Judy Probus

judy-probus-pictureEveryone has a story and this is mine.

I leapt into the creative world of writing with my adventure fantasy novel, ImagiNation Unveiled: The Hidden Realm and its supplement that contains eighteen character descriptions and additional sketches.

I am a wife, mother, and new grandmother with southern roots and a dream. Several years ago, on the verge of being an empty nester, I sought a way to create something interesting that future generations of my family might enjoy, just in case I ever had grandchildren. Diaries have never been my style, so I went against all convention, threw caution to the wind, and challenged myself to do the impossible: to write an adventure fantasy novel.

I know… it might sound silly, but I was inspired. I mean… I was very, very inspired. Don’t believe me? Watch this video…

Ha ha! Where does one start to accomplish such an outlandish dream? One winter, over the course of four months, I picked up a pen and wrote four short stories for fun to test the waters. To my surprise, everything flowed out in rhyme. Soon after, I travelled to New York (it was my first flight, but that’s a different story), which inspired me to take a new writing direction. One day, while sitting in my car, waiting on a red light, I cluelessly stared into oblivion. What happened next is just between you and me. Out of the blue, an image appeared on my steering wheel.

What!? No way!

Yep, it was a dragon. That was the decisive moment when I knew I had to attempt what I always told my children to do: think bigger!

I began jotting down story ideas in my spare time on the back of receipts from the bank, grocery – wherever. Soon my purse bulged with random ideas. I missed a few off ramps due to daydreaming and invested in a few notebooks to establish order. While I coated pages with fresh lead and ink, every ounce of determination and creativity I garnished during my youthful experiences in the realms of dance and music surfaced. Wisdom gained from motherhood and teaching swirled together. My usual conservative thoughts were replaced with fantastical creatures.

Soon, stacks of notebooks and a library of research material threatened to take over my kitchen, so my dear husband bought me a personal computer. Feeling like a kid at Christmas, I dusted off the rusty typing skills I hadn’t used since high school and dug deeper. When I typed the letters off of eight of the computer keys, my dear husband purchased me a shiny silver Macbook.

Mac and I burned the midnight oil and put the story into high gear. By happenstance, I met my editor, Matt Langan, who spilled so much red ink over my initial printed pages when we first met that I cried, cursed, and almost quit. Quitting, that’s such a terrible word wrought with guilt and shame. I refused to stop until my novel was complete. Good or bad, it was going to be finished. Rewrite!

Mac and I have been many places together. My story was forged at my desk, on the road, in the mountains, by the ocean, at sporting events, in the car, on ships, in coffee shops, and even in hospitals. I dare say I type faster now than ever.

After completing the write, I was faced with an even larger, more daunting task of finding a sketch artist, cover artist, typesetter, and printer. Somehow my dream developed into a real life project of epic proportions. Agghh! My head felt as if it might explode!

I am not a corporation with deep pockets, but after working so hard on something that meant the world to me, I desired the best quality I could afford. I got off to a rocky start and had many disappointments, but with some persistence and help from Matt and my husband, Bill, we assembled an amazing team of talented people interested in making my story shine.

Team ImagiNation consists of a writer, editor and printer from Kentucky, a sketch artist from Pennsylvania, a typesetter from Indiana, and a cover artist from, guess where? Argentina!

One minute I’m writing on the back of receipts and the next minute I’m at the hub of a global collaborative effort to provide the best low-budget, high quality project possible.

How do you thank people who help you make your dream come true? You thank them by writing the best darn story you’re capable of writing, tell the world how wonderful they are, and hope you get to work with them again.

I didn’t tell most of my family or friends about my crazy idea to write a novel until it was near completion, out of fear that they would think I had fallen off my proverbial rocker. I figured if I failed to accomplish my goal, I’d be spared unnecessary embarrassment. They all now encourage me to continue writing.

For five years, I’ve worked harder in my life than I ever thought possible, for nary a dime. Some might say I’m foolish, but the intrinsic value of my experience and the privilege of meeting such wonderful people is priceless.

Now, a new step-granddaughter and grandson fuel the sequel’s write. Oh, this one better be good as well because they might read it someday!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. If you don’t believe me, ask my dog Buster, my faithful writing companion.

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  • "I think this could have the potential to be this generation's answer to The Never Ending Story."

  • "A fascinating fantasy novel ... Reading this book felt very much like I was watching an episode of Avatar meets Indiana Jones in space."

  • "If you liked Harry Potter or any of the other now famous and popular fantasy books then you will love this book!" - lnsmit05 (Amazon verified review)

  • "This book would capture the imagination of upper elementary age through adult readers." - Janie (Amazon verified review)