Yes at one time, there was another Forever Kaleigh. Both were written by me. To understand why there are two different versions, I first need to explain where the first Forever Kaleigh came from. In late 1993, I was four months pregnant and involved in a very serious automobile accident. Until my son was born five months later, I was in the state of panic worried about his health and development. (Thankfully, today he is a very healthy 20 year old!) During those final five months of pregnancy, the doctors couldn't do much for me, because they wanted to avoid causing issues for him. After his birth, so many things were happening at almost a speed I could barely handle: numerous painful tests, surgery, physical therapy, different doctors prescribing different treatments, lawyers and insurance companies all spinning in this tornado of stress. This went on for nearly three years. The hardest of all was being told I wasn't allow to lift more than ten pounds until after surgery and physical therapy was complete. How does that work? I had a toddler and a newborn infant, each weighing more than that. A certified nursing assistant was brought in and this was a breaking point for me. As a mother, having someone else take care of my children in the way that I needed and wanted to be, broke my heart. I was dying inside. She was a wonderful woman, but it was painful stand by and watch someone else care for my children.
Very few people in my life knew how bad it truly was, because I never let what was inside come out. I began to create another life inside my head; one that was completely different than mine, but still mimicked the fears I was carrying within me. It was my safe place, the place where I could retreat to when dealing with reality was unbearable. Over the years, the story of Kaleigh just evolved. Everything in that book somehow was a part my life; dates, names, places, events, everything right down to the smallest detail. In 1998, I started typing Kaleigh's life into the computer. Unknowingly at the time, this was the therapy that I desperately needed. It took about two years of long hours and late nights to put the whole manuscript together. I never had any intention of publishing it. This story was way to personal for me. However, I did let my dad read it. He enjoyed it so much that he convinced me to publish it. I submitted the manuscript to a few different agents, but the common theme for rejection was that the story didn't have enough smut in it. Well, as hard as it is to hear rejection, I am not that type of writer. I write what makes me feel good and what I can be proud of. But my dad was very insistent that Forever Kaleigh had a place as a book. He asked me to continue and not give up, because his wish was to see this manuscript as a book in a cover before he died.
In early 2002, I happened to stumble upon self-publishing. I really didn't understand much about it, but I knew this would be a way I could fulfill my dad's wish. I began the process in February. Unfortunately, my dad passed away in early March, ironically on my son's birthday, never to have held the book in his hand. Over the next two months I slipped a bit back into depression, but I pushed forward with a goal to have the book my dad wanted printed. I trusted the wrong people with the cover design and to make a long story short, ended up with that neon pink, nuclear sun over water cover. I was a bit freaked out by it, but it was finally in book form by mid-May.
Until recently I hadn't done much with the first edition. It truly was a rush job. I was trying to beat Fate and get my dad the book he wanted before he moved on. There were a few editing mistakes that didn't get fixed, there were certain sentences that just didn't flow the way I wanted them to and the cover was just hideous, but it went into publication as it was. There are several hundred copies of the original floating around, maybe you already have one or maybe one will cross your path someday. But twelve years have passed now and I felt that the time had come to revisit Kaleigh, Peter and all the other wonderful characters in her life. I have found a new printing company that gives me complete control of all aspects of my books and I was able to fix the things I wanted and print a book that I can truly feel proud of. So the story is still the same, it is not a continuation of their lives. A few minor changes in editing have been made and the hideous cover is gone. If you haven't read Forever Kaleigh before, I hope that you take the opportunity to read it now.
Thank you for taking the time and reading my first blog! I hope you'll come back again soon!
Until then, may you be blessed with wishes come true!
March 4th, 2014