When I started my official writing career as an author, it was nothing like the journey I expected. Many people want to be a writer and I was just like them. Maybe the difference was my best friend who wanted that for me, too: when we were dating in high school, when we got married and moved to the mountains in Colorado when all I could land were jobs teaching Music instead of History! He never let me lose sight of that dream and always encouraged me to write.
That's what I was doing in 2013. I had stopped teaching and started writing full-time. I was working on The Bruised Thistle, a story about Seumas, a Highlander wounded in the Crusades who returns home to Scotland and tries to pick up the pieces of his life. I always thought the most important connection we have to the people from the past is that we struggle through the same emotions. So I was joining all the writer's groups, working on my story, and figuring out the particulars for writing a query letter.
And that's when I got the news.
My older sister (the healthiest person that ever lived) had cancer. She died that July. I immediately started having dreams about a photograph she'd taken, matted and framed, and given to me as a Christmas gift many, many years earlier. My exhausted mind kept seeing a picture of a thistle but that made no sense. She had no affinity for thistles. It had to be because of my story so I needed to find it and see what it was actually a picture of. I had no idea where it was when I went to the attic to search it out. It was right there among my Jr High yearbooks. And it was a thistle.
I knew I couldn't wait to get my query letter just right and hope that some publisher would think this story would sell. I had to publish it right away. So I became an Indie author.