I’d been told many times that I should write. I always replied that I didn’t have anything to say, which sounds pretty funny to anyone who knows me. Since I had already written a self-help book that is available on Amazon, I clearly had plenty to say in “Find a Sweetheart Soon!” But I was a Romance Coach when I wrote it for the singles I thought needed what I had to offer: women over forty entering the dating market.
I still get a little check every three months or so from Amazon, but it's good I don't depend on that money to eat. That could, however, be the best diet I have ever been on.
I’m out of the coaching business now. I miss my clients, but what I miss most is the writing. Along with the book, I also maintained a busy website and blog, as well as putting out a twice monthly newsletter. I used them to learn how to write. The website is now history. I took it all down when I closed my romance coaching practice.
Then a couple of years ago, my husband Drew and I started doing writing exercises together. What seemed to work magic for us was to start with a prompt, a few words or maybe a picture, and then type as fast as we could for fifteen or twenty minutes. About a third of the results morphed into respectable short stories. Those folks who had told me I should write were right: I did have something to say, especially if I didn’t think too much about it. I’ve already had a few of those stories published in online literary journals. You can read them by following the links on the Writing tab.
The work I’m most excited about now came right out of one of those exercises. We used a photo of a man holding a beer with a bus or an RV in the background. I don’t even have what I wrote in that fifteen minutes, though I did turn it into a short story. But I thought: “There’s more here,” and started writing. Without intending to, and with no plan for where the story was going or where it would end, I wrote a novel.
My “Florida for Christmas” draft, in my first rewrite, is now more than 80,000 words. It’s the story of Artie and Carmen, a couple in their forties. Artie and Carmen built a home and farm in frigid northern Maine. Their two kids launched, the couple are stuck but don’t know it. Artie’s boss asks him to drive his RV to Florida over Christmas. The trip and their resulting misadventures give Artie and Carmen the opportunity to do a mid-life course correction, to completely change the direction of their lives.