Wednesday, February 7, 2018

#IWSG Genre

Hello and welcome to the monthly gathering of writers known as the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Join us!

Today's blogging question was what do you love about the genre you mostly write in. For those of you how haven't figured out by my blog--I write fantasy, SF, and steampunk. Since they all live in the same section of the bookstore, I'm going to treat them as a single genre.

First off, I do read fantasy/SF/steampunk, but I also read mysteries and romance. But my heart is in my geeky genre. 

I love the freedom that writing in my genre gives my imagination. As long as I keep things consistant to the world I've made, I'm free to go where I want and take my readers (and myself) on a grand adventure.

I don't write hard SF, mine is of the space opera or lighter variety. Think more Star Wars. I don't discuss the mechanics of my ships or weapons, just what they do. Nothing against hard SF--but I don't read it, and it's not my cuppa tea. Mine is more fantasy with blasters and starships. 

Fantasy can go anywhere. My current series is a humorous one. I also have two that are more epic, one that is urban fantasy-ish (major changes to our world during the time of the Black Plague makes it not our world now), steampunk fantasy, etc. Fantasy is a big, broad umbrella that has as many options as a writer can come up with.

My steampunk isn't very punky-LOL. I'd call it an Alternative Victorian SF Adventure. There are vamps. There are also some very determined aliens. These are fun in that the pacing is different. Yes, it's adventure, so there are things happening, but the word choices are very different from the other two. More stops for tea along the way ;).

So, I write what I love--including books I wanted to read but couldn't find anywhere else.

Happy IWSG day!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


In a writing group I belong to someone recently asked that question that pops up monthly it seems: 

What is your version of success as a writer?

I started thinking about book sales, reviews, fans, money...then I realized that success for me is that I'm still moving forward--still in the game. 

A very wise screenwriter friend once said about writing, "You can't fail, you can only quit." 

As long as you are still writing, still learning, still growing and building--you have not failed. So inversely, if I am still moving forward, I consider that a success.

Sales come and go.Reviews come and go (especially with Amazon randomly pulling them...grrrr). Money comes and goes. Fans hopefully stay and bring friends ;).

Would I love for all of those things to just keep moving upward in a giant spike of goodness? Heck yeah! Is it a reality in this business? Nope. Even those big guns, the folks who we watch as they climb to writing stardom have bad days, weeks, years. But they keep going. As Dory the fish said, "Just keep swimming".

So for me, and hopefully others, writing success is to just keep moving. Failures will come--that's a given. But we just keep moving forward. Then we've succeed. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

#IWSG Moving forward

Welcome to the wonderful world of writing known as the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Writers from all over join forces once a month to share hopes, dreams, and terror ;).

Join us!

It's the first week of the new year, so, like most people, my thoughts have been on what I can do and what tools I need to push my writing career into the next phase.

I got a planner. Not just any planner, mind you--a magic time traveling one. I'd seen it on Amazon and it looked full of useful nooks and crannies. I love extra place to cram stuff. It has goal setting for the year (month by month on a single quick scan page) and then each month breaks down that months MOST important goal, reason for it, and steps.

It also has days broken up and a lovely two page at a glance month calendar.

The magic part came when I started filling it in. My goal this year is to hit an average word count of 1800 words (about six pages) a day six days a week. I'm aiming for four books this year, plus a novella. I am also in a program for advertising and will be running regular ads. I have a lot on 2018's plate.

But when I started writing everything in the planner I saw how feasible it actually was. Yes, I'm going to be pushing myself this year, but the time IS there. I have to want it. 

My magic planner sent me to the future, made my dreams workable, and is damn pretty besides :).

Defining and writing down your goals, makes them real. Everytime you look at those words, it reinforces the realness.

I hope everyone has a great IWSD! (and here's my planner if you're interested ;)) 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

#IWSG-2017 Do over?

Welcome to another chapter of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! This is a monthly event where writers from all over join to scream our fears into the void—Join us!

This month the mothership had a great wrap up the year question:

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

 2017 was an odd year, I did get two books out, The Sapphire Manticore and Victorious Dead. But I’d been aiming for 3. Life happens and this was definitely one of those years. I am proud of the two books I did get out, however.

As for what I would do differently? Get on board with a marketing plan. I was lucky enough to get a Book Bub feature, and the sales told me there’s a chance for my books—but you can’t count on an event like that. It’s akin to planning to pay your daily bills with your lottery winnings—that you haven’t won yet ;). So, I would have actually tried marketing instead of a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach.

I would also remind myself how much I love telling stories. Part of only getting out two books when I’d planned for three, was because I kept stumbling—not on the writing directly  but on everything around the writing. I need to get back to what I love and do it in its time, and do the marketing in its time.

Taking better care of myself. Healthy writer is a strong writer and this year I wasn’t very healthy. I need to get healthier so I can write more books!

So what will I be doing next year? All of the above ;).

Happy IWSG Day!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

#IWSG NANO time!

Welcome to the monthly blog-o-rama of the Insecure Writers Support Group! 

A gathering of writers from all across the land join in the craziness that is being a writer.

Join us!

Sadly, I missed last month being as I was out of the country traveling :(. 

But as much as I love Conwy, Wales, I had to come back--so I'm back to blogging!

Today's question was aptly about NaNo (National Novel Writing Month--Google it ;)). It asked if we A) usually finish, and B) if any of our Nano's had been published.

Yup and yup- short blog ;).


This is my 9th year and up until I published I usually always finished. After publishing, not so much. But the past two years saw me editing one book at the same time I was writing the new book. That's messy folks ;). This year due to health and a few random reasons, I am so far behind on my book that I'm ONLY writing. So, that bodes well.

As for them going on to published book standing: The Glass Gargoyle and Warrior Wench both started as NaNo's and Obsidian Chimera, Emerald Dragon, and Victorious Dead all were worked on during NaNo--so yeah.

I love NaNo for the feeling of camaraderie it creates. It's a completely mad adventure but it's fun to mix and mingle with other writers at all levels.

So ONWARD my fellow nanoers!

And happy IWSG day!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

#NaNoWriMo is COMING!

Something NaNo this way comes!

For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a month (November) when writers decide to announce to the cyberspace world their intention of completing 50,000 words in a new manuscript.

Now there are guidelines: It should be a new work and it should be a book. Not a collection of short stories- a book. They say if you think you’re writing a book, they will also.  My first few years I always started a new book each time. That’s where The Glass Gargoyle and Warrior Wench both got their starts. But when there are deadlines, even as a self-published author, ya have them, starting a brand new book each November isn’t feasible. So I’m going in with the spirit of NaNo (50,000 words in a month) but not the exact letter of the rules.

This year I’ll be a NaNo Rebel yet again. The words counted for NaNo will all be new and only from November. But they will be part of The Golden Basilisk, Book Five in The Lost Ancients fantasy series.

Prepping for NaNo is as important for the ninth time as it is for the first. This is a writing sprint and marathon rolled into one. 

  • ·       If you’re a plotter, having an outline will probably save your rear and your sanity. Realize you won’t be getting an entire book out, but you’re getting the bones.

  • ·       If you’re a pantser, do whatever you do to grab a hold of your characters and world.

  • ·       TRAIN! Some folks can and do crank out 1667 or more words a day—EVERY DAY. If, like me, you don’t always hit that—prep now. Make yourself increase your writing. A short story, another non-NaNo book, something. Track your words. Know how many on average you can pound out in an hour.

  • ·       Adjust your schedule. Say good bye to TV. Figure out what days are going to be non-writing and take them out of your calculation. 1667 words per day is for 30 days. It goes up to 1786 a day if you take just two days out.

  • ·       Tell your significant others what you are doing. You’re going to need support!

  • ·       Follow and buddy other writers—share your joy and pain on the forums on the NaNo page.

There’s no cost, you just go to their site and sign up. Then you look for folks you know and add them to your “buddy” list so that you can egg each other on. There are local groups for most areas, so even if you don’t know someone- you can meet some like minded folks.

Why would thousands of people, for the most part semi-sane, choose to inflict 50,000 words upon themselves like that? Why do people run marathons? Climb mountains? To have the experience. NaNo is like Mt. Kilimanjaro for writers. And it’s a great learning tool. Most writers, even we seat of the pants type folks- have some inner censor going on when we write. Some little voice that makes us stop and question ourselves mid-chapter.

You can’t do that during NaNo. In pure self-defense you have to take that little voice, stick a gag in his mouth, and ship him off to Siberia. When you’re cranking out 50,000 words (page count of 170-200 pages depending on the writer) in one month- you are writing FAST. Some may be crap, some not. But you cannot slow down to edit or self-censor.

It also teaches you to write through any blocks that come your way. You just bowl right over them. So when you return to your more normal level of writing, you’re not the same person. You’re faster, leaner, and more stubborn.

Welcome to the NaNo madness!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Imposter syndrome

 "Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud"."

The feeling of, “I’m a fake, and when people find out they will yell at me, mock me, tar & feather me, etc” can hit anyone in any field. It does however seem to be extremely common with writers.

Let’s start in the beginning. All writers start as readers. As readers we look up to those magic and amazing folks who create entire worlds out of thin air—worlds and people that can be as important as the real world to a fan.

Somewhere along the way, we get this idea that maybe WE could write a story. It doesn’t have to be big, or grand. Heck we won’t even tell anyone we’re doing it—what harm can it do? We’re not like REAL writers, right?

Then we start getting feedback, we’re showing our baby around—some folks love it and some folks hate it. But we’re just showing folks—no harm—and we’re still not a real writer after all.

That’s where this insidious imposter feeling starts. Those magic people who write the stories we love have some secret mojo that mere mortals like us could never have. Then the feeling of being “not a real writer” grows when we’re told we’re not real because we write in “XYZ genre”, and no “REAL writers write that drivel”. Or we’re not a real writer because we chose an alternative path to publication, “Well, you know self-published people are not real authors, right?”

We’re like Pinocchio—we look like a writer, but we obviously aren’t one.

I call bullshit.

If you write- you are a writer. You have every right to call yourself one and keep your head high. Not published yet? Still a writer- you’re working on publication. Indie? Still a freaking writer. Yes, some writers throw stuff up without even a second read, let alone beta readers and editors, but you’re not like that. Keep your head high.

Now I may sound all fierce about it now, but I did have Imposter Syndrome. Then one day I realized that I am a writer. I am not trying to be anyone else—I am Marie Andreas. I write Marie Andreas books. I publish Marie Andreas books. I write more BOOKS. I am the ONLY Marie Andreas around- therefore I am NOT impersonating anyone. I am genuine. I am a writer. I am Groot ;).

Folks don’t like it, they can go rot.

Now dig deep, focus your fierceness, and remind yourself you are YOU. There’s no impersonating going on.