Guest blogger…Joey Hill

I adore Joey.  She’s wunnerful.

The Dream of What Is

When I was in junior high school, I was sure I’d be a writer. I had a vision for myself. I would be unmarried, with many exotic lovers (particularly Italian ones). I’d travel all over the world, writing my books, never being pinned down in one place. Somehow, I think my melodramatic imaginings were validated by Charlene’s song, I’ve Never Been to Me. Yep, wince along with me, please. 80’s songs were very direct, the innocent way they spoke to our naive hearts. Now, when we listen to them with our oh-so-sophisticated ears, we wince at the bald guilelessness of it. (Though some of us – I don’t mean me, of course – still listen to them when we’re in cautious isolation, and belt out a line or two with our hearts in our throats.)

Anyhow, so here I am, twenty years later. I am, in fact, a published writer, though it wasn’t too long after I had that initial vibrant dream, that I turned away from writing completely. Didn’t come back to it for ten years. But when I did, I brought a much richer view of life, and, what has become key to my writing, a more in-depth understanding of the human animal. What we want and need, who we are underneath the veneer. In hindsight, I realize that earlier dream was all about me. I was the center of the story. When I came back to it, it was no longer about “wanting to be a writer”. It was wanting to tell a story and share it with others. There’s a great line in the movie Coyote Ugly, where the main character, who is an aspiring songwriter, says “All I ever wanted was to stand in the dark and hear someone great singing my songs.” It’s kind of like that. [Totally unrelated note – I highly recommend that movie for the scene where her boyfriend is auctioned off to a bar full of enthusiastic women. Hey, have we thought of doing that at the reader conferences?]

So let’s take a look at the reality versus the dream. I’m married (twenty years now), not very well traveled due to a severe plane phobia and a chronic nesting instinct. I’m happiest when I’m at home, sequestered in my room, writing. Now under contract, I have realized that it would be entirely impossible to be the flitting world traveler I imagined and pull off four well-written books a year. At least for me – there may be some amazing, superhuman robot writers out there who can do it. So, my life is pretty much write, eat, sleep, write, eat, sleep – brief family break, pet, pet, kiss, kiss – write, eat, sleep – break for dreaded promo – write, eat, sleep.

The earlier dream was glamorous and fun – I don’t mind visiting that world in my fantasies, now and again. But my reality has something far more fulfilling than that dream. My characters. I realized that transcribing their realities, sharing their struggles and passions with readers, taking readers on that journey, have brought me a sense of companionship and fulfillment I didn’t realize existed when I was younger. It’s a conscious sort of collective unconsciousness (try to say that three times fast).

Is it a vicarious way of living? Don’t think so. If a desire to do something swells to the point you can’t imagine doing anything else, you know you’re not running away from something. You’re running to it. There’s that lovely saying by Marcel Proust: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” The terrain of the soul is never ending, always surprising.

So revisiting Charlene in her infinite wisdom, I have “been to me”. And I’m glad I found her. I hope you all find the same mirror in your heart’s desire.

Joey W. Hill is author of twenty paranormal and contemporary erotic romances for Berkley Sensation, Berkley Heat and Ellora’s Cave. Her latest, A Vampire’s Claim, continues the national bestselling and award winning Vampire Queen series. Free excerpts and information on all her work can be found at

All I ever wanted was to stand in the dark and hear someone great singing my songs.


Well said, Joey.  I’ll take my reality any day.- Shi