Writing For My Readers

I was going to write a prequel short story for the fresh.ink thing I talked about last post. Since I’m working on the last book in my series, I figured a good prequel piece might be a nice segway into the series for new readers. I got a few paragraphs in and decided…nope. Ain’t nothing short story about it.

I always intended to write Sampson as a separate full novel prequel, but it’s going to take time. More time than a month to write, edit, rewrite, reedit and then rewrite and reedit again. Plus, I’m looking to gain fans (not the prize, though that’d be nice) and I don’t want to offer something slapped together. (Boo!) So, after much debate while staring at my cubicle wall, I think I’m going to submit something else. Is it a winning entry? Probably not. But I worked on it for over a year, I like the characters, I like the story, and it speaks to my interests: fantasy, romance, suspense, and high stakes. So, I’m going to submit my fantasy YA romance: Rozmarie & Josiah.

This is the WIP I pitched at the Writers Digest Conference in 2015. Spoiler alert: I did not score an agent or publisher with this book. But that’s okay. As I’ve learned (and have to continue learning) the goal is not to score representation. The goal is get an audience. Find my readers. Find my reading tribe, because that’s the point of an agent/publisher. Distribution. I’m terrible at it which is why I’m terrible at self-publishing, but as long as I remember what I really need to be doing, maybe I won’t feel like I’m banging my head against a wall over and over.

I’m writing for my readers. I’m writing for my readers.

Just need to find them…

In other news, I have an avocado plant! And it’s STILL alive! Everyone, meet Artemis:

Artemis comes to us from Batman’s mom, who has five or six herself. After admiring them, I was offered one (even though I have a famously black thumb) and some four/five weeks later, she’s still growing strong. Because I don’t want the Happening to happen, I talk to Artemis, sing to her a little and compliment her leaf growth. The goal is to keep her alive. And maybe, seven years from now, she’ll gift me with an avocado 😊

Alright, off to go write…or read…or play with Appa…or sing to Artemis…or binge watch Big Mouth on Netflix. Or all of the above. The thrills never stop over here.

Enjoy your week!

See My Dilemma? #IWSG

Here’s my dilemma:

  • Focus on one project (work is done quicker, but reaches fewer people)
  • Focus on multiple projects (takes longer for each piece to finish, but reaches more people)

Focusing on one thing (like, say, writing an epic saga of a book) can still take forever. I should know. I’m still writing the first draft of RTD, and I started late last year. I should be around done with it by now (or at least close to it) but I’m not. Because it’s a monster and there’s sooo much to it. I’m focusing all my creative energy on finishing it, but in doing so, I’m not entering any contests, writing short stories or extra pieces. I’m not getting other work out there. See my dilemma?

Do I stretch myself thin by working on multiple projects so I can reach more people, or keep steady so I can finish the damn book to complete the series? Which makes more sense?

*pulls out hair*

I’m seriously considering doing the NL (newsletter) again. I know. I know. I sort of didn’t follow through with it last time, but I was way overwhelmed, it was confusing to my dumb non-tech brain, and I didn’t see the benefit. What’s changed? Not a bunch, but I think it’s probably pretty necessary at this point. Just being honest. I’m not a big fan of NLs, so having my own is foreign, but as I’ve learned lurking in FB writing groups, it’s a necessity in this business. I have to get one. But it’s okay, because I have stuff I can share. Plus, I like to think my dumb-tech brain has gotten a little smarter (it hasn’t. I just like to pretend).

I’m thinking of doing a quarterly NL—what do you think? Some opt for monthly, or a few times a month. That’s too much. As a writer and reader, too much. A little update four times a year should be plenty, right? Anything more, and we’re on stalking terms, especially since I maintain this lovely blog with fresh content every Wednesday.

In other super-related news, I stumbled upon a writing contest (I get notifications for them constantly, but don’t participate because…read dilemma above). Although there’s a monetary prize, this contest offers something better: targeted audience. Actual BETA READERS in your genre! It’s a new site with a program that connects writers with their intended audience, and potentially permanent beta readers. As a kickoff, they’re launching contests (novels, novellas, short stories) across all genres, and will match readers interested in that genre to judge. HOW COOL IS THAT? It’s called fresh.ink. Check it out! 😊

Please offer dilemma and NL insights—I’m open and welcome to it all.

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.

Batman’s On Board With This

I’m officially 34.

I made it, guys. I made it. I know a lot of you thought I might’ve walked in front of something or off of something or between two somethings by now but BWHAHAHA in your face! I haven’t. Not yet. It’s coming, but I’m 34 going strong! It feels a lot like 33 and 32 and even 31… NOT 30. At 30, I felt shitty. I felt all the guilt of reaching a milestone-age and not reaching any major milestones (still kinda do). Also, the Firehouse guy gave my sandwich to the wrong person on the big day ☹

Now I’m in my “mid-thirties” and still feel pretty much the same. I have no clue what I’m doing with my life (yay!) but at least Batman and I are making this thing legal, so my non-directional dayjobness will be his problem too. So will my student debt. Haha, sucka! But that’s on him. He asked. I said yes. It’s a done deal. The dress has been purchased, and there’s no going back now, especially since we’ve spent the last twelve years together. We’re here. We’ve made it. We’re doing this thing. Plus, he’s deadest on the honeymoon. Now that he’s knows we’re seeing the USS Arizona and USS Missouri, there’s no way this wedding is *not* happening (we’re honeymooning in Ohau…not some weird ship graveyard…just want that clarified.)

I will say, Batman (like so many of you) has been a champion of mine. Occasionally, when I’m lurking in Facebook writing groups, I come across a rant that someone’s family or partner doesn’t support their writing, or makes them feel like their passion is their hobby. It sucks reading those. It makes me want to jump through their screen and hug them because it IS important and their writing DOES matter. But I never feel like that. Batman has never made me feel low for living the dayjob—writing-night lifestyle, especially since the latter generates zero revenue. But it’s okay. It’s what I want to do with my life. Plus, it’s this or the lottery to get us into our fancy castle-mansion, and we don’t even play. So, maybe if I could get smart with marketing my books and doing this whole indie author thing, I might become a self-made billionaire. It could totally happen, so Batman’s on board with this plan too. We could get to our castle-mansion via my writing. It’s possible.

Just need my big break, guys. 😊

(or a little break. I’ll take what I can get)

But until then, it’s the non-directional dayjobness until I figure something out. Or win the lottery. Or discover a royal relative in Genovia. I’m sure I must be related to someone famous… Come on, I’m 34…they should’ve found me by now. Well, maybe 35 is my lucky year. Guess we’ll see. Either way, Batman is along for the ride, so at least we’ll figure it out together. (Insert sappy music)

Oh, and before I forget…

What does a caped crusader get his blushing 34 year old fiancé for her birthday:

YES. A Giant plush smiling vagina. Compliments of iheartguts. No, this isn’t derogatory or rude or anything like that. This is something we both chuckled over and something I’d said I wanted. This is love. (Insert Sweet music)

IWSG and the Forefront of Inconvenience

Remember last week when everything was breaking? Everything wasn’t done.

My car door-handle broke off.

I was leaving work, and using my obvious She-Hulk strength, I opened the door and the thing came off in my hand. Literally snapped right off. For a second I stood there, holding it. Staring at it in disbelief. Yes, I know I drive a piece of crap circa 2005, and yes, I’m surprised she hasn’t joined the other flying cars in the sky. But really? The door-handle? The driver’s seat door-handle? You know what this means. This means that every time I have to get into my car, I either have to climb in through the back seat or from the passenger side. Every time until it’s fixed, and it usually takes me a hot minute to fix things that aren’t at the forefront of importance.

This is at the forefront of inconvenience, which is different, and which I usually slack on. If I’m inconvenienced for a few seconds, I’ll glower and whine and as soon as it’s right as rain (aka I’m back in the driver’s seat and ready for take-off) I’ll forget about it until the next time I’m glowering and whining. Plus, I have about a *thousand* other essential things I enjoy more that I should be doing, like writing this post about not fixing my broken car door-handle. I’m sure I’ll get around to it soonish—or until it slips from inconvenience to importance, because of, you know, like, safety issues. Have to make a quick get away if the zombies are on me, and they won’t stop so I can let myself in through the passenger seat. Zombies (rapists, murders, aliens) aren’t polite like that.

Also, I think the air-conditioning is going. Maybe I should just get a new car and be done with it. Or find a unicorn and commute the old way. That would work too.

Okay, that’s enough of real-life nonsense. Onto the IWSG option question:

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you’d forgotten about, or an ending you never saw coming?

HA. I’d love that positive and belated response to a submission. When’s that coming? I should probably enter more things though…might up my odds a bit.

Let’s see…I think I’m really only surprised in my writing by my characters. I’m a panster, so I have no idea what’s coming most of the time, and when one of my characters is like, “aha! You thought it was this way, but it’s not! MUAHAHAHA!” My jaw drops and I’m like, “touché, character!”

Honestly, that’s what I love about being a panster. I tried the whole outlining thing and it DID. NOT. WORK. But giving my characters the reins and following their lead, I’m constantly surprised by where their stories take me, because, it’s never what I plan nor expect. So you (the reader) and me (the writer) are both surprised. (Ultimate Win-Win.) 😊

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.

P.S. In case you don’t believe me about the door-handle:

Taste Testing and Character Traits IWSG

Batman and I went to our first wedding taste-testing 😊

I must say, if I’m ushered into a room with an open bar and a three-course meal (with passed appetizers and a display station) on a Tuesday night and NOT have to pay for any of it, I plan on getting married more often.

This freaking rocked.

I’m not sure what I expected. That’s a lie. Yes, I do: I expected to walk into a plain conference room where there would be a long table filled with couples sitting in front of a plate, waiting to try a sample of each entrée. This is not what happened. Batman and I attended a “fake reception” complete with a cocktail hour and dinner so we could access not only the food, but the wait staff, service, and overall appearance as well. So far, we liked what we saw:

Since the selfie option on my phone isn’t working (and because I can’t figure out how to fix it) I asked Batman to take a picture of us. This is what he sent me:

So, yes 😊 Wedding things are happening. And I’m super into company’s offering me free food and booze to secure potential business.

Now, onto writing things! July’s question for Insecure Writer’s Support Group:

What personal traits have you written into your characters?

Hmm. Probably more than I like to admit. I think—whether subconsciously or not—we tend to write our own traits into our characters, but for me, personally, I think I include a lot of my humor. What can I say—I like writing characters I could be friends with. I’m not sure if this counts, but I definitely write in my fears. I’m not terribly fond of spiders (if you haven’t noticed) and since I’m not keen on drowning either, I had Fallon battle this giant underwater creature—the Gorgen—which is very similar to a giant sea-spider. (Plague of Mybyncia – Book 2). Again, not sure if that counts as a trait, but I use my characters to battle my own fears. You know, writing is cathartic and stuff 😊

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.

First Come the Cardholders

I know I said I wouldn’t talk (much) about writing here, but I have to show you:

LOOK.

Look at these AMAZING card holders I found at work. 😊 😊 😊

I was grabbing a bottle of water from the break-room and there they were, just sitting there all alone on the counter, abandoned. I checked to make sure they didn’t belong to anybody (even let them sit for a couple hours) but when they were still there at the end of the day, I figured it was safe to call it – and I don’t feel bad AT ALL. These two beauties have inspired me to:

  • Get going on my branding, because I want some sweet-ass cards to fill them
  • Visualize my table when I finally attend a book expo as an author (gotta put my cards somewhere, right?)
  • Realize I might need two different card-holders for a reason (details coming soon!)

So there. That’s it. This post was mostly about me getting a bottle of water from the break-room and then stealing stuff I found nearby. It just happened to be cool, amazing, super-inspiring, career-developing stuff. That I found next to a refrigerator. This is my life.

There are other, more exciting things that are happening, but I’m not at liberty to discuss. Actually, I can—I just don’t want to. Not now. Right now is the time for celebrating people who leave unwanted goods for lower totem-pole employees to grab and keep. And to use for inspiration to one day book a table at an author/writer/book convention/expo.

You know what they say: first come the cardholders. Then come the fans.

P.S. Shut up. They say this. And if they don’t, they will 😉

P.P.S. If you read AW and want the scoop on how the first draft of RTD is going, check out my Patreon page where I post snippets of my progress. That’s right, baby. Sneak Peeks of first draft crap. How are you not already there reading it?