I have a dear friend who has published over 100 books. I'm sure that Harlequin has bemoaned the loss of Joan's great books since she has finally retired. When I first met Joan I shyly told her that I was writing a book too, never expecting much more than an encouraging word or two. But she was more than encouraging. She told me about the local RWA group and that I HAD to attend a meeting. I told her I would, but I had no intention of doing it. I was a shy person, and besides, I was only writing a book ---I'd never been published. Ah, but Joan was persistent. The night before the Saturday meeting she called me and said "You had better come or I will come and get you!" Needless to say I was there at that meeting. I don't know what I ---really--- expected but it was a wonderful day I will never forget. I met several other well known authors and I was in awe the whole meeting. They all treated me as though I'd been a member of the group forever. And not once did I feel the dreaded "I'm not good enough to be an author" feeling. They made sure of it. I felt like I was surrounded by mentoring friends that would do anything to help make my dream of becoming an author come true.
Thus started my road to publication. Joan, Rita, Evelyn, all of them, encouraged me every step of the way, mentored me, pushed me, and basically wouldn't let me give up. I was a complete novice when it came to writing, but I had the strong desire to tell my stories, and they pulled that dedication out of me and enhanced it. Rita took up the task of reading through my manuscript and editing it, showing me where I needed improvement, where I needed to correct my writing style, and how to bring my own "voice" into my words. Joan was there every step of the way to not only encourage me but to push me. There were times I was sure my book would never make it. Joan would tell me "Put your butt in that chair and write!" "Ignore the rest of the world. They aren't helping you write that book." "You're at your place of work. Same discipline. WRITE!" And no matter how many times I had questions or doubts, Joan, Rita, Evelyn, and the rest of the group were there to support me.
It became a running joke with me and Joan, as I would tell her "I wanna be like you when I grow up." (Over 100 books is beyond impressive!). And she would respond with "Write." LOL---same answer every time! And she was so right. You can't be published if you don't write.
But I also learned another valuable lesson along the way. Writing is just part of the process. It's the support and encouragement and help along the way from friends and mentors that makes the road to publication alot easier to trod. I can honestly, sincerely say that if not for Joan and the others, I would not have made it this far.
So, "pay it forward", right? Yes! I try to help and encourage anyone who comes to me for advice. I had that incredible support when I was in their position of just starting out, and I want to pass it on. I'm a big believer in authors helping authors. Joan and Rita didn't see me as "competition" (and still don't! LOL!) and they gave freely of their knowledge to help me. I want to be like that. I want to be there for others who need help along the way, even if its something as simple as encouragement. My schedule keeps me so busy now that I can't take on new projects of editing, etc., but the encouragement and support I can lend is just as important.
Even today I still tell Joan "I wanna be like you when I grow up!" And ... she still has the same answer! And it reminds me every time that without that encouragement I would never have made it this far. I hope that I have helped someone else along the way, the same way Joan and the others helped me. They'll never know how grateful I am.
Below is an excerpt from TEMPTATION UNLEASHED, a scene where the heroine Kira is faced with a choice she's not sure she can handle. Without the support of her dead sister, Kira is sure she's facing death. Dramatic example, I know, but the point is that support ---in any shape or form ---is a priceless gift.
She screamed in agony, staggering as if drunk. Warren yanked her across the room, but her knees gave out and she knelt where she dropped on the floor. Gasping for breath, she turned her pleading, tear-filled gaze back to Aiden's. "I don't have the power to defeat them both. You must kill me. Now. I can't do it!"
"Yes, you can, Kira. With my help." Lena reassured her in a quiet, calm voice as she stood staunchly beside Gavin, just inside the basement door.
.......a gust of chilling air blew into the room and a familiar but wavering voice hissed, "Yes. Combine your powers. Fight them. Defeat them. Stop them."
"Sonia," Kira gasped. She stared at the ghostly mist of her sister as another wave of intense pain rolled through her. "I can't!" She moaned. "I don't have that strength, that ability."
"Remember, Kira. You have to remember."
Something wild this way comes....
Once a powerful, practicing Wiccan, Kira Douglas has reluctantly moved to wild and beautiful Sedona, Arizona for only one reason: assume custody of her dead sister's daughter. She immediately runs into an obstacle. The child's uncle, the disturbingly sexy Aiden Calhoun, refuses to give her up.
Aiden has good reason for not allowing Kira custody of his precious niece. The child is half witch and half shapeshifter. Allowing Kira to take the girl could expose the family's shapeshifting secret he has spent a lifetime protecting. Their instant attraction isn't just an inconvenient temptation. It could put his entire family in danger. But an Evil force is re-emerging, bent on on destroying everything they know and love. The only way to survive is to put all differences aside. And overcome the nightmare that once broke Kira's faith.
Happy Reading Hugs, Kari www.authorkari.com