Hardened Hearts austins-apology  shadowed-secrets  guarding-greatness 
       

The First Step...

So if a blog is a look into my life as a writer, what better way to do so than to hear how it all began? Not the box of yellowed paper typed up on my grandmother's IBM Select typewriter, but perhaps something a little more recent, and the two people that changed the course of my dreams.

In the sober light of day, no one I saw on a daily basis knew I wrote, what I wrote about, or how passionate I am about it. Then, last year, I decided to go back to college. See, in real life, I'm a single mom who has been consistently employed in random jobs in order to keep my family afloat. I've done it all from radio d.j. to data entry specialist to high school librarian and even did a stint as a phone sex operator. Okay, maybe not that last one, but I've had my fair share of jobs, which combined with the kids, meant I had to put my own schooling and desire to write on hold.

Early in 2012, I finally decided I was ready to go back to school. I decided that a BFA was the way to go. After all, if I'm going to write for a living (or, at least for fun) then a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree seemed only fitting.

Person #1 - Theresa
In order to be accepted into an academic program, I needed to provide a writing sample. However, as you can tell from Hardened Hearts' first version complete with multiple embarrassing mistakes, you need to have someone read through it, catch mistakes you can no longer see for yourself. (FYI, Hardened Hearts has since been professionally edited.) So, I asked Theresa to read over the first ten pages of what then were only about two chapters.

At that point, what was supposed to be a writing sample became a living breathing thing. Theresa (the proof-reader turned bully) harassed me daily for chapter after chapter, cursing me each time I ended a chapter on a cliff-hanger. Within three months, Hardened Hearts was a fully written book.

Person #2 - My son
You know those movies where a character sits and stares thoughtfully into the distance as daylight turns into night? It really happens, and I'm living proof. I sat, Hardened Hearts loaded and ready to go, but I just could not bring myself to push one little button. In my defense, that one little button contained the word "Publish", which in all honesty is as daunting today as it was then. I sat, in the overstuffed chair, cross-legged, laptop on a t.v. tray in front of me, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The laptop itself had gone into and out of hibernating mode countless times. Finally, right at 6 p.m., my 17 year old crossed through the living room, looked from me to the laptop and back again before shaking his head and sighing. "This is just sad," were his last words before he reached over, shook the mouse, and pressed the all powerful "Publish" button.