#NowThereAreThree: Reflections on the birth of my third child and writing.

I was wrong. Birthing books is not like birthing babies.

Not completely.

On the sixteenth of May, I gave birth to my third child. I am both completely in awe and totally exhausted. My heart is filled with love and calm satisfaction. Finally…here.

My journey to motherhood was as tumultuous as my journey to being an author. My third live birth is one of six pregnancies I’ve had in my life. For those of you who don’t know, there is nothing as unforgiving as a womb that eats your children. There is nothing to fill the void, and it doesn’t matter how far between they come.

I will never have a pregnancy where I am not worried about loss. Ever.

With this in mind, each live birth steals my breath. It erases years of doubt, shame, and hopelessness. It isn’t real until my little ones  are laying on my chest, their little hearts beating against mine.  My first darling, was born healthy despite the surgery I had halfway through my pregnancy.  My second darling, was full of gestational diabetes worry. The last one, when my newest darling was born, was the smoothest pregnancy I’ve ever experience. Healthy, happy, and whole babies came here on a wing and a prayer and much, much grace.

When I stare down into the newest face, I am full of prayers of thankfulness. It is still surreal that my body which for years ignored my pleas for children could somehow bring them forth now. I do not take this for granted.

I have long advocated for a woman’s right to choose motherhood, in part because it has always felt like my body didn’t have to acknowledge my choice. Now, when they are in my arms and I see them thriving and I am humbled. My cup runneth over.

I count their fingers and toes. I say prayers over their crowns.  I listen for the soft hum of their breath and watch for the steady rhythm of their rapidly beating hearts. They are here and I was the conduit that brought them here.

Hallelujah. Amen.

To have them here is the manifestation of many prayers having come along on the tail end of lost faith.

When I think of the process of publishing the Alpha’s Dream, I have similar feelings. There were many false starts. There were several failed attempts and The Alpha’s Dream was published at a time when I was at the end of my rope. It has not been without flaws. There are still some issues I will have to address in the second edition, but I am thankful. I am sure this is what I want and what is destined for my life.

It is here and I was the conduit that brought it here.

My days are stretched thinner than ever before, but I love it. I am devoted to being a #MamaAuthor. I will thin myself out to fill these  roles and that of being a wife, because of the value they add to my being. I am full of joy ya’ll. I am full of gratitude. I don’t take one second of this as common or replaceable.

My writing will take a back seat for a few weeks, but I am still creating. I can’t wait to bring you guys a new release, but in this moment I have a new life to celebrate.

To all the mamaauthors out there, to all the creators who turn emptiness into life – cheers. We are the true makers of this world.

Joy.

#RaisingReaders: Reasons it’s important to me to raise children who read

Some of the best advice I was given as a writer was to write everyday and to read everyday.  Words to live by.

After the birth of my children, I found myself thinking a lot about books. From all the research and studies conducted, the impact of reading to children during their formative years is lifelong. Education is big our home. Knowledge and access to information are things we openly discuss and advocate.

It was a no-brainer for us that we would incorporate books into daily life of our children. The result is my littles love to read. They enjoy a good book as much as I do and a trip to the library may as well be the state fair. It’s an ordeal. I love that.

As an author, I feel a lot of responsibility in nurturing their love of books. I want their relationship with literature to be one that thrills them for the rest of their lives. With that being said, I’m pretty critical of the books I read to them. There are several criteria I look for when establishing a reading habit for my littles. I’ll discuss those in a later post. This post is all about them being readers period.

When I was a child, the library was a sanctuary for my siblings and I. I wasn’t a fast reader, didn’t eat up series after series like my sister did, but I did love the process of choosing books and what they represented for me.

It was more than just a way to pass the time.

The cliché is that it became an escape. There’s a lot of truth in that, but as I think about it now I’m sure there are deeper levels. What I found in books was exposure. In the small town that I grew up in, there were very firm ideas about identity, race, and cultural norms. In books, I was able to expand my vision of those things. Writers have been critical in shaping my values, my belief systems, and my personal identity.  I want that for my kids.

There are things that I cannot teach them, because I don’t have the experiences to accurately express them. Even though I don’t have the tools, these lessons are still things they must learn. By nurturing their love for books, I’m giving them another resource to turn to when their father and I don’t have the answers.  I’m also giving them autonomy, teaching them responsibility in seeking answers to their problems/ questions, and allowing them the freedom to live beyond the natural circle of our lives.

Raising readers, isn’t just about expanding our children’s ability to read and process information. It is about giving them access to a larger world that they may not otherwise experience. Teaching empathy toward fights they may not have to face, and still giving them authority over what they learn.

They are getting older and will soon take more ownership over the books they read or that are read to them. By then, I’m hoping to have firmly rooted them in the power of taking authority over the information they receive, among other lessons.  Hopefully, what they will come to recognize is that books are an expanded universe of their own and all they have to do is be brave enough to dive into it.

Is storytime important in your home? Comment with some of the ways you share books?

Joy

#PostBabyBirthWerk

I’m currently 35 weeks pregnant. I’ve always delivered at 37 weeks, almost down to the minute. I’m not expecting anything different this time.

As I write this, there is still a ton of baby preparations that need to take place. In two weeks.  Don’t look at me like that, I know I should be done with baby prep. I normally would be mostly done at this point. Things are a little different right now due to the release of The Alpha’s Dream. My time has been stretched to the limits for the last five months to say the least. So, there have been…delays.

I’m worried about  getting it all done, but that isn’t new. I’m always nervous about getting it all done. Somehow, I pull it off. Could be the craziness makes me focus. Or, it could be that I thrive on last-minute details. Whatever the inspiration for finishing, it gets finish. That is what matters, right?

To add a little more pressure to an already pinching situation, my eldest turns three at the end of May. So, there will be a birth, a birthday party, and yet more promotions for The Alpha’s Dream going on at the same time. What can I say? I live on the edge.

Just, not so close to the edge that a slight wind will blow me off. That translates into lots of preparations as my clock winds down. As much as I would like to be one of those women who give birth on a Friday and race back to work on Monday, I’m not.

I need recovery time. I need a couple of days at least to snuggle up with the new little and assure my older littles of their permanent places in my heart.  It is just as important to me that my darlings know how valuable they are to me as it is that my writing career thrives. So, I take precautions. I make hella plans, and it is no different this time around.

While managing my home front, I have to honor that writing is my business. I have to take care of the business even when things are going a little haywire in my home life. So here is a list of about five things I am currently doing to keep my feet firmly planted in both worlds as I welcome a new life into mine.

Pre-Planning my Blog Post

I love my blog more than I would have ever imagined. It is much more han just a place to talk about my releases and other important book publishing information. It’s a little like a second home when it comes to my connection to my work. I love it. However, It is time consuming. I’ve been working to really create a platform that I feel represents me in the multi-facets of my life. It probably isn’t the best way to run an authors’ blog, but its how i like it.

I suspect I won’t be working much once baby is here. So while I’m working on my blog editorial, I’ll make more notes than usual on the blogs I will post. In addition, I will schedule as many as possible. I won’t consistency in my blog and I like to keep you guys connected. The love is real and mutual. So, I will be sure to keep you in mind while I’m in recovery.

 

Post-Birth Book Giveaway

With The Alpha’s Dream finally being live, I’m planning giveaways of the digital copy for while I’m away. I have all the details in place except one-the start date. The giveaway will began the day after my little is born. It’s a celebratory event of the great changes that are happening in my life. So many dreams coming true at once makes my heart full. I want to share it with you, and what better way than this.

There is no purchase necessary. To qualify, you must ‘like’ my Facebook fan page and then leave a comment on the pinned post specifically about the giveaway. Winners will be chosen at random.

Catching up on some reading

Writers should always be readers too. There are quite a few books I’ve been meaning to dive into and I plan to do  just that between feedings and naps. I’m not going to be overly ambitious about how many books I’ll get to, but I do have an extensive list. I’m going to compile them and post  asap. I would love to hear what you all are reading. Be sure to leave a comment below with any I should add to my list.

Social Media and other Interactions

There are still some hands on things I will have to do despite being mostly pulled away.  I can schedule some of my social media, but I have to make personal time for somethings. I’ll be on Instagram and good reads periodically just to check in. In case you didn’t know,  my Goodreads author page is finally  up and running. I have no friends. You should come and be friends with me there.  I promise it’ll be fun.

Recovering

The only way to be an effective business woman and an dedicated author is knowing when to take time away. I have a few projects I will love to dabble in while trying to sleep and shower. What I know is that if I don’t take my time and allow my body what it needs, I won’t be up to the hours it takes for me to craft a great book. I want my second release to be as fun as my first has been and that won’t happen if I’m burned out.

I’ll take at least one long mama-is-having-a-moment-bath. I will eat lots of snowballs, and neglect the laundry. I will indulge in all the baby giggles I can while still balancing the noise level for a hopefully good sleeper newborn. Let me dream big, okay?! Just let me have these moments.

I don’t know what life is really going to look like once baby three is here. I have absolutely no foundation for what it will mean to put everything together. What I do know is that it will be worth the wait. Every moment will change me a little more. It was the same way with my older two and with the conception and release of The Alpha’s Dream.  The methods I’ve listed here are just part of the way I intend to find balance. Work is work. Family is family, but i need them both to thrive.

Any other mama’s out there balancing work and children? Leave me a comment below on how you make it all work.

Joy

 

 

#LaborandDelivery

The Alpha’s Dream is officially live.

My heart is a toddler at Disney World. Excited, drunk with happiness, and over stimulated. All the insecurities I have had about this project are out of my hands now. What I know is that I’ve loved Nathaniel and Euphoria since their conception. I knew they were beautiful before the were flesh and bone and vibrant personalities. I learned them as they grew beneath my fingers.

I am happy to have introduced them to you, their village.

All of these metaphors are corny. I know, but they come from an honest and sincere place. They also come from my pregnant brain which as I write this is staring down the barrel at my due date. In theory, I have five more weeks. In theory.

All of my little darlings have come three weeks early. So, It’s very likely that I only have two weeks left. Birthing books and babies almost feels the same. Almost. One of those things is definitely more painful than the other. Nonetheless, they both come with fear and want. My heart swells when I think of the lives they will take on and they both make me feel like I am exactly where I should be.

The Alpha’s Dream is a manifestation of so many dreams. The newest little love who will soon follow is a manifestation of dreams as well. As they both grow and thrive,  my hope is  that I never forget these things were born of nothing. These things came to exist where once was only barren land. Gratitude above all things. Faith woven within and I am forever humbled.

Joy.

#MamasatWork

With the official launch day of The Alpha’s Dream being only six days away (April 23rd), I’ve had a little time to reflect. One of the things I constantly think about is how much time I spend away from my little loves while I work. The eldest is nearly 3. Often, when I say mama has to work, I’m immediately bombarded with tears and pleas not to go.

It feels like the ultimate in betrayal to close the door on my children and write.

It feels frivolous.

I’ve had to get creative with explaining to my little ones what mama does and why mama does it. They don’t always understand, but it helps me to say out loud there is a purpose for my actions.

I’m a writer because I love to write. I am a writer because I love to read, and I find words powerful. I am a writer because it is my passion. I feel deeply that it is one of my purposes in life. I write because it supports their lives and my ability to be with them on a daily basis.

There is nothing easy about being away from my little loves while I work. Even though we are in the same house and in theory I can reach them at any time. It is a heartbreaking separation. It feels selfish to be so close and still miss bed time routines and evening wind downs. It is frustrating to her the current littlest crying, but knowing if I even peek out it will only make things worse. Their father is more than capable of tackling their challenging moments even if it’s not in my preferred way. I know they are ultimately okay.

When I remind them mama works because it helps to pay for the bath water they love to play in or their favorite foods, I am also reminding myself. My writing is part of our livelihood. It is part of the way that I say to my lover, we are on the same team. We are building our life together. Writing is part of the way I say to my little loves dreams are valid and worthy of being chased. My example is how they will learn to survive on doing what they love when the time comes.

Writing is part of the way I say to myself it is okay that corporate America was not your best choice.

In a perfect world, as I write more and my books become more profitable it will become clearer to all of us that the hours aren’t wasted. Being a mama author is nothing if not a constant juggle of priorities. It is a battle of who is loved more and how much time the more loved gets.

I love my children. I do not lie to them about what my writing is for me and us. I also do not dismiss their feelings on the matter. Mama works because these little loves deserve all things divine. Their father and I are determined to give those things to them.

Joy.