Archive | Thoughtfulness RSS feed for this section

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

Advertisements

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

The dream no one else gets

20 Mar

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve thought in my head: I have this vision…

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said this out loud either, but the response has been considerably more negative from outside sources.

Sometimes in life we have this thing. I call it a thing because it’s more relatable to keep it broad. My thing isn’t your thing. (Haha… that makes me laugh.)

Moving on.

You probably don’t have to think long and hard to come up with the dream.

I’ll tell you mine. If life went my way I’d have a steady writing career that makes the same as my day job, plus a little more to compensate for the benefits I wouldn’t be getting. I’d have a ridiculous number of kids who all get along like romance novel siblings. And there would be at least two dogs, eight fish, and a talking porcupine. We’d live on a big boat in the middle of the sea and… Okay, I’m getting carried away.

Now, this is just the dream. Will it ever happen? *shrugs shoulders*

In my head, I have this vision. I try to explain the vision, but as the years pass, the vision becomes clouded. The people in my life start to question. Every big accomplishment suddenly becomes mundane because you realize how much further away the dream is. Much further than you ever imagined.

I have this theory. It’s a theory because it hasn’t worked yet. I’m hoping that sometimes we’re placing pieces into a grand puzzle that is the dream. We don’t understand that every event is just adding to the end picture.

Even when we try to shove the side piece into the center because we’re very frustrated it’s not fitting, that’s still part of the process.

I usually like puzzles. The dream puzzle? Not so much. Hey, I’m just being honest.

I want to know when things will click into place and what I should do next. I’m tired of putting blank pieces into an impossible puzzle.

I can’t show people the blank pieces so I look like a lunatic. Not that I claim to be anything else.

I have another theory. That we can make our own dream puzzle and own the process. We can trust each piece placed will add to the end result. That each struggle to fit will prosper.

So my challenge to you today is to create your own puzzle.

Like this one I made for my husband to make up for being a thoughtless jerk on Valentine’s Day.

puzzle, puzzle pieces, Valentine's Day, Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Love, Thoughtfulness, Being thoughtful

One Dream Puzzle

Side note: Making puzzles from scratch is not only relaxing, but fun! I highly recommend it. Just start with big pieces.

We have to work our way up to the 1,000 piece all-the-same-color puzzle. Although I’m sure that’s a good way to describe that impossible dream we crave so deeply.

We have to trust the process. We have to trust ourselves. In the meantime, who will commiserate with me?

Just kidding! Sunshine and daisies!

*coughs*

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker) aka… one more piece of the puzzle found with this post.

When you realize you’re a thoughtless jerk

18 Feb

I can be a huge thoughtless jerk.

Take Valentine’s Day, for example. My husband and I didn’t spend money on presents. I knew that going in.

Even without a budget, my husband totally rocked out the day.

He was so dang thoughtful. He does this. And he’s sneaky about it! Sometimes I’m so unobservant, I don’t even notice for a while, and then all the nice things he does adds up to a gigantic mountain of awesome.

It’s probably one of the best things about him.

So on Valentine’s Day, he brought home TWO types of dark chocolate (my favorite) and pizza (my favorite). He brought out board games to play (my favorite) AND he put on Harry Potter (do I even have to say my favorite?). The sixth movie! The one with a lot of humor.

Then we started… A PUZZLE (*insert warm and fuzzy memories from childhood*).

I could not have wished for a more perfect day. And what did I do for him?!

NOTHING.

I am a thoughtless jerk. There’s nothing worse than being thoughtless.

The next day, I had to fix the situation.

No longer would I be the jerk who doesn’t do anything nice and forgets anniversaries.

I wanted to buy him a present, but that’s breaking the rules. I should be able to be thoughtful and not spend money.

Well, while we were doing the puzzle, he mentioned it would be cool to do a blank/white puzzle.

Perfect! So what did I do?

*Drum roll, please!*

puzzle, puzzle pieces, Valentine's Day, Kinley Baker, Romance Author, Love, Thoughtfulness, Being thoughtful

I made him a puzzle.

And he called it THOUGHTFUL.

Yessssss…

I’m no longer a jerk. *fist pump* At least, I’m not a jerk today.

Men get a bad rap for forgetting anniversaries and birthdays, but really, I think they’re just more subtle about it. We don’t give them enough credit.

I know what I’ll do going forward. Appreciate my life partner and shower him with affection. His response will be to roll his eyes.

LOL.

Men.

Have you ever thought to yourself, I’m a gigantic jerk? I think being able to admit when we fall short is pretty nifty (I really wanted to work nifty into a blog post, AND I DID).

On a completely unrelated note, do you want to know what’s really hard to make from scratch?

PUZZLES.

They’re puzzling.

*snickers*

I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist. Bad joke. That was a bad joke.

This day is full of win. GO! Frolic off into the sunset. Do something nice for a loved one.

I know I will spend more time thinking about others in the future. I get so caught up in the small things, I forget to show those I love that they mean everything to me.

What are little things you do to show your family you appreciate them?

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)