I searched through my blog from the beginning to end to find a post that I had written about my bucket list items. Unfortunately, I can’t find the post, but I wanted to go back and see what was in my head during that time of my life. I’ve kept this blog since September of 2013 when I decided to write romance under Lyra Parish. That’s 4 years, guys. I cannot believe it’s been that long. Anyway, I remember writing out all of my literary goals and dreams and at some point, I crossed things off said list when they were accomplished. Now I have no idea where it was posted, which is a bummer. I’ve searched high and low, but can’t find it. Oh well, I guess.
This past year has been absolutely crazy. Almost a week ago to the year, Brooke Cumberland and I took a major risk and released Checkmate: This is War under the secret duo pen name Kennedy Fox. It was risky because we didn’t tell our previous contacts who we were so they could help us. We started from the bottom, just like everyone else, except we had the experience of publishing behind us. I’m so happy Brooke and I found each other. Seriously. Sometimes you just meet that person who completes you and just gets you, and she totally does. We’re best friends and business partners and will be until we’re 95 and wrinkly and can’t see or type. She’ll still write the dirty sex scenes though. LOL.
During the past year, I rarely updated anything concerning LP. My website went to shambles (which it’s updated now, do you like it?), my Facebook page was rarely updated, and I even stopped signing into my personal LP profile. After my last signing in 2016, I kind of just hung my hypothetical hat and worked on KF stuff. Randomly I’d update everyone to let you know I was okay, but busy and I wasn’t lying! When we came out to the world, many people were happy for me, but many people were shocked. Lyra Parish? WHO? lol. It’s like Kathy Griffin starring in Fifty Shades as Anastasia Steele. Okay, maybe not that extreme (the visual of it had me laughing) but some people had no idea who I was. Those who knew of me and who had read my previous books were shocked too. People who’ve supported me and been my friend since the beginning were thrilled because I did what I said I would do for the last three years. Honestly, if I’m being truthful, I was scared when we released who we were that people would be disappointed that I wasn’t some much loved A-Lister. Sorry to disappoint guys, I’m not Colleen Hoover.
Over the last few months, I’ve had the same conversation with handfuls of people about being KF. Many people knew I was working on something else, but no one really knew what, until they did. And now things are…different.
I can’t explain it.
I’m still the same person as I was before. I’ve always been passionate and had a fire lit under me about publishing and that hasn’t changed. Go back to any of my previous blog posts and read them. My thoughts about publishing has stayed the straight and narrow. People who’ve never spoken a word to me before now want to chat with me. I’ve been invited to signings I was once not good enough to attend. Now, some see me as the “competition”, which is weird considering there are millions of readers out there who don’t stop at just one book, trust me, they devour 100s. BTW: compete with yourself. We’ve been straight up mocked and stalked to the point where people had to be blocked. There have been countless secret duos message and ask for our “secret”. (Here’s the secret: go all in, keep your head down and focus on yourself, and work your ass off. That’s it.)
This is all verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry strange to me.
I’m still the same person I was three years ago and I still feel like the same person. I’m afraid that when we go to signings next year no one will be at our table or even care that we’re there. I still get anxious and nervous when we press publish, even though together we have well over 30 books published. I think sometimes that maybe all this could be a crazy dream or something, and I’m waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and say I was being punked for all of 2017. At least that’s how I treat it. That’s why every day when I get home from the day job, I work on my literary career like it’s a Monday morning at 8am. Because there are no guarantees in this industry. I show up every single day for this and will for the rest of my life. If you do something you love, it doesn’t feel like work, and I can attest to that.
YOU HAVE TO STAY HUNGRY EVERY DAY.
COMPLACENCY KILLS CAREERS.
2017 has been insane. I know I’ve marked off a large amount of those things on my personal goal list from making USA Today and contracting an agent for Subrights. I’m not bragging, please don’t take it that way. It’s just unbelievable to me. I’m in a perpetual state of shock and so humbled by everyone comments that I’m waiting for the pigs blood. Seriously. None of it feels real.
Sometimes I just sit and think about all the work that went into accomplishing so much in such a short amount of time, but really this has been years in the making. Kennedy Fox isn’t an overnight success. Nothing was handed to us with a pretty pink bow. It was tons of late nights, early mornings, experience, and hard work. There were countless events that should have stopped our progress: sickness, surgery, and even deaths. But, those things are a part of life. And they’re hard to deal with, especially when you lose someone you love very dearly. It derailed my creativity. Somehow I found the pieces of my heart and found comfort in writing about love when everything seemed so dark. There’s been a lot that’s happened, some of it I haven’t even talked about. But the reason I’m saying something now is because I want those out there who are struggling, who are ready to just give up, I want you to know this isn’t the end of your story, unless you want it to be. The only person who can decide that is you. You have to keep pushing and fighting for the things you want. You have to believe in yourself even when no one else does. Be respectful. Work hard. Keep your head down. FOCUS. Be a goal chaser because you’ve got this. You do. But it’s going to take time. As long as you compete with yourself, and you’re better tomorrow than you were today, that’s all that matters. Eventually all those little things add up to big things, the big dreams, big goals, and you’ll look back one day and realize that.
It was never that one book, it was everything that lead up to that book. It was you showing up and getting it done regardless of (fill in the blank).
I’ve had SO many ups and many downs since 2011. I’ve almost quit a few times, honestly. I’ve made friends and lost them. I’ve watched people publish and completely stop writing. Though I’ve grown
older wiser, though people may have changed, there has always been one constant in my career. My dream.
I want to become a full-time writer. I want to wake up every single day and do this.
Ask anyone who really knows me and they’ll tell you, hand on heart, that it’s the truth. I’ve always known what I’ve wanted and I won’t stop until that happens. And when it does, I’m going to keep on going because then I’ll be living my dream and I’m going to bust ass to keep it alive.
As I’ve said before, I’ve had some pretty terrible years and some really great ones, but the point is, if you want something bad enough, you have to keep going. This is all about the journey, because we never really find our destination. There will always be more words, more books to be written, edited, and published. There is no end game with a passion like this.
When I was ready to take a long sabbatical from writing (which I practically did when I joined LuLaRoe), I was reading tons of motivational posts about people who almost gave up when they were on the brink of something amazing. It was what kept me going. I held on to that dream that my next project would be “the one”. Every book I said it, and I truthfully believed it. And it didn’t happen. But I kept going regardless. Kept writing. Kept adapting. Kept giving it my all. Kept showing up.
Because I know and truly believe that dreams come true, but in their own time.
If you work hard enough and if you want something bad enough, dreams do come true. I know many people who would’ve walked away after 6 years. I know many people who have walked away. And trust me when I say I don’t have all the answers. I don’t claim to. I’m just now finding my bearings in this strange, crazy, ever changing publishing world. But you have to keep growing. Things will happen in their own time, not when you want them to. Repeat it. Remember it.
You never now what you’re on the brink of…
If I would have given up, I wouldn’t have met my writing partner. Brooke and I work so well together and play off each others strengths. We are literally a literary power couple. LOL. When you work with someone who has the same interest in your career as yourself, you just click. When it’s time to work and make sh*t happen, it happens. We don’t have to micromanage each other or give each other task lists. There is a trust between us, and we know what needs to be done and do it. It also helps that we’re both pretty basic and like Starbucks and stickers.
I have zero regrets and I wouldn’t change this past year and a half for the world. The good news is, I’m so close to making my #1 dream come true. So close. All I have to say is in less than a year, I will be a full-time writer and I will be waking up and doing this every single day. And honestly, I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to it.
The point is, if you have a dream, chase after, capture it, and never let it go, but you better be willing to work for it.
p.s. My Week with the Bad Boy is coming November 2nd! Mark your calendars!