June 1, 2020 is a date I have been focused on for most of this year. It is the day I will release three new books. My Scotland with a Stranger Memoir, Collection 2 of Velvet Guild and Collection 1 of AnaStasia.
For over a year, I have been seriously writing. In the mornings, when the coffee tells me I can do anything, I sip and I poke at a keyboard that has become so worn most of the letters are indistinguishable. It is where I am most myself, where I am happiest and I am hell-bent on making it my full-time income this year. I had no idea what I was doing a year ago. I wrote my stories, tried to edit them the best I could. I claimed a few websites and began to build them out. I learned about Amazon, self-publishing, and made decisions on so many things with so little knowledge. As a result I made many mistakes, but I was able to immediately pivot and go in a different direction and continue to climb up my mountain. Never a straight path, always switchbacking, through thick brush, but still seeking out progress so matter how small. Progress is progress.
It has meant working even when I didn’t want to. Turning down fun plans with friends because I was afraid it would get in the way of my goals, staying home if I was tight to a deadline. I have had much less fun, on purpose, so I could devote my energy to chasing this dream.
When I started, I didn’t even know how to find an editor, so I joined a couple of groups and the universe connected me with Kendra. An absolute dream to work with, incredibly thorough and who always makes me look like I know how to use a comma when nothing could be farther from the truth. I joined several Facebook groups to learn the ropes. I would get up at 4 am, write the words, go to work at 7 as a lunch lady, daydream, and work through my plot points while I counted trays and washed dirty tables. Then go home and work on marketing and website design and SEO and the million other things that a writer must do to be successful.
My first published project was “Velvet Guild,” in the erotic romance genre. Someday I know it will be a series on Amazon or Netflix. Little did I know that advertising it would prove to be nearly impossible. Facebook and Amazon are very prudish and their rules are inconsistent when it comes to advertising racy material. 50 Shades gets the green light on both platforms, but the rest of us are in the dark, finding readers one by one, the hard way. Still, the series is doing very well. There are fans that have written the most amazing reviews for it and when things are hard, or I want to give up, I pull up one of those reviews and it helps keep me going.
The second project was another serial called AnaStasia. Parallel lives have always fascinated me, ever since I watched Sliding Doors in the nineties. But I was going to connect the lives at various points to give it a new twist. The series is very difficult to write but is coming together beautifully, as writing sometimes can be magic. It’s one of the things I love most about the craft.
Next, I wrote a memoir. Something I never thought I would do, but the story of what led me to run away to Scotland to heal myself and what transpired there was such a compelling story, I had to do it and now in a few short weeks it will be out there, in the world, and that is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. I sent it out to tons of agents who gave me the rejection letters, and that was okay, I was planning on self-publishing it anyway. One of those rejection letters was so kind and thoughtful and full of praise for my writing, that I kept it and return to it often.
June 1st I have decided to go all-in on me. I hired an ads expert that was a huge stretch for me financially, especially during a pandemic. Along with everyone else, I lost 60% of my income. I had to humble myself and apply for assistance, it is not something I ever thought I would have to do, and it was a bitter pill to swallow. I jokingly tell myself that I am in the rags portion of my rags to riches journey and just like JK Rowling, I am one book away from being successful.
I had to gamble, so I doubled down and hired an expert who I am convinced will be the game changer for me, and working with her will finally bring me the freedom that I crave. Time freedom and location freedom are the measure of wealth for me. When I have earned both of those, that is when I will feel like I truly made it. I don’t care if people know me by name. I just want freedom from fear and worry and soon I will have it. I know it. My time is coming. All this hard work will come together and the right opportunities I need will come forward at the right time they are needed. I believe this with all of my being.
Looking back, it has been a beautiful year. I have learned so much about myself, what I need, and what I am capable of. I have become a stronger writer and a better businesswoman. I have finally gone all-in on me, instead of being a background player in other businesses. The success that I found so easily for others, will now find me because I am finally ready for it. I am not afraid of it, I know that I am worthy of it and it is finally my time.
Here’s hoping your time is right around the corner too! And if you find yourself struggling, just keep swimming. Don’t give up. Your time is coming.
PS. If you love these blog posts, help me keep the lights on and Doritos in the pantry for my teenager, by checking out one of my books below. There's something for everyone. "Velvet Guild" is naughty and explicit. (Erotic Romance), "Scotland with a Stranger" is a memoir of my trip to Scotland last May and "AnaStasia" is a parallel lives story (Women's Fiction)
Friends Don't Let Friends Stay Vanilla
Desperate times…call for sexy solutions.
Aimee is panicking, feeling like a middle-aged failure, barely scraping by, raising a teenager alone. She is also a submissive who yearns to be dominated in the bedroom.
Could she introduce couples to the BDSM lifestyle through a house party format? Instead of game night, it could be blindfolds and bite marks.
Scotland with a Stranger:A Memoir
“Who goes to Scotland for two weeks with a stranger they met over the internet? I did.”
At forty-three, Ninya was depressed, out of shape, and filled with crippling anxiety after addiction, cancer, and divorce had destroyed nearly everything. One day, she received a message from a stranger. This woman offered to lead her on a self-healing trip hiking through the Scottish highlands.
It seemed like a sign.
This is the story of one life, lived two different ways.
In one reality, “Stasia” is the beloved daughter of doting parents who spare no expense in supporting her ambition and talent. Adoring not just their daughter but also one another, their home is full of celebration, warmth and love.
In another reality, “Ana” washes dishes at a nursing home to buy her carefully-budgeted art supplies, waiting until her alcoholic father passes out before creeping downstairs to paint. Ana must survive her father’s nightly verbal abuse without any help from her silent, cowed mother, until she can retreat to the only place she feels safe, in front of her easel.