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How I made my dream come true, and so can you...

I’ve read thousands of books in my life, and I’ve also written over fifty books, won some huge awards, including the 2018 RITA® Award for Best Paranormal Romance, and my books have made it onto the New York Timesand USA Todaybestseller’s list. As a writer, I am living the dream that was born inside me so long ago… the dream of making a difference in the world in the way that only I can.

I’m guessing that you, too, have a dream of some kind, even if it’s buried so deeply inside you that you barely even let yourself see it. I was like that, 20 years ago, working at a crappy job, for not enough money, until the day I decided I wasn’t going to live that life anymore, and I decided to change it. It’s the journey from that moment, to my new book, Immortally Cursed, that I want to share with you, because it will give you insight on how to make your own life better by finding the right books for you, the ones you WANT to read.  

See, here’s the thing. I’m like you. I know I was meant for something special, something that matters. Twenty years ago, when I was working the day job, I felt like there was something more I was meant for, something more that I could do to make a difference in this world, something that I could do that would feel good inside my soul, inside my heart, the one I had to live with every day.

But what was it? That’s the question we all face, right? I know I’m supposed to be more, but WHAT IS IT?

I didn’t have the answer, but I started working on it. I made lists of things I loved to do, of the things in life that mattered most to be. I considered being a seeing eye dog trainer. A physical therapist. A diversity advocate. I dug deep and deeper, until one night, I got an alumni magazine from my college. The cover story was about two graduates who had written a novel, and just sold the movie rights.

I read that article. I read it again. And a third time. And it stuck with me, way down deep inside. After a lifelong obsession with reading, I had suddenly found something that called to me: writing stories. Stories that would bring joy to people, that would help them escape from the burdens of their everyday life, stories that might even help them change their own lives.

I wanted to be the person who gave that to others. Did I have what it took? Could I put together something that could do so much? My dream was big, my standards high, my goal…scary as hell, because it mattered so damn much to me.

It was scary, and I was a pretty big coward (still am), but the fire had been lit inside me, so, I started writing anyway. I still had a full-time, demanding job that drained me, so I started getting up at three in the morning to write before work. I wrote at lunch. And then at night, I crashed. I’d like to tell you that I wrote one book and magic happened. I really wanted to be that overnight sensation, but alas, that wasn’t my path.

Every morning when I sat down at the computer, I dreamed of success. Every moment of the day and night, I lived in fear of failure. When my alarm went off in the dark of the night, I listed every justification for giving up.

But each day, I summoned the courage to try for one more day. That’s all I could manage. One more day of trying. I couldn’t look beyond that, so I didn’t.

And eventually…I reached page 100. One hundred pages of writing! Holy cow! That was so much! It makes me laugh now, how significant that page 100 was, given the thousands of pages I’ve written since, but at the time, that moment made me believe that I could do this.

And do it, I did. I wrote that book. It was everything I wanted it to be. I was so thrilled. Success was here! I submitted it everywhere, certain that someone would leap at the chance to publish my brilliance.

No one did. Not a one.

I’m not going to lie. I was crushed. Devastated. I hadn’t planned for such complete failure.

But when I thought about giving up, I couldn’t do it. I had a dream, a vision, for what I wanted to give the world, so after a day or two, I set my alarm again, and sat back down at the computer.

I learned more about writing novels, and I wrote another one. I was so fired up when I finished, knowing that it was so much better than the first one. This would sell!

It didn’t.

Shit, right? Totally. I was crushed again. I didn’t want to keep fighting so hard, and failing. But when I looked at the alternative, of giving up on my dream and going back to the life I was trying so hard to escape, I couldn’t do it. Going forward was hard, but staying where I was? Unbearable.

So, I tried again. I improved my craft. I wrote a book that I KNEW was the best book I could write. If that book didn’t sell, I was going to give up that dream, because I could not write a better book than that.

I sent it out to agents and publishers…and no one wanted it. One agent even told me to stop sending her submissions because I would never be able to improve enough to get up to her standards.

It hurt. But it also pissed me off. This was my dream! How dare she tell me that I would never be good enough? What did she know about who I was and what I could do? I was the only one who knew that, and I knewthat I could be more.

So I went back, learned more and wrote another one, and it was better than the last one, the one I had thought was the best I could do. But this one, I KNEW was the best I was capable of writing. If THIS one didn’t sell, I was quitting.

It didn’t sell.  Again. WTF, right? So, I anted up the courage to get up one more time and write one more day. Just one more morning. And then, the next morning, I got the courage to get up and write that day. And then, the next. Until I finished yet another one…that again failed to sell.

Guess how many times I did this? EIGHTEEN TIMES. I wrote EIGHTEEN complete books. Over 150 rejections. Until, finally, incredibly, that day came.

I sold a book. One thousand dollars. Someone was going to pay me ONE THOUSAND dollars for my imagination. How amazing was that? And that is when my life changed, because now I knew, it was possible. I was in the game.

I sold eight more. I quit my job. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote… I had plenty more rejections, plenty of crashes and burns, tons of opportunities to give it up and take the easy route…but I couldn’t. Because THIS MATTERED to me. So, I kept going…and then… that’s when I discovered a dream I didn’t know I had. That’s when I read my very first paranormal romance novel, a vampire romance by Katie MacAlister. It was when paranormal romance was just starting to heat up, and I was so curious as to how a vampire could possibly be sexy (I know, right?). So, I read one, and as soon as I finished, I said, I WANT TO DO THAT.

And that is the day that my life turned in a new direction that unleashed creativity and passion inside me that has carried me through so many challenges, the fire that keeps me coming back for more. The magic that paranormal has unleashed in me has carried over into all the genres I write in, including contemporary cowboy, small town romance, and even my romantic suspense novels.

Why? Because writing paranormal novels forces me to think outside the box, because there are no limitations except the ones I create myself. When I write paranormals, I need to turn off the voice in my head that says “Play safe! Don’t break the rules! Be like everyone else.” Instead, I need to unleash the glorious voice that says, “Your genius will light up the world only if you free it completely. Be more! Think bigger! Unleash your soul!” And I’ll tell you, that latter voice, the one I named Angel, feels SO AWESOME when it starts shouting at me to unleash the creativity within me.  

When I’m writing a paranormal, I can feel my brain and my creativity coming alive, seeking ways to tell a story that has never been done, that literally didn’t exist until I came up with it. My soul comes alive when I sit down to write a story where the rules are supposed to be broken, where my job is to think of the impossible, and then find a way to make it happen that’s so awesome that it will dive deep into my reader’s heart and become a part of her, long after she finishes reading it.

And it’s that focus on seeing the world from a glorious, liberated place of creativity and newness that helps me with all the other types of writing I do, and it carries over into my everyday life, literally changing the way I live and experience my life.

See, that’s the thing about me. I am so deeply empathetic that my stories, all of them, even the high octane paranormals, are driven by my heart and my soul. To me, writing isn’t words on a page. It’s not a formula where I plug in the words. It is a raw, visceral unleashing of the magic that exists inside all of us, and comes to life on the page.

When I write, I become those characters. I experience their struggles. I feel their pain. I laugh out loud with them. Tears run down my cheeks when they suffer. And when they fall in love, that same love settles deep inside me and fills me with the most glorious sense of rightness and peace.  I have to experience their journeys that deeply in order to convey them deeply enough that my readers get to experience the same, to cry, to laugh, and to love.

As I experience my characters” journeys from hopelessness, despair, and brokenness to triumph and love, I grow with them. I also become more. I become stronger, more resilient, more loving of myself, and more open to the great potential that love has to change your life.

As I write these stories, whether they are contemporary cowboys, dark paranormal romance with tormented heroes, or high-octane, irreverent paranormals like Immortally Cursed, my goal with every single book is to give you a story that will reach inside your heart, give you an incredibly escape into a fantasy, into your dreams, and will leave you with hope, passion, strength, and love that will make your own life richer when you put down your book and go back to your everyday life, forever changed by the words we shared together.  

See, everything we experience changes us. I change when I write my books. And we all change when we read books that touch us.

The book I have coming out next Tuesday, Immortally Cursed ignited a fire in me when I wrote it for you. It’s sexy, it has a super-hot cursed no-carb pretzel mogul, it has an immortal guardian with a hilarious dragon bestie, and it’s got so much courage, and humor, and warmth, but it’s different than anything you’ve ever read, with Publisher’s Weekly saying “Rowe carves out her very own niche—call it paranormal romance adventure comedy—with this freewheeling series kickoff.”  

When you read Immortally Cursed or any other book written from the depths of the author’s soul, you will become a part of the creativity, of the art, of the experience of writing it, and of being those characters. My triumph is yours. My character’s triumphs are yours. They become a part of your soul, and help you on your own path. These are the books we want to read. The ones that are worth our time, our attention, and our hearts. When you are looking for a new book, look for the heart beneath the words. The heart of the author, the life breathing behind those words. Those are the books that will win you over, those are the books that grab you, even when you think, “I don’t usually read books in that genre, but I loved that one.” It’s not the genre. It’s not the plot. It’s not the buzz words. It’s the humanity, heart, and valuesthat breathe life into those pages and characters, and right into your heart.

When you think of your dream, let it fill your heart in that same way. Feel how much it means to you. Imagine what it would feel like for it to come true. Only then will you have the courage and the fire to fight through all the obstacles for that magic thing that makes your heart soar. 

How does that happen? I will tell you more in my next post, when I take you behind the scenes into the story of Immortally Cursed itself, how it came to be, and why it means so much to me.

Sending you much love!

SAB/Stephanie

PS Only SEVEN days until Immortally Cursed is out! I’m SO excited!

PPS Comment below and let me know what your dream is! 

 

 

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Kyriaki Sidira

Well, I would love to finish a book. I have started two, but finished neither. I also have many ideas. I don’t think I’ll even get around to finishing all of them 😂😂

Wendy Headon

Is this a different version of Date Me Baby One More Time,which is still an excellent book.

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