My 2015

This is the time of the year where we look back at what we’ve done for the past twelve months and cover our faces and moan in disgust or do a happy dance. This is the time of the year when people make resolutions and dream big for what’s to come. This is the time of the year when you decide how your next year will play out. 

2015 has been a difficult year for me. It was a growing pains year, but I made it to the other side and I’m a better person for the struggles I’ve gone through. You really can’t control life, can you? Every time I think I know what’s going to happen, fate intervenes, laughing like a maniac and shoving me headlong down a path I never saw coming. I’ve learned to roll with it, which is difficult since I’m a control freak. I’ve learned that expressing how you feel (even though it’s going to cause a shit storm) is better than keeping your emotions locked up inside of you. Stick up for yourself and if you believe in something, don’t compromise. With all the madness in the world, we need to make sure we’re living the way we want to and sticking to our beliefs. These days, it’s all we have left. 

I want to give a shout out to my friends and fans who have encouraged me through this year. Your well wishes have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. Those impatient emails demanding the next book in a series reminds me not to give up on my dream and that people care and are waiting… I self-published one book this year, Rock Star’s Ballad. Despite that, I’ve had my best numbers to date and feel comfortable leaving my corporate job to pursue writing. At first I looked at this year as a writing year wasted. Now, I realize it was God’s way of setting me up financially and giving me material for the next 10 years. LOL.

I have an extremely ambitious writing year planned. I don’t know how it’s all going to work, but I promise that I will be writing and self-publishing in 2016. I’m not sure which books will be produced, but I will be blogging about them once I’m in the project so stay tuned for that. 

I believe 2016 is going to be my best year yet and I hope you feel the same. Let’s ring in the new year with excitement, hope and determination. Dream big, work hard and I’ll see you on the other side! 

Happy New Year. 

 

 

Beauty out of ashes

In the wake of the Paris attacks, something beautiful happened.

The company I work for in our little town on the Big Island of Hawaii is known for its connection to France. On Monday morning, we came in to find that someone had left a tuberose lei strung with roses and a vase full of blooming flowers on our doorstep. Along with that were the lyrics for Imagine by John Lennon and this card:
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It’s amazing to me that even as far away as we are, we mourn together and people care – as much as we believe they don’t. This gesture of solidarity, of love touched me, the company and everyone we told. I don’t know if this was done by one person or multiple but the items they chose and the thought behind it was stunning.
I hope to witness more acts like this in the future, rather than the ones of hate that are so often splashed over every headline. We need more acts like this and for people to express themselves through positive actions.
God bless whoever did this. You made a difference.

A Life-Changing Realization

This week I’ve come to a life-changing realization.

Three months ago, I went back to my corporate job. This is my dream job, the one I left to pursue writing two years ago. Leaving this job was really difficult because I loved it. The problem was, they weren’t going to pay me what I thought I deserved. This time around, they gave me better compensation, but it’s still not where I believe it should be. Regardless of that, it’s a miracle that they hired me back on and it couldn’t have come at a  better time. This job is practically tailor-made for me. It’s 10 minutes away from where I live, pays me more than I’ve ever made, challenges me on a daily basis, has amazing benefits, my coworkers are awesome and occasionally we drink wine during meetings (I work with a lot of French people). Going back to this company has been rewarding, terrifying and stressful. Much has changed in the past two years- management, job duties, morale and environment. I’ve been trying to figure out what it is about the job that doesn’t quite fit with me anymore. I finally realized that although the job has changed, that’s not what unsettles me. I’ve become a square peg that doesn’t fit into the round hole.

I should be deliriously happy. I have a great job, no real financial responsibilities and a family that supports me. So, why is it that every day that I go to work my soul is screaming in protest?

I accepted a six month contract, but my boss(es) assume that I will accept a permanent position when my contract is up in January. It took me two months to admit that this coveted position (that made everyone so proud of me) didn’t come close to making me happy. I don’t want the permanent position. Not because I don’t like the work (although it is stunningly stressful), but because this job takes up every aspect of my life and leaves me with no energy to write, which I need to do. This job is all about conformity and being politically correct. Two years ago I was able to do this. Now, I can’t. Years of expressing myself, of realizing I could touch people around the world with my words and make a living from my imagination has completely ruined me. I make enough money from writing to pay my bills. Some months I make more than enough, but my income isn’t consistent. Writing is a gamble, a dream, a risk, a long shot… and I think I can do it.

My life-changing realization is that I will never be able to able to go back to a 9-to-5. There is nowhere for me to go except pour everything I have into what I really want- writing. I want to be my own boss. I want to be creative. I want to live an unconventional life. I want to create something positive and send it out into the world. I want to touch people through story. I would rather live paycheck to paycheck and write than have a nice salary and not be able to dream.

Everyone keeps telling me that I’m blessed to be back at my corporate job. They’re correct. And yet, I feel so empty. I’ve struggled with this decision for weeks and now I feel eerily calm because I know I’m making the right choice. I need to follow my heart and do what makes me happy.

I struggled a lot in 2015. I decided that getting by wasn’t enough. I went into recovery mode and struggled to find a job instead of trusting in my writing. I wasted a whole year trying to find the right job. I’m ending 2015 with the golden ticket… and I don’t want it. This mad, flustered scramble I’ve been in wasn’t about the job- it was about security, about trying to conform and look like I was doing something because I hadn’t “made it” yet with writing. I was afraid to trust my gift fully. I didn’t believe that everything would work out if I just kept on. I always backpedal before I crash. It’s a fatal flaw that comes in handy sometimes, but also can stop me from getting to a higher plateau. I released one book this year- the least I’ve published since 2013. Strangely, this one book made all the difference in the world. My sales soared to a new high and I’ve had my best numbers to date. If I hadn’t wasted time worrying about money and trying to find a dinky job to get by, how much further would I be in my writing career?

If I commit to writing completely, I believe I can make it. 

2016 is my year. I’m proclaiming it now. I’m going to live it the way I want- by writing, exploring and keeping my eyes and heart open. We only have one life to live. In a commencement speech Jim Carrey said that his father wanted to be a comedian, but he didn’t think he could make a living off of it so he did the safe thing and became an accountant. After several years he was laid off from that job. Jim Carrey said that he learned something vitally important from this. “You can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

I agree.

 

 

 

 

Birthright 3/Ongoing Projects

I (kind of) finished the first draft of the third book in the Birthright Series, but it needs a lot of work before it’s ready for reader eyes!  The Birthright Series is by far the most complex series I write, despite the fact that it’s YA. The first two books in the series took me years to write so I’m not surprised that the third installment is turning out to be just as difficult as the others. Each book took multiple rewrites. I thought I’d be able to release this book by the end of the year but it is now listed as TBD. I will keep you all informed.

I haven’t released as many books in 2015 as I have in the past, but I have four audio books coming out this year! Unmemorable and Clutch of the Demon have already been released. Can’t Let Go and Unleashed will be released within the next two months on Amazon, iTunes and Audible. Shout out to my narrators, Beth Stewart and Roni Gallimore!

I’m tinkering with the fourth book in the White Mist Series, Ever After (working title). This is Bethany’s book. The White Mist Series has been doing remarkably well! Thank you to all who have been following Regan Lee, Gwen, Johnny and Demi! Bethany’s story is heart wrenching but of course she’ll get her HEA!

All projects are delayed due to the fact that I’ve gone back to my corporate job. It’s been a blessing to go back and I hope I’ll find a way to balance work and writing. 

In the meantime, I love to hear from you all, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me!. I am now somewhat active on Instagram so you can follow me there or on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Definition of Success

There are many definitions of success. For some it’s reaching a certain salary, for others success is keeping your head above water. In the past, success to me meant being independent. Now, I’m not so sure. In most people’s eyes I’m not successful. I live with my parents and for the past year have worked under the table jobs. Now, I’m a temp at my old corporate job and trying to find a balance between work and writing. When I come home there’s my nephew, parents, dogs, etc. There’s always something to catch up on or someone who needs something. I am never idle and my weekends are spent doing chores I couldn’t do during the week. I know everyone can relate to that. 

Recently I was talking to my friend Jai who I’ve known for 8 years. Over time we’ve built up a good phone relationship and it works for us. We may not hear from one another for 6 months, but when we talk, it’s like no time passed. Anyway, we had a talk yesterday and were catching each other up on the past 3 months or so. I wasn’t saying much since I was buzzing my dog while she told me some crazy stories. I did manage to get her up to date with where I was personally and she was happy for me. Before we got off the phone, she said, “You know what? I think you’re doing damn good. You’re true to yourself, know who you are and what you want. I have no doubt that you’re going to be a success no matter what you do. I’m proud of you.” This was said completely out of the blue and I was shocked by the unexpected flood of tears. She said it so off handedly, so casually as if it was already a done deal. She has no idea what my future holds (and neither do I) but that doesn’t stop her from declaring it for me. We get so caught up in money, titles and prestige that we forget that we can’t take those things with us.

Success is a feeling, not a figure and I think others see it in ourselves better than we do. I’d seen this video below several days prior to and had to share it. I think it shows that we’re rich in different ways and what we sow in others will come back. Sometimes we need someone else to describe what we see in the mirror because we don’t see clearly. Thank God for friends and family.

Unexpected Path

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Austin, TX

It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog, but I recently met someone who encouraged me to continue these so here I am. Those that have been following me for a while know that I left a corporate job in October of 2013. It was a big risk leaving a job with great benefits and security but I don’t regret it. I decided to follow my heart and do everything in my power to make a living with writing. In the past two years I’ve self-published 7 books and written around 10. I don’t regret leaving my corporate job even though I took odd jobs here and there to make ends meet. It’s been exhilarating and stressful!

About two weeks ago I got a call from my old corporate job, which I left almost two years ago for the usual reasons—money and my boss wasn’t the greatest. I loved this job. It was challenging, played to my strengths and fed my unquenchable thirst for learning. For the first time in my life, no one cared how young I was, just that I had the will to learn and the capability to complete the job. It was amazing. I bloomed here and learned everything from HTML coding to how to apply for a Chinese visa. Every day was a challenge and I thrived on it. It actually pained me to leave this job because I loved it but I knew I had to leave or I’d become resentful and bitter. Anyway, the former Director retired and the new one asked if I would be interested in a six month temporary position with a hefty hourly wage (what I should have gotten paid years ago). I said I was interested because:

  1. I would love to pay off some bills
  2. I want to go on a cruise to Japan in 2016
  3. I loved the job, company and people
  4. The fact that this job is coming up again is a sign… right?
I went in for an interview with the new Director and outlined my former duties, which were varied and intricate. A week went by without a word and I flip-flopped between wanting and not wanting the  job back. After all, it would take me away from writing, but at the same time it could propel me way ahead in different ways AND it’s only a 6 month gig…

I got the job.

The day of my 27th birthday I walked through the double doors, part terrified, part excited. It’s like I never left. I got kisses on both cheeks (some of the employees are French) and much hugs were passed around. If there was ever a job I’d put above writing it’s this one. It seems tailor made for me and it’s one I accidentally fell into two years ago. I’ve committed to this job for the next 6 months and it’s going to be insane. There’s loads of work to slosh through and much to learn.

I guess you all know why I’m writing this… I will be writing, but definitely not as much as I “should.” I will be tinkering around with manuscripts in my downtime, but I doubt that I will get out anything by the end of the year. I know that I promised Unmemorable and Birthright 3 but that’s going to have to take a back seat for now. I promise to finish the books but I have no release date and won’t for a while. It’s amazing that this company called me back nearly two years later. It’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I feel like I have built up my writing catalogue enough to take a small break (not really a break at all) to crush some bills and pay for my cruise which is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I know there will be some angry fans waving picket signs saying that I promised the books to be out by the end of 2015. Sorry! I will get these books out, but like I said, there is no release date for any of them because this job demands my attention for now. Writing is a de-stress for me so maybe I will be writing more than I think, but I don’t want to make any promises.

Life is so weird. You never know what’s going to come your way. Be ready for anything and watch for the signs. 😉 Wish me luck!