In that last year or so, I have neglected my website. I used to blog nearly every day. That was a long time ago and before I started writing fiction. back when blogging was actually my out and one of my few connections to the world.
I was living in a small, conservative town where even the mayor’s wife was considered an outsider after having lived there for 25 years and being the #1 childcare within twenty miles. They were my neighbors, and it wasn’t until we were packing our house into a moving van that she shared that with me.
We lived in that small town for five years. I had my daughter there, who was born a sickly child. Being a new mom is already isolating, but being a “stranger” in town made me even more isolated. I was glad to put that place in my rearview mirror and head back to the city, where I currently live.
But writing about my daily life as a mom, a woman who had her career aspirations put on hold to care for a kid who lived in the hospital for a year, well, it saved my sanity.
I started writing on a GeoCities website. Who remembers GeoCities? It was mostly to keep family and friends abreast on my kiddo’s current medical crises because, trust me, after spending twelve hours in the NICU or PICU, the last thing I wanted to do was talk on the phone to the twenty people who wanted updates. This was long before CaringBridge was a thing, but this was my mini CaringBridge.
If I had any foresight, I could’ve been rich. LOL.
Anyhoo, eventually the updates about health turned into me writing about everyday adventures with my adorable little girl who said the darnedest things. Blogger came along at just the right time, and in 2003, I was one of the first people to sign up to use it. I went on to have a successful “mommy blog” before mommy blogs were a thing and was there at the inception of all that. I look back now and think, “Wow!”
I blogged for years but always about real life stuff. It wasn’t until 2009 that I made the leap over to fiction. And it was a huge leap for me. I hadn’t written fiction since the 80s. Everything since had been academic writing, fact regurgitation, meta-analysis, summarizing, my fricking master’s thesis, which I wrote while hugely pregnant.
And then I fell head over heels in love with MM romance. It wasn’t known as that to me back then. It was Slash, taken from the fanfiction usage of word meaning sexual relationships between characters of the same gender.
I miss that word. I really connected with it for some reason. And lemons. 😉
So I wrote a lot of slash. With lemons.
Lemons are sex scenes, for the uninitiated, and the more pucker power, the better!
I wrote probably over a half million words in a year. Not too shabby. Then I saw one friend after another get a publishing contract. I decided to see if I could make it too. Afterall, nearly all of the fanfiction I wrote was AU and AH (alternate universe and all human), so I was already writing my own plots, not relying on storylines or tropes of the original. I rarely wrote anything that resembled the original aside from characterization.
That’s where my learning curve really happened. I’d written characters the fanfiction readers already loved so I didn’t have to try too hard to make people fall for them. I just had to come up with a great story idea and go! That doesn’t work at all for original fiction. You have to make readers fall in love with strangers, or they’ll toss your book aside. It’s not an easy feat, and the shift can be a hard one for many authors making the leap.
So writing started for me as a way to connect with the world, to feel as if I was no longer alone in my isolated little town. Ironically, writing has turned me into an isolated hermit. I rarely climb out of my shell anymore.
I taught for 16 years and was in a super social job. I met with 75 parents a week plus their kids and all my coworkers. It met most of my social needs for years, but a few years ago, I quit my job to take on writing full time. I ended up taking editing jobs to pay the bills between book releases, and last year, editing became my full-time gig. This year, I’m doing my best to balance the two jobs. After all, I no longer have to leave my beloved characters to go teach a lesson on potty training a toddler or whatever my lesson was when I worked as a parent educator.
It was potty training a LOT of the time. Even when it wasn’t supposed to be about potty training, parents turned the class into “Help! My kid won’t use the toilet!” *sigh* See why I quit? After 16 years of potty teaching, I was done!
Now I work at home in my pajamas or loungewear. Many days I don’t bother getting dressed. I drink more coffee than is probably recommended by physicians and I sit on my duff far too many hours.
But I’m happy. I love my job. I couldn’t say that the last few years of teaching.
The only disadvantage is that I am back to living in a bit of a bubble. Now I have to force myself to leave the house, to get involved in local groups, take classes, meet new people.
So I hope to write a bit more here. Just for fun. Not fiction but to connect with readers, to do the things I used to do way back when I first started blogging and ended up meeting some pretty great people. And my fanfiction community, well, I’m still friends with many of those people. Real life friends now. 😀
So, join me? Feel free to ask me any questions. Anything you ask, I’ll try to incorporate into a future post.