Oh my gosh – well, let’s see what’s happened recently.
A week ago today, I published another romance novel of mine. That makes five romance novels that have been published since April 2016, plus a box set – and to say I’ve been keeping myself busy is an understatement! It’s like living a double life. Ha!
This last book I wrote was a steamy vampire romance (haha) – and it is doing very well (for me). It seems like each book finds a wider audience, and this book has taken off modestly and was in the top 500 books on all of Amazon last week. It’s also being sold at Barnes and Noble, iBooks, etc. I think it has about 140 reviews right now on Amazon – just in the first week!
I mean, it’s not Danielle Steel or J.K. Rowling level success, by any means – but I’m still proud of any increase in success.
The thing about being an “indie” author, as I am (that’s the new word for self-published) – is that you have to do everything. I started my own publishing company, and I take care of all the publicity and marketing for the books. I’m also responsible for not only the writing, but also the editing, formatting, and book covers. Not to mention, I also take care of the accounting, distribution, and fulfillment of all the books – paperback and eBook!
That’s all for my romance pen name (it’s pretty easy to figure it out if you try! LOL) – and then I also have my kids’ books. I’ve written and published four of the kids’ LOL Detective Club chapter books so far since April 2016 – plus, a non-fiction book under a different pen name. So, that’s 10 books and 3 pen-names since April. Granted, the kids books are shorter (100 pages) and the novels are much longer.
That’s just a very small part of the author business – and it really is a business. I’m trying to squeeze my author career in between homeschooling four kids, having a good marriage, and all the million other responsibilities I have going on. It’s exhausting – but I really love it, so I don’t want to give it up.
Have you heard of the four burner theory? It’s that your life has four burners (like a stove): career, health, family, friends. You can’t have all four burners running at their max. You can have one burner super high, and the others modestly cooking. You can have two going fairly high, and two on low. And then you can have all your burners going at medium, but none of them will be cooking super hot.
Right now I’m pretty much only able to do two burners: career and family. Health and friends are on very low burners right now, which I feel pretty guilty about sometimes. I just can’t do it all – even though I want to. I take care of the kids for about 14-16 hours each day, and I work on my author stuff for 4-6 hours/day. I have to be so disciplined and focused.
I don’t think it will always be this way – because hopefully if (when!) I get more successful, I can hire people to help me. Right now, it really is a one-woman show. So, I hope to strive for a bit more balance in the future. Right now, I just don’t know how to do all that I have to do with balance. I’m basically doing all the work of a team at Random House, plus an author’s job, plus being a homeschooling mom to four kids!
I was working extremely hard up until a few weeks ago, and then I decided to try to be more relaxed. Actually, what happened was that someone interviewed me for a news article, and one of the questions was about writer’s block. I said: I never get writer’s block. Impossible. What do you know? It was like a curse – after that, I had nothing I wanted to write. Also, reading critical reviews makes it hard to write because those people get in your head! 🙂
Anyway – my writing goal this year is to write and publish six full-length novels (at least), and also make the USA Today Bestseller’s List. The big dream would be to make the NYT Bestseller’s List – but I’m not going to cry if that doesn’t happen. That’s a big pie in the sky kind of dream.
I really love to write, and I also hope to one day have it be a source of income for our family – so that Evan can take more time off work and we can travel as a family. (I’m not sure if he would take time off work, though, because he also loves his work.)
My writing leaves me creatively fulfilled, and that makes me a better mom. I don’t know that I’ll always write these steamy romance novels – I’m good at it (don’t get me wrong, hahaha) – I just don’t know if it’s what I want to do long-term. Part of being an author is learning how to write to an audience who will want to read your books – and that’s a big learning experience. There is a huge audience for steamy romance, but I also like writing mysteries, and thrillers, and all different types of genres. So, we’ll see where the path ahead leads with all that. I’m open to the possibilities.
But, because I’m thinking long-term, I’m also taking more time to enjoy life a little. The girls are at wonderful ages (2, 5, 7, 10) – and I enjoy being with them so very much. We spend all our time together – and we have so much fun. This past weekend, I taught Ginger (7) how to ride a bike. She’s had a few crashes (!!) – but she got back up on the bike every single time, and now she’s riding like a champ.
This weekend, I hope to take Ginger on a bike ride just the two of us. She’s so mature and interesting – and she has more sense than anybody. Right now, Ginger wants to be an obsetrician when she grows up, so she’s reading all these medical books about the human body. She also decided that she wants to go to sleep in the early evening and wake up before sunrise – so that’s what she’s been doing. I’ll say: Ginger, stay up with me a bit. And she’ll say: Nope, gotta go to bed if I’m going to wake up at dawn.
LOL. Then, she gets up in the morning and reads her science and medical books out on the back porch as the sun’s coming up. She’s 7 going on 70. 🙂
Ginger and Violet (5) remain the very best of friends – this is how they sleep every night. Violet usually stays up and has “sister time” with Paprika (10) – and then when they’re tired, Violet crawls into bed with Ginger (whose been asleep for hours at this point!) – and she cuddles up to her like this:
We’ve been driving through the neighborhood together. The girls take turns with their cars, while the fourth sister and I lead the way on our bikes. It’s really fun (as long as the battery doesn’t die! Which it did a few days ago, and I had to push that green car all the way home!)
On Saturday night, we had a family trip to the Getty Art Museum in Brentwood. Everyone loved it, except Ginger (7) who thought it was a science museum and was sorely disappointed when she realized there was only art! Paprika and Violet both loved it – and Baby Ellie was happy as long as somebody was carrying her.
Paprika looking out over the city of LA:
In the elevator:
There was a special exhibit about Alchemy, which was super interesting. They had glass goblets that were thousands of years old on display and I said to Evan: Why do our wine glasses break within a year and theirs are around for millenia?! Haha.
Paprika and I have continued our movie dates almost every week. Ginger (7) doesn’t like to go to movies, and Violet (5) always wants to leave after 20 minutes, and Ellie (newly 2) is too young…but Paprika could watch movies all day and never get tired of them.
We recently saw Hidden Figures twice (she really wanted to see it again and told me it inspired her to do more math. I think that was just her way of getting me to go again. Ha!) Last night, we saw La La Land, which was Paprika’s first PG-13 movie. I was on the fence about whether or not we should see it, so I read the reviews on Common Sense Media, and decided it was okay. I’m glad we saw it – Paprika felt so inspired afterwards and loved the movie.
We always go at odd hours – the 10:00 show on a Tuesday night, for example…
So we always have our pick of seats! Haha. We really were the only people in this gigantic theater. We brought blankets, and our own tumblers of ice water, and we ate a whole tub of popcorn between us. We’re making memories…
I feel like I have to take advantage of this time now with Paprika – because before I know it, she’ll be off on her own. Where does the time go?!
So, that’s a little bit of what we’ve been up to! I feel guilty that there are hardly any pictures of Violet (5) in this post, so I’ll be sure to make up for it next time.
Ellie keeps me on my toes – so I’m often chasing after her, which is why I have a lot of pictures like this:
And this! Haha.
Until next time, be well and I’ll talk to you soon. 🙂