Posted in Life

Honesty

When I gave my worries to the Lord, I had to be ready for what I would hear even knowing that it could be something completely out of left field. HE knows my purpose, not me. When I started this journey of writing a year ago, it was a way to escape the world during my darkest hours. I was lost, unsure, and in trouble. I felt God had forsaken me, left me behind when I needed him the most. My cookie cutter life was falling apart and I didn’t know what to do. I was losing my mind, my husband, and my daughter.

At my darkest hour, writing brought me through where I was. You see I never told one family member or friend what I was going through in my life. So my writing allowed me to get all my thoughts on paper of a life I always dreamed of, but as I wrote, my life came out in its pages, more than I ever thought possible. It was my hopes and dreams, but also my sorrows and my deepest fears. Jean’s life was following apart and so was my own.

By October I made one of the most difficult decisions and that was to get help. Through time, some medication, and lots of prayer, I am slowly becoming myself again. I still struggle with day to day life as an adult with ADD and anxiety, but for the most part I handle it the best I can. Then I noticed how much the media marketing was affecting my mood. Anyone who is a new and upcoming writer knows the only way to get your book out there is to BE OUT THERE on social media. As a person who grew up with Myspace, I found it intimidating and very unpleasant. The more I was posting, the more I was losing myself piece by piece.

Then I realized as I got better, writing wasn’t bringing me the joy and relief it once had in my life. Not more than six months ago, I was so happy to have signed a book deal. I was going to be an author, but as the day approached, I found myself with more anxiety than happiness. Book release day came along with the party, but I found myself still not all there.

Then the problems began with formatting, editing, the reviews, the judgment, the negativity and I found myself in back to back panic attacks. Is this what I was going to have to do just to publish a book? You see I am a teacher and love my career, but I was going to have to choose, just like Jean was going to, either be a teacher or a writer, because I CAN NOT do both. My family was suffering and so was I.

This past weekend, I went to mother daughter camp with my sweet one to reconnect after such a broken year. What I found was peace and hearing God’s word on my heart. My family needs me, my little girl needs her momma to be present and spend those moments with her and not worrying what some stranger thinks or feels about my book. Instead of presenting myself to the world, I need to spent that time raising my daughter and taking care of my husband along with myself.

In the next week, I am going to deactivate all my author social media accounts, but Jean Stone’s will remain handled by my publisher. Book 1 will be back up in a few weeks depending on how long it takes to get through the mess. Book 2 will still be out in August, but as of this moment, my writing is on hiatus indefinitely. While some may see this as giving up, I see this as a story with a happy ending. You see, I got my family back which is worth more than any silver or gold in this world. As well as I recommited myself to the Lord and when he decides I need to write again, he will let me know. My little girl is only 8 once and I want to spend the rest of the year with her. My website will remain up, I still enjoy blogging and who knows what the future holds.

Thank you again for those who supported and followed along in my journey. I met some amazing people who I hope to keep up with in the near future.

Go with GOD and be blessed.

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Posted in Life

Life Changing

It has been 8 days since Jean Stone was released to the world. As I sit and reflect on those days, I realize a lot of things have changed.

I still have NO idea what I am doing in this industry, but I enjoy writing and that is all that matters to me. I have met some really wonderful people along this journey and for that I am blessed. The reviews I am getting seem to be positive so I am going to ride the wave and enjoy. As announced, my 2nd book will be out in late August. Currently, I am finishing the storyboarding part and cutting down what I think is way too many back stories in there so that the editor can work on her.

There is another work in progress, but I am not ready to tell the world just yet. New opportunites have been presented to me and I am doing my best to weigh what is good for my family and my full time job as a teacher. For now I get to take a step back for a few months and just be before promotion begins again. For success in this industry, you have to market yourself, put yourself out there and let me tell you out of everything (besides editing), I dislike that the most.

There has been some rough news in our immediate family as of last week, if anything I realize life is short and you can’t take it for granted. My mom has had a rough year, personally and I have decided in the fall we are taking a girls trip to Disney World. Just my mom, myself, and lily. This is her time to escape the world and enjoy. It is also to say thank you for all the things she has done for me. She moved her to help us with Lily and of course to be around her only grandchild. She does so much with no thought of rewards or thank yous. After this last bit of hard to swallow news she got, I decided to take her away just for a few days as sadly time is of the essence. If you pray, say some for her as she weathers this new season.

Also, thank you to everybody who has made Jean Stone a success. Thank to those who have bought and loved Jean’s story as much as I loved writing it. Book 2 is going to continue her journey of balancing life and work, or at least trying. Can she solve this cold case or will she lose her family in the end?

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Posted in Life

Support Tribe

One day after the release of Jean Stone, I am reflecting on where I started and where I am at now.

A year ago, I was struggling with a broken marriage, tackling my first year as a teacher, and a loss of self. To put it plainly, I was uphappy. For 13 years, I was a Navy wife and now I was lost adrift at sea in my own mind.

Today I am a published author. Wow I guess I have to get use to saying that. My writing is a way to escape the world and do what I love. I have no intention of quitting teaching anytime soon as my students need me and I need them. They are apart of me and I am not ready to give that up just yet.

The last 24 hours have been a dream and I am soaking up the moment. The well-wishers, the support, and the congratulations. Do not worry, Book 2 is already done and in storyboarding. Jean Stone is going to be around for while. She has a lot of stories to tell and share. Last night I got to share it with my dad and my step mom. While the last year hasn’t been the greatest, those who love and support me have been there to listen to my whining, complaining, and be a shoulder for me when I didn’t think I could go any further.

It is thanks to my support tribe this has been possible, from Jordan my publisher, to Stephanie my beta reader, to Donna my mentor, and my family and friends. It is because of my tribe here were our rankings this morning:

My husband has been the rock in all this. Our marriage was falling apart and yet he stood by me through it all. Today I am happy to say things are better and we are rebuilding what is broken a day at a time. He is proud of all my hard work as well as my daughter who I think is sometimes most excited than I am through it all. She herself is an aspired writer working hard at her skill. The next installment of her dragon story should be out soon.

In interviews, I am always asked about advice for writing. Now I say two things:

Write for yourself and nobody else.

Find your support tribe to be there for you.

Now I am headed back to folding laundry, cleaning the house, and snuggling with my dog before the party. See even though I am a published author, my first jobs are mom and wife.

Did I mention I was in my hometown newspaper yesterday too??? Go check it out!

http://theparisnews.com/free/article_e35db9ca-36c3-11e9-860a-7324b54d5bb3.html

 

Posted in Life

A kid at Christmas

As a little girl, I looked forward to having my name in the paper or mentioned on the radio. I thought I was cool with my mother cutting out my name for the AB honor roll or being in a local community play.

Today, I was in the local paper for my book party. Like a kid at Christmas, I tore through the paper locating it and grinning from ear to ear. There before me was an article about Jean Stone. This book means more to me that anyone will ever know. It is me, it is my life, it is my story wrapped up in mystery.

So I ran out and bought 3 copies and I will frame one on the wall next to my two other proud achievements, my Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi & my precious family.

 

https://www.yourconroenews.com/neighborhood/moco/news/article/Area-Event-Briefs-Houston-Area-Oil-Painters-of-13567365.php#photo-16838293

Posted in Life

Part 3 – The deal

I began writing Book 2 shortly after I completed Book 1. It felt like the ideas were coming in rapid succession. My mind wanted to continue Jean Stone’s story. What had started with just one book was turning into a series of close to 20 when I was finished outlining. (It could be more).

While waiting to hear back, I began working on building my audience. Posting my poetry, exerpts from my book, and life’s daily occurences. What you see is me, I hold nothing back. At this point, I had decided to begin sending the manuscript out to other companies in hopes I could land a deal, I was warned this could take years. Oh well, I had nothing but time.

Mid-June, I got an inbox message on Instagram from Jordan at JSmith Publishing. “Hey would you like to publish your manuscript?” What? Of course, wait what was the catch. This had to be a mistake, things like this don’t happen to people like me. I just started! I had already been hit up by Vanity Publishing companies and wanted no part in any of that. So sadly I assumed this was the case, but my heart was interested to hear what he had to say. I spent a little talking to him and found out he lived in the same general area, he was a start up indie company, and he was looking to publish individuals to “jump start” their career. He gave me his spill about what his company entailed, but I told him  I want to meet in person, I want to read the contract, and I want to see for myself if this was real or not. I told the hubby you are coming along for backup.

June 27th came with my first rejection. The story was good, but not what they were looking for. Oh well, sorry about your bad luck. I toasted a drink to celebrate my first rejection and prepared for June 29th, the day I was to meet up with Jordan. I was all nerves, unsure of what would come of the day, but in my heart I knew that this was going to be a good day. I could feel it!

We decided to meet at the Barnes and Noble to talk shop over some coffee. My husband and I got a drink and sat down waiting. Up walks this young man who was just as nervous as I was. He introduced himself, made small talk, and sat down to give us his spill.

My non negotiables were already set. One, I didn’t want
to lose my rights to my book. Two, they needed to handle it all as with a full-time
teaching job, I am only able to work on things during breaks and weekends. Three, I
wanted a lot of control over my book and what I thought was best.

30 minutes later with all questions answered a contract was laid out in front of me. We went over it line by line and I realized in my heart, JSmith Publishing is where I wanted to publish my first book. He listened to my concerns, rested my fears, and from his eyes and words, I could tell he meant it when he said he wanted to make this series a success. I was taking a chance, but nothing happens in life if you don’t.

7 months later has seen my book trailer release, publicity for the 1st book, and a launch on February 22nd with a party on the 23rd. There has been so much behind the scenes work to make this dream a reality, but I am enjoying every moment as you only release your first book once. This has been a rollercoaster, but I have learned alot about the process and about myself. I do not know what to expect, but whatever happens I am truly grateful and blessed. Dreams really do come true.

Everybody is welcome to the party! If you are interested, please RSVP by January 31st!