I am a firm believer everything happens for a reason and the Universe sends messages. We just have to be paying attention to receive them.
In May 2011, I got laid off without warning. It was the
first time I’d been without a job in, oh, twenty years. It was probably one of
the most stressful times of my life. With a few little enjoyments thrown in.
Like I got to pick up my son from school the last month. We hung out together a
lot. We made numerous trips to the library. All the while, I looked for work
and sent my resume out to about a hundred places a month.
Meanwhile, I started writing. But I found I had a hard time
focusing on the writing because I was so worried about the bills and the money.
Side note here: Money sucks. Did you know that? It can rule
your life if you let and, sadly, we need it to survive. I was buried under
$25,000 worth of debt and I had no idea how I was going to pay those bills
while being unemployed. Thankfully, I have an awesome husband and a savvy way
of pinching pennies when I have to.
Anyway...I’d started writing this weird, futuristic story
about a girl in a brothel largely inspired by the Game of Thrones series. I’d
already been shopping One Knight Only
around and getting rejected. One of my friends offered her editor at Ellora’s
Cave. I happily submitted it, not sure if it was really right for the publisher
since it wasn’t erotic. Once I’d submitted it, I started working on character
development and a synopsis for Only For A
Knight. I hadn’t started writing it yet.
And still meanwhile, I’d managed to get an interview with a
local oil and gas company. Of course, it was while I was in New York City at
the RWA National Conference. I’d been talking to the recruiter via phone
getting it all set up. I got back home, interviewed and all seemed to go really
well. And then I got a second interview. And then a third, where I was told I
was one of the finalists for the job. Which was great! I needed the work right?
I got the job offer a few days later...
...on the same day I got an email from the EC editor offering
me a contract for One Knight Only.
Elation! I immediately said yes. I started the new job in late July 2011.
By September, the book was out and I’d started working on
the next one. I devised a plan to write during my lunch hour. There was this
great restaurant in the building where I could take my mini laptop and just
write the entire hour while I ate my lunch. It worked out great. To keep me
honest, I used the Notes app on my iPhone to keep track of my progress. I also
texted my husband after the hour was up with a word count report.
Christmas came and went. I kept working. I started paying
off my massive amount of debt. I wanted to never worry about those damned
credit cards again (I now vehemently hate them with a wild passion. As soon as
they’re all paid off, I intend to have a slashing party where I cut them all up
while laughing manically.) I kept writing.
I finally finished the book by late April 2012 and sent it
off for critique. It ended up being just over 95,000 words. I submitted it to
my editor by late May and by early June, I’d had another contract...
...and an announcement of layoffs. I found out the same day I
sold that book my position would be eliminated. I had two weeks left at the job
and for two weeks I fretted over what to do next. There were many conversations
with the spouse about what I was going to do next. He seemed to think I needed
to just start writing full-time. I was scared, though. I’d never done anything
like that. I still had three accounts to pay off.
I took a deep breath. Husband took me out for dinner before
the last day of work. Over dinner, we talked about it again and I told him I
thought I wanted to give it a try. I mean, how many more signs from the
Universe do I need? I think I will regret it forever if I don’t at least try.
few weeks I’ve been away from work, I’ve managed to write a 12,000 word novella
and begin rewriting that novel about the girl in a brothel. For the first time in
my life, I enjoy work again.
Michelle Miles is learning how to be a full-time writer and enjoying the process. She is published in contemporary, paranormal and fantasy romance. For more information about her books, check out her website. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.