As I sit here on release day for my second novel, I’m in awe. I have two books published. It’s surreal.
Three years ago, almost to the day, I began this journey. I finally gave in to my sisters’ urging (The none too subtle or gentle urging. More like shoving me off the cliff!), and sat down to start writing a book. I hit the keyboard with no idea what I was doing, no concept of how to get where I wanted to be.
I just wrote.
I stopped overthinking, let my fingers fly, and out poured the story that had been churning in my gut.
I was scared. Terrified, really. Putting so much of my own life into the tale was…exhausting, nerve-wracking, embarrassing, crazy-making, eye-opening, gut-wrenching, and so much more. I poured my blood, sweat, and tears onto those pages. Quite literally at times. I worked through my issues as Liz worked hers out on the page.
I faced my fears.
I unearthed those hidden hurts I’d buried so deep.
I confronted the rage inside me, rage I thought I’d conquered.
I walked through the agony, despair, and abandonment.
I met myself in those pages.
The self I’d tried to forget and pretend didn’t exist. The self with her heart still isolated, cut off and determined not to really let anybody in. The self that never fully let herself trust. The self who raged at the world, at those who had hurt her, and yes, a little at God, for “letting” some of those things happen to her.
The self who had yet to forgive, and had no idea she was poisoning her life, holding herself back, limiting her own potential and hurting the ones she loved.
And as I climbed up in the middle of all that mess, as I waded through to find the true me, the true Liz, the whole story underneath all the debris, a miraculous thing happened.
I began to heal.
I cried. I laughed. I threw things. I laid into the heavy bag and split my knuckles open several times. (Don’t forget gloves.) I shivered and screamed and begged God. I opened myself up, every dark recess, every secret corner, and I looked that broken girl who had no idea she was still broken right in the eye. I begged her to forgive. To laugh. To love. To fight. To trust, like she’d never been capable of before.
Though the battle rages on, she continues to stand tall. To face her fears. To step into the hot zone and eliminate the threat.
And every time I write another installment of this story, my story, I pick up my sword and I face down those demons.
But I don’t go it alone.
They say it takes an army. I’m convinced that is true.
The army behind me and my story? Second to none.
The only way I’ve gotten to this point is because they’ve been with me. No way could I have undertaken this mission on my own and succeeded.
It’s overwhelming when I really think about it. The sheer number of people I have supporting me is unreal.
My husband. My kids. My sisters. My brothers. Aunts and uncles and cousins. My friends. My publishing team. My Realmies. My loyal readers. There are too many to label individually, unless I wanted this post to be three days long.
These people have fought countless battles with me. They’ve guided me, cried with me, laughed with me, held me, taught me, encouraged me, and kicked me in the butt when I needed it. This series would not exist if not for them, and I am forever grateful.
So as I celebrate another release, another piece of my story out in the universe, I think of these people. I think about the army that surrounds me. The Realm Warriors. They’ve got my six and I’ve got theirs.
As this battle continues, I know I will never fight alone.