Chin Up, Girl. Chin UP.

“I have spent a good many years since–too many, I think–being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.” ― Stephen KingOn Writing

I’ve thought a pretty good deal about whether or not to post this….because in general I don’t believe in shedding light on negativity. The last thing I want is to add fuel to the fire. That said, I also believe that it’s important to set a precedent on how you expect to be treated. In the end, I thought about my children and how I’d want them to react if someone were treating them badly. And I’d hope that they would have the courage to not only stand up for themselves… but also for what they believe in. -B

This past week the world of author land (via the web) has been a relatively negative one. Which makes me pretty sad- because as a general rule I try and stay away from negativity and drama. But there are a few things in particular that I did want to address: I received my first few pieces of hate (e)mail. I’m not going to rehash or share what was said here…because in my opinion that would lend credence to it. I will say that it’s a waste of time sending me mean emails because I really don’t pay attention to what (hateful) people think of me. If one wants to send helpful critique… then by all means. Yes, my novel is dark (and some would even say twisted) which is why I’ve added a warning label- just about everywhere possible. It isn’t required reading material and as a consumer all major retailers have fairly generous return policies. As a writer, I stand behind my story. I do not read or respond to people writing for the sake of being mean.

Which brings me to the fire storm of press that author M. Leighton has received this week for taking her novel down because a few people couldn’t handle its dark content. I’m not inclined to judge this author or her motivations for un-publishing her work. I don’t know her but I can relate (a little) to how she feels. Putting yourself out there is inviting people to judge you. And it takes a certain type of grit not to give a shit- especially when their judgement is not in your favor. The thing about email, social media, and the internet is that it gives people a certain power. You can say (write) what you think while for the most part remaining anonymous. And because of this there are a whole crop of assholes out there just looking for an opportunity to utilize their newly found power. They say things they would never say to your face as though wielding a sword, waiting to stab the first thing that moves. It’s crazy. It’s the not funny- kind of funny. It’s sad. And yet their audience thrives on it. They feed on the drama of it all. As for me, I decided not to pay attention to it. I do however pay close attention to the energy I surround myself with- and it’s my belief that once you draw a line in the sand and let people know that you won’t tolerate their bad behavior… they get bored. And they do what bullies do… they move on to their next target.

So what I would say to M. Leighton (if she were a friend) is this: taking down your work but only after telling everyone it will be gone forever within the next two days…is going to seem a little bit overly dramatic to the general public. They will see it as a publicity stunt and one way you propelled yourself into the top 100. Unfortunately, there will surely be backlash in that, too. And it’s a choice you’ll likely regret. Because in the long run you’re letting your critics win. You’ll come to find for the very reasons that people wrote to say that they hated the book, will be the exact same reasons others love it. Either way, this decision as a writer is a personal one that is yours to make. And truthfully, it really isn’t right for me or anyone else to debate it. But don’t let temporary defeat stop you from doing what you love. Get back to writing. And chin up, girl. Chin UP.

“I don’t have time, energy, or interest in hating the haters; I’m too busy loving the lovers.” ― Steve MaraboliUnapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

You Asked…I’m Telling.

“I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.” – Pietro Aretino

Recently, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about myself as a writer, my novel Bedrock and what it’s all about. So…I thought I’d share the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions here. ;)

1. What is Bedrock about? Who should read it and who shouldn’t?

First of all, you can find the synopsis here. Ultimately, though Bedrock is a story of love, loss, hanging on, and surviving in spite of the odds. While I’d like to say that everyone should read Bedrock, that is simply not the case. For starters, this novel isn’t for those under the age of eighteen. It isn’t for those looking for a light and fluffy (beach) read. Because Bedrock deals with dark subject matter…if you tend to see life as black and white, right or wrong, then Bedrock may evoke strong emotions thus making it not the best choice.

All that said, if you appreciate a love story full of twists and (shocking?) turns and don’t mind the darker side of romance, sexuality, or profanity then you may want to take a peak. You can download the first few chapters for free on all major retailers.

2. Is Bedrock about you?

Ha! I get this one a lot. No, Bedrock is a fictional story. Although, there are a few characteristics within each character (especially Addison) that I share.

3. How long did it take you to write the novel?

About three months. There are a lot of things (so, so many) that have to happen when you publish as an indie author, so while the actual writing took about 12 weeks the entire process took about six months. Or ten years if one were to ask my husband… :)

4. Why did you write a this story?

Well…I wanted to write a story that would provide a nice escape from domestic life. ;)

I read a lot and I tend to choose books because they provide a respite from the realities of day-to-day life. They take me to another time, another place, and make me contemplate life. Most of these books, Fifty Shades of Grey being one of them tell the story of a young girl just starting out in life. With Bedrock I wanted to tell a story that featured a character whom I could relate to, one who is in a similar stage of life. In this case, the protagonist, Addison is married with young children. When she finds herself in a situation that she didn’t see coming she has to make choices. However, unlike the younger characters in my favorite books, Addison has a family (and responsibilities) so these choices affect not only her, but those she loves most in the world.

Psychology, our collective experiences, and what motivates us a human beings has always fascinated me. How we see the world and how it affects the choices we make is something I think about often. In addition, I like characters who are relatable and flawed.

5. Bedrock has been compared to Fifty Shades of Grey. How do you feel about that? And Why did you include BDSM?

Well…I mean who could possibly complain about being compared to 50 Shades?!? Just look at its success. :) BUT it does worry me some. Or a lot, actually.

Yes, Bedrock and 50 Shades are similar in that they both contain BDSM and violence. This worries me because these ingredients evoke strong feelings in readers. It REALLY worries me because while I love 50 Shades…I did not feel that it accurately portrayed BDSM. When writing Bedrock I did a lot of research into the world of BDSM. In 50 Shades, BDSM was sexualized where traditionally BDSM is not intended for sexual purposes or satisfaction. In 50 Shades it was more about a young couple experimenting and thus the comparison concerns me. For example, if a reader is picking up Bedrock expecting a light, fluffy read about a young couple experimenting with bondage and domination yet in turn reads a darker story (that is so much more than that) then they are likely to be disappointed. I guess what I am trying to say is that it may be more than the reader bargained for.

Why so dark? Hmmm. Stories of breaking one psychologically (such as what happens with POW’s) have always been interesting to me. What is even more interesting is the survival instinct that lies within us all. And the great capacity we have to love and be loved. So while I wouldn’t say that Bedrock is a happy beach read- it is in many ways a story of survival and hope.

6. Your reviews have been pretty good thus far. What’s next?

Yes, the reviews have been overwhelmingly good. But there are those who’ve read Bedrock and said it’s just not for them. I completely respect that. In addition, there have been a few book bloggers that have made the decision not to read or review the story because it contains infidelity. I can only hope that thanks to the success of the recent release of The Great Gatsby that they may eventually come around. :) Anyhow, I understand that the subject matter is not for everyone and I want to be upfront about that.

As for what’s next, I’m currently working on the sequel to Bedrock which is tentatively scheduled to release in September or October. While Bedrock was originally intended to be a stand alone…in the end I felt there was more we needed to hear from these characters, that their story was far from over. I also have a third novel in the works for early 2014.

7. Where can I buy your novel?

I get this question regularly via Facebook and it’s always a little flattering and plenty embarrassing (what kind of marketer am I anyway?:) when people ask me this. You can find Bedrock on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords and at BookPeople.

What He Said. + Time For A Teaser.

“I think I’m in the best place I’ve ever been in so many ways. I’ve just come out of five years of very difficult times for numerous reasons and yet at the same time it’s lead to such growth. It’s very exciting that way.” – Erin Gray

It’s not everyday that the youngest of your five children turn FIVE years old on the very same day that you receive your first five star review. It’s the power of five, I guess :) That said, I am so excited to share the review with you. The fact that it is written by a man…well, is just an added bonus. ;) Truthfully, I wasn’t sure if Bedrock would appeal to men. Thanks Paul of Little Ebook Reviews for letting me know that it can!

Dear Britney,

 Thank you again for the file and for reaching out. I just posted a review on and on my blog. I enjoyed “Bedrock”. I was surprised in a sense because it is not necessarily the type of book I go for but it was very interesting, gripping and entertaining.

Best regards and well juggled!

Paul Little

The review: “Bedrock is captivating and interesting. As a book it tells a number of stories from the lives of the characters which gives a feeling of depth. At its heart, though, this is a story about choices and the opportunities that life throws up. There is love, betrayal, intriguing personalities and lovely scene setting. This is a book with plenty of adult themes and while not graphic in detail it is not shy about its content. There is also something just beyond real about this book, somehow just too much neatness comes out of the chaos at times.Bedrock hits a fine balance and I found this book to be very entertaining and gripping and once started I found it difficult to stop reading, to read what was to happen next.This is an excellent debut and surely Britney King has a juggler’s skill.”

Also, I missed posting a “Tuesday Teaser” yesterday but that’s the story of my life…always a day late and a dollar short. :)

Any who, better late than never, so here you go….

An excerpt from Bedrock:

As the elevator started to climb, Addie turned her attention back to her phone, waiting for Jessica’s reply.

“Don’t you think it’s strange how two people can be standing inches from one another in such a confined space and yet hardly acknowledge one another?” the deep voice behind her said.

Addie looked up, her eyes meeting his in the mirror.

He didn’t wait for her reply. “I’ve always thought so anyway.”

Addie smiled nervously. For the first time, she really took notice of the man. He was tall and very handsome: dark hair, piercing blue eyes, dressed impeccably. Probably gay. Men this beautiful usually were.

He extended his hand. “I’m William Hartman. And no, I’m not gay. It’s a pleasure to meet you. What did you say your name was again?”

Holy shit. Did I say that out loud? Addie swallowed nervously, pretty sure she hadn’t. This man was clearly messing with her. She hadn’t said her name. Two can play at this game.

P.S. Over on Goodreads almost 200 of you have added Bedrock to your shelves. THANK YOU! I am so grateful. And 356 people entered my last giveaway. Wow. FYI, there is another going on now. So hop on over there and check it out.

A Quick Update From Nanoland…..

“One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.”  ~Sidney Howard

I just want to give everyone a quick update from Nanoland…..which I am neck deep in. Ok, maybe technically only waist deep because today marks the halfway point, but you get the point.

For those of you who wonder what in the heck I’m talking about….I’m participating in my very first NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. I figured what better way to quit talking about writing and actually start doing it…. so here I am.

Of the 50,000 words needed to “win” I’m currently sitting at 28,316. And for those of you who think you’re going to strangle me if you hear one more thing about NaNoWriMo, I apologize.

That said, it’s interesting what NaNo has done for me. Not only has it provided me with the motivation to make this novel a reality (by actually writing it, what a concept, huh), a few new friends, and lot and lots of additional caffeine (can you tell?! :)) , it has also provided me with data. Lots and lots of sweet, precious data, on when and even where I do my best writing. Which is not at all what I thought, so this alone has been priceless.

My characters now occupy my dreams every night, seemingly stealing what little sleep I get. And they talk to me, too, which is very very strange. I’m happy though. Really, really happy. And, did I mention, very well caffeinated? :)

So….here’s to stretch goals paired with a little bit of crazy! Oh…and speaking of stretch goals, I hope you’ll join us at Austin Women’s Network on December 5th as one of my favorite Executive Business Coaches, Stan Tyler, presents “Reaching Unreachable Goals”   where we’ll discuss, plan for, and learn how to best achieve our 2013 goals.

“Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.”  ~ Doug Larson

Doing Less. Being More.

“We are most productive when we focus on a very small number of projects on which we can devote a large amount of attention.” ~Albert Einstein

I read something this morning that really stuck me: “Perfection is the enemy of everything. We all want it. None of us will ever get it. Even though nobody in the world has ever achieved perfection in their craft, we still believe that it’s possible for us. Even if it were possible, it’s not preferable. Perfectionism may look good in his shiny shoes, but he’s a little bit of an asshole and no one invites him to their pool parties.” LOVE IT! It’s such good, incredibly truthful advice….and yet so easy to forget, if we are not reminded.

I’ve recently been offered some amazing opportunities. And have unfortunately had to say no many of them. I’m not sure exactly what is going on here….is the Universe trying to tell me something? Teach me the power of saying no? The art of discernment? I’m not sure…I only know that the decisions have been hard. After all, I can be AND do all things, right?!? Sadly, the answer is a BIG FAT NO! I cannot. And neither can you. There is this myth floating around that we can do whatever we set our mind to. It’s like that commercial for women that tells us we need to go out get the bacon, bring it home, and fry it too. “The 24 hour woman.” It’s the myth that we can be all things to all people. This ideal that we can have it all.

The truth is that we can’t have it all. For me, I’ve found that “having it all” means having what it is that I desire-just not necessarily all of it, at the same time. Really, though this just means finding a handful of things that are important to me and focusing the majority of my attention on those. For example, I’ve been bombarded by requests and questions about why I’m not on Pinterest. I think (from what little I know) that Pinterest is great. But quite honestly, I do not have the time to devote to another “hobby” and even more importantly WHY on earth would I want to sign up for one more thing that leaves me feeling like “I’m not enough?” I’m not crafty enough, my kids birthday parties aren’t like so and so’s. And the list just goes on and on. This is my issue, obviously. But why take something on, just because “everyone else is doing it”? I’m not saying never to Pinterest, I’m just saying not now. And for those of you who are on Pinterest and love it, I think that’s great. I’m just sharing my personal story about trying to avoid the next “shiny” thing (distraction) that I’m told is destined to bring me closer to achieving my dreams.

I think too many people (myself included) make the mistake of adding to our plates with out stopping to remove something. It’s exactly like eating a meal. We can only put so much in before we start to feel sick, overwhelmed, and tired. We have to decide what we are going to put on our plate and what we are going to leave off. When we add something, it’s essential that we remove something. In order to make room. It sounds simple, yet so many of us fall into this trap time and time again , all the while asking “How DID I get myself into this?!?!”

I’ve recently decided to start doing less. While BEING more. You see, I’ve learned that my daily incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce and tick off items on my to-do list by each day’s end — seems to decide the direction and quality of existence for me. But if I approach my day (and ultimately my life) in a different way, I can consciously change this out-of-control pattern. It only requires the courage to do less.

This may sound easy, but doing less can actually be very hard. Too often we mistakenly believe that doing less makes us lazy and results in a lack of productivity. Instead, doing less actually helps us savor all that we do accomplish. In time and with practice, we learn to do less of what is extraneous, and engage in fewer self-defeating behaviors, so we craft a productive life that we truly feel good about.

I believe that if we can fully own the notion that “we are great, just as we are.” And really let it seep into our mind and body, into our bones, it will make all the difference. We are each born with all the wisdom and imagination we need; we just sometimes need help and a reminder to return to our senses and get out of our own way. Sometimes we just need to let it sink in that nothing extra is required.

The truth is you have everything you need; just let go of whatever distractions, fears, and busyness might be hampering you. It really is that simple. Allow yourself to think and feel and live that way. Acting from this place results in greater composure, and when we act with composure, we are more effective. Now, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t lessons we need to learn and areas that we need to grow. It just means that we already have what we need inside of us. The answers are inside. Sometimes, it just takes the courage to realize this.

We know deep down that every life has great meaning, but the meaning of our own can often be obscured by the fog of constant activity and bad habits. By recognizing and changing these beliefs and behaviors, and we can once again savor the ways we contribute to the workplace, enjoy the sweetness of our lives, and share openly and generously with the ones we love. Less busyness leads to appreciating how sacred (and truly short!) life is.

It’s strange but for me doing less has lead to more love, more effectiveness and internal calmness, and a greater ability to accomplish more of what matters most — to me, and by extension to others and the world.

I encourage you to take a look at your schedule, your calendar, and really evaluate how much the things on there mean to you. How important are they? Are they allowing you to live the life you deserve? Do they bring you joy? Or do you just do them because you feel you have to? It’s what you’ve always done. Have these things (tasks) become so routine you rarely notice anymore? I challenge you to take a look. Start doing less. It will allow you to be so much more.

“The way you create any outcome in your life is to hold the vision of your deepest desires. At the same time, though, you must honestly and accurately assess your current situation and how it relates to your greater vision. By doing this, you engage tension between what is and what can be. This tension is the primary creative force behind the manifestation of any outcome. It’s as natural and powerful as the force of gravity”.~ David Emerald

Where’s the joy?

“Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.” ~Chinese Proverb

My Grandma was finally discharged from the hospital yesterday and was moved to a rehab facility. Yay! While I was visiting her at the rehab facility yesterday evening, I met and struck up a conversation with her 93 year old roommate. In a matter of a few hours, I’m pretty sure that I heard (most of) her life story. And, oh my, was it interesting. She told of being born in 1919 in Savannah Georgia and what her life was like. She spoke about driving an 18 wheeler, cross country. She’s only about 4 feet tall! Her husband, at one point, became a trucker to support the family, and she’d ride along with him. When he got too tired to drive, she’d take over. She spoke of the highlights of her life and some of the lows too. I truly loved hearing her story. And I’m pretty sure she loved telling it.

While I was there the nurse would come in and help them with different things and at one point helped with their bathroom business. It was at this point, I started thinking about what losing our independence must feel like.

Then, I started thinking about just how fast life can pass us by, if we’re not careful. Later, as I was leaving, I noticed the twins former pre-school next door to the rehab hospital and thought of how ironic it is, that they are there, next to each other. Beginning of life. And end of life. So very much similarity in them both.

As I was thinking about this, it REALLY hit me, how very short our time here on earth is. If the average life expectancy for Americans is 78.1 years, that means I’ve almost used up half of my time here. That is, if I’m lucky enough to live to be “average.” Wow.

Once this sank in and after hearing how much joy this lady had in her life and how grateful she is to have had it, I realized that I need to live with more joy. I need to really enjoy my time here. I need to move about my day feeling joyful. I mean, overall, in life, I’m incredibly happy with how things are going. I know that I’m incredibly blessed. But can I honestly say that I move through each day with joy? Do I feel joyous on a daily basis?

I have to admit, usually, the answer is, no. Having five children, with three of them still being so dependent on me, I find it SO hard to really appreciate the menial tasks and to be in the present moment with them. There are always so many things to think about, so many worries about the future, about getting everything done. Time feels like the enemy and most days I feel like I’m in a constant battle with it.

For example, while I’m giving them a bath or putting them to bed, often times, my mind is racing into the future, thinking about what I need to do next. I try and enjoy this time, because I know, I’ve already lived through this, and understand that time with them when they are little is fleeting. Soon enough, there will be no more bed time stories, no more “just one more kisses”, no more sweet heads of freshly washed hair that fit just perfectly in the crook of my neck. They DO grow up. Yet, I know all of this, and still, I rush through these moments, wondering how quickly I can get done.

That said, following my experience yesterday, I realized a few things need to change. In order to start living more joyfully, I need to be fully present, focused on the now, on the task at hand. The future will take care of itself.

I’m a huge fan of Dr. Wayne Dyer and I believe he offers some insight here : “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” This made me think of a quote I once read: “Work is love made visible.” I know I need to do today’s work with more love, more joy. This way, when I’m dead tired at the end of each day, and I’ve given all of me that there is to give, I won’t be tired from having worked. I will be tired from having loved.

The question is how do we choose joy? Below are a few tips and ideas I think can help:

  • Whenever possible, say yes to what gives you energy. And no to what drains you. Do what you love to do. Work in your “sweet spot.” Plain and simple. Everything else is worth saying no to.
  • Hang out with other joyful people. And refuse to commiserate. Bad moods are contagious. For example, I’ve noticed that 80% of the Facebook status updates I see lately are negative. People whining and complaining. While I have to be on FB for work, and I throughly enjoy seeing what people I know are up to, I’ve really restricted my usage to what MUST be done and closely monitor who I associate with.
    “The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.” – Colin Powell
  • Take 10 minutes for yourself. Carve out time. Make time. You see, I’m pretty good at hiding from my kids. Yes, homework needs to be checked. Dinner needs to be made. Laundry needs to be folded. But these tasks will all seem more do-able (and possibly even enjoyable) if I’m calm and have a clear mind. Sometimes, at our house, we even make a game of it. It’s called “Mama’s hiding again.” But half of the time they never even notice I’m gone. And although there is usually a disaster to tend to when I re-appear, at least, I have a clear head and renewed energy upon which to focus on it. So, set a timer if you have to, and do whatever you want for 10 minutes. Read a book. Listen to music. Meditate. Hide in the closet with a glass of wine. Or ice cream. Not that I would know anything about that, though….
  • Use Affirmations. Pick a mantra–and repeat it. My mantra is “Lead with your heart, and the rest of you will follow.” Positive affirmations can help you stay focused when you’re stressed. They can bring you back to the present, help you see the good and feel joyful. The wine and/or ice cream really helps too.
  • Notice something new – Anything. Just notice – and appreciate – something you didn’t notice before.

I hope you can find joy in today. I don’t mean to wait until tomorrow. Or the next day. Because, surely, it will be better. I mean, find it today, this day. After all, it’s all we’re really guaranteed.

The only other thing I would like to add is to really take stock of where you are. Are you doing what you love? Are you spending time with those that you truly want to be with? Is your focus on what it should be on? Are you choosing joy?

Stop Thinking. Start Doing.

How often do you think about or obsess over doing something instead of just doing it? Or at the very least get started on the task at hand. Sometimes, I think, we forget that there is a HUGE difference in contemplating something and actually doing it. There have been periods in my life, that I’ve been SO guilty of doing this. Don’t get me wrong, thinking things through, having a plan, and utilizing it, is a very good thing. But I used to take the thinking and planning part further than was really reasonable. I’d over think and let fear, or lack of knowledge, paralyze me. I’d think something to death, research something to death, plan something to death, before I’d actually take action. Sometimes, the process would go on for so long, I’d just lose interest in the project.

In the past, I used the “thinking strategy” in regards to the book I’m working on. I also used it with the things on my to do list. Instead, of taking action, I’d spend my time thinking (and worrying) about doing so. I’d use so much energy contemplating doing something, instead of on actually doing it.  I came to a point where I realized that the amount of energy I spent and wasted, thinking, was energy that I could’ve used, if I’d just taken action. I realized that if I’d just take the first step and get started it would get me a lot further than just thinking about it. I also had to stop making excuses for myself. Excuses like “Well, I’ll just wait until the twins start school.” Or  “I’ll wait until we’re not so busy.” Now I understand that there is NEVER going to be THE perfect time.  Yes, as my kids get older, life will get easier, in some ways. But why wait? Why put my dreams on hold, until? Until this or until that. I had to take the word until out of my vocabulary.

That said, I’ve gotten a lot better. For example, I realized that the sooner I write this blog post, the sooner I can stop obsessing thinking about writing this blog post. The sooner I finish writing my  book, the sooner I can stop thinking about having to make progress on writing my book.