I am a dreamer. I bet you are a dreamer too. I am not talking about the dreams that come to us in the night. Here I am speaking about the dreams that live within our hearts. According to the Oxford dictionary, these dreams are "a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal". On the surface, these heart dreams seem to be impossible, hard to reach goals. They begin as a passing thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if . . . " or "I think I would like to be, . . do, . . try . . ." Then just like the Biblical mustard seed, these dreams grow in our hearts. They grow and grow until they encroach more and more into our conscious thought. These ideas become so persistent until they cannot be ignored any longer. Attention must be paid! Is that true for you?
I have experienced these heart dreams many times. I bet you have too. Here, I will give an example of the most fantastical, outlandish and impossible heart dream that came true in my life. For over fifteen years, my heart was telling me to write a book. At first, I thought I should write a book on the theological insights I received from two near death experiences and the long road to recovery that followed. But that was not meant to be. Fast forward fifteen years. The COVID pandemic hit! I remembered a Pentecost homily by that wise sage and parish priest, Fr. Steve Adrian. On that feast when we celebrated the power of the Holy Spirit being unleashed upon the world, he reminded us to think about all the possibilities this pandemic was teaching us. We were called to be brave and to try new ways of being and doing. " The Spirit is with us!" he said. Those inspiring words were most welcome. But what could I do? Being in my mid-sixties and immune compromised, and having no useful skills, what could I offer the world?
"What if ... I wrote a story? A story of another time, another place that could provide folks with a few hours of diversion from our current situation." At first I wrote a fan fiction story.
For those who do not know, fan fiction is when you take a movie or TV show and write your own script. I tried that. But the new characters I created kept haunting me. To my mind, they proved to be more interesting than the "copied" characters I borrowed. So I tried again. This time, no fan fiction. I wrote my own story in a different place and time.
The funny thing about these heart dreams is that once you start acting upon them, the dream takes you farther and farther. You find yourself on a journey which calls you to be brave and to do things you would normally not do. Before this, when I had written something, it was for my eyes only. Now my heart dream was pushing me to share this story with strangers, publishers and beta readers who would critique my story. Yikes!! For an introvert like me, that WAS a leap of faith. The beta readers were kind and gave constructive feedback. Pitched the book to two hybrid publishing companies and they both thought my story was worth publishing. Both publishers had good reputations but in the end it came down to location - Minneapolis or St. Paul. Because I live closer to St. Paul, Beaver's Pond Press won. In these past thirteen months, they have guided me through the new and fascinating world of publishing. It has been one of the best learning experiences of my life. And the result? See the pictures below. Now comes the hard part of marketing. The minimum print was 1,000 copies! It is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram and my website. Please give it a read. Your comments are welcome especially on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble website. As always, you can leave comments on my website or e-mail.
Can dreams of the heart come true? Yes! What heart dreams have come true for you? I would love to hear from you. Please share.