Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Wild Rose Press author Kimberly Baer sharing her inspiring reinvention story and her novels, The Haunted Purse and Mall Girls Meet the Shadow Vandal.
Joanne, thanks so much for inviting me here today. I’m honored to be featured on your blog.
I never set out to reinvent myself. Reinvention has been forced upon me by fate—time and time again.
Long ago, I was a young stay-at-home mom living a comfortable domestic life with my husband, Richard, and our three children, ages six eight, and twelve. Then the unthinkable happened: Richard died of a sudden, first-time heart attack. In the blink of an eye, I became a widow with three young children to support. At the time, I had only a high school education. My focus in life narrowed to raising the kids and putting myself through college. I didn’t date, because it didn’t seem fair to make the kids share their only parent with someone new.
My family’s journey wasn’t easy, but we made it. The kids grew up and, miraculously, turned out okay. I graduated from college and got a good job as an editor. And then came the second blow. That great job I had? I lost it. The organization I was working for shut its doors for good. As a result, I was out of work for six months. After applying for dozens of jobs, I finally snagged the perfect one. The only problem: it was two hundred miles away—and that meant I had to leave the town I’d lived in my whole life.
That second upheaval was almost as hard to deal with as the first. In my hometown, I’d had a support system consisting of friends, relatives, coworkers, and neighbors. My parents and sister lived minutes away. I knew the area so well, I could have driven the roads blindfolded. But after I moved, I was alone in a strange city, working with people I didn’t know. I was constantly getting lost on the unfamiliar roads. I’d lie in bed at night pining for my beloved old house, my good friends, the life I’d left behind.
That was nine years ago. My new locale isn’t so new and scary anymore. I still have the great job that brought me here in the first place. I’ve made friends. And although I’ll probably never know the area as well as I know my hometown, I manage to get to all the important places. More excitingly, I’m now a traditionally published author of two books: a young adult paranormal novel, The Haunted Purse, and a middle-grade mystery novel, Mall Girl Meets the Shadow Vandal. The cherry on top of everything: after all those years of not dating, I have a wonderful fiancé named Clint.
Sound like a happily-ever-after ending? It isn’t really. (I’m not sure such a thing even exists.) Life has thrown me a new curve ball. A few years ago, Clint was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a terminal lung disease. The only cure is a lung transplant—and, miraculously, he was able to get one. Unfortunately, he’s suffered many setbacks since then and remains at risk of developing an infection or succumbing to organ rejection.
So once again, I’m facing a challenge: caring for a loved one with a serious medical condition. Am I up for it? You bet. They say that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and I believe that. Getting through one crisis shows us that we have what it takes to get through the next one.
Sometimes I sit back and marvel at the journey I’ve made thus far. My life today is very different from what it would have been if Richard hadn’t died. I’ve grown tremendously as a person. I’ve gone from sheltered young wife and mother to mature college student to uprooted career woman to caregiver. That’s four acts, four different scenarios. And each transition was forced upon me by fate.
Are you facing tough challenges of your own? Relax—you’ve got this. Know that you will get through whatever life throws at you. You’re stronger than you think, and you have the power to reinvent yourself as many times as fate demands it.
Blurb for Mall Girl Meets the Shadow Vandal
(a middle-grade novel)
Chloe Lamont doesn’t live in a neighborhood, like most kids. Her house is in the middle of the mall. And now someone is stealing items from her house and using them to vandalize stores. Who is trying to frame her? And how are they getting into the house?
Desperate to catch the real vandal and clear her name, Chloe seeks help from the kids in her Mystery Reading Group at school. While searching for clues, the Mystery Groupers make an astounding discovery. And then things get really crazy…
Blurb for The Haunted Purse (a young adult novel)
That old denim purse Libby Dawson bought at the thrift store isn’t your run-of-the-mill teenage tote. It’s a bag of secrets, imbued with supernatural powers. Strange items keep turning up inside, clues to a decades-old mystery only Libby can solve.
Filled with apprehension and yet intrigued by the mounting pile of evidence, Libby digs for the truth. And eventually finds it. But the story of the purse is darker than she imagined—and its next horrific chapter is going to be all about her.
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