Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Freebies for Christmas!

Happy Christmas from my family to yours!

I'm ending this year with lots of freebies and a fun interactive game to win my newest urban fantasy, Of Gods and Sorrow on Twitter with #IndieFeature. Starting tomorrow and going through January 2nd, @IndieFeature will be posting a question a day with a teaser from my novel. They're easy questions like sharing a memory or your favorite something. It's participation that gets you points! #IndieFeature is a fantastic way to find great indie authors and gain a chance to win their books.

And here are the free books!

The Untethered Realms Yuletide Spectacular is still going on. Of Blood and Sorrow is free along with five other amazing stories. Plus there's a giveaway!

Today through the 29th, my sexy paranormal romance trilogy, The Paramours is free.

(Click the image to go to the Amazon page.)

On the 28th through January 1st, my hilarious and geeky erotic series, Dice & Debauchery is free.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Holiday Break along with a guest post!

It's almost time for my holiday break. I plan to do plenty of sleeping and reading for the rest of the month.

Today I'm visiting the wonderful Susan Gourley's blog. Please pop on over and say hello. I'll be sharing a few tips of how to get in some writing and reading over the holidays.

I've been busy writing a holiday story for my pen name these past three weeks, and it grew from a short story into a short novel. Yikes! I need to keep writing and editing to get it out in time.

Please don't forget the Untethered Realms Yuletide Spectacular. It goes through to January 3rd. Six free books and a great giveaway!

And if you're into a different sort of holiday story, I have a sci-fi flash fiction piece coming out on the 23rd in Flash Fiction Magazine. It's called "The Holiday" (original, I know!).

May you all have a happy holiday season!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

#IWSG for December 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: J.H. Moncrieff, Tonja Drecker , Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey!

This month's optional question: What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?

1. A big cup of water. I drink A LOT of water. Sometimes I flavor the water, but I don't drink anything else during the day.
2. Paper. Be it notebooks or scraps or whatever is lying about. I've gotten better about writing stuff down so I don't forget.
3. Pencils. I do have lots of pens too, but I write notes in pencil because my brain works faster than my hand, and I need to erase a lot.
4. The TARDIS. Several of them, in fact! A model, a lamp, a stocking, and string lights.
5. My cat. Well, I guess I can't include him as an object. His cat cube is to my right under the window. That's where he spends most days while I'm working.

This month's insecurities: Always it's about time. I just don't have enough of it. I'm far behind on everything I want to do. I know I should change my expectations of what I can do, but I always stretch beyond. On one hand, it's highly motivating. On the other, frustrating. The new year will have to come with some changes or the few white hairs I have will become a whole head of them!

How have you been over the past month? Anyone develop a time turner yet?

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Untethered Realms wants to stuff your e-readers full of great reads this holiday season. Free ebooks and a giveaway! You can find my urban fantasy, Of Blood and Sorrow for free there. Click on the image and enjoy some awesome books.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Word Witch Wednesday - pen name vs. real name

I've been meaning to do this for a while, but I've fallen behind with my writing schedule. Where has this year gone? I had hoped to have two books out for my pen name and two for me, but I've only gotten one out for each. So this comparison will be based just on this year.

I decided to write under a pen name with a specific audience in mind hoping it would be easier to market. And it was.

Pen name: reverse harem fantasy romance (RHFR)
Me: paranormal romance and urban fantasy (short stories of every genre)

It is easier to market a very specific genre if you know where to find your audience. I knew exactly where the RHFR audience was and what they liked.

It is so much more difficult to market yourself as an author if you write multiple genres.

Romance is one of the easiest genres to promote, because the readers aren't so discerning and eat up books fast. Urban fantasy and speculative fiction are difficult, because readers are very discerning and take their time with books.

Pen name: markets primarily on Facebook and with a newsletter
Me: Facebook, Twitter, a blog, and a newsletter

The RHFR audience is found mainly on Facebook. There are lots of groups with huge followings, and they spread their favorite reads by word of mouth like lightning. Promotion takes very little time each day. (Ten minutes usually.)

I spend way too long every weekday promoting myself. Usually it takes my entire morning. (Three hours.) I tell myself to cut back to an hour, but I feel guilty when I do. I also feel much of what I do does not make a difference, and I'm only nurturing the audience I already have. Which is important, but finding new readers is just as vital, and I don't seem to be having much luck in that area. I'm struggling with finding a way to do so.

Pen name: story is fun, light, full of tropes, and doesn't involve much thinking
Me: story is dark, snarky, twisting tropes, and full of thoughtful things

Readers love my pen name's debut novel. It has a strong heroine and involves a mix of myths. I purposely wrote it with popular romance tropes laid on thick. It was exactly what readers wanted.

My books, well, strong heroines and myths, but I try to twist around tropes. Is that why I have very little success?

Pen name: I had fun writing the book. It was easy and quick.
Me: I have fun writing my own books too. None are easy and only a few were quick.

While I did enjoy writing romance filled with tropes, it wasn't as fulfilling in the way writing my own books is. Writing my dark urban fantasy, every story challenges me. I believe with each book, I become a better writer because I push myself through these challenges.

I have considered just writing for my pen name as she has enjoyed more financial success, but I'm concerned that doing so would not help me grow as a writer. I have known some authors who started writing under pen names, and when they achieved success with them, they abandoned their own names. They also abandoned writing what they love. The quality of their stories has not gotten better, and in a few cases, it has gotten worse.

Lessons learned:
- writing and marketing toward a very specific audience is a good strategy.
- readers want the popular tropes. Don't be afraid to use them.
- some promotion is needed to the genre specific audience. (I have to cut back on the time I spend on it.)
- write what you love, even if it's not making you a best seller.

I will continue to write for my pen name. It's a nice change between the darker stuff I write for me. Yet it won't be my main focus. I still want to go the dark urban fantasy route. I know I've chosen the more difficult road. And I don't know where it will go, or if I will even get close to the dreams I have for myself, but the journey so far has been wonderful. I can't wait to see what else it has in store for me.

I'm curious about other writers' experiences with writing under two different names. Please share in the comments below.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and family. I'll be back in December for the IWSG!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Find Yourself Bodies in the Boatyard

Sailing into retailers everywhere! It's release day for...

Selling your house and moving onto a rundown sailboat—not a dream come true. Finding dead bodies in the boatyard—a total nightmare.
Mollie McGhie loves her beachfront cottage. When her husband announces that he wants to sell the house, downsize, and move onto their dilapidated sailboat, she’s not impressed.
When the boat starts leaking, she secretly hopes it will sink. Instead, they haul her out of the water and into the boatyard. Fixing the boat up is bad enough, but when Mollie finds someone has been killed nearby, things get even worse.
Mollie takes matters into her own hands and investigates the mysterious death in the boatyard, along with her adorable feline companion, Mrs. Moto. While she searches for clues, she meets more of the quirky characters who live in the small Floridian town of Coconut Cove, learns about sea turtles, overcomes her fear of public speaking, and, of course, eats way too many sugary treats.
Can Mollie catch the killer before someone else ends up dead?
New to the series? Start with Murder at the Marina. Find out more here.
My review: 
Mollie McGhie must share her husband with a sailboat. While he wants to move onto it and sail around the world, Mollie refuses to leave her comfy seaside cottage. With the boat in the boatyard needing work, Mollie suddenly finds herself helping with it and stumbles upon a body. Investigating the murder is tricky with all the odd folks and their secrets who live in Coconut Cove, but Mollie is determined to solve it. Yet will poking around and her love of sweets get her killed too?

This is the second book in the fun and enchanting Mollie McGhie mystery series. I was swept back into the world of Coconut Cove with the first page, loving Mollie's quirky voice. I totally empathize with her love of chocolate and cats, and her desire not to live on a little boat! She's the everyday woman who investigates not only alien abductions but the occasional murder as well. Not that the Chief of Police likes her doing so! Her husband Scooter is adorable, and I love that he adores her even if he can be kind of clueless at times. Plus the whole cast of coastal folks. I was making my own list in my head of who could be the murderer. It came together smoothly and unexpectedly with a few twists. I do like mysteries that have me wondering and not guessing correctly who the murderer is right off the bat. (I typed boat. I typed it twice before I managed bat!)

This cozy mystery is a light and hilarious read. I'm addicted. I cannot wait for more in this series.
Buy the book:
Paperback available at: Amazon

Find out more about Ellen on her website!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Of Death and Sorrow cover reveal

The final book in the dark and thrilling Of Blood and Sorrow trilogy...

There are things worse than Death...

Isn't it awesome? This magnificent cover will spur me on to get the novel finished and polish it up for spring 2019. And while that looks like it could be a different woman on the cover, that's still Erin. Oh what a tale she has to tell!

I did not design this cover. I wanted to save myself some stress this time around. One of my fabulous author friends (Patricia Lynne) recently had a couple of new covers designed by a talented woman on Fiverr. To top off the beautiful look of the covers, the pricing was WOW! So incredibly affordable. I looked up Olivia on Fiverr and sent her a request. She was eager to take the project and ta-da! Talented, fast, and professional. Authors, I highly recommend Olivia.

What a gorgeous looking trio of covers! Just a reminder that Of Gods and Sorrow is now available and Of Blood and Sorrow is free for a few more days. Both books are free to read with Kindle Unlimited.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Of Gods and Sorrow unleashed upon the world!

Stopping the undead will seem like child's play when the Cult of Ammut comes calling.

Even after losing most of her adopted family, Erin Driscol continues to console clients at Putzkammer & Sons Funeral Home. Keeping the funeral business working smoothly is no longer the walk in the graveyard it used to be. Grieving demons are fighting in the halls. Eyeballs are showing up in teapots. And a so-called psychic and member of the Cult of Ammut claims Erin's boss Cort is a god. All Erin wants is a friend to lean on and a sense of normalcy. But as the cult kills people and repeatedly attacks the funeral home, she must stand strong or lose Cort to the Lake of Fire.

Buy it here!

Add it to read on Goodreads.

I'm so excited it's finally here. It's been a long time coming, but in my totally unbiased authorly opinion, I think the wait is worth it. And just in case you don't remember what happened in Of Blood and Sorrow or you haven't read it yet, it's FREE for the next five days! And for all Kindle Unlimited readers, both books are available to read.

Join me later this week for the cover reveal of the final book in this amazing trilogy, Of Death and Sorrow!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

#IWSG for November 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are:  Ellen @ The Cynical SailorAnn V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

Optional question for November: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

I've always been creating stories, so there isn't a time in my life when I began writing. Yet my creativity has changed over the years, both with writing and the rest of my life. Doubt and fear held me back a lot in my younger days. I had a thin skin and didn't take constructive criticism very well. I hid away my creativeness like a dragon with its treasure.

Now I'm grateful for helpful criticism and I'm able to brush off the harsh reviews and comments about my work more easily. It motivates me rather than holds me back. It stretches into all aspects of my life to how I decorate my home to how I dress and the games I play.

As I mentioned last month, it's a good thing to be constantly evolving. I would worry if a person didn't change over the years. Being stagnant isn't desirable.

P.S. My mom is visiting this week and we're doing our early Christmas shopping. I'll get back to everyone next week!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween! Three Treats for You!

When black cats sneak,
and pumpkins gleam,
May fun be yours
on Halloween!

For the past five days, the first three books of my TOTEM series have been free. Now I'm making that treat extra sweet, and the next three books in the series are free until Saturday!

Don't forget this is the last day for Fantasy Book Giveaway's trick or treat for paranormal candy event. Free and 99c books, plus a big book bundle giveaway!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Trick or Treat for Paranormal Candy

Trick or treat
Drink this mead
Give me something good to read!

Yeah, finding things to rhyme with 'read' limited my chant there. Heh.

Fantasy Book Giveaways is hosting a fabulous promo with over 25 participating authors! We have FREE and 99c fantasy, paranormal, and romance books all ready to fill your e-reader. Treat yourself to some great new reads!

The first three books in my thrilling TOTEM series are free during this promo.

Three sisters. Seven totems. One chance to save the world.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Finally! A Release date for Of Gods and Sorrow

Stopping the undead will seem like child's play when the Cult of Ammut comes calling.

Even after losing most of her adopted family, Erin Driscol continues to console clients at Putzkammer & Sons Funeral Home. Keeping the funeral business working smoothly is no longer the walk in the graveyard it used to be. Grieving demons are fighting in the halls. Eyeballs are showing up in teapots. And a so-called psychic and member of the Cult of Ammut claims Erin's boss Cort is a god. All Erin wants is a friend to lean on and a sense of normalcy. But as the cult kills people and repeatedly attacks the funeral home, she must stand strong or lose Cort to the Lake of Fire.

Coming November 13th.

Pre-order here!

Mark it to read on Goodreads.

I'm very excited to finally mark on the calendar a definite release date for my second book in my dark urban fantasy trilogy. I let it sit a while and received a ton of feedback from my awesome critique partners and beta readers. Revising and editing was tough, but that's a good thing. It means I made difficult choices and polished it to be the best story it can be.

I'll be releasing it exclusively on Amazon, and I'm in the process of moving Of Blood and Sorrow (Book #1) on there too. Soon they both will be available to read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

It's been three years since I released the first book. I had intended for it to be a stand-alone, but there was more of Erin's story to be told. And I think this second book is even better than the first!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

#IWSG for October 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Dolorah @ Book Lover,Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken!

This month's optional question: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Writing has helped me through everything! I've been creating stories since I was a small child, and I honestly believe it is the one thing that has given me hope, strength, and kept me sane. They say writing is better than therapy, and I couldn't agree more.

Major life events do affect my writing, and I'm certain every writer out there will be saying the same thing. Leaving home, university, deaths, marriage, sickness, and having a child. It's interesting to look at my stories through the years, and I've kept them all. Each event has changed not only me but the way I write too. And I think it a wonderful thing. If an author didn't change over the years, I would worry something was wrong. They aren't learning and growing. They've become stagnant.

Insecurities: I'm still dealing with getting into a proper routine to be not only physically better but happy with what I'm doing and not grudgingly trying to stay healthy. It's difficult because it takes me away from the computer. I still feel guilty for not being around online as often, but slowly, things are sliding into place.

* * * * *

Look what's out now!

Enter our mysterious realms where the stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets. Enchanted forests are knotted with roots and vines. Dreaded paths take us through strange, unexplored places.

Investigate new worlds and houses frequented by ghosts. Come across witches and wizards and an assassin tasked to kill Death.

Meet hot robots, hungry winds, and the goddess of chaos. Explore alien lands, purgatorial realms, and a shocking place where people bury the living with their dead.

Encounter paranormal detectives, imprisoned dragons, dark demons, cursed jewels, and handsome prophets. Search shifting worlds trapped in mirrors and a disturbing future where a president aims to rid the world of Otherkind.

Experience a haunted journey on a riverboat, water sprites borne of pennies, preternatural creatures, ancient serpents, and the Lady of the Lake who lurks in dark waters.

From USA Today bestselling and popular science fiction and fantasy authors comes Elements of Untethered Realms , a supernatural compilation of the anthologies Twisted Earths Mayhem in the Air Ghosts of Fire , and Spirits in the Water . These forty thrilling tales feature authors Angela Brown, Jeff Chapman, Cathrina Constantine, Julie Flanders, River Fairchild, Gwen Gardner, Misha/M. Gerrick, Meradeth Houston, Graeme Ing, Simon Kewin, M. Pax, Christine Rains, Cherie Reich, and Catherine Stine.

Buy it here:
Amazon * B&N * Kobo * Google Play iTunes

Add it to read on Goodreads.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Word Witch Wednesday - want vs. need

I still haven't gotten my writing groove back. I've been good with not sitting in front of the computer so much. I get up, move around, and do other things around the house. While my back has appreciated it, my muse is pouting.

I think she's spoiled.

So I'm trying to think of getting her what she needs in other ways.

I've been painting the interior of the house since the beginning of the summer. I finished the kitchen walls and the cupboards. I've started on the hall and did one of the walls in the living room. Scraping off old wallpaper is rough on the back, so I've just been taking it easy when it comes to that.

While I enjoy painting, it isn't totally fulfilling for my muse. She needs words.

Recently, I've taken up the mantle of Dungeon Master with my gaming group. We've started The Rise of Tiamat. This is proving to be the creative outlet I need in many ways. I've made puppets for the first council session since I had to play ten characters for it, and I've created personal quests with each of the player characters' backgrounds. I beefed up the very basic story in the book and created loot cards for randomly picking treasure when it's found. My muse is squealing with delight!

I don't do any of this sitting at the computer. That has helped a lot. But it has made my productivity with novel writing slow down greatly. This frustrates me as a writer even if my muse is happy just to lose herself in the D&D world.

Being a writer is my job. I must find the balance between my other creative outlets, my health, and doing work. I want to push myself to be the author I dream of being.

I've read a ton of articles. Every one of them repeats: set boundaries, create a schedule, turn off social media, etc. I'm sure many of you have heard the same things. None of that helps me when my body makes every day different.

I ran across one quote that struck a cord. 

I've said it before, I am my own worst boss. I push myself hard. I've gotten a little better, a little kinder. But my inner boss demands more than is reasonable. I want to be a highly productive writer, but I need to loosen the fierce grip I have on that dream. I need to take care of myself and my family, and while that includes nurturing my dream, I need to be kinder yet. That doesn't mean to give up. It just means finding other ways as I did with my creative outlets.

I'm working on it. It's no easy thing for me. Perhaps one day, what I want and what I need will merge together as one.

How do you balance what you want and what you need?

Monday, September 17, 2018

Kill The Queen tour - book review and giveaway

The thrilling first novel in the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series combines magic, murder, and adventure when an unlikely member of the royal family suddenly becomes a contender in a clash for the crown . . .

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of combat, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

Release date: October 2nd, 2018

My review: Lady Everleigh Blair is a royal way down the line and is happy not to be in the spotlight. Her "mutt" magic is ridiculed and ignored. When Princess Vasilia viciously assassinates the queen and all others who could inherit the throne, Evie is thought to be dead. Evie's secret immunity to magic helps her survive and she joins a gladiator troupe. There she tries to become a warrior and harness her abilities. Yet while she would prefer to go back to her parents' land and live a quiet, comfortable life, Vasilia is terrorizing the country and prepping for war against an innocent nation. Evie cannot avoid the spotlight any longer. She must challenge Vasilia and kill the queen.

A spectacular start to the dark fantasy romance series, Crown of Shards. I was hooked right away with the first line. A massacre? I have to know what happens! I wasn't disappointed. The world building is phenomenal. We don't get overloaded with long chunks of history or explanations for how things work. The world is unveiled slowly as the story progresses, seeing everything through Evie's eyes. I was fascinated by the magic system and all the possibilities it could hold.

Evie is a strong protagonist. I sympathized with her immediately. Hurt and grief had her wanting to remain unnoticed in the shadows, but necessity brought her out. I loved how she grew, and what steeled her for the immense challenges she had to face. I also loved the great cast of characters, particularly the various powerful women. Gladiators, magiers, masters, and mutts. Paloma and Lady Xenia were my two favorites. As for Sullivan, I melted for him as much as Evie did. Yet I very much liked that the romance didn't overshadow anything.

I cannot wait for more in this series. I highly recommend it to all fantasy fans.

Preorder the book:
Amazon * B&N * Books-a-Million * Google Play * iBooks

Meet the author:

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series. Kill the Queen (book #1) will be released October 2nd.

Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Bigtime, and Black Blade fantasy series.

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit her website or follow her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. Get updates through her blog and her newsletter.

Enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A great contest for writers and a free book!

The 2018 Annual IWSG Anthology Contest is now open for submissions! This is a fantastic opportunity for writers, and I think their theme for this year is so much fun. Good luck to everyone who submits a story.

Guidelines and rules: 

Word count: 3500-6000

Genre: Young Adult Romance

A Masquerade can be a false show or pretense, someone pretending to be someone they aren't. It can be a ball, a fancy dress party, it can be a mask. Open to interpretation. 

Submissions accepted: September 5 - November 4, 2018

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (Double spaced, no page numbers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.

* * * * *

Free for five days only!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

#IWSG for September 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!

This month's optional question: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

Years ago, I submitted to agents and publishers. That was the way to do it. But after two bad experiences with publishers, I gathered my nerve and decided to self-publish. Best decision ever. I love the control I have over my own career and the fact it's flexible. With health issues and stuff popping up, the only person I have to answer to is myself. Sometimes I'm okay with not making a deadline, and sometimes it's frustrating. I'm learning to be a kinder boss. Sure I have to do all my own marketing which stresses me out, but I still get the choice of what I want to do and when.

My insecurities: I need a new body. It's been a rough year health-wise, and it has immensely affected my writing and how much I can do at the computer. I feel guilty for being so far behind and not keeping up with all of you. I realize I must make a much better effort to take care of this old body. No more sitting in this chair for long periods of time. I need to move more and eat wiser. I have to do more than just waggle my finger at myself.

As a writer, how do you keep healthy? Any advice?

Monday, August 20, 2018

On hiatus until September

I've been having a rough time of it health-wise lately, and so in an effort to be kinder to myself, I'm taking the rest of August off. I'm going to allow myself to binge watch some Netflix instead of stress out over marketing and being so far behind on everything.

I hope everything is well with you. Enjoy the rest of August and I'll see you in September for the IWSG.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Word Witch Wednesday - getting back into the writing groove

School's back in, and the house is quiet. Time to start writing!

... soon. After I finish painting the kitchen cupboards. Boy, that floor needs to be washed. Perhaps I should attend to my neglected garden. Oh, look! A new Deadpool musical on YouTube. I bet I don't need to tell you that's NSFW!

It's tough getting back into the writing groove. I had a busy summer away from the computer, and just putting my butt in the chair isn't working. So how do I reignite my fire?

After spending way too much time reading articles about this, here are five of my favorite suggestions:

1. Rid yourself of the guilt. I have so much I need to do, and I'm immensely behind schedule. But it is a schedule I set for myself. There is no deadline I have to meet except the now clearly unreasonable ones in my head. It's okay. Time to reset my goals. Time to be kinder to myself.

2. Clear out all the things that are drawing you away from writing. Do those chores, turn off the TV and internet, make sure you have a chunk of time when no one is interrupting you.

3. Read, read, and read some more. Stories inspire me. Reading always gets my juices flowing. Even if it isn't about my book particularly, I'll happily travel to other worlds and play with the possibilities there. Those can then help lead to story ideas for my own work.

4. If you can't get into the story via your word processor, get into it in another way. Look up inspirational images on Pinterest, research your protagonist's job, browse possible book covers, or do silly character interviews. Get that fire burning with other types of fuel.

5. Writing is a habit, and it will take some time to get back into it again. Last school year, I had a schedule. I was ready to write by the time the afternoon rolled around because my mind and body knew that's when it happened. Even if I don't write the new story, just sitting down at that particular time and working on old stories or writing blog posts about getting back into the groove *winkwink* will help.

How do you get back into the writing groove?

Friday, August 3, 2018

Three geeky freebies!

The first day of school is in five days. I'm super excited. I finally get back my writing time!

This weekend is also one of the biggest gaming conventions in the world, Gen Con. Have you ever been to a huge convention? It's a phenomenal experience. So much to do!

I won't get a chance to go this year, but at least I'll get to play with my gaming group next Friday. It's one of the highlights of my week to be creative, scheme, and laugh with friends.

In celebration of geeks everywhere, my hilarious and steamy trilogy, Dice & Debauchery is free for five days!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

#IWSG for August 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover,Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery!

This month's optional question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

Don't publish your story until it's ready. You'll want to get it out there as quick as you can and share it with the world. But don't. Make sure you have an editor, critique partners, and beta readers. Revise, revise, and revise again. I've seen too many authors put out their books before they've been polished, and readers do notice. Sometimes we feel the stories are never ready, but that is another lesson on learning to overcome the fear and letting go.

My insecurities: I blinked and summer break is gone. My son goes back to school next week. I'm eager to get back into my regular writing schedule, but I see everything I want to do looming before me. One thing at a time, I tell myself, but sometimes the shadows make everything look like too much.

Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.

We're insecure writers. We can do anything... right? Maybe?