Guest Post: My Writing Journey – The Heat is On!

Today, Sherri, from A View from My Summerhouse is visiting. I’m so happy to have her guest post on my blog. Without further ado, here she is:

My Writing Journey – The Heat is On!

The desire to write has been with me as long as I can remember.  I always enjoyed English at school and I quite fancied myself as a mystery writer when, as a 12 old, I wrote a ‘book’ called ‘The Telephone’.  My mum still has it; the cover is blue construction paper with a picture of a telephone on it (what else!) and the pages inside held together with staples. Reading it again recently certainly brought howls of laughter to my mum and I, it was pretty awful!

Still, I was not to be daunted.  Life pulled me up pretty darn straight at a young age and by the time I was in my late teens I went through a phase of scribbling down  poems of a sort, which I discovered were a wonderful outlet for those times when I was not only very angst-ridden but also when I felt overcome with emotion.

For example, I was once so overcome after watching a documentary on the BBC about newly-hatched baby turtles scurrying desperately to the safety of the sea before being picked off by hungry sea-gulls, that I was compelled to write a poem about it!

Mostly though I wrote about my dad, who was and still is an alcoholic who has gone on to spend the best part of 35 years in and out of prison for alcohol-related crime.

The defining point for me as a writer, however, began long before I ever put pen to paper in a ‘serious’ way.  In fact, it began 35 years ago when I met an American GI who had been posted to RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk, England in 1979.  We met at a nightclub in Ipswich one summer’s night, he took me back to California to meet his family and we fell in love despite a tumultuous relationship blighted by his drug use.

Then our world collapsed when he was diagnosed with Leukaemia.  I gave up everything to be with him, to Las Vegas for a ‘quickie’ wedding, and then back to his home in Los Angeles before he died eleven months later at the age of 21.

Blighted by grief and the loss of not only him but of myself I returned home to England to be with my family and I went on to marry the man who helped me through this bad time but it was the birth of my firstborn son in 1982 and the power of my love for him that saved me.

It was around this time that those writing embers, which had long been smouldering, ignited just enough to create a little heat.   I remember bundling my baby into his buggy and going for long walks along the heathland near our house, our dog Bonnie padding happily alongside and as I walked, I began to write the words of my book with an invisible pen in my mind, wanting to tell this story.

The decades flew by; my years as a full time mum to three children were my happiest despite an unhappy marriage, which sadly ended after 22 years.   Yet always those embers burned, keeping my words warm and illuminated, protecting them until the day would come when I would be able, at last, to cast them out into the great white space.  I had to wait a very long time.

My various attempts to get my writing off the ground were never successful but when adverse events seemed, once again, to conspire against me they actually propelled me into the writing career I had longed for all my life.

June 2011. Firstly, I lost my job.  Then the job after that, both due to office closure.  At the same time my daughter, who was very ill, was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease (overactive thyroid).  She was also diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

It was a mercy, a blessing in disguise that I lost my jobs looking back on it.  My life became consumed with ferrying my daughter back and forth to numerous doctor and hospital appointments, meetings and further assessments, all in an effort to get her medical treatment and help and she needed me.

That year ended as spectacularly as it had begun with two car accidents (not my fault!) and I was unable to type for a long time due to whiplash injuries. I reached a very low point but my husband encouraged me, as soon as I was physically able, to return to my writing course which I had attempted to start well over a year before.

At first I was full of self-doubt (who would be interested in the ramblings of a washed-up 50 something mum?) and it took me a long time to make the move mentally.  When I did I had no inkling that within a few months I would be taking a telephone call from the editor of Prima magazine saying that she wanted to publish my short story.

Then, in January of this year, I started my blog and the community I have found here has been phenomenal. That such lovely people actually take the time to read my writing and then comment too never fails to amaze me!  This was the final push I needed to start walking along the road of my writing journey which began so many years ago.

Those writing embers never did go out.  They were waiting for just the right moment to spark into the flames of writing fire which now rages inside me.  I might get burned in the process but you know what they say about that – ‘If you can’t take the heat, then you better get out of the kitchen!’


© Sherri Matthews 2013

Thanks Sherri!

On a side note, I made an announcement on my other blog about my novel, Marionette. Hop on over if you’re curious.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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83 Responses to Guest Post: My Writing Journey – The Heat is On!

  1. Interesting post and so is the blog so I’ve decided to follow to see what comes up.

  2. Sherri says:

    Thanks so much TB for the opportunity to guest blog here on your site. I’m very honoured 🙂

  3. Sherri, the more I learn about you the more amazing you become to me. I have no doubt that you can stand the heat, so keep writing! xo

  4. bulldog says:

    Sherri sounds like a fighter.. no matter how many times she has been knocked down she has stood up again… and this is wonderful… her very misgivings about her writing is what I’m suffering now.. with 85 000 words written I started to read over what I’d done… and my first reaction is “who wants to read about my life?” and no matter how many times Linda encourages me I still come up with the same answer in my head… I’m encouraged that Sherri took a long time to make the mental move… maybe mine just needs to arrive at some stage… great post, very encouraging in fact…

    • TBM says:

      Sherri is such a wonderful person and I’m so glad we met via our blogs. She’s a great inspiration for all of us and I admire her courage and strength. Also, I hope her post encourages you to continue writing. I know I want to read about your life and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. Listen to Linda.

    • Sherri says:

      Hello Bulldog,

      I wanted to reply to your very kind comment here and to thank you so much for taking the time to read my guest post. I would just like to encourage you to press on with your writing dream and not to give up.

      I understand your struggle and I am so touched to know that what I wrote here has somehow encouraged you. Don’t give up, keep your dream alive and get your story out there! It’s never too late and once you make that ‘mental move’ there will be no stopping you!

      There, now I’ve said it and I say to to myself too!

      It’s a pleasure to meet you here 🙂

  5. I enjoyed reading Sherri’s post! Thanks for bringing her on board, TBM.

  6. Gede Prama says:

    Thank you friend, there are many inspirational articles
    and thank you for following my web and regards compassion ^_^

  7. Pingback: Guest Post over at Making My Mark! | A View From My Summerhouse

  8. Sherri says:

    Morning TB! I have just announced my guest post and thought you would like to read the little blurb I wrote about you:
    Thanks so much again and have a great day 🙂

  9. simplyilka says:

    Being one of these people who actually enjoy spending time reading your writing Sherri, I would like to congratulate you on your guestpost, And thanks for bringing me to TBM’s fantastic blog! You are both very special 🙂

    • TBM says:

      It’s wonderful meeting you! I’m thrilled that Sherri honored me with her presence on my blog. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello 🙂

      • Sherri says:

        Thanks so much Ilka, so glad that you came over here to visit and yes, TB does have a wonderful blog!

        It really means the world to know that you enjoy reading my writing, wow, I have a huge smile now thanks to you and to TB 🙂

        Have a lovely day both of you lovely ladies 🙂

      • TBM says:

        Thanks so much Sherri. I just read your post today and now I’m smiling. Thank you so much for your kind words. And I should have my guest post on your blog to you in the next day or two. I’m excited to visit! And please come back here anytime.

  10. Glad you sent me here and glad the fire is burning. Enjoyed your post.

  11. Rachel says:

    Great post, Sherri and great blog, TBM. Personal stories like this are always the most fascinating aren’t they? Sherri, I’m so glad you’ve now got the opportunity to stoke that fire.

  12. Catherine Johnson says:

    Wow, Sherri that’s an amazing life story! You sure do have the tenacity needed in this industry. Best wishes!

  13. You are full of surprises, Sherri. This was a most interesting post and I enjoy reading your regular blog. Self doubt. Bah. Banish it. 😀

  14. Denise says:

    Another guest post! Woohoo!

    I agree that blogging is great for finding your voice and most important, learning more about connecting with people through words.

  15. Sherri, Great job! I can’t add anything new to these accolades. I’m glad you are getting the recognition that you deserve. I love reading your blog and I’m happy to call you a friend — even if it is a cyber-friend, but who knows? Someday…

  16. Letizia says:

    I can just imagine the book “The Telephone” – cover and all. I love Sherri’s writing style!

  17. lilkaraphael says:

    You can most definitely the heat, think of all you’ve overcome thus far! Timing is everything and it looks as though yours has come 🙂 I expect to hear great things happening for you in 2014.

  18. I loved reading more about your journey Sherri – and I particularly loved this: ‘Yet always those embers burned, keeping my words warm and illuminated, protecting them until the day would come when I would be able, at last, to cast them out into the great white space’. Our experiences make our writing that much richer and you certainly have many to draw on.

  19. Life and Other Turbulence says:

    Sherri, I’m pulling for you! Don’t ever question your writing talent…you have a GIFT.

  20. Pingback: Any Excuse for a Bit of Bubbly! | A View From My Summerhouse

  21. Beverly says:

    What a sad story, yet fileled with hope abd determination. Congratulations on hanging in there and accomplishing your goals. Best wishes for much success with your writing.

  22. Sherri, I am glad to learn your heartbreaking, rich story and the story under it, your voice seeking air. If you’ve been washed up, it’s to new horizons. Pop the bubbly indeed.


  23. Pingback: Guest Post from T. B. Markinson – An American in London! | A View From My Summerhouse

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  25. Knowing the background helps me understand so much of the rest of your blog. Just trying to catch up here. You’ve really had a lot thrown at you. You must have decided to become a writer before coming into this lifetime to have garnered so much fodder to write from. 🙂

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