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0:00:11.5 S1: Hey there, welcome to Dear romance writer, were three writers who always deliver happily ever after is offered questionable advice for all of your relationships, work and life problems, earnest.


0:00:23.7 S2: Branton parish and I'm seeing... We have a great show for you today, we have on the Podcast, best-selling author, Penny Reed, which is very exciting. Now, I don't know if you remember this, penny, but you and I actually crossed paths on to... I had forgotten about this and I remembered I had a reader, I think, tell me about it, and then I reached out to penny that they had ordered a copy of one of my books, small change, and that in the middle, for 50 pages on... There was a bared pages that were really from a different book, and then I like came... You couldn't tell what the book was 'cause I didn't have the title on the top of the park, and so I posted a picture that they had sent me like, who knows what book this is from, and it turned out it was from one of your books and so then we did have a way for these monster-like Frankenstein copies or book babies like what can do a noisier getting that.


0:01:33.6 S1: I thought that was the coolest thing. I love it when somebody recently got a Tejano and they opened it up and it was Trastevere again, it's the same book that constantly interrupts other people's reading experience, it's like being work


0:01:49.8 S2: Role, you're like the last... My God. So people were being penny red rolled. Yeah. Anyway, I'm delighted to have you here personally, to be able to look you in the face and say how funny and cool I thought that thing was, but will you tell us a little bit about yourself other than the fact that people are getting read rolls by your... Boots have to make a meme of myself like...


0:02:17.5 S1: Yes, have something incredibly irritate, perhaps just talking and then I sent to people and then the rear or I could sing the Rick Ashley song, which would... That might be illegal in terms of the Geneva Convention and torture. Okay, so about me, I'm Kenny read and I write romance novels, and I love doing... So prior to writing Romans norges, I worked in bio-medical research specifically were pediatric or diseases and Type 1 diabetes research, preventative studies for that, and then I started writing, I guess in 2012, not writing over all the writing, romance in 2012, and then my first book was me and her false human and I loved it so much, I decided to continue. And that brings us to now. So it's kind of like a sign. Tell Jada Aaaa. Now, yeah, I'm here.


0:03:16.6 S2: And if you wrote all of those books just to get on our podcast, and I... Tottori was the long game and now I can retire, so this is me announcing my retirement, don't know, there are more intense... I just used to book this week, believe it or not, I just released the book, the name of the book is homecoming king, I just released if today is so two days ago, I guess, and I want... And I have something else to show you. This is the book, but


0:03:52.0 S1: One of my peers made this...


0:03:55.4 S2: It's actually this book, but prostate in Box book for an... You guys is just so worth going over to YouTube and you... Hothouse, that's really amazing. That's an amazing reader.


0:04:10.7 S1: Yeah, yes, I have. Awesome, I shouldn't file things up and do a show until I had a reader once who made me a winterthur blanket, which was... It was a coil with all of their silhouettes and the different squares, and I just lost my mind, I started cussing in it, I have an even aetius


0:04:31.3 S2: Emotionally overwhelmed. A cost and I cry, I learned that about myself. So we all have our triggers like that, I like that. So before we started recording, I was talking a little bit because I'd heard a story about how come had gotten started writing romance, and it was a big fat urban legend. So I wanna know, I would love to hear in place of our little sidecar about what happened this week, I would like to know the truth. How did you get started? Why did you do this? Why did you do US to yourself? I don't do...


0:05:11.7 S1: Well, when I used to work at the Epidemiology Center, I've always written... I guess I should start that way, but my jam was what I was... When I had met the books that I had been introduced to by my older brothers, and they read a lot of fantasy and science fiction and then obviously whatever they assigned you in high school and college, and so I read classics and whatnot, but I never had romance and I had a work colleague, she was a biochemist where I worked... She loved romance novels, and what she said at the time... So this was back in 2011-2012. She was having a lot of difficulty finding romance novels about people who reminded her of herself, and so that would be individuals who were socially awkward, book-smart, but not social smart. Yes, that was me. And so I talked to myself, Oh, well, I could write that. Because that described me. So I wrote her specifically romance novel because I was writing all the time, and I just finished up the last lines, fiction, whatever novel I had read. You, that will never be published. Nobody will ever read. And she read it and she really liked it, and so we had made a bet that she liked it, she had taken out to dinner, so she took me out to dinner and I had to stick in a lock stereo bottles of wine


0:06:36.8 S2: Because it took me so... To write the book, and I felt like I earned this dinner. Yeah, yeah.


0:06:45.4 S1: I saved it and I put it away and that was that, and as she wanted her book club to read it, so she asked it, could put it up on Kindle for free. So I did, but I thought I'd leave it up for a couple of days so her book club could download it, and I did that on Pie Day, it was in March 2013, to put it up for free, and then a couple days later, I just wanted to check to make sure those eight people had downloaded it, and I had been downloaded something like 8000 times, and people were leaving reviews and they were reading it, and I was horrified. I like, how do you read this book? Because it wasn't part kinda range, I told my Houser or body, he's like, No, we better wait a minute, it... So she was the one of you talking me into leaving it up, and so I did, and that's how I got started was... I guess it was an accident, so that's the...


0:07:48.3 S2: That's... That's better at 2013 was a year for Heather. I'm also super elated by that because I also wrote my first book for a friend and it got published in by an X in that room. In the same year. The same year. Yeah, all my math. That's so cool. That is amazing.


0:08:12.8 S1: 2013 has some pixie dust over it or something to


0:08:16.3 S2: All of you on your books for friends. Yeah, I read that in


0:08:21.1 S1: A... Just for my... I had like 30 followers on my Tumblr blog, and so they wrote like a 200-word thing and they were... I keep writing and I just kept going until it was 200000 words. Yeah, that is so great, Titanic.


0:08:34.7 S2: 'cause I've never... Not what I have never said that. But they also did it for the same reason as I like that either. So I went to visit a friend from grad school who had moved into a new place and taken a new job and didn't know anyone, and she was one of my only friends who also read romance because I made her... And she was like, I just wish I could read a romance novel about someone in my situation, and I was like, I'll write... You won and then I did. I sent it to her chapter by chapter, over an email, just like, I'm a big nerd, you're a big hard... Here's a book on writing, You Tube merged together. I love to like, You've made my year. I don't think you understand how much you've made my year because... That's wonderful.


0:09:17.3 S1: I'm beside myself are


0:09:19.3 S2: So I causing... But it's just that I've told that story a number of times, and I think sometimes people think I'm being arrogant about it, but it's just what happened and it wasn't at all purposeful, it was just something fun, and I really enjoyed the process, and I love the fact that it was gonna end happily because you can't take that...


0:09:46.8 S1: I think that when I started... When I finished the book and then I started reading romance, it was such a relief to read. But that ended happily because most of my experiences in life didn't have happy endings, meaning that was always... Anyway, we'll get into that 'cause this isn't therapy, but it was just let to be able to count on reading a story with a happy ending, a happy, hopeful ending. And it made such a difference in my life, and I felt like when I started reading romance and found the answer, if that makes sense, like.


0:10:23.5 S2: Oh, 100%.


0:10:25.1 S1: Yeah, totally. Anyways, we're so glad you're here today. Let's get into our one letter and see if we can offer some advice, who actually pulled this from our favorite sources, one of our favorite sources, am I the asshole on Reddit, which is just an endless font of stuff. This one is actually... Yeah, this one, I'm curious what you guys say about this, I might be Ashlar telling my kids, I'm not okay with calling their step-mom mom, two years ago, my husband left me for my best friend after 20 years of marriage and they got married as much as I love... My husband has a fair... Wasn't a surprise. My mother in all told me on our wedding day that men like him don't stay loyal to women like me... She was right. Oh my goodness. Yeah, her hurt the most was the paternal... Would hurt the most was a portrait at it...


0:11:16.2 S2: What's the mother-in-law that said it. It was his mom. Okay.


0:11:23.0 S1: This is a nine-layer cake, I'm just gonna tell you every day, what hurt the most was the betrayal from my best friend, I love this woman and considered her sister, since then I've gone No Contact... NSA had to think about that. No contact from both of them. Any communication regarding the kids goes through a third party, if they're an event, I don't go there, my kids know this and have respected this boundary, they know not to mention them to me, and we celebrate birthdays separately. The kids are now 16, female, 17 male, 17 female, 18 female and 21 male. Recently, when we were all at our house, the 16-year female asked me if I was okay with her calling her that Mom, mom, she said since she will have a half-sibling soon, this will make the hats not confused. And part of the family, I told her, no, I am not okay with that woman being called mom, but she could call her if that if she wanted to, just because I don't like it doesn't mean she doesn't have to do it, I won't be mad at her she calls her mom, the other kids started getting mad at her, but I shut them down, my mother-in-law called me screaming, saying I'm alienating the step-mom and I should have told my daughter that I'm okay with it, I have an honesty policy with my kids, I'm always open and honest with them, just because I do not personally like something they do doesn't mean I don't let them do it.


0:12:39.1 S1: For example, one of my 17-year-old son has a lot of piercings and I personally do not like, but that does not mean I forbid him from having them. Yeah. Layers. So do you think she soon a punch


0:12:55.6 S2: Cable people in this letter is a... Sorry, I'm just like, This is why I was the same problem as I just stresses me out. You know what I like, this is real stuff. This is a non-fiction and a... This is a beer after... And what's interesting is when I... As we were reading, 'cause I hadn't read it before, I kept expecting for things to go a different way, I don't think that this person is the asshole at all, I think that's exactly the right way to handle it, and I feel like being emotionally mature enough to know the distinction between, I am not okay with it, I don't like it. And you also can still do it, but if you're asking how it will feel about it, my feelings will be negative


0:13:42.3 S1: And so healthy. Intercede.


0:13:45.5 S2: I feel like that is, Oh my god, that's such a great parenting lesson.


0:13:49.7 S1: It's so healthy to eat.


0:13:53.6 S2: That is a powerful thing to teach your kid... Right. Alright, well, let me ask this first, is there anybody here who has that parents... I had step here. Okay, hold on, I got account. I've had three. I'm like, Hold on, I got a con. I love you, mom. Who should never ever listen to this podcast, so if you were listening, Mom, go away. As I think that there is only speaking, having never been a step parent, but so only seeing it from the kid level of it, there are so many weird emotions and layers to having two blending families, and so police because you've had completely different experiences. There's a ton of that with that on top of it, so then... And not even counting like the eight layers of crazy that came with this... Just the one question of, Am I, am I wrong? Am I the asshole? There's no way this woman is the asshole, she's handled it very responsibly. I think in being able to show the difference between, you asked how I would feel, so I'm answering that, but at the same point in time, I'm giving you permission to basically take your own path on this thing, I think that would be really, really hard.


0:15:28.5 S2: And then add to it, the layers of the fact this was somebody she was married to for, I'm assuming 20 some years, considering the age, the oldest... Yeah, but there's a baby on the way, that it's her best friend, and that it was so emotionally awful that she went completely no contact, which I'm sure actually it probably made easier because at the age of the kids like... I don't see how you could do that if you had really unkind in all of those layers, I can't even imagine how hard it would be to have that attitude for your kids to be able to say, Yeah, that would really bothering me, but you... Go ahead and do it as opposed to just a melt down, right? To either period.


0:16:25.3 S1: On the other aspect, did you all see that picture of that woman in Washington State who caught her husband cheating her Munshi and she has the biggest smile on her face, looks like the model photo she co her husband, she... On the other end of the spectrum is, this is all I can think about right now. So this woman caught her husband shooting, had enough emotional intelligence to be like, I can't even be around you without creating a scene and that would be painful for my children, so I'm just gonna remove myself, so you have this woman here who's asking if she's an asshole, in this woman catches her husband cheating, uses her photo album to... Oh god, how do I say this? She used her photo album to destroy his balls and then was arrested and her man shots like I photo album, I'm not like a phone for one of those, like the... Her physical photo album at a destroyed one.


0:17:22.0 S2: If I was writing that, it would have been their wedding album... Sorry, thank you. It was her wedding of Waterloo winning a home that's... Alright, you gotta look to that feeling, but you have this one regard with all this thoughtful Intelligence and she's asking if she's asshole, and then you have this woman on the other side, he's like, I'm not bases the asshole, that's why I just turn this Palisades human beings are so fascinating how they run this heinous like... Yeah, and you know, she's never gonna go and read it and ask if she's an A is for destroying my husband's ball sack in the wedding.


0:17:59.8 S1: One gonna Harte thing that jumped me in this, other than everything was the mother and


0:18:10.5 S2: Other than the bag of cash.


0:18:13.4 S1: The mother-in-law, one telling her he's gonna cheat, and two chastising her for not embracing the new relationship, and it's like That woman there has been conditioned to accept Boys will be boys, that... That's a woman who's like, You know, there's a subtle nuance to what she said to her on her wedding day, which was men like him on women like you... So it wasn't sheet on women, it was cheat on women like you, so she's in a... You're not good enough. That's what she was saying. Wow, yeah.


0:18:50.9 S2: I'm really curious what the men like him and the woman like her were in this mother-in-law's mine, if it's about looks or money or status or personality, I'm just not in a... It's not relevant that I'm... Carillon much is, is a projection, because that is what she thinks, Sasha, she is accepted, she was stepfather to her, so everybody's got... Everybody's marriage is different, and some people, it's not a big deal, they will cheat and then we'll come back and that's an okay place for them, and I don't love their merge, so their decision... But if that's sort of how you're raising your child, and then I see a lot of enabled her from the mother-in-law I see. Rationalizing and enabling, and especially because it's not even the... Well, if she's no contact with the dad, with the ex-husband, right, so maybe he can't call her, but I'm assuming if you really care, you could find a way... So to have the mother-in-law calling and saying that she's Ariadne step Oberoi, have a question for all of you.


0:20:03.5 S1: Were you, as you were listening to the letter constructing and plotting out Romans novel for this woman to give her a happy... Yeah.


0:20:12.0 S2: Totally. Oh yeah. Yeah, awesome. This is what I'm your pairing on mother, and this is what happens next year. You know what, I also wanna make her either... Yeah, I wanna make the best friends with the wedding book lady. Yeah, so maybe they meet in the middle, not a domestic violence assault, which we do not... Noranda the asshole for sticking up for myself and being super emotionally intelligent


0:20:45.9 S1: And an amazing parent.


0:20:49.6 S2: Those are the people that you buy the house, the plot of land with, and everybody gets their own little house and you share the backyard and you like old lady retired together that's like my dream. So yeah, and that's what I see.


0:21:02.4 S1: Question. Yeah, sorry, no, this was like the other topic in this... Let me go ahead, Sinead. Ring you go first. Survey as a step-child. Did you ever call your step-parent just Mom or Dad? Never.


0:21:21.9 S2: However, number when I was a giant bread of the child. So there's that. But however, I did call my best friend's mom in high school, Mom, and that used to annoy the hell out of my mom and I never really got it... I understand better now being a mom and having kids and all of that good stuff, but no, I did not do Do


0:21:54.8 S1: No. But I have called my mother-in-law mom, just because I don't like calling her by her first name, I hyena, my stepmother. So it's mom and her first name, 'cause I used to call her Miss first name, and then she signed a card once mom and her first name, and so I started calling her that, but I still slip up sometimes and call or miss my sister and I both do, but my mom would have lost her mind, even though I didn't live with my mom, but she would have lost her mind if I call anyone else mom...


0:22:23.0 S2: It's interesting because it does bring in that whole idea of the meaning and the emotional meaning behind names, relative names, there is a tradition of people being cousins when they're not cousins, there's ants and are not technically answer uncles, and there's found family, and there's blood relatives that you would not pull over for... If they were on fire. So it's so complicated when it comes to that stuff. But for some reason, and I see it with mom almost for that, and I don't know if that's my bias I bring to the table being a chick, but there doesn't seem to be as big of an issue with multiple dads as... I don't think I've ever seen it where a dad being upset because somebody else... You see the locating somebody else, Dad, do you...


0:23:23.4 S1: Yeah, I've seen a lot on TV shows or on her film, they're like, Oh my God, he called my kid called her boyfriend or her new husband or whatever, dad is like a big plot point in some stuff I... Right.


0:23:35.2 S2: See, I'm just watching the rois. There you go. I'm just married to an an emotional Irishman, and I'm personally quickly... So


0:23:43.8 S1: You're totally right about the cousins and uncles, things in the African-American community also, you often hear the term play cousin or play in the area, and that's just... It's like your parents best friend's kids, they're not blood-related to you, but you grow up with them and you know them almost better than your blood-relation cousins, and so they're your cousins. Yeah.


0:24:06.8 S2: Families, kind of crazy. I actually think, I'm curious what you all think about the teenage daughters reason for asking the mom kept... When I call this up, my mom 'cause she's old enough that I understand if you're like three and you got a step-parent or five or whatever it is, but I feel like at 17, if you get a new step parent, there's no me personal need to call them mom, necessarily, your mom's in the picture, which is why I was kind of surprised that it was kids that turned out to be that age, but then when the idea that there's a new baby coming and this person wanted to make the new baby feel comfortable, I'm torn on it, because in one way, I think one way, I think it's really sweet as an impulse, and in the other, I was like, Honey, nothing is gonna make this baby in your family situation is normal, certainly not calling your stuff your mom's ex best friend and now you're a step-mom mom, so I was curious what you thought.


0:25:07.0 S1: Yeah, no, I agree. I think she is being sweet and she asked, so she's not like, you know... Yeah, but I am curious if she's bonded with the step-mom in a way that she didn't feel bonded with the baby coming and stuff, she's not the youngest as she has her... She is the youngest. Yeah, so I think it might be a big sister Sandra, I'm like, Okay, I wanna be the sibling that this little one looks up to you, kind of thing, well, and she also...


0:25:34.3 S2: There's that person, right? If this was her mom's best fronts woman since she was a kid and always... 'cause you know how someone is... Her parents best friends can be the ansan uncle out uncle, you can tell them things that you wouldn't tell your parents, or they're the ones who will like, we just to sit... But don't tell your mom. And so I wonder if for these teenagers, at the exact moment that they are maybe wanting to do things that their own mom wouldn't approve of, they see this new step, see basically grown, it's kind of more like a friend than a parent, and if they really did have some loyalty to this person, I don't know how... I think if I found out that someone had been basically the cheat on my parent, I would not be super warm to them, but... Yeah, I care.


0:26:29.8 S1: I'm wondering if this 16-year-old was prompted by somebody, meaning like a tattoo, especially with the mother-in-law coming in and wanting to rip apart the ex-daughter-in-law, it seems to me like the ex-daughter-in-law... He might be as well. She separated herself knowing that it was best, and it's gotta be frustrating to whomever is the manipulator in this entire... 'cause there's somebody right here, verse manipulator, that she has removed herself so completely so they can't emotionally manipulate her anymore, and doing so through the dome would seem like the likely thing to do, usually when people are manipulating like this, they don't think to themselves, Oh, can not manipulate, but they have this back, he was hole within themselves that they need to fill, and they can only do so by making other people miserable, and so therefore that's what they're looking to fill. So I feel like the 16-year-old was probably manipulated into it and prompted a call like the other three kids against it, since the other... For kids are against that, that's the one that the manipulator... Probably the mother-in-law, I'm gonna go with her.


0:27:44.8 S1: I'm gonna think it's her... Won't you say something to your mom? You should ask you what were your mom is being difficult or something, or do you think it would be better if you call on someone so mom, because that would make it easier on the baby, and you wanna make it easy on a baby tinting, that seems like that's not too far fetched. Yeah.


0:28:04.6 S2: Yeah. Such a weird, random reason too, and I'm sorry if you guys hear the entire pack of my dog parking right now, my youngest child out for school, so he will take them outside too, but yeah, I do wonder about the prompting and whether that is because I am as somebody who's had a 16-year-old daughter. And again, it could just be mine, but there wouldn't have been a question. It just would have been John. Right. So to me, the fact that she asked the question says she herself is unsure, so because it 'cause at least doesn't seem like it is approached, like the 16-year-old approach thing, Hey, I'm doing this now and I wanted to tell you my reasons why... Blah, blah, blah, it's... Are you antithetical


0:29:00.1 S1: Knowing how everything came about knowing that this was her mom's best friend and everything, I mean... Yeah, yeah.


0:29:07.7 S2: That's a lot. That's okay, can I throw a wrench in things because now he's histamine reading this book that was so fucked up, I called Darling rose gold, highly recommend, and it is a book about this, it's told from the point of view of the mom and the daughter in alternating chapters on alternating timelines, and it starts when the mom is just getting out of prison after five... Being in prison for five years for child abuse and she had my chosen by proxy, and so she was basically making her daughter ill since childhood to get attention, and finally was like the daughter realized what was going on and reported her and she... She was put in jail and now she's getting out of prison and the daughter comes to pick her up and takes her back to his house so they can stay there, and you're like, Oh my God, this poor, poor girl is like... What is a more book... Does she matter her? It's not her replacement. No, it's not murder, but... And you go back and annotating a murder, but what I said, I would have enjoyed it being a murder able... That would have been good for me.


0:30:25.5 S2: So that you keep to the daughter when the mom during the time she was in prison, and you realize very, very slowly... And it's really well constructed, and I will not spoil or anything, you realize slowly that the daughter is actually not nearly as much as a victim of a victim as you have thoughts, and then the stories are interwoven between the two of them, and the end is very satisfying, I think. But what is... And I know I'm only asking this 'cause I just read this book, What if the 15-year-old daughter actually eats her mother, and the entire time has known that the best friend and the father...


0:31:03.0 S1: I was thinking that too. Actually, I sort of hit was the mother that I wanted... Not you like the one.


0:31:12.0 S2: And then she's like, Now, she's so innocently asking to try to seem nice, but actually this is like an elaborate torture module to make her mother feel as terrible as Costco, just thrown it out there. Nobody can deliver a shift like a teenage girl, we know that that having a life experience with teenage girls, nobody delivers a ship like a... Like a day. Oh my goodness, all right. What's the name of that book in... It's a marinos Golders, coldstre, O-B-E-L. So good at having regrets right now, well, this is why I Romance is On know these things, I take up space in my brain reader, I'm gonna be thinking about it in the aisle seven months from now, runs are gonna get a message from me, Twitter, I'll be like, You hate us. Become, I'm glad I can make you laugh or a... Heim gonna fix it. Just for Penny. Okay, so basically the end of the book is that, that it was a terrible nightmare that the daughter was having a fever, a favored state, and she wakes up and her mother is just putting her hair back and I... Norland, then there's a puppy in the park and they find it and it doesn't have a home, so they adapt it, and everybody has...


0:32:40.8 S2: That is not what happened


0:32:44.7 S1: At... She's not buying it. In like a minor, that would be the end of you growing it, written it, you believe be puppies and cats and... Yeah, it's not okay


0:33:00.5 S2: For one more story to another... Let's talk. So we're gonna move on to our chat topic, and I am at the end of when we're recording this, this was the last week of my mentorship program that I belonged with, an inclusive romance project does a really cool mentor program, if you guys are ever interested, Carmella runs it, and it'll probably start up for sign up again soon, but can... And I have had a great... Geez, I don't even know how much... I think it's been three months. And so last night was our last conversation, and so it was really sort of pre-willing about different stuff, and she asks about setting goals and what I consider setting goals, and then also we really talked about success and the definition of success and how individual... And at least to me, it moves and changes constantly, so we got a lot of brain power here in the room today, so I wanted to know with you guys, what is your definition of success? What does it mean for you? Both work and life. And is it constant? Or does it change? Yeah, so just a little light topic to go with the best Fran cheater and crazy Mohan.


0:34:24.8 S2: So yeah, right. Penny court. Okay.


0:34:31.9 S1: I think for me, there's always been an immovable definition of success for myself, but then there's a central theme that has never changed, and then other things I always do change, like the quantitative part of it changes, meaning the goal posts always change, but the qualitative part of it is removable. And for me, the definition of success is feeling like I'm... I'm doing a tangible good in the world, I don't know how to put it in a really great way to success, feeling like I'm making a difference in some way, and that whatever success I have, qualitative or quantitative... Mostly quantitative for me, so numerical or monetary that I'm multiplying it, I'm not just sitting on it and keeping it for myself, or those that I value or love, but that I'm putting it back out there and re-investing into other others so that they also can... So that would be the central immovable definition of success for me, but then like, Oh, I want to sell so many copies of books, that's always a goal post that has shifted since I started writing. And I remember the first time I had a 100 page sales and lost my mind, I was like, That's amazing, 100 people wanna read this book like on purpose, and with every time who increased it always just felt so amazing to me, and over the pandemic, I think...


0:36:23.0 S1: I feel like I'm not the only one who lost a bit of themselves over that time period and to two cocktails, and so that are coming out of that now, but what I also lost was the wonder of success of monetary... Non-monetary, quantitative success, and I felt very numb to anything that I accomplished, and so I guess for me moving forward, what I would consider success is getting that back is the wonder of the gratitude rather than feeling numb to it, so I think that absolutely... That my definition of success has changed over time in that way, and now it's really just about writing books that I love and feeling that wonder of other people reading them in 11-2, that would be my definition of success right now. But constant to all that has always been wanting to make a tangible difference in the world and multiply what I have received and giving back... Okay, that's it. I'm out.


0:37:32.6 S2: Read out. He said, We've been re-rolled again, that's around... No, I love that 'cause I don't remember where I read it one time, but it was talking about the mindset change of getting up and going into work and not saying I have to this, but I get to do this, and just the different mindset that enforces you to have... Because, yes, what you said about losing some of the wonder of that, I think that's Geert there with you. With a lot of the stuff that has happened in the past year and a half, I don't even know how long it's been. 'cause it feels like forever. So yeah, I got... I feel that a lot. Alright, so you... How about you guys?


0:38:26.6 S1: I think for me, if we're gonna go to the two-pronged approach of success, one is quieting the voices that I've carried with me my entire life that told me I wasn't good enough, it didn't have enough talent was irrelevant. Was this or that? Every time I achieve some personal goal, finishing a book, publishing a book, Getting a good review, making a list, whatever it is, it's to shut up those voices, to shut up that voice or whatever, and then the other side of it, not to piggy back too much on what Penny said was, even as a song writer, my whole goal is to touch another heart or give someone something that they can grasp on to as something that relates to them or move them, or validate something in them, or whatever, and being able to do that with books, because it's a long form of that, that's my other goal, that's just the second prong of my success, so one is shutting up the voices, and two is reaching people, and the rest of it is icing. I think the rest of that is, is Sinai


0:39:39.0 S2: Love that... This is a question that I never consciously think of until it's asked in a context like this, but I think... I have always really wanted my days to be my own, like Freedom, I think has always been the thing that I have wanted the most, an achievement or... I think that when people rank what are the things that you want for me, freedom, which means getting to do what I want when I want. It has always been really high on my list. And I do understand how Brady that sounds.


0:40:21.3 S1: Not at all. Thank you.


0:40:25.2 S2: But I really, I feel that in such a deep way, and so all of the... To me, I think, I guess success is really about creating a life where I can do what I want when I want it, and writing books is one piece of that, so... That is what I wanna do. And when I write books, I get to do exactly what I want. Like a book is the physical manifestation of over I want, I get to make the world every time I reword according to own... Yeah, the election around. Exactly, and I think there's a reason why so many of us are control freaks to... Yeah, it... Beautiful way to control the world. Yeah, and it's interesting because I'm actually so much less of a control freak than I used to be, and I wonder if part of that is proving to myself over and over again, each book that I can exert control in one area has made it feel less necessary for me and others. But yeah, I feel like, I feel like six that I think of success as being much more about how I get to spend my time than about then applying it to the things with which I spend my time.


0:41:34.3 S2: So I think if writing books wasn't what I wanted to spend my time on, no amount of success, I could make the New York Times Best Seller list and not care if what I actually wanted to be doing was being a painter or something, and I feel like my desire to write as and flows, I have a ton of hobbies, I'm such a... There's a nice word for it now, a multi-passionate individual, I used to just feel like I could get fucking mine 'cause I just chaoyang what I want all the time. But it's really like I love doing so many different things, and so there are some days where I wake up and I'm like writing... No, ma'am. That is not what I wanna say. And because it's my job, some days I do it anyway, in other days, I'm like, I'm going to the thrift store and I'm gonna go sit under a tree or whatever the thing is, but I feel like that is my number one measure of success is like, Am I living a life where I get to do what I want when I want it, a reasonable amount of the time, and I do feel like in terms of success with my books, I want them to be meaningful to people.


0:42:39.2 S2: Because I was a kid who was a reading Kid, voraciously reading Kid... Writers were my heroes. I love the books and characters so much, and if I could give someone like even one person, what those books and characters gave me as a kid... That is amazing. And so, whatever anyone writes me or tells me like I really identified with this character, or if I feel like so and so was my best friend, I'm just like.


0:43:07.2 S1: Yeah.


0:43:07.6 S2: Same. No. Well, I have, I go in two prongs, but I go in two different fronts that we all do, I go in the practical from and then I go and be more of the feeling problem, believe it or not, I do have a feeling wrong. I know it's scary to think about and shocking, but for me, for me, books have always been like the good time, you know, it's the stress reliever, it's the escape, it's the happy place. Really? So one prong of me is wanting to be able to deliver that for somebody else, because that is fucking magic is what that is, and it's amazing, and it's hard, and it drives you nuts, and it makes you cry. But we do it because we love it. So I think that part of it is... One part of what gets for success for me is to be able to... For me, success is that feeling when you walk away from your keyboard, you've been in a few state and you realize they've written a billion words and time went by in five minutes, and you look out and it's been a whole day... That is the best feeling in the entire world, is a river to me, I love that.


0:44:29.7 S2: So to me, that's a super successful day, but on the practical side of things, and when can... And I were talking about that, I was like, Look, I grew up. We didn't have hardly any money. So being able to earn enough money to pay my bills is such a huge part for me, and it's not a success thing because I went to get lots of stuff, I like stuff, but it's not about that part of it so much as it is people who grow up food insecure, and then they stop by the store every day because that makes them feel secure. Me knowing that I can pay my mortgage makes me secure, so it makes it so that I can do the really awesome stuff that I love. So for me, it's like a practical side of things, and I don't know what to call the other side of things, what we as call that, like the touchy-feely and feelings, that side of things. So that to me is success. And yeah, I agree with PEA completely. The quantitative stuff, the number stuff that changes, like how many books do I have to sell for me to consider it a successful launch, how much does royalty check have to be...


0:45:40.2 S2: For me to feel like I'm doing my job well. And I do think also there is... I think there is also a point where I feel successful if I am getting better at my job, so I feel the books are improving as I go along, and sometimes that makes writing harder the longer you do it because you learn more like you start off... Not realizing all the stuff you're messing up, but you're having so much fun. It's amazing, right?


0:46:10.4 S1: And then as you keep going on, you realize, Oh God, I miss that up again, so getting better with each book is, I think is also within that level of success for me, a definition, I think in our industry, especially this time of year, so I've seen a lot this week, all of the best of lists are coming out and seeing a number of posts are like, just because you're not on the best of list, don't put yourself down, don't compare yourself to others and all that stuff, but I mean, everyone does. Almost everyone does. And it's tough because you're looking at things that happened for and two other people, and it's easy for people who come from the place that I do sometimes it was like... People just saying, Oh, you're not good enough, or whatever. Whatever, to internalize all of that and then pile this, you not making a list or you not getting a sale or whatever it is, into that, and us getting down on yourself, I think quantifying success as a list or a contract or whatever is a slippery slope to go down. So I try to discourage authors that I meet from going that down that path, 'cause you'll never write...


0:47:23.7 S1: You'll get to the point where you're just like, Well, why bother? You know what I mean? And what I... And a lot of times it's just like, it's not feasible. What I mean is how out New York Times, for example, taking New York Times list as an example, how they curate the list is for some people, it's just not possible to hit the list. So a good example, this would be Jennifer or I was just gonna say, I ate lister on the New York Times. And so that should be a good message to people that I don't make your goals making a list, whether it's a best of or it's a best seller or whatever it is, because sometimes it's not, it's just literally impossible for you within the confines of how you're operating or who your publisher isn't, or whatever it is, it's just gonna be impossible, so, banging obtainable goals, whether they be, again, quantitative or qualitative, making sure you know that your goals are actually obtainable... That's important too. Not because you should came down, but because Karo much you want it. Unicorns don't exist. It's just not gonna happen for you. So if that's your goal.


0:48:40.5 S2: I mean, unless you're a geneticist and you're prospering tonner A and a horse, and you just set your expectations appropriately, so I have a new definition of success and it involves in our wall and a water with the dream. I never seen that topic, there's a one square cochere, it was like how unicorns were made, there's a horse grazing, and then it just is no normal popping his head up from the water and it's like, I'm gonna fuck that, but I've that and I was like, What am I think that's hilarious? That's more... And so I think that's such an important point to make, what both of you are saying, because what's so many oral three, you were saying is that what so many authors sometimes don't understand is the reason that sometimes authors just share those achievements because they're happy and proud and that's awesome, but also like I know for me, whenever something like happens that is good for one of my books, I am sharing that only to try to sell books, and I'm sure this isn't true for everyone, but... Yeah, I'm happy and yeah, I'm proud, but I can be those things on my own, I have no need to share that, and in fact, for me, when I'm really proud of something, I tell no one, 'cause I love having a little fire burning in my heart, but when it happens, I wanna share it because I want my books to seem successful, and so I want people to look at like, Oh, so and so gave brown a good review.


0:50:14.6 S2: Like, I share that because I want them to think, well, if this person gave her a good review, maybe I would also give her a good review on it, or marketing is persistent that I think that explanation for those things that is not about bragging. That is not about trying to make anyone else feel bad, and that isn't even about sharing a personal achievement, but that is really purely about marketing, so I hope that new authors also can hear that and be like, Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah, well, and I think also, and I don't know how specific this is to romance genre, but romance that authors have to be their own high people... Right, you absolutely do. That is part of the business, whether you're traditional or you're self-published or your hybrid being your own hit person, even sometimes if it's just you on your kitchen floor really getting yourself going, or if it's online or whatever it may be, sometimes you have to be that person... And that's just part of the business side of it.


0:51:18.2 S1: To me on... I'm all about celebrating each milestone, whether it's finishing a manuscript, turning it over to your editor, hitting the publish, whatever it is, I think celebrating those small successes, and I hate calling it a small successes 'cause it's not small, everyone says they can write a book, but not everybody does. Everyone says they're gonna publish, not everybody does, so you celebrate those things however you want to... I remember a couple of years ago, there was an author who I don't know how long she's been writing, but it's been a while and she was sort of lingering below mid-list and then she made miles and then she started moving up and he's moving, book not a household name, but just moving books to the point where she was making enough that her and her husband built their dream home, and so she took her readers on a journey of like, Here's the plot of land we bought and here's the foundation, and people were chastising her, for doing that, she was rubbing in people's faces and I was like, Do you understand how hard she had to work to make this dream that they had come true, like Why would you...


0:52:17.2 S1: Anyway, so yeah, celebrate in, wanna celebrate, but I think, yeah, making pennies and making your goals obtainable and realistic, and there's nothing wrong with having a pipe dream of being on the cover of whatever Magazine... That's fine, right? But yeah, making a goal that you know, you can achieve what I do is I set different goals for each year, so each year I gain this year, I'm gonna do this, and then when I read that... Cool, so next year I'm gonna do that and then I meet that goal or the stuff that I know that I have, if I work, I can do it


0:52:46.2 S2: And I are... That's okay too, that I think that's sometimes a really hard lesson, at least for me, but when you just set a goal and you don't meet that goal, I think that I try and because I fail all of the time, so I try and look at that as an opportunity to be able to see, What can I do differently? What can I learn from this? Where did I go instead of this place? Was it actually better? Is it... So trying to be a little analytical about it, like I didn't do that, but I did this, and that's really cool.


0:53:22.5 S1: So next year, I'll go to that kind of thing.


0:53:29.4 S2: Gosh, we ranged really far in wife her, this is a... I'm gonna just decide that we're done now because I feel like we couldn't possibly go higher. I read, Thank you so much for being here with us. It was a genuine pleasure, and you tell our listeners where they can find you, remind us of the book that the new release that you had... All that good stuff.


0:53:55.8 S1: Sure, I just wanna real quickly make a plug for something, I have an inn that I manage called Smart pants romance, and the focus is on on Voices authors or diverse tries, responsibly told, and it's an incubator, and all the money that we earn through it, we actually re-invest back into the authors and helped them form relationships and try and help them... Help get them where they want to go. So where I'm gonna tell people to find me is actually where I'm gonna tell people to find those books and support those authors, Martians, romance dot com, and the books I'd like to push people to get... If you're gonna start with one, I would... I think everybody... It's universally loved. It's an amazing book. It's upside by Chelsea Edwards. It's probably my favorite book I read and thought it helped me a lot get through the early part of the pandemic, but it's a beautiful book, she's an amazingly talented an offer, so I'm gonna plug Chelsea Edwards instead of talking to non my cookie. So that's what I'm doing.


0:54:59.3 S2: So there you go. We love


0:55:00.6 S1: That. Marianne dot com.


0:55:02.5 S2: Years dot com. Everyone go check it out. Well, thank you again. Thank you, thank you all for having me and I'll try not to read. Well, you at any point. No place to a welcome, it's really much to be looking through all of my books now, and thank you listeners who joined us for another episode of Dear romance writer, remember said That's your questions. We love doing amid assholes, but we would even prefer to answer your questions, you can find us on dear romance writer dot com, we have a form that you can fill out totally anonymous, or you can hit us up on any of the social media platforms. Let us know what you wanna hear us talk about, ask us your questions, and we cannot wait to give you some questionable advice and hope you find your own happily ever after. Thanks, Yol.


0:55:58.4 S1: Well, Athan, thank you so much for subscribing to Dear romance writer. Remember to keep something in those letters in dermatitis dot com. We can't wait to tell you what to do.


0:56:12.2 S2: Your romance writer is part of the frolic Podcast Network. Find more podcasts. You love framed podcast.

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