Friday, April 18, 2014

I Teach My Daughter Things I Don't Believe - My Messy, Beautiful

Hey Mamas! Today I am a Messy, Beautiful Warrior. Do you guys know Glennon Melton? Because you should. You really, really should. Glennon runs the blog Momastary, and wrote this post about how you're not a jerk if you don't love every minute of being a parent, no matter how many old ladies tell you that you should. She stole my heart. She also wrote a kick-ass parenting, marriage, life book called Carry On, Warrior. She's my Oprah y'all.

Glennon is running a project called Messy, Beautiful, where you blog about the things in your life that are beautiful in spite of their imperfections. No, scratch that: because of their imperfections.

Here's mine.

A week ago, we were going to my parent’s house for dinner. My family is all women – my sister and I, my mom and my aunt, my two female cousins, my two daughters. It’s like a genetic sorority. I mean, the men are there but really, it’s all about the girls. Dinner at Mom’s is a glorified fashion show. Did you lose weight? I love your hair! Are those new highlights? Where’d you get THAT shirt? Can I borrow it? We are, without a doubt, gender normative. Until I wrote it down, this instant, I never realized how it sounds. Eventually the topic moves on, we’re not actually shallow people, but initially, there’s a good once-over when you come in the door.

As I get ready, my subconscious is prepared for this somehow. I must feel pressure I don't know about, or at least have never acknowledged. Also, I’ve gained weight: about fifteen pounds in the last six months. I’m working on it (see, even now I feel like I need to make excuses, to justify this to you, my blog reader, and that is insane). So I dressed in jeans and a cardigan and decided I looked dowdy, and I changed again (jeans, because they’re the only ones that fit) into a nicer, more fitted shirt, a pretty pink that I always thought looked good with my skin. But when I looked in the mirror it emphasized the tire around my middle. So I changed again into a larger, flowing sweater and honestly by this point I was kind of hot and red-faced and avoided pink so the sweater was kind of drab and gray.

Then the horn beeped and I yelled, “Why do I get FIVE MINUTES to get ready when everyone else gets an hour?” because I hadn’t even taken a shower and my hair looked like a wild pricker bush (I don’t know what those bushes are actually called. Sticky bush? Thorn bush?). So I put it up in a ponytail and hated it and took it down and tried to wet it and hated it, so I put it back up in a crazy (Messy, Beautiful, but honestly, just plain messy) bun. And I was so frustrated that I cried a little.

About what I would wear to my mom’s.

Which is stupid, because she loves me no matter what. My sister loves me no matter what. I love them if they wore a bag (but they never, ever would). If I showed up in sweats with my hair in a ponytail, no one would flinch. The pressure is self-inflicted, which is the most ridiculous part. The worst part is, this little exercise is not confined to going to my parents house. I'm not trying to impress them because that would be crazy. Whenever we go out to dinner, to a party, to a friend's house, I change my clothes, fix my hair, try on different earrings. Why? These are all people I love and who love me, just the way I am because I am Messy, Beautiful.

So I got in the car and I looked like I had cried a little. And my outfit was different, and my hair was sort of a mess. My daughter, who is five said, “Mommy why did you change? Are you crying?” Because GOD FORBID this child miss one single thing. I love that about her, I swear I do.

I said, “Oh, I just changed because I wanted to. I didn’t like that other shirt, that’s all.”

She said, “Mommy it doesn’t matter what you wear. You’re so beautiful.”

I have to admit that there, in the passenger’s seat trying to apply mascara (because I get to put on my make-up in the car, aren’t I lucky?), I cried again, only for real this time, with a snotty nose and ugly lip. Because it’s amazing and messy and beautiful that my daughter, who is five, gets the message that I try to send her every day, flying in the face of television and the internet and her little friends at school. Counteracting the Princess culture and Barbies and everything that tells her she must be skinny and blond and perfect with peach-cream skin and a little waist. I’ve been successful, however temporarily. She gets my message.

Now. When will I?

Monday, March 24, 2014

In Which I Theorize on Marketing

Marketing is an odd bird. In the course of two years marketing the same dang book, I’ve learned a few things. One, (the most obvious), you need another dang book. I’m working on it. Two, I’ve stopped counting my “sales”. I barely check my rank anymore.

When I get to talking to another author, who is inevitably trying to hock their book (like me), the topic always comes back to marketing. What works, what doesn’t, our own theories and ideas on what will be the “breakthrough”. I’m by no means an expert on the subject. My one book (soon to be two) hovers between 100K and 300K on a good day. In its heyday, it hung out at 20K for months, and even hit the top 1000 for a few weeks. Ah, the glory days. Other authors understand this speak: I’m talking Amazon rank, of course. The ever elusive little orange “Bestseller” tag (hurry! Get a screenshot!), what books it’s sandwiched between, what authors you can rub virtual elbows with, those elite NYT Bestsellers that are firmly seated among those ranks daily and probably never even look.

Whenever we chat about marketing, and I say, Oh, I’m on Goodreads or Twitter or Facebook or a member of WFWA or Sisters in Crime or whatever, the other author will eventually, inevitably, ask the question that makes me cringe now (it didn’t always): Does it help your sales? “It” being whatever network is currently on the table. We want that direct link, that easy answer. “Oh, yes! That’s it! I’m not on Goodreads, that’s why I haven’t sold my first million. OF COURSE!” Big sigh of relief, let’s all have a beer.

That’s not how it works, guys. I’m sorry. I wish it was. We’ve all heard it before, I think we just refuse to believe it. Behind every overnight sensation is YEARS of baby steps marketing efforts. Hours of watching page views (blog or Facebook), sending Friend Requests, building a Twitter following, attending book signings, donating paperbacks to libraries, used bookstores, gift shops, and if you’re like me, small press published, then tracking all this information on consignment.

I think book marketing is a marathon. There is no “breakthrough” moment. I try every day to make one new connection. One new person that I didn’t know in my writing world before. Whether it be a new friend who doesn’t really know I’m a writer until I invite them to “Like” my author page, or reaching out and genuinely commenting on someone’s blog that I found interesting/touching. What I don’t do, anymore, is worry about if the action I’m taking today will result in a sale tomorrow. The answer is probably, no, not directly.

In my experience, sales are organic. Maybe you comment on Suzy’s blog and you guys have a nice little chat back and forth, but Suzy doesn’t rush right out and buy a copy of your book. Why would she? She probably has her own book to sell. What she might do is check you out, see what you’re about. Maybe she’ll like your cover or your blurb and add you to her Goodreads shelf. Maybe Suzy’s cousin Sally will see this, and maybe she’ll be the one that actually buys your book. Maybe even a month later.  My point is, there is virtually no way to know where every individual sale comes from. Stop trying. If you can attribute each connection you make to a sale then, in my opinion, you’re not doing enough.

Instead, I strive for connection first. After that, I concern myself with exposure. How many different ways can I flash the book cover around (and not be annoying about it)? Blogs (my own and others) are good. Twitter is good, ask for retweets but give back and pay it forward. Facebook events, bookmarks that I leave around public places like doctor’s offices and my accountant’s office (anywhere with a waiting room), and even the local newspaper.
Share the love. Share sales and giveaways of other authors, especially in your genre. Give back to your readers, tell them about a $0.99 Kindle deal in a genre they would probably like (aka similar to yours), and while you’re at it, tag that author. Maybe they’ll pay it back one day, maybe not. Don’t worry about that. Reign in your expectations and stop tracking those who “hit it big” after two months, six months, a year. Put away the measuring stick. Marketing your book is like a healthy diet: It’s a lifestyle change. There are no easy answers.

I have no proof that this works. It’s just a theory, like all the other ramblings on this blog. But it can’t possibly hurt. Learning to market my book has been this incredible growth experience over the past year. I’ve connected with people from all over the globe and people can’t resist authenticity.

For new authors that have asked me for marketing advice here it is: Connection first, then exposure. Be your real, authentic self. Be vulnerable. Ask for help. Show gratitude. Pay it forward and back. Say thank you. If you’re lucky enough to get real fans that aren’t your mom, take care of them. Forget the destination, it doesn’t exist. Enjoy the journey, it’s half the fun. The other half is… well, writing. Oh yeah, back to that.

This thing, right here? Repeat after me: It's all gravy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Booky Things: Giveaways and Releases and Parties, Oh My!

I usually reserve my blog for ranting on parenting, sometimes writing stuff, and sometimes, well, truthfully, nothing at all. I'm kind of a terrible blogger. Don't get me wrong, I love doing it, when I actually do it.

But, so many fun things are happening in my writerly world. First, Binds That Tie is coming out March 31st! I'm so excited for its book birthday! See details on my website.

Then, Red Adept Publishing decided to do a Goodreads Giveaway! I'm beyond thrilled at this, because I love these. I enter them all the time. In fact, I just won Under A Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Last, but never least, I have scheduled a Facebook party to ring in the second book in style. **CLICK HERE** to join! No invite required! Why would you join an online party, you ask? Because FREE THINGS.  Every 3-4 (ish) hours on March 31st, I'll be giving something away! A signed book, gift cards, swag, the kitchen sink....tell your friends! I just want to show appreciation for all my fans and friends who are relentlessly supportive. I'm pretty sure you're all going to get sick of me one day. I'm not above buying your love saying THANK YOU!

Here's the truth, though: I'm super nervous about this book. I have Second Book Syndrome. This is a real thing, y'all. Thought I Knew You was pretty well received -- mostly 4-5 stars, people seemed to like it. I loved the plot, simple as it was. I loved the characters, as flawed as they were. To me, they were very real, and the whole scenario was so possible.

Binds That Tie is a different animal. Its different than TIKY in weird and wonderful ways -- the characters are more complicated, the choices are internally driven. I'm proud of my growth as a writer. Binds was fun to write -- I love the darker side of human nature, what we all could do if pushed to certain limits. Would we all stay loyal? Selfless? Doubtful. I also liked the idea that everything you do in your life changes who you are in some small way, and you can't go back. You can't return to who you were before, no matter how much you'd like to.

I have no idea if this will translate to readers. I can't wait to find out. In the meantime, my nails are bitten to the quick and I can't stop downing Girl Scout Cookies and Irish Soda bread. And wine. Always, always wine.

This has nothing really to do with the post, except it made me laugh. YOUR WELCOME.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"Why Do I Write" Blog-Hop!

Welcome to the "Why Do I Write" Blog-Hop! A Blog-hop is a fun way for a bunch of writers to get together and all blog about a set topic. I was invited to this one by Diana Rose, a romance writer I know from social media. Today's topic involves craft and process, which is always fun to talk about!

Clearly a stock photo. Note the lack of children.

1) What am I working on?

I'm currently working on my third fiction novel, all stand alone. It doesn't have a title so I call it Book #3, or sometimes "WIP". It's about a woman in Witness Protection who longs for roots, so she tries to find her birth mother. As she closes in on her search, it becomes obvious that someone will stop at nothing to keep her from the truth. It's a bit more thriller than my previous books, Thought I Knew You and Binds That Tie.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I feel as though all my work is fairly genre bending. My first novel, Thought I Knew You, fit pretty squarely in the women's fiction category, although there was an underlying mystery. My second novel is a weird combination of thriller, courtroom drama, but still retains some women's fiction elements: character arc, introspection, romance as well as complicated sister and mother relationships. It's hard to speculate about my third novel because it's early drafting stages yet. I suspect it will be more firmly planted in the thriller genre. But I enjoy blending genres, both in my writing and reading.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write what I like to read. I like complicated, flawed characters. I like plots with twists and turns and not-so-happy endings. I like justice, but even the bad guy can be good and the good guy can be bad, so to me, justice isn't black and white. I like forgiving the terrible traits in some of my characters. I like turning the idea of clearly drawn "evil" on its head. 

4) How does my writing process work?

It works? Just kidding. I feel like I start fresh every time. I'm a systems person by nature, so I keep evolving my "process" to refine it for me. For Thought I Knew You, I pantsed the whole thing. Every time I sat down to write, I started with a blank page and no idea what would happen next. That was fun. Stressful and kind of exhausting but fun in its own way. For Binds That Tie, I outlined most of it, and in place of the actual ending outline I wrote "Insert something brilliant here". And I waited for something brilliant to hit me. Again, kind of fun, but mostly terrifying. For my WIP, I have a very detailed outline, including an ending. This is my most complicated, fun book to write so far. I'm in love with it. I think about it constantly, ways to turn up the heat, ways to torture poor Zoe. I can't wait to get it out of me!

Thanks Diana for the invite. I'm a day late with this blog, due to being sick and the snow, and also being sick of the snow. 

About Diana:
Diana Rose is a Russian native who lives in New York. Her stories transport readers to the fantasy filled worlds where she brings royalty and magical beings to life, with colorful romantic scenes and characters that her imagination creates. She fuels her creativity while reading romantic novel. When Diana is not writing, she enjoys spending her time with her family and friends. You can find her on her blog:

Who's up next on the hop?

Erica Lucke Dean

Erica Lucke Dean is the author of To Katie With Love and Suddenly Sorceress, both from Red Adept Publishing. 

After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains where she lives in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180lb lap dog, and at least one ghost.

When she’s not busy writing or tending to her collection of crazy chickens, diabolical ducks, and a quintet of piglets, hell bent on having her for dinner, she’s either reading bad fan fiction or singing karaoke in the local pub. Much like the characters in her books, Erica is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces.
How she’s managed to survive this long is one of life’s great mysteries.Erica can be found hanging out, writing about her farm and fluffy romance on her blog.

Stephen Kozeniewski
Stephen Kozeniewski is the author of Braineater Jones and The Ghoul Archipelago.

Stephen lives with his wife and two cats in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. He was born to the soothing strains of "Boogie With Stu" even though The Who are far superior to Zep, for reasons that he doesn't even really want to get into right now.

During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. The depiction of addiction in his fiction is strongly informed by the three years he spent working at a substance abuse clinic, an experience which also ensures that he employs strict moderation when enjoying the occasional highball of Old Crow.

He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor's degree is in German.

He can be found critiquing the world's major works of literature on Manuscripts Burn.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year, Same Me... And That's Okay.

I used to have a thing for New Year’s Resolutions. To me, it was a time to sit down, reflect on the year and make a list. It was a fresh start, a new beginning, the page was blank. Who would I be this year? What could I accomplish? What could I change? There’s a freedom in that, to allow yourself to believe that all the things you’re unhappy with can change in a year, like gulping down pure oxygen.  

At the end of 2012, I made thirteen resolutions. THIRTEEN. I go big or go home. I figured, the law of averages, right? If you do something enough times, it will work out at least once. Some were shallow and easy (learn how to apply eyeliner) and some were lofty (be a size eight), and even others seemed insurmountable at the time (stop yelling at my kids). In some way, they all revolved around self-improvement. Be a better (fill in the blank). Be more romantic with my husband (be a better wife). Catch up on backlogged paperwork (be a better employee). Write 2-3K a week (be a better writer). Give more money to charity (Be a better human). The overall message from 2012 Me to 2013 Me: You are not good enough.
I didn’t even realize it until almost November, when I went back and reviewed the list. I laughed a little at myself, but at the same time, deep down, I felt like a failure. I had accomplished maybe three of the items on the list (which upped to four when I quickly found an eyeliner tutorial on Youtube).
I tried explaining all this to my husband, who has always insisted that I am ridiculously hard on myself. I have always countered with: self-improvement can never be bad. We can all afford to be better people. To me, it’s always been arrogance to assume you’re perfectly fine the way you are – that you couldn't improve your parenting, or maybe be a better friend to someone, maybe say you’re sorry to someone you should have apologized to years ago? I dismissed him as too self-satisfied. I was clearly the enlightened one.
A few weeks ago, I went to my daughter’s kindergarten classroom for National Education Week. I watched her sit, straight-backed, at the Star table listening to instructions, and then cut out turkey feathers in perfect shapes. I watched her collect all her scraps and throw them away and put away her scissors and pencil in her pencil case and then refold her “quiet hands” and wait patiently for the next instruction. I watched her scan the classroom to make sure she was the first one done. I watched her run a small index finger along the edge of the turkey feather to make sure it was a flawless, clean cut. I watched her get frustrated because the glue on her page was slightly smeared. I watched her write and erase the “L” in her first name probably fifteen times, until I thought the paper would rip. Later that night, I said to my husband, “What kind of five year old demands that level of perfection? Where would she get that from?” He quipped back, “Maybe there’s a thirteen New Year’s resolutions gene.”
I was frustrated. I've never pushed her – her drawings were always hung proudly on the refrigerator, she dresses herself in whatever she wants, and even does her own hair. I don’t fix her crooked ponytails. I don’t tell her that pink doesn't always match pink. I stress that “doing your best” is all I ever ask. I’m conscious of letting her find her own way. How could I have done that to her? I clearly needed to do something different, something better. But what? I started Googling things, how to tame a perfectionist child, how to calm an anxious kindergartner.  I watched her do her homework and erase letter after letter, and I said to my husband, “What did I do wrong? What can I do differently?” And his answer was simple. “You are too hard on yourself.”
With that simple phrase, one he’d said a hundred times in our marriage, I realized he was right. For the first time, I understood what he meant. I wasn't hard on my daughter. I was hard on me. I was loving and forgiving and encouraging to my daughter. To myself, I was critical, unkind, harsh. And it was possible, maybe even likely, that whatever perfectionist trait my daughter had inherited had been nurtured in herself by watching me.
I thought back to every Pinterest project we’d ever tackled, every picture we’d ever colored together, every date night she’d watched me get dressed, trying on outfit after outfit, probably sighing. I wasn't a perfectionist, necessarily. In fact, in the moment I can be frequently very lazy. Only later do I fret, worry, feel guilt, think about what I should have said, or should have done, over-apologize, or stress about how I come off to others. She’d spent her whole life watching me critique myself, and come up short in my own eyes. She wasn't trying to make her “L’s” perfect for me—she knew my love was unconditional. But I had inadvertently taught her that self-love was something to be worked for, to be earned.
This year, I’m making one resolution. It’s one word, and it’s mildly cheesy. Accept. Accept that I will yell. Try again tomorrow. Accept my size 14. Eat healthy choices. Accept my work day ends at 4. Accept that I might disappoint someone someday. Whether it be my husband or my best friend, my boss, my mother or my sister. Accept that giving what I give to charity is better than nothing and maybe just give a little bit more.
 We are teaching our children how to be people. Not just with House Rules charts and Rewards Jars, but with our actions. Not just how we treat our kids, but how we treat others, how we treat ourselves. Some of the greatest lessons aren't sound bites (Hands are not for hitting! Kind words, kind tone!), but choices we make every day, reflected by how we view the world. Maybe if we want our kids to be happy, we should be happy. Maybe if we want our kids to be kind, we should be kind.
Maybe if we want our kids to love themselves, it’s not enough that we simply love them. We must also love ourselves.

 I never said I'd quit drinking

Friday, March 15, 2013

Giveaway Winner!!

Thank you to everyone who entered the THOUGHT I KNEW YOU Book Club giveaway!! The winner has been chosen, and congratulations to Katie and her book club! I can't wait to Skype or call into your meeting!

We had a fantastic turnout - over 600 entries and to celebrate, we've lowered the kindle price of THOUGHT I KNEW YOU to $1.99 for the weekend (click here to download)!

Want to enter another giveaway? My publisher is turning a year old, and they're giving away hundreds of dollars in Amazon gift cards, books, and prizes! Check it out!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My So-Called Writerly Life

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to blog more frequently. I guess, technically, a resolution can’t be a failure until you start it, right? Okay, so here goes.

This is my first “writing” post. Mostly, I’ve blogged about my weird kids, or observations of family life, but I’ve strategically avoided writing about…well, writing. I don’t know why – can something be unknown and strategic? Not sure, but there it is.

I thought I’d give my five blog readers (waves at Mom, Aunt Mary Jo, Becky and Molly, maybe Megan) a little insight into my writing life. Sometimes my friends and family will ask questions, but always seem a little unsure of what to do with the answer. Did they know that? Are they supposed to understand what that means? Generally, I change the subject back to mom things with a collective sigh of relief – messy houses and screaming kids are solid ground. But my writerly life is usually met with a that’s cool, I guess?

I don’t write every day. I work every day – I commute an hour to a job that I mostly like, but don’t feel passionate about. In that way, writing has ruined my life. The rest of you are just along for the ride. At night, after I get home, and the kids are in bed, instead of folding laundry or cleaning the kitchen like I should be doing, I email bloggers, check my twitter and my facebook, check my Amazon rank, reply to fan mail (that’s a joke. Unless one of you e-mails me)…oh, and try to be a decent wife by paying a little attention to my husband.

Before you all start thinking I’m martyring myself, here’s my secret: It’s so much fun. I love it way more than I thought I would. Or, at least its more fun than folding five loads of kids clothes (oh, cute, you thought I was exaggerating). But this means my kids are mismatched, permission slips are always lost, my dishes are overflowing and my husband is over-houseworked (I’m trying to make up for this by giving him props everywhere. Oh wait, he doesn’t read my blog either. Just...tell him I said so, k?)

On the weekends, while the kids nap (luck, luck, luck, and sheer will play a huge part in having a four-year-old who still takes a nap), I write. This means that if I’m lucky, I write a chapter a week. There are about thirty to forty chapters in my new book. Talk about slow goings. I thought dieting was thankless.

But a few weeks ago, something totally awesome happened. Unexpectedly, I finished the first draft of my second book. Why unexpectedly? Oh, I don’t know, I guess somewhere in the back of my mind, I never know if I’ll abandon something or finish it until I write The End. I spent two weeks smoothing out the issues I knew about, but at sixty-five thousand words, I knew there were more problems. It simply wasn’t long enough to be good, in my mind (*SIGH* disclaimer: there are very good books at that length. I could tell that mine was not one of them). It needed….something. But what? (Side note: the average novel is about eighty-thousand words, roughly.) Enter, beta readers.

Um, what?
A beta reader is an early draft reader. Everyone has different definitions or uses for these readers but to me, they must be the following:

  • Tough but fair
  • A big reader – I’m talking reads a few books a month
  • A decent communicator
  • Not afraid to tell me the truth
  • Not extraordinarily busy

Beta reading sounds like fun. It’s not. If you’re a beta reader, you’re reading a novel with problems. You’re helping the author identify these problems. You can’t kick up your feet and unwind after a long day, pour a glass of wine, get lost in your kindle. No, you have to pay attention, take notes, answer questions on characterization, consistency, plot holes. It’s work! I appreciate every little note I get back from them, because I know that at least once when they were writing up those notes, they didn’t want to be doing it.

I found six beta readers. I’m still waiting for four of them (patiently, no rush, really…. This isn’t an implied prod. I promise). The notes from the first two overwhelm me. I open them, open my manuscript, stare, stare, stare, close everything, check Twitter, check Facebook.

When I get all my beta reads back, I’ll incorporate as much as I agree with (which will not be everything I should, I can assure you that) and begin my own personal line editing. Getting rid of words like just and about, then, that, had, and eliminating clich├ęs. Hopefully, hopefully, by sometime in March, I’ll be ready to submit my new manuscript to my publisher. If I’m lucky, they’ll like it. Then they’ll edit the heck out of it (tell me that I have to get rid of all the things my beta readers told me to get rid of and I ignored), I’ll repeat all my editing steps from above but with more crying, and I’ll publish it in late 2013. If I’m incredibly lucky! We’ll see.

So, uh, what’s your second book about again? Is it a sequel?
No, I think Claire’s journey is told. My second book is a tiny bit darker, but still involves a troubled marriage. Only this time, the couple accidentally kill a man. Instead of calling the police, they bury the body. The novel is about what that secret does to them, as individuals and as a couple.

Do you want to write for a living?
This is the one question I get asked the most by my family and friends whenever the topic of conversation goes to my new weird life. And the answer is of course.  I would love, love, love, to write for a living. But let me break it down for you, in broad strokes. This year has truly been an eye-opener for me. I sell anywhere between one and five books a day, depending on the day. (As a side note, for a debut nobody, those are great sales!) Hopefully, that number increases? But to make “a living”, let’s just say half my current salary (here’s where I really hope my husband doesn’t read my blog), I’d have to sell close to seventy copies a day. Seventy. That’s not even close to New York Times Bestseller list stuff. I should just buy a lottery ticket – same odds.

So there it is. My writing status, how writing (barely) fits into my life, what I give up to do it and why, and what I’ll never get out of it. Good thing I love it. Somehow, unexpectedly, I’ve become passionate about it. At almost thirty-five, with a house, two young kids, and a hectic life, I’ve learned that feeling passionately about something outside of those things is important. It keeps me happy, sane, grounded, reasonable.

Well, mostly reasonable. I’m still sort of a writer, you know?

She has better hair than me, but you get the idea.