I am happy to have a guest post by author Barbara Valentin, who answers my question...
ELF: What was the most difficult thing to overcome on your path to becoming a published author and how did you conquer it?
BV: Me. The most difficult thing to overcome was me. As driven as I was to get published, I am a Grade A certified procrastinator. Granted, with a full-time job and a family to support, there are plenty of things I can prioritize over plunking my butt in front of my laptop and demanding absolute silence.
Thankfully, my guys would have none of it.
Whenever they saw me folding laundry or pulling out ingredients for dinner, they’d ask, “Shouldn’t you be writing?” or “Hey, why aren’t you writing?” Worked like a charm. Some of the time.
Even when all of the day job and familial obstacles didn’t exist, I still had to force myself write – even though I love it…even though I would shrivel up and die if someone was foolish enough to come along and tell me I couldn’t do it anymore.
The biggest incentive I had to finish my first manuscript was a pitch appointment I had requested with an agent at conference I was planning on attending (hosted by a local RWA chapter). Knowing the agent would only be interested in completed (although not necessarily polished) manuscripts, I did my level best to have it in the best shape possible by that date.
I also put a no-fail back-up plan in place. To make sure I wouldn’t slack off or lose my nerve, I got myself a critique partner. A fellow member of my RWA chapter, he and I committed to meet every other week, critiquing each other’s newly written chapters as we went along.
Finally, as a back-up to my back-up plan, I promised myself something really, really special once I typed, “The End.” For me, that translated into a day off of work, breakfast out with my hubs and a shopping spree at my favorite clothing store. For you, it can be anything you like - jewelry, a mani-pedi, a week in the Caymans...
Four books later, procrastination and me are still best buds. I’m not proud to admit I wrote some of my best passages at two in the morning whilst in the middle of an “I’m-not-gonna-make-my-deadline” cram session. Then there were the nights I foolishly chose sleep over writing. I’d invariably wake with a start in the wee hours, my head full of snappy-as-hell bits of dialogue or, more often than not, the perfect “out” for the dead end I had written myself into before I drifted off. And I’d have to drag myself out of bed so I could jot it down before it vanished from my conscience mind.
No, I may not be setting a great example for my kids. I burn my maternal candle at both ends, serve (and eat) way more junk food than I care to admit, and am a slave to caffeine. Is it any wonder my wait-til-the-last minute ways have rubbed off on my boys (Sunday night homework panic attacks ring a bell?)?
But don’t worry. Whenever I see them watching TV or playing video games, I ask, “Shouldn’t you be doing your homework?” or “Hey, why aren’t you doing your homework?” Works like a charm. Most of the time.
by Barbara Valentin
GENRE: Romantic Comedy/Chick Lit
When Aubrey Thomas, a phobic travel writer, must chose between jumping to what she considers certain death from a skydiving static line or sinking even deeper into debt in the unemployment line, she scrambles to find someone—anyone!—who can help her overcome her debilitating fear of heights. Enter John Trelawney, a charming window washer who thinks nothing of dangling by a cable fifty stories up and claims he can cure her. Everything about John makes Aubrey nervous... including the way her heart kicks into overdrive whenever he's around. But, at the end of her rope, she takes him up on his offer. Can he really help her get over her fear of heights? Or will Aubrey find herself free falling...possibly even in love with him?
"So, what's the game plan?" Aubrey asked, still deciding if she had the nerve to follow her best friend’s advice.
What you need is a one-nighter. With a really hot stranger.
John turned to face her, those caramel-colored eyes smoldering in the streetlamp glow. After looking at her a good long while, he said, "You're coming upstairs. With me."
But all she could do was grip the steering wheel even harder and avert her gaze to the car parked directly in front of hers.
Damn that Teddy.
Everything her best friend had said earlier was spot on…and Aubrey knew it.
While she was still deciding if she had the nerve to go through with it, she felt John reach over and slide his warm, strong hand behind her neck, rubbing it ever so gently.
Her pulse quickening, she drew a deep breath and squirmed, "John, I—"
Before she could finish, he withdrew it. "I understand. Be careful going home. I'll call you first thing, all right?"
There was no mistaking the disappointment in his voice. All she could do was give him a quick nod.
Then she saw him reach for his door handle. "Thanks for the ri—"
"Ya know what? Yes."
He stopped and looked at her. "Yes?"
Turning, she locked her eyes onto his. "Yes, I want to come upstairs with you. But, again, no—"
John reached behind her, grabbed her bag, and scraped out, "No relationship. Got it."
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Author of the bestselling Assignment: Romance series, Barbara was named "Indie Star of 2015" by Publishers Weekly. A member of Romance Writers of America, she looks forward to the day when her to-do list includes "Send Oprah a thank you note" and "Accept Godiva's request to be a taste-tester."
Social Media Links:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The tour dates can be found here