Exactly eight years ago this month I set on the path of discovering who I was – the real, honest to goodness me. Not the one others thought I was, or the person I thought I had or even needed to be – but me.

It might not sound all that ‘light bulb’ type of moment – but it was. Trust me. I had been a pastors wife, a young mother of three girls living in a city far from my family and not very happy at all. Somewhere in the mix of life I’d lost who I was – funny how that happens.

Eight years ago this month I wrote The End on a story that only took me six months to write. I knew nothing – way back when – about writing. I had no idea what a character arc meant or that there was even such a thing called POV and that it was actually crucial to your story. I didn’t know what it meant to craft your characters or what the word craft even meant when it came to writing. I just knew that I’d spent six months writing a story from my heart and it was now done. I didn’t spend time editing it until I lost my voice, shoot – I didn’t really even edit the book. What I did do however, was save my document and send it into a publishing contest.

I had no idea how that one little act would change my life.

It takes a lot of courage and strength to hit send when it comes to a story you’ve written – whether it’s in response to a query letter or to your editor. Sending in that draft of a novel was the first steps in discovering who I was – the real me, the one who loved chocolate, who loved her family but loved herself even more but was always afraid to admit that. The me who didn’t always think before she spoke or who was angry at God but never wanted to admit it.

Eight years is a long time but it’s been one heck of a ride! That story I wrote – once called Once Upon A Dream but is now titled Chocolate Reality was really my reality. That book is my heart from start to finish. It’s the dreams of a romantic, the awakening of a love she thought she’d lost forever, the rebirth of a woman not afraid to stand up for herself in life. I realized it was okay to be angry at God and not be damned. I learned that until I grew to love myself no one else would – same with until I respected myself enough, I’d never earn the respect of others. I understood that there is something in me which craves honesty and I that I have a real lack of patience with people who wear masks to protect themselves from their fears.

There came a time when I started to understand what the word craft meant when it came to writing and I realized that the story I wrote really wasn’t ready to see the world. I became ashamed of this inspirational romance because it showed my naivety not only in writing but in life. I remember telling people I was sorry that they’d read it and not to buy it when they expressed interest. For a little while, I’d lost sight of the life lessons I’d learned while writing that story.

Not anymore though. This story still makes me smile. When I flip through it’s pages, there’s a joy in my heart that I don’t ever want to lose. Yes, there’s a new cover and yes, it’s been heavily edited (thank goodness) but essentially it’s the same story of a girl who loses herself in her passion in order to protect her heart.

Right now I have the ebook it on sale with select retailers – to celebrate this exciting journey I’ve been on and as a sort of ‘anniversary’ celebration. It’s only 99cents but I hope you’ll pick it up (if you haven’t) and enjoy the first novel I’d ever written.

Amazon    Nook  iTunes

One note: To all my UK readers who read on the Kobo – it’s on sale for 30% off it’s regular price (it is not priced to 99cents on Kobo for North America or Europe – sorry!) The code you use is: september30