Posts in Spiritual
Digging Out of Distraction: The Climb to the Top

Many years ago, before I sold my first book and released it into the world, I wrote about the journey toward publication. DIGGING OUT OF DISTRACTION had motivational pieces, craft ideas, shared my ups and downs as I struggled to find a publishing home for my stories. After I sold to Entangled in 2013, I compiled the blog posts into a volume and published it on Amazon. I also have a nice motivational workshop/presentation with the same title that has, I hope, inspired and encouraged other dreamers to keep on trying no matter what.

 My first non-fiction collection of motivational essays for writers. The contents still apply today!

My first non-fiction collection of motivational essays for writers. The contents still apply today!

But… attaining this dream didn’t change the realities facing me prior to publishing.

Quite frankly, the romance publishing industry has changed tremendously since my debut novel THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION released in June 2014 with Entangled Publishing. And the challenges facing romance writers and authors are manifold. I’ve learned that there a lot of authors out there who want their stories to get discovered. Certainly, I do, but I’ll be honest. Getting discovered is hard on a shoestring budget and in the face of all the competition.

There have been moments of discouragement and I’ve struggled to maintain my motivation at times when sales have lagged or contracts dried up. But I pushed through and decided I had an opportunity to continue publishing as an Indie author who controlled her own world. If the money ever followed, great. If not? I still need to write about as much as I need to breathe to live. So the writing will always be a part of who I am.

But how do I keep my motivation and my butt in the chair writing stories along with performing all the other jobs in my empire?

I go back to my roots. To the beginning. When everything was possible. And I refresh my memory about how everyone’s publishing & writing journey is unique. We’re all climbing the same mountain, but there’s no one right way to get to the top. While it’s daunting to see those authors who are ahead of me… how could I even compete with these powerhouses… I know there are also people climbing behind me.

 After you reach the mountain top, check out the scenery and you’ll discover there’s always another mountain to climb!

After you reach the mountain top, check out the scenery and you’ll discover there’s always another mountain to climb!

And we all have different ways of approaching the summit along with different resources to do so. Some people are steadfast, eye on the prize, only write… publish… market… repeat… and they keep going even on bad days. Others need to take breaks, look at the view, set up base camp with their friends and relax while enjoying each other’s company. Some take side paths, going in different directions for a while. They want to explore different facets of the mountain, then they resume climbing.

At the end of the day, my personal climb up the mountain has been a combination of all the above. I’ve stayed head down and super focused without having a break, then I’ve come up for air and realized… hey… I want to hang out with the other people at this point of the journey. And I want to look at the view for a while, take in the vistas and rest before I continue climbing.

Ultimately, reaching the summit only leads to another discovery… there are always other mountains to climb, valleys to traverse and if we don’t learn how to be at peace with where we are in our own journey, we’ll never enjoy the fruits of our writing successes.

So focus forward, aim high and remember not to compare your ascent up the mountain to anyone else’s climb. Embrace your journey and you’ll have a lot more fun while you’re climbing to the top of this mountain. And then… when another mountain comes into view… you’ll be eager to climb again!



Between the Covers: The Maverick's Red Hot Reunion

The Maverick’s Red Hot Reunion is the first book I sold. Entangled Publishing bought the story in 2013 and the story debuted June 2014. That was a wonderful day! More importantly, I was able to bring awareness out about a serious illness ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the Yankees baseball player who died of it in 1941. 

You see, my stories all have happily ever after endings, but they are about real people with real problems who have to face those challenges, meet them and then, for the romance leads, they end up with the best victory of all—love and a future together.

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Zach Tanner and Kennedy Gibson first became a couple years earlier. They were young. Impulsive. Made mistakes. And even had planned to marry until a terrible loss occurred. One that Kennedy couldn’t bear or ask Zach to go through again. So she keeps the reasons why she pushed him away a secret until many years later, she and their mutual best friend, Michael Sullivan, decide to renovate the resort where she first met Zach.

Michael introduced these two lovebirds. And he’s the reason they reunite and fake another engagement. Why? Michael, a former Olympic swimming Gold Medalist, is diagnosed with ALS. He’s got to get treatment and find a way to deal with this devastating diagnosis. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, Michael uses this disease to bring his best friends back together.

If something good can come out of something this terrible, then he’s going to make it happen. Zach and Kennedy have a lot to work through before they can truly move on as a couple, but they’ll do anything for their friend because they love Michael.

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Michael is a secondary character, but he’s an important part of THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION because he represents how I coped with a dear woman’s ALS diagnosis—a woman who was like a mother to me—and with my grief over another friend’s diagnosis with a glioblastoma.

Writing this story was cathartic for me. I poured my emotions onto the pages. But not just sad emotions… not just grief… No. I also added humor and happiness and hope.

Because we all need a little hope in our world.

Here’s an excerpt from THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION. Not something between the couple that sexy (though there are plenty of sexy times in the story), but something that showcases Michael Sullivan.

Excerpt

Kennedy’s vision blurred when Michael rolled toward the podium in his motorized, custom-built wheelchair. They all turned their attention to the stage. The spotlight focused on her friend. Zach reached for her hand and laced his fingers through hers. Blinking back the threat of waterworks, she held onto him and listened to her dear friend’s slow, careful enunciation.

After he thanked the audience for attending his fundraiser, Michael said, “When I was first diagnosed with ALS I felt completely alone. But in the days that have followed, I’ve realized how deeply supported I am by my family, my friends, and my community. Yes, it sucks to know that one day I will completely lose my ability to walk and talk. And I won’t lie. I miss doing simple things like tying my shoes or going for a long swim in Sweetbriar Lake. But know this: ALS will never define me. Who I am and what I make of the time I have left will define me.”

Her friend, once so strong and capable, may have been stricken by a horrible illness, but nothing could rob him of his spirit.

I still get teary when I read this passage. And I still get choked up when I think about the two special women in my life who gave me so much love and encouragement. They were taken from me far too soon. But I know in my heart that their spirits live on. Here. In the pages of my books and in the small whispers I still hear today.