By Denna Holm
I’m terrified of heights, like freeze up, can’t move, can’t breathe, type of terror. As a teenager, I remember standing on a cliff above the river with a bunch of my friends. It was a popular swimming hole in the summer and everyone but me was leaping off that cliff into the cold water, screaming and laughing. I probably walked back and forth twenty times between the sandy beach and the cliff that day, trying to build my nerve, but every time I got close to the edge and looked down, my heart would leap up into my throat, and I’d freeze again.
I can’t! I can’t do this! And on shaky legs, I’d slowly back up and walk down to the beach, disappointed in myself.
I didn’t jump that day, but it was always on my mind. Why? What am I afraid of? Intellectually, I knew it was safe enough. Hundreds of kids had jumped from that cliff. The water was deep. There’s no debris to hit. I could swim well enough. Fear, it’s such a strange thing. It affects people in different ways. Some can easily overcome and push through it. Some, like me, can’t.
I remember when my daughter was five years old, just this little itty-bitty girl. We’d gone on a family rafting trip down the Rogue River and came to a swimming hole where people were jumping off a cliff, this one a little higher than the swimming hole back home. I watched them, some diving, some jumping feet first, and I just shook my head. I didn’t even bother to walk up the trail to the top of the cliff, knowing I would never be able to jump.
Then my daughter says, “Mom, can I jump? I want to jump.”
Before I could open my mouth to say no, her dad pipes up with, “Sure, sweetie, go ahead. I’ll walk up there with you.”
I looked over at him, my eyes blazing with worry and anger, and said, “Are you out of your ever-loving mind? She could get hurt.”
He just looked at me and said, “No, she won’t. I’ll be with her up top. You’ll be down here, ready to help if she starts to panic in the water.”
I don’t know when I’ve ever been more scared, the day I’d stood on the cliff as a teenager with my heart in my throat, or the day I swam below while I waited for my daughter to leap off that cliff. I remember looking up at her sweet little face. She’d grown so pale, so scared, but trying so hard to hide it. I had to face my own fear that day. It would have been easy to talk her out of it. Instead, I forced myself to smile and said, “It’s okay, sweetie, you can do it. Just jump. I’ll be right here waiting for you.”
And she jumped. No hesitation. A big grin on her face.
I’m older now, my daughter is grown with kids of her own. I’ve faced many challenges over my life. I’ve had many people tell me I couldn’t do something, which only made me more determined to try. One of them was learning to write. Though I’d been a life-long lover of books and stories, I didn’t start to think about writing until I retired from training and showing horses. A riding accident had left me physically and emotionally crippled and I knew I needed to find something worthwhile to do with my time. So I went back to school and started to study creative writing, and relearn grammar and punctuation. Was it easy? No. I hadn’t been to school for over twenty-five years. But I was determined to try.
It took several years to finish my first novel, a lot of trial and error, and a lot of constructive criticism taken in from great instructors and other experienced authors, but I finally had a finished manuscript in my hands. Now, what to do with it?
What if people didn’t like it?
What if I was a terrible writer?
Was I going to let fear of failure, fear of ridicule, keep me frozen on that new cliff?
What if they do like it?
A question that would remain unanswered unless I took the plunge and let someone else read it.
I remembered looking up at my daughter’s sweet face as she faced her fear on that cliff, so much braver than me at only five years old.
You can do this, I told myself. Take your own leap of faith.
Soul of a Warrior was my first book, a science fiction action adventure. It helped set my imagination free, taking me to new worlds, meeting wonderful, fascinating people and creatures at a time when I felt at my lowest point. I thought my life had ended when I was forced to give up horses. In reality, it was just a new beginning. I now have four different science fiction/fantasy series in the works with Crimson Cloak Publishing. I can’t wait to wake up every morning to see where the next adventure will take me.
A handsome blond stranger shows up at Kimi Wicker’s place of work claiming to be her mate. But he also claims to be from another world. She does what any sane woman would do in her situation. She runs. Tagging along are her two best friends and a feisty tabby cat. No one could anticipate the second stranger showing up, one with a completely different agenda.
Kimi and her friends are abducted by the second man, a vampire, then tortured and abandoned on a hostile alien world. Given only the clothes on their back, they must now try to find a way back home again.
One man will do everything in his power to see Kimi and her friends are brought safely back home, even sacrifice his own life. The second man wants Kimi and her mate to suffer, alive, but forever out of reach of each other. Kimi and her friends must work together against astronomical odds for any hope of surviving this nightmare.