Be Fearless. Be Fierce.

I quit my job to write books. That’s the short of it. I’ll share the long of it over the next few weeks.

Is it risky? Sure. Is it crazy? Maybe. Am I happy? Absolutely.

Here’s the email I sent to the company after my resignation had been accepted.

Remember when you were a kid and people would ask what you wanted to be when you grew up? For a time I would say, “A Dallas Cowboys cheerleader… and a doctor.” And then for a time it was, “Brooke Shields.” But eventually it was, “A writer,” and it remained that way forever.

So, I am leaving The Clymb to be a writer, full-time. I’ve published a few books, made a few bucks, and it occurred to me that the only way to make more bucks is to write more books. I’ll be 40 this summer (I know, right? I don’t look a day over 30! Black don’t crack.) and I think that means I’ve “grown up.”

I’m super sad because I love you all, (especially you; you know who you are), but I’m not leaving Portland so we’ll stay in touch. You can call me (xxx-xxx-xxxx) anytime (except when Scandal’s on) or email me (nina@projectfandom.com). You can also hang out at my website (projectfandom.com) or friend me on Facebook (Nina Perez – I’m the one with this face). You can also buy my books on Amazon. You know, if you want.

I’m excited! I won’t be able to afford Beyonce tickets for awhile. But I’ll just go out there and be my own Beyonce. But, like, the Beyonce of books.

 

Typing Pic

My new job.

Book Buddies

Heart Book Pages

Photo Credit: Flickr/GabrielaP93

She’s going to kill me for telling you this.

My best friend and I love to read together.

We’ve known each other since we were 13. Maybe 12. It’s been a very long time.

But we still love to read together.

In the first apartment I had on my own (a two-bedroom in Bed Stuy with a friend from high school) my best friend and I — both in our late teens — used to lie in my bed, on our backs, and read the same paperback. Not two copies of the same paperback, but the same book. Sometimes we’d wait to turn the pages until we were both ready, but most times if one got a bit ahead it was okay to keep going. This would require us to switch sides, but we made it work. Books I remember reading with her like that are The Firm by John Grisham and one of the Anne Rice vampire book. Maybe The Vampire Lestat.

In our 20s, while living in separate states, we’d read the same book at the same time (separate copies, of course) and make dates to meet online to talk about it. This was before fancy texting and Facebook. I’m talking old-school AOL Instant Messenger.

Read to chapter 3 and let’s meet back here in an hour.

Are you done yet? What’s taking you so long?

I just finished. OMG! What do you want to talk about first?

We would do this all day on a Saturday. All day. You can tell this was before married life and babies came along. What I wouldn’t give for an uninterrupted Saturday to read with my best friend now.

And now, in our late 30s (Shut up. Late 30s are the new early 20s. Or something.), we still do it. But now we have Kindles, kids, husbands, jobs, and side projects. So, our reading dates look like this:

Text With Sophie

We now need two days to commit to one chapter.

Almost 40 and I am so excited to be reading a book with my best friend again.

The Book Review That Makes Me Want to Write Forever

Even though I am well aware that everything isn’t for everyone, it still stings a bit to get a negative review for something you’ve written. And not just written, but created and nurtured. Over time, I’ve learned to react to them appropriately: reflect on what points were made that could make my writing better, remember that everyone won’t like what I write and that’s okay, and then keep it moving. It helps when the majority of your reviews are positive. You feel like you’re connecting with the right audience. So, now I let the 1 or 2-star reviews get me down for about fifteen minutes, and then I brush it off and carry on.

Today, I was in Goodreads updating my shelves (Add me! I like connecting with readers there.) when I noticed that Roommate Wanted (Sharing Space #1) had new text reviews. The most recent one was left about two weeks ago and it made me laugh so hard, I had to share. It’s in Spanish, so I used Google Translate to post it here. The words, and pictures, are all from user Sitahiri, my new favorite reader:

 

I loved it!

Nina, thanks for introducing me to my new book boyfriend: Patrick Murphy. 🙂

 

Patrick Murphy Sharing Space

 

A light reading , a refreshing change …

A simple and uncomplicated plot, but do not misunderstand me, it is exactly this simplicity and the way it flows naturally what makes a great story.

A story with funny scenes and characters with common problems that we all can have.

Chloe talks to her friend and herself, her reaction when she meets Patrick, her conversations with him, it had me laughing most of the time.

In this first part we mostly get to know some of the characters and their families.

Chloe is a fun girl who fights for what she wants, he does not care much preconceived standards of others with respect to race and who is not afraid to speak her mind (well, as long as it is not her mother. With her she uses more finesse and avoids conflicts.)

Then there is Patrick, aspiring actor, but with his feet on the ground. Since we know that is not so easy to get a chance in that environment and has the financial backing of full-time work in what is given his big break. Focused, fun, polite and with a smile dimpled votios 1000 included in the package.

In short, say that the story that unfolds in this first part of the series is like a good meal, no seasoning surpasses others, but that all comes together to form a delicious taste that leaves you with a good taste in mouth satisfied and wanting more.

And…

Supernatural GIF

 

I highly recommend! So come on, give in to the temptation to give it a try to this amusing story.

Tangled GIF

Sweet, right? And how hot is their vision of Patrick? I approve!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to writing.

The Brilliance of Show & Tell

We are approaching the end of my son’s second full week in kindergarten. Even though he’s attending the same school in which he went to Pre-K, the first few days were rough. We suspect it was either due to a growth spurt or just his way of coping with transition, but his sleep pattern got all out of whack. We’d gone through this before, for a few months which felt like forever, right before he started Pre-K in Georgia. No matter what we did, he would go to sleep at a decent time, but wake up at 2 or 3am, ready to play, eat, whatever. This occurred again a few weeks before kindergarten was scheduled to begin.

The first week was a trial. Almost every morning I’d drop off my sleeping boy, placing him in the arms of his teacher, who would hold him while the other children played or ate breakfast. For several days I resisted the urge to just work from home. Thankfully, my company offers flexible work schedules and you’re never questioned if you decide to work from home or leave early. But I knew that the best thing for my boy was to be in school where he’d be with other children, playing and learning, so that his body would naturally find its way back to a regular schedule. It was hard. And I felt awful, but somehow I did it. Encouraged by positive end-of-day reports from his teacher, we both did it.

This week, on Monday, my boy woke up the moment I opened the door to his room. He was cheerful as I got him ready for school, and he walked into the building, holding my hand, instead of having to be carried. He barely gave me a wave before he was headed over to a toy chest, ready to play for a bit before school began. I damn near skipped to my car.

On Tuesday, he was super chatty as we were getting ready.

“How many hours till Daddy picks me up?”

“Um… 8, I think.”

“8? That’s not very many. I thought it would be like, 20 hours.”

My daughter and I just looked at each other, shook our heads, and laughed. What did he know about hours?

As I was putting on his new shoes (Lego sneakers. Everything is Legos nowadays.), he opened his hand to reveal two small Lego figures.

“I have to bring this for Show and Tell.”

“Oh. They’re really small. Don’t you want to bring something that’s maybe a bit bigger? I don’t want you to lose those.”

He just shook his head no. I was so happy that he was just talking about school as a place he was excited to go, I didn’t argue. As we were dropping my daughter off at her high school (GULP!), he explained all the things he was going to tell his classmates about the two toys still clutched in his fist.

And that’s when it hit me how important Show & Tell is. Forgive me if you parents out there have already figured this out and you’re slapping your foreheads at my stupidity. But it occurred to me that Show & Tell is our children’s first experience with public speaking. I was thrilled that he was so excited to stand up in front of his peers and talk. My son is complex. He can be chatty and outgoing, but also extremely shy. I make him blush whenever I show him any praise or affection. He ducks his little head, won’t make eye contact, and tries hard to suppress a smile. Sometimes he’ll even run to a corner or burrow under a sofa cushion.

I don’t know many people who enjoy public speaking. I love it. I looked forward to each speech I had to deliver in public speaking class in college and I didn’t have a problem volunteering to be the presenter in group projects throughout high school. My only fear was forgetting something and not saying everything I wanted to say. Some people are terrified of speaking in front of others, especially in front of strangers. I wonder if those people felt the same way when they were in kindergarten and pondering what to bring to Show & Tell. Is the fear of public speaking something you’re born with or developed after too many publicly embarrassing moments or run-ins with inconsiderate people?

When we got to school that day, the teacher informed me that Show & Tell was Thursdays and that she gave them a theme each week to force the kids to be creative with what they brought in. Otherwise, everyone would bring toys. Again, I noticed the similarities to public speaking class. I told my boy to tuck the two tiny figures into his pocket because today wasn’t S&T day. I could have just taken them to work with me, but I could tell he was disappointed and having them with him was the only thing keeping him from being completely heartbroken. Also, I get home around 6pm and he gets home at 3:30pm. But I also worried that he might lose them or some other kid might take them.

Several times throughout the day I worried about those two little toys. They were part of a larger Lego set that cost us $40. If he lost them, I would probably purchase the whole damn set again just for those two little toys because I am a sucker. (My husband just read this and did his own face palm.) As soon as I knew my boy had been picked up, I called my husband to find out if the toys were with him. They were. Insert huge sigh of relief here.

My husband told me that the theme for Thursday was “Your Favorite Hat.” He took our boy shopping and let him pick out any hat he wanted. This is what he chose. My baby Heisenberg.

Angry Birds Hat

Told you he can be shy.

I’m happy to report that he had a good day. He strutted into school yesterday with that hat perched on his head. I swear I could hear some cool funk music playing as he did. He talked about Show & Tell and how awesome it was. I’m looking forward to next week’s theme and will keep encouraging him to enjoy public speaking. We end up being afraid of so many things in life and that leads to missed opportunities and adventures. I know I can’t control everything and that he will eventually be afraid of something, but for right now, my little shy guy looks forward to standing up in front of a group of people and talking. And that makes me happy for him.

Stuff & Things

A lot has happened in a year.

I started a business with a friend. Then lost that friend and closed that business. As it often goes with friendships made through, and fed by, social media, when they end, people choose sides. Before I even knew I needed to be recruiting, I lost several more.

Good riddance.

I kept the ones who mattered most.

This all happened while I was driving across the country with my husband and children to move to Portland, Oregon. I did this to keep a job I’d held for almost three years, working from the comfort of my suburban Atlanta living room – often times in PJ bottoms, always without a bra on.

So, now I work in an office in Portland’s Pearl District: a hip locale of warehouses turned office spaces, breweries, coffee shops, homeless hipsters or hipster homeless, and cyclists who give zero fucks about where you need to be. There are dogs in our office, a keg, a fully stocked kitchen, a slackline (look it up), and whiteboard walls. I get paid to be on social media ALL DAY LONG. Well, actually, that’s what I got paid to do before I moved. Now, I attend meetings, pitch ideas to the VP of Marketing, and I’m trusted to manage projects with budgets in the six-figures.

At some point when I wasn’t paying attention, I got a career. (And I lost over 50lbs. Fuck.Yeah.)

I go to work with awesome, inspiring people, and I’ve only not worn a bra to the office once. We have Game Night once a month and friends come over for food, drinks, board games, and LOTS of laughter. And somehow I got lucky enough to make a girlfriend who actually like, seeks out my company, and will meet me for lunch or coffee during the week. Those are the days when I practically skip back to the office, rejuvenated by her amazing smile, our laughter, and conversation. Oh, and my son is 5 and headed to kindergarten, and my daughter is 14, headed to high school. EEK!

And while all of that was/is happening, I started a website. When I was left with my previous venture all to myself, though I still loved the idea, my heart just wasn’t in it. Too many good memories with people who turned out to be bad for me and felt I was bad for them. And, to be perfectly honest, I went into it as a two-person thing. Without the other person, I realized I had no desire to write about fruity cocktails, Pinterest recipes, and the many ways you could wear a scarf. Nor did I have the desire to find others who wanted to write about that and manage them.

A dear friend helped me realize that I did not have to be stuck doing anything I didn’t want to do. I truly could do whatever the fuck I wanted. And I wanted to write about the TV shows I loved, and that my friends loved, movies, gaming, comics, and all the other things that made me proud to call myself a geek. So, that’s what I did – and Project Fandom was born.

And it has been a blast.

So, hopefully you understand, those of you who have been waiting for the next Twin Prophecies book, why it has taken so long. I put it on the back burner to start something that didn’t work out, but ended up giving me so much more. And I am ready to finish. And even bring you something new, but more on that tomorrow. The Twin Prophecies: Origins will be available by Christmas. Just in time for the holidays and start of a new year, of new beginnings.

The Twin Prophecies Origins

A few weeks after the loss of friends, when I still did more crying about it than being angry, I finally listened to a conversation my now ex-friend had had about me. One thing continued to stick out, even weeks later.

“I hope Nina gets her shit together.”

I don’t think about it as much as I used to, but when I do, I laugh. Maybe it will enter my mind when I’ve completed a conference call in which I negotiated a contract, or when I’m making plans with my co-workers, or when I’m being high-fived by the VP of Marketing for a job well done, or I’m gazing at Mt. Hood while driving through my new state, or I’m considering climbing a mountain with the other ladies in my office (yes, a real mountain), or I’m laughing so hard that my face hurts because I’m sitting around a table with my family and amazing friends, or I’m cuddling with one of the office dogs in the middle of a workday, or I’m exchanging emails with the producer of a hit TV show and upcoming movie to secure a kickass prize to give away on Project Fandom.

I laugh, and I think, I may not have always known it, but my shit never stopped being together.