At 49 I redesigned my life. I left my career as a nonprofit executive director, sold everything and moved to New Zealand. My big move turned into a five month sabbatical, and during that time I finally focused on my writing. I took up the National Novel Writing Month challenge and wrote the first draft of a mystery novel set in… surprise: New Zealand. It was an invigorating experience and while my savings account dwindled and I realized that I had to return to something that paid more like a job, I stayed committed to a writing life.
Relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit or Serendipity has led to many of the best experiences of my life. And when I returned to Northern California I learned of the Left Coast Crime conference for mystery writers and at that conference—Serendipity!-- I learned about Sisters in Crime. I joined the Capitol Crimes chapter and although I have since decided that I am a better travel writer than mystery writer, I still enjoy learning about the craft of writing and the challenges of publishing.
One of the earliest presentations at a Capitol Crimes gathering was from a young woman who decided to not just independently publish her work, but to take it a step further and create her own media company to support all aspects of producing and marketing her novels. Shortly after this presentation On Your Radar Media Company (OYR) was conceived. OYR will support two travel blogs and short specialized e-books on topics I am passionate about: knitting, bicycling, and penguins. Check out the travel blogs: Bay Delta Tourist and Adventures of American Julie.
OYR will also share 15% of the gross income with a nonprofit organization whose mission helps people achieve their fullest potential. At this time OYR is focusing the spotlight on Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program. Contributions will go to Habitat for Humanity affiliates where I have volunteered: Northern Ireland, Wellington, New Zealand and Phnom Pehn, Cambodia. You can also donate directly here or learn more about becoming a Habitat for Humanity volunteer here.