On Publishing, Goals, Life and Balance (Or Lack There Of)

The last few months, I’ve been a bit MIA. Not enough for anyone who doesn’t know me well to notice. But enough. Because things have been happening. Good things, which I hope to share down the line.

But bad things, too. Difficult things. Today marks two months since the day I lost my father. And tomorrow is my birthday. The first I’ll celebrate without him. It’s going to be hard.

The last year has been rough. I’ve been balancing pretty much full-time work, with writing, book-related travel (a lot), CAKE stuff, and barely enough time with my family and friends. I say barely enough because it hit me (hard) after the loss of my father just how much energy I’d been putting into “author life” instead of “life life.” The week my father died, I was still so focused on deadlines. I think about those moments now and I can’t believe it. It floors me.

Even after he died, I kept going through the motions. I didn’t know how to stop. It took my business partner Dhonielle dismissing me, quite literally, saying I wasn’t allowed to work, to actually stop. For a time at least. She took everything off my plate and became my buffer to emails and requests and drama and non-sense. She insisted.

When I sobbed about all this yesterday — because of course the tears haven’t stopped, though some days are worse than others — my (fellow writer) husband Navdeep pointed something out to me: my dad would have wanted to meet those deadlines. He would be annoyed if I dropped everything to sit listlessly by his side 24/7 because a) he liked his space. And b) he was a workaholic too. He always had an endless to-do list, and in the end, he hadn’t managed to check off half the things he hoped to.

The urgency in me, it comes from him. In fact: I’m just like him. Exactly. Stubborn, set in my ways, driven, focused, go go go all the time. I’m his kid, for sure. And one of the biggest things that drives me — and always will — is the need to please him, to make him proud. I know deep down he was proud of me. I hope I’ll continue to make him proud.

But one of the biggest lessons I took from this enormous, shattering loss, is that sometimes, you just have to stop. To pause. To take a break and do something else, and to realize that the chaos of work, work, work will be there when you come back — and that it never stopped to give your MIA-ness a second thought.

One of the things my dad always wanted to do was have a little condo that overlooked the ocean. It was his “when…” goal. More than five years ago, he started looking for just the right one. He kept searching for five years, putting it off, thinking the “when…” hadn’t arrived just yet. He almost got there, but not quite. It breaks my heart.

So I’ve decided to change my “when…” to “now,” as much as I can. I’m sure I’ll plow full speed ahead, charging forward, trying to cross all those things off my endless to-do list. But sometimes I’ll just stop and make time for the nows.


Guest Post: Akshaya Raman and Janella Angeles Share Their Conference Survival Guide

Today I have invited Akshaya Raman and Janella Angeles, my fabulous writer friends and members of the Boston Teen Author Festival team to do a guest post! They are offering some truly ingenious tips and advice for conferences that all attendees may want to keep in mind when going to an event. Without further ado, here are Aks and Janella!   Anyone in publishing knows that when conference season rolls around, your FOMO naturally rises. You […]

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Hi everyone! Patrice, here, again!! We’re back for Part 2! In case you missed our first part, this is a Voice Roundtable Discussion with: Agents: Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services and Jennifer Azantian at Azantian Literary Editor: Tiffany Liao at Henry Holt/Macmillan Children’s …as part of #DVpit’s Blog Hop!! During this part we’ll be breaking down some of the craft aspects of voice. Let’s get started with question #2 (& question #3 is further below). Question Two: You’ve defined voice, you’ve gushed about […]

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Voice: A #DVpit Blog Hop Roundtable Discussion: Part One (of Two!)

Introduction by Patrice Caldwell: Hello! I am so incredibly excited to be hosting the kickoff to the #DVpit blog hop here on Pub(lishing) Crawl!! Thank you, Beth for trusting me to begin, thank you readers and visitors, and many many thanks to our panelists! This is a VOICE roundtable featuring: Agents: Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services and Jennifer Azantian at Azantian Literary Editor: Tiffany Liao at Henry Holt/Macmillan Children’s Learn more about them at the bottom of this post! I LOVE voice. […]

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Pubcrawl Podcast: Q&A!

Kelly and JJ answer questions this week! What does it mean when an agent or editor follows you on twitter? How can you be an effective moderator for a panel? How can you cancel your book contract or break up with your agent? You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! Questions about being on Submission What does it mean when an agent or editor follows you on twitter? The truth? It doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t […]

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