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Category: My Writing Experience

Creating News Events

Creating News Events

Creating News Events

As an independent author, I’m always searching for ways to create news events. Those events that bring my books to the public. I’ve sat at book fairs, and comic

cons. There were advertisements, and book catalogues. Who can forget the tweeting and sharing on social media? I can’t tell you how many marketing promos have led to free Kindle Fires for participating bloggers that I’ve given away. All in all, the results have been varied.

Now I’m looking for new ways to create news events that are different, fun and worthwhile.

Seize Those Opportunities

Opportunities come from anywhere, by simply retweeting and sharing an author’s book posts. Or aggressively advertising on Facebook and Twitter. Maybe a friend direct messaged an opportunity based on a shared interest. Or sometimes you just stumble across something interesting, different and new.

Where the idea is born doesn’t matter, as long as you seize the opportunities as they cross your path. You never know where it could lead.

So when you say yes to the news events as you find them, in time you share those websites and links with others to spread the news. Please, visit and share these sites and the great work these bloggers and reviewers do.

Bloggers Carry the Weight

Trisha Sugarek, Writer at Play: MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?   November was best selling author, Grace Burrowes and in December, Reed Farrel Coleman, contributing writer for Robert B. Parker series. January is Dinah Jefferies and February’s author is Sheryl Steines.

http://www.writeratplay.com/2017/02/17/interview-with-sci-fi-author-sheryl-steines/

 

Midwest Book Review:  “Established in 1976, the Midwest Book Review is an organization committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. The MBR publishes the following monthly book review magazines specifically designed for community and academic librarians, booksellers, and the general reading public:”

http://www.midwestbookreview.com/sbw/dec_16.htm#Fantasy/SciFi

 

ThreeifbySpace.net:  Need a Good Read? Books by Outlander Fans Fill the Bill

“We’re a reading bunch. I like big books, and I cannot lie… of course, we all love Diana’s books (or why else are we here!), but many of her fans are authors themselves. And since November is the month to turn yourself into an author – it’s NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month – it seemed appropriate to introduce you to some Outlander fans who have taken that big leap and put out their talent for you to enjoy. Here’s a good selection of books written by fellow Outlander fans that are available to purchase and read (some of the books are free for Kindle users!) – support your friends! This is, I’m sure, not a complete list – if you have a published (self or traditional) book, feel free to leave info in the comments! Click on book titles to learn more and buy?” by Erin Conrad  https://www.threeifbyspace.net/2016/11/need-good-read-books-outlander-fans-fill-bill/

 

 

 

 

Book Release, New Website, Oy the Changes

Book Release, New Website, Oy the Changes

A writer’s life.

It started with a rewrite.

It wasn’t working. It was no one’s fault, but what do you change when it feels like you’re mired in a sticky, muddy mess?

My first change was the book itself. It didn’t feel right, some plot lines hadn’t been resolved; something did feel quite right; it affected the writing of the next book. I must say the rewrite was better than I could have imagined. That sparked an entire series rethink, which spurred … well it led to an excitement, a new confidence. And now after seven years, I finally have a series that clicked on all cylinders. I couldn’t have imagined it had I planned it that way.

Now What?

I wanted to sell the new version of The Day of First Sun. I was nervous, scared…did I really make the right change? Was it good at all? I sold the book at Book Con, Chicago 2016. One week after the sale, I received a Facebook message from  a reader, telling me she loved the book and couldn’t wait for book two.

I was no longer afraid to sell the book and decided then and there, when something doesn’t work, it’s time to dismantle the thing and start again.

My Twitter handle, the Facebook Author Page, and even this website became more streamlined, I had SEO (search engine optimization) to contend with, you know? And it all came together just in time for Black Market to be released. I’ve waited years for February 6, 2017 to arrive because I finally had the next book in the series. I was finally ready, the change was here.

And I can’t wait to see what happens.

 

 

My Author Journey

My Author Journey

My journey begins today!

Thoughts from today:

It’s been one hell of a journey, these last 7 years. In that time, I’ve been up and I’ve been down while at the same time and I’ve been standing still. It was time to make some major changes. It started with the complete rewrite of book one and restructuring my entire series. I had the blog completely recreated and organized. My Twitter handle and Facebook author page changed. I turned it upside down.

It’s funny though, because the struggles from seven years ago are still the struggles I have seven years into the journey. The only thing that’s changed is; I’m far more knowledgeable and maybe a little more confident about what I want and where I want to go. And as book two is finally about to be released, I remember and reminisce, and really the journey is still the same.

So here’s my Throwback Thursday blog from 2011.

I can’t believe that it’s been a year, this month, since I published The Day of First Sun. In that time, I’ve cried, complained, written, edited, worked on the blog, cried, hated Twitter, loved Twitter, cried, threw my computer down in disgust. I’ve researched, questioned other writers, sat for hours under a cold breeze at Wizard World, all in the hopes of finding that one thing, the one spark that would get my book out there in the market, in front of the right person.

In the first 11 months, I did what I was told would work. I got a Facebook author page, a Twitter Account, Amazon author page, sent letters to independent books stores in hopes I could get a book signing. But in that time all I’ve managed to do is sell my book to my friends and family and maybe some strangers. 

It’s always time well spent, on an anniversary, to take a moment to reflect on the past year and learn something from it. I learned I suck at marketing and I’m rather computer/internet illiterate.

No I actually did learn something valuable. I learned my passion and my love, is the path I should take. It fosters confidence, which breeds more confidence and that opens you to possibilities. I’ve always looked at the book as my product, one that I need to get to market. In an effort to accomplish that, I attended my first book expo and that was my greatest lesson. I realized how much I didn’t know about publishing and that I had choices to make; I either stop pursuing this journey, stop spending money in hopes that something good will happen, or I stop straddling the fence, jump in with both feet and make the dream a reality.

 

 

What Do You Do at the Fork in the Road?

What Do You Do at the Fork in the Road?

black-market-3b1JK Rowling always knew she had something good. I know I have something worthwhile; a full and complete book series that weaves the story throughout each book, that will, in the end, culminate to a final resolution.

After re-writing The Day of First Sun twice, commissioning several different book covers, and restructuring the series, I can finally say, I have a good product that will entertain someone, if I can find the right someone.

And now it’s time to release Black Market.

So what to do with my next book? I have an opportunity to sign with a publisher, but hairs on the back of my neck caution me. I can sign with the publicist and venture down an entirely different marketing promotion than anything I’ve ever done before. But will it gain me anything?

It weighs heavy on me; the direction should I pursue as I flip 180 degrees and back again, staying awake all night in a debate with myself.

Mistakes in my past come back to haunt me; the premature re-release of The Day of First Sun, without a marketing plan, because I really had no idea what to do, early editing errors that ran me in circles through multiple drafts, my inability to outline as story and stick to it.

As I wait for the final design of the interior layout of Black Market, I worry, will book two succeed if book one was just thrown in the marketplace?

It’s a question many independent authors ask as we muddle through the ups and downs of publishing. If we do this will it get us closer to our dreams, but what if it doesn’t?

I mull over options, I take a long hard look at the world I created, the media I’ve made. I ponder and ask my fellow indi authors, what did you do? What path did you take? Was it worth it?

The Day of First Sun available on Amazon.com.

The Day of First Sun - Copy to Use

 

Write Like a Pantser

Write Like a Pantser

The Day of First Sun - Copy to UseWhat’s a pantser you asked? There are two types of authors, one who like JK Rowling plans her work before she writes. You’ve seen her charts, every detail means something and it all gets into her books. She’s what’s known as a plotter. And then there are writers like me who are known as pantsers, who write by the seat of our pants. I’m not alone, Stephen King has admitted that he too is a pantser, a writer who starts with an idea, a beginning, middle and end and we sit in front of our blank page and just start to write. His view is that he’s like an archaeologist who finds that little piece of a larger artifact and as he digs, he reveals the whole thing.

The point of the explanation is this. I’m a pantser, I have an idea, a beginning, middle and end and when I sit down at the computer, I just write, I let the ideas flow out and onto the page and sometimes, I’m surprised when something happens, just like a reader might. It’s exciting and fun until you have to connect the dots of your books and they just don’t quite fit.

And so it went, I had books that weren’t selling well, bad reviews. I know I’ve told you the story before and in that I rewrote the books, I started over, because as I’ve said, I’m a pantser, I don’t plan through the series, until it no longer worked.

When I rewrote The Day of First Sun I knew what was to come, what I wanted to see in the books though I didn’t quite have a finale planned and I could add a few hints along the way. I’ll admit, the book is much better than it was and saying that, each new book added something to the story and they fit together as if it was meant to be.

I finished book two, coming in January 2017. It took a long time, several years in fact for me to find the right book, the right story to continue Annie and Cham’s journey and I found it in Black Market. And after rewriting the first book, restructuring the series, the story fit. It worked. And that spilled into book three and into book four and gave me the story for book five.

I hadn’t planned on writing a series in which all the books were somehow interconnected. I wanted a fun series with cool, interesting stories. But in the end, I found the connections, small at first, building to a climax in the making.

Was it worth it? Were the extra two years of work getting to this point, the frustration, the miscommunication, is it worth the She Wulf rewrite that I’m taking on to make the timeline fit.

I received a sweet message from a young woman I met at Book Con 2016. I had sold her a copy of The Day of First Sun. She read the book in less than a week and took the time to contact me via Facebook to let me know she loved the book. So what is worth it? Most definitely. I have never been so proud of my work or so excited to share with you what is to come.

Come see what people are saying about The Day of First Sun.

 

 

 

 

The Water Churns, and Undulates, Alive with Pain, Anger, Love and Loss

The Water Churns, and Undulates, Alive with Pain, Anger, Love and Loss

I’m writing my memoir, sort of. It’s not an exact retelling of my life and the low, very low experiences that have eventually brought me to this point. It’s a lot of poetry, a lot of essays and a lot of imagery.

That’s not so remarkable. JK Rowling wrote about her depression. She made it a character in her books. Remember the dementors? They were an embodiment of the depression she experienced after her divorce. Mine is an image, its water. Water, something that I bathe in everyday, that I drink all day and use to prepare meals. And yet, since I was about six years old, I’ve been terrified of the water.

I learned to swim in a lake. Dark and dirty, I couldn’t see the bottom. I had a loss of control during one class, the day we jumped off the dock and the instructors kept us under water for what seemed like an eternity. I can still see the sun through the greenish water, a dull ball in the sky. I remember the panic waiting for the teacher to lift me out of the water. From that day on, I never liked being in the water.

I tried to learn over the years. I took the classes in high school, but my fear was so gripping that my teacher, while holding me in the deep end, told me, you are too afraid, I can’t teach you here.” She proceeded to swim me to the shallow end, where I spent the rest of the two-week unit, walking. As if that’s not a waste of time.

As I write about my life, about the death of my daughter, I find myself using water as a representation of that horrible time.

“it beats roughly against the rocky coast.”

“The water churns, and undulates, alive with pain, anger, love and loss. Each harsh wave erodes the rocks, removing a piece forever.”

“I can no longer breathe as the water pummels me, suppresses me, I try to scream but my voice can no longer be heard amidst the roar.”

I found myself writing the second entry and the images waters contained my sorrow, my heart-felt apologies, my fear and anger.

The water doesn’t just scare me. It terrifies me. White knuckle terror. When I took swimming lessons after the birth of my second child, I remember swimming in the deep end of pool. I climbed out still wearing my life jacket and stood above the pool. My teacher told me to jump in. My head understood the command, but my legs were grounded to the pool deck. I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed.

This is the imagery that describes the ups and downs. The white water rapids that describe my life. the way I can deliver my message and have others understand how I view my life.

Water terrifies.

Faking Confidence Leads to Real Confidence

Faking Confidence Leads to Real Confidence

Is confidence something we’re born with, or is it something we grow within ourselves when we are surrounded by a loving family, friends, society? Is it always with us or does it wane over time or experiences? I think about that as I examine my life, my choices, my career.

At seven, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Everything I did was leading me to that career. I wrote in my spare time, I became and English major, worked as a technical writing intern. I worked as a technical writer when I graduated.

Regardless of what I had done over the course of my life, I always stayed close to writing. It was what I was told I was good at since I was young, it was what I enjoyed the most and it gave me confidence. Some of the best jobs I had involved writing, whether it was business letters, technical manuals or user guides, there was a pride that came with learning a job and translating that for others to learn from. So when did the confidence wane and leave?

Bad jobs, fractured relationships, the death of a child, there are so many things that eat away at confidence, that leave a black cloud over your head, that suck the light and life away.

A series of bad events, of loss, left me paralyzed. And yet when the confidence was at its lowest, I decided to put myself out there, expose myself and write again. I needed to be reminded that I wanted to write a book and when I was, I did. To do that requires honesty and being open with the world in hopes that you find your audience.

You throw yourself out there when you publish your book whether you have a publisher or you self-publish. You read the reviews and you meet other authors and bloggers who can help you attract readers. Its raw and scary, terrifying and sometimes your read a review that is hard to stomach and you can’t speak for a week.

But there’s something in my makeup that when the confidence is lacking, propels me forward and keeps me writing. It’s a manufactured confidence, when I believe that I’m strong enough to keep writing, marketing and planning for that dream future.

Confidence is a tricky thing. It can be strong or it can be weak. We can be slaves to it or we can overpower it. I’ve never overpowered mine at least not until recently. I no longer wanted to watch other accomplish what I could only dream about. I wanted more. Even when the confidence leaves, I’ve learned to fake it. Negative self-talk can break you and positive self-talk even if you have to pretend for a while is better than none at all.

Because somewhere along the way I realized that I can do whatever I set out to do, I just have to believe in myself. Even if I have to fake it once and awhile.

Never Tell a Writer to Stop

Never Tell a Writer to Stop

I’m tired. I took a full-time job to pay for the marketing to try to sell my books. I come home, take care of the children, the bills, groceries, dishes and take care of the other commitments that come with living in the real world. It makes me no different from other moms. I’m not claiming I am. And this isn’t about how my life may or may not suck.

It’s about my second job. The one I’ve been working at for the last four years. The one I’m not getting paid for, the one that takes me away from friends, commitments, children, relaxing. Again, it’s not a mom thing. I’ve been an unpaid mom for sixteen years. No, this is about the dream, the job I really want.

When people ask how I’m doing, I mostly say I’m okay, unless I’m really tired, really stressed and really needing a good writing session. And frankly I don’t complain much about it because most people tell me, maybe if I’m that stressed, I should put the books away for a little while.

I’m tired of explaining myself to everyone. It’s not a simple proposition to put the book down. It’s like cutting off a limb. It’s a part of me. When I’m not writing, it gnaws at me, crawls through my skin reminding me that there’s something else I’d rather be doing. I almost waited too long to begin my journey and if I put it away for even just a week, I may out of habit never pick it up again. I can’t do that.

Even as my world can sometimes crash around me as I struggle to get the laundry done, the groceries bought, the children taken care of, have a social life, I desperately reach for something to hold on to so that I don’t drown in my daily life. My life saver is writing. When you want something badly enough and you can’t shake it, you keep at it even when everything else is in danger of falling to pieces. It’s my life line.

Never tell an aspiring writer to put it away for a little while. We have a story to tell, an emotion to release, a message to say. If we put it away for even a little while, it burns a hole in us and we’re no longer being true to ourselves. .

One day maybe the non-writer will understand.

 

Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block

I’ve been blocked for days. I’m editing a book and writing a second. I had hoped to be done with the second book by now, the problem is, that book wasn’t going well. I scrapped it again because it’s just not coming out the way I wanted it to and now I’ve been unmotivated and even when I sit down to write, the words aren’t coming. I’m mentally exhausted. In the last year since releasing She Wulf, I’ve been on an up and down roller coaster of emotion and self-doubt. I haven’t been able to focus on which book should be the second in the series. Where do I go from here?

Just for fun I looked up writer’s block on You Tube. I didn’t watch the entire video, I simply have no patience for it, but what I did get from it is this, give yourself permission to write garbage. It’s the idea that the way to break through the block is to simply write. Books don’t get written if words aren’t put to paper.

Who hasn’t put too much pressure on themselves as they attempt to fulfill their dreams. I’m feeling that pressure. I’m overly critical and have developed a fear of losing my hold on my dream. To keep that hold, I work every day. I write something everyday, I work on Twitter,  and Facebook at the expense of my children and my relationships and myself. I’ve lost my balance and now I’m blocked.

When we feel paralyzed by fear or uncertainty, the key to pulling ourselves out of our funk is to create junk, jump into a problem with both feet without analyzing it or over thinking it. Just do it. I think I’ve heard that somewhere before. The most important plan is to just write it, just do it, stop thinking about it. Stop letting the block become the obstacle that derails you.

I experienced that recently in my day job. Taking a job that involves me  calling people on the phone and selling sponsorships. Who was I thinking I was when I said yes to that? I couldn’t change what I did, I wasn’t able to control the nature of my job and I forced myself to stop thinking about the fear. I realized that working outside of my comfort zone would benefit me regardless of what I was doing in my life. So after twirling in my chair, I made my phone calls. It wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t perfect but I did it.

By not dwelling on the past and swimming in the despair opened me up to new opportunities. Whether it be a job or an unexpected story line, controlling the fear gives you a new approach to the problem. So if you write something awful, that shouldn’t be seen by anyone else, that’s okay. That’s what the edit is for. At least the story is moving forward and you gain word count. Say to hell with the writer’s block. You’re better than that.

 

 

Third Times The Charm

Third Times The Charm

I had this brilliant idea for a book and I wrote the first draft. But then my book She Wulf came knocking on my door. Instead of finished what was then known as Heavenly Gifts, I put it aside to write this new story. After restructuring my book series this year, and re-writing The Day of First Sun, I decided the new second book in the series would be the original story I had intended on writing and I decided it was time.

I started from scratch, re-writing this brilliant idea, examining what happens when good intentions go horribly wrong, when everything must be in moderation or else. I still love the idea, but the book, again, doesn’t want to be written. It keeps fighting back. And as much as I keep pushing forward, it insists on telling me, it’s just not right.

First the story started out like a fish and grew eight legs to eventually become an octopus. I scaled way back, took one direction and moved forward. The problem for me now is that the book is a boring procedural mess of a book that I can’t even keep enthusiastic about. Mind you I still love the idea behind the book, but the book once again has denied me. It’s just not right.

So again, I put the book away, still not finished. I still don’t have a viable ending. All I have is a great premise and a head full of ideas. I have my characters lives in my head and I’m anxious to get them out of there. So I took from the book some scenes that go together and I’m using them to write a completely different book. They are now my new outline. All I need to do is fill it in.

I’m still shooting for a second book when I release the new version of The Day of First Sun. It’s pushing it but it’s coming. So here’s to the third time being the charm. I may finally find that second book.

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