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Jenna Ryan | Start at the Beginning...


As a child, I watched the Wizard of Oz faithfully every spring.  Somewhere along the line, it occurred to me that I have a bit of all four main characters inside me.  I've always longed for something different in my life.  That's the Dorothy part.  However, I'd worry that, in searching for the ‘different', what if I lost the ‘safe'?  Meet my Cowardly Lion.  There were also times when I questioned my heart – Tin Man – and many moments when my Scarecrow side wondered how smart I really was.  What would it be like, I used to think, to pick up and leave everything behind, to start again in some new and exciting place where I'd have no obligations and no need to explain myself or my actions to anyone.  Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, hello freedom.

Ah, but how would I live?  Would the people who matter to me be all right?  What if I didn't like this new place?  Could I go back to who, where and what I'd been before?  And if I couldn't, what then?  Hmm... Maybe a better idea would be to stick with the safe and only make minor forays into the different.  Or better yet, live vicariously through characters created in my head.  Now there was a thought.  I'd make up a world of excitement.  In it I could be the doctor I'm not, or possess the witchy powers of the long-dead ancestor for whom I was named.  I could fly off to Istanbul or spend a few months in a haunted cliff side mansion.  If I could dream it, I could make it happen.  Yes!

So, where to start.  Well, there are writers' groups.  They're wonderful, and full of people who are more than willing to help a lost soul.  Unfortunately, I'm shy and disinclined to join in.  The alternative?  Take a deep breath and go it alone.

Long story short, that's exactly what I did.  And I got lucky.  The first thing I wrote - a Harlequin Intrigue called CAST IN WAX - was accepted.  Did I know what I was in for after the magic phone call?  Not a chance.  I truly have spent the majority my writing career flying by the seat of my pants.  And I have to say, it's been a wild ride, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always, always different.

In the end, I think I didn't so much step off the Yellow Brick Road as leap from the edge of it into a swirling abyss.  I've met a lot of people and done a number of things I would never have anticipated at the start.  I got my ‘different' in spades, and was fortunate enough to keep a lot of the ‘safe'.  Having said all that, and with spring thankfully fast approaching, maybe it's time for me to revisit Oz.  I don't know how you feel, but for me, that magical land just never gets old.

I'd love to hear your Yellow Brick Road story.  I'll be giving away a copy of STRANGER ON RAVEN'S RIDGE to one fellow traveler.

Readers can find Jenna Ryan at www.JennaRyanAuthor.com, on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/jennaryan.5201 or tweet her @JennaRyanAuthor 




27 comments posted.

Re: Jenna Ryan | Start at the Beginning...

Such an interesting thought, that we have characteristics from the Wizard of Oz. I seem to think with my heart a great deal of the time. That has worked out very well.
(Marjorie Carmony 6:02am March 10, 2013)

Oh! I love the wizard of Oz, too. It used to frighten me but as the years passed I fell in love with the characters and all of their flaws and strengths but I never applied them to myself. What an interesting concept.
(Kathleen Yohanna 7:28am March 10, 2013)

This sounds like a great book and one that I look forward to reading. Lots of luck and keep writing!!
(Bonnie Capuano 9:35am March 10, 2013)

I never thought of the characters as part of someone. Interesting and probably somethimg to find in characters I read. I love to watch the Wizard of Oz and do it yearly.
(Leona Olson 10:15am March 10, 2013)

Never thought of myself as being a part of the Wizard of Oz characters. Right now I have a dream but am being the cowardly Lion. Maybe I will someday be the believer Dorothy was. Loved the Wizard of Oz! Congrats on you being brave and letting all of us enjoy that bravery!
(Annetta Sweetko 11:27am March 10, 2013)

Wow! I'd love to read STRANGER ON RAVEN'S RIDGE.
(Anna Speed 12:29pm March 10, 2013)

I think that when I am dealing with certain people I think of flying monkeys and that some people haven't been the same since my house landed on their sister and I got some great shoes.
(Carla Carlson 12:59pm March 10, 2013)

I think I've always failed to follow my dreams because I'm a combo of the cowardly lion and the scarecrow---always afraid I'm not smart enough and afraid to try something new.
(Sue Farrell 1:02pm March 10, 2013)

Very interesting blog post... with new situation I am a bit of a cowardly lion.
(Colleen Conklin 1:04pm March 10, 2013)

I loved the Wizard of Oz and still do at the young age of 70+! I love to become a 'part of the characters' or put myself in their place
(Shirley Younger 1:17pm March 10, 2013)

My yellow brick road took me from CPA to teacher. I worried that I would be so impacted by the reduction in salary that it would not be worth it. Yet, I have found that the intrinsic rewards far outweigh the salary cut and the paperwork and the political whimsy that changes curriculum daily. I just love the teenagers I teach and love helping them find their best. Friday, I was rewarded with a visit from a former student who is now an NFL football player. My students were shocked and ecstatic to meet him and floored that he would come back to see me. That's why I teach!!!
(Renee Brown 1:31pm March 10, 2013)

A little over 5 years ago, I went through my own "Oz" moment. My Husband lost his job, and a few months after that, we lost our house, and most of our belongings. We ended up packing what we could into our small pickup truck, our pop-up camper, grabbed the dog, and went to the nearest campground, which was to be our new home. We moved around to campgrounds for a while, until we finally found a place we could move into and call home. I was able to start over in a new place, hundreds of miles away, and start a new identity, so to speak, since the lifestyle here is different. I love where I live, and wouldn't change a thing, even though I lost everything. I wanted to say that to do what you do takes a lot of courage. If I was in your shoes, and I did consider it at one time, I would be all over the place as far as topic goes. I wouldn't be able to write a series of books on one topic. One book would be about one topic, then the next book would probably touch down on something else. I couldn't be that disciplined. I take my hat off to you, and look forward to reading your book.
(Peggy Roberson 2:20pm March 10, 2013)

Love the movie! It's amazing how many times a reference to the Wizard of Oz appears in popular culture. Every knows about Toto and can sing the witch's guards' song.
(Kathy Sullivan 2:51pm March 10, 2013)

I haven't clicked my heels enough to have the "yellow brick road" moment
(Denise Holcomb 3:21pm March 10, 2013)

I do not have a yellow brick road story but I do know that I have pieces of all of them in me as well.
(Debra Guyette 4:21pm March 10, 2013)

I think everyone has some or all of the four main traits from the Wizard of Oz characters inside them. It takes a lot of Cowardly Lion courage to move forward in life on something your skeptical about or afraid to try, and if you don't take the leap, you never know and always wonder about what the outcome or reward would have been in doing so. I'm so glad you did it with success, Jenna. This book sounds great!
(Linda Luinstra 4:34pm March 10, 2013)

I think I am still following MY yellow brick road...don't know when, or if, I will ever get to the end of it. And there have certainly been plenty of weird flying monkeys and other road hazards in my path.You just have to keep trudging forward I suppose.Thanks for an opportunity to win your book, and keep up the good work!
(Vickie Hamilton 5:10pm March 10, 2013)

As much as I like to go back to what I know back then, I know I couldn't. Once I know about something, it is hard to ignore that piece of information. I would have to move on.

As for the Wizard of Oz, I can't ignore the other side of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked, the Musical). She is given a bad reputation. As the Wizard said in Wicked, it is the question which label persist to a person: traitor or liberator, a rich man, philanthropist or thief or crusader or ruthless invader.

For years, the Wicked Witch of the West is considered evil, wicked, a bad person. But after hearing her side of the story, I have to pause and think about her situation. Not everything is black and white. Her story is a shade of gray.
(Kai Wong 7:11pm March 10, 2013)

I think I am going through this phase right now where I am unsure if I am on the yellow brick
or not. I often times find myself questioning my logic and wondering where my heart really
lies. Its still a long way to tell what I am trying to find.
(Lazydrag0n Puff 7:30pm March 10, 2013)

I guess mine is the fact that I tend to change direction with
my life about every ten years. It's exciting.
(Mary Preston 7:43pm March 10, 2013)

I guess I have never real thought of it before, but I most definitely have had some Scarecrow moments. One that almost cost me my life and left me fighting PTSD. I wish I could meet the Wizard and go back and time and not have that moment!
(Ashley Applebee 8:22pm March 10, 2013)

How lucky to have had your first book published! My father, Albert Bernstein, was a writer. He wrote poetry, essays, quips and quotes, and short stories. I remember all the rejection letters he used to get. But he never gave up ~ that was his Yellow Brick Road. How I miss him!
(Susan Coster 8:32pm March 10, 2013)

DEF. scarecrow moments here, sounds like a great book. thanks
(Debbi Shaw 8:42pm March 10, 2013)

Love the Wizard of Oz! Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.
(Bonnie H 8:50pm March 10, 2013)

never applied it to myself, but I am learning to listen to myself and believe in myself.
(Michelle Schafer 9:56pm March 10, 2013)

I love Wizard of Oz. Thanks for a chance to win.
(Linda Hall 10:56pm March 10, 2013)

Well done on your achievement and on seeing into your own heart.
(Clare O'Beara 1:31pm March 11, 2013)

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