Wednesday, July 3, 2024

#IWSG The Naming of Books is a Curious Matter


Welcome to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop! Can’t speak for the others, but yup—insecurity is my middle name sometimes 😉.

Once a month writers gather online to share, cheer, and lament this writing world we’re in.


Today I’d like to talk about a topic currently near and dear to me—naming books. The book that launched in January, had its title for years—Destruction of Chaos (Following Essence of Chaos and Division of Chaos in that trilogy.) That was easy peasy.

But, I’ve got three projects currently—and until a few days ago none of them had titles. Oh, they had placeholders, and two still do—FAERIES 2024 and JINN 2024. The one that has its title now was VAS 2024 but is now Keeper’s Tempest.

So, how do I name my books?

Each series has a unique pattern within the series and is different from the other unrelated series.

The first six Lost Ancients (Fantasy) were all named after a part of a broken relic staff that my characters needed to find, whether they wanted to or not. 

The Glass Gargoyle, The Obsidian Chimera, and The Emerald Dragon were the first three. For the continuation of that series, I needed new items as we’d dealt with that staff in the first six books. The Seeker’s Chest, The Finder’s Crown, The Hunter’s Chalice, FAERIES 2024….okay, that last will get a title….anytime now 😉. I'm only about an eighth of the way done with the draft, it'll come to me!

The space opera series is currently at book 6 (there are two trilogies—don’t ask). Warrior Wench, Victorious Dead, and Defiant Ruin are the first set. All three are names of starships but also say a bit about one or more of my main characters. Similar style, but slightly different in tone, the next three are Traitor’s Folly, Destroyer’s Curse, and now, Keeper’s Tempest. Again, starships and reflections of the stories.

Probably one of my most fun trilogies (so far 😉) to name have been the steampunk ones—A Curious Invasion (aliens and vampires in Victorian London), The Mayhem of Mermaids (fishy people aren’t all good), and An Intrigue of Pharaohs (Egyptian trouble makers back from the dead!)  These books have a different feel and pace than my other series. Still action and adventure, but a bit slower pace. The titles worked to show that (in my opinion-LOL) and also tell a bit of what’s going on inside.

The other trilogy that was fun to name was an Urban Fantasy thriller. The Girl with the Iron Wing, An Uncommon Truth of Dying, and Through a Veil Darkly. The tone and length of the titles are different from the other series but consistent with each other. These books are a bit darker than my other books and so are the titles.

Our covers and titles are the first thing we have to catch a potential reader’s eye and give them a reason to look into buying our books. They don’t need to be perfect, but ideally, they should reflect the tone and genre of the book and series.

How do you create titles for your stories?

Happy IWSG DAY!!!



Wednesday, June 19, 2024

TWO DAY Free ebook sale! Over 200 books!



Join over 180 fantasy, SF, and more authors in this special two day sale. These ebooks are available world wide!

If you haven't read my The Glass Gargoyle or Essense of Chaos, they're in there too!

Grab your books quickly!

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

#IWSG--it's always changing

 Welcome to another episode of How the Book Turns--a blog run of authors across the globe as we wail, gnash teeth, and generally love what we do--join us!

The awesome co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Liza at Middle Passages, Shannon Lawrence, Melissa Maygrove, and Olga Godim!

Today I'm looking at changes in our writing world and how they are the one constant we have.

Way back in grad school, I knew what to do. Take the courses, write the papers, design, propose, and defend my thesis, and then get my degree. Easy, peasy. (Ignoring the massive amount of work—the work was hard, but the path was easy 😉)

Sadly, writing doesn't work that way. Oh, the writing part is the same, more, or less, kinda sorta. Read some books from 50 years ago in your genre. Some are classics, some make you wince. Writing styles and preferences change with time.

But it's the business end and getting the elusive readers and sales that can be soul-crushing, confusing, and maddening.

There isn’t a nice clean go from point A to B to C to success. And even when you have some success (whatever you define it—we all have our own valid success metrics) the next month, week, or even day, it can crumble.

The graph for most writers is an insanely swirling line that goes up, down, sideways, backward, and sometimes into a black hole.

So, how do we cope?

Good question!

The first thing I’d suggest is to sort out what success means to you. You don’t need to tell anyone. Just you. That success can change, and doesn’t need to be related to numbers—aka “Sell X number of books” or “Make X number of dollars”. It can be as general and vague as you want. And it can and should change as you work your way through this writing path.

Secondly—don’t change everything because a successful author said to do things a certain way. Yes, they might have succeeded doing exactly what they are telling others to do. BUT- unless you have the same books they do, the exact same skills they have, your situation will be different.

And their way might have worked six months ago, or longer, but not now. I’m not saying don’t listen to other authors—do! 😊. But listen to what they say carefully, pluck out the parts that resonate with you, dump the rest, and move on.

The biggest thing is EXPECT THINGS TO CHANGE. I’m definitely a “prefers a nice clean path of what to do and what my results will be” gal. Sadly, I’m a writer and that option doesn’t exist. I’m now working on accepting that and pivoting way more than I used to.

What about you? How do you deal with change in the writing world?

Happy IWSG Day!







Thursday, May 9, 2024

FREE ebooks! May 9th!

 This post is short and sweet--

There are a bunch of free Urban Fantasy ebooks available today!

Grab them here!

Start a new series today!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

#IWSG Getting past the distractions

 Welcome to another monthly blog post about writers and the mayhem we get into!



Today I'm going to talk about distraction. To be fair it was this month's suggested question but it hit home, so I'm running with it ;).

Everyone in every field has to deal with distractions. It's part of life. But, for writers, who sometimes are writing-avoidant (aka most of us at one point or another) distractions can be a serious danger.

Whether you're a plotter a pantser, or somewhere in between, staying focused on the world you're creating is important.

Family members, pets, roommates, and total strangers can all throw that off.

Not to mention to lure of social media.

Even with no one in the house, aside from a sometimes pushy cat, I can get massively distracted by social media.

The urge to get that little hit of dopamine from an interesting or engaging post--or a comment or post from a friend, is hard to avoid. “Just one more check,” we say as we hit the pellet bar again. Even when we know there’s nothing worth being pulled from our work, we have to make sure.

There’s a reason why when people study rat behavior that the random reward creates the most clicks on that pellet bar. If we’re never sure when something good will be there—we keep clicking over.

So, distraction is bad.

How do we address it? I’ve heard of ways to lock out social media on your computer for a period of time. I haven’t gone there yet, but might eventually.

Right now, I use my progress to determine when I can have a distraction break. X number of words done (or chapters edited), and I get a break.

I also break up my writing with stretches and eye breaks (looking off into the distance for 20 seconds).

And I’m starting meditation which, while not specifically aimed at distractions or writing, does help build focus.

I recently lowered my daily word count goals, but am finding the less I give in to distraction—the more I can accomplish. Who’d a thunk it!?

What about you—how does distraction impact your writing? What have you tried to help with it?

Thanks for coming by and happy IWSG Day!

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

#IWSG --Sometimes it feels like Sisyphus had it easy.

 Welcome to the monthly clearing of the minds also known as the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Writers from near and far join in on the first Wednesday of the month to share our worries and tales of writing life.


Join us!

Folks, this writing business is hard. I'm not going to lie.

You're plunking along, doing your writing, marketing, etc--and something just hits you between the eyes and pushes you down.

Then it seems like everyone is doing better than you, just to kick you in the teeth.

I know logically that we're all at our own pace--and success for one is not the same as for another. AND that looking for external validation is a step toward madness. (That Master's in Psych loves to point these things out. ;))

But when you're feeling like you keep pushing  a boulder up the hill, you see a light at the top, and then it rolls right back down, it sometimes takes a bit to shake it off.

I know it will be okay. Logically.

This has happened before--many times--and might happen again. I'll sort it out eventually.

But, my point is for everyone--this happens.

I saw a new writer in a group (not IWSG) run into some issues and were unhappy about the response to their only book. So they were pulling their book and throwing in the towel. After a few weeks.

They left before anyone could respond.

Writing is the most wonderful, amazing, maddening, soul draining, intense, and slow-moving field.

Don't expect to hit it out of the park on your first try. Or your fiftieth. You might never make it.

I'm not trying to be negative--but if you're writing for the right reasons (whatever works for you as long as $$$$ or fame aren't attached--not saying money is bad, I happen to really like money. BUT it probably shouldn't be the only reason you write. Just sayin')--you've already hit it out of the park.

Part time, full time, an hour a week--you are doing what your heart wants. You could become someone's favorite writer someday.

There will be downs. And ups....and more downs but kind sorta in the middle of up and down.

The point is, even when that boulder chases you back down the hill--believe in yourself to be able to deal with it.

How do you deal with your frustrations in the writing world?

Happy IWSG day!

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

#IWSG-- Never give up, never surrender!


Welcome to the monthly clearing of the minds also known as the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Writers from near and far join in on the first Wednesday of the month to share our worries and tales of writing life.


Join us!


The title of this blog is from a movie (wanna guess?) but it also sums up a writing career.

Definitely sums up MY writing career.

I just released my twenty-sixth novel--add three novellas--and this is #29. 

I'm proud of this book and the series--and SO extremely glad that it's OUT there now!

But I've never had as many problems with any book as I had with Destruction of Chaos.

1) The book just wasn't working and last fall (when it was supposed to come out) I stopped and cut out one hundred and fifty pages.

2) That cost me my preorder privileges from Amazon for a year and blocked the book (didn't know about the blocking issue until I went to release it--good times).

3) Ended up with a MASSIVE book for me. Most of my books are in the 120,000-word range--this one was 167,000. Even after a lot of editing.

4) Had to work with Amazon when I went to put it up--that whole "blocked" issue. The nice person in the chat said that they fixed it. I asked about the series number since it kept showing the original failed fall attempt. They promised it would be fine.

5) It's not fine. My trilogy all says there are four books in the series--one being the invisible blocked one.

6) I tried to set up the print version...sigh. Amazon has the ISBN for that one as already being used. On the blocked version. I might end up losing that ISBN.

7) Goodreads, since it is owned by Amazon, had that book blocked as well and I'm still fixing it.

BUT...I kept going. This book was late when I started it, so it's been two years since the prior book. Then add in all the issues and whatnot.

I could have just left that one hundred and fifty pages in, slapped on some half-assed ending, and been done.

I'm too stubborn for that. There are a lot of talents that writers need. I'd say that tenacity is the most important. All you have to do is get back up one more time than you get knocked down ;).

What about you? Where have you stuck with the fight and completed your work?

Happy IWSG day!