Archive | January, 2016

Five ways to make 2016 better than 2015

25 Jan

This new year I felt especially determined to make positive changes in my life. I’m not sure why it was so vital to start over, but I think I’ve gone through a lot lately, and I’m really ready to embrace decisions that will make me happier and healthier.

So five goals for 2016 are:

1.) Read more books

I always read a lot of books, but this year I’m going to track how many. Some of you read fifty books a year and I think that’s awesome! I know I’ve read that many in a year before, but with a little one, it takes me much longer to read. In fact, two of the books I’ve read so far this year were me staying awake until 1 AM. This was not the best decision, but worth it. So far I’ve read four new books and re-read two books.

2.) Track word count and revisions

This year I really want to track what I’m reading and writing. Last year I felt pretty disappointed about what I’d accomplished, and I think it’s because I don’t remember how much work I put in. It’s important to remember how far we’ve come, even when we don’t have tangible proof. I hope to write four new books this year. I’m almost done with the first one.

3.) Enjoy spending time with family

I think this one is self-explanatory. I love my family and really want to be present with my full attention when I’m with them.

The child is starting to imitate me. AHHH. Everyone get scared.

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Mother Like Son

4.) Try something new

I think this might be self-publishing an entirely new YA series. I’m gearing up for it, we’ll see. If I decide not to do this, I hope I do something else new and exciting. I know my husband and I have a few fun day trips planned this year for birthdays and our anniversary, so that will be exciting.

5.) Be healthier

I really want to eat healthier and work out more. As of today, I’m struggling with this. I hope to get there. I really do feel better when I eat less processed food and cut all beverages but water. I did this during my pregnancy, including no caffeine, but I’m not sure I can do the no caffeine thing now. Diet Coke, I love you.

What do you hope for 2016?

NOTE: Please let me know if you’re interested in beta reading, critiquing, or just reading to tell me if you like it, a YA Paranormal Romance. The series is called Shifting High. First book hero is a bumbling but adorable football player bear shifter. Heroine is a socially awkward smart loner who has a secret even she doesn’t know about. 45K.

-Kinley Baker/Kinley Cade
@KinleyBaker
@KinleyCade

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I am the unlikeable heroine

18 Jan

I’m not sure when a person realizes they are the unlikeable heroine.

It could be on the playground when they wear bright pink pants to school and everyone calls them: “the pink-pancer”.

It could be the horribly awkward middle school event when it was so hot they sweated like crazy and no one asked them to dance.

It could be the time they fought with their best friend and realized they didn’t have another friend to turn to.

It could be the time after time they trusted and learned they shouldn’t have.

It could be as an adult, when friendships are the hardest to find and keep.

It could be every time they attempt a conversation and the dreaded dead silent pause that haunts and lingers in the days and months after.

I’m not sure when we start telling girls they’re unlikeable. I see it in the media all the time.

The world tells us we must be young, and beautiful, and smart, but probably not too smart, maybe not too beautiful, definitely not too young.

The world tries to tell us we’re not unlikeable heroines, while enforcing we’re unlikeable heroines.

It’s not that I don’t want kickass heroine superheroes who are smart and compassionate and have wicked skills with a weapon. I love stories like this, write stories like this, and I’m happy to see more of them lately. I’m happy we’re being allowed to expand the narrow perception of media.

We aren’t always getting it right, but we can all see the attempts, even as we watch the stumbling.

I stumble.

I know I don’t always get things right. I know I’m not particularly adept at making people feel comfortable. I know my smile doesn’t come across as reassuring (when I’m uncomfortable, I kind of smile like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory when he’s faking it).

I know I’m painfully awkward and shy around strangers.

I know I can kill a conversation in ten seconds flat.

I know I’m jumpy and extremely distrustful of everyone. I know I’m paranoid to an unhealthy degree, and I know I’m not the fun girl, the girl who’s different, the girl who saves the day.

I know these things because I’m the unlikeable heroine. I’m terrible at cooking and keeping the house clean. I don’t remember things unless I write them down, and then I have to remember where I wrote them. I have massive driving anxiety so I guess carpool mom of the year is out.

I’m full of empathy but guilty of not having empathy at times. I can mourn for strangers sometimes better than I can mourn for a friend.

I could attempt to use a sword but it’d probably be more dangerous for me than you.

I am whiny, and dramatic, and annoying as all hell. Half the time I annoy myself, so I’m sure I annoy others.

I try to be respectful of people but catch me in a bad mood, and I might snap.

I rarely get super angry, but when I’m pissed, stand down.

The hardest part about being unlikeable is you know other people have their own quirks, yet they don’t seem so unlikeable. So what is it about you?

Sometimes when I read about unlikeable heroines, I start to feel really bad about myself. Because I am the unlikeable heroine, and I always have been.

It’s important to ones sense of self to be likeable. It’s not even that much of a compliment. It’s just the ability to be liked. It’s not even committing to full on like.

No one should grow up feeling like the unlikeable one. They are the heroes and heroines in their own journeys, and they should get to be who they are, flaws and all.

Everyone has the ability to be liked. Let’s stop taking that away from people.

If you want to read great stories about incredible heroines who are flawed and awesome I’d try Kresley Cole, G.A. Aiken, Victoria Dahl, and Tamara Morgan if you haven’t already. Share more suggestions in the comments if you’d like because that’s just off the top of my head.

-Kinley Baker
-Kinley Cade
@KinleyBaker

If you want to read my rant about millennial news coverage, check out last week’s post HERE.

Millennial parenting: I think we’re going to be okay

11 Jan

I can’t read an article about millennials without writing an angry rebuttal. I won’t post all those rants, but I will post this one because I think it’s the most important.

As a millennial, I’m now a parent. Even while the world is this bleak and tragedy bleeds through our lives, sometimes I think it’s going to be okay when I think of what I hope for my son.

I hope my son is happy. I hope he’s lucky enough to wake up in the morning and look forward to the day.

I hope he knows love. With one person or four people, a man or a woman, lots of men or lots of women. I don’t care who he chooses or how many as long as he knows true love that honors and cherishes and protects.

I hope he finds a passion. Ideally, he’d make a living from it. If he’d rather just make it a hobby, that works, too. I hope he finds something that makes him excited for tomorrow.

I hope he laughs. And smiles. And sings. I hope he’s a better singer than me.

I hope he dances out his feelings—Footloose style. Again, with more finesse than me.

I hope he appreciates his privilege. I want him to understand that we are equal in words but not in action.

I hope he celebrates the differences in people rather than judges.

I hope he doesn’t feel the need to tell other people how to live their lives because he thinks his way is the only way.

I hope he understands he’s lucky to have healthcare (hopefully he’ll grow up having it) and I want him to know not everyone is covered and how devastating not having healthcare can be to physical, emotional, and financial health.

I hope he never goes into debt.

I hope he believes in equality. I hope he sees the flaws in our systems and works to change them.

I hope he gives second chances. To people, to life, to himself.

I hope he’s kind. I hope he’s considerate. I hope he’s caring.

I hope he learns. If there’s one thing guaranteed, I know my son will make mistakes. I know one day I’ll be disappointed in him. I know one day he’ll be disappointed in me. I know he’ll take wrong paths and winding roads and I will probably feel sick to my stomach watching him travel.

I hope he always knows I love him. I hope he ventures out into the world and blazes his own path. I hope he’s brave and daring and doesn’t worry as much as I do. I hope he worries a little, just so he’s not completely reckless.

I hope he knows he can always come home. In triumph. In failure. In love. In defeat.

I hope he knows I’m never trying to tell him who to be. I hope he takes my guidance or suggestions as lessons learned rather than criticisms.

I hope he chooses to listen rather than speak. I hope he speaks when it matters.

I hope he grows up in a world that’s safer. I hope he grows up in a world with less hate. I hope he grows up in a world with less violence.

I hope he chooses to give compliments rather than insults.

I hope he knows that the nature of humanity makes us all susceptible to chaos but it also makes us susceptible to beauty.

I hope he knows his own nature. I hope he likes his own nature. I hope he likes himself. But maybe not too much.

I hope he recognizes society is socially constructed and it can be changed, even when it feels impossible.

I hope he finds comfort in home.

I hope he feels comfortable with himself.

I think of all my hopes for my son and I realize, it’s a lot less about what he’ll have and more about the effect he’ll have on the world. I hope it’s positive.

I don’t want to burden my son with expectations. I’m well aware this list is full of them.

There are so many things I want my son to be.

More than anything, I want him to be decent. Despite all the articles about millennials with all the negatives, I see a lot of millennials with the parental goals of creating a generation that’s decent.

That’s why I think the world is going to be okay. Maybe not tomorrow, or next year, or a decade from now. But eventually.

-Kinley
@KinleyBaker
@KinleyCade

Sometimes I have conquered mountains. Other times a mountain crumbles and I forget I ever climbed.

4 Jan

Before I talk about the crumbling—and there has been rubble—I’m going to talk about the conquering. Talking about conquering makes me feel like a medieval warrior striking out to claim my prize. Hey. I just tripped over my 2016 goals.

Oh words. Sometimes you fall from the sky in beautiful rain drops full of inspiration and hope. Us writers stand in the most beautiful of meadows and open our mouths to quench our artistic thirst. We giggle like school children. Maybe even prance.

There was not enough prancing in 2015. Understatement of the century. Add prancing to my goals for 2016.

I spent a lot of last year feeling like a failure.

I wish I could write a blog post about all the books I published in 2015, but I can’t because the answer is zero. I also wish I could write a blog post about ALL THE EXCITING THINGS THAT ARE COMING in 2016. But I can’t. Because there aren’t any. Yet.

We’ll just consider it:

Triumphs Still Pending…

But I recently realized I’ve already achieved a lot. Maybe not last year. But in the last five. Since 2011, I’ve published six manuscripts with three publishers. I was nominated for a cool award. RT wrote this about my first book:

“Baker is the newest voice to captivate paranormal romance readers with a heady dose of mouth-watering sensuality, enthralling characters and a plot so creative it screams “blockbuster!” The world the author creates is brilliantly calculated, intricately imaginative and downright sexy.” -The Romantic Times

I don’t say these things to brag. I say these to remember. While I spent the year feeling terrible about where I was in my professional life, it was so easy to feel like a loser. I’m forgetting I already won.

I was acquired by three editors who are fantastic. They work with bestsellers and amazing authors. They don’t just acquire people for no reason. Even though I lose my voice and my confidence wavers, I have to remember I’ve accomplished things.

My agent has been patient and wonderful. We’ve battled many drafts together, and I really appreciate her insights. I’ve had the privilege of reading many of her talented authors and you should, too.

In the rest of my life, in the last decade, I graduated college, I married my best friend, I’ve been at my corporate job for eight years, I’ve received two promotions, I’ve increased my income from the start by 36%, I brought a blessed son into the world, we bought a house, my son got to meet all four of his grandparents and three great-grandparents!

Look at all those things. How can I feel like a failure when there are people who would climb mountains to be able to say ONE of those things?

It kind of makes me a jerk. It’s just so easy to forget and dwell on the negative.

There was a lot of negative, too. Don’t get me wrong. There has been a lot of loss, tragedy, and sickness. I was finally diagnosed with a chronic illness after years of testing, but now we’re going to redo some of the tests because my doctor wants to be absolutely sure.

There were times I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to make it through. There were times I broke down and cried. A lot.

It’s not like the last decade has been a cake walk. But when I list out my accomplishments, there’s no way in hell I should be chastising myself for being a failure.

Sure, I’m not where I want to be with my writing. But dude. Appreciate. You’re doing just fine. You’re doing fabulous and you legit need to be thankful.

I am VERY THANKFUL. And fearful that I will lose one or all of these things. We’re currently trying to move to put ourselves in a better financial position, for instance, to make sure we don’t lose our house somewhere down the line.

There’s still a lot I haven’t done. There’s still a lot I want to do. Progress though—that sly sneaky fox.

It’s so easy to think of all the things we don’t have, instead of appreciating everything we do.

One thing I was good at this year was appreciating what I have in my personal life.

I was so lucky to find out I was pregnant in 2014! Even luckier to bring this beautiful smile into the world.

Cool Little Dude.

I haven’t quite figured out a good nickname for him yet. I think I’ll go with Dino—short for dinosaur. Dino is happy, smiley, and a little squirmy bundle of joy and love and energy.

I don’t know where he got those beautiful blue eyes or his social nature, but I do laugh a lot so I might take a slice of credit for his continuous smile.

I was so nervous my whole pregnancy that I didn’t blog. I was so nervous for the rest of the year that I didn’t blog.

But I want to have a record of his life. I want to blog and talk about what’s occurring. I want to appreciate every second. I have to stop worrying about everything that could go wrong.

Even though that’s my specialty.

This year, I spent a lot of time with family. I love my small group of people in the world. There aren’t many of them, but I wouldn’t trade any of them.

Sometimes being socially awkward is lonely. That’s for another post. One of my 2016 goals is to reach out to more people, attend more events, create a new friendship.

I revised a lot in 2015. I wrote a few books. It’s not like I haven’t been working.

Plus, I began a new endeavor that I hope will teach me a lot and lead to super exciting things. I now have three jobs, but only one that pays.

2015 was the year of building. If I’m being honest, so was 2014. I have to admit, I’m tired of placing block after block on top of each other. My patience wears thin.

2015 was the year of floundering. And flailing. I have been hard on myself most my life. Never before 2015 was I so judgmental of me.

I also realized I’ve been waiting for the big MOMENT. I’m not sure what I intended this moment to accomplish. I mean, I’ve already had the this is it moments where I thought everything would change. They changed for a while and then the dreams floated away.

I already know there’s no MOMENT in publishing where everything is suddenly clear, the birds sing, and: Hey look! I can fly now. Easy-peasy.

Maybe I was waiting to blog until I had a MOMENT to disclose, so I could pretend I never went through all the struggle. Pretending we’re not struggling on the internet. What a change! Not.

While I write of many triumphs there were also things that felt like failure squared.

Five of my titles reverted this year, and suddenly I find myself without anything published under the Kinley Baker name. Suddenly I’m standing at the base of an all too familiar mountain and staring at the ashes of words, blood, sweat, and tears, wondering how the hell I’m going to climb again.

At first, I was excited for a fresh start. The reality is much more daunting. I’m starting over.

If I’m going to find the ever urgent need to be read now that haunted me throughout my early twenties, but led to many successes nonetheless, I’m going to have to make some changes.

Innocent and naïve Kinley aka 2011 Kinley—she was adorable—would have done anything to be published traditionally. She probably would have streaked through the quad to the gymnasium Old School style, and she is very shy. She would have had to be just as drunk as Frank. But she might have done it.

Haha. Now I just want to see 2011 Kinley’s face when I go back in time and ask her if she’ll go streaking.

I’ve had a lot more rejection. One would think one would have less rejection after they publish with three publishers, but that’s not the truth. Now, I know what I want more than ever.

I think people make the mistake that I’m passive in all things because I’m passive in some things.

Tough life experiences have made me especially non-passive in some ways and through all the rocky times of 2015 and beyond—because there were many!—I’ve officially become the thing from Kresley Cole’s books that I’ve always wanted since I started reading her in 2008.

I am a creature with which one does not fuck.

Huh. How did that happen?

I listed many great, wonderful, amazing things that have happened in this post in an effort to enter the New Year with positivity. There’s also been the hardest days of my life.

I’m determined for 2016 to be the year I get healthy, the year I read, the year I write, the year I treasure every single second with my most adorable son, almost as adorable husband, and super adorable dog.

Look at this kid genius.

Toe Ring

We haven’t mastered the ring tower, but we’re making progress.

Also, I’m a little embarrassed to show my foot for some reason. Lol. So much for the streaking thing.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! I don’t usually write posts so long, but when you’re returning to blogging after so long, there are a lot of things to say.

I hope your 2016 is better than 2015. I hope we see positive changes in the world. I hope you feel safer. If you’re looking to build community, reach out! I’m here. I’m listening.

Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Thumbs Up, Socially Constructed, Hands

Thumbs up for 2016!

XOXO
Kinley