Category Archives: Maggie Jane’s Ramblings

Say goodbye to the last decade 2010 – 2019

2010 – 2019 The decade soon to fall into a distant past came with many highlights, sacrifices, and growth.

My highlights:

• Came back from the dead! Literally…2009 changed my perspective for the ensuing decade.

• I turned 40 in 2010. The ’40s is where I hit my stride.

• I returned to teaching in 2010. Something I missed and didn’t realize it until I entrenched myself back in the ranks. This set off the chain of events which changed my path and brought back something I’d cast aside for the previous decades—me.

•Mr. and I have almost lived through raising three teenagers. We shipped all three off to college. Eldest completed his masters and came off the payroll. (took us 23 years to achieve this task but every step of sacrificing me was worth it!). Middle is two quarters away from setting his own path after college. Little had a rough start for the first semester, but by the end, she figured it out and is on her way to making a difference in the world. I wouldn’t change dedicating Me or Us to them as the results thus far have proved worth every ounce of pouring myself/ourselves into them.

• Celebrated three decades with the Mr. who captured my heart back in 1989. I didn’t realize it at eighteen, but now at forty-nine he always captured my heart even when I pushed him away for the first six months I knew him. He’s always known what he wants and he always drives toward that goal. He supports our family in every way from the roof over our heads to the dreams we all seek for ourselves and the collective. I’m not always easy and his support from the moment he knew we were a “we” has never wavered. Like I wrote before, he is my rock!

• However, finding me was part of this journey too.

•I completed my masters and it only fueled the nerd in me. I found the National Writing Project, became a fellow, and continue learning with like-minded folks who believe the reading writing path is interconnected. They know the system of education is broken but not the practice behind why we do what we do for students. I love researching with them and discovering new ways of conveying what everybody deserves—literacy in a confusing world of ever-changing rules.

• I discovered a new reading genre in romance. A genre I discounted for the previous three decades of my life. I still read all over the place, but I’ve found amazing authors with stories filled with real life, real situations, real heart headache, real love, and so much more.

• This reading romance books turned into an amazing journey. I can’t express enough how this has become a piece of me that needed exploring and filled missing pieces of my own puzzle. In 2017, I finally expressed the stories in my head and turned them into works others have enjoyed reading. This journey comes full circle with the reading writing continuum on a personal level; one I cherish with each author, reader, blogger, photographer, model, and more involved with this industry. There are so many great people I’ve met along this path. Each providing me more hope in the crazy world we live in. Each unique and supportive in ways I never found in other industries. This indie world is a big family—some you love dearly as family members, others are the cantankerous relatives who challenge you at times when you’re not expecting it, and then the good friends who make you feel welcome no matter the issue at hand. All of these relationships have helped this decade turn into one of the greatest changes I’ve experienced in my lifetime.

• It is my hope that this next decade, the “twenties,” perhaps not roaring, but still soaring and continuing to force me into challenging myself to reach new heights. If I can make my mark in changing something in the educational paradigm, write more works which bring my stories into the hands of more readers, read more great works, and watch my children take flight on the path of life with Mr. by my side every step of the way, then I’ll consider this next decade a win.

To say this has been a cathartic journey from 2010 to 2019 only mildly expresses how much I’ve grown as a human being this last decade. So my wishes for everyone out there is Happy New Year, follow your dreams, follow your heart, and most importantly don’t forget the “Me” in you along your own path. Godspeed XXOOXX Maggie Jane

The 1st step in 2020!

The End of A First Volume


The time for cheers, tears, and celebration arrived with mixed emotions. The last of our offspring closing the final chapter of her fifteen years in the education system. Two years of pre-school then thirteen from kindergarten to twelfth grade. As parents, we hovered when we needed and backed away when each of our children showed the signs they acquired the skillset for spreading their wings alone.

Mr. and I watched Eldest move through first, and we learned along with him with each step. He graduated with honors and laid down a foundation of excellence which his siblings watched and followed. Middle pulled the line next and provided us the affirmation our process and playbook rang true. Both boys went through high school with the typical schedule for type A kids: AP/IB rigorous courses, played a sport at the top of their game and both were team captains, participated and involved themselves in Model United Nations—not just as delegates but as part of the elected governing body—they earned accolades and respect from the teachers and administration which made Little a legacy in the eyes of the school.

She followed this legacy all through elementary and middle school. She internalized her emotions for a long time about the difficulties of following flawless brothers, in her eyes. By the end of eighth grade, she turned to wearing mostly black and didn’t smile as much as in previous times in her life. She turned salty and bitter with less and less communication passing between her and us. We watched her grades and kept our finger on her pulse as we encouraged her to try out for volleyball, a sport she loved and played despite her autoimmune issues which take a toll on her knee, and kept playing the same playbook we did with the boys.

She entered high school excited but scared. This legacy crushed her internally, but she kept steady and solid as she played volleyball and stuck her nose in the books. We watched her like a hawk and allowed her enough space to grow but not enough to fall by the wayside. There were arguments as the pressure inside her grew, yet she held it at bay not knowing how we would react if she unloaded these pressures on us. In her mind, she was following two successful acts, and she was the downfall.

She loved volleyball, but the program did not fit her. Her volleyball coach was also the girls’ basketball coach and encouraged her to try out. She made the team not knowing a thing about basketball, but her coach believed in her, and it helped bring her back into the light. We watched her smile and grow as he continued pushing her limits and teaching her the game. We cannot thank him enough for finding the key which turned her self-esteem around. There are people who come into your life that make all the difference in the world. He rates at the top for our Little.

Freshman year she began Model United Nations. She loved it in middle school and wanted to continue on in high school. Another thing she was legacy in as her brothers also went through the program. Unfortunately, in her freshman year the teacher ended up on administrative leave and they found a  less than solid person to fill those shoes. It was a constant rotation of substitutes, and the inconsistency singed the program a bit.

Then the tragedy of all tragedies occurred. Winter break hit and we received a call that her best friend also sat in the darkness but didn’t find her way to the light. The small glimmers of light in Little’s world shattered with that phone call. She fell a few rungs and the next eighteen months loomed in the outside facade of high school happiness, but her inner self warred with the “why does this happen.” Again. Mr. and I did our best to keep within her inside the circle but allowed her to grieve and work through the catastrophic impact at her own rate.

Freshman year she met Tex in her English class after break. A new boy in town with a gloomy past. We told her no dating until she reached her junior year. She didn’t listen. Deep down, Little is a fixer. She only wants to bring happiness to others. She wanted to fix all those insecurities Tex held inside and make him shine. He wanted a girlfriend to hang on his arm and absorb all the wrongs in his life. It was a terrible combo, and Mr. and I knew it. Again, we watched and parented to the best of our ability. Not leaving to chance, if we closed the door with an absolute no to seeing Tex, that in typical teen style, it would resort to sneaking around behind our backs to see him. This road was tough, but fortunately, her coach, a few teachers she adored, and the few close girlfriends she had all helped her find her own road away from Tex, and it ended in junior year.

She thought junior year would be much the same as sophomore but with more academic rigor. She warred with staying with basketball and dropped drama, except for the Cappies review team she loved. The drama program played favorites, and she was not one of them. The decision to drop those courses was tough, but she found Spanish really suited her. Spanish four was something she looked forward too.

Unfortunately, basketball changed its face on her. Her beloved coach was hired somewhere else, and a new coach stepped in. She had stuck with the team despite unbearable pain in her knee because she respected her coach and his belief in her. She arrived for the first summer practice and came home to tell us she quit.  When we asked why she let us know he was a total creep and something about him was off. In our minds, she loved her first coach and thought this fell in line with other things she mourned like her friend, the end of playing volleyball, the freshman year MUN debacle, and other things she lamented over in the past. We were proven wrong when, by senior year spring, it came out he was asked to leave and arrested on a suspicion of inappropriate acts with minors. Little’s internal compass was spot on!

Spring of junior year Little hit her stride. The light flickered and began its slow rise to brightness. The IB (International Bachelorette) program requires a CAS project. She decided to write, direct, and produce her own play. Through the help of her middle school drama teacher, she wrote a play dealing with the strains social media adds to teenagers lives. She directed it toward middle school students as she believes social media, in part, was a catalyst to her friend’s suicide. She spent from April until August writing a play. The dialogue, stage directions, music, and stage sets all poured into a manuscript that she copyrighted. When school started, she worked with her middle school drama teacher and held auditions of his drama students, picked a cast, rehearsed with them and built the sets she researched and designed. It was an innovative set as she designed a six-foot mock cell phone with a backlit projector and mock social media and text exchange slides to occur during the interactions of her actors. The play was well received when show night hit in November. It was a tremendous undertaking and we believe it was the pinnacle moment when her self confidence unfolded its wings, and she began to live for herself again.

The next big boost was her participation as the elected Director General of OPI (Office of Public Information) in the MUN secretariat. Every year the program raises money for a non-profit organization that makes an impact on a world issue. She presented the idea of representing Live Literately   When the founder of Live Literately, author David Michael, asked what drove her to suggest Live Literately to the MUN board for approval. She told him, “I want to represent Live Literately as they not only want to address the issue of literacy, which is a world issue, they are accepting of LGBTQ+ issues. It’s time that MUN programs reach out and represent all issues across the globe.” The program accepted her proposal and raised $500 with the donations given by participating delegates of MUN programs.

Little continued writing drama reviews for Cappies and served as a co-lead critic for the program. Her love of theatre is strong, and I don’t see her giving it up completely when she arrives at college.

By graduation day she filled her requirements and earned membership into the National Honors Society, California Scholarship Federation, MUN four year member, International World Languages Medallion, IB diploma, and graduated with honors, in the top 7% of her class of 557.


We left her last night for graduation night. They were going to an undisclosed location, and we were to pick her up at six am the next morning. By ten-thirty we had a text from her that the private bus company never showed. Grad night was canceled at eleven-thirty, and we picked her up from school with a frown and not the smile we left her with as she left the graduation ceremony. In the end, this actually was the perfect culmination of her high school experience. Each step of the way she learned something new, despite it coming on the heels of an unfortunate experience.

Little is a beautiful soul with so much to give the world. I know deep in my heart that she will spread her wings in the fall at college and look back on the past four years with a bit of salt but in the end it will taste way sweeter when she realizes she wouldn’t be the young woman she is today without each of those experiences in her tool kit. This new road shimmers with excitement, and her self-esteem is intact and solid which warms my heart as we prepare for her to fly.












Up to Bat—begin your journey with Sam and Blake!

#romancesuspense #oneclick Up to Bat!

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I’ve planned well, studied hard, and dreamed of my future. It keeps me alive, ignoring the things from my painful past. The thing about life is that it can throw a curveball into your path that you can’t anticipate, and plan accordingly.

But life’s cruel. It offers both good and bad, and no time for the right reaction.

My junior year of college should be one of the best but my chance run-in with a loner freshman that harbors deep secrets soon pulls me into her mysterious world.

Unfortunately, her omissions of truth find me in a dangerous place.

Then, I meet Blake Angel. He is one of those curveballs of life…easy on the eyes, and every time we touch, sparks fly. But I can’t. I won’t. I have a game plan, a play-by-play for my future.

Before I realize it, everything has changed. The hidden secrets and lies only confuse me more. Worse, I may not be able to save myself, Samantha Sawyer, from those that now hunt me—and I have no idea why.

Noticing the Change and Liking What You See!

In second grade Eldest made this ball field for his 100 days in school project. He lived and breathed baseball. He learned to read because he needed the stats on his favorite teams and players. He watched the ESPN highlights before school to keep up with all the news surrounding baseball. Of course, he played the game, it was the one thing he found that grounded him.

He played baseball up until college. He made some decisions based on his future rather than immediate gratification, and things didn’t quite play out how he thought they might. Regardless, he missed the team atmosphere and joined his college rugby team. The team won the small college national rugby championship that year. The team became a brotherhood he had never expected, and it is a journey he still continues traveling as he ties up his senior year of college.

Two weeks ago he texted me and asked me if I could proof a paper he wrote  for one of his classes. I figured it was another engineering paper with tons of information I’d know nothing about, but English is still English and I can proof those things which apply to written language.

However, this turned out to be a paper for his third required university course work classes. All students must take three semesters of a continuing education course which involves morals, ethics, personal growth, and an examination of you as an individual as well as on a global scale. The first two are required in your first year (even for transfer students) and the last in your second to last semester before gradation. This paper was something beyond what I expected and those words from my parents and grandparents rang so loud while it read it, “He’ll grow up and surprise you one day, just be patient.” The prompt itself surprised me a bit:

I teach public school and the pressure is on us to make kids keenly aware that argument writing is the main focus in college. But between my two sons I have found that they write far more narrative and informational writing. This still rings true into Eldest’s senior year.

When I read his paper I was taken aback to say the least. He wrote about how his life had changed through many avenues one being the obsession he had with baseball and the change he found overtime through rugby. Another was his major influences; one influence being my mother and another his own father which were ideas based around always giving it your all on the field no matter where the chips may lie.

“[my grandmother an Olympic 2 time gold medal winner, and my father an NCAA decorated athlete] Together they raised me to be graceful in victory and humble in defeat, but always a dedicated hard worker providing the best performance throughout the game.”

But his academic and career pathways were founded on both his father and me placing an emphasis upon his academic skills rather than his extra curricular activities, as well as placing rules and regulations upon him and his siblings that required him to be an active member in our family. He placed family meals and our free-flowing conversations about our days, our thoughts, and our own disagreements as one of the top reasons he has found success outside our home.

“In retrospect, my parents were right and I am thankful for their guidance.”

Then he ended with the part that pushed me into tears:

“I am traditionally a word minimalist, but I do make it a point to have the words I do say be meaningful and important. This reserved part of my personality may be here to stay, but through the foundation built by my family, close friends, professors, and coworkers I strive daily to become a better man and have set goals to make a positive impact with my future endeavors.”

It was all so true, and I know him so well, that he did write from the heart for the assignment and it is the first one I did not feel like I needed to stamp the BS sign and send it back to him!

All of these things were insightful to read because as a parent you never know if what you are doing is right. There are no manuals, no self-help books, no cookie cutter models or recipes to follow. It is the great experiment which every parent sets sail on and hopes beyond all reason they do the job successfully, because you only get one chance and if you mess it up it is something you cannot get back.

Flash forward to yesterday and he called me early in the morning on his way to rugby practice. I teased him and asked what I got on my senior paper. He laughed but started into the things he feels would make kids far more prepared and successful in college and where public education fails students.

  1. Student should write more narratives and have freedom of choice based on a topic rather than a pre-scripted format. His college professors axed the pre-scripted five paragraph essay day one and refused to read anything that was submitted that way.
  2. Students should be asked to create lab reports based on an outcome and they need to be able to construct the experiment themselves. Students must know how to fail and be able to write why things failed and what should change in the future to meet the objective. He understands that lab equipment is expensive, so the cookie cutter experiments in all subjects are affordable and achieve the correct outcome. He noted three things he did in his public school career that had the most impact:
    1. He was asked to build a bridge that could handle a specified payload with only toothpicks and glue.
    2. He was asked to find physics problem and provide a solution to help promote something in the future. He wrote a paper with physics calculations based on the new bats [at the time the baseball bats for high school had just changed over to a new material and the adjustments for both pitches and hitters created a strange playing field]
    3. In his IB course work he was afforded the time and research to write on anything that was plaguing the political arena either nationally or internationally. He chose to research, report, and create solutions for campaign finance reform.
  3. Finally, he noted that families in general are failing students. He knows there are extenuating circumstances that surround families and how they raise their children, but if the student has no support at home why do they care to do well in school if that is not made a priority. As a culture we need to change that family component if we want to change the course for future generations.

At the end of his diatribe I sat silent on the end of the phone. Most of this is stuff we’ve never discussed, because I am often too busy handling the immediate issues of our family and what each offspring might need or the husband. I don’t very often share my own philosophical pragmatic views of education overall with them. I was waiting until they were older if the topic came up. But he hit three areas right on the head and most of which I actually work very hard to teach in my 180 days with students each year.

Inevitably, the point I see happening here is that Eldest is turning out to be a man [that term itself is shocking for a momma] who actually has some depth of character. He thinks about things in a far less self centered way over the last four years. It also reinforces, for both Mr. and me, that we didn’t mess up so bad along the way while raising him. I am certain he will need therapy in some way for things we completely FUBAR’d, but for now, I feel a little more secure in his ability to spread his wings and make some solid decisions for his future. it should also make me worry a little less about where he might head after he graduates in May. [or not!]

Secret Project Reveal!


I’ve been asked, along with 13 other fabulous authors, to write a short fiction piece that will be part of an anthology releasing in time for Halloween!

These will be a tasty morsel of tales born out of the treasures bred through the constraints of the 7 deadly sins and 7 divine virtues. Each sin and virtue is created and told through a variety of genres: romance, paranormal, horror and more.

The Nerdy Novelist’s luck of the draw was temperance…this little tale is not your regular spiel penned by the moderate Maggie Jane. Oh, my fingers have been busy and this work of art has been smoldering around my cauldron for many nights. It is a test of my craft, but I’m betting it will entice many of you to venture into the dark side of this virtue.

A Sorcerer’s Road to Temperance (WIP)

Her self-restraint is tested when a handsome newcomer opens a night club on the outskirts of her small-minded town. His establishments spellbind the patrons and create a magical intoxicating experience. She’s always maintained self-control but as he turns up the heat her inner strength is in peril. She has a choice, either tame the heathens or succumb to their wicked ways.

“She took one long perusal of his athletic body and knew this was going to be a dangerous game. One she’d been looking forward to embarking upon.”

Titles: The Hardest Part of Writing a Work


A title to me should be a message about a work. It resonates a theme or idea from within the words of the pages of the story being depicted. Titles like Catch 22, The Jungle, The Grapes of Wrath, Lord of the Flies, To Kill A Mockingbird, A Time to Kill, Unwind, The Scarlet Letter, A Christmas Carol, Animate Me, Always You, Brightside, The Matriarch, Unlit Star, and so many more have deeper meanings than just words on the front cover. When I came up with the titles of Resurrection and Up to Bat I thought long and hard about what they conveyed and how a reader with a deeper sense of literature deconstruction would figure out the thematic relevance to each title.

Resurrection is a change or rebirth, and most people connect the word with the rebirth of Christ from the Christian biblical ideology. They feel it is a purity of soul type of denotative meaning. In contrast, the connotative structure denotes it is a restructuring of something or someone. A time of truth-telling and coming to grips with what one is faced with, and how to turn sour grapes around into something far more meaningful. When the cover and title were designed, it was intentional to give it a black and white image and a simplistic peaceful tone because the darker chaos of the first few chapters and the twist at the end needed downplaying as the love story is the absolution for the resurrection of the characters.

Jenna built her life around one controlling man and lost herself over the years. She trusted him implicitly and overlooked many things which may have changed her course long before his illness took him. Once she faces the reality of the prison he held her in, she does reinvent herself based out of the truths which are opened along her journey to resurrecting herself.
Chase is saddened by his sudden loss and his resurrection comes with finding out that his happiness makes a world of difference in his attitude with his kids, family, and his new love. He is resurrected through realizing going through the motions of life does not make a person whole, therefore this change is a positive place for him to expand on a new journey with a clear vision in his head of what this salvation looks like for him, his children, his new love, and his family and friends. Therefore, the road to resurrecting oneself may end on the same path, but each person takes a different avenue to arrive at this higher ground.

Many readers see a cover and read the title and assume sports, millionaire, dystopia, sci-fi, power struggle or some other blatant genre or trope ideal.Up to Bat is a little trickier to uncovering the message behind the words and visual. However, Up to Bat stands for many things and one of the face values is that it does address sports and the team style approach, but if Sam and Blake are examined closer, on the cover, he has his hand pushing a stray hair off of her face. They are looking at each other, but it is not in lust, but rather in inquiry. The idiom of being up to bat means to take a chance, it is your turn, make a move.

In Up to Bat, Sam is faced with a myriad of issues which all filter back to her need to move up to the plate and take that chance. She is fighting inner demons which she has shoved under the carpet for a long time; she buried herself in her college studies and her internship to avoid true relationships, and she is her own worst enemy for not risking a chance and making some less structured moves in her own life.

Blake, on the other hand, is always up to bat; he’s ready to take risks and in an underlying way his charity is named Up to Bat to prove that risks are worth trying your luck and standing strong in the end. He risks his life in his undercover job, but he also is making a move on something he knows he wants, Samantha. Each character is having to gamble and make those up to bat decisions and learn from the balls thrown their way. This, in turn, changes the literal denotative idea of Up to Bat being a sole sports romance, to a connotative reality about life and making sure not to waste moments living in the past and playing it safe. Both Sam and Blake have things to work on before they can actually swing the bat, but being up to bat is where people must start to take any of life’s journeys.

Some critics will take a superficial look at the covers and the titles and make biased opinions based on surface level understandings of a title and the respective covers. In the 21st century a world of insta-gratification leaves most to resort to the obvious. This is what some segments of society would rather see; things laid out blatantly rather than having to work for the underlying meanings, themes, and ideologies set forth by an author. Often this digging deeper into the context and content of a work is passed off and missed by the surface level readers and it takes a moment to slow down and dive deeper into a text.

However, I believe there are readers who are tired of the surface level read and the over implied meanings surrounding fiction novels. I believe many readers give up reading because of this infusion of insta-gratification prose. The readers who commit to a deeper level and understand the buried inferred context of the literature seek more difficult reads or look back at a cover or title and think, “Oh, I get it, that was clever.” They may even think, “Hmm I like what the author did, but I might have tried XYZ and tweaked this a little.” The point is it made the reader think, and they were entertained enough to interact with the text.

This is the case for which I selected my titles and covers. It is my hope that more authors and readers decide to take this journey into deeper level thinking rather than expecting the predictable and simplistic approach to literature. Please, don’t get me wrong, I read all over the place and sometimes those quick pick reads are nice and leave a reader with a feel-good sense and there is value in that harmonious balance of easy and difficult as well.

My First Love!

My First Love

I was 3 and I fell in love with John Denver. We lived in South Lake Tahoe at the time, and he came to play a concert in the dinner theater at Harrah’s Tahoe on the North Shore at Stateline, Nevada.

I had been singing his songs from the time I could remember and heard on the radio he would be coming to town. I vividly remember driving in our green Ford Pinto station wagon and talking my mom’s ear off about how much I needed to see him in person.

You had to be 6 in order to attend the dinner and concert series at the Harrah’s venue. I had recently turned 4. Over a dinner with my parent’s friends, who somehow had connections with the folks who ran the concert series, my parent’s friends bought a table for 8 and invited my mother and me to attend.

We rehearsed a practiced response to anyone who might ask me my age at the venue. My mom kept telling me the little white lie was going to be okay and responding six would be just fine! All this because I was going to marry this man someday and I needed to enter gracefully into the dinner theater for this to come to fruition.  My mom worked hours testing me, and I knew I could nail this!

The night of the concert finally arrived and my excitement was unreal. When our part of the line arrived at the door a nice man in a tux smiled at me and bent down to my level. He introduced himself and placed my hand like a princess in his. He asked my name and complimented my dress.

Then he asked the big question, “How old are you, young lady?”

I proudly gazed up at him, smiled big and said, “Six!” While holding up 4 fingers with my free hand. He winked at me and proceeded to lead us to our table.

I ate the six-course meal like a lady, I was a picky eater too, and when Denver came to the stage I sang every song—word for word. He even acknowledged me as his youngest and most enthusiastic fan!

I remember that entire event clearly in my mind. I was so sad when he passed away in a plane crash. He was piloting the plane.

Amazing how we remember those singular events and they still bring a smile to our faces!

2016 – What I’ve Learned Over the Last Year



2016 has been a year of many firsts. Hard for me to believe that last Christmas eve I sat around the family table, cocktail in hand, discussing my half written manuscript and the fact I needed a pen name. We played around with multiple names until my mom and dad finally suggested Maggie Jane Schuler. Everyone unanimously agreed and off into the wild blue yonder I began this journey between reading, writing, reviewing, and developing a plan to publish a book.

I worked my butt off between January and July writing a very rough manuscript. This journey brought me a whole new perspective and learning curve I never even believed I’d venture through. The authors I instant messaged were all so kind and helpful. They answered my silly novice questions and always added little extra tidbits of advice for good measure. The best part about each of the folks queried is they soon became friends who also valued some of my humble opinions on their own WIP’s, covers, and blurbs.

The indie community is a welcoming band of heroes who impress me daily with their creativity and generosity. This first and foremost is a gratuitous community who bands together to help raise awareness for multiple causes from literacy and suicide prevention to autoimmune disorders and cancer research. They help promote one another’s works and protect each other from those who sit outside in judgement of this 21st century publishing business. This is a new business model; one which not only binds the material works but supports the emotional side of its dedicated authors, bloggers, and readers as well.

Beta readers. What can I say, other than you’ve motivated me to continue walking along this path. 2017 will be my year to offer you all a small piece of the ideas which roll about in my head in a completed prose form. It is a difficult journey to work hard on a piece and become narrowly focused and often sabotaging oneself along the way. Creating the raw work and allowing beta readers to tear it apart only to build it back up is not for the faint of heart. It takes time and dedication to continually revisit all the errors within a work. Then rework those errors by either throwing out sections, rewording, developing new transitions, or scrapping the initial scene and using it as a skeleton to create a stronger piece. When those you trust find the little plot hiccups or notice you’ve digressed from a character’s internal motivation the hard work really begins. The beta readers are in the trenches and kind enough to continue the journey with you each step of the way. They are tireless in nature and truthful in helping the process move forward.

Editors have another thankless task. They remind me of the fine copper pipes hidden behind the walls of a structure. You never appreciate them quite like you should until they are not working correctly or in writing when the final product goes to the audience with multiple errors. That’s when you notice when and where an author decided to invest in an editor or editors. Avoiding the plunge into grammar and structure anarchy is a key component to creating readership and fans. Many times, reviews will focus on the idea of, “That was a nice plot and I was excited to read but the typos, and other errors were too distracting so I couldn’t fully appreciate the piece.” Again, from betas to editors a heart is stripped of all modesty because these folks truly see the raw to finished product. For those new to writing prose in the fiction arena this is a difficult jump and often the first barrier because rejection is high. I know for myself, the struggle between academic writing and fictional prose style is drastically different and they often contradict each other. This has been a new first in learning to reintroduce contractions, slang, dialect structures, and other various crafty items into my own works. 

My own family took my dedication to this second career in stride. Somedays have been difficult but they ignore my self-doubt and relentlessly cheer me on daily. I have had times on this road when I felt maybe this arena I’d stepped into without enough armor, without enough education, was or is heftier than I’m ready to tackle. Multiple times down this road less traveled I wanted to bury my head and burn the words I’d written. My family, each and every one of them, provided me a safe place to grow and express my frustrations as well as celebrate my mini successes. While I’m still in process on several pieces I continue to forge ahead with the constant encouragement of my family and their never-ending support of my dream to be an author.

The big firsts of 2106 are about to transition into new ideas and adventures for 2017. As Christmas quickly approaches with New Years on its heels, I want to stop and thank all those who have helped me get this far. The goal I’ve realistically set for myself at this point is to publish early in the first quarter of next year and am hopeful I can get three total works out into the market for 2017. I am certain this new path of daily writing also helps me in my day job. I read handfuls of essays from young aspiring students who have big dreams of their own. If I am capable of providing them a hint of joy in reading and writing, because I am also a full-time practitioner in these same activities, then my job is a success. I hope you all follow your own dreams, and enjoy the holiday season.

With a humble thank you and blessings to all,

Maggie Jane