New Blood, fresh face! Make room in the ‘vert, Riders. Welcome, Lisa Scott!
It’s strange being 42 and a newbie in the publishing world. I turned to writing after almost twenty years in TV news as a reporter and anchor. That chapter of my life ended when I lost my job in 2008 a few weeks before Christmas. It was one of the darkest times of my life. For a number of reasons, I didn’t want to continue in the field and knew that career was over. I was devastated, embarrassed, and clueless what to do next. I didn’t handle it well. I sobbed endlessly for days, wadded tissues all over the floor. My young children were confused why normally happy Mommy was so sad.
One night as I was crying alone in bed—my husband off working the night shift—my five-year-old daughter came into my room. Her look was determined, her voice quiet and calm. “Mommy, please stop crying. It’s just a job. You can get another job.”
She was right, but I needed to explain why I was so upset. “Honey, I really loved my job. It was my dream job, and I don’t know what I’m going to do next.”
She started ticking off the options on her chubby little fingers. “You could be anything: a teacher, an artist, a vet.” (All of her dream jobs.)
How could I get my kindergartener to understand my loss? “Riley, I feel like I was on a party bus having a great time, and then that bus dumped off me in the desert with no food or water and no map. And I don’t know what to do now.”
She climbed up next to me. “I’ll be your map.”
I smiled through my tears. “Okay map. Where should I go?”
“Chase the bus.”
I choked back a sob. “Sweetie, even if we caught it, they don’t want me on that bus.”
She thought about it for a moment, then shrugged. “We’ll just wait for the next bus.”
I was stunned. Everything seemed so clear. She was right. Something else was going to come along. Of course it was. She patted my head and said, “So put that in your imagination and dream about it tonight,” and then she kissed me and backed out of my room. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was giving my children a horrible lesson on how to deal with adversity, and my five year old was the one providing the wisdom.
So I took the risky chance of working for myself as a voice actor and decided to finally try my hand as a writer, something I’d always wanted to do, and had dabbled with in the last few years while working. I started writing shorts for true confessional magazines. I polished up a middle grade novel I’d written. I wrote my first romance novel. And now I’m riding on that next bus, thrilled to be writing my very own happy ending.
But I think it’s time for an upgrade in transportation. I want to ride with the top down, too, waving my arms, hooting and hollering, “Look at me! I’m doing it!” (Because you’re crazy if you do that on a bus, but way cool doing it in a convertible.)
I’ve been busy on this new journey. My first romance novel, No Foolin’, is now available from the fabulous Bell Bridge Books. Story #2 in the Willowdale series, Man of the Month, will be out in March. I’ve self-published several collections of romantic short stories I call Flirts!, and my debut middle grade novel, School of Charm, comes out with HarperCollins next year. I spend many days in my pajamas sans makeup instead of the suits and full hair and makeup I used to wear every day. My children panic when they see me putting on mascara. “Where are you going??!!” But it’s been an incredible ride. I used to be the one emailing authors saying how much I loved their writing. Now I’m getting email from strangers telling me they stayed up all night reading my books.
If you’d like to check out my work, a few of my short stories are free right now: “The Hot Girl’s Friend” (from Flirts! 5 Romantic Short Stories) and “My Fake Fiance” (from Wedding Flirts! 5 Romantic Short Stories.) One lucky commenter will win a paperback copy of No Foolin’. When a Hollywood heart throb comes to a tiny Willowdale, North Carolina, he hires the school nurse to pose as his girlfriend so the press won’t discover the secret that really brought him there. Fooling the tabloids they’re in love is one thing; convincing themselves they’re not is getting harder each day.
So tell me, how many of you have had to change busses in the middle of the journey? I’ll send a paperback copy of NO FOOLIN’ to the visitor whose name is drawn from among today’s comments