Last week, I got an email that seemed a bit suspicious. The sender was trying to reach me, but the phone number he had on file wasn't working (possible, given the source, if the email was legit). He asked me to call him back at a number I didn't recognize, at an area code that didn't match the last business address I had on file for the company. I recognized the last name, but the first name didn't go with the last name.
After a little sleuthing, I discovered that the email was, indeed, legit. The business had been sold, merging with another, as so often happens in publishing. The person reaching out to me was the husband of the person at the company I'd done business with, which explained why the first and last names didn't match (in my head, anyway) and the number he was using was his cell phone, rather than the company number.
As it turned out, he had copies of my first two books, neither of which would be carried by the publisher who'd acquired his wife's company (not surprising, given the age of the books) and he wondered if I wanted any of them.
The books? Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce.
The title Diverse Divorce arose out of the idea that divorce is definitely not an "if you've seen one, you've seen them all" phenomenon. But, as it turned out, that book was a bridge to diversity in my writing as well. Over the past three decades, I've written articles for magazines (regional and national), online publications, and columns in local publications. I've written non-fiction books for niche markets (the two above) and one for the general market. And, I've written/published four novels.
And then there are the blog posts. Lots and lots of blog posts.
A collection of very short stories with child protagonists, Diverse Divorce is meant to help children of divorce talk about their own feelings. Those stores were the first fiction I wrote as an adult. In addition to leading me to explore more than just articles, that project -- in particular one story that didn't make the cut -- sparked three novels and a Kindle Vella book. Keesha, the main character in Jersey Girls Don't Rule was originally supposed to be in Diverse Divorce but, for a variety of reasons, the editor and I agreed to replace her story with another one.
I thought that would be it. But, as it turned out, Keesha had a lot more to say. In short order, she claimed center stage in the first novel I ever wrote. And her mother, Chantal, provided a jumping off point for none other than Marita Mercer, a protagonist in what I've come to call "the MAC series": Casting the First Stone, Chasing a Second Chance, and Courting Peace.
Keesha didn't change much from her entrance onto the scene in that first vignette. Chantal and Marita, however, became two very different women.
It's funny how one project leads to another. Sometimes, the connection is obvious, like the one between my blog posts at Organizing by STYLE and CatholicMom.com (STYLE Savvy) and Know Thyself, my book about organizing. Other times, one project is a spark for another that takes on a life of its own.
I'm very grateful to the folks at Marco Products, Inc., who first made me a published (book) author. And I'm happy that another of my favorite publishers of books for counselors is the one that absorbed Marco so that other school counselors can enjoy the resources I found so helpful.
When I signed those contracts, I had no idea where those books would go, let alone where they would lead me. I couldn't even have imagined.
So, back to the email. Did I take the books?
You bet I did. No telling what further magic they might hold.