#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.

#PublishingTheAlpha’sDream

A month ago, I published for the first time ever under my own name. I’m still freaking out about it.

I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t my first published work. The thing is, it’s very different publishing under a pseudonym or as part of a collaborative work. Taking ownership of my words is something I’ve always struggled with, and thus The Alpha’s Dream is no small creation for me.

There are tons of things I learned on the road to writing it, but what I want to discuss today is what I’ve learned from dreaming it period. Here are five things wanting The Alpha’s Dream has taught me.

 

Career changes are risky.  

When I first decided to write The Alpha’s Dream there were only two things of which I was certain. I wanted a career from writing my own books and I would have to cut back on my ghostwriting.  That great book you love, it took hella long hours to write. There was no way I was going to be able to keep the pace of my ghostwriting and add in the creation of my own original work. I had to cut back my hours, which translated into missed income from my home. At the time, I had two littles and had just discovered my third pregnancy. I wanted to put it off longer. Collecting great premises that I would one day flesh into novellas or novels had become a hobby of sorts. After weeks of quietly deliberating, I talked to my husband. His response was for me to go for it. We would restructure and figure out how to make it. I was terrified anyway and rightfully so. Our budget was already stretched to it’s seam, but then the first certainty kicked in. I knew I wanted to publish my own work, and there was only one way to get there. I would have to take the chance and pull away from creating for others to build the life I wanted for myself. I had to face the risk of it, or I would never know what could come of it. Thus, the Year of the Leap was born. 

Plan. Execute. Repeat.

I have limited time. Balancing wifehood, motherhood, and writing full time leaves me short of hours. If I was goin to do this I would need to be sure from the beginning. I took a couple of weeks to determine what premise I would use for my first release, then the plotting, and writing came. I’m more of a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl (pantser) but I couldn’t afford the writers block I inevitably end up with when I do that. I had to make the hours count. So I took the time to research the best outline methods and crafted one that worked with my writing style. Then, I went to work. Executing is by far the hardest part of this process. There were times I would fall asleep at the keyboard, or scrap an entire chapter. There were also moments when I doubted I’d find my idea market and question whether the work would sell. Ultimately, I just had to get up everyday knowing I am an author working on her latest release and see it through. Not always fun, but worth it now.

Have faith or fear, but not both.

I am naturally a worse case scenario person. I have a hard time visualizing success, and am actively working to change that about myself. The base for my doubt is always fear, and I couldn’t afford to e afraid any longer. I was taking the biggest risk of my life, with the oldest dream of my heart. I had to pick faith in my God, my work, and myself over the fear. Fear is a powerful emotion. Faith is a strong counterattack. I’m still learning to shift my focus. It has been important to me that I don’t inflate with hyper positive but unsubstantiated ideas. Instead, I honor that I have to work hard by giving voice being uncertain there will be a payoff. I have faith that with every published work, I will build and grow a little more. That is what I hold on to when things are murky. It is a work in progress.

Find your market, or be fearless in creating one.

Initially, I wasn’t sure there was a market for shifter romances with both hero and heroine as African-Americans. The norm seemed to show a comfort level for BW heroes and WM shifters as well as Caucasian hero’s and heroines. I knew I wasn’t the only brown woman who loved shifter romances, but there didn’t seem to be a recognizable market. I searched for months and didn’t find anything. There was more doubt, more fear that the risk I was taking was not going to work. After a while, it didn’t matter that I didn’t see the market. I saw the characters, and their stories. I believed that would be enough to attract readers, even if they were checking out shifter romances for the first time.  I found my niche and I am working it like it has been heavily established. I am a reader of the books I write. I am my own market. As it turns out, so are you.

You don’t have time to wait for the “perfect time”.

The time you are in is always the perfect time. Don’t get me wrong. There is an ideal setting in which i would have liked to start writing. Ideally, we would have been financially sure from other endeavors. The market would be fairly established and my darlings would have a lovely routine that allowed them not to miss me when I was writing. Suffice to say I am still working on that part of the dream.  I had to come to terms with the fact that I would have to make time, I would have to have faith, and just start. Start. I couldn’t spend anymore years waiting for my ideal scenario to make it easy for me to pursue my dreams. I had to begin right in the thick of my uncertainty. I had to start where I was and hold steady until something great happened. It is happening now.

As I celebrate The Alpha’s Dream very cute and meaningful milestone, I am happy that I took the chances I did. I’ve learned a lot, grown a lot, and produced a work I love because of it.  There will only be more from here.

Comment below with your thoughts on The Alpha’s Dream.

Joy.