Jas T. Ward
It's Where I Be Me
From the very first moment I created my first book Word doc draft, I knew I wanted to be an author. I, like most, went into it with a heavy layer of optimism and naivety to the process. I just knew I wanted to create books with my worlds. It’s funny, I look back at that time and my first office.
It was tiny. Not even six-feet by six-feet. In a run down mobile home. One I was lucky to have. You see, months before I learned I was being laid off and lost my job. Two months after that, my marriage fell apart. Now, I didn’t know it was falling apart. It came in the form of a series of Facebook messages with screen shots of text messages sent from my husband to a young woman. Before that exact moment, I had a husband that loved me. Supported me. Made every effort to make me feel we worked and were strong. It was all a lie. When confronted by the emails, as I desperately hoped he would tell me she lied. A trick or a scam. He informed me he fell in love.
And it wasn’t with me. In fact, it hadn’t been me for a very long time.
To pour more acrid reality on that crushing fact. He also let me know he was waiting for me to publish my first book so he’d get his share. He then planned to take that money to leave me and pursue his online love. One, that until that day, he thought, felt the same way. Yes, I felt some smug joy to show him the emails. How she feared him. How she thought he was stalking her. And how she hoped I would stop him. I couldn’t have written a fiction novel better than how it all played out. Several screaming, heartbreak filled days later, he was packed, moved out, and I was left with a home I loved with no job or hope of keeping it.
Don’t get me wrong. There were no jobs. I promised I would be the best damn waitress, carhop, grocery clerk, fry cook they could ever hire with my “impressive” resume. All while getting food stamps and making weekly trips to the food bank. It was winter and I went more days without wood for the furnace than I did with. The secluded and isolated farm I once loved with its 200-year-old cabin became a prison. Or held a future of having a historical marker stating – “Here was the home of an author who couldn’t write because she froze her ass off refusing to go.”
But writing? No, I needed a job. I needed to find myself without my kids—all flown from the nest—and the damage of my failed marriage. My ego? As far away as Kentucky.
One year later after I drove away from my beloved Kentucky farm, I finally was able to write. Sure, it was a collection of previously posted online stories and poems, but still I was going to own it as victory. I did add some new stories and that opened the flood gate. I hit publish. Finally.
That little book didn’t break any records. It’s title however, meant so much to me. I’m not sure, being a private person outside of family, what if people realized that the title ‘Bits & Pieces’ summarized what was left of me. And my muse. But somehow, someway, seeing it out there and people buying it assisted to bring those little tattered bits and pieces of me closer to being whole. In that little office, in that little house.
Write? I would have loved to write then. But under such pressure, there was zero way words could claw their way out. Add to the fact my ex-spouse’s threats to take any money I made, I feared I’d never write a book. Much less publish it. He’d already taken so much.
It was hard to mark dreams DNF. The dream of a happy marriage and an HEA. Owning my beautiful little farm in the hills of Kentucky. But I did. I loaded up my car with whatever would fit in it, put the rest in storage, and I drove away. It was hard. What should have been a simple two-day trip from Kentucky to Texas, became longer as I pulled over to cry many times. My family offered me a simple mobile home in their rental community. I gladly and gratefully took them up on that offer.
Fast forward to today. Now I am happily single, loving life and have more than a dozen books published. Stories in anthologies and thousands of followers. I’m floored when I think back to the “me” that drove away. I sit in a home I own. With an office that’s almost twice as size as that little one from my Bits & Pieces days. I have “helpers” in my office. Bear and Belle, both rescues are always close at hand. I remember when I bought this place, I wanted to do one of those chic, out of a magazine office. I failed. I decided I wanted an office that not only welcomed others but welcomed me back… to me. I have reminders all over the room. Encouraging signs. All my glorious covers on the wall. And Mr. Octopus. A colorful twist, misunderstood creature who can repel you with ink, or stick to you like glue.
I’m happy. And I can dive into my paranormal romance world whenever I need an additional escape in my space. But this year, my Bits & Pieces are all gathered together. I plan on writing woman’s fiction. Including one about an author. Who lost the drive to write. And found both herself and her words. All on her own. In a tiny little office.
Born and raised in Texas, Jas T. Ward is a mixed bag of creativity spinning tales of paranormal, urban fantasy and even dark romance and horror; wrapped within a love story. She’s been dared to write a few contemporary romances but even those reads have characters that are real and twisted by their creator.
Mother of three diverse and independent bold children, Ward prides herself for being the “Queen Niche’ Bitch” which is a handy way of saying she sucks writing to market.
But her readers don’t seem to mind.