“How do you do it?” An author juggles careers.

Authors hear a lot of questions from their friends. The one question I receive most is “How do you do it all?” I’ve always worked outside the home and didn’t stop after I got published. I like having something to fall back on but it’s also important for me to get out in the world and experience different situations. I’ve gotten a lot of story inspiration from my various jobs. Even if my royalties increased to a startling degree, I don’t think I would stop working.

That doesn’t mean I don’t get tired. After all, I’m juggling two careers. I’m sure there are those of us out there who are juggling more. Add to that my family and friends and general commitments and it can feel like a lot some days, especially because writing takes time. I don’t like doing it in fits and starts, but sometimes that’s all I can do.

How do I manage my two jobs? First of all, and most important of all in my mind, is I don’t beat myself up when I can’t do everything. There will be days or weeks when my library job has to be the priority. Yes, I can get stressed if I have to go a couple of days without writing, but I try not to dwell on it. Life happens. Regular pay cheques are important. Without them, I couldn’t write. And I love my job. That helps. I couldn’t do this if I had a job I hated.

Secondly, even if I can only write in fits and starts, I do it. Take this morning, for example. I had half an hour before I had to head to work so I wrote this blog post. You grab it when you can.

I will admit I’ve made sacrifices to accommodate my writing time but they have been sacrifices I’m willing to make. I don’t go out for coffee with friends during the day. I never did sign up for those yoga classes I wanted to try. I don’t shop for hours. I’m targeted with my errands and make the most of my time.

The only thing I don’t sacrifice is family time. I don’t tend to write at night when my husband and kids are home and I rarely write on weekends. However, because I have a part-time job, I can do this. Nevertheless, family time is crucial. I can write that page tomorrow but I can’t rearrange my kid’s music recital.

Lately I’ve been accepting a lot of hours at my library job. Because it’s summer, a lot of people are on vacation and I’ve been jumping into the fray for a lot of shifts. I’m starting to feel that little tingle of unease between my shoulders because I want to finish my latest manuscript. But then I remind myself it’s all okay. It’ll all get done. The book will be there tomorrow. When I have a deadline, I limit extra shifts, but right now I can do them. It gets me out and into the sun, something a lot of writers could use on a more regular basis.

So how do I do it? Minute by minute, day by day. I make time. I respect my time. And I just do it. If it’s important to me, it just has to get done.

Why I write what I write. #amwriting

I’ve always had voices in my head. The benign kind who just want their stories told, thankfully. It was probably inevitable I became a writer of some kind. As so many of my peers know, writing is an outlet for those voices.

I’ve had opportunity recently to look back at a couple of my earliest books. When someone asked about them, I reread a few passages here and there. I have to admit, I had a couple of “Did I really do that?” moments. A part of me wishes I could go back and rewrite a few sections to polish them up. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m not proud of my early work, but I find I learn something new every day in this business and I suppose I wish I knew it all right from the start.

If given the chance, however, would I really change anything significant in any of my books, even if it meant greater sales and  bestseller lists? Probably not. And there is one reason why.

Ultimately I have written the books I wanted to read.

At times I needed fanciful romances, full of mysterious figures. At other times, I craved stories full of human frailties and mistakes. Either way, I wrote my books because something inside me needed to hear and share those narratives.

This is one lesson that serves as a constant reminder. If the story doesn’t speak to me, it will never speak to anyone else.

I’ve been reading a lot of submission calls from publishers lately. Some look interesting and others don’t. If they don’t get me jazzed, I don’t submit. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I can’t force a story to come. If it doesn’t spring from my heart, it will never leap into another person’s heart.  At the end of the day, I need to dictate from those voices in my head and I need to trust their tales will find an audience. Luckily I have a great audience and I think they appreciate those wacky personalities dwelling inside me, the ones who end up spilling onto the page.

If I write a story about a museum conservator who fawns over a statue of a Greek god in a Toronto museum, it’s because I’ve walked those same museum corridors, dreaming about what it would be like to love a god. If I write a book about a lonely woman who cries seven tears into the cold North Sea, it’s because I have also known loneliness and wondered what would happen if I was thrust into a strange, new world. If I write about a modern woman who decides to picket a Las Vegas casino because her life has been destroyed by gambling, it’s because I understand the basis of those sentiments all too well.

When all is said and done, any story I give you is one I also need to give myself. It’s an exploration, a journey of self-discovery. Sometimes it’s a poultice, nurturing old wounds. It could be a bit of whimsy, penned by a woman who needs frivolity and laughter. And if I tell a story that has love at its core, it’s because I still believe in a world where love can conquer hatred.

I have given you the stories I need to read. Knowing others might need to read them too is the most wonderful validation.

Vice on sale at Google Play!

I don’t generally share sale info on my blog but this one was too good to pass up. Right now until July 21, my contemporary romance Vice is on sale at Google Play.

Vice_EPUB

This is the perfect time to grab this hot romance at a huge discount. Tell your friends! Call your bestie! Don’t you need a little vice in your life?

Sale link: Vice at Google Play

Need a teaser to whet your whistle?

Blurb:

He’s much more than a bad habit.

As a Vegas singer and volunteer counselor, Kate Callender has experienced life on both sides of Sin City’s bright lights. The thrill of performing, and gambling’s devastating effect on the addicts’ families.

Liam Doyle is just the kind of man she despises—a handsome, enigmatic businessman with a knack for seducing customers into his casino hotels. Determined to put a lid on his growing influence, she prepares to picket the opening of his newest casino, Vice.

When Liam spots the lone protestor hassling his customers, annoyance wars with instant attraction. And he quickly discovers the leggy redhead not only can’t be bought, she tempts him the way the sound of a roulette wheel lures a gambler.

They are natural enemies, but when a vile attack sparks Liam’s protective instincts, they begin a sexual odyssey that dances on the edge of addiction. Dangerously close to losing control…and losing themselves.

Warning: Contains a sexy, damaged hero who’d really rather just be having sex, and a no-nonsense redhead who makes him want to roll the dice on love just one more time.

Vice coupling teaser

Excerpt:

He meandered toward her and forced a smile. “You seem to have had a busy day.”

She whipped around and her eyes widened. He saw her give him a quick once-over. Did she like what she saw? Interesting. There was some perverse satisfaction in that.

“It has been busy.” She narrowed her hazel eyes at him. “Do you work here?”

So, she didn’t recognize him. Good. “Yes, ma’am, I do.” He crossed his arms over his chest and nodded, noting how her gaze dropped to his exposed forearms. Her lips parted. Clearly, working out had its merits. “And word inside is you’ve upset the big boss.”

Her nostrils flared as she dragged her gaze away from his arms. “About time.” She put her sign down and picked up her purse. “Do you know Liam Doyle?”

“I’ve heard one or two things about him.”

She stepped closer and her lips did the most amazing thing, curling into a flirtatious semi-smile. “I don’t suppose you’d be willing to share them with me? The other guy kept on sucking up about him as if he was wearing a wire.” She paused. “You’re not wearing a wire, are you?”

He laughed out loud. He couldn’t help it. This was way too much fun. He sidled close to her, leaned in conspiratorially, and put a hand on her elbow. Her very soft elbow. “I’m not wearing a wire. But are you sure you want to know the truth about Doyle? I don’t know if you can handle it.”

She gawked at him and then at his lips. Her voice came out in a whisper. “Try me.”

He murmured in her ear, taking note of her lilac scent. “Well, I hear at midnight he sprouts black wings and horns. And he’s always searching for innocent maidens to add to his coven.” He bit on his bottom lip, suddenly wishing he was gnawing on hers.

At first, her eyelids did this fluttery thing that made his imported pants spring to life. But then she blinked and began to laugh. “And here I thought I was dealing with a mere businessman. I didn’t realize Doyle was cousins with Lucifer.”

“What’s your name?”

She regarded him from out of the side of her eye, her mouth still bearing the same flirty grin. “What’s yours?”

“Consider me a friend who wants to give you some advice.”

The smile disappeared from her face. “And what would that be?”

“Don’t mess with Liam Doyle. He doesn’t take to it kindly.”

The coquettish shine in her eyes hardened. “Is that a threat?”

“No, sugar. That’s not my style.”

“What exactly do you do here? Are you in security?”

“Never mind that.” He waved his hand. “Look, you’ve had your fun. Why don’t you run along home now?”

She reached for her sign and tucked it under her arm. “I will go where I damn well please. And you can tell your friend Mr. Doyle to expect me tomorrow. Maybe next time he’ll be brave enough to confront me himself.” She turned on her heel and walked down the manicured pathway leading to the taxi bay.

Liam stared at her ass as she walked away. Brave?

Game on, sugar. He’d show her brave.

 

The writer’s brain, two months into the submission process.

Just over two months ago, I submitted my new contemporary romance to a publisher with whom I’ve never worked. It has potential for a three-part series and I believe it’s a fun and emotional ride of a novel. I have faith in this book. My beta readers told me they have faith in it as well.

However, submission is typically a long process. In general, one can expect a response from most romance publishers anywhere up to three months down the line and one wouldn’t send a query letter before that time is up.

We writers are insecure creatures though. Upon approaching the three month mark, my mind starts to play vicious little games with me. I thought it might be illuminating to share what occurs in a writer’s brain two months into the submission process.

Firstly, of course every writer thinks their book is a work of art. We dream of getting a response within the first week, saying, “This book is incredible! We must publish you now!” This is especially true if one has been published elsewhere before. When that doesn’t happen, the deflation begins. Deflation is a terrible monster with a soft footfall. You don’t hear it coming. All you know is you somehow feel off. Before you know it, you are standing in the pile of skin that used to house your confidence.

Self-doubt creeps in and is amplified with each week of no response. “Did I polish my manuscript enough?” “Did I miss any typos?” “Is my story of the tender love between an elephant shifter and a squirrel shifter just not compelling enough?”

I remind myself the publishers are busy. Not only do they have their in-house authors to support, they are constantly reading and acquiring new authors. But I’m supposed to be one of those new authors, right? RIGHT??

Sometimes one gets angry during this process. “So-and-so published fifty-seven of my previous books. Am I still not good enough for Publisher #2? Don’t they know who I am??”

(This is where I remind myself I’m not really all that well known and to stop using double question marks.)

I often enter a zen state around this point. All will be well. Things happen for a reason. Stop checking your emails. This builds character. Count your blessings and all that shit. The zen state lasts for about ten minutes.

Somehow I force myself not to dwell on my submission for a couple of weeks. I write something new. Onward and upward, right? Things are good. I am the epitome of patience.

I hear about someone else who just got accepted by Publisher #2.  I bite my nails down to the quick.

I start to play the “I love you, I hate you” game. Maybe I don’t WANT to be published by these guys. Maybe they don’t understand my work. Of course, I only indulge in this train of thought for a short time. I really do want to be published by them.

A friend reminds me the editors are probably busy with such-and-such. I get it. My logical brain understands. My heart, not so much. I begin to wonder if the editors have even seen my manuscript yet. What if it’s still sitting in the slush pile? What if my email somehow got lost? A whole other set of worries set in.

It’s all rather ridiculous, isn’t it? However, for many of us, I have no doubt we play at least a few of these mind games. Why would anyone willingly put themselves through this mental chaos? Because that is how it’s done. Because when that book is accepted, our jubilation is all-encompassing. “Finally, a publisher who understands me! I have been validated. I love these guys! They rock.”

The game begins again.

I will be sure to let you know how things go.

Felicity Heaton. Haunted by the King of Death Cover Reveal.

It’s time for the cover reveal of the next Eternal Mates series book, Haunted by the King of Death. I’m sure everyone has been curious about the savage, merciless vampire Lord Van der Garde since he prowled onto the scene in the second book in the series, Claimed by a Demon King, and now it’s time to find out why this dangerous and deadly alpha male is just so damned distant and untrusting of females.

If you haven’t had a chance to step into this passionate and action-packed world of dark elves, fae, demons, vampires, shifters and hunters, then you can take the leap with the first book in the series, Kissed by a Dark Prince, which is only 99c / 99p right now. Find the links to your favourite retailers at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/kissed-by-a-dark-prince-paranormal-romance-novel.php

Here’s more about the next book in the series, due for release on July 30th!

Haunted by the King of Death

Haunted by the King of Death (Eternal Mates Romance Series Book 11)

Felicity Heaton

A ruthless vampire warrior, Grave Van der Garde rules the mercenary Preux Chevaliers with an iron fist, determined to retain his hard-won position as one of the most powerful men in Hell and his reputation as the heartless King of Death. But beneath the cold façade beats the heart of a vampire torn between love and hate, ripped in two directions by a single ethereally beautiful female—his fated phantom mate.

Driven by her phantom instincts, Isla used a spell to make her solid in order to deceive the vampire who killed her sister’s demon mate and have revenge on him, condemning him with a single kiss to become a phantom too. But her plan took an unexpected turn when she fell in love with him, and with her new life, and the night she betrayed him shattered both of their hearts. Now, he lives to make her suffer through their connection, one that is fading with them as they begin to slip into the phantom world, and she must face the monster she created if she is to save herself and the vampire she still loves.

With a demon from Grave’s past determined to destroy him and everything he holds dear, and the clock ticking down to their inevitable doom, can he and Isla overcome their past and their pride to work together to claim the future they both desire deep in their hearts? Or will death finally catch up with the vampire king and his phantom mate?

Pre-order your copy of Haunted by the King of Death today at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/haunted-by-the-king-of-death-paranormal-romance-novel.php

Haunted by the King of Death is due for release in ebook and paperback on July 30th 2016 and will be available from all major online book retailers on that day, including Barnes and Noble Nook.

Join Felicity’s mailing list to receive a notification when Haunted by the King of Death is released, PLUS a sneak preview of the first 5 chapters of the book and chances to win a signed paperback copy: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/newsletter.php

Add the book to your Goodreads shelf at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28524677-haunted-by-the-king-of-death

Books in the Eternal Mates paranormal romance series:

Felicity Heaton

About Felicity Heaton:

Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places: