New beginnings

Like every other human, I was born. I had a childhood. I learned to read and write.

Once I learned to read, I developed a passion for the written word. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened. Especially fiction. I’ll read non-fiction, but it doesn’t have the same allure fiction holds. As I sit here thinking about it, I realize I owe my love of books and reading to my parents, primarily my mother. Whenever we had to go to an appointment, she brought a book with her. I am fairly certain she even carried one in her bag she took with her to work. Plus, there were always books and magazines in the house. I don’t mean a few books, or even so-called coffee table books. I mean a lot of books. My dad had his collection,  as well, even though he didn’t have a lot of spare time. Mom and Dad never once discouraged me to read. And if they saw me writing my own stories (what would be called fan fiction these days) after watching a movie I liked such as “Star Wars,” they didn’t tease me or tell me I was wasting my time.

Although, that passion stops at diagramming sentences and being able to name and label each of the parts of speech. Diagramming sentences, for me, takes away the art and leaves behind the science. I am so not a science person. Don’t get me wrong. I see the value of science, and math, and I can follow and understand both. However, I don’t enjoy delving into the study of either. I leave that to my incredibly intelligent son.

I like the rhythm and the images brought to mind by written art. Words can be uplifting, loving, and inspiring. They also have the power to hurt and destroy. Words are magical. I have enough Kindle books to keep me reading for many years, and I keep adding more. Not to mention those books I insist on owning in print, Stephen King’s works come to mind. Tolkein’s and C.S. Lewis’s works are others.

While trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up (At 48, I am stilling “growing up.”) and what to study, I took an elective English class in journalism. One of the assignments was to interview a classmate and write an article. The teacher submitted our stories to the local paper. When I saw work in print, I was hooked.

I earned a bachelor’s in journalism from Eastern Illinois University. Along life’s journey, I even used my degree. Although I enjoyed working in newspapers at various points in my life, I can see now my heart was not truly in it. It wasn’t the writing, or the editing. I think it was more the lack of freedom to create something unique to me. Journalism encompasses writing other people’s stories. There is more freedom if one is an opinion writer, but even then, there are constraints. It has to be true, factual. You can’t simply make stuff up in journalism. Although, I sometimes wonder with some of today’s media, especially with the proliferation of the internet, if that really holds true anymore which adds to my disillusionment.

So where does this leave me now? Thanks to a friend, Sylvia Shults, who wrote Ghosts of the Illinois River and Fractured Spirits: Hauntings at the Peoria State Hospital, and more recently Hunting Demons: A True Story of the Dark Side of the Supernatural, I recently signed on as an editor at Stitched Smile Publications. When I offered to edit Hunting Demons for her as a favor, all I asked was she recommend me to others, I didn’t really think it would go anywhere. Not that she wouldn’t tell anyone. I knew she would, I simply did not think much would happen. I figured I was only doing a favor for a friend. I was wrong. Blessedly wrong.

Sometime last year David Youngquist, another indie author, was looking for an editor for a werewolf book he had written. She gave him my name and number. We talked on the phone, and after about a half hour or so he agreed to send me his manuscript. We met in person when I was done in a coffee shop. We chatted for a bit and eventually got down to business. I was thrilled with how open he was to the help I was offering; he was amazed with how thorough I was. We agreed we would continue to work together, author and editor, on future projects. Again, I figured it would not go much further than that. And once again, I was wrong. Enter Jackie Chin, host of Zombiepalooza Radio and marketing guru for Stitched Smile Publications, was looking for editors for the fledgling indie publishing house and its CEO and founder, Lisa Vasquez. David put me in touch with Jackie, Jackie in turn put me in touch with Lisa. We talked, and now I am an editor with SSP and loving every minute of it.

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It feels like everything fell in my lap; I didn’t have to chase down the opportunity. Everything in my life so far led to this point. My new beginning. And with that I will say fare thee well, and I’ll see you on the next page.

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