Straight To the Source, IWSG

I’ve been emailing a lot of book bloggers asking if they’d review my book. Since my current marketing budget is a whopping $0.00 (unemployed for 3 months, remember?) the options to get Better Than This out there is limited, but I HAVE gotten a lot of positive responses. 😊 Actually, I’ve gotten more responses than I thought which is 1) shocking and 2) extremely shocking since I didn’t get the same reaction when I did this for Arizal Wars. I don’t know if it’s the genre or the story or what but people are ACTUALLY EMAILING ME BACK which means I have to be doing something right—right?

Part of it makes me nervous. I’m asking people—people I’ve never met—to look at something from my brain and rate it. Rate it on the internet for EVERYONE to see. When I think of it this way, I shake my head and say no, no, no and ridicule myself for imagining something so scary. (I try not to do this.) Instead, I try to think of it as the humble beginning to building my (hopefully loyal and supportive) fanbase. That sounds way better.

Maybe once the paychecks start rolling in or I win the lottery or become the Duchess of Sussex, I’ll do one of those professional marketing tour things. They make sense and sound like a good strategy, but I planned three releases this year on a non-existent budget, so I’m going straight to the source. Reaching out to the readers directly because 1) it is literally FREE and 2) cultivating an authentic fanbase sounds like the first block in any successful author platform. 🙂

Now that that’s decided, onto the optional IWSG Question!

What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

I don’t really come up with either—they’re just in my head. It’s like I look to my muse and she goes, “oh, you need that information now?” and boom. I have it. But, I think it takes longer for her to hand me the book titles. On average 😊

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

The Keys to Life, IWSG

I wrote a post yesterday about endings being the worst. I kind of like it and I really wanted to publish it but then I drank some wine and overdosed on Kiss Me again (this Ed Sheeran song is so freaking amazing because it’s beautiful and honest and there’s this part at the end when his voice does this hot strain-y thing when he sings ‘love’ and I get goosebumps EVERY TIME and if it was a cassette, I would’ve rewound it and played it again and again and again, like I used to do when I rocked cassette tapes because it’s THAT awesome) and all of a sudden, everything fell into place – my ending came to me! All it took was wine and a little obsessiveness.

Ah, the keys to life.

So, I got the ending for the last book, which is great because Better Than This releases on May 18th (WOOP!) and at the very end I include that book 2, Better Than Now, and book 3, Better Than You, will be releasing on August 17th and November 16th of this year.

I’ve been unemployed for three months. Yeah, I wrote some shit.

Onto the optional IWSG question:

It’s Spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

Nope.

I kind of don’t care what season it is; writing is writing is writing, although I do prefer to write when it’s raining out ( it’s weird – maybe has to do with Harry Potter?) but the actual season? No. I think that sections of the year have very little to do with the amount of work getting done. Different times of day? Sure. But not the seasons. Just my opinion.

What about you? Does the color of the leaves (or lack thereof) help/hinder your writing?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

BETTER THAN THIS RELEASES ON MAY 18TH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Don’t forget to check out my Patreon! (I can say that because I’m on there now. THAT’S RIGHT. I did something on a place that does things.)

we’re not all lost, IWSG

I’m going to do something I haven’t done in a while and actually answer the monthly question for IWSG. Shocking, I know:

When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

Force myself.

There’s really no magic recipe other than that. I write to escape anyway, so it’s never been much of a problem to dig down to do it. The hard part comes when I need a break from writing and that’s when I take a day or two off and then force myself back into it.

Wow. That was easier to answer than I thought.

Let’s see…what else is going on in my life? Still unemployed (and rapidly running out of money), so there’s that. Oh! I did get something pretty cool recently 😊. There’s this place called 2nd And Charles that sells books and video games and movies and toys, and basically all the things that Batman and I love and have based our relationship around. Since he collects retro video games, he ended up selling a bunch back this past weekend and got a ridiculous amount of store credit. Because he’s amazing and (I guess) in love with me or something, he told me to pick out whatever I wanted in the store—his treat. So, say hello to this beautiful baby:

“Not all those who wander are lost”

It’s one of my favorite sayings since I constantly accuse myself of being lost since I don’t have a “career” and therefore, am a piece of shit. Then I remember, oh yeah, I’m not meant to have a typical “career” and just because I don’t doesn’t mean I’m screwing up. Maybe I’m a job nomad who needs these life experiences to write about. Or something. Either way, thanks, Tolkien for reminding me that everyone’s life is different and that’s more than okay. It’s necessary. 😉

Also, I collect journals because I’m journal freak. But again, who of us readers/writers isn’t?

How’s your day going? What do you do when the rain is pouring or you (like me) get down on yourself?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

****Also – Don’t forget to check out my Patreon! (I can say that because I’m on there now. THAT’S RIGHT. I did something on a place that does things.)

AND, I have a YouTube channel now which is not letting me post the link because it’s weird or I’m stupid or it’s a combination of both. But probably the latter.

What Happens When You Pay Attention IWSG

Friday morning I had a Saturday post all mentally scribbled about the woes of car-ownership because I finally picked up my car from the shop only to have it stall out on me on the way home. I turned it off and back on again and it was fine. Then, on my way out to see a bestie who now resides in CT and was down for a wedding, the Check Engine light came on and I spent the 45-minute trip out to see her praying that the shaking car wouldn’t stall on me since I forgot to renew my AAA.

Thank God it didn’t stall and everything was fine (and my bestie and I had a lovely time—thanks for asking). Car still shakes but maybe it’s just as hyped up on caffeine as I am. You know what they say about cars and their owners 😉 I came home all ready to write and strategize and market and Patreon-brainstorm but even the mid-afternoon iced coffee didn’t help and I ended up watching Friends on the couch with Appa, which is somehow exactly what I needed. (I think I overworked my brain or something because I sat and stared at the computer for almost half an hour before I decided my muse or energy troll or whatever fuels the creativity box was out on its own coffee break and I was starting to go cross-eyed..)

I guess this post should really begin with Saturday’s event which included the Jax Book Festival! Last Tuesday, while working *cough checking fb cough* I found that we were having our very own book festival (sort of) right here in downtown Jacksonville. The headliner caught my eye because I actually read Everything Everything (although I wasn’t a huge fan) but the chance to hear an acclaimed author speak was just too much to pass up. So, in lieu of having our scheduled garage sale, it took Batman very little convincing** to have him drop me off at the Public Library so I could listen to Nicola Yoon talk about her journey of writing the bestseller and all the inns and outs of writing/publishing.

What I learned about the shy author is that she’d been in finance for fifteen years, and it wasn’t until the birth of her daughter that she realized she wasn’t following the advice she would give her baby girl: follow your dreams. It took having a child to realize she wasn’t living the life she wanted and decided to change that. Afterward, she woke up early to write from 4-6 before her day job (I think – she has a soft voice and didn’t speak directly into the microphone) and from there she wrote Everything Everything.

It was great listening and learning and I even asked my own question amidst the auditorium of people which is HUGE for me since I have a ridiculous amount of stage fright/anxiety when it comes to public speaking/being the center of attention. She’d talked about the writing process and I asked about the number of drafts she went through (6) because I’m always slightly weary that I’m not going through the ‘right’ amount of drafts. But I was surrounded by a lot of writers and it was awesome to see that they struggled with the same issues and had the same burning questions as me.

Managed to remember to snag a photo!

I couldn’t *not* take a pic when I’m so obviously fan-girling over here.

On the way out, one last pic to capture the event!

Besides the speakers, the halls were *lined* with tables of authors (both traditionally and self-published) and all kinds of cool swag and stuff. I even won a keychain from Tracie Roberts It was awesome to see my fellow authors strutting their stuff because I know this is what I need to be doing. Once the swag is obtained and I have *some* clue how to get a table of my own there, I think I could rock it. A few Zanax beforehand and why not? I can do this. Know why? BECAUSE I GOT THIS. Do I have any clue how I have this? No. But still, I got this.

What about you? Ever been to a book festival like this? Ever listened to an author speak and identified with the struggle? What’d you think?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

** Want to know why I love Batman? Because when I asked if we could switch the date for the garage sale and he asked why and I told him about the book festival, he looked at me and said ‘baby, if it helps with your writing, then it’s not even a question.’

Let the swooning begin 🙂

What Am I Doing, IWSG?

I started writing the third book.

Recap: I haven’t published the first one yet. Better Than This, the first book in my series (no name for the series yet—that’s how early I am in the process) is out to BETA readers for them to give me a thumbs-up *hopefully* or a thumbs sideways with suggestions. Either way, the MS is out to like, three people, one of whom I know has read it. That’s it. So, what the hell am I doing writing the third one?

It started with me (kind of) cleaning the house and imagining—like I sometimes do—this very special, very oh-my-God moment in the third installment. I play it over in my head because it’s just so powerful and goose-bumpy that I decided to go ahead and write it. Just to get it down. Then that turned into what led up to it and what happened after and I’m already thirty pages in. And I am NOT STOPPING.

Which is great, I know. Woo-hoo and all that, but I’m already writing the third one. The THIRD ONE. I was in the middle of editing the second when this magical bout of inspiration knocked me over the head with the final story for the series. So: I’m writing the third now in the middle of editing the second while I should be promoting and releasing my first.

*Pulls hair*

But I got this. I don’t know how, but I got this. Somehow, it’ll all come together. With that said, onto the February optional question!

What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

Probably the fact that I read all kinds of romances and romances (typically) end in a Happily Ever After (HEA). I like that. Sometimes the world is so filled with shitiness that it’s nice to read a story that makes you feel good. Like, really good. Friendships are great for that, but I always find romances to hit that special spot. Or, maybe I’m still a little girl and believe in HEAs? I mean, I did find Batman. So, why doubt it?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

A New Year, IWSG…And Some Sort of Plan

Today was spent doing two things I love: being in pajamas and watching Parks & Rec. I did start off by writing, but I’m going through the second draft of my second book *really* quickly and it’s making me nervous, so I figured I’d stray away from the computer and watch early Chris Pratt and laugh at (one of my heroes) Amy Poehler. Not a bad way to start 2018.

Of course, one of our water pumps broke during the night and Batman was super not happy having to go out in sludgy, wet (feels like) below frozen temperature to do something with the pipes. I really have no idea. My chores include laundry and keeping the house up to a clean-enough level for livability. But apparently, we can’t do anything that involves major washing and a freeze is supposed to come through on Thursday so that put everything in a really positive mood for the new year. Hence Parks & Rec.

But I did carve out two hours to sit and work on 1.) this amazing blog post and 2) more of BTN. I’d like to say I took the whole day off from writing, but those days are few and far between and I always end up feeling kind of bad about myself when I do, except when I absolutely can’t write, like when I’m at Disney or on an awesome vacation. Today, unfortunately, is not one of those days, so let’s get to that question for IWSG:

What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

A plan would be nice, wouldn’t it? I’ve been kind of doing my own thing, which is a nice way of saying I don’t know what I’m doing. At all. The only part that I’m comfortable with is the actual writing part – and that sometimes is too much too. Forget marketing. Forget putting together any sort of plan or schedule to get things done in the smartest way possible. My current strategy is: write something awesome and when I think it can’t get any more awesome, make it available to others. Super cutting-edge—I know—but it’s all I’ve got.

So. 2018…this needs to be the year of change. The year I maybe do a little more to get my work out there. At the New Year’s Eve party last night, fabulous Shelby again raved about my books and told me I don’t give myself enough credit. Maybe I don’t. Maybe I’ve been doing no marketing because I don’t think my books are good enough, so I subconsciously don’t want people to read them. I don’t know. It’s just a guess. But if I’m going to be in this business (and I really want to) I need to treat it like a business. I need to be doing more. I need a plan.

And it’s coming together nicely 🙂

What about you? Do you have a plan? Do you think your writing is good enough to be marketed?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

ALMOST There, IWSG

I’ve started spot-reading the last version of BTT. Big deal, guys. BIG deal.

So, I finished reviewing my latest draft in record time (Yay!) which means it’s onto the next phase: spot-reading. Picking an arbitrary passage and just reading it from there. Not worrying about what came before or what comes after, but paying attention to how the section reads. How it sounds. If it sounds polished or if it sounds like it’s writing. And guys, *so* many times I find that my writing sounds like writing during these spot checks. It’s embarrassing. To be this far and still hear my ‘writing’ voice and not my ‘reading’ voice. But that’s why we go mad reviewing our work—we always find ways to improve it.

Since I’m planning to show this thing to people sometime soon, I have to make it as polished as possible. Even if that means starting to hate the thing because I’ve read it so many times that I know the damn thing by heart. That’s when you know you need to push it away and work on something else for a while (like when I took a break to write the second book) because you go cross-eyed reading the same passage for the forty seventh time and then wonder if, maybe on second thought, the thirty fourth version might have been better.

I’m hoping to get this out of my hands—and into others—by the new year. I started a tradition of doing my resolutions in October (and apparently it works because I haven’t missed a single post since then) but I know everyone will be more focused once the holidays are behind us. It’ll give them less of a stress on time and me a bit more opportunity to hunt down all the ‘writing-sounding’ passages and rework them.

December’s Optional IWSG question!

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

I don’t think anything. I worked my butt off on this (and other) projects and yeah, if I had limitless hours, I would’ve submitted to a few contests. But I made the most of the time I had working on a project I love. Why would I change that? 🙂

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.