How did it happen? There was that first essay, written out of love and nominally about hummingbirds, but really about "People Who Matter," (ie: The rich and famous I assisted in the high-end shop in Tulsa, OK, where I worked.) It sold quickly toThe Christian Science Monitor, and was read on their Home Forum Page around the world. Woooee. Writing Ozarks-based essays for The Monitor quickly became my goal and . . . gosh, I was actually making money by writing. I was a retail shop worker quickly becoming a fledgling published author--at age fifty! And, eventually, we simply had to move to our Ozarks land. Here's the story:
Writing work expanded. I began selling articles and essays about the Arkansas Ozarks to regional and national magazines. I was also asked if I would consider doing a program on a Northwest Arkansas radio station about my area. I would. I researched, wrote, and reported my musings and news on the air in a fifteen-minute weekly broadcast for over ten years. The Ozarks, it seems, were of interest to many. A publisher in Germany even read my work in The Monitor and asked permission to publish in Germany.
Is writing an addiction? Probably, even if a beneficent one. I loved writing about the Ozarks. There is no better high than getting up in the morning, reading words you put in order the day before, and thinking, "Oh, that's pretty good." All writers know what I mean.
It was a beautiful world. Not only was I writing (any author's number one happiness, or at least mine), but I was selling what I wrote, and people in many places were reading my words (number two happiness).
For only the first part of my writing career my husband and I lived in Tulsa during the week and came to an Ozarks cabin we had built on weekends. Finally we were so pulled to the Ozarks that I quit my job in retail, and John closed his Tulsa business. We moved full-time to our 23 Ozarks acres, built a large home, and settled in. I created huge gardens and, in addition to writing, grew much of what we ate. John took over care of mowing and keeping up the cleared area around our home that I had handled while he and friends were expanding our small cabin. (We lived in the middle of a forest.) And, most important of all, I wrote, eventually selling a book of collected Ozarks essays and true stories to a New York publisher, then beginning work on my mystery novel series set at destinations of special interest in the Ozarks.
Partly because of my media background, promotion had never been difficult for me--until the Internet became a major factor. I did (and still do) befuddle easily when confronting unknown territory on the web. And, work on the 'net took such a chunk of time. Records of book sales, travel plans to author events, and other business matters were taken over by my husband. Our days became very full. Too full. The garden languished. Grass grew and was attended to in snatched time by John. Keeping up with 23 acres we used to roam and love, a large home, and too many possessions became more burden than joy. It was time for a move.
So, we looked for "easy care" living opportunities, and eventually settled for a five-room condominium on a street named Meadow View, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We are currently involved in the work and sometimes sadness of reducing possessions (including books, which once numbered over 1700), and fitting it all into Meadow View. THAT, my friends, is what I have been doing for the past weeks, and why you haven't seen me on DorothyL, SistersinCrime, Murdermustadvertise, and only rarely on facebook. Soon--soon, we will be settled at Meadow View and I can go back to figuring out the Internet and, and WRITING, WRITING, WRITING!
Radine at www.RadinesBooks.com