Where do I begin? My writing journey has been a series of leaps! But I have to be honest about one huge aspect: I believe in God. I'm a Christian. And having a strong faith makes leaping a little less scary. Not easier, mind you. Doing the work and doing it well is still on my shoulders!
This leap all started when I fell in love with Jamie Fraser and Diana Gabaldon's world. I was on vacation with my husband in July 2006 when I finished the fifth of five novels she had published thus far, and dove into her "Outlandish Companion" - the non-fiction book about her fiction books. When I reached the part that said, "The best way to learn to write a book is to write a book" I turned to my husband and said, "I think I'm going to try writing a historical romance novel."
Here's God's first step: that afternoon, I met a woman about my age in the lobby, struck up conversation, and found out she was a published author of 24 books. When I mentioned I wanted to write a book, she was extremely encouraging and gave me her email address so I could ask questions. And I did!
Back home on August 1, 2006 I bought a laptop and jumped into a journey where I had no road map or clear destination. But in ten weeks I completed a 100,000 word manuscript. It was crap, of course, but it was done.
God's next step: a friend suggested I attend a local university's writers conference with her. I signed up immediately and saw that they offered small group intensives - 6 hours over 3 days, 5 hopeful authors, 1 published author. I ignored the "you must have attended before" restriction and enrolled. I also ignored the "select three of these authors" and turned in the only name I cared about. Diana Gabaldon.
I got in - and I got her. And it is the one and only time she has done this.
I took another leap and kept in contact with Diana over the years (we both live in the Phoenix area) and that has won me two things. First, a cover quote on that first novel after 4 years of editing finally brought it up to snuff. And second, a compliment when I saw her in October. She said I was the hardest worker she ever met and she was so proud of me. She is proud of ME? Wow!
The "God opportunities" and subsequent leaps go on, more than I have time to list here. But after successfully self-publishing 5 novels which traditional houses didn't "know how to market," He set Gail Delaney of Desert Breeze Publishing in front of me late on the last afternoon of the 2011 Romantic Times conference. When I told her about my upcoming deaf private investigator in 1700s Norway, she went ballistic! Long story shortened, we signed 3 book contracts and Desert Breeze is now venturing into POD for selected authors, me being one of them.
I leapt again when I listed my first novel, "A Woman of Choice," for free on Kindle for one day, January 9th. Sixteen thousand downloads later, all of my books are selling! I've made double the amount in royalties in two weeks, than I made in all of 2011.
I cannot take credit for all of my successes, because opportunities were clearly placed in front of me. But when they appeared, I didn't hesitate… I took the leap.