Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What a year!

I always tend to get a bit sentimental on New Years Eve. It's the idea that this year is in the books, and I can never write the numbers 2013 on a check again (yes, I still pay by check sometimes). My kids are a year older. Hell! I'm a year older. Didn't we just celebrate Y2K?

This year has been interesting. It's the first time in a long time that I did something for myself. I got serious about writing. Since, I became a mom, I've kind of checked out of me being me. Yes! Some will say that I became a new me when I had kids. But, I kind of missed the old me. When I got pregnant, I ditched my fabulous high heels for Uggs and flip flops. Getting dressed up became putting on nice jeans instead of my ten-year-old Gap jeans that are so soft that I could sleep in them. That was just my physical appearance. Mentally, I thought more about how I was going to get a local merchant to donate the silent auction gift certificate that my kid's school needed for the fund raiser than what was important to me, which has always been writing.

So, about this time last year, I took a deep breath and spilled my heart out to my husband. You see, I've been writing Colin and Charlie's story since I was kid. Of course, their story has evolved throughout the years, but the theme hasn't changed. How does one find the balance between their passions and their family (kind of like what I've done this year). My husband told me to go for it. I gave him the latest manuscript and left the house for a long time. You see, I couldn't stand the idea of him reading "Falling Into Infinity" let alone any of you.

When I returned home, he told me how proud he was of me. Then, he said that I couldn't publish it. The latest manuscript was written before the 2012 Aggie football season. He pointed out that I'd essentially written Johnny Manziel's debut season before it happened. I sucked it up and told another friend what I had been up to and let her read it. She said that I should go to Vegas because I could be a millionaire.

In late January of 2013, I had pretty much given up on their story. It was always just a college story with an epilogue that is essentially now the fourth book in the series. Then my friend, insomnia, reared its ugly head. One night, about two o'clock in the morning, I went to my computer and began to rework the book. In ten days, I had the bones for "Falling Into Infinity." I outlined the next three books and found that I had a story that I really liked. In fact, it was even better than the original - so much more authentic.

In May, I was ready to publish. My husband kept pushing me to do it. Terror is not a strong enough word to describe the couple of weeks before the book went live. I sent out seven ARC's to bloggers that I followed and prayed that the emails would wind up in their SPAM folders. My best case scenario was that I was able to check this off my bucket list without a single soul ever reading the series.

Then, in early June, I heard back from Jessica's Book Review. She said how much she loved "Falling." She gave it five stars. I cried.

I used to compare the process of writing a book to putting a picture of your child on the Internet and asking people you don't know to give you their opinion of him or her. That's no longer accurate. The kid is half my husband. I can reason away any faults that you see as his genes not mine. I now think of it as broadcasting your most inner thoughts - the ones that you never want anyone to know - and asking the world to judge you while you stand naked in front of them. It's gut wrenching.

I hit publish and ignored Amazon and all social media. I dove into finishing "From Now Until Infinity." Two weeks after it was live, my friend set up an author page on Facebook for me. Then, I drank half a bottle of wine and began reading the comments on Goodreads and Amazon.

The good reviews are still just as difficult to read as the bad. It's hard for me to come to terms with the idea that you know who Colin and Charlie are. They've been my dirty little secret for far too long. I'm also very protective of their story. I've been asked by blogs to do character interviews, and I always turn them down. I think of them as my friends, and I'm telling you their story over a long dinner. You wouldn't do a media interview about your best friends would you?

In six months, I've spent less than $50 on Facebook advertising. I've sent out very few ARC's. I've turned down all requests for public book signings. I'm a promotion person's nightmare.

But, because of you, my dreams have come true. I'm an Amazon best selling author. It's hard to even type those words because it still seems so impossible. Thank you to everyone who's read the entire series and fallen in love with Charlie and Colin. Thank you to those who couldn't get past the second chapter of "Falling" and sent me messages telling me so. I appreciate you for taking the time to let me know why you didn't like the book. Especially, thank you to everyone who's shared the series with a friend. God, it means so much to me that you cared enough to tell someone else about Colin and Charlie. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My goals for 2014:
  • Do a better job of accepting your praise and criticism.
  • Be more available on my blog and other social media.
  • Oh yeah... Get book four in your hands some time in March :-)
  • Publish my new book. It's not part of the Infinity Series in that you need the back knowledge to appreciate it, but it does feature a character from the series. Let me repeat... It's not part of the Infinity Series at all. There is no new information to be gleamed about Charlie or Colin from the book. You can read it without knowing who Colin and Charlie are and not miss out on anything. I'll give you a hint... The character is not Rachael or Aiden.
I also believe in sharing what I've learned so far on this journey:
  •  I can wear my worn out Gap jeans, grey sweatshirt and keep my hair twisted up in a clip and still accomplish more in five hours than most people get done all day!
  • Amazon is unpredictable at best and a nightmare at its worst.
  • My kids can eat cereal and hot dogs for supper (sometimes together) and survive - even thrive.
  • I can shut my office door and ignore my family for a night and the house doesn't collapse around us. Kids still get bathed, homework is completed and children don't starve if I'm MIA. I also still get picked flowers and "I love you notes." My kids see that I'm doing something for myself that doesn't revolve around them and they're proud of me. It's really amazing.
  • There is still an abundance of kindness in this world. My new book friends I've made this year have enriched my life in ways that I didn't even know I was lacking.
  • Tough skin is necessary if you want to take your foot off of first base to steal second. People have bad days. They say things that they don't mean. Meanness is all about the person dishing it.
  • Too much wine equals insomnia. Who knew?
Cheers! Here's to wishing you a blessed 2014, and hopefully more great stories from me :-)


Post a Comment