I often feel like a teenager uncertain of who they want to be and now that my first story is being published, that feeling has doubled. I thought I was done trying to figure out which group I wanted to be part of, done trying to figure out where I want to belong. Apparently not. The thing is, I don't have one place I want to belong, one person I want to be, one thing I want to do. The benefit of no longer being a teenager is, I know that this is okay. The people that care about me, want to be in my life, and know me, won't ask me to choose. I can be a quirky grade five teacher that does her best to get kids pumped about learning and reading. I can be a mom who is trying her best to raise two girls who believe in themselves and see how beautiful they are. I can be a writer who turns out a children's story in a half an hour. I can be a romance writer that sneaks in little pieces of herself into her characters. The one thing I can't be, is only one of these. I worried when the cover for Holiday Spice came out (which, if you missed the news on Twitter, is the Christmas anthology that is going to publish one of my stories) that maybe it wasn't okay to blur the lines. I considered using a pen named and had a lengthy discussion with more than one friend. In the end I decided, no, I'll use my own name. It's one piece of who I am, but it's still me. It's the piece of me that cries easily at sweet moments, the part of me that truly believes people can be meant to be, the side of me that re reads all the sappy moments in every book I have when I'm feeling down. Letting people know that there's that side of me is a risk and I'm not great with risks. But, as an adult, we learn that the people you really want in your life accept every part of you. Did I take some teasing on the cover of the holiday romance? Yes. Were the people that care about me proud of me anyway? Yes. As a teen, we don't realize that the more we become ourselves, the more appealing we are. It's still hard to accept that as an adult but I think that by using my own name and not a pen name, I've made a step toward that. Do I want my grade fives reading my romance stories? No. They're written for adults. My children's books? Yes. They're written for kids. Can I write a children's story and work on romance in the same day? Yup. There are many sides of each of us and sometimes those lines blur but we need to surround ourselves with people that see the whole picture and not just one little piece. As it is Thanksgiving today, I am thankful I have so many people that do see all of me and, more importantly, like me anyway.