A Writer’s Passion – Jacquie Greenfield

jacquie.jpgFirst 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. 

first-flight.jpgWhat 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?   

ctmpimg015.jpgOne 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?” 

coverr.jpgIs 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 

For everyone who posts a comment, I will enter you into my January contest for a free autographed copy of Colorado Pickup Man. 

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!

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35 thoughts on “A Writer’s Passion – Jacquie Greenfield”

  1. Morning Jacquie!

    I would have to say my passion is writing.

    Everything you described about being a stay at home mom fits me to a T. I’ve been “at home” for almost 7 years, starting with when I quit my job in my hometown and moved to be with the man I now call my husband. I became an instant stay at home mom, at least part of the time to start out because my husband had a son from a previous marriage and I was the mom when my stepson was with us. My stepson was 2 1/2 at the time. Then we had our daughter who is exactly 4 years 2 days younger than her brother.

    Up until 2006 I just went along with the cleaning and cooking and laundry and dishes, etc…but all that time my desire and passion to write my novels still lingered and taunted me, reminding me on a daily basis that I had stories in me that I wanted and had to get out. I’d dreamed of being a writer since I was 10 years old, but with adulthood came the responsibilities of work and life and eventually children, so I put my writing off to the side saying I’d get back to it “someday” because it wasn’t a necessity in my life.

    I guess it was somewhere in the summer of ’06 that I realized my stepson was already in school and it wouldn’t be but a couple of years before my daughter would be too. (In fact, she starts kindergarten this year in August, so it won’t be long till I’ll have more time on my hands than I have had in the past 7 years.)

    I decided to pull out my novel ideas and 1/2-done first drafts of novels. Of course by the time I did drag them out, I was older and realized that most of what I’d started back then were YA novels. Some I’d like to finish someday, but not right now.

    Instead I went with the WIP I had long wanted to finish, one that is very personal to me that I’d been working on for about 10-11 years off and on. I had written the most on it and knew it was “almost” finished anyway, so I dug into it and the writing bug bit me on the behind.

    I had forgotten how great it felt to get caught up in a story that was from my heart, a story that was a part of me and when I finished it in September ’06 and “put a finish on it” I couldn’t have been prouder…not of the actual novel (it needs a LOT of revisions and editing) but because it was my “first.”

    I was so inspired after that. I finally knew I could write and finish a novel, but I was worried that it would take me another 10 years or so to finish another and it just so happened I discovered National Novel Writing Month right after that.

    I thought- 50,000 word novel in 30 days??? Impossible! But I gave it a try and by the end of November I had written and finished my 2nd novel, which was about 80K.

    I started my 3rd in July of ’08 and finished it at the beginning of August. I started my 4th during NaNo ’07 and just finished it a few days ago (after a month’s break due to the holidays) and though I know I have edits, revisions and polishing out the wazoo to do on all 4 of my first drafts, I decided to start writing #5 as soon as I finished #4. I started that yesterday and I’m already into Chapter 2.

    Writing is my passion, most definitely. I might not be published, but I still get that feeling of accomplishment, I have found my determination and confidence about writing again and I’m doing something for “me” now.

    Like you, it’s not that I don’t love my husband and children, but I have to keep a part of me in the mix or I’d lose myself forever. Truth be told though, I think the writerly part of me is sewn into the fabric of who I am and it wasn’t going to allow me to just let it go. It’s my heart.

    (sorry this was so long! LOL)

  2. Wow, Taryn, thank you so much for your story. It was as if I was reading about myself! Congratulations on all your success at writing. Finishing one manuscript and stamping “the end” on it is a huge accomplishment in itself, but you’ve finished 4! That’s phenomenal! Are you part of a critique group? I can’t tell you how invaluable my girls have been in helping me down the road to publication. Without their encouragement and guidance, I would have kept all my stories under my bed and not have a book on the shelf right now.

    Tell yourself it is possible and start submitting to publishers. Good luck and I can’t wait to see your name on the shelf!

  3. Wow! I have been writing since I stopped teaching and have attened one writing conference but I tend to put my writing way behind my children and husband. I can relate to your feelings of resentment with your husband working. I feel a twinge of jelousy when Jerry leaves for work. Your story is a relfection of many writers. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  4. Jacquie, welcome to Petticoats & Pistols, and thank you for blogging for us this weekend. I loved getting to know you and how you came to embrace your passion. You go, girl!

    Pam, who was also a stay-at-home mom who turned to writing to fill her personal creative well!

  5. Welcome! I was reading about your book the other day and it sounds wonderful!

    Wonderful post!

    Read a romance novel once a week and journey to places you’ve never been before!

    Wonderful advice that I have been following since my early teens…only I read them once a day. That is one thing I LOVE about reading…books can take you anywhere and I love living vicariously through characters…doesn’t matter how shy, wimpy, or inexperienced I am when I pick up a book…I can be whoever I want in my mind…LOL.

    As for my passion, I think I am still trying to find that…other than reading I can’t think of anything. I am not a writer and I have no special hobby or talent, but nothing gives me a greater thrill than reading a good book though right now. So maybe reading is my passion.

    I have always loved books and reading. Books can take me anywhere and everywhere. Since childhood I have loved stories and have often re-written stories, movies, and tv shows in my head. In fact, there are few authors here on the blog who have secondary characters that have ended up with stories in my mind…LOL…so it is always fun to see secondary characters get stories.

    Hmmm…I seem to be rambling again…LOL…but back to the subject…my passion…the only thing I can think of is my passion for books…I cannot imagine not reading. It is what gives me joy and makes me feel good.

  6. Great post! My passion – hmmmmmmmmm – kids are raised, live scattered across the country, have grand and greatgrandkids, am retired. So, I guess my passion is to greet each day knowing that I’m alive – and then hit the computer as I’ve become a sweepstakes nut!

  7. Thanks for blogging with us at P&P, Jacquie! I didn’t start writing SERIOUSLY until after my youngest went to school all day. I dabbled from time to time, but that fall was when I put my nose to the grindstone. Occasionally I wonder what would have been different had I devoted myself to the craft a little sooner. I admire all the moms who make time to write.

  8. I read Jacquie’s book and related to her right away–I grew up in Iowa and now live in Colorado; she lived in Colorado and is now back in Iowa. Her setting was authentic, since she lived in Colorado Springs, the location of the book’s action. I live halfway between the Springs and Denver and it was fun to see our town, Castle Rock, mentioned. I e-mailed Jacquie after reading her book and we have corresponded a few times. I work in a library and her book was one that came through and caught my eye–I’m so glad it did! I know that she will be an author we’ll keep hearing from for a long time.

  9. Thank you all for giving me a brief glimpse into your lives. Amazing how we are all so different, yet can come together and share our joy of reading and writing. I hope you all don’t think I put my family behind my writing, on the contrary, I have to work hard at squeezing every “extra” minute into my day, or burn the midnight oil (usually at 3 in the morning when all is quiet and I don’t dare try to clean the house or do the dishes for fear of waking someone…sigh…) But for me, I don’t even miss the sleep because something drives me to keep writing. I’m the same way when I find a great book. I will neglect sleep in favor of finding out how the H&H finally end up HEA!

    Well, must go finish taking down the Christmas tree. The room looks so bare without it. I’m leaving up my Christmas Village though. Keeps the season going all through the winter!

  10. Jacquie, I’m late as always in welcoming you to P&P. Great blog and an appropriate one. Passion can come in all sizes and shapes. Mine comes in extra large and it has to do with reading books and writing my own stories. Long story short–I’m addicted to journeying places where I can probably never go. I speak and laugh and cry with characters that only exist on paper. My characters become my family. We’re a close-knit group. lol Seriously, I can’t imagine a life without my passion. How dull and boring that would be. And what a waste of a life. Everyone should find their passion and indulge often and in large portions.

    I guess that at the end of the day I want it to have counted for something. And on my tombstone it should say “She contributed to the betterment of her corner of the world.” If I can truly say that, I’ll be a very happy woman.

    Colordao Pickup Man sounds like a keeper for sure. I haven’t read it yet but I’ll look for it. The best part about having guest bloggers is learning about authors and books I’ve never read before. Good luck to you. I wish you lots of success.

    P.S. Do you have other books in the works? I hope so.

  11. Hi Jacquie,

    Congrats on your debut novel. It sounds realy great. My New Year resolution: don’t make any resolution, lol.
    I don’t realy know what my passion is. Yet. I’m only 19, so I still have time to find it. 😛
    O fcourse I love to read, but don’t ask me to write a story myself. I can’t draw or sing or… So I’ll just keep trying all different kinds of things. And maybe that way I’ll find my passion.

  12. I’m so glad there are so many of you authors who have a passion for writing because I would have to say my passion has always been reading! It was always my escape from the time I learned how to read and it hasn’t changed. I also love to collect print books – I like everything about them – the fell, smell, covers and of course the words lol.

  13. Jacqie. You’ve fallen into a predictable crowd here, as we’re all writers or readers, so lots of us will tell you those two are our passion.
    I love what you said about expecting ‘happily ever after’ and being robbed.
    I think that’s such an important point. As authors we are sometimes cornered into writing what is expected of us, being Branded, by our publisher. Because we have stories we want to tell that don’t fit the mold.
    If you’ve ever read a book by someone who is guaranteed to give you a good old happy ending…and been disappointed, you KNOW how unpleasant that it.
    So from a reader’s perspective I completely understand branding and as an author I love it because it works for me building a readership.
    I don’t mind if a writer does something else…but WARN ME. Don’t surprise me.
    Great post, Jacquie. The book sounds great, congratulations…and as the mother of four daughters. A woman who at one time had three preschoolers, congratulations for surviving!!!!

  14. Jacquie, I’m curious about how many horses you have on your ranch and is it a working ranch? I’d love to raise horses but I confess I don’t know much about them and it’d be pretty hard to do without a lot of acres for them to roam. Wouldn’t be for the city gal. Still, I’m in awe of people who do raise them.

  15. Hello again. We’re up to 45 degrees here in Iowa. Feels like spring! It’s so funny about getting my first book published and how the very next question out of everyone’s mouth is, “When is your next book coming out?” Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that people want more of what I’m writing, but at the same time, it’s frustrating for me to say “I don’t know” because honestly, I don’t know. I’ve completed 6 other manuscripts and my agent is working very hard for me. I’ve got one at my editor’s right now, but as most of you know, this is a very fickle industry. It’s a long slow and tedious process and if I didn’t love the craft so much, I would put away my computer right now. That being said, cross your fingers and send up a little prayer for me that my editor is in a good mood the day he reads my manuscript! In the meantime, I’m thoroughy enjoying the success of my first book. They did a fantastic job on the cover and I’ll always treasure this wonderful blessing from God.

    Linda asked about my place here in Iowa. We have a small acreage just big enough to run 6 horses…and those are strictly for trail riding and pleasure. My two daughters are the true horse fanatics. They love speed events and have won numerous awards for barrel racing and pole bending. We live right across from 15 miles of groomed horse trails, so we don’t even have to trailer our horses. My girls are old enough that they have their friends out and they go for the day by themselves. My boys both know how to ride and tack up (very important when impressing their girlfriends) but they’re more into their quad runners and snow mobiles. Everyone kids us that we should open our own camp because we have so many kids over all the time. Our neighbor even has an inground pool and hot tub that we get to use any time we want, so we really do live in a private paradise. I guess you could say my husband and I are kids at heart and we love to spend our “free” time with our children and their friends here at home.

    Besides our horses, we also have two dogs, a rabbit, a turtle, a cat, a parrot, and some fish. Sometimes I feel like our grocery bill is spent half on our pets!

    Thank you all for your posts. I’m really enjoying this blogging adventure!

  16. My passion for getting up each morning is because I can. I am a retired grandma and just waking up each morning is a blessing.

  17. Hi Jacquie,
    It’s great to get to know you here at Petticoats and Pistols. I loved your blog and can totally relate to your passion. I guess, there’s quite a few stay at home moms, who found their creative love, after their kids went to school. With me, it was when my kids entered junior high and I no longer needed to be Girl Scout leader, room mom, mentor, etc. I found writing and never let it go since. To that, we are alike.
    Your story sounds great. I visited your website and read more about it. Also, love the cover.
    Congratulations on your first book! Here’s to many more!

  18. Hi Jacquie! Sorry I’m late. Welcome to Petticoats & Pistols. Great post! CONGRATULATIONS on your debut novel!!!! How exciting 🙂 Goergous cover, and the story sounds fantastic!! Always love a bit of mystery with my cowboys *g*.

    My passions have changed over the years. When I was in my 20’s I was in passion limbo…I sewed, painted, and enjoyed time with my hubby, but the inner me felt lost and unfulfilled and I didn’t know why–so I had kids 😉 Well, two boys in 1.5 years will definitely keep you BUSY, and I enjoy them emmensely 🙂 But not even the best kids in the world (they really are *g*) filled the void inside me that kept whispering, “You were meant for more than this…” I never could have guessed that ‘more’ would be writing. It took my by suprise, and I’m actually glad I didn’t discover my passon for writing until my kids were in school–I’m such an obsessive compulsive person (100% or nothing!), I’m not sure I could have found a healthy balance, and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on those six years of being a professoinal volunteer (preschool, PTA, Tee-ball, SSC, Band, Soccer…) *lol*. My boys are now teens and pretty repectful of my writing time 😉

    Thanks so much for hanging out with us today. Wishing you much success!!

  19. Congratulations on your new release. What an inspiring and lovely post.
    My passion is reading and always has been. Now I have a new passion and that is travelling. So much to see and experience.

  20. Great post, and congrats on your new book. I quit my job about a month ago and will start looking for a new one soon. I am trying to get my son settle in college right now.

    I do the cooking and cleaning thing myself but I get really bord with it. I also piece quilts when I am in the mood.

    What I really enjoy the most is looseing myself in a good romance book. I just love it. Its like you are a part of the book. I spend every evening reading before I go to bed. Sometimes I stay up half the night if the book is really good.

  21. It’s so awesome to share such a wonderful passion with so many people, yet we’re all so unique in our likes and dislikes. Guess that’s why it’s so good to have so many talented authors out there giving us books that whisk us into another time, another place, and sometimes into another universe!

    Keep writing ladies and we’ll keep the midnight oil burning!

  22. jacquie, where in Iowa? Western Iowa? Because I live in Eastern Nebraska and I’d love to find another writer nearby.
    You don’t have to tell me here for all the world to see.
    email me at mary @ maryconnealy.com

  23. I’m up past 1 am finishing your novel next to the fireplace while the rain pours outside. Really fun–I couldn’t put down the sexy chapters, I’m so ashamed! 😉 Thx for autographing my copy and I wish you all the best! My passion is cycling so I’m off to bed to prepare for Team Hollywood ride in the am. Geez, I better make the java extra strong. love, cindy

  24. Hi Jacquie,
    congratulations on your first book, I hope there will be many more!
    My passion is reading, like so many other here. What would life be without good books?! They are like good friends who never let you down.
    Another passion of mine is all my good friends I have found surfing in the net…

  25. I just wanted to let anyone and everyone know that God heard my prayers last night! I received an email this morning that my editor is buying another book from me! I can’t believe the timing! Wow…I don’t know why I ever doubt the power of prayer. Thanks to you all. I will let you know when the release date will be. Thanks again for all your posts and I hope 2008 brings you all much joy and happiness! God Bless!

  26. Jacquie. . .
    Great post!
    Welcome and congratulations on your debut novel and now on contracting a second. As for my passions: friends and books. And anything with four legs and a tail excepting, maybe, an alligator.

  27. Jacquie!!! Woo-hoo! How absolutely exciting–whether it’s your second or your twentieth!

    I’d like to think Petticoats & Pistols was a good luck charm for you. Congratulations, dear!

  28. Congrats Jacquie! That’s wonderful news!

    (oh, and in answer to your question about whether I’m a member of a critque group- nope. I’m still “going it alone” I guess you could say.)

  29. Hello Jacquie and All!

    Unlike those of you here, my life-long dream is to STAY HOME LOL! From as far back I can remember, I’ve wanted to stay home, be married and have a family. Although I am married, have 4 grown children and 2 grandchildren, I’ve NEVER been able to stay home, but always worked outside of the house.

    Goever, like ALL of you, reading/writing is my passion and now that I’m published, the passion keeps getting stronger and stronger, though I must admit, I do tire of the stresses involved in doing so much.

    Great post & comments!

  30. Jacquie,
    I really enjoyed your comments, both about knowing your passion and the power of prayer. They are tied together so tightly. My lastest favorite quote is from Ramana Maharshi, “Your own self-revelation is the greatest service you can render the world.” And that self-revelation has to come from the Creator. The only way we can know our purpose/passion, is to consult the Creator, who has known from the beginning!
    May God continue to bless you!

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