The truth of self-employment: My boss is a bitch!

This month at See Jane Publish we’re talking about women entrepreneurs. When the Janes discussed this topic, it seemed like an exciting idea. Entrepreneur is a buzz word these days, and women are very much in the news, fighting for equality and recognition. I consider myself an entrepreneur. I’m a freelance writer, editor, and designer which makes me a self-directed go-getter with big ideas, perfect for entrepreneurial pursuits (and also makes me essentially useless for “real” jobs). I own my own one-woman company ~ Jessa Slade as CEO, secretary, and master bottle washer. So I was looking forward to diving into this discussion of what it means to be an entrepreneur.

And then last week I had to move my work out of an office space and into my rather small home.

Ai! What a nightmare! Due to unforeseen circumstances (which I’d know about for approx. several months but was ignoring) I had to pack up my business in two days. Needless to say, the UNpacking has been much worse.

But it’s made me focus on some realities of being my own boss.

1. Bosses suck.

Even when I AM my own boss… ESPECIALLY when I am my own boss! I don’t have anyone else to blame for bad (er, shall I say non-existent?) planning, poor execution, shoddy oversight, and crap pay. Who’s in charge around here?! Oh right. I am. Ugh.

2. I’m alone. Soooo aloooone…

Packing up and moving my work gave me new insight into the tricksiness of going my own way. I’m very nimble (rejiggering my entire job in two days and being basically set up and ready to go again — except for all these extra cords that don’t seem to plug into anything…) but if I stumble, there’s no one to catch me. I want to think of myself as independent, but reality is, I can’t lift that @#$%*! heavy printer by myself.

3. I have to change every day… and I wouldn’t change a thing

And by change I don’t mean clothes. Since I had to move my work into my home, I’ve been in the same fleece-lined leggings and scrunchy every day. (I’m sure I’ll get over this phase… Maybe.) But being a one-woman operation means evolving with the world, not fighting it. I’ll have to make that work for me. Luckily, I believe I’m up to that task. And any other task that comes my way.

I am women entrepreneur. Hear me roar.

Especially if someone drinks the last of the hot cocoa in the break room.

Oh wait. That was me.

 

Stay tuned this month for more women entrepreneurs. And as always, please share your experiences and suggestions in the comments.

Add Finding me a Husband to your To-Do List (Jessie Smith)

listSince I’m single and in my late 30’s, I feel like I need an excuse for why I’m still alone or I fear that my friends and family will come up with their own ill-fated conclusions. My shield of armor has always been to deflect with humor. In my 20’s I used to joke that my Prince Charming must have been hit by a bus and he lacked health insurance. When I hit 30, I turned the tables on my interrogators by joking that I’m clearly no good at finding a man so they must add finding me a husband to their to-do list. Ha-Ha! That should buy me some more time.

So while I’m waiting for love to magically show up at my doorstep, here are some of the lessons I have learned over the past 27 days at See Jane Publish…

·        I might already be having lunch at the same place as him. (Thank you M.L)

·        I might have already met him but he needs time to grow into a better man. (Thank you Melissa)

·        I might have to think outside-the-box and spend more time at Costco. (Thank you Jamie)

Once I find him…

·        I have instructions on how to write him love letters. (Thank you Linda)

·        I have some tips on how to have a happy marriage. (Thank you Nancy)

·        I have to get an FTD Membership to be able to afford all the flowers I could get from my husband (Thank you Sheryl)

SJP wanted to do something special for the month of February to honor Valentine’s Day. Since one of the main complaints about my beloved Romance genre is that they say love in those kinds of novels don’t exist in real-life this is my opportunity to thank all this month’s wonderful guest bloggers for sharing their stories to prove otherwise. If for no other reason, maybe I, your Single Jane, just needed to hear them.

A Romantic Tail (Cassiel Knight)

Note from Jessie: Cassiel Knight is one of the original “Janes” coming back to share her wonderful engagement story with us. As a sneak preview, I’m not surprised that this tale (pun intended) involves a dog because canine companions are central to her life and one of the many reasons we are such good friends.

Most women, I think, want a romantic proposal story. I feel fortunate I that, for this romantic month, I have one to share.

Steve and I had been dating for almost a year but were friends before that so we had some time in together. In fact, at that time, we were living together pretty much meaning I had a room in the dormitories on base at Hickam Air Force base in Hawaii but I wasn’t staying there. Marriage had sort of come up, I remember it did but don’t remember specifics. In April of 1990, my birthday month, we were just doing our thing and decided to go out to dinner and take a walk on the beach near sunset. Not a bad way to spend the birthday day. Don’t ask me what I ate or where; can’t remember. But I remember the beach.

We pulled into one of the many little sites along the coast and headed to the shore. Not too long into our walk, we were so caught up in each other, talking and laughing, we didn’t notice a sneaker wave until it came up and smacked us both from feet to knees.

It was a tiny bit chilly so Steven said he had a blanket in his car so off he ran. Once he got the blanket, we sat, dried-off, talked and gazed out at the water.

Shortly after sitting, a dog (a lab or retriever-type) and owner approached from my left. It ran up to me at the blanket and…promptly peed on the blanket nearly on top of me. Steve was not happy.

So two things had happened: getting smacked with a wave then a dog peed on the blanket.

I was fine; it really set the tone for our relationship and marriage—if it’s odd, it happened to us. But of course, since he had something else planned for that time, being wet and peed on was not on this list of romance and he was kind of stressed.

Still after we shooed dog and moved to dry side of blanket, Steven turned to me and casually said something along the lines of “what’s your birthstone again? Peridot, right?”

I remember laughing and saying no then he pulls his hand out of his pocket and says, “Well, maybe this will do” and handed me the ring. Not in a box that I can recall. Just the ring.

I think I looked at it, him, then it again then throwing my arms around him, hugging and crying. He pulled away and said, “Does this mean yes?”

For the next 23 years, he liked to tell people how he never proposed to me; he merely gave me a birthstone ring and I took it from there.

While the story was fabulous, it was the years that followed when he’d give me that special look and tell his “side” that made my engagement story so romantic and special.Cassiel Knight Author Picture

About the Author: Multi-published author Cassiel Knight takes paranormal romance to new heights and in new directions by infusing her stories with strong heroines, noble heroes, sharp-edged plots and exquisite detail. Fascinated by the lore of mythology and ancient civilizations, she creates fantastical worlds that span multiple dimensions and cut across past, present and future. Her stories feature fallen angels and demons, contemporary men and women, and futuristic secret agents. A perpetual student of history, Cassiel devotes significant time and energy to researching and studying archaeology, folklore and legends. Her ability to seamlessly blend fact and fiction produces stories that pull readers in from the very first page. Cassiel’s books are available from Samhain Publishing, Lyrical Press and Champagne Book Group. For more information, visit www.CassielKnight.com. Follow her on Facebook (CassielK) and Twitter (@CassielKnight).

Love at first sight. Does it happen? Does heart recognize heart? (Nancy Brophy)

Note from Jessie: Nancy Brophy is one of the original “Janes” coming back to See Jane Publish to share lessons learned from her marriage. I have long envied the success of their marriage. A couple that can survive a house fire and laugh about it now must know some secrets to being in a happy partnership.

The first time I saw my husband, he stood across a professional kitchen from me. Like Harry Potter coming to Hogwarts, Chef Brophy came to teach cooking school. I knew immediately he was the guy for me. Tragically, he didn’t have a clue.

But that isn’t the story I’m going to tell you about love. Because while heart may have recognized heart (in my case, not his) that alone would not have carried us for the twenty-plus years we’ve been together.

Both of us had previous marriages. In my case the marriage was complicated, but short-lived. In the end we experienced a very polite uncoupling.  I was so proud of our civility. We simply discovered we’d made a mistake and moved on. Ta-dah!

My husband’s first marriage was neither short-lived, civil, nor polite. After two decades of marriage and one child there were a few issues to handle. I did not break up my husband’s first marriage. Nor did I participate in the battle that ensued. But I was also not entirely innocent. Without me in the picture, would he have returned home? He said not. But still I wondered.

I was prepared for him to leave. I don’t remember a day I wasn’t expecting to hear the words, “I’m sorry, but I think I have to give it one more try.”
But being a writer does not entitle me to get to edit the scenes of my life.

He did not leave. Eventually, the prolonged war ended with a whisper of smoke, dissipating in a breeze.

You know that joke where the woman says, “Husbands are like puppies, they have to be trained. And the first sentence I taught him was ‘everything goes with diamonds’?” What I discovered was that my husband was training me, as well.  Here are a few of his lessons:

  • One of us does not slip out of the house in the morning without kissing the other good-bye.
  • Being busy, doesn’t mean we get to skip the opportunity to tell the other how much they mean to the relationship.
  • Gifts are not mandatory on Valentine’s Day, but the minimum of a card is required.
  • Say ‘I love you’ every day. Respect the other person. Speak up for them.
  • It’s not the big gestures that count. It’s the little everyday nothingness that keeps up together.

When we were rebuilding from our house fire, I choose the color “crushed berries” for our dining room. It is a deep, rich fuchsia. When it first went on the walls, grown men clutched their chests and made a strangling, gagging noise while they entered the room.

A man, who works with my husband, took him aside and asked, “What were she thinking?”

My husband smiled and said. “It’s not finished yet. In the end it will be perfect.”

If tomorrow Dan announced we were done, I would fight to keep him. There would be no polite uncoupling, because I can no longer imagine my life without him. How could I sleep at night without him by my side?

Love grows. Our marriage is not finished yet. Nor is it perfect. But it’s getting closer.

About the Author: I live in the beautiful, green, and very wet, Northwest, married to a Chef whose mantra is: life is a science project. As a result there are chickens and turkeys in my backyard, a fabulous vegetable garden which also grows tobacco for an insecticide and a hot meal on the table every night. For those of you who have longed for this, let me caution you. The old adage is true. Be careful what you wish for, when the gods are truly angry, they grant us our wishes. And the payment is always high, I fight an insidious ten pounds every year of my life.

Romance Story Vignettes (Terri Reed and Darla Luke)

About the Author: Earlier this year Terri Reed made an announcement that her latest release served as her 30th published book. My jaw dropped to the floor with surprise and envy. Not only is she a successful author with a wonderful family but she also makes time to give back to the Romance genre. Currently she is doing a great job as the Rose City Romance Writers’ President.

Of All the Cards…

terrireedbookHi, Terri Reed here. Thank you to the ladies at See Jane Publish for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. Valentine’s is such a perfect time to reflect on love, though I think every day is a perfect time to appreciate our loved ones. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful husband for nearly 27 years and two fabulous kids, who are becoming fabulous adults. Believe it or not, I’m not a sentimental person so I don’t get all mushy about gifts and such at Valentines. I know, strange for a romance novelist, right?  Though my husband and I do exchange cards. A few years ago on Valentines days we handed each other a card. When we opened them we had to laugh because we’d picked out the same card.  It was a black and white photo of a couple kissing on a bridge. The inside said something to the effect, I couldn’t ask for a better partner to share my life with.  A sentiment we both apparently believe.

About the Author: Terri Reed’s romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publisher’s Weekly top 25, Nielsen’s Bookscan top 100 and featured in terrireedUSA Today, Christian Fiction Magazine and Romantic Times Magazine. Her books have finaled in Romance Writers of America’s RITA contest, National Reader’s Choice Award contest and two times in American Christian Fiction Writers The Carol Award contest. Contact Terri @ www.terrireed.com or P.O. Box 19555 Portland, OR 97224

 

About the Author: Darla Luke is kind of woman people long to have as their girlfriend. She was one of the first ladies to take me under her wing when I joined Rose City Romance Writers and showed me the ropes. Most recently we got the opportunity to work together on the self-published novel, Girl Most Likely To

Growing Old Together

Wedding 1985My love story begins like many do…my husband was friends with my best friends’ husband. When we first met, I was engaged and he’d just broken up with his fiance. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but no sparks (I heard later that he was interested, but I was already taken – he was and is a gentleman, through and through). Months later, we were both visiting our mutual friends and went out to dinner as a group. I was 6 or 7 months pregnant at the time, and cringed when I thought how embarrassed he might be at the thought we were a couple. Little did I know, it didn’t bother him in the slightest, LOL!

It wasn’t until after my divorce and my son was three that we had our first (double) date. A month later he proposed by asking “Can you see us growing old together?” … and yes, I could. Gray haired, wrinkly faces, holding hands like kids on the front porch. When you know, you just know, so two months later we were married. Blessed with a beautiful daughter ten months later, nobody who knew us (or maybe just me, the jump-first-ask-questions-later kinda gal) thought we’d last five years.

Thirty years goes by in the blink of an eye. I can’t say it’s been a Happily Ever After story, because those exist only in the pages of a book, but I can definitely say again…Yes, I can see us growing old together.

Author the Author: Darla Luke writes Romance Suspense stories about Bad-Ass, Kick-butt Women and the men who would die for them. In her spare time, Darla enjoys kayaking and riding her motorcycle with hubby. After growing up in the concrete jungle of Southern California, she’s living her dream on the family farm in the beautiful mid-Willamette Valley, with hubby of 25 years, two grown children, two cats who are more like children then pets, and one sweet mutt who *thinks* she’s a lap dog.

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