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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Write or Die

Oh wow, so now it is my week and it is always a bit nerve wracking to have yourself on your own blog. I am so not good with self-promo so please forgive me everyone. As part of the Indie Chick Anthology, it is now my turn to showcase my own story and although it isn't anything like Shea or Heather's, it is quite satisfying to share in its own way.

When I first started on this journey and Cheryl Shireman told us we would have to share personal stories, I was absolutely frightened to the core. Share a personal story? With strangers? About my life where it will always exist in cyberspace? And then I truly thought about it and realized why not? When you decide to become an author, your life, as you know it is no longer your own. Better to "pull an Oprah" and put everything out there than to try to hide so here is my story in my own words. Enjoy! ;-)

Isn't that the face of an angel? Not!

“Write or Die”
2010 was the worst year of my life.
After a very successful career in the banking industry, I suddenly found myself unemployed, my marriage falling apart and to add insult to injury my father dying. I had a 10 month old daughter and suddenly, I was back living with my unmarried, child-free sister with two children. Life was bleak and the most terrifying part about the whole situation was I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do.
I was attending university for a degree in International Business but who was I kidding? I’d always hated business; I was good at banking but should I base my career on something I was simply good at or should I be doing something I love? This was my dilemma and I had no one to blame for my predicament but myself.
Plenty of women had overcome more tremendous obstacles so why was I feeling sorry for myself? I steeled my spine and decided to make some real decisions. In the middle of the detritus which was now my life, I found a wonderful and caring man I fell hopelessly in love with but the problem was he didn’t live in this country and he was a successful and driven attorney. What would he want with someone like me? Unemployed, two children, divorced and somewhat shaky ambitions at an age where most women had it made, were married and excelling towards middle age. My life was a mess and I needed a man like a fish needs a bicycle (thanks, U2!).
I took a long hard look at my life and realized I had failed to plan and therefore I had planned to fail.
When I stood at that podium and looked at the few family and friends who had bothered to show up at my dad’s funeral, my life became so clear. My father had had so many chances; so much lost opportunities and had blew all of them due to fear and inertia. I was my father’s daughter; I was falling into that same black hole of despondency with no way out.
It took another fourteen months before I had the actual courage to see out my dream and make it a reality. Isabelle Solal had written a book, In The Past Imperfect, and her good friend, Sion Dayson, had promoted it on her blog. She was tired of waiting for the agent who would never accept the publisher who could never take a chance and had decided to self-publish her fictional book on Amazon. Was this possible? Could I self-publish? Could I take my book which I had tried to find an agent for the past eight years or so and do it myself? Say it isn’t so!
I was so excited about the possibility of publishing, I dug it out of the place it’d warmed my different hard drives and laptops over the years, decided at over one thousand hard back pages, it was much too long to publish as a full length novel, chopped it up into eight parts and hit publish on the first part.
I was ecstatic as I had done my own cover (a beautiful statue which captivated me while I was on my European vacation) and it was just so perfect. Unfortunately, no one else knew I existed and that is when I realized publishing was more than just about hitting a button. I had to make sure my novel was edited, the right cover was used to attract attention and there was a whole list of indie writers I didn’t know about but they were there and ready to be at my service.
In the beginning, I only used Kindle’s Direct Publishing board because that was the only one I knew about. Another writer, Athanasios, who wrote a thrilling book titled Mad Gods, told everyone on the KDP boards about a new Facebook board group called Indie Writers’ Unite. I joined, Cheryl Bradshaw, the creator of IWU accepted me, and the rest is history.
I wish I could say I am selling thousands of copies and I got the guy but that isn’t life and nothing happens without time. I am selling and many people have discovered my work; I have met some of the bravest men and women on the planet at IWU and I feel like a million bucks even if my life still isn’t a bed of roses. The guy, like everything good in life, will take some time and I am willing to put it in and make the effort; nothing worth anything is easy to accomplish for the matter.
I love to write so that is what I’m doing. I enjoy writing whatever moves me, thus I have work in several different genres including Women’s Literature, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Science Fiction and Fantasy. I also plan to do a novel I have had in the works for a while that is firmly Mystery with a Thriller twist.
For the first time, I stayed true to myself, my ambitions and what I want my life to be and represent. I know it will get better and all my dreams will come true—many of them already have. My life is still changing, still revolving but I have come out ahead, stronger and more positive than I ever thought possible. I learned the hard way either I write or I can simply subsist and die.
Life is like writing; it isn’t about perfection but it is about the possibilities we are given every day, the decisions we make and what we want to do with them. It is about forks in the road and deciding which direction to take and making the best with whatever is thrown at us once we make our decisions. It is the way it should be and that is simply imperfect.

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Death-Wish-Book-Vamp-ebook/dp/B00631HMHY
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/death-wish-danielle-blanchard-benson/1107067214
Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/101440
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/3719572
Smashwords (Available FREE): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/88853
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Forever-27-Novelette-Club-ebook/dp/B005N04MFQ
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forever-27-danielle-blanchard/1105648222


Anne R. Allen said...

Love the expression "pull an Oprah." This is such a moving piece. And it speaks to so many of us. We're a civilization in freefall, and we have to figure out what really matters in order to survive in a world where people elect cartoon villains as leaders and let greedy corporations steal our dreams.

Mel Comley said...

You're such an inspiration, Danielle. I'm honoured to be involved with this project. 25 wonderful Indie Chicks raising money for women with breast cancer! ;-)

Danielle Blanchard Benson said...

@Anne, thank you for the comment. I completely agree with your sentiment; it's a brave new world we are living in and the worst part is we're the first to live in such traumatic times where 24 hour news keeps us up to date on the latest. It's hard but if I have learned anything in this life, it's too damn short to waste doing something you don't want to do, being with someone you don't really want to be with or just going through the motions. Life is so precious and my dad's death and 2010 in general really taught me to make each moment count (easier said than done)!

@Mel, thank you and you are an inspiration as well (at least my inspiration as you left the UK and moved to France). I want to do something similar once I am in the position, financially. I need to be away in an atmosphere that allows my creative spirit to really thrive and to me, France will always be that place. Thanks for the commment. ;-)

Hunter F. Goss said...

Great post, Danielle and a very thought provoking personal story.

I found you because we ended up as ‘neighbors’ on H.C. Elliston’s snippets page. Congratulations on some of the great reviews you’ve gotten. Hope your newest book sells well for you.

You’re much further down the road than I am, but maybe one of these days I’ll catch up.

Hunter Goss

Danielle Blanchard Benson said...

Thanks, Hunter. If we're neighbors on HC Elliston's page, I better check it out as I haven't been in a couple of weeks.

I might be a little bit further in this journey than you but remember, I am a newbie as well. I like to think I learn something new everyday but you have no idea how much I have learned from all my friends in the indie community.

I couldn't imagine being a legacy author because although they must have great friendships, the indie community in all its different spots and shades is a great place to be and I wouldn't trade the feeling of camaraderie for anything in the world.

Thanks again for commenting and have a wonderful day. ;-)