Posts Tagged: paranormal romance

Passion…or Happiness?

inspirationI ran across this post today: http://markmanson.net/passion and it made me stop and reflect a little on the journey I have taken to become a published author.

As my bio points out, I have spent 20+ years in the world of higher education administration and finance. Two years ago I had an “ah hah” moment and realized I wasn’t happy. I WASN’T HAPPY! Who just decides they aren’t happy with something they have thought they enjoyed for 20 years? It happens more often than you think.

I decided to do something about it. My first thought was, “What am I passionate about?” Exactly like Mark Manson pointed out, I started thinking really hard about what made me “happy.” All the while, I was drowning myself in books so I could escape how much I hated my job. I spent hours dreaming up stories about people I would encounter, or articles I would read that inspired a new daydream for me.

My only saving grace at work was the people I interacted with every day. They encouraged me, made me laugh, and listened when I needed to blow off steam. They were my lifesavers. And they were truly the only reason I made it two more years in that job.

One of the people I interacted with daily was Michelle Bukowski. She has become my inspiration and my sanity on this new journey to figure out where I’m going. As a talented artist, she pursues her passion because she loves it. Does she hope to make a living from it someday? Sure. But for now, she works a job and then goes home to do what she loves. She puts the effort into gallery showings and delving into the art community in Middle Tennessee. I remember the day I first thought, “Wow, I wish I had a marketable skill like she does.”

Then I slapped myself on the back of the head and told myself to get back to work. Six months later and I was still dredging through every day, being sucked deeper and deeper into the mire that my life had become.

Then one day, I was going through this seminar on some kind of self-help/financial success program. I listened to a lot of them due to my job and the relevance of student indebtedness. One of the points was “Make your money work for you.” And to sum it up, it talked about doing something that paid you back. The example – probably because we were in Music City – was to record an album and sell it. “It will pay you royalties,” the guy said. I could only think that any demo I recorded would be burned or used as a method of torture for prisoners of war. But the idea stuck.

Several weeks later, I read a series of popular Young Adult fiction. I was so angry at the end of it that I wanted to go back and erase it from my mind, but you can’t unread something. It was such a strong reaction that I rewrote the ending in my mind just to appease myself, to assuage my pain – kind of like I did when Fred Weasley was killed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows…to this day I insist that it was Percy who died. I mean, he had his moment of redemption, so he could die without too much heartache for those around, right?

I digress…

After I rewrote the ending in my head, a friend mentioned that there were several fan fiction rewrites online. So I googled them. Some were good. Some were okay. Some were downright horrible. But you know what? There were people out there who were passionate enough to attempt to right a terrible wrong.

The fan fiction sight took me to a page about self-publishing. I read an article about a woman who had launched an extremely successful career this way. She has become my idol… ☺ I thought, why not write these stories that are in my head?

The problem is not a lack of passion for something.
The problem is productivity.
The problem is perception.
The problem is acceptance.

I started by making a three-year goal. In year one, I wanted to write one book and publish it. I never imagined how much of a process this could be. Writing was just the tip of the iceberg. I had to find an editor, a cover artist, and figure out how to get it online to name a few. It was time consuming work! But I did it! I not only wrote one book that first year, I wrote FOUR! And I published my first book one month shy of the end of the first year. Whew! I could taste success.

Then I sold 45 copies in the first three months…not exactly enough to pay the bills, right?

The problem isn’t passion. It’s never passion.
It’s priorities.

I started to wonder, is this really what I’m passionate about? My fictional characters screamed, “YES!” Now that I had given them a voice, they weren’t going to be silenced again. I stopped to reevaluate. And you know what? They were right. I love writing. I love coming home and relaxing by cuddling with my dogs and talking to my imaginary friends. They sometimes do terrible things (like murder people) and sometimes they do incredible things (like turn into bears). But I love every minute I get to spend with them. Sure the other stuff is a drag, having to format and upload and listen to harsh criticism from beta readers. But in the end, I have a book that makes me proud.

I meet so many people like him.
He doesn’t need to find his passion.
His passion already found him.
He’s just ignoring it.
He just refuses to believe it’s viable.
He is just afraid of giving it an honest-to-god try.

This may not pay my bills. I still have to get up and go to work, granted it is now at a different place than where I was. I still have responsibilities that require working a full-time job. But I have realized that what I was passionate about, what made me happy, was always a part of me. It just got buried under the pressure and expectations put upon me by myself and others. I let the “You can’t buy a BMW” mentality dictate my priorities. I was afraid to step out there. I was afraid of failure, or being laughed at.

What have I learned as I am nearing the end of my 3 year goal? Stop listening to the negative. If you love something, DO IT! I have found an amazing amount of support from places I least expected it. There are people out there who will enjoy my stories – just as there are those who won’t. I just have to be proud of the product I put out there.

So, you can expect to continue seeing my books appear. In December, I will have published 7 books this year! That is amazing to me. Have I loved every minute of it? No. But as Mark Manson said, that is unrealistic. You will never love 100% of what you do 100% of the time. But I love it enough to continue!

October Releases

Wow! What a month October has turned out to be. This has been a whirlwind month with the release of the Devil Mountain Shifters series. For those of you who missed last week’s release, check out The Only Wolf, available on Amazon and KU now.

Those of you who enjoyed Dirk and Ada’s story and want more, I’m happy to tell you that Walther and Sascha are next up in the series. Their book is available TODAY!!

Second Mate

Second Mate - FINAL for KindleWalther is happy for his friend, really he is. The only problem is that, with Dirk bonded, he is the only one without a mate. Walther lost his mate ten years ago in the incessant war waged by the enemy pack. Now, his wolf is destined to be alone. Trying to hide his depression and loneliness, Walther dives into his duties as General of the pack – including guarding the visitor from the enemy pack. Surely one little female can’t be that much trouble.

Sascha is the last cub born to her pack, and the last one ever to be born if she can’t find a way to convince the rival pack to let her have access to their lair. But first she has to convince her father that allowing her to proceed with a diplomatic solution is the way to go. Her father would rather continue the war and further deplete their numbers. But is going into the enemy’s lair the best solution, or has she bitten off more than she can chew?

History says a wolf mates for life. But what happens when the sparks fly for a second time?

The series will wrap up with the release of the third book NEXT TUESDAY! Bear to Bond will follow the story of Harald and Ursel as they navigate the obstacles that stand between them and Happily Ever After.

As a teen, Ursel witnessed the explosion of her parents’ relationship and the eventual death of her father. Determined that she will never endure that pain, she has sworn off mating. As the first female alpha of the polar bear pack, she lives a full life leading and helping others. Then Harald crosses her path…

Harald has spent his life as part of a pack that has no future. Their clan is slowly dying out and there is no one left for him to bond with. When his pack merges with their former enemies, he watches as all his friends find mates. Then he catches Ursel’s scent and knows she is the one.

Can Harald convince Ursel to take a chance on their bond? Or will she deny their bond and continue to live a life of loneliness?

And, for those of you who are wondering about Elfi and Konrad, they might make an appearance in Bear to Bond, but you’ll have to read to find out…

The Only Book…

Guess what? I have a new book out today! I wrote a few weeks about a new project involving shapeshifter and a new trilogy. Well, it’s finally here. The three books in the Devil Mountain Shifter series will be released over three consecutive Tuesdays beginning today.

Because this is a new venture for me and the books are novella length, the are going to be offered for $0.99 and will also be available on Kindle Unlimited. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did while I was writing them.

Now, go check out The Only Wolf available on Kindle Unlimited and Amazon TODAY!


The Only WolfThe Only Wolf

Adala Reger is searching for answers. Her parents were killed in an automobile accident that should have claimed her too. But somehow she survived. Now she is left on her own wondering how and why she turns into a wolf. To make matters worse, she is getting weaker. No longer able to work, and with the insurance money from her parents running out, she heads to Alaska – toward the only clue in her parents left her as to her real identity and destiny.

Dirk has taken over as the leader of the pack of shifters on the Seward peninsula in Northwest Alaska. Struggling to keep his clan safe is his number one priority, especially with the neighboring pack constantly threatening their borders. When Adala arrives, the last thing he expects is to find his mate. 

Can they survive the invasions? Does Adala’s past hold answers to why the neighboring pack is attacking?

The Second book in this series will be out October 20, titled Second Mate.

Walther is happy for his friend, really he is. The only problem is that, with Dirk bonded, he is the only one without a mate. Walther lost his mate ten years ago in the incessant war waged by the enemy pack. Now, his wolf is destined to be alone. Trying to hide his depression and loneliness, Walther dives into his duties as General of the pack – including guarding the visitor from the enemy pack. Surely one little female can’t be that much trouble.

Sascha is the last cub born to her pack, and the last one ever to be born if she can’t find a way to convince the rival pack to let her have access to their lair. But first she has to convince her father that allowing her to proceed with a diplomatic solution is the way to go. Her father would rather continue the war and further deplete their numbers. But is going into the enemy’s lair the best solution, or has she bitten off more than she can chew?

History says a wolf mates for life. But what happens when the sparks fly for a second time?

 Stay tuned for the third and final book in the Devil Mountain Shifter series on October 27, Bear to Bond.

Meet Adala Reger

Four score and seven years ago…okay, not that long, but sometimes it sure feels that way.

Let’s try again.

Once upon a time…well, this isn’t a fairytale…unless you like people who turn into monsters…so maybe it is a fairytale.

Several years back I had four very good friends decide to have opinion on what I should read. Jenny pestered me to read this book she was finishing simply because I said, “I don’t like books with vampires and werewolves.” Boy was I wrong…

Over the last several years, I occasionally picked up other books involving vampires and werewolves, not together, of course. I have discovered that I still don’t like vampires…werewolves, on the other hand – definitely my thing.

full-moon-460314_1280I have discovered a love for shapeshifter romances. Who knew?! Bear shifters are my favorite and I now have several authors from whom I anxiously await new releases.

On a separate note, that I will connect back to this if you have patience through my rambling, I love anything related to WWII. Now, I was never a history buff. In fact, I hated anything to do with history, especially memorizing dates – ironic when you consider that my pay-the-bills profession is numbers related. But as I have grown older, I have discovered a sincere interest in the things that have happened in this world before me – just don’t ask me the dates they happened!

This past year marked the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust and I was addicted toany and all coverage that I could find. Such a travesty from those years. The waste of human life. The poisoning of generations. The effects of what happened there have trickled down.

That all got me thinking: we have several documentaries that have tracked what happened to the Jews who survived, but what about the Germans? Sure, those that were arrested and tried for crimes have been documented, but there were several others who played a part in the atrocities that were never convicted of wrong doing. But their evil remained.

So, just as a creative project, I decided to look at what happened to some of these people after the war and how it has impacted today’s generation. The result was a novella about shapeshifters. I let a friend read the story and she loved it. I have to say I had so much fun writing it that I decided to release it.

But then a second character stood up and howled (yes, he is a wolf) that he deserved attention too. So, now I am writing a second part of what I think (characters permitting) will be a trilogy of shapeshifter romance novellas.
The first book, tentatively titled Only Wolf will be arriving in September.

Adala Reger is searching for answers. Her parents were killed in an automobile accident that should have claimed her too. But somehow she survived. Now she is left on her own wondering how and why she turns into a wolf. To make matters worse, she is getting weaker. No longer able to work, and with the insurance money from her parents running out, she heads to Alaska – toward the only clue in her parents left her as to her real identity and destiny.

Dirk has taken over as the leader of the pack of shifters on the Seward peninsula in Northwest Alaska. Struggling to keep his clan safe is his number one priority, especially with the neighboring pack constantly threatening their borders. When Adala arrives, the last thing he expects is to find his mate.

Can they survive the invasions? Does Adala’s past hold answers to why the neighboring pack is attacking?

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. But never fear, Katie and Michael will be returning in December with the answers you have been waiting for concerning Katie’s past. And the crew from Tip of the Spear will be returning in September with Jeremy and Avery’s story. Look for inside peeks and previews in the weeks to come!

Julie