Monday, June 30, 2014

Balancing Act

It is incredible the amount of things that we take on every day. Families and friends, work and bills, even trying to just keep up on chores and errands. Life has a funny way of weighing us down from itself.

I look at some of the writers I know and many of them write full time or have one part time job in order to help make ends meet until they finally get their breakthrough piece written. I write while also holding down two other jobs and also workout in an effort to train for physical challenges like obstacle courses and triathlons.

I have often wondered if I even have a chance of being successful as an author if I can manage to split my focus so much. Am I dedicated enough to my art in order to get my name out there and create a reader base that can one day create the ability to do this full time? Do I fit the bill of what people consider a writer to be?

For me I think it is possible to be successful without being chained to a keyboard all the time. I am not the biggest reader in the world though I do enjoy reading. I am actively involved with people and activities and love to perform making me an extreme extrovert which I have found to be uncommon for writers.

I am constantly trying new adventures but it is from these new times that I find my inspiration. My entire life I have read about people going places and trying things and it has inspired me to do the same. I am hoping that one day people will read my work and feel moved. That they will want to try something new, go somewhere different and meet someone that they never before would have considered joining in conversation.

Life isn't just about balancing what we have to do with what we want to do but can also be about balancing who we are and who we want to be. Reaching for the sky while making sure we keep aware of what is happening around us. I love who I am and it took me a long time to be able to say that and I hope that one day I write something that can make others reflect and see themselves in the same light.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Those lost

Tonight I wanted to take a quiet moment in reflection of those that have touched my heart and live on there though no longer on this earth. It is important to me that from time to time I simply look back at pictures, cards and mementos of my past and think about those that have affected my life.

I have always had a strong connection to animals and as many of my readers know I am even working on a charity book called Rescue Me - Animal Anthology. It is a collection of stories and poems about saving animals and being saved by them. Just two days ago I interviewed the foster / forever mom of a sweet senior boxer with cancer that didn't have much more then an expected month left.

Her love for Roxy the boxer was intense and could be felt instantly even over the phone. You could hear the pain in her voice as she told me about the life Roxy had experienced before being dumped in a shelter and how she had been doted on since being rescued replacing the pain with compassion. I typed up her story right after I got off the phone and had planned to send it off for approval today. I was even planning to go and maybe meet Roxy tomorrow and take a few pictures of her for the book.

I was, however, cut off from my plans when I saw the heartbreaking news announced on Facebook today that her time came up sooner than expected and she has now passed away. Her cancer was completely preventable but by the time she was rescued it was too late. It immediately brought forth the memory of a tiny feral kitten I attempted to save just a few years ago. He had been discarded by his mother and we brought him inside sure he would never make it through the night.

When I woke up I checked in on him and he actually opened his eyes and looked up at me. I named him Miracle just for surviving that long. I called in sick that day to stay home with him. I lay in bed with his tiny body lying against the skin on my chest. He could feel my heart beat and for a brief time he even purred for me.

I dipped my finger in milk and would put a drop in front of his itty bitty mouth. He managed to get a drop or two down but mostly he just slept. Around mid afternoon I got up and made a quick lunch before coming back to put him on my chest again. I stroked his little head and told him I was so happy to have found him. Again he purred for a moment but then he laid his head to the side and stopped purring. He went to sleep and quietly left this world behind. I felt him take his last breath and kissed the top of his head.

With tears in my eyes I took him out to a beautiful spot near Red Rock Canyon and buried him where the sunset can be seen in all its wonderful color scheme. I still feel the tears when I remember him and they are made fresh again when I see the stories of others experiencing losses of friends both two and four legged of their own.

I know that the animals watch over us the same way that loved people from our past do and in keeping with tonight's theme of lost loved one I want to make a small thank you to my father that has been watching over e my entire life and for the last 6 years from heaven. I feel his presence daily and I know that Miracle and Roxy and my beloved other pets and those of all the animal lovers I know are keeping a protective eye on those of us still here until One day we can meet again.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Something different

I wanted to take a moment to introduce my readers to a new concept I will be delving into very soon. I will be creating my first series and it will be eight books focusing on the seven deadly sins. The first book is the one that I am going to focus on today and do so by introducing the main character, Persiphone Syntle.

She lives during the time of the Salem witch trials and while she married the love of her life and gave birth to seven beautiful children, all of them were girls. Large families were common but boys were much more desirable in order to help a family survive and provide. Her husband John in killed in a tragic accident leaving her alone with her daughters and she must struggle to find a way to care for them all.

Her brother is a bachelor and moves in to care for and assist his family. She is also offered a chance to work for one of the most powerful man in the city but he almost immediately begins flirting with her and though she tries to ignore or politely reject his advances he is extremely persistent. She must choose between helping her family survive or being true to herself.

He ultimately takes the choice away from her though he gets caught. He immediately blames her and accuses her of being a witch. He claims she seduced him and orders her to stand trial on accusation of witchcraft. What will Persiphone do? How will she prove her innocence? Join her as she fights for her life and the freedom of her beloved daughters.

First signing

Last Friday afternoon I hosted my first book signing. It was wonderful to learn so much and have family and friends there to join me for such an awesome occasion. I have definitely learned that the time and day of the week are so important to the success of an event. I held my signing at an adorable bakery I love and the location was beautiful though it did not have a lot of foot traffic.

I had a sign made but to be displayed at the bakery but I never confirmed the location it would be placed. I now need to make sure that any advertisement is as visible as possible. I also had a notice in the local newspaper but I was unaware that it would only be listed in the online edition.

Finally I listed my event on facebook but because I was only able to reach a few people there was nowhere near the turn out we had hoped for. I am thinking that one of the largest things I need to focus on is this last item. I need to find ways beyond facebook to reach potential readers.

I am working on finding additional locations to hold events including both dance studios to keep with the theme of the book but also book stores and coffee shops. Once I have booked more locations I will make sure that the days are better for getting guests in and make sure that any print materials are displayed more prominently.

I am also working on word of mouth and asking anyone I know that reads my books to leave a review and recommend it to anyone they know that may enjoy reading something different. I will continue this learning experience and apply all new ideas and developments to future books as well.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Outside the comfort zone

I have been writing drama and realistic fiction for most of my life. I am very comfortable with these genres and figured that I would always write in these areas. However not only are these not popular and currently sellable genres but I also have been thinking about writing abilities recently and it is widely understood that in order to grow you must push the envelope.

Being a woman with no children it is odd that I would choose to attempt to write a children's book. But I did, in fact I am finishing an entire series that not only is created for the children I don't have but it is also bringing honor and recognition to the single fathers in the world that step up for their children. People think that I should promote women and I take nothing away from mothers but I have tremendous respect for fathers as well and they are far less recognized.

I am also working to create an adult series involving witchcraft. I have never used an paranormal or supernatural elements in my writing so this will definitely be a leap for me. In an attempt to get started in that project I am doing my best to create a short story for an anthology in the theme of horror. I hope that the end result is an terrifying to the readers as the idea of the project is to me.

 I am thrilled to be testing my limits and hope that my readers will be honest and give me true feedback so that I can continue to grow as an author and a person.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Time to think

I have heard many times that when you are struggling and feeling unmotivated the best thing to do is simply step away from your project. It feels so counter productive to do that however and it is something that even now in my thirties I am still learning how to do. As far back as I can remember I have had the habit of becoming obsessed with ideas and when I couldn't get past a sticking point I would dwell on it.

I would think about my issue day and night. it would distract me from my work and invade my dreams. I would feel overwhelmed. Being someone that has an extremely addictive personality it would be something I couldn't control and it would drive me crazy. I had to put my last book on the shelf for either years in order to get the characters to decide to talk to me again.

I have noticed that when I go to work now I can relax my mind and there are days I will have ideas that I can develop or I will figure out how to get past a problem area. I even had an epiphany during a cab ride to work one day when my car broke down.

The biggest example I have had was during the drive home from a camping trip to the Grand Canyon recently. I had thought that perhaps I would be struck by the enormity and beauty of the park, and I was. I expected to enjoy the feeling of being in nature, and I did. Yet neither of these things brought forth inspiration for any of my current projects nor gave any ideas for new stories.

It was instead during the drive home for several hours that I was able to let my mind wander. I was able to come up with the entire outline of book one for an upcoming series. Once I got in touch with the main character it was like I couldn't make her stop talking. I could picture her. I found out her name and she told me everything but the dialogue.

I am now pushing myself to get through my current editing fixes and first draft of Sharing Strength just so I can get to her story because I am so excited to write it. Even more because it is a leap for me to write that particular genre I cannot wait to see what my readers think.

Monday, June 9, 2014


I know I just posted a little while ago but as I was working on my next novel  Sharing Strength I was struck with further inspiration. This particular book is emotional. More so than any project I have ever worked on in my life. There is triumph and defeat. Hope and agony. Discovery, loss, torment and redemption. And that is just in the first half of the book.

I have a playlist just as most writers I know do. I tailor each playlist to fit the project I am writing and there are times I have to actually mute the music with this book because the feelings from the book and the emotion of the lyrics and melody can almost be too much to handle. The blending of the mediums if something that can lift or sink a writer when bringing life to a story.

I am no stranger to the transformative powers of music either. Not just from a writing perspective but I also grew up dancing. As a young girl I took the stage and used the movements of the choreographer to tell a story with the contortions of my body. It was my job to capture and transport the audience to the visionary world of the musicians and show designers.

I then added the element of modeling. Again I used my body and the music to showcase the art of the clothing I showed. You could change the entire mood of the show by altering the tempo of a song in order to convey the emotion of the designer. The hair and makeup even the models as we walked the runway or posed for the camera became secondary. We would take what we wore and what we heard and use it to send a message to those that would one day wear these same items.

Now as a more serious writer I take the feelings I get and transfer them into the worlds and characters I create. I know my characters inside and out. I not only have songs on my playlist that capture the tone of the book as a whole but also songs I believe that the characters themselves would have in their own playlists. I listen to the music and allow myself to become those that I am writing about. It is my hope that my reading audience will feel transported that same way my dance audience used to tell me the felt when they watched me on stage.

Time Management

I have been struggling so much recently with the idea of time management. I am not the dedicated author that most of the writers I know are and because of the split focus it becomes vital that I learn how to set up a schedule I can stick to as well as a dedication to push through even when it is difficult.

I love writing and with so many projects I am perpetually finding inspiration and having breakthroughs with my different books. However I find many times that I have a book in mind that I want to work on but then it is characters from another project altogether that feel like being chatty. I have to try and get the right characters to talk when I am working on that particular story or I get frustrated and end up giving up for the day.

Aside from writing there is the need for marketing. I have my current book Never Give Up that I am working hard to promote but being that it isn't a popular genre I am having to reach beyond the current social media aspects I have developed to try and find new avenues to explore. This is harder then I imagined it would be though I have ideas for my charity book Rescue Me - Animal Anthology, my very emotional contemporary drama Sharing Strength and my upcoming children's series. It is just a matter of getting those finished and into the right hands.

I am also an active cyclist and sporadic athlete. Several years ago I was significantly heavier than I am now and it was effecting my health. I have lost a noticeable amount of weight and have taken to cycling as well as running 5Ks. I have taken up yoga and returned to dance classes as a way to stay active and it feels wonderful. I do however have to dedicate at least a few hours a week doing all these activities in order to stay on top of my game. I am currently in training for a triathlon for next fall as well as attempting the Spartan Race obstacle course next year.

On top of all these things I also work around my house helping to keep things clean and enjoy cooking, baking and of course my specialty artisan chocolates that I make. It is a fantastic hobby that fuels my creativity. It is also just as time consuming as going to the gym so I have to make sure that I don't lose track of the limited time I set aside for it.

Included in working around the house is the development of a landscaping plan and now the hands on approach I have decided to take in order to accomplish the transformation. I am out in the yard shoveling the rocks from my desert landscaping and measuring areas to figure out the best layout. I go to home improvement stores and nurseries to price and plan for the next steps as well.

Just to add a little more complication to all of these time draining activities I also hold down two different part time table game dealing jobs at a total of three different casinos along the Las Vegas strip. I keep myself in shape in order to stay a party pit dealer and fit in the skimpy uniforms as well as constantly challenge my mind by staying on top of the multiple games I deal at Venetian.

I love my job and am very fulfilled by my hobbies but I am often at a loss to figure out how I ever wrote my first book and am trying to teach myself to be more focused and dedicated so that I can finish the next several books. I know they are inside me and I am confident I can be successful I just need to find the time to make it happen.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Looking Forward

I can be difficult when starting any new project or career. I have been writing for my entire life but it has only been the last couple of years that I have put any serious thought and effort into becoming an author. As I began finishing the first draft I was convinced that all I had to do was complete it and send it off.

There was sure to be someone the would snatch it up and help me polish it making it ready for publishing. Of course an agent was going to be ready and waiting to present my story to every publisher they knew. I was so ready to start the being a published author and doing promotional work to make myself a success.

A few months after I sent out an array of query letters along with sample pages and chapters I started getting responses. Each and every one was a thank you and polite rejection. I was devastated. I had been so sure that this story inside me was going to be one that reached out and tugged the heart strings of thousand of readers. It was going to be the first of many books that would adorn the shelves with my name in the author spot.

I tried for over a year to find an agent but never landed one. I looked into self publishing but after careful consideration decided it was not for me. I instead went for a compromise, Indie Publishing. I developed an author page as well as my currently updating Rescue Me page. I joined Twitter and have been learning the ropes of the world in the digital age.

There are many lessons I learned going through the development and editing processes that I will take forward. I am also learned that the online community while very strong is not the only place to promote and in cases like genres outside of fantasy and sci-fi may not be the best base. I am putting my marketing skills to the test and constantly looking for ways to reach out to new audiences.

I noticed however that I would be torn between being one track minded on the promotion of my published book, leaving all other projects to linger or I would be so split working on everything else that came to mind that I would ignore my promotion duties altogether. I have now created a system in which I focus on my marketing for an hour a day 4 days per week and the dedicate one day solely to promotion. The other days I spend mapping out upcoming projects on two of the days and writing / editing the two most current WIP.

I am preparing to launch a series that may very well make me a household name eventually as well as using what recognition I have to raise money for a few causes close to my heart. I will always try to bite off more than I can chew but I will never regret that choice.

One of my favorite quotes has taught me that if you shoot for the moon and miss you still land among the stars. I am looking forward while remembering what I have learned in the past and knowing that even if the first twenty books don't make the best seller list I can still keep trying. I will make it to the moon and stars someday.