Fiction Versus Real Life.

“I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we’re all cowards.” ― Alberto Salazar

4/14/14 at one time not so long ago, seemed very far off. I set this date to publish my third novel, long before I even knew what that book was going to be. It was scary starting from scratch (again), knowing the huge job that was in front of me. That said, I also knew that the only thing that stood between me and accomplishing what I wanted was making and committing to the decision to do it.

So, no matter what you’re going for…know that it is (and sometimes isn’t) that easy. Make the decision and the commitment to work towards it every single day. Baby steps or big steps—they ALL count. Lastly, be your biggest cheerleader. Some might say this is bragging or having a “big head” but no, just no. Other people will often only stand up and champion your cause to the extent that you’re willing to do it yourself. Humility is key but so is believing. And with that, Happy Release Day to me. :) Here’s to hoping that you’re going for what you want, too. If not, today is always a good day to start. xx

P.S. This is me seeing the finished product for the for first time. In my head there was to be been fancy dresses, champagne, and caviar. But in real life, I’m wearing soccer shorts, zero make up, and am surrounded by half dressed children. Turns out, it’s the better than fiction. :)

The Edge of Becoming.

“I have lost and loved and won and cried myself to the person I am today.”
― Charlotte Eriksson, Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps

About a year ago now, when I was getting ready to publish my first book I met with a business acquaintance, an older gentleman, already published, whom I deeply respect. I clearly remember sitting in that meeting, in that crowded restaurant, confused and a little jilted by the conversation we were having. He asked me what my goal was for the book to which I replied (enthusiastically and without missing a beat) that my intention was to use it to launch my career as a novelist. To me, the answer seemed fairly self-explanatory if not blatantly obvious. ;) Apparently, to him it was not. He told me that I was missing the mark. By a long shot. He explained that books aren’t where the money is at—that people don’t make real money writing books. He said that I instead should use it to further my speaking career, to make myself an “expert”…because that’s where they money is. I’m not sure why he thought money was my first priority (could be the five kids I have, that’s my best guess. ;) But, I didn’t care. I didn’t waver in my opinion, not that day, and not a day since.

My third novel Somewhere With You is officially slated for release tomorrow and I know now more than I ever have the importance of listening to my gut, what I know to be true. I know about knowing and about becoming. I know that to create anything… that in becoming— it is most times crazy, chaotic, and messy. To me, the act of creating and the business of becoming is akin to building muscle. In the process, with the intention of growth, you have to first destroy. Everything will (and perhaps must) fall apart before it comes together—that it is simply a part of the process of becoming. For me, this realization and the “okayness” I felt about it all, was the edge of truly knowing.

That said, Somewhere With You is available here. I should warn you that according to its first readers, it’s a pretty emotional read. It also contains heavy subject matter, at times. Subject matter which I fully understood may draw criticism. Anyhow, aside from that, the subject of death, of grief, and what we leave behind is personal to me (so much so that this book is dedicated to my children) and it is those things that are really meant to be the lesson here, one that was important to get across—despite the judgement that will likely come, due to characters who make decisions that many will not agree with. Sometimes, I’m just the messenger. And yet, I take full responsibility for all that entails. :)

P.S. I’m away from my desk today and wrote and published this from my iPhone while in the car with three kids as background noise, so please excuse any misspellings or errors. They’ll be fixed later.

On Editing…books, but more importantly, life.

“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not. ” ― C.G. Jung

This week I’m working on edits the editor sent back for Somewhere With You. There’s something both freeing and frightening about seeing your work all covered in red and the realization that on page 144 that you’re still making the same damned mistakes you made on page 14. And then on page 145 you SWEAR to yourself you’ll never make that mistake again, because damn it you’ve just spent two days (or two weeks, or two months) of your life rectifying something so ridiculous.

But here’s the thing, or the lesson for me anyway: we make mistakes and hopefully we learn from them– but that doesn’t mean they all of a sudden stop showing up. Oftentimes, they do so over and over, and for what?  Just to make sure we really got it, this time? :) Your guess is as good as mine. It’s a funny thing, life’s way of testing us.

And while this may sound negative, it’s really not. I figure, if we aren’t messing up, we aren’t trying anything new, and if we aren’t trying anything new, we aren’t learning, and if we aren’t learning…well, in my opinion, we aren’t really living.

Speaking of that, recently, I did a little “spring cleaning.” I wiped my calendar (mostly) clean, removed several things that no longer felt right, in order to make room for those that are a little less “certain.” One of these things happened to be joining an indoor soccer league– which as it turns out, is, um, no joke. The last time I played soccer was 20 years ago and I clearly remember leaving the team due to my inability to take organized sports seriously. It seems not a lot has changed. :) It also turns out there’s a difference between having a competitive nature and a serious one. For me, the two do not appear to be mutually exclusive, :) Always a fun lesson to learn, for sure. So yeah, fail forward, I say. It’s pretty fun, pretty freeing, and pretty fucking scary. But scary trumps boring any day of the week.

“In life, there are no mistakes, only lessons.” ― Vic Johnson

Thoughts In A Coffee Shop.

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” ― Dr. Seuss

It’s Friday evening and I’m sitting in Starbucks–well into the final chapter of my upcoming novel. From here a final proofread and final edits on my part and then it’s off to the editor so she can work her magic. Victory is so close– I can almost taste it.

I’d like to mention that despite what the cover might suggest (with all its warmth and beauty) that Somewhere With You is not exactly a light and fluffy, feel-good read. It’s fun and charming in places, yes, but that’s not the whole of it. I’m just not sure I’ve mastered the art of light and fluffy–yet.  :)

In the meantime…below, is a little insight into the way a writers my mind works. It’s probably proof that it can be a scary and yet a thrilling place–always down the rabbit hole, so to speak. :)

As I sit here pondering my characters and the issues they face and how to wrap it up and tie it all together a van from an adult rehabilitation hospital pulls up and ten or so patients and their caretakers file out. I observe from a distance as they enter the coffee shop, place their orders; and suddenly I’m struck by the beauty of this life and all we take for granted. I’m struck by how self-centered we can be as human race, how we complain about anything and everything, not stopping often enough to be thankful for all that’s worth being thankful for. I type a sentence about this very thing and look up as one of the patient’s stops in front of me. He asks me what I’m working on, about the specifications of my computer, and we spend a few minutes chatting. He wishes me a good night and I think about chance conversations and how much they add to our lives. I think about the man who is walking away and all of the adversity he must have faced in his life–yet here he is finding pleasure in such small things, coffee and a conversation with a stranger. And I hope the conversation brightened his day as much as it did mine. I think about the aunt who helped raise me (she had muscular dystrophy) and how much her adversity has shaped my life. I recall the time she picked me up from kindergarten and fell as we were walking back to my house. I think about what it felt like to watch someone struggle to do something I considered so basic and yet feel so helpless, unable to do anything about it. I think about how she managed to get back up and how she still kept showing up day after day. Then, I consider my lack of tolerance for people who make excuses about why they “can’t” or “haven’t” and consider for the first time in a long time that maybe it’s ok to feel that way.

I watch the barista, how patient and kind she is and how she knows the patrons orders by heart and I’m suddenly a mess thinking about all the good there is to seen in this world—if only one looks for it.  I think about how sometimes we focus so much on the big things that we loose sight of the joy that can be found the seemingly insignificant.

I put my head down and go back to work. Three hundred or so words later I glance up and see a man coming up the street walking past the coffee shop towards the strip center. I realize then that this man is my father. And I wonder how it could be possible that the person responsible for putting me on this earth could be so close–and yet so far away. I do not leave the coffee shop to speak to him. I simply observe and get back to it. I type this and I contemplate the confluence of joy and pain. The paradox of beauty and heartache. I think about how it can be that a stranger can suddenly not be (a stranger) and one that shouldn’t be is…

Oops…I did it again. An Introduction.

“You cannot know how lucky you are to love until you’ve felt the immense pain of having to let that love go.”- Britney King, Somewhere With You

Once upon a time I said I probably wouldn’t quote myself again…BUT today is special. BECAUSE today happens to be the day I’m introducing my latest novel, Somewhere With You– tentatively scheduled for release on 4/14/14.

Please consider adding it to your Goodreads TBR’s by clicking here.

I really hope you like it. :)

Somewhere with you cover share

Synopsis: 

This is the tale of first and last loves. And those that come in between…

Jack Harrison is a relentless overachiever who leaves little in the way of compromise. A businessman to the core—he’s hell-bent on being at the top of the food chain. After all, no one can trip you up if you’re on top, as he likes to say. The problem for Jack is there’s only one thing that continually trips him up—and that’s her.

Amelie Rose, with a name like poetry and a heart of gold, as her father always said, is a free-spirited photographer who has managed to land a job at one of the top travel magazines in the world. This is both a blessing and a curse since Amelie never stays in one place for long and has refused to commit to anything—ever. 

It might seem to the casual observer that these two have almost nothing in common. But fate would disagree. The story chronicles Jack and Amelie’s lives from childhood into adulthood, beginning when they meet as then eight- and ten-year-olds at summer camp specifically designed for children who’ve lost too much.

As fate steps in, and that first summer seals the deal, they come to depend on each other in ways neither of them expected, with each summer bringing them closer than the last. As they come to terms with life and loss, with hanging on and letting go, they’ll teach each other that some bonds are meant to last. Together, they will travel the world, meeting in various places where they’ll come together, and fall apart, all the while struggling to discern if the other could possibly be the one.

This unlikely love story takes us on an adventure where two people come of age, fall in and out of love, and question the role timing plays in it all.

Their story is proof that neither time nor distance—perhaps not even death—can destroy what love creates.

 So it seems the only question left to ask is whether love is enough?

 

Somewhere with you front share 

P.S. A HUMONGOUS  thank you to Lisa Wilson of Pixel Pixie Design. I know I am a royal pain in the the ass to work with, especially when I have a “vision” in my head of what it is I want. Each step of the way you surprised me, never batting an eye at my insanity. I am so grateful. Thank you. Thank you. xxoxoxo

Time Marches On.

Today marks one year since my Grandma died and quite frankly I just want to say that anyone who says it gets any easier is lying. It doesn’t get easier, not at all. Just different. For the past 365 days there hasn’t been one of them that I haven’t wished I could pick up the phone and call her or drive to her house and soak up all the advice I hadn’t asked for. Not one. My five year old daughter dreamt of her a month or so ago and I swear that the dream was so like my grandma, the things she would’ve said and things she would’ve done that it admittedly made even me go hmmm.

Anyway, I had intended to write something “eloquent” to mark the occasion (<–that’s my best shot at sarcasm) I really don’t have anything eloquent to say on the matter. That and I’m so close to deadline on my third novel that even if I did, there isn’t time. Which is probably a blessing, really. Any (eloquent?) thoughts I have on how bad it sucks to miss someone can be found in the book. ;) Speaking of time, I don’t know what it is about me…I give myself three to six months to write a book and then try to crank it out in three weeks. It’s almost as though I need the pressure. I try really hard not to beat myself up about this um…”process” I’ve created but…in the end I know myself and I’ve decided that maybe this just is my creative process. For me, I always find the story is in the story. It reveals itself when it reveals itself. It can’t be forced. It just is, if
that makes any sense.

To be honest, there has been so much fear around this book– although I’m not sure why. Since its inception I’ve so doubted my ability to pull it off. And I know, if I understand anything at all about marketing that I probably should not be telling you guys this. ;) But, I also know that fear and pressure push me. Tell me I can’t do something and…I’ll work ten times harder to do it. I’ll always be my toughest critic, anyway. The betas are loving it, so there’s that.

Lastly, there’s a PR book/cover reveal scheduled for sometime in March. Since you’re all so great I’ll announce it here first– sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’m hiding out. Writing, writing, writing. And panicking. I’d forgotten how much I love this space. So, SO very much pressure. It’s fun, irrational, served up with a side of moody. And it seriously gives the term “March Madness” a whole new meaning. ;)

Crazy, Mad Love.

Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t usually write about marriage and there are only a select few who I’ll talk to about my own. In part because I believe love is a sacred, complicated animal, unique to the persons in it but also because my husband is very private. And although I am the complete opposite…I’ve learned to respect this and (I hope) balance it all out. Which really, I think  pretty much sums up the whole of what marriage is.

Speaking of this…this week that very private husband of mine and I will celebrate 11 years since we said I do. As look back at that girl in the wedding photos (as I do each year around this time) and reflect it always surprises me how much I thought I knew then. And I smile a little to myself and think about what a crazy wild ride these eleven years have been. Just to be clear though, I’m not going write today about the “secrets” to staying married. Because I don’t have them. The truth is I don’t know what makes one marriage work and not another. It’s a complicated topic and I’m certainly no expert–nor is my marriage a perfect one. I cannot emphasize that enough. ;)  I do however know that there are things I’ve learned from going through divorce. And things I’ve learned in this relationship about what I believe it means to truly love someone.

And I thought I’d share them here in hopes they might help someone else. A lot of anything in life has to do with our expectations. Media and the romance genre in general make big bucks off of selling us perfectly packaged ideas of what happily ever after is. But I’ve found it to be a little bit different. So, while this may sound cliche, it’s just my experience, what I’ve found to be true:

-Chemistry REALLY matters. And you’re going to need A LOT of it to sustain you through the ebbs and flows of married life. Even if you haven’t sealed the deal on paper it’s good to keep in mind that falling in love will always be easier than staying in love. It’s a choice that you’ll have to make over and over. So remember this when you’re choosing. The quote above is my most favorite quote of all time and what I know to be true more than anything else.

- It’s important to understand that chemistry (especially strong chemistry), love, and marriage do NOT mean peace and harmony all the time. It often means quite the opposite.This is the beauty of love, I think. I’ve found the more chemistry there is, the greater the challenge. Personally though, I enjoy challenge. I find easy…rather boring. Challenge teaches us and I feel more challenged in my marriage to be a better person than in any other area of my life. And quite frankly sometimes this sucks. In fact, three weeks or so ago I swear you guys I was DONE. DONE! For a moment or two I’m not gonna lie…murder even crossed my mind. Now, of course, I wasn’t really done–nor did I want to be. During that time though I had to get real with myself and ask tough questions, such as what the conflict was really about. I mean… sure…yes, it was his fault. Of course, it was. :) But it also took enough self-reflection to see that so much of why I was angry had nothing to do with him at all. I was, in some ways, making him pay for someone else’s mistakes. Now, I’m not going to pretend that the conflict dissolved right then and there in my “aha moment” but I will tell you that this introspection and ultimate breakthrough (oddly enough) allowed me to love even more. Crazy how that happens. :) Just a quick note here about that: I hear a lot from girlfriends who lament over the fact that the men they’re seeing don’t want to commit. Which is totally fine, if that’s what they want too. But one thing I always say is that it’s important to remember that his (or her) willingness and ability to commit is NOT about you. Sure, you’re either the right person or you aren’t but more often than not it is about THEM. This goes for people who are already committed as well. Some people simply aren’t able-or willing- to do the work within themselves that it would take to make a long-term relationship work. Make sure you’re with one who is.

- Count the ways you’re grateful. And don’t ever stop. I mean, do it, like every single freaking day. :) You know how when you’re dating someone (or falling in love) it’s as though each new thing they reveal about themselves further proves your theory that you have in fact landed yourself a genius, nothing short of absolute perfection? But then you go on to get married…soon creating a few tiny baby geniuses and it’s as if suddenly everything about that person who created these baby geniuses with you seems WRONG and if you could just fix this or that or change this one little thing, all would be golden? Well, you cannot let this way of thinking continue because, it will, I promise erode your relationship. Until it’s unrecognizable. Maybe there is changing that needs to be done. But if I know anything about change it’s that the desire to do so only comes from within. No amount of wishing upon or nagging can make it happen. Instead, try looking for the small things (ANYTHING!) your partner does right and focus on that. What you focus on expands. Honestly, there will be days (my mama said!) and maybe even weeks where this will be incredibly difficult. Still, don’t give up. It’s crazy to me now all of the new ways and reasons I come up with to reallyreallyreally love (or hate, just keepin’ it real, it swings both ways) my guy. But for me this is what makes it mad, passionate, extraordinary love. Otherwise…what’s the point?

Oh and… P.S. When all else fails just have sex. Lots of it and as often as you can. You’ll notice your problems are easier to solve a million times over. ;)

Speaking of mad, passionate, love… I’m working on a story about exactly that and am THISCLOSE to being able to share with you the cover and release date. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been writing to this week. A little Bowchickawowow music. Happy love week, ya’ll!

“I’ll Take Creativity for $200 please, Alex.”

“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking” ― Albert Einstein

First off, in book related news be sure to check out this week’s giveaway.

Speaking of creativity, perhaps the most creative endeavor I’ve ever undertaken has been parenting. Trying to raise creative and innovative human beings. In my house my kids aren’t allowed to say they’re bored. They’re encouraged to write and draw and read and tinker and to question why things are the way they are. But complaining you are bored is not allowed. It’s always been important to me to teach my children to come up with solutions to problems creatively and independently. So I’m really careful not to “over parent.” My philosophy has been that if you build trust with your kids by being open and honest with them while instilling a sense responsibility– that you’re pretty much golden. :) This may sound simple and it is and it isn’t. There’s a fine balance of knowing when to step in and when not to.

That said, there isn’t a topic or question around here that’s off-limits. I bring up the “uncomfortable” stuff (to the extreme, my kids would probably say) so that it doesn’t stay uncomfortable.  I want them question things and feel comfortable in doing so. I don’t nag them about homework or projects or taking care of their business because I’m ok with them “failing.” How else are they supposed to understand the repercussions of doing so AND develop an inner drive to succeed? It’s been my experience that when you give kids the space to question the way things are done and why, make decisions for themselves, and then question those decisions (together the younger they are and then on a  need be basis as they grow older) that they’ll usually surprise you with their intelligence. This also allows builds confidence by forcing them to trust themselves and their own intuition about things.

That said, my children know I have high expectations of them and that the freedoms (privileges) they have do not come without a price. I trust that they’ll come to me when they mess up and/or need advice and they do. In turn, they  not only hold themselves to a high standard but each other and those around them. It’s hard to explain but I’ve always found that people will generally rise up to meet the standards you expect of them.

Still, I’m pretty sure that there are probably about twenty percent of things involved with this whole parenting gig that I’m doing wrong… but every once and a while something pops up and shows me that I’m doing at least a few of things right. The letter below was one of those things. :)

It’s from one of my kids to the other after he was called out for not making the best decision and in turn lost some of his hard-earned freedom. It’s creative, I’ll give him that. :) But if you read between the lines a little (and use your imagination a lot) you’ll also see that it’s a very brotherly way of taking responsibility and admitting that you were wrong. Important life skills, I tell ya. :)

For those of you a little more on the “rational thinking” side of things the letter is meant to be a joke not taken literally. 

photo-1

Speaking of creativity, I found this video on the neuroscience and process behind it fascinating and well done.

In case you’ve forgotten, busy is a four letter word.

One of the common themes I heard last week during the women’s network event I hosted was that there are a lot folks are struggling with being overwhelmed because life has become “so busy.” I get asked often how I “do it all” and I always laugh because…uh, I don’t. If I had a nickel for every time someone said “I don’t know how you do it with five kids, I can barely manage with two” I could retire, yesterday. While, I’m more work-in-progress than expert on any of this, it seems to come up often so I thought I’d share what has worked for me. I’m not suggesting that my way will work for you. But I’m also not exaggerating, not even a little, when I say it changed my life.

I, for one, am really over the whole “busy” thing and have been for a while. Grief has been an excellent teacher in that regard. Maybe you get this a little more so when you lose people you love and have to process that death is not a destination. It’s not somewhere, down the road, waiting for you to get there. It’s coming for us all. So, yeah, it’s cliché to say but… life is short. And I found myself in a place where I had to ask what was most important that I got out of it. The result has been (dare I say it) that I’m immeasurably happier now. I spend time doing more of what matters: I read more, I play more, I laugh more. And I love more. The best part of it all is that I also do “nothing” more.

Unfortunately, it’s popular in our culture and even celebrated to be “busy.” You know how it goes, ask someone how they’re doing and they’ll usually respond by telling you how busy they are. And while I have nothing against hard work, I believe busy is possibly the worst four letter word there is. “Busy” gives us an excuse to say someday to the things we really want. We’re too busy now, so we say next time, later on. Busy becomes an excuse for not doing what we know we should be doing.

The lie we tell ourselves is that we’re busy now so we can “have it all” later. When the truth is, it’s impossible to do it all and do it all well. If you aren’t enjoying the journey, my guess is you’re sure as hell not going to enjoy the destination. When I realized this, which like most lessons was learned the hard way, I realized that it was imperative to determine what my priorities were, say no to the rest, which meant letting go, and trust that I was doing the right thing. At first, it felt really strange. I even wrote about it this time last year. 

If you want to get around the bullshit, cut through the red-tape and really get to know someone, try this, it blows minds. The next time you’re in a conversation ask the person you’re speaking with what they really want out of life. BUT only if you really care. And I do mean really care. First, this person will look at you like you’re crazy, then after you assure them that, yes, they heard you right and yes, you’re serious, they’ll usually offer up something arbitrary. But if you don’t let them off the hook, they’ll usually end by saying, well… in a perfect world_____. But since we’re most likely not ever going to live in a perfect world and because you’re going to need an answer when they turn the question back around on you (and they will) you’ll want to first ask yourself what it is you really want. And then begin each day by honestly answering whether or not what you’re spending you’re time doing is getting you there. It’s not easy. Being brutally honest, is scary. But so worth it, I think. For me, doing a few things really well feels a whole lot better than struggling to do many “just good enough.”

One of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned was that if you take on more (and more and more) no one is going to stop you. They will let you do it. Have at it, they’ll say. This goes for bosses, spouses, children, and so on. The majority of people are not going to say “No! Wait! You know what…you have too much on your plate as it is. Let me handle that.” They’re just not. It’s up to us to set those boundaries. And it’s very hard to set them if you don’t know what your priorities are, if you don’t know what it is you want, what you’re working towards.

For example, this is how I determine what gets done on a daily/weekly/yearly basis. Every decision I make is made with my top three priorities in mind. Obviously, your priorities will likely be very different than mine– but I want to give you an idea nonetheless of how I broke it down to figure out what made most sense in my life. My top three are: my health, my family, and writing books. In that order. Health comes first because obviously if I’m not taking care of myself…I can’t very well take care of anyone else. For starters, exercise is very important to me. Not because I really like it but because I know that if I want to feel well (mentally and physically) and have the energy level I need to accomplish what it is I want to accomplish, I have to workout. I surround myself with people who are better, faster, stronger than myself (it’s motivating) and I schedule workouts like an appointment, an hour each day, at the same time, first thing in the morning. This way nothing else has the chance to interfere. Because if I let it, and I will, then it will. :) But this hour is my time and I’d be really annoyed with myself (and honestly everyone around me) if I couldn’t even take an hour for myself.

My family is my second most important priority, for me this means being there to pick up my children from school each day, spending the afternoon, evening, and weekends. This time is spoken for and comes before anything else I put on my calendar. Clearly, this may simply sound like motherhood in general–but what I’m trying to get across is that I (typically) don’t schedule work after 2:30 (at least not until they’re asleep) or on weekends. This way I don’t feel guilty over competing priorities. Work stays firmly in the work category. It also means that I have to be fairly smart about and extremely protective of the time that they’re in school.

Lastly, are my writing goals and running AWN. As far as writing goes, I have an idea of how much time it takes me to finish a book and I schedule writing time daily. Nothing else happens during this time, but writing. Unless it’s of greater importance–meaning it’s one of my first two priories. What works best for me is setting a daily word count goal by reverse engineering the number of words I need until completion and not letting myself quit until I’m there. Because there’s marketing and all the rest that goes along with writing–it’s too easy to do something else that is oftentimes less painful.

In terms of AWN and networking in general, unfortunately there’s a lot I have to say no to these days. It’s not fun– but I simply can’t have coffee with or accept every lunch invitation that comes my way, as much as I’d like to. The solution has been opening up a few time slots each month for this (typically before an event) and by attending at least one other large-scale event and inviting others to come along. It’s more fun that way. :)

The other thing I want to suggest, if you’re like me, and have found that you don’t have enough time for the number of people who want to meet with you and “pick your brain” then you may need to find a more effective way to meet their needs. Don’t be afraid to make it work for you, too. If you know me, then you know that I’m all for helping people. That is after all, why I believe that AWN has been as successful as it has. But again, this is where boundaries come in. You have to know where to draw the line, so to speak. If you find that you’re coming up against the same issue, the same questions, then it might be worth asking yourself if there’s a need (a market) for what you’re offering. Don’t be afraid to charge for your time. This could mean charging a consulting fee, it may mean setting up a seminar, or writing a book.

Long story short, it becomes a whole lot easier not to fall into the “busy” trap when you establish what is a priority and are ruthless in making sure what you’re doing is in line with that. It’s easy to say no if you understand that when you say yes, you’re often essentially letting something else go. And sometimes, there’s a higher price to pay than you realize…

P.S. In writing related news, I get asked a lot what is happening on the agent/publisher front (which probably deserves a whole blog post in itself) but for now I’ll just say that after really evaluating my options, my current and future goals, and then weighing all of that with the amount of freedom/flexibility I want to have, I decided to forgo the agent/publisher route and stick with what I’ve got going. :) In addition, the publishing landscape is changing so rapidly right now. But I won’t go in to all of that here. If you’re interested there’s a plethora of mostly decent information you can find on the interwebs starting here.

On The Importance of Truth-Tellers and Booking It.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
― Rumi

Excuses. I can make them with the best of ‘em. Being a writer–and by that I mean using my imagination on a daily basis to make stuff up, seeing things as I want them to be, well, I’ve always been pretty good at believing the stories I tell. Even the stuff I know doesn’t serve me well. I am the queen of buying my own bullshit.

Thankfully, I’ve gotten really good at surrounding myself with people who are willing to tell me the truth. Especially, when they know (and I know) it needs to be heard. Case in point: “Change isn’t supposed to be easy, Britney,” he tells me. “If it were easy, if accomplishing this came easily– don’t you think everyone else be doing it? Don’t you think you would’ve succeeded already? You want what you want. So, quit making excuses about it. You know what it is you need to do…do it. Start by putting the energy you’re expending now…whining to me to better use by just getting to it. YOU have to believe you can do it. Not me. Not anyone else. You’re right that it takes seeing what isn’t there. But you know how to do that.”

Hmmm. Hard to argue with that. ;)

It would’ve been pretty easy to call up someone who I knew would let me play small. Someone who would pacify me, tell me that it’s all right, that there’s always next time, next year…sometime in the future. But these days, I know better. And that has been the greatest gift. My hope is that you also have truth-tellers in your life. It’s liberating, that’s for sure.

Now, on to book news… I’m really pleased with how things are going since the release of Breaking Bedrock last month. It was a little nerve-wracking to write a sequel, seeing that many sequels aren’t received well. It was also different knowing that there was an expectation, something I had to live up to. But thus far, both books are selling well and the reviews have been favorable. Thank you all for making it what it is.

Next week the blog tour kicks off. I’m excited to see what folks have to say as many of the bloggers are reading Bedrock for the first time. Also, I’m told there will be giveaways. Keep an eye out for those via FB and Twitter.

Speaking of giveaways…I’m starting a new “Friday thing” called BGIF (Be Glad It’s Friday or Britney’s Glad It’s Friday, whatever ;) where I’m giving away my books as well as spreading the love by giving away books I’ve read and enjoyed. The first one is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I think this book may be one of my all-time favorites. I read it in a day and it caused a (book) hangover for weeks. I still think about it. More on that, here.

As for what I’m working on now, a third novel, (perhaps a series, I’m still deciding) well…I’m not going give too much away just yet…but the photographer and cover designer have been booked…so, more details soon.