May 31, 2009

If Only...

Many people are closet writers. Some could be published authors—if only. If only I had more time. If only I knew the right people. If only I didn’t have to keep my day job. If only I had no kids underfoot. If only I didn’t have to care for my ill parents. If only…

If you have a dream (it doesn’t have to be writing), write an If Only list. Now look closely at each item on that list. I guarantee that for every item on the list, you can find an example of someone with more If Only’s who succeeded at your dream. Paraplegics have climbed mountains and run marathons. A single mother with twelve children wrote a bestseller. A man who worked two jobs and wrote only during his lunch break completed seven novels. If they did it, so can you.

So what’s really stopping you? Most of the time, it’s not your circumstances, it’s fear. Fear of rejection, fear of success, fear of change, fear of what others might say… Spend some time identifying the fear (or fears) holding you back. Those are your REAL If Only’s. Put them on your list.

You can find ways to reach your dreams. But you have to be willing to face your REAL If Only’s first.

For me, keeping my dreams alive while raising five children and holding down a full and a part time job seemed impossible, but I did what I could. I wrote magazine articles after they were in bed at night. I’ve now had more than 850 magazine and educational articles published. It took me almost twenty years to get my first book published, but I held onto that dream and kept working. On May 22 this year, that work bore fruit. Two books from two different publishers came out on the same day!

Now If Only I could figure out this marketing stuff…

I'm giving away a copy of Summer Lovin' to one commenter on this blog. See the excerpt and blurb below. Check back on Wednesday, June 3 after noon to see who won. If only you all could win...

Laurie J. Edwards is the author of “Summer Storms” in the anthology Summer Lovin’ from The Wild Rose Press and Rihanna (People in the News) from Lucent. She is a regular contributor to educational and business publications and is a freelance editor for both fiction and non-fiction publishers. Find out more about her at and If you are interested in contacting her for freelancing editing, she can be reached at LaurieJEdwards at gmail dot com.


SUMMER LOVIN’ is a collection of love stories by six Climbing Rose authors about life on a ranch, summer jobs, sandcastle competitions, the tragedy of a flood, and falling in love with a rock star. My story in the anthology is "Summer Storms": Sixteen-year-old Paige nearly drowns trying to rescue a Pomeranian trapped in floodwaters that sweep through her town. Chase, the hottie who saves her, wants to help her and her mother, but Paige won’t accept charity. And can she risk him unmasking the family secret she’s kept hidden?

EXCERPT (Paige and her mother are trying to escape the flood sweeping through town. Waves have just smashed the branches of an uprooted tree through their window):

Picking her way over the broken glass, Paige lunged for the uprooted tree. Icy water soaked her sneakers and jeans. The suitcase banged against the trunk and almost slid from her grasp. Her fingers raked down the rough bark, tearing her palms. The tree bobbed up and down as water assaulted it.

Paige climbed on and wrapped one arm around an upright branch. Staying seated was like riding a bucking bronco. She wedged the suitcase between two branches and then leaned forward to extend a hand to Mama, who was scrambling for balance.

As she got Mama situated, another wave rocked the tree. The suitcase slid. Before Paige could grab it, it plunged into the water below. What had they lost? Her mind was a blur. But Mama was safe. That was the important thing.

She wrested the other suitcase from Mama’s grip and slid the handle over an upright tree branch. Mama clung to another branch as the tree shuddered. As long as the tree didn’t roll, they could float to safety. She hoped.

Wood cracked and splintered. Only a bit more and the branch would break free. Then they’d be at the mercy of the river.

A tiny yip caused Paige to turn. A Pomeranian paddled furiously in the sludge between their house and the one next door. Its fur slicked tight to its head, the dog panted as it struggled to keep its head above water. The tree had dammed the floodwaters between the buildings, but once the dog reached the rushing water, it would be doomed.

Paige clutched the branch with one hand and leaned back until her muscles screamed in agony. The dog struggled closer, but she couldn’t reach it. She gripped the trunk between her legs and let go of the branch. Still, the gap was too great.

Mama screamed, “No, Paige, no!”

But Paige ignored her. She inched backward and reached for the dog. With a great rending sound, the branch holding the tree in place tore free of its mooring. And with a sucking sound, the tree shot into the raging current.