Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lucky or good?

My brother had a baseball coach way, way back when we were little that once told his team and its supporters that he'd rather be lucky than good. At the time, I was like nine or ten and this didn't really make an impact on me. Besides, I was certain that in sports as in everything else talent is what would make you a success, right?


Now, before anyone jumps up with a harsh retort, let me finish. Talent and success can get you a long way. You can become successful, but it isn't always enough. If there are two teams equally matched in talent, how does one win over the other? It is often the team that gets a lucky break. Whether a close call goes their way, an error opens up an opportunity, the sun got in someone's eyes, or a ball just happens to bounce the right way, luck can often become the deciding factor. No matter how much talent you have, a bad call or a lucky bounce can snatch defeat from certain victory.

You may be asking yourself what all this has to do with writing, and I'll tell you. Other than I'm a major sports nut and my team's game was rained out leaving me with a whole day of no baseball -- being lucky is important in writing as well. Forget all the luck involved in getting your story noticed or having just the right reader see it at the right time to mention it on just the right blog or forum to catapult you to success. The luck I'm talking about is in the crafting stage of a story.

I just recently finished a book. I'd had an idea for another story rattling around and I was adding paragraphs and scenes here and there fleshing it out slowly as I did other things. Then wham! It hits me. A totally different story crept right up behind me and blindsided me. Suddenly, everything else went silent as this new cast of characters pushed and shoved at me trying to get the story straight. In the beginning, I couldn't even keep up with the story. The plot moved along so fast. I wore my fingers out writing.

I don't know why suddenly, now at this time this particular story just demanded for me to write it. The characters have come across so strong it's like I've known them forever. I have to wonder if they'd been there all along and I just never noticed or if they are just that strong and dominate. I've abandoned writing everything else at the moment. The flow of this story is so strong, I'm thrilled to be along for the ride.

Whether the rest of the storyline will come along as neatly and strong as the start, I have no idea. I like to think I'm talented with creating stories that readers find interesting, but I'm so glad I got lucky with this story that ambushed me out of no where. I understand all about being lucky. I'd have to agree with that coach. I'll take the luck anytime.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Writing Confessions

I love to write. I could write all day and all night. I could write until my fingers cramped -- and sometimes I do. However, there is one confession I have to make. I hate dialogue. It's a bit ironic considering I love to talk just as much as I love to write -- so why does dialogue give me fits?

I chalk it up to letting other people talk -- even my characters -- cuts into my talk time. It sounds like a good excuse, but if I was being completely honest that isn't want troubles me about dialogue. I actually fear that at times when I write, I'm getting it all wrong. I'm just certain even though I hear what the characters are saying and doing in my head that it will all come out sounding like something I'd say. I mean the best way to show differences in your characters is to listen to them talk. People talk differently. They use different catch phrases. They have favorite words. Just the way they string words together is different.

The voice of a character is so important. I mean if you're doing your job and getting the character right, you should be able to pluck out a line of dialogue and know who's talking without seeing a 'so and so said' tag somewhere. In my head, I know each voice. They are very distinct and separate, but when the words get onto the page there is no voice to set them apart. It all has to be in word choice and structure. I was never any good at building structures.

Right now dialogue is even more of a pain as I'm currently writing in two different genre. What the fantasy characters in my head say and what the contemporary characters say are vastly different. I just know that one day I'm going to slip up and have cross dialogue mash ups. Of course, I could then just turn the whole thing into a time travel story and viola! Why don't I think it would be just that easy? I guess because my characters are never that cooperative.

Time to dive back into writing. You'd think once you finished a story you'd be able to catch your breath, but no. I've got a war of words going on in my head. We'll see which side is the victor and gets their stuff out first. I'm always a little surprised which story forces itself to the front of the line. It's never what I expect.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rise of the King -- now available!

Yes! It's never easy getting through the editing process, but once you have it finished there is no other thrill quite like it. Rise of the King, the second book in The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir fantasy series, is now available on Amazon. It's so exciting to see the story continue and see where these characters will go next.


With the second orb missing and his father dead, Kallum Syer Theras must continue on with the quest outlined in the ancient prophecy. He is forced to return to Livingston to claim the crown and locate the third orb.

Before he can reach the capital, Kallum is pulled in two directions and is forced to split the group again in order to rescue those he left behind in search of the second orb.

In Livingston, Kallum will have to face off against the Vlandamyuirian nobles to avoid a civil war to keep the Dark One sealed in his void prison while dealing with a jilted betrothed and a plot to keep him from the throne.

In celebration of the release of Rise of the King, the first book in the series, The Path of Light, is now available at the low price of just $1.99 for those of you that haven't yet been able to begin the adventure. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Friday, April 6, 2012

April -- What a month!

There is nothing like April. There are so many great reasons this month happens to be one of my favorites of the whole year. Forget for a moment that this is the month when spring starts to seem like spring. We get more sunshine. Birds sing. Flowers bloom. It is all great -- but not why April is so great.

It isn't even the fact that this particular April will see the release of the second book in The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir fantasy series. Yes, Rise of the King is in the final editing phases and will be out first as an ebook within the next week. Very exciting, but not why April is so awesome. I say that only because it's not every April -- so far in my life -- that one of my books has been released. I might have to revise that in the future. We'll see what happens next April.

We're getting closer to why April is so great when I say -- Baseball! Yes, that's right. April and Opening Day for baseball go hand-in-hand. Nothing gets me more excited than realizing from now until October I'll have a baseball game to yell, cheer, scream, and cry over. Since my team -- the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants -- will be taking the field this very day, I'm on the edge of my seat. Kicking off a summer full of pitching, hitting, running, sliding, and scoring makes April awesome. I'm going to savor every day of it.

However, the reason April is the best -- well, one of the best months -- is that April also happens to hold my birthday! Ah ha, yes, that is what makes April so very special -- it's got a day dedicated just to me. How can you go wrong there? My birthday and baseball -- April is hard to top!

Do you have a favorite month?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lucky 7 Meme

Opps, It's happened again. I've gotta watch my back around that Summer girl. She's always tagging me! But seriously, I want to thank Summer from Writing Belle blog for tossing me another tag -- this time in the Lucky 7 meme. In this meme, you need to go to page 77 of your current manuscript and go to line 7 and copy 7 lines, sentences or paragraphs. Then you pass the tag along to 7 more bloggers.

I'll share a snippet from the upcoming Rise of the King: The Chronicles of Vlandaymuir Book Two, which will be coming out in April. So, if this wets anyone's appetite you can dive into the rest of the story very soon.

“Mayhap Sera is just with me this night. It has been a long stretch since I had time to test the fates.” Chance shrugged and tossed more coins into the pot.

Another few rounds and again the dice tipped and toppled into new formations after Chance tossed them. He grit his teeth and clenched a fist as it cost him another win. He hid his discomfort behind his mug, drinking deep as Jayde giggled in his mind.

“Enjoying yer game, Jayde?”
Laughing louder now, he could just picture the gleam in her eye, “Aye, I am. You should have taught me the game. I would be better at fixing things for you.
I hope this little tease has caught your attention. Now, it's time to announce the recipients of my tagging! Here they are, in no particular order:

 Georgina Taylor
Ann Cory
Liv Rancourt
Angela Scott
James Garcia
Morgan Shamy

Sunday, March 25, 2012

To pen name or not to pen name -- That is the question.

While I love my fantasy series, and as I'm anticipating the final touches on Rise of the King, book two in The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir series, I've had some other story ideas bouncing around in my head. I'm excited about them, and have already jotted down some basic story points as I continue to let these new ideas develop.

The thing is, my new stories are in different genre than the fantasy I've been writing in so far. One is a horror short story. Well, short story right now. We'll see where it goes as it develops. My stories tend to start small and want to grow as I write. The other story is a murder mystery/romantic suspense.

I know. I'm all over the map. So, what I've been wondering is do I release these different genre under my name, which is already established as a fantasy writer, or do I release them under pen names? I know that some of my favorite authors have released different genres under different names, but eventually, it seems that they all end up feeding back to whatever name is the most popular.

I guess what it comes down to, especially in these days of social media, do we just write what we want to write and use one big brand name to cover it all? Do we establish different brands for each genre especially if they are vastly different? Is there no crossover? I know that I read many different genre so I believe that I would read something out of what I would consider the author's main genre just because I enjoy their writing and story telling.

There are so many questions, and I'm sure a ton of different ways to look at this situation. It's not something I have to decide right this moment as the other stories are still early on in the planning, plotting and writing stages. However, if I'm going to use a pen name -- the sooner you get that name out there the better, right?

My biggest fear is that I barely have enough time to attempt marketing with one name, what would I do with multiple pen names? I think I'm overwhelming myself. I definitely don't want to get swamped in social media overload -- at least not more so than I already am. Decisions, decisions -- I can see this debate lasting a while. Let me know what you think. Do you write in multiple genre? Do you write under multiple names?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

From Writer to Reader

It's always a nice time to get that work in progress finished. No matter how annoying all the editing is, I am grateful to have something accomplished. I can then take some time to enjoy another passion -- reading. When I'm in the middle of writing, I have a hard time concentrating on anything else. My characters clamor at me during all hours. My mind fills with scenes and dialogue leaving very little room to concentrate on other things.

So, when I set aside that finished work in progress my characters quiet down for a little bit, and I can drag books off my to-read pile and dive into other stories. I love that change of pace. It's exciting to explore the worlds others have created and it's nice to enjoy characters that I know have been bugging other writers. It's like a breath of fresh air. It clears the mind and usually allows for some new set of characters or story to begin forming.

Yes, I still have to stop and jot down ideas or plot additions or some other inspiration, but for the most part I am transported to some other place and time for a bit. I managed to make a small dent in my reading pile. Of course, that just gave me the excuse to add a half dozen more books to the list. Read one, add two. It's not a formula that actually shrinks the pile, but I've always loved to read as much as I love to write. Keeping that pile looming reminds me to take some time to indulge in a little reading from time-to-time.

I'm going to dive back into a few more books. The next round of edits quickly approaches. The beauty is my mind has been free of my own characters for a week, and I will be able to approach my own work with a fresher set of eyes. See, reading does do more than just entertain -- well, at least that is my story this week.

Where do you sneak in your reading or other passions?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Perfect timing for March Madness

I'm not saying I planned it. Sometimes you just get lucky. I am so lucky, at least in the timing, not so much with everything else. This timing worked out exactly in my favor. I finished my first round of editing and passed the book off to beta readers just in time for March Madness. Yes!

For those of you that don't know, March Madness is all about basketball. I love college basketball, and having 68 teams battling head-to-head until the championship game in April is just the best. Only thing better is of course baseball, but we have a few weeks before that gets started.

With all the focus on my editing on Rise of the King: The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir Book Two, I wasn't sure I'd be able to enjoy the games. I'd hate to be writing -- Kallum swung his sword up and the shot was good! Three pointer! -- It just wouldn't work. I have to watch out at times that I don't write what goes on around me and stay focused in one world at a time.

Now, I don't need to worry. I can sit back enjoy the games and wait for the readers to get through with the book. My basketball reward for getting the book finished. Don't you just love how things work out sometimes? The next great thing -- The book should be ready for release before opening day of baseball. Wonder how that worked out so well? Guess it's just the luck of the Irish working for me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Where does the time go?

Have you ever noticed that there are just not enough hours in a day. I always begin my day with a long list of tasks that I want to accomplish. I do admit I am easily side tracked from time to time, but still, at the end of the day I often only accomplish a fraction of my wish list.

My excuse -- the day is just too short. It definitely can't be MY fault! I mean, not like time management or prioritizing tasks would be wise or something -- would it?

I accomplish big tasks. I get out of bed. I find time to eat dinner. I watch a favorite show or two. I don't miss a Giants game or the Blue Devils playing. So, I just don't understand how the laundry doesn't get done, the dishes don't get washed or the carpet vacuumed. I mean, I did get the important stuff covered. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother, LOL. I mean paper plates are cool, right?

Then there are those days when I get lost in writing. I love those days. It's a lot easier to get lost in the writing than in the editing. I think my misery over my lack of daily accomplishments comes from the fact that I can write two chapters in the time it takes me to edit one. My frustration level rises and I suddenly have a dozen new stories that I'd rather be working on instead of slugging through passive voice, too many adverbs, and weak words.

In the end, I remember why it is all worth it. When I sit back and get to admire something that I hope brings as much enjoyment to others as it has for me. It makes it all worthwhile when I have offers to be beta readers because they are so excited to get the next book in the series. Sometimes, accomplishing only one thing in a day is awesome -- when it's the right thing.

I still blame not enough hours in a day most of the time. Just think what I could accomplish. I mean, I'm down an hour now because of daylight savings. I could have read a book for that hour. Dang that spring forward.

Friday, March 9, 2012

It's here! It's here!

So, the mail came and usually there isn't anything exciting in it. I mean, who mails things anymore, right? Anything that might make me happy would most likely arrive via email, so when the package awaited me, I got a little giddy.

I opened the package, I was pretty certain it wasn't a bomb. I mean no one would want to take me out, and there it was. I stared. I giggled. I clapped. I jumped up and down. There it was! My book in print, The Path of Light: The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir Book One! I couldn't take my eyes off it. I almost was afraid to touch it, then of course I couldn't let it go. I rubbed it and stroked, I hugged it and petted it, I thought I might call him George.

It was just a proof copy, sure, but it was my book. Suddenly, it made it all so very real. All those ideas that rattled around in my head were now tangible. I could hold them. I could stroke the pages. I could snuggle them. It was a magic moment. I'm still in shock. I can't wait to go over it for final approval and get it available to everyone else. This made my week!

Monday, March 5, 2012

I did it! I did it! I DID IT! Made my own map.



It wasn't easy. Some of it wasn't pretty, but I did it. I wrestled them pixels and programs into some sense and finally created my very own map. I wasn't sure that I would be successful, but I did it! I couldn't help but take a few moments to admire and gloat over it. After all, I wasn't sure I'd ever get to see it on my computer screen in a recognizable form. It is nearly identical to the sketch I made oh-so-long-ago when I started writing The Path of Light. Now, here it is in digital form made by me. Can I gush? Can I? Oh wait, I did!

I used a combination of AutoREALM and Gimp to bring this map to life. I drew the basic map pieces in AutoREALM and then uploaded it into Gimp. With Gimp I was able to add the background, wording and compass to make it all into one piece. Then there it was, my map! Now everyone can see what I'm looking at when I'm writing on The Chronciles of Vlandamyuir. This is Vlandamyuir!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Editing drama or a God complex?

You've poured your heart and soul onto the page. You've agonized over word choices. You've carefully crafted descriptions and dialogue. Now comes the dreaded red pen and that nasty delete button.

No matter how hard we try to craft the perfect mix of characters, storyline, dialogue and description, there will be portions of our newly finished work in progress that has to go. Sure taking out a word here or there is easy. Fine tuning a sentence or changing what you describe in a particular scene is no problem.

Then you come to a point when you realize you have to make the big changes. Deleting chunks of your work and even removing entire characters. It's like severing a limb when you have to lose one of those characters. They are our friends. They have been our companions through the wee hours of the night as we've sat huddled over our keyboards pouring our passion onto the page, but there comes a time when you have to say goodbye.

The first time I had to face the fact that I needed to remove a character I was heartbroken. Don't get me wrong, I liked the story much better without the character, but I didn't want to say goodbye to him. I felt like I was killing a friend. It was like a betrayal.

You never really understand how entangled a character is in a story until you have to cut one out. Dialogue, scenes and sometimes whole plot lines have to be removed. When I eliminated my first character, I had to rewrite the whole second half of the book. I felt so bad each time a reference had to be removed.

I do have to admit there are some characters that just beg to be eliminated. I've cringed when writing sometimes thinking about how much I want to get rid of a particular character, but instead I continue the plot. It gets easier the more characters you cut. Sometimes, it's better to delete a character than kill one. I mean sure you can relieve some stress by writing a death scene, but erase them from existence -- talk about power! I have to watch that head rush. I think I might develop a God complex from it all.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I've been that even legal?

I've been tagged. When I heard that I started looking for some graffiti on me somewhere. Finding myself free of spray paint, I thought perhaps there was someone I should be chasing. No one seemed to be running. So, then I thought maybe I should just slap the next person I saw and shout, "Tag!" Let's just say that didn't go over very well -- my dog just gave me a funny look and left the room.

Next I looked around and decided that I wasn't on the baseball field, so I didn't think I was out. There were no labels slapped on me or name tags stuck on me anywhere. I realized that I wasn't quite getting what this tagging was all about.

Eventually, I figured out that being tagged had nothing to do with any of the rest of that stuff. The idea of this meme is to answer the tagger’s ten questions and then pass on ten of your own to ten more bloggers. It’s a fun way to keep in touch with your friends in the blogging realm. Here's the grilling -- err, I mean questions -- I received from S.E. Lane on her blog, Writing Belle.

 What is your favorite book to movie adaptation?  

 This is a tough call. There have been a number of book adaptations that I enjoyed for various reasons most of them for various reasons of how they aren't like the book. I'm going to pick the Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger as one of my top picks. I loved the story and while I thought the time travel part might make it difficult to translate to film with the same intensity, it was well done. I still cry at the end whenever I read the book or watch the movie.

Who is your top book boyfriend/girlfriend?

  My top book boyfriend is another one with so many choices based on genre and mood. However, the first guy that pops into my mind is still one Jericho Z. Barrons from Karen Marie Moning's Fever Series. He's the bad boy of all bad boys. Of course, I'd never call him a boy to his face. He's definitely all man. He also has the tall, dark and deadly market cornered.

What actor or actress do you think most resembles that character? 

This topic was much discussed around my house when rumors surfaced of a movie of the Fever Series. All sorts of names were tossed out and most often rejected. I settled on Clive Owen as my fit for a good Barrons. Yummy.

If you could jump into any genre, what would it be and why? 

A genre that I've love to jump into would be fantasy. I love the whole concept of knights, dragons, elves and epic adventure and quests. Not to mention since it's fantasy, I can just imagine anything I'd like. The sky -- or universe -- is the limit.

Do you prefer to read fiction or non-fiction?

I read fiction. Occasionally, I'll pick up a non-fiction book but only for a specific reason. The last non-fiction I read was Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell about SEAL Team 10. It's another book that I made me cry.

Pertaining to your sex, would you rather read a book with a male or a female protagonist?

 I seem to read more books with a female protagonist, but it seems to be more a factor of the genre than choice. I've been reading more paranormal romance and romantic suspense. When I get more into fantasy I tend to read more male protagonists.

Why do you love to blog?

I'm not sure I'd say I love to blog. I haven't been blogging for very long, but it has been a great way to express ideas and share my opinions. Most of my blogging is done about my experiences writing and it's great getting the feedback and finding out all those crazy things happen to other people too.

Do you love books with a sense of humor, or do you prefer something more dramatic?

Drama is great, but I love books that can bring a sense of humor into the story. It doesn't have to be the focus, but it's great if you can find something to laugh about.

Have you ever met a famous author?

Not in person, but thanks to the internet I've been able to exchange some messages and meet some really great independent authors.

Where is your favorite place to read - and when? 

My favorite place to read is stretched out in bed. I usually read before bed, but I can get lost in a book anytime and anywhere. If it's a book I just can't seem to put down, I'll carry it around the house and read during commercials while watching TV.

Now you've gotten a glimpse of what it's like to be me. Here are my ten questions:

  1. What made you decide to start a blog?
  2. What is your favorite genre and why?
  3. What book hasn't been made into a movie yet, but that you'd like to see on the big screen?
  4. If you're going to see a movie based on a book, do you want to read the book first?
  5. Do you like to read more than one book at a time?
  6. Who is your most favorite book character and why?
  7. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could pick only three books to have with you what would they be?
  8. If you had to become either a vampire or a werewolf which would you choose?
  9. What got you started reading?
  10. What are your favorite pizza toppings?

And here's the ten blogs I'm tagging:

Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
A Book-lovers' Review
Getting Attwood Published
A Pocket Full of Books
Morgan Shamy - Inner thoughts of a redhead writer
Books Are Better - Fantasy Book Reviews
Georgina Anne Taylor - Gothic Fiction and Fairy Tales
We Fancy Books
Liv Rancourt
Ann Cory

You're all it!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Time for the bullying to stop

For those of you who might not know, I'm a huge fan of the site Goodreads. It is a wonderful place for both readers and authors to gather together. There are groups on a wide range of topics. You can discuss individual books, authors, genres, blogging, reviewing, marketing -- well, you get the idea. It has been a terrific source for support and a gold mine of information for a new self-published author like myself.

My experiences with Goodreads has been nothing but positive. I've met some really awesome people on the site and found a lot of support as a self-published author. As an author, it is always pointed out that you must tread lightly in some groups. Goodreads was created as a place for avid readers to share their love of reading, but where the readers gather so too will the authors flock. As many of us know, readers don't like getting spammed to buy a book, but it happens. There will always be that person that thinks the rules of society, the group or the individual never apply to them.

On Goodreads, the etiquette for authors has been for them to become a part of the community and share more than just your book.Let's face it, most of authors are readers as well and you can talk about the genre you read and share thoughts on the books you've read. It's not hard. The idea being that if people get to know you, find your posts interesting, then they might be open to reading what you have written.

I've tried to follow that philosophy and seem to be successful in at least avoiding any backlash from readers, so far. However, there have been several authors from Goodreads that have been the targets of bullying. Now, I can't say for certain that all of these authors avoided spam or were innocent in their dealings with the groups and individuals they encountered problems with. What I can say is that bullying in any form is unacceptable behavior.

The internet makes it too easy at times for people to engage in bad behavior because they aren't forced to look a person in the eye as they spout their hate. However the feelings are still real and the names on our screens connect back to real people. Bullying in any way, shape or form is wrong. There is a new group on Goodreads that is dedicated to standing up to the bullies. Whether you are a part of that group or not, I think it is important that when you see someone getting bullied take a stand. Be sure to make it clear that whether you are a reader or an author that personal attacks, hate speak and rants are not acceptable forms of communication.

No one is always going to like what we say, what we post or what we think. Everyone is entitled to share their opinions and have that opinion respected even if it isn't agreed with. Let us all keep our eyes open for incidents where someone crosses that line and be there to say that we don't tolerate that action.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cover reveal for Rise of the King

I'm happy to reveal the cover for the second book in The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir series. Rise of the King is nearly ready to hit the market and I hope that all of you will be able to take the time to give it a look.

If you haven't had the chance yet, be sure to grab your copy of the first book of the series, The Path of Light, so that you can be ready to continue the journey with Kallum Syer Theras and his friends as he battles the forces of the Dark One and the nobles at Ahzyr Palace to fulfill the ancient prophecy and free Vlandamyuir from the evil that stalks it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book finished? Now the real work begins . . .

I've just typed the finishing words to my work in progress and that first draft is done. Isn't it amazing that only now does the real work begin.

When sitting down to write a book, you'd think getting the story down on the page would be the hard part. It is a struggle, don't get me wrong, but the real hard work begins when you start to shape that story into something that is ready for others to read. I always thought my story made so much sense along the way. After all, I just wrote down what my characters shared with me.

Then when I started to go back and read what I'd written, I realize how much polish and work is still ahead of me. It's not that I think the first draft is trash ... it just needs twice as many hours of editing. The silliest things crop up when you begin going over your draft. Wrong words such as there for their or hear for here happen a lot. Then there are the repetitive words ... I get a lot of journey, quest, ride, road and forest. Time to break out the thesaurus. I love using it, but sometimes that can be distracting. I get caught up looking up cool new words. Next up is fixing all those boring dull verbs and cutting out the dreaded adverbs. Also need to cut out the telling and work on doing more showing.

Those are just the start of the work. It seems there are always plot holes, subplots started but never finished, tasks hinted at but never realized. Time to streamline all of that into what is important to progress the story and what can be removed. Then there are those parts that are very cool and need to be fleshed out in the rest of the story.

My next issue during the editing process is cutting out description. In this case less is often more, but I tend to get long winded and want to describe the scene in detail. I often forget that my readers have an imagination and it is better to let them fill in some of those details to help draw them into the story and make it feel as if they are participating. Don't you connect better to stories that you feel you are part of because you are adding in the details that you see rather than always being told what you are seeing?

So now you've done a lot of editing. You've tightened and sharpened. You've clarified bits and cleared up confusion. Time to hand it off to beta readers or editors to see what someone else sees. You'd think this was when you'd get to relax. Right? Wrong.

For self-published writers, like myself, you still have more work ahead. What about a book cover? Have you got a title? Are you creating buzz that your work is nearing completion and will be available soon? Are you ready to format your work for self-publication? A lot of these issues I didn't even realize I needed to worry about until I was ready to put my book out there.

Once my book was released I realized all the marketing would fall on my shoulders. I don't know a lot about marketing and have taken a learn as you go path. If you can get tips and hints ahead of time be sure to put them to work as soon as possible, it can make a difference. Finding people to review your book is important and the sooner you can line them up, the better. Good reviewers often have a long waiting list and you want to get yours on that list as soon as possible.

Another thing I didn't ever think about before I'd already released my book was links to my blog, website and information on where to find other writing I have done. I also never thought about putting a teaser to other work and especially to the next book in the series. I have seen other self-published authors working together -- if you are in the same genre -- to promote each other at the end of their books. These are all additional touches that I think can make a difference in helping to grow who you are as a writer and building a fan base.

Time for me to get back to work on some of these. As they say, there's no rest for the wicked.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Voices in my head

I find myself with a decision to make. I'm in the middle of putting out my fantasy series, The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir, with book two nearly complete. Ideas for book three are festering and waiting for me to start getting them down on paper. However, I also have a couple of ideas for other stories poking at me. Both are in new genres and I wonder, should I ignore them until I've gotten my fantasy series finished or should I take some time between fantasy books and work on these other ideas?

Don't get me wrong, when I say ignore...those pesky voices just don't go away...I mean I jot down the scenes in my head, sketch out some dialogue that just won't be silent, but for the most part I try and keep my focus on the book in front of me. I don't like to read more than one book at a time, it is even harder trying to write more than one book at a time.

So, I keep a notebook handy while I'm working and even in the middle of a scene for my fantasy work, something will pop into my head on one of the other ideas begging for my attention. I have pages of notes, thoughts, suggestions and scenes piling up. Since I sometimes need to write down notes for book three of my fantasy work, you can imagine how cluttered my notebook is getting. I just have to make sure I don't ever get any of them confused. It could make for a wild transition in the middle of a book.

On one hand, I suppose having ideas overflowing from your mind is a good thing. It is better to have too much to write than suffer writer's block. I've been lucky to have avoided any significant cases of writer's block. Does that mean I have really loud voices in my head? When I was little having a vivid imagination got me into trouble, now it is my source of inspiration.

I've lived with my fantasy characters for so long they are like family, I'm not in a hurry to bring their story to an end. However, these new friends just won't leave me alone. I'm definitely going to have to schedule some writing time with them so they don't get mad and leave in a huff. There is nothing more annoying than characters that get you started on a story and then give you the silent treatment.

Well, all the voices wonder why I'm writing a blog post rather than paying attention to them. Time to get back to work before one group or the other starts a war...hmmm? I wonder what would happen if...

More ideas, I hope they never end!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

For Valentine's Day I thought I'd discuss a few things that bring love and happiness into my life. I know this is supposed to be a day about lovers, partners, and significant others, but there are other things that share the love.

First, I wouldn't be anywhere without my family and friends. They have been that rock of support through all the ups and downs. If for a moment you doubt yourself, there they are ready to shore up all your doubts and launch you back onto your journey full of hope and confidence. It is a support system that I would have sunk without. Today seems to be a good day to let them all know just how special they are to me.

Next, is my writing. I'd go crazy without the ability to write. I love it. It is an outlet for my emotions. It let's me express my feelings and explore unknown desires. I'm not always brave enough in the real world to tackle things. In my writing, I am able to test the waters and experience things that I'd never do myself. I haven't yet written anything about a someone skydiving or bungee jumping, but I could. I don't know that I could do it well since I'd probably be clinging to the keyboard in fear just thinking about it, but the option is always there. Writing keeps me sane. Well, okay, as sane as I can be.

My dogs are the best at making my heart swell up with love and happiness. How can you look at their faces and not just want to hug them? They listen to all my goofy rantings, all my story plotting, and let me talk gibberish to them. The whole time I get their undivided attention and support, especially if I'm rubbing a tummy or scratching a hard to reach spot. Hey, they give to me so I give back to them. It's a win-win. Watching their antics is a constant state of joy. They do silly things and I laugh. They do crazy things and I shake my head. They all try to rush out the door at the same time and I have Three Stooges flashbacks. When I need a pick me up, there they are ready to put their head on my knee or snuggle up beside me on the bed and just be someone that cares.

Reading is the escape that takes me to places and let's me leave all my troubles behind. I'm so grateful my mom encouraged me to read. Now, there isn't anything I can't do. I can learn new things. I can explore new places. I can laugh, I can cry, I can be scared and it is all contained within the pages of a book. Reading, I'm sure, is part of why I write. It has defined who I am. I don't think I'd want to know what life was like without it.

Sports are my passion. I love sports. I wish I was talented enough to play them. My brother was the star athlete in the family. I sat in the stands and supported him. I learned to keep score, I became a sports writer and discovered just how much of an emotional swing you can have in the space of a few seconds. Baseball is the biggest love of my sporting world, but I still yell and scream at the TV for college basketball, football and of course, the Olympics.

This post started out as a quick idea to share some love on Valentine's Day and in typical fashion I've rambled forever. To bring this to an end before I write a book on it, I want to thank my family, my friends, my followers, my supporters and all of you who share this journey with me. I couldn't do it without you.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Two Status Update!

*Does the happy dance and the M&M wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle*

So, I've been added a bit here and a bit there while staring at the computer screen and letting the letters blur together before clicking onto something exciting like Bubble Town. However, that was all before yesterday.

Yesterday, I had an epiphany! I opened up my work in progress, the second book in The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir series. Most of my procrastination with writing lately was the indecision on how I wanted to end book two and set up book three. Yesterday, I figured it out.

I sat down to write, wanting to at least make an effort into forward progress, and give me some sense of something by adding words to my word count, even if they weren't always great words or even the right words. I used a new little trick I read about called fast drafting from Lynnette Labelle's blog. The concept is straight forward. Write the dialogue, write the scene -- don't try and give a lot of description. Instead let the story flow and advance. You can fill in the gaps and flesh out the scenes more in future edits.

There have been a few difficult scenes for me to tackle in this book and this technique helped get me over the rough spots. Once the action in the story moved beyond my stumbling blocks, the rest of the book fell into place. I suddenly knew the ending and what I wanted to happen. I got 5,000 words written yesterday not including making a rough outline for the end of the book.

Mission accomplished! I was surprised that the fast drafting method did help clear my head of questions and indecision. Once that was clear, I was able to listen to my characters better and let the story flow. Hurray!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My hidden talent

I'm great at something. It's not often I can admit that or even accept it. Usually, I'm shy about tooting my own horn as the saying goes, but not about this. I am great at procrastination. I mean really awesome at it!

Anything that I can put off until tomorrow, I will. If I can accomplish two things in a day, I won't. Why do two if you can do one or none? What makes me so very good as a procrastinator is the creativity I use to avoid tasks. If I'm supposed to be writing, I don't simply get away from my computer to cook dinner or clean house. Oh no, that would be becoming productive at another task, and that simply won't do. I don't stay on the computer and work on promoting the book that is finished. Again, I might actually accomplish something there, so I have to be careful. Nope, when I'm in procrastination mode, I do things like spend a couple of hours on YouTube. I'll flip on some music and go play Bejeweled, Text Twist or some other free online game.

Yesterday, I slipped and went to YouTube to share the Muppets doing Bohemian Rhapsody with someone that hadn't seen it before. Now, a productive person would have closed the window, mission accomplished, and went on to writing or reading. Me? Heck no! I spent the next two hours watching old music videos for Guns N' Roses, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Hinder, 3 Doors Down, Theory of a Deadman -- well, you get the picture.

Don't misunderstand, I'm very handy at multiasking. I just never said that all my multiple tasks were productive. I was listening to the audiobooks of the Fever Series again, it had been a while and I needed a Barrons fix. Most people use audiobooks to pass the time of a commute, get in some exercise or some other productive activity. Me? I played Bubble Town on MSN games to win a new badge for my collection. Am I talented or what?

I love to write and when I get on a roll, words just flow onto the page nearly effortlessly. Then there are those days when I work just as hard to avoid the flow and put my procrastination tools to work. You'd think someone who has characters talking to her in her head would have enough distractions and wouldn't need the considerable talent of procrastination, but what can I say? I'm gifted.

What are some of your favorite time wasting activities? Feel free to share, I might add them to my list!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Confession: I love vampires

I have a confession to make. I love vampires. I don't write about them, at least I haven't yet, but I love them. There is something sexy about a vampire. It's not the blood part, I'm not all that into blood. I have in fact passed out from the sight of my own blood. Vampires on the other hand are very cool.

Horror movies have always been a huge part of my life so I know all about Dracula. Vampires these days, though, are not Dracula. They are sexy. They are young. They are mysterious. They are hot. They don't turn into bats. I think this is the biggest thing that turns them from monsters to sexy.

Now, I realize there are female vampires. I just don't find them as interesting because I'm busy drooling over the male ones. I started my new fascination with the fanged ones with -- yes, I'm admitting it -- Twilight. Before you all run screaming in the other direction, take a breath. I found the idea of vampires that embrace life and not death to be very interesting. They were still strong. They were also moral and caring, vampires with feelings. I mean come on, did we ever really get a sense of feeling from Dracula? Well, I never did.

From Twilight has grown a whole new kind of vampire. We get to see vampires as people who drink blood to survive, but still  have all the same hang ups and drama as the rest of us. Living forever, having super speed or super strength doesn't make their lives super perfect. That human element makes it possible for us to relate to them in ways I could never relate to Dracula.

We also have vampires that can walk out in the light. Vampires take on a whole new look when they aren't trapped by the night. They can have jobs, if a vampire wanted to have a job, they could be even more like humans. It again makes it possible for us humans to relate or understand. It is a good time to be a vampire fan. Twilight aside, there is just about every type and kind of vampire out there for all of us. Along with my love of Twilight -- Team Edward always -- there is True Blood and The Vampire Diaries.

I'm hooked on both of those series as well. It is exciting to get to watch them brought to life on TV, but the very best part is that they are also books. This means I can pick up a copy and immerse myself into their world at any time. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy staring at Eric from True Blood or Damon from The Vampire Diaries, but it is always great when you can take them to bed and cuddle up under the covers with them.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Car chases and writing

I was taking a break from writing and was watching shows on Netflix. I'm a fan of comedian Eddie Izzard. I watched his show "Unrepeatable" and he brought up a topic that I thought was interesting. Why are there no car chases in books?

In all the action movies we sit on the edge of our seats as cars go tearing around cities, through deserts or off road with good guys after bad guys or some combination of the two. There are plenty of books with a lot of action, but you never read a good car chase scene. Well, at least I haven't. If any of you have read something with a great car chase written in, I'd love to know about it.

It makes you think about what other elements are so important in movies that aren't given the same weight in a book. Especially with the trend of so many books becoming movies, is it any wonder that the fans of the book are often disappointed because the movie changes what we love so much.

I think the biggest difference is that movies have to do a lot of our thinking for us. A book can say a man walks into the room. Immediately as readers we can imagine what kind of man we think has arrived. In a movie, they have to pick out that man and when he walks into the room we aren't allowed to imagine what kind of man he is because we can see who he is.

Reading will always be my favorite getaway, but I do enjoy movies for the entertainment value. The two seem to go together so often, but it is amazing just how different they are. I'm glad that I can enjoy both and even more glad that my writing creates my very own movies in my mind. I've always told everyone that I am easily entertained. I think because I often entertain myself.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Story Ambushes

It seems to hit most often just when I am relaxing. I'm all snuggled into my blankets and just about to drift off to sleep. Suddenly, a new story or a new scene or plot point bursts into action in my mind. You want to just fall asleep letting the scene play out, but you know what will happen -- You'll never remember it in the morning.

You're happily writing away spending quality time with your characters when suddenly a new set of characters arrive. These new characters with a whole different story to tell just don't want to wait their turn.

Story ambushes seem to happen when you are doing so well with other things. Sleep, awake, writing, watching TV -- it doesn't seem to matter when a new idea starts to form, those new characters don't take no for an answer. Inspiration can definitely strike anywhere at anytime. Lately, I've had several new ideas fight their way into my mind for my attention.

It's a great thing, don't get me wrong. I'd rather have more ideas than I can handle than not enough. My trusty notebook that I keep handy for all sorts of random note taking has gotten a workout. Scenes pop into my head that have nothing to do with my current work in progress and are written down so that I don't forget them.

The most annoying part, is these ideas don't pop up fully formed, of course. They just tease. A few characters chime in with only pieces of their story. I know it is just to tempt me to focus on them and delve into their story even when I'm in the middle of working with my other characters.

You'd think they could learn some manners, but I guess when your story needs to be told, it just needs to be told. One of these days, I hope I can get character voice mail or something. They could just leave me a message and I could get back to them when I had more time.

Think it might happen? Guess for now I'll keep my notebook at the ready. It's worked so far.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

When it pours!


I just found out that I received another blogger award. I'm so excited. This time the award is The Liebster Award (“Liebster” is the German word for friend or love) originated in Germany.

A huge thank you goes out to Danielle Smiley for this honor. Her blog Known to Read is a great place to find excellent book reviews. If you just can't decide what to read next, I recommend taking a look at her selections. She's got some great books out there just waiting to find a new reader.

In accepting the Liebster Blog Award, the recipient agrees to:
*Thank the person who gave them the award and link back to that person’s blog
*Copy and paste the award to their blog
*Reveal the 5 blogs they have chosen to award, commenting on their blog to break the news!
*Hope those people in turn pay it forward by accepting and awarding “The Liebster Blog Award” to bloggers they would like to honor.

My blog winners are:

Georgina Anne Taylor - Gothic Fiction and Fairy Tales

Bitch Can Write a Book

Hoplessly Devoted Bibliophile

The Lovely Books

Tana Rae Reads - Book Reviews/Favorite Books I've Read

It is so great to see so many people sharing great books, great blogs and great advice. Being new to blogging, I know that I still have a lot to learn, but each new blog I discover teaches me just a little bit more. I hope to continue to grow and share what I have learned with those just starting out as well.

A great big thanks to everyone that stops by and leaves me a comment or just follows what I have to say. It's nice to know that someone is out there listening or reading or both! Keep up the great work everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Word Count Measuring Sticks

I'm wrestling with a new dilemma in regards to my writing. The first book in my series, The Path of Light, I wrote until I felt there was a place to end. I didn't pay attention to word count or anything else, I just wrote the story as it played out for me.

Now, since I've released that first book and am currently in the midst of the second, I've been reading all the advice, suggestions and best way to get sales blogs, tweets and Facebook posts. What I'm struggling with is that my first book was over 160,000 words. Most of the advice I've read suggests that books be between 60,000-80,000 words. I nearly kick myself thinking I'd be working on book three now if I'd cut the first one in half.

Then I start thinking that there was really no where in the middle that I would have chopped my first book. Working on this next book, I'm hovering around the 45,000 word mark and feel I'm possibly halfway through the story, but I know there is more to tell. So along with struggling with my characters to get the story told, now I'm spending way to much time wondering over word counts.

It is all silly. I know that I just need to write the story as the story demands. Word counts are simply way points to gauge your progress but can't tell you if your story is finished or not. Sometimes I wonder if I'm wasting my time finding out how best to write according to others and forgetting that I need to write according to me. After all, their story is not my story. Only I know what is best for my story, yet I still find myself wondering....should I stop at 80,000 or should I just stop checking word count and just write until it's done.

Advice is a good thing. I have learned a lot about marketing, suggestions on how to set up a blog, learned to use Twitter and Facebook all thanks to the advice and experiences of others. I think I need to remember that in order to tell my story, I have to forget the advice and simply write. With all the marketing and self promoting, I'm forgetting the most important thing -- I have to write my story, or my characters' story, my way.

Time to switch hats from promoter to writer, it's the hat I'm most comfortable in anyways. I definitely wouldn't be a promoter if not for the writing so I'm going to do what I do best -- write. I wonder if there is some way to hide that word count button so that I will stop looking at it? Oh well, it will at least remind me that I'm making progress every day ... so long as I stop thinking that a specific number should represent an end.

You'd think writing would be enough crazy to deal with and I wouldn't make up new things to drive myself nuts over -- go figure.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Me? Nominated? Award? What?

Now this is the way to start a week, no Monday blahs this time! I sat down to check my email and do all that Monday-type stuff, when I find out I was nominated by Christine Benson for The Versatile Blogger Award! I was surprised, I'm still very new to blogging and learning the ropes. It's great to see that I'm at least headed in the right direction with plenty of room to continue to improve.

The idea behind The Versatile Blogger Award nominations is to use these nominations to make other bloggers aware of other great blogs, as I’m are doing here. Rules for The Versatile Blogger Award.

1. In a post on your, blog, nominate 15 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
2. In the same post, Add The Versatile Blogger Award.
3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

Seven random things about myself are:

  • I love horror movies. One could say I'm addicted, I'll watch even a bad horror movie because I enjoy them so much.
  • I'm a softie when it comes to animals and I nearly cry every time one of the ASPCA commercials comes on TV. I want to rush out and bring all those poor animals home.
  • I watch a lot of CNN. It's not that I'm a news junkie, I just started watching CNN during 9/11 and now I can't stop. I can't stop even when I get political overload or they run a story into the ground. Maybe I am a junkie?
  • My biggest passion in life is a love of baseball. I enjoy sports in general, watching as I am a completely uncoordinated. However, baseball is life. I learned to keep score at age nine and was the official scorekeeper for a independent minor league baseball team for a summer.
  • I like cold pizza for breakfast. It's better the second day.
  • I'm hopeless addicted to Pepsi. It's the best soda in the world.
  • When I was in the fourth grade, I broke my wrist roller skating during a game of red light, green light. I had to learn to play video games one handed when I got ColecoVision for my birthday. (Boy did I just date myself with that one!)

My nominations:

  1. Ron Leighton - The Tales of the Shining Lands
  2. TK Rayford - TK Rayford's Blog
  3. Beth Gray - Author Beth Gray
  4. Morgan Shamy - Morgan Shamy
  5. The Indelibles
  6. Making Connections
  7. Mark Ruckledge - Mark's Blog
  8. Karen Dales - Karen Dales, Author
  9. Colleen Cross - Colleen Cross, Author
  10. Lili Tufel - Lili Tufel writes Romantic Thrillers
  11. L.J. Kentowski - L.J. Writes
  12. Marion Sipe - Visions and Revisions
  13. Lisamarie Lamb - The Moonlit Door
  14. Hey, Tara!
  15. Emily Goodwin - Emily Goodwin
I'm so grateful to have been nominated. I hope that you find some great new blogs to follow.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Maps and Fantasy

One of the first things I used to do when searching out the next fantasy book I was going to read was look for a map. I love fantasy books, series especially, ones with maps. It always helps me picture the layout of the land, and the relationship of the places that the characters travel.

When I first started writing my own series, I had sketched several different versions of the map to my world. I eventually had a large version tacked on my wall above my computer that I could look up at and keep myself oriented as I wrote. Then I got fancy and came up with a smaller version, slightly different than the original, in the overall shape and size of the realm in general. This was another hand-drawn offering.

Somehow over the years, my large version was misplaced, but I still have my secondary revision. I still keep it handy as I'm typing away on my second book in the series. The places are familiar. The shape of the land as well known to me as my own hometown. I love looking at the cities, the forests, the rivers, the oceans and all the places I created, but that my characters have yet to explore or discover.

My biggest disappointment with my first book The Path of Light in The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir Series, is that I didn't get my map done in a digital format. I know how maps make me feel more connected to the stories I read; I want to offer that same connection to my readers. So, after getting my book out there and realizing that if I love maps, I need to include my map, I went in search of how to accomplish this task.

Since I am a complete klutz when it comes to actually attempting to draw anything myself, I was looking into different programs that might offer me the ability to bring my hand-drawn creation into the digital age. This was easier said than done. There are a number of programs that offer you the ability to create a map for your book or project. The problem begins with the fact that I'm nearly as incompetent when dealing with drawing or creative programs as I am doing it freehand. Photoshop still intimidates me.

So, rather than waste money on programs that I figured would leave me more confused than mapped. I decided to search out any free programs that could give me a taste of what I was getting myself into without making me feel too foolish. Okay, so the foolish part would happen no matter what, because I am at a loss for most things dealing in technology. Write it down, sure. Click, drag, paste, HTML...whoa, I'm lost!

I followed a bunch of links. I looked at dozens of websites. I read several posts on a forum and everyone pretty much agreed -- There aren't a lot of good free programs to draw a map, especially if you are graphically challenged. I did find one option, AutoREALM, that was free. It has a lot of buttons, pictures, options, and stuff I have no idea what it does. After a few hours of "Let's push this button and see what happens," I knew I was in trouble.

Several test maps later, I knew whatever I did it was going to take some practice. Jumping in with both feet, I took out my hand-drawn creation and went about trying to recreate it. I would get the outline settled, add some mountains, plop in trees for the forests, draw some rivers and then decide it wasn't quite right. I am learning as I go, so I suppose that is all part of the process.

My goal, is to have a useable map to go with the second book in the series. We'll see how my graphically-challenged efforts measure up. Another good thing is, I am learning to stretch beyond my comfort zone. I'd never tackle creating a map on my own. I'm still not sure why I'm doing it to myself now, oh right, I do love a good challenge.

Monday, January 9, 2012

About Reviews

There have been a few different incidents that I've come across lately that bring reviews to mind. The first is my own continual struggle as to how best to go about garnering reviews. I have a personal feeling that asking someone for a review is putting pressure on the reviewer. I know there are many, many bloggers and reviewers alike that are professional and requesting that they take the time to review my book wouldn't seem inappropriate.

Perhaps I am naive in thinking that I want someone to read my book and simply give it a review because they enjoyed it or hated it. In the huge market of indie books, I know that a great many readers don't want to waste time on a book they don't know is even well written, let alone a story that they will enjoy. So reviews of any kind can get someone to give your book a chance or pass it up for one that has reviews.

My book has only been out since the end of October 2011, and so far it has four unsolicited reviews on I am proud that while not raving, the criticisms are mostly personal preferences by each reader and not a lot of complaints about bad spelling, terrible grammar or a complete failure to develop a story. Those were my nightmare review points that continue to haunt me. I know eventually, I will run into someone that will rip into my work. Even the authors we all consider successful find someone that dislikes what they write. I am preparing for that ugly review by continually reminding myself that you can't please everyone, and remembering that while not all in review form, I have gotten compliments on the book from readers.

This leads me to the second incident that brings reviews to mind. I was on Twitter and stumbled into the middle of an author rant-book reviewer drama. Some of you might know of the incident, but since I never did quite get the entire story, I am not going to mention anything specific. Instead, I wanted to talk about the overall incident as an author.

I know I have a quick temper and when someone says or does something to me, my first reaction is to fight back. Apparently, the author in question felt that the book blogger's review of their book was more of a personal attack rather than a critique of the work. I know there are many "reviewers" that often give out poor reviews for little or no reason. I can understand the author feeling angry enough to want to respond.

Unless requested, I think it is bad form to respond to any review, especially a negative one. No matter what the reviewer might have written, I think as an author we come off looking bad in any of these exchanges. Instead, I think we all  have to trust that readers will see the review for what it is. I know myself, a bad review that I felt was unwarranted often prompted me to read the book rather than turn me away.

I found a link and read the review that apparently sparked the drama. I didn't think the blogger said anything personal about the author. The blogger simply didn't find the book to her liking for several reasons and listed those reasons. Could any author really ask for more? At least it wasn't a bad rating with a simple, "This book sucks" comment.

In these days of social media, where it is so easy to take to the internet and vent our anger, I think as authors, we really need to take a step back. Before we ever sit down to criticize someone for their opinion, we need to think how it will look to other readers. Most bloggers are simply readers that share their views on what they read. I don't know if this is someone who asks for a free copy to review a book. By creating a rant in Twitter, Facebook or even our own blog, we run the risk of alienating other readers and other bloggers.

We should also remember that what we rant online in anger, stays out there forever. We can't take it back once we've hit send, publish or post. As we'd hope that reviewers take an open minded approach to our books, can we not give the reviewers and bloggers the same benefit?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Blessing and a Curse

Funny thing about the desire to write, it can be so fulfilling and such a curse.

I've always enjoyed the fact that these ideas for stories play out in my mind. The characters become like friends. You really feel you get to know them. It becomes like watching a movie as you follow them through their story. Their choices leave you on the edge of your seat, and you feel their emotions as they battle with their problems and obstacles.

Having all those plots swirling around in your head is even better than reading, because you can interact with them. If something happens that you don't like,  you get to fix it. You can change the tone of the story. You can add new characters. You can change where the action takes place. It's a little like the Choose your own Adventure books I read as a kid. You make a decision as the story progresses and so you determine how the story ends.

The curse is how isolated it can make you. How do you explain to other people what goes on in your mind? They'd think you were crazy. Sometimes you think you are crazy as you find yourself growing so attached to your characters. I spend a lot of my time at my computer typing away as I try and get all the happenings down on paper.

At times, it might feel as if life passes you by as hours can disappear in a blink. Then I just remember what I have created. I can go back over the passages and bring those characters to life in ways that often surprise me. The best times are when I've logged several hours of writing. Then the next day I go back and read over what I wrote and find myself becoming engrossed in my own words. When I am amazed sometimes at what I have created, I know that I have my characters help in doing what I do.

I can't imagine not writing every day. I can't understand how other people don't go around with ideas just begging to be written. I guess it makes sense because I don't know how someone can dunk a basketball or throw a 100 mph fastball. We all  have our gifts, talents or curses. The one I have allows me to share all those rantings in my mind. I believe that I am blessed.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Character revolts!

I'm used to the characters in my story taking over and often changing where I planned the story to go. It is common for me to battle with the voices in my head over who is really controlling the story. Therefore, you wouldn't think I'd be shocked by the revolt my characters led to start the new year.

I sat down to write my first words on my book for 2012 with the idea that I was starting the process off on the "write" foot. I had been neglecting my writing a bit too much, and my characters proved it as the first words typed out on the page became a battle of epic proportion. I was in the middle of one chapter and those characters refused to behave. Dialogue was a mess, friends wanted to be enemies, no one wanted to follow the plot line and some just refused to even speak up or participate at all.

The characters not involved in the chapter then decided they wanted some attention. My characters seem to have super egos, not mentioned in two chapters and suddenly they have to get my attention. Wrenching my story line into their direction, those characters at least were behaving normally, even though they were getting ahead of themselves.

So, I took matters into my own hands...I left the pages and went to work on the book cover instead. I'll teach those crazy characters to try and hijack my story -- or is it their story? Maybe I'm just going crazy -- or was I already crazy?

Today is another day. I'm heading in for battle armed with my delete button for anyone that gets a bit too rowdy. If this is any indication, 2012 is going to be a very wild ride. I'm buckling in for the duration!