Brandyn Blaze

Life Between The Scenes

Month: March 2016

Learning To Say No

The other day, I sent away a kid who was trying to sell me a Kirby vacuum. This may not seem like a huge feat, but trust me, it takes more willpower than you’d think, especially for someone who is just learning to say no.

You see, a few months ago I let a Kirby salesperson into my house and accepted the offer for them to clean the floor in one room of the house. Spoiler alert: cleaning that one room actually resulted in a tiny 2 foot by 2 foot square of carpet being vacuumed after having sand poured on it. The entire sales pitch lasted about four hours. FOUR HOURS folks!

Now, I’ll admit right here that I was initially sold on the damn thing until they mentioned the price. There is no way in hell I’m paying $2000 for a freaking vacuum. Of course, they tried to put it in terms of quality and mentioned the “small” monthly payments of $40 dollars a month. Um, nope. When you’re living on a tight budget, that $40 is going to have to come out of your groceries or another more important bill. Not happening.

learning to say no, not giving a fuck

Easy for you to say, Mr. Tree.

I tried all the polite ways to turn them down I could think of, but they persisted. Eventually I felt guilty for saying no and started filling out the paperwork. Luckily, Almost-Husband called as I was signing my life away and talked some sense into me. I backed out of the sale, they left in a huff, and I felt bad for basically assuring them a paycheck and then saying “gotcha!”.

The point is, I’m too nice of a person. I constantly find myself saying yes to invitations I have zero interest in. I accept every request made of me and then I feel overloaded. I do this because I don’t want to feel guilty for hurting someone’s feelings when I say “no”.

Over the last several weeks, I found myself overwhelmed with obligations. There was family to visit, weddings to attend, my own wedding to plan, appointments to go to, errands to run, household chores to do, the demands of motherhood, bills to pay, my damn day job, the blogs, the book….eventually, I had to buckle down and start saying no to things that weren’t absolutely essential or related to my target goals.

And it was liberating.

After reading Sarah Knight’s “The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F*ck”, I am even more committed to cutting out all the unnecessary bullshit than ever before. There is no reason to devote time, money, or energy to things that aren’t enriching my life in some way.  If you haven’t read this yet, I highly suggest grabbing yourself a copy.

 

 

That said, I feel like things are definitely starting to change for the better around here. One small decision at a time.

***This post contains affiliate links. For every purchase made through these links I make a small profit, at no extra charge to you.***

It’s Finally Here! **Book Release!**

“What kind of crazy person just makes up stories and puts them up for sale?” I asked my partner, laughing at the absurdity of the situation. After years of work, my first book release was finally upon us.

We were sitting on our couch, long after I should have been in bed, discussing the last few tasks I needed to complete before the big day. In the span of our conversation I experienced every emotion known to man. I was about to take a giant leap, and it was just as terrifying as it was thrilling.

The whole thing started out with random scraps I had accumulated over the years. Just little bits of dialogue and one-off scenes that I would jot down wherever I was. Some of them were bits I had written while bored in class, more where hastily scribbled notes on receipt tape during my brief stint as a cashier. Over time they piled up, until one day I decided to turn them into something cohesive.

Once I made that choice, my manuscript went through the wringer. I can’t even begin to speculate on how many different versions I put together as I worked toward my vision. I can tell you, however, that over the life of this project I’ve had pages covered in everything from spilled beer to my cousin’s vomit (no joke). I wrote and rewrote and wrote some more, sometimes by hand, sometimes typed. As I mentioned before, this project was a long one.

Through the entire process, I never allowed anyone–including my soon-to-be husband–to lay eyes on it. In the beginning, it was only for me. Then it took on a life of its own. What had originally been conceived as one book turned into a trilogy, and the ideas kept coming. All told, my “Instruments Of Life” romance series will contain a minimum of 6 books. Go big or go home, right?

broken strings book cover brandyn blaze, book release

In my last post, I told you a bit about the first book in the series, “Broken Strings”. Today, I am excited to announce that you can now purchase this installment through Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords. In addition to clicking on any of these links, you can also go to the “Books” tab right here on this site to be directed. to the store of your choice.

If you’re the type of person who prefers a physical copy (I know I am!) you can also purchase a paperback copy through Amazon.

Once again, I would like to thank everyone who put up with me and supported me through this crazy process. It’s been a long ride, but the journey has just begun.

 

 

The Birth Of A Romance Novel

I was somewhere between the ages of 14 and 15 when I snuck my first Jackie Collins book off of my mother’s book shelf. “Hollywood Wives”, I believe it was. I remember feeling naughty as I read it, although I’m sure I didn’t entirely understand what was going on at the time, but it did fuel my love of a good romance novel. From then on, whenever I was in the mood to browse through my mom’s book collection, I chose my next adventure by skimming through the pages until I found something smutty.

Right around this time, I also devoured Pamela Des Barres’ “I’m With The Band”, which may explain a few things, truthfully. But I digress.

Writing had always been a passion of mine, and it wasn’t long before my imagination cooked up all manner of sexy exploits for my characters. Being both a lover of romance novels and an avid fan of anything rock-and-roll, most of the things I scribbled down contained at least one character who was in a rock band. Sometimes it was the heroine, struggling to come to terms with fame (and of course finding love in the process). Other times, it was a young woman unexpectedly finding herself in the arms of a megastar.

Most of it was shit.

However, out of the boxes upon boxes of literary ramblings I accumulated, I managed to find a few scenes that were honestly good. As I stated a while back, these loose threads became part of what has basically been a 15 year process of self-indulgence. A process that has brought me to a most unexpected place.

The thing is, until recently, everything I had written had been purely for my own entertainment. It was something to keep me busy, to make me smile. An escape from everyday life. An outlet when my own romantic relationships were going south and I was too much of a wimp to do anything but fantasize about what could have been. A way to get revenge on those who had wronged me. A way to go on an adventure without having to take any real risk. For someone who has spent the majority of her life wrapped up in her own mind, writing was a natural release.

This is not to say, however, that I never intended on writing a book fit for public consumption. In fact, that was always the end-goal. I just didn’t think it would be this book.

book locked up, romance novel, hidden treasure

As much as I love to read romance, I also love to read horror, fantasy, and thrillers. In my head, those were the genres for me, and I still have aspirations of branching out into those areas someday.

However, as of now, I am sitting in my living room, listening to Rod Stewart, and drinking a Raspberry Lime-A-Rita while I celebrate the completion of the final draft of my first novel, Broken Strings, which is the first installment of a 6 part series that I have been painstakingly drafting for as long as I can remember.

In many ways, it’s your classic romance story. Set in 1986, record producer Maggie Hawke finds herself having to choose between her ultra famous husband, Logan Hawke, and up-and-coming artist Aries Steele. With her rockstar brother, Danni Saint, and her best friend Miranda by her side, Maggie struggles to find her voice in the often dramatic world of rock and roll.

Who will she wind up with? Only time will tell!

I’m super-excited to launch this series and I hope you all feel the same! As of now, the tentative launch date is March 22, 2016. I’d like to say that date is set in stone, but as is often the case in the world of creativity, things can easily get off track if something goes awry.

So far, however, things have been moving along right on schedule. In any event, you can be sure that I will keep you all posted on all book-related developments right here and on any of my social media channels.

I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me through this process. It’s been a long road, but it’s finally coming together! I couldn’t have done it without you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Slightly Drunken Truth

I don’t normally do this.

Sure,  I’ve written the odd post or two after a glass of wine. Who hasn’t? Sometimes, you just need that little extra push to relax enough to do something creative. It’s just a fact of life.

However, tonight is different. After completing the final draft of my novel last night, and then spending the day at work, I came home and picked up the house. I gathered trash, loaded the dishes into my brand new (used) dishwasher, started a load of laundry, and ran the vacuum over the entire downstairs.  Then I sat down to work on the book, and remembered with a smile that it was done.

At that moment, I was faced with a decision. I could start on the revisions for book 2, I could work on writing some new posts for either blog, or I could have a beer and listen to some music and chat with some friends via text and Facebook messenger.

I chose the latter.

It’s been a pretty nondescript night. I’ve danced with my child. I’ve played around on my phone. I didn’t even bother with real dinner, instead opting for a lunchable for my daughter and a can of ravioli for myself, leaving Almost-Husband to fend for himself.

So why am I writing about this?

Because it is important to take time to celebrate your victories, no matter how big or how small. Sometimes, you just need to take a break and relax. Let all your plans and obligations migrate to the back of your mind and just enjoy being alive.

So tonight, that is what I’m doing.

Tomorrow I’ll go to work. I’ll do the shopping and pay some bills. I’ll go to a doctor’s appointment, stop at the bank, and head to the post office to set up a PO box. I’ll pick up my little brother from school and drop off a load of clothes at Goodwill. I’ll come home and make dinner and do more housework and spend time with my family. I’ll maybe remember to promote this post. And then I’ll sleep.

But tonight? Tonight I’m giving myself a much needed break. Just a few hours of doing nothing and being happy. A few hours of being grateful for all that I have and joyous about all that is to come. A few hours indulging in the things that make my life worth living.

Tonight, I will celebrate how far I’ve come in my journey towards happiness.

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