GUEST BLOG-WE NEED ALL OF THE HELP WE CAN GET!
A Roundabout Way to Self Help
Before I start telling my story about how I started writing, there are two things about me that you should know: one, I couldn't diagram a sentence if my life depended on it, and two, I have won dignified literary awards anyway.
Now, I've loved books since I was old enough to hold one, but what really set me on a path to writing them—eventually—was the combination of a retired colonel, a high school English class and a romance novel. Serioulsy!
After retiring from the Air Force, Colonel Bob White, for reasons known only to him, decided to come to the little town in Texas where I lived and teach English for a couple of years. Looking back, I'm not sure whether he deserved a medal or a mental health exam.
Whatever the case, not long into the school year, Mr. White held up a big fat paperback book and announced that we would all be reading it. Much groaning and whining ensued. And when we learned that every tiny-lettered page was filled with glorious details of life in Saxon England circa1066, well, I think some cried.
However, when I got the dreaded book in my hand, I was confused. The title was odd—The Wolf and the Dove—and the cover had a man and a woman on it. This did not look like any other book I'd been forced to read in school. And who was this Kathleen Woodiwiss anyway?
I dutifully started reading—and couldn't stop. Yep, it was an epic romance novel. Written in 1974, it was a product of the times, and wild stuff for a sheltered little high school girl. I don't recall anyone else being nearly as enthralled as I was, but Mr. White's brilliant assignment set me on a path of reading—and, of course, concurrent learning—that also "trained" me to be a writer.
By the time I got the crazy idea that I could write my own novel, I'd read hundreds of books. Although I didn't consciously try to, or even realize that I had, I'd picked up an intuitive feeling for the structure of a story and could hear dialogue as a natural flow of conversational in my head. I could also see the scenes like a movie, which made them easy to write.
I've written a lot of books, but my first published novel was Hot Enough to Kill, a humorous mystery that was featured in Redbook. My second, Dead Man Falls, won the 2001 WILLA Literary Award for Best Original Paperback. The third, Turkey Ranch Road Rage, was released last year and I'm working on Killer Moves in all my spare time.
So, you ask, how did it happen that I went from writing funny mysteries to self help books? Well, if you'd read my fictional tales you wouldn't need to ask that question!
Actually, after the first book came out, life happened. The second book was already set to be published, but life kept happening. In short, death, divorce and delusion took a toll. And, like many people, I started searching for ways to ease my own pain. Being a writer, as I learned, I wrote.
I spent a lot of years feeling like I was just treading water—I knew I needed to do something, but I couldn't see what or how. I love the movie The Secret, but when I was in that stuck place, the only thing I was capable of manifesting was more pain. I needed the secret before The Secret!
Over the course of about ten years, I started some version of a self-help book at least six different ways, but it just never came together. I knew what I wanted to do—to help people who were in the same boat I was, people who feel stuck and yet are afraid to be un-stuck. I wanted to give people in pain, as I had been, a simple and direct roadmap out of it.
That's really what the The Hardline Self Help Handbook is. It's a do-it-yourself short course based on what I learned on my own rocky journey and what I now do with my coaching clients and in my workshops. It's a step by step guide to help people figure out what they really want in their lives, why they don't already have it—and how they can.
With times as they are today, it's exactly what a lot of us need—and are ready for. The book's subtitle is a challenge—and I hope an inspiring one—because now is the perfect time to ask, What Are You Willing to Do to Get What You Really Want?
Paula Renaye is a professional life coach, motivational and empowerment speaker, regression hypnosis practitioner and award-winning author. She has been a consultant for 18 years, holds a degree in Financial Planning and is a member of the International Association of Coaches. Her passion is helping people face reality and take personal responsibility for their choices in order to reclaim their own power and live the life they really want.
Where to buy
The Hardline Self Help Handbook by Paula Renaye is available through most online retailers and bookstores by order in trade paperback and ebook formats.
ISBN 0-9674786-5-0 (trade paperback) $19.95
Kindle ASIN: B004XNKDB6 (ebook) $9.99
Smashwords (ebook) $9.99
For special book tour bonus materials and a link to purchase the print book at a discount, visit www.hardlineselfhelp.com.
A printable Companion Workbook is available in printable PDF format from the publisher. See website for details.