Friday, January 6, 2017

Knowing When It's Time to Move On #selfcare #inspiration



I've been widowed eleven years. I've grown accustomed to my own company and the freedom of not being accountable to anyone. I really like being solo, actually. For New Year's Eve, I was in heaven sitting in front of the fireplace, reading a good book, drinking wine, and listening to music alone. I'm not "just saying that" either--I genuinely mean it.

To some, however, they look upon me with pity. When I told one friend I was alone on New Year's Eve, she practically called the suicide intervention hotline thinking I was crying into my pillow. I wasn't. I was very content.

When I met a bunch of friends--all married and pretty well off--earlier this week and told them I am selling my house, moving to Santa Fe to start a new life, buying a house there that is much smaller but within walking distance to all the fun shopping and bars in the city, you would have thought I had just confessed to murder. The looks on their faces confused me.

How can you leave Colorado? You have the perfect house! In the perfect place! How can you give all of that up? Have you gone insane? 

Maybe I have. Maybe I went insane the moment I cut my husband down from where he'd hung himself in the bedroom I've continued to sleep in for the past eleven years. Maybe I went over the edge by seeing the same people who knew me as a married woman who continue to give me that look of pity whenever I make eye contact. Maybe I go a little bit mad every time I go anywhere in this city and state where I dated and married a man who died--I see him everywhere. Maybe I went crazy holding myself back from moving long ago out of a sense of obligation to the kids to keep their lives stable--they're adults now, though. Maybe I snapped after lugging wood indoors to heat the place for the millionth time--why did I ever think that was a charming activity? So, yes, maybe I have gone insane. So what? Can you blame me? Maybe a little insanity is a good thing.

A person can only deny their souls for so long before life intervenes and pushes them into action. That's what's happened here. I am no longer satisfied existing in this perfect little house with its magnificent view. I crave more. 

More adventure.

More laughter.

More discovery.

More life!

Before I got married, some called me a gypsy. I traveled the world, lived in a new apartment every six months, moved to new cities that called to my soul, and never once thought this would be the last stop on my journey.

Yet the judgment comes from all sides when I say I'm selling my house--alone--and moving to another city in another state--alone. None of the people doing the questioning can relate even remotely to my life--they're married, financially secure to the point where some of them only work as a hobby, and have close family members as well who interact with their lives. That's fine. No one needs to get me--but I do ask that they back off from the interrogation.

I can honestly say I resent the questions as to why. Perhaps it's because I have been solo for so long now that I don't like answering to anyone, but I think my annoyance is based on something deeper--my sense that they are doubting my rational thinking despite all the years I've called my own shots, parented solo, and built a career from nothing.

It's easy to say that I don't care what others think and that I don't need anyone's approval--which are both true statements--but at the core of my being I crave support from the people in my life. I crave someone saying, "good for you, enjoy the adventure!" I crave someone saying, "if anyone can do it, you can" or "you've been through enough, sacrificed enough, now go live your life on your own terms."

I tell myself these things. I root myself on because that's what I've learned to do. But, perhaps, I truly crave hearing those things from someone else whether I want to admit it or not.

Because no matter how good I get at being alone, I remember what it was like having a life partner, a permanent cheerleader, and a sounding board--and that ghost of a memory reminds me of what I miss. It reminds me of the kind of relationship I deserve--the kind that pushes me forward rather than holds me back.

Change is good. If we become stagnant, we become boring. I may be a lot of things, but I've never been boring.

Will it be sad leaving this place? On some levels, yes, but I'm very excited to go someplace new and start exploring and discovering and laughing and living! It really is okay to let go of the good and leap into the unknown. Who knows? It might be better than my wildest imagination can visualize--and my imagination is pretty spectacular.


Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. She also writes five different blogs, works as a professional editor and author coach, creates a line of inspirational journals, volunteers for children's literacy, and advocates for suicide awareness. In addition, she is the mother of two extraordinary human beings who lives in a cabin high in the Rocky Mountains where she is completely aware of how lucky she is. To find out more about her books, please visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com


Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Complicated Relationship Between Writers and Money #AmWriting


You wrote a book, now what? You start researching cover artists and editors and freak out about the costs. You say things like, "I need to know I'll make back the money before I shell out anything." Well, here's a hard truth for you: no one can promise you that you will make back the investment right away or ever, especially if you don't do your part with marketing (which may cost some money as well).

But the real question is, why do you think this way? If you have a full-time job and writing is your hobby, think of all the other people with hobbies who invest money on memberships, equipment, travel or what-not to participate in them. Do they ski because they want skiing to pay them back at the end of the day? No. Do they spend a day golfing and expect to be paid when they finish eighteen holes? No. Do rock climbers stress out about spending money on ropes and safety harnesses before they tackle the mountain? No. Even runners invest money on the proper shoes so they don't get shin splints, but do they expect to be financially paid back for those shoes just because they want to run? No. Why? Because hobbies reward you with joy, satisfaction, and an escape from your day-to-day life. That's why they are called hobbies. 

Nothing wrong with writing being your hobby--in fact, it's smart. But are you putting too high of expectations on your hobby? It's not a dirty word, you know--hobby. It doesn't mean your novel isn't good or that you aren't committed. Don't let ego sabotage you.
I've stopped associating with people who say that they can't make money writing because that very thinking is what's blocking them from succeeding.

Am I suggesting you shouldn't want to make money from your books? No, just the opposite actually. I'm stating that your expectations are a bit whacked and perhaps you need to take a moment to look at them from another perspective.

If writing is your full-time job and you're still bitchy about shelling out for editors, cover artists, and paid advertising, then I ask you: what kind of special snowflake do you think you are? All businesses have operating costs. All businesses invest in themselves to succeed.

The idea of being a struggling artist is limiting you--how about celebrating instead and enjoying the creative process? It's amazing what happens when you stop worrying and begin trusting.

If you're not earning enough as a writer to afford normal business operating costs, then you need to find a supplemental job to support you as you get off the ground. There's nothing wrong with that--it is simple common sense.  Many people work multiple jobs while launching their own business and don't quit until they are financially stable. It's called rocking the side gig. If you go to a restaurant in Los Angeles, for example, most of the waiters will tell you that the are actors waiting for their big break. But what are they doing in the meantime? They're working jobs to pay the bills, they're going on auditions, they're investing in head shots, taking acting classes--they are hustling and putting money into their dream! Does that make them less talented? No, it makes them smart.

Writers are the only group of people I have met who expect to make money without spending anything or who think their hobby owes them something. The hard truth is that your books owe you nothing and neither do readers. If you're blessed enough to know how to write, to complete a novel, to have been immersed in creativity, then it's your obligation to that gift to nurture it and invest in it--and to let go of all expectations after that fact.

The key to success in any creative profession is to keep moving forward at all times. Want to make money as a novelist? It's completely possible, but you need to keep writing, keep putting yourself in front of people, keep striving to be the best you can be, keep investing in yourself. You also need to lighten up about it. The idea of being a struggling artist is limiting you--how about celebrating instead and enjoying the creative process? It's amazing what happens when you stop worrying and begin trusting.

C'mon! Time to switch up your thinking. If it's not working for you, stop it. 

I've stopped associating with people who say that they can't make money writing because that very thinking is what's blocking them from succeeding. Normally, when confronted with this type of person, I'll ask what they do to market themselves. They usually respond with free things like Facebook groups or tweeting teams, things that are known to have very low return. If I ask about paid advertising, they always screech about wasting money. Same thing when asked if they hired a professional editor or cover artist--nope, they can do it themselves, they respond. But they are not succeeding in the way they want because they are not investing in it--and they won't because they are stubborn and determined to struggle.

Yes, I mean it when I say they are determined to struggle. They are getting some kind of satisfaction--even if subconsciously--from struggling, from complaining about being lost in the mix, from whining about book prices, or making excuses about the ever-changing publishing environment. Perhaps they see it as paying their dues or their curse as a storyteller or maybe struggle gives them permission to be mediocre because why try harder if they aren't making money at it--that's all nonsense.

In my mind, I can think of at least a dozen authors I know who are making over $10,000 a month. Are they famous? Not in the big scheme. What are they doing to separate themselves from the pack? Investing in their career and embracing the joy of being a writer. Not one of them can be heard whining about how hard it is or making excuses as to why they aren't a millionaire yet. They're doing the work, investing in ads, delegating editing and artwork to other professionals so they can keep working on their next novel, automating or hiring out social media marketing, and making money every single month.

Depending on whether writing is your hobby or full-time job, you need to understand that it owes you nothing. You were blessed with the inspiration and dedication to sit down and do the work of storytelling. That's your reward. Want to make money from it? Good, but are you willing to invest like every other artist and business owner in the world does?

The hard truth is that your books owe you nothing and neither do readers.

I'm not sure why writers are unique in this attitude, but they seem to be. I've known musicians who have CDs and play in the band on the weekends at gigs all over Colorado who never complain that they aren't making enough money to do it full-time. They don't stop investing, though. Neither do artists I know who spend money on tables at art shows and use their last dimes to buy supplies knowing that their return on investment will be uncertain. Yet I know far too many authors who cry at the price of an editor or a cover artist and won't spend a dime until they "are making money from their books."

And the irony? Most of those authors are listing their books at .99 or free to "gain exposure" while they lament that they are dirt poor. C'mon! Time to switch up your thinking. If it's not working for you, stop it.

The hard truth is: to make money, you must spend money. Yes, choose wisely on what ads to purchase and where and what editor or cover artist to hire. But if you're one of those who stubbornly refuses to do so, then don't whine about poor book sales or bad reviews. You were chosen by inspiration to tell a story--which is a gift in and of itself--and then you chose to drop the ball. There is no one to blame but you in this scenario.

And if you did hire an artist and an editor but then failed to invest in ads or put the time in with marketing, the blame is also solely on you. Not writing your next book until the first one pays out? That's a crime against creativity.

As we begin a new year, think about what you are willing to invest in your writing career/hobby, make a budget of both time and money, and stick to it. Stop making excuses and start seeing possibilities.


Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com 



Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Spend #NewYearsEve Getting Down and Dirty on the Sandy Beaches of Belize #Romance

What are you doing for New Years Eve this year? Why not read this fun and sexy romance set in Belize? Alyssa wasn't looking for love...or even a hook-up...but then HE happened and her one week solo vacation becomes so much more...Read the excerpt and blurb below!



Excerpt of Anonymity...

She didn't know who pulled whom toward the cabanas. They both were equally eager to resume what they'd started on the beach. Laughing, he winked at her over his shoulder as they weaved past the tables and other resort guests.

They stumbled up the two steps of her cabana, mouths fused in a kiss as she fumbled for the keycard. His hands yanked at the straps of her dress when she finally pushed open the door.

If she'd known it felt this good being bad, she'd have abandoned the good girl persona years ago. She ached to touch him, to have him completely naked. She yanked at his shirt while he nibbled along her collarbone and pushed the dress down her torso.

Tripping over discarded clothes they made their way to the bed. A tangled mass of limbs they rolled to the center of the mattress. He squeezed her breasts, his thumbs circling the nipples until hard while his mouth played havoc with her neck.

She couldn't stop touching the sculpted muscles of his chest, her eyes feasting on the breadth of his body against hers.

Wanton. Until now she hadn't really understood the meaning of that word, but that's what slammed into her consciousness. She was acting like a wild, wanton version of herself and she loved it. She bit his shoulder, grabbed his ass, arched her hips toward his, and flattened the soles of her feet on the backs of his calves.

The man had the body of a god.

His mouth claimed hers as he thrust inside her with the force of a man staking out his territory. Tongues moved in rhythm with every stroke of his hips. She wrapped every limb around him, needing him as close as possible.

The orgasm began somewhere in her toes, shuddered through her body like a tsunami of pleasure, and erupted with a moan of ecstasy. Her nails sunk into his shoulders. Her head rolled back on the pillow as she gasped for breath and felt his release slam into her. He buried his face in her hair while he moaned her name.

Wrapped together, they both gasped for breath and allowed their heart rates to return to a steady beat. The room was silent except for the sounds of their rapid breathing.

When he finally rolled to the side and stared at the ceiling, she closed her eyes and smiled. She'd been holding back more than dreams all of these years. She hadn't known she was capable of passion like that.

"Damn, you're intense," he said with a slight laugh.

"I am, aren't I?" She liked that idea.

He rolled onto his side and put one hand on her breast. "Look at me, Alyssa."

She opened her eyes and grinned. Black hair fell across his forehead, dimples slashing into his face with his smile, and naked body stretched along side hers, he was spectacular. "You should always be naked. I'm serious. You should never hide that body with clothes."

He laughed and shook his head. "No one has ever said that to me before, I'm not sure what to say back. That's a first. I'm never speechless."

"Yeah, well, I never have sex with strangers yet here we are." She traced the line of his bicep. "You're amazing."

"We're not strangers anymore, not really." He kissed her neck before nibbling her ear. "We had a date, talked, danced, fucked against a palm tree...and again...and I'm pretty sure we'll be doing it again soon...not strangers."

She grinned at his logic and wrapped her fingers in his hair. "The first night's almost over, we have six more days of this."

"You're going to wreck me." He slid a finger across her lips, his gaze on hers. "I feel like a horny teenager. It's like I've lost control."

"Control is overrated." She snagged his finger and held it against her chest. "Tell me something?"

"Right now I'd tell you anything so be careful what you ask."


She wanted to know why he'd reject a woman who could be a supermodel and who openly admitted coming onto him. Why her, is what she wanted to know but was too afraid to ask. That would reveal her self-doubt and ruin the moment. Old voices drummed in her head that she wasn't good enough to be picked first; they whispered that she'd always be someone's consolation prize.

From the back cover...

               Alyssa McNeil is through with romance. In Belize on a solo vacation designed to make her forget that her ex is marrying someone else on New Year's Eve, she's determined to break free of her comfort zone. Meeting Luke Picket falls perfectly into her plans for indulging fantasy, letting go of inhibition, and having uncomplicated fun under the sun. Falling in love with him is definitely not on the agenda.

                Luke Picket is more than happy to go along with her idea of a no strings, first-name only weeklong fling. He embraces his solo lifestyle and can't see that changing any time soon. When they find themselves trekking through the jungle and facing turbulent seas together, the feelings he'd fought so hard to avoid in his life start stirring in his closed-off permanent bachelor heart.   

                  But they'd agreed on anonymity, on a first-name-only-no-strings love affair, and neither wants to ruin the moment with unwanted declarations. Old beliefs are challenged. Doubts questioned. Will they stick to their deal and go their separate ways when the week is over? Or will the new year bring them a new attitude about love?

**Anonymity is book one of the Wanderlust Series, which is a series of romance adventure novels written as stand-alone books. In future series, some characters may make cameo appearances, but all are true stand-alone novels.***

Download today and let the adventure begin!






Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Great Unraveling of 2016 #selfcare #inspiration



2016 has been the hardest year of my life so far, much worse than when my husband died. It has been a great unraveling of literally everything and my self-confidence has taken a beating. As a result, I have been fighting to find solid ground.

When I'm in this state of stress, I can't create. I find that all of my creative energy goes into problem solving mode rather than novel-writing. I talk out options to the people closest to me, attempt a change of course and try something new if that plan didn't work, always in an attempt to save myself from ruin.

I'm a huge podcast fan. The other day I heard someone use the term "YAK"--you already know. As in, you already know the answer about what's best for you so don't seek outside opinions, don't waffle, don't allow others to undermine your confidence when you need it the most.

Hmm...that makes a lot of sense to me, yet I find the basics of that hard to follow. I have a bad habit of confiding in the wrong people at the wrong times.

I need to remind myself to go within to my inner guidance and do what I know is best. I alone know what I'm going through. I alone have been on the floor clawing at my flesh and sobbing for the Lord to just take me away, to end the pain. I alone know the numbers in my bank account and how they compare to the bills owed. I alone make the decisions regarding my home, my businesses, my kids' college expenses, my pets, my life--which means I alone know all that's in jeopardy. I alone know the health battles I've fought--sometimes winning, sometimes losing, mostly just grinning and bearing it because so much is riding on me. I alone know all that I've lost...which at this moment is pretty substantial. I alone know that I can't write when I'm like this--that all of the works in progress that were on my desk a year ago are the same that are there today, which is really bad considering I have multiple deadlines approaching with publishers in only a matter of weeks. I alone know the kind of pressure I'm under. I alone know what it feels like to see doubt in my children's eyes because, after all these years, they no longer can trust in tomorrow.

Yet, it's hard for me to not confide in people. I'm way too open and far too trusting. Perhaps I seek understanding or yearn for the companionship my late husband once provided, I don't know. Confiding in others, however, hasn't worked out too well. This is what I need to do: shut up, go within, and listen to the Divine.

YAK! Maybe I need those three letters tattooed on my wrist! You. Already. Know.

I know what to do. I even tried doing it--I put the house up on the market in late September but the realtor literally did nothing, never brought one buyer or held an open house, never answered a call or email. So I gave up last month before Thanksgiving and told myself I could go back to fighting and struggling again, that it was a "sign" that it didn't sell, that I'm meant to stay. My kids were thrilled, but I was still apprehensive because I know all of those things I stated above haven't changed. People tell me to fight harder...but I'm so damn tired of fighting! I'm exhausted. Fight, fight, fight has been my mantra for eleven years and I am ready to surrender.

Part of why I fought so hard for probably too long is because so many expected me to fail after Sean died. They told me so. They said it to my face, to the kids, whispered behind my back...no one was shy about their lack of faith in me. So, even though I did survive as a solo parent for eleven years, I had a bad fucking year that unraveled everything. I did not fail. I succeeded for a long time. So, why do allow myself to doubt my own decisions and my own instinct?

I know what to do. It's time for me to downsize and hit "restart" on my life. It's time for me to buy a home with the equity from this one--no more mortgage for me, no more worry about it being taken away from me. It's time for me to do what's best for ME rather than everyone else. Why? So I can write--which is what I do. Because my future is at a stake, no one else's at this point.

This year has taught me some valuable lessons--sometimes you need to let go of the good, step into the unknown, and seize possibility. I'm like someone who has been clinging to the river bank of the known as the force of the water has slammed my bruised body into boulders again and again as I struggled to regain my grip on crumbling earth. And if I'd let go, maybe I'd have less broken bones, fewer internal injuries, and wouldn't be drowning. So now I'm letting go and hoping the flow guides me to a safe place, somewhere new.

I've started over before, I can do it again.

Peace.
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.amberleaeaston.com



Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. She also writes five different blogs, works as a professional editor and author coach, creates a line of inspirational journals, volunteers for children's literacy, and advocates for suicide awareness. In addition, she is the mother of two extraordinary human beings who lives in a small cabin high in the Rocky Mountains where she is completely aware of how lucky she is. To find out more about her books, please visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com