My first attempt at being a published author, didn't exactly go the way I thought it would.
Let's back up a bit... O’Shae was only two (he’s almost twelve now...what, I’m not old enough?;) when I really started writing my stories, although they started at work before that chubby boy came into my world. I loved making up stories with my special needs students- It was fun using rhymes to help them read and learn. That’s what inspired me to start writing. Well that, and being a mom. I spent so many nights making up silly stories at bedtime, then I’d run to my computer and write down whatever craziness I had just made up in my head. So many of my stories came to life there, in my kid's bedrooms, but it was in the basement of our first home, where my first full story was written...about a boy and a frog. Still one of my favourites.
Over the next few years, I wrote eleven more rhyming stories, all with a message. I read them to anyone who would listen. My sister Crystal had me reading them to everyone, and so did my brother Michael. He believed they were good enough to be published, and wanted to help get me started! So with Bruce Allen (Michael's manager), on board (what an overwhelming feeling of validation that was, having him believe in me!) I was picked up by a publishing company who wanted to take on my books. It looked like I would officially be a published author!
So the editing process began... About a month in, I was asked to come to Bruce's office for a conference call with the editor. They felt rhyming books wouldn’t sell as well as non rhyming ones, and although they said they loved the characters and story line, they wanted it changed into a standard thirty-two page, picture book...no rhymes. I was devastated and so embarrassed. In that instant I felt like my stories were no longer good enough. Would I have to change all of them? As I sat staring at the plaque covered wall in Bruce's board room, I remember telling myself, “DO NOT CRY! You are not gonna cry, not here!” ....It didn’t work. I cried. But I got myself together quickly (Okay, maybe it wasn’t that quick) and after a good talk, I decided to go forward anyways. If this was the way for me to get my book out, then decided I would do it. What did Michael call it? Oh ya, "creative control." I would get that eventually, and swore when I did, I’d go back to my stories the way they were meant to be!
So I started to rewrite. I really tried, but it wasn’t the same. I never got the “feeling” reading the new story, that I did with my original rhyming ones... And I could tell my family didn’t either. Thankfully, not too long after, that publishing company agreed it was best to part ways. To be honest I was sad for that chapter to close, but mostly I felt relief. At that point my stories were so changed from what I wanted them to be, that I felt like I'd lost them already. I learned so much in the process, so it wasn't for nothing and for that I am still grateful. But I guess it’s like the old saying, It just wasn’t meant to be...yet!