Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sit thy butt down

The following was posted to my LinkedIn account, but I wanted to share it because it seemed relevant. 

Last night was the conclusive end to the release party for my fourth novel, Ice Burns. It was an amazing event filled with outstanding guest authors who filled the conversation with dazzling analogies and insight from their unique perspectives.

One thing that struck me during the chaotic interactions between authors and readers was the queries that came from readers who wanted to be like us. They wanted to be writers/authors as well but didn't know how to begin. It isn't an uncommon feeling for any writer, but it is still a bit startling when it is mirrored back at you to such a high degree.

The questions and vulnerability of someone afraid to broach their chosen art made me feel like a new writer again. Their questions were the same ones I had. Their needs for some sort of validation that writing can be done was almost painful. I knew, and know still, that feeling of uncertainty that maybe you're dreaming too big or reaching for the furthest star in the galaxy just because you think it's pretty. It clenches at you and makes you fearful.

Artists of any kind are incredibly self-sabotaging. We fear baring our souls and being rejected for it because that's what we do when we create. Anything that forces you to open yourself and show fears, desires, needs... It isn't an easy thing as anyone who has ever been rejected or insulted knows. It is bleeding yourself into something new; your metaphorical heart has to pump the thoughts and images out for others to experience. That's where the decision lies.

Creative expression, though it is a skill that must be honed with the sharpest blade of wit, is a decision to work. Writing is work and it must be treated with that level of respect. Success in any degree is work no matter how fearful you are of failure. You must choose to be what you want and make it happen. There is no half-attempt. Someone who chooses to create must thrust both hands, heart, mind, and humility into that creation. Pride does not have a place in the process except in the conclusion of hard work completed.

If you would write, then do it now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Now. If you want to be something, waiting even one more day is a waste of time and you cannot let something so valuable slip away. Put away the excuses because no one is listening and begin.

Monday, August 15, 2016

I honestly almost forgot about this blog. If it weren't for one friend asking about blogging over books and another making a comment about this blog, I would have forgotten for a while.

My fourth book releases tomorrow. The last post I put up on this website spoke about my 2nd book and writing my 3rd. Both books had their ups and downs in the process. My second book, though unique, has had some issues that I will likely go back and do a bit of editing and re-release it. I also have a new cover for it that is amazing.

My second Loki book will lead into a 3rd. I didn't really realize that when I started writing it. I'm also thinking I might zip in and write a novella for Loki.I miss that snarky voice in my head.

"Ice Burns" which has changed titles about fifty times is the first "novel" I finished. You could say that this was the book that made me feel like I was actually a writer. I'm not saying that writing short stories or any other type of writing doesn't make you a writer - it does. Finishing a work of this length showed me that I have the determination to finish a large work.

It's too easy to quit sometimes. There are moments in writing that you wonder if everything is crap. I know that I've struggled when storybuilding that I wondered if what I was writing would be interesting to anyone else. It's normal, though.

I've also been lucky to meet several other authors during this journey. When you doubt yourself, find others who are like you and you'll feel better. I've always had one, maybe two writer-types around me, but it felt like we were more focused on our own experiences than we were in realizing where our struggles were.

Writers, authors, artists - especially with the same focus - are amazing resources. Even though we write alone, we need others. If you're self-published, this is especially true because it has a heavy learning curve.

I'm not always a people person. Weird, right? Sometimes I don't want the world intruding on me and being around people is incredibly tiring. Writers, like the books we love, are there when you need them. Most writers want to help each other - we want to know that we can depend on each other so we're more than willing to assist when someone asks.

I love that I can easily say "we" in that.

I feel vulnerable with this book. I feel like my main character is so vulnerable and struggling in a way that I have in my life. No, I'm not at risk of going evil (though that would be fun!), but the dark side of me is all of my insecurities and sometimes it's hard to quiet them. We all have dark and light that we have to either listen to or ignore. If things don't scare you or make you nervous/anxious/angry/sad, you aren't alive.

Something I like to tell people who are afraid to do something, especially something new is this: If you aren't afraid, it really doesn't mean anything to you. Pushing through hardship of any kind highlights how important something is to us. The only way to succeed is by acknowledging that what you feel is normal and pushing on.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and be more than you are.

Monday, June 15, 2015

And a Year is gone...

I can't believe how lax I have been on writing here.  I know I have stuff going on, but sheesh!

Events first? Okay...
My second book was published in September. It was my first run at YA and I really enjoyed it. All action, all powerful, a teeeeeeeeny bit of snark. ;) Who can live without snark, after all?

My first year of teaching is now over.  I taught an amazing bunch of seniors this year and I was sad to see my time with them end.  They graduated two days ago and I can't believe I'm never going to see them again.  It was harder than I thought it would be.

Comicon virginity popped last month. I had a table at the Tidewater ComiCon in Virginia Beach.  It was amazing.  I met so many new people, got to spread the word about my books, hired my first minion...the works.  It really just pushed me forward about to....

Loki 2! I'm working on it now. Well, not right now, but now. No, like...well, in current time that is not specified to the very moment I'm typing this. Yeah.

RavenCon is on the agenda for next year. I have already put in for a table and have applied to be a guest. I am officially in love with Cons. And the people who run them. And meeting potential readers.

New job in the Fall.  I am switching from the school I was at this year to another one district over.  I see more opportunities for me in the new job and can put my youngest into a better school system. Win all around there except for the "out of zone" tuition. Yikes!

Okay, to the writing then. I was really busy this year, but that doesn't mean anything when it comes to my writing. Procrastination is my middle name. I think, "Oh, I could write a bit..." and then I play a game on the computer or check what's on television. I have many days of opportunity ahead of me and just as many behind me that are lost. I choose not to dwell, but I want to learn from my mistakes and push forward.

I have given myself a deadline of August for the second book. Can I get it done by then? Heck yeah. I can write until my fingers fall off and then slog through the editing process prior to paying a professional to check my work. I could have the rough draft done by the end of this month. I should change that could to a will. I am ready to move on. After book 2 here, I can work on my next in the series for my YA. I'm so ready...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Something New...WIPpet good!

It's Wednesday.  No, seriously. The writing group I've joined does something special on Wednesdays called WIPpet Wednesday. WIPpet Wednesday is when we share a snippet of a work in progress that relates to the date somehow. For example: for today's date, I could choose to start with Chapter 7, page/paragraph/line 16.  I don't want to give too much away from what I'm working on, so I have to choose carefully.  No matter what, you get a sneak peek!  How great is that???


Okay, I'm settling on an early section from "Loki" book 2. I went with the current page 16, 7th line.  I hope you enjoy it!

“What kind of information?” he asked.  I could hear the scrape of a pen on paper as he wrote it down.
“Damned if I know,” I told him.  “I do know that she’s a smart cookie with a couple of degrees in some sciency stuff and it might have something to do with that.  She said her boyfriend only had her start running errands for him after he found out about her smarts.”
“Hmm,” Martin mumbled into the phone.  It was a simple sound that, with the speakers in the car bouncing it around, sent goose bumps running across my arms and the back of my head. His voice was sometimes a power unto itself.  It was a tangible thing as though instead of just hearing him, I could feel his hands going up the back of my neck and into my hair.
“Well, we’ll take a look at Congressman Butts’ dealings and see if we can find something to connect the dots to,” Martin sighed into the phone and I swooned a little with my girlie parts singing the hallelujah choir.  I immediately pictured a half-naked Martin curled up with his arms wrapped around me, my fingers tracing his tattoos and nuzzling his neck as he made sexy little man sounds. Traitorous hormones.
“Whatever,” I snapped and disconnected.  It was interesting how language had evolved to a point where a nonchalant word like “whatever” could now be said in a way that basically meant “fuck you”.
I drove home and thought about the whole Martin thing.  When I had almost given my mortal life to protect him and the area from being taken over by an egotistical destroyer goddess, I had woken to find the warm gaze and gentle touch of Richard Martin.
We had tried dating; fooled around a few times… it had been nice. He knew who and what I was, but it hadn’t mattered.  He found me funny and hot and I liked that about him.
Seriously, it had been one of the few relationships I had really been into.  Martin was funny, intelligent, and super-spicy hot. He also appeared to be wholly immune to any of my godling abilities.  I had thought him a null when we first met because he seemed immune but realized later that he couldn’t be when he had had his memories of Pandora, the goddess-ruled mock business, completely wiped away.
That didn’t stop him from thinking the worst of me after knowing about my powers.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

...So now what?

I feel like I've turned this blog into an acquaintance instead of a close-personal-venting palooza. My blog has become that person on the street who barely gets a chin jut or a rushed "How are you?" as you don't wait to hear the answer and spend the next twenty minutes trying to remember their name and how you know them!

I'm sorry bloggy, I do love you.  I won't say that I'll change, because I won't.  We both know that if I say I'll call and that I'll do better this time, that will only last for a moment and then I'll forget and fall back on my old ways.  But you know where the bodies are buried, so I'll never leave you completely, even if I neglect our relationship sometimes...

So, anyways, I published one of my novels.  "Loki Bound" is available as an e-book and trade size paper back on Amazon. I didn't want it to lose its viability, so I self-published my book.  I wanted it out there in the world, hopefully making friends.  I did get one review on Amazon for the book that I take as a huge complement despite the 3-star rating.  The reviewer stated that there were some errors and such but then said, "I actually ended up liking this a lot more than I expected to" and "It was pretty entertaining."  Best of all, she concluded with, "I would probably checkout more by this author."

What? Heck yeah!  Validation, thy name is Amazon!

I wanted to be an instant hit flying up the list of best-selling ebooks, but I knew that was unlikely.  It doesn't change the fact that a random person bought my book, read it, and liked it enough to state that they would look for others by me!

We write to be read. We want to know that there is someone out there being touched by our stories in a way that part of it sticks with them.  Who hasn't had that moment when you were doing something and a scene from a book popped through your head for just a bit to make you laugh, frown or wonder if that author has anything new out?

That's what I WANT. I want to reach people the way all of the stories I've loved have reached me.  Money would be nice, too, but it is the story that I want to tell. I want my voice to connect to someone at a moment that they need it.  I want the jokes I write and laugh out loud to do the same for someone else.

It is hard getting your book out there though.  Just publishing it isn't enough.  I wish someone had taken my book for their publishing company because then they would be doing all the legwork.  Instead, that's part of my job, too.  When you self-publish, you become the agent, the publisher, the media rep, the advertiser, the spokesperson, the scheduler.... everything.  It isn't easy.  It is a fast way to go, yes.  It is a lot of work, though.  Writing the novel was the easy part when it comes to this.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Uh...where am I?

You may be wondering this, too.  I don't mean about me, maybe more about you.  If you write, you wonder why it is so dang hard to get your name out there.  You wonder why people aren't knocking down your door instead of sending you an email that starts with, "Thank you for submitting your work for our consideration..."

It isn't that you (or I) suck.  No, it really isn't.  We are writers.  We put our hearts into creating something that we feel is good enough to share with others. We through our souls out, bared and naked, for others to pass judgement over.  We don't give up.  No, we don't.  We want to.  Hell yes we do.  But we don't.  And because of that, you and I are already a success.

How? Determination.  You haven't quit yet and that means you have determination.  No matter the misery, you have such a strong passion for the words you type that you will do it over and over and over again.  You will force yourself to sit down, open your laptop (or grab pen and notebook if you're old school) and let the words flow.  Sometimes they're crap.  Yep, we've all been there.  That isn't the point though.  At some point, the crap fades away and the real words come out.  Then you build on them.  You create and tweak and form something that excites you or makes you laugh or cry.  You connect to those words and inflate them into something living and breathing like a balloon animal.

Sometimes we don't believe in ourselves and our abilities.  Sometimes we need a friend, teacher or co-worker to step up and say this:

You are good.

I'm saying it to you now.  Please believe that you are.  Do you know how I know? Go back and read paragraph three. And another thing about writers: you can't give up.  If you do, some part of you will always feel undone.  I feel an ache if I wait too long to write (thankfully going to school full time to finish my teaching certification does not allow me to go too long without writing!).  Don't ignore it.  Find five minutes to pen out your thoughts.  You'll feel better.

Now to the problem of getting your work published.  I don't have an absolute answer.  I've been struggling since I was a teenager (and I'm not going to tell you how long that has been because I will then be depressed!).  I've had one short story published (as an adult) and several non-fiction news stories and articles published.  That part isn't hard.  If you have a strong voice, you can always go through Yahoo! Voices or a similar news site and write to your heart's content.  My difficulty is in my fiction.

So, after some encouragement from friends and a teacher at my university, I am going to self-publish through Amazon.  Yep.  I'm going to take the plunge.  First, I'm going to spend the holiday leave from school editing the crap out of my two complete novels.  After that, I'm going to choose one and throw it to the wolves.  I may not end up being a raging success, but at least I will be read.  To me, that is the big thing.  I need to share the stories inside me with the hope that someone, somewhere will enjoy them and want more. We'll see.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Break time, let's get busy!

Next week is finals.  Truth be told, I could take one final today if I wanted, but I really don't.  Today is the first day I've had "off" in about three weeks...or more.  I have nothing scheduled for today.  All day long, it is just me, the cats and the dog.  I'm not sure how much writing I'll get done since there is a Warehouse 13 marathon on Syfy.  Oh Syfy, how you distract me!

I know my most recently finished novel needs a bit more editing and that will probably be on the agenda when I get back to work.  I don't have any inspiration for a new novel yet, so I'll probably go back to the one I started this summer or possibly work on Book 2 from the first novel.

I have close to a dozen queries out floating around.  I've gotten a few rejections.  They are form letter emails, so they mean very little to me.  I choose to see myself as one step closer to an acceptance letter.

Now for something new...From now on, I'm going to use the blog as a bit of a writing exercise as well.  Anything I want: poems, short stories, and of course...Random Acts of Description.

They were like five black fingers reaching out from the sun-dappled water. Statuesque, they were unmoving as I silently tread forward. They reached away from the ancient water-soaked arboreal within the waterway.  They aren't beautiful, just lithe, curved, delicate forms.  As I watch, one finger separates from the hand, creating a new, moving point.  The brown and black snake-like head arches quickly to find a way beneath the surface.  The hunt is afoot. Another dark finger separates and then another before the hand waves good-bye as the cormorants seek food within the muddy depths.