How did I know I wanted to be a writer? Actually, I didn't.
In elementary school, I devoured books, and even dreamed up 'sequels' to books or movies while playing with my dolls. In the 2nd grade, I tried my hand at 'writing a story', but the person in charge wanted us to talk through it. My mind was blank, and all I remember saying was trying to work the word 'embarrass' into a sentence correctly.
By now, you've all heard the story of how I learned the concept of Creative Writing, so I won't bore you with it. All it did was show me I could write down the stories in my head, and I dreamed of one day having my own book of fairy tales.
I learned to keep a journal in the 7th grade, and it became my outlet. I poured my dreams, frustrations, and daily life into notebook after notebook, even after making the fatal mistake of taking it to school and having it passed around. Nevertheless, I could NOT stop writing.
My first year of college, I decided to try to write something longer than a term paper or short story, and my first manuscript was born. I've since cannibalized it, since it is definitely a cringe-worthy story with several plagarized scenes from various books and movies! I still have it, as a reminder of what NOT to do.
When I found myself on bed rest with my 1st pregnancy, I found three separate stories I'd written, one nearly completed, and decided to combine them into one series. Eight years later, I finished four of them, and was letting friends read my work. After being bombarded with 'why the hell aren't you published?', I decided maybe it was time to see if I had any talent, and began attending conferences. I uploaded Love Is Sober to the iUniverse site and sent them $160. Four weeks later, on New Years' Eve Day, my little book was on Amazon, and ten days later, not only did my hubby have heart surgery, but my ten free author copies arrived, and I did what every self-respecting author does: Sold them to friends and family, and even to the nurses in the hospital.
I still had a great deal to learn though, and thankfully through sheer determination, attending conferences and getting over my shyness in certain situations, I managed to network my way into meeting the authors who helped me get where I am today. In no particular order, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the following ladies:
-J. Andy Murphy, for putting on the WriteStuff Conference;
-Tracy Devore, who got me involved in the online community (Yahoo groups);
-Kelly Kirch, whose success I followed and worked up the nerve to read the blogs she followed, including commenting!
-Anny Cook, who encouraged me to kick my heat level up a notch, and wanted to read more of my 1st attempt:)
-Brynn Paulin, who invented four brothers who have since corrupted one of Kenzie's aliens (LOL!);
-Cindy Spencer Pape, who showed me that shapeshifters, dragons, and steampunk were worth reading;
-Bronwyn Green, who also encouraged me during my first online chat;
-Dakota Rebel, who showed me vampires do not have to be scary creatures of the night, or boring, sparking, brooding men;
-Marci Baun, who took a chance on a fledgling author and liked what she saw, publishing my 1st Kenzie title;
-Mary Martinez, Desiree Holt, Cindy, and Regina Carlysle, who formed the Novel Sisterhood and whose monthly workshops I devoured while honing my craft;
-Sandy Sullivan, who helped me get the 2nd and third one published, as well as taking an interest in the Arbor U series (or simply tired of hearing me talk about it??) and published everything I've written so far;
-Jean Joachim, whose marketing-strategy knowledge I continue to absorb.
Thank you ladies, from the bottom of my heart.