Thursday, November 27, 2014

Five Days of FREE!

Get it FREE Nov. 28 - Dec. 2!!
I'm super excited to finally have this project over and done with.

I uploaded it to Amazon in the wee hours of the morning, and was able to sign it up for 5 days of FREE! And who doesn't like that?!

So, from Black Friday, Thursday November 28 - December 2, you can get your copy of How I Roll: The Art of the Sugar Cookie without paying a dime. Get it fast, though, because on December 3rd it reverts back to its regular price of $2.99.

When I first thought about writing and publishing my books on Amazon, I wasn't sure what I wanted to write about. I had heard to write what you know. I happen to know a lot about baking sugar cookies, so that's what I did.

I spent many mornings writing this book at Panera's. I learned a great deal about how to organize and write a nonfiction book. It actually seemed easier to me than writing fiction. I'm sure that's not true for everybody, but it did seem so for me. I think that's probably because I outlined this book completely before I started writing, as opposed to how I usually wander around in my head while I write fiction.

I was listening to a podcast the other day, and an author named Rachel Aaron was being interviewed. The title of her new book is 2,000 to 10,000 How to Write Faster, Write Better, and Write More of What You Love. I was super interested in hearing what she had to say. I have so little time to be both conscious, and writing, I want to make sure I use every moment wisely. Just because I'm a fairly quick typist, doesn't mean I'm a fast writer. I spend way too much time staring into space and trying to figure out what is going to happen next.

So, I'm committing myself to trying out Rachel Aaron's method on my next project. I have in mind my next fiction novella, and I'm going to go ahead and get it all outlined and thought out before I ever start writing the first word. Hopefully, this will help me to write even faster, and get more books written, much more quickly.

Are you writing? Which do you prefer, to be an outliner, or a pantser?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What's Coming Down the Pipe?

So many projects are floating around like spinning plates, I sometimes get confused about what I'm working on. Now that the first book in my fairy tale series is out and doing fairly well (real people have actually bought it - other than me!), I'm moving onto other things.

Two of my books are in critique mode right now. One is getting a lot of great critiques...the other is....well, not as much. Hopefully those helpful critiques will roll in soon.

One of the books is a fairy tale retelling that I'm submitting to a contest. If I win, great! If I don't, I'll revise it and then self-publish it myself. Either way, I'm happy. Since it's going to the contest, I'm not getting a cover made. But, if it doesn't win, I'm already considering possible cover ideas. I love coming up with ideas for covers. I actually spend way too much time looking over stock photo pictures that I'd possibly like to use. Then, I favorite them and create a bookmark file of picture ideas for each book. I'm a weirdo. I know. I can live with that.

Today, I got a cover design back from my designer and I am so in LOVE with it! I think it's beautiful. You'll think so, too. I know it!

Isn't it pretty? I think it's gorgeous! I love the colors. Do you love it? I know you love it! Love it!!

Okay, I realize I should calm down, but I'm just super stoked. In fact, I'm so excited, I'm ready to write, so I'd better wrap this up and get back to my story so I can get it finished pronto.

As you can no doubt tell, the story takes place in Japan, and is a Fairy Tale Retelling. I'm not going to give away just which fairy tale I'm using, yet. I want to see if my beta readers can figure it out. If not, well...I may have some editing to do.

I'm already thinking ahead to my next fairy tell retelling. I don't want to give away the premise of that one quite yet, either, but I can tell you that I'm planning on having it set in ancient Egypt.

I love the idea of having these fairy tales set in different times and different cultures. As someone who loves to travel and learn about new places and new people, I think it's fascinating to wonder about what sort of story can happen in a completely different setting than the one I've always read about in traditional fairy tales.

Other things I'm working on right now are my cookie book, which is the other book in the beta reader process. I should have those critiques done by the end of this week, and maybe will even have the book up ready to go on Amazon by Thanksgiving. That's my goal, anyway. My cover designer did a great job for that book, too!

The last thing I have on my plate is my full-length novel that I am slowly, but surely, editing a little. bit. at. a. time.
It's taking forever. I really need to get through my first revision so I can at least pass it on to my first readers. I think from my other experiences with beta readers, I'm going to just ask a couple of very trustworthy  (read "quick" and "gets back to me in a timely manner") first readers to help me out.

I have a couple of amazing readers, who are not only quick and dependable, but are also SPOT ON with their editing. I don't want to embarrass them, so I won't mention their names here, but I do want to pass on to anyone else who is looking for good beta readers, ask an ESL teacher. They are incredible at finding typos, grammar mistakes, and a whole slew of other things you didn't realize you messed up, and are now so glad that you passed the novel on to them, because they have eyes like a hawk, a hawk hooped up on too much caffeine, who can spot on all sorts of taipos, grammar mistakens, run-on sentences, and improper punctuation;

Anywho, I'm excited about the novel. I had planned for it to be part of a series when I first wrote it, but then as I was actually in the midst of getting it down, I decided to make it a stand alone novel. But then, when I got finished, I thought it still had some story left to tell, so, now I want to make it part of a series again. I know, I'm a wishy-washy writer. Something else I can live with.

The novel is titled Maevyn, and is about a girl whose family has been in a horrible accident. Maevyn  finds herself moving in with her grandma, a psychic and medium, in Parkville, Missouri. Just as she begins her senior year of high school, she starts hearing voices in her head, is stalked by a handsome yet mysterious stranger, and begins having dreams of her dead, ghostly father. And that's just the beginning!

Okay, enough book babble here. It's time to actually go and write.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cursed Beauty Comes Out Tomorrow!

To say I'm excited is a bit of an understatement. I'm SUPER excited to be self-publishing my first fiction work, Cursed Beauty.

I wrote this story a year ago for a writing contest. The only prerequisites were the word count (couldn't be above 20,000 words) and that the story had to be a retelling of Cinderella. I had no trouble writing a retelling, but I did have trouble with the word count. I went way over, and then had to cut out a lot of my story.

Long story short, I didn't win the contest (thank you Anne Elisabeth Stengle for hosting in the first place!), but I did have a blast creating the story. Then, I put it aside. I thought it was done.

Until then, I'd never written anything that long before. Once I wrote that story, and realized I could write more than just a few pages without giving up, I really went for it. I wrote a novel. About something completely different, mind you. I jumped from fairy tale retelling to science fiction.

The novel has been finished since July, and I'm just now getting back to editing it. I've been so neglectful. I kinda wandered around in the nebulous vacuum of not having anything immediate to work on, until I was inspired to enter another writing contest, this time for the fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast.

While I was working on the Beauty story, I had an epiphany. It went something like this: Hey, you! Yeah, you! You spent months and months writing this other story and you've done NOTHING with it. Why don't you revise it and then put it out on Amazon. It wouldn't hurt, you know. Just give it a try.

So, that's exactly what I did. I went back to my original story, revised it, retitled it, had a cover made for it, and now it's on Amazon, ready for people to actually read it.

OMG...people are actually going to read it.
There's typos. I know there are typos.
I don't know where the typos are, otherwise I would have taken them out, but surely they're there. Hiding.
And someone is going to find them.
And point them out.
And give me a bad review because of them.
Oh lord....

Being a writer is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.
I don't mind bearing my soul on the blog, for you. I know you. I like you.
But strangers might be reading my book.
And reviewing my book.
Nobody reviews me on the blog. Thank goodness.

So, anyway, tomorrow my book gets released. My beautiful, little novella.
If you happen to read a copy, I'd love to know. Even better, I'd love a kind review.
If you hate it, email me instead. :O)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Being Successful

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Kansas Chapter of SCBWI's (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) annual conference.

It was a good conference. I learned a lot. I met some interesting people. I took away a lot of great tips.

I'm not sure if I'll go back next year.

I might. Or maybe not. I'm a little undecided at this point.

SCBWI, like most writer organizations, is aimed at traditionally published authors. For a long, long time, that is what I thought I wanted to do as well. I've tried in the past. I've queried. Sent out lots of letters. Received nothing back, perhaps a rejection slip if I was lucky. I gave up after awhile, and then life took me other places. I have no regrets about that, but now that I'm older (if not wiser), I'm wondering if traditional publishing will help get me to my goals and whether I can count myself as successful if I only go the independent, self-published route.

I think I can.

Yes, I would love, love, LOVE to have my book on the shelf of a Barnes & Noble. I'd love to walk through Wal-Mart or Target and see something I've written be there for the world to see. That would be fantastic. But, is that what has to happen for me to feel successful.

I don't think so.

I think as long as I reach my goals a bit at a time, that I can feel successful at any point in my writing career.

My first goal is to have 5 books up online for readers to get their hands on.
Once I've accomplished that goal, I think I'll feel successful.

Another goal is to have earned enough in royalties to pay for some much-needed writing tools: scrivener, and a treadmill desk are both at the top of my list.

A great big goal I have is to duplicate, and then replace, my current income so that I can transition to writing full time. That's a mega huge goal!

Not one of these goals is contingent on having my book on the shelf at a bookstore, box store, or the library. But, I will still count myself as a success when I reach these goals.

I think it's important to focus on what really, truly are the goals you want to achieve, and the smaller goals you can set on the way to the great, big, granddaddy goals that will take some time.

What goals are you going to set to help you be successful?

Image Source: By Icely88 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pushing Through

Tonight I was writing with my good friend, Becky, and I made the comment: “I would be such a good, professional writer – if it wasn’t for the writing part.”

Writing is hard.

Sometimes it flows out of me like liquid, the words pouring out onto the page and forming amazing sentences and stories that I barely knew were in my consciousness.

And at other times, those words feel like molasses, moving so slowly that each word is a struggle to get onto the page.

I don’t know why writing is like this. Why one day it can come so easily, and the next it is such a struggle. I do know that it’s worth the struggle. Most things worth doing are worth the struggle.

I have this strange belief that my struggle with weight loss is intrinsically connected to my struggle with writing. I don’t know why, but part of me really believes that I won’t be successful as a writer if I’m not successful losing weight. It’s weird, and doesn’t make a lot of sense, but on some level it does. I know that being dedicated and disciplined, even when the struggle is real and hard, helps to make something out of nothing. The dedication it takes to struggle through weight loss can lead to a healthier, more active life, and the struggle with the words on the page, even when they’re coming out only one word per minute, will lead to having something to show for all my hard work.

I’m trying to remind myself of that tonight. I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this month. Today is the first day of writing on a story that I hope will be at least 50,000 words long by the end of November. In order to do that, I need to write about 1600 words a day. I’m trying to write 2000. If Stephen King can write that many every day, then surely so can I, right? Yeah, because I’m just as cool as Stephen King. I can at least pretend to be as dedicated. It was a real struggle to get to 2000 words tonight. The words came slow. Just like molasses. But, I decided to be like Stephen King, and just fake it until I make it.