Monday, December 12, 2016

A new realization for an (almost) new year...

Let me get this out there.  I'm a self-aware person.  Too self-aware for my own good most days.  I have no issue owning my personality 'quirks'.  I'm abrupt (some people call it rude), I'm particular in how I do things (i.e. controlling), I'm not overly social (translation - stuck-up and bitchy.  Other people's definition, not mine).  There are more but I won't bore you with the list.  Because I'm here to talk about the biggest, most self-destruction short-coming of mine no one knows about.

For most of my life - all of my adult life - I've been scared.  Scared to succeed.  Oh, I have the desire to be more than I am, have more than I have.  I know it's possible.  Even probable.  I'm not content to be a cog in a wheel. No offense intended to the cogs out there.  Without you, the gears wouldn't turn.  But I'm kinda like that spring which flies off in all directions.  I've never been satisfied staying in one place.

So why, figuratively speaking, have I?  Making the same decisions and mistakes I've always made?  Because I'm afraid that if I become a different version of myself, a better version of myself, that I won't know who I am.  That instead of making who I am better, I'll lose myself.  Sounds crazy, right?  It does.  I know it does.  But I haven't found a way to reconcile that feeling with my brain.

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted something more.  Honestly believed that there is something more out there for me, for my life.  I've ventured outside of the norm more times than I can count.  Moving cross country, making this, trying that.  Opening at-home businesses only to have them fizzle out before they have a chance to get off the ground.  I tell myself it's because I don't know how to make them work, and that might be accurate to a point, but I know, deep in my heart, it's because I'm afraid.  I've lived almost fifty years with this person I am and I don't know how to live with someone else.

I sound like a freakin' idiot, I know.  I can see (and feel) the roadblocks as I throw them up.  And I do it anyway.  What's that definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result?  I should have that tattooed on my forehead.  And maybe I'm insane for sharing this publicly.  You know, we live in a society where we're not supposed to let our insecurities show.  God forbid we come across as less than perfect.

Honestly, I'm sharing this because I don't believe I'm alone in how I feel.  Plus, putting it in writing is my way to claim ownership.  And I need to own this one because it's the first time I've ever admitted it.  I sabotage myself.  I torpedo my potential success.  I drain the battery, flatten the tires, siphon the gas from the engine.  I prevent myself from moving forward.  Me.  Only me.

There.  I said it out loud.  I claim it.  It's mine, all mine.  Great.  Now how do I get rid of it?  Ah ha!  That's the real issue.  How do I get past being scared and embrace the unknown?  Relish the possibilities?  Enjoy the fruits of my labors?

I'm not sure yet.  But as the title of this post suggests, it's a new realization.  I'm going to need some time to figure this out.  But not too much.  I'm not getting any younger, after all.  No time to be wasting.  I'm not going to wait until January 1 to make changes.  I'm starting now. 

Welcome to the new (and soon-to-be improved) me.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Yesterday was a turning point for me. As I sat in a room filled with accomplished authors, I realized I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to building my career. Oh, I have the author part down. I know how to write a book and publish it. Nine of them, in fact. What I don't know is the rest of it. How to effectively market myself and my stories. How to advance from someone who has a few books on Amazon to someone who makes a living from their job. And I do view this as my job. I work at it every day, including weekends, in some form or another. But it's become apparent to me that I'm not working effectively, I'm not seeing results, and that has to change.

I've been a published author for three years and I can honestly say that I see no difference career-wise since I began. In fact, in a way, it's worse now because when I published my first book, no one had ever heard of me. Three years later and it's virtually the same. Please don't get me wrong. I'm not crying 'poor me' or looking for validation. Every author out there who has become a recognizable name has earned it by busting their butt and working hard. And I'm not opposed to hard work. Not at all. I can put in the hours but it seems that all I've done with my time is spin my wheels.

I'm not sure what the answer is. I know that what works for one author doesn't work for the next. I've tried many different things that other people have suggested, most with no success, but I'm willing to learn and try and fail (although I only see it as failure if I don't try). I'm currently implementing suggestions that I've received from those who are further along than I am but past that, I have no idea what to do next.

I'm a person who doesn't do well with generalizations. For instance, to hear "you have to build the subscriber list for your newsletter" means nothing to me. I know I have to build it; what I don't know is how to build it effectively. I have a pop-up on my website, I have the sign-up form linked to my author page, I post about it now and again but I know there is more I can be doing. **Side note, I messaged an author last night who has an awesome subscriber list and she made some great suggestions. Thank you, Kathleen.** I'm the sort of person who needs to know the exact steps I should be taking to accomplish a goal and that's where things get sticky. Again, what works for one may not work for me. Also, I don't want other authors to think I'm 'cheating' off of their hard work. I'm okay with 'doing it' on my own - as long as I know what I should be 'doing'.

It's not enough to say "I've written a book and I want a career" and just expect it to happen. There's a broad distance between the two. I've wasted three years expecting that distance to diminish based upon the promotion work I've been doing and, if anything, it's broadened. But I'm not giving up. I've put in way too much time and energy to chuck it all. Plus, I love writing and I want to be financially able to keep it up for a very, very long time. I just have to find a way to become more business-minded and that's where I suck.

So, the point of this post? Catharsis, for one thing. The longer I hold stuff like this inside, the more I doubt I'll ever accomplish anything. Camaraderie, for another. I know I'm not the only author who feels this way so maybe by sharing this, someone else will recognize them-self in this post and make changes in their own course of action. Lastly, I'm always open to suggestions. I'm not as self-confident as I may appear. I need help - lots and lots of help. Because without a map, I can't get there from here.

Don't worry, I don't want what you have. It's yours. You've earned it. What I want is what I've earned. What I need is help knowing how to earn it.

Anyone have a GPS?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I hate release day...

Oh, I know.  Saying that out loud is taboo.  Release day should be full of joy and celebration.  All my hard work culminated in that one moment when the link is finally live.  Got your one-click finger ready?  Release day is depressing.  It's the one day when my expectations aren't met, when my neuroses move in for the long winter, when every single doubt and insecurity I have about myself explodes to the surface and lays like a thin film over my soul.

I tell myself not to feel this way.  I should feel happy, proud, accomplished.  And some small part of me does.  The bigger part of me wonders why no one else is as excited as I am.

Social media has ruined me.  Before becoming an author, I didn't post, tweet, snap, whatever.  I had a small Google+ account where I posted pictures of flowers and my furbabies.  I didn't interact, I didn't share, I was happy in my own quiet world.

Then I discovered I needed to market myself.  Market my brand.  I feel I do a pretty good job.  Not as great as some, better than others.  (There I go with the comparisons again.)  I share, I support, I do what I can to contribute to the author community.  So why after nine releases do I feel like I'm alone in the lifeboat in the literary sea?

I hate myself for feeling this way.  I can't allow my self-worth to be based upon what anyone thinks of me, whether or not they approve or cheer me on or like my posts.  I can't.  I know that.  But for the girl who was never included, who was never invited to parties or proms, who spent the majority of her time alone, not seeing the fanfare hurts.

Okay, enough self-pity.  I have more books to write.  And more release days to dread look forward to.  So I'll take a deep breath, smile, and congratulate myself for a job well done.  Because mine is the only opinion that counts, right?


Friday, July 8, 2016

It's that time of year again...

In a few weeks, I'll celebrate another birthday (and celebrate I will! I love my birthday! It's the only day of the year dedicated entirely to me), but it's not the number that bothers me; it's the time lost. The time I let slip away.

What I don't like, and what's been bumming me out for about a week now, is the fact that another year has gone by and I haven't accomplished the things I set out to do this time last year. Oh sure, I was sidelined by health problems, surgery, and recovery, but in my mind those are excuses. I had all of this 'free' time on my hands and I did nothing with it. Another lie I tell myself.

I am very good (or very bad) about not seeing the baby steps, the progress I've made as I step, skip, and, sometimes, crawl along the path of life. I'm hard on myself. Harder than anyone else in the world (and beyond) could ever be. Why am I this way? Damned if I know. But as the years tick by, I'm learning to like myself more, love myself more, appreciate who I am, the qualities I like and the qualities I don't. Because it is a combination of these that make me the person I am. And I know that, even if, at times, I forget.

I'm reading, as I do about this time every year, one of Sarah Ban Breathnach's books. I love her books. They speak to me like no others. This year, it's Something More. Because that's my constant state of being lately. Always wanting Something More. Not more stuff. More of something I can't put my finger on, an ambiguous feeling that there's more to me, more to my soul. That I haven't reached my full potential. That I'm not living authentically.

Time's running out. Oh, there's no dark cloud in my future, at least none that I know about, but life isn't forever. I hope I have double what I've already lived. I'd be good with that. But that doesn't give me back the time that's gone. It's behind me, unattainable, unchangeable. All I have is what's in front of me - this second, this minute, this hour, this day. I'd be a fool not to make the most of it.

As much as I hate going through my dark times, beating myself up, calling myself names, feeling absolutely useless and pathetic, I like when I reach the other side and see the light again. My creative juices start flowing, no longer stuck in amber. I look forward to what I do next, am excited to see what I create. I smile. At my fur babies, at my husband, at nature, at myself. I like me again.

Though I don't understand why, maybe I need to slog through my emotional sludge once in a while to gain a clearer perspective. To recharge my spirit. To appreciate who I am and embrace what I have to offer. Or maybe that's all a bunch of crap. Either way, I'm back. The weight I've been carrying has dissipated, floating up into the ether.

So maybe, today is my birthday, the day of my re-birth, as a happier, wiser person, eager to excavate (another of Sarah's terms) the gems hidden in my soul, ready to dust them off and share them with the world.

Yup, sounds like a pretty good plan to me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I think most of us spend our lives defining ourselves...

At least I do. And I don't like my definition.

If you follow me on Facebook or read my blog, you probably know I had back surgery last October. Spine-straightening surgery, to be specific. I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was fourteen-years old and thankfully, for most of my life, I had few problems due to the condition. An occasional tight muscle or back spasm, but nothing to keep me from living my life. That changed in March of 2015. Suddenly, I was in pain all of the time. I'd take a day to rest, thinking I'd over-stressed my back, but the pain was still there. I saw a chiropractor and while the adjustments helped for a few weeks, eventually the pain grew worse. He referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon who took one look at my X-ray and referred me to a spine specialist. My scoliosis had curved and twisted to the point that I could no longer stand upright or walk without a limp. And the pain was non-stop and debilitating. My life, as I knew it, came to a screeching halt!

Even the simplest of tasks were beyond me. Washing dishes, doing laundry, taking care of my dogs. I was off of work more than I was on. And the pain was affecting my memory and my personality. I was miserable. So when the surgeon told me there was hope, in the form of a back fusion, I jumped at the chance. Well, not literally, since I had enough trouble standing, but I was all for it. Sign me up! Even after learning the risks involved with surgery and that my back would never be 100% (the surgeon estimated 70%), I was actually excited to go under the knife!

Fast-forward to today, six-and-a-half months post surgery. I'm doing so much better than I was this time last year. God's honest truth.


I'm not as good as I'd like to be. Most days, I'd say my back was at 85%. 15% higher than what the surgeon predicted. Not too shabby. Except for the new pain I'm in. Every day. Every night. Pain that allows me to live my life in short bursts at a time. I'm trying to chalk it up to the healing process. That each day is a bit better than the last. In some ways, it is. In others, well... let's just say if this is as good as it gets, I have some adjusting to do. And that's okay. It'll have to be. At least I can function.

What does all of this have to do with my definition of myself? I know you're wondering. Well, it's like this. I don't want to be the person with 'back problems'. And that's the label I've stuck on my forehead. I hear myself saying it aloud, using the phrase to explain why I'm not able to attend a function, or why I'm limping, or why I feel like crap. Oh, it's not an excuse. My back issues are the precise explanation for all of those things. But I don't want them to be. I don't want to feel like an old woman, tottering around, one hand on my back, moaning and groaning. I'm not that person!! (Only, I am. At least for right now. But I don't like it!) I do not want to be defined by my incapacity. Because it's becoming much to easy to live up to that definition.

So, I'm changing my definition. No longer am I going to be the person with back issues. Especially if I'm the only one saying it. Yes, I have to adjust my life to my new back. No, I can no longer accomplish some activities the way I did two years ago. Yes, I am so happy I had the surgery. No, I am not going to settle for this self-restriction I've attached to my being.

I am healing. I am different than I was. My body is different than it was. I am a new person. I am not going to settle!

I am redefining my life. <3

Friday, March 11, 2016

Facing my insecurities...

Deep down, I am an insecure person. I've never felt 'good enough' in any situation, and it took me a very long time (decades) to realize that I'm the only person who judges me. Quite honestly, most people are caught up in their owns lives and dealing with their own demons that they don't give me a second thought. As it should be. We all need to carry our own baggage. And I've decided it's beyond time to lighten the load!

I'm a 'worst-case scenario' kind of person. Give me any news - good or bad - and my brain immediately starts to figure out how bad it can get. Not all that constructive in a bad situation and even worse in a good one. Why worse? Because I have the very unseemly habit of not being able to enjoy when something good happens in my life. I spend so much time worrying about how it could go wrong that I miss out on the moments of true happiness. And let me tell you, they don't come around all that often.

Here's an example - I'm having the best week to date in my writing career. Things are going very well for me; better than they ever have. And you want to know which emotion tops my list? Fright! I'm scared that it's a fluke. That rather than continue in an upward fashion, it'll all come crashing down. I'm scared that I'm not deserving of what's happening right now. Which is bullsh*t! I've worked hard for this. It didn't just happen! I've lived and breathed the author life for the past two and a half years, from the moment I wrote the first word on Here to Stay. I did this!! No one else. Yes, there have been a lot of people who've helped me along the way. I'm not discounting them. But it's about damn time I gave MYSELF some credit!

There's still time. There's still time for me to truly enjoy what's happening in my life right now. And I'd be a fool not to because this moment will never come around again. This is the one and only time this particular moment will happen for me. Because there is only one 'first time'.

One of the things I love about maturing is that I'm able to see myself for who I really am. More importantly, I'm able to change those things I don't like. It doesn't matter how I got here - what matters is if I decide to stay. And the answer to that is H-E-double hockey sticks NO!!! I'm tired of feeling insecure! I'm tired of feeling that I'm not worthy of what I earn! And I'm sad to think of all the happy moments I've let slip by. Life's too short. A clichéd sentiment, maybe, but that doesn't make it less true.

Don't waste time worrying about if you're good enough - worthy enough - beautiful enough - lovable enough - anything enough. Enjoy your moments.

I'm going to appreciate mine.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

I love Springtime...

As a Northern girl who transplanted to the South 22 years ago, I still haven't gotten used to the fact that our lawn stays green all winter. Not the entire thing. There are brown patches everywhere but even on the coldest day in February, I can dig out a foot of snow and find bright, green grass. So spring doesn't really take me by surprise so much because I never really feel like it's winter here. Guess you can't take New England out of the girl no matter where she lives.

So even though my seasonal clock says I shouldn't be seeing spring until at least mid-April (up north, that is), here in Kentucky, it has arrived.

The air is still and a soft rain is falling lightly from a gray sky. Most of the brown patches on the lawn have filled in with dead nettle, tiny purple flowers offering their bounty to my husband's honeybees. The leaves of the willow tree have unfurled, light green splotches of color against a dreary backdrop. My office window is open and I sit with a smile on my face as I listen to the frogs ribbiting down by the pond, the turtles pinging back in answer. Birds chirp and sing, and squirrels scamper around the yard, chittering back and forth. While it would be too warm for me if the sun was shining, the temperature is a perfect 67 degrees. I am in heaven.

There won't be many days like this one, here. The days will grow longer, the temperature will rise, and before I know it, it will be h-o-t!!!

But today, I'm enjoying a perfect day.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Trying something new...

Almost two weeks ago, I launched a book promotion website called Kangaroo Reads. You may be wondering why I did that, so I'd like to take a moment to tell you.

Over two years ago, I published my first book, Here to Stay. I was an unknown author who published an unknown book, and I knew nothing about promoting. I never imagined it would be so difficult to get people to find my book. But it was, at least for me. I wrote subsequent books in the series, and slowly, it gained some followers, but it wasn't until January of this year that I tried a new tact. And it worked! I've had Here to Stay listed on a different promotional website almost every day so far this year and I'm gaining traction. So, it started me thinking about effective ways to promote and Kangaroo Reads was born. (The name, by the way, is completely random. I wanted something with the same initials.)

There are thousands of great books out there that you will never know about. Why? Because there are a ton of published books available for you to buy. But do you really have time to search through page after page after page on Amazon (or wherever you buy your books from) to find a good read? No. I don't know anyone who has that amount of time. So what happens is great books get buried on the bottom of the pile due to sheer volume.

And a lot of promotional sites won't promote a book with less than 10 reviews. I'll admit, I thought of imposing that same restriction. But then I thought, that's not fair to the author who may only have 4 reviews, or 2, or 1. Because we all know that not everyone who reads a book reviews it. That doesn't mean it's not a great read.

The other thing I don't see much promotional opportunity for is new releases and pre-orders. Most sites only offer discounted books. Steals and deals. There's nothing wrong with that. I offer the same thing on Kangaroo Reads. But I'd also like to help authors get the word out about their books "hot off the presses" so to speak, or soon to be, in the case of pre-orders.

And I wanted to give readers an easy way to find out about books that they might never hear about. Those stories buried under the weight of other great stories.

We, as authors, all started out at the same place. With one book. Our first book. And without readers and bloggers and promotion sites, the chances are slim that anyone would even know it was out there. So we shout about our stories from the rooftops until our throats are raw and we're exhausted from the effort. And hopefully, our voices are heard and people buy our books. But if we never utter a sound, I guarantee, no one will know it exists.

I've said it since I published my first book. Writing is the easy part - it's the promoting that's hell. Because once you've finished your story, it's done. Completed. You can move on to the next one. But you can never stop promoting your works or you'll be forgotten as the next slew of titles is published.

So, there you have it. I started Kangaroo Reads for authors to have a place to shout from the rooftops about their books, and for readers to find out about that gem they might not ever have heard about. The best of both worlds.

Take a look, let me know what you think, and even if you're not ready to promote, please sign up for the newsletter. You may just discover your next favorite read.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

This time of year always gets me thinking about life... and death.

In a few short days, it'll make four years since my dad died. To say I was close to my dad is an understatement. I truly was Daddy's girl. (I'm sure my sisters were, too, but we won't talk about that!)

Not only did I love my dad, I looked up to him, respected him, and though I didn't always agree with him, thought he was the smartest man I knew. There is a void in my life that will never be filled though as the years go on, I'm happy to say that the edges are a bit less jagged. The pain I've felt in the past has mellowed into longing. Longing to hear his voice one more time, feel his arms around me, or cheer over the phone long distance while we watch the Triple Crown races 'together'.

Okay... this isn't supposed to be a sad post, and I've gotten a bit off topic. Back to my original statement. Losing my dad sharpened my perspective on a few things, the brevity of life being one of them. I don't think any age will be young enough for me to declare that I don't want one more year, one more month, one more day, one more second. That I don't want to enjoy and savor every moment that comes my way. Which is why I try, really try, not to waste what I have this very moment. Life.

I do, though... waste it, that is. Sometimes. Not with deliberate intent. More like a passive 'I feel icky today so I'm going to mope around and feel sorry for myself' carelessness. And, honestly, I'm not certain it is possible to live every moment to the fullest. Maybe for some people. Not for me. I came equipped with a lackadaisical attitude that boots up every now and again. And, yes, maybe I've been known to indulge it a little, too. But I'm starting to see the end of the road. It's a long ways away, at least I hope it is. But it's there. That glimmer on the horizon that says 48 isn't quite as old as it seemed when I was 20.

So, I'm making a vow. The same vow I've made every year for the past four when this date rolls around. I'm not going to waste my life. I'm going to stop being so restrictive with myself. Break out of the steel cage that I've erected around my soul. Enjoy more and worry less. Take care of my health. (Whew, that's a big one!) I am making progress. It's not an overnight project. It took me years to get where I am and it'll probably take a few more to get to where I want to be. But I have faith I'll get there. Because no matter how many mopey days I have, I keep coming back to the productive ones. It's a choice. One I'm honored I still have the chance to make. And here's hoping I get to make more of them in the decades to come.

You taught me a lot about life, Dad, but in death you've taught me the most important lesson. Don't take life for granted.

p.s. - I love you and miss you like crazy!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Do you want to know what it means to be a writer?

I’ll tell you…

An idea pops into your head. It can come from anywhere – a song you heard on the radio, that lady standing next to you in the checkout line at the grocery store, a dream you dreamt the night before. You hurriedly scribble it down on a piece of paper so you won’t forget it, adding as much detail as you can, as names and places and descriptions start forming.

All of a sudden, you have a story to tell. One that’s burning a hole inside of you, one you just HAVE to get out, if for no other reason than to make room for the next one that’s already infringing on your consciousness.

Now you’re ready to start. You sit down and type the title. Page one done! Your fingers begin to fly over the keyboard, adding more and more words as they stream out of your brain. You can’t type fast enough and then, uh oh, you can’t type at all! The words have stopped, like a clog in a drain. You can see the rest of the story behind it but you just can’t seem to get past that blockage. So you sit, and stare, and curse, and cry, and decide you’re done with this, you’re never writing another book much less finishing the one in front of you, and you shut down your computer, grab a handful of cookies, and turn on Netflix. Or maybe that’s just me.

But the story’s still there, nagging at you to come and play, begging you to write it, so you try again, this time pushing against the blockage, typing whatever words come to mind even if they don’t make sense and suddenly, you’re writing again. And it feels great! Better than that, the story sounds great. So you keep writing, adding dimension to your characters until you’re not writing them, they’re writing themselves. Your word count climbs higher and higher, the chapters begin piling up, and miraculously, you’re halfway there. Now you kick it into high gear.

For three days straight, you do nothing but write. You live, eat, breathe the words. Twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours a day, you sit and you write and you hate that entire paragraph and erase it, only to decide you like it, and you pray your undo button works, and voilà, there it is and it’s brilliant. And - oh my god, how could I have forgotten to hit save? I’ll never be able to remember that paragraph - so you write a new one, and hey, you like this one even better. And it goes on and on and on, and you lose track of time – how can it be 1:30 already? I just looked at the clock and it was 11:00 - and you forget to eat until that part of your brain that understands why you’re suddenly bitchy screams at you, and you get up and grab the simplest thing you can because you don’t want to lose your train of thought, and you might as well pee while you’re up so you don’t have to stop again. And you finally drag yourself to bed because the words you’re typing make no sense at all, and you’re exhausted, and your head hurts, and you know the moment you hit the pillow, you’ll be unconscious, and instead you lay there for two hours, wide awake, trying desperately to forget about the story for five or six hours, and instead you come up with the PERFECT line but you’re too tired to get out of bed, so you scribble it on a piece of paper – in the dark, of course, so you don’t wake your husband by turning on the light – and then you try to sleep, only to have another sentence pop into you head, and you beg for someone to shut it all off, and...

The next morning you wake up, groggy, crabby, exhausted from lack of sleep but you bypass everything and head straight for your desk, running back to your room to grab that slip of paper with the finest sentence ever written, only to find that you can’t make sense of what it says because you were too damn tired to spell correctly.

But you don’t care because this is the day you’ll get it done and you sit and the words are flowing like Niagara Falls but they’re not flowing fast enough because it took you an hour to write that paragraph because you’re too picky about which adjective you want to use, and the only resource you seem to utilize is the thesaurus, and oh no, another hour has gone by, and you’re never going to finish because the story JUST WILL NOT END, let’s wrap it up already, and oh, yeah, you try to breathe.

You ignore everything around you as you push to get it all down. The housework, your friends, your husband, even the dog. Okay, maybe not the dog. You resent any and every interruption and turn your phone to silent, berating yourself for reading the message that just popped up, resisting the lure of Candy Crush Soda, urging yourself to finish the damn book!

That’s it! You’re so close now, you can taste it. Only one more chapter to go and the epilogue, and you’re home free. A couple of more hours... wait, did I say hours? Well, okay, I guess technically a day counts as hours – 24 OF THEM!!!! So you push and you tell yourself you are NOT going to bed until it is finished, and you save time where you can (how much do adult diapers cost?), and you get to the last paragraph, and you decide the entire thing’s a piece of crap, and then you type the final words (I don't mean "The End"),and you smile because you absolutely love it! And a weird sense of peace envelopes you.

You did it! You completed something you set out to do. No matter whether anyone likes it or not – who wouldn’t like it? It’s awesome! – it doesn’t matter because you did it! Well, maybe it matters a little bit. Wait… maybe it matters a lot! Oh no! What if nobody likes it? What if I’ve just spent the past two weeks killing myself, metaphorically, of course, but physically, mentally, emotionally draining myself, ignoring everyone around me, and nobody likes it??

You take a deep breath, calm your nerves, blame your outburst on the fact that you’ve had little to no sleep in the past week, and begin reading. From the beginning. And you smile because you really, really like it. And you know that moment you hit publish, every tear, every knot in your stomach, every curse word, every sleepless night will be worth it.

Because you’re a writer.

Friday, January 29, 2016

For most of my life, I've been fighting against things that make me happy...

I don't know why. Maybe some part of me thinks I'm not deserving for whatever reason. I don't dress the way I'd really like to, I don't live where I want to, I don't learn the things I want to. You know, those things that, the moment you look at them, make your soul sing. The things that are authentically me.

One of my favorite books is 'Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self' by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Quite honestly, I love all of her books. In her pages I find hope that I can embrace my authentic self, that I can live the life I'm meant to live. Someday. So why not now?

I know, I know, I've chosen to live my current life. I make choices every day that keep me where I am and I have the ability to make choices that will take me somewhere else. So why do I fight my authentic self? Why do I ignore that part of me that lights up when I see a particular place, or watch a movie where the characters take part in an activity I want to learn, or try on that dress, only to put it back on the rack?

Okay, yes, some of it has to do with income. Alright, most of it has to do with income. That's what I tell myself anyway. But honestly, I don't think money has anything to do with it. I think it's fear. And that pisses me off. I'm far too advanced in my life to let fear hold me back. I've learned over the years that you never know if you can do something until you try, and not being successful at what you do is NOT the same thing as failure. Failure is never taking that first step, never changing your habits, never venturing out into the unknown. Failure is not having faith in yourself.

So, today, January 29, 2016, I'm kicking fear out of my life. Today starts a whole new way of thinking, to sync my mind with my soul, to clear the path of uncertainty, and to fan that spark into a bonfire. I can do anything I want in my life and I'm intelligent enough to find a way to do it! Will I have setbacks? Most definitely. Will doubts creep in and take up residence? Only if I let them. I am my own biggest obstacle. Well, no more!!

Today is the day I take my life back!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I've decided to start a new venture...

Don't worry. Writing is still at the top of my list. But while I'm in recovery mode, I need to do something non-strenuous to supplement my income. One of the by-products of writing for many authors is making promos and teasers. The problem is finding the time in between writing, editing, working a job - full or part-time -, taking care of the family, and, oh yeah, breathing. So, in order to fill what-I-hope-is-a need, I've decided to offer my services in the promo design business.

I enjoy creating promos and teasers. It's fun to add different elements together and see what comes up. It's like writing with pictures. Each time I make one for myself, I get a bit more daring, playing around with fonts and colors and shades and graphics. (I'm addicted to fonts!!)

So, if anyone out there in blogger land is in need of a promo, Facebook banner, whatever, drop me a line. I've set up a dedicated email address for just that purpose. And you don't have to be an author, either. I welcome the opportunity to design whatever you need. Oh, right, the email address - it's Or you can check out my website for pricing and such. And who knows? Maybe I'll end up liking designing more than I like writing.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I hate down days...

Oh, I understand they're a part of life. Not every day can be a feeling great, icing on the cake, ponies and rainbows kind of day. I get that. The thing that scares me about down days is... well... me. It doesn't take much for me to slip into a dark mood, one where I'm feeling sorry for myself, for anything and everything that's ever gone wrong in my life. Strep throat in third grade? Add it to the list.

I don't like myself when I'm in my dark place, and I can guarantee no one else does, either. Even my furbabies know to steer clear on days like these. A joy to be around, I am not. Here's the thing I've learned, though...

My usual way of dealing with such days was to push through them. Force myself to be active, be productive, be social, when all I really want to do is stay in bed and grump. However, it's taken me many, many years to learn this doesn't work for me. The harder I push to make myself sunshiny, the longer I linger in the dark. Because I can't be productive, creative, or even civil when my mind, body, and soul are hurting. I end up having two or three miserable days because each non-accomplishment fuels my feelings of despair and failure.

So I'm trying something new. Instead of pushing against my emotions on days like these, I'm embracing them. Accepting that I feel badly for whatever reason. Realizing that a down day is not the end of the world; it's a pause on life. And we all need to pause sometimes, as long as we keep in mind that pause is not the same as stop. Didn't finish that to-do list? It'll be there tomorrow. I promise.

My newfound realization doesn't make me like down days any more than I used to. For me, lazy days are only fun when you plan to be lazy, not when some inner mechanism outside of your control forces you to be. But maybe by letting the bad flow through me the same way good does, I'll have a more balanced life.