Monday, March 30, 2015

Positive Feedback

I recently received some really amazing feedback from my editor on my latest project. Was my MS perfect? No, of course not. But she's edited three of my books so far, and with this one she noticed a marked improvement in the quality of my writing. “This is probably the single best thing about being an editor. Truly. The amount you’ve improved from Sweet Dreams to Angels in Disguise to this (Sea Breeze, coming this summer) is amazing.” Yes! She said a lot of other squeal worthy stuff that I’m keeping to myself, but it made my day…week actually. She sent me her notes and suggested corrections, and there were really only three places she was asking me to reword. The rest was adding in some of the dreaded comas. (Lord knows if I’ll ever figure those suckers out.) It was an incredible feeling. Does loving her comments and sharing them here make me narcissistic? Hmmm, let’s see…

Narcissistic-have an undue fascination with oneself; vain

No, that’s not it. Her words made me feel good about my work and progress, but I am not fascinated with myself by any means. Am I being vain?

Vain-excessively proud of or concerned about one’s own appearance, qualities, achievements, etc.; conceited

No, that’s not it either. I am proud of this achievement, but in no way conceited about it. I know I still have a long way to go. In fact, I’m finishing up my self-edits on another full length novel before I send it to said editor, and now I worry that it won’t be as good as Sea Breeze. Now that I know I am moving in the right direction with my writing, I’m afraid of taking two steps forward and one step back. What if, because of the length of this book, or any other reason, my current WIP isn’t up to that same level of quality? I want my writing to improve with each book I write, and now I’m doubting myself. Does that make me insecure? Diffident?

Diffident-lacking confidence in one’s own ability, worth, or fitness; timid, shy

I do not have a lack of confidence in my worth or potential, but by no means do I pretend to be an expert on writing. No, I look for advice from the experts. I want to grow and reach that level someday where other writers are looking to me for advice, commending me for my style.

I never started writing to become a famous writer. Honestly, I had a story in me and thought, “Hey, I’m going to write a book,” just to see if I could do it. It was more of a bucket list goal. But now I’m hooked. Just as good books hook the reader, I’ve been hooked into writing. I now want that praise. I want readers to discover my work, to love my work, to recommend my books to other readers. I want each book I produce to be better than the last. And I want my last book to be my masterpiece. What does that make me?

Ambitious-eagerly desirous of achieving or obtaining success, power, wealth, a specific goal, etc.

I do desire the success of achieving the very specific goal of becoming a better writer. The wealth that can come, if you’re lucky, with being a best seller someday, or the power that comes with it, is a dream for most writers. Hey, I won’t deny it would be nice.

Now, I just need to finish my current self-edits and hand over my new novel to my editor. (Bites fingernail.) I hope it’s good enough.
How do you react to positive feedback? Does it spur you on, or cause you to doubt?
You can find me online at
Sea Breeze is coming this summer. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review-Conduit of Souls

This past weekend, I read a romance that was truly unique.

The book-Conduit of Souls, the author- G. S. Bailey. I've read short stories before. I've written them as well, one published and one to be published this summer, but this book of six was different from anything I've ever read before.

Although two of my favorites, Witch and Never Linger, overlap, each was a completely contained stand alone short story. The author created fully developed settings and characters for each with such few words, I was truly impressed.

There is an underlying paranormal aspect in each; ghosts, cannibals, witches, reincarnation, time travel, vampires, and astral projection. Life and death. Love and hate. Fear and courage. Karma and redemption. All themes the author addresses. There are spiritual undertones, not necessarily religious ones.

Honestly, the stories made my heart pound in a couple of different ways. I'm not big on horror, but I love suspense. There were a couple that boarder on horror for me. My blood rushed worrying about the characters and how they were going to... I won't put a spoiler here. But they weren't so scary that I expect any nightmares.

There was also a bit of sexy erotica in a couple of them, which gets the blood flowing in an entirely different way. It was written well and offset the darker aspects of those stories.

In the end, the author ties the book together nicely. The plots are all different, yet somehow, work well as a compilation.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, I probably never would have chosen this book myself, but I am really glad I did. Now, I'm anxious to read other works by this author.

Goes to show, sometimes you need to read outside the box.

You can find my Goodreads review here. Remember, if you read a good book, make sure to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. You may help someone else discover a new book they might never have chosen without your written recommendation.

What book(s) have you read recently that you would recommend?

You can find me online at

Happy Monday.

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Romance-coming this summer

I love summer. The long daylight hours, the warmth, and lazy afternoons by the pool are my idea of heaven. I love leaving the house at night and not having to worry about carrying a coat. It's my absolute favorite time of year.

That's why when the Writing Wenches said, "Hey anyone want to participate in a summer anthology?" I was in.

I'm now pleased to announce I've finished writing Sea Breeze, a 20k word romantic short that will be published this summer as part of the Writing Wenches summer romance anthology.

My story takes place on the Stella Maris, during a fourteen day cruise in the Caribbean. Jordan, my FMC, is a flair bartender from Vegas and a guest. Eric, my MMC, works as a bartender on the ship. Jordan's looking for a fresh start, and the two can't seem to stay away from each other. Will they find love? Who knows, anything is possible.

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Thanks for reading.

You can find me and all my links online at

Monday, March 9, 2015

Supporting Authors-The Ugly Truth

Being part of the writing community is amazing. There's so much to learn, and so many wonderful writers willing to share their wisdom with their piers. Ask for advice, and you will get it. Ask for resources, your inbox will overflow with suggestions. Need critique partners, people will raise their hand. Need a beta reader, I've got several, that will be honest with me, and not just blow smoke up my ass telling me I'm wonderful if my WIP needs work. You have a big launch coming up and need help spreading the word, your writer friends will have your back and happily share tweets and posts with their followers. At least, that's what my writer friends do. I'm feel very lucky. I'm lucky. (That's stronger.) See, I'm learning.

Here's where it gets tricky. I know there are people out there that will bash an authors work. Why? I have no idea. Why don't they simply say, I didn't like the book, or it wasn't for me, or I'm not a fan of this writer's style? Or if the book needs editing, send the writer an email. I have no interest in putting down a fellow writer, or believe myself to be better than anyone else. I'm here to support you, not step on you.

When I first started writing, which wasn't that long ago, I asked my first few friends in the community if they would be interested in an ARC of my soon to be released novel. They happily accepted.

The first reader sent me an email, letting me know she found several typographical errors in the MS and suggested I proofread and correct prior to release. I was disappointed, yet so appreciative, I thanked her profusely for letting me know in time. I swooped into action, made the changes, had it reformatted, and re-uploaded to Amazon and Smashwords only two days prior to the release date. Ready to go. Maybe not.

It was my first book, and even though I spent months editing, I'm not an editor. I thought I couldn't afford an editor. I was blind to the flaws in the book. I had read it so many times, I could recite it word for word. I thought it was done. I was wrong.

The second reader waited about two weeks to send me her feedback, not a long turnaround by any means, but she was holding back, trying to figure out how to tell me that my MS had issues without hurting my feelings. By that time I had already released my book. She finally emailed me and pointed out several places where she felt the writing was weak along with some major grammar issues. I'm not going to lie. It stung. Badly. I wanted to cry. She was kind and told me all the things she loved about the story, but she also told me all the places she felt it needed work. It was a hard pill to swallow. However, later I would realize she was absolutely 100% correct.

I decided it was too late. I sold some copies and felt relatively positive about the whole thing, having received some good reviews, but her comments kept eating at me. Once I realized all the marketing I should be doing and how to use applications like Canva, I started creating teasers for my book. By that time, my writing had already improved leaps and bounds. With the help of fellow writers, I was learning more about writing, editing, and all sorts of tips and tricks about character development. I had improved. I continue to do so every day.

I cut and paste a passage into a graphic I created for a teaser, and guess what? It was missing commas (which are the bane of my existence) and I realized the writing was extremely passive. So, I read my book again, after months of not looking at it, and I was shocked. It still needed editing, and the comments from my writerly friend came back to me.

I had been working with a group of writers on an anthology for the holidays, and during that time I worked with a professional editor for the very first time. It opened my eyes. I gobbled up her comments. And when I went back and read my novel, I knew I needed to fix it.

Long story short, I hired an editor (the same editor I worked with on the holiday anthology) and asked her to help me with a copy edit. I love my story and didn't want to change the plot, but I did want help catching all those things I missed when I published without an editor.

Once the edit was done, I re-uploaded it, and now if people don't like my story, it won't be because I didn't know how to use a comma or a dialogue tag properly. Thanks to my editor, I do.

So, now when I act as a critique partner, I know how important it is to be honest with the writer. They don't have to agree with me, but at least I gave honest feedback and they can choose what to do with it. Same thing with beta reads.

With ARCs, it's a little harder. Sometimes we receive them prior to release and other times the books are already published. When I review, I take several things into consideration, and you can read about them in my Writing Wenches blog post How I Approach a Review, but I am honest. It's important to be so, but I have no desire to hurt an author by leaving a bad review either. So, if I cannot give at least a three star review, I decline to review. I've had to send my own emails to authors after reading their ARCs with notes about editing as well. It's never easy, but it's better to let them know personally the flaws I found when reading, than to say nothing. How are they going to know there's a formatting issue with their Kindle version, or that there are typos or missing punctuation, or that maybe there are some inconsistencies in the story line if no one tells them. I want to leave rave reviews for every book I read, but sometimes I just can't.

Sometimes the truth hurts, but if it's constructive, then maybe it's exactly what's needed to become a better writer. As for me, I have a group of trusted writers, who I know will be honest with me, because they want me to succeed. Oh, and an amazing editor. If there are plot holes, or inconsistencies they will tell me the ugly truth. Thank goodness.

Have you ever received feedback from a fellow writer that hurt at the time, but ended up helping you in the end?

You can find me online at

Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Staying on Task-Time Management for Writers

Staying on task is not exactly easy to do, especially for writers. We have, at any given time, several different story lines running through our heads, which include plot points, scenes, character development; ooh I'll add that new twist I thought of as I was falling asleep last night that will make my story that much more interesting.

At the same time we are thinking about our next blog post, possible topics to discuss, how to get more interaction on the blog with readers; ooh I can do a poll and see what readers are looking for in the blogs they follow.

There is also the social media aspect of if it all. I need to post at least once a day to my Facebook author page, interact with any commentators, update my Twitter status and interact with my fellow Tweethearts, check in with my Google+ crew and make sure I'm commenting and sharing as much as possible. Try not to get sucked into Pinterest; ooh there is a Twitter chat tonight on editing I can't miss.

We are always reading, for pleasure, ARCs, beta reading, research; ooh I need to check in on Goodreads and update my reviews of the last three books I read this week. Must review all books and set a good example for other readers out there.

We belong to writing groups online and maybe in person; ooh I need to check in with the Writing Wenches and catch up on assignments and today's headlines, then with Alliance and see what great new resources are listed, then with 10 Minute Novelists to see what talks are coming up, and World Literary CafĂ© still has so many resources I have yet to explore.

Now I have twenty minutes to myself; my spouse is in the shower and the kids are in bed, and now you want me to sit down and write?

How in the name of all that is Jane Austen am I supposed to do that?

I spend way more time doing all of the above, which is all to support my writing career, than actually writing or putting word count in on my WIP.

It's hard. Really hard.

Most writers have heard of Nano Wrimo, it's a month long writing sprint to help writers try and meet a word count goal. Many use it to get whole first drafts done on books they are writing. I haven't been able to commit yet. However, one of the fabulous Writing Wenches, Michele, came up with Wencho Wrimo for February to try and keep us all on task and actually get words down on paper. It has been a great motivator. Many of us are using the subgroup to keep track of our daily word counts. Some of the wenches have put in word counts worthy of full length books. I've put in about 8300 words on my summer anthology WIP.

My advice is, when you're in a groove, and the words are flowing, try really hard to stay in the chair and keep writing until it is absolutely necessary for you to move. Turn off all your apps and social sites and only leave your word doc whatever software program you use open. Do not check email, do not glance at your phone when the next Twitter or Facebook status notification hits. Stay and write until you can no longer. You can check your networks once you are done. Keep the TV off. Music tends to help writers focus and block out the rest of the world, so consider putting in your ear buds. Make sure you have a beverage next to you so there is no excuse to get up, and let your family know you're in the zone and can't be disturbed. If you have an office, get a do not disturb sign and hang it on the doorknob. In my case, my family knows when I'm at my laptop with my ear buds in, do not disturb me unless someone has fallen and they can't get up. Keep the distractions to a minimum.

We are not machines. If you are able to write everyday, I applaud you. Honestly, I cannot. I have to spread out my time and take advantage of the word flow when it hits. I'm usually too busy getting my next three blog posts scheduled and all my social networking done in order to sit down and write every day. That is just fact. If I didn't have a day job, things may be different.

Do you have advice for helping writers stay on task? What works for you? Please share your comments below. Thanks for reading.

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