I am often asked the question, “When did you first start writing?”
To the best of my memory, I was around eight when I wrote my first string of words that made sense. I had an alcoholic uncle whom I adored. He lived with us off and on throughout my growing up years and occasionally he’d twist off, so Mom would make him move out. During one of those episodes, I was worried about him, so I wrote a gospel song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus.
But, before that, I can remember loving anything written. I loved the Dick and Jane books in first grade. I loved fairy tales. I loved reading and devoured books of all kinds. In fifth grade, I checked out the Grimm’s Book of Fairy Tales so many times they had to make a new library card.
Ah, the smell of libraries. I still love them. I never outgrew my love for reading. It was my entertainment, education, and adventure. And it still is!
Fast forward many years where I found myself in a serious songwriting vibe. My late husband, Rick, was a singer/songwriter and several years after we’d married, he pulled his vintage Martin D35 out from under the bed and returned to writing and playing the music he loved.
I wanted desperately to join him. I loved singing harmony with him, but I wanted to play. We had a second-hand/antique store, and some guy stopped in one day and sold Rick an old banjo. He took the instrument apart and put a guitar neck on it to create a Gitjo. And it was on that instrument I learned my first chords.
When he saw I was dead serious about learning, he bought me a 3/4 size Applause guitar for my birthday. I was fifty years old. So, NEVER let anyone tell you are too old to learn something new!
And it took off from there. I played on that little guitar every day and we wrote songs every day. When I’d get home from my day job, I’d hurry to put supper on the table so that we could toss around ideas, chords, melodies, and lyrics. It was an exciting part of life for me. We booked gigs and I got to play and sing on stage with him. We built a recording studio so that we could record our songs, and we published our own music.
But, now those are simply fading memories with pictures and CDs to prove it all happened. And I moved on after his death, in another direction of writing.
Compelled to tell our story (his and mine) I began to write books. And, I decided that I would continue to promote our music by releasing a music CD with each book that matched the time period of the story.
The first book, Flowers and Stone, was a HUGE learning curve for me. I am often tempted to pull it down and rework it and I may some day.
Set in 1970, this is the beginning of an epic love story with a musical twist as Luke Stone and Darlina Flowers (our fictitious names) travel the roads of Texas with Luke’s band. It is real and raw with a devastating conclusion.
The second book in the series, The Convict and the Rose, is not only the story of Luke’s determination to survive many years behind prison bars, but Darlina’s own struggle to survive in a prison of her own where the bars were invisible. It is inspiring with a lesson in turning a negative situation into a positive one. This book garnered my first writing competition award – First Place in the Biographical Fiction Category from the Texas Association of Authors!
Ah, the reunion. Finally, Luke and Darlina earn a chance to build the life they’ve always dreamed of. But, the struggles are real and the price of love is high. Home At Last won two First-Place writing awards.
Then, all too soon, it’s over. Twenty-five years seemed like nothing. But, this is not a book about death. Instead, it is a book about living and wringing the most out of every moment – ‘Til Death Do Us Part.
I never stopped learning as I moved through this writing journey. I always strived to make each book better than the one before, while continuing to tell this true story. Thank God for my older sister, Linda Broday, who helped guide me along the way. I took classes. I learned about POV and head-hopping, sentence structure, show-don’t-tell, and passive voice vs. active voice. And guess what! I’m still learning and still striving to be better.
I released one more book, a beautiful expression of poetry and art. It is a combination of poems from both Rick and myself and pieces of his amazing artwork accompany them. Discovery is available in hardback, paperback, and eBook.
Is my writing journey over now that I’ve told this story? Oh goodness, NO! I’m almost done with my first fiction novel, which I’ve entitled When Two Worlds Collide. It has been so much fun to create and live vicariously through these fictitious characters. I’m fully invested in them and their story as it unfolds in my imagination.
I also write for two magazines. Buddy Magazine is the Original Texas Music Magazine for which I interview artists, review CDs and feature innovative, creative, and talented musicians. The Oklahoma Farm and Ranch Magazine has a music section and I have the honor and privilege of filling it each month.
Will I ever stop writing? No. I don’t think so. 🙂
For more, visit my Website
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I am a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB where I sit on the Board of Directors
I am a huge fan of The Texas Musicians Museum, where I also am a board member.
The Texas Author’s Institute of History is a place where Texas literary works are preserved and I am a board member of that organization as well.
16 thoughts on “#Writing Journey”
What a fabulous journey you’ve had, Jan. I loved reading your story with Rick through your Luke and Darlina series and I remember the gitjo well. It’s amazing that you took on guitar playing when you did. Clearly, you have a passion for music. How wonderful that you and Rick were able to create music and memories together. You are multi-talented…and have a beautiful singing voice! 🙂
Awwww, Mae, you say the sweetest things. Thank you so much for stopping by! Hugs!
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Back at you! 🙂
Thanks, Craig. I appreciate you stopping by.
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Hello Jan! It’s lovely to get to know you better. Great post!
Thank you, Vashti. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment.
Jan- I loved this blog. I’m so glad you took up writing lyrics, music playing, and of course writing. Rick and your love story still is with me everyday. It’s been a year since I read it, but it’s still one of the most remarkable series I’ve ever read. You’re amazing for letting the world hear your and Rick’s journey you took and that true love is real. Even when things seem so lost, we must never give up. I can’t wait to read your new fiction.
Love you Dearly and keep playing those songs.
Thank you, Tonya. Such sweet words. I appreciate you so much and sending hugs and much love your way.
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I love your guitar with your name on it! So cool you could do that and have all those memories to enjoy. I wish I was musically– talented enough to play with my husband, but I lack any natural skills there…the only thing I did as a child was play the piano for a bit. We got my mother’s in law piano, but it just sits…after reading this I might just give it a try again. Although, I might just be OK alone, not playing with others 🙂
I can’t wait to get back to your books…I have been trying to read as many RRBC members that interact with me as possible…before getting back to reading some of those series I wanted to!
You are very right, writing is something you can always improve upon and learn more about…like music, too. You are a very busy person! Wow! I look forward to your first fiction novel!
Thank you, D.L. YES! Play that piano. If nothing more than for your own ears. Hugs and thanks for stopping by!
Wonderful post, Jan. I loved the journey….through words and musical notes. 🙂
Thank you, Gwen. Your sweet support is like a breath of fresh air!