This month’s guest post is very special. Not only is it the reveal of Mary’s beautiful cover for her next release, but she also wrote an article to start 2016 off on an inspiring note.
SPARKLE ON, MY SISTERS
By: Mary A. Wasowski
Happy New Year! Another year of wishes, dreams…maybe even one or two coming true!
Thank you to my sparkly friend, Alison Gaskin Bailey, for asking me to write a post for her blog. She is not only one of my favorite author sisters, but I also get to call her a friend. Alison and I have this long-running joke: we always seem to release our books at the same time! So far, we have been neck and neck with our publishing dates!
The journey Alison and I have embarked on is not an easy one. You would go mad if you believed that you were this army of one and could do it all. That is where the sisterhood comes in: friends who are there to offer a shoulder when I need a good cry or just to say, “I’m here.” Along my journey, I have met some incredible women, Alison being one of them.
In the few short years I have been in the writing world, I’ve seen it change and not always for good. Once upon a time, Facebook was for connecting with old friends, making new ones, and just sharing a happy moment in your life. But these days, some would say social media has become the breeding ground for haters. A once-united front now has been divided, and rants from every topic is always at the top of the newsfeed.
Everywhere you turn, there are negative forces blackening one’s day, bottom feeders who hide behind their computers and spread the negative around like manure in a cow field. While the ground is covered with steaming piles of sh*t, you have two choices. One: Join the rest of the cows and spread more piles. Two: Maneuver around it and be careful where you step. A crazy metaphor, but it works for this post!
Which brings me back to the sisterhood. Surround your inner circle with people you trust. Help one another without asking “What’s in it for me?” The indie community has grown to huge proportions. Every day, writers from all walks of life are hitting the publish button on their dreams, hoping to get the brass ring. Sometimes you can be in such a rush to get to the top that you lose sight of those who kept you company at the bottom. Have your sisters’ backs and know they will do the same for you. Lead with your heart, and do not follow behind someone who doesn’t know the difference.
Whether you had the dream your entire life, or you just decided one day to go for it, once you embark on this journey, you have to remember why you did it and why you want to keep moving forward. It cannot be just about hitting a big payday or making a reading list. I have known writers that have given up way too easily on their dreams. Dreams they carried for years, but because they didn’t reach the level as quickly as others did or were threatened with negative posts, they simply gave up.
My advice to anyone who is about to take the leap of courage into the writing world is to breathe. Take it one step at a time. It is not a race to the finish line. Your words will be written and your voice will be heard on the pages of your book. Be honest. Be kind. Be smart. Always be professional. Stay above the haters.
I can only speak for myself, but writing for me is food for my soul. Every day when my fingers pound on my keyboard, it feeds my spirit and makes me reach new heights. I don’t need to tear someone down to look better.
When I give interviews for blogs, the first question I’m often asked is: Why did you become a writer? Sometimes my answer surprises the interviewer, but it is as true now as it was three years ago…
In a family of five kids, sometimes my voice was not heard, so instead of acting out to get my parents to notice me, I expressed myself by writing daily in my journal. Friends I grew up with (who are still my besties today) always told me that I had a gift for storytelling. Most of the time, I shrugged it off. As it often does, the crazy ride of life took me on many different paths. Some dreams did not work out the way I envisioned, but I still had my words that I added to my journal every night. I always believed that one day I would be a writer but never knew when.
When I lost my beloved sister Jeanie unexpectedly, I was lost. How was my 48-year-old sister dead? One sunny day in September 2009, she went into a Florida ER with an infected tooth after a routine dental surgery, and ten hours later was diagnosed with Acute Monocytic Leukemia. I lost her two months later, and I believed she took a part of me with her. Thank God, I had my husband, children, and amazing friends to get me through it. I had no choice but to move on. It had been years since I wrote consistently in my journal, but I did write occasionally through the years. And when I did, I would simply print it out and add it to a folder that would be tucked away collecting dust.
Then one day after a conversation with my husband, I made the decision to do what I always dreamed of: becoming a writer. I dug up my old journals. I dusted off that folder. I fixed up an area in my basement to write in. I printed positive slogans and taped them on the walls around me. “Dream Big” and “Never Give Up” always keep me going, but what provided the most inspiration was a picture of my sister Jeanie taped to my computer beside me.
I didn’t know anything about the publishing world nor the people in it. It was a learning process from day one, and three years later, I’m still learning. I don’t believe you ever stop learning. I have a tattoo on the inside of my left wrist: “She believed she could, so she did.” It reminds me to keep moving forward, a reminder that tells me that I have a voice—a strong one that will be heard, no matter what.
Judy Collins said it best, “I think people who are creative are the luckiest people on earth. I know that there are no shortcuts, but you must keep your faith in something Greater than you and keep doing what you love. Do what you love, and you will find the way to get it out to the world.”
My dream finally came true on August 6, 2013 when I published my debut novel, A Changed Life. It changed my life forever. It’s amazing how something I envisioned as a teen became my entire world nearly three decades later. I feel like my sister Jeanie was there next to me, cheering me on the whole time. And now I also have author sisters to provide me with a similar support.
Write what you love. Love what you write. Chase the dream…one book at a time.
Support your fellow authors. Never let anyone dull your sparkle. Be the light that brightens a room.
I promise you…your spirit will thank you for it.
Title: An Unfinished Life
Author: Mary A. Wasowski
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Mystery/Suspense
Cover Design: Mindy Guerreiros
Release Date: March 16, 2016
“You have my past…I need my future.”
Two men. Two pasts. Two goals.
Both men have suffered tragedies they wish they could forget. But can’t and won’t. Not without a fight.
One has made a promise of revenge. The other…an oath of justice.
These silent vows have haunted them both for years.
Which rival will prevail? Or will they both succumb to An Unfinished Life?
I am a dreamer. I’ve always been a dreamer. Some may not have worked out the way I hoped they would, but I also believe that everything happens for a reason.
Writing has changed my entire life. It brings happiness and fulfillment to areas in my life that I didn’t even know I was missing. It’s also one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done. It takes me away from my family, friends, and the little day-to-day tasks that once upon a time seemed normal. Sometimes I like to revisit my portfolio of old short stories, poems, and the inspirational quotes I have kept for many years. Reading through it all shows how far I’ve come and that the journey I am on now is exactly what I dreamed of many years ago. This makes me smile.
A long time ago, I used to write short stories and poems in journals and kept them privately to myself. It took quite some time and many sacrifices, but now I have four published books and have my very own writing cave. What the heck is that? Well, it’s my second home where I laugh, dream, imagine, and write my heart out to hopefully produce something that will make other people smile