I grew up a Southern girl in this U.S. of A. and was always a creative person as far back as I can remember. Then there was a kooky side to my personality that developed at an early age along with the creativity. In high school I drew unsavory pictures on my friend’s folders when they were’nt looking and my ideas of fun always got us into the worst trouble. My creative ideas and unique stamps were always changing and evolving.
I spent most of my working years in the travel business and as a result, I got a chance to see much of the world that we all live in. I married a guy later in life from Stephanie Plum of the Janet Evanovich book’s neck of the woods. He was from Levittown, PA which is only about eight miles from Trenton and was doing a job in the south where I’m from.
We had a son and I got sick about a year after he was born. It took about eight years for a diagnosis and I had left the travel biz and was self- employed and eventually had to retire because of my health issues. Boom! Worst time of my life and my son had been diagnosed with Autism at two years. I had spent that eight years getting him to a good place and then the bottom fell out from under me, again. The creativity took a nosedive and took my outlet for dealing with life with it. Nothing much interested me for a long while.
Think, goofy miserable person with too much time on her hands. My creativity was like a therapy of sorts throughout my years for stress and life. It varied from crafts to painting and I loved to read in between. About two years ago, I was raiding my local library and looking for a new series to read. One of the librarians showed me a Janet Evanovich book and asked if I had read any of them. I had not. She handed me ‘One for the Money’ and within two months, I had read the whole series.
Wow! The books engaged my sense of humor and the characters were imposing. Like many of you, I really identified with the character Stephanie Plum. She had kind of a difficult upbringing, and crazy relatives, and her issues manifested themselves in a kooky way. She was a good person, and a real girl’s type girl we all would like as a friend.
Her Grandma Mazur really struck powerful memories in me. That character reminded me so much of my own Granny. She was always laughing and she found humor and fun in everything. She lived in a tiny ‘podunk’ town in Tennessee and carried a little Saturday Night Special shooter in her purse. After she shot at a few drunks on honky-tonk night, the local police force of two, changed out her real bullets for gas pellets. She had a lot of old men crying on a regular basis over the weekends.
My Grandad had passed at an early age and she’d been taking care of herself for a long time. She worked in a little beer joint and bootlegged hard liquor out the back door and was quite the pool shark. Town folk loved her and her personality, but her behavior mostly embarrassed the family. She even knew the original Buford Pusser of the ‘Walking Tall’ movies and they were friends. He was a tough as nails, ball bat carrying ‘Ranger’ of this little town in Tennessee. I still miss the twinkle in that woman’s eye and her hearty laugh to this day.
With each book, I hoped for more from the characters and couldn’t wait for the next volume. I wanted to know when the next book was coming out and by doing a Google search, I came across Fanfiction.net. There was all these stories that were written by fans, just readers like me. The characters were being developed, and they were moving forward and had real lives. I read a few stories and was hooked, and then woke up one day with my own story idea, and I just began writing it.
I posted that story and got a good response on the creativity part, but got bashed pretty bad for my poor punctuation. My feelings were a little hurt and I was embarrassed and pulled the story. I sulked for a week and then got another idea for a story and wrote it. Then I did what Miss Stephanie would do and I pulled up my big girl panties, and I cleaned up the original story and put it back up and tried again, asking for a beta. I got a response from a nice lady to help me and worked her crazy for months. I was pretty darn shocked to see that I was good at something that I had never thought of before as a creative outlet. I was happy again and so was the rest of my family.
Two years later, I’m still writing like an energizer bunny, and have not slowed very much. I have a perfect outlet to be creative and even get the emotional junk out of my head, putting it to good use with some angst. I can connect with people, you the readers, and those reviews and feedback that you leave give me the boost and encouragement to keep me typing away.
An idea came to me for an original series about eight months into the writing and I pushed some stuff back and wrote it. Then I flung it out for a few people to read and sent some feelers out to literary agents. I got all rejection emails back. A friend of mine pointed out that has actually taken writing classes, it was not up to par at that point with what a serious publisher would expect. They are not as forgiving as fanfiction readers, and there are proper writing parameters that have to be met. My story was good, it just needed work to make it better and publishing worthy. In about January 2014, I hooked up with the lady that helped me to bring it together, Jenny Rarden. Some of you know her as Jenrar in fanfiction. With her help, I reached my goal early for 2014, finding a publisher that liked my book and my vision for a series, netting me a publishing contract. Thank you Omnific Publishing! I’m proud of my baby, and appreciate all the encouragement that you fans of mine provided.
This blog came about because I really liked a few writer’s pages, and a couple of you had mentioned that I should have one. So, here is a place to find out what I’m working on. You can talk about the current story I’m posting and ask me questions and leave comments. If you have a request or suggestion, I’m all ears. Contrary to belief, because I call out rude people now and then, I am totally receptive to constructive criticism. That’s how I learned so much in a short time. I did listen and developed a tougher skin. Where there is creativity, there will be critics, right?
Thanks for reading my sometimes crazy stuff with the maniacal twists and turns, and especially for following me. Now, bad Mandy, along with the kooky creativity manifests itself in my writing for your enjoyment. If I have made you sit on the edge of your chair, made you angry, cry, laugh, spew a drink or even wet your pants; I will NOT apologize. I am just doing my job, and will try to continue for as long as I can. Happy reading and thanks for visiting!