Perhaps some of you may have been wondering where I've been. We got home and I immediately posted and promised to do another soon and then I didn't follow through. In fact, so much has happened since that post that I forgot I did that post till I got on my blog to do this one and saw it. Nevertheless I made some collages of our pictures and I'm going to put them up, even though the last post contains a few errant photos.
Also this one of the whole wedding party. It would have been too small to really see if I'd put it in the collage and it's worth seeing up close because we had a lot of fun taking our 'teen drama for the WB' photo:
(I was extremely ill with a stomach bug the day before we left for our honeymoon and the day of, which is why I look like that at the airport, in the top left pic.)
Harry Potter Studio Tour Collage:
So, now that we've gotten that out of the way (posting pix has been hanging over my head since the trip) we can get down to business. I'm going to tell you guys a big, fat story - not a story as in a lie but a real, true story. I'm going to tell you this story by way of revealing parts of myself I've never, evereverever revealed on my blogs or social media before.
**Fair warning: this is a long tale and may bore you if you're not interested in my personal life; consider that before continuing because I really don't want to field complaints in the comments.
Since first publishing Moon-Linked I have lived by a simple motto: Fake it till you make it. It's good advice and makes sense for anyone in artistic trades. What it meant for me was to act in every way as if I were a "real" traditionally published author - a professional in every sense of the word, even though I was publishing myself and not seeing any money for a while and otherwise busy living a normal life. It meant that I was not to share the secret of how I survived financially because I was trying to give the impression of being a professional writer, who supported herself through her writing alone. That's silly. And probably everyone saw through it. The closest I came to disclosing the truth was when I wrote on my humor blog about my wallet being stolen from work and in one other post when I mentioned something about being at work all day. Otherwise, it never came up. I kept it separate from the blog and social media.
The funny thing was for that first year, when I published Moon-Linked, I really had no other job besides writing my books. I had just finished the last semester of college where I would actually, physically live on site, and I moved back home to live with my fiance, intending to complete the last few credits of my degree online while he supported us from his production company, where he made commercials, documentaries, industrial videos and so on. For one year we lived comfortably in a small house, where he shot and edited videos around town while I worked on my books and my music.
After a year we moved to Austin, Texas, where we both ultimately wanted to settle. Well we certainly couldn't live the way we had before, with Travis supporting me one-hundred percent. It proved very difficult to transplant his entire business to a brand new market and he and his partner ended up looking for other work here. I, meanwhile, was looking for anything to get me on my feet in a new city and ended up managing a two-location Salon/Boutique to pay my bills. I met a lot of great people and had a lot of free mani/pedi's and waxings over the year I was there. But the hours were long (11+/day) and I found myself too burnt out to work on my own projects. This was one of the reasons it took me so long to write Book Six. So I started looking for something new, something different. And found it pretty quickly. In child care. I became a nanny and found a family that was a perfect fit for me. The days were much shorter but the money stayed the same - the ideal situation - and within mere weeks of starting my new job, the rest of Book Six poured out of me and I finished the first and subsequent drafts in no time.
The best part was I got to watch this wonderful little boy grow up from a 2-month old to almost 2 years. I see him as just another one of my nephews, along with his older brother, who is almost seven. I love children and Travis loves children and we've both wanted to have a family for a long time so I viewed nanny work as gaining valuable life experience for myself. How funny life is...
So we spent a year planning a wedding and then spent 2 1/2 weeks abroad on our honeymoon, then came home and intended to do what I said in my last post, which was hunker down and get back to business as usual. That did not in any way happen.
Let's go back to the honeymoon. We literally spent all our money on our trip. We were prudent with souvenirs, only buying a few cheap Christmas ornaments for ourselves to remember our adventures (oh, and Trav bought a Ravenclaw scarf and Hogwarts gloves for me from the HP Studio Tour) but Europe is expensive, just to eat and take the guided tours and buy tickets to get into places. So we were eager to get back to work when we got home. But I found out pretty quickly that I was sort of screwed. The family I worked for told me they didn't need me the first week we got back. I think they viewed it as a gift to me, giving me more time to recover from our trip and spend some more time with my new husband. Little did they know how strapped we were after our honeymoon. So I was staring down our rent being due in a week's time and having no money to bring in, meaning Travis would have to cover all of it plus the bills till I got back on track, meaning things would be tight for quite a while. It wasn't ideal but I was trying to see the best in the situation, which was that I would get to spend a week working on the book without interruptions.
Then, only four days after our return to the states, I found out I was pregnant. It was surreal and exciting and about a million other things. But it came in the face of being broke. So it definitely hampered our ability to be as freely excited about it as we wished to be. But after that first week, I got back to work and things were approaching the old normal, financially, and it was wonderful to be back with the little guy. I told them right away about the pregnancy because I had already scheduled a prenatal appointment and didn't want to lie to them about why I needed off early one day. So then about a week after working again, the family I worked for informed me that the husband/father was quitting his job to get back to the field he wanted to be in and thus things would be tight for them and thus they wouldn't be able to afford child care anymore. It was sad and scary and I felt every feeling in the book about it. And again our finances would suffer and again our excitement over the wee one growing inside was colored by a very stressful situation.
So I started looking for a new job. I wasn't prepared to be looking for a new job in November, while also pregnant but that's what I was saddled with. The other problem was that because I was pregnant my choices were limited. I needed to stick with child care because I didn't want to get myself into a situation where I was forced to be on my feet all day while pregnant or dealing with unnecessary stress on the job, especially as I progressed through my pregnancy and got bigger. So I applied for new nanny positions. The problem with that was that I would have to lie about being pregnant. If I told potential employers I was pregnant, they wouldn't want to hire me. No one wants a pregnant nanny or someone who would want to bring their own child to take care of someone else's child. Parents want a young, single female with no baggage to take care of their kids. I get it; I'd probably feel the same way. So if I told anyone I was pregnant, they would know that in a few months' time I would, at the very least, need time off to have a baby, or I would want to quit and they'd have to start looking for a new nanny all over again. Who would hire me under those circumstances? Unless they only wanted someone for a few months, which would still pose a problem for me because I would still need work for after the baby came.
So, forced to live a double life as it were, I secured a new position with a nice family and immediately began to worry about when and how to tell them. They hired me about two weeks before I would actually start work for them. Those two weeks were brutal as I went over and over the whole thing in my head. I wrote a speech; I lost sleep over the thought of the potential outcomes to telling them my secret; I invented conversations and defended myself and made many clear points to the imaginary couple. Most of my family and friends advised me not to tell them until the second trimester, which is the normal time that most people announce a pregnancy. But this was a different situation and I felt like waiting that long would be really shitty on my part, because essentially this nice family was hiring me under false pretenses. So I resolved to tell them upon my first day of work and hope for the best. I showed up and got it out within the first two minutes. To my relief and disbelief they were very sweet about it and congratulated me and didn't seem to be much affected by it at all. So I threw myself into the new job, with the new schedule and the new routine and the new little person I would be getting to know, all in the face of some major first trimester fatigue - seriously, I have been a zombie. But I hid it well and did my job well and things seemed okay. I didn't know what we were going to do when the baby came but at least for the time being I had money coming in to pay my bills. We scraped by during the holidays and managed to get presents for everyone, toys for all the nephews and our sweet baby niece, and even those two surrogate nephews I nannied for over the past year and a half.
On Christmas day, Travis got a really bad cold and then gave it to me the next day. It was much worse for me because I couldn't take the meds he took to fight it off. Being pregnant limits the ability to heal as one normally would. On top of this it was Christmas weekend, so we couldn't go to the doctor and talk to them about what I could take. So I had to endure it. Like so many things - like this situation overall - it got worse before it got better. I was so ill I had to call the lady I nanny for and tell her I couldn't be around her baby so I would have to miss work. The next day was no better, unfortunately, and, indeed, I am only just now getting better. (I'm currently operating at about eighty percent.)
Then, on the evening of that second day out sick, while I sat upright, trying to let my head drain, feeling the effects of a 60+ hour migraine (that's nearly three days) plus muscle aches I'd never experienced before because I'd always taken meds that warded them off whenever I've been this sick in the past, and still putting up with a horrible, burning cough, I got a call from my new employer, who very kindly informed me that she and her husband had discussed the situation over the holidays and it really wasn't ideal for them to have a nanny who would be pregnant and then need time off for having a baby in just a few months. They wanted someone more long term, without the problems that pregnancy can bring, like heavy lifting (of the baby and the carrier and so on) and the fatigue and needing time off. I understood completely but it did take me by surprise. So I was back to square one.
I'd just like to point out an irony here. In all my jobs over the years, since I first started working when I was fifteen, I have never been fired or let go from a job. I have always been well liked and respected for my work ethic, my intelligence, my punctuality, and my positive attitude. I have been honored for it - rewarded with raises without asking for them. And yet, now, in my last few weeks before turning thirty, while also being openly pregnant, I have been let go from two jobs. It's funny in a not-so-funny kind of way.
In the typical fashion of any honest pregnant woman, I run the gamut of emotions about this situation and have done since losing the first job. On the one hand, I was sad to leave the family I'd gotten used to and grown to love over the nearly two years I'd been with them, but I was relieved also because I was worried about how I would handle it once the baby came and I was concerned about not making enough money. With the new job, I was looking forward to a new schedule, wherein I would have more time to myself with two days off per week, but also troubled about making less money. And when I lost this new job, I was upset, of course, about what it meant financially, but also, again, relieved, that I wouldn't have to deal with the stress of being pregnant while trying to do a job that is done best while not pregnant (as are most jobs, truthfully). So I am in a weird limbo area where I feel both sad and happy, angry and elated, worried and relieved, and it all just mixes together, leaving me completely wayward, taciturn, and irresolute.
So my husband and I have decided I'm going to try my hand at editing some video for him. I have experience with this as I spent two years editing video at a news station when I was younger and before I went to college. I will have to learn a new program but I think I can handle it. The upside is if we can make this work then I can essentially be a stay-at-home mom and spend my time editing video and working on my books while the baby is sleeping or otherwise occupied. The downside is that money will not be guaranteed or stable by any means because I will more or less be freelancing. But the other upside is that Travis has the experience and the reputation and the resume to apply for all the work and he should have just about any job in the bag once people see his resume and his demo reel, so he can get a lot of work for me, as I will be a sort of junior editor, working under him, meaning he will give me marching orders for a project and I will follow those instructions.
It's an exciting and scary prospect. And one I will need to start right away, given that I now have no other source of income, beyond the paltry sum I earn from selling my self-published books. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I don't write books for the money. I do it because I love it. But meanwhile I still have bills to pay. So this is life for us currently. It's been crazy and up and down and all around. And it has heavily limited my time to work on the book. Keep in mind, my writing time has been limited for a year since we started planning our wedding. The only difference is that now, instead of that whole 'getting back to business as usual' thing, I've just continued to be limited in my time. It's sad but true. I'm getting closer and I don't mind telling you I'm up to the last few chapters. But it will still be a while before I get Book Seven out there. I hope you will all understand now, after reading my long-winded tale, why it's not already out and why it will take a while longer. But rest assured that when I have the time I am working on it and I want to get it out there as much as I hope you want to read it.
And that's the truth and the whole truth. No more hiding parts of myself. It's all on the table. I will keep you updated about the book when I can and hopefully it will stay on track for a Spring release. But don't take that as fact. As I've learned in the last few weeks, nothing is guaranteed. I will do my best to keep this on track because I would like to get the book out before I have my baby, which is due mid July.
I hope you all had wonderful holidays, less stressful than mine and I wish you all a happy New Year!