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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

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Awkward dating scenario for real

23 Sep

I picture my return to blogging like a super awkward after first date phone call. It goes a little like this.

Dater 1: I think I’ll call Dater 2 back. I had a nice time. *picks up phone.* *dials the carefully stored away phone number*

ring…ring…

Dater 2: “Hello?”

Dater 1: “Hey, it’s Dater 1.”

Long stretch of silence.

Dater 2: “Oh. Hi.”

Dater 1: They don’t sound happy to hear from me. Maybe they don’t like me. “I was wondering if you’d like to go to a movie on Friday.”

Awkward long stretch of silence.

Dater 2: “Why?”

Dater 1: I have to answer why? “I had a nice time?” That sounded like a question, didn’t it.

Dater 2: *exasperated noise of disgust*

Dater 1: “Didn’t you have a nice time?” Maybe I’m delusional.

Dater 2: “Of course I did!”

Dater 1: “Then what’s the problem?” Maybe Dater 2 is crazy.

Dater 2: “That was two months ago!”

Awkward silence.

Dater 1: “Oh.”

Dater 2: “Oh? All you have to say is ‘oh’?”

Dater 1: “I didn’t realize.”

Dater 2: “You didn’t realize two months went by?”

Dater 1: “No.”

Dater 2: “What were you doing?!”

Dater 1: “I don’t know.”

Dater 2: “#*#&&@^!^!*($((#)#(@*!&”

Dater 1: “Um.”

 

There’s really no coming back from that, Dater 1.

 

Dater 1: *hangs up slowly*…*backs away even more slowly*…*wonders if anyone will ever go to the movies with Dater 1 again*

Heart, pink, anniversary, puzzle, love, marriage

I think I cracked my own heart.

Basically, I’m Dater 1. I’m sorry? Oh, I apologized for being away. I totally wrote a blog post wondering if that was necessary once. I feel it’s necessary today.

This is like when my husband asked me if my sink was rattling. I listened for a moment, then said yes. Upon further consideration I told him it had been rattling for a long time. Like perhaps months.

He asked why I didn’t tell him, my Mr. Fix It husband.

Um. It never occurred to me?

Life is like my broken sink. I get caught up in work, books, publishing, family and life. I turn around and it’s been too long.

This is a flaw in my character. One I will work on.

(Disclaimer: This does not apply to deadlines. I’m obsessive about meeting deadlines and obligations. Also anything related to publishing. If I delay there is a reason behind it. This blog post applies to, well, everything else.)

I wasn’t sure how to come back and share my flaw. I’m embarrassed by it. Then I remembered the time I called that one person who told me I hadn’t seen them in two months.

Remarkably, I can’t seem to remember their name…

Anyway, I’m back.

And Dater 2 never called back. I wonder what I did wrong.

Puzzle failure, but super thoughtful failure

8 May

Like Valentine’s Day this year, I had no budget for my husband’s birthday. So I had to think of something thoughtful to make him for free.

Guess what I made?

Yes, a puzzle. How did you know?

So here’s the deal. Up until now, I haven’t been serious about puzzle making. And by I haven’t been serious, I mean I’ve never Googled how to make them.

But then my husband’s birthday present happened.

Puzzle Making, Puzzle Failure, Complete Puzzle Failure, Birthday Presents Gone Wrong, Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Author Kinley Baker

Complete Puzzle Failure

This puzzle fails in so many ways.

I had this strange idea of cutting the pieces at different angles, but it didn’t work. Not only that, but I numbered the pieces and somehow inverted them, so this puzzle will never be put back together. My husband will never see the full, completed design.

When this happened, I just felt like the whole puzzle world was thinking, poser. And I had this irrational need to become legit.

So I Googled puzzle making, which made me feel like more of a poser. Real pro puzzle makers probably don’t search How To Puzzle Make on the internet.

If I’m going to do this right, I have to do it right, right? No Google clues.

Anyway, it was a disaster. Luckily, his family got him amazingly thoughtful gifts, and I think he ended up having a pretty good birthday.

This just goes to show you. Not all puzzles are made to be solved.

Especially when the creator has no idea what they’re doing.

I wanted to end this post with, at least I didn’t have the idea to handcraft puppets. But now I’m going to end it with, maybe, next, I’ll try to make puppets.

-Kinley Baker