Book Update

Book Update

In case you missed this from my mailing list

(And really, why aren’t you getting my newsletter???  Did you know I do giveaways of FABOULUS bookish stuff like KU subscriptions and Audible memberships?!?! You’re missing out.)

Hey, guys!

I hope the winter treated you well. As for me and mine, we were hit by the PLAGUE.
Seriously! I can’t remember ever being that sick. I was convinced that it was the end times. The world was ending, not with a bang, but with a hacking cough.

A little shout out to my SPN family.

Some bad news:

Unfortunately, two months of either being sick or dealing with sick kids put a serious kink (no pun intended) in my writing schedule. After sending out my next book to Beta Readers, I realized I needed to do some major reworking. So I’ve had to push back the release date (which also meant rescheduling with my editor). Right now I’m cautiously saying book 4 will be out in JUNE* of 2016.

*barring any natural disaster or zombie plagues

Modern Girl’s Guide to Friends with Benefits

Modern Girl’s Guide to Friends with Benefits

OMG!!! I CAN’T WAIT!

Modern Girl’s Guide to Friends with Benefits is ALMOST here.  I know it feels like forever…or that could just be how long it felt writing this book, but PETER and MEGAN are ready to have their story told. I know y’all have been waiting. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!!

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coming soon..and multiple times!

I’ve got the cover.

I’ve gotten feedback from my beta readers.

I send out no a sneak peek to my newsletter.

Did you miss it? Take a look here:  http://goo.gl/OyGyFS

Now I’m just need to send over the draft to the copy editor for my final polish. I had December 1 as a Publication date, but I might be able to get it out before Thanksgiving!!

So, we’re in the Final Countdown!

#IWSG Writing Rituals

#IWSG Writing Rituals

Today is the first Wednesday of the month. That means it’s time for Insecure Writer’s Support Group!   You can find the sign up for the IWSG here. We owe Alex J Cavanaugh a huge thank you for thinking this blog hop up.

Summer has been a disaster for me.  My motivations has been low, by day job has been a circus, and the kids have been home all summer. :\   I’ve struggled through motivation and job issues before, but the kids being home all summer is something new. We usually have camp or trips with grandparents to break up the ever shortening summer (I think we’re down to 8 weeks off now), but not this year.  So the nights have gotten later, and the fighting more intense. The whole thing has tossed a serious monkey wrench into my normal writing ritual.

So as I prepare to go off to the school’s open house tonight, I wanted to take a moment and the value of writing rituals.

Why should you have a Writing Ritual?

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Okay, maybe not that kind of brain…

To put it simply: IT’S A BRAIN THING.

“When a group of neurons that process one movement, sensation, or behavior are frequently activated at the same time that another group of neurons responsible for another movement, sensation, or behavior are activated, those two groups of neurons will begin to make connections and fire simultaneously.” from Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance

By going through the motions, if you will, you are alerting your brain that “this is the time we get creative.”  Instead of waiting  for inspiration to strike, you can create a neurological trigger for “inspiration” with your own writing ritual.

It doesn’t happen overnight. You are effectively retraining your brain, so it takes time.

Rituals

I like to send my kids up to get ready for bed. Walk on my treadmill for 30 min. Get a cup of tea. A glass of wine (or whiskey…depending on my mood.) Turn the lights lower (but not off). And then reread the last page or two, while sipping my tea. When I move on to the wine (okay, it’s usually whiskey, but wine just sounds more romance authorly), it’s time to start writing.

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Every author’s ritual is unique to them.

James Joyce wrote lying on his stomach in bed, with a large blue pencil, clad in a white coat, and composed most of Finnegans Wake with crayon pieces on cardboard. John Steinbeck, who liked to write his drafts in pencil, always kept exactly twelve perfectly sharpened pencils on his desk. Alexandre Dumas  penned all of his fiction on a particular shade of blue paper, his poetry on yellow, and his articles on pink.

Maya Angelou wrote in motel rooms. In 1983, she told an interviewer, “I keep a hotel room in which I do my work—a tiny, mean room with just a bed, and sometimes, if I can find it, a face basin. I keep a dictionary, a Bible, a deck of cards and a bottle of sherry in the room. I try to get there around 7, and I work until 2 in the afternoon. If the work is going badly, I stay until 12:30. If it’s going well, I’ll stay as long as it’s going well. It’s lonely, and it’s marvelous.”

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Your rituals don’t have to be as strange or strict as these famous authors. It can be something as simple as sitting in the same place drinking the same drink at the same time during the day.  Or heading to your local coffee shop (honestly, writers go there for a reason…it’s part of a ritual!) Having a ritual will help you be more productive, I promise.

So as we head into fall (YES, I’m fully aware that it’s only the start of August, but the kids are headed back to school already!!!), I’m looking forward to getting back to my own ritual (and getting back to more productive writing sessions).

Happy Writing!

#RWA15 Wrap Up

#RWA15 Wrap Up

I’ve just returned from a weekend of workshopping, networking and drinking at the Romance Writers Association’s (RWA) national conference in New York City. RWA15

I’d love to tell you that I had a great time in NYC, but the truth is I saw about one block either side of the hotel. But of course, I didn’t go there for sightseeing. (We did sneak in a visit to the sex museum!!)

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Being a newbie, I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect. There was lots of learning, inspiration, copious amounts of drinking, and maybe even some burlesque dancing and costume parties.

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Here are a few of the highlights:

Workshops: OMG, the workshops were outstanding. I went to a variety of workshops that ranged from polishing Tips to a Q&A with licensed sex therapist to a chat with NYT best seller Marie Force’s CFO. While not ever session was earth shattering, knock-my-socks-off, I can report that 100% of the sessions I went to were informative. I’m on information overload. I’ve decided to give myself a few days to decompress before diving into all the handouts and notes I took. But the workshops were wonderful. There are a few that I attended that will stick with me for a long time.

The Business Side: The RWA offered a ton of sessions about the BUSINESS of writing. Sessions included everything from taxes and protecting your BRAND, to Facebook Advertising and Multi-author boxsets. Anything and everything you wanted to know about treating writing like a business. I went to a lot of these sessions and feel more confident that I can build and maintain a strong business that will let me continue writing for years to come.

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The Stories: Everyone seemed to have their own Hero’s Journey to success. From the high school dropout that received over three hundred rejections and went on the be a NYT best-selling author to the traditionally published author that had to restart her career three times because of changes at her publishers. We have a tendency to see authors “come out of nowhere” and assume that they were an overnight success, but what I learned was those “overnights” are usually years and years. It was inspiring to hear everyone’s story even if they were hard to hear. One of my favorite sessions was a closed, non-recorded session on depression and writing. On the panel were highly successful author that talked candidly about their own struggles with depression and anxiety. They graciously opened the floor to questions. It was a hard panel to get through. I hated seeing authors I knew and love talking about their personal struggles. But it was inspiring to know that some of my own struggles weren’t unique.

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Connections (AKA Networking): When people talk about the RWA the thing that stands out for most is the ability to network. Unfortunately, I didn’t seem to have the magic pixie dust to make this work. I did meet some people. I actually met several people from my local Indiana chapter and even a member of one of the Chicago chapters. But despite that, I felt like I had a hard time networking. I’m a shy person that overcompensates with chatter. So I am either dominating the discussion or I’m not interacting at all. Organic networking is really hard for me. I’m not usually comfortable just coming up to someone and introducing myself. I don’t feel like the conference did a great job at providing opportunities for “forced” networking (come on! most authors are introverts by nature. You need to force us to socialize). I imagine the main problem was RWA15’s size. There were thousands of writers there, so a social event would have been hard to arrange. The RITA awards were anxiety producing in the sheer number of people in one room. So I understand, but still, I feel like I missed out on the ONE thing everyone raves about. I did notice that a lot of people knew each other from online communities. So this year one of my goals is to try and network with other romance authors online (a place where I’m more comfortable networking anyway). Hopefully next year I won’t feel like such a Noob and I’ll actually network better next year. 😀

Will I go again?

Abso-fucking-lutly!

While I had a few speed bumps (thanks for nothing capital one– that’s a story for another post), I had a wonderful time and learned sooooooo much. The morning I left I was already plotting planning for next year. So I’ll see you all in San Diego.

#IWSG: Kindle Unlimited. The sky is falling!

#IWSG: Kindle Unlimited. The sky is falling!

Today is the first Wednesday of the month. That means it’s time for Insecure Writer’s Support Group!   You can find the sign up for the IWSG here. We owe Alex J Cavanaugh a huge thank you for thinking this blog hop up.

I’m a business owner as well as an author.  Owning a business has prepared me well for being a self-published author.  Self-publishing IS self-employment.  You have to learn to roll with the punches and be able to adapt when things change.

Amazon changed the rule of the game today. AGAIN.

panic

Last month, out of the blue, Amazon announced changes to the Kindle Unlimited program.  They are now going to pay by the page. This came out of the blue and Author’s everywhere are grumbling, speculating, and panicking.

Me?  I’m adjusting my expectations and revisiting my publishing schedule and marketing plan.  Because in self-employment, and THEM’S THE BREAKS.

A few years back, a new hospital opened in my area and they brought with them their own Home Health agency.  Almost overnight we saw our patient census cut in half. It was a hard lean time for our business, but we survived.  Then Medicare rolled out cuts. Again we adjusted.  Our business hasn’t stayed open for 29 years by panicking.

Are you Panicking?

stop

If the new Kindle Unlimited rules slash your income, I’m sorry, but now’s time to take a step back and adjust.  You can do it! 

If you are a short story writer. Short fiction makes sense for a number of reasons. You can build a catalog quickly. For the amount of time it takes me to write and edit an 80k book, a short writer can have FIVE 20k novellas out and selling.  With similar word count, we will now be making similar money. Only the Short writer will start making that money months before I will.  AND there’s also the reality that people are MORE likely to finish a 20k novella than they are an 80K novel.  Novelists are in for a big surprise on how many people NEVER finish their books.  20k is easier to digest even if you don’t like the writing.

For novelist: Feel good that the effort you’re putting into your longer work is now being recognized. No longer will you receive the same amount on a borrow as a 10k short story. While a pay per page READ isn’t ideal, it’s a more equitable system than before.

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And remember, Kindle Select isn’t a requirement. Kindle Select is a TOOL. If it isn’t working for you (or you personally don’t want to participate), you can pull out or not enroll in the first place.