Today’s guest author is Yvonne Hertzberger. We share a passion for fantasy, and I think Yvonne’s trilogy is a must read. I am so happy that she has decided to visit my blog.
There is nothing so constant as change. Yeah, I know. That’s not new. You’ve heard it before. But this is a tale of change.
I read The Three Musketeer’s as a teenager. At the time their cry of solidarity “all for one and one for all”, when taking on a dangerous challenge, really didn’t mean a lot to me. That kind of trust was alien to me. It had no relevance to the life I lived. I grew up in an environment full of every kind of abuse and mind-bending manipulation. The idea that I could depend on another with my very life seemed like a fairy tale, a pipe dream, only for those living in a bubble of self-deception. Reality wasn’t like that.
Many years of therapy, a kind and supportive spouse, and two terrific kids have done a lot to help me get past that. But the kind of trust I was able to develop could only apply to my most intimate circle. It did not, nay, could not, extend beyond my nuclear family and a few close friends. Sometimes even there it remained tenuous.
In 2006, I had the good fortune to be able to retire from paid work. Seven years on the phone at an incoming call centre had taken its toll on my health. Had it not been physically possible to retire, the stress would have forced the issue in other, less pleasant, ways. At that time I was still seeing a therapist, the last of several. This guy ‘got’ me. He believed what none of the others did. He understood that I didn’t exaggerate or misrepresent how it affected me. He told me to journal. I told him I had tried that and didn’t really get anything out of it. “Well,” he said, “then just write. Write anything.”
And I did. I began with a short piece called Heartsong that basically spoke to how trapped I felt, how I dared not allow my creativity to emerge and be seen. You see, when you’ve grown up believing that nothing you do will ever be good enough, let alone good, it stays inside, like a trapped bird fluttering against its dark cage, unable to sing. You can see that little piece on my website/blog. It’s amateurish, but I still like it for the breakthrough it represents.
That story unlocked something that had held me back. I wrote another short story, a trite little romance. I started what I thought would be another short story, a little more daring this time. And so began the trilogy called earth’s Pendulum. You see that story wouldn’t be contained. The characters wanted out, they demanded their tale be told. So I told it. It just ended with the publication of The Dreamt Child, third in the series. But I digress.
Research told me that finding a traditional publisher would be less likely than winning a major lottery so I went the self-publishing route. I got scammed by iUniverse and lost a good deal of money I will never recoup. But that is another story. Back From Chaos came out in 2009. I could not have been more tickled with both the book and with myself. I had done it. I had written a book , all the way to the end, and seen it through to having it in my hands, proof of my efforts.
But I needed readers. I needed people other than those who already knew me to buy it and read it. Now let me be absolutely frank. I was uncomfortable with computers, eschewed social media and am an introvert. Imagine, then, what it took for me to cave in and sign up for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. At first, the only one I actually maintained an active presence on was LinkedIn. I tentatively joined a few discussions, fully aware that I had little to offer and that I would be wanting more than I could give back. Yet the responses were encouraging and supportive. A new world was beginning to open for me. I made a few supportive connections there. I began to stretch a bit.
Imagine my shock when in February of 2012 I received a message from K.S. Brooks inviting me to become a contributing member of Indies Unlimited. I mean, she and Stephen Hise were real authors. They knew what they were doing. I was a neophyte, not even able to stand on my own two feet yet. What could I possibly contribute?
A few emails later I let myself be convinced that I could actually add something. I didn’t really believe it, mind you, but I tried to tell that nagging little voice to shut up for a while. Just give me a chance and let me see what would happen…
That’s when the big change came. Here were a group of writers that were genuine people, folks dedicated to making the road easier for Indie authors, including me. I still don’t know if what I contribute comes close to what some of the others do. I doubt it. That’s not the point here. What I found was a growing group of friends who were willing and able to nurture this struggling, insecure author along, who treat me as an equal, who respect my input and my opinions, who answer my questions and correct my errors. All this without asking for anything back (other than a regular post). They do it without any hint that I need to do more, that I’m not “good enough”. They don’t expect or demand perfection. I have learned to ask for what I need and that I will get it without strings attached. I give back what I can – and it’s good enough. Meeting these folks has been a watershed moment in my life. I trust them. I love them. They are my virtual family. I will never be able to express my gratitude to them.
Since then I have ventured out and joined a few other on-line groups where I have met wonderful, supportive folks with the same attitude as my friends at IU, Book Junkies, Writers Tools to name a couple, but there are more. I have extended my presence on Facebook, with great results. And by results I don’t mean I’m selling a ton of books. I mean I have friends – real friends, people I can count on and who can count on me.
Which brings me back to where I began. I now know what the three musketeers meant and understand their trust in each other. “All for one and one for all” belongs in my life. I get it. I trust. I am changing.