How does a middle age social worker become a published author? The easy answer is by accident! It was October of last year and I was settling in after another cross country move. Emma and Matthew were more or less settled in Montana and I was experiencing the phase of life in which former college kids start real jobs and are no longer home for summers and holidays. The reality of only seeing them 2-3 times a year had hit me. It wasn’t pretty. (What parents did before the age of social media and texting – I have no idea. This makes long distance at least bearable.)
In any case, moving and empty nesting was exacerbated by losing both our Virginia Rescue Dogs in the same year to a very aggressive form of cancer. This coincidence is unfortunately not as rare as it sounds in Labradors. Both Eli and Sully were between 9 and 10 years old and they passed away about 11 months a part. Bob and I were grieving to say the least. I decided I needed a project and started what I thought would be a Christmas present for Emma and Matthew. The stories came surprisingly easy, considering many had happened over 20 years ago. I found that reminiscing and writing became a balm for what had been a rough year.
In the spring, we adopted an Anatolian Shepard named Abby and a Lab Newfoundland Mix named Cody. Both are big loveable lugs with hip and knee issues (not so different from Bob and I – Ha!). Abby is smarter than I am. In fact she will probably be blogging more than me. In any case, I started toying with the idea of publishing my stories. I was fortunate to have a friend named Brianne Brown who agreed to edit my book – and in doing so saved me from the rabbit hole of the editing world. I also hired an amazing illustrator Shane Watson who understood my vision – and made Rescue Dogs come alive with his magic. Working with both of them was a gift.
I did a fair bit of research and found out about Booklocker, a self-publishing company that came highly recommended for their integrity and helpfulness. Angela and her team made the publishing process easy. And here I am! A published author who merely had an Christmas present idea for her launching children.
I would love for this website to become a place where big and little people can share their own stories. So, if you have something you would like to post – please contact me!
You can also join our Facebook community at Vance Family Rescue Dogs. It is a great place to share funny pictures, advice and insights in a supportive environment.