( Photo credit: donnierayjones via Foter.com / CC BY )

I remember being a kid and being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.  When you’re young, there are lots of things you might want to do when you’re a grown up.  I remember playing with a doctor kit and thinking I wanted to be a nurse–but that was way before science classes, which weren’t my strong suit.  I remember playing with my younger siblings and thinking how great it would be if I was a teacher when I grew up, but that idea went away as I got older–not nearly enough patience for that job.  When I was ten and started writing stories, I just knew I wanted to be a writer.

When you’re ten you have no idea how hard it will be to do the thing you want to do as a grown up, but if you’re lucky, no one will discourage you yet, and if you’re really lucky, you’ll get encouragement as you continue to work on it.  I was lucky there, as I had teachers all through high school who did that.  Many times, though, you’ll also hear about how hard something might be, and shouldn’t you have a back-up plan?

Sadly, lots of people will listen to those suggestions instead of the encouragers.

I admit that I let other voices sway me for a while.  Oh, sure I was still writing, but not seriously.  After all, succeeding as an author was really rare.  I heard it a lot, but I kept writing, just because I had to, not because I expected to ever publish any of it.

Then one year I discovered there was a nearby writers’ conference, so I went.  I met some amazing writers there, made some great friendships that have lasted twenty-odd years.   Even better, I started to think maybe I could really do something with my stories.

I’ve been trying to remember that feeling this spring, after the ups and downs with my publisher over the past year.  It’s been a challenge some days.  But I’ve been trying to just keep in mind the encouragement, rather than the helpful, practical voices suggesting other things, because this is the one thing I love, still love after all this time, and I know I can do this.

Have you had to ignore helpful, ‘well-meaning’ suggestions about something you love?  Or did you take it to heart for too long?  Me, I want to be a writer when I grow up, so I’m going back to my tiger shifters for a while.  How about you?

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Excerpt from Hunting Medusa:

Andrea rested her head n her folded arms on the kitchen table, only half listening to Kallan typing on his keyboard. She didn’t want to die just yet. She knew for sure she didn’t want to be mutilated before she died.

But she didn’t look forward to killing the Harvester either.

She never should have had sex with him. She knew it. She’d known it beforehand.

And she should definitely not still want him.

When the phone rang, it was a relief. For a few seconds. Until she realized it was Thalia. “My cousin.” She didn’t think she needed to explain her mental caller I.D. to him.

Kallan held her gaze for a long moment. “Don’t try to let her know what’s going on,” he said at last. “I know where a lot of your cousins are located, and I’m not the only one.”

Her heart pounded harder at the implication, but she got to her feet and picked up the receiver. “Hello, Thalia. How are you?”

“I’m fine, Andi, but I think you need to get away for a while.”

She frowned, feeling Kallan’s presence behind her. Close behind her. Close enough to hear her conversation. “What do you mean?” His body heat teased her.

“The Harvesters are out and about. I’m afraid for you.”

Andi shut her eyes for a second, then opened them again when he put his hands on her shoulders. She shot him a glare and moved away, back toward the table. “I’m fine.”

“Please don’t ignore this, Andi. You know I’m hardly ever wrong.”

That was true. But she wondered if her cousin realized she was very often late with her flashes of intuition. Far too late in this case. “Okay. I’ll give it some thought, all right? Mom said something the other day about visiting.” Gods, had it only been two days ago? “And Aunt Lydia just called yesterday too. I could go to see either of them if anything seems odd.”

His hands settled on her shoulders again, massaging the tense muscles there.

She didn’t bother to shrug him off this time. He was persistent. “I could even come visit with you,” she teased, forcing a lightness into her tone.

Her cousin cleared her throat. “I actually have company right now,” she said after a moment, and Andi could almost see her blushing. “You remember I met someone in Athens last summer? Well, he’s come again to stay for a while.” Even over the phone, the emotion in Thalia’s voice was obvious.

One more cousin safe—none of the cousins who’d fallen in love ever had the curse land on their heads. A tiny bit of relief made her relax further under Kallan’s touch. “That’s terrific, Thalia. When do the rest of us get to meet him?”

“We’re talking dates,” the other woman said, a hint of a smile in her tone now. “I’ll be sure to let you know.”

“Good. And thanks for the warning. I miss you.”

“I miss you, too. I’ve got to go, Andi. Talk to you soon. But promise you’ll be careful. Danger is coming from more than one direction.”

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