Well, here I am. As I look at the title I just typed in, I rethink it, then leave it as is. In truth, I could turn back now if I wanted to. I could stop altogether if I wanted to. I’ve chosen this path, and I have full discretion to change it. But I won't. I will continue to take one step forward at a time.

This is my story and my story.

As I watch what is going on in the world today, I am reminded that all lives matter. My life matters. And the lives of my characters matter because their purpose is to convey this message: Life matters. This is what this is really all about: Me (my story), having a voice, having a message and having a means by which to communicate that message, which is my story (my first book).

Are you interested in knowing how I got here? If so, please continue reading. I came very close to dying once. That's it. That's the answer. That's what has brought me to this point in time.

In 2018, I suffered a near-death experience that took me more than a year to recover from. I referred to the experience as my Grand Derailment. For the sake of clarification, my medical crisis had nothing to do with a drug overdose. I mention this because writers often draw from real-life experiences for inspiration, and the main character in Lifeline to Marionette does nearly die from a drug overdose. Not so in my case. I actually contracted myocarditis as a result of a common virus taking up residence in my heart.

The experience served as an opportunity for me to hit the reset button on my life. It was as close to getting a do-over as I was going to get. If I learned just one lesson from it that I could pass on to others, it’s this: If you are given a second chance at life, take it and do something with it. From that point forward, I looked at my life from a different perspective and with much more respect for it. I took inventory of all the things I had ever wanted to do and vowed to do them. Not all things, of course—just those handful of achievable dreams that somehow got lost along the way.  I learned to say “no” in order to stay focused on my own path. At the top of the list was getting back to writing fiction. Despite my long and successful career as a journalist, feature writer and editor, I’ve always wanted to write novels. So here I am, two years and one month later, about to release my first novel.
And here I am, writing my first blog post about being a fiction writer and how this came to be. This task makes wonder how many Letters from the Editor I have written over the years. I don’t know; I just know that every time I sat down to start one, I would ask myself, “What is my message to my readers, and how can I best convey that message?” Here I am, asking myself those same questions again. My first blog is really not much different from my first Letter from the Editor.  Same me (more or less), different subject matter. However, one significant difference stands out. This is personal.

Lifeline to Marionette has been with me throughout a metamorphosis of my own life that predates the Grand Derailment. In the acknowledgement that appears at the back of Lifeline to Marionette (you know, that section in which I thank all the people who helped me with the book), I expand on this metamorphosis. I am now ready to let go of my characters, share their story and Alaina Michelle Sekovich’s message about life. My favorite quote in the book is this: “Choose joy, even if you don’t know what that is yet.”

That’s the message.

I have the next few blog posts already written, and my intention is to post them once a week. The next one is about Lifeline to Marionette's main character, Alaina Michelle Sekovich, and how I came up with her. I will give you a hint: She was inspired by a song. Next up after that will be the Lifeline to Marionette soundtrack. I actually have an extensive playlist of all the music I listened to while writing this book. Each song is very specific to the characters and plot of the story.

Thanks for taking the time to read my first blog. I hope you are interested enough in what I am doing to check in once in a while to see where I am on this journey.