Christ, my Gravity

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m not sure if you’ll understand what I mean when I say that for most of my life I felt untethered.  I had this weird sensation of floating away into nothingness, and I hated it. So ungrounded, so aimless.

That’s why I so often refer to Christ as “my gravity.” He tethers me to something– to him! to reality! to meaning!– and puts weights in my shoes. It’s probably my second most-used descriptor for Jesus, the first being “my rescuer.”

And, really, for me, the two terms mean almost the same thing.

Image credit: Hirni Pathak

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All About the Benjamins: Author Advances & Royalties

advances and royaltiesI’ll be the first to admit: I’m not an expert on the business side of being an author. I’m not even an expert on the author side of being an author. But a lot of you have asked questions about how the money side of things works. I’m gonna do my best to explain it!

The first money that an author makes when getting a book deal is called an advance. The advance can range wildly, and while it’s uncommon that an author will go around sharing what their advance was, there is an insider publisher code used to put advances into certain categories:

  • a “nice deal” ranges from $1 to $49,000
  • a “very nice deal” ranges from $50,000 to $99,000
  • a “good deal” ranges from $100,000 to $250,000*
  • a “significant deal” ranges from $251,000 to $499,000
  • a “major deal” ranges from $500,000 and up

Usually (I think– at least for mine!), the advance is given out in chunks. Mine was a two-book deal, and I got 50% of the advance after signing, 25% will come now that I’ve turned in book #1, and the last 25% comes after I turn in book #2.

My agent gets 15% of this, 20% of any foreign sales.

So then what?

I have to “earn out” my advance– that is, earn it back.

Here are my royalties terms, directly from my contract:


So, first I “earn out”/earn back what they paid me in my advance, and then after that, I would get a royalty check twice a year (if people are still buying the book). That’s the goal: that the book would be so popular that people keep buying it long after it’s released. They call this the long tail.

So, here’s a hypothetical scenario using small, easy numbers.

Say an author gets an advance of $10,000.
Their agent gets $1500.
Let’s say their book costs $10.
At a rate of 10% per book, the author would make $1 back toward their advance this way.
So they’d need to sell 10,000 books before they’d “earn out” their advance and start collecting royalty checks.

Simple, right? :-)


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Even Then

Originally posted on Love So Radical:

There are a dozen red roses in the trash behind your house,

and the phone in your hand buzzes,

but you do not answer.

It’s all wrong, when love works backward and undoes you,

and even the air in your lungs begins to feel toxic.

Dear one, the scars that roses left may swallow you whole,

and night will still be night,

but I think you will find that, even then,

grace will still be grace.

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Another Interview with a Former HOCD Sufferer

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????One year ago (exactly!), I posted an interview with “Hannah,” a former HOCD sufferer who had found freedom from her obsessions and compulsions through ERP therapy. It’s gotten over 6300 views in the last year and is my second-most viewed post after “A Closer Look at HOCD.” Last summer, I said that Hannah would be willing to do a second interview if people had more questions, so this time I’m using questions straight from blog readers.

Tom asked: How do you get past the feeling that the thoughts felt so real even though you knew they were not in line at all with your inner values?
Hannah answered: Just to be clear up front, I am not slamming homosexuality. In fact, even people who are gay get HOCD– they obsess about being straight! The awful thing about HOCD (for both straight and gay sufferers) is that it is a LIE. HOCD lies to us about our sexual identities, which are so central to who we are. Most of the people I’ve met who have HOCD are not anti-homosexuals or homophobes; many of them even campaign and vote for gay rights. But their OCD is lying to them about their own sexuality, and that’s where the anxiety slams into them– hard. That said, how do you get past the feeling that the thoughts feel so real? You let them come. You let yourself think the thoughts. You let your body react however it wants. That is part of ERP therapy– and not just for HOCD alone. In ERP therapy, you let the thoughts come and just be thoughts. You learn how to be comfortable with uncertainty. Listen, I know that sounds awful– it sounded awful to me too!– but now, after having gone through ERP … through embracing uncertainty … I now am confident about my sexuality. It’s backward– ERP always is– but it works. Like Jackie has said a lot on this blog, ERP re-wires your brain.

Roxy asked: Did you find that the body sensations were the hardest to deal with and overcome?
Hannah answered: If not the hardest part, then definitely one of the hardest. I mean, how do you argue with your own body when you have a groinal response to the gender you don’t think you are attracted to (or don’t want to be attracted to)? It feels like “evidence,” right? But, I’ll tell you the truth here: I am straight. 100% straight, and I no longer have any doubts about that. But I still get turned on by images of beautiful women. I just don’t think that’s evidence anymore. It’s evidence that I’m a sexual being but not that I’m homosexual. I’ve found that I actually am super turned on by romantic scenes between homosexual men in books … I’m not gay, and I’m definitely not a man. What does this mean? I’m no psychotherapist, but I simply think it means I’m sexual. And that’s true. I still know I’m straight. But yes, the body’s reaction is a total mindf**k to the OCD brain. Then, if you’re anything like me, you keep “checking”– did I feel something there? How about that time?– that’s a compulsion, of course, and the RP of ERP is “response prevention.”  You have to stop checking.

Howdy asked: I am wondering what it has been like trying to date people. I think [my therapist] thinks I am gay.
Hannah answered: If your therapist is an OCD specialist, then I can almost promise you that he/she doesn’t think you’re gay. That said, since the point of ERP therapy is teaching the client to embrace uncertainty, your therapist is probably wise not to let on either way. But if you truly believe that your therapist thinks you’re gay, I’d find a new therapist. Those who specialize in OCD treatment are going to be wildly familiar with HOCD. As far as your question about dating people, I’ve found that I’ve suffered more from ROCD (relationship OCD) than HOCD, constantly questioning if I was dating (or even liking) the right person, doubting if he was a good person, doubting if we belonged together, etc.  The great thing about ERP therapy is that you can be treated for one type of obsession and yet the ERP works on all areas.

Jake asked: What techniques did you use to accept the doubt/uncertainty?
Hannah answered: Do you know how when you say a word over and over and over again, it starts to lose its meaning? For me, it was like that. Listening repeatedly to lies over and over eventually made them sound ridiculous– and clearly like lies. I’m not sure if that answers your question, but for sure look into ERP therapy, if that’s not what you’re already referring to.  It’s the best treatment out there for HOCD (or any OCD).

Christine asked: Did you have a “backdoor spike” when recovering? How did you deal with this? Did your thoughts consume you? I can’t go an hour without having invasive thoughts, is this normal? What thoughts did you have that stressed you out the most and what did you do to overcome these? Can you remember how quickly you began to feel your anxiety lift after beginning ERP?
Hannah answered: I don’t think I really had a backdoor spike in this area, though I did in some others. I dealt with it by returning to my ERP exposures. Thankfully, when I’d do that … and then go to bed … I’d usually wake up “re-set.” Very different from the days when (to answer your next question) my thoughts consumed me. If I wasn’t obsessing over something in the forefront of my mind, then I was still feeling sick about it while it existed in the background. I’ve had other themes with OCD than just HOCD, and to be honest, some of them were more upsetting than the HOCD, but the most stressful thoughts with HOCD were often when I would worry if I was attracted to my girlfriends. Or if I would worry that one day I would “suddenly” realize that I was gay– after I was married to a man.  I had a romantic same-sex dream one night and woke up “convinced” I was gay. How should one deal with the invasive thoughts? ERP, ERP, ERP. Jackie writes about it a lot on her blog. Maybe she can include a link. [Jackie interjects: go to for more ERP details!] Finally, how quickly did I feel my anxiety lift after starting ERP? Not right away, that’s for sure– in fact, I think it gets worse before it gets better! At first, the exposures are HORRIBLE, but then– like I said– they start to seem silly (or at least, that’s how it worked for me).  I started feeling relief after about 2.5-3 months.

I want to thank Hannah once again for being so OPEN with my blog readers!  I hope that you all heard her refrain of “ERP, ERP, ERP” loud and clear. That is the message I’m continually sharing on my blog too. If you want to read more about HOCD, check out these posts:

A Big Ol’ HOCD Post
Hannah’s First Interiew
A Closer Look at HOCD
No One Really Wants to Talk about HOCD

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Filed under CBT, ERP Therapy, HOCD, OCD

Another 10 Random Facts about Me

1. I do not eat fish.

2. My celebrity crush is Theo James. I made this because I’m a nerd:

3. I’d like to travel to Australia, given the chance.

4. I love cats but am allergic to them. (We had battalions of cats growing up– farm cats, not house cats.)

5. I was terribly shy when I was young. This shocks most people, since almost all traces of that shyness evaporated long ago.

6. I’m quite captivated by Dickon from The Secret Garden. I’m not sure if I want to marry the grown-up version of him or keep him in my pocket as a magical child.

7. I scored higher on my math ACT subscores than in my English subscores. I was a straight-A math student all the way through college calculus II, where I stopped.

8. I really dislike being cold and remember that every winter that I stay in this forsaken state. (I love you, Minnesota, but come on: 30 below is too much.)

9. I’m sort of obsessed with wind turbines. I even managed to include a wind farm in my book.

10. My three self-proclaimed leadership principles are faithfulness, humility, and creativity.


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Three Endorsements

I wanted to share with you three services that I love– and if you think you might love them too, you can sign up through me! Thanks for bearing with me through this self-benefiting blog post– please know that if I didn’t really love these services, I wouldn’t throw them at ya!

1. Dropbox.

Dropbox has revolutionized my life. That probably sounds extreme, but it’s true! Dropbox works like a freakin’ wormhole between all my electronic devices. It installs a folder, and I can access anything in the folder anywhere else I’ve downloaded Dropbox– as well as online! I have it on my personal computer, my work computer, and my phone. No more worrying about Oh, that file is on my other device. I always have access to everything in that folder. In addition, I love saving my work to a cloud. It’s such a nice backup in case my hard-drive ever self-destructs. And you can get 2 GB of space for FREE. If you want to start a Dropbox account, sign up here (because then you and I will both get an extra 500 MB of space!).

2. Dollar Photo Club.

I want my blog to look as amazing as possible, and my creativity was really feeling squelched by having to search the Creative Commons images all the time (these images are free and available for use on blogs– there are varying levels of license which dictate how much freedom the poster has to alter the image). So, I decided to shell out the small fee of $10 a month to get 10 downloads each month that I can choose from among over 25 million images. This way I can always find something that fits my post perfectly– and I can modify it to add my post title, website, etc. I love it. Below are some of the images I’ve downloaded through Dollar Photo Club and modified over at PicMonkey (including some spoilers for some upcoming posts!). If you want to start your own account, sign up through me here (so I can earn commission!).

dollar photo club collage

3. Dollar Shave Club.

I hate buying razors. They’re expensive and a nuisance to purchase. I signed up with Dollar Shave Club, and now I have my blades delivered automatically once every other month (you can sign up for every month too, if you want), and the blades are inexpensive, awesome, and I don’t even have to think about it. There are three different kinds of blades to choose from. The most basic blade starts at just $1 (plus S&H) a month– though I’m a big-shot (ha!) and get the executive plan (4 cartridges of six-blade awesomeness every two months for just $9 [and that includes S&H]). If, like me, you hate the inconvenience and expense of buying razor blades, you can sign up through me here (and I earn dollars against my next payment to DSC!).

Thanks, guys. If you have questions about any of these, just ask!

Back to my regular blog topics on Thursday.

(Although, it’s not like I’ve never promoted stuff I really, really love before:

Sites & Services I Love
Sites & Services I Love, Part II
Sites & Services I Love, Part III)



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Places in Books I Want to Visit

places to visit

How about you?

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish.



Filed under reading, YA