Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Guest Post: My Journey to Publication by Sage MacGowan, Author of Through Fire #NALit #WritersLife

My Journey to Publication

by Sage MacGowan

I guess you could say my writing career had its beginnings in junior high. While the short story (VERY short) Murder on the Second Floor received a disappointing grade, the cover was a blast to create. It featured an elevator overlayed by die-cut construction paper featuring a blood-filled, dripping syringe.

I followed MSF up with Chocolate Chip's Adventure, a story of an Appaloosa colt that goes exploring his environs and gets lost. Don't worry; the other animals on the farm help him get back to his mother. This book was, in a manner of speaking, published (by the teacher and her laminator).

Fast forward umpteen years to college. I finished my Bachelor's degree later in life, and was taking a class on the history of Britain, up to the late 1600's, I believe. One of the final assignments was to write a short story set within the time frame of the class. I had gotten hooked on romance novels by this time, specifically historical romance, so that is what I wrote. Luckily, inspiration struck and I wove a tale of a midwife who dabbled in the mystical. It didn't have a true HEA – at the end the midwife was still searching for her soulmate – but I had great fun describing her visions in the smoke of a fire. The instructor was blown away (his words, not mine). I think his jaw actually dropped when he asked my major, and I replied Animal Science.

I spent two decades following my dream of being a veterinary nurse, all the while reading, but not even exploring writing. I found myself bothered by aspects of the storylines – not in an I-can-do-better sort of way, more of a general this-isn't-right mindset. Specifically, I didn't like that people with physical challenges were all healed by the end of the books. Nowadays, this is no longer true, but in the nineties and earlier... It was as if the authors were saying that HEA's were only the domain of people with fully-functioning eyes, legs, and what have you, and people with disabilities were not capable of finding love and fulfillment. (Danielle Steel's Palomino is an exception.) And yet I still wasn't moved to put pen to paper.

It was only seven years ago that the urge was inescapable. One night it just hit me. A scenario filled my head and I just HAD to get it outside of myself. I had no serious thoughts of publishing; I just needed to write. Through Fire is the third story I have begun, but the only one to reach “The End.” And in fact, it was only after I finished that I gave weight to the idea of sending it to publishing houses, hoping for, but not expecting any, bites.

It was a convoluted journey, yet I have made it here.



Growing up, and for quite some time after, Sage was a reader and a dreamer, but didn’t often put pen to paper. After becoming addicted to romance novels, she would often rewrite the stories in her head. Then late one night, while listening to music, with story ideas dancing in her mind, she was overcome with an undeniable urge to actually write.
Sage is a nature-worshiper and spends a fair amount of time hiking and camping ( realcamping, not the wussy RV kind) with her family. She also rides horses as often as she can (which isn’t often) and gets her horse fix by volunteering at the local therapeutic riding center. Her other volunteer gig is a non-profit group that helps military veterans train dogs as support animals and service dogs. In her previous life (former career) she was a veterinary nurse for over 20 years, and has always had a passion for medicine, which is behind the presence of “medicalese” in her stories.