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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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I see what you did there, life

9 May

Next week a lot of you are going to RT and I’m jealous. For those who don’t know, it’s a huge conference for those who love the romance genre. Which I support! Completely (in case you haven’t figured out by now that I love romance).

Anyway, I was really seriously thinking about going this year but things didn’t work out.

Now, it turns out that events have come up which means I wouldn’t get to go anyway. I won’t tell you the what because it’s not my what to tell. But I’ll be needed at home.

It always surprises me when things seem to work out this way. If I would have made all the plans like I’d originally wanted, I’d be canceling now. Since things didn’t work out initially, I’m not in the position where I have to do that.

I’m grateful but I also just want to say… I see what you did there, life.

Life seems to have that coyness about it. Obstacles get in the way. Nothing goes as scheduled.

A lot of the time I think one way is the only way things can work out. When it doesn’t, I’m crushed.

Later on, once I have some perspective, I can look back. In those moments I start to see the why. I see why it didn’t work out and I even start to see the better path that might be out in front of me.

In those moments I realize I just need to have faith. It’s the hardest thing of all to have, especially when things aren’t going according to the plan. But the plan rarely works out.

Since the beginning of my publishing journey I’ve always had a plan. The plan has changed many times, but I’ve always had a plan.

The challenge was convincing other people to join the plan train. I wanted to tell people, no, seriously, I have a plan! I just need you to hop on at this stop and we’ll make the rest of the journey together.

It’s really hard to convince a stranger to get on a train with you when they don’t know the destination. They really have to believe in whatever reason they get on the train in the first place. Because who knows where it will end up?

I think I’ve learned the plan has to be flexible. A person needs the willingness to change and alter and step outside the comfort zone of the train cart. Or in other words, they need to get up on the roof.

*climbs up without looking down at the landscape speeding by*

I am borrowing the Titanic trend and standing on the roof with my hands held out wide. Probably because I’ve always wanted to fly.

But I’m also closing my eyes because I’m terrified like WOAH.

I’m getting really tired of letting fear stop me. There’s no Jack holding me, so I suppose I’ll just have to fly by myself and hope for some wings.

Have a great weekend. On Monday I’ll have a post that has to do with Mean Girls and writing. And a picture of a fish. What?! All three… I know, don’t miss it.

Kinley
@KinleyBaker
@KinleyCade

New Sale, New Release, New Energy!

26 Apr

I will be returning to blogging on Monday! I’m very excited. I have lots of stories to tell because life has been interesting but first I want to share that Ruined, Book One in the Shadowed Love trilogy, and Denied, Book Two in the Shadowed Love trilogy, are now on sale at Amazon for $2.99 each for a limited time! This is to celebrate the release of the third book, Endured, on May 15!

I’d really appreciate if you could help spread the word on this sale. This is my first fantasy trilogy and while I’m sad it’s almost over, I could not love the third book more. If I could share this love with you all, it would mean so much! Thank you!

Buy RUINED (Book One) for $2.99!  ~  Buy DENIED (Book Two) for $2.99!

Image         Image

RUINED BLURB:

Jessa is one healing away from death. Under the thrall of her gift, the Court’s Senior Healer risks giving her life in exchange for her patient’s.

Vale is a rebel ruler. When his brother is killed, he’s given the throne and the decree from the Court to produce an heir or lose his family’s hold on the land–and his deceiving advisors aren’t afraid to use murder as a weapon if their directive to stay away from the Senior Healer goes unheeded.

But Vale burns to possess Jessa. The heat between them leaves a wake of smoke, and even the powerful forces above want to bind them in a union that lasts forever. Vale taking another would be a betrayal neither could survive.

Their enemies fear a child born of such a powerful Healer and Warrior, but the true threat lies in the bond forged in shadows and fused in fire.

 

DENIED BLURB:

When invaders brutally massacred the women and children of the Varner, Caleb witnessed loss and destruction on a scale few can comprehend. As the leader of a race on the brink of extinction, his only hope for survival is gaining acceptance into the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Struggling with new customs, he meets Tabitha, a woman who challenges his limits. 

Refused the right to join the king’s guard because of her gender, Tabitha must be stronger than the men to prove she deserves to be the first accepted female Warrior in the kingdom. She believes Caleb will help improve her abilities, until she learns her goals conflict with the foundation of his culture.

When the realm is attacked, Tabitha and Caleb must come together not only to fight, but to find the strength to win against an evil with the potential to destroy everything they revere most–including each other.

 

Much love!

Kinley Baker

@kinleybaker

Summary of 2013: a naïve doe in the wild who managed to get here with relatively few scars

2 Jan

Although when I think about it I have quite a few scars.

2013 was a very strange year as most of my years are. I do tend to star in the motion picture of my life, so I’m not surprised strangeness managed to work its way in there.

But 2013 left me with a lot of silences. Mainly from experiences and events I had no words for. I didn’t blog or tweet about them. I didn’t talk about them. I just went through them and found no words on the other side.

I’m very impressed by people who share their struggles so openly. Every time I read something heartbreaking, I mourn for the struggle.

I joke sometimes that one of my greatest strengths is mourning for strangers. It’s not really a joke. When tragedy happens, I go into a state of deep sorrow.

But my words? They get lost somewhere from thought to keyboard.

I don’t think that’s always bad.

Thoughtful silences are okay.

But oh, the irony. A writer without words? How will the world of said writer move on? How can someone who places so much value on a syllable manage to not string two together?

On the darkest days, I feel like a failure. On the lightest days… well, I’m not thinking about being a failure. Syllables probably aren’t in the picture either.

Through our struggles we find thoughts and feelings and we often manage to express them in ways that offend. But that’s what living is, isn’t it?

Offending.

For if we have no thoughts, we will be silenced. No one will be offended by that. Although, there are people who will be offended by silences.

But if we don’t speak our minds or our hearts, that significantly reduces the amount of people who will be offended.

Speaking our minds and our hearts matters though. What else is fiction? An expression of self. An escape. A love deeper than anyone can know.

I am so paranoid about offending. I worry about it constantly. Then I find myself silenced.

My goal for 2014 is to offend. Not obnoxiously. Not without careful thought. But with purpose. So I don’t find myself at the end of 2014 like I feel now at the end of 2013.

Silenced.

Dishonest only for not speaking my truth.

I worry so much about so many things. I hope in 2014 I find the strength to stop worrying and find the courage to thrive.

For writers, words are our legacy. If we do it right, that will matter more than it will offend.

Dog, Pink, King, Soft Blankets, Romance, Author, Kinley Cade, Kinley Baker

Hail thee, Joker, King of the Winter Lands, wearer of pink with pride (thanks to my amazing MIL)

May the new year bring you happiness and health. Reflection and pride. Love and family. Chocolate and coffee. Pasta for those who don’t like sweets. Lots of new stories and characters. And lots of excellent new books.

Kinley

When I thought someone was dumb and I acted dumber

13 Nov

I recently realized it’s very easy to feel morally superior when you run into someone doing something really dumb.

In your head, it’s like. Oh my gosh. Look at that person. They are making a fooool of themselves. Yes, they are.

Dang. Look at all these people staring.

What. A. Loser.

Of course I didn’t say any of this out loud, so I’m still a decent person, right? Right?!

I guess I’m not afraid to admit that while I would never say anything specific to the person, or about it to anyone except for my husband and maybe my mother, I did think these things.

I was in a place and I made these judgments.

Then, later on, I did something equally dumb. Probably dumber.

You realize you are that person. The one everyone is staring at and calling an idiot.

Suddenly you start to feel bad.

Wow. I was really mean to that person in my head the other day. And look at me? It’s lonely when you’re making an epic jerk of yourself.

It’s important for me to remember this. If I think someone is doing something stupid. I better be nice to them, even in my head!

Because it will happen to me. Most of us do the best we can.

We still fight our human natures. We’re programmed to do dumb things.

If we can just give everyone a little breathing room when we’re making perfectly excellent decisions, the world might be a little less negative.

My father always tells me he’s proud of me. I always respond back, “Hey now. Slow down. There’s still plenty of time to make you un-proud.”

We’re going to make mistakes and have regrets. All we can do is the best we can.

Some of you will do better than others and I will be jealous.

Because I’m a pro at dwelling on mistakes.

And even though this post makes me a very flawed person, if you haven’t heard I’ll be writing contemporary romance as Kinley Cade. So if you don’t mind following me at http://www.twitter.com/kinleycade or liking at http://www.facebook.com/authorkinleycade, I’ll be your friend.

Agent news, new release news, and lots of use of the word “new”!

6 Nov

I am thrilled to announce I’m now represented by Sarah E. Younger with the Nancy Yost Literary Agency!!!

In mid-October I attended the Emerald City Writers’ Conference in the Pacific Northwest. This was my fourth year attending, and I’ve loved it every year. This year was especially exciting! I met several people I’ve been talking to for years online.

It’s always funny when people hold up their name badges and my first response is, I know you! Then they want me to hold up my badge, and yes! They know me.

This is such a great community, and putting faces to names is fantastic.

All the while I was meeting these people I was also a tad giddy for the second half of the conference.

Friday afternoon I suddenly realized I didn’t have pitches written for my Saturday morning appointments. Having spent days, months, weeks in the past putting together pitches, this realization was slightly horrifying. I was honestly just going to turn in my pitch appointments to the coordinators because in previous years other people have been able to use the appointments.

I was in a strange place. I had a book two for my contemporary series, a category paranormal romance and a fantasy romance.

For several hours I agonized over what I would do. Would I just sit down and say, “Here’s what I’ve got! What do you want to hear?”

Which made me sound a little frightening, right? I mean we all know the line between enthusiastic and terrifying is precarious at best.

Even up to the minute, I had no idea what I was going to do. In the past I’d been in groups of ten people. I didn’t want to waste other pitchers’ time because I hate doing that. Everyone spends hours preparing for those precious ninety seconds.

I ended up writing the pitches though and I was pleasantly surprised that my pitch writing skills have drastically improved since the first conference. Who knew we were learning this stuff while we agonize over rejections and what path to take next on our publishing journies?

I met with Sarah Younger, which ended up being a ten minute solo appointment. I don’t really remember all the specifics. It was something about football, then romance novels, then positive-ness.

It was a great conversation! I’ve had good pitch appointments but this one felt like we were really on the same page.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching the last year and Sarah really seemed to get where I wanted to go, or where I was trying to go.

I sent her several requested attachments and I tried to sit quietly and not get too excited.

Four years of actively seeking publication makes you intimately familiar with rejection. By this point you also realize why people are rejected, the value of rejection, and you know that every decision leads you one way or another.

Not only do you know rejection, you appreciate rejection. Which makes it all so much worse. It goes something like: You know this is for your own good… Yes, but it still isn’t any fun.

We spoke for a long time on the phone about a few of my current projects and she said encouraging things like “I think you might need to rewrite the last 1/3.”

Internally I was like, “Really?! I get to keep two thirds?” I was thinking I’d have to rewrite the whole thing.

Yay!

Sarah had insightful feedback that really resonated with me. With her feedback I saw potential in things I’d given up on. I saw a direction I’d been trying for a year to steer toward but couldn’t quite manage on my own.

This is where the news comes in.

I will be writing contemporary romance as Kinley Cade!

Here is my info:

Website: http://www.kinleycade.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kinleycade
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorkinleycade
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/kinleycade

Don’t worry about not being able to find me. I will be keeping this blog (and address) for both names. It’s now “Kinley’s Blog” to keep it a central meeting place. You might notice at the top I have both names and the genre each name is focused on.

This will be built out as everything moves along. But anything you need to know for either name will be under the prospective tab. On the blog I’ll still be blogging about things like the perplexity of adulthood, etc.

I’ll also still be on Twitter as @KinleyBaker.

If you’re new today, welcome! Please scroll through previous posts and you’ll get the idea (hopefully). Feel free to visit again. This blog is very low key and friendly with promo only surrounding releases (And today because I’m having trouble controlling my enthusiasm).

With that said, here is the cover reveal for Kissing Her Scrooge! My first book on my new contemporary path.

Kissing Her Scrooge, Holiday Novella, Holiday Romance, Romance Author, Kinley Cade, Author Kinley Cade, Winter, Wonderland, Loving Couple, Scrooge, Tree Farmer

Blurb:

Every Christmas, Hannah Jones makes it her mission to give her hometown the perfect pageant. Even malfunctioning inflatable Santas and lost students can’t stop the self-proclaimed Miss Holiday. But the teacher may have met her mismatch in sexy but antisocial tree farmer Griff Green. Hannah’s been lusting after her new neighbor for months—and she’s determined to melt his heart by being naughty as well as nice…

He may sell trees, but Griff doesn’t do Christmas. He’s known as the town humbug—and he likes it that way. Which is why he’s been avoiding Hannah, despite the sexy visions of her that have been dancing through his head. When a surprise visit leads to a passionate kiss, he can’t deny the attraction any longer.

When Hannah discovers Griff isn’t the Scrooge he pretends to be—and she exposes his secret to the whole town—it may take a holiday miracle for their budding relationship to survive into the new year.

This is up for pre-order now HERE! It releases December 5, 2013 from Carina Press.

And it’s on Goodreads if you want to mark it to remember later HERE.

Next week I will have more info on the anthology this holiday story is a part of. I get to be part of this with two amazing additional novellas. The authors are wonderful ladies, too, which makes it better.

I want to take the opportunity to extend a huge thank you to the Carina Press team. Angela James and the Carina team have been amazing. I’ve been talking to other Carina Press authors and they’ve all had similarly great things to say. I’m always hesitant to recommend paths when people ask me because everyone’s experience is so different. But Carina has been consistently supportive and dedicated to producing the highest quality books.

You should read their books. I’ve enjoyed the last ten I’ve read.

The past few weeks have been crazy, the past year even crazier. I have no idea what the future will hold. But it’s exciting and there’s a certain level of relief in knowing I have a plan and someone else sees the potential in it.

I’ll try not to dole out too much advice because I still have so much to learn. But like with the pitches I wrote, sometimes we don’t realize how much we know about something until we start talking. I think I’m a little guilty of holding information close because I’m so afraid I’ll be wrong and someone will read a blog post in ten years and point to it and call me out.

I suppose we can’t live our lives that way. That’s one tough thing about the internet. It lives forever. If you’re unlucky enough to trip and fall and have someone catch it on camera, YouTube is your enemy.

In truth, we all have those dumb moments. We’re all guilty of being human. Which is what makes life so interesting. I hope to write more contemporary fiction based on characters experiencing those dumb moments. So we can laugh at them. Ahem. Just kidding. Kind of.

Thank you to everyone who ever supported me or said a kind word. I hope to have more fun news to share. I hope you’re all secretly sitting on amazing news you’re not quite ready share yet, too. 🙂

I’ve decided publishing is basically a ton of people sitting on exciting, secret news. So we all go talk on twitter to talk to other people who understand what we’re going through. We can’t say what we want to say, so we say other covert things.

This was an epic blog post (they’re usually much shorter), but thanks for reading until the end.

I hope whatever information I provide will help you in some way no matter where you are on your journey. Or what path you’re traveling. Or where you hope to end up.

Kinley

Howdy from a stranger

24 Jun

Ahem. I’ve been gone for a month. I swear I blinked and the time flew. Literally. I’m even wearing my Superman t-shirt today. That’s how serious I am about flying.

Speaking of clothing, my husband bought me a pair of Batman pajamas for my birthday and they are awesome. My birthday is kind of why I disappeared. It was the end of May. But those are just excuses.

Lacking excuses!

While I was gone, my husband and I also celebrated our five year anniversary. Guess what I made him? Yes! A puzzle. But it’s not an impossible puzzle. It actually worked.

Here it is:

Heart, pink, anniversary, puzzle, love, marriage

Then when he completed the puzzle, I got to say fun things like, “You healed all the broken pieces of my heart.” Which he grimaced at because it was so sappy.

Oh no, she didn’t go there. Oh yes, yes I did.

Being gone and trying to figure out if I should apologize for my absence does bring up an important point. Sometimes people apologize for being offline, and I always wonder if we really need to apologize for disconnecting. Are our brains wired to be online all the time, or do we need to take a step back sometimes?

But then I think maybe some people are genuinely missed when they’re gone. People really do think they’re owed an apology. They feel wronged for not being able to read the wisdom of their favorite peep.

I’m pretty sure you guys don’t feel wronged, right? I mean I’m only like 10% funny. Most people who are missed probably average over 50% funny.

This is rambling. But I’ve returned to blogland. And if you want an apology, I am all for giving one. I am so sorry you had to go without me! See? Now I feel like a jerk. Lol. There is no winning with this.

Maybe to redeem myself I should ask about you! What the heck have you been up to? I’ve missed you all. Sincerely.

Come back on Wednesday when I tell the story about the lawn chair that fought back. If you think I’m a jerk, you’ll like what this lawn chair did to me.

Kinley Baker