Me at my surprise party to celebrate the release of my first book. 

Release Day Bouquets from my family.

My mom used to have this saying . . . Keep your eyes on the stars, a dream in your heart, and your feet planted firmly on the ground. Growing up I had a lot of dreams. Lofty dreams. I wanted to be a concert pianist, own a performing arts studio, be a teacher, change the world. This list goes on and on. But writing a book, was never a dream. Until recently. Years ago I discovered I enjoyed writing. Mostly I wrote really bad poetry fraught with teenage angst following the disintegration of any, and probably every, youthful relationship. A form of catharsis, you could call it. As the years passed, I wrote short plays for my church, short stories to pass away time on a boring day at work, and scathing essays specifically designed to annoy my college professor. But not once did it ever occur to me that I might someday find myself on the road to publication.  Somewhere along the line, I started writing a new story entitled, "Called to Heaven".  By the end of the first scene, it was clear that my characters had hijacked my story. The story I set out to write, was not the story that was unfolding on paper. But I liked it. So I showed it to a friend. And she liked it. She started bugging me about what was going to happen next. So I kept writing. And writing. Soon, I had an entire first draft done and people started asking when my book would be published. Who me? Published? While I might have never considered living the life of a published author, my mom never once doubted that I someday would see my name on a book. As my biggest supporter, my mom edited my stories with brutal honesty drawing from her lifetime of experience as a romance reader. Together we learned about query letters, agents, and proper editing. We celebrated when I placed in a writing contest and commiserated each and every rejection notice.  And then the unthinkable happened. 
Mom got sick and within two days, she was gone. Cancer again. This time rare and fatal.  My siblings asked me to write her eulogy. A daunting task under the best of circumstances. And these weren't. Two days before the memorial, it finally came to me. I knew what to write. Fingers flying over the keyboard, "Called to Heaven" finally came to life. 
Lost without my mom by my side, urging me on, I floundered . . . until I saw the call for pitches from the Savvy Authors website. What did I have to lose? I pitched and within two weeks or so, I was offered a contract with Soul Mate Publishing. I owe it all to my mom, my angel watching over me.