Posted in A Stone's Throw

Giving Thanks for Being a Loser

thankfulI’m especially thankful this year as I just released my second novel, “A Stone’s Throw.” I am posting this to thank my followers and the awesome authors I have met from Limitless Publishing and elsewhere. I  want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and share some personal thoughts about this past year. This post also appeared as a guest post on Ayden K. Morgen’s blog, and I read it at a Jenny Craig open house on Thursday night.

A year ago this November, I made a decision that changed my life, and it happened in an unexpected way. A co-worker at the library where I work had lost some weight on Weight Watchers. Having been on many diets on and off all my life and gaining the weight back plus more, I was hesitant to try dieting again. But seeing this co-worker and realizing I was at my top weight, 200+ pounds that is considered obese for a woman my height, 5 feet 3, I knew I had to do something. I was more concerned with my health than my looks at this point. I’d never had high blood pressure, but I was beginning to get borderline results. I also didn’t have diabetes, but it ran in my family.

Considering what weight loss program to give another try, I was close to enrolling in Weight Watchers. But before I did, I visited my credit union to make a deposit (I rarely do this in person, but I had to make some changes on the account that required me to go into the office). When I walked through the doors, I was greeted by a woman distributing a coupon for a free-month trial of Jenny Craig. I’d tried both Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig years ago with short-term results, but I figured I had nothing to lose by trying a free month. I took the coupon and made the appointment with a counselor to start my program. Having a center close to my home made it easier to attend the weekly sessions with a very nice woman named Lauren who made me feel welcome and was very supportive.

jennycraigFollowing the program, I lost 10 pounds the first month and really didn’t feel hungry, but I knew that initial weight loss is usually high and tends to taper off. I was also not convinced I would continue to follow the program. The cost was also a bit prohibitive. In addition to the price of the food and the monthly program fee, it made a dent in our family budget, but my husband encouraged me to continue. He said that I couldn’t put a price on my health, and we would just have to cut back in other areas.

A few months into the program, I was losing steadily between the 1 to 2 pounds that Jenny Craig indicated was the norm for dieters following the plan. I began to have more energy, my blood pressure was no longer borderline, and I found myself writing again. I had stopped after self-publishing a novel several years back and hadn’t been able to find the time or inspiration to write another. I started with short stories and even enrolled in some online writing classes offered by Gale Courses that my library offered. Then I got an idea for another romantic suspense novel. In February of 2015, three months into my Jenny Craig program, I began writing “A Stone’s Throw.” Meanwhile, my weight loss continued. As the book grew, my body shrunk. My husband and Jenny Craig counselor were very proud, and I was feeling so much better.

diet2diet3I find it hard to believe, when I look in the mirror, that I’ve actually lost nearly 60 pounds and 12 clothing sizes this year. I can now shop in a regular department store instead of online through the specialty “large women” shops. I’ve also added exercise to my regimen and walk a mile a day to help burn up more calories as I get closer to my goal weight.

“A Stone’s Throw” was just released by Limitless Publishing.  I’m not sure if I owe its publication to the creative energy I developed as a result of my weight loss or if it’s just another sign of what you can accomplish if you are determined and have the support of others. I only know I’m thankful for having gone to my credit union that day last November, that I decided to give Jenny Craig another try, and that my husband and counselor were so supportive. In addition, the support of my fellow authors has been amazing. My Thanksreader’s Release party this past Friday was a great success with 25 authors participating and offering prizes and giveaways. There were scrumptious recipes included, and readers were actively involved in the contests and discussion. I am truly blessed and thankful to have had so many people help and support my book’s release.

Debbie’s blog/website: https://debbiedelouise.wordpress.com

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author

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Posted in A Stone's Throw, Cats, Cloudy Rainbow, Romantic Suspense

A Writer’s Journey

journey1One of the hardest things I’ve had to accept in life is change, but, ironically, it’s usually been for the better. In the past nine months, I’ve lost over fifty pounds. I am slimmer than before I became pregnant with my daughter eleven years ago. I feel great. I am walking a half hour a day and am no longer out of breath, nor do I have any pains in my knees or legs that I’ve had in the past. The changes I’ve made in my diet and lifestyle have been gradual but persistent. It’s been a journey of determination, but it’s paid off.

My daughter is also on a journey as she enters adolescence. In the last year, I’ve seen her blossom into a young woman seemingly overnight. In a few weeks, she will be attending Middle School having made the decision to switch from the Catholic school she’s attended since Kindergarten. I know this will be a big change for her, but I’m confident she will meet new friends and expand her horizons academically and socially.

My writer’s journey is similar in many ways to my weight loss journey and my daughter’s growing up journey. It’s been slow but sure, and I haven’t always known where I’d end up. I’ve been writing since I was young. I recall my teachers praising my work in elementary school. I can still recall writing notebooks full of stories and novels in my teen years. When I learned to type, I was using a manual typewriter in those days. Making corrections with that chalky correction ribbon was darn hard!

After I married, I began writing magazine articles. I had two cats then (had cats all my life), and I used them for material. My special cat, Floppy, had asthma and then diabetes. I researched these health issues and wrote about them for veterinary journals. When Floppy passed away, I wrote “Cloudy Rainbow,” my self-published novel that I dedicated to him and my young daughter. Floppy was actually a character in it. At that point, my journey stalled. Working full-time as a librarian and caring for my daughter did not leave much time for writing.

It took seven years before I started again after a patron who’d read “Cloudy Rainbow” kept gently nudging me to write again. I began writing short stories and trying to sell them. I didn’t have much luck, but I also started a book. Somehow, the characters and plot of “A Stone’s Throw, my romantic suspense novel took shape. Writing a few pages each day, I ended up with 85,000 words. I spent several months editing it and sending it out to publishers for consideration. After posting a short pitch for the novel on Twitter, a few publishers contacted me for a query and sample chapters. Limitless Publishing requested the full manuscript and then offered me a contract. I signed with them and am now pre-editing the book before it is published. I am also working on another romantic suspense book, writing articles for my local paper, and Catster online magazine. I am enjoying this journey, although it is time consuming and difficult at times. As with any journey, it starts with a step in an unknown direction. You just keep walking, and you get there. I am meeting fellow authors through groups and social media, and I am learning from them, my fellow travelers on this path to publication. I look forward to sharing this journey with readers, as well. I hope they enjoy my tales as much as I enjoy creating them.