I couldn’t have made it without them. My team. My Twitterbloc. We started back in–what?–2012. Just a bunch of crazy, introverted writers who decided to share a room together for DFWCon (a writer’s conference in Dallas) and hoped to all that was holy that none of the others turned out to be a serial killer.

(Yes, I got asked. It’s how the joke started about me carrying around a serial killer kit in my trunk. I still have it… duct tape and all… I digress).

I was so nervous showing up! I’d only met these women online and I was pretty sure I’d invited myself. My friend Liza tells me that isn’t true, but I think we remember those events differently.

But I went anyway. I wanted DESPERATELY to meet more people like me. People with other worlds in their heads and characters so loud we sometimes talked back.

I wanted this trip to mean something, too. An outward sign that I took my book seriously… my CAREER seriously… because I was raised to believe that writers (artists, creatives) were time and money wasters.

One simply did not become a writer for a living.

Only special, magic unicorns did that.

And yet here they were, these special, magic unicorns who were more real than fantasy. Women writers, like me, who believed in what we did and BELIEVED it could be our future—AUTHOR our title instead of secretary, retail associate, clerk, etc.

They were amazing and even more incredible than I knew them to be online.

How in the hell did I get so lucky to connect with these women?

And how in the hell did I keep them from finding out I was a fraud… some broken hack who spent more time hiding from the world (and my PTSD) then I did writing?

Ladies, can I just tell you?! The awesomesauce that is these women has blown my mind year after year. The highs of requests and landing agents and hitting publish, the lows of rejection and missed chances and maybe the next one.

Every step of the way they have been there, loving, supporting, encouraging, crying, lifting, and building.

We meet every year at various places around the states to connect in real life the way we did way back at DFWCon. We no longer worry that someone is a serial killer, but we still joke about the kit. We discuss writing and authorpreneurship. We read our steamy sex scenes out loud to each other, giggling with oohs and ahhhs during our favorite parts.

And in the quiet of the night, as things are winding down, we open our hearts and share the desires and pains that still haunt us, like first lines of forgotten manuscripts that will never be read by any eyes but our own.

Over the years some have drifted away, our paths diverging to destinations one or the other could not follow.

But I will never regret choosing into DFWCon. I will never regret forming these friendships that span over half a decade (with many more to come!).

Because here is what I’ve learned… as we lean into growth opportunities for ourselves and our writing, we meet others who are leaning in too. We create bonds with people on the same road. People who want the same thing. People who are willing to sit with us in our dark nights of the soul and then encourage us toward the bright new horizon.

Some of that is already happening in Creative Central—my online group for lady fiction writers who want belonging and not just another writing group.

And some of that is waiting for you in Fiction Expedition as you take the next step with other women who want the same thing:

To write your stories and to get them into the hands of readers who will love them.

That’s what we wanted, those many years ago. Just a small group of women fiction writers with big dreams to change the world.

I love these women, with all my heartbeats. Every. Single. One.

Who will you meet when you choose in?

Loves & hugs,