First of all, thank you so much for inviting me to guest blog among such an elite group of authors. My cowboy hat’s off to all of you and your stories of inspiration, mystery, and especially the romance. Gotta love those hunky cowboys in chaps and tight-fitting Wranglers! J
I just celebrated the release of my debut novel, Colorado Pickup Man, and I can’t tell you how thrilling these past few months have been. I’m even getting my very own fan mail from people all around the world! As a brand new author, I want to thank all of you who have sent me your heartfelt wishes and encouragement. You are truly a blessing!
I’m sure by now you’ve all made your New Year’s resolutions…you know, eat healthier, exercise more, cut out caffeine, quit smoking, quit drinking, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m here to add a much better suggestion to your list…Read a romance novel once a week and journey to places you’ve never been before! Travel into the past and solve a train robbery. Grab a horse and ride into the mountains where you’ll unravel a hundred year-old mystery or rekindle an undying romance with your first true love. You just can’t go wrong with a good romance on a cold winter’s day, curled up in a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa. (Unless, of course, you’re on some tropical island in the South Pacific with a strawberry margarita!)
At any rate, the topic of resolutions is always at the forefront of everyone’s mind this time of year. But I’m not here to give you a pep talk and a “you can do it” speech. Instead, I’d like to ask you all a simple question: What makes you get out of bed every morning?
No, I’m not talking about nature calling or because the cat is looming over you with a can of tuna in his mouth. What I would love to find out from everyone, is what is your passion? What makes you forget all about your aches and pains and family obligations and financial struggles or marital tribulations and on and on and on?
Okay, so this is not such a simple question after all. And if you had asked me that eight years ago, I would have said something like, “If I didn’t get up in the morning, my kids would miss the bus, or my husband would be late for work.” Don’t misunderstand me, I love getting up and being a mom and I cherish every day I have with my kids and my husband. But I sensed that there was still something missing in my life.
What happened eight years ago, you ask? It was the year my twins entered kindergarten, and I experienced my first “empty nest.” I was a stay-at-home-Mom, standing in our walk-in “toy closet”, straightening a thousand and one games and puzzles for the millionth time, and I looked up to the ceiling and asked, “God? Is this what you want me to do the rest of my life?” Reba McIntire’s song, “Is there life out there?” struck an all too familiar chord. Let me reemphasize that I’ve always wanted to be married and have kids. I’ve got a great husband and four wonderful children. I’ve got a beautiful home with plenty of acreage to run horses and snowmobiles and quad runners. No complaints. So, why was I feeling restless?
My mother raised thirteen children, bless her heart. I was the tenth, by the way. She was a fulltime, devoted wife and mother and always put our needs before her own. Although I admire her for everything she’s done for us and is still my role model today, I knew I couldn’t be the kind of stay-at-home mom that cooks and cleans and does every last thing for her husband and children. I don’t fold underwear. I don’t iron. I rely heavily on the microwave and instant dishes. I don’t have that burning desire to wake up every morning to sort mounds of dirty laundry or scour three bathrooms after everyone has left for the day. (Is that bad of me to admit?)
My oldest two children were 3 and 1 when my twins were born. The days were long and exhausting and my nights were short, and interrupted every few hours to breastfeed. My husband is a great dad, but there are just some things only a mom can do. It was after a particularly stressful day when I stared out my front window with a baby on each hip and my two-year-old hanging on my sweats when I realized my husband was out in his shop, totally oblivious to me and my kids. I started to resent the time he spent out in his shop building airplanes. He loves to fly. Flying is his passion. He can talk for hours and hours on the subject. I will even admit to being jealous of his planes. Why would he want to spend any of his “free” time away from me and our kids?
One night, I’d finished a book with an ending that quite frankly made me mad. There was no happily-ever-after for the hero and heroine. I felt unsatisfied. That’s when I sat down and started writing. I didn’t stop writing until I’d finished my first manuscript two weeks later. It wasn’t publishable, of course, but by then, I was hooked. I couldn’t keep the ideas and characters in my head. I had to get them down on paper. (Don’t worry, I’ve gone to numerous workshops and joined a great critique group since that first novel.) But you will always be guaranteed a Happily-Ever-After ending in my books.
Writing opened a whole new world for me, and for the first time in our marriage, I began to understand how flying and building airplanes is my husband’s way of coping with the stresses of work and raising a family and everyday life. It’s because he loves us so much, he has to keep a part of who he is, so he can share the best of himself with his family. That is how I feel about writing. Even though I have since gone back to work fulltime and my children are now in middle school and high school, I can’t seem to go a day without sitting down and writing something, no matter how exhausted I happen to be. That’s how passionately I feel about writing.
So I guess my question for you to ponder is, “What is your passion?”
Is it traveling? Piecing together quilts for your kids or grandkids? Or maybe it’s photography, or painting, or music. I would love to know what “takes you away” from your every day life and makes you want to get out of bed every morning. What completes you and makes you a happier more content person?
In my book, Colorado Pickup Man, my heroine tries her hardest to ignore her passion, her reason for getting up in the morning. But with the friendly persuasions of a hunky young cowboy, her yearning for ranch life and working with horses finally brings her back to her true purpose in life. Like writing, ranching is hard work with long grueling hours, but at the end of the day, the gratification that comes from doing something you love so passionately can’t be beat. So dig deep and find that one thing that truly makes you smile clear down to the tips of your cowboy boots! J
Go on a journey with two real life ranchers who find their own happily-ever-after ending in the great Rocky Mountains. Check out my website at www.JacquieGreenfield.com and stay tuned for my next release!