Podcast with Kobo Writing Life

Podcast with Kobo Writing Life

Every year I attend the Superstars Writing Seminar. And every year I run into my good friend Mark LeFebvre, Director Kobo Writing Life.

We have a history that really flatters my . . . outspoken side.

I basically called him out in front of the whole conference my first year (we talk about it in the podcast) and the next year I pulled him into the bar where we discussed BookBub strategy and how Kobo could help me hit the top of their list. (I made it ahead of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for a day or two, and stayed in the #1 slot for a good chunk of time).

This year, we recorded a podcast together.

 

My Podcast with Kobo Writing Life

Check it out here: Katie Cross. From Full Time Author to Full Time Mom.

If you aren’t already the Kobo Writing Life podcast, I highly recommend you do so! It’s full of fantastic content for any type of author, but caters a lot to the indie side of things. They’re always pulling really relevant information in.

Here are a few of my favorite episodes:

The Other Side of Chaos

The Other Side of Chaos

After my last blog post on Hiring A Virtual Assistant, I contemplated the impression I put out there. A few words come to mind. Utter insanity. Total chaos. Life without stops. While that day happened—as they do—I realized I’ve done a disservice in making it seem like I’m ripping out my hair every day.

I like my hair too much for that.

My motto is transparency, so let’s talk about the other side. The quieter side of Indie Parent Life.

The Other Side of Chaos

It’s true—those days of nonstop pandemonium happen. They just don’t happen all the time. I estimate that I work about 4-8 hours a day between naptime, bedtime, and the occasional (getting rarer) babysitter. When I have a deadline coming up, new ideas spawning, a book release, or a writing conference on the horizon— yep. Those days absolutely happen.

But not every day.

The Gift of Balance in the Chaos

Two days ago, LM and I went on an hour and a half hike. We threw rocks in the stream. Meandered along some paths. Chased the dogs. Climbed benches. Soaked up the Colorado sun. Then LM fell flat on his face and received a superhero scar between his eyes.

Lesson learned: even the best days end in blood.

We went home, I cleaned him up, fixed dinner, we ate as a family. Bob Ross played in the background while Husband put LM to bed and I washed dishes. And sometime around seven, I remembered that I needed to do a little writing so I pounded out a few scenes.

In all, about 5 hours had passed and I hadn’t once thought about work.

Those days are my favorite. For me, they’re actually the most important. My conscious brain says, “Peace. I’m out.” So when I come back to writing, I’m fresh. The ideas flow. My fingers fly. I live in the moment in every possible way.

Fantasy is fun, but living in the moment is better.Click To Tweet

It’s a beautiful thing when those days draw out so perfectly. They remind me to keep going when the inevitable poop-explosion-and-toddler-tantrum-days strike.

#canIgetanamen

Truthfully? I don’t live in dream worlds all the time. 5 out of 7 days consist of me playing with LM, running with my dogs, writing during naptime, and watching fail videos with Husband while we connect after dinner.

That’s it. And it’s my imperfect perfection.

I’m still figuring this authoring thing out, guys. Blogging. Balance. Life. How to show who I really am the right way. For awhile I thought about editing down the last post to reflect less psycho-ness. But I won’t. Because that day did happen. Also: I don’t actually know what I’m doing.

You should know that.

Stick around. Maybe we’ll figure it out one day together.

 

In the meantime, let’s be balanced! Tell me your favorite non-writing activity in the comments. MUAH.

Writing and Babyhood: A New Reality

Writing and Babyhood: A New Reality

It’s been months since I attempted blogging after giving birth and dealing with babyhood. Having kids is crazy pants. Working and having kids? Double crazy pants. I know I don’t need to tell you. Some of you are doing it all and then some on the side.

#respect

In a brief update, LM is almost nine months, bears an uncanny resemblance to a pterodactyl, holds a deep adoration for yogurt that I can only admire, and loves a good Costco run.

 

What My Life is Like Now as an Author

My Projects in Babyhood

I didn’t actually think I could pull it off, but I’m happy to announce that it’s possible to be a Mom and an author. Sporadic, but doable. Whilst bottle feeding and playing peek-a-boo an absurd number of times, I currently I have 3 projects running in various stages of completion.

War of the Networks– The conclusion to my YA fantasy series The Network Series. It’s in heavy edits.

I Am Girl Power— the second novel in my chick lit series, The Health and Happiness Society. This is currently out for early edits and beta reading.

The Dragonmasters Part One and Two— A companion duology to the Network Series, The Sisterwitches will launch the Antebellum Collection, my epic fantasy series.

Switching from full time to do-it-when-I-can has been a difficult transition, to be honest. I didn’t want to give up that time. But now I don’t want to give up LM. So . . . there’s that. I regret nothing! Despite the craziness (which I secretly love to conquer) LM has given so much to my life.

It’s not easy, but it’s doable.

When I Work

WHENEVER I CAN.

  • Now that LM is past the colic and-I-don’t-think-I’ll-sleep-at-night fiasco of the first 4 months, he handles places like Starbucks well. I take him to the coffee shop, toss him in his Bumbo, and give him a few toys while he people watches. I can usually get about 30-45 minutes of writing in, which is a lot considering I wouldn’t have it otherwise.
  • Right now, he’s sitting in my lap atTEMPting to grab the kEYYjboard. No lie. <—This is him. Sometimes when I have a deadline, it comes down to lap time.
  • Naptimes. His “nap times” are often only 30-40 minutes, but little things add up to big things over time.
  • I can get about 1-2 hours of work in every night. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Cooking dinner and doing absolutely everything else that I can while he’s awake (normally I’m wearing him) helps.
  • While hiking/running/walking my dogs and LM.
    I never used to put so much time
    into plotting or thinking individual scenes out, but since I don’t always have hands-free time, or stretches of more than ten minutes when I’m not a human jungle gym, I’ve found that really thinking a scene through helps me fly through the writing later.
  • While he’s occupied chewing with a credit card, I go through emails on my phone or post to social media then.

A Few Things That Have Helped

  • I networked into a project manager at a writers conference last year. We now chat weekly on Skype. He’s helped me organize my projects, figure out best uses of my time, and we’ve even figured out a way that I can outline without feeling like I’m outlining, which cuts down on rewrites. #pantsertotheextreme
  • Husband is on board with me working at night. I don’t always slave away at the keyboard, but most of the time I do. He’s an introvert. He doesn’t care. 😉
  • I take Sundays off. It recharges my brain.
  • Outlining. Even a loose outline has helped immensely. Then I can think about the scenes and what’s coming up and it cuts down on the sheer amount of ugly writing.
  • DP 10. Not even kidding.
  • I let go of my blog for the most part, and cut down on social media to the basics. When it comes to work time, my number one focus is writing: always.

There are so many new facets to my life as an author and a Mom and a runner and a dog lover and a reader and all the other things, that I find myself more often overwhelmed. But the truth is that writing is a priority. My family is a priority. My health is a priority. (Not in that order, necessarily) 😉 But I let them be important, and so they happen.

In truth, while LM cuts down on my work focus, he’s add a lot of awesomeness to my life. He’s stressful, intense, busy, and somehow poops everywhere, but even though my business has slowed down a little (not as much as I had anticipated) he adds more to my life than he takes away, which makes my writing (and me) better.

This whole balancing thing is rarely perfect, I’ve found. There are a lot of fast dinners and dirty laundry days.

But that seems like a pretty normal swap.

How do you manage life/children/careers/responsibilities and your writing goals?

 

Writing With A Newborn

Writing With A Newborn

I’m nine weeks into the Jungle of New Mom and remember, with a mild sense of desperation, scouring the internet to see if anyone else had had their first child while also trying to publish books. Newborn life is tough. It’s definitely a time for commiseration. I realize I’m not the only mom to work and have a baby, but I felt desperate for some 1:1 reality.

And couldn’t find it.

So here are some quick observations.

Life as an Author with a Newborn

– I used to work about 9-10 hours per day (some of that was ramping up to LM’s birth. I was setting myself up to not have to do a lot of work.) Now I work about 0-2 hours. MAYBE 3 on a really, really good day.

– I’ve done a lot of one handed typing while breastfeeding.

– It’s not as bad as I expected because I only have one, and he’s not that mobile. Although there’s a lot of lost sleep and easy meals, I’ve found it not to be as hard as I thought to take my concentration away from him. Actually, it helps to have something else to think about sometimes.

– I’ve forgotten a lot of things. They’re slipping through the cracks.

– I’ve caught up on a lot of reading. Again, while breastfeeding.

– I took the first 10 days off, but got bored during the marathon nursing sessions and started to work again after that. “Work” is a pretty loose term for mostly catching up on emails and social media for the first few days.

– It has been harder to harness my creativity so to speak, but again, not as difficult as I expected.

– I moved my iMac into LM’s room in front of the rocker. Because I have a wireless mouse and keyboard, I can type while I nurse and/or he naps. And I do. It kind of rocks, actually. Newborns should sleep a lot. (He really doesn’t. #colicadventures).

– I don’t fill in all the gaps with writing or work or career. Just some of them. I spend an inordinate amount of time just watching him.

– Nap time is nap time for me too, but sometimes it’s work time.

– I haven’t put editing deadlines on my work yet, because I have no idea if I’ll even be able to write/rewrite on any given day. That’s taken some pressure off.

– I cut back where I could. The blog, social media interactions, and commenting/sharing on other blogs has taken a nosedive. But that’s been fine. I think people expect that.

– I try not to sacrifice sleep for work. I won’t take my laptop into my bedroom at night, and I literally go to bed when the baby does. Which means I’m awesome and sometimes go to bed at 730. #wootwoot

– I use my phone to stay on top of emails during middle-of-the-night feedings that I’m not trying to sleep through. I also use my phone to keep up with Wattpad stories and interacting with fans over there.

– I still post to Wattpad twice a week but it often takes me all day to get it written, and the chapters usually average about 1500 words. Sometimes I can get it done early in the morning, but most of the time I’m just using every 15 minute snatch of time I can find.

– I’ve learned to the harness the power of other people. For example, when I released the third book in The Network Series, The High Priest’s DaughterI asked for help and it was the most comprehensive social media launch I’ve had because so many people helped out. ALL OF YOU ARE AWESOME.

– Me maintaining a semblance of a career has been a good release for me while having a really fun colicky baby.  (Literally. He cries every single night from 4-9 and sucks at naps) I don’t let writing be stressful. There’s no pressure for me to have to get the writing done, so it’s just a good time when I do.

A Few Mentionables.

1. My story The Red Unicorn Candy Store was accepted into the A Game of Horns: A Red Unicorn Anthology published through Wordfire Press! *throws glitter*. It’s now available to purchase here. ALL proceeds go to a scholarship fund for the Superstars Writing Conference to help people who can’t afford to buy their own way in get a chance to attend. #bestcauseever.

2. The High Priest’s Daughter , the third book in The Network Series, was released last month and continues to have steady, awesome sales surpassing my other books. It has 9 five-star reviews so far saying awesome stuff like “Bianca is a force of nature”. She really kind of is, the snarky brat.

If you haven’t snagged your copy yet, grab it here.

3. My Wattpad story, Bon Bons to Yoga Pantsis approaching half a million reads and is now listed with Kindle Unlimited for a trial. (I wanted to see what the ‘pages read’ method of pay out would be like). If you have KU, get a copy of BBTYP on your kindle here so you don’t have to log onto the internet to catch up!

4. Miss Mabel’s School for Girls won the prize for Outstanding Fantasy in the 2015 IAN awards. Check it, and the other winners, out here. (See the shiny new sticker? So awesome! We just hit over 150 reviews on Amazon with a 4.6 star rating. Woot woot! )

 

If you’ve ever had to write with a newborn, leave your tips in the comments!

Why I’m Scared to be a Mom and an Entrepreneur

Why I’m Scared to be a Mom and an Entrepreneur

 

As many of you know, Little Boy Cross is coming this August.

#throwsglitter

I’m stoked, truly. So, so excited. Pumped. Gung-ho. Ready to meet the little parasite that’s pummeling my insides day and night.

BUT SERIOUSLY I’M TERRIFIED.

Setting aside the fact that I was a pediatric RN for the first six years of adulthood and saw everything that can and does go wrong, I also started this great little idea called indie publishing. 

Right now, publishing is not only a hat I wear, but almost a child unto itself.

I spend all day with it. When I’m not working on it, I’m probably thinking about it, or forcing my time away from thinking about it because I need a break. Writing is what brings me joy, happiness, depression and frustration all in the same day. It keeps me up at night, prevents me from sleeping in, and alters my social life.

Luckily, I can take an easy break from wearing the publishing hat for a little while. Little Boy Cross?

#notsomuch

Little Boy is bringing a whole new hat to my world.

Why I’m scared to wear both hats.

1. I don’t want to lose career momentum.

2. I don’t want to be so motivated for my career that it weirds out my relationship with Little Boy. I have a tendency to get intense and do things in overdrive to prove myself.

3. My pretty flexible schedule is about to get whacked.

4. I thought a mortgage was a big commitment, but this child thing brings in a whole new dimension. Thinking about how much I rely on my own Mom even at 28 (hi Mom! *waves*) means this raising-a-child party isn’t ending soon.

5. I was an awesome nurse, I loved my job, and I may know how to take care of babies and children, but that doesn’t mean I know how to do it 24/7.

6. It also doesn’t mean I’m good at it 24/7.

7. Everyone likes to talk about their terrible experiences either in labor or child raising, which I get. People vent. The truth hurts. Parenting is sucky sometimes. It’s tough. But it’s getting to the point where I’ve stopped bringing Little Boy up in conversation because I just can’t handle the insinuation that having Little Boy means I lose all sense of personal gravity or hygiene. (Seriously). This happens ALOT. ALL THE TIME. NONSTOP.

This helpful advice throws me into mini panic attacks.

“Kiss your life goodbye. You’ll never sleep again. Hope you function well on three hours for the next two years. Did you like exercising? Cause that won’t happen when baby is here. Date your husband now because you won’t get alone time for the next eighteen years. Take pictures of your body now because you’ll never get it back. Your life will never be your own from now on out. Don’t plan on publishing books for a long time after having kids because you’ll never have time. Your dogs are about to become just dogs because you won’t have time for them. Get ready for labor because you feel like you’re split in half. You’re going to lose all the curl in your hair so enjoy it now.”

To be fair, not everyone is like this. My bestie Tara, my mom, and watching my sister Sarah (who still showers and sleeps) with my 4 month old Nephew, Caleb, helps calm the panic.

7. Being a nurse means I know where things can and do go wrong in a child’s world. I’ve given CPR to babies. I’ve watched parents lose their teenage child. I’ve seen children cry in pain that can’t be stopped. I’ve seen sapped Mothers sobbing because they’re on their last straw because we couldn’t find out what’s wrong with their once perfect child. And that changes a person.

Quantifying how I feel about this whole merging the entrepreneur hat with Little Boy hat isn’t all darkness and angst, however. I don’t feel like I have to wear only one hat at any given time. My hope is that I can still wear the entrepreneur hat, but maybe keep it underneath Little Boy hat, which will obviously be bigger and consume more than anything else.

Let’s be fair: while I’m sincerely frightened of this whole parenting process, I’ve also never been so excited for something in my life.

I’m going to end this on a note of happy reality.

Why I’m NOT Scared To Wear Both Hats.

1. Little Boy is going to be a runner based on how much he moves now, which means he’s going to party in the mountains with me all the time, which means I have another partner-in-crime and a clone of my husband. #wildchildinthemaking

2. I already really like this little terrorist.

3. I love a good challenge. Seriously. While it will be difficult to wear both hats, I’m determined to make it happen because I want to prove to Little Boy that working for dreams is worth it.

4. The fact that he’s half Husband means he’s going to be a stud. A serious stud. I’m stoked to have another Husband in my life, except that will exponentially increase the number of farts in my world. My husband is a major hottie, if I haven’t said it before.

5. Fresh baby smell far outweighs New Car Scent. By 10,000.

6. Because my mom told me that having kids was the best thing she ever did, and when I freak out because I’m not sure I’m ready to do this, that means something really cool about Mom’s.

Tell me your thoughts on the hats in your life. Or mine. Or give me MORE delightful tidbits on why parenting is the rockiest road on planet earth 🙂

In the meantime, check out this yummy Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe that I made for dinner tonight. #seriouslygood