December 2018 marked what would have been the 86th birthday of my father, Gerald. He very unexpectedly passed away in 2005 at the age of 72, but my family celebrates his birthday every year by sharing his favorite meal and telling stories.

Two important things I remember about my Dad are always with me. In 1965 when he purchased what would grow into our family business, Austin Realty, women selling real estate did not exist. He changed that by becoming the first real estate company in Lincoln, Nebraska to hire women sales associates. The notion seems ridiculous now. But Dad understood the power women wield in the decision to buy a home. Who better to sell houses than women? According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in 2018 63% of all real estate agents were women. We’ve come a long ways, and Dad would be proud.

In my journey as a writer, Dad was one of my most ardent supporters. When I published the first edition of Hollywood and Catholic Women in 2007, he was immensely proud. But he told me something about success that has always stuck with me. “If you sell a lot of copies, great, but even if you don’t, this book is your achievement and it always will be.”

Many writers think they can only be successful if they make lots of money publishing their books. I think Dad was right – that success doesn’t have to be measured in sales, but in the sense of accomplishment you feel.

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