Friday, September 29, 2017


Back in school I used to think there were three groups of people when it came to popularity. The first were the actual popular kids. They would throw the parties, or at least be invited. They were the in crowd. The second was the middle level. They were the ones that knew the party was happening and might crash it or not but they were in the know. They probably split 50 / 50 on whether they had ambition to move up to the popular group or just be content with who they were but, regardless, they knew what was going on. Then there was the last group. Some people call them outcasts but to me even outcasts have a form of known popularity, sort of an anti-popularity. The last group is the one that only found out the party happened when they heard people talking about it on Monday morning before class.

I always classified myself in the third group but the truth is I was actually my own subcategory, a three and a half. The popular kids would throw the party, the semi populars would know it was happening, the unpopular ones would hear about it on Monday and then when they were discussing it on Wednesday I would learn it had happened. Being in the loop was never something I was great at. Perhaps that is why I focused so much on networking as I got older. At least I would be in the know.

I see events happening in my author circles and contact people to find out how to get involved but those events are full already. I never knew they existed and somehow they filled before I had a chance. I asked a friend about one of them and got a response from another author that the event was full and it was being organized by her friend so I probably wouldn't be able to participate. Once again not being popular enough cost me the chance to do something I would have loved to do. I am still that shy, never quite popular enough to be in the loop, little girl.

There is a saying, those who can't do, teach. Well those not popular enough to get invited to events plan their own. I am doing my best to turn over a new leaf and use what I have learned from knowing the people popular enough to actually be invited and plan my own events that will hopefully someday make me and what I do known as well. It can be hard sitting at the loser table (I know, I have permanent reservations) but sometimes those that always out doing something have time to sit and plan something big. Look out world, popularity or not, someday I will find my spotlight.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Upcoming Nanowrimo

This Sunday will officially mark the beginning of October. Not only is it my favorite month of the year for containing Halloween, my second favorite holiday, but it is also that wonderful month where I get to start panicking about my plans for Nanowrimo and my preoccupation during the entire month of November.

I had originally planned, in fact up until a couple weeks ago I planned, to work on the first book in my new murder mystery series for Nanowrimo this year. I have title ideas, some character development and several methods for victims to die but in order to do it right there are a number of things I need to research for this series and I want to do it justice so I am postponing work on that series at the moment. Instead I decided to work on book three in a different series.

Nanowrimo has been a great thing for me over the past several years. It forced me to finally complete my debut novel Never Give Up, something that only took me eight years to accomplish. It also gave me relief from my intense fear that Never Give Up might be the only story I had inside me. I have proven time and again the voices will never be silent in my mind. I took a year off from Nano the following year but returned in 2012 to write Breathe. That is one I am still not happy with but hope to find the right formula to make it what I know it can be and release it in the near future.

After Breathe came one of my favorite books, Welcome to Syn (working title). It is the first in a seven book series and while it has sat in its original draft for the past four years I am thrilled to know I will get to rejoin those characters soon. They are some of the most inventive and truly fun characters I have ever written. It was the first book I wasn't afraid to be a little dark in and it allowed me a freedom I had yet to experience. The Syntel sisters will definitely be some of my favorites forever.

In 2015 I wrote Voices In My Head. The story of an author whose creations live inside her mind and tell her the stories while she simply acts as the medium by which those stories are shared with the world. But what happens when a character wants to be more than just words on a page? What happens when they possess a power that controls not only the story they are in but the author writing the words? Can she stop her own creation before he finds a way to control her too? Chelsea Perella is one I relate to intensely but through her book we meet Samantha Stiles and Chelsea's daughter Amanda. Samantha became the focus for book two and I am preparing this year to focus on Amanda's journey. If an when I complete Amanda's book it will be a full trilogy and while there is a fourth book related to the trilogy, those first three will be the closest I have come to finishing a series.

Nanowrimo pushed me to write and not make excuses. It forced me to face my fear about my own level of creativity and it has been a large catalyst in moving me forward as a writer. There are a number of people that do not like to participate, will bad mouth or look down on people that take part in the challenge but for me I can honestly say I wouldn't be a writer today if it weren't for Nanowrimo.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Veneri Verbum Inspiration

I was scrolling through the world of Facebook the other day when I saw a post by a friend and fellow author about the next book she is planning to write in her Figments series. I was ecstatic to say the least. I have never been one to read a book and immediately ache for the next in a series. I did not get into Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones or any of those series as books, movies or shows. I did not eagerly await the revelations of the characters or see what adventures would unfold in the next book. With the Figments I do.

I first met her in the Nanowrimo Facebook group, a group neither of us belong to anymore. We chatted and I found her entertaining, intelligent and inspirational. I thought the idea of writing a book about Nano for Nano was inspired and couldn't wait to get my hands on it when she eventually published Veneri Verbum. I have read it multiple times and not a week goes by that I don't recommend it to someone. Then came the second book, Beta Beware. I was lucky enough to actually be a beta reader for this book and finished it in one day.

I could only ever hope I was half as humorous in my books. She is now preparing for the third book and I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on it. I read her books with a ravenous desire most other authors fail to ignite. I have even found myself thinking about things she mentions in the books as I go through my own writing. There is a part in Veneri Verbum that mentions a figment with just one ear because the author mentioned the character pressed their right ear (I think it was right) against a door. Being that specific caused the figment to only develop that ear since the other was never mentioned.

I will go through as I write, and even more so as I edit, to see if things like that stick out to me. I would hate to fall through a plot hole in one of my own stories and have to answer for every decision I have made in a book or need to talk down the angry mob of characters over a death I saw as inevitable. I try to be fair to my characters, not in small amount, due to reading things from their point of view. While the book is humor and well done in that category, as a writer myself it is an interesting look into the world of those we create as we tell our tales and weave our way through imagination land.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Working It Out

As I continue to adjust to a new schedule for awhile I find I am missing things I was doing a few months ago. I know this is a writing blog but one of the things I miss the most is working out. It is strange the way something that has nothing to do with your regular ambitions can help bring in a needed sense of balance.

When I'm working out, and consistently working out, it helps in so many other aspects of my life. Taking that single hour out of my day a couple times a week can be felt in everything else I do. When I get home I am still motivated and invigorated. That feeling causes me to reach for fruit salad instead of cookies as a snack. When I eat better I have even more energy and can go out and complete my to do list making me feel accomplished. This feeling carries over into my sleep, making it more restful an giving me the right attitude to start the next day and the cycle continues.

The happiness and accomplishment that comes from that feeling is also felt in my writing world. When I am less stressed, more focused, and more motivated, I am able to more easily break down the mountain of to do work and move forward with my goals. I finish books, update my website, learn new things I have been working on and even can stop by here with a smile on my face to give an update on the goings on of my writing life. This is the cycle I miss but have recently fallen away from.

I am currently working two jobs and the schedule keeps me busy every single day. I do not get a full, complete day off between the two so I have to make it work. I find myself worn out more often and unable to concentrate the way I need and want to. This inability has led to a bout of depression I am working to overcome. My body wants to rest all the time which makes it difficult to motivate myself to get up and go do anything. My chores get accomplished around the house but it takes twice as long as it should. Errands happen, kind of, and meetings take place but I feel like I am only partially present. Without my workouts I feel unfocused. I am hoping writing about it here will help push me to rejoin that world and give my stress an outlet so I can move forward once again.

For now I am going to start with making that fruit salad and trying to find something writing related I can finish before work so I can at least feel like I can check something off my current to do list.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Raw Emotions

It is important when writing to infuse emotion into your scenes and characters. It can be a tricky balance to find but when it comes together it make a world of difference as readers connect with those characters on a deeper level, find themselves rooting for or against the character as well as letting their heart open to being a part of the story. As an author you want the reader to be raw when they experience your work and feel what the characters are feeling.

One thing that happens when we write those scenes sometimes is that we ourselves will feel those same feelings. We will cry when a character dies, or is reunited with a long lost loved one, We will laugh at their jokes and smile that evil grin when the perfect revenge plot comes together. Yes, emotion is a vital part of our profession. In our regular lives however it can be a debilitating force.

Today has been a difficult day indeed. Today would have been my father's 65th birthday. He passed away nearly ten years ago and for some reason this year is hitting me like a ton of bricks. I tried earlier to focus that energy into my writing but when the writer's emotions are that raw t can overpower the creative side. I found myself simply staring at the blinking cursor while a stream of tears rolled down my cheeks. Needless to say it has not been a productive time.

I think that is a lesson in writing though. There are times we just have to step back and allow life to wash over us. Not everything is fuel for a book. Not everyday will be a break through kind of day. Sometimes you need to sit there and feel, stop pushing and simply be. Writing is as natural as breathing for some of us. The stories aren't going to disappear because we took a day or two to be in the real world. They will simmer in the background until we are ready again. It isn't a sign of weakness or that pesky writer's block forcing itself upon us, it is us being human.

I have never been a fan of those vulnerable days but I am doing my best to accept them. They are a part of me and allow me to connect with things in my own life that shape me as a person and perhaps will lend themselves to a scene down the road. I am just trying to enjoy some memories and allow that emotional side to come out of its controlled cage today and understand that feeling those things, letting them take charge for awhile doesn't make me less of a writer but instead more in touch with my humanity.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

When Writing Gets In The Way Of Being A Writer

Following the post from a few days about getting organized I sat down today and wrote out a long list most people would probably find ridiculous. I took out the file folders for each of the books I have already written, or at least began, and made a plan for moving forward on all of them. I have editing, rewrites, sending out to betas, submitting to agents or formatting for self-publishing, cover design as well as cover reveals and book releases on the list for more than half a dozen projects.

One of the things that has been bugging me recently is that I love to write. I don't mean that there is anything wrong with writing. It is, in fact, the best part of being a "writer". The problem arises when I enjoy the creating aspect of the job so much that instead of taking the time to finish a book through the first draft and then settle into the process of editing (Something I am terrible at) sending off to my betas (another part that scares me) and then formatting and submitting to publish or sending off query letters to agents for a traditional publisher (Yikes!) I will simply set that finished draft aside and being writing an entirely new book.

It is difficult to make a name for yourself as an author if you release a book every two to three years, especially if you are doing so in the Indie publishing world. I fail to make my presence felt on social media as strongly as need be but part of that is because I have such little in the way of offerings. I am proud of both my books and I have more ideas swirling in my head than I could probably complete in a lifetime but I struggle with the following through part of the process. I just love to write.

The large dry-erase board in my office is currently filled with the to do lists for eight books. There are two books I didn't include at the moment though they have at least been started. Chocolate Covered Cherries in a romance I have battled with for a few years now and Voices 2 is almost complete for a first draft. Neither of them made the board though two books Crash and Combat are both on there. With the completion of Fish, Crash, and Combat along with the editing / rewriting of Sharing Strength I will be able to release an entire series. Sharing Strength is a full length novel with the rest being background story type novellas.

Voices is a four book series. It is technically a trilogy with a fourth book linked to the series by association as opposed to direct narrative. I am planning to use Nanowrimo this year to draft the third installment of the Voices series. One I am done drafting Voices 3 and putting the finishing touches on Voices 2 I will be working hard to finish the first drafts of the novellas in the Sharing Strength series. After those are all done I will start to hate life as I put my creative side on a shelf for awhile and work only on  editing and moving the completed books toward publication.

It will be a long road but I will be much happier when I am able to look at the books I have to offer my readers and know I have done my best to reach my potential more fully. When I am caught back up I will be able to reclaim my happy spot in the writing chair and then hopefully I can take a book from concept to publish much more smoothly so I do not get this traffic jam of manuscripts in the future.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Following The Plan

I went through my office today and realized the level of disorganized mess I have been trying to work in. I do my best to have files for each of my books but I found a pile of notepad pages full of notes that all belongs in different files. I also make to do lists from time to time in an effort to keep me focused but I noticed I have lists on half a dozen notepads between my office and the computer bag I carry with me. I have so much information but my failure comes in the execution stage.

I keep the files in my office but I rarely work out of the office therefore I end up carrying things with me and the files never become whole. I have calendars, lists and lists of lists around me all the time but there is no cohesive system for using the information. I am getting ready to begin a series that will require a good amount of research, interviewing people and figuring out a long term plan for some of the recurring characters. I need to develop a better system for working so I can stay on top of things and make sure the characters develop correctly and I can keep all of the information straight.

My biggest concern is my easily distracted mind tends to lead to a fully distracted lifestyle that can become increasingly erratic until I become overwhelmed. It is one of the reasons I have six complete books written but they have never been edited, submitted or prepared for publishing. I intend to finish them but I get distracted working on a different story. The next thing I know I am printing out the first drafts of half a dozen stories for the sake of editing but I see the amount of work and my mind finds something shiny and new to play with instead.

I am hoping putting myself back to work on this blog and keeping an now repetitious list with me in every conceivable working location will do some good in making me move forward. There is a great amount of potential if I could just manage to stay on track for a week or so at a time with each project. Right now I have created a plan broken down into individual steps for nine books that are somewhere between conceptualizing and editing so I can take it one baby step at a time and feel like I am accomplishing something.

In many ways I view my writing journey the way I did my weight loss. I struggled when I couldn't see any visible results. I gave up, got overwhelmed and found reasons to make it more difficult on myself than it needed to be. If I can just focus, use the tools I am developing and slowly but sure cross those things off the list I know I can accomplish my plans. I can have my books published and when I attend the next few books shows I can have more to offer my readers in order to grow my brand and reader base. Now if I can just remember where I set the pen down at, I can cross writing another blog post off the to do list.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Staying On Track

Over the past nearly two months things have been crazy. From making sure my house didn't flood from my exploded hot water heater to losing my sweet cat and finding a way to make ends meet when the hours at my part time job were cut simultaneously with one of the worst sick episodes of my life and a sprinkle of being in a friend's wedding I have neglected my blog, I'm sorry. I have decided to start earlier this year in my preparations for next year's goals but all it has shown me is how far from organized I really am.

I have managed to get myself in an odd predicament where I have several first drafts waiting to be worked on and several ideas wanting to be written but I am so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of potential I have ended up at a standstill. As of right now I have six books written that are waiting to be edited, formatted and released or at least submitted for consideration. I have another two dozen story ideas either as part of different series or stand alone books that are clamoring to be written and a few sort stories I would love to submit to different magazines, collections and competitions.

In order to move forward as an author I need to develop a newsletter and keep up here far more often than I have been doing but I am also about to take on a second job for the foreseeable future making my time extremely limited. It does not help that my understanding of the marketing subjects is just as limited if not more so, than my time. Plus I have the multi-author books signing for charity I help plan coming up in February.

I have always been scattered and do not stay organized well so I need to find a way to spend more time in my office and working on a scheduled list of items so I can continue to accomplish things and start getting books released. I have so much potential work I think I could do well if I am just able to take those precious next steps. It is my intention to spend more time here with you and share the triumphs, trials and setbacks as they happen. I would invite anyone that wishes to share their own experiences with my by replying here or joining me over at my website