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The Day Bailey Devlin was Born: or the long, hard labor of love

By the time you read this, I will have published the Bailey Devlin Series. These three books were written over the course of six grueling months. It is a miracle that I am still married and that my children still speak to me. Pretty much, about three months into the process, I morphed into a walking nerve and stayed that way until I typed 'the end'. Conversations around our house kind of went like this:

 Husband:  "What do you want for dinner?"

Me:    "I don't think these books are funny. They're supposed to be funny. I'm not sure  they are funny. People have to laugh when they read them. Or maybe smile."

Husband:     " I'm sure they're fine."

Me:              "I want a taco."

Husband:   "Sounds good. I'll go to. . ."

Me:             "You don't think it will be fine, do you? I can hear it in your voice. You're just

                    being nice. You don't think they're funny, I can tell. I don't think I can eat."

Husband:   "I'm sure they're funny. You're funny. . . (pause). . . you were funny. Before. . ."

 Then he would mumble something as he went upstairs and closed the bedroom door. No dinner.

 I yell up the stairs: "What do you think? About the books, I mean? Being funny?"

 I recall having conversations like this when I was pregnant - just substitute fat for funny. The only difference is that I got tacos when I was pregnant. To be exact, I got giant burritos. I ate a giant burrito and a waddled around the block the day I went into labor. At three in the morning I thought my labor pains were indigestion. Neither was pleasant.

 I swore off burritos.

 I had one more baby then I swore off babies.

Now that the Bailey Devlin series is launched, my literary hormones have settled, I am ready to tell you the truth. The truth is that being an indie author - one who has gone rogue and written outside her normal thriller genre - is just like childbirth and here's why.

 1) Conception: Fun, exciting, and takes place in a burst of extraordinary passion. That's what it was like conceiving Bailey Devlin. My mother asked for some books-with-out-bodies. Not that she didn't like my thrillers, it's just that she wanted to see if I could actually put more than three sentences together without killing a character. I heard that wistful tone in her voice. It sounded like 'will I ever be the grandmother to a book-baby that makes me smile?" Her 91st birthday was in September and Bailey Devlin was her present. It took a few tries, it took some restraint not to kill Bailey off, but eventually the seed was planted; Bailey Devlin was more than a twinkle in my eye.

 2) Gestation: No morning sickness, no sleepless nights, no discomfort. The Day Bailey Devlin's Horoscope Came True came trippingly off the keyboard.  Piece of cake. The Day Bailey Devlin Picked Up a Penny took a little longer and by the time The Day Bailey Devlin's Ship Came In, mine had sailed, leaving me adrift in a sea of doubt. Were these books as funny as I thought? Would anyone really care about Bailey? Was she ever going to pass the bar and find happiness? Who did she really love? Would she have my eyes but her father's feet? Can't they give me something for the pain? Oh, sorry, keep getting these two events confused. We're talking books not childbirth.

 3) Labor: It never goes as smoothly as you think it will. No matter how often you're coached, you forget to breathe. I knew there would be the mind numbing pain but I didn't realize I would be the one inflicting it.  My very patient editor* was not fooled by the fake smiley faces at the end of each email asking, WELL? HAVE YOU READ IT? The poor cover designer* has probably decided that selling insurance would be more fulfilling than ever working with the nit-picking me again. And then there were the frantic emails in the middle of the night begging the formatter* to revise the files because I'd found yet another typo. Think breach birth on that one. I kept wondering if these files would ever turn around and come out the right way.

 4) Delivery: I delivered triplets; three books published on the same day. By this point, I was goofy with getting them written, formatted, covered and published, so I did what any reasonable person would do: I went on vacation and left them with grandma.

 Now readers are visiting my offspring. I hope they love the covers and adore Bailey Devlin and her crew. I hope they laugh and cry because the stories are sweet in a sexy world. They are inspired by people I know and love. Bailey Devlin is me and I think she is every woman. Like an anxious mom, I'm waiting for someone to chuck me under the chin, and tell me I did good, and that they really like my babies.

 Happy Birthday Bailey Devlin. It was worth every minute.

 Thanks to my birthing team:

 

*Jenny Jensen -editorial

*Paul Ziomek - covers

*Steff McDaid - formatting

*Robin Blakely - PR/marketing

*Tod Damotte -  Bailey mini-movie

Tags: comedy, daughters, family, love, moms, reading, romance, writing

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