While I’m not technically part of the Marketing for Romance Writers group I have been trying to include their 52-week blog challenges into my repertoire as I am working on my first romance novel. This weeks challenge is your earliest memories.
This one was gut-wrenching for me. My earliest memories aren’t happy memories. It is so sad and depressing that I debated on not sharing it here. I mean, who wants to read something that is heart-wrenching in a romance blog post? Still, it is my earliest memory and it did lead to the person that I am now. So, while the memory does start out sad and hard, it ends in a happily ever after.
My earliest memory comes from when I was around nine, while that is later than most can remember it was the earliest I can. I spent a lot of time blocking out huge groups of my childhood for reasons I won’t get into here. Anyway, I digress. I was nine and we were just leaving an assembly at my elementary school. I remember I was carrying my chair back to the classroom when I was told to leave my chair for the teacher to handle and to report to the office. After all the oohs and ahs of my classmates, I headed to the office to discover my Uncle standing there checking me out of school. If that wasn’t strange enough he was grabbing my younger sister and his children out of the school. I was informed we were headed to the hospital as my mom wanted to talk to us.
None of it made any sense to me and to make a long story short we discovered that my dad had a brain tumor behind his eye and wrapped around his brain. It was one of the most horrific memories for me, but my earliest. While it ended in tragedy after five years it also led me to where I am now in my life. To escape everything that was going on in my life I found myself picking up some of my oldest sister’s Harlequin romances. I devoured book after book. While they always carried some tension in them they ended in happiness.
Happiness. The one thing I really needed in my life at that time. Book after book of millionaires, of dukes and cowboys. I read it all. To say my sister has quite the collection of Harlequin’s is such an understatement. She’s been collecting them since the books were ten cents apiece. So, I dug into her collection and devoured them. As I got older I branched out to Nora Roberts and so many others, but it all started in the most tragic moment in my life.
My passion for reading led me writing and started out writing horrible romances brought on by a teenage heart filled with angst and some of the most terrible writing I’d ever read, but I kept writing. When my children were born and I was still a teenager, I wrote. The eventual collapse of my marriage, I wrote. I kept writing and eventually, I started writing with my little sister, which still to this day is one of my absolute favorite memories of her.
Eventually, I wrote my first novel that I thought was great enough to be published and I joined a group after being invited by another dear writer friend. I learned so much from that group, though for the life of me now I can’t recall the name from ten years ago. Anyway, in that club one of the other members made an announcement that a short story/flash fiction blog she was running was looking for romance authors to join their ranks.
I won’t lie. I was terrified. All the romance novels I’d written were horrible. I wasn’t going to be a romance writer because I sucked at it. Mind you, I still didn’t know a thing about what I was doing and was so green in the industry that I thought I knew everything. Funny how that works. Still, something told me, try anyway. I won’t lie. That was the best decision I’ve made in my entire writing career. Not only did I get to learn so much about the romance writing genre and get to write among those I consider of the greatest romance authors I’ve met, but I made friends. Real friends that even though we are separated by an ocean for one and half the United States for others, I consider some of the best and most amazing friends I’ve made during my writing.
Now, while the memory started as so tragic and heartbreaking what grew from it…I just can’t be upset by. I love my Chatty Chicks. Emily, Cat, Vicki, and Ellie have been some of the greatest people I’ve ever met and so supportive. You will never find a better group of ladies to pick you up and be there for and with you through everything.
So, now that I’ve written way more than I intended I should probably get back to work. Remember to L.O.L. (Live it, Own it, Love it) or it isn’t worth doing.