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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#Vacations | Big Game #Fishing | #BreastCancer Research

There I go. Off living life again and this time, it was a two for one trip. Another Fantastic Voyage in the books!

It’s no secret I love the beach…the ocean…my family…my friends…margaritas and about a billion other things but checking off a bucket list item is always on the table. I don’t necessarily go hunting down bucket list items but when they become available, with the added cherry on top to do it for charity, hell yeah I’m in!

Poor Girls Open

About a year ago, my sister in law, Kim, came to me with an opportunity to take a fishing charter out of Ocean City, MD to fish for big game…like, BIG fish way out in the Atlantic ocean. Every year there is a tournament called The Poor Girls Open that has been going on for 25 years.

From the web site:

The Poor Girls Open is a ladies only billfish release tournament benefiting breast cancer research. There are also added entry levels for tuna and dolphin. This tournament was started by Capt. Steve Harman as a way for local waitresses and bartenders to have an affordable and fun competition while raising money for a very important cause. The tournament continues to grow with over 100 boats entering. Participation is not limited only to anglers as there are silent auctions, 50/50 tickets, T-shirts for sale, and other fun events helping to raise money for breast cancer research. In the past 3 years alone, the Poor Girls Open has raised over $100,000 that was donated to the American Cancer Society.

Unfortunately last year, we had no way to raise enough money to do this (it’s not cheap) and can be upwards of $5,000.00 including entry fees and charter, but we knew in a year, we could definitely figure out a way to get sponsors and raise enough to make it happen.

Thanks to Kim’s cousin Val, we had a boat with a captain, (you have to find your own) enough money and sponsors to enter, a team name and a crew of five hearty women and even had our own T-Shirts made up for our team. We were ready to go!

Then, just last weekend we found out from a reliable source who also happened to work part time as a first mate on a few boats, that our “captain” had bailed on us because we didn’t have enough money to enter every calcutta across the board, giving his boat the chance of winning the tourney, BUT would have ended up costing us an additional $2,350! We’re actual poor girls here dude! WTF?!

The boat charter was $1,800

The entry fee was $550 for 5 anglers

Hotel for the weekend $1200/5

Etc. Etc. Etc. We were grateful just to be able to afford all that so when the news came in that he had dumped us 5 days before the tournament, Val sprang into action and found us a BETTER boat, BIGGER boat, and a better captain and first mate almost overnight. “Everything happens for a reason” isn’t just a cliche.

We ended up pulling enough money together to enter one calcutta and we were just happy to be able to participate.

We arrived Wednesday night August 15, 2018 and registered. Our condo was right on the bay so we had a lovely view.

From there, we took a few pics, had some delicious finger food and then hit the grocery store for some sandwiches and snacks for our trip. Then it was shower and Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. 3:30am wake up call.

Here we are! Bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to take on the high seas! Okay well we’re awake and we have beer for later so…

The Sunset Marina before sunrise. This was at 4:45am.

Those are the lights of Ocean City, MD way off in the distance behind us.

Pre-dawn and let me tell you, this boat was making tracks! We were going so fast that if you weren’t used to it and had experienced sea legs, you better hold on or you’re gonna hit the deck. That’s our first mate, Bobby on the right. He worked his butt off getting everything ready for us.

Michele (L) and Kim, keeping stationary as we blasted through the waves and waited for the sunrise. It was incredible out there. Once you’re out about 10 miles from shore, the water changes to a deep blue. We were constantly in awe.

Way out there with the tankers!

Okay…sun’s up ladies! It took us about 3 hours from shore to the fishing area, which was approximately 60+ miles from the dock. We couldn’t drop our lines until 8:30am so we picked our order of fishing. How it works is, we each were given 30 minutes on the rods. Every 30 minutes, another girl stepped up for her turn for three complete rotations. There were six rods in the water with bait and three teasers. Teasers are these cool lures without hooks that basically flutter and splash on the surface of the water to attract the fish.

NO LAND IN SIGHT FOLKS! Here’s Bobby setting up the rods. Once the baited lines are ready, the poles are mounted and at 8:30, the lines go into the water and the captain moves the boat slow and steady, dragging the lines behind us. Here fishy fishy!!!

If it were only that easy…they’d call it Catching instead of Fishing

30 minutes per woman. So basically, every 2 1/2 hours, it was my turn. You sit or stand in the back of the boat and if you get a bite, you grab the rod, hop in the fighting chair and reel your ass off. Unfortunately for me, I spent my three turns watching the teasers flutter in the water. Nothing. Nada. Ziltch. Zippo. Not one nibble. Also unfortunately, neither did any of our crew…except for one.

I’ll post the link to the video at the bottom of the blog so you can see what happened.

For a brief two minutes or so, what we’d waited all day for actually happened…then it didn’t happen, all thanks to what the captain suspected to be a defective hook. As you can see, the pointy end…the part that matters…GONE with the fish…a 250lb Blue Marlin.

hook

I want to add that any billfish aka white or blue marlins are catch and release. Tuna and Mahi Mahi (aka dolphin fish) are keepers.

Here we are. There’s our captain, Mike, in the blue shirt and we are from left to right: Val, me, Kim, Debbie, Michele and Bobby. Proud as can be. We survived the waves, the sun, the waiting, the long hours, biting flies and sore rear ends siting and waiting for a fish, and yet we never felt better because it was all for a wonderful charity; breast cancer research. All of us have been touched by this dreaded disease via family members. Some lost their battles while others more recently stricken have beat it, all thanks to research and the American Cancer Society.

We were tired but as Kim said later that evening, it was a GOOD tired. The tired where you know you earned it!

We left the dock at 5:00am and returned at around 5:30PM. Yeah we slept well that night.

We slept well after a bit of girl sillies.

The next day was all fun and games. We earned it. We started the day with a great breakfast at the 45th Street Tap House on Coastal Highway. I highly recommend their Bloody Mary’s and their sunsets on the bay…actual sunsets, not a drink.

Then we did a little pool crashing (shhhh) and swam and chatted the afternoon away at said unmentioned pool location. Then off to the Clarion Hotel and Lenny’s Beach Bar for dinner and drinks to hear an awesome band play. Plus, we made a new friend! Our wonderful waiter Relja from Serbia. He’s in college in Serbia studying finance. We adopted him and low and behold, his mother is a breast cancer survivor! Every summer, hundreds of young adults from Europe are sponsored to work in Ocean City (and other cities) for the summer. Most if not all of them work two jobs and live in deplorable housing, yet they were all the nicest kids. We adopted this one. 🙂

Now for the video. Michele is in the chair reeling. Val is behind her reeling in one of the teasers to get it out of her way since the fish will come up the middle, which of course, it unfortunately didn’t. Captain Mike told us had that hook not snapped, Michele would have been in that chair for up to and possibly beyond FOUR HOURS. No one could have helped her because rules are rules. You have to bring it in yourself.

We told her we had every confidence she could have done it but I guess…we’ll never know.

BUT…

THERE’S ALWAYS NEXT YEAR!

If you or your company would like to sponsor our team for next year’s Poor Girl Open, please contact me at pegfabulous214@gmail.com. I will add you to a my personal mailing list (NO SPAM) and update you when we begin actively fundraising. Thank you so much!!!

THE WINNERS!

My #Ancestry Journey Continues – #Shocked and Amazed!

My Ancestry journey continues. When I have more time, I’m going to perhaps make a video to walk you through the tree and see how the process works, and how to find the information you are searching for – providing it is available.

Today I’m sharing some really cool stuff. These are all my ancestors and I have the tree to show those connections but I’m heading out on vacation this afternoon so I promise to break it all down as soon as I can when I get home.

Below are screen shots from my ancestry.com tree of my great grandparents, dating to all the way back to BC. I have found that unless your family had some historical significance, the records are sketchy at best. However, with the World View on Ancestry, and the Netherlands records, you can do pretty well.

Times “REMOVED” means a generational separation. 4X removed for example would mean we are 4 generations apart.

So, here they are…some of my family:

Charles Darwin

Prince William

Oliver Wendle Holmes

Britney Jean Spears

Sir Winston Churchill

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Norma Jean Mortenson

Princess Diana Spencer
Njord Nortun King of Seden

 

 

Cleopatra VII

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!

quote-advice-to-a-new-writer-there-are-no-rules-in-this-profession-do-what-is-good-for-you-anne-rice-122-70-88

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.

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

Music to Write By – Awesome Mix Volume 1 – Guardians of the Galaxy

If you haven’t seen this movie, you’re really missing out.

The soundtrack alone is something to not only rock your world but the memories, the magic and the moments of magnificent musical magnitude make this the number one soundtrack in my collection to date. In other words, it’s MMMMM Good!

I’m just going to leave this here.

Guardians-soundtrack guardian-of-the-galaxy-poster1

My personal favorite:

#Amazon Removing Reviews Citing the Reviewer “Knows” the #Author

I am an independent author who has now had this happen twice. These are friends/fans of mine on Facebook and I want to know how Amazon knows these people are my friends. Of course my friends are reading and reviewing my books. They are the first to even know about them! I am a small business who relies on my friends and acquaintances to spread the word for me.

This is just wrong and so unfair.

We as authors have enough challenges just finding an audience. It is completely unfair that reviews can be removed simply because our friends choose to be part of our audience.

Add to this, the two readers whose reviews Amazon removed PURCHASED my books through Amazon. These weren’t review copies. These were purchased Kindle downloads.

Where does it stop? Authors, actors, musicians and artists of all mediums are closer than ever to their fans, dropping the degrees of separation to ONE. The fans love this and so do the artists.

Apparently, Amazon doesn’t get it. 

Check out this petition for more information.

Amazon review removal