Every once in a while you read a post that puts your writer's life in perspective. This is one of those posts. It is my distinct pleasure to introduce Catherine Lea's guest post on MB4. Catherine is the author of The Candidate's Daughter and the upcoming The Contestant. Her uncanny characterization abilities, combined with innovative and refreshing plots, have impressed readers and critics alike. She writes thrillers with a heart and it is precisely the depth of her heart that she chooses to share with us today.
I hope you'll find this remarkable post as centering and inspiring as I did.
The luckiest person I know – is me.
That’s right. When I tell people that I’m the luckiest person I know, they look at me as if I’m nuts. Maybe I am. But lately, I just keep hearing myself muttering, “Oh. My. God. I am the luckiest person I know.”
I told a someone that just yesterday. A clanging silence hung between us, then she said, “Weeeellll, yes, I suppose you could see it that way.”
Yes, I do see it that way. Let me count the ways … or at least bullet point them:
• I’m the mother of a beautiful but severely disabled girl who has taught me more lessons than you’d ever pay for. She’s funny, she’s bright, and she’s one of my best friends.
• I receive an income from the New Zealand government so I can care for my girl. Okay, so it’s not a fortune. I will not grow rich on it. But it gives me the opportunity to stay home and give my girl the quality of care she needs and deserves. It also gives me the opportunity to write while I’m doing it. I couldn’t ask for more.
• I have my own home. Yes, I worked for it. Yes, I went without to get it. Yes, there were those who thought anyone on my pathetically low income that set out to build a new home, was completely certifiable. But I did it for my girl. She’s the one that gave me the courage and the determination to keep going. If it wasn’t for her, I’d never have gotten to where I have. And there are those out there who have worked, and gone without, and still don’t have what I have.
• I have the most amazing, supportive friends. When my girl went into the Emergency this week, my fabulous friend, Marg, came to the hospital and sat for seven of the eight hours with me in the Resus Room. Then she took me home afterwards. We forwent the McDonald’s on the way because we were both too tired. That was probably also a blessing.
• I have neighbours that I can call on. My wonderful neighbour will pick up supplies for me, let the dog out when I can’t, cook a meal for me when I’m snowed, and pick up a DVD for me while they’re out. How amazing is that?
• I have in-home support. For three nights a week, I have someone come and sit over so I can sleep. It’s a service that’s supplied by the New Zealand Health Board. I’m more grateful for that than I can say.
• I’ve “met” the most supportive, sympathetic, knowledgeable, and generous group of people in Backspace, an online writers’ group. I’ve made friends there, gotten advice you couldn’t find anywhere else, found help and encouragement when I needed it most.
• It was through Backspace I found the amazing, wonderful, generous, Sara J. Henry. Sara is the multi-award-winning author of A Cold and Lonely Place and the stunning, Learning to Swim. It was Sara who took me under her wing, read The Candidate's Daughter over and over until her eyes bled, edited, nurtured, and cheered me on. When the book went up on Amazon, Sara was there. She threw her support behind me, opening doors, and recommending my book to her audience. You rarely find a more sincere heart. One day I will meet her. That day I will tell her how much her help meant to me. In the meantime, I shout her praises wherever I can.
• I have a fantastic group of writing buddies. One of my best friends is a terrific writer, an ER doctor, my go-to girl. It helps that she has a terrific sense of humour. She makes me laugh, she makes me work, and she manages to come up with the most fantastic ills and cures for my characters.
• My book, The Candidate's Daughter, is being read, and enjoyed, by people all around the world. It’s getting reviews that make me smile from ear to ear. I now have a second book about to go live titled, The Contestant. After that I start the sequel to The Candidate's Daughter. I get to choose what I write, and market my work on the world stage. Twelve years ago when I began writing, this would never have happened. I’m so blessed.
• I have the most incredible support from the Hospice. Only yesterday, my girl’s breathing became laboured. Her chest sounded like she was drowning. I called, the hospice nurse came. They give me support, advice, after-hours medical care, and respite. I don’t know what I’d do without them.
• My girl’s daily program, Creative Abilities, is the result of visionary Liz Soper’s desire to create a program for intellectually disabled adults, to provide a place where they find self-esteem, support, friendship, respect, and a special place in this world. Creative Abilities is staffed by the most talented, caring, and compassionate people you could meet. Every day I tell myself how lucky we were to find them.
These are only a few of the blessings I count every day.
Do I have bad days? Of course I do. There are days I really wonder how I’m going to get through.
Do I get down, angry, frustrated? If I didn’t, I really would be nuts.
But once I’ve had a grizzle and a gripe, I’ve learnt to quickly turn myself around, find the good in my day, and carry on. I’ve learnt that one bad day doesn’t make a bad life. I’ve learnt that no problem is insurmountable, that even if the outcome isn’t what I wanted, it’s what I can cope with. I’ve learnt that tomorrow, the sun will surely rise, and a new day will begin.
And that I’m the luckiest person I know.
Catherine Lea lives in New Zealand with her disabled daughter, and a fox terrier that thinks he owns the house. She has sold international satellite capacity, worked in IT recruitment, and run her own communications store. She's the author of The Candidate's Daughter and the upcoming The Contestant.
When Catherine isn't writing, she's dog-wrangling, wrestling with technology, blogging, or going crazy trying to maintain control of the yard.
Contact Catherine at https://twitter.com/CatherineLeaNZ, www.facebook/CatherineLea or www.facebook.com/TheCandidate'sDaughter.
Dora Machado is the award-winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. When she is not writing fiction, Dora also writes features for Murder By Four, an award winning blog for readers and writers and Savvy Authors, where writers help writers. She lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and three very opinionated cats.
To learn more about Dora Machado and her novels, visit her website at www.doramachado.com or contact her at Dora@doramachado.com, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DoraMachado101, or https://twitter.com/DoraMachado.