Posted on August 27, 2021
As a billionaire, philanthropist, and the life of every party, I work hard and play harder—which occasionally gets me into trouble.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t the soon-to-be CEO of my family’s company. In order to appease my concerned parents, I agree to leave Manhattan and hide out until the media frenzy surrounding my latest mishap settles down.
Which is how I end up in a cabin in the woods with my best friend’s gorgeous little sister on her birthday.
I’m definitely not the gift Tessa’s expecting. We’ve never met before, but it’s clear she’s formed an opinion of me based on my playboy reputation—and it’s not a good one.
But we’re stuck here together.
At first, all we do is bicker, and it’s easy for me to remember all the reasons I shouldn’t touch her. But the more I get to know her, I’m surprised by how real and funny she is beneath her brazen exterior. Did I mention the woman can bake too?
Keeping my hands to myself becomes more torturous than my exile.
After all, having fun is what I’m good at. How can I resist showing her how to live a little?
Posted on August 5, 2020
I’ve been quiet on here all year (or two?). It’s because I published my very first book (and a second!). I’ve been trying to navigate through the murky waters of publishing (spoiler alert: it’s hard lol).
But one question people keep asking me now is, “How do you feel being a published author?”
It’s been almost a year since I published, and I’m still not sure how I feel, let alone how to express it. How would you feel once you finally achieved something you’ve been working toward for years?
Something you’ve desperately wanted for half your life?
Something you’ve dedicated so much time and tears and heartache over?
I don’t really have the words, but I feel good, y’all.
It’s all very surreal, overwhelming, as well as discouraging at times, but ultimately, I feel very happy and blessed and excited.
I’m mostly excited for what all’s to come, because I’m definitely only getting started.
Publishing my first couple of books has taught me so much already that will be invaluable as I move forward. It’s been a fantastic learning experience regarding not just my writing, but also marketing and publishing and everything in between.
I talked with an author friend a couple years back (Jenny Kate of author duo Jiffy Kate – check them out for sure!), who said it perfectly – some things you just won’t know until you do it. Publishing is one of those things, whether you go the traditional or indie route. You won’t know what you don’t know until it comes up, and you have to deal with it. That’s exactly right. I asked many questions, spent many hours researching, and studied writing for two years in graduate school on top of all the studying I did by reading other books in my genre.
But there are things you won’t be prepared for until they arise, and they won’t arise until you go for it.
That’s what happened with me.
I learned a lot simply by doing. The one very important thing that I’ll mention today for new and aspiring authors out there is this:
Listen to other people’s advice, but understand that it’s only a suggestion.
You will get a lot of suggestions. Like, a lot. People in the writing/book world are usually very forthcoming with their knowledge and advice based on experience. They’re open and quick to help, and I can’t tell you how appreciative of that I am. I’ve learned (and continue learning) so much from them. It’s really nice to have someone you can run to with your issues, rants, and general questions, especially when that someone knows exactly what you’re going through because they’ve experienced it too.
But it can also be overwhelming to get so much information, sometimes at once, especially when suggestions from different people start to contradict each other. You start to question what is the best way to do something. Who’s right? Who do I listen to?
For instance, how to market and promote yourself and your book. This is a HUGE holy grail of questions, right? There are 202,193,874 ways to do this. Okay, I don’t know if that’s an accurate number, but that’s my best guess!
In all seriousness, there are so many ways to answer the question of marketing, and I don’t even know half the answers. That can be enough to overwhelm you in itself, but remember, it doesn’t mean you have to do all those things.
You don’t necessarily have to be active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Blog, Newsletter, IG and Facebook stories, and all the other zillions of platforms out there. If it’s not your thing, don’t do it. It can honestly hurt you if you’re posting something just to post. Your audience wants genuine and authentic – they want to know about you and your book and your dogs – and if you’re not posting because you really want to, then it might have the opposite effect.
I personally am not on Twitter, for instance. I can see why people love it, and I might create an account someday down the road, but for right now, I don’t want one. I don’t feel I can handle one more account as I’m already juggling Instagram, my Facebook author page and personal profile, my reader group, and more. It’s a lot to balance (if there is such a thing). And until I’m comfortable, I won’t do anything else.
So… if you don’t want to be on a specific social media, you’re not alone. It’s not wrong, either. Don’t feel like you have to be everywhere just to be there. If you think you can put the time and heart into it, though, go forth and be prosperous! Then come back here, and teach me your ways.
In general, when you feel yourself hyperventilating as you research effective practices on anything and listen to other authors’ journeys, about anything, not just marketing, take a step back and consider your own goals because they’ll affect how you move forward. Consider what you’re trying to accomplish with your release, your online presence, your brand, etc. Then, go from there. Pick and choose what route you think will be beneficial and help you achieve your specific goals.
Also, and this is a big one, keep in mind during this process, that what works for someone else might not work for you, and vice versa. Don’t be afraid to take some time and experiment, either, to see what gives you results.
The more we continue down our paths, the more we’ll learn, and the more we’ll change our tunes as we grow. Which is also okay. We’ll learn what works and what doesn’t as we experiment, but let’s not forget there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to the ways we do things, as long as they’re helping us achieve our goals.
At the end of the day, trust yourself and your gut. Decide for yourself what feels right in the moment and what you’re comfortable with in order to accomplish those things you want.
One other thing that might be obvious, but one we might at times overlook:
Don’t forget to celebrate.
Pat yourself on the back. Go out for a drink. Sleep all day, if that’s how you celebrate (sounds damn good to me right about now!). But don’t forget to smile and clap and jump around in your living room in fuzzy socks while your dogs stare at you (this may or may not have happened – whatever). Because friend, you wrote a book and published it. Many, many, many people don’t ever finish a first draft, let alone publish their book. So, show it off, be proud, and dance it up.
If you’ve just released your book, congratulations. Enjoy this moment!
If you’re about to release, enjoy the process. Don’t let the overwhelming nature of publishing and marketing and all the things that come with it paralyze you. You can do it! Take notes along the way as you learn and figure out your process or of things you’d like to do differently the next time around. You’ve got this.
Now, I’m off to work on my next release. And yes, I will be dancing in my living room with Friends in the background once it’s finished and published too.
Write on, and party on, y’all.
Posted on August 15, 2019
I’m very selfish.
Some of you might think that statement odd, but it’s true. I’m selfish with my time and energy. I’ve learned to prioritize myself and my goals when it comes down to how I spend my time. After all, that’s one of our most precious gifts.
But I didn’t always used to be this way.
When I graduated college in 2013, I had all this free time on my hands. No more studying, sorority meetings or activities, 8 am classes, etc. I was taking a break (read: I had no clue what I was doing with my life), so I moved back in with my parents and bartended at the local country club, where my brother was the manager.
I was back in my hometown with friends and family, and I didn’t want to miss a thing. I had a bad case of FOMO, seriously, which meant I said YES to everything. IHOP at 3 in the morning? Yes. Stay after work for drinks? Yes. Shopping during my one day off? YES. Okay, let’s be honest, I never minded that last one!
As time went by, I started picking up more shifts and even waitressing when the other bartender came in. I did everything I could to busy myself because I felt like I had missed out on things when I was in high school and college – I was making up for lost time.
Eventually, though, I got a job at a bank. I had early mornings and set hours, and I couldn’t continue all the late nights. I couldn’t be everywhere like I could before. When I was bartending, I worked a lot, but I also had a more flexible schedule – but not anymore.
This also forced me to acknowledge that no matter how much fun I was having before and even after I started working at the bank, I felt lost.
I had no balance of fun and personal growth.
I felt like I was just floating around like a leaf in the wind, letting life take me in any direction without my control. I didn’t have a plan. No goal to work towards besides just waking up in the morning and making it through the day. It got to the point where I was just going through the motions. To the point where my then boyfriend (now husband) was concerned.
See, here was the thing. Even with my job at the bank, I never felt like that’s where I belonged. I always felt it was temporary. That I would leave at some point and do something else. Something I’m passionate about. Something long-term.
I started focusing more on myself and what I wanted out of life instead of what everyone else was up to. That’s when I decided to go after the writing thing – when I stopped for a moment and looked inward.
When I silenced the noise to listen to my mind and heart.
I still saw my family and friends, but I started putting myself first. If I was going to get my master’s, I had to make time to study. If I was going to write, I had to make time to work on my writing. That meant I couldn’t make every trip to the mall or movie night. It meant I had to work around a schedule that I set for myself.
It meant I had to find that balance between family/friend time and me time.
No one else was going to do it for me. No one else was going to hold me accountable. As I said before, I had to be disciplined and realize that my schedule was for me to reach my goals.
It felt good to finally have a purpose and focus on doing what made me happy, while also being there for others. It’s about compromise and making sure not to compromise my own personal health and happiness each and every time.
Nowadays, I’m perhaps even more selfish with my time than ever before. With a full-time job and my book coming out this October (YAY!), I have so much to do in order to get ready. It’s important to me to have a release that’s as successful as possible. No, I can’t control everything, but I want to at least be able to say that I put my best forward.
And all that takes time. It takes energy. It takes focus.
I can’t do my best if I’m constantly worrying about missing happy hour or the latest Netflix obsession. Of course, I also think having a social life and taking a breather is super important for my sanity, but I no longer go overboard to where I have no time left for myself.
People may not always understand it. They might think, “Oh, you can write anywhere at any time, so do it later,” and “Oh, you worked on that yesterday, so you don’t need to do that today too.” And that’s okay, but in my experience, if you listen to them all and let them drag you away from your goals every single time, you won’t get much done.
Take a break from time to time, of course. But don’t constantly prioritize others. Find a time that works for you both. Otherwise, you’re only hurting yourself. Take it from a certified YES MAN, it’s okay to say NO. It’s very important to say no.
Put yourself first sometimes. Be selfish with your time and energy.
Prioritizing yourself can be hard. You don’t want to miss out, and you shouldn’t. You shouldn’t miss the things that truly make you happy, but don’t get sucked into all the noise. Into all the things that keep you from accomplishing the things you find important.
Being selfish in this way is so hard. If you’re like me, you’ll worry about offending people when you decline. You’ll worry that you’re missing the latest inside joke. But if you find that balance between being social and being selfish – it’ll be so worth it. It can be the difference between feeling indefinitely lost in this world, and reaching your goals and fulfilling your purpose.
Posted on July 16, 2019
I’ve been MIA for a few months from my blog, and I’ve missed it. I miss sharing and connecting with y’all about writing struggles and epiphanies mixed in with life’s victories. And after a three month hiatus, I’m back with more content for this blog and lot more in store!
First off, the reasons for my absence. My first book Strip for Me has been finished and is currently with a formatter. It’s also releasing October 15, 2019 (for more info on the book, click here). And I’ve been hiding out because this is all making me feel so many things that I walk around with a constant lump in my throat.
I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m emotional and overwhelmed.
Everyone has been so supportive, and my heart will explode any day now. I do not deserve you kind souls out there who have reached out to tell me how excited and happy you are for me. How you can’t wait to read this book. How you’re going to buy my book the minute it becomes available.
I can never thank you enough.
The closer we get to release, the more grateful I am to be blessed with a fierce support system. It’s made this all an even better experience than I ever imagined!
It’s been a crazy ride to this point, and it’s only the beginning. It feels surreal to say that I have a release date, and it’s only three months away. Most of all, though, I’m excited.
I wrote a book. I’m publishing that book. I’m chasing my dream… and that’s something to be proud of.
Beyond getting the book ready, I’ve been trying to navigate the self-publishing and marketing realms. It often feels like I’m wandering around the Upside Down from Stranger Things. It’s sometimes dark and disorienting, and I feel lost.
It seems like something new arises every day, and although I try to be positive and tell myself that at least things are constantly interesting, it is time-consuming. It’s been taking up a lot of my time and energy trying to educate myself on self-publishing. Thankfully, I met some super kind authors at Inkers Con a couple months ago (more on that in a future post!) who have been generous with their wealth of knowledge.
On top of that, I transitioned to a new full-time day job a few weeks ago. I’m still in that limbo of trying to get settled in and learn the ins and outs. I also try to have any semblance of a social life, which often fades into the background like the sun setting.
So… I’ve been busy.
As much as I’ve wanted to maintain my blog, something had to give, for at least a little while until I could get into a new routine. I always work best with structure, which usually takes time to figure out when your situation changes.
And mine has changed – several times over the last six months, actually.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up. I’ve had to re-prioritize. It’s not a bad thing, but it doesn’t always allow me to do all the things I want. I talk in a previous post about not being able to focus 100% on everything. It’s best to pick a couple things that are at the top of your list and put most of your time and energy toward those. Otherwise, you’ll exhaust yourself trying to do it all.
That’s what was happening to me.
I constantly found myself pulled in different directions while also trying to adjust to a new city. Then I was hard on myself when I didn’t get to do it all. I felt much better once I decided to give my blog a break and focus on life and my book.
But it’s all coming together now, and I’m ready for the last half of this year. It will be a year I’ll never forget, I already know.
One thing to expect – more blog posts. As I settle into a new normal, blog posts will be a priority!
Thanks again for joining me on this journey and for your encouragement. Stay tuned for more, y’all!
During the editing process of my book I had to erase – A LOT.
At times, I took out repetitive and/or confusing sentences. Other times, I took out big chunks, whole chapters even.
It hurt me to gut the manuscript that way. It was torturous and agonizing and devastating to me that I’d spent so much time to write those scenes and chapters only to have them cut out entirely at the end.
I, of course, thought I could keep all my scenes and all the ramblings. When I was writing them, I thought they were all necessary and well written – that I was really onto something, so NO, I could NOT delete them.
Then, when I was revising and editing, I tried everything to keep it all. I convinced myself that I just needed to clean those parts up, and everything would be right in my fictional world I hold so dear.
I didn’t need all of those scenes. Most of them were awkward, confusing ramblings. They took away from the main story, so it would be wise to get rid of them completely. They weren’t salvageable, and I was just wasting more time trying to find ways to keep them.
I fought with myself, to cut out or not to cut, to move or not to move. But at the end of the day, writers have to let go. We have to be strong and focus on what we truly believe will improve the story and reading experience.
So I trashed several parts of the book, no matter how well written or exciting or sexy I once thought they were. No matter how much time I spent on those parts, they had to go.
I think a lot of my issue was with the time I’d spent writing those parts. I didn’t want to cut them out after all that energy spent in writing them – I didn’t want to feel like I’d wasted that time.
But the truth of the matter was that I didn’t waste anything. Sure, I didn’t end up using those parts I’d written, but I didn’t waste that time.
As I read back through my story and revised it, I realized that those scenes and dialogue that turned out to be unnecessary to the ending product were actually very necessary to the process.
Let me explain – I needed to write those scenes to figure out the characters and/or where to take the story next. You know how you sometimes need to talk things out with a friend or even in the mirror? How you need to talk through a problem until you can figure out where you missed a step in solving that math equation, or to make a final decision, you weigh your options out loud, debating the pros and cons? Well, that’s what I was doing when I wrote those scenes that I ended up cutting – it’s the same reason I don’t outline before I write.
I was figuring out what was crucial to the story and what wasn’t.
I was figuring out what to do with the characters, what I wanted them to say, who I wanted them to be.
I was wading through a sea of trash to figure out where the true gold was.
And eventually, I feel like I did. I now have a finished story that I’m proud of, no matter how many scenes I ended up deleting. No matter the time I thought I’d “wasted.”
It’s the same thing when I consider my journey to this point in time. For a long time, I felt used that I wasted my time pursuing a biology degree during my undergrad. I felt that I wasted all that time studying the Central Nervous System when I could’ve been studying Hemingway and Plath.
After I graduated and didn’t become the radiologist I thought I would, I especially felt deflated that I’d wasted all those years.
But the truth is, I didn’t.
Sure, I’m not in medical school now, nor will I ever be. I don’t even tell people I have a Biology degree at all, unless it is brought up in conversation, which happens very rarely.
To some of you it may seem that I did in fact waste four years losing sleep over biology and chemistry finals, but to me, I was just wading through the sea of garbage to figure out what I really wanted.
Because yes, I did know I wanted to be a writer, but I never believed that could be possible. That was before self-publishing and indie authors were a thing of success, which made it possible for me to see that it could really be done, now more easily than ever.
That was also before I had the confidence in myself and my ability to be a writer. To pursue what I really wanted out of my life.
If going to school for four years to get a degree I don’t use is what it took to get here, then so be it. I’m here now, using what I learned back then in my writing. In fact, my main character in my master’s thesis was a girl who just graduated with a biology degree, who then pursues a medical career.
Which goes to show – nothing’s ever wasted. That failed relationship that took four years of your life? That job you stayed at for years, hoping for a promotion that was never given? That time you invested in a friendship that led nowhere?
None of that was time or energy wasted.
You learned something about yourself. You grew. You changed for the better.
It all became part of your story – your own unique, beautiful story that’s made you, you.
So don’t think of it as a waste. Even if it pains you to admit it, it was important to make you who you are today. It might not have been fun or cool or something you’re proud of – you may not believe that time benefited you in any way but to hurt you.
But take what you learned from it and make that period in your life something you’re proud of now. Reach deep down and acknowledge that you learned something. Embrace those years and use it all to your advantage to make you the best version of yourself now.
After all, however long you spent doing the thing that led you here, it was just you finding yourself. And that’s never a waste.