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Meet 2012 Golden Heart Finalist Laurie Sanchez

Today the Rubies are thrilled to host Laurie Sanchez, 2012 Golden Heart finalist in Single-Title Contemporary with her novel EARNING WINGS. Laurie’s a homegirl for Nationals this year—she grew up so close to Disney, she watched the fireworks from her backyard every night at 9:30, and she currently lives in the town where they film The Real Housewives of Orange County. “The awesome thing,” says Laurie, “is that my mom, who’s a voracious reader and big romance fan, lives so nearby that we can attend the RWA book-signing event together. She’s so excited!”

 You can follow Laurie on Twitter at @mizwrite (https://twitter.com/#!/mizwrite).

 Laurie’s blog, http://mizwrite.com/, features her life with three teenagers and her own real-life hero, aka “Superman.” Laurie wrote their true-life love story in serial format one summer—G-rated because she knows her kids will read it—and you can swoon along at http://mizwrite.com/how-i-met-superman/.

Take it away, Laurie!!

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So Why Aren’t You?

Sign up for first Nationals – check. Sign up for agent-editor appointments – check. Design business cards – check. Put Golden Heart pin in drawer for safekeeping – check. …

I’m slowly working through my list of things to do as a newbie Golden Heart finalist. But honestly – between you and me – I can hardly believe it’s happening.

I started writing romance fiction about six years ago, mostly because Oprah told me to.

I was standing in the kitchen one afternoon, drying dishes, watching her afternoon television show while I listened for my youngest to come downstairs and ask where his tennis shoes were for the millionth time. I was a stay-at-home-mom-who-freelanced, happy with my job(s), happy with where I was, happy with everything – or so I thought. Until, that is, Oprah stood up that day from her yellow studio couch and asked her viewing audience to imagine, for a second, what they would be if they could be anything.

My dishtowel hardly missed a swipe. “A novelist,” I said into the quiet kitchen, putting a glass away into the cupboard. But then I sort of froze: Where had that come from?

I grabbed the next dish a little slower as Oprah left a dramatic pause. Then she turned to the camera and said, “So why aren’t you?”

My dishtowel dropped to my side. I turned toward the TV and stared. I stared at Oprah. I stared at the other audience members, who looked similarly stunned.

So why aren’t you?

It sounds sort of silly that a television show – and one line out of it, at that – could change my life, but that show did. That line did. Because I wondered, then, for the next several hours, so why aren’t I?

I started ticking off all the old reasons. As every self-respecting English major does, I had the proverbial Great American Novel started, unfinished, and stuffed into my underwear drawer. I began writing it right out of college. But then life got in the way and I created a series of new reasons: I was just out of college. I was starting a “real” career. I was starting a family. I had little ones to raise. I was already working too many hours at the newspaper. I was already writing for a living. I was too busy. …

But that day, after drying all the dishes, all the old reasons seemed to slowly disappear. Suddenly the idea of being a novelist didn’t sound crazy. I now had the time. I had the education. I had the familiarity with the publishing industry. I knew deadlines. I knew editing marks. I knew editors. My kids were older, and were leaving me pockets of time to work. I already wrote every day. Suddenly I didn’t know why I wasn’t working to become the one other thing I would still be if I could be anything. …

The next day, I went to the book store and scoured the reference section for books on how to write novels, and thus began my long (and still ongoing) education to do the very thing I always dreamed of doing.

I chose romance novels pretty quickly. Although I didn’t read romance novels as a teen (horror was my genre of choice then), and had been raised on a strict diet of literary classics as a young adult, I knew one thing loud and true: I loved the concept of romance, both in writing and in real life. I myself was always in love, and I loved hearing about how people fell in love, and stayed in love, and fell out of love, and found love again. I always enjoyed the romantic elements of any books, even when I was a kid. I thrilled when Calvin held Meg’s hand in A Wrinkle in Time, or when Almanzo first paid attention to Laura Ingalls. I loved Philip Hall Likes Me I Reckon Maybe when I was in 5th grade, and I dog-eared all my Judy Blume books like any preteen girl did in the ‘70s. I pined like Meggie did in The Thorn Birds, and I sighed along with Florentino in Love in the Time of Cholera. I was in love with love.

After selecting my first “how to” book, I walked in and out of the romance section about seven times, but didn’t know where to start. The only romance I’d ever read was a Danielle Steele book in about 1985, and I figured a lot had changed since then. So I went home and dove into the message boards. And the blogs. I can’t remember what I originally searched for, but eventually certain names kept popping up: Jenny Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Suzanne Brockmann, Lisa Kleypas … Eventually, somehow, I decided on the Jenny Crusie. (I think someone mentioned “humor” and I thought that sounded like something I’d enjoy.) So I marched into my library and found Bet Me. I walked to the checkout counter. The librarian smiled when she saw the book. “This is SO GOOD,” she said. I shrugged noncommittally and told her I’d never read Jenny Crusie before. “Oh, you’ll be back,” she told me.

I recall giving another shrug of skepticism.

“I’ll set some aside,” she said with a knowing smile.

Needless to say, I was back in two days. I snatched up every Crusie she stacked on the counter for me. I moved on to Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Then Suzanne Brockmann. Then bought all their backlists. Then some Nora Roberts, Laura Kinsdale, Lisa Kleypas, J.R. Ward, Mary Balogh, Diana Gabaldon, Eloisa James. … My bookshelves began overflowing with these writers I instantly fell in love with.

Basically, I couldn’t get enough.

I realized that my instinct was right – I’m thoroughly in love with love. I’m not one of those people who is bothered by the constant “happily ever after” – I cherish that. To me, it feels like walking up to random couples on a train and asking “How did you meet? How did you fall in love?” Sure, the story always ends the same, but the route to get there is as varied as snowflakes. And I believe in true love. I’m in it.

So here we are, six years, three manuscripts, and a gazillion drafts later, and I’m tucking my Golden Heart pin into a drawer for safekeeping. …

I can hardly believe it.

And it’s all because Oprah pointed out to me, that one day, that you shouldn’t get rid of childhood dreams. If you aren’t doing exactly what you’ve always wanted to do, you have to ask yourself “So why aren’t you?” …

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Here’s a bit more about Laurie’s Golden Heart book, EARNING WINGS:

Channeling femme fatales has always worked for Simone McCabe in the past, but even Mae West can’t get her out of this one. …

When her mother falls ill just after inheriting an airport-ranch resort named “Wings” from an old boyfriend, Simone treks up to the California mountaintop to claim it for her. But Simone didn’t factor in the ranch’s sexy owner, Adam. The scowling, suspicious, Levi-wearing Mr. Responsibility is definitely not letting the place go quietly.

Several cranky cows later — along with a $10,000-a-day bet, a mysterious cardboard box, a horse with a terrible sugar habit, and a Cessna flight that ends in a wildflower meadow — Adam and Simone slowly come to grips with their parents’ real pasts, how your heart can get in the way of business, and what it truly means to “earn wings.”

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Here’s Laurie’s question for you today: When did you first make the decision to pursue your writing dreams? Have you, or have others you know, pursued other big dreams later in life (like a woman I know who moved to Beverly Hills at the age of 60 to begin acting, or a friend of a friend who tried out for the Rockettes at 35)? Please share – the stories are always inspiring!

 

77 responses to “Meet 2012 Golden Heart Finalist Laurie Sanchez”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Welcome, Laurie!!

    I love the Oprah story. It’s such a great question…Why Aren’t You?

    I’ve always loved writing, but somehow decided I’d really work towards romance writing about 3 1/2 years ago, when my youngest child got old enough to give me a little writing time in the evenings. (Not much, but a little.) I’m not even sure what triggered the decision…but I know my sister gave me a few butt-kicks that moved me along. (And now she’s a fellow 2012 Golden Heart finalist!)

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    • Elisa! Thank you so much for having me here with the Rubies! It sounds like our stories converge a little, with the writing-in-the-evenings-when-the-kids-are-asleep. And I’m so happy for you that you have a built-in writing companion in your sister — how inspirational that must’ve been (and must continue to be) for both of you. Congrats to BOTH of you on your GH finals this year! 🙂

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  2. Back in the early 80’s (you remember, the days when keeping in touch meant actually writing and posting a letter because calls were charged by the minute?), a friend said (during one of those infrequent calls), “When I read your letters, it’s like you’re standing in the room talking to me. You really should write a book.” So I did. However, the children were very young and writing demanded so much of me, I had to make a choice, and I chose the children. Ten years later, at a Bible study, a woman came up to me and asked, “Are you a writer? You speak like a writer.” I told her about my earlier attempt and she told me about RWA. I started writing again, and found the joy still lived there for me, but once more, life intervened. Nine years later, and I met my current CP (another serendipitous out-of-the-blue event) and here I am. And do you want to know something? I spent most of this day thinking about setting it aside again. I won’t go into the whys or wherefores, but I’m so damned tired and the writing consumes me sometimes, taking energy I can ill afford. Yet there is still joy in it for me. Go figure.

    Thank you for being here with us today. Looks like I’ve had yet another serendipitous event to keep me on track. Best of luck in Anaheim.

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    • Gwynlyn — Well, obviously, you were meant to write! Looks like fate keeps stepping in to keep you on the right track. 😉 You Rubies are all so inspirational here — so supportive of each other and so inspirational to everyone else. It’s wonderful to have this community to turn to when things get difficult (as they sure do!).

      Looking forward to seeing your beautiful name all over the shelves, and looking forward to meeting you in Anaheim!

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  3. Oh, Laurie, your story gave me goosebumps. I love when someone discovers their passion, and then finds the drive to make it happen. Congratulations on your GH final! See you in Anaheim!! 😀

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  4. Magdalen says:

    I can’t tell you how I first came to writing because my memory’s a bit hazy on that. (Thirty years will dim one’s recollections.) But what I wrote back then was crap, and I’d assumed I didn’t have what it took. Frankly, law school was WAY easier than writing romance novels.

    But I came back to the idea three years ago. I’d just finished reading Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Millers Kill mysteries. In fact, I’d read them in order, finished #6 and immediately picked up #1 to read the entire series over again.

    I love those books. *sigh*

    At the end of the second read-through, I looked up and thought, “That’s what I was missing. Heart.” The ability to convey emotion in prose–I don’t think anyone does it better than Spencer-Fleming, whose mysteries have a sequential romance that is so moving I can cry just thinking about it. And it’s what I hadn’t known how to do 30 years ago but could do now.

    Of course I still needed to learn how to write, and that’s led me to an MFA program in Maine that accepts romance authors. And, in an astounding turn of events, I get to work with Julia Spencer-Fleming next year! She’s going to help me perfect the romantic subplot. That’s if I stop stammering and blushing around her…

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    • Oh, Magdalen, what a great story! I love that you get the opportunity to meet your inspiration, Julia Spencer-Fleming herself next year! And yes — I always imagine I’ll be all fan-girl, too, if/when I met some of my writing heroes. Ah well! Part of the fun, right? She will be completely flattered by that story, I’m sure. 🙂

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  5. Kim Law says:

    Hey Laurie! Nice to have you here. I love your post!!! I love when little things like that kick you into gear to go after what you want. And yeah…why isn’t everyone going after what they want, right? It seems so simple!

    I once had a dentist…a wonderful, kind, terrific dentist I was so thrilled to have found. I saw him for about ten years, and then one day I went in there and they told me he’d quit. He was now a fireman. Uh…huh?

    He was in his late forties, about one year away from the cutoff the fire department would even consider hiring a newbie, and had apparently spent all this time doing what his family (mother/father) wanted him to do, and making sure he was “responsible” financially by bringing in good money. Needless to say, I was very mopey that he was no longer going to be my dentist (especially when I met the yahoo who bought his practice), but I was so thrilled and excited for him to just dump it all and go after what he wanted! I loved it! I still often imagine how much happier he likely is.

    My day is coming… 🙂

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      That’s such a fabulous story, Kim!!

      I hope he was a very, very happy fireman! It was probably his secret dream since toddlerhood. (But does this mean I have to throw over being a writer to become an astronaut?)

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      • Kim Law says:

        One of the ladies in the front office said that, yeah, he’d wanted to do that all his life. It just made me smile because at the time, I knew I had a dream I would one day go after too 🙂

        As for the astronaut…I wanted that for a while, too, but quickly decided it was more about the coolness factor than my deep-down desire. Maybe it’s the same with you? 😉 I’d hate to see you ditch the writing!! 🙂

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        • Kim, that IS a terrific story — that he not only pursued his own passion, but inspired you (and perhaps many others who knew him from his practice?) to do the same. Terrific! (Hmmm … that might make an awesome romance-story plot. …)

          So happy you went after your dream!

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        • Elisa Beatty says:

          In 6th grade, I was OBSESSED with outer space. Star Trek and all the sci fi I read were largely responsible. I was soooooo sure I’d be working for NASA in some capacity…..

          And then I got a little older and realized a) I don’t have anything like the requisite math skills, and b) I’d HATE living in those enclosed little spaces oxygen-breathers actually have to live in to be in space.

          So, no, I don’t think I’m throwing over the writing just yet…… though maybe I’ll write a sci fi novel of my own one day!

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  6. Lynn Cahoon says:

    Laurie,
    I sold my first two stories the year I had cancer. Stories I’d been meaning to write, someday. During chemo, I realized someday might never come unless I made it happen. Glad Oprah talked to you that day in the kitchen.

    Good luck at Nat’ls.

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    • Lynn — Wow, cancer can really put life into perspective, can’t it? So glad to hear you’re in remission, and you’re on a nice long path to making the rest of your dreams come true! I look forward to meeting you in Anaheim!

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    • Lynn, I think that’s exactly how Jennifer Crusie started writing romance. Cancer sure can be a huge catalyst. It has been in my life (my husband’s brush with cancer, in our case), and I’m witnessing it now with a friend. More power to you!

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  7. Amy Pfaff says:

    Laurie,

    Congrats on finaling in the Golden Heart. How exciting! I read your blog and was nodding my head the whole time. Majored in English – check. Started family and career – check. I woke up at 47 and thought… why not?

    I’m on my third manuscript now and am polishing this one up for the Golden Heart 2013.

    Good luck to you and thanks for sharing this.

    amy

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    • Amy — Yep, yep, yep … we sound like we’re on the exact same path! And I should have mentioned in the post that the journey is really as enjoyable as the final destination, no? Meeting all these wonderful, talented and inspirational fellow-romance-writers has enriched my life in so many ways — well before publication!

      Can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim! Enjoy the journey of that third ms! 😉

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  8. I started writing romance when 50 and I were in an eyeball to eyeball staring contest. I had been reading romance for 35 years at that point, and came across a NYT bestseller that would have gone sailing against the wall if I weren’t a nonviolent kinda gal (especially with books). Just as Oprah’s question triggered the rebirth of your dream, mine was triggered by the idea that I could come up with something at least as print-worthy.

    Eventually…. The first person I pitched offered me a deal, and I have never had this much fun before in all my born days. Best of luck, and never give up!

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    • Go Grace! Stare that 50 down! I love it, and love that you used the word “fun” — so important to a dream. Can’t wait to see all your books on the shelf. 😉

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  9. Carol Post says:

    Hi Laurie,

    Loved your post. My dream to be a romance writer began in the mid-90’s. But I made the mistake of trying to go it alone. (I had never even heard of RWA.) So after completing my first and getting it rejected, I quit. But a few years later, the desire to write pulled me back in and I wrote a second one, which also got rejected, and I quit again.

    Then in 2008, the bug bit again, and I started another one. Once I was finished, I did an online search for winning romance queries and synopses and found that all the query letters mentioned being a member of Romance Writers of America. I googled it, joined, became a member of my local chapter, and started attending every workshop and conference that I could. Now, two years later, I’m writing for Harlequin’s Love Inspired lines, with my first book due out in January 2013. All the support of fellow writers is what has given me what I needed to keep on keeping on and push past the rejections.

    Carol

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    • Carol — That drive to do what you knew you were MEANT to do just kept bubbling up, didn’t it? What a great story! You obviously had some stories to share!

      And you bring up a really good point — the support of the romance-writing community in all this makes the journey so much more enjoyable. I was blessed to meet up with the most amazing CP, and have made so many friends in writing classes. Community is everything!

      Can’t wait to expand that community in Anaheim this year!

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  10. Jean says:

    Oh, Laurie, what a wonderful story! It’s so nice to remember why I started writing and the passion that goes with finding my niche! I’m always a “Happily Ever After” believer….
    Have fun at National! Enjoy and cherish the moment.

    Jean

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    • Hi, Jean! I sure do love the “happily ever after,” too. I did a stint at an online newspaper publication where I wrote “proposal stories” — interviewing brides and grooms to learn how he proposed. And I never tired of hearing them! I loved calling the couples and hearing their stories, told by them, with all the excitement you’d imagine. “Happily ever after” will always leave you smiling the next day. …

      Can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim!

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  11. Kat Cantrell says:

    Hi Laurie, I love that blurb! I can’t wait to see the book on the shelf.

    I made the decision to write “for real” three years ago when my MIL told me she couldn’t be my daycare anymore. I quit my job and gave myself until the youngest went to kindergarten to get published. I’m glad I didn’t know then how long it takes! But I had a plan and I didn’t veer from it.

    Congrats on the GH final! Looking forward to meeting you in Anaheim. 🙂

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    • Hi, Kat! Thanks so much! And yeah, that’s a good point, too — I had no idea how long this dream would take. 🙂 I read tons of bios from other authors, and eventually thought it might take me 6 years minimum to get published. But … well … I’m looking at 6 years in my rear-view window right now! But truly, the journey has been so much fun, I don’t mind a smidgen. Loving every minute of it. …

      I’m so glad you didn’t veer away from your plan! Can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim!

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  12. Hi Laurie,

    What a great story! I wish I had an “Oprah Moment” like yours to share. I think I’ve always known I wanted to write. Like you, I had another career, and kids, and laundry, and all the rest of the everyday in my face, well, everday. I knew I would do it “one day.” Then, I got a big push from The Great Beyond when the company I’d worked for for 11 years went out of business. Another job in that field would have meant relocation. My wonderful husband said, “Why don’t you give the writing thing a try?”

    I did. From there on, your story and mine are similar–going to the bookstore, filling up bookshelves, writing and rewriting.

    Can’t wait to meet you in person in Anaheim!

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    • Susan — sounds like your “Oprah” was your dear hubby! 😉

      I’m so glad you took on your dream and added your southern spice to romance. And the reading and reading and reading to get this job done — what’s not to love, right? 🙂

      Can’t wait to read your books!

      See you Anaheim!

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  13. robena grant says:

    What a lovely story, Laurie. The universe sure does work in mysterious ways. I’m so glad you listened and that you acted on Oprah’s message. Congratulations again on being a GH finalist, and I look forward to meeting you in Anaheim.
    I got my push to write from my then 18 year old daughter who signed me up for a UCLA Extension course on writing your first novel. I went thinking I would just be company for her, and I got hooked. : )

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    • Oh, Robena, that’s great! Did your daughter go on to write as well? So glad you got “the bug” and followed it through. Can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim!

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  14. Addison Fox says:

    Laurie:

    What a wonderful post!!

    I’ve always written in some form but I came to writing romance novels in my early 20s after I made a major move cross-country. I had always wanted to write a book and I was like…what the heck? 11 years and 8 manuscripts later I sold my first book.

    Something clicked in a big way about two chapters into that first book and I just knew this was what I wanted to do. I’ve never looked back!

    Addison

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    • Addison — Ah, that wonderful moment of “clicking” a few chapters in with a certain story … so amazing, right? Glad you never looked back! Thanks to you and the other Rubies for welcoming me here!!

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  15. Terri Osburn says:

    I love this blog and I love Oprah. Win win! LOL!

    We are not only GH sisters in the same category but we have similar writing stories. Except I’ve been reading Romance for most of my life, don’t have an English degree, and have yet to find my Superman. But still…

    I’ve always wanted to write and own my own business. Low & behold, in the modern day of publishing I can combine both dreams into one. Good thing I have that business degree. 🙂

    Now, if I could get paid to travel, that would be my other dream. Maybe once Kiddo heads off to college (in five years *sobs*) I’ll try my hand at being a travel writer. Gah! That would be awesome!

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    • Terri — Well, you’re making your first dream come true, so I don’t see why you can’t make your second come true as well! (Better yet, maybe you can combine them and travel so you can find new settings for your fiction!) 🙂

      And the entrepreneur spirit IS truly important these days, isn’t it? That business degree is a major plus to being an author today!

      I so look forward to meeting you in Anaheim and comparing more notes. …

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  16. Tammy Baumann says:

    Nice post Laurie!

    I started writing when my kids were in high school and my husband was traveling a lot. I own a business and am regularly stressed out, so I used to read for relaxation.

    Mostly I read biographies and best sellers. One day I picked up a Nora Roberts book and I was hooked! Then I moved on to Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Rachel Gibson…. and the list goes on.

    So, like you, I bought books on how to write and then just did it! Then I joined my local RWA chapter and entered my first contest. I won and Harlequin asked for a full, so I was thinking what’s so hard about this?

    Yeah, that was like nine years ago, and now I know what’s so hard about this! ;0)

    But the joy I get out of writing makes it all worth it. So, even though I know there will probably be many more rejections in the future, it’s worth the journey!

    Tammy

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  17. Tammy — Yeah, how HARD this was didn’t really factor into my first steps either! ha, ha. … I’m glad I didn’t know then what I know now. I might not have been so cavalier about it all.

    But you’re so right — it’s absolutely about the journey. The joy I get from coming to my keyboard on “fiction days” is priceless.

    And the friendships — another huge plus! 🙂

    Looking forward to meeting you in Anaheim!

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  18. M. Kassel says:

    Great story, Laurie! Thank you for sharing it and congrats on the G.H. Final. I’m looking forward to meeting you in Anaheim!

    I always knew I wanted to write, but finding the courage was my challenge. The thought of another person reading what I wrote made me sick, until I joined my local RWA chapter. Suddenly I had a supportive group of writers all on the same journey. And here I am! My agent began submitting my G.H. final book this very week. Oprah is right. Follow your dreams and never give up 🙂

    Megan

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Oh, yay! Your book is going out! Bless and release, Megan….and GOOD LUCK!!!

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    • Oh my gosh, you’re on submission, Megan!!! Congrats! And yeah, I know that feeling of sickness when you send stuff out for others to read — that took me awhile to get used to! (Still getting used to it.) Although I’d been sending nonfiction stuff out to editors for decades, sending fiction out takes an extra dose of courage — there’s a personal feeling about it that nonfiction doesn’t quite carry.

      So happy you powered through, Megan, and are almost there! Awesome!

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  19. Thanks, Laurie, for this great post! I always wanted to write a book “some day” but it wasn’t until my children were born that I had that WHY NOT? thought. So glad I did!

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  20. Wonderful post, Laurie! I always love hearing how other writers started on their writing journey.

    I’ve been writing for myself for years, but my “Oprah” moment came when my DH and I decided to move from the SF Bay Area to Oregon in 2007. I’d been talking about getting serious about writing for publication for awhile and decided it was time. I guess I thought one big change deserved another! I found RWA in late 2007 and my local chapter in 2008, and now here I am, almost 5 years later, a GH Finalist!

    Can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim!

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  21. Anna Stewart says:

    Love this post, Laurie! Sometimes the universe points you in the right direction using “signposts” like Oprah …that’s awesome! See you in Anaheim!

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    • Hi, Anna — Yeah, isn’t that weird when the signposts show up right when you’re ready to read them? Or maybe they’re there for a long time, but you NEED to be ready to read them?

      Looking forward to meeting you, too!

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  22. Rita Henuber says:

    Some crazy things happened to me all within a short period of time. It completely wiped away my life as I knew it. I was free to do what I wanted. I did.
    Congrats on your final. See you in California in a few weeks.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      It’s amazing how loss and freedom can go together….though it takes a strong person to see the opportunity under all the chaos and pain.

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    • Wow, Rita — sounds like you did a lot of “rising from the ashes,” which we keep talking about in our GH 2012 loop. Sometimes those huge events in our lives force us to reevaluate everything, including priorities and dreams. So glad you’re forging ahead strongly and making yours come true!

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  23. I wrote and wrote on one manuscript through the years, but was always sidetracked by having to put food on the table and a young son to raise. So, in 2006 I was able to say, this is it, it’s my time now. I’m still writing. I look back and realize how much I’ve learned these past six years!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Dang that pesky “having to put food on the table” thing!!!!

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    • Ain’t that the truth, Kathleen? 😉

      You bring up a good point about the learning — the learning process of following this particular dream has been so much fun. (If it weren’t fun I probably would have given up a long time ago!) But learning how to write books from within (the book) has really helped me enjoy reading OTHER books so much more! It’s like a little extra bonus of joy.

      I can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim!

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  24. What a fantastic post, Laurie! I love it. I was struck similarly. I’d ALWAYS wanted to be a writer, but I kept telling myself no way could I write a whole book. Then one day I read an interview with another writer who said, “Think about it. If you write only one page a day, at the end of a year you’ll have a manuscript.” It struck a chord and I want to work immediately.

    Isn’t it surreal how one little sentence can change your life? Congrats on the final and good luck!!! ~D~

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    • Thank you, Darynda! (btw, you have the most awesome titles to your books!)

      I love that point you made — one page a day. Sometimes breaking it down like that can really be motivating. (And a lot less stressful.) So glad you were inspired and are now whipping out books left and right! 😉

      Thanks for welcoming here with the Rubies!

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  25. Congratulations, Laurie!

    I was 43 years old and didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I told my husband I couldn’t type and file anymore for a living and needed to do something creative, he asked, “So what do you want to do?”

    “I want to be a NYT bestselling author.”

    He studied me for a minute and said, “That sounds great. But don’t you think it might be a good idea of you started writing?”

    Smart man. I’ve been writing ever since.

    Can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim! With a name like Laurie, you’ve got to be a great writer! 🙂

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  26. Hi, fellow Laurie! (We have Laurie Green in the GH class of 2012, too — we can be a club!)

    That’s a great story — I love your hubby’s logic. And man, that’s the truth, isn’t it? Writing every day. … So important. A dream will only get you so far, but it’s the hands-on-the-keyboard time that really counts in the end, eh?

    Thank that hubby of yours! 😉

    See you in Anaheim!

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  27. June Love says:

    Laurie, congratulations on being a 2012 finalist. Your Oprah story is great. It’s those “aha” moments that get us. I’ve always wanted to write, but my push to actually put words on paper didn’t come until my younger sister gave me a romance book to read. It had been awhile since I’d read romance, and I knew I’d come home.
    Thanks for stopping and have a great time at Nationals.

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    • Thanks, June! Your younger sis must be so proud that she was part of your inspiration — I’ll bet she loves reading your books even better than the ones she was lending you! 😉

      Thank you for the warm welcome here at the Rubies blog!

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  28. Love this story, Laurie! Oprah would be so proud, too.

    My wake up call to start taking my writing seriously was similar: I was driving to work every morning listening to the Power of Myth interview series Bill Moyers did with Joseph Campbell. Campbell talked about following your bliss and I realized I wasn’t. That I’d lost sight of it along the way. At the time this meant screenwriting, which was useful in its way, but ultimately not the best fit for me. My path has taken a lot more twists and turns than I expected. Just like any good story should, I suppose. It’s a journey, not a destination, right?

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    • Hi, Talia! “Following your bliss” … isn’t that odd that you can hear phrases like that on the television or radio all your life, and then suddenly — the moment you’re really open to it, I guess — it absolutely resounds with you?

      Glad you followed your instincts, too, through screenwriting and novel-writing.

      And YES — it’s definitely the journey, not the destination. We must love the journey to stay on the road! 🙂

      Can’t wait to meet you and my other fellow GHers in Anaheim!

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  29. Laurie,

    Loved your story! I had a similar moment with Oprah .. although it was something she said in one of her magazines that got me moving. She said do something towards your dream every day and I joined RWA that week.

    No wonder she runs the world!!!!

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    • Nikki — Yes, I guess Oprah’s influence is far and wide, eh? 🙂 I love that magazine sentiment, too — do something toward your dream every day. That makes it seem less daunting, and keeps you putting one foot in front of the other.

      Thanks! Hope to see you in Anaheim!

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  30. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks so much for being with us today, Laurie, and sharing the inspiration!

    Can’t wait to meet you face to face in Anaheim!!

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  31. Karen says:

    Laurie,
    Sorry I’m a day late, but life has been getting in the way lately. Great post and great question.

    I wrote a story in junior high that my mom still has stuffed in a drawer. But I never thought of writing novels as a practical way to earn a living. I needed numbers (accounting) so I read for enjoyment, until I explained to a friend why the author of a particular story couldn’t have ended it the way she thought they should have. She stopped arguing and asked my, “Why aren’t you writing these?” I laughed, but she kept after me all day until I agreed to atleast write part of a story for her. That was it for me. The way the story swirled in my mind and the characters came to life on the page. I knew this was what I was meant to do.

    Yay to you and all the other writers who decided to listen to their inner voice and do what they were meant to do–write.

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    • Great story, Karen! I’ll bet your friend is now thrilled that you’ve launched a whole new career for yourself! (I hope she gets a dedication somewhere?!?) And isn’t that feeling great — when you write your first book where the characters are just coming to life for you?!? So happy for you!

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  32. jim says:

    so why aren’t (i)…inspirational…rare…wonderful – this concept makes me feel (and almost remember) as if, all that ever was meant to be, has already been – all in the same moment. if we only remembered all we ever wanted to be, we’d remember we already are – just without knowing (remembering) it yet. your realization makes so much sense, is so powerful, and yet, so easy to forget…thanks for the reminder, Laurie – and CONGRATULATIONS!!

    –jim 🙂

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    • True, Jim — Unlike nouns (“a writer,” “a teacher,” “a musician,”) the basic adjectives you can fill into that blank (“rare,” “inspirational,” “wonderful,” etc.) are probably things you already are. If they’ve been on your mind all your life, you’ve probably been slowly achieving them, and you just need that little shake to realize it. 🙂 Thank you for the lovely comment!

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  33. […] Laurie, I never got a nudge from Oprah. But I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. I’m a voracious […]

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