Monday, November 12, 2012
Webster's Dictionary defines bookworm as: n. One who spends a lot of time reading or studying.
This would be me. Any spare moment I'm granted (between a husband, three sons, the animals, and a mountain of never-ending laundry-- it isn't much), I've got my nose in a book. I love all genres: romance, mystery, historical, etc. What I'm trying to say is: I love books! I've had an obsession with books since before I could read. Between my parents and much older siblings, someone in the household was always kind enough to take a few minutes to read to me. But I remember being a small child thinking, I can't wait until I can read so I don't have to depend on other people to do it for me. Then I can read whenever I want!
Reading is a passion I've tried to pass on to my children (my oldest loves to read, my middle son wants nothing to do with it, and baby is still to little to decide). Books open doors, entertain, show the reader new perspective and insight, teach us . . . I could go on and on, but I'll stop since I'm sounding like a bookworm.
Along with reading, my other passion is writing. From the time I learned to read and write, I began creating stories of my own. In fact, I ran across some of these stories not too long ago while cleaning a closet-- stories I didn't even know I'd kept. I don't know why I kept them, they were terribly written but fun to find all the same.
At age sixteen, a friend was telling me about a dream she had and I thought Hey, that would make a great book! What did I do? I started writing one. A few chapters into it, I saw a commercial on TV advertising The Institute of Children's Literature. I thought I'd give it a shot and sent away for their aptitude test. After answering questions and writing a short-story, they welcomed me to the Institute, though they rarely made exceptions for individuals under age 18. For two years my instructor (Kevin McColley, a multi-published author) helped me solidify the craft of writing.
I temporarily lost my passion for writing after completing the course, getting married, and starting a family and career. I didn't read much during these 10 years either. By the end of the day, I was too tired! After the birth of my third son (and excessing of my job), I became a stay-at-home mother and wife and started reading ferociously again while I would rock my newborn to sleep and in place of TV in the evenings. When I read, I read every page of a book from the dedication page to the author's note at the end. While reading Denise Hunter's Sweetwater Gap, her author note stated she began writing during her children's nap times, and over a couple of years it blossomed into publication. That shook something inside of me, and I realized that God not only blessed me by giving me the opportunity to be at home and better care for my family, but he was also giving me a chance to pursue writing.
Denise referred me to ACFW-- American Christian Fiction Writers-- an organization where authors (published and unpublished), editors and agents, come together. Within ACFW, I had the opportunity to send my manuscripts through an online critique group where I quickly learned how much I'd forgotten over the years. Though sometimes discouraged, I used the honest criticism to learn and grow and keep pursuing.
Exactly one year, a novel that I've revised a million times, and a short-story later, Oak Tara Publishers accepted my short-story manuscript as a winner in their Best-of-the-Best Romance Contest. My story, The Value of a Penny, will be published with the other winners in an anthology entitled I Choose You in time for the holidays 2012.
More details to follow . . .