Thank you to novelist Mel Massey for contributing this guest post.
My husband is a sergeant with 4th MEB, 988th MP Battalion. His day varies from the mundane to the extreme. I’m a bibliophile and a novelist. My day is whatever I plan on it to be. We’ve been married for ten and a half years, lived all over the country, had two beautiful children and endured all the things military couples go through. However, over his last deployment to Afghanistan, something changed.
You see, although we had a typical marriage, over the years we’d fallen into a routine. Kids. Bills. Schedules. PCS. 24 hour duty. Dinner. You get the idea. After a while, that takes its toll on individuality. When he deployed, it was a welcome change to the repetitiveness, oddly enough. I saw him off, pulled up my big-girl pants, and went on…with a plan.
I dreamt of being a writer since I can remember and I decided to spend the year trying my hand at it. I wrote, outlined, and edited until I had the first novel in a series written. My husband was busy doing the things that soldiers do in Afghanistan, he didn’t really know much about my big plan. However, while we were 7,000 miles apart, we finally began to really talk. When we could. I told him about my books and the story I was planning. I honestly didn’t think he would truly understand it all, but I was thankful for the conversation. I think he was as well.
Then…something amazing happened. He began to read some of my favorite books. He read all seven of the Harry Potter books (a staple of nerds the world over). That led to Game of Thrones (Have you seen how big those are?) and those led to more discussions about my books.
Before long, we were discussing characters, plots, and our hopes for the stories we were invested in together. It was a stressful and lonely time but we made the best of what we had.
Shortly after my husband got home, I started submitting my manuscript to agents and publishers. Oh, man…that’s a grueling ordeal. My heart was broken and my self-confidence was hanging by a thread. He was my constant cheerleader. Then one day, I received an email and then another one! There were two offers for publication. I was on cloud nine. Obviously, for people to read my novel and to connect with it was an amazing feeling. My husband (now my partner in all things geeky) helped me decide which one I should choose. I signed with Solstice Publishing and my novel, Earth’s Magick released December 3, 2013.
I know my husband is proud of my accomplishments; However, I’m as equally proud of my accomplishments while he was gone. I look back, before Earth’s Magick released, and I was only known as a soldier’s wife or a stay at home mom. Both things I hold dear to my heart and feel tremendous pride in doing every day. Nevertheless, after I finished Earth’s Magick, the first time I was asked, “What do you do?” I stopped, smiled, and said,
“I’m a writer.”
That was an amazing moment for me. I suddenly remembered that I was indeed a soldier’s wife and a stay at home mom, but I was also ME. I was Mel, the author of fantasy novels about witches and magick. Not only was I capable of holding down the fort without my husband for a year, I created a whole new world while I did it.
Sometimes, when we’re in a tough situation, it pays to focus on one goal and give it your all. Writing Earth’s Magick was my goal during a time when I was scared and lonely. I felt the need to do something during his deployment that was mine. So much of an Army spouse’s life revolves around our spouse’s work and we forget to bring attention back around to ourselves. It is possible to be supportive during a deployment simply by showing our soldier that we’re strong and capable.
My husband focused on me – I was his goal. He tried new things in order to get closer to me when we’d never been farther apart. I appreciate his willingness to try new things and to walk the nerd-walk with me. To even the scales, I recently took up one of his favorite pastimes – running. I’m happy to say that I’m up to two miles a day and getting better at it. We run together on his days off and then we talk books.
Written by: Mel Massey
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