All photos: Buzz Kuhns Photography
I grew up in Vermont learning the value of hard work, dedication and honesty. From my Mother, I inherited a love of making people happy by way of food. As a teenager, I fell into a restaurant job that turned into a career spanning a decade and ultimately carried me to the West Coast. These experiences offered a framework for the story of a young woman who must learn to follow her own dreams and that faith, in herself and the universe, is the greatest accomplishment.
My gratitude cannot be measured for all those who read my manuscript, made suggestions,offered opinions about my writing and listened to me suss out the story over several years! I hope you too enjoy the results of my efforts in Out of the Ashes of The Phoenix.
The view above of Lake Champlain is similar to one described in my novel. For those of you who have never been to Vermont, this photograph will give you a glimpse of where this story begins.
Learning from the expertise of others and drawing on my determination to make this dream a reality, I developed a plan. My goal was first to get one hundred words out a day. This grew to five hundred words a day. Sometimes it happened. Sometimes the words just would not flow and Iʼd delete several prior days work. Other times, real life would muscle itʼs way into my writing time and on those days nothing was accomplished toward my goal. The discovery that instead of battling insomnia I could use the time to invite in my creativity was monumental. I spent the quiet hours of my daily commute developing my characters and the scenes of this story. The hushed hours of the very early morning saw the words spill out onto my computer screen. Here, the measure of success for a day of writing became less about word counts and more about a sense of peace with making my dream tangible.
As with any major decision or call to action in life, there has been a thousand times the possibility to turn back has presented itself. Everyday I sat at the computer, I could have chosen to do something else. Each literary agent rejection was another potential reason to give up, turn back, not risk putting myself out there as a writer. Yet, my natural determination kept me moving forward. Now my work is out in the world!
When I started this process, all I had was a dream to publish a novel and perhaps an ordinary command of the English language. I needed some tools so I turned to the internet for online writing courses. I located the University of Wisconsin in Madison. I donʼt remember now how they rose to the top of the heap but it has been the right fit.