Performance Anxiety

Catchy headline, right? Now that I have your attention, I’m probably going to disappoint you in that I’m not going to talk about what you thought  I would be talking about. I’m going to be discussing what I’m sure many other writers go through: stage fright. I am about a fourth of the way through the first draft of book 4, and I’ve got to say, I’m feeling a little gun shy. There are a couple of reasons for this:

It’s time to say goodbye: Like all writers, I’ve gotten attached to these people that I’ve created in my head. Cain and Riley have been a part of my life for years, and at least for the near and somewhat far future, we are going to be parting ways so I can work on some other projects that I’m excited about. It’s time to make some new character friends, but you never forget the old.

(THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SONS OF ANARCHY SPOILERS SO DON’T CONTINUE IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED WATCHING THE SERIES)

…….

These people are real: I bawled like a baby when Jax Teller  (Sons of Anarchy for those who don’t watch the show) died. My husband looked at me like I had two heads. I was a swollen mess of tears. Because for the last several years, Jax Teller had been just as real as any person we’d see on the news. I will never meet those people either, but that doesn’t make them any less real. Writers create real people in our heads, real for all intents and purposes. So when they die, they take a piece of us with them. For book 4, there will be some definite bloodshed, and I don’t think some of my precious friends, who I have spent the last six years with, will make it out of the book alive.

I want to do right by the characters: When you spend that long with someone, as a writer, you want to make sure you do it right. You’ve poured your heart into something and you want to exit with the color and circumstance that it deserves. But rough drafts can make you wonder if you’ll ever get it right. I want the closing act to be the best one yet, and that’s a lot of pressure.

I want to do right by the readers: For every reader that has stuck with me and my books, I want to make you proud. I want you to get to the last page and feel like your journey was worth the trip. And maybe I want to make you remember these peoples’ stories for at least a little while. Maybe you’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll let your children read it when their old enough (and PLEASE wait till they’re old enough). I want to do right by you, and thank you for taking this journey with me.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll take the next one with me too.

 

 

 

 

Unsolicited Advice for New Moms

Nobody asked me my opinion, but seeing as it’s my blog, I thought I’d compile a list of little hints that I’ve learned during my first month as a new mom. Some you’ve probably heard before, but hopefully some will be new information that you can take on your journey into parenthood.

Buy a nursing bra that doesn’t make you feel like a fourth grader- there’s going to be a lot of things that happen during motherhood that don’t exactly make you feel attractive: getting pooed on, spit on, not showering as much as tour used to, etc. But you don’t need to add to it by buying yourself a nursing bra that looks like something an elementary school student wears during gym class. They may look more practical than the pretty ones, but they function the same way.  Treat yourself.

Don’t wait to do basic human necessities- if you find yourself with a sleeping baby and you are in the middle of a chore, and you say to yourself “oh I’m hungry/need to pee/etc,” don’t wait to finish your chore. Just do it. Because it is virtually guaranteed that your baby will start crying two minutes later and you could possibly go hungry by the time you have a chance to eat again. Guaranteed.

Watch those fingers– My daughter thinks getting dressed in the morning is comparable to having an iron maiden used on her, so I try to do it as quickly as possible. But I’ve noticed that if you yank a sleeve on too fast you can catch a tiny baby finger. Not so good. Luckily I haven’t done  it, but I definitely see it would be easy to do. So be quick but careful.

More to come… probably once a week. Mommas, feel free to add in the comments.

Writing While Pregnant- A Musing of Watermelon-like Proportions

I figured writing while pregnant would be a little different. Of course typing with a numb hand (baby decided to settle on a nerve) has proven to be difficult. Trying to find a position to type in that doesn’t kill my shoulder hasn’t been a picnic either (again, baby curled up right on top of a nerve). But there have been some other things I’ve noticed that I didn’t expect.

  1. I’ll find myself typing away when suddenly the fantasy of me yelling at the last person to ask me if I was sure I wasn’t having twins will pop into my head, followed by an ultimately unfulfilled promise to myself that the next person to do so will get punched in the throat. Maybe my characters will end up with more pent up aggression as a result. I guess we will see in book four.
  2. As I’m sitting here writing this, I have been pulled away at least 3 times by the adorable yet manipulative faces of our two dogs. I believe I have shared their pictures before, but just in case:DSC01918

untitled Now don’t judge me, dear readers. you know you would have a hard time resisting those precious little faces too. But I’m realizing that if I can’t learn to say no to my fur babies, I’m going to have just as hard a time saying no to my human baby. Probably more so, because eventually she will be able to talk back. The time to take control back is now, before my computer is covered with finger paint and my characters are forever stuck in rough draft limbo. If I’m going to be the best mother I can be, I need to be the best person I can be, and that involves creating worlds and stories. So while I do it for myself, I also do it for them.

I’m sure I’ll think of more little tidbits, dear readers, but for now, I leave you with a question. How have your children affected your writing, routine, content, or otherwise?

Pattern? Magic Pill? Who knows…

TEL FREE promo pic

I tend to be the kind of person who looks for a pattern to solve a problem…I figure if there’s a puzzle, there has to be a way the pieces fit together that makes the solution apparent.

I’m now wondering if I am completely off base.

In my writing journey, I have tried to look at other authors who are doing better than me (yes, I do the thing they tell you not to do, but how else do you figure out how to improve?) and see what they are doing that I am not. In the last couple days, I have gone through several things that made me think “Ooh! This must be it. This must be the thing she is doing that I am not and as soon as I do it the sky will open up and angels will sing.”

But then I will go look at a different widely successful author and discover that she is not doing the very thing the first author was doing. Or that she is, but not doing as well as myself or the first author despite her astronomical sales.

There was only one thing that I found that matched between both authors:

Ready for this?

Drumroll please?

Here it is: they both have written double or triple the books that I have. Which in turn also means that unless they are both crazy writing machines they have been in the game longer than I have.

And unless some writing fairy sprinkled some magical publishing success dust on their pretty little heads, they’ve worked their asses off PRODUCING WORK.

Yes, Twitter and Facebook are important for getting exposure. You can have a great book but if no one knows about it, it can go into Amazon oblivion. But the key part of it all is producing good work, and producing it often. It seems so simple, yet it’s the answer that’s hardest to wrap your head around.

There IS a pattern: write more

There IS a magic pill: write great work

Is the answer easy? No. It’s much easier to think I’m just not tweeting enough, or a Tumblr account is going to send me to the promise land. But in the time I take to do that, I could have written 200 more words that have a way better chance of getting me where I want to go. So in that spirit…

Stop surfing the blogosphere and get back to work!

That’s where I’m going.

HAPPY RELEASE DAY: Destined for a Dirt Road by Ashley Johnson

DestinedforaDirtRoad_Amazon

Today I’m wishing a happy and sales-filled release to Ashley Johnson, author of Destined for a Dirt Road. Here’s a little taste of the romance this book has to offer:

destinedteaser

Synopsis:
A year ago Beau Granger let Shayleigh Dougherty turn his world upside down. Little does he know she’s about to do it all over again…
Love.
It’s the one thing Shayleigh has been scared to feel and the minute she allows herself to feel it, she runs leaving Beau behind in Louisiana to return home. She should have known Beau is not one to give up on what he wants.
Attempting to move on with her life, she meets the doctor Wyatt Perry…
He’s nothing like Beau, he’s rich and cocky and doesn’t like to take no for an answer. When Beau shows up in Missouri,
Will fate be able to keep them together or are things really better left on the dirt road?

Sounds pretty tantalizing if you ask me :). Don’t forget to connect with Ashley online:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amjohnson84
Website: http://www.authorashleyjohnson.com
Twitter: @ashmarie84
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6878724.Ashley_Johnson

About The Author:
Ashley Johnson was born and raised in Lake Charles, LA where she still resides with her fiance and their daughter.

She graduated high school in 2003 and then graduated college in 2008 with an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

She has a terrible addiction to Amazon and Google Play and owns more books than she will probably ever read, but can’t resist a good story. When she’s not reading or writing she loves to cook, that’s what happens when living in Louisiana.

Ashley loves to read and write, so that’s what she does now.

Enjoy her book all!

Creative Ways to Do a Book Launch

With my book release coming up soon (April 7th!) I’ve been trying to think of more creative ways to market it. Of course I do the social media/Facebook/Twitter stuff, blog tours, etc., but I want to do MORE. Authors out there: what have you had success with marketing wise? And readers, what’s the way you discovered the last book you read?

front extraction cover web

The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – David Powning

Add some more great books to your reading list. Check out this interview for the 2K International Writer’s Blog Tour with David Powning!

Kate M. Colby

David Powning

DavidI live in the south of England, not far from London. Last year I published my first novel, The Ground Will Catch You. I’m now working on a second.

Before writing The Ground Will Catch You I completed another novel, which I submitted to agents but got nowhere. Looking back, I think they were right – even I suspected that it wasn’t good enough. This time I sent the manuscript only to ten agents, and even as I pressed the stamps onto the envelopes I knew I was wasting my time. I received plenty of positive feedback, but nothing concrete. No one called me in for a cappuccino, but I genuinely didn’t care. Self-publishing has been so liberating, a truly fantastic thing. There are plenty of people out there (designers, proofreaders etc.) who can help you get your novel into great shape if you’re willing to invest…

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