I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, however, did not grow up in the corn husker state. My father was in the Air Force and that was how he ended up from Texas to Nebraska to meet my mom. Military families move around, as most of you know, so I have lived in many places. The most exciting place was Japan; unfortunately, I was too young to enjoy or remember the experience. Living in Texas for a huge portion of my life means I consider myself a good ole Texas gal.
Moving from place to place, I was always the new kid so I couldn't be shy, and people who know me will tell you that being shy is not a problem for me in the slightest. I love meeting people and making new friends wherever I go.
My aunt introduced me to the classics, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Black Beauty, Heidi , Charlotte's Webb and Alice in Wonderland, to name a few. Reading took me to a new place and with my vivid imagination drawing me into the book, I was part of the story. From the classics, I moved to mysteries, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, graduating to the love stories of Harlequin and Silhouette.
Before the Internet and personal computers, I either typed or wrote longhand. However, my handwriting stinks (perhaps I should have been a physician) and I had problems reading it myself. I know you are laughing and so am I. So, yes, I used an old fashion typewriter.
I finally had enough of a manuscript to work with and a query. I was ready to send it by snail mail to Harlequin. Despite all the slush piles, I hoped at least my work would be reviewed before they trashed it, sending me the obligatory “thank you but no thank you” reply. Snail mail takes forever and replies even longer, so I went about my life, and I kept writing when I found the time.
I received an unexpected phone call from New York months later. A representative from Harlequin was calling. My heart was racing, it excited me that maybe my dream of being a published author was about to come true. No. My dream was still a dream. I was disappointed and exhilarated all at the same time, but I was not going to give up.
Years later a chain of events happened giving me ample time to write and I pounded the keyboard, publishing my first children's book. Afterward, I was given an opportunity to have my first crime novel published and since then I have finished the second and third Jack West Novels, and have been working on the fourth. Lest I forget, I also have a soon-to-be-published fantasy/romance, and the second book is in the works.
My life over the years has brought me full circle, back to a dream that began years ago. I am now a published author, and excited that I am getting that chance to entertain readers!
Socrates once said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”.It took me years to face my fears and make a difficult, albeit necessary, decision. Fifteen years to be exact. Though my journey was far from easy, I built a happy new life by looking forward to the future and didn’t look back. So far, I survived 100% of my worst days. Here’s my story.It was time for a changeIt was a long time coming, and finally, I knew it would happen. I asked for a divorce. It was time and I was no longer afraid to leave. I was scared of the inevitable consequences, but knew with certainty I would cease to exist if I stayed. I began the overwhelming process required to separate myself from him weeks earlier; I closed bank accounts, obtained my own automobile insurance and took his name off the service contracts for our rental property. A stressful undertaking, overall to keep what I was doing a secret, but I was not to be talked out of my plan to be free.Our divorce was final the day after our fifteenth wedding anniversary, which conveniently made the date easy to remember. On my own, the only people I knew were my co-workers and ex-husband’s family. The people in my office were mostly married with lives that did not fit into my new world as a single mom with three kids. His family, for obvious reasons, did not continue our relationship once our marriage fell apart.Who gets the friends?During my fifteen year marriage, I did not have my own friends, like a best girlfriend or whatnot. My closest female friend was the wife of my ex-husband’s dearest friend. Our children were good friends too. What a convoluted mess. As he told ‘his story’ first, and I am certain I came off as the villain, he kept the friends and I was out. Problem solved.My ex-spouse convinced me throughout our marriage that the only reason I had friends was because I was married to him. I was “unlikeable” on my own, he said, and let me know often I was not “good enough”. My confidence was shot after so many years of emotional abuse – I believed him.Twist of Fate – A Jack West Novel by Deanna King I found my waySeveral months after the divorce, I took a courageous and uncharacteristic first step. I put on my “going out” clothes and headed to a club…by myself. I met new people, laughed and talked, and can you believe it, I made friends! It was only then I realized people actually like me! This one small step (not so small for me) changed my life. My happy self returned, and so did my smile. Even my children commented I seemed happier. I stayed far too long in an unhappy situation for the sake of the kids, unaware they felt my underlying misery. I thought I covered my sadness well, but clearly my children picked up the negative vibes.A new lifeI boldly pushed ahead for many years, intent on creating a good life for my family of four. The road was not easy, especially financially, but we weathered the rough patches together. I worked hard, upgraded my skills, and landed higher paying jobs which ultimately led to homeownership and a new car. I learned to fix things around the house and did the yard work on my own. I did not need a man to take care of me. Downsized – How I Switched Gears at Age 50+ by Deanna KingThe best is yet to comeI dated over the years, careful for the most part not to give my heart away. Moving on is easy if you don’t allow love to be part of the equation. It was not until twenty-four years after my divorce that I was finally ready for a closer relationship. I met a patient and kind man who moved slowly, willing to give me the time I needed to open my heart to him. He loves me unconditionally for exactly who I am. And he shows me every day how much he cares in many different ways. And you know what? I deserve that. We all do.I find myself amazed that after I turned 50, my life took a wonderful turn, not downhill, and not ‘over-the-hill’. My life is now better than ever, more complete, and filled with fun and surprises at every turn. I am not at all old – in fact, I am just getting started.The bottom lineChange is scary…incredibly scary. But sometimes it’s the best option for all involved. I was frozen in place for a long time; once I made the decision to make a change I forged ahead and ultimately found strength I had no idea I possessed.If you need to make a life change, don’t let the opinions of others determine how you feel about yourself. Know your capabilities and move forward with confidence. Somehow, one way or another, things work out. If I can do it, I know you can too.