It’s no secret that my mom is my biological mother but my dad is not my biological father. I met my dad only a few days after my mom did. They were set up on a blind date and after their initial date my mom made it clear that I was to be part of the equation and therefore I was brought on their second date. I was only a toddler at the time. It didn’t take long before we became a family. They married quickly after meeting. I was eventually legally adopted by my dad when I was very young.
My biological father and my mom were married young and divorced when I was an infant. Growing up my parents were honest with me. I knew I had “another father” out there in the world but I did not see him or his family. My parents answered questions as I had them and my close relationship with my dad made it so that I didn’t really think much about meeting them.
When I was sixteen fate intervened and I was working my first proper job at a little local grocery shop when a lady came to my line and asked if she could write a check to pay for her items. I looked down at the check and she shared my birth last name. I was usually quite shy but for some reason I felt the urge to say, “that used to be my last name.” The woman’s eyes began to fill with tears and she asked if I was Billie. I confirmed that as my first name and she told me that she was my biological aunt. She was only six years old when I was born but she remembered holding me and playing with me as a baby. A few weeks later she returned with a tall man who looked similar to herself. She brought him up to me and said, “do you know who this is?” My heart raced, was I ready to meet my birth father? I wasn’t sure. I shook my head no. She then said, “this is your uncle.” I felt great relief in that moment. I discovered most of my biological family lived nearby but my biological father had moved away. I established a relationship with my aunt after that second interaction. I had mixed emotions about it. In some ways I felt I was betraying my dad and the family that had chosen to love me and accepted me as their own but I also had so many questions I never knew I had before that moment that I really wanted answered. I had an aunt, an uncle and new cousins who had spoken my name many times, who had missed me, who loved me despite not really even knowing me.
My parents were supportive of my journey. I reassured my dad that he would never be replaced in my heart. I adored him. We were close. He was there for me whenever I needed a daddy growing up and that bond could not be broken.
When the time came for me to finally meet my biological father I was ready. I studied him closely. I wanted to see part of me in him but I didn’t. Aside from perhaps my hair colour I did not look too much like him. I definitely resembled my mother’s family and looked more like my adopted family than my biological family. I remember feeling extremely grateful that this man gave me life and then gave me my life when he allowed another man to become my dad. Those two things are the things I still love the most about my biological father. He remarried not too long after meeting him again and when I was in my early twenties he and his wife gave me two things that I had always wanted…a baby sister and a baby brother.
In my late twenties I moved to another country but over the years I have remained in contact with my biological father’s family just as much as my mom and my dad’s families that I grew up with.
For me family is about love. Family can be made of people with great biological ties or formed from a group of people who have no genetic connections. And for me and many people out there in the world there is no greater gift than realising that your family became your family not just because they created you but because they chose you.
I recognise not everyone has the same wonderful reunion stories or adoption views as I have but not everyone has positive experiences with their biological families either.
If you feel like sharing your own adoption story in the comments, please do.
So, when I first started getting used to the idea of potentially marketing myself and my writing I began to scramble for betas to read some of my novels. The lovely blogging friends I had made at the time proved to be valuable betas. They critiqued my work honestly and made fabulous suggestions to improve on the pieces I had them reading. But…they were not my target audience.
I write young adult novels and needed some young adult betas to get a more accurate feel of the appeal of my work. I had friends and relatives with bookworm children living in their houses who were willing to help out. I seized up though, cold feet got the better of me. I never passed anything on for them to read because I couldn’t bare the thought of someone who knew me or knew of me personally reading and hating my work.
Flash forward many years. I have in my own house two of my own children who have over the years watched me write with great curiosity but never were old enough to read my work, until now. Tonight I passed my laptop first to my son and then to my eldest daughter and asked them to read just the first five pages. Why? Because that is what the agent I am getting ready to send my query off to requires. I wanted their impression. Did it hold their interest? Did it flow? What is good/bad about it?
My son gave it a thumbs up and asked if he could read more. I took that as a good sign as he is hit or miss with what books hold his attention. He is very diplomatic though and would not give any negative comments.
My daughter is always very direct and does not share her brother’s diplomatic filter. She immediately told me which parts she liked, what part she found confusing and what she wants to know more about.
I feel quite pleased about sharing my work with them and will be less hesitant in the future.
Who do you use as your betas (if anyone)? Do you try to use different types of betas to gain different insights?
I have written many novels now over the years and although they all fit into the young adult market they are not all in the same genre. I have a range including science fiction, dystopian, high fantasy, ordinary fantasy and even one plain old fiction. It’s only recently that I’ve decided that I may need to start to focus on one style and hone my skills in that one area. Obviously, when and if I present one of my novels to an agent/publisher and they enjoy it, they would reasonably expect to see the other novels I have written or will write be similar to the one they are buying into. That is just common branding and increases overall marketability. The tough part for me now is choosing. Writing in the young adult market was not a choice, it just is the area that comes most natural to me so I never have to even consider my target audience. My genre focus is not as easy. I guess I will have to spend time looking back at all the things I’ve written including my novels, short stories and poems to see if there is an overall theme that I am not aware of. I will keep you all posted as to how I get on.
How did you choose your main genre? What are your thoughts on focusing on just one genre or do you prefer to be eclectic in your writing?
So here I am couple months into the year 2017 and so far it is proving to be an okay year for me. I have come out of the woods so to speak and am ready to once again walk in the sun. I am eating healthy, exercising regularly, I have started a gratitude journal, I am feeding my brain novels again and slowly my muse has started to return so I am trying to recommit to writing regularly. For me, trying to resurrect my blog is one way to do that.
I have not got a game plan. I’m not sure if I will relaunch any regular themed posts, post short stories or just babble but I am at least going to try to recommit to blogging regularly. I look forward to reconnecting with old blogger friends and gain some new ones along the way. So stay tuned and see how well I fair this time.
A plump dose of being insecure,
anything but still left wanting more.
The sting of the world leaves you to weep,
you end up smothering yourself,
all you do is sleep.
Your first new steps are tentative and demure,
still you stand a little taller,
you are feeling much more sure.
Drips of life start filling up your well,
your soul becomes aware,
it is perfect in any shell.
Springing off the edge,
time to take flight,
leave behind the night and learn to bask in the light.
I weep silently to myself.
I will never share my pain.
My triggers include frivolous things.
A dropped spoon, torn paper, a passerby who smiles, a pile of dirty socks, an empty bed, a lone shoe and toothpaste smashed on the sink.
The sky knows my pain.
It shares it with you for me.
The clues are in the rain.
I wish you were more clever.
Posted in Poetry
We are getting reports that a young female dressed in a St Augustine’s uniform has stabbed a young male multiple times in the chest. The incident occurred on one of the downtown buses just moments ago. Eyewitnesses at the scene have been calling in and sending messages to the studio. From what we have been told police and paramedics have yet to arrive. It appears a few of the other passengers have subdued the suspect and are awaiting assistance from the authorities.
At this time we cannot rule out that this incident is related to the story we brought you earlier where four City High youths were arrested at St Augustine High School this morning. The police were acting on an anonymous tip that the four youths allegedly carried firearms and intended on discharging them on St Augustine’s school grounds. News 10 will bring you updates on both stories as they unfold throughout the day.
And there it is, the final voice for voice week 2014. I hope it fills in the blanks the other voices left. I have enjoyed writing these voices and want to thank all of you that took the time to read them and comment on them. I look forward to next year already.
Posted in Voice Week