From Comfort Zone to Stretch Zone

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Soul Mate author Tina Susedik describing the many hats she has worn throughout her life.

Here’s Tina!

tinasusedik I came across a saying that I believe exemplifies life: “We plan, God Laughs.” No matter how we organize our lives, think we know where we’re going, life takes us in different directions. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always a learning experience.

First Act: I grew up in a poor family. We moved a lot, never spending much time in one house. Through this I learned to adapt and love living in the country.

I worked my way through college, getting a degree in Business with a minor in Journalism. I met my future husband the day before classes started my Freshman year. We married three years later. Defying all those naysayers who said we would never graduate, we both got our degrees.

Then we moved – and moved a lot as my husband’s jobs changed and improved. At best count I have lived in thirty-three different houses or apartments in my sixty-two years.

Two children came along with the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. I babysat, sold Tupperware and MaryKay, sewed clothes for others and enjoyed my children. I went back to school and earned two degrees in education and began teaching, a profession I thoroughly enjoyed.

One of our moves came after school started, and I was unable to get a job. I found an ad in a magazine for courses in writing for children. I applied and was accepted, starting my love for writing.

Another move had us in Canada, where again I couldn’t teach. I continued writing children’s books, but dabbled in writing romance. I had no idea what I was doing.

After moving back to the States and once again not having a full-time job, I started substitute teaching. It was during my drive home from a small town up the road from us that someone hit my car from behind. After a few years of struggling to teach through the pain (I did get a full-time position teaching fifth grade), I finally had to face the fact that I could no longer do what I love and needed to find something I could do.

In hindsight, I can now see how this accident helped me end up where I am today. Through the help of our state’s rehabilitation program, I was set up with a desk-top publishing business. This also afforded me time to continue writing romance.

One day I received a phone call from a town clerk from a nearby township. They needed someone to write a history of their township for their centennial celebration. Even though I had no idea how to do this, I agreed. I fell in love with interviewing, researching and writing their story. This 300-page book began a new career. I went on to write three more township books, a city history book and three military books, while learning more about writing romance.

Second Act: My husband and I bought a tax and accounting business. During tax season my writing time was curtailed, but I managed to get in as much as I could. During the “off season,” besides sitting for my grandchildren two days a week, I write full time. It’s something I can’t not do.

When I turned fifty-nine, I decided it was time to do something with the manuscripts I’d written and buried. I pitched, submitted, wrote and rewrote. I attended conferences and conventions about romance writing. I was determined it was my time.

Two years ago, everything fell into place. Within two weeks, I was asked for full manuscripts for two different books from two different publishers. “Riding for Love” was published last May with Soul Mate Publishing. This year I have another book coming out with Wild Rose Press under a pen name. I don’t have a final title or publication date yet. I’ve pulled out two of my children’s book manuscripts, brushed them off and found illustrators. They will be published this year, too.

My advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act is to be flexible and never stop learning. Looking back I can see where life was sending me, but during those years, I had no idea why things were happening as they did.


It doesn’t matter how old or young you are when your dreams come true. Had I wished I was published at a younger age? Yes. But I am where I’m supposed to be at this point in my life and I’m loving it.


I always tell my grandchildren: “Never give up, never give up.” I have two quotes that follow this mantra: “It’s always too early to quit,” Norman Vincent Peale. “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit,” Richard Bach.

Riding for Love Cover (2)


Eve Dayton, owner of a riding ranch, rose above her childhood past and overcame the emotional damage her boyfriend caused when he married another woman. When someone starts sabotaging her ranch, Eve is desperate to find the culprit before she loses everything. Is it a coincidence or is the return of Denton Johanson tied to the mystery?

Divorced Denton Johanson returns to his hometown to help convict the embezzling controller of the family business. When he runs into Eve, he realizes his feelings for her are still strong enough to try and win her back. His fear of horses won’t get in the way of his goal and decides the only way to be near her is to take riding lessons from her. Can he convince her that his love is real and he is not behind the mystery surrounding the ranch?

Eve Dayton’s former boyfriend returns to town just as problems start arising at her horse riding ranch. Can she believe his declaration to be part of her life again? Will she overcome the suspicion that he is part of the problem and accept his help in catching the culprits? Find out how Denton Johanson triumphs over his fears to win back her love.

Where to find Tina…

Website | Facebook| Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon | Goodreads

Joanne here!

Tina, you are a wonderful role model for all of us. I am impressed by your ability to skillfully navigate the many challenges you have faced. Riding for Love sounds delicious…I’m putting it on my TBR list.


6 responses to “From Comfort Zone to Stretch Zone

  1. Pingback: Grateful for Second Act Wisdom |

  2. What a great blog. I agree with so many of your life’s philosophy. I think there’s a Second Act in all of us, we just have to be patient and let life lead us to it.

  3. What a wonderful testament to you, Tina. Really loved your story and especially the bit about you are where you are and that’s good. May we all keep learning and growing

  4. I seems you truly “bloomed where you were planted.” Great motivating article. Congratulations on your novel.

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