I am sitting at my computer in shock right now. I never dreamed this level of success was possible for me and I am overwhelmed by the level of gratitude that I am feeling. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!
Getting here was not an easy journey for me. When I left the U.S. Air Force in January of 2008, I had a lot of hopes for the future and a belief that I had done everything in my power to prepare myself for the journey ahead. I was a rock star in the military, I worked hard, I played harder and I was rewarded by my superiors and my subordinates alike. I worked a full-time job and I went to school full-time as well. I had a baby and went back to school two weeks later to sweep my finals. I graduated college with a 4.0. I felt ready for 'the real world' I had heard so much about since I joined up at 17. What I received was a harsh dose of how unfair 'the real world' can be.
There weren't companies just chomping at the bit to hire me, the best I could do was get a job as a secretary at a failing securities firm - part time of course. I was only there a few months before the company was bought out and I was the first to be 'down sized'.
My second job was as a Project Manager at a marketing firm. I really enjoyed the people there, but the pay was nearly non-existent and though I longed to express myself creatively, I found that being at the bottom, after spending so much time at the top was a tough pill for me to swallow. All my college learning meant nothing, all my military experience counted for nothing. I felt as though the last ten years of my life had been wasted professionally.
To compound matters, my husband was working as a contractor in Iraq for those first two years, making the money that was needed to dig ourselves out of debt and keep us afloat. For all intents and purposes, I was a single mom in a city where I knew next to no one. It was a very dark time for me and I didn't know how I was ever going to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Through all this, I kept writing. I kept pouring myself into my world of fiction, because it felt as though it was the only place I could make sense of things. I wrote a little every day, whenever I could, whenever the inspiration would not let me be. I was lonely, depressed, and unsettled. So much of the pain in Captive in the Dark resonates with people because in many ways, the pain is real. The story is fiction, but the pain was mine.
My husband believed in me though, believed in my talent and even though I told him how defeated I was, he told me to hold my head high and keep writing. He told me I wasn't meant for 'the real world'.
In March of 2009, I finished my first draft of Dark: A Tale of Capture and Seduction. At the urging of my husband and the few friends I had made, I left my job at the marketing firm and decided to dedicate my efforts to getting published.
I WAS REJECTED BY EVERY ONE! I received over 28 rejection letters and each one broke my heart into new, fragmented pieces.
But I didn't give up.
I went online and found Katie; she was a top reviewer for Amazon and after reading her reviews I knew she was 1) Like-minded 2) Very thorough in saying what worked and didn't for a novel 3) Constructive. I immediately wasted no time in trying to get in touch with her and much to my elation, she took a chance on me.
Katie wasn't crazy about my novel either, but what she said to me has always stayed with me: 'I liked it so much I wanted to like it more.' She told me I was better than I was allowing myself to be. She knew I could surpass being average and because of her I went back to editing for TWO YEARS. I opened up a daycare to make ends meet, and still do that today.
She introduced me to Amanda and between the two of them they didn't let one damn word slide if it wasn't to their liking. I hated them sometimes, but I love them for being okay with that. LOL
By 2011 I had a polished novel entitled: Captive in the Dark and plans for a sequel Seduced in the Dark.
The last ten years have not been a waste, the Air Force taught me perseverance, strength, about the world and what makes it beautiful and tragic, it made me someone who doesn't give up. And college...it may not have gotten me a career as a business person in the traditional sense, but I have made incredible use of my skills nonetheless.
And the job at the marketing firm was not wasted time as I had previously thought, because I met some amazing and very talented people there. I met the PixelMischief who created my stunning cover and encouraged me to get postcards and posters made (she designed those too). I learned about Twitter and Facebook from my favorite frenemy who convinced me it was important. I think he was my first Twitter follower, AND my first hater. And I learned quite a bit about SEO from Tracey S.
By the time I decided to release Captive in the Dark, my network of friends included Rilee James, a young, punk of a DJ who along with K-Mac backed me whole-heartedly and got me not one, but two radio interviews. Erich Orris from the Tinderbox who loves me (and my filthy mouth) and let me have my release party in his establishment on one of the busiest nights of the summer! And dedicated people willing to pimp my talent: Laura, Corinne, Nicole, Ray, Chris, Bridget, Brian and Jesse, Christine and Kevin, and my husband who made all of his co-workers come.
And then, only hours after putting my book up on Amazon, I received my first review, 5-Stars from 'MISS' who made me cry by calling it 'A story well told'.
Since then, I have met amazing writers, heart-warming readers, and a bevy of die-hard fans (esp. Yajaira Diaz, lol). In addition to everyone I have mentioned, I want to take the time to thank the following people, for making this whole thing worth it: My mom, my sisters, my brothers, Debra Jackson, Stacey Stoddard, Shira Anthony, Anthony Beal, Rhonda Welborn, Rachel Firasek, Books4Tomorrow, Kimberly Bennett, Rick Hale, Lisa Reutter, Kendra Leigh, Michele Tallent, Brandy Roberts, Sonny Garrett, Daisy Dunn, Nikki Palmer, K. Rowe, and YOU for taking a chance on me, my work, and for talking me up to your friends and family. I could not have done it without you.
***Update: Forgot to thank Mia! OMG! Love you Mia! I'm loving working on SITD with you and the girls.
To celebrate, I will be dropping the price for CITD to 99cents for Amazon Kindle, the remainder of April. Would have made it free, but Amazon doesn't allow it. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU.