This is day 2 of the 35 day Author’s Blog Challenge and the topic for today is How I Started Writing. I really began writing in Elementary School. I remember writing stories during classes and passing the pages back to the desk behind me until the page had circulated around the whole room. Some read them while others just passed them along. In High School I wrote for the school paper as a feature reporter. I also wrote captions for the photo features. I took every creative writing and language arts class offered. I loved writing stories. My language arts teacher Sally Taylor told me I had the imaginative mind of a writer and to keep it up. In college I took creative writing courses and novel writing classes. Laura Schuette at Glendale Community College told me when I asked her to review a novella I’d completed a few years after taking her course. that I was one of the students she was certain would actually write and publish something someday.
I tried selling some Fantasy stories to some magazines in my early twenties when I was going through my Sword and Sorcery phase, but collected only rejection slips. I threw everything into an old trunk I kept in my bedroom. Years later, my daughter got the trunk, complete with stories and rejections. She read everything and she was inspired to become an author. She has self-published two YA Fantasy novels and is working on a mystery now. I am so proud!
After I suffered a stroke in 2009, I was devastated when I realized the brain injury had caused me to lose my ability to focus on reading fiction. Technical writing, which I’d never been able to understand without picture instructions, however I could now comprehend with ease. It wasn’t until 2012 when I sat down with my laptop and began writing a story, that I began to regain my ability to enjoy reading fiction again. The concentration it took to write rewired my injured brain somehow. My neurologist told me things like that were common with brain injuries due to stroke. I finished writing the novella and sent it off to my daughter, Tiffany Beasley Rock, and one of my High School teachers, Louis Flint Ceci, who is also a published author of YA fiction. Though they were both impressed with the story, I didn’t publish it.
I moved back to Phoenix in 2013 after my divorce and moved into my own apartment. I found I had too much free time. While talking with my daughter one afternoon about her writing and the frustrations she was having with finding a traditional publisher for her work, she told me to get off my lazy ass and write something to publish. She pointed me in the direction of Create Space. I checked it out, started an account and wrote a story. I wrote The Legend of the Swamp Witch in 60 days and published it. My daughter helped me design a beautiful cover. Unfortunately, I did not have the manuscript professionally edited and I had not yet found my wonderful critique group, The Central Phoenix Writers’ Workshop. The manuscript is rough, though my reviews on Amazon have been good. I’m in the process of rewriting it to correct grammar isues.
I have since self-published The Ruby Queen, book 1 of my Soiled Dove Sagas, a Historical Fiction/Erotic Romance. I wrote an Erotic Romance on a dare and actually found a publisher , Etopia Press. for it on my first round of submissions and signed another contract with JK Publishing to republish The Ruby Queen and the next 2 books in the series.
So, after more than 40 years since writing those pages in class at Akin Grade School, I’m actually a published Author. It has been an interesting process. And it is a process. My writing has evolved over the years, and I can only hope it will continue to do so.