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 clich├ęd 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.