Three years, 99 rejections, 1 maybe, 1 yes, 1 contact 13 months ago… What now?
The publication of my first book, Am I Like My Daddy? and official book lauch month and celebration. Blood, sweat, and tears? Oh my, yes. Sad tears? Yes, over loved ones not able to share in this lifelong dream. But happy tears, too? Unquestionably.
This was my facebook status on Saturday: Easily one of the best days of my life. And I meant it. Every word.
The weekend festivities began with a trip to Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, the home of Bronze Man Books. The publisher, Dr. Randy Brooks, and his wife hosted a dinner at their home. It was the first time I met my amazing illustrator Amy Kuhl Cox and her husband Nathan. Yes, you read that correctly. I had never met my illustrator. Amy is a divine gift from God. I really do believe that my angels conspired to hand-pick her and place her in my path. I believe we had an immediate connection, even before meeting in person, and she will always hold a special place in my heart for raising our book to a new level with her sensitive, expertly crafted illustrations. It was also the first time I got to hold Am I Like My Daddy? in my own hands. Joy is not a good enough description for the feeling. Elation perhaps? The book is not only beautifully illustrated, but the layout, design, and overall craftmanship is so professional. After a champagne toast and three hours of laughter and stories we ended the night to prepare for Saturday’s book debut at Millikin.
On Saturday Amy and I shared power point presentations. I focused on the story inspiration and road to publication as well as the story’s theme of children needing to fill in incomplete memories after losing a parent. Amy shared her process for creating the artwork. The publisher ended with kind words for Amy and I followed by this statement: “This book has the ability to change lives.” Wow! It’s true. There are few books on the market that deal with the loss of a parent years later when a child realizes she has missing memories and wants answers to simple questions like, Am I like my daddy? or But how do I know that he loved me?
You can imagine that the day was emotional on so many different levels. My dream of becoming a published author had come true. I had proven to myself that perseverance pays off. But on a much bigger level, my eyes have been opened to so many pieces of my life coming together, starting with the death of my dad 27 years ago, to put me in a place to be able to use my experiences in life to potentially help others, to give others hope, to let those little boys and girls going through unexplained hell know that they will make it. They can have a good life. They can persevere even when life hands them a raw deal. I miss my parents so badly right now. I cry as I write this blog, but I know that for whatever reason this is what I am meant to do with my life. I am meant to be a writer. I am a writer, published or not, and I am meant to give hope to others. That saying, I have a lot to learn. I am an imperfect being, but the focus is clearer, and I move forward on this path, blessed beyond measure to know that life’s path has been designed and brought into clarity.
There was so much love in that room on Saturday: my husband, children, aunts, uncles, my sister, friends from days past, my third grade teacher and inspiration for my teacher character… I want to publicly thank those that have supported this journey. I cannot wait to share the book with my local friends and family next week. To those known and those that are blog friends, thank you for sharing this experience with me.
Am I Like My Daddy? will be available for purchase on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and for order from Barnes and Noble after Dec. 15th, the official copyright. For now, please contact Bronze Man Books if you are interested in purchase. www.bronzemanbooks.com. Have a wonderful day.