Beginnings are often an identifiable moment. I remember my first day of high school and my first day at my first job. I remember when I changed my college major to English and set the course of my academic career. I remember the day my husband and I bought our home. I remember my wedding day, and the day my daughter’s life began.
Sometimes, beginnings slip by us without fanfare or any identifiable benchmark. I don’t remember my first day of college or when I first met my husband. Odd, right?
I don’t remember the day I started writing my first story. I don’t remember the day I typed “The end” for the first time.
But I remember the day I decided I was going to actually take a shot at this indie publishing thing. I’d written a book. Well, it was more of a lousy, random mess of something that I’d hoped to one day call a book. But it was sitting around on a flash drive going nowhere fast.
I’d just gotten the news about some moving and shaking in the law office I worked in, and while I loved my job, I knew my boss would be retiring soon. I had this far-fetched dream of one day being a stay-at-home mom, writing books during the day while my daughter was at school.
So when I got the news that my boss was retiring much sooner than I expected, that five year timeline I’d given myself to figure out what I was actually going to do with the rest of my life turned into one year, maybe two.
It was late November, and I went to a paint party hosted by my high school Spanish teacher. I was a little glum because life had thrown a wrench in my plans, but I had fun chatting with the other ladies in the class and catching up with my old teacher.
I’ve always been a “social artist.” I just made that up, but it’s an accurate description of my creativity. I took all the art classes when I was in high school, and my teacher joked that she didn’t know how I finished any of my work because I talked so much. I painted, sketched, and created while chatting and making friends. It’s how my creativity blossomed.
That evening I spent painting and talking to other ladies was something special. I came out of my shell, and I spilled the beans about the secret book I’d been working on.
I don’t know what I expected, but my former teacher, Ginny, and her friend, Tanya, were thrilled and excited about the book I’d written. They hadn’t even read it yet, but they were behind me one hundred percent. They started throwing out ideas left and right, and they wholeheartedly agreed that I should publish this book.
Their excitement fueled my own, and I went home and read over the lousy draft. I made a few changes and sent it to both of them. They read it pretty quickly and called me.
“You have to do this.”
At that moment, I knew I did have to do this. I wanted to do this.
It’s amazing what support and encouragement can do for motivation.
Fast forward three years, and I’m publishing my sixteenth book. Today. When I wrote Claire, the main character in Guarded by the Hero, I was excited to share my love of painting with her. My grandmother started teaching me to paint with oils when I was six years old, and I haven’t looked back.
Claire is a local artist in Freedom, Colorado whose paintings of the Colorado Rockies are loved by locals and tourists alike. She completes six paintings each week that are sold to an art gallery in the Freedom square.
The name of the gallery? Art and Soul. The same as the one owned by my friend who encouraged me to take a chance on my own art.
I don’t know where I’d be without those friends who cheered me on, but I know I wouldn’t have taken that first step on my own. They still help me with every book, polishing and critiquing before the book is ready to be published.
Guarded by the Hero is dedicated to my friends who believed in me before anyone else did. I’m so grateful for their support and kindness. They changed my life for the better! If you ever find a friend like these two, hold them close.
This book released today, and I’m giving away two ebook copies! To enter, tell me in the comments below if you enjoy painting, drawing, or creating some other kind of art. I’ll choose a winner on Friday, October 8th.