I was born and raised in the South, need I say more! I have called Anderson, South Carolina home my whole life. The seasons here are very distinct, each bringing the desired days that bring many people from all over to settle in this part of the world. Life in a small town is just that. If you talk to someone in the grocery store line long enough, chances are you know them or some of their relatives! Southerners are just that way - no one meets a stranger.
My love for books and the written word started at the early age of five. My favorite books as a child were the Box Car Children series. By the time my teenage years rolled around, I discovered the world of romance and make believe. My mama used to say I was born in the wrong era; she was convinced I should have been someone’s fairytale Princess. That’s how my love for books was born. I remember summers spent on the porch with a book in hand or mama coming in at bedtime to take away the flashlight I had under the covers on a school night! Books were, and still are, a big part of my life.
I started writing poetry in high school. I had an English teacher that read my work and he told me whatever I did I must never stop writing. That seed took root and I started dabbling in writing a full-length novel at age twenty but ten chapters into my WIP, I tucked it away for no other reason than life. Several years passed before I could focus again on my writing but even though my WIP was collecting dust my ideas were shiny and present in my mind on a daily basis. Writing was the only thing in life that I truly wanted to do.
Then a series of events happened in my life that were life changing. After ten years and doubts that I would ever have a child, Jacob Rice McKinley, my miracle baby, was born on Thanksgiving Day in 1995. Life was perfect. So much so that I didn’t realize that in giving me this perfect child God had been preparing me for one of the greatest losses I would face in my life. I lost my mama in March of 1997. I had to learn that sometimes life’s not fair but it does go on and you have to choose to go on with it for the sake of the ones you love that are still here. Although I was without my rock, I still had my Granny Ruth and Papa J. W., my mother’s parents, and they loved to no end. And for anyone who knows me and my family, they were the glue that held it all in place. As far as I was concerned the sun set and shined because of them.
In December of 2006, my Papa J. W. died suddenly. Fourteen days later my Granny Ruth slipped into a coma from complications with diabetes - I believe it was from a broken heart. The day we took her off life support in her hospital room every child, grandchild and great grandchild stood around her bed with tears streaming down all of our faces sharing stories of our childhood memories with her until her last breath was taken on this earth and as my Papa J. W. welcomed her into Heaven. It wasn’t until later on that I found out everyone one of us had went into her room alone at one point and time and told her it was okay that she could go and be with Papa, we would be okay.
Even with such heartache and trying times, I finally managed to return to my life’s passion. Late one night last year while comforting my sick son Jacob, I picked up a book and started to read. I sat there on the couch with my child’s head resting in my lap never expecting anything life changing that evening, but that is exactly what happened. That particular book had a profound effect on me and I knew then I had to pick my writing back up and finish what I had started. Since then, the desire and passion has never left me. So, with a conviction I hadn’t felt in a long time I pulled out my pen and paper and began where I had left off years ago.
Now here I am years after starting my writing and it seems I’ve come full circle. Writing has become my way to create that happily ever after ending that true life sometimes can’t offer. My own Prince Charming and the Little Golden Boy cheer me on, as my entire extended family provides me with the support and encouragement I need. God, however, decided I needed one more person in my cheering section and that is my friend Talina. There are days I just want to give up writing all together but with laughter and her gentle prodding and lots of words of encouragement I manage to forget that notion and forge ahead. Besides the truth be told, I couldn’t stop writing if I wanted to, I love it to much.
In this blog I hope that newbie writers, readers, moms, can visit and take something away from here even if it’s something as simple as a smile, a story to share with someone or helpful knowledge that helps put the confidence back in your WIP. If we can do any of those things, Talina and I will have accomplished what we set out to do by creating this blog.
And always remember dreams are just that but you have the ability to make them come true!