Right time, right place

I suppose I should introduce myself. I don’t necessarily mean my name, family status, hobbies, etc. That may come up here later. Or, possibly in a future post. Or maybe not. I’m winging it here, which is not always a good thing – like when writing an official bio, which this is not.  But then again, it can sometimes work out for the best. Similar to when one of my new author friends realized one of his characters had a mind of his own and became more than an ancillary player in the story. Or when one of my editing clients discovered his character wanted to go in a different direction within the story. It’s an author thing. Characters tend to have a mind of their own. They speak to their creators. I was about to type characters speak to them, but I remembered I have become one of them.

Let me go back. Not a lot, just a little bit. I’ll try not to be boring, and I will try not to go on a tangent as my husband says I am so fond of doing. No promises, only that I’ll try. I hope you will stick around to the end.

I have always wanted to be a writer. But, at times, I thought maybe that wasn’t meant for me. I have to remember to update my Twitter on a regular basis. And, I have a blog, but I never did a software update until recently, so now I am starting from scratch. I even have a hard time keeping a journal. There are always so many thoughts fighting from attention and inspiration always happens at the most awkward time. Then when I am able to give the idea my full attention, it’s gone. Poof. I finally figured out the problem. I hate sounding stupid. That’s the simplest explanation. I could go on about anxiety issues and self-esteem, but that’s for another day., iIf I can remember.

Then came something Stephen King was quoted as saying. He said, and I paraphrase, writers write. And when they are not writing, they read just about anything and everything. I personally draw the line at romance novels, (yes, I read a few in my younger days). You know the ones, the formulaic Harlequin Romances (and others of its kind). I am not bored with my marriage or my life, so don’t need to fantasize about being swept off my feet. My husband does that for me. But I digress.

At one time I wrote a bit of what I guess is now called fan fiction. I was a kid, and it didn’t last long. It was a phase. But, it did strengthen my love of the written word. It was during my junior year of high school many years ago where I discovered an option, an outlet. Journalism. Long story short, I had my foray into journalism, and, for a time, it served me well. It is where I found my voice, what created a spark. I also discovered a love and a skill for editing.

So, back to Stephen King saying (at least, I am pretty sure he is the one who said it) writers write, and read. Well, I read. A lot. Sometimes the characters visit me in my dreams as if they want me to tell their story in a different way or continue past where the author left off. My husband teased me one time, after one such occurrence, I read too much. I can thank my mom for encouraging my love of books, which I have since passed to my son and hopefully he to my grandchildren. However, for me, this turns out to be a double pointed quill.

Most people, when they read, glance over errors in the writing. Their brains automatically correct the mistake for them without them even realizing it does. Fascinating thing, the brain. Unfortunately for me, for the most part, I don’t autocorrect. At least, not all the time. While it truly is not always unfortunate, it can be when all I want to do is read how someone turned some old flower pots and some wood furniture into really cute backyard decorations, as an example, and I see a mistake. I am not talking about a misplaced comma. I am talking about something the author should not have let go through. It’s worse when I am reading a newspaper, or what is supposed to be an edited and proofread book, and there are mistakes. And, not simply one dropped comma or something equally minor. It makes my fingers ache for a pen.

Here’s where it becomes a bonus. After years of … searching for what I am supposed “to be when I grow up” it landed in my lap. I literally did not look for this opportunity. It started with my friend, author Sylvia Shults. After writing a few short fiction books, she embarked on writing about true ghost stories. She wrote Ghosts of the Illinois River and Fractured Spirits: Hauntings at the Peoria State Hospital. I read both. Did I forget to mention I love spooky, creepy stories? Anyway, when she began working on her third non-fiction book, Hunting Demons: A True Story of the Dark Side of the Supernatural, I offered to edit it for her as a favor. Not really sure what possessed me to speak up, but I did. The timing was right, and it paid off. Skipping forward, enter author David Younguist.

Last year, David called me out of the blue. I vaguely remember meeting him briefly one time through Sylvia. He was looking for a freelance editor. She gave him my name and number. After I had talked to him on the phone for a bit, I decided to “give a go.” We worked well together, and he was happy with my work. Enough so, he started passing my name on to other indie authors. Pardee Time Editing was born.

Enter Jackie Chin, host of Zombiepalooza Radio and marketing guru for Stitched Smile Publications. Author and artist Lisa Vasquez, CEO of SSP, was looking for editors for her new independent publishing house. David put me in touch with Jackie, who put me in touch with Lisa. I signed on as an editor. I began working with Michael Freeman right out of the gate, who during the process decided to make me his co-author for Strychnine, a werewolf story, and Strigoi: The First Family, a new take on the Dracul mythos – which I am grateful for the chance. See what I mean when I said this all just fell into my lap as if this is my time? This is what I have been working toward. I didn’t know until know this was it; I only had to get out of my own way and let it happen.

I am still wrapping my head around becoming an author, more so because of the unexpected way it happened. There are some negative Nellies out there who will argue I didn’t really make it because SSP is not a fancy big name publishing house. To that I say pfffftttt. Stitched Smile Publications is where I want to be, where I feel I am supposed to be at this point in my life. The people who are a part of this company care about each other. We are a family who wants everyone to succeed, to feel appreciated, and to feel valued. And for that, I am grateful.

So, if you made it to the end, I say to you, stay tuned and enjoy the ride. And, hey; thanks for reading. See you on the next page.

Donelle Pardee Whiting

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