Dad (and Mom) listen up now, this is where my story gets even more amazing. What does a retired elementary teacher do while waiting for her fellow teaching buddy to give in and retire so they can do fun things together during the day? Well, I read, joined a book club, and read some more, then…
You may be aware of the term, The Butterfly Effect, which explains how tiny initial differences may lead to large and unforeseen consequences over a period of time. This is my version of the phenomenon.
My butterfly’s egg was hatched on June 9, 2011 when I downloaded a free book from Amazon called Maid For the Billionaire by Ruth Cardello. After reading and enjoying the book, as I did with a number of authors, I searched for a web site for Ruth and found a blog site named, eBook Experiment, where Ruth had frequent blogs about her journey into authoring romance books. At that time, she had only released her first book, and it was free, so she wasn’t yet making any money with her writing. Well, my little caterpillar devoured reading about her journey and before long the chrysalis was formed.
My butterfly burst forth on August 20, 2011, when Ruth self-published her second book, For Love or Legacy, and I quickly ‘one-clicked’ and downloaded it. Those wings started flapping and unknown at that time, I started my new journey. Ruth had asked her Facebook friends to let her know if they found any mistakes as they read the book. As I was reading I did find a couple of mistakes and I ‘private messaged’ Ruth. Being the sweet person she is, she thanked me and we started a conversation that lasted into the late evening as I read the book and found a few more tiny errors. At one point she joked that maybe I could edit her third book. We laughed… talked teaching (at the time she was on summer break from her kindergarten teaching job)… discussed family…we even discussed having coffee together someday. She said, “And who knows, if this writing thing takes off…maybe I’ll take you up on that coffee.” Serendipity, Ruth!
When the school year started, Ruth went back to teaching, but we still messaged off and on. She asked me to reread her first book and look for mistakes before she submitted it for paper print. I volunteered to reread the second one too to see if I could find anything I had missed the first time through. Her sales were going very well on the second book and I (along with many others I’m sure) encouraged her to quit teaching and write full time so she could get started on her third book. In April 2012, Ruth became a full time writer and our friendship grew as she wrote Bedding the Billionaire, book three. She talked to her colleagues, told them about me, and one or two of them asked if I could help them by proofreading their manuscripts. Feeling a bit under-qualified, I hesitated; after all, my training was in elementary education, with a master in educational curriculum, not an English degree. But with Ruth’s encouragement, I agreed. Ruth convinced me my qualification came from reading as many books as I had and that I had a good eye for finding those pesky little mistakes that so many writers just don’t see in their own writing. Plus, both of us being former teachers, we had practiced daily how to help others make their work better. The good news was, the authors that I helped, thanked me profusely for a job well done! Ruth cemented our friendship right there; we entered the realm of sisterhood!
During this time, my biological sister and I also started a new book group that read only eBooks that were fun and cheap, five dollars or under—The Bargain eBook Book Club. To make our group unique and jovial, I started contacting authors and asking them if they could join in our discussions. To hear those stories, please read through my earlier blogs, but suffice it to say, we have a fun time and we have Skyped with almost twenty different authors, many of them New York Times Best Selling authors! Our best treat was a day in June when Ruth called and told me she didn’t want to Skype, she wanted to actually fly here and meet with the Defiance ladies that were all the talk of her writing world. Her third book, which I had proofed for her just like we laughed about earlier, had just made the New York Times Belling Selling list for eBooks! Well,to add to that surprise, Donna McDonald, another author our book club knew, said she would like to drive up from Kentucky and meet not only us, but Ruth too. And guess what? Yes! I got to have that predestined cup of coffee! The ladies graciously presented a workshop to local writers explaining the hows and whys of self-publishing along with an evening of merriment and friendship with both of my book groups at the local bed and breakfast. Amazing—successful authors coming to Defiance just to meet our little book group!
Meanwhile, my little proofing business was growing and I needed some help. Ruth, who by then I had considered more than a friend (we had bonded…), kept putting my information on her Facebook pages and new authors lined up. In October, my sister joined with me and we are now proofreading/line editing/beta reading for over fifteen romance authors. Did you hear that Dad—your two daughters are working with romance authors! Some of them even want to meet us! They know me! Don’t you love it? And, my retirement plan—it allowed us to purchase tickets to visit my daughters in New Mexico and Seattle. Oh… and I took a trip to see Ruth in Rhode Island in December where she planned a party for me to meet many of the authors I work with, then Ruth and I went to Newport and had lunch with Marie Force. It was rather like coming full circle, although I’d like to think of it more as a spiral, because this butterfly is not nearly finished with her amazing journey. Stay tuned… Texas is next!
If you are wondering what to do with a new phase in your life, I will tell you what I’ve always told my children—find something you love to do and do it! As hokey as it sounds, when a door is closed, a window IS opened. Embrace that window and let in your butterfly! There is a whole new cyber world out there just waiting for your discovery.