Category Archives: Lessons Learned

Minor Setbacks..

Well, then! Welcome to another episode of “Change Is The Only Constant” or, if you prefer, “Planning Is For the Weak” (insert sinister, maniacal laughter in the background here).

This blog is primarily a personal one. I strive to make it a window into my world rather than just another “writing blog”. However, being that I am a writer, there will always be an occasional industry related post that goes beyond the scope of “Hey I have a new book coming out.” It is time for one of those posts.

Many independent authors, including myself use Amazon’s Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP for short). Essentially this is who does our printing and fills orders when you order through Amazon or request it at a bookstore. For as long as I’ve been publishing books, this has been a very accessible way for writers of any genre to get stories into your hands. We all have developed systems for how to get the words on the page, formatted, create covers, upload files, and, of course release books. Then, we also publish to KDP to allow you to read on Kindle. While the format process is different, it has been a relatively short jump from one to the other to allow our readers to have a seemless experience.

In the past 6 months there have been all sorts of rumors floating in the community about Createspace becoming obsolete and KDP taking over the print version option as well. We all know that the kindle, and e-readers in general, have revolutionized the way people read books today. That this change would eventually happen was really not that far of a stretch. Change is a constant in this industry. You have to learn how to roll with the punches and adapt. It isn’t even limited in scope to what a publisher or printing-house is doing. From trends in what people are reading, styles, topics, and delivery methods to how we reach people in terms of marketing; it can be entirely overwhelming.

Two days ago, the official email came from Createspace. They are indeed merging with KDP. Surprise!! (or not…) The question becomes, how does that affect readers or potential readers? And how is that going to affect my current deadline and release?

This is where many authors are frustrated. Some are even in a bit of a panic about it. Which I find isn’t helpful at all. But, I digress.

There are many things happening behind the scenes with books that readers are never honestly aware of. For most readers, if you’re looking to buy a paperback in the next few weeks, then, your best bet is to buy direct from an author. The Amazon listings for print copies are likely to go down and be unavailable through the transition. Many of us will have to reformat or do new covers resulting in a second edition. Signed copies are great gifts or collectibles. Many authors have stock on hand, even if it is limited, to fill those orders. They’re usually very happy to do so. There is something fun for us about inscribing and signing a copy of a book we’ve written. Most of us dream of having a steady stream of readers who want those signed copies. So, by all means, buy direct from your favorite author’s website. That on hand stock may be your last chance to have the original cover on your shelf.

Yes, I have copies on hand to ship out. You can get them on my website at www.annebelleauthor.com where there is a red button that will change to blue when you hover taking you to a Square Shop where those can be purchased. Yes, you’ll pay shipping. But, if you’re ordering gifts for friends and more than one copy, contact me direct and I’ll give you a bulk ship rate as opposed to paying per book for shipping & handling.

Otherwise, there isn’t much else to say on that except that there will likely be some changes in pricing as the migration happens. Yes The Secret of the Storm will have a new cover going forward, but, that won’t happen immediately. I’m still trying to finish its sequel to release in October and right now, my full attention needs to be on that manuscript and formatting etc. So, I’ve mad the decision to ride out the glitch-filled migration for now. I’ll finish and release this new book and then I will fix all of the transition-related necessities.

Now the GOOD NEWS is that we’re only two days away from the cover release for the new book! I am so excited about this one. Elora and crew really have their hands full in this new installment. So, I hope that you’re just as excited about all of the launch-related things as I am.

Cover reveal is happening on the 1st of September. The book will release in mid-October with some pre-order options available. And I’m scheduling events for online and offline launch celebrations. More news on that later! For now, just bear with me through this craziness.

In the long-run, I think this will be a good change and I hope that it will help to streamline the process of putting books out there.

In the meantime, I’m extending my e-book sale to help keep readers happy. Currently all of my e-book novels are available on kindle for $4.99. You can find those by shopping Amazon and my Amazon Author Page.

Thank you all for being so supportive and encouraging as I attempt to make all these things happen. I sincerely hope that you all enjoy Elora’s story and continue to follow along. I have so many things in the works for you. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us.

If you have questions or concerns you can always email me at annebellewrites over on gmail . Just allow me time to respond since I am in the middle of a tight deadline. It might take a me a bit to come out of the cave in order to answer but, I will.

Okay back to work for me.
Have a great day everyone!

And for my fellow indies… just breathe! Don’t panic. Let them sort it out and then make adjustments. This too shall pass and we shall overcome this hurdle just as we have all the others before it.

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The Busy Bee Emerges…

This writer is happy to be back in the game. Sometimes you have to step back and just figure crap out. A lot has been happening here at the studio. So I have lots to share and some that I cannot. But, I am working furiously and even picked up a little something new to have a little more fun instead of my life being solely about the work. However, rest assured, my life still revolves around stories and amazing characters. As usual, of course.

So what have I been up to? NOW AVAILABLE

Let’s start with great progress on the next Slauson’s Cove book. I’ll be making some announcements and a cover reveal post about that soon. So, don’t forget to subscribe so that you’re in the loop when it happens. And if you haven’t read The Secret of the Storm, I’ll make a post when the price goes live but, you’re going to have a limited time opportunity to pick up the ebook /kindle editing for under $5.00 USD. Pricing should be changed any time so you can keep an eye on My Author Page for that to drop.

etherlogo.jpgThen I started something new to not only promote my work but also that of other indie authors. I’ve stepped into the world of narrations online with a channel I’m calling Ether Realms. You can hear the start of one of my own short stories by going to the new channel. I’m also featuring another author’s work. Serena Mossgraves sent me a great short that I wanted to present. And I am open to submissions from other indie authors and have room in the current schedule to add a few. So if you’re interested in submitting to have your story narrated and some promotion then by all means check out the website at www.etherrealmsmedia.com and check the submissions page.

By way of a new hobby, I’ve finally taken a bit of a plunge. Why I didn’t get into this years ago, I’m not sure. However I admit that I’m ecstatic to have come upon table top role playing games now.

We all know how introverted I am. Most of my life is spent behind the computer screen and microphone. I’m writing, editing, creating graphics, editing audio tracks, recording and so forth all the time. More often than not this is into the early morning hours. But getting out with people is rare, unless family forces the issue. I’ve been interested in tabletop games and board games for a long time. However, being an introvert, I don’t meet many people who want to play. Enter the internet and local game shops. It took me very little time to find a group starting up and an invitation to join and learn. Next thing I know, I’m setting up my own session to be a Game Master. So I’ll be posting about the adventures from time to time.

Let me just say that I love this! It is immersion story telling with others. You never know what they are going to do. Playing in a fantasy world you can imagine that there are some great moments to be played out. Some players, just as in life, are braver than others and willing to take huge risks, while others play it safe to avoid being killed off in the game early on. But the exciting thing is that you have no idea what you’re going to do until you do it and you’re unravelling more of a mystery each time you take a turn and listen to what characters know or don’t know.

Now, I am currently playing and DMing for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. This is my ground zero for the gaming world. But I’ve managed to get connected with a great group of people to play with at a local Gaming Shop. If you’re struggling to be social and looking for a fun way to interact with other people and get out of your own shell. I reccommend it whole-heartedly.

With that, I’m going back to the work today. I’ll be pausing tonight to work on prep for my Wednesday night debut as a DM. But I am excited about it. And that’s a win!

Turning the page…

The old saying goes something like this : To everything there is a season… I’m finding that to hold true today.

The past week has been surreal for me. I am sitting here taking in all the events that have happened and I think I am still in a little bit of shock. Regardless, it seems appropriate to reflect on all of this with you, my readers.

This blog has always been about creating a window into my creative world. Some entries here are more personal than others. They aren’t all industry news or propoganda. This is going to be one of those personal entries that I hope will convey a fundamental message of inspiration for those of you on a similar path. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a writer to appreciate the message behind this. I think that this is true of any creative endeavor.

For years, I have known where my passion truly lies. Creating characters, stories, and books that entertain and pull people from the oblivion of a mundane life is part of it. Helping people find a way of keeping the magic going is another part. For the first time in several years, I packed up my books and headed to an local event to sell them. I always love meeting people and enjoy talking about my work. So these events are always a bit of a treat for me. They are also a lot  of work but, well worth the effort.

Tyler Paranormal Conference was a very serendipitous event. I was asked to speak on top of being a vendor. So I went prepared with notes about my books and how my work as a paranormal investigator and researcher helped me to write what I do. I went and set up and learned that several people had come just to hear me speak. Talk about a surreal moment! I’m just a girl trying to do something that she loves. I never quite think of myself as a celebrity of any sort so attending the VIP dinner “with the stars” was awesome. I had the opportunity to talk with a couple of wonderful ladies who had traveled to be there. I was equally as happy to sign books for them the following morning. And when it came time for the presentation. I had the attention of a room full of aspiring writers.

My prepared material went out the window and it turned into a very candid discussion about how to get started in writing and industry specifics for resources. I was excited by this. It made me think of new posts for here, the youtube channel, and other services I can offer when/if, I have the time. The whole experience solidified my determination to make this lifestyle my reality and in doing so, help others make it their reality as well.

So I went back to my planning board with ideas for services and I started to make some plans for what, and how, to offer my experience to others. I was reminded that I apparently am a natural teacher. And my willingness to share my methods and teach skills that I’ve honed over the years is what sets me apart. Being a writer is as much about persistence as it is about skill. And I also realized that many people are looking for a guide to this journey. That got me to thinking about how I could be that sort of mentor and guide.

In my excitement and planning I didn’t realize what Monday morning would hold in store.

The only constant in life is change. I accepted this long ago. I’ve become a bit of an expert at starting over when necessary. And it seems that, once again, it is necessary to make like my heroines and accept the changes happening in my life. When I went to my day job on Monday morning, I was fired.

Now, some people may have been devastated by this news. I wasn’t. For three years or more, I have worked six days a week and struggled to find the time to work on my passion in life. Long hours without breaks, sometimes in a hostile work environment, and it was mostly in isolation that prohibited me from interacting with coworkers or building relationships with others. The constraints of the job made it difficult for me to spend time with family and friends. I’ve not seen my family for the holidays in four years. That’s going to change this year. But most importantly I can work on my books and focus on helping others embrace their own creative passions.

I’m excited about coming up with ways to get my work into new readers hands. I’m super excited about being at Geekend in Kilgore, Texas in a bit over a week. And I am looking to add an additional convention to my mini-tour this year. I am also looking at creative perks and ways to get readers involved in the creative process through Patreon. I’ll be posting more details about that soon. And, of course, I can fast forward production on the next Slauson Cove book now. In fact, I hope to have it in the hands of beta readers by the time I go to Geekend. That’s super exciting.

To add to that, I’m going to be posting some information on an exciting opportunity for five aspiring authors to work directly with me on their project. I’ll be offering affordable developmental editing and tailored workshops via video calls soon. If you’re interested in working with me. Be sure that you sign up for my email newsletter. Subscribers to that will be given a first look at the details of the program I’m offering and how to apply with me.

Honestly, there have been plenty of signals that it was time to take a leap of faith. Synchronicity is a funny thing really. Several doors are opening and I am seeing more and more interaction with all of you on social media. I think this is an upward trend I can enjoy for a bit.

Tomorrow, I’ll be announcing the giveaway winners of my collectors editions of Exorcising The Past. Another incentive to put your name and email address in the subscribe boxes and pop up. There will only be 50 of these printed making them a limited edition. I’ll also be signing and personalizing for the winners.

Really? And these kids want to what?

As I went about my day, I found that I really have little patience for stupidity. And I am sure that someone will label me a fuddy-duddy for this anectdote. I no longer care whether or not I am considered hip, cool, or fashionable. I’m not trendy. And I like what I like and despise what I please without reservation. I’m too old to play these games and hide the fact that I have a brain and can use it. So, I’m going to use this experience from earlier to make a point or two about things, I believe to be, wrong in our society.

For a bit of back story. I work for a loan company. It’s one of those places that are a chain and offer astronomically priced loan products. It is the sort where customers are desperate without alternatives and well, they take advantage of a bad situation and generally make it worse. Quite frequently we are mistaken to be a place where people can pay bills or cash checks without the need for a bank account. It happens. And as a rule, I explain that it isn’t a service we offer. They ask where they can and I give a couple of local options and people are frustrated but, they go about their way to get their cash.

Today however, was a different story. About an hour prior to closing a maroon Chevy sedan pulls up outside. Clearly Momma is driving since a young man got out of the pasenger side. Now, his sagging pants, hoodie, and ball cap turned to the side didn’t make for a good first impression to begin with. But, he came in and I was my chipper friendly self. He asks the question I figured was coming. “Do you cash personal checks?”

This is the conversation that ensued:

Me: Sorry, that’s not a service we offer here. I’m simply a loan company.

Him: But Google said you do.

Me: Well, Google is mistaken. I don’t do any check cashing at all personal, payroll, or otherwise.

Him: But Google says you did.

Me: (loosing my patience) Yeah well, I’ve been here for three years and we’ve never cashed checks. Sorry about that.

Him: But it says-

Me: Honey, Google is wrong! I cannot and will not cash that check for you. Period. End of discussion about Google. You can try  **** or ****. See if they can help you out.

Him: I’ve already been there.

Me: May I suggest getting a bank account with one of the local banks. Or taking the check to the bank that it is written from.

Him: Huh?

Me: Where is the check from?

Him: My mom.

Me: No, what bank.

Him: I don’t know my mom gave it to me.

Me: Okay so, I can’t help you with your check. Good luck and have a nice day!

Took another two minutes of blank stares and me refusing to say anything further before he took the hint that it was time to leave.

This kid was likely 17 or 18 and seemed perfectly normal otherwise. I didn’t ask for an I.D. But, all I could think to myself was that these kids are going to be running the country some day. Our educations system is failing them if we can’t even get them to comprehend something as simple as the answer to that question.

Do you do X?

No, I don’t. We provide product/service Y.

The exchange seemed surreal to me. Like he honestly believed that Google was God and that if he told me enough that Google said we did something that it would somehow make me start doing what he wanted. Fortunately, I’m not easily swayed in that way. But, then again, I head about things others in the same business (company) do and I wonder about their ability to reason and think logically.

I see this more often now and it is truly disturbing to me. Sadly it isn’t only the kids I see this with. It is adults too. And these experiences really take a toll on my optimism for the direction of human evolution.

Honestly, this is a case of life being stranger than, or at least as strange, as fiction.

How to find your passion in life…

It is no secret that I’ve gone through a big process of reinventing myself over the past few years. The reality is that we’re always evolving into someone new. There is no stopping it. We’re shaped by our interactions with others, experiences that we have, and even what information we choose to feed our minds. Every decision we make is a catalyst for some sort of change in our lives. So, it is perpetual with time.

Living in the modern world is simultaneously easy and difficult. There are all sorts of expectations for how we are supposed to live, be, and even act. For most of us, we do our best to  simply fit in and go with the flow. We get a job after schooling. We work the set schedule with some overtime. We then draw a paycheck, pay our bills, have a little bit of fun with friends and/or family, and then we repeat the process. But for some of us that isn’t enough. Instead, we need to be doing something that truly allows us to be ourselves and to be involved in life.

So, how do you find what really sets your soul on fire? How do you discover that thing that you truly love to do?

This is where a journal becomes a necessity. You start in the past with what you loved to do as a child or a teen. No, I’m not talking about what all your friends were doing. That’s how you ended up where you are. I mean what did you truly love to do when no one was looking? I find that those are the best places to start.

You excavate what you once loved. Dig deep and then you try those things again. Did you spend a lot of time coloring as a kid? Pick up a coloring book and some crayons or colored pencils (if you choose the adult versions). See if it still gives you the same joy it once did.

Did you like to sing or put on puppet shows? Why not go try a karaoke or deliver a monologue at an open mic night somewhere? Pick out a new monologue to learn and practice in the mirror. Why not opt to take a drama or acting class?

Were you a poet or writer? Why not dust off old ideas and see what you can do with them now? There is a thriving writing community out there who would love to have you join whatever your level is.

From there you can explore new ideas that come up. Maybe that love of the dramatic has turned into a love of directing the stage or a film. Maybe a love of coloring turned into a love of feeling the paint slide over a canvas instead. Maybe you are interested in picking up a camera now. There could be any number of things that can help you find that passion in life. The key is exploration.

So pull out your pen, open a google doc, create a video log to talk to yourself so you can hash it out and figure it out. Try new things and explore the world around you through different eyes for a while. You may find that you learn more about yourself than you realize.

The Waiting Game…

We spend so much of our time waiting.

Seriously think about it for moment. We wait to grow up. We wait to have an education. We wait for appointments. We wait for payday, the weekend, our favorite shows to premiere a new season, movie releases, and other trivial things. I am currently waiting on that lovely refund from the IRS as a further example. Aren’t we all? There are things that are worth the wait, of course, like finding the love of your life before you settle down. You’ll just have to take my word on that one. I should know. But what truly baffles me is how we wait to take the steps to live our best lives.

We’ve all found ourselves stuck in the rat race. There are all sorts of ruts and traps to fall into. We settle into many roles in life without even realizing that we’re doing it. I know I did. And in some ways I still do. But, let me just say that a shift is happening for me. It is as much spiritual as it is mental.

In 2017 I spent a lot of time thinking about what sort of life I want to lead. And through my journaling and letters I discovered that I have been my own biggest obstacle in living that dream life. I’d almost be willing to wager a bet that, if you were to really think about this, you would find that you’re in a similar position.

I’m a plus size woman. That fact alone presents a whole list of obstacles in life. Society honestly treats plus size people differently regardless of the circumstances. I think that this, combined with conditioning by various life experiences, leads me to a place where I imposed many restrictions on myself as to what I could do in life. That eventually led to a bevy of excuses to procrastinate.

  • I’ll wait until I lose 50 pounds before I take new headshots.
  • I don’t want to do a book launch until I can wear that dress in the back of my closet.
  • I don’t want to film videos because I look awful.
  • I don’t want to spend money on my hair, makeup, etc until I am able to go out more.
  •  I’m not going to put myself out there because all people will see is fat
  • No one will take me seriously as an author, blogger, vlogger, speaker until I look like x, y, z….

Yes, I’ve said all of these to myself at some point. Some of them more recently than others. And they are all completely ridiculous reasons for not chasing my dreams.

I sit here tonight thinking about where I would be if only I had listened to myself and trusted my gut when I was young and full of confidence. At least, I could fake it when I needed to because I was angsty and rebellious in my own way. And yes, I could be a lot further along in this writing and promotion career. I’m not the spring chicken I was but it is never too late to start doing what you love.

So tell me what is holding you back from pursuing your own dreams? For me it is more than the weight or size issue. But, I’m telling you, I’m tired of excuses. I’m reading more, writing more, trying new things, and just going for it.

I want to cultivate some content for my Youtube Channel based on this issue: Overcoming Your Obstacles To Living Your Best Life. So your feedback will help me to really delve deep into how to deal with those issues and find ways to move beyond them so that you can do what will honestly make you thrive in life.

Don’t want to comment publicly? That’s okay! Email your feedback to me at annebellewrites@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to respond. I’m thinking I may even do a few interviews on the topic as well. So, let me know if you’d like to be included if you care to send me your story.

Monday’s Gotta Happen Right?

Welcome to the start of another work week readers. How was the weekend for you?

I admit that I was a bit of a lazy bum this weekend. I did some writing, of course. Not a ton of it but, enough to say it was productive. I also spent some time with the Winchester boys via Netflix. I know, I’m a little late to the party with this series. If I’m honest about it though, that’s probably a good thing. Seeing as I can never watch just one episode and… well… commercials suck! So, I’m enjoying the catch up. And those episodes will likely serve as motivation and distraction on the treadmill at the gym.

Yes, I said gym. I joined the local Anytime Fitness and got started last week. It’s going to be a long road for me. But, I started and I intend to keep going. We all start somewhere. Might as well be now.

In fact, I think it is important to realize that you can start over anytime and anywhere. Its what life is really all about. We live in one type of series of events for a while and then, we make a decision to change something and start a new chapter. Sometimes they aren’t very big changes. Other times they are upheavals that shake us to our core.

Look, I don’t know where you are in life. Only you know that. But one thing I know to be certain. None of us, including you, are simply the sum of our pasts. Everyone makes mistakes. It is part of being human. But, no matter what you face as a reality of those past decisions, you can make the choice to live differently and move forward.

Above my writing desk I have a quote that I pulled from an old planner years ago. That thing was full of juicy quotes. But this one stands out to me.

Every year, day, hour, minute, second…. is a chance to start over.

It really is true. And only you will know to what degree that applies to you.

Maybe you just need to make more of an effort in a particular area of your life. Maybe you need to make a change to put yourself first for a while and drop toxic relationships in your life. Maybe you need to completely reinvent yourself. Some of those are easier to make happen than others. I know. But whatever the case may be for you, it is time to make the effort to start anew.

So change your attitude, your habits, your look, or maybe just your socks. The point is, make that step to living your best life. Get clear about what that looks like for you and just go for it. You may surprise yourself. You’ll never know unless you try though.

Just know that I’m with you on that ocean of change. The gym, the videos, my writing projects, and even where I am putting focus this year for my own life is changing. It won’t always be an easy road. It is one that I know I need to travel regardless though. Maybe I’ll share more of that journey as we go along. Will you?

 

Video Days…

Wow guys! I had no idea what an ordeal creating this content was going to be. I am still determined though.

As I write this, it is nearly 1:00AM and I have approximately 5 hours remaining on the rendering of my first video. I have no idea how long it is going to take to upload it to YouTube. But that will have to wait until I get up to be started. So, the video will go up at some point.

In the meantime, I did get my intro to load and I’m excited about that part. So I’ll be working on some other videos this week so I can get some content up but, so you can get the notifications and subscribe. Here it is!

I really wanted to show off the fun side. All the different things I do and I think I succeeded there. I may tweak it as I gather new experiences, clips, and images but for a start I think this is a good option.

I have learned a very important lesson though. I really need to invest in a better computer. This video editing is no joke. And I’m sure it will be a good investment. So, I’m already doing research. Glad this is coming up at tax time.

I know this is short but, I wanted to share what was accomplished. Now, I have to get to the day job in the morning so, I think sleep is a necessary component of my day.

Monday & Thoughts On Living

Hello my readers! I hope that you’re all fairing well in this wintery weather. Here in Texas it was a crazy day. As I was leaving the office the temperature was 52° F and as I got home 30-45 minutes later it was 38° F. I took my umbrella and my coat and gloves this morning when it was about 64° F. It is no wonder that everyone I come in contact with is sick. GermX is my friend lately.

I have a couple of things I wanted to put out there tonight. It is no secret that I have a YouTube channel that I’ve been preparing for. I’m happy to tell you that my first video will be posted on Monday January 15th, 2018. In fact, there will be two! One is a static invitation and about the channel type of post and the other will be actual content post. So, I’m going to backtrack on Monday to post links to those videos for you to easily access them. Why? Because I’m a total Newb at this and have no idea how this is all going to work out until I actually finish editing and uploading. So, please, be patient with me in this process.

I have been blogging off and on for years. I am a writer. It is what I do well. So, you may be asking “why have I decided to jump into the video realm? It’s a fair question. So I’m going to address it here, for now.

This is me. I’m a heavy woman who has always had a big heart. There’s no need to go into the details of why or how I ended up the size I am now. It is just a fact.

Every year, I make a list of resolutions. Like many others out there they include losing weight, eating healthy, drinking more water, and the usual things. But 2017 was a hard year in many ways. The latter half of the year left me doing a great deal of soul searching and dealing with the reality of my own mortality. I started to question myself on a much deeper level. I prayed for clarity and direction. To my surprise, I actually got what I asked for.

I’ve spent most of my life being concerned with what others thought about me. I hid from view in group photos and avoided full body shots. It is something a lot of bigger women (and I assume men) do. We want to look, act, and feel just like everyone else. But, we stand out no matter how much we try to hide away. Then we become painfully aware of any situation that even hints at embarassment for those we love. Subconsciously we read far more into things that are said, many times, than is really there. The result is even further seclusion from the world. For me, something has finally clicked. And I realize that there is something much bigger at play here than just me.

Getting in front of this camera is terrifying. I know that there are going to be people out there who will attack me solely because of the way I look. I deal with that every day. And I’ve often used writing as a way to cope with the emotions that go along with that. This has to get beyond the fear. It will get easier for me. There are going to be posts about writing, creative living, plus size living, and I want to allow all of you a bit of a window into my world. I think it is going to be an exciting thing once I move through the initial jitters. I hope that you will too.

Why now? Because I am tired of living my life on the sidelines waiting to be the perfect size, have the perfect smile, hair, or make up. Life is imperfect. We are all flawed. And I think it is so important for other bigger people to see someone being real, honest, living life, and reaching for a big dream. I’ve been inspired by other writer and youtubers out there who have shared their own journeys. And I feel like I have a unique perspective to offer that could help others find their voice and encourage them to start living their fullest lives as well.

So much in my life is changing. I’ve realized that writing a book isn’t enough. I want this to be a career for me. I want to entertain people with great stories and characters. I want to travel and meet readers, give readings, help and inspire others to reach for their own creative dreams. To do that, I have to get out of my shell. I have to undo years of conditioning. I have to be healthier than I have ever been before and strong enough to say, “You know what world, HERE I AM!” And I am finally there.

Conquering the fear isn’t easy but, I’m just going to go on blind faith that the right people will connect through these means. Blogging, Vlogging, and other social media are tools that will allow me to reach far and wide. This year, is about learning about them and then using them to live my dreams.

So, will you join me?

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’d be delighted if you would join me in subscribing to my new channel as well. Info will be live on Monday as soon as there is a video to share over there.

See ya soon!

 

Happy Everything To Everyone!

As a child I grew up with big family Christmases. The kind that includes cousins and other extended family all being under the same roof. There was a ton of southern food on two tables where we ate in shifts. In the living room of my grandparents’ home was a modest Christmas tree but, the gifts would be piled near the ceiling and out into the living room floor. The kids, myself included, would be in a flurry of excitement on Christmas Eve asking when we would open gifts until one of us got into big trouble for getting on one of the adults’ nerves. And when it came to opening them, it was a veritable blizzard of paper and bows that would look like colorful snowdrifts against the sofa’s and chairs until we started cleaning it all up.

I’m thankful for those experiences. And Christmas is very different for me now as an adult. This year, the biggest gift was the best. My mom was here with me. If you know me at all, you know that my mother and I are close. For me, Christmas has always been about things we did together. Decorating the house was a big deal. But, so is the making of the many batches of candies, cookies, pies, and cakes that become gifts to our friends and family. Those things make Christmas for me. And while, we were both battling some sort of cold or flu bug, it remains just as special an experience because she is here this year. Though I do wish that we could have worked out going North to be with my brother, my grandparents, and our family there. I’m just happy to have family to spend the holidays with. I know that won’t always be the case. Having already experienced holidays alone, I’ll treasure it when I can.

I suppose I’m a bit reflective now. Starting my 39th trip around the sun today and I have to give some thought to what the last year has given me so that I can prepare for a prosperous New Year. This year has been a lot of personal growth. The health issues alone that I have faced have brought me to a place of understanding my own mortality. We don’t get younger after all. And changes are already being made for the positive in that respect. There has also been a desire to get my life together at last.

It feels like much of my existence has been a sort of floundering about without real direction or purpose. This past year, I’ve done a considerable amount of soul searching trying to find meaning in life.

You see, like many young women, I expected that I would eventually marry and have a family of my own. That I would have the opportunity to create my own family traditions for holidays. To pass on my own wisdom and creative perspective to my own children. I expected that, like my mother before me, I would be a mom and have a home that I could fill with laughter and memories. I didn’t expect it to be perfect or without the need to make do with limitations. I simply expected it to be mine. But, nothing in my life has ever turned out the way I expected. It seems that is just something I need to accept and move on from.

I married… the wrong man. I tried to make it work but, in the end divorce was the only answer to a bad situation. I tried to date for a while, of course. That didn’t turn out so well either. My realization about the type of men I attract has led me to a place of not even wanted to jump into the dating game to attempt it again. I really am much better off on my own than in a relationship with these types of men. But accepting singledom at 39 means that I have to give up the dream of children and a family in the traditional sense. So, I have to find a way to fill that void in my life because if I don’t, I know that it will consume me and leave me a shell of the vibrant woman I once was. In fact, it already has done that in some ways.

For me, the logical choice is a focus on career. No, I do not mean my current day job. My writing has always been my comfort and my escape when things get dark and foreboding in my life. I have talked many times about my desire to be a full time fiction writer. Somehow, I’ve always managed to put it off in favor of other things. I think it all comes down to fear for me really. But, it is time to be brave and find my courage again. To get out there and do something with my life. I certainly can’t keep sitting around waiting for something that isn’t ever going to happen.

No, my 39th trip around the sun is one that I want to make sure I make the most out of. I want to push myself to write more, connect more with people who share my interests, publish, and really give myself a fighting chance of having a life that I want. The next week will be about reflecting and planning for a prosperous 2018. Bringing this year to a close and preparing to start anew.

There is still Christmas to celebrate this coming weekend as well as a new year to ring in. But, I am also going to be making some announcements here on the blog as well. So I do hope you’ll stay tuned and subscribe to be sure you don’t miss those.

For everyone reading, I hope that this finds you happy and surrounded by loved ones. Share your hopes for the new year with me. And I’m certain we’ll be seeing more in the weeks to come.

Merry Christmas to you all! And a Happy New Year!

~Anne Belle