I’ve thought of a million ways to start this post only to delete and start over again. So here goes with my final attempt. I know books start with dedications and acknowledgements, but I am going to start this blog post with a dedication because I am sappy and emotional and also… these women deserve it. To Cora, Meka, and Marit who gave me the seed of an idea and then helped water it, gave it sunlight, and all the encouragement to grow.
Technically speaking my writing journey started when I was 5 (yes, I could write at 5, I also started reading at 3. I’m not special, just obsessed from a young age) and I wrote and illustrated a story about going on a fictional camping trip with a family member. Even at that young age, my happy ending to the story included a puppy so don’t be surprised this is still on brand for my current works.
When I was 16 I wrote a full length novel that I can’t actually remember the word count of and I had the misplaced confidence to actually send a snail mail “query letter” (I have that in quotes because the me of today would likely cringe if I even had that to reference, which I thankfully don’t). Naturally, it was a rejection. To be fair, the fact they even replied is kind of awesome, so kudos.
Fast forward to me, now in my 30’s. I’ve never once in the years between 16 and something a bit older than 16 (which we shall not actually pinpoint) stopped reading, but I did take a hiatus from writing. Not because I was brokenhearted by the rejection, but more because… life. However when I say I devoured books I mean I DEVOURED books in the interim. I would read 2 – 3 books at a time and somehow managed to keep each one straight. And I’d be through them all in a couple of days and on to the next round. I loved the written word.
And then I found Twitter. Now, your girls is NOT a social media butterfly. I will have good intentions and give things a go, but I usually fail. However, it was a life changing moment for me when I discovered writing Twitter. There is a long backstory, but suffice it to say that after observing for a while, I dipped my toes back into writing during NaNoWriMo and birthed another book baby. Then I discovered writing Twitter pitch events and, although none of it ended in me landing any publishing deals, I found something much more valuable: a writing tribe.
Let me tell you. These humans are the definition of priceless. First, through beta reading exchanges I learned so much about the craft, but also through openness and transparency I learned so much about the process I could have never figured out on my own. As with any group, there have been growing pains, separations, etc, but with my current core clan I easily delete the “writing” bit from the title “writing friends.” They are my people and you can pry them from my cold, dead hands on the twelfth of never.
Through their support and guidance I managed to land several publishing contracts and went from “aspiring writer” to “published author” long before my brain could actually catch up to the change. I’d created a plan for myself that included venturing into self-publishing, but that was something I always planned as an eventual destination in my writing career.
Then 2020 happened. I mean, do I really need to say more? I work a dayjob in healthcare so COVID landed me in a special level of hell. My creativity dried up as did my ambition. Slowly, as I began to come out of the funk, I also had a new perspective and a new vision. And I decided that “eventually” was now.
Remember that tribe I mentioned? I am fortunate enough to have wise women in that group who have already tread the indie path and encouraged, supported, and sometimes literally carried me on the journey that ended with the decision to release my next series as an indie author. And, thanks to Ms. Meka James and her brilliant brain, Sweet Heat Books was born.
So welcome to my new world as an indie author and please, for the love of everything good, buckle up because this is going to be a bumpy ride.