Are You Following BookBub?

Which is the best way for you to get book news?

  • My Mailing List – I’ll always tell you about my new releases and deals, and these followers also get first peek at book covers and prizes, too. I never share your information with anyone, and I promise I never abuse it. Follow me here.
  • BookBub – If you don’t have time for chatty and one-on-one with my newsletters, and you simply want a brief note about book sales and new releases, BookBub always sends to my followers.
  • Facebook – sadly, not the best place anymore, since Facebook algorithms deliberately only show updates to a small percentage of my followers every time I post something. So, chances are you’ll probably miss things.
  • Twitter – I post every day, but not nearly as much info as you could receive (how much can we fit into those 140 characters, really?)

So, join, follow, read, and love!

Time Flies and Priorities Change

Time is flying by, even more so that I have a definitive timeline to get this BlurredClockmanuscript finished. My deadline is BBDD. Before Baby Due Date.

With that comes a massive priority struggle. Between my son’s schedule, gearing up for the baby (and picking out a name!), as well as finishing this manuscript and critiquing a friend’s manuscript, blogging has fallen off of my priority list. Not a great first posting for 2014, I know.

But that doesn’t bode well for an author trying to market a recent release. I can’t devote that much time to social media or blogging, because I selfishly would rather focus any free time on writing/critiquing. Come mid-March, free-time will be a fond and distant memory (much like sleep). Writing will become ‘that thing I love, but I need to take a shower and 2hr nap today.’ So the stories in my head will be stuck on the rear-burner. Along with my blog.

BabyandStorkBut I want you all to know that I won’t be going away completely. I promise I’ll still be here. Albeit, a much more tired, ragged version of myself. It will take me longer to respond to emails and hop onto Facebook/Twitter. But I WILL respond. Priorities will shift (they kinda have to!) but I know this blog will still be here when I’m ready.

More importantly, I’ll still try to market AUDREY’S PROMISE as much as possible and attend those treasured conferences and events (between feedings!). RWA National is a major one for me, particularly since it’s in Texas this year. At some point, I’ll have my first book signing!

In the meantime, I follow several blogs that will more than make up for my lack of presence. Feel free to follow these folks and fill your brain with inspiring knowledge and entertainment!

Greater Ft Worth Writers 

Author CA Szarek

Author Kimberly Packard

Author Scot Morgan

The Creative Penn

Nathan Bransford 

Get Ready: Book Blitz Tour Starts Sept 3rd!

Get ready, folks! The start of my first Book Blitz tour starts on Tuesday, Sept BookBlitzPhoto3rd! I’ll be hosted by several blogs with some fun giveaways over the next five days, so watch my Facebook and Twitter feed to follow, and hopefully win one of the awesome prizes!

In addition, during the Book Blitz, AUDREY’S PROMISE will be available on Amazon Kindle for FREE!!! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to get your copy of the contemporary romance at no cost!

 

 

Writing Time

Writing time is precious in my house. Plainly put- if my son is here and not napping, writing is impossible. Which is why the few rare hours he’s at preschool or asleep are cherished. And the days he doesn’t nap feels a bit chaotic. No ‘me’ time to mess with the characters in my head.

A lot of times, I find myself leaving the house to limit distractions. Otherwise I’ll spend it online, pinning on Pinterest, reading blogs (haha!), or playing iPad games. Not great tools for finishing a manuscript. So I’ll head to Starbucks or a park (when its cooler outside), find a cozy spot and write. Luckily the Starbucks by my house isn’t packed 24/7 like several others I hear about. I can always find a seat and not feel like someone is spying over my shoulder.

But one thing is clear- mornings are my better times. I’m more focused, clear headed, and energized. The afternoon slump impacts my writing style negatively- I realized that over a few years. Music makes me even more focused. So adding these factors to my writing time is important to have as an effective and productive session as I can.

A while back, I read about an author who spends about 3 weeks writing a novel. 3 weeks!! Here’s how: she writes the entire time, pulling all nighters, only taking a few minutes for essentials (lunch, shower, and potty time), and sleeps maybe 2-3 hours at a time. Clearly, this woman doesn’t have any children. No one to care for. It’s just her. Not sure if she’s married. If she is, I give her husband a lot of props. My husband certainly couldn’t tolerate that schedule, even if it were just us. I bet this author’s publisher absolutely loves having this woman on their roster.

I don’t think I could live on her schedule. I value my sleep far too much. Let alone my family time.

A much smaller goal, I’d love to participate in Twitter 1K1Hr groups, but they always take place an inopportune times. Or maybe I just check Twitter at the wrong times. But I was brave enough to join in NaNoWriMo last year. 50,000 words in a month took dedication. And I was on track to complete it (until a family incident towards the latter half of November required the majority of my time). But keeping that writing time from being ‘stolen’ from distractions is tough.

How do you protect your writing time?

When do you work best?

More importantly, what do you do to forgive yourself when the writing time is otherwise occupied?

Let Me Write, Flo!

Wow, life is crazy. I’ve not been on Twitter or Facebook much, I’ve not been following many blogs, and sadly haven’t been posting on my own page. Even more unfortunate, I haven’t been writing or revising much either.

With all of the joyous weather trekking through north Texas over the last few weeks (including more coming tonight. Don’t you just love hail and tornadoes), I’ve been more focused on repairing our car, which looks like a golf ball, and dealing with insurance companies, claims, appointments and bills. Contrary to popular commercial icons, it’s not as easy as the cavemen make it seem.

Or Flo. Progressive spends my hard earned insurance money on her hairspray. And that Mr. Mayhem man is true to his word. Insurance companies are the spawns of Satan. They are efficient at only two things: wasting your time and money.

Despite all of that, I was able to accomplish one thing the past few weeks. I applied for an internship at a literary agency. I’m hoping to obtain one of their coveted unpaid spots to help go through their slush piles via email. I made it past the first round of applicants, and went through a quick exercise that I thoroughly enjoyed. I read 10 test queries and let them know which ones I would have asked for a complete manuscript or passed on. And why. I’m hoping this will give me more insight into the publishing industry, make some really good connections, and learn from some new friends on how to write better.

No word back yet if I made it to the next round. I have no idea how many

A beautiful place in which to wait.

applicants they filtered the test queries to, but I hope I impressed them. Either way, it was a lot of fun. I’d love to keep doing that!

Until I hear back from them, I’ll continue with the craziness of my son’s preschool schedule, therapy sessions, juggling insurance claims/ calls/ appointments, and brainstorming more manuscripts in my head.

Meanwhile, I have two manuscripts I need to edit (one is going to sit there and wait for the Beta Readers Program from my writer’s group starting the end of May). The other needs some major overhaulin’ (yes, that show is awesome. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest you watch just one of them).

I’m on chapter 10 of about 30. Need to change up a lot of the supporting characters, bitch-up the main character a bit, and make the love interest a little dirty (gonna be fun!) If I can only sit down and work on it.

Writer’s Goals for New Year

New Year’s Resolutions can be double-edged swords, if you let them. The typical resolutions to lose weight, earn more, quit smoking, drinking, or whatever other vice (Diet Coke for me) seems daunting and casts negative air over what resolutions are supposed to be about.

Improvement. By either pledging to do something positive or remove something negative from your life.

Resolutions aren’t a reset, but a re-check. Make sure your headed in the right direction.

For many people, 2011 was uncharacteristically harsh. Judging by the Facebook and Twitter posts I’ve seen recently, most are happy to close the door on last year and usher in 2012 with the promise of something better. At least more hopeful.

I learned a lot from 2011. Mostly learned a lot about myself, my limitations, discovered new strengths, and new ‘areas of improvement.’ I met new people that have become invaluable to my writing endeavors- my ‘specialized supporters.’

Most importantly, I think I discovered how to let go of this illusion of control that I tried desperately to keep a grip on last year.

Things happen despite my best abilities to prevent them, other things don’t happen no matter how hard I tried to make them flourish. And other sideswipers come out of no where to make life even more chaotic.

This illusion of control stems from my ever-consistent behavior to internalize everything. And God love my husband and family for helping me to let that go.

So this year, my resolutions are aggressive, but much more forgiving if I lose track along the way. Just as I know my family and friends are. Supportive. Always trying to help me be my best, and forgiving when I lose track.

In addition to a few personal goals regarding family, and overall health and wellness (no New Year’s resolutions would be complete without them), here are my targets:

~Reduce my Diet Coke intake to 1/week (gradual, to prevent nasty withdrawals).

~Gym twice a week.

~Blog twice a week.

~Submit to other blogs I partake in at least once a month.

~Read 1 Book/month.

And for the daunting writing goals:

~Finish rough draft of WIP (Audrey’s Promise) by March. Specifically, write 5K words /week.

~Finish Audrey’s Promise revisions by November. Meaning, 15 pages/week.

~Finish my previous manuscript’s revisions (Rip It) by May. 20 pages/week.

~Submit either of these manuscripts to Golden Heart contest in December.

~Query Rip It to agencies/publishers starting in June. Specifically, 4 queries a week.

~Finally, plot my next novel (middle grade) by December.

These goals are evenly spaced out over the year, so I’m constantly busy with writing, but not overloaded. I think that’s my husband’s Project Management job rubbing off on me. Leave it to him to create a timeline spreadsheet for me, to help track my goals every week down to the individual word and page count. Goal tracking on steroids!

As always, love more, laugh more, and keep writing forward.

Juggling Act of Life… Not Always Successful

Life is juggling. At least when you’re a parent. Even though I have only one child, I’ve learned that much. And it makes me wonder for those with multiple kids, especially if close in age like several friends of mine have, how the heck they do it?

Now, I’m not saying that only parents have to juggle and balance life. I know plenty of people who seem much more busy than me who don’t have children.

But this is a different kind of juggling. And trying to write, plot, research, finish my first attempt at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), AND take care of my son and help him with his development, behavior issues, constant sickness, etc. etc, can at times make me feel like I have a billion balls in the air and I’m dropping a lot of them. Thankfully, most of them are rubber or plastic, so they bounce right back or at least don’t break when they hit the floor.

Unlike my oven this week.

Or the backyard fence last week.

When you throw in expensive repairs like this (on an already somewhat tight budget), I feel like letting all the freakin’ balls drop and I don’t care how many break in the process.

So let’s just say this week was a more disastrous attempt at juggling than most. Already fragile feelings from the week before regarding my son’s development in preschool, combined with little sleep (sick kids don’t sleep, so neither do parents), and it just made the perfect storm of juggling balls.

But on the plus side, I’m 30% done with my NaNoWriMo novel. I hope most NaNo’ers are doing well, and according to Twitter it seems like they’re either kicking my butt or haven’t started. Either way, I wish them luck. Hopefully I’ll achieve one of my 2011 goals I set for myself in January. And not broken too many juggling balls in the process.

Thick Skin For Hire

Every writer, particularly published authors, know that the publishing industry requires a thick skin for anyone who dares enter their dominion.

I thought I had a fairly thick skin before I even started querying my first manuscript.

*insert cackle laughter here*

Now, I know I don’t have nearly as thick of skin as I should, but I definitely have grown a few dragon scales to protect my vulnerable side over the last two years.

I think joining a kick-as* critique group has definitely helped. Also following editors and agents blogs/twitter/facebook and reading their responses to people’s queries also has helped.

I received my first round of major revision suggestions from my critique partners this past weekend and have let their thoughts percolate in my brain. I’m so glad I’ve grown thicker skin. Because now, I actually want that kind of advice. I need to know where they got lost in the story, what didn’t work for them, and realize its not that I suck and should give up writing. They are not flaws in my personality and I’ve dared exposed the weak points in my inner psyche. It’s areas of the story and characters in which I need to fix.

Or perhaps we’re thinking of it backwards. It’s not that people need to grow thicker skin, or regenerate thicker bone. It’s that we need to shed the vulnerable self-conscious layer of invisible shields we humans use as a self-defense mechanisms.

Get rid of your insecurities. Get rid of ridiculous thoughts that whatever suggestions others say is a ding in your personality, or interpretation of ‘they don’t like me.’

Shed everything down the most base level, where we can actually improve on the inconsistencies in our writing. That’s when we’ll notice the biggest difference on our writing style/skills.

So throw your skin out the window and let the air rejuvenate your writing. Completely open yourself up to improvement.

All right, manuscript. Get ready for rejuvenation. Dive in!

Glass Slippers Waiting for RWA Conference

Thousands of writers, editors, agents, wanna be authors, and throngs more are headed to NYC today for the SuperBowl of the romance writing world: RWA Conference. (Romance Writers of America). And I’m turning an unusual shade of green that I don’t see on my own skin very often. When I’d rather be wearing a pair of glass slippers to such an important event in living the dream.

I’m a member of RWA. A newbie. First year. And I desperately wanted to go to this conference. Not just because I had a completed manuscript that I wanted to pitch, but these conferences are crown jewels for insights into the publishing world. Awards for the best published and unpublished works, workshops on improving your craft, Q&A sessions with editors and agents who provide invaluable tidbits into what they’re looking for/things they hate/quirks, and the main chance of the year to pow wow with the industry’s most successful and experienced gurus. Particularly since the publishing industry is changing so much with the increasing popularity of e-books, self-publishing, and all the controversy along with it. And I’d desperately want  a chance to wear my glass slippers (they’re blue, just for me!)

But as a fairly new writer living on one income, the expense was too much for my tightened financial belt. With the registration fees, flight, hotel, food, cabs, and inevitable souvenirs and gifts for my friends and families back home, I knew I couldn’t afford it. Cinderella must wait… again.

So now, as I anxiously twiddle my toes waiting for the 2012 conference in California, I’m watching the Twitter feed of everyone in NYC so I can live vicariously through the little blue bird on Twitter. The conference moves from city to city every year, and I’ll have to wait until 2014 until it comes even remotely close to home (2014 will be in San Antonio, TX). Waiting for the dream is so hard.

All I can do is keep dreaming, writing, researching, learning, hoarding self-help books, and reading other authors I admire. And keep my glass slippers ready.

How about you? Are you going to RWA Conference this year, or are you like me and waiting for the next one? Or are you rolling at your eyes at my envious Cinderella blog post?