Hello, great big world of Steemit! I am stephmckenzie (heck, why be formal? Just call me Stephanie). Here's hoping we all get to be good friends. :)
I'm excited to be here. Let me tell you why, and, in doing so, tell you a little about myself, so we can all get to know each other better.
The First Thing to Know About Me: I Write
I've been writing stories for just about as long as I can remember. My mom taught me to write at a young age, so I was doing it well before Kindergarten. I started winning writing contests in elementary school, and kept it up through high school, where a short story I wrote won me a college scholarship. Pretty cool, right?
I didn't stop there. I wrote for my college newspaper, and took both journalism and creative writing classes. I even took a technical writing class as an elective. It was always my goal since high school to be a full-time novelist, and I've got dozens of half-finished novels to prove it. I could never get into my characters' heads enough for me to stay motivated to finish one....until recently. But, more on that later.
(me, in front of a genuine typewriter)
The Second Thing to Know: I Hate Being Told What to Do
You know, I never realized I might be an anarchist until I started reading some of the posts here. But, since I genuinely don't recognize anyone as having real authority over me except myself and God, I guess I might be one. Anyone else who claims it is claiming a false authority, in my opinion. I don't recognize it, though I may go along with it if it suits me. You can't make me do anything I don't want to do, though. Just ask my mother about how I was as a kid!
After many years of teaching (elementary school, high school, and college), as well as jobs in politics and government, I knew working for other people was NOT for me. One thing about me people usually find out pretty quickly is that, while I'm kind and gentle, friendly and compassionate, as well as an introvert, I HATE being told what to do! I resent it, and wonder what gives any other person the right to order me around. I don't do well at traditional jobs, as you can imagine.
(genuine ancestors of mine....they obviously did their own thing!)
Freedom With Freelance Writing, At Last!
So, I started freelance writing online in 2002. It started out as a part-time thing, to supplement my traditional employment income. However, an opportunity to take it full-time was presented to me in 2008, and I took it. I haven't had a traditional job since. While it's great to be my own boss, and I certainly wouldn't go back to traditional employment unless there was no other option to house and feed myself, I mostly do writing for businesses, and it isn't very creative. Yeah, it makes me decent money, but it's boring.
And, I FINALLY Wrote That Novel....and Published It
I finally decided to get a novel written already, and did so last year. By simply pushing through the writing of it and not giving up, I found that connection to my characters I'd always missed before in previous novel writing forays. My debut novel is now for sale on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and a bunch of other places, and it's doing decently, thanks to my self-taught marketing skills. I'm almost done writing my second novel, which is a sequel to the first, and am planning an October release for it. I write novels under my maiden name, to keep my novel writing separate from my business writing. Until I'm making a full-time income as a novelist, which is the goal, I don't want to confuse my clients.
(here's the book cover of my debut novel, with my name cut off....I don't know you well enough YET to tell you my pen name....we can discuss it more later)
Becoming a Social Media Maven, but Still Looking for That Sweet Total Freedom of Expression
You'll find me posting daily on several different social media accounts connected to my new "author persona." These are creative outlets, since not every post has to be about my book, and I enjoy them. I also post on my private, personal Facebook account to communicate with friends and family. However, both my author social media accounts and my personal one don't offer me the freedom of expression I would like, since I'd love to talk about a wide range of topics on which I am passionate and knowledgeable. I just know I can't speak freely either publicly or privately, because something I say may alienate my audience for my book (soon to be books) or my family and friends who do not share my same views.
(a meme I found floating around on Facebook....I don't know who made it, but it has an important message)
I love the concept of Steemit, because I can write about whatever I like, and let my true opinions shine. I can also share knowledge of things I love with others, and may find an audience who cares about it. As an example, I'm a history buff....like, a HUGE history buff....with a special love for Medieval and early modern English history. With only a few exceptions, you should see people's eyes glaze over when I start talking about things like the Princes in the Tower, the various players of the Wars of the Roses, the wives of Henry VIII, and Lady Jane Grey.
(I was interviewed on TV once, talking about history....for real!)
OK, So There's History. What Else Might I Feel Moved to Write About Here?
I also like the paranormal, and enjoy reading about ghosts and other paranormal phenomena. If I go somewhere that has a haunted history tour, you can bet I'll be on it.
Spirituality....it's a big part of my life and beliefs, and some of those beliefs aren't conventional. But, I love to talk about them, and how certain parts of the type of spirituality I subscribe to can be used to improve lives. I've even looked into becoming a certified spiritual life coach.
Autoimmune issues and fertility problems....yes, I've got both of those. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since I was a teenager, which led to two total knee replacements decades younger than most people get them. I'll probably have to get them re-done two or three more times each, as a typical replacement lasts only about 20 years. I'm hoping my brilliant longevity specialist scientist brother will come up with something to regenerate everything, including my knees, so I can have natural (instead of titanium) ones again one day. He says he's working on it. :)
And, the autoimmunity affected my fertility, so, after years of treatments, I'm adopting. In fact, I was just approved as an adoptive parent a couple of weeks ago, so that's a new journey upon which I am embarking. There's still a chance I could have a biological child, but it would have to be through surrogacy, and that's freaking expensive. But, I have high hopes it will happen one day. Right now, I'm just happy knowing I'm getting a child that will be legally mine and call me "mom."
(clean, vegan cookies I made...the kids will love them)
Animals (especially cats), vegan cooking and clean cuisine, alternative health, genealogy, politics, social causes, and general observations on society....these are all things I love to talk about and share with others who are also interested. I love it that Steemit gives me a platform for this, and the true, open, creative outlet outside of my novels that I crave.
(this is actually one of my cats)
Experienced Blogger Seeking Freedom of Expression....No Strings Attached
Yes, I've been blogging for years, both for myself and for clients, and I have a personal blog and an author blog. But, I can't speak freely on those for reasons mentioned above. Here, I can enjoy total freedom, and attract the audience that is right for me. We can form our own tribe, and it will be awesome!
(this is really me, Photoshopped into a pencil drawing)
Let's Get This Party Started!
Let me entertain you. Let me teach you. Let me enlighten you. Let me just talk to you about things we all find interesting.
I'm looking forward to Steeming it up in here with all of you!
Here's to REAL freedom of the press, and of expression! Here's to Steemit.