How I Became A Publisher and Made My Dreams Come True

5 Prince Publishing

I have been an avid writer since I was thirteen-years-old. I’d like to say that I loved reading when I was younger, but that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t until I was in junior high school that I found a passion for reading. And wouldn’t you know it, that lead to wanting to write.

Well, to be honest, writing though it came naturally, was actually a secondary thought. I wanted to be an actress. Of course, I wanted someone to find me on the street and say, “Kid, you have what it takes.” That just doesn’t happen in the suburbs of Denver. I was moved, however, about the story that Sylvester Stallone wrote Rocky with just that in mine. His movie and he was the lead. Well, that seemed like the perfect answer for me too.

At the time I had also fallen in love with the mini-series. The Thorn Birds and If Tomorrow Comes will forever be two of my most beloved movies and favorite books. They are probably two of the only books I have read multiple times. So, it hit me. Write a book and get a movie deal. What a brilliant idea!

And so it began…

At the tender age of thirteen, I began to write the great, epic, tragic novel. But, I was only thirteen and I didn’t know anything about the walls beyond my junior high. So, as you might imagine, the story grew with me.

My father had given me an old electric typewriter, and I began to fill pages with story. I wrote in notebooks and then transcribed them onto more paper. When I didn’t like the story any more, I started all over. I would go on to write that same story over and over again for the next twenty-two years.

In 2007, I was finally a married mother of five and desperate for some alone time. The YMCA offered that, and I found I’d rather read than watch TV on a treadmill. So, while at the grocery store, I picked up a Nora Robert’s book. I didn’t really know who she was, but I’d heard about her. That year I began to suck down books, reading two or three a week. It was a glorious thing, and it sparked my need to write again.

That year I penned THE END to that book I’d written for twenty-two years and I put it away. That same year I wrote twelve more manuscripts.

I went to my first writing conferences and met like minded people. At the time, independent publishing was still a dirty thing to talk about, so it wasn’t a thought that even crossed my mind, but getting published was. One of the classes I took was about promoting yourself, and many of the tips were to do so before you were even published. I took this to heart.

Soon, the wonders that be had driven a publisher to me. OMG I was going to be published. Let’s make this part of my story really short. Signed and within the year, deal gone really bad! So I thought, I could do this myself.

I was tired of someone promising and not delivering–or paying. I could do what she was attempting to do, and luckily she’d connected me with an editor that made me a great writer.

Onward, in 2011 I opened 5 Prince Publishing with the clear intent to only publish my books under a real business name. See, back then, independent publishing (the more advanced version of self-publishing) was becoming a thing. It would take over and revolutionize the publishing world in the next few years. I had just walked through the door when it opened, lucky me.

So off I went, with my following, because I’d worked my butt off to get one before publishing, and I began to publish my books. Crazy enough, and early enough for massive success, I was bestseller material and I rode the wave. I put out five or six books a year, or more. And then people wanted to be part of it. Chance brought people to me, and I published them. Oh, those first few I ruined because I knew nothing, except to be gracious and give them their books back after I’d learned a few things.

In the past seven years, I have learned and grown with the industry. I didn’t have a degree or a million dollars worth of investors. I started my company just as I did with every company I’ve ever owned, with $1000 and a drive to learn everything I could while being submerged into it.

We’ve published over 160 titles from over 60 different authors in that time. I prefer to work on romances, but even my kid writes fantasy, so we work with what comes in. Many of my authors jump start here and move on to independently publish. Others are very comfortable in the small house environment that I offer.

When I say I’m a little fish in the big ocean, I’m met with, Oh, no you’re not. I guess I’m not making million dollar deals, but yeah, I’m not really small potatoes anymore either.

The lesson I did learn through all of this is that every author has a voice, and it is unique and different. Even though I work hard to be the best author there is, there is room for everyone. What an awesome opportunity I have to give a fresh voice a chance to shine. If they can go off on their own later, well, maybe I gave them that confidence to do so because I gave them that platform. If people stay with me and keep coming my way, well maybe I’m doing something right.

What dream have you fulfilled that you didn’t even know was a dream until you stumbled into it?

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Visit my publishing house at www.5PrinceBooks.com

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TechnoRetro Dads Podcast is one of my #FavoriteThings

Check out TechnoRetro Dads on iTunes! Family Friendly listening fun, taking you back to your childhood from the 70's and 80's.

Check out TechnoRetro Dads on iTunes! Family Friendly listening fun, taking you back to your childhood from the 70’s and 80’s.

Each Monday, grab your cereal bowl and join JediShua and shazbazzar as they reminisce about the past while exploring the future of some of their favorite science fiction and fantasy properties of their youth. Listen in to discussions about the movies, music, games, and comics of the 70s and 80s as they share the days of their youth with their own kids in a positive, family-friendly atmosphere.

If you’re a TechnoRetro Dad, the child of one, or just fondly remember the sci-fi/fantasy properties of the 70s and 80s, then this podcast is for you!

Considering that I was born early in the 70’s I often forget my young childhood was based in 70’s culture. However, when these two reminisce on food, movies, and toys, it takes me right back there. And then, they start their journey into 80’s pop culture, you just want to put on some extra socks, pull up your collar, and jump into your time machine.

This entertaining duo will have you singing songs from your past, remembering those toys you begged Santa for, and they LOVE their cereal! Yep! I didn’t even know there were that many different kinds of cereal out there. Shazbazzar likes his in a chilled bowl, and my husband tried this! It WILL keep your cereal crisper and the milk colder…I’m telling ya! Let’s not forget that they open each show with a series of jokes that have my kids rolling with laughter.

The best part about the podcast is you can listen with your kids in the car. Seriously, this is a BIG plus for me.This past week they had on Super Friend Tony Soehner, which IS my kiddo. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to listen to him talk about Ready Player One, eat cereal with JediShua, and talk about his own book coming out. He loves the retro too, and identifies with all things 70’s and 80’s. (We did something right.)

Check out their website at:  https://www.retrozap.com/technoretro-dads/  for a full listing of their podcasts. You can find their podcast on iTunes and follow them on Facebook!

**Thank you to JediShua for sending me graphics to use, and for allowing me to use their podcast bio.***

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Listen to TechnoRetro Dads on iTunes each Monday for a family friendly journey back to your childhood of the 70's and 80's. | www.thishouseofboys.com

Vionic Shoes are One of My #FavoriteThings

It’s #FavoriteThingsFriday and today I want to share with you my love of Vionic shoes!

When I returned home from Star Wars Celebration in April, I was THRILLED to find two boxes of shoes sent to me from Vionic. Let me tell you, I needed them.

I had made the very conscious decision to wear a nasty, cheap pair of flip flops through Orlando for a week. I knew that I would be paying a hefty price for it too, and I did. See, even though I live in Colorado, I wear flip flops all year long. Yes, sometimes even in the snow. I was thrilled to have a pair of Vionic scandals to try.

rs8455-p87-sr100588-335elation1-pnkomb-lifesty-le-0017-lprVionic shoes are based around Orthotic Technology, made for everyone. I tend to walk on the outside of my feet, and my shoes wear out. With my Vionics, I’m aligned  and balanced correctly, even in sandals.This does more for your body than make your feel feel better. Just think of how often you compensate for aching feet. By keeping you aligned and well balanced, your entire body benefits. The Orthotic Technology is also great for  plantar fasciitis too.

I also received a pair of athletic shoes. I have wider feet, however, I don’t have super wide feet. The problem is that most athletic shoes are made for a narrow foot. Well, let me tell you, after four pregnancies, my feet are no longer narrow. It happens. The athletic shoes give me that fantastic support and comfort. I walk up to twenty miles a week recreationally. I needed something that would take the brunt of that, and not my legs or feet.

If you’re looking for a great pair of shoes, I can’t say enough about the Vionic line. (They aren’t just sandals and athletic shoes either! You can look fantastic and feel great while being right in style too!)

Check them out at ​https://www.vionicshoes.com!

THOB Bernadette Marie January-3

I love Vionic shoes! They are one of my #FavoriteThings | www.thishouseofboys.com

Hard Boiled Eggs in My Instant Pot

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I have been married almost twenty-five years, but I will admit, it wasn’t until maybe three or four years ago that I learned to hard boil eggs without using a cooker. Um, life changing! When my mother got her Instant Pot DUO Plus 60, 6 Qt 9-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Egg Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, Warmer, and Sterilizer, she was amazed at how easy hard boiled eggs were to do in it. I thought, why bother when all you have to do is boil water.

Needless to say, once I used the Instant Pot, I was sold. It was easy, and the eggs peel cleanly.

INSTANT POT

At first I think I was scared of all the buttons. (And this one isn’t even the top of the line. My husband, the cook, really wanted the Bluetooth one.)

But it couldn’t be more simple!

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When you get your Instant Pot, it comes with the rack. Set this in your pot, add one cup of water, and then set your eggs on the rack. You can also buy a the egg trivet, which I have coming from Amazon. This will hold your eggs upright. My mother loves this because it keeps her yolks centered and her Deviled Eggs are prettier.


Searching the Web, you’ll find lots of different cooking times for your eggs. This is dependent on how you want them to turn out. For me, I use the 6, 6, 6 method.

Step One: Add one cup of water to the pot with the eggs.

Step Two: Hit Pressure Cook and set it for six minutes. This means, once it builds pressure, it will cook the eggs under pressure for six minutes.

Step Three: Using the preset Keep Warm function, leave the eggs for 6 minutes before releasing the pressure.

Step Four: Remove the eggs from the Instant Pot and put them in an ice water bath for six minutes.

Step Five: Peel and serve!

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs

I’m sold! This is just one of the great things I love to make in our Instant Pot. What are some of your favorite recipes?

THOB Bernadette Marie January-3

Check out the Instant Pot on Amazon

Making hard boiled eggs in my Instant Pot is a no brainer! They turn out perfect every single time! | www.thishouseofboys.com

The Score is Never the Representation of the Game

The Score is Never a Good Representation of the Game

A well played game is not always the best representation of a good game.

One of my favorite sayings is Sometimes you win. Sometimes you learn. I don’t believe you ever lose.

This weekend we traveled to Chicago where three of our boys played in two different hockey tournaments. Our PeeWees were put in a higher division. The decision was made to still play because it was a learning experience.

It’s hard to be a kid wrapping your head around the thought that you might lose all your games. A well coached team knows no matter the outcome, upon return to regular league play, they will play amazing because they stepped up and met the challenge.

When faced with a challenge, it’s human nature to step up to the level of the challenger. Unfortunately our team did not walk away with any wins. They didn’t walk away with any blowouts either. They stepped up and kept their momentum intact. Equally as important, they kept their heads and appreciated the games for what they were–games with an opportunity for growth.

It’s also human nature to ask, “Did you win?” As a parent it’s equally as hard not to sigh and say, “No.” Appreciating the opportunity, I answered with, “The score was not in our favor, but what a great game!”

Though my older boys are in their own division, the score was not in their favor even though the other team had a player and a coach ejected. They out played the other team, but the score tilted the other way. There is no way to see that when you look at the 3-1 score.

Success as a parent is when our kids can skate off the ice, walk off the field, or leave the court with a sense pride in a win or a loss. When they have pride in themselves a loss will never count. As parents we have to give them a moment to mourn a loss, but ourselves move on from it as well. Winning games do not define our child as an athlete or us as a successful parent. Well rounded children come back from a losing score and say, “Next time I’ll work on this or that.” They will also come out of a win with the very same attitude.

Never a loss, always a learning experience.

New Book Release/Doing What I Love to Do!

Tomorrow marks the release of my 33rd novel, and it never gets any less exciting! I’m blessed to get to do what I love, and luckily it’s been very good to me and my family.

Writing has always been part of me, even when I wasn’t any good at it. Reading was a struggle for me until I was in junior high, and suddenly a new world opened up to me when I began reading. Interestingly enough, it was ghost stories that got me into reading. You would have thought I would have followed that path much sooner, but now the time was right.

The Tea Shop is unique to me as it is my first paranormal romance, but it also is set in Golden, Colorado in locations literally right out of my front door. Though I love to create towns as much as I love to create characters, I find that putting my characters in real life settings that I enjoy is equally as much fun. Hopefully some of my readers will recognize the locations, and to those who have never been to Golden, perhaps they’ll want to visit.

Following your passion, as I have with my writing, has been empowering. I often meet people who wish they could make a living doing what they love to do. The interesting part to me is that since I was 20 I’ve pursued only avenues that I enjoyed. I’ve been self-employed my whole life. If you can dream it, do it. Nothing but yourself is holding you back. I know, lots of times it’s finances that hold us back as well, but no matter the focus of the business I was started, I started it for under $1000 and went from there. I threw myself into it, and by doing so, it had to make a return.

Selling books leaves you vulnerable to the market. Sometimes people just don’t want to spend a few bucks on a book. But I don’t stop writing. I simply change to meet the new demands. 33 books published in 7 years is no small thing. But now I also focus on helping authors learn to promote and publish themselves. I run a publishing company, and I work my blog. As the markets change, I have built businesses that can accommodate that change for myself and my family.

My passion will always be in the stories I tell though. It’s where my heart is, and where I’m blessed to work.

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Seeing the future is a curse that Abigail Weston has carried her entire life. Knowing how and when someone will be hurt, or the whereabouts of missing poeple, haunts her enough to move away from the town that no longer trusts her.

When real estate developer Carson Stone meets the intuitive Abigail, he can’t help but feel the connection to her and wonder if love at first sight is possible, especailly since they share a passion for old buildings. She believes they all should remain, while he builds new ones in their place.

No matter Abigail’s feelings for Carson, knowing that their future is to be together does not ensure them a happily ever after, especially if she can’t figure out what the other side is trying to show her–because in her visions Carson’s future is dark and cold.

THOB Bernadette Marie January-3

 

 

2018 Goals and Planning

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With the arrival of 2018, it’s time to set those goal we been thinking up into motion. No doubt your desk or your planner is filled with things you want to accomplish in 2018. For me, I always start with a healthy mindset for my body and my family. As for my career, I have very specific goals that I’m looking to meet.

It’s not enough to know what your goals are, you have to have an action plan as well. Nothing happens over night, so how are you going to meet those goals before 2019?

When you’re driving somewhere new, most people will look up the directions prior to meeting out on their journey. They familiarize themselves with the turns, the roads, and the destination itself. This is no different than having a personal goal.

Let’s take a look at losing weight in 2018. (Popular enough.) I know that if I want to lose 30 pounds I have to know how to get there. Statistics say that 80% of losing weight is what we eat and 20% is exercise. So I know that just by going to the gym everyday isn’t going to make me lose all my weight. I need to learn how to plan meals, shop for the right foods, prepare the right foods, and keep track of what I eat. In addition to that, I have to cut back on sweets, extra meals, and fast food. I also need to make sure that I’m working out. Often this might just mean adding more steps into my day, or maybe learning to lift weights, or train for a race.

If I implement the right eating pattern each day, paying attention to the foods that I consume, and having a plan, I should begin to see results. If I don’t, then I have to rethink my plan without becoming discouraged.

This year I want to begin thinking of eating more whole foods and less processed foods. I’ve committed to 365 days of yoga and walking. In order to make this work, I add this to my daily calendar and make it something I check off my list, just as I would with all the other tasks I have to complete in a day. I also know that within my businesses, I have certain objectives that I want to meet this year. For one, I want to increase my blog traffic. Not only did I chose to take a blogging course, even though I’ve blogged for years, I make it one of my business priorities during my work day. It comes with a set of tasks as well, all which get me toward my goal, which is to drive more traffic to my blog.

Most people are on their computers, but I do find that writing things down in a planner gives me a visual I just don’t get online. My handwriting showing me my goals is very powerful. Visualizing from start to finish gives me a solid plan. Yes, it might have to be shifted a bit, but that’s all part of the path to reaching our goals.

What are some of your goals in 2018? I’d love to have you share them with us!THOB Bernadette Marie January-3

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Nothing Like Your Kid Reminding You That A “Failure” Isn’t the End of the World

I’m probably not the only one who wonders if there’s a break in the sporting seasons. Hockey season has just started, but I’m not sure when the other season ended.

For a few of my boys, they took the summer off. Then there was the one, who hasn’t been off the ice more than a week in two years. He had power skating lessons. He had hockey camp. And of course,  he would want to go open skate with his friends.

He truly was an inspiration. He had some lofty goals. I found myself envious of his dedication. And when it came time for tryouts, I was envious of his go get ’em attitude.

High school junior varsity tryouts came first.  This peanut is just that, a peanut. At 14 years old he can’t even break 100 pounds soaking wet. That doesn’t stop him trying to outdo 16 and 17-year-olds. He showed up to those high school tryouts, got cut, and was still ecstatic that he tried.

Next  up, Bantam AA  tryouts. Though he understood getting cut from high school  try outs,  this one might have stung just the littlest bit, but only for one moment. There were more tryouts to be had, and he certainly was going after them. Not one moment was lost mourning these two tryouts.

Finally, we were at  Bantam A/B tryouts. He had played Bantam B last year, so she was sure this was the end of the line. But, when he didn’t make the A team, his father and I felt as though we had been stabbed in the heart. It’s funny, how we as parents, take everything 100 times harder than the kid. We knew he had tried his hardest. We knew he had done everything he could to better himself. So why not  our kid?

I probably checked on him that night a million times. Kept asking him if he was okay. He had to be devastated. As it turns out, only his father and I were devastated.

I knew that somewhere there was a silver lining. But when was I going to find that? I kept thinking that Walt Disney got fired from the newspaper, because they said he had no talent with his drawings. Michael Jordan was cut  from his high school basketball team. This kid was going to make something of himself. Could I convince him of that?

The interesting part about this journey was, he wasn’t discouraged. I was doing that to myself. Do you know what he cared about? He got to play hockey. Not only did he get to play hockey, he got to play a lot of hockey. He’d been playing all summer with high schoolers–the big guys. He held his own with those AA’s and A’s. And he was going to set out to be the best Bantam B player ever.

As parents we get so caught up in wanting everything perfect for our kids, we forget to take lessons upon ourselves. Though tryout weeks are my least favorite times of the year, I’m reminded each year of my children’s resilience. Nothing will tear them down.  They truly understand the meaning behind shake it off and go on.

The next morning his father and I mutually realized the silver lining. The team he had landed on was filled with amazing families we had played with for years. And just like every year, once the teams were in place, unrealized attempts through tryouts were forgotten.New goal statistics were started. New travel adventures booked. And I, the mother who thinks everyone needs to fail to grow, grew a little bit when I watched my 14 year old son move on to the next thing unscarred by normal events. Not every kid will go on to the NHL, and that’s okay. Not every kid will make the highest team, and that’s okay too. What matters is they can say I did my best, on to the next, and they move on to the next. We so often trip over our own ambitions, we forget that we caused ourselves to fall. I love that he reminds me every year that you can keep on going even if you don’t get what you were hoping for. It doesn’t mean you give up. You keep pursuing and training. Thanks for the lesson kid. I’m sure that by next year, I’ll need the same reminder, and I know that you’ll be pushing through it to give it to me.

What lessons do your kids teach you?

THOB Bernadette Marie January

How About that Cabbage Patch Kid Craze?

It’s TBT and I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite childhood memories from the 80’s and 90’s with you all!

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Do you remember the Cabbage Patch Kid craze? Oh, my! I remember wanting one. But my mother was not one to go stand in big lines for a toy, and we didn’t blame her…oh, but I did want one. Well, lucky for us, her best friend LOVED to rush the door at 5am Toys R Us special days and wouldn’t you know, she got my mom the dolls. Oh, what a Christmas that was! I was in 6th grade I think, and still…WOW!!! It was one of the biggest surprises ever. She said when she got them, she wrapped them and walked away until she didn’t know which one was which. Mine was a red head, Sabrina Sandy was her name, and I still have her.

Years later, we bought my youngest son a “little brother.” It was one of the Cabbage Patch Premies, and his name is Juan. Juan accompanied little Jack to the hospital for surgeries so many times, the nurses gave him his own arm band. Jack is 12, and Juan still resides with him.

Yeah for the Cabbage Patch Kid! Tell me about yours!

THOB Bernadette Marie January

Plastic Wrap Ball for Christmas Morning for Older Kids

Our tradition was that Grandma and Grandpa would come over every Christmas morning to watch the kids open Santa’s gifts. It was a long standing tradition that was eighteen years in the making. Then…they grew up. Yes, 2016 was the year that Santa didn’t come anymore as our children had aged off his list. So what could we do to make it fun again? The plastic wrap ball game came to the rescue.

I bought some fun items, candy, and added money. Then I wrapped it all in a big ball of plastic wrap. Now, I learned quickly that the ball needed to be many pieces of plastic wrap so one lucky player didn’t get all the goodies.

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This year’s ball is already under the tree and waiting for Grandma and Grandpa to join us so they can unwrap their ball. Many pieces of wrap have been used this year, and next year I won’t skimp on the $1 a roll wrap either. It doesn’t quite stick like the good stuff does.

It’s hard to give up traditions, but it’s fun to start new ones. Kids get older. It happens. The magic doesn’t have to leave Christmas though. It’s a great time to just share with one another. And if you can have some fun laughing too, then it’s all the better.

THOB Bernadette Marie January