Over a year later…

I was shocked to see that I hadn’t published a blog post since December 2015. Needless to say, a lot has happened since then.

In the past 15 months, I’ve moved to a new city, changed jobs, increased from a part-time to a full-time student, lost over a hundred pounds, had my heart broken in the greatest way, and stopped writing altogether for most of my absence. Not many people want to talk about the daily struggle of a positive mindset, but it is very real. There have been many days and nights that I’ve broken down, that I’ve cried myself to sleep, that I’ve questioned everything, including my own purpose for existing.

The hard truth is, I’ve had to learn and to accept that I’m not superwoman, that I can’t do it all, and that I need to accept the things I cannot change. This past year-and-a-half has been the best and the worst of my life. It’s opened my eyes in so many ways, and broken my vision in so many others.

Focusing on the positive, I know who I am. I know what I’m made of. I know what I’m capable of. I know what I bring to the table. I know what I deserve. And, finally, I know what I want in life, and writing is a part of that.

Just this past month, I’ve finally picked up a pen and paper again. I’ve resumed working on a story I had started many years ago that began tugging at me to get written.

Additionally, I have picked back up on edits for the Vamp Chronicles. A lot of the story remains the same, but there have been some major changes to the details of this series, details that I felt needed to be altered to align with the message that I want to send to everyone who reads and loves them. (I’m in the process of getting the rights back from the publisher on these titles.)

I don’t have release dates, and I don’t want to make promises that I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to keep. But know that you are on my mind and in my heart. These characters have slowly been chipping away at the pain of this past year, and are an outlet I’m happy to have connected with once again.

To the readers I’ve lost, the readers who have remained, and the readers just discovering me, thank you. There has never been a single moment that I didn’t appreciate you. I know absence can create question marks and cast doubt, but rest assured, I am so incredibly grateful for each and every person that has ever read even a single sentence in any one of my titles. Thank you!

I don’t know what tomorrow holds. I don’t know a lot of things. But one thing I do know is that you will start to see fresh content from me in 2017, and a few old friends will be rediscovered in a brand new way as well.

Fingers crossed and prayers going up that it proves to be worth the wait!

-Christin

Advertisements

Update

I have always been open with my readers, with most things, and I don’t plan to change that. I appreciate each and every one of you on an indescribable level. I wouldn’t have achieved the level of success I did without you.

But things have changed drastically in my life.

Some of you may be aware, others not so much, but back in July, Amazon changed the way it paid its exclusive authors. Instead of paying a flat rate per borrow, they went to paying by the page. I would have been alright with that, but they took it a step further and only paid authors for the verified number of pages read by each reader. So, if a reader borrowed a title but didn’t read it that month, I got paid nothing. If they only read twenty of one-hundred pages, I only got paid for the twenty pages they read. And, if you kept your kindle on airplane mode all month yet read my titles, I wouldn’t get paid for those pages either.

The results were disastrous for me financially. My income was slashed by over seventy-percent, and, suddenly, writing could no longer be my full-time job.

Fast forward to today and I work 2 1/2 jobs, am taking classes, and do odd jobs here and there on top of writing still. I won’t lie and say it’s been easy. To be honest, I have some regrets in being exclusive with Amazon, but I can’t change what happened. All I can do is pick up the pieces and take it day by day, sometimes hour by hour.

In the wake of all that transpired with Amazon, I ended my contract with them and have since re-established relationships with other distributors, with plans to utilize more in the future. Frankly, though, my number one enemy these days is time. I never seem to have enough of it. I work twelve-hour overnight shifts and immediately go to a day job for five hours. I go home, shower, change, spend a few minutes with the kids, sleep, and then start all over again. I do online courses on the weekends and write when I have a free moment amidst all of that.

That is why my releases have slowed down. That is why I haven’t responded to comments and messages. That is why I’m hardly ever active on social media.

It’s all a double-edged sword, though. I have to do this to financially take care of my family and others, yet the longer I do it, the longer it will take for writing to become my full-time career again. Because that is my goal.

As for new releases, I can’t give you anything affirmative, even with my publishers, who have been incredibly understanding through all of this. (I can’t praise them enough!) I can only tell you what is done, published or about to be published.

SHIFTER WONDERLAND

Book 3 of Black Fall Bears is in here. Unfortunately, I have not had time to finish writing book 2 of this series, hence why it’s not available, and I can’t tell you when it will be. But I do hope you enjoy Lora and Stone’s story, and all of the others in this collection. You’re getting 12 BRAND NEW, novella-length titles for ONLY $0.99. You seriously cannot beat that price! But snag it now because this puppy won’t be available past December 31st.

Shifter Wonderland Flat Cover

BUY IT NOW:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iTunes

ONE SOLDIER: From Letters to Love

While some of you may be familiar with the first three titles in this book, you haven’t read this version of them. There are a few expansions and it’s been turned into a sweeter romance, taking on a fresh feel. The One Soldier Series is rounded out with book four: One Note. It stands out from the rest in many ways, but offers the wonderful ending you all have come to expect from me.

Side Note: I believe I saw a comment or message somewhere asking whether One Note will be available individually. As of right now, I don’t believe the publisher plans to release them individually, but I will be e-mailing them today to double-check. In the meantime, if you would like to wait until February 2016, the One Soldier collection will be available in print in bookstores nationwide and via Amazon.com.

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 3.46.53 PM

BUY IT NOW:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iTunes

MAKE ME YOURS

This title is well outside of my erotic norm, but I hope the message comes through loud and clear at the end. This title is not for those who are closed minded, as it contains content many would be uncomfortable with. But, I would encourage you to give it a try, the same way I encouraged my review team to. You can read their reviews for an honest opinion to help you gage whether it is worth the risk to you. Worst case scenario, the book is cheaper than a cup of coffee these days at only $0.99.

Slide1

BUY IT NOW:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iTunes

HOLIDAY BUNDLE

Releasing December 15th, 2015

Grab all of my past holiday titles in one set for one super low price. Curvosity, Her Xmas Present, Merry Christmas to Me, and A Were, Bear & Mistletoe are being bundled for the mega fantastic price of $0.99! If you haven’t picked up one of these titles even, then nabbing this bundle is still a steal for you.

Slide1

*I will be posting buy links on my author Facebook page on Tuesday.*
_

Over the next month, in an effort to make things easier for me, you will see a lot of individual titles disappear, because some are due to my publisher and because others are being boxed for streamlining purposes. My website address has changed and the website itself has slowly been undergoing an overhaul as well, which includes the removal of past content and the updating of current content. Nearly every page is being modified in some capacity.

At this time, I am uncertain how often I will be posting on here. If you all want to keep up with me more regularly, I am most active on Instagram, although I suck at checking DMs, and I started a YouTube channel a couple months ago; both of these accounts are geared towards body positivity.

Once again, I want to say a BIG thank you to every one of you, for your patience, for your understanding, and for your ongoing support. THANK YOU!

I hope y’all have a wonderful holiday season full of many reasons to be merry and bright!
– Christin

P.S. Review Team, be prepared for your inbox to be inundated with sets and series.

Where have I been?

I’ve started and stopped this post what feels like a hundred times. To be honest, I’m not sure how to explain where I’ve been because it’s not my story, my medical journey, to share. But, essentially, for over a month now, I have been in the hospital all day, every day. The first 3 weeks, it was nearly 24 hours, only coming home to shower and change. Still, I am there every single day. I am not able to work well while I am there. I attempt to, but, frankly, it’s loud. And when it’s not loud, the noise, the fears, the worries, in my own head are distracting. The journey is not over either. There is still a long stretch of road to travel in his recovery.

Beyond that, Tuesday is the one year anniversary for my children’s grandmother’s passing. Every minute I am met with silence, my mind wanders back to a year ago, back to those difficult days leading up to her passing. I remember it all so vividly, what I was doing, what I was wearing, what we talked about when she was lucid. I remember the way she felt as I lifted her and moved her around. I remember the feel of her bones as I hugged her. I remember it all, every minute detail, but especially her last breath. There is nothing more gut wrenching and awe inspiring at once than to hold someone, to watch as they take their final breath.

The way that I deal with things is to simply push forward. It’s not that I ever forget; it’s that I choose not to think about things most of the time. I do this for multiple reasons. First and foremost: I never want to be a bitter person. Dwelling on the negative in my past will not make me a better person today or tomorrow. Rather, it will tether me to the bad times, it will weigh me down and it will destroy the opportunities I have in the present. There is no point being stuck on a time, on a point in time, that you can’t change. It’s all about the Prayer of Serenity.

No body has the perfect life, despite what appearances may attempt to convey. The life it looks like someone leads on Instagram is just that 99% of the time: looks. My life is not perfect. I am not perfect. But I am trying to perfectly balance things the best I can. Admittedly, I am failing horribly right now, but I am still trying.

So, what have I done, aside from stare at scrubs all day between monitors beeping, the TV blasting, and the occasional unsightly scene? Work. Believe it or not, I have been working.

YOUTUBE: Not Just Another Fat Girl

I’ve decided to branch out, beyond social media, beyond my website, and beyond my books. I’ve created a body positive channel where I can post messages, much the way I would occasionally post body positive blogs on here. These are messages, words of encouragement, to you, from me. They are messages I wish I could deliver in person to you. They are the words I wish the entire world could hear. And the first video is an introduction to me, to the channel, and to my thoughts, my views, and my hopes surrounding the hot topic of body image. You will get some very personal snippets in there, much the way you do with my books.

The first video is very rough, but I hope you deem it worth the watch. CLICK HERE to watch it!

NEWSLETTER:

It’s still in the works.

REVIEW TEAM:

I have 5 slots remaining, for those that are interested in joining. – For those of you who have joined, I will send out your 5 complimentary titles as soon as I am able to catch my breath from everything.

NEW RELEASE: Her Sailor

This is a deeply personal title for me. It is NOT a lighthearted read. It contains heavy subject matter. It is short yet intense. It is compact, yet, hopefully, powerful with its message.

Slide1

HER SAILOR
Military Quickies, Book 4

A BBW Contemporary Military Title

It was one bad decision.
It was one mistake they both had to live with.
Now they have one last chance to save their marriage.

Three months ago, plus size Remy chose her sister over her own husband. Now her sister, Rory, is on her deathbed, having attempted to end her life, and Remy must face her choices head on.

After three months of separation, upon hearing about Rory, John returns to his wife’s side because, frankly, he’s a decent man, and it’s the right thing to do. But what starts out as nobility soon becomes determination.

Could the person who tore them apart be the one who brings them back together forever? A lot can happen in three months. A lot more can happen in a single night, though.

Buy or Borrow it Now: AMAZON

_

MY SCHEDULE:

I will continue to be at the hospital all day, every day that I do not have an event, and even on those days, I will likely be there around those preplanned itineraries.

July 31st – August 2nd – I am an attending, participating, and signing author at Indie Bookfest in Orlando, Florida. Feel free to find me and say hi!

August 7th – August 15th – I will be out of town, huddled away somewhere writing my little heart out with a super sexy, super talented author who shall remain nameless for the moment.

August ? – My sister is preggers and will be popping in the middle of the month sometime. I’m the DD: designated delivery-woman. Meaning, she will kick her hubby out of the room before she kicks me out of the room when it comes time to deliver my nephew.

August 24th – I will be celebrating and crying because my children will be back in school, but I will officially be the mother of a middle school kid. (I could feel more grays sprouting as I typed that.)

…I’m sure there is more that I should relay. I know there was more that I wanted to say. But, frankly, it’s 1am and I’m running on fumes. I will be working on things behind-the-scenes, but, rest assured, I never truly stop working.

I hope y’all have a wonderful week! – Christin

Dear Anonymous

Slide1

I’ve openly discussed body image many times in the past, specifically speaking to confidence. (A couple recent ones can be read HERE and HERE.) Major corporations have run campaigns as of late regarding body image, entire conferences are dedicated to body positivity, movements have been made in size acceptance, and, the bottom line is, our bodies are being talked about, discussed and dissected more than ever before.

But not always the way they should be.

It’s no secret that I’m fat. I’m not just pleasingly plump. I’m extra curvy with a side of extra curvy. I shop strictly in the plus size section, although I absolutely avoid the granny plus size section. And, I’m not ashamed of it. I’m not ashamed of my body. Every imperfection is a story, a tale of strength and triumph. How could I hate a body that has carried me through 29 years, 25 of which I hated it, I abused it, I even cut it on purpose? Very few people know this, but I used to cut myself because I hated my body that much, because I was that angry, that upset, that depressed. Because I felt trapped. I didn’t look at my body as a beautiful vessel that had gotten me through surgery after surgery as a child; I looked at my body as the enemy, the reason why I wasn’t popular, the reason why everyone hated me and spewed horrible words at me. I victimized myself in the worst way, and, instead of healing, I only caused more harm, more damage.

Often, we make the mistake of assuming that thin equals healthy. Likewise, we make the assumption that fat equals unhealthy. For instance, did you know that Halle Berry and Nick Jonas – thin, fit, “healthy” people – have diabetes? Further “proving” the point, Penn & Teller’s show, Bullshit!, did an episode on obesity. (You can watch it HERE. – Warning: they curse… a lot.) In it, they did something they referred to as the “Fat Olympics.” They put men who were all over the obese side of the BMI chart against someone at the top of the normal range. Guess what? The “fit” guy lost every single time.

Judging a body is like judging a book by its cover. Just because the cover is pretty doesn’t mean the story is, the pages inside are. Reversing, just because the cover is awful, (and, sweet cherry pie, have I seen some horrifying covers), doesn’t mean the story isn’t worthwhile, isn’t engaging, captivating, and awe-inspiring.

Your cover may not be what the world deems as ideal, as perfect, but that doesn’t mean your story isn’t worth reading, that you’re not worthy enough, undeserving, of popularity, of acceptance, of love. You shouldn’t be condemned to the dark, cobweb filled corners of society simply because you don’t meet the standards of others.

The funny part? They are so self-absorbed, so vain, that they don’t even stop to consider that they may not meet our standards. Because, yes, I am fat, I’m not what society believes to be healthy, beautiful or acceptable, but you’re darned right that I have standards, standards that not everyone will meet.

The difference? I don’t condemn them for it. I don’t alienate them for it. I accept that their standards are not my own, that their moral compass points to a different North. It doesn’t mean they aren’t worth knowing, aren’t worth a conversation. It just means that, while I could love them, I would never want to be them.

That’s the other shocking part of it all. I don’t want to be anyone but me.

For twenty-five years, I was angry. I was upset and hurt that my family hurled fat curses at me on the regular, that the ones that were supposed to love me the most, didn’t. I wasn’t good enough. My size cancelled all merit. My thinner sister was a troublemaker, but she wasn’t the one they punished. Because she wasn’t what they feared the most; I was. It took me twenty-five years to realize that they didn’t hate me, they hated what I represented. Everyone in my family is body conscious. They chronically sought, and still seek, the perfect size two illusion, and because I didn’t join them in the quest, because I didn’t strive to follow their manic example, I wasn’t worthy of their adoration, because being a successful fat student still made me a failure because of a single adjective. Still to this day, I’m loved, my accomplishments are acknowledged, but I’m not loved unconditionally, because I don’t fit their mold, because I don’t walk through the store admiring the thin women more than the products around us, because I dare to love myself as I am rather than to withhold love until I’m a size two. Because I’m the one who stands out in the family photos, twice the size of any other woman around me, and yet I hold my head the highest.

It wasn’t easy to get here. The journey is hard. It’s difficult to rewire your brain, to change what you were taught to think, to feel, and to believe. It’s hard to stop believing a lie you’ve held as truth your entire life.

Where do you start? How do you start? How do you turn your back on all you’ve known? How do you defy the people who raised you? Where do you gain the courage to give them the middle finger, to ignore every single back-handed compliment, every single negative slur, every single dirty look?

It starts in the mirror.

I grew up in church. We bounced around, never staying long enough for me to get too comfortable in a single congregation, but I learned enough at each one to build the solid faith-based foundation I hold tight to today. Every church preached the same scriptures, but they spoke of different truths in the same words, forcing me to decipher them for myself. Beauty is the same way. It’s perceptive; everyone interprets it differently. My family will always attach a ‘but‘ to my beauty: she would be so much prettier if she lost weight, if she did this, if she did that. My ex-husband said I looked nice, but then asked if I would ever lipo my thighs. What they all forget, what I had forgotten even after spending hundreds of Sundays in a pew, is that the Bible says that our body is a temple, and we are to treat it as such. What isn’t explained in verse, or gone into extensive detail about, though, is the definition of the ideal temple.

Look around you. No church looks the same; they all vary in size and structure. No temple is draped the same; they all vary in opulence and decor. No religious gathering place is treated with an equal level of respect. Synagogues have been burned to the ground, not because they weren’t pretty enough, but because they represented, they promoted, difference. Meaning, those that worshipped within those walls went against what others deemed ideal, sensible, believable, praiseworthy.

Being fat, having stretch marks, having a body full of flaws does not mean that I don’t treat it like a temple. Likewise, it doesn’t mean that it should be burned alive either.

Because beauty is perceptive. Jessica Simpson’s show The Price of Beauty took her and her friends to a remote village in Uganda where they deemed fat beautiful. The fatter you were, the prettier you were in their eyes. (You can watch that episode HERE.) In China, if you are over 30% body fat, not only are you a disgrace, you are not eligible to adopt a child in need and have other restrictions. (What polar opposites!)

So, which one is right and which one is wrong? Which continent’s beliefs, perceptions of beauty, are justifiable, are acceptable?

Both.

We are all entitled to our own opinions. We’re all entitled to our own perceptions.

But that doesn’t mean they always need to be voiced, need to said aloud. There is a time and a place for everything. Additionally, I grew up hearing the phrase, “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.” Even though my family doesn’t always practice what they preach, I take their wisdom with a grain of salt and then dissect it for truth, for beauty. These days, I try to find the positive in everything, even in the negative.

It’s rare that I don’t find the beauty in people. I seek out the beauty the same way I sought out the beauty in myself: one by one, piece by piece. My journey began in front of the mirror. Bit by bit, day by day, I chose something new to love about myself. It could be as small as a freckle or as big as the span of my hips. Study something long enough and you’ll find something to like about it. Study something long enough and you’ll see things you didn’t at first glance, you’ll see details that were dismissed, details that change everything.

When a child begins to lose their baby teeth, they are left with gaps in their mouths, gaping spaces that show caverns of darkness and tarnish what is deemed as perfect. We don’t yell at the child, curse them, admonish them for a temporarily imperfect smile. No, we often find it cute. Their temporary imperfection adds to their endearment.

Slowly, I realized that uniformity strips away individual identity. How could I find my child’s imperfections worthy of adoration, deem my imperfect children worthy of love, of praise and of acceptance, how could I find my children beautiful while still acknowledging their flaws, yet I couldn’t do the same for myself? For twenty-five years, I held tight to a prejudice against my own body. I hated the very things that made me unique, that made me who I was. I didn’t find my identity in my fat, nor is my identity tied to my fat, but, my beauty is. I’m not saying that if I lost hundred pounds tomorrow I wouldn’t be beautiful, that I wouldn’t love myself the way I do today. I’m saying that I would be a different kind of beautiful, and my perception would have to change with it.

You can love someone and not accept them as they are. My family does. What I’ve done is I’ve learned to love myself, as I am. I’ve learned to accept myself, as I am. Does it mean I am perfect? Does is mean that I have met my own standards? No. I’m ambitious and want to achieve so much more than I have, do so much more than I have. It simply means that I refuse to punish myself for not being more than what I am capable of being today.

I’m not going to lose a hundred pounds by next month. In fact, I don’t plan to lose weight at all (and my doctor says that’s alright for now; my prescriptions say that’s not possible right now.) My worth, my beauty, is not tied to a number, though. It’s tied to what I see in the mirror each day. And today, I saw an extra curvy woman who pays all of the bills, supports three children, two of which are special needs, three adults, and a handful of pets. I saw an extra plush woman who has stretch marks, who has fat everywhere, and not-so-perky boobs anymore; I saw a woman who has a thousand flaws, but doesn’t let them stop her from accomplishing what she sets her mind to, a woman who doesn’t allow what others think to stop her, stop her from loving herself, stop her from doing more, stop her from being more, stop her from rising above. I saw a woman who doesn’t allow anyone else’s flaws, anyone else’s hatred, to stop her from loving them, from accepting them; a woman who doesn’t allow others to change who she is or how she is, who she loves or how she loves.

Because my standards are not everyone’s standards, but I don’t allow my standards to be the reason they cut themselves. I don’t allow my standards to be the reason they cry at night. I don’t allow my standards to be the reason. I allow my standards to simply be my standards.

The same way the Bible doesn’t define the perfect size of a temple, I don’t define the perfect size of any human being, including myself. The Bible doesn’t tell me to go to Him, doesn’t tell me that I will finally be worthy of His love, His mercy, when I’m a size two. The Bible tells me to come as I am, and He will love me as I am. The Bible was the first to tell me that I am worthy; my God was the first to tell me that I was worthy as I was. My religious doctrine states that I am to liken myself to Him, that I am supposed to be as Jesus was and do as He did, that I am to follow His example. He didn’t loathe his physical form. He didn’t despise the scars on his palms or on his feet either. He didn’t cast Himself down, nor did He deject others. You can read every word He said in red. Not once will you find him calling a woman fat, deeming her undeserving of common courtesy and shutting her out of His home. Not once will you find him shunning the poor, shouting slurs at those with disabilities, challenging the meek with his strength. Instead, you will find Him taking a stand against the sinners casting stones, the imperfect people casting stones at imperfect people. You will find Him loving everyone, including those that betrayed Him.

On my Instagram, I post pictures of myself all the time. (HERE is a link to my profile.) I don’t hide my flaws. I don’t hold the phone high and angle the camera from above to slim myself. I show myself as I am. I come, as I am, and encourage others to do the same. You may hate what you see, but what you see is an empty battlefield full of stories, full of victories, full of reasons to be in awe of yourself. If you simply look long enough, look hard enough, I guarantee you’ll see what you didn’t at first.

I don’t hate those that bash my body. I don’t roll my eyes at those who voice “concern.” Is someone judging a book by its cover offensive? Yes. But I don’t punish them for it.

The truth is, most of the time, they are already punishing themselves. We project ourselves in everything we say and do. Their words are no reflection on me. Their words are a reflection on them. And to them I say, look in the mirror. Don’t glance. Stop and look. Look hard. Look long. Look and look again until you can let go of that fear, until you can let go of that hatred, of that bitterness in your soul. I am not you and you are not me. Don’t allow my presence to send you spiraling; likewise, don’t treat my presence as a reason to spiral.

No one is perfect, and the sooner we begin accepting that truth, the happier we’ll all be. My imperfection shouldn’t anger you. Your imperfections shouldn’t anger you. My imperfections shouldn’t anger me, shouldn’t make me want to create more imperfections on my body. Your imperfections shouldn’t anger me, shouldn’t make me want to rebuke you. Beauty is perceptive, and the sooner we start to perceive everyone as beautiful in some way, perceive ourselves as beautiful in some way, even an unconventional way, the sooner we can let go of the social pressures tied to size, tied to something only photoshop can offer. And the sooner we can move on to the more important things, like what I’m going to eat for dinner. I say that, because not everyone will have a meal to eat tonight. We’re over here complaining, arguing, admonishing each other over frivolous things, things that have no bearing on our capabilities, our accomplishments, or our worth, while children are dying of starvation, while IEDs are going off right and left in the Middle East, and while others are facing challenges that are affecting them in more prominent ways than the offensiveness of a stranger’s waistline.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to the body that has fought day in and day out to get you where you are. Even if it didn’t come through perfectly, it came through. Likewise, be kind to others. Be kind to them and their bodies, because, likewise, they’ve fought to be where they are today, even if where they are isn’t where you think they should be. We all have to move at our own pace, and we all will have to face mortality eventually. But casting stones, judging and dejecting never prolonged anyone’s life, nor did it change what was.

If you haven’t been told today, allow me to be the first to tell you. You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are wonderful, just the way you are. Whether you meet society’s standards or not, whether you meet my standards or not, has no bearing on the way I feel, on what I think of you. We are all here for a reason, and that reason is never to be the villain, the failure or the trash of the world. It is to be the light in a dark room. It is to be beautiful, to be loving, to be kind, even when you don’t always feel like you are, like you want to be. It is to be more than we are deemed, more than we believe, and to do more than we fathom. And, newsflash, you can do it all in whatever body you have, even if that body may need a few tweaks to do some of those things, because you only get one body, and pounds gained or lost won’t change the body.

And, just know, even if you need to lose a few pounds before you can go skydiving, or whatever else you want to do, it doesn’t mean you are any less worthy of love today. It doesn’t mean your body is any less deserving of praise for getting you through the past x-number of days of your life. Celebrate it. Celebrate your imperfections for all the reasons you ought to celebrate your successes. Love your imperfections for all the reasons you love your child’s, your niece’s, your sibling’s imperfections: because they make you who you are, and who you are is worthy of love. My Creator told me so. My Creator said that I am worthy, as I am. And if I’m worthy as I am, then so are you.

xoxo – Christin

You. Are. More.

Slide1

We have a crisis in the world. We have many actually, so many that facing them can be daunting, overwhelming, even to the most seasoned volunteer or advocate.

To be honest, most of them we can only have a minute impact on, at best, but there is one that we can have a profound impact on immediately: ourselves.

Oftentimes we forget that we are a statistic, because, well, who wants to be reduced to a number? The hard truth, though, is we are all numbers on many pages, but not all of them are bad.

Body image. Body positivity. Body love. Self-love. Self-acceptance. Fat acceptance. Size acceptance. Confidence. = Equality.

How you treat yourself, how others treat you, is directly tied to equality.

If you wouldn’t ridicule your best friend, call him or her fat, ugly, worthless, lazy, and every other negative adjective available, then why would you say those things to yourself?

Unknowingly, we have all contributed to this dynamic of inequality throughout the world. We label and segregate based on every factual part of us from gender, race, sexual preference, age, and, more often than most these days, size. We allow the number in our jeans, the number on the scale, to define our worth, to define who we are and what we deserve. We oppress ourselves based on numbers, but numbers have never defined who we were.

The size of my jeans don’t make me a good person or a bad person. The number on the scale doesn’t tell you what I have or haven’t accomplished in life.

But we treat ourselves as though they do.

Another hard truth? We set the precedence. We may not have been the first to put ourselves down, but we’ve allowed the trend to continue.

Before you face the world each day, you must first face yourself.

What you say to yourself each morning defines who you are, the same way that what others say to us defines who they are.

As a mother, of course I wish I could give my children the world. I’d do anything for them. And it took me years to realize that loving myself was doing something for them.

They watch us. They see more than we think and know more than we want them to.

I didn’t want my children looking in the mirror and seeing only what was wrong with them, finding only what made them less than to society. I didn’t want my children growing up lacking in anything, but had forgotten that confidence is the key to everything: health, happiness, success. Equality is treating yourself and others with equal respect, equal acceptance, and equal love. Equality is treating yourself and others the same. Equality means facing yourself and others with equal confidence.

Anyone who follows me on instagram (@christinlovell) knows that I am all about loving who you are, as you are, and I’m the first to do it. I’m far from perfect. I have flaws. I have fat, chub rolls, stretch marks, numerous scars – some sizable, dimples, blemishes, freckles, moles, grey hairs and so much more.

But I love myself anyways.

It wasn’t easy at first. I literally had to start by finding one new thing to love about myself each day when I looked in the mirror. Slowly, but surely, the list grew…until, one day, I loved more than I hated. I accepted more than I rebuked. I came to a place where peace overruled turmoil, where happiness overruled upset, and where equality overruled inequality.

Was it as earth shattering as I expected it to be? No. I didn’t suddenly wake up one day feeling like I could strut around the beach in a two piece.

Would I be willing to do that today? Yes.

Why? Because I believe everyone deserves to be happy, and who the heck can be happy with every imperfection covered and smothered on the beach, beneath the blazing hot sun…or in the water, where your soaking wet layers will cling to every pore on your body, preventing them from breathing? Covering what others deemed as ugly didn’t make them any happier, and it didn’t make me any happier. In fact, it made me miserable.

If you wouldn’t force your best friend to cover up their “imperfections,” then why would you force yourself?

If they don’t like what they see, whether your “flaws” are buried beneath ten layers or naked and bared to the world, they’ll still think the same; they may even speak the same. In fact, they do speak the same. I’ve received similar comments on both fully clothed pictures and less layered photos (on instagram.)

Another truth? What they say has zero impact on who I am as a person. What they say has no reflection on what I deserve, what I’m worth, what I’ve accomplished, what I’m capable of accomplishing, and so much more. Their words have never defined me, and will never define me. Their words have never defined you, and will never define you. Their words have only defined who they are, what they are afraid of, what they fear most, what they are insecure about within themselves.

And that is what the words we speak and think to ourselves each morning say about us.

What you say to yourself defines who you are, the same way what they say to us defines who they are.

I can disregard numbers. I can disregard facts. But I refuse to disregard myself, the same way I refuse to disregard you.

You are more than a profile, more than numbers, statistics and data. You are unique. You are beautiful. You are imperfectly perfect, just as you are. And, whether you are a size 2 or a size 32, you deserve to be happy. You deserve what you believe your best friend deserves. And, slowly, I hope you come to realize that the world will only believe you deserve better if you believe you deserve better.

You will only be happy if you choose to be happy.

And, sometimes, that means choosing to bare more flesh than normal when it’s hot, humid and horrible out.
IMG_8929

My numbers:
Age: 29
Height: 5’1″
Blood Pressure: 115/72
Blood Sugar: 72
Total Cholesterol: 172
Surgeries: 12
clothing size: Tops: US 22, 1x-3x, depending on cut, fabric & brand
clothing size: Bottoms: US 22-26, 2x-3x, depending on cut, fabric & brand
Shoes: 8-8.5, depending on shape, material & brand
Marriages: 1
Divorces: 1
Children: 3
Diplomas: 1
Degrees: 0

I am not ashamed of my numbers, for, the numbers are just the numbers. They don’t tell anyone if I’m a good person, if I’m a good mother, sister, friend. They don’t tell you if I’m smart, funny, witty or bright. If my numbers change what some of you think of me, then they change what some of you think of me.

But sharing your numbers won’t change what I think of you; they won’t change how I see you. Your numbers won’t tell me who you are; they will merely tell me what you are…according to more numbers, according to charts, to reports and to statistics.

And you are more than that. I am more than that. We are all more than numbers. We are more than what other people think of us. And the sooner you realize that, the sooner you accept that, the happier you’ll be.

If you are for equality, then you can’t be against yourself. If you are for equality, then you should be for confidence, for acceptance, and for happiness, for one and for all, no matter their numbers. People try to spin it, but, the truth is, my numbers have no bearing on your quality of life, the same way your numbers have no impact on mine. Discriminatory factors are just facts. They don’t reveal character, morals, values or worth.

If you are judging others based on facts, then it’s time you realized: They. Are. More.
If you are judging me now based off my numbers, then it’s time you realized: I. Am. More.
If you are judging yourself based on anything other than heart, then it’s time you realized: You. Are. More.

You. Are. More. – Christin

Looking for some inspiration on your journey? Here are links to some fabulous body positive people::
Meagan Kerr, New Zealand
Sarah Rae Vargas, a.k.a. Ravings by Rae
Lauren, a.k.a. Loey Lane
Amanda Allison
Jess Baker
Eff Your Beauty Standards, worldwide

Big Announcement!

Slide1

After many, many, many, many, many months of back and forth, earlier this week, I signed a 15-book publishing deal: an 11-book publishing deal with Permuted Press and a 4-book publishing deal with Post Hill Press. This includes the revision of, edited and expanded versions of, previously published titles and/or series as well as new books y’all have yet to see or read. These deals include electronic books, audio books, (mass distribution) print books, and more.

What can you expect?

Less of me and then more of me. I will be hiding out in my writing cave quite a bit more (more than usual) in the beginning of 2015 before breaking out into the sunshine and interjecting myself across every (social) media platform until you’re sick of me. lol I will be doing my best to keep up with your messages, but as it is, I’m extremely behind. Y’all have overwhelmed me in the best way. I can assure you, though, that I read every comment, every e-mail, and every message. Promise.

What will be affected?

1. The rights to the Vamp Chronicles have officially been signed over to Permuted Press. I fought hard for this series, as I know it means so much to many of you.

The details:
Each title in the Vamp Chronicles series will be revised, expanded, re-edited and reformatted, and each title will receive new cover art. There were 2 short stories previously released as part of this series; those shorts will now be attached to the back of the title before it. (TIoW will be at the end of book 3 and Reflections will be at the end of book 5.) Unfortunately, because each title will be re-copyrighted and will receive a new ISBN number through the Library of Congress, distributors will categorize it as a new title, rather than a previously released title. So those of you who have previously purchased any of the titles in this series, unfortunately, you will not automatically have access to the updated versions. However, many of you have asked for print versions of the Vamp Chronicles, and I’m excited to tell you that they are coming! Not only are they coming, but, at some point, you will be able to walk into your local book store and pick up a copy of Diary of a Vampeen. The print versions will be the updated versions. This and pricing are the single aspects I fought the hardest for. And Michael, the President of Permuted Press and Post Hill Press, fought hard for you as well. He stretched and compromised on a lot. They truly value each and every one of you the way I do, and will be doing all they can to get every book I will be giving them to as many readers as possible, making them as accessible as possible. They are offering fans of this series things I never could, bringing it into places and spaces on a world-wide platform that I never could, and I’m so excited to see where this series goes because of it.

(Re)releases:
The e-books will begin re-releasing in Spring of 2015 (or sooner) and will continue through until the final book in the series is released. (Yes, they have the rights to the previously unreleased final book in the Vamp Chronicles series: The Break of Dawn.) Print is a different ball game. I’ve learned a lot about the print market over the past months speaking with Michael. For instance, what Barnes & Noble will put on their shelves in November, they are typically buying for in Spring. There is a lag that requires precise calculation of the market to determine when the best time to release something would be. A meeting of the minds is happening in January of 2015, and they will prepare a release schedule then of exact dates for as many of my titles as possible. As soon as I have those dates, I will be sharing them with all of you.

2. The rights to the Future Alphas series has officially been signed over to Permuted Press.

The details:
Each title in the Future Alphas series will be re-edited, possibly expanded, and reformatted, and each title will receive new cover art. As with the VC, they will receive new copyrights and will be catalogued as new releases. Michael and his business partners are especially excited about this series for reasons many of you have expressed previously.

(Re)releases:
The e-books will begin re-releasing quickly (probably in Spring of 2015 as well). They also have the rights to the third book in the Future Alphas series, which is previously unreleased, and, as with the VC, the Future Alphas will be going into print. I had a conference call this morning and they are already beginning to set things into motion.

3. The rights to the One Soldier series has officially been signed over to Post Hill Press.

The details:
Each title in the One Soldier series will be re-edited and reformatted, and each title will receive new cover art. As with the others, they will receive new copyrights and will be catalogued as new releases.

(Re)releases:
The e-books will begin re-releasing quickly (again, in Spring of 2015 probably) with a fourth title (not yet released) rounding out the series. Post Hill Press only does mass market print distribution, so this series will likely be bundled and made available for purchase in bookstores nationwide. Post Hill is also looking into audio books for this series, which I’m super excited about. That is a platform that, again, without this contract, y’all would never receive.

4. The rights to a brand new young adult, sci-fi trilogy – Daughter of Dosai – has officially been signed over to Permuted Press.

The details:
This series has it all: emotion, drama, politics, action, suspense, thrill, sci-fi, mythology, romance – it covers so much in three books, with each one leaving you on the edge of your seat for more…hopefully. It’s a series that is ground-breaking in many ways because of the topics, theories and conspiracies it touches on. And it will be my first young adult piece that truly falls within the traditional definition of science fiction and horror. I’m equally nervous and excited about it!

Releases:
The e-books will be released in rapid succession in the first quarter of 2017 (tentative) with a print book (if the final word count is conducive to a single binding) to follow.

I’m so excited about this next chapter in my writing career! (If you can’t tell. I’ve only used the word ‘excited’ a thousand time it feels…)I feel very good about my collaboration with Permuted Press and Post Hill Press, and I know my titles will be in very good hands.

As previously promised, as more solid information is passed on to me, I will begin sharing it with all of you.

I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. There are moments when you just know things, events, meetings, have been orchestrated by a higher power, and those are the moments when some part of your past seems to align with the present and make sense for the first time. The past four years of writing aligned when I met Michael, and the past six months of negotiating aligned when I signed on the dotted line, and I can’t wait for the next moment in my career when beauty aligns with brilliance and changes everything for the better.

Thank you to each and every one of you for reading my books, no matter the number. Thank you to each and every one of you for continuously supporting me in all I write, in all I release, and in all I continue to do. I have what I have because of each and every one of you. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and the blessing you’ve been to me, my family, my career, and my life as a whole. So often people think they are just one person. Yes. You’re one person. But to every single author who makes a living as a writer full time, you are invaluable. It is all of you collectively buying each release that makes a difference in the life of the author and all of those he or she supports. You are the magic. You are the voice.

You are not the reason we keep writing, but you will always be the reason we keep publishing.

heart_PNG699

Here’s to 2015 and all it stands to bring for each and every one of us! – Christin

 

Insignificant

There are moments when you realize that, in the grand scheme of things, you are quite insignificant. I feel insignificant. It’s not to say I’m incapable of being significant; it’s to say that I often feel insignificant.

So blessed.

Yet, so insignificant.

tumblr_kzs506d3v31qzrr0co1_500

When I began writing, my goal was to use my writing to fund charity work, to use my God-given talent to make a difference in this world, to leave a mark, to leave it a little better than when I arrived. I was young, ambitious, wide-eyed and hopeful. Despite all I’d endured in life, I still had hope.

These days, it feels like I’m fighting a losing battle.

There are days where I am frozen in place, staring at my children with a helpless ache in my chest.

How do you help a world that doesn’t want to help itself?

Most of us – myself included – have the ability to do more, to be more.

Yet we aren’t. Yet we don’t.

And today I realized why.

FEAR.

I am so afraid of losing all I have, but, the hard truth is, we all lose it eventually.

I am so afraid of my children losing their stability, but, the hard truth is, they’ve already lost it.

My life has been ever-changing these last few months. One change after another has been happening, has been forced upon us, which has planted this seed in me, which has shaken me to the core and filled me with a new need, with a new desire that runs soul deep. It has me thinking of doing something drastic. It has me fired up and ready to do what I’ve been so afraid to do: to take a major leap of faith.

If there is anything I am overtly aware of these days, it is that: life is almost always shorter than we expect it to be. My mother died at 27. My father died at 30. My grandfather died at 55. My children’s grandmother died at 57. Marilyn Monroe died at 36. James Dean died at 24. Elvis Presley died at 42. Today, Joanne Borgella died at 32.

I’m 28.

Whether I have a few years remaining or half a century remaining, I will truly be insignificant if I don’t take risks, if I don’t make the most of every breath, if I don’t do what I set out to do originally, if I don’t fulfill my purpose. Writing was always meant to be the means. Art was always meant to be the expression. Giving was always what fulfilled me; doing was always what fulfilled me. We never gain by being selfish, and we never lose by giving it all we have.

We weren’t given eyes to see and not appreciate.

We weren’t given ears to hear and not listen.

We weren’t given a voice to speak and not advocate.

We weren’t given limbs to move and not do.

We weren’t given talents to possess and not use.

To this day, Gandhi said it best:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Am I narcissistic enough to believe that I alone can change my children’s lives, and the lives of their future generations? No. Am I narcissistic enough to believe that I can have a significant impact on the world at large and end some world problem? No.

To the world I am insignificant, but to one person, I can be significant.

To the world, I probably always will be insignificant, but to a community, I could be significant.

It’s all about what we choose to do versus what we choose not to do (in fear). We all have the choice to act or to watch other people act. It’s always been a choice, and it always will be.

What I’ve learned over the past few months is that we will always be lacking something. There are some things you can survive without, and some things you can’t. I can survive with a lot less than I realized…and I don’t miss it. I do feel like I will miss my window, miss my opportunity if I don’t take some hard leaps of faith right now, though.

So, I’m going for it. Because I can. Because I want to. Because I’m ready.

I’m ready to stop being insignificant.