The End

Winner-180x180The End. No, as you already know by now, it’s not the end of the world (as you know it). Today is December 23 and  I feel fine (yes, I know you are humming along to that catchy R.E.M. song). It’s not the end of this blog either as some of may have thought do to my blogging absence the past month and half (then again maybe nobody missed me). Life is full of beginnings and endings. 2012 is coming to an end and 2013 is beginning. Tonight’s ending though is in relation to my next novel. I finally, typed in those words that make any author smile, “The End.”

And so now, you know why the words of my blog have been missing these past months. As a working mother, I only have so much time in the day to dedicate to my writing. This past November I focuses and dedicated those hours to my book as I participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I spent thirty days writing the rough draft of said novel and came away with 50,000 + words. And, today at around 63,000 words, I finished the draft and now will start revisions. For me revisions are my favorite part of the writing process and hardest part is behind me! Yes. Yeah me!

Anyway, I am participating in a “blog hop” with a group of authors that also participated in NaNoWriMos. The rest of this blog gives you a sneak peak at my WIP (work in progress) that hopefully will see the light of day in the Kindle book store in late February or early March.

I’ve been tagged by Shirley Wine, author of Seven For A Secret (http://amzn.com/B009XJAKLS) and  Lovers’ Lies (http://amzn.com/B009GQGUWQ) who recently shared with readers about her current WIP at www.shirleywine.com.

Thanks Shirley Wine for this opportunity to talk about my current WIP!

What is the title of your next book? Take Your Time

Where did the idea come from for the book? I got the idea for this book as I was finish writing my last book. Take A Deep Breath was about a woman named Liv, who has four sisters. The sisters don’t play a part in the first book, but I thought it would be fun to write about each one. The second book centers around the youngest sister Maddy, who we find out from Liv’s daughter Sara is a photographer.

What genre does your book fall under? Contemporary Romance

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Late-bloomer, Maddy takes her time finding love, but wonders if she waited too long.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Or are you with a publishing house? I will self-publish this book as an ebook and a paperback via Amazon, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo and Barnes and Noble. I love the creative control self-publishing gives me. I hate waiting, especially if  I’m going to be rejected and haven’t sought an agency or publishing house. After researching indie-publishing it seemed like the perfect avenue for me. The royalties are higher as well. The hardest part has been finding readers, but I have slowly built a small following with my first book and hope it will grow with this one and the next… I have thought about shopping my books around, but for now I’m enjoying success as an indie author.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? It took me a little over 45 days to finish the first draft of this manuscript. I wrote mainly at night from 10:00 PM to midnight.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I think my writing style and stories are most comparable to Robyn Carr, Susan Wiggs, Barbara Freethy and Debbie Macomber.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? I wanted to write another book in this series ever since I published my first book, but finding time without having a real deadline was the hardest part. The NaNoWriMo website helped motivate me to get the draft finished. Emails from readers of my first book inspired me to write the next one.

If you get a chance stop by my fellow writers’ blogs and read about the books that they wrote during the NaNoWriMo challenge and find out what prompted them to write their books.

By the way, Take a Deep Breath will be free in the Amazon Kindle store from Dec. 26-30!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Walking On Sunshine….Oh Yeah!

A few weeks ago, a few days ago even, I was plagued with self-doubt. Yes, I love to write and tell stories. Writing is one of my passions in life. It’s what I want to do, what I’m compelled to do. But loving to do something and being passionate about something is not the same as being good at something. And, I am one of those people who likes to be good at what I do, and if I’m not I move on. I try to think of it more as knowing my limits as opposed to being a “quitter.” Practice makes perfect, hasn’t always rung true in my life. After eight years of piano lessons, I knew I’d never be a concert pianist. Two years of gymnastics, two years of CYO volleyball, eight years CYO basketball and an athlete I’ll never make. Yet, writing was something I always something I thought I was good at. The words flowed through my fingers naturally, effortlessly. My talent. So why the sudden, “am I good enough” self-doubts?

Last fall I blogged about my “dream deferred.”  Throughout my life, I’ve taken a lot of the “safe” paths. I took the writing jobs that provided and still provide and steady pay check and benefits. Those are all good things. I get paid to write, which is wonderful, but I wanted more. So I started this blog as a creative writing outlet. But, the big dream was to write and publish a novel. And in May, I fulfilled that dream with my contemporary romance, called Take A Deep Breath. When I finished the book, when I saw it the Amazon store, when I held the paper back in my hands for the first time, I felt wonderful. An author at last!

The problem? No one was reading my blog. No one was reading my book. Why? The word haunted me. Why? Was I just a wanna be? Did I even have any talent as a writer? Sure my family and best friends, reassured me. But the niggling pessimist inside me, kept saying, “They just don’t want to hurt your feelings. They’re just being nice…” I started wondering if I was just wasting my time trying to publish my novel, the blog and should just “move on.”

And then, three things happened. The first my best friend, who is in marketing, offered to help me with my marketing efforts. She sent me a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and had me fill it out. It gave me a lot to contemplate. She is working on completing the SWOT and giving me some other ideas. The second thing that happened was I read a novel called “Forged In Fire” by Trish McCallan. At the end of her novel she asked readers to write a review, lend the book, etc. and that she would send those that did a copy of her next book for free. What a great idea! I loved her book and wrote the review. I emailed her afterwards and told her about my book. She gave me some great ideas about marketing and told me about a Yahoo group just for indie romance writers. The last thing that happened was I attended my first Maumee Valley Romance Writers of America meeting and met some very successful and inspiring romance authors.

This weekend everything culminated for me. I added a similar blurb about writing a review to my book, submitted it to the Kindle Select program, and  offered the book for free on Amazon. I spread the word about the book via Facebook and Twitter and the Yahoo group. Perhaps the biggest difference, though, was that I notified Michael Gallagher about my book, and he included my book in his Free Kindle Books and Tips blog. Readers started to download my book. As the number of downloads grew larger, so did my smile. No, I wasn’t am not making any money, but people were downloading my book! Then within 24 hours of the first downloads, I started getting reviews. Wonderful comments and 5 star reviews! Readers liked my book. People that didn’t even know me liked my book and wanted to read more!

I know external validation isn’t the end all and be all. I know I don’t need someone to tell me, “I’m good enough,” but it sure helps!  For the next couple of days, I am going to bask in this success. I know if no one else reads this book or leaves a positive review or even if they leave a bad one, that I am good enough.  And so today…I am walking on sunshine! Oh Yeah! And tomorrow, I’m working on my next book (already in progress)!

BTW – if you are reading this blog before midnight Pacific Time on July 31, 2012, you can still download Take A Deep Breath for free from the Amazon Kindle store.

Handwriting – Nature or Nurture?


keyboardMesmerized a moment, I watch my 10-year-old daughter as she carefully writes instructions to her father on how to take care of her rabbits while she is gone. She perfectly forms each letter in neatly uniform lines, asking me how to spell unknown words as she goes along. I’m always amazed at the exact neatness of her hand when I read over her homework, a note, a song or a story she’s written. At ten, her scroll is neater than mine has ever been or will be. Her handwriting  reminds me of my mother’s and sister’s teacher-perfect neat script.

I’m sure no one has ever (or rarely if so) pointed at a word or sentence they’ve written with a confused look of disdain on their faces and said, “What does that say?”  I on the other hand have heard those oft spoken words from teachers, my grandmother, mother and the like.  My brain, my thoughts, my ideas typically come fast and furious, and my hand with a pen in its grip can’t keep up.  The faster I write to keep up, the harder those words are to translate into meaningful prose for the untrained eyes and sometimes even my own. You see, unfortunately for me there are times my brow furrows in the same look of confusion as I concentrate on my script trying to decipher what I wrote only perhaps days before. Huh, I can’t read it either… Wracking my mind, though most times I can translate the cryptic writing into some form of English.

My handwriting resembles my father’s and paternal grandmother’s looping scrawl. No matter how hard I tried, how hard I concentrated, how much I practiced I could never train my letters to look like my mother’s or my sister’s. As a grade-schooler, a high-schooler and even into my college years, this mark of inadequacy both bothered and haunted me. The only “D” on my grade card I ever received was in third grade handwriting. In high school, the nun that taught me freshman English kept me after school one day to admonish me and tell me my handwriting was atrocious and that if it didn’t improve my career, my life would be going nowhere, it would limit me and hold me back. I sat stunned, holding back unshed tears. I knew my handwriting was bad, but would it really hold me back in life? In reaching my dreams?

My father, who is also in the messy handwriting club, tried to encourage me and help boast my self-esteem after my talk with Sister Neat Handwriting. He pointed out that Einstein’s handwriting was practically illegible and he’s considered a genius! He went on to name famous inventors, authors and many others whose lack of penmanship had not held them back (although maybe if they’d got a gold star in handwriting they’d have gone even further…who knows?). However, I’ve always strove to please others and the bad handwriting black mark on my so-called record was one I desperately wanted to erase. It wasn’t that I was lazy or didn’t try or didn’t care. I can remember sitting at the kitchen table, a pen posed in my hand above the lined paper of my composition book, writing my letters over and over and over. Hours and hours of practice made my handwriting legible when I wrote slowly enough, but never would it be called neat.

Luckily for me though, the age of keyboards, computers, and laptops appeared just as I began college. The advent of these beloved inventions rendered my bad-handwriting pointless and mute. I rarely have to write anything using the antiquated pen on paper. The typing class I took my sophomore year of high school is probably the best, most helpful class I’ve ever taken. My fingers fly over the keyboard, keeping pace with my thoughts and ideas turning them into words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters and even a novel. And as read back over the pages that streamed through those fingers, I can read every word without question.