Here’s What’s Happening

Guess what?  It’s been a while since I published The Fine Line and I do not have another book out yet!  Oh dear…that totally sucks because more books mean more exposure and anyone will tell you that one of the best things you can do to market your book…is to write more books.

So…why don’t I have another book out yet?

If you’ve read my past blog posts, you know that I had an incredibly fun time writing my first book last year.  I obtained a new-found passion in writing that I never knew I had and I really, truly enjoyed every moment of creating The Fine Line.  I loved it so much that I decided to try my hand at self-publishing.  And my oh my, what a roller-coaster ride it’s been!

I never expected to feel such amazing highs from comments like these:  A-freaking fantastic read, I have found another author to add to my stalker list..eeeeekkkkk :)” ~Endless Reading, or this: “For a debut novel, THIS IS REALLY AMAZING! ” ~Boekies’ Book Reviews, or this: “Whew! I finished the book and immediately went into this review because it left such a huge impact on me.” ~Itching for Books Blog, or this: “Here’s hoping that more books like this one will be written, cause if so, then the indie world just got that much better.” ~Book Reader Chronicles

Nor did I expect to feel so purely devastated from comments like these: “There is a long and tiring road ahead of you Mrs. Kobishop if you are to become a best-selling author who writes gripping, realistic and outstanding romance novels.” or this: I’m really sorry to say this but…if you don’t have any good ideas of your own then don’t write a book in the first place.” 

Talk about total opposite ends of the spectrum!  Sheesh!

What really surprised me, though, was how I became so thoroughly paralyzed by the opinions of others.  I thought I was tougher than that.  I mean, I’ve always cared about what others think…to a point…but I never let it stop me from doing what I want to do.  Never.

Here’s the truth:  I’ve had TONS of new book ideas since finishing The Fine Line.  And I’ve even started writing a few of these stories that have been prancing around in my mind.  But every time I start, a little voice inside my head says this: “What if it’s too cliche’? What if it’s not what readers are looking for?  What if it’s been done before?  What if that’s not where the book market is headed?  What if it totally sucks?”   So then I stop writing and move onto another idea, and repeat the cycle.

This is not a good routine for creativity OR productivity.  Not good at all.  How can I be creative when I have such a thick filter?  Well–I can’t.  The thing is, writing is in my blood now, and being productive is important if I want to advance my writing career!  I’m constantly daydreaming of new stories and it pains me not to get them out onto paper.

So, I’d like to publicly tell my inner critic to shut up.  There.  Done.  Consider my inner critic utterly squished.  Let’s just hope she doesn’t rise from the dead.

As far as my haters go…I’ll listen to my husband on that one.  He says, “Haters be hating.”  I’m not really sure what he means by that short little phrase, but I’ll take a guess and say it means I should just ignore them.  Because:

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After all, haters come with the territory, or so I’ve heard.  Maybe I’ll ignore Goodreads for a while, too.

The bottom line, and the reason for this post, is to say that writing is extremely important to me, and I’m ready to continue my journey as an author.

NOW FOR SOME BOOK NEWS!  

I have just started outlining a story that I have some incredibly good feelings about.  It’s one of the two stories that keep popping into my head–regardless of my inner critic.  You may love it, you may hate it, but I’m sure as heck writing it.

I’m not sure how long it will take me to complete it, which means I can’t give you a definite release date, or a guaranteed time frame, but I’m sure hoping it’ll be ready to be published by the end of the year (2014).  I will post frequent updates here, on Facebook, and/or on Twitter to keep you all in the loop!

 

 

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A Completely Random, Non-Book Related Blog Post

But that’s ok, because this is a blog about life, not just books.  🙂

Today’s post is about working out.

I have not worked out for years.  In my 20’s, before having children, I worked out 4-5 times per week and stayed quite fit.  I worked hard, partied hard, and was incredibly resilient.  Then I had babies, and let’s just say everything “dropped,” and I’m not just talking about my exercise routine.  These, days, I consume healthier foods than I did in my 20’s, but I don’t exercise.  Not even a little bit.  I could go on and on about why I stopped my workout routine, but that would be boring, and I’m sure most Moms out there are fully aware of my reasons.

For those of you who do not know me well, I am the type of person who wants to do something the second I think about it.  I see no point in waiting.  Yesterday, I thought to myself, “I want the body I had 10 years ago.  I’m gonna get in shape!”

So–without hesitation–I brought this out:

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And I worked my body hard, for a good 40 minutes, until I couldn’t take it anymore.  It felt AMAZING!  I felt so good after exercising, and I wondered why I hadn’t done it sooner!  I knew I’d be sore, but I stayed hydrated and stretched a bunch of times throughout the rest of the day to try to reduce the after-workout-pain.

When my kids came home, they saw the step  in the middle of the living room and they did this:

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And I thought, “how wonderful that the kids are into exercising, too!”  We all had a lovely evening and everything was grand.

Then, I woke up this morning.  And my first thought was: “Owww!”  Then: “Wha?  Why can’t I move?  Crap!”  And I stayed like this:

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for a very long time.  I have learned that my 30-something, post-children body does not have the same resilience it used to.  The entire time I laid in bed, I mentally thanked my husband for taking care of the morning routine.  Man, I love him.

Then I got up, hydrated, drank my green tea, and googled this:

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Now, I’m off to stretch some more, take some tylenol, and eat some cherries.  (Apparently, cherry juice helps muscle soreness…who knew?)

 

Thank You…

I just want to say a quick “thank you” to everyone who has read my book!  My biggest fear going into self-publishing was that my writing would not be up to par because of my lack of experience. I had never actually written anything (other than work emails and letters) prior to starting The Fine Line, therefore it’s success was a complete shot-in-the-dark.

What I have been hearing from the reviews is that readers actually think my writing style is pretty good! Even the reviews that are not-so-fabulous say that the writing is good. I’m honestly a bit shocked and incredibly delighted by that! My biggest concern…the writing…has actually been validated and for that I am so very grateful.

Thank you to all the readers, bloggers, and reviewers who have read, reviewed, or helped in spreading the word about my unknown novel! You have all played a huge part in the success of my book. Your praise and constructive criticism have been taken deeply to heart and I plan on using the feedback to make my next work even better! A million times…thank you.  🙂 

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Prologue and Giveaway!

(THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED AS OF 12AM FEB 10TH)

Today, I feel like doing a giveaway.  I have gotten such positive feedback from readers and I feel truly blessed that so many people have given The Fine Line a chance!  To say thanks, I’m giving away a signed paperback copy of the book.  If you haven’t read it yet, check out the sample below!

WordPress is funny which means the rafflecopter widget does not show up in wordpress.

Click here–> a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter the giveaway.

The Fine Line

What’s it about?  The Fine line is a coming of age story about a girl with a jaded past, who has written off relationships for good.  Boys are fun, but she’s happy being single and independent, and is determined to keep it that way.  When she meets and forms an unexpected bond with Logan Tanner, an illegal street racer with his own trust issues, she begins to question everything she thought she knew about life, and love, and asks the question: Can love have a future?  Or is history destined to repeat itself?

~Click here to see The Fine Line on Goodreads
~Purchase Links:  AmazonB&NiBookstoreKOBOSmashwords
~Author links: FacebookTwitterGoodreads

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Prologue

Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves.  I learned a long time ago that preserving one’s heart means keeping it protected.  Sheltered.  My heart is hidden deep within the secure layers of my soul, where it rests easy with the knowledge that nothing can penetrate its everlasting impervious shell.

Twelve Years Ago

Yelling.  Always yelling.  The hardwood floor in my bedroom chilled my toes as I slid out of my bed to see what was going on.  I wouldn’t dare leave my room, though.  I knew better.  As I tip-toed to the bright crack in the door, something crashed to pieces, and I squeezed Mama Bear tight.

Is Mommy crying?

My hand found a place on the cool metal door knob as I peeked through the crack.  I brought Mama Bear up to my chin so she could see too.  Her soft, fuzzy fur tickled me.  Mommy sat on the floor with her back against the hallway wall, her head in her hands while Daddy stood tall above her.  Her shoulders lifted up and down as she wept.

No, Mommy, don’t cry!

“I want a divorce,” she whispered.

What was a divorce?  Whatever it was, Daddy didn’t seem too happy about it.  He crouched down so that his eyes were across from hers.  Fisting her t-shirt, he yanked her close to him.  With the other hand, he pointed his finger at her, jabbing her as he spoke.  His voice stayed quiet, and I couldn’t hear what he said, but I knew it was something scary.

The door knob made a noise as I accidentally let go of it, and both of their heads turned to look at me.  My eyes widened, and I gasped.  I ran back to bed as fast as I could, quickly covering myself in my blankie.  Oh no, I dropped Mama Bear!  My door creaked as it opened, and light came through the seams of my blankie.

“Olivia?” Daddy said softly.

I didn’t answer.  Mommy was always telling me to make smart choices.  I chose to stay perfectly still and not to breathe too loudly, but it wasn’t easy because my heart was pounding hard.  It was a smart choice, though, because after a few seconds, the door creaked closed. I was safe.  Mommy would be very proud of me.

I peered at the floor, searching for Mama Bear, but she was nowhere to be seen.  Daddy must’ve taken her.  Who’s gonna sleep with me?  I pulled my knees to my chest and held onto them tightly.  Mommy says I’m brave.  Brave girls don’t need silly toys.  Brave girls sleep by themselves.

Eight Years Ago

It’s been a year since Dad told me I wouldn’t be able to spend time at his house anymore.  He said he was leaving to get a new start.  At first, his emails came daily and postcards came weekly, but I haven’t gotten either for at least a month.  Mom says he’s moved on, with his new wife and baby, and that it’s the best thing for all of us.

I was glad to have Kevin.  He loved me and Mom.  Happiness didn’t even begin to describe how I felt when Mom told me he was moving in with us.  If he lived with us, it would mean I would get to see magic tricks and laugh at his stories every day.

Mom told me about the accident last week.  Kevin had gotten hit by a drunk driver.  I knew something was wrong when she dropped the phone on the floor and began sobbing.  I had seen her cry before—but never like that.

I stayed with Nana for five days after that call, and when I returned home, Mom took me into my room, sat me down on my bed, and broke the news.  The funeral service had been the prior day.  Mom thought it would be best if I didn’t attend because it would be too difficult for me.  I cried myself to sleep that night.  I couldn’t get the thought of Kevin, being buried deep in the ground, out of my mind.

The next morning, I thought a lot about the way things work, and I figured out that nothing’s forever.  Nothing.  I had to be strong.  Brave.  I hated being sad.  I hated crying.  I vowed to find a way to make sure I never felt this horrendous feeling ever again.

Three Years Ago 

I looked around our heated garage as Adam poured the amber liquid into our little glasses.   All the tool chests and auto supplies had been packed up and hauled out.  He filled his glass to the brim while mine was only filled a quarter of the way.  He said I couldn’t have a full glass because I was only fourteen.

Hanging out with Adam came naturally.  It was easy.  He was much younger than Mom, but I was under the misguided impression that they were in love, regardless of his age.

Normally, the whiskey we shared was in celebration of an accomplishment.  A new paint job, installing the new engine, fixing the interior.  I had spent most of my evenings and weekends for the last three years watching Adam restore his 1968 Pontiac GTO.  He bragged to people about how much I helped him, but really, I just watched him work and handed him tools as we talked.

Today, we toasted goodbye.  It would be the last time I’d ever see him.  My throat burned as the liquor flowed down it, but I welcomed the feeling.  It reminded me of good times.

“I’m gonna miss you, Sweetie,” he said with tears in his eyes.  “I asked her to marry me, you know.  She said no.”

Anger quickly flooded my system, washing away the heartbreak.  How could she say no?  It had taken me over two years to let my guard down around him.  Two years to break the vow that I had kept for so long and let myself feel again.  She was making him go away.  This was her fault.

I watched as Adam rolled his refurbished car down the driveway and out of my life.  Without thought, my body stormed into the house in search of my mother.  I found her staring blankly out the living room window.

“How could you say no?” I screamed.

“Livie, what are you talking about?”

“He told me, Mom!  He told me he asked you to marry him!”

Her shoulders sunk as she let out a breath.  Her expression turned angry.  “Did he tell you he was seeing another woman?  Did he tell you that he asked me to marry him only after I found out?”

My heart stopped.  My mind barely comprehended what my mother had just told me.  It couldn’t be true.  Adam loved us.  With regret in her eyes, she rushed toward me with open arms.

“No.”  I held out my hand.  “NO!”  Tears spilled out of my eyes as I ran to my bedroom, locked my door, and flopped belly down onto my bed, sobbing uncontrollably into my pillow.

Why does everyone I love have to leave? 

Never again.  I’m done.  This is the last time I will ever have this feeling.

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My Self Publishing Journey…So Far

If you have read my previous posts, you already know that in early 2013, I spent some time thinking about what my real passions were.  I thought about whether I wanted to remain “comfortable” in my career, or if I wanted to take some risks and try something completely different.  I chose the latter.

At first, when I decided to write a book, I didn’t know if I would ever show it to anyone other than my husband.  In fact, I didn’t even tell anyone else I was writing a book until I was 2.5 months into it.  I found out in the very beginning that writing is an extremely personal experience where you must bare your deepest inner thoughts and emotions…Something I have always avoided at all costs.  Telling people was hard but I did it because I had become so passionate about it that I couldn’t not tell people about it.  I had come to a point where I needed to finish what I had started.   Initial reactions to my “writing confession” started with looks of confusion (I had never expressed any interest in writing before), to support and encouragement.   All I can say about that is I love my family & friends.  🙂

Fast forward a few months.  The book was edited, formatted, and finished.  Ready to be shown to anyone who wanted to read it.  Ready for people other than my husband and a few close friends.  It was ready for “strangers.”  My instinct begged me to keep it to myself…to not put my heart & soul out there for people to judge.  But I did it anyway.  Because being comfortable for the rest of my life would be fine–even great–but there is nothing more exhilarating than doing what you are passionate about.  And there is no reward without risk.

The book is out now, and I have had some phenomenal reviews!  The feeling of relief mixed with excitement when someone has expressed that they enjoyed my book is invigorating.  I have been pretty lucky in that each review has been a reflection of my writing strengths, and has provided me with insight to areas where I can improve for the next project.  I am so incredibly thankful to each and every person…every stranger…who has given my book a chance.  So far I have found the book world to be an encouraging and helpful group of people who are passionate about finding and reading new books by new authors.

I am slowly figuring out the “book marketing world,” though I’ll be the first to admit that I still have a lot to learn.  But I’ll get there.  For now, I have decided to finally put the social media on slow-mo to start my next book.  No more distractions!  (That means you Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads!)  My plan is to get into the habit of staring at a blank word document without having my mind wander.  I won’t quit the social media completely cold turkey…I’ll dedicate some time here and there for emails and promotions and such…but the rest of my free time will be spent writing.  (Or staring at a blank word document).  And now that I’ve told you all my plan, I have to stick to it!

A Little Thing Called Balance

Balance.

I’ve got some questions about that.

Like, how do you do it?

How do you do it when you want to spend all your time with your kids?  And husband?  And chasing your dreams?

How do you do it  when there’s laundry and dishes and work and appointments and grocery shopping?

How do you do it when there are parties and get-togethers and extracurriculars and other “functions?”

I’ve been thinking about this incessantly for the last week or so…Ever since my kids told me I’m no fun anymore.  And I’m a fun Mom, so that hurt.

Some Solutions:

1. Prioritize.  Kids/Family first.  Dreams second.  Work third.  Parties/get-togethers fourth.  As for laundry/dishes/etc…If I get to it, I get to it.

2. Get organized.  Schedule everything – including alone time.  (This one will be tough…I’m a “take it as it comes” type person)

3. Realize it’s ok to say no sometimes.

4. Be ok with it if I make a mistake or two along the way as long as I learn from it.

Ok, to be completely honest, these steps may or may not happen.  I am in no way a supermom or superhousewife, I can’t even cook without burning something.  I’m just a person trying to make herself and her family happy.

I like to do what I want when I want to do it so the scheduling thing might not work out so well, and I hate having a stinky house and wrinkly clothes so I’m going to have to do dishes and laundry at some point.

My hope is that if I, at the very least, keep these steps in back of my mind, I will somehow metamorphasize into supermomwife and all will be well in the world.  And if I don’t become supermomwife…I’m ok with that as long as my kids think I’m fun, and I get to do a little bit of all those things I want to do.

A better solution:  Just roll with it.

If IMDb says I’m an actress, does that mean I am one?

Last fall I lost 2 people, who were close to me, to cancer.  One was an uncle-in-law, the other was a co-worker.  Both were way too young.  Both left behind young children.  I learned an extremely important, crucial, valuable lesson from them which I will forever be thankful for.

After losing them, I came to a realization.  One that everyone always talks about, but never really hit me.  Life is short.  Today really could be our very last day her on earth.  I’m young(ish)!  I have small children!  It could happen to anyone at any time.  It was a slap in the face, a light-bulb going off in my head, it was as if someone had shaken some sense into me, and I started to ask myself…If I died tomorrow, will I have been content knowing that I have done all I wanted to do in this life?

Of course not.  I would like to meet the person who says yes to that question.

So then I thought…”What do I want to do that I haven’t done?”  and I said to myself, “Being in a movie would be cool.  Other people act in movies, why can’t I?”  (This was long before writing a novel came to the forefront of my mind).

So, I did an internet search and found out that it’s very difficult to get information about an audition if you don’t have an agent.  And if you don’t have experience, an agent won’t even consider representing you.  And you can’t get experience without…Well, you know.  It’s a vicious cycle.

However, I did find an audition for an independent film, without the help of an agent.  I had a lot of fun with the cold read, and got a callback, and after the callback, I was offered a small role.  Cool, huh?

The shoot was earlier this week, and since the role was a very small one, it was very quick.  The entire process was such an incredible learning experience and I am truly, utterly, deeply grateful to have been able to do it.   Thank you to Brandon Colvin and Moss Garden Productions for giving me a chance!

For more information about the film, go to Sabbatical’s website – click here.

To see the film’s IMDb page, click here.

Here are some thoughts I have been pondering about this experience:

LESSONS LEARNED:
1. It takes a lot of people to shoot a scene in a film.
2. The cast and crew of Sabbatical are pretty freaking cool.  They know how to make a newbie feel comfortable.
3. I get nervous in front of a camera
4. I’m much better at reacting to an actual person than I am at acting at a camera
5. Ask questions!  If I don’t get something, I need to ask questions until I do.  Ask, ask ask. 
6. At the end of the day, no matter what situation I’m in, I am able to come back to a loving home, to a husband that makes me feel awesome (even when I am feeling less than awesome) and kids who make me smile and laugh.  In the grand scheme of things, this is the only thing that truly matters.
7. Those 2 special people, who taught me such an incredible lesson, will forever hold a cherished place in my heart.
THINGS TO DO:
1. Get in front of a camera more so I can get over that weird, deafening, heart-pounding thing that happens when you stick a camera in front of me (Lisa G. where are you?  I need some tips!)
2. Remember to ask questions.
3. Thank my husband and kids every day for their love, support, and encouragement while I live out my cockamamie dreams.
4. Keep bringing my cockamamie dreams to life.
I LEAVE YOU WITH TIM MCGRAW

What’s Your Passion?

I came across a quote the other day:

“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.” – T. Alan Armstrong

I can’t tell you how nervous I was when I “let the cat out of the bag” and told you all I was writing a novel, because the thought of people actually reading what I’ve written kinda freaks the hell out of me.   But the truth is, since I’ve started this project, I’m excited, charged, renewed…I’ve found that I truly enjoy writing.  It’s an adventure!  It’s something I’ve become passionate about.

Of course, we all have many things in our lives that we find passion in, including our relationships with our loved ones.  But what’s that one far-fetched thing that you always wanted to do, but never did because of “this” or “that?”  My advice?  Do it.  Make it happen.  Even if it freaks the hell out of you.

And have some fun with it!!!

Love? Or Lust…

In so many romance novels, we see an instant connection with the hero and heroine before they ever speak to each other.  Is it love at first sight?  Or something a little less sentimental and a little more…physical?

My own personal experience has led me to believe that you can have an instant attraction to someone, but a real connection can only come when you have an actual conversation with them.

Case in point:  I’m 15.  At work.  A new employee is spotted across the room.  Not any ordinary employee.  This one is of the male variety; tall with jet black hair, sky blue eyes, built, and literally just walked out of GQ magazine.  Yes, literally.  Ok, maybe my memory is a little fuzzy because if I’m 15, he’s probably the same age or a year or two older at the most, so maybe he just walked out of Teen Bop magazine (is that still around?)

Anyway, I said to myself, “Holy hell, I have got to go talk to this boy.”  I go to introduce myself and to this day, I have no idea what he said, or what I said, or what his name is, but it didn’t take long to realize there was no connection.  I’m sure he’s a great guy, just no connection.

What do you think?  Can there be a real connection before conversation?

Play it loud! And often!

Who’s kids say to their parents:  “Turn the music down!”  and “why do you ALWAYS have to listen to music?”

Mine.

My answer: How boring would everything be without it?  Music is motivation.  It makes doing laundry easier.  It makes driving more fun.  It enhances experiences.  We all know there are certain songs that, when you hear them, immediately take you back to a time and place.

Collective Soul came on the radio today and I was in high school again.  Sweet Child O Mine takes me there, too.

Every time I hear Drive, by the Cars, I travel back to my childhood bedroom where I would play my Cars cassette over and over again on the purple tape player that I got for my 8th birthday.

Crash by the Dave Matthews Band?  I’m in the Smoky Mountains where my now husband/then boyfriend and I took a spontaneous camping trip and forgot to pack our sleeping bags.  (Brrrr!)

Music plays constantly while I write.  Most of the time, I’ll play a song over, and over, and over again until a scene is done.  In fact, the sunrise scene had 2 huge inspirations:

This song:

And this sunrise:

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Here’s my point:  Listen to music loud and often.  I believe my children like music just as much as the rest of the world does.  They just like to go against the grain…