I’m excited to announce my new Lifestyle blog at KellyParra.Life. I hope to share advice and musings on lifestyle, wellness, joy, and creativity.Here’s to many more!
1. “Think positive thoughts!”
The more you worry, the more you freak out, the more you bring those fears into your life. Think about all the good stuff that is happening. You are publishing a book! Your story is alive and in your hands. This is freaking amaze-balls!
2. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Not everything runs smoothly in publishing. It’s just like any other business. Sometimes things go smoothly, sometimes there’s an error or a sudden looming deadline. Go with the flow, you’ll be fine. This is publishing! Your dream job!
3. “This book is GOOD!”
The publisher wouldn’t have offered you a contract if it was garbage. C’mon, Kel. You love your characters and readers will have the chance to as well. Let readers decide for themselves.
4. “Don’t live in a Wayne’s World movie, You ARE worthy!”
You wrote the book, didn’t you? You spent chunks of your life writing it? You stayed up late while the family slept just so you could write when it was quiet? You worked your ass off writing it, plotting it, typing it, editing it, dreaming it, creating it, right? Yes, you. You deserve this and you are worthy of being published. Forget about the rejections you got before. You found the right agent and the right editor. It all came together for you because you deserve this. You go, girl!
5. “Be grateful.”
Instead of stressing out, be grateful. The Universe wants you to love the things in your life that you want to keep. So be grateful for this moment and wish for more.
6. “Don’t be embarrassed by attention. It comes with being a published writer.”
Okay, so you’re in your twenties, you’re still young. You’re still a little shy. Suck it up, Buttercup. A little attention and standing in front of people comes with the territory. But guess what? You’ll do just fiiiiiiine.
7. “Be like Taylor and shake it off.”
So agents and editors are business people. The successful ones are pretty straight to the point, no filter, blunt by birth individuals. That’s okay. They are going to help you get published. They are going to tell you what’s wrong with your book and hopefully how to fix it. It’s not personal. Yeah, it might feel like they are criticizing your child—or you—but it’s a book. They know the biz. You want to get in the biz. You shake off the tough comments and you get that baby polished and ready for the world.
8. “Relax. This is a job, not a ticket to happiness.”
Being an author is a job. Let’s not forget. Even if you don’t have a contract, you’re still a writer. No one can take that away from you except YOU.
9. “Live the Joy!”
Have fun! Mingle. Share your book! Share your story! Dance in your living room! Live the joy of writing! Live the joy of creating! Live the joy of storytelling! Live the joy of doing something you love!
10. “Just write.”
This is how it all started. You. Sitting. At. Your. Computer. WRITING. That’s what you want to keep doing. You just writing. You got it now. Just write.
We drive our cars. We need to get places. We’re on a schedule. Need to get things done.
Tick, tock, tick, tock.
The streets are cluttered. Cars are weaving in and out. Lights are taking too long.
Are we traveling too fast? Missing our surroundings? Are we even really seeing what’s going on before us or our minds flashing with a hundred things that need to be done that day?
Are we driving too much while forgetting that we can walk to destinations not too far away?
I moved a mile from a current job and I was eager to ride my bike. More exercise and not to mention, saving on gas. It was nice for a while. I focused so much on riding and worrying about weaving around cars and people, I was missing something about being outdoors. I was missing the joy.
One day I decided to go for a walk. Have you ever just taken a stroll and experienced the scene around you? Really listened to the birds chirping, the wind blowing gently against your face. The wind as it shivered the leaves on a tree.
I hadn’t until I started walking. One mile to work and one back home.
The first day I walked, I felt the muscle in my legs ache. I hadn’t been using certain muscles while riding my bike, but walking that first mile and the second back home gave me a good wake up. Made me feel good. Energized. My body was moving. My skin was soaking up the outdoors. My mind was settled. Sometimes it wandered. Sometimes it revealed the things I’d been worrying about that were causing a tightness in my shoulders and upper back.
Taking the time to walk taught me to be in the present moment. To enjoy the nature of my surroundings. In the mornings, I take in the quietness of the neighborhood. I say hello to fellow walkers and their dogs. In the afternoon, if the sun’s out, I feel a light perspiration on my skin as I notice a cat sneaking up on a little bird or a gopher popping its head out of the ground. Sometimes I just watch the clouds in the blue sky as the wind pushes them into beautiful shapes. I never noticed the clouds as much as I do on my daily walks. Somehow all the list of things I needed to get done don’t seem to matter so much.
They’ll get done.
Now when I’m not working, I go for a two-mile walk on my days off. Just for the pure joy, for the light exercise. To listen to the sounds of my environment. To be present in the moment. To experience. To feel peace and happiness. And you know what? I don’t notice that tightness in my shoulders and back anymore.
One day take a walk.
You may just discover the joy of walking.
This year, I had a web crash. All of my web data and blog posts had been compromised and my site was taken over. It was pretty stressful. My web designer helped get back the bare bones of the site but pretty much everything was gone. I had over 12 years of blogs. That’s a lot of words and memories. I can now look back at it as a lesson that it was time to get rid of the old built up data that I was no longer using and start over.
It’s also something I’ve been trying to do with my life. Get rid of the old and keep only what is useful and a necessity. I call this life change my journey to simplicity.
About three years ago, I started to get sick. There wasn’t a label to put on what I had but I knew something was wrong with my body. I was also under a ton of stress. As a writer, that’s when the research began into being healthier.
Gluten was part of my problem. It was causing inflammation in my body and I had to learn what to eat all over again. No gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no caffeine and no processed foods for a month. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. And there began the change in my life.
Now my diet is pretty simple. I try to eat simple whole foods of vegetables and grains, minimal processed dairy, and I’ve become a pescatarian because it makes me feel better. I began to read books and blogs on simplicity and minimalism. I began to clean out the built up belongings in our home. Things I held onto out of obligation or stuff that was still in good condition but I hadn’t touched in years. It had taken time to realize that clutter was one of the main causes of my stress and anxiety.
The thing is my journey to simplicity is still a work in progress. I have a family who still has tons of stuff. And the stuff is what we need to deal with our daily lives.
I just know the simpler I make my life, the easier I can manage the lives of my family, our home, my jobs and my writing. It also gives me time to squeeze in for myself in order to stay healthier and happier.
WRITTEN BY: Maggie Marr
WANTED FOR: Romantic Suspense
DESCRIPTION: A Bad Boy Hollywood Hitman Novel
Natalie Warner can’t ignore the risk any longer. A star on the rise, her latest film is on track to be the biggest box office breaker of the summer but Natalie isn’t safe. Someone is after her. Could it be her angry addict father, or her mother who always wanted to be a star herself? What about her ex-boyfriend who just did time? The Studio refuses to ignore the threat and forces Natalie to take on a bodyguard, but that bodyguard comes in the shape of rugged, irresistible Beck Tatum, because whoever is after Natalie isn’t going to stop until someone makes them.
A question, wrapped in a riddle, Beck Tatum doesn’t know what part of the government he worked for before he lost his memory or what exactly his mission was. He can remember that he loved and that he lost that woman as well as his memories on that final mission. Now with a second chance, he’s assigned to protect a high-value asset. Rich and entitled but yet kind and vulnerable, Natalie Warner isn’t the spoiled rich woman Beck expected. But falling for her would put her life on the line and Beck isn’t about to lose anything else.
Welcome to the Fresh Files, Maggie! Thanks for stopping by and sharing a few interesting tidbits about yourself and your writing because Readers and Writers want to know the 411! So let’s start off by talking about the story behind your story? Why did you write BECK?
M. This novel is like every novel that I write, in that, the characters are in my brain and tell me their story. I liken this to the tarmac at LAX, when you see all the planes lined up and ready for take off–those are like my books/stories. The characters are in a row in my brain simply waiting for me, air traffic control, to point at them and say — your turn. Then it’s my job to *not* get in their way too much as these characters tell me their story. It’s a busy place up there in my brain all these characters waiting for their chance to tell me their story.
Do you have a writing routine or just go with the flow?
M. I *try* to have a routine but I also have a day job I love as well as children and a husband and sometimes all those things throw off my schedule–imagine! I prefer to write first thing each day. I feel as though I’ve really accomplished something with my day if I collect my words early in the day. My goal is 3000 words a day however I’ve noticed that I don’t usually get that many words in the first third of the book. My best guess is that the first third is when I’m building the foundation and that must be really solid to support the weight of the entire book so I go more slowly, even in my first draft.
I love books and television! What are some of the television shows that you watch or even the ones that are no longer playing on TV?
M. I LOVE television! I just started watching Divorce with Thomas Haden Church & Sarah Jessica Parker and I am liking this show. I also just started watching Insecure with Issa Rae who is funny and brilliant and amazing. I’m a big Game of Thrones fan as well as Modern Family, Blackish, and The Goldbergs.
Yes, love Sarah Jessica and Divorce is such an interesting show! Care to share a quick tip on plotting or characterization?
M. I love Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon. I read this book nearly every time I start a new book. The idea of external and internal goals and why a character can’t have what he or she wants helps me to have the insight I need to write my characters.
I use GMCs too! How do you feel about self-publishing–what were your top 3 steps to getting published.
M. I do self publish. My first two books, Hollywood Girls Club and Secrets of the Hollywood Girls Club went through Random House however I did get the rights back and now I’m exclusively indie pub. My books go through a process similar to New York with regards to editorial and marketing. My books receive 2 editorial passes as well as a final proof-read. My covers have cover designers. I also work with graphic designers to help come up with teasers for books that will be part of the marketing and promo campaign for each book. Next year we are starting a T-90 day release / launch schedule which means each book will get 90 days of promo work prior to release. I’m hoping this will help readers find my books when they are available.
Thank you for giving us a peek into your writing life, Maggie! Best of luck with BECK and The Hollywood Hitman series! Now, Readers, go and buy BECK!
Maggie Marr is the author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She writes smart, sexy, women and the men they love. She got her start in Hollywood pushing the mail cart at ICM, but quickly rose through the ranks to become a motion picture literary agent. As well as writing, she maintains a boutique legal practice dedicated to the needs of creatives & entrepreneurs. She is the current President of Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA) and legal adviser to the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). Maggie loves all things pop culture and when she isn’t taking care of her clients or writing she can be found reading, chasing kids, or exercising her rescue pup. Visit her website www.MaggieMarr.net.