Connecting: My Middle Aged Life Turned Upside Down | Sheryl Steines

Connecting: My Middle Aged Life Turned Upside Down

Connecting to Myself

With my birthday just around the corner, July 23 I've been contemplating, deciding, connecting as I've tried to determine my next step.

It’s something I’ve been doing a lot during the past decade. You see, I’ve wanted nothing more throughout my life than to be an author. I wrote my first book at forty and two things happened. I haven’t looked back and I haven’t been successful.

I’ve spent the last ten years threatening to quit and not being able to. I’ve cried, I’ve hired help, I haven’t gotten very far.

Connecting to Career

I started in the urban fantasy genre, motivated by strong female characters like the Halliwell sisters and Buffy Summers, using the shows as inspiration for my own characters and plot points. Annie Pearce the ultimate strong female, vulnerable, and real.

But as I tried to improve on sales, as I rewrote descriptions, re-edited and re-published books, took marketing classes, and saw no bump in sales, the urge to quit grew stronger, and yet I didn’t.

Instead, I took classes to help find a writing position to help pay for the marketing; I still can’t find one. And most importantly, I decided to switch genres.

I wasn’t a reader of Urban Fantasy, I was a watcher on tv. And I fear I didn’t understand what the reader was expecting and hoping for. While I’m proud of Annie Pearce and the Wizard Guards, I feel like I was missing something that would bring readers to the series.

I decided to try cozy paranormal mystery, but there was something missing in the story. I didn’t feel connected. And then I found my inspiration.

Connecting to Characters, Plots, Authors

I discovered the Eve Dallas series by JD Robb, read the fifty-two books in three months. I moved on to the Stephanie Plum series, burned through the twenty-seven books in a month and a half. The Women’s Murder Club was a recommendation, I read those in a month and finished my murder mystery travels with the Temperance Brennan series, reading those twenty probably in two weeks.

After starting the first series, after meeting Eve Dallas, a Lieutenant with the NYPD in the year 2058, I connected to her, and realized, that was still my go-to genre, the one I most loved. I aged my character Nikki Page to fifty instead of thirty, gave her children, an ex-husband, a best friend. After suggestions from friends, she became a paralegal. I did research, I learned, I came up with ideas.

I Connected

While I still try to find a job to ease some outside stress, I haven’t given up on my dream to be an author.

I’ve told my kids multiple times, if you have a dream and it doesn’t work at first, find another way. Nikki, at fifty, is my other way.

The Nikki Page Mysteries by Penelope Chase (Sheryl Steines) coming soon.

Check out The Wizard Hall Chronicles

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