This morning I started on a journey. I woke up, hit the snooze button at least three times and then staggered into the bathroom to start the day. Moments later steam billowed from the shower as I mustered the strength to square off with an endless list of “to do’s”. Does your journey often start like this? By the time my toothbrush touches my teeth I’m calculating and double checking, moving swiftly through the morning routine, clipping my identification tag to my belt, and hurrying from the house in a flurry of kisses with promises to see everyone later that night. That’s if I’m off to a good start…


Suddenly a fog lifts…forty days have passed and they seem like a blur. As a High School teacher I’ve been moving and shaking since the beginning of August. In my “free time” I write, it’s my passion and release from the demands that this journey so often places heavily on my shoulders. Now, sitting at my desk I’m astonished, realizing it’s been forty days since I’ve even thought about my manuscript. I’m lonely for the characters that I call friends, I miss the challenge of lacing a story together the way that I like. Longingly, I pull up my website and wince over the fact that I told my tiny audience I’d self-publish this fall. Lately I can’t even get a blog published on time. Is this dream even going to happen? How has time escaped me? Why does the journey perpetually do this?


Breathe deeply, don’t stress…I sit back, pondering the magnitude of the work I’ve already accomplished and my hopes to create even more. Yes, I reassure myself, it will happen just maybe not in my time frame. The journey has thrown some curve balls lately, I’ll have to rethink my plan. Thankfully, age has taught me something about this process–I make better decisions when I take my time rather than bulldozing through things.


Okay, I sigh, contemplating the possibilities. It’s not going how I wanted but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. After all, launching my debut novel during high school football season might not have been such a good idea anyways. After one more look at the pictures from the cover shoot we completed this summer I smiled and close the web browser. I’m okay with waiting because this project and the people who are helping me accomplish it are worth doing it right. Standing up, the journey beckons as it’s time for another cheer practice…


Yes, you’ve guessed it, I’m super ambitious and sometimes think I can do more than is reasonable. I had a  plan, it was all going to fit in a neat little schedule which included managing my coaching life of 60+ hours a week while launching a book simultaneously. My applaud is extended to those of you who knew it was crazy for me to even dream it, who allow me to continue to learn at my own pace, trusting I’d eventually see the light. The journey is arduous and even with my best of intentions what I’d set out to do has become nearly impossible.


It took me a few days to reconcile with the fact that it will be 2016 before I see my baby in print, but it did happen. Once I’d swallowed my pride and accepted my fate I had to tell my husband–the look of relief on his face made me giggle. It’s easy to love a man who stands by you no matter how crazy an idea is, his support is paramount and he plays along quite well, even if he knows it might not work out as I like. So now, adjusted to my fate we’ve set plan “b” in motion.


First things first, survive cheer season! This may be easier said than done…just saying!


Second, why not edit the manuscript again? I started the other night, this time I’m just reading it, not marking a page (that’s really hard by the way). I’ve already noticed some basic edits and am brainstorming about removing or altering pieces currently in play. More than anything I’m just enjoying the read. I’ve missed these fictional people who are so close to my heart.


Third, time is on my side. I plan to self-publish of course but while I wait why not query some agents? Between now and February I’m going to send them out, just to see if anyone bites. Of course I’d be flattered to be picked up–that would be a game changer for certain. But mostly I’m just curious with the process and any feedback I may receive. Plus, I need to calm my itch to be doing something–queries will fit into my already hectic schedule and so I push on.


Fourth-The green light should flicker on in March, allowing us to pursue self-publication (unless of course we get lucky with the above mentioned queries). With any luck I’ll be venturing into book signings and such by May, possibly sooner but the spring can be hectic so let’s be flexible with the timing, yes?


Now, as with all noble plans implemented by well intended humans, stuff happens! It is my sincerest hope to spend my summer moving from one book signing to another, doing justice to this long sought after goal and hopefully meeting many of you fine folk along the way. If the timeline becomes somewhat skewed I ask that you just bear with me and remain a believer. Flowers In Winter will be available in 2016 so let us hope that the elusive “when” will arrive sooner than later.


The journey isn’t without a few well placed silver linings. Recovery from the blast of back to school madness is well under way and allowing me to work on other projects that I have laid out. One of course is the sequel for Flowers In Winter. So please, hang in there with me, return to read my blog each month, and know that I’m going to keep chugging along. With a little luck and elbow grease our paths will cross and we’ll have a good laugh about this particular journey in spite of it.



5 Comments on “Ambitious

  1. You are one of the strongest people I know! You are right on track and I have faith the good Lord is taking you where you need to be. I love you and know that you have accomplished something tremendous.

  2. I’m SO proud of you J.M. Salley! You are strong, talented, and an inspiration to many!! Can’t wait to come to one of your book signings….

  3. True friends stand the test of time. Flowers in Winter are true friends. We can pick up where we left off like no time has passed. It’s funny that time is a theme in your book almost like another character. Hang in there dear friend!

  4. Wow! You ladies have left me speechless! I’m honored to have friends like you, people who believe in what I’m doing and who are being patient with the process. I truly believe that with each delay, each victory, and each challenge that I’m being groomed for where Flowers In Winter, along with it’s sequals, will take me. Each of you have been an integral part of that and I wouldn’t have gotten this far without you–thanks so much for your support in me and this project!

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