Because of this, I dreamed of writing a novel. That dream was suppressed while I worked, parented, mowed lawns, shoveled snow, cheered at my sons' hockey games, skied down mountains, climbed up mountains, socialized with friends and on and on—no time to write a novel. Even if I did have the time, did I know how? Sure, I could read a book, but writing one was overwhelming. So I tucked my many ideas into the "Someday" file of my brain until...
...while relaxing with my (now) husband, Keith, on a park bench in Dupont Circle, DC, I witnessed a compelling interaction between an intense upscale white male who was losing a series of blitz chess games to an elderly African American male. The upscale man's wife and daughters waited impatiently as Dad and husband insisted on more games. I turned to Keith and said, "Wouldn't that be a great start for a novel?"
The idea simmered in my head and eventually ignited into a fire that I couldn't ignore. I had to write that story, but when? At the time I was a single parent of two sons transitioning into college, engaged to my love and best friend of eight years, Keith, working full time as a speech-language pathologist for a school district, working part time as a clinical supervisor at a college and maintaining a house. Sure...write a novel in my spare time.
Fortunately, I had taken the audio version of Excuses Be Gone by Dr. Wayne Dyer out of the library. After listening to it, I decided I not only could, but would write that novel...500 words a day. I kept that commitment to myself. I even wrote 500 words on my wedding day, Christmas, and the day of my house closing. I must confess. I did not write the week I moved or the day after my wedding.
What about the "how" part?
I have a B.A. in Journalism/Communications from the State University of New York and have taken many creative writing classes over the course of my life. In addition, I took online fiction writing classes and delved into books on novel creation. I'm also an avid reader, which is a must for every writer.
I absolutely fell one hundred percent in love with the process. Words gushed from my head and heart to my fingers onto the keyboard. Many days I wrote far more than 500 words. After several months, I had a rough draft of a novel.
Then came the editing. I needed to learn more so I called on the writing community for help. I attended several writing conferences and joined Saratoga Romance Writers and The Hudson Valley Writers Guild.
I enrolled in the master fiction class at East Line Books and Literary Center where I met the owner and instructor, Robyn Ringler, who became my mentor and independent editor. In January of 2011, I was one of ten writers selected to participate in a twelve week novel writing class taught by acclaimed author, James Lasdun, through the New York Writers Institute. This led to acceptance into the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College.
The learning process was incredible!
Four years after I witnessed that scene in Dupont Circle, I received this in the mail a week ago—the proof copy of "my novel." Talk about a kick back moment! I'd love to share the cover with you right now:
And here's what it's about:
Michael Stolis, a DC attorney, is frustrated by twelve hour work days, tightly scheduled weekends and his family's chaotic habits. He explodes over minor irritations like being stuck in traffic, and his tantrums need to stop. His disillusioned wife, Jamie, is sick of his anger outbursts, and wants him out of her life. Michael longs to reignite the passionate love they once felt for each other. Jamie prefers to spend her time fostering illicit Internet relationships. Michael had simply followed his Greek father's instructions for a successful life, but something went terribly wrong. A lucrative career, a Georgetown brownstone and a BMW coupe didn't deliver happiness as promised.
When his family is about to implode, Michael finds hope through Rufus, an astute retired bus driver he meets over a game of blitz chess in Dupont Circle. Michael is intrigued by Rufus's prescription for fulfillment, but is it too late to change a life, chase a dream, revive a marriage? Michael must decide how much he is prepared to lose if he embarks on a quest so very different from the world he created. Touching, romantic, and deeply provocative, A Stop in the Park, follows the story of a man and a woman who yearn to escape the trap of the modern American dream.
My dream is about to become a reality with A Stop in the Park. Thanks to each and every one of you for being a part of my journey to a novel. So excited!!!!
KICK BACK SONG OF THE WEEK:
Dream by Priscilla Ahn. A wistful song about a little girl who has a dream. The lyrics and voice are beautiful.
KICK BACK BOOK OF THE WEEK:
No Question. It's Excuses be Gone by Dr. Wayne Dyer. I am just about certain that if I didn't read this book, I would never have written A Stop in the Park. Thank you, Dr. Dyer!
A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA: