From Zero To Three by Jessica Kong

Every time someone hears I am a mother of triplets, a series of questions start popping up. So instead of posting something about writing, today I have decided to share my story. Please bare with me as I pour my heart out to you on this beautiful Monday morning.

 

 

 

Missy at the beach

 

 

 

Like so many little girls growing up, I dreamed of one day getting married and having kids.  What I did not dream about, or even considered, was that it may never happen.  I had my whole life planned out, step-by-step.  It was going to be easy, I foolishly thought.  Why?  I had been brainwashed.

 

 

 

Puerto Rico Parade - Mid 80's

 

 

 

As I grew up, everyone kept telling me, “You’re pretty.  You’ll have no problems finding a great guy in college.  Don’t worry.  Don’t rush it.”  My idealistic heart believed them, so I did not.  Since the age of ten, men had flirted with me.  Two men went as far as declaring their undying love and proposed.  I was only seventeen at the time.  Needless to say, my self-confidence was overly inflated by the time I graduated high school.

With little dating experience under my belt, I entered college with bright dreams and fresh ideas.  The first year was a real eye opener.  I dated only one man, and that nightmare lasted two weeks.  Halfway through my second year, I began to worry.  My friends and family laughed at me.  They simply did not understand.  I had these detailed plans of how my life was supposed to be.

Some dreamed of being a doctor, or a lawyer.  I dreamed of being a Kindergarten teacher, with a family of my own.  I was beginning to believe that my future was going to turn out differently than what I had dreamed.  Remaining hopeful, I continued with my studies.  A week after my twentieth birthday, I met the man I would share my life with.  Part one of my childhood dreams, had come true.

 

 

 

Mommy and Daddy - November 2000

 

 

 

After being married for five years, we decided it was time to make part two a reality.  This led me to another obstacle.  Infertility.  By the end of three years, several laparoscopies and a couple of D&C’s, we were still unable to conceive.  Our next step was to undergo a religious regiment of infertility treatments, which ended up being the same.  Unsuccessful.  I cannot explain how distressing it was, or how heartbroken I was.  I sincerely believed I would never experience the joy of carrying a child in my womb, or the depth of happiness a mother feels when she holds her baby for the first time.

Fate placed another obstacle in my path.  Depression had taken over my life.  My husband did his best to console me.  He assured me his love would not lessen any if we did not have any children, for that was not the reason he had married me.  I was touched by his words.  However, there were still my childhood dreams of a loving family that would not release its grip on my soul.  This placed a strain on our relationship.  My schoolwork suffered.  My work suffered.  I suffered.

Several sessions with a counselor, plus my supportive husband, gave me the courage to take the next step forward.  I placed all my faith and strength in God, and went ahead with IVF.  I was certain after two weeks the procedure had failed.  I went to the hospital for a routine blood work.  I met the other patients who had their procedure done at the same time, and told them mine had failed.  I was that positive.  A few hours later, I received a phone call at my mother’s house.  It was my Doctor.  “Here it comes,” I had said to myself.  Once again, it was not what I had expected.

 

 

 

Missy 5

 

 

 

God had smiled on me.  Our first sonogram had showed we were blessed.  Three times.  After thirty-three weeks, I gave birth to three healthy, beautiful babies, two boys and a girl.  More than what I had dared to hope for.

 

 

ABC 1

 

 

 

My three miracle babies are now all grown up. I look at them and at times I could see them as they once were–my three little sausages.

 

 

 

Mother's Day 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family And Writing: How to balance family time and writing

Let’s face it.  Time is something we all wish we had more of.  Whether it is more time to go to the gym, read a book, or cook a meal.  Time slips by us and we never get around to doing the things we enjoy or know is good for us.  A big example of this is spending quality time with our family.  We are all guilty of this.  Sadly, there is no magic remedy except MAKING TIME.

We all know the importance of meeting deadlines, or the urgency of getting that second or third book out within a certain time frame.  But stop all that for a second and think.  Do you have kids?

Kids grow up so fast.  It may not seem like it when you are changing the hundredth diaper, or racing to get them to school before the late bell rings, or you are scolding them for hitting their sibling over the head with a can.  I would know I have triplets.  Been there, done that.  We have to admit that kids do many crazy things, and they participate in so many activities that it can make a person without kids not want to have kids.  But none of those precious moments last forever or are ever replicated.  Your kids will quickly grow up.  They will start attending college.  And eventually, they will move out of your home.  Then what?

What about your significant other?  Like your children, you cannot forget that special someone in your life.  This individual brings you joy.  They share in your laughter and your sorrows.  They create wonderful memories with you.  They complete you.  Remember, life has no guarantees.   A person may die, or a person may lose interest and leave.  When they are gone, then what?

So sure, work is important.  How else are the bills going to get paid?   But spending time with your family is equally as important.  Think of it.  Nothing lasts forever.  You cannot turn back time and redo past events.  When they are gone, they remain gone.  We need to break that horrid mold of a writer’s life being a lonely life.  We can have our cake and eat it too.  We just have to keep reminding ourselves that we are not alone.  There are people close to us that love to be around us for who we are.  So let us all turn off the computer for a few hours or a day and spend some time with our families.  We will feel refreshed and happier when we turn that computer back on.  Why?  Because we have just created another memorable moment with our family.

Should I Pay For Reviews Or Not?

Writers will eventually face this question in their career.  The answer will vary, depending on viewpoint.  Personally, I feel one should hold off paying.  There are plenty of sites willing to review books for no fee.  You can also reach out to an author and politely inquire if they would be interested in exchanging a review for a review.   Plus, do not forget those close to you.  Your friends and family members are readers.  They can write reviews, too.

 

As an author, I am in need of reviews.  Along with exchanging a review for a review, I search the internet looking for places where I can promote my book, A Lost Kitten.   I came across a website that had a list of review sites.  I made a copy of that list and posted it here to share with my visitors.  I have not explored these sites yet.  Therefore, I am not sure if they are free.  I figured we could all take a chance and see what we come up with.

 

A word of caution.  When approaching a reviewer, be polite, include a thorough but brief fact sheet, follow submission guidelines, and be patient.   Reviewers have a long list of books waiting to be read and critiqued.  It will take them some time to get to your book if they agree to read it.  But most importantly, if you get a negative review, do not harass or threaten the reviewer.  Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and books are subjective.  Face it, not everyone is going to like every book written.  So write from your heart, polish it until it shines, then present it everywhere you can, and let the book speak for itself. 

 

Book Review Sites

How to Overcome Fears and Insecurities

We have all felt fear at least once in our lives.   And despite how many would say they have never felt it, I believe everyone has also felt insecure once.  These are two basic and natural feelings to experience.  It comes in many forms–extremely intense or very minor.   In either case, the feeling is real to the one experiencing it.  And unless you have gone through it, you cannot understand the depth of how it can cripple a person.

As a new writer, you will experience these emotions, time and time again.   Even veterans will tell you that at times these emotions will take hold of them.  The secret to overcoming these negative feelings is to sit down, clear your head of thoughts, and take deep, slow breathes.  Then ask yourself, what do I have to lose?

What do you have to lose?  Your soul?  Your life?  Is the person you are about to pitch your story to going to kill you if they do not like what you have to say?  Is your soul in danger if you do not get that book contract with the major publishing house you have had your eye on?  Is your heart going to stop beating if you do not final in the writer contest you joined?  If your answer is no, then what do you have to lose by trying?

How can you learn and improve if you always win and succeed?  You will only remain hungry when you have not satisfied your need.  So do not look at those closed doors or rejection letters as failures.  They are learning tools.  Appetizers.  They are luring you closer to your dream of being that successful, published author.

No one wants to look back on their lives and wonder, what if?  So keep writing.  Keep entering contests.  And keep pitching those stories.  And every time you feel that fear and insecurity creeping up on you, stop, sit down, and breathe.  Then ask yourself, what do I have to lose?

I’m Publish. Now What?

After many months, you have written your book.  You went through stages of editing, and finally your baby is published.  Now what?  It is up for sale, but no one knows about it.  What should you do?  While your book was going through the editing wringer, you should have entered the World Wide Web and started mingling.  If you did not, that’s okay.   I am sure you felt without a finished product the efforts of meeting and creating followers were premature, and you felt downright foolish doing it when you had nothing to offer back.  I know I did.  But you are over that.  Your book is published.  Now you have no choice but to sit in front of your computer and start socializing. First things first, you must open accounts on several different social medias–Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn.  Pick a handful; do not spread yourself too thin since you have to participate in each one while writing your next book.  And please do not forget to keep personal information hidden.   Readers will go to these places to learn about you and your product.

 

Create both a Fan Page and Book Page on Facebook.  Make certain there is a ‘Like’ button on your pages.  This button is important on ALL forms of media.  In a nutshell, it increases your popularity on search engines.  If you want a clearer explanation, go to:  http://www.jeffkorhan.com/2010/04/facebook-like-is-like-an-open-book.html   On Twitter, tweet and retweet what is relevant and important to you and your followers.  Be careful not to overdo it, too many tweets could be seen as spam.  I am still trying to find my comfortable number of tweets per day.  On Goodreads, open an author account not a regular account, then make certain you upload the cover to your book and your headshot.  If your book is on Amazon, make certain to add tags to your book to make it easier to find.   And do not forget to create an author page on Amazon so potential buyers can read about you.  Remember you can also link all your pages together, with a few exceptions.  Read the instructions carefully so you do not miss anything important.    On each media platform, you will find social groups.  Look around until you find one that interests you.  On some, you might have to ask if you can join, on others you can just start participating.  In either case, be certain before deciding to join that you are committed to doing what is required of you in the group.  Remember, you are not just promoting your book, you are creating and promoting your personal image as well.

Should I or Shouldn’t I Self-Publish?

That is the question. So what is the answer?

Well, for me, I had no choice.  It was either self-publish and begin my career as a writer, or continue to dream of what my life could be as a writer.  Sure, I had tried submitting manuscripts to publishing houses.  And just like most of us, I had gotten my share of rejection letters.  I had also submitted to contests, but never made it to the finals.  But I didn’t let that stop me.  I continued to take writing courses to improve my skills.  I continued to write because it was what I loved to do.  And I continued to dream.

Years passed.  My list of manuscripts continued to grow.  I spent more and more time on editing, adding plots, and rewriting those manuscripts.  And I continued to dream.  Until one day, I realized what I was doing.  I was still dreaming.  I had gotten so used to my routine that I was unconsciously sabotaging my efforts.  I had fallen into a very cushiony, comfort zone.  I was not submitting my manuscripts as often as I should have.  I was not motivated to participate in writing clubs.  I would go to a handful of meetings then stop.  And that was my pattern for years.  I became too comfortable, too lazy.  I was going nowhere.  And my dream was still a dream.

Until one day, a friend who had never mentioned anything about writing a book suddenly had a book published.  That was my wakeup call.  I had slept for twelve years and dreamt the same dream.  Now it was time to wake up and make that dream a reality.  I did not want to restart old habits.  I did not want to fall back to sleep and waste more years.  Therefore, I self-published.

I am now the happy author of a paranormal romance entitled, “A Lost Kitten”.  I am humbled by all the compliments and great reviews I have been receiving.  Building a personal brand and getting my book noticed has not been easy, but it is definitely worthwhile.  You feel a sense of accomplishment and pride that you created this product and people actually like it.  Outside from marrying your soulmate and giving birth, there is no feeling that can compare to publishing your first book.  And I doubt that the feeling will diminish when I publish book twelve in a few years.

So ask yourself this question:  Should I or shouldn’t I self-publish?  See what answers you get.  And please, share them with me.  I would love to know.

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