A Writer’s Journey
I am so grateful to be where I’m at on my writing journey. Our community is fortunate to have such a beautiful library and the wonderful opportunity to bring readers and writers together to support each other. A big thank you to Karli Land, Young Adult Services Coordinator for the Calhoun-Gordon County Library, for organizing a recent author event.
My journey to becoming a published author began as an infant when the sound of my mother’s voice soothed me. That same voice read comforting scripture to me as a child and the antics of Little Women when I was older.
My dad was a writer. He kept his sermons, essays, and poetry in a ring binder.
Even though we were poor, we owned three sets of encyclopedias. My home was filled with love for the written and spoken word.
I received a blue, plastic-encased, Brother typewriter for my birthday when I was a teenager. It clicked and dinged loudly into the wee hours of many a night. I have always had the kind of brain that imagines every possible scenario in a situation (and some impossible ones). Writing gave me an outlet for my active imagination.
My highest achievement so far in the writing world is receiving a handwritten rejection note from a literary journal. Along the way, I have received instruction and advice from some great writers.
In 2014, I joined Calhoun Area Writers. My confidence soared, and I had several of my stories published in the group’s annual anthology, Telling Stories. I owe a debt of gratitude to Amber Lanier Nagle, for publishing many personal interest stories I wrote about local folks in Dalton Living and Calhoun Magazine. I also published a story to an online magazine called Lady Literary. People are reading my stories!
I didn’t expect to publish children’s books, but I shouldn’t be surprised, because I still love to read them. My first children’s book, Baby Birds, was a way for me to express my journey as a mother through the analogy of the life cycle of birds. I dedicated that book to my three children, my own Baby Birds. I love the watercolor images created for this book by local artist and illustrator, Alana Kipe. It was nominated for Georgia Author of the Year Award.
Next, I published a book of poems titled Empty Nest. Again, recounting my life as a mother, but this time including poems about the loss of my mother. This project allowed me to work with a dear friend and uber-talented, local artist and illustrator, Sandy Dutton.
My first two books were published through CreateSpace. It was free, easy and so rewarding. After internationally published author, Cheryll Snow, made a presentation to our writers group, I was inspired to submit a story to Chicken Soup for the Soul. My story, “The Book Fair”, was accepted to be included in the Inspiration for Teachers book. It’s on page 348.
Before long, another children’s book was born. This one was dedicated to everyone who is different and was published through a vanity press, which means I paid them to publish my book. Sometimes our lessons and encouragement come from unexpected people and from circumstances we have no control over. Little Bird & Myrtle Turtle, my second children’s book, was beautifully illustrated by Christina Vergona.
We labored over this project without ever meeting face to face. This book has been nominated for Georgia Author of the Year Award, the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award, and the American Book Fest International Book Award.
Keep your eyes and ears open, because I am working on several other projects. Yes, another children’s book—this one will be titled Baby Crow and will be dedicated to my grandson. I am involved with two critique groups, one is helping me to smooth out my work-in-process novel, Tucker Hollow, and the other group is helping me to hone my skill at writing personal essays.
This journey has been a long, curvy road with hard work and some tears, but lots of laughing and celebrating. One thing I know for sure is I’m glad I took that first step and submitted that first story. I have never looked in the rear view mirror and wondered if I made a wrong turn.