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  • Jenny

My 1,000th Post: Reflecting on My Self-Publishing Dream & Journey

I still remember how it felt to write my very first book, Butterfly Travels: a memoir of my travels and adventures from birth to the moment of publishing. I wrote it mostly with the notion that one day, my children’s children and so on would read it, and know me. But not just know me so I could selfishly live on with some kind of legacy; but so that they could know the strength of an ancestor who lived inside of them.

And so, it was lighthearted to write (for the most part), as I reflected on the lessons. Some chapters were difficult to write, but this journal come to life was not about sugarcoating experiences. It was about truth. Failure. Triumph. Flaws. Heartbreak. Love. Self-reflection. Something that human beings could relate to in some way or another.

I wanted my authenticity to shine through in this piece of work that I wrote for my future generations.

But then, I heard how people read it and it inspired them in some way. It broke me down to tears when I heard someone so dear to me saw hope through me, giving her the strength to walk away from a toxic relationship and embrace the trepidation she felt about being a single mother with courage.

If nothing else ever came from that book, to know that I touched another human so profoundly just by sharing my experiences was all I ever needed in return. But still, I didn’t see the connection between that meaningful purpose and a greater one.

Soon after writing my very first book, I took off on an extraordinary cross-country journey with my children on our move to California. Naturally, I wanted to keep the memoir going, and it would feature this special journey, with the added bonus of my kids documenting their own perspectives within each chapter. What fun it was to capture Princess Ponderings and Little Man’s musings in Butterfly Travels 2.

Still yet, I did not understand the power that my words could yield.

After moving to California, I fell onto hard times, and even questioned what my whole purpose in life was. It wasn’t until two years later, on a random self-care spa weekend, that I had the most amazing tarot card reading that awakened me—finally.

I was lost. Unsure of any path—love, career, friends, family. I was seeking answers, and with the openness of my heart, I was able to find them. And I kid you not when I say that truly, there was a glow of light that went off within me the moment she nonchalantly said to me, “You know you’re supposed to be a writer. You can churn out books like this [snapped fingers]. It’s your passion. It’s in your blood. Why aren’t you doing it?”

It wasn’t a suggestion. It was like a clear command. How did I never see this before?

I have been writing since I could hold a pen. Everything imaginable. Creative stories, newspaper articles, diary entries—even soap opera scripts and musical lyrics, for crying out loud. I minored in professional writing without planning to; I just so happened to take enough of those courses to accidentally earn it.

Did I think that talent of mine was just a hobby? How could I not see that all along, my passion was my purpose, and that I could use it to relate to people—just like I related to my dear loved one.

And so with my spirit awake and ready, it didn’t take me long—less than a year—to pull off my first series: The Lost Heritage Trilogy. I somehow channeled the romance, love or travel, and idea for a lost ancestral heritage into a 3-part collection that paid homage to three very different sisters (all different parts of me, actually).

It wasn’t long after finishing those and getting them to an editor that I reconnected with another friend who had toyed with me on the idea of a simple children’s introduction to astrology book, and within ONE MONTH, our first book was written and illustrated by her son, published, with the rest of the 4-part Cosmic Kids Collection following over the next 3 months. And then the popular follow-up, Numerology for Kids wasn’t far behind.

The writing was insane. The tarot reader was right—I could push out books with speed as what I needed to write just came to me. In the middle of the night. As I awoke. As I sat on the beach. Always a journal in hand—or a sticky note, if that’s all I had.

All I had to do was sit down and connect pen to paper; fingers to keyboard.

Then I played around with a cheesy cable-style holiday romance, A Cali Christmas, just for fun, as a way to take a break from a really heavy piece I found myself called to work on. The writing slowed for this one. It took a full year to feel like the book paid justice to its intended story and purpose. As emotional abuse is a part of my own history, there was pain and heartbreak re-experienced as I weaved in parts of myself into its chapters. Cathartically releasing, Beat Me With Your Words healed me in many ways.

I was also afraid to publish it. What if I got backlash? What if I was too raw and honest and it triggered or offended readers? What if no one liked it? What if I pour every ounce of my heart in soul into this for it just to be rejected as not good enough?

But then I heard a much bigger what if: what if this story could help someone find the courage to walk away save her own life?

After all, isn’t what I was ultimately seeking that same meaningful inspiration that Butterfly Travels encouraged? Yes, it was. It was about using my words to make a difference in someone else’s life. If I could help even just one person—even if this was my biggest flop ever—then all the challenges of getting this into print was worth every tear, ever resurgent piece of anger, every damn doubt.

And guess what? It didn’t do so well, or at least, not as well as I had hoped. But I did reach people. Some didn’t get it, but you have to have been in a narcissistic relationship to understand the depths of trauma that it creates. So, I had to train myself to pay those kind of critics no mind as they couldn’t understand why she hadn’t walked about by chapter two.

What mattered is that it reached some people who did understand, and it touched them in the way I intended it to: with courage, triumph, and empowerment.

That was released six months ago, and I’ve struggled to write since. A little here and there, but it wasn’t until about two weeks ago that I was ready to dive back in to my passion and purpose. So, now that I have reclaimed my life as an author, and am proudly celebrating the fact that I have self-published 12 books (plus packaged two compilations) within 8 years, what’s next?

Well, aside from the astrology series, my books have an adult edge and personal insight that I don’t exactly feel comfortable sharing with my kids as teenagers. Maybe one day lol But because my son has shown interest and would like to read something I wrote, this next one—a mystery—is for him. I’m still working out the name, the subheader, and the cover, but I have the plot all figured out and the twists are still coming. I’m about halfway through, and hope to have it ready for the summer.

I also began a new children’s series, featuring a curious little Irish fairy who learns important life lessons. I’m in love with her. I wrote three books already. I’m just waiting on my illustrator (ahem!) to get into her creative flow so that I can put these together an release them. I’m also playing with the idea of having a fairy doll created for that added touched of whimsy. Wouldn’t that be fun??

I do have an outline for a 4-part friend series, dedicated to my Sedona girls, but that one may take a while because there is only so much a girl can write at once!

Most importantly, I plan on continuing my abuse series. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I feel like this is important work. More and more, society is seeing the dark sides of all kinds of abuse, and the more I can show other women that I understand, or that they are heard, the more we can heal together. I actually have four future books outlined. But as with Beat Me With Your Words, the deep and sensitive nature of the content takes a while to process through.

I know—I don’t have a single genre that I stick to, but that is just me. If I have a story to tell, I will simply tell it, and not work it into one of society’s neatly planned boxes.

I want to touch lives with my words. If you have read any of my work, I hope I touched yours. If I haven’t, well, maybe the next one is for you. As an independent author, I apprecaite every purchase, every review, every recommendation that you give to a friend. Because for me, it’s not about becoming a best seller one day (though it would be nice!) It’s about sending message to the person who needs to hear it, in a way that makes them feel at peace or stirred to action.

It's about finding yourself in a character, and feeling empowered to accept your own.

Thnk you for being on this journey with me.

To learn more about my books, you can find me here:

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