#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

#LeaveaBookReview

The Alpha’s Dream has officially been live for several days now. I’m not freaking out anymore. Maybe I should be, but I’m just so proud.

The truth is that I could write for myself and allow no one to read it for the rest of my life. I would be mostly content. My mother has done it for years. On the other hand, I don’t want to be a closest author. I believe in this writing that i do, and enjoy it. However, it is more than just a labor of love. It is how I contribute to the support of my littles. I didn’t publish The Alpha’d Dream so it could die on Amazon’s buy lists. I published it so it would flourish. I wanted more than myself to enjoy it.

So, you have the book.. How do you like it?

Yup. This is one of those post. I’m asking if you like the work I’ve done. You’ve watched me fight with it for me. You’ve read about my anxieties, my aims, and my reasons for writing it. You’ve been there through every high and low of it. Now, I want to know hat you think of it.

Keep in mind here that your honesty is most important.

Also, keep in mind I’m sensitive about my work. As much as I want that to have a barring on your opinion, the truth is that a gentle lie won’t help me get better. It also won’t fool anyone who reads the reviews. Readers see through all of the cowardice of saying something is good when it is not. Say you like it. Say you didn’t like it, but don’t sugar coat it for me.

I’ve said it before that reviews are important to authors. They are particularly important to those of us who are small publishers or self-publishers. Every review whether good, bad, or mediocre has a direct result on the work we’ve published. With the great rise in self-publishing, most of us are writing to the same or similar audiences.

I believe readers are generally discerning. Everyone wants a book worth the time and money. When an authors work is heavily reviewed, it allows readers the opportunity to gain unbiased insight about the work they are looking to purchase.

The Alpha’s Dream is in a competitive market. Shifter romances have quickly gained a reputation for being great reads and fun books. It comes without saying that it is difficult to stand above the crowd as an unknown author. Which is why reviews and readers like you who leave them are such an intricate part of the publishing process.

So, I’m coming to you with a genuine plea. Once you’ve completed The Alpha’s Dream, take a few minutes to post on GoodReads and Amazon a review of the work you’ve finished. It is important to my career, to the quality of my work and to other authors who would come after me. It is important to any breakout authors you come across.

Your simple admittance about what you think of the work is one of the factors that will encourage other readers to read The Alpha’s Dream. It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to include exclusive details, and it I would prefer no spoilers. It does however need to be honest.

If you don’t like the book, then I can take that. If you love it, then I can take that too. I’m not going to hunt you down for a detailed explanation. I’m not going to insist you take down a negative review. I only want your subtle influence. Tell me what you think of my work. Tell all authors what you think of their work, because it matters.

I cannot thank you enough for being on this journey with me. Your presence has been a driving force and continues to validate why I work so hard at my writing. Don’t take for granted that your three word review or your four sentences won’t make a difference, because it will. I read every review. I aim to be your new favorite author. Don’t doubt that for a moment.

So, when you are down falling in love with Nathaniel Blanchard and Euphoria Atkins drop me a line. Tell me how The Alpha’s dream was everything you’d hoped.

Joy.

 

#TeamJoy: I’m building a street team and I want you to join it.

One launch down, numerous to go.

As I wrap my head around being a published author a few things come to mind. I can’t do this alone. I need your help. I need your ears, your eyes, and a little bit of your free time. I’ve decided that now that I have an idea of what my launches will look like, I should build a street team. Here you’ll find all the specifics, and decide if being a part of the team is for you. Loved The Alpha’s Dream? Great! Here’s how you can help me bring you more.

Street Team Requirements:

-Like Jocelyn F. Young Facebook page

-local distribution of flyers to coffee shops or other reader friendly locales

-minimal promotion assistance, I.e. tweets, retweets, ig, and Facebook promo

-launch week reviews of projects

 

Obviously, I don’t expect you to do any of this without incentive. I realize you are giving up your precious time. So, here are the things I will be giving to those who join the team!

-free finished e-book copies of future works

-exclusive team swag

-exclusive street team only giveaway

I already have the first giveaway planned. I’m really excited about growing with all of you and sharing in my success. So, join my street team and we will take Shifter Romances to a new level.

Joy

#ReleaseDayMagic

We made it! The Alpha’s Dream is live on Amazon! One-Click your Copy or read it free on Amazon today!!!!

Release day is final here and I am so excited. After months of hard work, it feels intensely rewarding to have this project complete and in your hands.

I’m not foolish. There is still a lot of work to do. There is a lot of promoting that will continue to go on in my quest to become a bestseller. I am determined to leave my mark on this genre.  All that, the knowing that the work isn’t finished, doesn’t stop me from having an abundance of gratitude for being this far.

I have loved writing all of my life. Every step I take toward being a known writer brings me that much closer to the dreams I have of being internationally renowned. My dreams are much bigger than one released eBook, but it starts here.

It’s started with The Alpha’s Dream and two unlikely characters who fell in love. I am proud. I am filled with all manners of thank you’s and Amen’s. My cup runneth over.

I have learned so much along this process. My instincts are sharpened, my skills as well. I trust my voice and the voices of my characters. I trust what I am doing and all that comes in between. Every moment that I’ve spent creating this has burned into my brain that writing is purpose.

I’m willing to grow in my writing even more and learn everything I can to be the best in my field. I expect that every project I work on will bring me more growth.

It is such a simple thing when it’s all said and done to see my name as author on my release page, but it doesn’t feel simple. Even setting up my Author’s page on Amazon brought tears to my eyes. I feel light. I feel lifted and honored.

I’ll be doubling my promotional efforts after this, but today. I’m only going to enjoy being a published author. I’m going to enjoy saying to my littles, this is what Mama has been working on all those long hours. I’m going to bask in my husband pride at the work being finished. This is a dream realized and nothing can dampen that feeling. Nothing at all.

Joy.

 

#MarchRevisited

March was a busy month. I’m running behind schedule as seems to be the story of my life, but still there was a lot to get done and even more as April flies into view. So let’s get an update on what my March goals were and see where we ended the month.

March Goal List:

-Send off First Newsletter

-Send The Alpha’s Dream to the Editor

-Build up my ARC Lists

-Execute Phase #1 of my Marketing Plan

Migrated Goals:

-Finish Second Novella

-Write/Edit 2 Shifter Shorts

So here are the updates.  The list is still long. I successfully created my newsletter, but have not sent even one out. The Alpha’s Dream did not make it to the Editors as I’m still working on my second draft Edits and the novella and shorts are just plan out of view.

The only things I accomplished completed were Building my arc lists, which is an ongoing thing, and executing part one of my marketing.  Those are two important things and I’m working hard on them, but my aim is always to complete my goal lists.

I’m torn between being completely disappointed that I’m not hitting my lists and also recognizing that I have more time constraints than I give myself credit. This isn’t a fun thing to come to terms with, but it must be done.

I have to just adjust. Adaptability to the circumstances of my life are the only things that will keep me put together right now. My husband, my children, my pregnancy, and all the other events going on have a level of priority that I have to respect. Sigh.

It will only get harder when baby three is here in may, but I have to find a groove. My dream needs to flourish and it means I have to make the time.  No one else is going to do the work for me. Every part of my dream come with it’s on obstacles. I cannot let myself forget that.

Over the next month I will be taking a serious look at my time constraints and determine what are the most important things I must do to keep pushing toward my end game. Hopefully, the conclusion will be a more efficient schedule and better execution. We will see.

Joy.

#Firstreleasefrenzy

In four weeks and one day, I will be releasing The Alpha’s Dream.

It feels surreal to even type that. It isn’t that I haven’t published before, but a pen name is very different from my actual name. ThE anonymity that comes from a pen name created some separation. My actual name doesn’t. It feels like I have a lot of proving to do.

So many things are going through my head when I look at the pages in front of me. The long nights I spent croctched over my keyboard, the endless doubts of whether it’s good, and all the time I’ve missed wiht my little loves in order to write come down to this.

In theory, the journey is the point. Writing is my passion. The Alpha’s Dream could flop and I would still wake up with stories to tell. However, I still want my passion to pay the bills. There is still so much to do. I have to finalize my second draft and get it to my editor. Hopefully, she’ll return it with few edits, because it is mostly perfect. 😍 More than likely, I’ll be down to the wire getting it ready for release date. I do ;t mind. I worked hard for my clients, and I can work hard for me.

My fears aren’t that the book isn’t enjoyable. I love it, but again I am biased. I want to crawl into hte pages with my characters and walk them through the choices they are making. After all, so much of being th author is just about- ushering my characters to the ledges they need to jump from. I don;t make th e hoices about what happens to them, they  do.

The Alpha’s release is no different.

Nathaniel and Euphoria have a ton of internal doubts to work through in order to have a successful relationship. They have to be grave, to rewrite the narrative of their lives as far as relationships are concerned. It will not be easy. It won’t even be moderately difficult. It will be hard. The realizations they will come too will challenge everything they’ve believed about themselves as lovers.

In much the same way, writing The Alpha’s Dream has challenged me. Iv’e had to relinquish thoughts of inadequancies. I’ve had to unravel all the doubts, find their roots and pluck them up. I’ve had to examine my motivations for writing and what I hoped to accomplish through my work. Whatever the outcome, this is a dream manifesting and I don’t take that for granted.

Joy

#Mamaauthor

My husband and I have been married for ten years (eleven years in August.) My husband and I suffered three miscarriages and immeasurable heartache in the five years we were actively trying to conceive. My husband and I couldn’t afford fertility treatments. If it were going to happen it was going to be the old fashion way. (It did…eventually.) My husband and I are expecting our third child in three years in May. My husband and I adore our little ones.

However, being an author is hard. Not where you thought this post was going? Bear with me. It all comes full circle.

In conventional ways, being a mother and being an author overlap each other by way of time. If I have time to write one of two things have happened. Either my husband has taken our darlings and whisked them away so I can have some quiet time or it is after hours, they are sleeping, and I should be too. To describe the oddity of waking up to the sound of your fingers typing is to live outside your body at all times.

There. I admitted it. I’m a sorceress. I can wrestle with house and husband and children all day and write romance stories in my sleep. Of course that would be first draft, pre-edit writing. What can I say? There are limits to my powers.

As I write this, there is a little darling nursing themselves to sleep in my lap. I should be weaning and I am sort of. Also, I should be editing, and I am. Sort of. Story of my life really.I am always trying to find the delicate balance between getting the job done directly in front of me and the one just inches from my face. Multitasking has its perks, but it also has its pitfalls. Namely everything always feels almost finished in my world, but not quite done.

I am not always up to embracing the challenges that come from mothering and authoring. Mainly, because I’m exhausted. I never feel like I’m doing it right, and at least half the time I’m just doing something I read somewhere. I’m not going to be too hard on myself about that. I read some really good shit.

I’ve had to learn that winging it is absolutely as powerful as knowing exactly what must be done and doing it. As knowing what must be written and writing it.  I’ve had to learn that somethings don’t balance the way you want them to, but there is growth in juggling. I’ve realized that it is okay to take two hard things and admit they are hard while still getting them done.

When the doctor told me my first born existed, I was in denial.  I called him a liar and spent the next fourteen weeks in disbelief. It was a similar experience when I was first encouraged to write for a living. I knew the work I’d put in silently to have these dreams come true, and it felt like I was being mocked to have someone tell me they were possible.

I’ve failed so many times. I would see the finished line only to have it extended another hundred miles. I didn’t want to hear that it would happen in time or keep going or any of the anecdotes and phrases that currently keep me alive.I wanted something tangible to convince me that what I desired could be real.

Here I am touching them both.(Finally.)  Albeit, I am definitely becoming more successful at one than the other at a much faster pace. 😉

I say all this, because today has been difficult. This last week has easily cemented itself as one of the hardest of my life. I’ve had to sit quietly and come clean with myself on a slew of very personal things. I questioned whether I should be doing this-right now.  Motherhood is permanent for me, but authorhood was on the verge of elimination. When I am crumbling, I have to get light. This is my way.

At the end of the day, I had to buck up. I had to think of how long I’d been fighting for the reality that I am living right now. I had to remember, everyday I am living an ideal life that I wanted and didn’t achieve until now.  The reality is I’ve waited too long for the opportunities that I am seeing unfold. I don’t want my unraveling to destroy all that I am working to build.

Then, there is the matter of my children. The is the matter of what I want them to believe about their mother and about life. We don’t give up, just because something is hard. I say that to them all the time. Particularly, my eldest who is fascinated by everything but sometimes intimidated if she doesn’t get it on the first try. I need them to see that difficulty is sometimes the catalyst we need to release fear and get it done.

So I fight through my uncertainty, my anxiety, and depression. I venture forward to prove it can be done. That I an survive my own thoughts and accomplish something great.

I am #mamaauthor. I am two thins I once believed I would never be and it is terrifying. It is also beautiful and it motivates me to keep believing impossible things can happen.

Joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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