Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Soul Mate author KD Dubois sharing an inspiring reinvention story and her debut novel, Daughter of the South Wind.
Military service is for the young—by the time you hit forty your body’s broken, your “last nerve” numbed-up over a decade ago, and even though you mastered your field you can’t keep up with the new technology, new policies, new everything. After I’d given four years at a service academy followed by twenty-four-and-a-half years as a commissioned officer, I knew my first act was complete. No longer did I hop out of bed in the mornings eager for a day’s adventure. Instead I rotated my ankles so I could shuffle the four feet from bed to bathroom and worried more about helping my parents who lived on the other side of the country more than I cared if my deployment bag was in order. My priorities had deviated from those of my profession. So, at the age of forty-six, I retired.
Two-month’s shy of turning eighteen, my parents had handed me over to my chosen service. The military as a profession, the military as a family, the military as a way of life defined my adulthood. Anticipating a rough transition to civilian-hood I did one of the smartest things I’ve done so far in this life—I gave myself permission to put off a job-hunt for up to a year in order to find my new passion. Yes, I had the liberty to do that because I had saved enough to carry me through such a long period. But a certain drive to “do something” existed within myself which, if left unchecked, would prompt me to stay within the professional comfort zone from my military life. Deep down, I knew my happiness depended on escaping from the defense industry as well as staying far away from my career specialty of logistics and supply chain management.
So, I moved from the snow-filled winters of Pennsylvania to sunny San Antonio, Texas, and took a few adult education courses offered by a local school district. That’s how I discovered writing. Not only did I enjoy it, I kinda had a knack for it…especially when it came to plotting out story arcs. With the help of new friends and a mentor, I started a novel. A year later Soul Mate Publishing accepted my pitch, and they released it on July 30th.
The first act of my life revolved around engineering studies, political-military strategies of nations, the movement of goods and people, and efficiency principles. Not since I gave up playing the clarinet as a high school freshman had I ever considered the arts as something more than a diversion. Now, I’m a writer, unashamed of my creativity—it’s as if one side of my brain lowered its volume and the other side finally came to life. For me, the second act is a whole new adventure because I get to discover something about myself as I put words into a manuscript, give life to characters, and build new worlds. I feel the energy from my youth again.
Not everyone can set aside work to discover a new passion. But, people can give themselves permission to seek out something to revive their spirit. Instead of saying, “that sounds interesting,” go ahead and and explore it. And if you’re looking for a new profession, don’t limit yourself to old personal paradigms. I took a writing class because I had always wanted to learn how folks created the novels I so loved to read. Never in a million years did I think I could do it, too, because, well, engineer geeks didn’t do words, just formulas. Oh, how wrong I was, and all it took was a little self-kindness, and trust in myself, to move forward.
In my book Daughter of the South Wind, a meteorologist must trust in herself, too, in order to find a hidden talent. I hope you enjoy her journey.
As if grad school wasn’t hard enough, Dawn Wynham battles her bossy sister’s interference with her private life and resists divulging one secret—her very realistic dreams about tornados and the man who morphs out of them, Nino. After chasing twisters for her meteorology degree, why not indulge in a little sexy fantasy to enhance the adrenaline highs?
Nino’s visits tantalize Dawn, his mythological viewpoints mysterious yet familiar. When make-believe blends into real-life, she must choose between the practicality of her mind and the yearnings of her heart or else lose everything she holds dear.
The most desirable path holds the greatest danger. Dawn knows what feels right in the depths of her soul—and hopes her decision doesn’t cast Nino away from her forever.
As I spun back to the tornado, my dress coiled around me. Fear coursed through my veins, mirroring the emotions of the two who felt like parents. The face and funnel dissipated. A lean, muscular man emerged from its core. He ran to me.
The view narrowed to a small circle, my periphery non-existent. Life-force energy drained from my body in a rush. I crumpled.
Strong arms caught me. An almost complete golden disk of fire hung over the man’s shoulder. His black hair tickled my exposed skin. With great effort, I focused on his eyes. Different tones of gray swirled similar to the tornado which brought him to me.
I calmed. My soul knew he would keep me safe.
“Tira, I love you.” His rich baritone words carried over the thrashing gale.
Unable to fill with air, my lungs convulsed, causing my response of, “I love you, too, Nino,” to garble in an unrecognizable voice.
My sight pinpointed. Hot gusts mixed with a yellow-tinted cloud to surround us in comfort like a parental hug. The sun crested a distant hilltop.
A drop of water splashed on my cheek, a cool contrast to the heat of an invading force in my core. I concentrated again on those mesmerizing graphite eyes. Tears flowed from them.
“Tira, I promise you . . .” His voice faded as a power greater than my own tightened its grip and squeezed my essence into submission. Darkness overtook me while he uttered, “I will find a way to break the curse and bring you back.”
The world went black, silent. Balmy breezes converted to cold stillness. The struggle within to keep control of my soul ceased, and my tumult of emotions became nothing, empty in defeat. As if I didn’t exist at all.
KD DuBois writes fantasy mixed with a touch of romance. Her current book delves into mythology, giving obscure gods and goddesses their own stories. It’s the first of a series in a world she created called The Immortal Dimension.
Twenty-eight years in a military uniform took KD DuBois to many unique places around the country and the globe. But a few choice assignments in year-round mild climates spoiled any inclinations to retire where even a hint of snow might fall. Instead of settling down in her home state of Kansas, she planted roots in the perpetual sunshine of south-central Texas.
With the opportunity to start a second career in front of her, KD took a class and got inspired to bring the ideas in her head to life. Now she spends her time typing away and takes an occasional break to ride her bike and enjoy the sunshine. Visit her website to learn more about her and what she’s working on.
Where to find KD Dubois…
I’m impressed and inspired by your reinvention story. Wishing you all the best on your writing journey.