Like so many others, I’ve been caught by the Olympic fever. Each night my family and I sit in our living room and watch athletes do the impossible. I gasp in amazement as they fly down the slopes…dance on the ice…flip and twirl through the air. But as much as their individual performances captivate me, I find myself wondering about when they dared to dream of becoming an Olympic athlete. And, more importantly, when they dared to voice that dream.
Dreaming is easy. Safe. In our minds we can envision ourselves doing anything, being anyone. But when you dare to voice your dream…oh, man. Scary stuff indeed.
I still remember the moment I discovered my first romance novel. I was at my Aunt Patsy’s house and a copy of The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss was on the nightstand next to the guest bed. That night, while everyone else was sleeping, I sat in the window seat and with lightning illuminating the dark sky, I devoured that book. The passion, the heartache, the longing… When I reached the end, I realized my life would never be the same. Now, I not only knew what genre I wanted to read, but I also knew what I wanted to write.
But knowing and believing are two different things.
So I shelved my dream. Went to school, got married, had three wonderful children. And in between a demanding job and mommy duties, I read. And read and read and read. I read every romance novel I could find. But I never let myself dare to dream I could become a published author. That dream seemed better suited to someone else. So I kept my fading dream close, only sharing it with my husband. And thank goodness I did!
One day while I was chasing toddlers and changing diapers, he handed me an article from our hometown paper highlighting the local Romance Writers of America chapter. A whole world of romance writers and readers? Heaven!! Right then I knew I had a decision to make: was I willing to put voice to my long held desire?
Was I willing to publicly fail? Because really, that was what I was afraid of.
It took me six years to complete my first book. It then took the prodding of my amazingly supportive friends to convince me to enter RWA’s Golden Heart contest. When they announced that I had won, I wish I could say I was speechless. Surprised? Yes! Shocked? Yes! Yes!! But speechless? How I wish. No. I cried. Like a baby.
While that manuscript did not find a publisher, it did land me the world’s best agent. And when I sat down to write my second novel, I channeled all of my long held dreams, all of those longings, into my hero and heroine. Jenny is a strong woman, shattered by her past, who is afraid to believe in love…until she meets Jared, a hardened flyboy who lives in a closed world where hopes and dreams do not exist.
While my road to publication has been a long one, I’ve learned that each dream begins with a single, small step. And while I’m no Olympic athlete, I am glad I finally dared to voice my dream and let it take flight. How about you? Have you taken that first step toward fulfilling your dream? Did you, like me, read a book that changed your life? Or did your dream take a different path? Do you remember the first romance novel you read? Please share with me on this my first blogging experience!! Everyone who comments will be included in a drawing for an autographed copy of my first novel, LAKE MAGIC, and a $20.00 Barnes and Noble gift certificate.