Back and Better than Ever!

Hello writers! I’m sorry for abandoning you for a time, but I’m back and better than ever. I just completed my Masters in English Literature and am ready to get back to work on my own writing!

About two years ago, I felt stuck. I had plenty of ideas and felt like I had talent. But my writing lacked the polish it needed to rise to the next level. I worked with Writer’s Digest, taking classes and doing workshops; but that only took me so far. I was hesitant to go back to school – it was expensive and time consuming, and I felt it was unfair to take resources from my family when I probably wouldn’t work after I was finished anyway. But in the end I found a wonderful program through National University which allowed me to get my degree online.

It was not an easy process. I spent six weeks in the hospital in the middle of my schooling. Due to the medication I take for Crohn’s disease, I contracted Histoplasmosis and ended up in the ICU with a collapsed lung, multiple organ failure, and a severe and potentially fatal fungal infection. Thanks to my wonderful doctors and family, I got well; but it took about six months to get back to where I was before I got sick. I dropped one class that was in session while I was in the ICU; but finished my other classes from the hospital.

By July I was feeling like my old self again and taking a Seminar in Fiction class that I loved, when my father was suddenly diagnosed with seven Glioblastomas. Brain cancer is terminal, especially with so many tumors and we knew he didn’t have much time. Honestly, the next few months were some of the worst I’ve ever lived through. The surgery to remove four of the tumors took about 12 hours and felt him confused and in a great deal of pain. Chemo and radiation were hard on his body and made him sicker than ever; and in the end they did no good. His remaining tumors grew larger.

I have an amazing family and my sisters, my mother, and I took care of him together. My husband, my brother in law, and my in laws made sure that I could be with him as much as possible. But in the end, we lost him three months after his diagnosis. He died scared and in a lot of pain, and I’m still trying to understand it all. I miss him every day and I don’t think the hole his death left in my heart will ever heal.

He was so proud of my writing and he was a big part of why I went back to school. One of the first things he said after he was diagnosed was, “Don’t you dare quit now!” I finished my thesis while he was on hospice and turned it in two days after his funeral. I got an A on my paper and graduated with Honors on November 11, 2017.

Losing my father brought so much pain, but looking back, I can see the beauty in loss. His illness and death brought our family closer and showed me what a brave, strong, and resilient woman my mother is. It’s brought out a new side of both of my children; they comforted me when I was sad, were patient when I was angry, and held me when I was broken. As I watched my 12 year old daughter lie in the hospital bed with her papa, talking to him and praying with him, even though he could no longer open his eyes or speak, I realized what an amazing, compassionate daughter I had. Listening to my seven year old son tell me that I didn’t have to worry because Papa was with us always helped me to look at his death with child-like faith and innocence. And watching my mother hold Dad tight and surround him with love up to his last breath showed me what it means to truly love with all of your heart and soul. Sorrow makes joy so much sweeter, and loss makes those you love that much more precious.

I’m dedicating the next phase of my writing to my father. He always knew that my dreams would come true. I will continue to write novels and query to find an agent. But I am also dedicating my time to my honor society – Sigma Tau Delta and to critique groups in order to elevate my writing and help others with theirs. In addition to my fiction writing, I plan to continue my academic writing and hopefully someday, to finish my doctorate.

This blog will continue to offer writing support and tips and articles to help writers. Books I love and things that inspire me and interviews with other writers will all be featured. I welcome comments and questions and love to hear from other writers.

So welcome to Queen Author’s Quest, I hope you enjoy the ride.

“Maybe that is my superpower – I can inhale pain and breathe out poetry.”

– John Mark Green