Tuesday 8 May 2012

USE IT OR LOSE IT! by Mimi Barbour

Use it or lose it! As retirement approached that old saying kept reverberating, haunting me. I worried that there wasn’t heaps of brainpower left to take any chances on losing even a little bit. So I decided the answer was to keep busy, get involved and learn something new.

I tried ceramics and stain glass, quilting and cross-stitch. They were just too much work. All that stitching, glass cuts and cleaning up my messes, (you wouldn’t believe the messes!) exhausted me. I needed something that would be less taxing, more fun.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve lived with this force inside to create something that would make me proud—an endeavour that would delight my family and also keep my juices flowing. Since I've read thousands of romance books, and everyone knows how easy they are to write (uh-huh), I decided this cushy pastime would fill my days and keep my mind occupied.

How could a mature (notice I didn't say old) woman be so…so dumb?

But in my defence, it did seem like a good idea, and so I got started—wrote the first book. Now you might ask yourself, where do the ideas come from? My best professional answer is...heck if I know!  For me they magically appear after reading a particularly funny article or watching an appealing show on television. It’s not the whole story, you understand, just that one small glimpse of a character, or it could be a little nudge about a ‘what-if’ scenario where maybe an angel has to kick-start a shy, young women to get on with it, live up to her potential, and then be happy with who she is.

Remember though, books don’t get out there by themselves. I needed help to market this…ahhh ‘bestseller’. (Unknowledgeable about protocol in the business, I actually sent it along to a top New York agent, Donald Maas, with instructions for him to tell Nora Roberts to move over because there was a new author in town.) Still have a copy of the e-mail, and blush when I remember how serious I was, but it is sort of funny.)

Not hearing back from Donald, I decided that I would do more research and used the Internet, but this didn't work. Feedback from real people, living breathing individuals who were either going through, or had gone through, the same experiences would be a far better way to learn what was necessary. You know the old saying – search and you shall find? Well that's what happened with me.

I joined a local RWA group and met wonderful, giving, kind-hearted ladies who were happy to share their knowledge with a raw beginner…and trust me, some of my questions were pretty silly and naïve. Their patience was unending, more than I deserved and they took me to a place where I began to gain knowledge and the confidence to create a book that made me proud. Back in those days my stubbornness carried me through so many setbacks. Persistence and my new found love with being a writer kept me glued to my computer.

Slowly, I became involved with other groups, pushed myself to promote my work, and even entered contests. That was scary! But doing so opened the door for me to be published with Wild Rose Press. This time I didn't hesitate to join their loop and interact with their super friendly group of authors. Once again, in this my new career, I found strength and unprecedented support. Women, who I interacted with online, people I never saw in my life, became my friends. Not just co-authors, but honest-to-goodness pals. I suffered their bad reviews and celebrated their successes, as they did mine. They made the introverted daily grind behind my lonely computer screen something to look forward to—even enjoy, because I wasn't really alone.

Since then, I've reached out to many others and realized I've come full circle. I now have something to share and give back. Over time, I've learned so much about this wonderful profession, and now it's my turn to repay. I've managed to create something lasting, a gift worth more than wealth—friendships that make me truly happy and a career that has given this old brain more activity than it should be subjected to. 

I do love these golden years! 

As a recipient of Mimi's assistance and support in my writing journey, I can attest to her altruistic character. It has been a great pleasure to have her on my blog today.
Mimi and I are involved this week in a FREE promotion on Kindle. She is featuring her novel, His Devious Angel. May 7-9 ONLY.
Here is my review of her book. I loved it.
If you love tongue-in-cheek paranormal romances, you’ll love this story.
We all carry baggage from our childhood. Sadie cannot forgive or forget the taunting and abuse she endured as an overweight schoolgirl. She believes all members of the male species are jerks.
Liam’s childhood demons feed on the shame he feels for his parents who shared a difficult and complex relationship. Traumatic experiences as a Special Forces operative in Iraq have only worsened his state of mind. He is a haunted man, plagued by shame, guilt and insomnia.
They struggle to help each other come to terms with their ghosts, aided by an unlikely guardian angel who looks like Johnny Depp, and a motley crew of whip smart dogs.
This seemingly light-hearted romance touches on deep-seated fears and nemeses that only love and forgiveness can counteract.
You will LOVE the ending of this story. And if you are a dog person, it’s a must-read.


  1. I've done cross-stitching, too. Writing a book is way harder! But lucky us that you chose writing instead.

  2. Thanks Anna & Mimi for a lovely post & the free books. I checked out His Devious Angel & loved the opening. So now a copy of it is happily downloaded. Wishing you many readers!

    (Here from the IRI loop!)

  3. Keeping our minds active is really important as we all "mature" (really does sound better than getting old doesn't it)! As for, "where the ideas come from?" perhaps it is a sign of my out-of-control (A.D.D.) mind, but the problem is how to SHUT THEM OFF! I'm finishing my second book in my "Immortal Relations" series and having trouble stopping, because the ideas just keep bombarding me...it's like "channeling!" I guess I'll just start on book number three a little sooner than planned. I enjoyed your post and do wish you the best with your writing!

  4. Thank you ladies for your comments. It was lovely of you to stop by. Roxy, I have to admit that one of my reasons for quitting the needlework is that I ran out of walls and nieces to give the overflow to. Rashda, Your comment made me smile. Thank you for that. And Vamp, I also wish you the very best with your writing. It is a fun way to past those hours of freedeom we now find that need filling up, isn't it?
    xo Mimi