth degree. So I immediately said, Sure, no problem. Because it’s Loralee. I wouldn’t have done it for anyone else (or maybe for any of six others). Having Loralee’s back trumped everything else on my overflowing platter. The same way she and my other PoTL pals have always had mine. Need a shoulder to cry on, got it. Want to rant and rave without being judged, covered. Can you put together a wallpaper with all my books on it…in the next few hours? Done. Would you take half a wining vacation day editing 100 pages of another’s manuscript? Sure. Send good vibes support to combat a bad situation? In a heartbeat. Give an honest opinion without hurting feelings? Yes, we can!

Life throws a lot of stuff at you, some good, some AWESOME, and some seriously crappy. Your Musketeer buddies are the ones who stand with you through all of them. Over the past two decades (!) we’ve shared triumphs and losses, disappointments and heartbreak, fears and failings with one unshakable constant—each other. And believe me, that makes all the difference in the world, y’all (see, I said it!). That bad stuff is easier to handle when not handled alone. And the good stuff just feels that much better.

Who’s got your back?

Remember to thank them. Tell them how important they are to you. Don’t let miles or egos or busyness or differences get in the way. Because at the end of the reel, it’s “One for all, and all for one!”

And now that I’ve got Loralee all teary eyed, my job here is done.

Thanks for joining me at the Back Fence. Loralee will be back next Tuesday with what I suspect will be good news (actually I know it will be, because I was one of the first seven she told!)

Have a Happy Halloween, and if you want to join me for some fun, check out the aforementioned Haunted Open House for ghoulies, goodies, giveaways. 

Loralee and PoTL pals . . . I’ve got your backs.

Loralee wannabe, Nancy Gideon is the author of over 50 novels from historicals and contemporary suspense to paranormals and a new non-fiction social media and PR how-to for writers series. When she’s not at her day job or at the keyboard, she’s indulging in Netflix and currently, in candy corn. You can catch up with her at or


  1. Thanks, Nancy, for reminding me to thank my critique group for all their support and "having my back"! Sounds like you've got a super bunch of ladies in yours, and I recognize most of them in your picture. But there are only seven! The eighth person must be behind the camera. Who is it?

  2. We're missing Elizabeth Fortin whom we miss all the time now since she's moved from MI to AZ.

  3. You brat! You got me all teary-eyed, too! The PoTL group is one of the most amazing things in my life. You renew me, lift me and comfort me. You are the first to know my good news, or bad. My wish for every writer out there is that they are able to gather around them a group that is positive, smart, sassy, fun and supportive the way that this one is. Sláinte mhaith everyone!

  4. Got me teary-eyed too, Nancy! Wonderful post. Love the pic of you great ladies. I'm going to thank my CP and critique group right now!

  5. This was an amazing, heart-felt, emotional post! I don't even know you ladies, but I teared up. A perfect reminder to thank those awesome people in your lives that have you covered whenever you need it, good or bad.

    Oh, and the picture was terrific too...Nicely said Nancy!

  6. What a beautiful post, Nancy! And a hearty "hello" to Loralee across the back fence from New York State. And God bless critique groups and the friendships that form from them. What would we do without our crit pals?

    Chris Wenger
    Cicero, NY

  7. I'm deeply grateful to Nancy for filling in here at the last minute-literally! I've never met a more amazing woman. Or a more generous one. Friends are life's precious treasures. I'm much richer because of my special sisterhood. We are indeed one for all and all for one. Nancy is the epitome of a special friend. I'm am blessed with seven of them. I wish the same for all of you.


  8. OMG! A day late and dollar short. Nancy, you said so beautifully what I know we all feel. I had to go blow my nose before I posted. It made me miss you guys all the more. I can't wait to see you. Hugs all around. I love you gals! All for one and one for all indeed. It's sure been a year, hasn't it? And don't you let those Ostrich plumes on your tri-corner hat tickle your nose when you give a theatrical bow for a job well done! I am also now determined to go to the movies some time soon!