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Monday, November 14, 2011

My Cheatin' Heart


My poor neglected blog! I have spent the last 14 days pouring my heart and my soul into my current work in progress for NaNoWriMo.
Just 14 days ago I was so full of myself as far as how simple it would be to start a new story. I researched my plot, and where I wanted the story to go, plotted my characters creating their flaws and the shining qualities they would have as well. I had the time line and the development of the story all ready to go…and then November 1 came and I assumed it would be simple to just pick up a story and run with it. And for the most part it has been, but I also felt a little torn. I have been working on the third book in my series, and I felt as if I were cheating on my characters by starting something else, and doing it without asking their permission. (Gasp!)

For the first week I toiled away at the new story, and I like where it has gone, NaNo has been a blast. But in the back of my head my first characters are saying
“Um, excuse me, you haven’t finished our story yet? Don’t you think that’s rude to start something when you haven’t finished the first series?”
Which I replied back, “No.”
(Heavy sighs from my characters)
With the characters from the first series nagging my thoughts I decided to do a little extra, and while I am writing the NaNo Novel, I am also continuing the third and final installment to my first series. And two weeks into NaNo this is what I have learned so far:
1.      Make time to write every day
2.      Don’t re-read what was written the night before, just pick up from the last sentence and carry on.
3.      Edit later, not now.
4.      Make writing a priority, and keep writing.
5.      Push out the words, having music helps (It helps me anyway.).
6.      The more you write, the better your writing becomes.
7.      Twitter, Facebook and Tribbr can wait for now.
8.      (For me) It’s ok to work on two projects at the same time. NaNo first, and then the other book. (But they are all equally important!)
9.      Keep Writing
10.  2000 words a day is a realistic goal (For me, 2000 words per book is my goal.)

This is what I have learned on my first attempt doing NaNo. It is more difficult than I anticipated, but like many writers, I really enjoy physically abusing myself and pushing my limits as far as I can.
Thinking about the end result helps me, not that I want to release two books at the same time, but at least I will have several works going on to work.
This is just the beginning, like I’ve said before, this is a marathon, and I am in it for the long haul!

And now I have to go finish my writing goal for the day. For all of you who are doing NaNo good luck, and when someone asks you if your ready to give up just think about the character from Home Alone II (Marv) when Kevin asks him if he's ready to give up when he is covered in paint, and he says Never! Never give up on yourself or your dreams!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ready....Set....Write!!!

The ideas for my new work in progress (well, the beginning of it anyways) are flowing through me like a crazy electrical current. The characters are demanding to have me tell their side of the story, through their words.  I want to start writing now, but no, I am refraining. Why you ask? Because I am keeping my characters bottled up for November 1, the start of NaNoWriMo! (National Novel Writing Month)

NaNoWriMo began in 1999 with just over 20 participants. By 2010 over 200,000 people participated in the month long write fest. And the whole goal of this is just to get people writing. Think of that, and think of how many words they collectively wrote in 30 days...

This past week has been very challenging for me, I have made it a point not to write. Believe me, I want to, I adore writing, it is my passion, and one of my favorite hobbies. But over the last several months I have completed three books, well 2 ½ actually, I have put the final book in my first series on hold for now as I gear up for NaNo. The third book in my first series is the conclusion to the story, and I don’t want to rush it. The first draft is just about done, but I don’t want to leave anything out, and I want to make sure it shines!

So, I have dedicated the last few days of this month to getting ready for the big November 1 day, the beginning of NaNo. I have been reading blogs, and filling my mind with every writing tool I can think of, all the while not writing a word, which honestly is killing me.
I love to write. While I am at work, I write a lot for my job, which does help me when I get home and can write creatively. I guess I am pretty lucky to be able to convey ideas through words as a part of my job, and what makes it even more fun is as a nurse, I get to put together great words to create the overall picture of the disgusting situation I am trying to describe. (Yes, I am a little twisted!)

I digress…back to NaNoWriMo…what is it you ask? NaNoWriMo is a contest in a way. You sign up on the website, and you aim to reach a goal. The goal is 50,000 words in one month. And when you look at it like that, it might seem a daunting task. However, if you look at it on a smaller base, only 2000 words a day. And that is if you only do the minimum of 2,000 words a 50,000 words is completely attainable. That isn’t that bad is it? I don’t think so!
I’m sure there are many who write more than I do daily, but when I get home from work I can still get out at least 2000 words, more if I have a plotline running through my head. Which, seems to happen a lot, especially when I haven’t put the words to paper! Those 2000 words each day will add up fast, in one week, 14,000 words. In two weeks, 28,000 words, and so on, and so on.
Along with making this something fun, NaNoWriMo gives everyone an opportunity to be a winner. If you hit 50,000 words by November 30, you win. If you go over that, you still win. And if you don’t hit it, there is always next year! And you have a good start on a novel to boot!
I know I can do it, I wrote my second novel in about 6 weeks (87,000 words) So for me NaNo is not only about writing, it’s about making an attainable goal and reaching it. There is something to be said for making a goal and being able to achieve it. It can give you the motivation to continue, and achieve new and even loftier goals.
 This will be my first year doing NaNo and I am so excited! I want to see how far I can get in 1 month. I have a habit of pushing myself to see if I can do it, and when I do, I feel like I accomplished something. Which in turn motivates me to do even more, and more, and more!
And yes, I would love to be able to say I wrote a bestselling novel that sold millions of copies, but even if that doesn’t happen at the end of it all I will have created something I am proud of.
So what are you waiting for? You still have a couple of days to come up with that new idea, and go to NaNoWriMo and get registered…what do you think? Are you up for the challenge? I look forward to seeing YOU there!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Forever in our hearts

Ben Campbell was just 17 years old. On October 11, 2011, he posted on his Facebook “Today is the best day of my life.” And then a short time after that posting, he was killed when the car he was riding in was hit by another car.
He wasn’t my child, but was a child of our community. And today is now Saturday, October 15, 2011 and today our community is saying goodbye to a boy who was stolen away just as his life was about to begin. As I sit here and write this, I think about all of the experiences that he will never have, because he is gone. I think about all of the kids that have been effected by his death. I think about his family, and what they must be going through. And I think about the boy who was driving the car, and my prayers are with him, as the 16 year old girl who was in the back seat. I don’t even know if she realizes Ben is gone, because she is still in the hospital.
And as I think about all of the sadness, and what a horrible experience to have for everyone, I remember something Ben’s mother said. “Parents hug your kids every time you get the chance.”




I try to shift the sadness to the back of my thoughts, and try to focus on more positive things. I need to remind myself all the time that my loved ones are a gift, and every moment I have with them is precious, never take it for granted. Look at every mealtime as an honor that I am able to share it with my kids and my husband.
Don’t dwell on what could happen, rather embrace the time we have to share with others, and try to make a difference for someone else. Be thankful and grateful for the moments I have had. Especially the simple ones like seeing my silly 17 year old son come walking up the stairs with his Elmer Fudd hat on as he is dancing to one of his favorite songs. Those moments are priceless, and I have been lucky enough to experience it. For those moments I am eternally grateful.
I vow not only to make sure my children and my husband know how much I love them, but also to never take for granted the time I have with them, and to make every moment count. I don’t want something horrible to happen and be filled with regret for not spending enough time with them all.
I vow to live every day to the fullest, and experience life and do everything I have ever dreamed to do, and pass that along to my children. Make time to laugh and cry. Do the silly things that we will always have to look back on.
I vow to make every day count, and do what I can for others by making a difference in their lives as well. We all have the power to make a difference, even if it seems small to us, it can have a profound effect on others. 
So Ben Campbell, where ever you are now, I want you to know that you are loved, and you have made a difference for me, and because of you, I hope to make a difference too. Because of you, I will live every day to the fullest and make certain I have no regrets. We were all so lucky to have known you for the time you were here with us. You will forever be in our hearts.


Friday, October 7, 2011

I Love The Internet, Maybe I'll Get Lucky

For the last four months I have been learning everything I can about self-publishing my books. For the eight months prior to that, I was learning everything I could about publishing my books via traditional publishing. Do you see where I am going with this? I spent twice as much time trying everything I could think of to go the way of traditional publishing, and it got me nowhere. For half the time invested, I learned how to format an e-book, publish a blog, create a paperback version of my book(s), and my latest adventure, creating a website.

So now I have two books that I have self-published, along with a blog, and a website. Am I going to get the exposure that I would have if my books were traditionally published? Who knows. But do I get to keep complete control over my books? You bet!

My adventure in writing has been more for personal reasons than anything. I wanted to see if I could do it, and I did it for myself. Sure, it would be great to have an Amazon best seller (I dare to dream) but just knowing with a lot of research and even more diligence, I was able to create a story and it didn’t cost a lot to make happen. All of this was made possible because of the internet and a dream. (I love the Internet!)

So as I stated earlier, my latest marketing tool I learned about was creating my own website, which actually was easier than figuring out how to set up this blog! Please, take a look and tell me what you think. But remember, I have very limited experience with this type of thing, I am a nurse for crying out loud, and the last time I checked, there was no HTML code in a soppy foot wound.

Shameless plug for my website: Lisagoodwin.net

For anyone that has the dream of seeing their ideas in print the best advice I can offer is keep trying, keep learning, and never ever give up on yourself or your dream. You will be amazed at what you can do if you just believe in yourself.

And as J.A. Konrath says, “Maybe you’ll get lucky.”

Saturday, September 24, 2011

And So it Begins, Again

Ok, so I have taken a week off writing, well sort of. I published my second book last Sunday and ever since my mind has been toiling away at what will happen in my third installment. I have been plugging away at my outline, for the third book and I was having some fun exploring different angles at which to take my characters, and what I wanted to have happen next. For me, working through the outline motivates me to get the story going, a very good feeling.

My OCD is kicking in, and I feel as if something is missing if I am not working on my story, and taking it to the next level. The characters have been running around in my head for the past week letting me know they need to have their adventures written down. Break time is over.

I already purchased the cover are from an amazing graphic designer, Tishia from Paragraphic design, because she is awesome, and I love what she creates. So, with my cover in hand, and my outline in place, the time has come to find the words, and put the story that is in my mind down to digital paper.

Today will be all about the writing, and see how many words I can get down. I love that, going back at the end of the day and finding how many words were done, I wonder if I can get to 10,000 today? A lofty goal? Maybe. But where would we be without lofty goals? ( I wouldn’t be writing right now, that’s for sure!)

And I already have another idea in my head for another series. I think I am going to save the for November though, for NaNo month. And it is a story about vampires. I know it has been done multiple times, but I have some interesting ideas floating around that would make a really cool story. So hopefully, I can complete my third in the first series, so I can dedicate November to the new idea, only time will tell.


Monday, September 19, 2011

My Intenral Motivator


The question I am asked the most after people learn that I have written a book is “What makes you write?” Many times I stare at them, blankly, and wonder how to describe what it is that makes me write.

I don’t have a muse hanging over my shoulder with a knife to my throat telling me I must write, even though, sometimes that is what it feels like, in order to get all of my thoughts typed out. At times my fingers cannot type fast enough for my muse, which prods me to attempt to go faster, and just keep writing. It is almost like a runner’s high. (Writer's high, maybe?) You work and work and work, and then everything comes together, and BAM! The first book is done, and BAM! The second book is done, and it just keeps happening. For me, it is one of my favorite feelings.

The drive just continues to build, and what starts out as an outline has become 90,000 words of a story, how cool is that?

Every day I sit down to write, and when I’m done, at the top of my rough draft, I put the date, and what my word count is. Then for my reward, I figure out how many words I was able to get out. But the best part is when I look back over several weeks, and see how many words have been added to the story.

So for me, building on to my story, and counting my words motivates me to do more, and see how many more words I can push out. I enjoy competing against myself, and improving day by day, and week by week, and in no time, a story is born, or continued, depending on which book is being written.

So I guess the simple answer to what motivates me to write? The only answer I can come up with is personal satisfaction.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dark Dreams Teaser


All right, so the second book is completed, and being edited as I write this, so I wanted to share a little more with you. This is the first six pages of my second book, and the second in the series.
I would love to know what you think, and hope you enjoy it.

-1-
A Brave New World
They had done it. Kate and Jack had arrived safely and together at their new home. Friendly faces from around the cavern greeted them. Jack was standing in the center of a circle looking to a mass of people who seemed ecstatic at his presence.
 Kate could feel a deep  admiration from the strangers that were now surrounding them. She watched as the people rushed up to greet the man she loved. She noticed how he seemed to have this effect on people, not only her. She had known there was something about him that drew people too him, and now she had justification of her feelings.
 Jack was still wearing the same outfit he was wearing when he and Kate had first met Dark chocolate colored pants, cream button down shirt, tall leather boots, and a dark long coat that almost touched the ground. Kate stared at him, he looked pristine.
Jack looked as if he had just stepped out of a magazine. His dark hair was striking against his pale skin. His amber eyes burned with victory. They had arrived safely, and unscathed to their new home.
The people that had gathered were trying to move closer to him. Some were patting him on the back while others seemed to be happy just to be able to see him. While the group was busy congratulating Jack on making it back with his love, Kate was distinctly aware of how she was being looked at. She noticed quick glances, coming at her from many different angles. Some stared with looks of adoration, others with a look of wonder. Still others were smiling so big, there weren’t words for the looks on their faces.
She wondered how hideous she must have looked. She hadn’t showered in over a week. Her wild auburn waves were loosely pulled into a shabby ponytail. She raised her eyes, and from the corner of her eye, she could see a few curls sneak toward the front of her face. She tried to hide behind them.
Her outfit was in even more disorder. She took her one free hand and tried to brush some of the dirt off her pants while no one was looking directly at her. Kate noticed a few dirty spots on her shirt as well as she was looking down.  She crossed her arms while she fidgeted, trying to cover the random smears of dirt on her shirt.
 Kate looked out at the crowd, and smiled shyly to her onlookers. She moved herself closer to Jack, trying to disappear behind his broad frame. She kept her hand intertwined with his, as he was repeatedly being patted and moved by the crowd.
The mass that had gathered was closing in around them.  Kate was thankful she had never been claustrophobic. She stood on her tiptoes to be able to reach Jack’s ear. He felt her inclining up toward him, and leaned slightly for her to be able to speak to him.
“Jack why are they looking at us like that?” She wasn’t used to being the center of attention, it made her feel uncomfortable. The only time people usually stared at her was when she had done something clumsy. Because she was standing close to Jack, she didn’t have the opportunity to be clumsy, yet.
 Even though she was more like Jack now, since he had saved her life with a potion from his home, she still felt gangly and awkward.
He turned his head toward her and squeezed her hand tighter. “I told you Kate, you are special. Do you believe my words now?” He had a mischievous smile on his face. She was willing to bet a rapid glow appeared in his eyes as he spoke to her. But he wouldn’t know for sure a she was still hiding behind him. She scowled and then returned to her former guarded self, smiling pleasantly at those who were surrounding her and Jack.
   After she got over the immediate discomfort of being stared at as if she were a celebrity, she started looking closer at the people that encircled them. She could see a faint iridescent glow to the skin of some of the people. The majority of them looked about the same age as Jack, maybe a few that were older, but not many. There were some children too. But even the children had grown up appearances. She remembered seeing Jack in her dreams, when he was young. These children resembled her memory of Jack. They were well dressed, and neat.
 She took relief in knowing there were so many people that had been able to escape the invasion that had taken place on the surface of the Earth. Even if the majority of them were from another world, they all appeared to be human, no different from anyone who would survive on the earth’s surface above them, if there were any survivors. Jack interrupted her thoughts as he spoke to their newfound admirers.
“Friends we have had a long trip, please allow us to rest, and will continue our discussions soon.”
The crowd began to talk amongst themselves, their heads nodding up and down as they dispersed, allowing Jack and Kate to continue walking forward. It felt more as they were walking down a parade route. The people separated along either side of them, creating a path of well-wishers. Kate felt her eyes get wider as she watched the crowd as they, in turn, watched her. She had never seen anything like this, unless she counted on television.
Roscoe, Kate’s bumbling Rottweiler, was the opposite of Kate when it came to being the center of attention. He seemed to be happy with his sudden popularity. From the people lining their walk, Roscoe would wander back and forth, and tiny hands would reach out and pet at the dog. If he had a tail, it would be wagging madly. His big pink tongue danced at the side of his open mouth as he smiled at all of his new friends.
Kate felt a stream of questions filling her mind while they walked. She had never expected this.  She had never anticipated the number of people, and that they would all be so curious about her. She wasn’t anything special, was she?
“Yes Kate you are.” Jack stopped as her turned to face her. She looked up into his eyes, which were now glowing intensely. “I love you Kate.” He said as he raised her hand up to his lips, and gently kissed the back of her hand. Kate felt the electricity from his kiss jump start her heart.
The glow began to pulse over her skin, and the people cheered and applauded. Kate wasn’t sure, but she thought she heard a few cat calls as well. She was completely confused, and Jack chuckled.
“I promise to explain everything, soon.” His eyes were smoldering as he looked to her. Kate opened her thoughts, letting Jack inside of her mind.
“I am counting on it”. She thought as she returned his gaze. He laughed, as he was obviously in tune to her thoughts.
They continued their walk as Kate took in the city that they were in. The path had widened, and she was able to see houses that had been built into the walls of the cave that bordered them. There were streams of light filtering down from the roof of the cave. Slender slits of light trickled down, lit up the cavern, and bounced off the houses, as if it were daytime.
 Kate stared in wonder at what she was seeing around them. Rows and rows of house fronts jutted from the walls of the cave. Kate could see people, hundreds of people peering out through the windows of their homes. Some were staying behind the safety of their curtains, stealing glances while others were coming out from their homes, and waving as Jack and Kate walked by.
The continued on with the precession for what seemed like hours when they had apparently reached their destination. A large group of men on horseback was lined up in three perfect rows. The horses were all jet black with deep mahogany colored bridles. Each rider had a long dark crimson cloak. As Jack had always worn with the same coffee colored pants, these riders did too. Their tall boots matched Jack’s as well.
 Kate was running down each bizarre instance in her head like a checklist, and the events leading up to this moment were beginning to make sense to her now.
“Um, Jack, I don’t think you told me quite everything about yourself when we first met.” She said quietly, never taking her eyes off the immense horses lined up in front of her. Each of their massive legs stood perfectly still and matched. Their glossy coats had a deep ebony glow. They were beautiful. Everything here was beautiful.
Kate saw a man moving toward them from behind the horses.
“Jackson? Is it true? Have you come back to us with your love?” He said, smiling. He was a tall, broad man with the same face as Jack. His eyes were older and very kind. His hair was like Jack’s, only it was grey. He didn’t look old, experienced was a better word to describe him Kate thought.
Jack smiled at the man as he approached them, a smile of deep respect and love. He took a step toward the man as he reached his arms out wide in welcome to both of them.
“Father, I have missed you.”
Jack’s father Kate thought. Her eyes were wide. She had never anticipated she would be meeting his father. Her hand squeezed Jack’s a little tighter as she tried to continue hiding behind him. His father spoke to Jack, but looked to Kate.
“And I you Jackson. Now please, introduce me to the young lady that you have brought with you.” He said, his eyes smiling to Kate.
Jack beamed as he released his father, and took one-step to the side, so Kate was in his father’s full view.
“Father, this is my Kate. Miss Katherine Montgomery.” He bowed as he said her name with a deep reverence. She could feel his love for her in the way he said her name.
Kate felt the same way for him. She had waited her entire life to find this man, who came to her through her dreams. Her dreams had actually helped guide him to her. She was still having a hard time accepting that.
 It seemed like so long ago when she would dream of him, and he wasn’t real. Now he was, and standing next to her, professing his love in front of his father and all of these people. She felt the glow of her skin continue, and intensify.
“Kate, this is my father, King Samuel Hannerbe.” Kate felt the smile on her face turn to one of surprise. She had to concentrate to make sure her mouth didn’t drop open. She didn’t know how to reply. Did she call him sir, your majesty, or maybe your royal highness?
“Um…hi, er, I mean….hello sir, it is a pleasure to meet you.” She felt the awkwardness of her words. She thought about bowing, but wasn’t sure how to do it.
Samuel just laughed as he took her free hand in between his.
“Please, call me Samuel, everyone else does.” He laughed harder and Jack stifled back a laugh as well.
“I am so honored to meet you Miss Kate. Jackson has been away from us for such a long time in his quest to find you.” He stepped away from her and looked at the pair of them. Jack took a step closer to Kate, his arm protectively slid behind her.
Feeling him close to her like this brought her back to her happy place, and she knew in her heart that they would always be together. Samuel patted Jack on his shoulder as he looked at the couple from a small distance. Kate wondered if he were summing up if she were good enough for his son.
“I am so grateful you both have been returned to us safely.” He turned to address the people that had filled in the empty space behind Kate and Jack.
His hands rose up in friendship to all of the people. “My son has been traveling this world for many years in search of his other half. And he has found her. Of all places she could have been, she was very close to us the entire time. Jackson and his bride have been returned to us.” Samuel smiled at the crowd, his serene voice joyful. “Tomorrow we will all celebrate their union. Please, my friends let us all rejoice tonight as we prepare for their celebration tomorrow. We shall leave you now, until morning. We invite all of you, our friends, to celebrate this union.”
The crowd erupted into applause and cheers.
Samuel turned to head back from the original direction that he came, from behind the horses and Roscoe eagerly followed him. “Well hello friend.” Samuel said to Roscoe.
Roscoe answered him with a quick jump. Samuel twisted as he reached down to pet the big dog. Kate felt her cheeks turn red as her dog climbed on a king. Samuel just chuckled, petting Roscoe as if he had been awaiting his return as well.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My New Book Cover

Ok, I am incredibly excited beyond anything I can think of to be able to put these words here. The second book in my series, Dark Dreams is finished! I can’t believe it! After only 6 weeks, I have been able to finish it. The reason I am so surprised, is the first book took over 2 years to get done. And when I say done, I don’t mean ready to publish, but done in the sense that the story has been completed, along with a tie in to the third book.
So now the work really begins. Time to tear into it, and edit, and rewrite until it is perfect, well perfect enough to send to an editor.
So in my short little rant about the book being completed (sort of) I wanted to share the cover for it.
I had anticipated working with the artist who did the first cover, but then I met this amazing artist on twitter this is her site: http://paragraphicdesigns.blogspot.com/ She is very gifted, and reasonable.
She has great covers as samples on her blog, not only showing you what she can do, but if you see something you like you can buy that book cover, unless someone like me has seen it and snatched it up!
I have really enjoyed working with her because she communicates, and lets me know how things are going, and what she is thinking about the cover as it is progressing through its process. And with doing the entire publishing process myself, it is nice to have one less thing to worry about.

So for the first time, I would like to share the cover for my next book, Dark Dreams


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thick Skinned



I haven’t been creating many posts for my blog as of late because I am in the zone of finishing the second book in my series. Even though I want to do regular posts, my mind has been heavily engaged in my work in progress. The second book is nearing completion, and then the real work comes of editing, and re-editing.
That being said I did want to share a moment I had with my daughter the other day.

Katie just started high school. My youngest is now officially in high school, and that raises many other issues for me personally, but we had an interesting conversation.
Just like me, she has a passion for writing. She is a voracious reader, which is a feat in itself for her because she is dyslexic. Thankfully, she has been able to learn how to cope with this, and now we are repeatedly making our way down to Barnes and Noble to find her something else to read.

Now that she is in high school, she has been able to have more variety to her classes. She chose to take newspaper, and she is able to write articles that will hopefully make it into the local high school paper. After the first week of school and this class, she didn’t seem to hold the same fervor that she had originally held.
I asked if she wanted to drive into town with me, and she agreed. She doesn’t have her driver’s license yet, and escaping from the country for a little city stimulation is always welcomed to a 15 year old girl.

We started driving the 30-minute drive into town, and having her as a captive audience, I decided to engage her in some small talk.
So being mom, I asked, “How is your newspaper class going?”
She asked how I would feel if she dropped the class.
I thought about it for a minute, and then told her that if that was what she wanted to do, I was ok with it. After all, I want to make sure she wants to learn, and has classes she loves.
But I wanted to know why, so I dug a little deeper.
“Why do you want to drop the class? Is it too hard?” I asked.
She explained to me that after she turned in her articles, her fellow classmates criticized it, or said she needed to change this, or something else didn’t sound right……you know where I’m going with this.
I explained to her, been there done that. But then, I also said to her that even though it sucks to have someone tear apart what you have written, and it hurts, each time that it happens, your writing will improve from it, and it won’t feel personal after a while.
I didn’t want to sound like I was lecturing her, so I just used examples from my own writing for her, she has been with me every step of the way creating my first book, and she has heard me dissecting feedback.
I told her what I do after I have someone read something I have written, and I get the feedback, skim over it, get all butt hurt, let it sink in for a little bit, and then I read it again, and again. I take the recommendations that my reader suggests because that is what I want, to produce something that will be great and I can’t get that without some feedback, good or bad.
I also told her that it helps you to gain “tough skin” and with each instance, it gets a little bit easier to take it, and then I use that information and learn from it. It’s hard not to take it personally at first, but when you get that very much needed tough skin, your writing will get better and better, and it won’t bother you, because the words from others will make you better. Not only will it help your writing, it will help in many aspects of everything you do. Having a tough skin will help you to overcome setbacks, and adversity thorough out your life.
She just nodded and smiled from the passenger side of the truck, and then we started listening to an audio book as we drove into town.

Later that night, she came to me and started asking questions about a sentence, or a synonym for something and then scurried off to her room again, sitting at her computer. Curious, I asked what she was working on. She said, “My article for the paper, it’s due tonight, so I got to get it too my editor.”
I know I looked confused when I responded to her. “I thought you were going to drop that class?”
She looked up from her computer, “I thought about what you said, and I’m going to stick it out, because I need a thick skin.” She smiled at me, and then went back to her writing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

John Locke Told Me Too

   When I started on my journey to having my novel published, I decided to follow the traditional publishing route. I wrote query letters with multiple revisions trying to entice (ok beg) any prospective literary agent to take a chance on an unknown author. Needless to say, it didn’t work out very well. With a mailbox full of thanks, but no thanks letters, I decided to research if I would be able to self-publish my novel.

   Lucky for me, the internet provided a vast amount of knowledge. I felt as if I were a kid in a candy store, with all of the information I could ever hope to find, and use in order to help with my book publishing dream. Then I came across a now well-known self-published author, John Locke. I read everything I could find on him (ok, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I am not a stalker.) I found his website, and read directly from his hand to my computer screen. And of course, I bought his book.

   To me, John Locke is the epitome of what a self-published author should be. I have followed his advice, and plan. With my second book nearing completion, I am getting closer to having an even better opening than I had for the first. So do I want to be like John Locke? You bet I do. And I will keep on churning out words and novels, just to see how far I can ride this wave. It has been a great experience so far.

   Even more important that my slight obsession over what has made John Locke so successful is the wonderful world of self-published authors I have been fortunate enough to ‘meet’ via the internet. By connecting via Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook. I have ‘met’ over 1000 people in the past month!
One particular person has made a HUGE impression on me. Her name is Shelly, and this is her blog: http://shellynice.wordpress.com/ She is hosting a contest on her blog to help other self-pub. authors find success. She didn’t know me from anyone, I was nothing special, just another Indie Author trying to get my book out there. She didn’t ask what I had to offer her in return for all of her generous assistance, and never once has asked “What’s in it for me?”
What an asset to have, and meeting her through her website purely by chance when following someone on Twitter, because John Locke told me too.

   It makes me think of all of the other people out there who are hoping to publish, wanting to take that chance and share their work with the world. I wonder how many of those hopeful authors are just as stuck as I was? (Come on, there has to be at least one person?!? Maybe? Hopefully?) I try and put little bits of information here to help those who might stumble across it, in order to help them out.
And having been on the receiving end of that help, I want to share what I know with others as well. Just imagine what we could do, all of the Indie authors band together, helping each other to improve our writing, making each story the very best it could be simply by helping.

   So even though I looked to John Locke for his secrets, and help to promote the best book I could, I found so much more. I have found out what a great community self-published authors are, and how they seem to be very willing to help their own. (Unlike veteran nurses, they seem to eat their own, sorry nurses, but you know it’s true!)

Check out Shelly’s blog, I think you’ll like what she has to say.

And thank you to John Locke, for telling me what to do!

Friday, August 5, 2011

My Day Job

My Day Job

I think I have put it out there in an earlier post that during the day, I’m a nurse. I have to say, it is a pretty awesome job.  I feel very fortunate that I was able to get the job that I currently have. As far as nursing as a profession is concerned, my job is a pretty ‘cush’ job. I work Monday through Friday, 8 to 5, no nights, no weekends. I don’t have to worry that my coverage will call in and I will have to work a double shift, or that I will be called in to work on a weekend or a holiday. I have worked in places where that happens, so I can honestly say my current job is great. I know that I am very lucky to be where I am, so I always give 110% of myself when I am there. To the providers I work with, my co-workers and especially the patients I get to see.
But every once in a while a situation comes up that I sit at my desk for a moment and realize how lucky I really am to be where I am at in life. I had that happen today.

One of the Doctors I work for called to let me know that there was a “match” for something that was going to be needed for one of his patient’s for an upcoming surgery. That meant there was a donor. When there is a donor, that means someone died to be able to donate what is needed. 

I thought about that “donor” all day long. This person died, and made the decision to be an organ donor. Which is really great and all, but I’m still hung up on the fact of how a donation happens. I worried about their family, and how they were coping with their own personal loss. But while they lost someone dear to them, that person’s decision to be an organ donor will give another person a chance at life. What an amazing gift to be able to give.

What a wonderful selfless act this person, and thousands more do on a daily basis. None of them said what’s in it for me? They acted selflessly to help others. It makes me get really happy/sad to think about. Also, it kind of makes my helping others look pretty small, but being able to see the difference in people’s lives is an amazing gift in itself. Organ donors have helped others live, see, walk, and have a chance at living again. (Gives me Goosebumps!)

I just wanted to say thank you to anyone out there that has made the decision to be an organ donor, and if you know someone who has died, and they were an organ and tissue donor, I bow down to their presence at the incredibly kind, and selfless act that they have done. You change people’s lives, and give the gift of life.
Sorry this wasn’t a post on writing, but I just wanted to share an experience with you, Thank you for reading.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Interview With Bili The Pink Elephant

An Interview With Bili the Pink Elephant

I have been accomplishing a lot of first’s lately. First time blogging, first book review, first book published, and now another first, my first interview!
For those of you who don’t know, there is a teeny tiny elephant who just happens to be pink. His name is Bili, the Pink Elephant. “He is no larger than a rabbit, no taller than a squirrel.” And he has an amazing story to share with all of us. So far there are two books released in the series, Concrete Jungle Adventures, books 1 and 2 respectively. I thought it would be fun to interview Bili, the character of the stories.

Bili, I was reading your story from the excerpt available on your author’s website, http://www.bilithepink.com/Excerpts.html and I was wondering if you could tell us, how did you get to the village?

Well I was kidnapped from the African bush by some strange two-legged creatures and they send me to the concrete jungle (the village) 

In your book, you talk about the people , er, two-legged creatures. They seem to be living with a lot of secrets, do you have any secrets you would be willing to share with us?

  My secret is that despite being pink and small, I am still a real elephant.

 Do you believe what the villagers believe, especially "Everyone has a right to be private and to be left in private to do their private things in private!" How does that make you feel?

Well in the elephant kingdom we are all family and we care for each other. We do respect other's privacy but not at the expense of their wellbeing. We have UBUNTU (Humanity)

Without giving too much of your story away, can you tell us more of where you come from?

  From the elephant bush plains, near he mighty Zambezi river which empties into the majestic Victoria Falls.

I see there are two of your adventures released so far for us to enjoy learning of you, can we expect there will be more?

Yes, much more about 18 more series coming soon. So Bili's fans should brace themselves for more interesting adventures. 

5. Are there any other pink elephants that are about the size of a rabbit and no taller than a squirrel?  

Yes I am sure there are many and they know in their hearts they are pink elephants.  


Bili, thank you for sharing a little bit more about yourself with us, and for the coming to visit my blog. I hope to be able to read all of your adventures in the concrete jungle!




Friday, July 29, 2011

My Ups and Downs of Publishing My First Book

   My poor neglected blog! I have spent the past week on vacation from my day job. Which is great, I have been able to pretend for the last week that my job is that of a writer. I get up, make some coffee and after all the animals and children are fed, I get to sit at my computer and write. This week has been so much fun, and I have been able to use my mind (well part of it anyways, I don’t get full use of it with teenagers drivers in the house!) to focus on my characters and creating some new ones, delving into my plot for the second book.
But while I was “playing”’ writer, my blog was being neglected. (sorry blog) Not so much my entire blog, just where I try to come up with something witty and charming to say that makes my readers break out in song, and all of the problems of the world are solved…..I digress…..

But seriously this week has been a great time to let my mind wander. I have been searching blogs like crazy devouring as much information as I can about publishing and marketing. And even though I haven’t quite gotten all of the kinks out of it, I have been able to get my book published, and it is up on Amazon and Smashwords for now, and as soon as Smashwords goes over it with a fine tooth comb (again, but the third time’s the charm!) Then it should be available at Sony and Apple as well. I was able to learn a massive amount about formatting thanks to The Smashwords Style Guide.
I’m not sure if you remember, but back a month ago when I first started this little blog, I was so excited that I found BookBaby.com. It seemed great with them, they would walk me through the entire publishing process, acting as my “publisher.” They have so many bells and whistles that they offer, I thought this was the best choice for me. Mainly because I was intimidated by the concept of formatting, and didn’t think I would be able to do any of the submission stuff on my own. It has been over two weeks since I signed up with Bookbaby, and after I sent my book, and my money they sent me a generic e-mail letting me know it could take up to 10 days to get the book back to me, to make sure I approved it. I thought I could be patient, but I’m not. Plus, I am a HUGE fan of communication. I like to know what is going on, especially with something like this. This book is like a child to me. I would like to know how things are going, what they are thinking, blah, blah, blah, you get the idea.

I got nervous not hearing anything from Bookbaby, so I went to Smashwords to see if I could do it myself. And guess what, I did! I am not saying this to bash bookbaby, I guess I am just offering it as a public service announcement. Just because it wasn’t a right fit for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work well for you. However, if you are like me, and you are reading this blog because you would like a less expensive way to publish, or maybe to spend your money on something else, like your cover for example, go to Smashwords first. The style guide at Smashwords will help you with any formatting problem you may have. They can also get you an ISBN for your book for free. Believe me, if I can do it anyone can do it.

Thanks to the wonderful people at Smashwords and their no nonsense guide I was able to upload my book, and within 24 hours, it was up for sale. So far my book is available on Amazon and Smashwords. And even though I had it for free for about 24 hours, people downloaded it. Sure it would be great to be paid for it, but it’s my first book, and just knowing that my book is on someone’s kindle is one of the top 10 feelings. Pretty cool to know someone is reading my story, I sure hope they like it!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

PINELIGHT BOOK REVIEW

I have read many blogs, and have often seen the book reviews that other have written about stories they have read. And I can honestly say that I have never been compelled to write one, until now.

I am a really hard reader to capture. When I begin a book, it has to draw me in from the beginning lines. I have started many books, and get bored, or just can’t find the motivation to continue reading. So when I find something I like, it has to be able to not only capture my interest, but keep it throughout the story.

I found this in the novel PINELIGHT, by Jillian Peery.


I downloaded the sample first from Amazon, and was hooked. After I downloaded the complete book, I actually sat down, and read it from beginning to end. (I read very fast) This book sucked me in. The characters come to life, and jump off of the pages, leaving you (the reader…..) wanting more, to find out what happens to Clara, and her Aunt Alice, and Norma, and Finn, and Edmund..…… and the descriptions of the places offered in this book are incredible, I think I want to go to Ireland now……..I could go on and on, but I am afraid if I do I will offer spoilers to the story, which I don’t like to do. I think it is better for you to read, and grasp the story for yourself, so you are able to visualize what this very gifted story teller is able to create for your mind.

The imagery that is created in this book is what dreams are made of.  If you try the sample, you will be hooked on the story and will be downloading it, I promise!

This story is a great twist on what a paranormal romance should be (in my humble opinion) You have a strong heroin who doesn’t realize how strong she is. Clara is repeatedly facing unique situations that make her question her past, and her sanity at times. She faces unknown dangers realistically which makes this story believable and enjoyable.

I am afraid if I continue, I am going to give the book away and I really don’t want to do that. I think it is best for you to experience this story yourself, and it’s only .99 at Amazon, and it is well worth your time. You will be happy with this story, and I am really excited to read more from Jillian Peery.

Friday, July 22, 2011

IMPROVED BOOK TRAILER

Ok, so I think I got it now! The improved book trailer is done!

video

Thanks Wendy for the feedback, it is greatly appreciated!

As to when WITHIN DREAMS will be available for purchase? I am still waiting for bookbaby to format my manuscript, and I am getting really anxious for it to be ready to go. I feel like I am 8 years old again, and it is Christmas Eve, waiting on Santa! 
Come on bookbaby, the suspense is killing me!
On a good note, the anticipation is leading me to spending a lot of time writing the second of the series, DARK DREAMS, which I hope will be available for purchase some time in September. I will make sure that I anticipate an extra week or two for the formatting!

Again, any feedback is helpful, and wonderful!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

THIS IS ONLY A TEST

I have been playing all day long with creating a book trailer, and hopefully this will work, but as the title of the blog says, this is only a test (insert smile here)

video

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Teaser

With it being Saturday, I can sit and write. All of the work week is done. And now I am fortunate enough to be able to sit at home on my big comfy couch with my computer poised precariously in my lap and write.

With my first book now in the capable hands of the wonderful people at Bookbaby.com I can sit back and do what I love, write. The outline for the second book is completed, now its just a matter of putting all of those ideas down, and having my story pick up where the last one finished off. I love this feeling, it's like when your a kid in school, and you come back in the fall after a long summer vacation. You get to see all of your friends, and hear about what they did over the break. You get to search for new faces, and find out about the newcomers. this is what it feels like for me sitting down to create the next novel in my series. Exciting and challenging, all at the same time.

So with my creativity pulsing through my veins it is time to get to work. But before I go, I wanted to share with you the 'blurb' of the first book:


What would you do if your dreams really came true?

Ever since Kate Montgomery was a child she would have dreams of a boy. Whenever something scary was about to happen, this boy would find her through her dreams.

She would see his eyes, and know everything would be alright, she knew she would be safe. And as Kate grew older, the dreams of the boy continued. As she aged, so did the boy. She wished for her dreams of him to be real. And she soon feels as if she is losing her mind, she isn't sure if she is actually dreaming anymore. And she will have to decide how far she is willing to go, when love is at stake.

Is she strong enough to find out? Is she strong enough to survive?



A young nurse in a small suburban hospital, Kate Montgomery works hard just to be average. From the outside, everything appears normal. Kate has convinced the world that she is just an ordinary girl who is good at her job. But when she goes to sleep, all of the normal world disappears.

She hasn’t had an easy life. Both of her parents were killed, and she was forced to grow up too fast. Trying to avoid the pressures of reality, Kate fantasizes about a love so real. She can’t seem to relate to any real man. She finds herself torn between the desire of truly knowing love, and wishing to just be normal.

Unfortunately, Kate isn't normal. She has a gift that she is not willing to admit. On her way to acceptance, Kate is forced to make decisions that will change the world as she sees it. Although she doesn't want to accept the truth, she cannot deny the love she feels. But when she is able to just let go and accept it, Kate will have a whole new level of realism to deal with.

When unearthly visitors make their presence known, Kate must decide if she is able to accept the unknown as real. With strange things occurring more often, Kate has no choice but to accept her gift and face the challenges head on just in order to survive. She questions if she is strong enough to survive, but with love at stake she finds the strength within herself to believe in her abilities.

Through her personal trials, Kate is led on a path of self-discovery that will change everything she has ever believed in.