I remember when I was a little girl - I think I had to be in the fifth grade- when I declared to my teacher (Ms. Steeg) that I was going to be a writer. It made perfect sense to me then, because I wan avid reader of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series and was preparing to graduate to his teen series Fear Street. It was during this period when I somehow knew, as crazy as it sounded that writing was the path that I would take. I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I loved to write stories. I loved to bring my imagination to life on paper and if R.L. Stine could do it, why couldn't I?
My publishing journey began in 2012 when I finally could afford a laptop to type up the visions that I had written down in several notebooks. My first book series was to supposed to be about this vampire hunters' assistant, Bermuda Brown. Sadly, I never got around to finishing it because the first novel I actually completed, Love At Last took over. I wrote that story in two weeks and once it was done, it sat in my computer for over a year as I worked on my fantasy book, Nubia Rising The Awakening. Mind you, I had just graduated, earning my degree in Criminal Justice and yet I was still working as a fitting room attendant at Ross, not even making a full $9 an hour.
But yet I had a dream...
When I finally typed my concluding words for Nubia Rising, I began researching how to submit my work to an agent and the do's and dont's of the publishing world. Nubia Rising was sent out to at least 30 agencies in 2014. I received responses within two weeks of submission and all of them were a no. However, despite being disappointed, a few were kind enough to give me some feedback. I was told to work on my passive writing and I was even welcomed to resubmit once I worked out the kinks.
I chose not to resubmit. I chose not to work out the kinks because I still had more stories to get out of my system. I have always been an avid reader, but at that time, I dove into more books. I was introduced to the author's Karen Marie Moning and Christine Feehan. I was already a big fan of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series and of course, my all time favorite L.A Banks (I reread all of her books). And what ended up happening that year is my discovery of the indie publishing sites SmashWords and CreateSpace. I published Love at Last on SmashWords before CreateSpace followed by Nubia Rising.
After that, I wrote Blind Salvation, which to this day holds special meaning to me. I submitted that to a few agencies. Most of the feedback I received at that time included, "Sorry, it does not fit with my current roster." One agent however was smitten by it and she told me that she would speak to her editor about my manuscript. I was so overjoyed in that moment, I didn't now what to do with myself. But after a few weeks and no further response from her, I contacted her only to receive a quick response from an editor who informed me that she no longer worked for that agency and also, he declined my manuscript.
I shook off that disappointment and began working on Viper (The Vampire Assassin). Now, as I am writing, publishing, sending out query letters, my personal life was shot to shit. I was living with my daughter's father whom was about as toxic and irresponsible as he could come. Between the late night battles, his gambling habit, his drinking, the three day notices, the stress of not knowing if I am going to walk into my apartment and my lights are cut off, to just so much drama that fucked with my peace.
I still wrote though. I knew at some point that things had to change for the better. It hurt to see my peers revealing their amazing covers they paid a graphic designer for and here I am with my self made covers from Microsoft Word. I wrote and cried. I cried and wrote. Until I finally could no longer take being in the presence of a man so draining and bothersome. My soul begged me to make a move and when I did, even though he still said ad did all kinds of stuff that a man with control issues and a broken ego would do, I was free.
Free to pursue my dreams; free to figure myself out; free to find the love that I always wanted; and free to just create undisturbed. But the key factor out all of this is I never gave up.
Even up until recently, I have experienced nights of deep contemplation on just walking away from writing. But even in my darkest moments, my pen was really all I had. My laptop is my oasis. My imagination has always been my happy place. And throughout all of my ups and downs and trials and tribulations, it takes a special kind of crazy to keep writing even when no one tells you that you are good; when no one applauds you for releasing ANOTHER book; when the sales are not as high as you would like them to be; when everyone else around you seems to be winning; when your peers don't see you; when no one in your immediate circle offers to purchase your book...
I am proud of myself for believing in the one person capable of bringing my vision to life: me.