The Disturbing Correlation Between My Book Business and Weightloss

Warning, long rambling and self-absorbed sort of post. Not quite sure if I’m brave enough to post this…
They say the way you do anything is the way you do everything. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking of how similar my book business is to my weight-loss goals. (I know…hear me out.)
I started self-publishing about the time menopause hit, meaning that since I first published Stealing Mercy, I gained thirty pounds. I’ve since lost about ten (it was 17, but I gained some back over Christmas and a really long trip.)

So, here’s one very obvious parallel. Because of my recent weight-loss success, I KNOW if I keep a daily accounting of my diet, I’ll be more successful with my weight-loss goals. This is also true for my book business. If I can be more disciplined and keep a daily accounting of my marketing, I’m sure I would be more successful. What does and doesn’t work will become increasingly obvious. With small wins, I’ll feel more motivated. I believe if I were to spend an hour a day on marketing (like a successful author I really admire does) it might even become fun. (MAYBE) I could see it as a game to win.

BUT, right now, with my weight-loss and my marketing, I pretty much hate them both, and I think it’s because I’m not very nice to myself when I think about either of them. I’m angry at myself (and menopause) for allowing myself to gain so much weight. It doesn’t matter that it happens to most women my age, I somehow thought I’d be exempt, especially since I workout 7 days a week. And likewise, my thoughts are way too harsh and negative when I think about marketing my books. It doesn’t matter that I’m probably doing better than most indie authors. That’s not the point. With 30+ books out, I should be doing better than most because I have more books.

So, what if I threw some money at both problems?

What if I joined Jenny Craig and became a life-time member? I would probably be successful initially, but would it last? And a better question, would I enjoy the process? (For it to last, I believe I have to enjoy the process.) And maybe an even better question, would I enjoy the person I may become? And I’m not talking about being a size 6. How will I feel if I spend thousands of dollars, and I end up exactly where I am now a year or so later?

Same thing with my book business. What if I threw some money at it? Hire a marketing coach. Create a bunch of audio books. Maybe I’d be successful initially, but if I didn’t keep up with it every day, how long would it last? And would it be a lifestyle I could comfortably embrace? How will I feel if I spend thousands of dollars, and I end up exactly where I am now a year or so later?

Do you see the correlation?

Someone I love and admire told me I have to work from a loving perspective. If she approaches her career from a place of love, she’s more patient with her coworkers and clients. The money isn’t a measuring stick. The pleasure comes in the service and satisfaction of a job well done.

If I translated this to my books, if I truly loved my books, I’d be passionate about the stories and I would naturally want to share them.

If I translated this theory to my body, I would want to nourish and care for it. I wouldn’t want to poison it with unhealthy foods or gimmicky diets. And I’d embrace the signs of aging.

This isn’t to say that Jenny Craig (or any other healthy diet) isn’t a great strategy. Same with hiring a marketing coach. But in both cases, if I don’t create a sustainable lifestyle that I enjoy and can embrace, something that I pay attention to everyday, I might as well quit before I begin.

So, here’s the question. Do I begin? Or is there another answer I haven’t considered?

The As-If Principle and Change Happens

See it here:
See it here:

I’m reading and loving these books: The As If Principle, by Richard Wisemen (Even his name inspires confidence!) and Change Happens, by Avrum Weiss.

I’ve been struggling between Trying Harder and Not Trying So Hard. You can read more about that here:

Here’s my interpretation and application of the As If Principle: I will be happier if I:

Treat others as if they are beloved children of God who are doing their very best with the circumstances they’ve been given.

If I approach my tasks as if they’ve been ordained of God and they are what God would have me do.

I will be more successful if I:

Write each blog post as if it will go viral and inspire millions of people to do good and be good.

Write each book as if it will be a bestseller and will inspire millions of people to be more loving to their families, friends, and neighbors.

I will be healthier if I:

Treat my body with reverence as if it will serve my spirit for eternity.

Of course, some of these applications are just reminders—things I already know but often forget in the busyness of my days. When I’m mad at the cable guy, or I’m over-charged at the store, or someone has let me down again, it’s easy to forget that person is a divine child of God.

And when I’m cleaning out a toilet, or cleaning up after my dog, it’s easy to forget my work is important in the grand scheme of things.

And there’s nothing reverent about a cookie. But sometimes you just want one. I’m still wrestling with this.

I’m loving the book Change Happens, because I’ve been stuck in the Trying Harder or Stop Trying So Hard debate. It’s interesting to me, because I definitely saw the Stop Trying So Hard work for me.

When I co-wrote my book Telling Tales with Greta Boris, I had very low expectations for it. I thought it would be fun, but I didn’t think it would be something many people would be interested in. After all, it’s about middle-aged church ladies in a small town. But now that’s it’s finished, I love this book. (Of course, I love all of my books, but this one surprised me.) Every one of my beta-readers has said it made them cry and laugh. One woman said every woman needs to read this book.

Did this happen because I quit Trying So Hard? My book A Ghost of a Second Chance is a little like this, too. Ghost is the first book I wrote knowing I would self-publish it. My other books were written as a mystery or a romance and had hopes of attracting an agent or an editor. I wrote Ghost for my own pleasure, and it was a free-fall of my imagination. I still love that book because of the joy it brought me.

What if I wrote every book that same way? Would it serve me? My family? Anyone?

I haven’t finished reading Change Happens, so I’m not sure of the answers, not that I expect to find my answers in the book. I think I have to do this work on my own.

How about you? How do you feel about the Trying Harder and the Stop Trying So Hard debate? Have you ever achieved your goals when you Stopped Trying So Hard?

How about you? How do you feel about the Trying Harder and the Stop Trying So Hard debate? Have you ever achieved your goals when you Stopped Trying So Hard?

A Writer’s Widget

I’m joining a book in a week challenge tomorrow. While all the authors in the group have different goals, my goal is to complete the first draft of my current work in progress. 40k words. For me, this is an incredible goal and I hope to accomplish it by using word sprints. I made this widget to help me and I thought it might help some of you, as well. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you have any questions, please ask. I tried to post this table on social media, but it turned out all wonky, so I’m putting it here on my blog.

date   timeword
mood synopsis daily
date   time words POV/
mood synopsis daily
date   time words POV/
mood synsopsis daily
date   time words POV/
mood synsopsis daily

  time words POV/
mood synopsis daily
date   time words POV/
mood synopsis daily

Where Do You Get the Ideas For Your Books?

Where do you get the ideas for your books? This is the most common questions people ask writers. I typically reply, LIFE. Strange things happen, and when they do, I call them novel fodder. I collect novel fodder. I also like to people watch, eavesdrop, and take note. (Be careful what you say and do when you’re around writers.) I also like to watch documentaries, movies, and read books–of course.

I got the idea for my Witching Well series while watching a documentary on the Salem Witch trials. There was a theory that tainted water in New England caused hysteria and delusions. So, why not time travel as well? (Sure, it’s a leap, but leaping is what fiction is made for.)

The first book in my Witching Well series, The Highwayman Incident, is free today.
If only the hands of time could be turned in our favor…
Celia Quinn’s business lies in ruins at the hands of Jason West, the latest in a long line of scoundrels. As she seeks to restore her family’s livelihood, Celia stumbles upon lore about the local Witching Well, whose water is said to cause hysteria and psychosis. When a mysterious stranger slips Celia water from the well into her drink, she’s transported to Regency England. Her timeless adventure spans miles and centuries from modern-day New England to Merlin’s Cave in Cornwall, England. Only Jason West can save her.
But Celia and Jason must tread carefully, as what happens in the past can reverberate through the ages. Their lives, hearts, and futures are caught in time’s slippery hands.
The Highwayman Incident is the first book in USA Today bestselling author Kristy Tate’s Witching Well series. Fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander who love time travel and yet enjoy clean and wholesome romance will love the Witching Well series.
If you’re looking to be swept away in a Regency romance, buy The Highwayman Incident today. But don’t accept water from a stranger, especially when traveling in New England.

Praise for The Highwayman Incident:

An interesting blend of mystery, romance, and sci-fi with a magic Witching Well
and time travel. Celia has lost her family’s business and blames Jason for taking
in away. Someone slips something in her drink at a wedding and suddenly she is
back in the past with someone who looks like Jason and herself, but Jason himself
is there with her!!! What is going on and how can they get home? Must read.
Look for the sequel – The Cowboy Encounter.

I enjoy a good time travel read and this fit the bill! This was a great quick read that more than holds your attention.
The two main characters, Celia and Jason move through time to solve a very important incident involving both of their current lives. Don’t want to be a spoiler so just enjoy the book!
I am ordering the next in the series

This story sounded like something you could actually almost believe. Romance without the smut. Finding out you care about someone because they have a good heart is so much more sexy than what’s under their clothes. Thank you.

Five Immediate Blessings of Living a Whole-food Life

Eating a brownie versus not eating a brownie. The choice is often seen as immediate gratification versus, as the Apostle Paul would say, blessings from afar–meaning that we choose not to eat the brownie because of long-awaited desires. The brownie today is right here, right now, whereas brownie abstention means smaller pants sizes and better health in some distant future. When looked at things this way, it’s hard to forego the brownie.

So, what are–if any–the blessings of trying to maintain a whole-food diet? Are there any that are immediate? And what do I mean by a whole-food life? What does a whole-food life look like?

A whole-food life simply means you chose to eat food in its purest forms. Fruit and vegetables from the produce section. Nuts and seeds. Meats. You make sauces but instead of pouring them over pasta, you serve them over cooked zucchini or carrots. You eat homemade soups without a lot of added sodium or fat.

And why do you do this? Is it because you want to look good in a pair of jeans, walk up a flight of stairs without feeling winded, or live until you’re a hundred and nine? Those are all valid reasons, but they may take a while to achieve.

So, here’s what I find to be the immediate blessings of a whole-food lifestyle. These are in random order and I can’t promise that your body will respond the same way as mine. One of the beauties of our bodies is that they are all created differently. We all have to learn how to care and nurture our own bodies. But this is my experience with being whole-food versus being too busy to bother about nutrition. When I eat whole-foods I:

  1. Sleep through the night. This, for me, is huge. When I sleep through the night, life is glorious and good. When I don’t–life sucks. Mornings are hard. People are annoying. I’m generally crankier.
  2. Don’t need an afternoon nap. That sluggish afternoon lull is replaced with a what-can-I-do-now feeling.
  3. No longer have food cravings. This may take a few days, but generally by day four, the brownie desires have subsided. Unhealthy foods lose their siren call.
  4. Am happier. When my twin daughters left for college, I was in a serious funk. I cried every day and often. I read this talk: and this quote struck me.
    “The more food we eat in its natural state—without additives—and the less it is refined, the healthier it will be for us. Food can affect the mind, and deficiencies of certain elements in the body can promote mental depression. Rest and physical exercise are essential, and a walk in the fresh air can refresh the spirit. Wholesome recreation is part of our religion and is a necessary change of pace; even its anticipation can lift the spirit.” Ezra Taft Benson. I went to the store and bought a bunch of vegetables. I stopped crying that day.
  5. Have better digestion. Less gas. Regular bowel movements. Seriously, when your diet is mostly plant-based, everything works better and your co-workers will thank you.

I’m not suggesting you give up brownies for life, preach abstinence at parties, or hand out potatoes for Halloween. But these are the blessings I’ve discovered from trying to maintain a whole-food lifestyle. Your experience may vary, because your body is different from mine. And that’s a good thing.

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Random Marital and Housekeeping Advice to My Daughters

The world was a different place when we got married in 1982. We didn’t have the internet or cell phones. Our jeans were tighter and our hair bigger. If our loved-ones were out and about, we couldn’t look at our phones to locate them. But some things–some might even say the core things–are still true today and will still be true to tomorrow. Here are some of some things that I wish someone had told me all those years ago.

Be unfailing cheerful. It’s actually a commandment from God. There’s almost an entire page of scripture references in the Bible’s topical guide that tell us to rejoice. Did you know that sadness was originally one of the seven deadly sins? Sins were ranked in order of seriousness: pride, envy, anger, sadness, avarice, gluttony and lust. It wasn’t until the 7th century that slothfulness replaced sadness. (I think it’s interesting that gluttony made the list before lust and that brings me to my second bit of advice.)

Never let your fridge become a science experiment. Clean it out once a week, preferably on trash day or the night before. This is so you won’t have rotting food and vermin rooting through your trash. (Which leads me to–)

Always have food in your house. It will prevent you from visiting the local fast food joint—which is often expensive, unhealthy and really not any faster than many things you can make at home. Learn to make double portions and freeze half for another, busy day. Make friends with a crock pot. Always have eggs and cheese—both will keep for a long time and omelets are filling. (Which leads me to–)

Go grocery shopping once a week. Make a menu and a list. Impulse buying can wreak havoc on your budget. Running to the store for milk can end up costing $50 and an hour you didn’t want to spend. Go regularly and if possible, alone. When the twins were little, I went at 5:30 a.m. It was just easier.

Have a cleaning schedule. For example, I clean my kitchen and pick up (this means I wander through the house putting things away and gathering trash) every day. I vacuum and dust on Monday and Wednesday. I do laundry and mop on Tuesdays and clean bathrooms on Thursdays. I grocery shop and do yard work on Fridays. Having a schedule simplifies my life and having a plan keeps me sane. Knowing that something will get done, maybe not today, but soon, relieves guilt.

Be nice to your neighbors, even the disagreeable ones. You will need a Mary and a Judy. Don’t upset them by being loud, messy or picky about where they park their cars. Lend them whatever they need. Accept that everyone has a different definition of neighborly and many won’t be interested in you or your family. A rare few may even go out of their way to be rude—that’s their issue—don’t take it personally and try and stay out of their space.

Pray as a family at meal time and always have at least one meal together as a family. Be as committed to this as you are to brushing your teeth. Even when Dad worked in LA and didn’t get home until after seven, we waited for him and ate dinner as a family.

Pray daily as a couple. Dad and I take turns and alternate annually. For example, this year Dad prays on all the odd days and I pray on the even days.

Always love and respect your in-laws—even when you don’t. They play an important role in your life. Embrace them, learn from them, accept them. Maybe you’ll vow to never be like them—that’s okay. They still taught you a lesson worth learning. Your in-laws can’t be avoided or removed (unless they’re dangerous to your children.)

Be generous and hospitable. Saint Paul tells us–Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2. Open your home to everyone and their dog. This will be a great blessing in your life.

Have your own friends and invest the time needed to maintain friendships. Encourage your spouse to have his own friends and interests. Don’t ever speak badly of your spouse to your friends and don’t listen to your friends complain about their husbands. If you have a problem with your husband, talk to your husband. If that doesn’t work (and sometime it won’t) talk to God. You’ll be prompted where to turn for help and solutions.

Have a set time for daily scripture study and exercise. Make and keep goals for both of these important daily activities. Don’t skip meals and don’t overeat. Sleep as much as you need—not more, not less.

And be happy. Rejoice. Remember, it’s a commandment. And when you don’t feel like rejoicing, think of all the things you’d like to tell your daughters in the far off future when they’re getting married and your waist is wider and your hair thinner. What do you want to be able to say to them?

(Hint: It was sometimes hard and not always pretty, but we did it. We’re still married. We love each other, our children and grandchildren. God is good.) This is my prayer for you.

USA Today bestselling author Kristy Tate is writing her own happily-ever-after one day (and sentence) at a time.
She’s the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling and award-winning Beyond Series and the Kindle Scout winning Witch Ways series. She writes mysteries with romance, humorous romance, and lighthearted but speculative young adult fiction.
When she’s not reading, writing, or traveling, she can be found playing games with her family, hiking with her dogs, or watching movies while eating brownies. To get updates on her new releases and get a FREE BOOK, sign up for her newsletter here:

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A small town girl.

A rock star living a lie.

Their paths cross and lead them down a road neither of them expected to find.

Janey knows that life doesn’t come with a happy-ending guarantee. She needs to keep her feet securely on the ground working two jobs, going to school, and caring for her little brother. She has no time or room for romance.

After an accident leaves his charmed life in ruins, Derrick abandons his Hollywood lifestyle and checks into rehab. The world believes that Derrick Cordell the rock star is dead. And despite his beating heart and breathing lungs, that’s exactly how he feels until, disguised and living incognito in the tiny town of Rose Arbor, Washington, he meets Janey, who loves him as plain old Eric Roudell, the wanna-be music teacher.

But secrets have a way of unraveling. When Janey discovers the truth about Eric/Derric, how can she love someone she doesn’t even know? Especially since love is not on her to-do list?

Click here to get your free book!