I #Failed | Good – Now Go Fail Again – A #Writer’s Tale

Yeah so…I think I’m ready

Ready for what you may ask if you care…

Ready to get back down to the business of writing something worthy of your read.

Something worthy of myself and my abilities. You see, as a writer…especially a writer with a day job, family, other obligations etc. etc. and a husband who likes to talk…A LOT, (yeah I know what you’re thinking, most women would be ecstatic) I get distracted beyond measure.

To be honest…no, to be truthful, I’ve allowed myself to become distracted…repeatedly for over two years. I craved it. I went on a quest for distraction.

I’ve sworn to myself almost daily that I would write. I do in fact write quite a bit for my day job in sales and marketing but that’s content and copywriting. It’s creative in a different way. Yes, I’m telling stories about a product or products to sell them but I’ve neglected the most important product I have…myself.

For three years, I was immersed in writing books, editing books, choosing covers, designing covers, publishing and marketing my books. Once I went independent there was no going back…or so I thought. Today, I realized I’ve failed myself. I’ve failed my readers. Looking back, my doubts that I’d ever succeed as a writer crept slowly in like the sunset and it stayed dark. Not North pole dark or Alaska or something where you know in a month or two the sun will rise again. I’m talking eternal night.

If you read anything on my blog, especially this week, you’ll see I went on an adventure. A real life adventure and was out there in the real world doing real world stuff with real people. What I’ve discovered is I have been in a terrible rut and although I enjoyed my adventure tremendously for the most part, I was terribly uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt restrained, stressed and even weary at times because I created this monster. The monster being me. The monster who has so much crammed into her brain all the time now with no outlet that I find it nearly impossible to relate to anyone outside of my closest circle. I can’t even open up my feelings anymore unless I’m about to explode. I feel backed into a corner and yet I crave the corner and press further and further into it until that’s all there is.

It all started when I finished my last book. It was collaboration that was beyond wonderful yet beyond excruciatingly painful at the same time. The whole process of rewriting a book in my own voice caused changes in my creativity that I could not have foreseen for it was immediately after the book was closed on that endeavor that I became stagnant. This was worse than writer’s block, this was flat lining.

I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t feel it anymore. My insatiable hunger to pour out my very heart and soul into words became a tangible need to avoid it at all costs. I tried…I really tried. I’d sit for hours in front of a blank screen. One of my dearest writer friends / a real friend, encouraged me and did her level best to lift me up and turn the lights back on in my brain but all I could do was write a few chapters, tear them apart, write them again and them slam my laptop closed.

It hurt. I cried. I ate…way too much. I felt alone and lost and worst of all, a complete and utter failure.

Seven books. I wrote and published seven books in the span of three years. Obviously I had stories to tell. They have pretty great reviews and some have won awards so I must have been doing something right. I spent more money than I made, on marketing, and even gave away thousands of kindle copies just to get my name out there. I’m no different than any other independent author in that respect and I know that. I’m just an example of that quote, “The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens…don’t give up.”

After three years of nonstop writing and publishing…no miracle. I let go.

I felt like no matter what I did, I was never going to reach the level of success I wanted. Not fame or fortune, although money wouldn’t hurt but I wanted that best seller status. I wanted to see my books out there…everywhere…

That’s where I fucked up.

Then this quote hit me hard…

But first, I had to admit to myself that I didn’t quit…

I GAVE UP.

I started because of the voice in my head that evolved into a story about a little boy with special gifts who kept nagging me to tell his tale.

I started because for 48 years of my life, or at least as far back as I could recall, I always wanted to be a writer. I knew there were stories I needed to tell. I knew I could make it happen and all I had to do was sit down and write.

Of course there was a whole lot more to it than that but I didn’t know and I didn’t care and I knew failure at that time wasn’t an option. All I could think about from the time I woke up in the morning until the time I went to bed at night was writing. I chomped at the bit all day until I could get on this old keyboard and tell you all about my imaginary friends. I was excited and alive inside…

Alive inside.

Alive on the page.

Alive in my heart and in my mind and filled with dreams and goals and stories.

Somehow they all became clouded and the voices stopped. There was no cataclysmic event. There was no physical or emotional turmoil. There were changes of course in the real world but nothing outside myself caused this. This was an internal failure. A break down of the spirit and joy writing had given me because it became so much about business and promotion and selling and numbers and fear and doubt…and failure.

Well, today, I started hearing the voices again. I started feeling deep inside a spark of desire and hunger.

I started shaking off the pressure of finishing both my book series’ and perhaps finishing one of the other novels I was writing that are stand alone’s and pitching them to agents. I got ideas for a few other books as well and hurriedly jotted them down, as we do so I didn’t lose them.

Failure is a fact of life.

We go where we have to go, inside of ourselves and sometimes, a fishing trip or just shutting out the noise of day to day life can open a window in your mind and allow you to see yourself even in the dark.

I withdrew not only from the world but from myself because I was disappointed in my failure to achieve the goals I thought I wanted. Now I see what I wanted wasn’t the truth of it. I had to fail. I had to go through this darkness to understand I had lost that part of myself in the process that gave me the gift and the desire to write in the first place.

Did I say I’ve read A Song of Ice and Fire THREE times in the past year? Yes, all of the books in the series. I’m obsessed with George R.R. Martin’s writing and even listen to the audiobooks on my commute. I’ve been studying that master for a year. Inside and out I’ve studied him and I still don’t know half of his genius but nothing will stop me from trying to achieve it. So at least the last year hasn’t been a total literary loss. I’ve been studying and absorbing the craft as much as I can.

Now, I need to go forward.

This will be a process. This will be a rebirth of sorts for me but I’m no longer in the dark. The sky is lighter and the sun is just below the horizon.

Fuck money. Fuck best seller status. Fuck all of it. I just need to write and write often and well.

If the miracle happens so be it.

The real miracle is just knowing I have an outlet for this ballooning information and imagination inside of me that has reached critical mass. Inspiration is everywhere now. Pictures. Sounds. Music. Nature. Sleep. It’s everywhere.

I’ll not force it ever again. I won’t guilt or pressure myself to write. That’s a poison I won’t swallow. There is something that keeps playing in my mind now though. It’s a quote from the Game of Thrones television show. It’s an exchange between two of my favorite characters: Jon Snow and Ser Davos Seaworth.

 

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Check Out This Awesome #Book Review of AMBER WAKE, Then Get Over to Amazon.com and Get Your Free #Kindle Copy!

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Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling
By P. S. Bartlett and Ronovan Hester
CreateSpace, 2016, ISBN 978-1523721252, $12.99
Also available as an e-book, $2.99

Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star

In a London tavern in 1705, Captain Gabriel Wallace and Lieutenant Miles Jacobs intervene when an admiral attempts to kill his wife’s paramour. Gabriel prevents this, but someone stabs the admiral and Gabriel must face an Admiralty court of inquiry. The verdict, while acknowledging both his good intentions and his loyal service to the Crown, cashiers him from the Royal Navy. But the admiral’s friends aren’t satisfied and hatch a plot to destroy Gabriel. Not only do they connive to bring about his eventual execution, but they also kidnap his younger brother and set his house aflame with him in it.

Miles and another lieutenant rescue Gabriel and his brother and, having nowhere else to turn, they head for the Majesty’s Venture, Gabriel’s former vessel. While others see the crew as hard-headed and undisciplined, Gabriel realizes just how loyal his men are when they decide to “retire” from the navy and abscond with their ship. First, though, they have to escape the harbor and the naval vessel pursuing them.

Never one for idleness, Gabriel didn’t waste his time after being relieved of his command and waiting for his trial. He uncovered interesting details about the admiral and his friends, hypocritical men who claimed allegiance to the Crown but stole from it to line their own purses. He and his crew become pirates with a purpose – to bring about the downfall of his enemies and reveal their secrets. His insistence on keeping his plans to himself, rather than sharing them with Miles, puts a strain on their friendship. Sooner or later, Miles must decide whether to stand with Gabriel or not, and Gabriel is uncertain which way Miles will go.

Like undulating waves, Amber’s Wake is a tale of non-stop action and heart-thudding thrills: storms at sea, pirates, and narrow escapes from their hunters (former friends and colleagues). The characters are well-drawn and, although the reasons behind Miles’s hesitancy and Gabriel’s reluctance to share could be stronger, they quickly snare readers into caring about what happens to them. Readers familiar with the other books in the Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales series will enjoy this one, which explores Rasmus Bergman’s past, and look forward to future exploits with Gabriel and his men.

Book Ratings – When Over 18 Isn’t Quite Enough #Reviews Matter

Amazon Reviews Feed Authors

Star ratings have been around for as long as I can remember…and that’s a pretty long time. I’ve always believed anything from three stars and up is wonderful. However, those stars don’t mean nearly as much as what the reader has to say about your book or rather, their written review. There is so much to be learned from well thought out, honest reviews. Be they good, bad or somewhere in between, those thoughts matter more often than they don’t.

AMBER WAKE received a three star review today. To be honest, based on the reviewer’s comments, I believe she was quite generous. She was very complimentary on the writing, the characters and the story. However, the reader felt the book was for mature audiences only and I agree with her 100%.

 

The book is well-written, the characters are complex and interesting. However, this book, in my opinion, is definitely for mature audiences. There are slang words for male body parts, unsettling adult situations, and material I skipped over in order to not read to my teen-aged granddaughter. I knew it was a pirate’s tale, but until about chapter five there was nothing objectionable. I read to my husband whose vision is not good enough to read to himself. Our granddaughter was visiting with us while I was reading. I had to skip a lot. Thus, I felt embarrassed at some of the material. I put the book aside and did not finish it.”

Is there graphic violence? YES because, well, pirates

Is there profanity? Very little

Are there sexual situations? Nothing graphic or gratuitous

With the above questions answered, I’ve considered consulting my co-author to possibly add in the author’s notes that the book is for mature readers and give it say, an 18+ rating. However, there are droves of readers who are far beyond 18 years of age who still may find some of the subject matter not to their taste and even objectionable and that’s okay.

I’d personally like to thank this reviewer for two reasons; first, for her honest opinion and for sharing that opinion so others who may be put off by certain subject matter, don’t go into this story looking for Pirates of the Caribbean or at the very least, a Disney pirate tale and second, for enticing those who enjoy this type of realistic, although often times shocking and even ugly side of history, exactly what they’re looking for and more. With her praise, as well as her dislike, she has done this wonderful book so much service that I simply couldn’t go to bed tonight without sharing it.

As authors, we always hope everyone who reads our books will love them but the reality is not every story is right for everyone. Leave your reviews anyway…please. They mean so much more than you know!

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Readers’ Favorite Gives AMBER WAKE #FIVESTARS!

Five Stars Amber Wake

I’m sure I speak for both Ronovan and myself when I say we are incredibly proud of this novel. The reviews we’ve been getting are like icing on the cake. Thank you Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews!

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales is an historical adventure novel written by P.S. Bartlett and Ronovan Hester. Captain Gabriel Wallace had no idea that his presence in a tavern filled with Royal Navy men and sailors relaxing with their companions would lead to his court martial and expulsion from the Royal Navy. When his lieutenant and good friend, Miles Jacobs, mentioned that there was a problem in the upper level of the tavern involving Admiral Hawthorne’s wife, Wallace had no choice but to intervene. The outraged Admiral was ready to shoot the miscreant who had been with his wife right then and there, and he was oblivious to any attempts made to reason with him. In the fray, the Admiral was stabbed and later died, and Wallace was charged with interfering with the Admiral’s attempts to defend himself. While Wallace escaped imprisonment or the noose, his enemies, particularly the corrupt Admiral Chambers were not through with their vendetta. However, Wallace did not sit idle during the month he spent awaiting trial. He had been busy following the trail of evidence against those who had long wished his family harm, and he had made a few plans of his own.

P.S. Bartlett and Ronovan Hester’s historical adventure novel, Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales, is an exciting and fast-paced story set in the early eighteenth century. As I read of Captain Wallace’s trial and expulsion from the Royal Navy and his decision to turn to piracy, I was reminded of Sabatini’s classic pirate adventure tale, Captain Blood. The action scenes in this novel are vivid and filled with sounds and images, and the plot is compelling and complex. The authors’ characters are marvelously portrayed, especially that of Miles Jacobs, whose loyalty and concern for his friend prompts him to put everything at risk. Amber Wake is well-written and the plot is a delight. Anyone who’s ever enjoyed a good pirate movie (and who hasn’t?) or found themselves wrapped up in a classic adventure novel will have a grand time reading this authentic and suspenseful tale. It’s highly recommended.

#Writers and/or #Authors, Is There Anything You Won’t Write About?

tied-hands

Recently this issue reared it’s ugly head. I say ugly head because I believe sometimes we need to get dirty in order to tell a story with as much truth as it deserves. Just to clarify, it wasn’t me who was concerned but a fellow writer. They prefer not to use profanity, or sex or other more sensitive topics and issues within their stories. I, on the other hand, tend to lean towards whatever the story requires in order to move it forward and well, whatever it takes…just tell the damn story.

  • Do you allow your personal feelings about these elements to keep you from pushing the boundaries in order to not violate some sacred or self imposed oath you’ve made?
  • Are you afraid of what Mary Jo at PTA will say when she sees the F word in your book?
  • Do you allow the judgments of others to hold you back from expressing yourself?
  • Are some subjects just too taboo for you to touch?
  • Would you use a different pen name if you had to in order to protect yourself out of fear that someone you know might raise an eyebrow?

There are all brands of writers. If you enjoy writing books that are cozy and comfortable, I applaud you. That’s your lane and you’re comfortable in it. This post isn’t about you. You’re fine doing what you love and most likely, your audience loves you for these sweet stories. This post is for those who hold back from pushing a readers buttons or fears some sort of backlash if they explore new subject matter or God forbid, a character does something bad.

Just to clarify again, I have authored two book series’ that couldn’t be more different. They are both Historical Fiction but one is a family saga / paranormal and the other is about the Golden Age of Piracy. One story explores love, relationships, spirituality and faith while the other delves into the dark, dank and seedy atmosphere of piracy, murder and every other awful thing you can imagine. I know deep down that I haven’t fully explored myself as a writer and in truth, I have no reservations about digging deeper and I already have a story on my imagination radar that will push my limits even further.

The point I’m making is there are plenty of wonderful, wholesome and clean books out there. My Fireflies series are two good examples of that. Although they explore relationships and adult subject matter, it is written as to how a family in a small town in 1800’s Pennsylvania would experience it. Then at the opposite end of the bookshelf, are my pirate tales. Violence, foul language, sexual situations, objectification of women, rape, murder, thievery and abuse are prevalent throughout. I’m not afraid of that. I’m not afraid when my characters are evil just as I’m not afraid when my characters are good. They reflect the era and environment in which they are written. I love Jack Sparrow but he’s about as much of a real pirate as I am.

I don’t believe what we write is any indication of our own personal moral compass. Writing is a journey in exploration of one’s imagination. Writing what we know is a proven myth, except when it comes to our characters. Just as Anne Rice has never personally interviewed nor experienced real vampires and Stephen King hasn’t encountered Giant, prehistoric insects or lived in an extra-terrestrial dome, we imagine these tales. What we hold onto throughout them are the players. People are people, whether they live in a galaxy far far away or in a world where by an unlucky draw from a fish bowl, they have to fight in a game for their lives to feed their families. Writing about pirates doesn’t make me one any more than killing off main characters book after book makes George R.R. Martin a murderer. However, that’s what makes being a writer the most wonderful and tantalizing craft!

What if Mary Shelley had created her monster like this?

Sully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or Bram Stoker’s Dracula like this?

sparkle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay strike that…I kinda liked Twilight but you know what I’m saying.

Now what say you?

What is OFF LIMITS?

What is it?

What’s holding you back?

 

better

 

Hot New #Teasers for AMBER WAKE! Get to Know the Characters

hes dead

“Captain.” Miles nodded in the direction of the York’s Keep’s doctor, who knelt at the side of his lifeless captain and shook his head.
“He’s dead as a result of his own foolishness and any other man who makes the same choice will land at his side. I never lay uncertain hands on a man who aims to kill me,” I said as I leapt onto the plank and started back over to the Majesty’s Venture. I turned back with one last directive, “Mister Jacobs, should any of that crew choose death, it will be by my hand.”
I turned to see Carbonale, eyeing me as he leaned on the gunnel. “That was interesting.”

Carbonale

“Perhaps we’d make better use of our time elsewhere,” Miles said as he stood. I rose to follow him, when the commotion on the stairs stopped us like an unseen wall. A young, dark-haired man leapt down the stairs, his coat in one hand and his open shirt flapping in his wake as he fled the roars of the wrathful man close behind him. I easily identified the young man as Maddox Carbonale, a young lieutenant we’d only yesterday acquired from another ship. His assignment to my patrol galley came with a reputation that I’d been left to sort out—as well as his less-than-obedient temperament.
I’d been repeatedly blessed of late with what the navy labelled as problem seamen and I hadn’t yet had the honor of a formal introduction with this obvious miscreant. According to my command, I was adept at handling hard-heads. I knew better. My men weren’t hard-heads—they were loyal and rugged. I never had to worry about my back. They were rough around the edges, perhaps, but disobedient, never. That was until now.

Kiss

I was right. Teach offered me the hand of a sweet, yet saucy, black-haired lass who was more my age and speed. Having relinquished any inhibitions in a few tankards of rum, her company was thrilling, although exhausting and brief. I liked it when she called me Big Red and wrapped her thick white thighs around me. I was inspired, to say the least, and the parts of me I thought suppressed by the rum came roaring to the surface beneath her as she rode me like the Assurance in the storm. I’d never been with a whore before but all concern for health or reputation was lost in that tossing black mane of hair as she whipped it about and moaned with pleasure when my hands explored her. She made me feel like the best lover she’d ever had, until I tried to pay her and she winked and told me Blackbeard had covered the debt and told her to show me a good time. Maybe for a few minutes I’d allowed myself to be free and believe it was real. When it was all over, I was thankful that at least I’d enjoyed the show.

I may someday regret my decision but by the time it was all over, regret was a waste of time. Besides, when in good company, not to allow yourself the freedom to drink, laugh and make merry defeats the purpose of being free at all. A few hours spent at behavior you’d normally avoid can lift your spirits and on occasion, those hours spent are worth waking up in the morning as if you’ve slept standing on your head.

lady agatha

“Agatha, I told you to stay—”
“Be quiet, Jeremiah,” the young Agatha Hawthorne said to her husband. “Ordering me around as if I were one of your crew has never worked for you, nor will it…ever!” she said and turned her gaze to the handsome, dark-haired prisoner, who’d ceased his relentless efforts to free himself as their eyes met.
“Agatha—” The Admiral said in an attempt to draw her attention, as well as his embarrassment, away from the young man’s bright green eyes, but she didn’t waver.
“Maddox, I do hope we meet again. If not, I doubt I will find another lover that has your appetites.” She twirled a long, loose curl with the fingers of her left hand and slid the fingernails of her right down the flesh of his exposed chest. She turned gracefully away from him at the shoulders, gazing back one last time before finally cutting a path through the crowd as she walked away. Her expensive scent followed her through the musky tavern, until her dazzling blue eyes acknowledged my presence. “Captain Wallace,” she said and nodded.
Everyone watched as she drifted carefree from the tavern, leaving lustful thoughts and in her wake, revenge.

Reviews are starting to come in:

5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous book – intense emotions, intrigue and suspense!, February 14, 2016
By FlorenceT
Verified Purchase
This review is from: AMBER WAKE: Gabriel Falling (The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales) (Kindle Edition)
Amber Wamber-wake1akes is a story of change and one man’s transformation, telling the tale of one Gabriel Wallace, captain of the Royal Navy, an educated and honourable man.

The book opens with an unfortunate incident leading to Gabriel being court-martialled for murder and subsequently disgraced. Choosing to flee with the support of his loyal crew, he embarked on adventures and survival on the high seas, all the while intent on clearing his name, hell bent on revenge against the men who had accused him of murder and thereby banishing him to the other side of the law. As he faced the challenges of being a reluctant pirate and a leader of men, Gabriel’s baser instincts revealed themselves.

What will he do to redeem himself? What will he do to assuage the fury within? Will he be thwarted by beauty? By his closest confidante? What makes a man with integrity? And who is the little boy of whom he is so protective?

Captain Gabriel Wallace is a man with a moral code that is largely unwavering; a confident man who holds himself with pride yet humble. He epitomizes the romantic hero. Love him!

This is an entirely engaging and enjoyable read!

 

My #Interview With Fellow #Pirate Loving #Author Alonna Williams!

hoist the colors

Introduce yourself:

My name is Alonna Williams, I’m the author the Pirates of the Lost Cove series as well as The Last Borns series both to be released in 2016. 
What made you want to become an author?
I personally feel like being an author isn’t much of a choice. I have a huge imagination that needs to be set free!
What is your favorite thing about writing?
Creating worlds where good prevails and creating characters that can whisk you away from the dreads of our present reality. Also, it’s an amazing way to express any kinds of feelings
Did any books, movies or music etc inspire your writing?
I can’t really list the inspirations; music is usually the thing that gets me writing. Many different songs have been the reason behind my works 
What is your favorite book and why?
Probably Alice in Wonderland; I’ve always been a curious girl and so I really relate to Alice sometimes 
What are the scariest things about writing?
I think it’s really how people will react to it; I know that a lot of my characters have feelings related to mines and so I’m basically sharing my fears with the world
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Write what you love! And never write just for money.
Who is Trevor Henderson?
Trevor is a tricky work. He’s a spoiled teen with many unpleasant traits. My goal with Trevor is to make him grow into a more like able character as the series goes on. He’s different from most protagonist’s in a sense where he’s spoiled, unthankful, selfish, rude and many other bad things, but as you get to know him; you realize why he acts that way and what he’s really like 
Tell everyone where to find you and your books: 
Pirates of the Lost Cove books one and two will be available on the first of February on Amazon.com and many E-book platforms. I’m hoping to release The Last Borns in the Spring time. 
Find me on the Internet at:
Twitter: @alonna_williams
Instagram: alonnawilliams