Ten years ago, I joined a misfit group of authors who started a Facebook group called, “Red River Writers” I joined because I wanted to learn everything I could about freelance writing. At the time there weren’t many writer groups online because the writing profession was a mystery with many writers keeping their trade secrets—secret. Most of that was due to fear of competition or the desire to protect the business. So finding a community was vital to a newbie writer like me, because I wasn’t going to get relevant and timely information talking to the old school. Facebook introduced me to a new world of writers, and artists that I couldn’t find where I lived at the time. I wanted to peek behind the curtain and find out what it was like to be a writer.
There, I met the founder of the group named, April and she had a friend who would immediately become my writing bestie. One day after just a few months in the group, April put a call out for virtual assistants for their new podcasts. I had almost no clue what a podcast was, let alone the work involved in creating one but I was interested. I sent over my resume and got a response almost immediately. I was introduced to Dellani Oakes, (a.k.a. Lindlae) the host of a new show called: Tea Time with Dellani Oakes, a podcast where she interviews authors and illustrators. I was thrilled, at the time 2009, it was pretty much unheard of to have a podcast devoted to interviewing authors and artists. Not only did they interview authors, they interviewed indie authors and those with small publishers. This was beyond cool but even cooler, was the woman behind the podcast Dellani Oakes, she was a teacher at the time and was dealing with cancer. In fact, during a show she had taken some meds that made her unable to pronounce the words: Freeway Reaper and that had all of us in stitches. Needless to say, she was a tough chick and soon became a role model of mine.
We’ve had many great shows, but the ones that stick in my mind will always be the ones where things didn’t go as planned like when a guest was having a suspected heart attack. He had quietly called 9-1-1 and drove himself to a neighbor’s house unbeknownst to us! We only noticed when the background noise became so loud Dellani had to address it! There was also the time I experienced an earthquake during a show and I believe Dellani even did a show as a tropical storm approached her town! As crazy as that is, the show went on. You know, book promotion doesn’t stop because of minor things like heart attacks and natural disasters. Recently, we celebrated our 10th anniversary and a few months later I got the news, Dellani’s cancer had returned. I was heartbroken. It seemed so unfair. Nonetheless she’s been a trooper and has kept her head held high. I have no doubt she’ll beat this thing again. I told you, she’s a tough chick.
But I have to be honest with you, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time because we had plans to launch a new Facebook group and even made changes to the name of the podcast network. Though our passion to help authors hasn’t changed, it has gotten complicated. We’re looking into alternatives to get the network to pay for itself and several Dellani’s friends have started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay medical expenses. If you have a few bucks to throw in the jar, please feel free to donate. Her books are also available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and Kobo, if you want to help that way. If you can’t donate at least share this post and show your support. It’s the least we, the writing community, can do to help someone who’s helped so many people.