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!  http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html


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 ;).

Kidding.

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 sitehttp://www.nanowrimo.org/ 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.



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Planning on going to a convention?

Ahhh-fall. The time when many writer/reader conventions come into bloom!

These events are wonderful for authors to gain insight to their craft, meet cohorts in the writing journey, and meet fans (or future fans ;)).

Just doing a Google search will bring up tons of these events and which one you go to depends on many variables--so you all go check them out on your own ;).


But here are some ideas for what to look for when picking one out:

Distance: how far are you willing to go? Does the city have other things you'd like to tag on as a vacation? Is it easy to get into? (I had a 45 minute cab ride to and from the airport for an event earlier this year--NOT fun, nor cheap). Look for travel deals​ for Las Vegas, or whatever city you're going to. Most cities will have many sites and options.

What is the make up?: If you're a writer, are you looking to mingle with readers? Want some craft and business workshops? Network with the high and mighty in the publishing world? If you're going as a reader--do they have parties with lots of authors? Panels discussing aspect of books you love? Plenty of wonderful authors to mingle with?

Cost: This is where it gets messy kids. Most of these events aren't cheap. But they have some amazing experiences for attendees, so plan for the cost. Share rooms, drive it you can, whatever.


How to prepare once you've picked one:

Plan to wear comfortable shoes! You might think you'll be inside all day--which could be true, but might not be the case. Even if you are inside, some hotels are HUGE! I've done two events at the Rio in Las Vegas--mega walking and you never go outside!

Pack pens, notebooks, your cards. Writers- you need to be ready to hand out cards, bookmarks, whatever from the time you get there. Even readers--if you have personal cards and want to give your favorite writer something, drop your card in with what you're bringing. Plus, some events do giveaways, so little things with your name and email are dang handy. 

Plan who you'll see: If you've got some favorite authors attending, bring things for them to sign (and buy a book or two ;)). Read everything in ebook? No worries- make a scrap book of print outs of the authors' covers you want to see. Have them sign their page. You end up with an awesome keepsake.

Be social! Okay, this one can be hard for everyone. But writers can be very reclusive. So, if you're an author, practice smiling at folks. Nothing more--just smile. And readers, if your favorite author is looking lost--share a smile with them--they are more scared of you than you are of them!

There's an event coming up in Las Vegas, Love N. Vegas (no, I'm not going to be there- but a heck of a lot of authors are!) and the fine folks at www.vegas.com would love to help you get ready to go.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

#IWSG Surprise! You're a (published) writer!!

Welcome to another chapter of how the pages turn....oops. Another chapter of the famous, Insecure Writers Support Group! (let ya in on a secret--most all writers are insecure, so if you are one, and you haven't joined us--do so now!)

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

The wonderful folks behind this global event, offer a question that can be addressed each month in our blogs--today's was if we had surprised ourselves with our writing at any time.

IF? Every single time I write I am surprised by something. Now granted, sometimes it's a "who wrote this crap?!" thought. But many times it's more of a shock at what I have created.

I have a mini book empire!

Now the fact that I write isn't a shock. I've done it off and on for as long as I can recall. But the fact that I went forward when editors and agents were finally saying, "love this" but it was followed by the, "But I have too many of this sub-genre", or "Humorous fantasy isn't selling to NY right now".  I went forward and shoved my babies out into the wild anyway.

Now self-publishing isn't for the weak at heart. You have to know what you can do, and what you can't. I hire professional editors, an amazing cover artist, and a formatter. 

But my books are out there.

Two have won awards recently.

Three have been "Top Picks" from RT Book Reviews.

I've had all four of the fantasy books in the top twenty for their category at the same time.

Can I quit my day job? No. Am I a household name and auto buy for millions of readers? No.

But I am a published writer. I did what I had to do to get my worlds (two so far, more on the way ;)) out there. And folks like them (some do, some don't--it's the way of life ;)).

So, my biggest surprise about writing, is just that, writing. The stories are a surprise, my path as a published author is a surprise. Everything.

Happy IWSG day and may all your surprises be good ones!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Down time and why we create

Summer is a very busy time for me. Not sure about other writers, but last summer got hectic (in a good way) and this summer even more so. Summer might be my books' time of year ;).

This is good. Books need notice and hectic means noticed books.

But it still takes a lot out of a person. Positive stressors are still stressors. So down time is important. This year I fell upon the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas. This is their big event and so many awesome actors were there it was a joy.

I went by myself, drawn by the 30th Anniversary of Star Trek Next Gen (yes, gasp and feel old--I do ;)). But they had actors from all of the series, and even one or two from the movies. I made a shocking realization that the last "Big" Trek even I went to was the original series 20th...as in it was 31 years ago-LOL.

I had a lot of fun and running solo meant I could do what I wanted when I wanted. Once I got into the swing of it, it was good to be on my own (okay, not completely alone, I posted everything on Facebook ;)).

I needed that escape, that time just to do what I wanted. To recharge. 

Which leads to the second half of this post--why we create.

Creating art (books, paintings, drawings, movies, acting, music, whatever) is hard. There are times it's a joy, but alot of time it is work. And stress. So why do we do it?

Aside from being deranged people who can't NOT do it?

We create to bring something to other people. Life is scary, even more so these days. Creating something that makes folks laugh, dream, move beyond the scary for just a while makes a difference. The other night I was upset and channel surfing. I hit the last part of Shrek. I've seen it many times, but just getting lost in the silliness and charm did wonders for my spirit.

That's why I create. I hope that my books bring some joy, laughter, and escapism to people out there.

Take care of each other (and yourselves ;)).