Yes, it’s dark inside

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Yes, it’s dark inside

I’m perfectly well aware that many of my Alex Conner stories have grit, darkness, and sadness within their pages. But, I also know I have made them heroic, full of humor, and for some of the characters and readers, life changing. Alex’s backstory was something I struggled with. As with most central characters, I wanted, no needed, her to have overcome incredible odds and intense circumstances. One night in 2000, after hours of dancing with friends in San Diego, one of my closest friends opened up to me about what a man did to her when she was a child. I was so completely heartbroken for her as I lay there watching her always smiling face fall into sadness, but then it came to me that I can share her story and give to her a powerful ending to that nightmare within my story. She was gracious in allowing me to merge parts of her into the Alex character, and I hope the ending of Trust gave her something in return, something for all who have been abused. She is a survivor and someone I truly look up to every day.

What I didn’t count on was the transformation I would have now two years later. Yes, I put pieces of myself, my experiences, and piece of the people I’ve met in my life into each part of the first book, but I wasn’t fully aware that I was also healing from my own past. Parts of Alex took on characteristics of a young me trying to claw my way out of toxic and abusive relationship that lasted over two years. These relationships, they don’t start out that way. It’s a slow process where love, or what feels like love, comes first. Then the first violent act is one disguised as protection or jealousy, and a young girl mistakes that for unbridled love- a prince charming fighting for her honor. For me, the ugly side of him reared its head most often in conjunction with his drinking. As we became closer, it was revealed that he was a victim of his own abuser, a continuation of a cycle he was dragged into, seemingly without a choice, a way out, or even understanding of what was happening to him, to us, and to our future relationships.

No one would understand, as even my friends and family could not fathom why I was with this boy. Even my grandfather was taken aback when he wore a hat to meet him for the first time. Maybe an insignificant thing to a teenage girl raised in a different time, but looking back I can now clearly see the disrespect that my grandfather immediately saw and felt. And yes, I stayed even though there were multiple times I was scared of him, when a blade danced along my back, when I was pushed so hard I fell down a flight of stairs, when he attacked my friends verbally and at one time physically, we he lied, cheated, swore, threw things, hit his own friends, and even fought his own abuser, his father, amongst delicately wrapped Christmas presents while his mother wailed in the background, her tears reflecting a rainbow of color amid the twinkling lights.

When you love someone, and see their own tortured past, would any of you stay and try to save them, as I did? Many of you would have walked away long before I did. I tried, many times. Our relationship was tumultuous. Broken off and pieced back together more times than I can count. A staff member saw an interaction he and I had in the hallway, how he was talking to me and the way I was holding myself. Soon after I was called into the guidance office. While speaking with my counselor for the first time someone used the words “abusive relationship”. Yes, friends and family warned me away from him, but those words were powerful coming from someone outside of my life. When she called him in so we could talk, and I have seen him furious, but I have never seen him talk to an adult aside from his father in that manner. I could almost see steam rising off his body; his eyes bore into mine only once, telling me I betrayed him that this should have been our life, our secret to bear. How dare I tell this stranger a thing? And yes, we broke up, again, but we did get back together, even trying this battered relationship as I went away to college, but my counselor’s words always stayed with me, a warning in the back of my mind. I saw another counselor at college; it felt good to speak to someone who wasn’t close to me, who would listen to my secrets, who would help me listen to myself. So much so that I longed to study the human mind, psychology, and part of me longed to help others like me; however, that didn’t come till much later in life.

I left that abusive relationship behind many years ago. But some of the scars followed me, just as they did Alex. Trust was hard to come by, especially when dating, and some of the ways he treated me impacted my behavior, as if tendrils of the monster he turned into left a mark upon my being. I became jealous easily, was less confident, sometimes quick to anger, but one thing that stuck with me, helping me through it all when I didn’t want anyone to know what I allowed to happen, was my love of writing. Throwing my thoughts on paper led to poem books, many of which reflected my struggles with relationships. A novel was what I really hoped to write, and even though he never came to mind when I cycled through plots and character development, it was there, that darkness that had left a mark inside my heart and mind.

When I finally decided that I really wanted to continue my education, my high school counselor’s memory came back to me. Someone had saved me once, and even though it took time for me to really listen, I finally did. I wanted to be that voice for some other boy or girl who just needed to see and hear the truth. As I went through my master’s program in counseling it really shined a light on my life. There were parts of me I wanted to improve. Since I was going to be a mentor and counselor for young lives, I wanted to make sure I was someone they would look up to as well as someone they could learn from.

When Trust was completed twelve years after I completed my counseling program, I didn’t think of him, or the painful part of my past, at least not consciously. But as the years have gone by since the novel was completed, I have read books and posts about survivors of abuse and something in me stirred. I re-read the passages of how Alex felt when she had no control over her own life—the helplessness. How the abuse she suffered impacted her even when she thought she had gotten rid of her abuser for good. But in the end, he is gone and that part of her life is over. She could move on. She could forgive herself. Trust allowed my psyche to beat back my own lingering demons, to heal from what the relationship had done to me and to stop being so angry at myself for what I thought was weakness so long ago. So yes, this book was for me in more ways then I had realized. It is for all survivors of abusive relationships, for my friend, for anyone who has been a victim, who has felt helpless, and who has suffered at the hands of someone who controlled their body, mind, and soul.

Last year I finally revisited to the place I lived during high school and college summers, the place where this relationship began, where I was reminded that it truly existed. I never wanted to return to the small town in Colorado, I felt a relentless resentment towards this place we had moved to during my seventh grade year and that I never went back to after the Christmas of 2000. This summer I returned to visit family who still remained in the desert town of Western Colorado and I realized I hated who I was during many of the years I was there, but it had nothing to do with the actual place- the beautiful Colorado desert. It was truly a heart opening experience. I had finally allowed myself to love this place and to forgive myself. Yes, the old me had stayed because he had been only a child when he was warped into someone who didn’t know anything other than that type of love-a raw angry, controlling, terrible love. I am thankful that I was strong enough so that my part in that cycle of abuse was forever broken. As I shift away from myself, as it is my nature to be empathic and caring, I hope he has also found the strength to break the cycle. That he has love in his life a, genuine and kind love, one that he didn’t have from someone who was supposed to care for him the most.

Thank you for reading this soul-bearing post, and I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season!

Parker

Parker Sinclair

Founder, Owner & Author

Rawlings Books, LLC

http://www.RawlingsBooks.com

Author of Trust: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book OneTruth: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book Two, & Forbidden: An Alex Conner Chronicle Novella adult contemporary fantasy novels and Eve of the Exceptionals (YA fantasy releasing January 2oth, 2016).

Eve of the Exceptionals

Pre-order info

Webpage: http://www.parkersinclair.net

Sample/Purchase my books: http://www.parkersinclair.net/buy-a-good-book

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/1XIDwzO

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/ParkerSinclairbooks/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/parker.sinclair.73

Instagram: @ParkerSinclairauthor Twitter: @Parker_Sinclair Snapchat: @PSinclairauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9860680.Parker_Sinclair

Blog: http://www.parkersinclair.net/blog

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWQE3qvMyB5DEZ9wwdz8rOQ

 

 

 

 

New Release: Eve of the Exceptionals

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Hello family, friends, and fans!!  This is an exciting day.  I have just revealed the amazing cover by artist Kerrie Joyce for my new YA Epic Fantasy novel, “Eve of the Exceptionals”. Don’t miss this spell-binding journey full of magical beings, epic adventure, and two young hearts destined to save a kingdom. You can pre-order your copy today on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback format (see links below). The official release date is January 20th, 2017 & the official book release party will be February 3rd, 2017 in Virginia Beach at Tapped Gastro Pub in Redmill.  

I’m overjoyed with this book and have loved reading it to my daughter, age 7, and to my friends of all ages.  I know this will truly be a magical book for everyone. 

Thank you everyone for you support on this journey and I hope you enjoy reading my newest book. Reviews are always welcome as they help me in my rankings on Amazon and Goodreads. Whether you’ve read my Alex Conner Chronicles series or will be reading “Eve of the Exceptionals”, I would truly appreciate even the shortest of reviews or rating. Speaking of Alex, her next book, and official third book in the series, will be out spring 2017.  If you’ve already ready book one and two, check out the Novella for Sandra called “Forbidden” it will lead into Book three and is a wicked fun ride!  

I wish each and every one of you a wonderful holiday season. Pre-order links are below as well as my events  for 2017 (more to be added) and my social media information.  

Love and Best Wishes,

Parker 

Continue reading New Release: Eve of the Exceptionals

PSST…The Alex Conner Chronicles Crew Is Coming

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As promised, here is part two of the adventures of a newbie author, and it’s all about–Street Teams.

What is a Street Team?:

  • You may already have your team set-up and you don’t even know it.
  • Your team is comprised of your die-hard fans who like and share all of your social media           posts.
  • They pass out info to people about you, and your books.
  • They’ve read everything you have written, some of them may have been your beta readers, and they write awesome reviews!
  • They attend your events passing out swag, wearing your gear (t-shirts, buttons, stickers),           and talking to future fans.
  • They get lots of free stuff!  Books and other cool swag.
  • They truly go above and beyond to help spread the word about you and your books.

How do I make my Street Team Legit?

  • I’m so glad you asked!  That is what I am doing, right now!
  • First: Come up with a catchy name! Mine is PSST! The Alex Conner Chornicles Crew
  • The name should reflect your books or a certain series. Since I am going to write a wide             range of books, I made this one Alex Conner Specific under the larger umbrella of PSST             (Parker Sinclair Street Team).  My new book, The Eve of the Exceptionals will have the Eve’s       Ryzing Stars.
  • It’s all in the name! These are the loyal fans who help you get to the top, don’t the deserve a     sweet name?  Exactly!
  • Once you have the name and you’ve spoken to some members, blog about the new Team         so you can get even more members.
  • Share the blog with everyone and to everyone.

What to send your team:

  • I am currently working on a lot of cool swag for me team: t-shirts, I’ve had buttons made,         and I plan on making stickers and     buttons to provide each member.
  • I have lots of cards to pass out, and codes for discounted books.
  • Before a major event that they will be attending with you,  stock them up on all of the swag       items.  Maybe you pre-make goody bags for them to hand out, or let them do their thing.
  • Free books!  Whether its eBooks or paperback, your team gets them when they first come         out, sometimes even earlier!

So there it is, in a nutshell.  I love my Street Team! You know who you are, and if anyone would like to join The Alex Conner Chronicles Crew, please comment below or message me.

Parker

Author of TrustThe Alex Conner Chronicles Book One, TruthThe Alex Conner Chronicles Book Two, &Forbidden: An Alex Conner Chronicles Novella adult contemporary fantasy under the name Parker Sinclair.

My Webpage: http://www.parkersinclair.net
Purchase &Sample my bookshttp://www.parkersinclair.net/buy-a-good-book
Like me on Facebook: ParkerSinclairbooks
Instagram:  @parkersinclairauthor
Twitter:  Parker_Sinclair
My Goodreads Profile
My Smashwords Profile
Blog: https://parkersinclairbooks.wordpress.com

Links/where to buy/ social media

Available now on Amazon, iBooks, Kindle, Nook, & Barnes & Noble

 

The Author Takeover

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Becoming an author with aspirations to make it my life’s work comes with a quite a bit of internal drive, research skills, social media savvy, networking, time, and a lot of patience.  In the last month I have realize how new I am to all of this by researching how to do an author takeover, what a street team is, and unfortunately being one of many authors and sponsors scammed by the hopes of a author signing  event in Richmond, Virginia.  I am happy to report that the event was thankfully raised from the ashes by some determined, and heart broken authors.

If you are anything like the me from last month, you may be asking what in the world an author takeovers or a street teams are anyhow.  Well you are in luck!  I finally feel educated enough to share my knowledge in hopes of helping other budding authors, and to spread the word about the awesome Parker Sinclair Street Team (PSST), The Alex Conner Crew.

This will be a two part blog, so let’s start with the Author Takeover.  What is this exactly?  Where are these events that you are being invited to, asked to do, and how do you do them? I promise to cover all of these questions and more.

The Author Takeover

What is it:

  • When an author posts information about themselves and their written works of art on a Facebook page.  Most authors post excerpts from their books, where readers can buy, their social links, inspirational quotes, games, images, and giveaways.  Be sure to add links to your images, book titles, and your name.

Where:

  • An author takeover occurs virtually on a Facebook page of a book promoter, signing event attendees, publicist, another author, blogger, or your own.  It may be one day with multiple authors in time slots, or over a certain period of time leading up to a major book event.  The goal is to highlight each attending author to help them gain exposure, get their books into hands of readers, and to meet new fans.

How long:

  • Most time slots designated for each author are 1/2 to 1 hour in length.  Authors can expect to provide 5-10 posts during the takeover.

Essentials with examples:

  • Author photo & introduction of your work
    • Greet your guests and host, include genre(s), story about how you started to write, anecdotal/funny stories, etc.

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Hi everyone! My name is Parker Sinclair & I’m excited for this awesome author takeover!   I find myself genre confused since lovers of paranormal romance, adult contemporary fantasy, & adult urban fantasy enjoy my books. I am a scientist turned counselor turned writer who now believes I was the writer first, but I had lost her path. The great thing about destiny is that you’ll always find your way back to where you’re meant to be, and you pick up cool experience and lessons that make you even all the better for it all.

  • Social media, preorder forms (if you have an upcoming event) & how/where to buy links.

My Webpage: www.ParkerSinclair.net

Google doc preorder form for RVA Romance Readers Event: http://goo.gl/forms/CJZl9Xe6pL

Purchase &Sample my books: http://www.parkersinclair.net/buy-a-good-book 

Like me on Facebook: ParkerSinclairbooks

Instagram:  @parkersinclairauthor

Twitter:  Parker_Sinclair

My Goodreads Profile

My Smashwords Profile

** Pre-order forms were new to me as well.  Many signing events encourage posting them for authors to get a good idea of how many books to bring.  Google forms has tons of templates to choose from. https://www.google.com/forms/about/

  • Cover photos and description of book(s)
    • Book cover posts give you a good jumping off point to list giveaways & the rules.
    • Giveaway verbiage example:  Tonight I am delighted to giveaway one ebook of Trust.  Change your profile picture to the book cover of Trust, and comment on this post with a sentence including the word Trust.  Winner based on creativity.  Contest ends 11:59pm/date and the winner will be notified via PM.

Trust: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book One

Alex Conner’s nights of event planning and partying in San Diego, California have taken a turn for the worse as nightmares invade her mind on a daily basis. The memories of the vile man she exiled using the powers inherited from her mother and grandmother are all but breaking into her living hours, and nothing is working to keep her nightmares at bay. Will she ultimately be the one responsible for bringing this horror back into her life? Who can she trust and how is she to deal with the draw she has towards a new man in her life – a man who is definitely more than meets the eye? Visit www.ParkerSinclair.net for a sample and where to buy!

  • Excerpts from book(s):
    • Images are shown to be more popular than lengthy excerpts.
    •  Try small excerpts on an image, and perhaps more within the post.

Excerpt from Trust:  The Alex Conner Chronicles Book One

I couldn’t find her at first as my eyes followed the trunk of the tree all the way up its thickness. Legs began to form, followed by a waist, breast, and her head. The branches and leaves above became a beautifully, horrifying sight as they flowed from her head creating a mesmerizing image of gorgeously intertwining curls of hair. She looked at me, her eyes glowing emerald green for the first time. They were an exact reflection of my own, and I stumbled back a step sensing the power in them, knowing her power was a part of me.

 

  • Games
    • Get your audience engaged with games
    • I enjoy posting a quote or image, and then giving instructions.
    • quote1.png

    ~    Share one brave and daring thing you’ve done in your life that you are super proud of.

  • Close out the Author Takeover Event:
    • Close the event with thank you’s to your host, fans, supporters, and other authors. A collage of your books, all of your social media links, and asking for any questions or comments are fantastics additions to your final post.  Poster_NoDate
  • I want to thank Vicki Drane for setting up todays author takeover.  Winners: I will notify each winner by private Facebook message as well as post on my FB fan page ParkerSinclairbooks . Your ebook prizes will be gifted through Amazon and the paper back of Trust via snail mail—good luck to all of my awesome new fans.

    Before I go, here are my links one more time:

     

My Webpage: www.ParkerSinclair.net

Google doc preorder form for RVA Romance Readers Event: http://goo.gl/forms/CJZl9Xe6pL

Purchase &Sample my books: http://www.parkersinclair.net/buy-a-good-book 

Like me on Facebook: ParkerSinclairbooks 

Instagram:  @parkersinclairauthor

Twitter:  Parker_Sinclair

My Goodreads Profile

My Smashwords Profile

So there you have it!  The basics of what an author takeover is folks. I hope my experiences and research aid you in your own takeovers. Don’t be afraid of them, and check out other author’s takeover events from time to time to get lots of great ideas, and a chance to win free books and swag.  This blog is only the tip of the iceberg, so keep creating and writing!  Next up, The Street Team.

Please follow my blog by adding your email to the right on your desktop computer, or by scrolling to the bottom on your device.

Have a wonderful day, evening, life!  Stay positive, stay focused, and keep loving what you do each and every day.

Parker

www.ParkerSinclair.net

Gratitude, Positive Thinking, & the Law of Attraction

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Alex is my magnet.  I’ve been drawn to her character before the 1900’s were no more and the 2000’s stepped in.  I didn’t know what she was going to do, but what I did know is that I was going to write a book with a main character that would be powerful, damaged, skittish, funny, and sexy.  I remember waking from dreams that forced me to jot ideas down onto the closest scrap of paper my fingers could find.  The dam that I thought my life plan was beginning to chip away during that time, but the little cracks took fourteen years to burst open.

Some might question how in the world I held onto a goal for so long without giving up.  One thing that I know for sure is that my thoughts of the book never left me.  Some pages were completed, secure on a disk that moved with me from California to two different cities in Virginia, up to New York, and then back to Virginia.  Those years, the time ticking by, were dominated by thoughts of a family and of my school counselor job. Those were powerful thoughts at the time in my life.  They were stronger than the book that buzzed in the background of my mind.  The persistent thoughts stayed with me though, lingering in the abyss, not ready—not yet.

Now that I look back, I was part of the reason the books didn’t come to life till now.  I didn’t see my finished products as good enough, something people would enjoy, or to be taken seriously.  And the books I loved, the books I consumed, seemed to overshadow the words I had written. My thoughts of the how amazing J.K Rowling is, Patrick Rothfuss’ intensity, Terry Brooks’ magic, not measuring up pushed my confidence into the background.  When I felt I wasn’t good enough—I wasn’t.  The doubt attracted nothing to me but more doubt and gave me the life I feared—one where I wasn’t a writer.  I feared a life where I never prove to be good enough. Now, as I read The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, I see exactly what I was doing and what part of me still sometimes does.

For most of my life I actually thought, and maybe this is the superstitious Irish parts of me, that if I thought something was going to be good, or that something was currently awesome, I was jinxing myself immensely.  I would actually stop my positive thoughts for fear of the opposite happening.  I shake my head now after learning about the Law of Attraction.  All that focus on my fears, on worry, doubt, thinking how much better other writers were than me, about how hard it will be to break into the book industry, all the negativity was giving me what I was worried about and not what I wanted.  George Lucas knew of this phenomenon as he wrote Anakin as his own personal antagonist and creator of his worst fears and nightmares.  Anakin’s dread brought about that which he feared the most.  George Lucas is a creative genius and it shows in his characters and his stories.  The universe is abundant with creative genius and I am allowing myself to envision joining as a writer.

Just like Alex, I am a magnet. We are all magnets actually and our thoughts attract other like thoughts.   The Secret asks the reader to organize and direct their thoughts by figuring out what they want and then believe they are receiving it already.  This task pushed me to type what I really wanted in my life.  This was something I hadn’t done and in some cases, I had been afraid to totally commit to. When I hashed things out with myself what happened next brought a rush through my body and invoked powerful feelings like I was sealing the deal. She tells the reader to change the wording from “I want” to “I am so grateful and happy that I am/have.”  It was a powerful task and soon dreams and visualizations of my desired future came to me with ease. My goals didn’t seem like pipe dreams any longer, instead they were happening right now.  Of course, some of this may sound easy enough, but it took and continues to take work and devotion.  I do a great deal of visualizing each day, sometimes multiple times a day, about my future and the future of those I love.  Mindfulness practices have nearly been a daily occurrence, and trust me, I still have my meh days. Scathing thoughts drip into my awareness every now and again. The negative thoughts that tell me I’m not a great writer, my grammar needs work, there were issues in the book I should have caught, my book isn’t selling, I don’t have enough reviews, I’m not writing enough, blogging enough, or marketing enough.  The good news is, the happy and positive thoughts are stronger and can easily tip the scales!  Once you put out into the world, into the universe, what you want you see it and believe it to be true.   Then, it will all come to fruition.

What’s been incredible about my practice and teachings through The Secret is that I catch these negative thoughts quicker and find it easier to refocus.  It’s not that I don’t allow myself to be tired, angry, sad, tired, or scared.  On the contrary, I am a firm believer that all emotions have a purpose and we need them to see and experience great joys.  No, I don’t push them away, instead, I focus on the good, the things that make me happy, the love for my children, the jokes with friends and my husband, and the hobbies and exercise I enjoy.  My friend, who is reading Rhonda’s second book, The Power, showed me a section where Rhonda explains the refocusing of feelings as an addition of happiness and not the removal of negative feelings.  She relates being in a bad mood to a glass of water.  This glass contains a small about of water that is our happiness and the negative feelings are the air in the glass that cannot be removed.  Instead, we fill the glass with more water, aka happiness, and we feel better.  We then continue to see the good, to be happy, and to move towards a future that has been put into motion by our own belief that we are already receiving what we really want.  Happiness comes from being grateful for what we have now and not dwelling on what we don’t, or what is not going our way, what someone did to us, or what others have and we don’t.  It’s recognizing the amazing things in your life loving yourself, believing in yourself, lightening up, loving others, and removing stress.

As I read through the pages of The Secret with my friend, one who is also smacking the “duh” hand upside her own head, I have found clarity for my goals and dreams.  I see visions of my future and I feel confident in the fact that I will get there.  My stress has reduced, I show love and affection to my loved ones even more than I thought possible, and I am grateful for what I have now and for all that I am working towards in the future.

So, yes I am a good writer, yes people enjoy my books, and more people will start to enjoy Alex and her band of misfits along with all of the other books and characters I breathe to life in my future novels. Once I believed all of this for myself, I realize that I will achieve my goals put into motion by positive feelings about myself, my vision for the future, hard work and dedication, and believing with unwavering faith that I am obtaining my goal right now.

Thank you for reading my blog, for supporting me, for caring about my words, and for being wonderful and amazing.

Parker

How To Find The Time

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As I near the end of writing my second novel, I am reminded of what I frequently tell my students. They are encouraged to prioritize their activities, homework, and social life while also reminding them to stay positive as they reach for your dreams. In my life, there are countless days that these two war against each other. I constantly make time to write, despite the odds of ever becoming a professional writer, while the other aspects of my life beg for and need, attention.

Being a mother of two young children, an independent author, and a full-time high school counselor, I struggle to balance my time. I always want to spend quality time with my family, helping the students on my large caseload, and chasing my dream. Oh, and there’s taking care of myself by getting sleep, exercising, and eating well. Is there ever enough time in our day? Does anyone ever get enough sleep?

I hear “how do you do it?” many times a week and sometimes I have a hard time answering that question. To be honest, I am not always sure of how I do it. Especially when my 3-year-old bangs on my computer, the clock reads 12:30 am and I have to get up in less than 5 hours, or when I have blood shot eyes, a crick in my neck, and I still have to take a shower and make lunches. Not to mention the time I haven’t been able to spend promoting and marketing the book the way I really want and need to. I should be hitting the streets and passing out cards. I am supposed to be dropping into bookstores and calling reporters but I’m instead rushing home to get my oldest off the bus after a full day of work, getting in a quick run so that I can continue to stay mentally and physically healthy and strong, and all the other life responsibilities that I know we all have.

So, like I tell my students, I have set goals, and I have to get creative. I know what I am capable of now, and I am willing to keep working hard by putting out quality books. Trips are essential to market, and I will dedicate at least two times out of the year to travel and market. It is important to be inventive when trying to keep yourself healthy and some things I am really good at doing, and others, well those I stink at.

So here are the ways I have tried to make it all work. Some days I feel like I am owning it, and others, well don’t judge when I am spazzing and close to tears.

  1. How do you take the time to care for yourself?:
  • Exercise: Gone are the days I spend an hour or even more in the gym or at classes. I run or do a quick 15-20-minute workout on my non-running days. 8fit is an awesome app that I have been using for the past two months, and they have high intensity and diverse workouts, fitness coach and meal ideas. Plus, my girls love to try to do the exercises with me or at least enjoy pushing the “next” button. A small caution for all of you with small, expert device wielding or button pushing little ones. They have skipped my rest many a times, and boy does that make the workout much harder ☺ On my run days, I try to take them with me when I can. My oldest can ride her bike with me on over 3-mile runs while the little one still loves the jogging stroller. I feel I am still getting quality time with them and taking care of my body and mind.
  • Sleep: Yes, even with my second child who trained me to survive on little sleep, I still need it. We all do! Some of my compromises with her, now 3 and still hard to get to sleep and keep asleep self, are that I will stay in her room, but I will work on my computer as I sing her to sleep and be there when she wakes- up afraid. Yes, I fall asleep in there and wake confused about where I am, but hey it’s sleep! She has also become ninja-like for those times I make it to my bed, and I find her cuddled up with me at 5 am. No, I don’t think it’s the best sleep for either of us. I mean who sleeps well with little feet or a tiny toosh in their face at all hours, but we are doing the best we can and for now- and that’s okay.
  • Eat: This part I admit I am not the best at and typically consult my older, and MD wielding, sister. She does a fantastic job at planning meals for the week while my family does not. I do, however, have two little helpers now, and I have been putting them to work on smaller, and safer tasks. Ones such as making/packing lunches (beware of the double dosing on the sweeter treats. Mine are sneaky sometimes), mixing ingredients, making a salad, and my oldest can even make scrambled eggs. I also make a ton of hard boiled eggs, chops veggies for the week and divvy them up for lunches, and ask for help more when I need it.   I was the one always going to the store and started to get annoyed with my husband, but then all I had to do was ask. Now he goes a lot after work or in the morning after dropping off the girls. Communication is key, and although we are all super mothers, fathers, girl, and boyfriends, or single moms and dads, we need to ask for help sometimes.
  • Leave it!: Sometimes the best way to take care of yourself is to NOT work on your project at all. That’s right, close or don’t even pick up that laptop, notebook, or palette. Push the stress aside for a day, days, or even a week as long as you can still meet your goal or deadline. Sometimes the break unlocks a floodgate, and your creativity will come rushing out tenfold; more so than if you forced it out piece by piece instead of taking a much-needed break. This is incredibly useful for writers block, but more importantly for those of us that have a ton of other hats and need to prioritize or just rest. As long as you keep your focus while you take a break, never fully letting your dream escape the track you out it on, I’m sure you will see amazing results.

All in all, if you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be happy, those around you won’t be happy, and it will make it harder actually to reach your goal. Reaching your goal beaten down can lead to never wanting to repeat what you have worked so hard for, and if it’s a writing career you are aiming for –cranking multiple works is key!

2. How do you find time to write?

  • Into the night: Being a night owl helps, well it helps my writing but not the dark circles the next day. It also helps that I have a goal, four books in 4 years that I will keep cranking out and market the best I can. If I hit wall after wall and don’t find my niche to keep going, then I will reevaluate. No, I won’t quit, but I may need to realign my goals, and I also may not be able to keep up the pace and the late nights. I did invest in a laptop with a backlighted keyboard as well to be able to type quietly in bed next to my little one. For those of you who are early risers and don’t have to be at work at 7 am like I do, you can reverse this and sneak your writing in early.
  •  During the kids’ activities: Thankfully my girls like at least one thing in common so I looked around for class times that were the same or close to each other at the same facility.   My laptop goes with me, and I sit and type while they enjoy their class once a week. I bring my ear buds so I can focus and get a good hour in. The girls do well when I am there now, whereas before I was in the car that was not the most comfortable of experiences. There aren’t any coffee shops, libraries, etc. close enough, but you all may have one nearby that you can pop into during their class as well so be on the lookout.
  • Mommy isn’t here: When the kids know I am home it is “mommy, mommy, mommy!!!” So, yes sometimes I have to pretend I am not home, and my husband takes care of things when I am really trying to get something done. These don’t have to be major chunks of time when you can focus, so an hour or so is usually enough. This act of hiding myself away is also a good plan during your lunch break. You can eat and write a little for yourself on your break!
  • Banning Perfectionism: So, I’ve been telling you over and over again to use those little chunks of hours, and some of you may be thinking I am crazy. I know it can be very difficult for some of us to just write, to get it all down, no hold’s barred, balls out, and without fear. My husband, in fact, struggles to let an email for work flow without having all the right words and those perfectly worded sentences and structure. There are times I have felt the same. I pull out my hair out and chew on my nails as I searching for a word, a way to lead into a scene, or one of the hardest things-closing a chapter or ending a book. Now if I can’t find a word I write a simple one, highlight, and come back. If I can’t lead into a new scene seamlessly, I write a note to myself in that spot, highlight it, and move on to the next scene. It will come later, I promise.

Free writing is essential to get your thoughts out, to move through the ideas of your story, email, speech-whatever it may be. So, try to remind your anxious mind that you will go back and fix all those crummy overused words, those commas in the wrong place, or that ending and just write!!

I hope the tips I have learned throughout my process of writing my first two books are helpful for those of you chasing down your dream. For some of you, it may be to become a writer as well, or an artist, maybe you are a student in college or working on a report, article or dissertation. Whatever the case, I hope I have helped you find the time.

Parker

Parker Sinclair

Founder and Owner

Rawlings Books, LLC

http://www.parkersinclair.net/rawlingsbooks.html

Author of Trust: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book One, an adult, urban fantasy.

My Webpage: http://www.parkersinclair.net/home.html

Sample or Purchase my book: http://www.parkersinclair.net/books.html

My Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9860680.Parker_Sinclair

My Smashwords Profile:https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Sdill2

Blog: https://parkersinclairbooks.wordpress.com

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A Healing Heart and Mind

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As I have gone through grief, and now watch, listen and feel others go through it as well, I have been thinking about how I would help them professionally. What is the best way to let a parent, friend, or loved one of someone who has lost someone close to them know about some of the therapeutic ways to find happiness. About the ways to live with the pain. Because there is no complete removal of the pain, in some cases that isn’t even the desire. To fill no pain is to not feel at all, to not miss, to not mourn and then you are not keeping your loved one alive in your heart and mind enough. But what if that pain paralyzes you endlessly? What if you can’t keep it within you? This sadness that is now a part of you, a shaper of who you are. But, you are drowning in your sorrow, forever missing and longing for someone who is no longer there, can no longer physically be there with you…for you. Is it your destiny to cease to be as well? Will you then be another loss to those who have already lost this person, you all love? And how long will you feel what you are feeling? It may be anger, denial, a disconnection with reality. No, there isn’t a timeline for grief, even though I do believe in steps and phases, but there isn’t a set amount of time for each of them. And, not everyone experiences all of them in my opinion. I was stuck in anger for most of the time since my mother has passed…denial was not an option. I was somewhat prepared for her passing, more so than I think a lot of people are given the nature of the medical professionals in my family. No, I don’t necessarily think it should be that or even can be that way by any means, just my experiences, and the way things happened for me.

There are different reasons for grief and mourning…sometimes it isn’t a person at all; it may be a pet, or a place you have loved and cherished. My grandfather lost his home in Katrina and all of the memories of my grandmother along with it- washed away into the Back Bay as his refrigerator floated in the ruined garage. All of the pictures, clothes, knick-knacks, jewelry, memories…gone, and there was grief and despair along with that loss. We all felt that for him and through him. The loss of memories and of a home that we all shared during holidays and visits. Pieces of my grandmother that were still able to keep her close washed away with the raging waters that racked the gulf that year. I had thought this would break us all, but my grandfather moved through his grief, wave and after wave wracked this quick as a whip pilot, doctor, and psychiatrist. Father of four, grandfather of three…militarily strict but funny as hell. Oh, how I miss him every day as well.

My thoughts on grief are more of my thoughts on a happy life. It all relates when you lose sight of your happiness. When you lose your course, your strand of the web you were on with such sure footing and then blown off. Then you have to try and find some happiness and rational for moving forward. To shed the anger, the jadedness, the loss of faith and find a way to continue in their spirit, in their memories, yet without them. I don’t claim to heal intense levels of depression with these suggestions. In those cases, it is imperative to seek professional help, and if you know someone you think is depressed or suicidal, don’t fear asking them right out about their safety. You won’t inadvertently put that idea in their head, but by asking you may just save their life.

There are four things I believe can lead to happiness, spiritual growth and a path to healing.

Journaling: Finding the time and a way to get the racing thoughts out of your head on onto paper, a computer screen, a napkin, what have you is very therapeutic. It doesn’t matter if those words ever see daylight again. Sometimes it can be cathartic to read it or even destroy what you have written, sending it back into the universe (safely for goodness sakes, no living room bonfires please!). Journaling is also a wonderful technique for anger when you put down what you wish you could say to someone and then safely destroy it, thus ridding yourself of what is eating away at you. Journaling can often help recall forgotten and beautiful memories about your loved one. It can allow you to be raw and unfiltered (make sure you keep it private if that is your wish), and can also lead to incredible levels of creativity and wonder.
Empathy: Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is incredibly medicinal. It allows us to step away from your worries and concerns for a while, which our souls need a break from, and feel compassion for someone else. Being empathetic can lead to helping a fellow person in need which is also very healing and helpful for everyone involved.
Mindfulness: This technique saved me from what I think was a complete paralysis in my anger. I had lost my creativity and the future of my writing, and I just knew I was seconds away from panic attacks. Those seemed inevitable as work became increasingly demanding and stressful for not only me but everyone around me. I read about the technique in a book for mothers that focused on the need for me to be happy in order for my family unit to be happy as well. It isn’t an obvious notion for most of us to think about taking care of ourselves first as the best way to take care of others. Some are whispering “selfishness” in dark corners right now. No, we think doing more and more, pushing and spreading ourselves thinner and thinner so that our loved ones lives are fuller and busier are the answers to their happiness but it isn’t. Our children, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, partners, lovers, friends and co-workers won’t be truly happy if we are suffering. Our mental and physical health is of the utmost importance if we are actually to help others around us. Mindfulness allowed me to take a break from everything and focus on only myself. Sometimes I know it is hard to find the time, sometimes I forget I need it, but it is refreshing, mind opening and essential. A free link to the technique is below from UCLA as well as a link to the book I read to get me on that track.
Nature: Enjoying the outdoors, the environment around you, tree hugging, dog petting, walking, biking, exploring, traveling, it is all incredibly therapeutic. Taking the time to watch a sunset, to go for a walk in your neighborhood, to count flower petals and practicing colors with your children outdoors is my last but not least recommendation. Most of us may be cooped up inside working all day, not feeling the warmth of the sun or the chill of the rain. Whether you like to paddle board, walk, skate, or even taking a drive with the windows down along a back country road. Taking your time and exploring, it is all therapeutic, and I believe necessary. Our history stems from being one with nature to the give and take, ebb and flow, the web of life. We are all connected, the earth, soil, water, animals, plants, bees, and trees; it’s important commune with it all once in a while. So go pick strawberries, body surf in the ocean or hike along that beaten path. It is cleansing and enlightening.
Right now I am in the midst of watching those around me experiencing intense levels of sadness, and I thought this is something I know about. Grief is something I have been trained on, lived through and utilize myself. My main character in the Alex Conner Chronicles overcomes a series of various levels of grief and utilizes many of these suggestions herself. Alex may be damaged, perhaps even broken, but she sought to make her life better despite it all. And if what you are currently doing is not working it is time to make a change, time to try something new. Looking to heal and be happier didn’t change the amazing parts of the person Alex is, and the same goes for me and hopefully for each of you.

If you would like to read more about Alex, please visit http://www.ParkerSinclair.net for a 3 chapter sample of her first book Trust and to join my mailing list. Be Well, Be Happy and Be You!

Parker

Mindfulness information and free guided practice: http://marc.ucla.edu/default.cfm

The book that led me to mindfulness: http://www.amazon.com/Buddhism-Mothers-Approach-Yourself-Children/dp/1741140102

“I Know You”

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It was a special night for my girlfriends and I. We don’t get to hang out much without the kiddos or the significant others in our lives, so when I got the house to myself for an evening, we all made delicious food to share. It was inevitable that an impromptu 90’s Hip Hop dance party would ensue right? I have to admit that the Pandora station Hip Hop BBQ radio totally rocked it that night. Each and every one of us bonded on a new level as guards were totally brought down, and we were free to dance, laugh, and be ourselves. My body laughed and smiled as my soul looked towards the moon and howled with delight at the fun and hilarity of it all.

When my husband came home with my youngest in tow, I was delighted to see her and took her up to bed. As she lies in my arms, I sang and rocked her, holding her little hands against my chest and feeling the ebb and flow of energy off her, into me and back into her. Yes, she seems familiar to me. She is my daughter, she is of my flesh and blood, but an awakening in my mind also recognizes her and something older, someone I have known for my entire life. This is the feeling we get when we connect to those who we have lost. Is it spiritual? Chemical? Is it the fact that my body sings with recognition due to the make-up of her genes? Chemical make-up? Pieces, building blocks, all parts of us that pass down from generation to generation. Is this the actual reincarnation?

Tears fill my eyes, and I close them to snuggle against my daughter’s head. Breathing her in, I put myself in her shoes and trying to remember what it felt like to be in my mother’s arms just like this. And then the strangeness of the feelings overwhelmed me as I was holding tight to pieces of my mother right now, cradling, cuddling…a full circle of life, cells, genes, spirit, and love and I am happy. My world sings around me; the moon shines thru the shades and my soul howls.

Parker

Visit my website for news, books and contact information: http://www.ParkerSinclair.net

Like me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ParkerSinclairbooks & follow me on Twitter @Parker_Sinclair

My Mother’s Song

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When one decides to write you may want to include quotes from you favorite books, lyrics from songs or pictures and artwork. What is quite necessary is to get permission to use such portions of work even if it is only one line or lyric. Towards the end of my book, an important character to my heroine is lost, and I found myself writing about not only her loss but the loss of my mother as well. Specifically about one of the last things I did while she was in hospice. I remember her singing “You are my Sunshine” by Jimmie Davis to me. As I held her hand lying on one side of her, and my older sister on the other, I sang a few lyrics of the song to her.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey.

You never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

Four short lyrics, something I could have removed from the book and avoided tracking down the copyright holder, contacting the recording company, asking for the use, explaining why, purchasing the freedom to use it…all of that I could have avoided if only I took those lines out- and I did consider doing just that. In fact it was down to the wire, the book was in formatting and my formatter on hold for me to add or keep the lyrics out. One night my youngest daughter, who was born after my mother’s passing didn’t speak very clearly yet, sang those lines to me as clear and beautiful as day. Her smile so bright and her soul singing along with her. At that moment I knew my mom was a part of her, in her smile, her beautiful voice and her strength and stubbornness. I couldn’t help the tears that came, and the decision solidified at that moment- words now forever within my passages and my words of love, loss and hope…My Mother’s Song, My Daughter’s Song and Alex’s Song.

Parker Sinclair

http://www.ParkerSinclair.net

https://www.facebook.com/ParkerSinclairbooks?ref=bookmarks

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23697958-trust

Telling My Story About The Story

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I was in the guest room, holed-up while my daughters alternated their little fist banging’s on the door, crying for me between my husband’s urges for them to leave mommy alone. I could still hear the drama on the other side of the door even though I was engaged and focused, and soon I was also drenched in sweat. Snow and ice trapped the winter ground in perpetual cold outside the window yet I was comfortably warm and cozy when the interview started. However, this being my first interview I was admittedly nervous and soon a sweaty mess. I did prepare, for days in fact after the notification. It’s the norm when you are asked for an interview to be ready for a quick turn around so even though she hadn’t set the date when she first contacted me I started immediately.

When I first heard my alma-mater wanted to interview me for the school newspaper I was super excited. I had sent them an email months ago about my story of being a self-published author after originally attending The University of Northern Colorado and earning a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with a Psychology minor. When the email came to me last Saturday asking for an interview, it was on the tail feathers of getting another email from a book reviewer in San Diego. That email did not promise anything yet, but hey I got an email back so I must be doing something right!

After receiving the email request, I reached out to my marketing consultant Cheryl Tan after getting the interview request. I wasn’t sure what would be asked of me, how to prepare correctly and what method should I choose? The interviewer, a student journalist in her final year at the University, offered an email, phone, Skype or in-person interview. Being that I lived across the country, I was considering the phone option more heavily. Ya, I chickened out on Skype, but I know next time I will happily do a Skype interview now that I have my feet wet (Oh and after some serious scolding from my friends). Cheryl gave me some great insights that helped me prep accordingly.

For days, I wrote about the book, about my inspiration, about my life growing up with a book loving, wildly creative, nomadic, hippy-like family. I delved back into what it was like for me at the university both in and out of the classroom. The three-hour chemistry labs, searching the shelves of the library, attending Sigma Pi parties with some awesome guys who are lifelong friends, great study partners and friends from all walks of life, the process of self-publishing and the future for the Alex Conner Chronicles.

Five pages later I started to whittle it down and mark main points for the interview. When I sat back and looked over everything, I knew this process was something I had truly needed to do. Even though things have been slow going on getting the word out about Trust, I needed to be prepared for the possibility, and dream, that things will pick up for the book and Alex’s upcoming Chronicles. By the way I hope they do, in case you didn’t already know I love to write and doing for a living what I love would be the best job in the world!!).

When the call came in on Friday and nerves kicked in a little as I worked around her questions, flipping pages to get out what I wanted the readers of the article to know. She liked my story; a first time independently published author who was originally slated to be a veterinarian from a long line of accomplished doctors and educators. I knew some of the readers were also young men and women concerned about where their lives were going after college. Will they find a job, do they even like the career path they have chosen? Are the stuck? Will they ever be able to have a stable job, but follow their dreams as well? As a high school counselor, my students worry about all of the same things at such an early age. I want them all to know things can adapt and change; yes have a goal, have a path but know that it is ok if it changes. After college, I did the lab, and field biology work and then I moved on to party planning before getting into education and counseling. All of these careers weren’t instantaneous either. There were moments of “what in the hell am I doing” speckled with odd jobs as a teacher’s assistant, runway model, VIP relations, after school theatrical teacher, and lots of others.

I was on a path. Maybe not what I thought it would be but it led me to where I was supposed to be and to what I had dreamed of doing in grade school. Of being an author with a book that others will enjoy, that will inspire and invoke emotion in the reader. All I have done in my years since my first journal and poem have made me a better writer; I have more to offer to Alex as a character and the story line. She is now a strong female for people to root for; she has a troubled past and to have peace from the terrible acts she endured is what the reader hopes for. I feel that everyone who flips through the pages can relate to Alex in some way or at the least empathize with her. Should the reader strongly relate, I hope the book empowers them and helps them find some peace. I have heard many stories from the many people who’s paths I have crossed, as well as counseled youth and families who have suffered abuse at the hands of someone. All I wanted to do was alleviate their pain and suffering, I feel that through Alex I am doing just that.

In one of the final questions the reporter asked me how I related to the character, well besides the mind-in-the gutter humor Alex and I share I hope we are also both strong role models. I want to empower the roles of women, which they can and should be allowed to be strong, sexual, funny, leaders, heads of business and to change the idea that standing up for oneself and what they believe in doesn’t make them bitchy, but instead is the power they should have over their lives to be assertive and to defend and take care of themselves. Both men and women have loved this book, and I’m hopeful for its impact as the chronicles continue for Alex.

Having this interview made me realize that not only do I have a great start to the story of Alex’s Chronicles but I also have a real story about what led to the completion of Book One- the story of my life. I have included the link to the article below. Thank you as always for following my journey and I hope you are enjoying Trust and know that Truth is continuing to make progress!

Parker

http://www.uncmirror.com/news/view.php/861325/Former-Northern-Colorado-student-now-a-p

http://www.ParkerSinclair.net