Wednesday, December 5, 2018

#IWSG--Year end

Welcome to another chapter of the Insecure Writer's Support Group--join us!

 I'm going to take this chance to look back at 2018 in my writing world. Insecurities can build from the past and how we view it, so might as well face it head on.

This year I'd planned on getting four novels and one novella out. Now, these weren't all NEW writing. One book was done and in edits, another almost done. So two brand new books, and one finish up & edit, one edit, and one brand new novella for an anthology.

Pretty ambitious, if I do say so myself--especially with that full time day job.

I didn't make it.

I got out three books and the novella. I'm still writing the fourth and since it was so late it's looking like a spring release.

And I'm fine with it.

Years ago, I'd be freaked, or at the least feel like a failure. Or would have tried to destroy myself and write a bad book just to meet my self imposed deadline. Nope. I'm still damn proud of what I did accomplish. And this book I'm working on is the final Lost Ancients book--so there is no way I'm playing fast and loose with it. Just like Defiant Ruin which came out in October was the final book in the Asarlai Wars trilogy. I took my time with it (and got banned from Amazon pre-orders for a year for my diligence. Eh, I'm okay with that too.).

I also gained an agent this year. She's the one who will look at audio and foreign rights (you know anyone who wants those, I can send you her way ;)). She'll also see about possibly selling a few new projects to trads next year when they're ready. There's no way I'd give up self-publishing --but a good trad contract can help build exposure. Emphasis on good. If that doesn't happen, they will be coming out my way. Advantage of having a number of successful indie books out--I know it can be done. I'm not going to look at a bad offer just to get my books out there.

That sort of describes 2018 writing-wise for me. I have nine books and a novella out. I KNOW I can do this. I also now know it's the journey of doing it that's important. 

Happy IWSG day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


Welcome to the monthly round-up of writers known as the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Join us!

This being November, aka NaNoWriMo month, this will be short--I need to save my words to get the book done!

Today I wanted to talk about how my creativity has changed since I first started (yes, that's a prompt from IWSG ;)).

I've been writing a very long time, so going back to the very beginning would be painful...and I probably forgot it anyway ;).

 For me the changes occurred as I gained confidence that there were total strangers out there who enjoyed my work and as my skill grew (yes, I am going back to those olden days I said I couldn't recall ;)).  The better I understood craft, the easier it was to let my creativity grow.

It's easier to be creative and wild with skills to back it up ;).

I'd say over all, my creativity might not have changed--but my ability to access it has :)

Happy IWSG Day!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The importance of readers- Tom and Libby

This blog came up because a few folks have asked me who Tom & Libby are. They are in the dedication for Defiant Ruin (go check your copy, I'll wait ;)).

Tom and Libby were an amazing couple of a certain age who loved books. And they loved supporting authors and their favorite bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy. They were there at the first event I signed at, a larger local author signing mixer. They were both tiny and the type of folks you would love for grandparents. Smart, articulate, interested in life.

They bought my first book and only wanted it signed because it was a "collectors item". They were so sweet and excited for me to start my writing career--and they had just met me. I seriously thought about them and how happy they made a scared, brand new author feel for weeks.

They were at almost every event and Mysterious Galaxy would bring out very nice chairs for them to sit up front. They'd buy a book, chat, and just be amazing.

I don't even know their last name.  And honestly, it doesn't matter.

Those two really made an impact on me as an author and as a person I'd like to be.

A few months ago, Mysterious Galaxy announced they had both passed away. I don't know from what, I'd like to think they both went peacefully in their sleep. I know I wasn't the only person who was impacted by their loss. They were a special couple. They loved books. They loved authors.

RIP Tom and Libby--I hope you are surrounded by books and loved ones.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

#IWSG--Never gets easier

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog run! Writers from all across the globe band together one day a month and shout our fears and hopes into the great void!  Join us!

Along with being IWSG day, this is also the book birthday for my ninth book. I started in March 2015 and am now at nine.

Boggles the mind.

I know there are writers out there who are actually much faster than me, but I grew up as a writer when the only option was traditional publishing--and that meant IF you got a contract, you had one book a year max. (Good for publishers, not so much for authors). So, nine books in three and a half years is pretty freaking wild to me. 

I'd love to say it's all wonderful and easy now. That I just float along dropping out books and everything is lovely....*BUZZ*. Nope.

This book should have been out months ago. But I just couldn't get my act together in terms of stress, doubt, fear (this was the final book in a trilogy--that was SCARY!). I am now in "Amazon jail" in that I can't do a pre-order for a year. I woke up this morning freaking out that either it didn't go out, the file was wrong, it came to life and ate all my readers....yeah, fear is never rational.

It appears to be the right file. I had it on pre-order which means a place holder is put up until the final file is live...unfortunately, no matter what you do, there's a chance the wrong file will be sent. In a way, I'm glad I can't do a pre-order for a year--those things are stressful!

Now, of course, I'm freaking out over whether my fans will like it. The betas and editors have--so there's hope. But bringing in that final book in a series is weird. Scary and weird.

So, if you need me, I'll be off being VERY insecure in my corner. Nope, it doesn't get easier--just weirder.

Have a great ISWG day!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

#IWSG- Which path and the end of a series

It's another day in the Insecure Writer's Support Group collective!  Join us!

The first part of today's blog is about ending a series. For those of you who don't know, I'm a fantasy/SF author-- the folks who LOVE series ;). I tried writing a single title book once and about half way through realized there was no way that was going to happen.

I'm now in the edits for the third book in my space opera trilogy. AKA--I'm finishing something. One advantage of a series is that you always have another book down the line after the one you're working on. Since my series are really a single story just broken up into smaller bits, that means I never have to say good bye. Now I have to say goodbye.

This story was envisioned as a trilogy from the beginning, I knew where it was going to end, and it felt right. But it was also hard as heck. However, even while writing it, I knew that wasn't the end for these characters. I wasn't sure what would be next, but no way was I letting them go completely. I'm a pantser, so I write with a lot of surprises (for me ;)). As the final book was unfolding, I suddenly knew where the next series would be going.

Knowing there was something else did help end it. I'm still sad, this is the first time I've ended something-LOL. But I'm already making plans for the next series for these folks--after a year off for other books ;).

The second part of today is a question from the IWSG--which publishing path and why? I sort of touched on this last month, but in case you didn't notice--I'm Indie ;). Now, I grew up as a young writer with stars in my eyes and a traditional path firmly set in mind. That was the only option back in the olden days ;). But, after one too many, "We love this BUT...."(all centered around my stuff not fitting the current market), I took the plunge and went Indie. I gave myself a year to plan, research, etc. I found a cover artist, editors, kind friends who would beta read, formatters--etc. Then in March 2015, I dove in.

I love the freedom! I love being in control of my writing destiny. I love that my books are being read. But Indie is really hard work, all writing is, but Indie adds layers trads don't deal with. I do now have an agent, so who knows what the future will bring. But, I love that I chose this path.

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Day!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

#IWSG-What I wish I knew

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group! A blog hop for writers everywhere to talk about writing terror!  Join us!

Today they've asked a question of what pitfalls would we warn other writers about. 

There are so many! The publishing world is in a massive flux and it has been for a long time. When I was first dabbling into, "oooo--I have a story idea!" land, traditional was the only way to go and agents and publishers were Gods.

Now, anything goes. Trad, Indie, Hybrid. You name it, and someone is probably making a ton of money doing it that way.

Some ONE. Not a lot of them, however. This is sort of tangental to the topic, but new writers need to know--you're probably NOT going to make a lot of money. And even if you have a good year, it can crash the next. This is a very unstable business--you have to do it because you like the process (maybe not all of it, but some of it ;)). Money is good, but don't quit your day job just yet ;).

Not my own experience, but I would warn new writers NOT to fall for the vanity press pubs. These are "publsihers" who tell an author they've been accepted for publication, but the author needs to pay them a bunch of money for it to happen.

Now, since I'm Indie, I have heard folks say it's the same--after all Indies pay people too, right? Wrong. I pay independent contractors--cover artist, editors, formatters--I PICK them. I choose who I want and what I need them to do. These "publishers" take the author's money, then assign them bad covers, no promo, horrific editing--then the author wonders why they can't sell a single book.

Yeah- No. 

Go traditional. Go Small Press (a real small press is not going to charge you up front). Go Indie. Go Hybrid (someone who is both indie and trad--there isn't such a thing as a "hybrid" publisher--it's vanity press) Do what works for you--but do your research!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

#IWSG Goals and Life

Welcome to another monthly adventure in the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog run! Join writers from all over as we look at the writing world!

Today we were presented with a very timely question-- What are your ultimate writing goals and have they changed over time?

I've been writing for a very, very, VERY long time. And the goal in the beginning was just to finish a book. Then it became get the book out there on the agent circuit. Then start a new book, and another, and another. 

My ultimate goal however was first and foremost--to have total strangers read my work and like it. Deep in my heart, it was also to make enough money at it that I could quit the day job and write full time.

Neither of those have changed, really. 

I still want to get my books into new hands, and I'm thrilled when I see sales in other countries (or anywhere ;)). Even already doing that hasn't changed that goal.

And I would love to be able to leave my day job and write full time. I love days when I can just stay immersed in my worlds. Someday, I hope to make that one a reality as well.

So the situations change over the years--but the goal of writing enjoyable books is still alive and well.

Happy IWSG day!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

IWSG# Ending it

Welcome to another episode of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Follow the blogs! Come join us! 

Today I'm talking about ending....a series. This year I will be finishing both the fantasy series (the six book, The Lost Ancients) as well as the space opera trilogy, The Asarlai Wars.

To say I have mixed feelings would be a massive understatement ;).

I love my worlds--all of them--or I wouldn't stay in them long enough to write anything. But both of these were closed story arcs; they weren't open ended, ongoing, series. They had a plan (more or less ;)) and an end. Of THESE story lines. I'm putting that in there because by no means am I done with either group. But these particular stories, the battles involved, etc...will be done. There will be other story arcs, same folks, new adventures, down the line--but for now, these two will end this year.

For me, as much as I love seeing my favorite characters regularly (mine, or those created by others) I also need change. I need one story to close out, a new world open with new soon-to-be-beloved characters--and more adventures to explore.

A steampunk series (this one is more open ended than the rest of mine) starts tomorrow with the launch of A Curious Invasion.

Next year will also see a portal world, epic fantasy trilogy, The Chaos Wars and possibly the launch of another fantasy series. Part of the problem is that I have LOTS of books, partial books, and ideas--so I need to get a chance for more to come out ;).

But, as excited as I am for new tales, I'm also going to miss my current adventures. The drunken faeries, the crazy aliens, Taryn, Alric, Vas, and Deven. I will miss them. But while it's farewell for now after this year--it is ONLY for now. They have  far more adventures on the horizon! 

Still, I know when Defiant Ruin (the space opera) and The Diamond Sphinx (the fantasy) hit the public, I will have a few moments of sadness.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

#IWSG Crash and Burn...recovery

Welcome yet again to another monthly round up of the Insecure Writer's Support Group!
Come join us!

There was a prompt for today that resonated with me--and probably many writers:

When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

Let's face it, writing is hard. Editing is hard. Getting your work out there is hard. Having folks read your work is....wait for it...hard. Marketing, social media, etc- yup, also hard. There are a ton of places where we as authors can take a hard hit to the gut and tumble to the ground.

Even when things might look great, or at least movng the right direction to others--the author could be having a crash-n-burn moment (or week).

So, what can we do? I usually let the wallowing happen for a short while. Sometimes a brief, "pity party for one" is all that's needed.

But when things start getting really painful, sad, or depressing I have a nice talk with myself. I remind myself quiting is possible. Of course, myself disagrees and starts fighting back. It would be more painful to quit than whatever I'm going through.

Then I remind myself to get back in there and get another book done!

Happy IWSG Day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Hello and welcome to another edition of how the page turns...aka my contribution to the wonderful monthly event known as the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop! Writers from across the globe join in and share our hopes, dreams, and terrors--join us!

A question was brought up of how we celebrate completing a book. Which is a darn good question!

I know some authors who have set celebration techniques--one friend goes out for a fruity drink after each book's first draft is done. Another celebrates when the book comes out with a release party.

Sadly, aside from once in a while going out for a nice dinner, I don't have anything. I've thought about it before and I really want to add some sort of celebration to recognize what I've done. Usually it just gets shoved to the first editor and I jump into the next project. Like this past Monday night when I finished the draft of an upcoming novalla, sent it to her, then ran and started working on edits for another book.

I believe celebrations and rituals can be very comforting and helpful--but somehow I can't seem to develop them for myself!

Here's hoping this blog hop gives me some ideas--if you have any, feel free to add them here! 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Book Sale!

If you read fantasy, space opera, or any variations of such-- you need to check out this deal!

March 3rd & 4th ONLY

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 ;))