Monday, September 29, 2014

Still Growing Up To Be Who I Want To Be.

Once upon a time, I was a little girl just like you... well maybe you're not a little girl. But I know there are some out there somewhere. 

I have a little boy of my own now and as we've started looking at options for schooling him (we are looking at home-school) it has prompted me to reflect on how I have gotten to where I am today. Back when I was a tiny tot, I was filled with this notion that I could grow up to be whatever I wanted to be. Fast-forward thirty years, and I am what I want to be: a writer, business owner and mother.

My son, playing in our store.
But how did I get here? In a lot of ways, it contradicts everything I was told as a kid about becoming a big success, although it's a story that is probably more common than advertised. In general, the way we are told to find success goes something like this:
  1. Get good grades in school.
  2. Go to college & get a degree in something that interests you.
  3. Get a the exact job you've always wanted.
  4. Success!
Well, that is not exactly the path I took. Sure I got started on the list OK. I did well in school up until high school when I started having teenage angst and was working 3 part-time jobs all at the same time. Even when my school attendance got derailed, I was able to keep average grades. So, step 1 got mostly completed.

But when it was time for college, I didn't know what degree I wanted. Although I loved writing, I didn't want to go get a degree in English. I didn't want to make writing something that felt like work, and I didn't want to spend years having someone tell me how I should tell a story. I have a deep love of animals, and I had several people tell me I should study to become a veterinarian. Maybe that could have worked out, but I really enjoy spending time with animals who are at their best. Vets, like doctors, typically see their patients when they are at their worst. I didn't want to spend my life surrounded by illness, injury and death. I had a lot of interest in graphic design and technology, but through some financial hardship I wasn't able to go to the technical school that accepted me. So, I decided to study architecture because I could knock out the basic classes at a Community College and there were promises of riches on the pamphlet.

Because I wasn't financially endowed, I had to work while I went to school. By the time my first term on campus started I was working in a bank call center. (Yay!) Doing collections. (Wooo!) And making nearly $30,000 a year. Suddenly I realized that I could either spend tens of thousands of dollars pursuing a degree that I wasn't sure I wanted, or I could MAKE tens of thousands of dollars convincing people to pay their credit card bill before paying their electric bill. Work won that battle, and suddenly I found myself in what would become an on-again/off-again career in finance.



Then I was... (in order of appearance)
  • A back-end collections agent (For exactly 4 hours).
  • A phone specialist (cell phones and land-lines -hooray!).
  • A military housewife.
  • A professional quilter.
  • A Jail Door Operator.
  • A 9-1-1 dispatcher.
  • A mortgage specialist (got equity? Let's get you a second mortgage! Or a third!)
  • A travelling insurance agent.
  • A receptionist turned Office Manager.
  • A civilian housewife.
Throughout all of my jobs, I wrote a little on the side. When I had the opportunity to stay home to manage family and household duties, I had a lot more time to write. During my two stints as a stay-at-home wife, I wrote and worked at publishing Age/Sex/Location. My second round at housewivery also gave me time to find other ways to get paid for my writing. Suddenly I also became a freelance writer who made actual money for putting words to paper. 

When my husband mentioned that he'd always wanted to own his own business, my huge success at making hundreds of dollars writing (hooray for starving artists!) prompted me to encourage his entrepreneurship. Suddenly I went from housewife to Author, Business Manager and Freelance Writer all at once.

Now, with my third book in print, I'm also looking at adding Organic Farmer to my long and varied career list. Something that they don't tell you when you're in middle-school being shoved into college prep classes is that the person you want to be might evolve over time. There is no guaranteed way to find success, probably because success means something different for everyone. For me, success has turned 180 degrees. When I was 20, success meant having a big house and a big salary to match. Now, success means creating something of my own, providing food for my family, and living on a very basic salary so that I can spend less time trying to keep up with the neighbors, and more time focusing on the things and people that I love.

If you don't know what you want to be, that's OK. If you are lucky enough to figure out what you want to grow up to be, but you don't know how to get there, that's OK too. Try to tune out all of those messages being pushed on you by other people and take some time to find the values and hobbies that interest you. Find something that makes you feel fulfilled, and do that, even if it's only on evenings and weekends. Explore the world around you and let the adventure take you to places you never thought you'd be.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Adaline... Book 2?

Well, it's happened. Things with Adaline have been going so swimmingly that I have officially started writing the second book in the series. Sometimes, you just have to go where and when the Muse takes you.

If you're a writer, how do you know when its time to write? For me, I start to get flashes of thought about where I think the story is headed. Sometimes I get whole streams of dialogue that might work for a scene not yet written. These bursts of thought come more and more frequently until I just have to put it down on paper.

So now, I have created a situation that I don't normally like to have - 2 Works in Progress. I started on Ctrl/Alt/Del, the romance sequel to Age/Sex/Location, over a year ago. It is taking me some time to write, and I keep debating whether or not to keep writing it. One of the characters is based on one of my closest friends who died in a horrific car crash last year. Every time I get to her character in the novel I end up having to set the manuscript aside for a while. Maybe I'm just not ready yet. The rest will come eventually.

Adaline's follow-up is only 1,800 words long and I'm already as excited about it as I was with writing Adaline. I spent the morning with Google, getting a brief overview of Biocide and Kinesiology in preparation for the coming pages. I did a LOT of reading to prep writing Adaline, and it looks like I'm going to have to make it through another tall stack of research material to help me with this one.

 Currently Reading: Portlandtown
Currently Reading: Portlandtown



Saturday, September 20, 2014

Release Day

Well, it's finally happened. Adaline has officially been released into the wild. There is a lot of amazing stuff going on, and I am so excited to see where it all leads. I've been trying to keep things cool and not be TOTALLY overboard in sharing every single update as it comes. But it's been hard so I think I'll do a quick recap here so you all can see how this is going.


I've started getting reviews in from those special folks who got advanced copies. I won't go into the long talks that we've had about the book, but here are a few quotes from them while they're fresh in my mind:

"An imaginative otherworldly story, this was an amazing and a bit disturbing read." - I. Garland

"I didn't see a way out [for the main character], and I was only halfway through the book! The story was thrilling and I can't wait for Volume 2. This is the next Harry Potter." - C. Duncan

"I've read a thousand Science Fiction books. This is a good book. I'm hooked!" - S. DuVall

After working on the project for so long, it is great to hear this feedback from early readers. I have felt this was my best work since the first written page, and it is so satisfying to know that my excitement in writing the book has shown through to the finished project. I can't wait to have more talks with all you readers out there about it, and I have the second novel brewing (my target release for that one is Spring, 2016).

If you haven't been following me on Facebook, then you might not know that today is the official release party for the book. I'm committed to buying 50 cones of ice cream for those who attend. We're holding the party at a family friend's Baskin Robbins in Longview, Washington. I'm pretty nervous about the public reading, since I haven't done one of those before. But I know I've got to get those words out there so that I can get more people as excited about Adaline as I am.

Adaline has already gone live on Amazon, and surprisingly to me has also been picked up by Barnes and Noble. I was told that the crawl from Amazon to Barnes and Noble would probably be slow and painful because of their rivalry, but man - that seems like a great sign to me.

I'm also working out the details of my next public appearance! I've been in talks with a very lovely librarian (if you don't know your local librarian - give them a call. They're awesome!) and it seems I might be visiting her library to help out with one of their Middle School/Teen events. THAT is pretty darn cool.

I think that's all for now. It's a lot to process, but I'm going to do my best to enjoy this ride!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Adaline is LIVE on Amazon!


Adaline is LIVE on Amazon.com! You can still pre-order a signed copy from KawaiiTimes.com/shop, but if you just can't wait then you can order from Amazon and get the novel delivered to your door before its official release!


Monday, September 1, 2014

The Adaline Pre-Order is open!

I m so excited to announce that as of today, the pre-order for my newest novel is open! This is by far the best book I have written to date and I am really looking forward to getting it out there to readers. Adaline is a great sci-fi story for readers 10 and up, and is the first in what will be a series of books.

Adaline follows the story of a young boy who is raised in an environment completely controlled by machines. Somewhere between Harry Potter and the Matrix, Adaline is a world where individuality is sacrificed for the good of the community. When Boy 1124562 begins to discover hidden talents such as drawing, dreaming and problem solving, a mad doctor tries to erase his abilities and prevent the anomalies from spreading.

Read the book's description and pre-order your copy here.


The best part of the Adaline release? The party of course! Pick up your signed, pre-ordered from Baskin Robbins (Longview, Washington), hear me do my first public reading from Adaline, AND get a free scoop of ice cream. It's going to be a blast for everyone who comes out. Only the first 50 scoops are free, so make sure to come early and hang out with me September 20th from 4pm to 6pm while I sign books, answer questions, and celebrate my third book hitting the market.