It’s all wrong!
It’s all right.
It could be bad!
It could be good.
It’s too late!
You’re too old!
I’m still here.
You did it!
Hi, Everybody! I’m Marcia, and I’d like to thank Sue for having me here today. She’s such a wonderful supporter of artists of all kinds, and I’m very pleased to be part of her guest post feature.
The little poem above is one I wrote three years ago, right after I published my first book, at age 69. As you might imagine, it was inspired by a lot of comments I received from folks who thought I was crazy to be attempting something as daunting as writing and self-publishing a novel at my age. I heard every single reason why I shouldn’t even try to do such a thing, and precious few reasons why I should.
Thankfully, I had already decided I was going to do it, and refused to be swayed, even though much of what I was told was very sensible. Truth is, I wasn’t in the mood for sensible. I was in the mood to do the one thing I’d wanted to do since the age of five, when I spent long hours filling up yellow legal pads with epic poems about cowboys and horses. I wanted to write.
I came to the conclusion that I would die an unhappy, unfulfilled person if I never even bothered to try, so . . . Bucket List, here comes an item. In fact, the only item.
I knew exactly the story I wanted to tell, and I wrote every single day, throwing everything into that book I could think of. I only expected to write the one, you see, so I really crammed it full. Nine months after I started, I published Wake-Robin Ridge on Kindle and the print version on CreateSpace, and thought, “There. I did it.” The jam-packed, slightly paranormal love story, set in my beloved North Carolina mountains was done, in exactly the same amount of time it takes to have a baby, coincidentally. I could check it off my list.
Well, doggone if Wake-Robin Ridge didn’t start selling, and pulling in some pretty good reviews, for a novice like myself. It was thrilling to see that there were people out there who enjoyed the story, some of whom even emailed me, asking for more. Whoa. Didn’t expect that!
It wasn’t long before I decided I should write another book. Again, nine months later, I published Swamp Ghosts, set in central Florida, where I live, and I had just as much fun writing this one. It gave me a chance to share my love of Florida rivers and wildlife with readers, along with a wicked bad serial killer, and a fun love story.
Swamp Ghosts exceeded my expectations, too, with requests for more stories set in the fictional little town of Riverbend. Before I knew what was happening, I had two series going. The mountain series, filled with all sorts of Appalachian legends, and the Florida one, with nothing paranormal at all, because the citizens of Riverbend are weird enough all on their own.
It has been three years since I wrote my first book, and I’m getting ready to publish my sixth. Those of you who are good at math will have deduced I’m now 72, though I’ll be 73 on St. Patrick’s Day. That adds up to two books a year, only fudging a bit with this latest one, That Darkest Place, because of some unforeseen circumstances that delayed publication by three months. I’m back on track now, and plan to have my seventh out in the fall, if the bridge don’t go, an’ the creek don’t rise, as they say around here.
What should all this all mean to you? Simple. It is never too late to do follow a dream. Okay, simple to state, less so to put into action. But, trust me on this. If I can live a dream that had been on hold for 65 years, you can put your dream into action, too.
- Don’t think you can’t. You can.
- Don’t wait for permission. You don’t need it.
- Don’t wait for the time to be perfect. It never will be.
- Don’t let age or lack of experience slow you down. The first is irrelevant, and the second will disappear as you make progress.
- Do get up every day with the knowledge that your dream is worth the effort.
- Do work hard. There are no shortcuts.
- Do keep an open mind. There may be a better way to accomplish your goal.
- Do remind yourself of your dream daily. Post It notes, memes, whatever it takes.
- Do love what you’re doing. A labor of love is always the most rewarding work.
- Do your very best work, and never settle for less.
If I can make my lifelong dream happen at a time when many people are looking at retirement, you can do it, too. What have you got to lose, except that special disappointment that comes from knowing you never even tried? And believe me, that’s a feeling you can wave goodbye to with a big smile on your face.
A dream deferred is an opportunity lost. A dream followed and accomplished is a joy beyond imagining. I say go for it. I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines!
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About the author
Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and two small dachshunds. When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that at age 69, she finally began pursuing that dream. Three years and five novels later, she’s still going strong, and plans to keep on writing until she falls face down on the keyboard, which she figures would be a pretty good way to go!
Marcia has published six books to date, all of which are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. Her seventh book, That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3, will be out Spring, 2017.
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Marcia Meara, author of Swamp Ghosts and Finding Hunter, has set Book One of her Wake-Robin Ridge series amid the haunting beauty of the North Carolina mountains, where ghosts walk, ancient legends abound, and things still go bump in the night.
“A PHONE RINGING AT 2:00 A.M. never means anything good. Calls at 2:00 A.M. are bad news. Someone has died. Someone is hurt. Or someone needs help.”
On a bitter cold January night in 1965, death came calling at an isolated little cabin on Wake-Robin Ridge. Now, nearly 50 years later, librarian Sarah Gray has quit her job and moved into the same cabin, hoping the peace and quiet of her woodland retreat will allow her to concentrate on writing her first novel. Instead she finds herself distracted by her only neighbor, the enigmatic and reclusive MacKenzie Cole, who lives on top of the mountain with his Irish wolfhound as his sole companion.
As their tentative friendship grows, Sarah learns the truth about the heartbreaking secret causing Mac to hide from the world. But before the two can sort out their feelings for each other, they find themselves plunged into a night of terror neither could have anticipated. Now they must unravel the horrifying events of a murder committed decades earlier. In doing so, they discover that the only thing stronger than a hatred that will not die is a heart willing to sacrifice everything for another.
“Evil’s comin’, boy…comin’ fast. Look for the man with eyes like winter skies, and hair like a crow’s wing. He’s the one you gotta find.”
The remote mountain wilderness of North Carolina swallowed up the ten-year-old boy as he made his way down from the primitive camp where his grandparents had kept him hidden all his life. His dying grandmother, gifted with the Sight, set him on a quest to find the Good People, and though he is filled with fear and wary of civilization, Rabbit is determined to keep his promise to her. When he crosses paths with Sarah and MacKenzie Cole, neither their lives nor his, are ever the same again.
The extraordinary little boy called Rabbit has the power light up the darkness, and the resourcefulness to save himself from the one person his grandparents had hoped would never find him. His dangerous and bittersweet journey will touch you in unexpected ways, and once you’ve let Rabbit into your heart, you’ll never forget him.
“. . . he felt the wet slide of the dog’s burning hot tongue on his face, and the scrape of its razor sharp teeth against the top of his head. A white-hot agony of crushing pain followed, as the jaws began to close.”
The wine-red trillium that carpets the forests of the North Carolina Mountains is considered a welcome harbinger of spring—but not all such omens are happy ones. An Appalachian legend claims the Black Dog, or Ol’ Shuck, as he’s often called, is a harbinger of death. If you see him, you or someone you know is going to die.
But what happens when Ol’ Shuck starts coming for you in your dreams? Nightmares of epic proportions haunt the deacon of the Light of Grace Baptist Church, and bring terror into the lives of everyone around him. Even MacKenzie Cole and his adopted son, Rabbit, find themselves pulled into danger.
When Sheriff Raleigh Wardell asks Mac and Rabbit to help him solve a twenty-year-old cold case, Rabbit’s visions of a little girl lost set them on a path that soon collides with that of a desperate man being slowly driven mad by guilt.
As Rabbit’s gift of the Sight grows ever more powerful, his commitment to those who seek justice grows as well, even when their pleas come from beyond the grave.
Marcia Meara, author of the popular Wake-Robin Ridge books, sets her second series in the sleepy little town of Riverbend, Florida, where the hungry creatures swimming in the dark waters of the St. Johns River aren’t nearly as dangerous as those walking along the quiet neighborhood streets.
Wildlife photographer Gunnar Wolfe looked like the kind of guy every man wanted to be and every woman just plain wanted, and the St. Johns River of central Florida drew him like a magnet. EcoTour boat owner Maggie Devlin knew all the river’s secrets, including the deadliest ones found in the swamps. But neither Maggie nor Gunn was prepared for the danger that would come after them on two legs.
On a quest to make history photographing the rarest birds of them all, Gunnar hires the fiery, no-nonsense Maggie to canoe him into the most remote wetland areas in the state. He was unprepared for how much he would enjoy both the trips and Maggie’s company. He soon realizes he wants more than she’s able to give, but before he can win her over, they make a grisly discovery that changes everything, and turns the quiet little town of Riverbend upside down. A serial killer is on the prowl among them.
Before, I never thought about taking a life. Not once.
Now, the thought fills my mind day and night, and
I wonder how I’ll hide that terrible need,
As an old car swings to the shoulder,
~ Traveling Man ~
Hunter Painter’s darkest fears have shaped his offbeat personality since he was a child, crippling him in ways invisible to those unable to see past his quiet exterior. In a sleepy Florida town known for its eccentric inhabitants, he’s always been a mystery to most.
Only one person sees beyond Hunter’s quirky facade. Willow Greene, the new age herbalist who owns the local candle and potpourri shop, has secretly loved him since they were in high school. When, sixteen years later, she discovers Hunter has loved her just as long, Willow hopes her dreams are finally coming true.
Willow soon learns that Hunter fears happiness at her side isn’t in the cards for him. With her natural optimism and courage, she almost convinces him he’s wrong—that they can really have that life together they both long for—but even Willow can’t stop what Hunter knows is coming.
One by one, his worst nightmares become reality, culminating in an unthinkable tragedy, which devastates everyone it touches. Willow’s battle begins in earnest as Hunter is plunged into a bleak, guilt-ridden despair, threatening to destroy not only their love, but Hunter, himself.
Finding Hunter is the story of a lost man’s desperate struggle to make his way home again, and one woman’s unshakeable faith in him and the power of their love.
Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love is a collection of contemporary poetry about exactly that–life and love. The first part of the book features poems about the magic a young boy discovers while camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The second part of the book has a sampling of poetry about love, life and death, autumn, and dreams coming true.