I’m Not An #Expert on Anything – I’m a #Writer – No Rules Required

For my blog stop, I’ve chosen a previous blog which I felt is timeless and that expresses who I am as a writer, completely. 

I hope you enjoy it!

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And that’s good enough for me.

I tell stories. I have a few awards so I suppose that means I don’t suck at writing. However, even with six novels and a novella to my credit, as well as hundreds of blog posts, I do not nor would I ever call myself an expert in anything. Nor would I dare to offer advice on the best way to do this or that, simply based on my own experience. I worked hard and I wrote from my heart, soul and gut. I was published. I went from being a writer to an author in the span of less than a year. How did I do it?

I wrote. I focused on my goals and did it my own way. That’s exactly how you should do it too; regardless of what your own way is. Just please, the only rule I stand by 100% is EDITING. If you are transitioning from writer to author and actually publishing a novel, pay someone to edit for you. Please, for all our sake’s.

Every situation is different. I’ve made mistakes but I’ve learned from each and every one; some bigger lessons than others. Regardless of what writing technique you use or formula you choose to follow, if you don’t approach that formula with a positive attitude and maintain the ground rules firmly at the heart of it with honesty and humility, you can really end up unhappy with the results of your work. Try it your own way first! Experiment! You may be creating a formula that only works for you and that’s perfect!

Every time I begin a new project that will hopefully evolve into a novel, my knees knock, my mouth waters, my heart races and hands tremble. That my friends is fear – fear I’ll write fifty thousand words and suddenly decide I’m unhappy with the story. Fear that my loyal readers will not like the behavior of my characters and even my main character. Fear that a beloved character may die a horrible death and my readers will wish the same for me…figuratively of course.

NEWS FLASH: Readers will love your story and readers will hate your story and it really has nothing to do with you. How they feel is about their own taste and that’s fine. 🙂 That’s how it should be! 

  • Do you outline your book?
  • What kind outline? Detailed or more like a guideline? 
  • Do you just let your characters lead the way and pray they aren’t taking you down the rabbit hole?

I would never presume to tell anyone what is right and what is wrong with how they approach a project. Doing what you are comfortable with and what you see as a plan and system you can live with and work well with is to me, far more important than following some text book guideline laid down by someone or someones who think they are the expert.

I’m not an expert on anything – I’m a writer. I ONLY want to be a writer when I write. I don’t want to offer you advice, let you cry on my shoulder and most importantly, I won’t tell you how you should do anything. My experience is mine. Go get yours. Don’t be be afraid to spread your wings and fly!

“On giving writers advice, offering “rules.” I’m asked a lot about this, and people bring great lists of rules for writers to the page all the time. What do I think? I can’t say it loud enough. There are NO RULES for all writers! And never let anyone tell you that there are. Writers are individuals; we each do it in our own way. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not a “real” writer because you don’t follow their rules! I can’t tell you how much harm was done to me early in life by others judging me in that way. I was told in college I wasn’t a “real” writer because I composed on a typewriter; I was condemned later on in damn near apocalyptic terms for “not writing every day.” “Real writers” are those who become “real writers.” That’s all there is to it. And again, we each do it in our own way. For me, stubbornness has been as important as any talent I might possess. I ultimately ignored the people who condemned me, ridiculed me and sought to discourage me. I laughed or cried over it in secret; and went right on writing what I wanted to write, the way I wanted to write it. I knew of no other way to become the writer of my dreams. If you want to be a writer, go for it. Critics are a dime a dozen, and people who would love to see you fail are everywhere. Just keep on going; keep doing what works for you. Keep believing in yourself.” ANNE RICE

I’d listen to this woman before I’d listen to anyone else. She’s 100% right.

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I’m Branching Out! Check Out My New #Author Services Page!

I’ve learned so much in past four years since I began this journey. I love writing and above all, telling great stories. However, I’ve recently been hit with some personal and family issues which require me to use my knowledge and creativity in ways that will assist me in keeping my lights on and a roof over our heads.

I’ve decided to branch out into author services.

Here’s a little of what I’m offering:

  • Proofreading
  • Copy-editing
  • Beta Reading
  • Cover Design

Check out my Services page for more information!

Thank you!

There is omething about words

Co-Writing A #Book and Other #Pirate Tales – Amber Wake Style

amber-wake1Since I was a bit occupied with my day job, my family, editing, beta reader feedback changes, rewrites, more editing, more rewrites and then even more editing, as well as formatting for both Kindle and Paperback, then uploading, rechecking errors, fixing errors and re-uploading AMBER WAKE, I didn’t really have much time to build a blog tour. (Poor pitiful me, right? LOL)

Therefore, I give you a blog tour in a loot bag, right here on my own blog! This is my first installment.

Ready the guns lads!

First, in true pirate fashion, I’ve stolen a few of the same questions my co-author of Amber Wake answered, just for fun and to see how our answers differ.

What is your book about?

Amber Wake is about Gabriel Wallace; a young, honorable Captain in the Royal Navy in 1705 London. He’s thrust unwittingly into a delicate and ultimately dangerous situation when an Admiral’s young and lovely (as well as untamed) wife is caught carousing with a young, dashing lieutenant, who just happens to be the newest officer on Gabriel’s crew. As a result of the young Captain’s innocent involvement, he is implicated in the murder of the Admiral and court-marshaled. However, he isn’t about to take this, nor the more intimate retaliation against him lying down. He’s prepared for a fight he’s been waiting for and in a navy filled with sheep, he’s a lion about to roar.

Consumed with vengeful purpose, he goes on a rampage, hell bent on making the Admiral who plotted against him pay in every way possible for his downfall. With his loyal crew, his closest friend Miles Jacobs, and that naughty new lieutenant, Maddox Carbonale, he takes his navy ship, the Majesty’s Venture, on a wild ride into a focused and deliberate maelstrom of payback…the old fashioned way.

What made you start writing it? 

Quite simply, my co-author, Ronovan Hester, came to me with an idea for a back story on my character, Rasmus Bergman, who was one of the main characters from DEMONS & PEARLS. I was still writing JADED TIDES at the time and I really liked Ron’s ideas, even though at the time they were still pretty basic but they fit in well with answering the question as to how and why Rasmus got involved with piracy. I ended up working that back story into JADED TIDES when Rasmus finally pours his heart out to Ivory and confesses his past life. I was grateful he’d shared his ideas for AMBER WAKE with me since that was such a game changing chapter of JADED TIDES.

Ron sent me several drafts. I was very distracted at the time, as I was in the editing and publishing stages of JADED TIDES, as well as working on a prequel novella, IVORY DAWN, for DEMONS & PEARLS. I would read some and then along would come another version. However, once the idea had settled in of the basic story and I began the initial stages of working on it, I was beginning to “feel” the tale, which is something I have to do before I will invest my time in something…especially a story I didn’t create. The most important reason I did this was I loved the story. The other reason was because I knew how much Ron had invested in it and how badly he wanted to be published. Before I knew it, I was all the way in and the rest as they say, is historical fiction. 😉

Do you see a possibility of a sequel to your book? 

At some point I’d like to continue Rasmus’ story. He’s one of my favorite characters. Most of the apprehension I had of even writing this book with Ron was my attachment to Rasmus. Allowing someone else the privilege of taking one of your beloveds and using them to create a new story is terrifying. I know Rasmus better than anyone. I created him for goodness sake’s and Maddox Carbonale as well. These characters are a part of me. It’s a big line to cross but I knew Ron read my books and was very familiar with both of these characters. I also knew, even if in Ron’s final draft (the one I worked on and beat the crap out of) either of them didn’t feel right or I felt they were too different from the men I created, I’d have the freedom and right to make adjustments and keep them true to who they were in my other books. Gabriel, however, was evolving into Ramus so regardless of who I know Rasmus to be, in the beginning, he was different, as he should have been. It took a series of life altering events to bring Rasmus to the surface.

I must say I also love a few of the characters Ron brought into the story. Adam and Gimby to be specific. I’d also like to get to know William Asperson more. He seems like such a gentle and innocent soul who unfortunately didn’t come into the story until near the end. I’d really like to get to know him better and push his buttons a little. I’m very good at pushing buttons and flinging my characters into situations to see what happens! After all, real people have flaws and faults and are far from perfect. Perfect is boring. Part of my passion for writing is digging out those hidden demons and watching them fly around a bit.

(Now one of my own)

What’s it like to co-write a book? What was your formula?

Having never co-written anything with anyone, there was no formula. As I said above, Ron wrote the bones and guts, and I stitched on the muscle and flesh…kind of like building Frankenstein’s monster and believe me when I tell you, I am not the easiest person to work with. I don’t have much time to write. I have to schedule my writing time around a very and I do mean VERY busy life. I work a full time job. Including myself, there are seven people and a cat living under my roof. Those seven people include three little granddaughters, all under the age of six. I babysit them in the evenings while my daughter teaches dance classes. I cook. I clean. I do the laundry and most evenings I don’t even sit down until 10:00PM. If I’m working on a book and I open my laptop to work, I work. Yes, when I’m in between books, I Facebook, play around online and relax but when I’m in work mode, I’m a force to be reckoned with and I make no apologies for that. I can be very unsympathetic to excuses or nonsense but I am in no way a Diva. When you only have so many hours in a day…most stolen from a night’s sleep, getting down to business is top priority. Unfortunately, sometimes that can translate into other things.

The simple answer is co-writing a book is challenging to say the least unless you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Fortunately Ron and I laid out the ground rules from day one. I loved the story but I would absolutely need to make changes. I would need to make revisions based on beta feedback. I would need to inject my voice in order to keep this book in line with my others and above all, since I was handling all of the nuts and bolts of the project, I would have the final say as to those changes. To some it may sound harsh but this is a business, not a hobby. Ron did an excellent job writing this book; the research, the story line and the characters were formed well and the drama was tight. I like to think of it this way: Ron brought the people to the dance floor and I played the music to make them dance. Together, we had one hell of party.

Mission accomplished I’d say for Captain Wallace – Bergman. Mission accomplished for Ronovan Hester and P.S. Bartlett as well.

blue_rose_tattoo_by_9rayne2

The Struggle Is Real – My Self Publishing Journey

With the assistance of my great author friend, Cristi Taijeron, as well as my former publisher, Ravenswood, I do believe my launch date for Demons & Pearls will be APRIL 14, 2015!

However, This journey is not without its struggles.

Demons & PearlsFortunately, my former publisher was kind enough to give me my templates from The Blue Diamond, which saved me a tremendous amount of work in formatting. Cristi has hung with me every step of the way as well with encouragement and guidance.

I have been very fortunate indeed to have had an excellent editor in Suzanne Hege and my own fine tooth comb provided me with a ZERO error grade in Createspace’s spell check.

Don’t ask me how many times I uploaded the file because I lost count. Always some little thing to drive you crazy but it is oh so worth it to get it right.

Now, because I definitely don’t want to sound like some big headed first timer, tonight I decided to proof the book one more time (which is most likely the 100th time) and guess what?

I FOUND A DAMN MISTAKE!!!

Yes! The struggle is oh so real! I had to laugh at myself though because I have had the week from hell stress wise with family things and I honestly thought I’d find way more than one big fat error so I was elated to only find this one.

The real struggle now is that I could fix it in a heartbeat and re-upload the file for the last and final time but…

I LEFT MY FLASH DRIVE AT WORK!

Thank goodness I still have a week!

I’m still looking for blog tour hosts as well so if you’d be interested in hosting me on your blog, please let me know!

Peace out!

 

Short and Sweet Life Update – I will Survive! – UPDATED!!!!

Hello my friends. My what day but oh my what a night.

I’ve been in my editing cave for two days and prior to that, I was busy most of the weekend so I haven’t had time to check in and write anything worth reading.

That has changed as of today. I really should be in bed but this shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and I have to admit, I missed my blog. 🙂

I awoke this morning and found some unwelcome alerts from my bank in my e-mail. Yep, you guessed it. My bank account was hacked and I was robbed of what meager monies I had in there stored away for the second half of the month’s bills. Fortunately, I had paid my gas and electric bill yesterday so the lights are still on!

All of the charges on my account were local to Baltimore, so being the writer / detective I am, I knew this wasn’t one of those big time hacks like Target or Home Depot. This one was more personal. This one was right under my nose.

After going through the past month’s charges to my account, there was only one purchase that stood out and after I thought about it, I remembered exactly when and how it happened and how uneasy I felt, even at the time it was going down.

I had stopped at the Wendy’s near where I work for an Asian chicken salad on my way back from the bank. At the drive thru window, they normally take my card, swipe it, and hand it right back. The young lady took my card, swiped it and walked away from the window for what felt like almost a minute. When she returned, I said, “May I have my card back, please?” To which she flatly replied, “Oh, yeah,” and handed it back to me, without so much as a thank you or even making eye contact.

Yes. I believe this perfectly innocent looking young woman stole my card number in the brief time she wandered away from the window.

Think about it; how long do you think it takes for them to use one of those card hacking swipers or to take a cell phone shot of your bank card? The answer is, not long.

I called the Wendy’s and spoke to a less than concerned manager and reported the incident and I also sent a message to the official Wendy’s page on Facebook and their corporate office. Tomorrow, I’m going to report my findings to the bank as well.

**********UPDATE**************

Always trust your gut instinct. I was 100% correct. I heard from Wendy’s corporate security this morning. They informed me that myself, along with several other customers who reached out to report suspicious activity after having visited the restaurant, helped them break up a credit card theft ring at that location. Police report has been filed. Bank has been notified. Wendy’s security has it all on video and when they entered the restaurant to confront the “persons of interest,” the suspected employees promptly walked off their jobs and are soon to be served with warrants for bank card theft.

Later this morning, I found by way of a Google alert, that a hacker website is GIVING away Fireflies as a free download. This world is so full of criminals it’s insane.

Now for the good news: In the past 2 nights, I have managed to complete the FINAL edits of the first 271 pages of The Blue Diamond!!!

The Ravens beat the Steelers!!!

No matter what life throws at you, you cannot give up. You have to keep moving. You have to push on.

Goodnight my friends. Sleep well.

Sorry for my absence. Here’s my excuse note…

I’ve been both busy and lazy for a few days.

I’ve just recovered from pneumonia and a bit of exhaustion set in. I realized I was pushing myself too hard, so besides a few hours at the Inn Saturday evening having some hard apple cider with my favorite crew, watching pre-season football, I slept this weekend…a LOT. What lead me to snoozeville was a weeks worth of working on my future and trying to align the stars. Aligning stars takes a lot of hard work and lack of sleep. So…

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Let’s get on with the busy, shall we?

I usually do my best not to put too many irons in the fire but lately, I realize that there are times when you have to in order to forge ahead. (Yep, I know you saw what I did there)

I’m on a mission to hire an advertising and marketing company to assist me with promoting my books. They cost a lotta loot folks. Money is something I am in very short supply of.

When I think back a hundred years and beyond to those famous writers who had benefactors or were already wealthy, I want to punch them in the nose. Okay no, not really but having someone or someones to sponsor you so that you can take your writing to the next level is no longer a thing of the past thanks to crowdfunding.

I’ve been mentioning here and there over the past month about my PubSlush campaign which launches on September 1st. There is quite a bit that goes into one of these campaigns and as of this evening, mine is finally complete and ready to go. I’m hoping that sometime tomorrow, it will be live on the site and showing the countdown clock to when the campaign actually starts.

My PubSlush goal is $5,000 but I hope to surpass that over the 45 days it will be up and running. Please wish me luck and if the notion strikes you, feel free to donate too.

I will be doing some smaller fund raisers as well, starting with a Facebook Partylite event. Here’s the link if you’d like to see what that’s all about. If you like candles and pretty decorative ways to show them off, Partylite has everything you need. One of my oldest and dearest friends is running the event for me and she is donating 25% of the proceeds to my marketing fund. How cool is that?!

Pirate cartoon

Since “The Blue Diamond” will be released on October 1st, my awesome sister-in-law came up with the idea for us to do a pirate themed book signing at our favorite watering hole the week of Halloween, complete with pirate costumes. I’ll be sure to post some photos of this unconventional yet brilliant idea for a book signing event!

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I’ve also been working nightly on my edits. I found an editor who is both excellent and loves my book. Now there’s a plus! We’re like peas and carrots or rather a skull and crossbones…let’s just say we work extremely well together and the book is getting better by the day!

Tonight, I donated three autographed copies of each; “Fireflies” and “Hope From the Ocean” to my county library system for Goodreads raffles. That felt great!

Still have the day job…for now, so it’s time for some shut eye mateys.

Fair winds!

My Face When I Saw My New Book Cover Today!

This has been one hell of a week.

Sick, doctor appointments, x-rays, mammogram, barely any sleep, torrential rains and flooding, and worrying about having everything I need together for my PubSlush campaign.

Then this morning my husband called my work line…he never calls my work line unless it’s an emergency. I had my cell phone on silent because well, I was at work and busy.

The first words out of his mouth were, “Don’t worry, everything is okay. Before I say anything else, just know he’s fine.”

Immediately I knew something had happened to our son. I was right. He was in a car accident. My heart was in my throat but my husband continued to assure me he was alright. He’d been rear ended by a pick up truck and pushed into the back end of a jeep. He’s only eighteen but he’s a very mature eighteen and has been driving for two years.

He appears fine but has a lumbar sprain (thank you seat belts) and I’m sure tomorrow he’ll be feeling this all over. I’m just so thankful that no one was seriously hurt. However, his old Toyota Corolla is totaled.

The ying and the yang strikes again thank goodness. I was blessed again with my new book cover for “The Blue Diamond – The Razor’s Edge.”

IT’S SO FREAKING AWESOME!!!!

Amber Rendon of Novel Idea Design is such a blessing to GMTA Publishing’s authors. We are so thankful to have her!

I’m planning a cover reveal this weekend. The book is still in editing but so far, it rocks and I am so proud of it! I definitely stepped sideways with this story in the historical fiction genre but I believe it was  a well placed step and I’m having so much fun with these characters!

I’ve also started book three in the “Fireflies” series and I’m already loving it and so happy to be back in the 1880’s again!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog ramblings. Have a wonderful night my friends. xoxo