I was 7 years old when I read my first Nancy Drew book. There was something in that smart girl that resonated me and I wanted to read every book about her. But the inspiration didn’t stop there, it was then that I realized I wanted to be a writer.
Finally in a place that I could write a book, it took all of 6 weeks from start to finish, all 170 pages of it. After several draft attempts I self published and after writing book 2 I hired marketing help.
I admit fully that I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know how to edit, forget about the marketing. And after a horrible book release for book 2, I was 5 minutes away from quitting. That’s where I’ve been for over 2 years as I try to figure out the rest of my life as a non writer. But I still come back to the writing and the not quitting on the dream.
I’ve been lucky because had I not gone down that road, I wouldn’t have met a collective group of great, smart women who have taught me some of what they know about marketing, writing and editing. And I would have learned nothing.
The biggest lesson I could pass on to aspiring writers is this, when you are done with a draft, put it away for at least 4 weeks and let it sink in before trying your hand at it again.
I chose to rewrite my first book for the second time because of the unsuccessful marketing attempts to sell my books. It was my own fault because I didn’t produce a good enough product, the premise was good but…
That is why I chose this major rewrite. I took a long look at the book and the series and pinpointed where I fell short. I took out chunks of the book, changed relationships and rewrote what turned out to be most of the book. Though the story is the same, it gets there in a different manner. One that I hope answers questions, feels complete, with characters that are worth reading about.
Why no one has said to me, your an awful writer you should quit, it beyond me. Over the last four years, I’ve had several people encourage me and give me just enough to say there’s something there, don’t quit.
I didn’t quit even though I’ve been 5 minutes from quitting since releasing my second book She Wulf. But I couldn’t quit. I needed to get it right. That’s why I re-wrote the book. This very unfamiliar feeling of being so sure of myself and my story that I needed to keep writing it until it was worthy of publishing.
Maybe now I’m 10 minutes from quitting, but at least in the end I know I’ve tried.
I spent the last day of 2014 and the first two days of 2015 crying. Partially because I dislike my job and would prefer be doing anything other than what I am doing, but mostly because I’m emotionally exhausted.
There is this idea that the new year is a great time to reflect and resolve to change something, improve on ourselves. I don’t necessarily make new year’s resolutions, but this year, the bad stuff that I endured during 2014, hit me hard and left me feeling as though I had just flown into a brick wall.
I’m no stranger to bad things. I gave birth to twins 16 1/2 years ago after enduring fertility issues and a bad pregnancy. one twin, was born with a neuromuscular disorder that claimed her life at 11 months old. I thought after the stress of caring for a terminally ill child and the pain of watching her die was my stumbling block, my brick wall, my pain that I would move on from and live my life.
But life is chaos and you can’t necessarily be certain that you only have one hell to live through. As it turns out, I was still to live through post partum depression and to come out it to endure with my second daughter debilitating anxiety. Light breezes to stormy winds, had her hiding in the basement. She spent time with the social worker, a therapist and a psychologist all in the hopes of helping her come out into the open. It was hard, being present for the temper tantrum at the zoo, people watching my 10 year old child screaming because the wind was too much. It’s hard planning for the future when she choses not to live it thinking we’ll take care of her long past becoming an adult and having to teach her everything so she can deal with her future.
And when we finally came near the light at the end of the struggle, hell opened up once more. The youngest child, the one that found the joy in life, the one that was the happiest, tried everything and enjoyed herself, was depressed. Not the blues, not situational, but seriously depressed. She was going through something more than the average teenager as she navigated her world and came to conclusions about who she was. We all have those moments and most of us scrape by and move on, but when the pain is so overwhelming you need help through it, whether it be alcohol, drugs or in her case, self injury, it more than just average.
It’s the process of doctors and drugs and therapy. I’ve done it all before, but this time, it was protecting my teenager from herself, trying to keep her healthy and not trusting her with her own safety. It’s beyond stressful, and it’s exhausting.
I know I’m not alone in this journey. I’ve met several other parents through our work with the outpatient program who are living the same nightmare as me. And with every hell I’ve found myself in, I move through it by taking one step at a time, baby steps. As long as I’m moving forward, I will eventually come to that light.
But this new year was almost too much to handle. To much sadness and too much feeling as though I’ve failed my kids somehow. Did I not read to them enough, was I too lenient? Too much feeling that I’m inadequate and not qualified. And after having my temper tantrums the ones that I so needed because I have never given in to them before, I realized it was time to really take stock of my life and see what it was all about.
I’m always five minutes away from shutting down my website, closing the Twitter account and removing my author page on Facebook. I almost decided to delete my novels from computer or at the very least store them elsewhere. Because the realization that I’m not good at any of this or not even a good writer hit me as did everything else.
And as I thought seriously about everything, I decided quitting wasn’t in my nature. Not this time. I can’t quit on the kids as much as I can’t quit on myself. Writing and creating is who I am, and at least with that, the writing is my therapy.
I can only hope that 2015 is a better year. That my kids grow into healthy young adults and that I no longer grimace as I hold back the tears. Maybe this is the year that I have a truly publishable book that I can proudly sell and that I start winning a few.
There’s only quitting or there’s pushing through whether we obtain our goals or not. We have one life and we need to do the best that we can with it.
There’s no woe is me and I expect no pity, only understanding that right now, it’s hard and I’m entitled to an occasional moment of doubt and the inevitable breakdown.
With everything, I find the positive. And I expect that 2015 will be better.
You either know what if feels like or you’ve been lucky enough to weather life’s storms without that intense pain and sadness that sometimes grips us during those dark times.
As an onlooker watching a loved one live through depression it’s not for you to understand what it is to be depressed or what it feels like to breathe underwater, scream in whispers muffled by the weight of the water. Its not your job to fix it. It’s for you to offer unconditional love and support, not give suggestions or answers. Depression isn’t black or white. It’s a light gray, dark gray and every shade of gray in between, and there is no one single answer that can make it go away.
There is a standard of care, between drugs and therapy that can be applied but no matter how good that medicine or therapy is, depression just doesn’t go away. There is always an underlying cause of the pain. Only time and therapy will ease the pain. The medicine, it can only ease so much.
We don’t chose to be depressed, we can’t just get happy, like we can’t change our eye color or change our sexual orientation. Some things we are just born with. And sometimes we’re born with a chemical imbalance that tugs us in opposite directions. It feels like a violent storm, like we’re falling and flaying and grasping for something. And you can’t pick yourself up because you’re paralyzed by fear or overwhelmed by feelings you can’t understand.
Sometimes you dull that pain, hide in the shadows, masking those feelings with drugs, alcohol or self injury. But the pain is only knocked out for a brief moment. It will always come back.
I’ve been depressed before and I understand that turbulent storm, the pictures that flash in your head because it can’t slow down, it can’t relax, it can’t heal. But this time, I’m on the outside looking in. I’m forced to relive my struggle as I offer unconditional love and support. And my heart breaks because there is nothing I can do to ease the pain for someone else.
If this is you seek help. Start with your doctor. If it’s your child start with their pediatrician. There is help.
“Shatter Point is an exciting novel of suspense, action, drama and even a little bit of horror…. It’s definitely one of the best novels out there right now.” Next Page Reviews
“When I reached the last 100 pages no one was going to be able to stop me reading until I knew the ending!” – Olivia’s Catastrophe
“A thriller that grabs readers and doesn’t let go, skillfully twisting, turning, and manipulating its plot for maximum impact.” – Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Pick up a copy of this spellbinding thriller.
You can also enter the giveaway at the end of this post with no more than a click of the mouse for a chance to win a $75 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card! Extra entry points will be available for anyone who posts a before 1/23/2015!
When her 19-year-old son Jack miraculously recovers from a serious head trauma, Maggie is sure her luck has changed. But when she’s abducted by a shadow from her past – a phantom with dangerous sapphire eyes – it’s up to Jack and his younger brother Tom to unravel the mystery and save their mom from a deadly psychological battle.
The brothers seek help from their colorful great aunt, who exposes them to a world of nefarious family secrets, explosive government conspiracies, and a series of horrific murders. Together they must navigate a dark underworld full of political subterfuge and class warfare.
Yet as they search for their mother, Jack changes—raked by skull splitting headaches and weird visions. How exactly did he recover from his coma, and how does this tie into the psychopath who’s abducted their mother?
Will Jack and Tom save Maggie before her abductor reaches his shatter point? Does Jack have enough time left?
Shatter Point on Amazon.com
Giveaway – Enter to Win!
Perusing the internet the other day I found a blog from a mother whose son chose to wear his hair long. He like it long and was owning the look. Now long hair on boys and men really isn’t such a big deal now a days, but for this mom, it was. It wasn’t because she wanted her son to have short hair and be something he wasn’t but she didn’t like the reaction of those around him, to his long hair. She complained that he was constantly called she or her and she was tired of strangers telling mom that she had three beautiful daughters. Yes she had two beautiful daughters and one handsome son.
I know exactly what that mom was going through. I have a beautiful, smart, athletic and funny daughter who from the very beginning was nothing but a tom boy and has spent most of her 14 years, trying to figure out who she is. Until she was five she wore clothes from the boy’s section. At 3 she wanted her hair short like a boy. I was hesitant because she dressed like a boy and I didn’t want confusion for her or others. We made a compromise of sorts and the hairdresser did a great job giving her a cut that was short but kept her looking like a girl. She was thrilled. But eventually kids change their minds and she began growing out the once adorable cut. Still wearing boy clothes as her hair grew out, she oftentimes would be called he, him or my son. It would anger me and as she got older it bothered her.
She knows she’s a girl, but she’s not like the other girls. She doesn’t like pink or princesses. But she loved the Twilight books and she loves to hunt, wear perfume and makeup. If my daughter could, she’d live in basketball shorts but on that rare occasion that she has to dress up she doesn’t stop and slacks and a blouse. She goes all out strapless party dress with converse gym shoes. My daughter is just who she is but she hasn’t found her place in society or even in her circle of friends.
Who she is, is a unique kid who knows what she likes but surrounded by crazy, stupid, hormonal teenagers, she gets picked on and bullied, something I wasn’t completely aware of until I let her get a short hair cut. I convinced her to not go crazy and get that short spiked do’ but a very cute Anne Hathaway at the Oscars hair style. My daughter was adorable, one of great faces for short hair. I loved it, she loved it and felt very comfortable in her own skin. But her boyfriend at the time, granted they were 11, broke up with her, she was called a lesbian and teased about an awful hair cut.
My heart breaks for my daughter who so desperately wants to fit in but has her own style that makes her not quite fit in. I gave her a choice. You take responsibility for your look and ignore the stupid around you or you find a way to fit in that makes you comfortable and allows you to be you. She chose the latter because she’s not quite confident enough to own her look yet. I’ve worked with her on crafting a style that allows her to fit in and yet honor her style. Ripped blue jeans, rock and roll t-shirts from the girls section because their cut closer to the body and teal converse shoes, allow her to be her and yet, be a girl too. I’m willing to let her experiment with her style, her hair, her make up but not her hair length. Because after all she went through and after growing her hair out she now wants it short again. I feel bad but I told her no. Not because I don’t want her to be herself but because I’m worried about the stupid that surrounds her.
Hair is so much of who we are, it’s the first thing people notice about us and they can perceive so much about who we are whether its correct or not. I promised my daughter that she could cut off her once blonde hair and cut it short but only when those around her are mature enough to not open their mouths. But then again, my daughter is 14 and has changed her mind again, she wants long extensions.
We can only do our best with our children as we navigate the ups and downs of raising them. I hope that someday my daughter will have a better sense of herself and trust that those around her will like her for who she is and not what she wears or by the length of her hair.
Is confidence something we’re born with or is it something we grow within ourselves when we are surrounded by a loving family, friends, society? Is it always with us or does it wane over time or experiences? I think about that as I examine my life, my choices, my career.
At seven, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Everything I did was leading me to that career. I wrote in my spare time, I became and English major, worked as a technical writing intern. I worked as a technical writer when I graduated.
Regardless of what I had done over the course of my life, I always stayed close to writing. It was what I was told I was good at since I was young, it was what I enjoyed the most and it gave me confidence. Some of the best jobs I had involved writing, whether it was business letters, technical manuals or user guides, there was a pride that came with learning a job and translating that for others to learn from. So when did the confidence wane and leave?
Bad jobs, fractured relationships, the death of a child, there are so many things that eat away at confidence, that leave a black cloud over your head, that suck the light and life away.
A series of bad events, of loss, left me paralyzed. And yet when the confidence was at its lowest, I decided to put myself out there, expose myself and write again. I needed to be reminded that I wanted to write a book and when I was, I did. To do that requires honesty and being open with the world in hopes that you find your audience.
You throw yourself out there when you publish your book whether you have a publisher or you self publish. You read the reviews and you meet other authors and bloggers who can help you attract readers. Its raw and scary, terrifying and sometimes your read a review that is hard to stomach and you can’t speak for a week.
But there’s something in my make up that when the confidence is lacking, propels me forward and keeps me writing. It’s a manufactured confidence, when I believe that I’m strong enough to keep writing, marketing and planning for that dream future.
Confidence is a tricky thing. It can be strong or it can be weak. We can be slaves to it or we can overpower it. I’ve never overpowered mine at least not until recently. I no longer wanted to watch other accomplish what I could only dream about. I wanted more. Even when the confidence leaves, I’ve learned to fake it. Negative self talk can break you and positive self talk even if you have to pretend for a while is better than none at all.
Because somewhere along the way I realized that I can do whatever I set out to do, I just have to believe in myself. Even if I have to fake it once and awhile.
Excerpt from Introvert to Sales Goddess
I’m an introvert, and I’m shy. People can exhaust me just as much as they cause me anxiety. But I don’t hate being around them. It just depends on the situation. I can’t change that reality; I can only learn to live within that character trait—good, bad or otherwise. Because I am one of those often misunderstood people, I spend a lot of time observing and thinking. That’s why I’m an avid reader, and that’s why I love writing.
In a way I’m selling myself short, because I’m not an emotional wreck in social situations. In the right setting, I can be chatty and engaging, especially when the conversation is about me. It’s not because I’m self-centered. It’s because I know myself and can speak confidently about who I am and what I can do. And that’s pretty much what a job interview is, isn’t it?
I agreed to the second interview, even as I questioned the job and my ability to successfully do what would be asked of me. I didn’t want to start the job hunt all over again, and this particular office was only five minutes from my house; both valid reasons for pursuing something well out of my comfort zone. Overwhelmed by the nature of the job, I nodded quite a bit during the second meeting; still unsure of the position, I tried to be honest about my phone skills, or in this case, my lack thereof.
I politely shook hands as I met everyone in the office while trying to make sense of what I was agreeing to. But at the same time, I was able to separate that small piece of the job from the rest of the experience as I would be working for a small company in a field that I didn’t know much about, other than that it held some very exciting possibilities. And I knew some things about it. After all, I wear makeup. I dye the gray right out of my hair. I’m a girly girl. It could be fun.
I did realize early on that I had agreed to a sales position of sorts and within that framework, I would be required to talk on the phone to CEOs and company presidents as I tried to sell them on the idea of a sponsorship program. This wasn’t a completely foreign concept for me. I’ve asked for money before. I walked the Avon Three Day Breast Cancer Walk. I wrote letters asking for donations, helped my daughter with her Muscular Dystrophy backyard carnival. It was easy asking family and friends through a heartfelt and honest letter explaining what motivated me to do so. But asking money in the confines of a job, was a different experience, convincing companies that they needed this program to help grow their business was a completely different circumstance.
Truth be told, I do have confidence, though not all the time and not about everything. But when it comes to working at a job, I do believe that I can accomplish pretty much anything. But this job is like a roller coaster with peaks and valleys. Some aspects I’m very comfortable with while others, I seriously questioned my decision to even interview for it.
Within the last decade I’ve learned a lesson about worrying only when you absolutely have to. For me that means, I don’t stay up at night dwelling on a new job unless I have a valid reason to stress. As with every experience that’s ever made me uncomfortable in the days leading up to it, I discovered early that I was usually fine once I get there, once I’d immersed myself in the project or experience. Like a cat that falls from great heights, I usually land on my paws, no worse for wear.
It happens every time I travel to the city. I worry so much about timing and parking that I work myself into a tizzy before I go, then I’m oftentimes embarrassed once I get down there. It all seems like a silly thing to worry about, and I realize that I’m really okay, and that I can do it.
And with all this in mind I accepted the job at the rate I asked for. I had one week.
Are you an introvert? Are you an extrovert and want to understand the other side? Check out my new book Introvert to Sales Goddess now on sale at Amazon.com.
We tried a new therapy for our daughter. Exposing her to the everyday experiencing that most of us take for granted, the ones that make her anxious and worried. But she’s not so worried anymore. The therapist has explained to her how her preconceived notions about growing up and her life were lies.
She already holds down two jobs, gets good grades, cares for herself, does her laundry, you know takes care of herself. She’s worried about growing up. It’s been a painful process putting her in the position to do things that make her uncomfortable but with each exposure I can see her relaxing, her confidence grows and she no longer fights us when we say she has to drive. She even said she could when it rained rather than using that as an excuse.
I feel for the first time since the anxiety reared its head that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Through the fear of wind, the holding up in the basement for an entire summer, the crying, the ADHD, the scoliosis, eye issues, wrist soreness, meds and physical therapy, there might be an end for her. A chance to simply enjoy life.
She’s been through so much and yet we push her through her “homework” her exposures, opportunities to learn how to simply be. Whether its how to fill out her deposit slip for her paycheck, or how to go grocery shopping and navigate on her own, with each experience she’s learning that she’s okay.
She may always be nervous and scared because we are who we are, but if we’re willing to take the chance and make the change, it will get better.