On May 1st, I published a full length novel. The book is called In A Man’s Hands. I’m very happy with it and I hope it makes its way into the hands of whoever it’s supposed to find its way to. I believe in this type of magic so strongly that I have to remind myself that my work is not done. After all, I am the book’s vessel and it is my job to share.
But I know something about myself which makes the business side of authorship a big challenge. I can tend to share too much or not at all. (Working on this as we speak.)
After 45 years of life, I’ve come to accept and love that this is me. It’s how I’m made. Maybe this is you too. Or maybe not. Either of these, of course, is just fine. The trick is taking the time to quiet down, listen to what is your true nature, and then love that with all your heart and soul. Let people see you in that realness. Trust it’s the best way to be. Practice being that person. I do believe that is when you’ll ease into the rhythm of your life, allowing for successes to find their way to you in the very best way for you. This is not easy. But it is possible and preferable.
When I began writing In A Man’s Hands, the year was 2011. I was in a different season of life then. My son was 10 years old, needing me in different ways than he had as a littler guy. My husband was an active duty soldier with two recent deployments to Iraq under his belt, yet preparing for retirement from his beloved Army. The head and heart space that type of transition requires can be tricky for even the most seasoned of people. As for me, um… well, I didn’t really consider that anything remarkable was going on in my life. I was just living as an Army wife and mom. In my quiet times, I was writing some pretty dark and heartbreaking stories as it turns out, but they seemed safe to me at the time. Now I can see there was more to my story than I gave thought to as that younger woman. My dad had been killed a few years earlier, we were living in a new state, far away from the rest of our family, and I was not taking time to slow down, be quiet and listen to what any of that meant. I just kept rolling right along. Maybe you’ve been in this kind of place. That is okay.
Whew, I just realized that to go into the next chunk of years would exhaust me and likely you as well. Let’s not do that. Suffice it to say, life carried on, with lots of wonderful highs and an equal amount of confusing lows to balance things out. I went right along with it. I finished up the first, second and third drafts of this particular book, which went through many changes, including the title. At one point it was called At the End of the Water. I loved that title (still do) and it had a nice tie-in to a particular scene in the book. But the more I worked on it over the years, the more the story evolved, as did I, again not really realizing this as it was happening. I came to call it In A Man’s Hands. Maybe that’s where I thought I was, or where I wanted to be. Maybe I missed my dad. That is okay.
I submitted the story to publishers and agents who all passed on it. I lost count and eventually stopped counting how many passes it received. But in the face of all that, I still felt this story and loved it. Enough to keep it alive and breathing. But for the time being, I stepped away from it, and took a breather. I stopped sharing myself in many ways. This was okay.
On May 6, 2013, seven years ago today, I received an email that I knew I needed to hold onto. (Because remember, that type of magic exists and when you know you’re supposed to pay attention to something, you just know and you do it.) Through my local writers group, I had won a critique from an established and respected author who agreed to read my opening pages. In her response to me about those pages, she said she enjoyed it very much, that I had the making of a single-title book and then gave me a few solid pieces of advice that would improve it. Needless to say, I followed her advice, implementing the changes because I trusted what she had to say. I then took another break, and this was okay.
Two years later, and perhaps the bravest/craziest thing I did in the face of rejection and no foreseeable movement on the publication of this book, was spend money I didn’t really have and hire a professional cover designer. She was just starting out and gave me a great deal for which I am thankful to this day. Maybe I just needed the story to know I had faith in it and would not give up. One day, even if I had to do it myself, I’d publish this book and it would have a beautiful face to show the world. Funny how the creation process of art mirrors so numinously the growth process of its creators.
I set it aside and let it rest for a bit, because the story and I both needed it.
Another five years passed. These were some rocky years for sure. The bumps and lumps, however, brought (lovingly forced) me to an amazing opportunity for growth. I started practicing getting to know my true self through things like yoga and meditation. This has made significant changes to the rhythm of my life. On this more balanced path, I’m aware of so much more. I love my quiet reserved times as much as I love my out there and sharing times. Now that I know how to love me, I know how to love all.
In March, I committed my heart and soul to doing everything I had to do to publishing this book. And guess what? No kidding, it only took me two weeks once I made that my true and clear intention.
It has now been 9 years since I wrote the first words of In A Man’s Hands. And not only is that okay, it’s perfect.
I hope this finds you happy, healthy, positive and passionate. But most of all, I hope this finds you in celebration of your true self. If not, I hope this finds you on your way there.
I think you’d really love reading my new book. If you agree, you can check it out here…
Thank you for reading this post today. It means a lot.
Trust your soul,