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My Creative Calling Came Early

juhlarik-HR-3Thank you so much for stopping by. I’m glad you came.

You know the old saying–“Hindsight is 20/20,” right? That phrase has never been more true than with my writing. Every child is born with a yearning to imagine and create, though it takes different forms for each child. Some pour their creativity out in paintings or drawings. Others choose crafts. Still others express their creativity with music.

My creative avenue was writing, and I believe it has been in my blood since the day I was born. I have photos of myself as a young toddler with pencil and paper in hand, scribbling before I was old enough to know how to write. I fell in love early in life with books, when my mom would take me and my older brothers to the library, then let us snuggle in next to her to read what treasures we’d found. It was a very special day each week when the Bookmobile drove into my neighborhood and I got to peruse the shelves there. By the time I was five, I began sneaking out of bed at night to cut notebook paper into quarters, staple the pages into booklets, draw pictures of earthworms on each page, and write stories about the wiggly little creatures. And when I wasn’t doing these things, I was dreaming up elaborate stories to act out with my best friend each day that we’d play together. But even then, I didn’t recognize the gift that was inside me.

It wasn’t until I was twelve that the writing bug really hit me. That was the age that “playing pretend” was getting to be kid’s stuff, and my friends were moving on to chatting about more mature topics, like the cute boys they had crushes on. Sure, that was all fun, but I missed the worlds I’d created in my imagination, and I missed acting out the lives of my made-up people. So when a good friend mentioned that she was writing a novel, it sparked the idea that I could keep on doing those things and not be branded a baby or a fool by my peers. I just had to write those elaborate imaginings down! (Thank you, Holly Zimmerman, for the inspiration. We lost track of each other long ago, but I wish I could tell you that you are one of the main reasons I am a writer today).

In high school, I served on my alma mater’s literary magazine staff, where the idea of seeing my writing published first started to germinate. After high school, I went on to major in writing at the University of Tampa where I began my first novel-length project. That story was a practice field that would teach me much of what I needed to know about writing novels. It took six years to finish the first full draft, and another four years to rewrite, edit, and polish it into something I could show to publishers. (Yes, it was published many moons ago–along with a second stand-alone novel, but both have long been out of print). 

My early adult life was spent in working various day jobs while staying up all hours of the night to fit in some writing time. I never gave up the dream of writing and being published, but in those early days, it was more difficult since it had to be fit around job, home, and family. It has only been in the last seven years that I’ve been able to stay at home and write on a full-time basis. God has blessed me with three publishing contracts so far (see my books here), and I have lots of stories in mind to write, so here’s hoping there’ll be more to come in the near future.

Thank you again for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed reading the nutshell version of my writing and publishing journey, and I hope you’ll look for my books!

Goodreads Giveaway

Hi all, just wanted to let you all know that one of my co-authors, Johnnie Alexander, has put together a nice giveaway of the Courageous Brides Collection over on Goodreads. She took the time to get most of the authors in the collection to autograph a single copy, so the winner will get a multi-autographed book! Head on over to check it out.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Courageous Brides Collection by Johnnie Alexander

The Courageous Brides Collection

by Johnnie Alexander

Giveaway ends October 23, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Fun News

So it seems like there’s been some fun news to share lately–new contracts, cover reveals, bestseller placements, and now…A CONTEST WIN! I got the news yesterday that one of my unpublished stories, To Prove Her Worth, is the winner of the 2016 Olympia Contest put on by Clash Of The Titles

olympiawinnerbadge1

To Prove Her Worth is the first story in a proposed 3-in-1 novella collection titled Proving Up. Here’s a brief description of the novella collection:

A murder spree spanning five years and several western territories reunites three orphaned siblings who were adopted to different families fifteen years earlier. But when one sibling is accused of the murders, they must fight for their newfound family—and their respective loves.

And here is a description of the winning story, To Prove Her Worth:

Pinkerton agents Callie Wilson and Joe Trenamen head to Cambria Springs, Colorado, to investigate the latest in a series of unusual murders. Working in close proximity, romance blooms between the two. However, when a ghost from Callie’s childhood appears, their investigation takes an unexpected turn. Callie is forced to choose between the future she’s always dreamed of and a past she’s never forgotten.

My agent and I are working hard to get this and other stories published, so keep watching for further news!

And NOW…The Cover Reveal!

After checking with my publisher that I have permission to share, here is the cover of my July 1, 2017 release–Of Rags And Riches Romance Collection! Isn’t it beautiful? Barbour does a fantastic job with their covers, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way this one turned out.

OfRagsAndRichesCover copy

New Contract News

So…I have been busy writing away on my Secret Admirer Romance Collection story (see that news from my earlier May posting!) and haven’t taken the time to share some long-overdue news. I have yet another contract to report. Barbour Publishing has contracted my story Union Pacific Princess to be included in their upcoming July 2017 release of the Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection–Nine Stories of Poverty and Opulence During the Gilded Age. I could not be more pleased! I started this story years ago and, due to various circumstances, never completed it, so it will be wonderful to see the story through to the end. The setting is the hell-on-wheels rail town of Cheyenne, Wyoming, during the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. Congrats to all my collection mates: Gabrielle Meyer, Erica Vetch, Michelle Griep, Susanne Dietze, Anne Love, Natalie Monk, Jaime Jo Wright, and Kathleen Y’Barbo. I am proud to be counted among you gifted gals in this collection!

 

Look for Of Rags And Riches Romance Collection in a store near you on July 1, 2017.

Happy News!

Last year was one of those years where writing just didn’t seem to happen. At least, not in the form of finished projects. I spent the bulk of my writing time creating many new ideas–all written in synopsis form–but never really got to writing any of them into completed manuscripts. So while progress was made, it felt like nothing was really happening because I wasn’t seeing the word count go up on any one project.

Well, I’m thrilled to announce that one of those many synopses I have written is now contracted with Barbour Publishing. They have offered me a contract for my novella, The Outcast’s Redemption, to be included in The Secret Admirers Romance Collection. This will be my fourth novella with Barbour, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Take a look at this gorgeous cover!

The Secret Admirer Romance Collection

The Secret Admirers Romance Collection will release on May 1, 2017. Please follow my page to keep up with my latest news!