Still fighting

Writing books isn’t the hardest thing about being an author. In fact, I sometimes look back on the years of rejections fondly. There were only two things to worry about—keep writing and keep submitting. Now published for several years, I find the struggle to build an audience to be the harder endeavor. There is a level of trust I must gain from every customer before they will open their wallets and give me a shot. For every one book sold, you are told no a thousand times more. It wears on your confidence, sometimes with tsunami strength waves. I’m grateful for my family, friends, and publishing house. Their support is like a gulp of air that helps me continue to fight, so I don’t uproot my dreams and let them be swept away. I’m also grateful for other authors who give me new ideas to pursue that might help me reach a bigger audience. Nothing like a new direction to boost your resolve to dig in and keep fighting.

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I blame the timewarp in my living room

Like an intoxicating drug, I have to be careful with the written word. The right characters and plot can suck me right in, and suddenly, hours have passed and my husband is home from work and wondering why I’m still in my PJ’s from the morning. I feel bad on those days—kind of. If the book isn’t finished, well…I’m sorry, honey, but I’m still not coming up for air. Then, I realize I also lost a day of working on one of my own novels. Dang it! Now I really do feel bad. It’s all about the priorities, people. 😉

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Ah…the wrestling struggle

This past weekend took us to another wrestling tournament for my high school son. To say he’s worked hard this year is an understatement. He cut fourteen pounds to attain his wrestling spot on the varsity team. He never misses practice. He runs on the weekend to maintain his weight and for conditioning. He’s done so many crunches I’m starting to worry he might end up permanently flexed in the stomach region when this is over. The kid has put every ounce of his heart on soul into this endeavor and yet it still doesn’t mean he always wins, which was the case for the double elimination tournament we just attended. I don’t know why he didn’t go to dad, but he ended up plopped down beside me, completely dejected.

“Why, mom?” He whispered fighting back tears, trying to not lose it in front of a crowd of onlookers. “I gave it everything I had, but I still lost. Why is it never enough?”

I’m supposed to be running the mat I’m sitting at, but I ignore the boys waiting to check in and wrap my arms around my son. Thankfully, nobody gave me any guff about it.

“Never?” I whisper back to my son. “Don’t forget you have won this season. Winning all the time is hard to do. Your opponent wants to win too, so they’re not going to just lay down and let you have the pin.”

I guess my words weren’t very comforting. He broke down and cried in earnest. I raised my finger to the approaching ref, signaling him to give me another minute then squeezed my son harder. “I know it sucks, but you can’t give up. Failures are really only failures if you stop trying.” I push him to stand. “So go get dressed and start again next week.”

I watched him leave wondering if having him wrestle was the worst thing I could have ever allowed as a mother, but then I happened to stumble upon something profound in the book I was reading that same evening. It’s from Oathbringer from Brandon Sanderson. “Failure is the mark of a life well lived. In turn, the only way to live without failure is to be of no use to anyone.”

He’s right. Coming up short happens a lot in life. Learning to deal with it at a young age could never be a bad thing. So wrestle on, my boy, you’re building character that will last you a lifetime.

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A special pre-release for Stuffed Souls

I’m excited to announce I will be down in Tempe Arizona for their local comicon with NewLink Publishing to debut my latest young adult novel, Stuffed Souls, on Saturday January 27th. I will have special pre-release copies of my novel there. This novel doesn’t go on sale to the general public until March 1st 2018. If your in the Phoenix area, come on down and be one of the lucky ones to get a copy before anyone else can.

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This too shall pass

Our attitude toward life is something we get to choose. All around us events happen that we have very little control over. Water heaters can stop working on the Saturday before Christmas. A leak in your roof can ruin an inside wall of your new home that you’ve only lived in for a little over a year. Okay, so these are a couple of the biggies that hit our family this December, but you know what? Crap happens all the time. Once we get over these hurdles, there will be new ones facing us. Do you want to know the secret to getting through it all? Be positive. It’s that simple. No it doesn’t fix the water heater or the wall, but focusing on the all the things going right in your life does help minimize the stress. It even helps you laugh in the face of it all, which in the end, is what you sometimes need most. Even if your world really is crumbling all around you, still take a moment to assess your blessings. Your crumbled world will still be there, but a positive mentality can do so much more than one wallowed in nothing but negative thoughts. Remember: no matter what it is, this too shall pass. Have a happy New Year!

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The best present you can give: Time

Since this blog post is falling on Christmas day I’m not going to feel too bad if most of my readers don’t see this right away. Christmas is a time for family, so put down your phones and other electronic devices and just enjoy spending time with your loved ones. With my mom passing during the holiday season three years ago it has become a bittersweet time for me. I miss her dearly, but I know that she expects me to keep moving forward without her. When I think of her I realize the importance of keeping in touch with loved ones. The time we are allotted on this earth is an unknown variable. So cherish those relationships in your life, they may not be there as long as you think they will be.

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Maybe this time don’t order the usual

Working in a publishing house has given me opportunities to read books that I wouldn’t normally have sought out for my own personal enjoyment. For years my go-to preference has been YA books with strong female leads. When people would tell me to read a book from some other genre I’d often kindly tell them, “Those kinds of books aren’t my cup of tea.”

I’m starting to realize what a foolish response that was. Like a child who refuses to try any food that’s green, I’d been eating up the same style of books for years because I couldn’t be sure other books would entertain me the way YA books did.

I’ve now read so many different styles, even a Sci-fi that I absolutely loved. Gasp! How is that possible? But it’s true. And if I could boldly offer you some advice, you should do the same. I hope this Christmas season you’ll take the opportunity to pick up a genre totally different from your usual. I also hope you’ll do those many not-so-well-known authors out there a solid. E-books aren’t all that expensive. It won’t hurt your pocketbook that much to give one of the little guys a try. I know from experience they’ll appreciate far more than words can express.

If you haven’t discovered my books you can find my complete young adult series through the link below.

The Rory’s Choice Series

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