Why Writing Book 2 is Harder than Writing Book 1

I don’t know if you know this, but I wrote a really kick ass book and published it in 2015. It took me about four years to finish it, which really is not accurate because I had two kids under five when I started. One of which was still attached to my breast, so my writing took a backseat to dirty diapers and sippy cups. I squeezed in a few words during nap time and Dora the Explorer distractions, but I wrote. I wrote every day, and I wrote with vigor.

I had to tell the story. The main character, Paige, took over my life, and her voice wouldn’t quiet. She talked to me all day, in my sleep, in the shower, at the gym, so when I sat down to write her story, the words flowed. Though it contained a bit of darkness, I developed a sweet love story, and Paige’s sense of humor weaved its way through the plot. Writing Dear Stephanie (shameless plug) was fun.

Actually, writing Dear Stephanie was life. The characters were my oxygen. The story was the blood that pumped through my veins.

My current WIP centers around the very light and fluffy topic of Human Trafficking. I know. But hey, my first book was about depression and suicide, so bygones. As all good writers do, I spend a lot of my time researching. Imagine reading articles about Human Trafficking. Now imagine reading those articles every day. It’s a disgusting industry, and although I am perfectly capable of going into the dark corners of my mind to write this book, those places are hard to visit sometimes, and I find myself literally (cliche warning) letting out the breath I didn’t know I was holding almost every time I write a chapter.

But that’s not the problem.

What is the problem? You’re probably (maybe not) asking yourself. I’m glad you (didn’t) ask.

Aside from the typical and normal self doubt that the vast majority of artists experience, there’s this other very nagging problem constantly putting pressure on me.

People are going to read this.

You see, when I wrote Dear Stephanie, I had no audience. I didn’t even know if I would publish it. I virtually wrote that novel as practice, to see if I could see it through to the end. When I actually typed “The End,” I was shocked. I probably, over the course of my life, started a dozen novels. But I only finished one. And I only finished it because only a handful of people knew about it. So nobody was going to read it. My family had no idea I spent most of my free time writing. My friends also didn’t know. Writing was my secret, a world where I could be free and write words that offend, words that slice and rip the flesh, words that bury themselves in your soul.

But the words were good, and with a lot of encouragement from my small group of friends who knew about them, I decided to publish. I kept it a secret going to such extremes that I created a special list of people on Facebook so that when I shared anything about the book, I could hide it from this core group of people (that consisted of all of my family and a large number of friends).

But now, everybody knows I write, and people *gasp* continue to buy my book and consistently ask me when my next book will be released, and I have readers. I have fans. And they/you expect another good read. They/you deserve it. And I desperately want to give that to them/you.

Aye there’s the rub.

That’s a lot of pressure.

Can I compete with the first book? Will my next book tank? Am I a one-book-wonder? Do I have it in me to put in the work that is required to publish another book? (In case you’re wondering, it’s a lot of work.)

Yes.

I will quiet the voices that tell me I can’t. I will squelch the negative noise, and I will write. I will write free, and I will publish this book.

I hope you will read it.

Girls Teaser

Girls Trafficked – coming eventually 

 

 

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This is Us (We Might Be Confused)

I have four older brothers. Some would say this makes me tough (which is true), but most would say this has affected my intellect (also true). The youngest is ten years older than I am, so my education growing up  was, to say the least, clouded with fibs my brothers told me that I believed the same way people believe everything they read on the internet.

We went camping as a family once (only once). I was very young, maybe four years old. Once we arrived to the camp ground, my mom explained to me that she and I would have to use the restroom outside, or we could use the porta-potties at the campsite, unlike my brothers who could  and did have pissing contests pretty much anywhere they wanted. After she walked away, my youngest brother pulled me to the side and whispered, “If you squat to pee on the ground, there are little tiny snakes that will jump up into your butthole and live in your body, and eat you from the inside out.” His dark eyes widened in a very convincing warning.  I quickly determined the porta-potty would be my best bet and spent the night in the camper dreaming about internal bodily snake infestation.

I have an extremely sensitive sense of smell, so my first experience in a campsite porta-potty resulted in not peeing and lots of gagging. When I came out, my brothers were laughing. The youngest (again)  told me that snakes lived in there too and that I should be very careful because they like to bite little girls’ butts. I decided that relieving myself  was highly overrated.

My mom still tells the story about the time we went camping and I didn’t use the bathroom the entire time. To this day, I don’t enjoy camping, and I have a very healthy fear of snakes, but apparently, I would still fight one because I’m bigger.

As a child though, I looked up to my brothers. I believed them when they told me things, which is why I think carrots are green. That’s weird right? Carrots are orange. I literally almost typed green. Let me explain. I see green as green and orange as orange, but I get the color wrong every time. I say green is orange and orange is green. Why you may ask? I’ve thought about this a lot. You see, three of my four brothers are color blind, two very severely, and I’m pretty sure they taught me my colors. Shout out to mom and dad for letting this one slide.

When my dad and my oldest brother were buying his first car, my dad told him the car was red. He didn’t know it was green until they were signing the final paperwork. When I bought a car in college, my brother told me it was gray. Another said it was silver. It was a gold T-bird and a total POS.

This is us.

My parents have lived in the same house for 35 years. There was a house across the street from us. My friend Jesse lived there. He lived in the green house. The green house across the street. All my life, I called his house the green house across the street. Nope.  Jesse’s house was orange. And nobody corrected me. How did I make it through elementary school with this backassward knowledge?  Thankfully, Jesse’s house is not green or orange anymore because someone realized orange was a terrible choice for exterior paint color.

And this stuff still affects my life.

I told my son this morning to put on his green shirt. He went into his room, closed the door and put on his clothes. He came downstairs wearing a -gasp- green shirt. I said, “Why are you wearing that? That’s not what I told you to wear.” He wrinkled his freckled forehead at me and said, “Mom, this is the only green shirt I have.”

I am thirty-eight years old, and I don’t know my colors.

And it’s all their fault. Brothers.

I won’t even tell you about the time my brother told me my other brother got a tramp stamp. Because I believed him.

What did your siblings tell you that wasn’t true? Do you see orange or green or green or orange?

green

Orange

Coitus Interruptus

The best thing about not having anything to write is when one of my fellow writers does have something to write. Please enjoy the following guest post by my friend, Nikki Mathis Thompson.

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The material of the shirt in her hands is soft. Humming a quiet tune, she inhales the floral fragrance, then folds the tiny shirt with care. Strong hands grip her hips, startling her out of her fabric softener revelry. The warm breath at her neck draws a shuddered sigh from her throat. She finds herself moving towards the dark closet a few feet away. The space is confined and stuffy, but when his hand reaches the waist band if her yoga pants nothing else matters. His fingers dip passed th…

“MOM…MOMMY! I need a snack!”

What the what?!?

Aaaand just like that, the John Legend song playing in her head morphs into the shower scene music from Psycho. She shakes herself out of the horny haze, as her husband thrusts behind her still fully clothed. Awe…he hasn’t given up hope that this impromptu session is going to play out the way he wanted. 

So naive.

“I can be quick,” he whispers.

 Good thing it’s dark because the eye roll she gives him is of epic proportions.

“Yah, I know, babe. But, it’s not happening,” she admits, with a defeated huff.

She opens the door to find the light of her life, the fruit of her loom, staring up at her with grateful eyes. The little angel must be starving—he hasn’t eaten since the five graham crackers he devoured ten minutes ago.

Her voice is soft and sweet. “Okay, sweetie. Mommy will get you a snack.”

But in her head…“Enjoy your cheddar bunnies, you little co$& blocker.”

-And end scene.

Sound familiar? We’ve all found ourselves the victim of failed attempts to have an intimate moment only to be foiled by the tiny people inhabiting our houses—leaving both parties frustrated, propagating the whole, “it was your idea to have children,” convo.

Hey, some people might be able to shut out the high pitched whining of a needy child, their sticky fingers scraping on the door like Freddy Krueger.  But for most, finishing while one of our kids hovers a few feet away is about as sexy as Hitler in a thong.

Where does this leave those who still enjoy the recurring dalliance with their significant others? Does this relegate us to scheduled encounters?

“Okay, if we start foreplay at 2:30. If we have insertion by 2:45 and completion by 2:50, we should be in the clear. Timmy doesn’t wake up until 3:00.”

We all know this can be a gamble because, low and behold, that will be the afternoon little Timmy doesn’t go down when he’s supposed to, and when he finally does, he wets the bed right between insertion and completion. You’ve heard the old adage, best laid plans…(no pun intended.)

Where does that leave our sex lives? Silent movie reenactment as you finish like a fish gulping for oxygen—can’t wake up the snoozing offspring down the hall. The occasional romp in the back seat of the Suburban—cheerios lodged in your nether regions, while your husband does his best Cirque du Soleil impression, balancing between two car seats?  Or the saddest scenario of all…Dun dun duuun…no sex at all.

As parents, we know how much energy it takes to raise kids. Some days it feels like our life force has been sucked out of us like a dementor from the Harry Potter books. Seldom will there be a “perfect” time, where empty house and libido align in one majestic event. Kids aren’t the only things that keep us too busy to get busy. There’s a laundry list of things that drain us of that loving feeling. It’s a wonder parents might not be in the “mood,” what with the tantrums, the whining, the cleaning, the conference calls, the lost deals, and the traffic. But daily trials and tribulations aside, physical intimacy is a true gauge for a healthy relationship, as much as respect and communication.

A big mistake we make as parents is expending all energy on kids and work—leaving not even a sliver for our partner in crime, the lover and best friend. How could we treat the person we chose to spend our life with so shabbily? Why is it so easy to give the people who mean the most to us the scraps?

Well, it happens. To all of us. But, it doesn’t have to. It’s like anything else in life. It’s not about having the time, it’s about making the time. Some days it’s easier said than done, but doesn’t it stand to reason that the person we lean on the most deserves a little effort? Yes, when you have kids, sometimes it’s hard to find a moment alone. Even going to the bathroom without an audience seems like a Herculean feat. But, with a little effort and a little creativity, there’s time for quality time.

It seems to be common sense that emotional intimacy leads to physical intimacy, right? And we can rationalize all day long about how one can be had without the other, but the truth is we need both. Not just the wife, not just the husband. Not just me, not just the other guy. WE. We all need it to feel connected. Relevant. And if we’re honest it doesn’t happen spontaneously as often as we would like after kids, if ever. So, that leaves effort, and yeah, maybe a little scheduling. Making the time. Kids…life…obligations…we have to stop using them as excuses. We need to take an active role in the trajectory of our relationships. Without intimacy, we’re relegated to co-parents, or even worse, roommates. I’m not putting up with my man child if I’m not getting an orgasm out of the deal. Am I right?

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Nikki Mathis Thompson spent her formative years singing, dancing and creating her own world of make-believe. From an early age she developed a love of reading that has grown exponentially to near addiction. She has a business degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her degree looks great in the frame, but hasn’t been utilized in years. She gladly left the cubicle life behind to raise her daughter and a son was added to the mix some years later. You can find her devouring a book while drinking a glass of wine, doing her part to save the planet or lip-synching to her favorite songs while running through her suburb. She lives outside of Dallas with her family. Rebound is her first novel.

To connect more with Nikki, please find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

nikki