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#iBooksGalore Giveaway!

Comment here for a code a day for the

#iBooksGalore a book a day giveaway for June 2016!

#iBooksGalore

You could win either:

Dictating Death by B.R. Paulson

or

Broken Trails by Bonnie R. Paulson

State your preference in the comments and the winner (Every day a winner!) will be chosen randomly using Random.org. 

Also put what you’re doing for the summer in the comments, too! Curious minds want to know.

Thanks!

How do you Define Success?

I’m one of those people who constantly doubts myself. I make decisive actions and don’t regret my choices, but I do doubt my capabilities. Do you do that?

When I release a book (I’ve released around 42 now), I have to hurry and hit publish, then walk away. Because I’m not only an author, I’m also a reader and I’m human and I compare. I constantly compare myself to other authors and let me tell you. In my mind, I come up short.

Isn’t that crazy? That I come up short in MY OWN MIND. Me. The one person who should love me the bestest doubts me the mostest! (Yes, not the best words, and yet, I know you get it.)

When I have a pep talk with myself, it sounds like this:

Me: You’re doing great.

Me: No, I could do better.

Me: Stop. What more do you expect from yourself besides your best?

Me: Greatness.

And yet, who determines that? Who determines my success or failure?

Me. And I’m the worst judge there is.

I started this journey back in 2007. My first book was published in 2009. My second in 2011. Then I started down the indie road. And that has been the greatest adventure.

My reviews have been great. I love the positive and negative ones. I’ve had tremendous reviews from both ends of the spectrum and I’m grateful for all of them.

And my income has been satisfying – but not at first. Want to see some numbers? I’m very private, so this is really difficult for me to do. But I’ve had a lot of people say, well, you’re not making it unless you make it onto a List or you’re making $12,000 a month or more.

And I have to tell you that… I used to believe that. I used to believe that other people’s standards determined my happiness. Determined my success or failure scale. But I just saw a panel that was being offered in a pretty big class and the author stated that she was making 3 to 4,000 dollars a month – and that is success.

Um, hey, wait a minute! I make that on my low months. That’s my low month. I can’t believe I can type that. I didn’t start making more than $200 a month until May of LAST YEAR. 2014.

And contrary to what a person in my RWA group said, I started making this BEFORE Bookbub. Although, I did have tremendous success with my BB ad (and I continue to do so because it’s an amazing service). I want to make sure that is clear. (An aside, at the time, her comment really bummed me out. But now I can look back and say, that’s okay. I know she’s coming from a strictly traditional supporting POV and I’m a hybrid.)

Wow, I didn’t see any sort of incline in sales until I’d been writing 7 SEVEN years. We read all the time about authors that did it in one year or two years. Or whatever. I’ve been doing this seven or eight years now.

I’ve been doing this for so long. I’ve seen the “one hit wonders” pop up and I know secretly that they have worked their butts off and we’re just now hearing about them – they’re making $20k+ a month, or whatever – which is awesome.

Here’s where my pride takes a hit. Jealousy. It’s ugly. But where most people wanted the successful to fall, I didn’t want that. All I wanted was to be there, too. And the fact that I wasn’t, bummed me out. Big time. Cramping my productivity. Ever gotten like that? There were “so many big authors” that it made me feel like I was doing something wrong.

Why was I immediately assuming I was doing something wrong? How about, I was traveling my own path, learning at my own pace, becoming my own author, finding my own voice, being me?

But before, I used to focus on what they were making and how I wasn’t measuring up. Now, I compare myself to myself. Where I am now compared to last year and the year before and the year before and the year before – because I’ve been doing this a LONG TIME – and the year before is gradually getting better and better.

I’m growing as an author, a writer, a business woman, a teacher, a critique partner, a formatter, a “boss”, a mom, a wife, a “whatever hat I have on at the moment”.

That is true success. To me. My continued learning. My continued development. My SELF GROWTH. My level of gratitude.

Because I’m so grateful. It’s overflowing. It’s all-consuming. And I don’t say it enough.

You know what? I think my favorite part of this entire job is the people. I meet so many great people. I get to talk with my newsletter recipients (my Survivors) and we have some great discussions.

I get to meet so many people on FB. I’m working toward including Twitter in my relationship building, but I’m focusing mostly on Newsletter and FB because I understand them, the ideal and theory behind them. I can’t wait to start the conferences and meeting people that way.

I couldn’t do this without the readers. Or the people on my team. Or any of the support. Or any of the other voices in my head.

But to everyone who has a part in this crazy ride of mine, I want you to know you ARE APPRECIATED.

I’m grateful. So grateful.

Thank you. Such simple words which don’t even grasp or convey the depth of my feelings. My emotions that well inside me until I tear up. I’m so grateful.

I’m grateful for you.

Thank you. And I hope you feel a little bit better wherever you are in the journey you’re on, in whatever industry or path you’re following.

Because you’re doing awesome. You’re amazing. And we can’t run someone else’s race. We can only run our own. Alongside each other.

Won’t you run with me and share your story?

What do you define as success and have you shared your gratitude today?

Survivor Friends

survivorfriends

I have had the privilege of getting to know my Survivor Newsletter members. This last week I asked them to send me pictures of their pets because in Book #2, Forbidden Trails of the Montana Trails series, Jareth and Cyan have some integral moments between them concerning pets.

Here are the pictures I received – there are a LOT of great pictures in there. At the end of the posts, is the winner for the signed copy of the Forbidden Trails paperback.

All pictures were sent with permission to post. All photos rights retained by owners of pictures. The intents and purposes of this post with pictures to share the friends of Survivor Team and a contest.

Abbie-Gail (puppy) from Kim

Abbie-Gail (puppy) from Kim

Annabelle from Sam

Annabelle from Sam

Annie, Ruger, Abby, Kenzie, Colt, Deeks, Deena from Neena

Annie, Ruger, Abby, Kenzie, Colt, Deeks, Deena from Neena

Rocky the cat

Rocky, from Ginette

Bailey from Lisa

Bailey from Lisa

Barb and girls

Coco, Rosie Zoey, Pippa, Luna, and Chica with Barb

Bitsy, Itsy, Tootsie from Linda

Bitsy, Itsy, Tootsie from Linda

Buster from Kira

Buster from Kira

Candy from Linda

Candy from Linda

Buttercup and Shea from Sue

Buttercup and Shea from Sue

Chloe and Talleyrand from Sandy

Chloe and Talleyrand from Sandy

Chuckle from Erika

Chuckle from Erika

Cinnamon from Karri

Cinnamon from Karri

Cody from Jackie

Cody from Jackie

Corgi puppies from Tammy

Corgi puppies from Tammy

Eclipses from Alma

Eclipses from Alma

Evie from Tara

Evie from Tara

Golden retriever from Tammy

Golden retriever from Tammy

Ladybird from Jodi

Ladybird from Jodi

Lilly from Dianne

Lilly from Dianne

Mindy from Kristie

Mindy from Kristie

Miss Jasmine from Carolyn

Miss Jasmine from Carolyn

Misty from Linda

Misty from Linda

To be continued in the next post! I’m at my photo limit…

Watch Me Burn Chapter 1

Levi

The only woman I deserved was in prison. Gone.

I was alone and trying to make something of myself.

The worst part about Chelsea being in jail was that I should’ve been in there too. Guilt ate at me.

Fifty pushups weren’t going to be enough today.

Chelsea was convicted of arson, vandalism, theft, and intent to do bodily harm. All the things I’d helped her do, and I ran hard and fast to get away – from Chelsea, the memories, the trap of being around familiar things

Every day I ran, even leg day. Even on rest day. I lifted six days out of the week and rested my muscles one day, but I used running for my punishment. The pain and exhaustion helped me sleep.

Because I needed to sleep. Chelsea ruled my nightmares with an iron fist. Even with hundreds of miles between us, I couldn’t escape the monsters in my mind.

In my heart.

I loved her. So hard. How could this be possible? How could I abandon her like that? How could she hurt me the ways that she did?

Twenty-five pull-ups would help burn her from my flesh.

For a little while anyway.

Grunting, I pushed harder with my chest dumbbell flies. Sweat rolled off my skin like butter melting in a pan. Too bad memories and thoughts of Chelsea didn’t burn away. I could handle that loss.

Drugs weren’t an option because I did those with Chelsea. I couldn’t face family or friends drugged up or depressed. They were all so happy I was away from Chelsea.

So I moved. Thank goodness for Mom and Dad backing me financially and helping me buy a business.

I found solace in working out. Lifting weights and pushing myself past the breaking point.

The weights were the craziest, yet most masculine thing I could come up with after Chelsea relegated me to less than a man, less than masculine. She took away my sense of self.

Bench pressing more than my weight, my muscles straining, my soul aching, was a sure-fire way to eradicate her from my life.

Hopefully.

Chelsea had torn me, ripped apart my strengths and left me bare, vulnerable. I needed my control back over something, anything. Lifting weights and running were things I could control.

Maybe someday, I’d learn to love myself again.

The sweat off my skin wasn’t because of anger or fear, but simply because I worked my muscles to the breaking point.

That wasn’t all. The sweat was part fear. Fear that Chelsea would find me.

If I could push myself hard enough, she disappeared from my mind. Working out burned her away for a few minutes.

And I sought those moments every day.

Every. Damn. Day.

~~~

“Are you going to use the bar?” The girl’s soft red hair had highlights of blonde strewn throughout. Her friendly smile didn’t threaten me or offer anything as she framed the question with absolute politeness. She’d been there before, in fact, she’d become a regular a few weeks back. I’d noticed her, but had kept my distance.

No reason to spread my pain around like chalk dust in the air.

I wiped at my forehead with the small towel I’d packed in my gym bag. My wraps covered my scars more than protected me from calluses and weak wrists. Huffing shallowly after my strenuous squatting set, I shook my head. “No, I’m done. Need help removing the plates?” My lifts weren’t light. I pushed until I could barely move afterward. Plus, I really encouraged customer service in the gym, which was easier to teach, if I set the example.

She shook her head, the length of her ponytail brushing across the collar of her workout tank. “No, I’m good, thanks.” She flashed that smile again, sweet with a hint of sass.

But it’d only been six months since my escape from life with Chelsea. I wasn’t interested. Couldn’t be bothered with the extra pain another relationship promised.

Yet… I wouldn’t lie, something about her promised to be fresh.

Chelsea had never been fresh. She’d always been bitchy. And so damn beautiful with her green eyes and dark as sin hair.

Looking away from the blue eyes of the girl in front of me, I didn’t carry the conversation further, just turned my attention back to my bag.

I’d been at the weights all morning. I’d have to go to my apartment sooner or later.

Work wouldn’t do itself. Unfortunately.

The Chelsea-free moment had been brief, hard to hold onto.

Ripping the half-gloves off my hands, I thrust their damp black material into the side pocket of my dark blue bag.

The strawberry-blonde may or may not have said something as I walked away.

But I didn’t care.

Chelsea’s eyes haunted me.

I couldn’t get away.

Watch Me Burn pdf

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The Blurb Queen – A Review

This post is a tad on the embarrassing side. 

Why? Well, I can write my blurbs – sure. No problem. Seriously, it’s not hard.

What is hard, is an amazing blurb.

Okay, the why’s are getting annoying. Just kidding. A lot of authors feel this way. We’re too close to the story. We just put hours, days, weeks, months, years into writing down this story in 20,000 to 150,000 words (or MORE!). How the heck are we supposed to sum all that up in 300 or less?

Should be simple – pick the most important parts and that’s what you focus on. Right?

Wrong. All the words are important to me! All the plot points and characters are important to me! 

Sigh. 

Authors with particular skill sets have been offering their services to other authors. A friend of mine opened up a company offering blurb help.

I’m always leery of hiring people, even my friends. I have no idea why. I think it stems from coming from a family that is more about DIY than most people I know. I think I can save myself money because I can do that, or learn to do that. 

But I’ll tell you what. I know blurbs are my kryptonite. I’m not stupid. And when I need help with something, I acknowledge it. I don’t have time not to.

So my friend opened up The Blurb Queen and I asked her to redo a blurb to see how she would do.

The Blurb Queen Review

Here is the blurb I had for Broken Trails, Book #1 of the Montana Trails series, Clearwater County Collection. 

How broken does a cowboy have to be to accept the healing bands of love?
Nathan Rourke has lost almost everything he holds dear. What he has left, he’ll do anything to keep.
Emma Benson’s health is a burden on her loved ones and reins in her independence. She desperately wants to prove she’s more than her sickness, even if she loses her family.
Almost dying, Emma turns to Nate – even though she desperately doesn’t want to rely on anyone again. Can Nate love Emma enough to give up everything he’s ever needed? Will Emma let him?

Now, stroke my ego just a little bit. It’s not HORRIBLE, right?

Well, here is The Blurb Queen‘s redo:

A lonely cowboy … a woman searching for hope. Can love bring enough healing to carry them through?
Nathan Rourke lost almost everything he holds dear. What he still has, he’ll do anything to keep. His Montana ranch is not just a place, it’s his home and what’s left of his family.  He’s holding his own, making it work.
But then high-school sweetheart Emma reappears … and suddenly this cowboy’s life is as rough as a ride on an untamed bronc.
Emma Benson left high school without a word to Nate, rather than admit she was too ill to go on. Now she’s desperate to prove that she’s more than the disease that keeps her dependent on her family and friends. And she craves just one more chance at love.
Nate embodies the promise of a life free from the confines of her small world. But will loving her mean he must give up his own freedom?
No matter which path they choose, this young couple will be battling the odds.
Saddle up for a ride along Montana trails you’ll never forget—lasso your copy of Broken Trails today!

Um, yeah. I don’t think I need to say anymore than to add – I sent her over the Lonely Lace series blurbs which she redid amazingly and next will be the Worth of Souls series and then the Redemption series. 

Yeah. I can’t afford NOT to use her. 

She has great prices, too.

Here’s her contact info!

The Blurb Queen

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How to Reach Your “Can” Potential

We’re each capable of so much.

Our potential far exceeds our own understanding.

 I tried explaining this to my children yesterday when they got in trouble for something. I can see their potential – or at least a small piece of it.
I don’t think I, as their mother, can even see their true capabilities.
I don’t think anyone can.

But when they say to me, “Mom, I can’t do this or that or I just can’t.”

I want to throw my hands in the air and scream.

When you say you can’t do something, guess what?

You can’t.

You will never be able to.

You’ve already made up your mind and nothing is more powerful than your mind on what you’re going to do.

But if you say, I’ll try? Or I can learn? Anything that opens up your ladder to reaching your potential?

Watch the heights you CAN reach.

I explained to them yesterday that the best way to meet their potential is to

say Can.

Or Try.

Or believe that they’re amazing.

Because my babies are amazing.

People are amazing.
 

We have so much potential.

 

You have so much potential.

 

Don’t limit it with Can’t.

 

Let it impress you with Can.

 

Because you’re more amazing than even you know.