Writing my Biography… uuuggggh!

I have my BA in Journalism. I’ve published freelance articles over the years for local and online publications while working as a graphic artist and occasional content writer. I enjoy macrame, reading and long walks on the beach.

Gag!

I can write any manner of things but my biography is not one of them. Whenever I read other people’s I suffer from a bad case of writers envy. Holy Crap! That person’s biography is so cool! Why can’t I write a cool biography like them?!

Mine always come out dry or forced. There is no in between.

Why? Well, it’s not that there isn’t anything interesting about me. I actually find myself quite interesting, but all those interesting things are so scattered they have a hard time finding a place in a biography for the same thing. When is it relevant to mention I work with crystals, change my own tires, and really really like red wine? Should I mention these things before or after I talk about the LP I recorded ten years ago and my kids knowing all the words to “The Last Unicorn”?

I also have very few official certifications and awards as an adult. Like none really. People don’t give you a certificate for working three graphic design jobs in five years. And the one they give you for having babies is kinda a given. I have a bunch from when i was young but I’m not so sure it appropriate to mention I won second place in the “City of the Future” coloring contest when I was seven or shared the title of “Most Musical” in my high school yearbook with seven other people.

Alot of what I see is about what people like. That’s cool. They make it work. They make it funny. I have a problem. I like everything (except for stuff I dislike so strongly it’s best I don’t bring it up) and when i try to be funny I fail miserably.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m hilarious. I crack myself up on a daily basis. But it has to be on the spot. I can’t try to be funny or its obvious I’m trying. And there are few things worse than someone trying and failing to be funny. Also, I only want to talk about myself in conversation. Otherwise my mind goes blank on everything and anything anyone would want to know.

So now here’s a call to arms. Tell me how to write a good bio! Tell me how to pull off funny and professional as effectively as I could manage it on the fly. Post your bio. Tell me what you would want to know about me, if you wanted to to know about me.
Help!

#WQWWC – Writers Quote Wednesday Writers Challenge – “Faith”

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Whenever the issue of faith comes up I think back to a scene in the show “Lost”, a conflict between Jack and Locke. Locke is begging Jack to have faith he asks Jack why he finds it so hard to believe in anything and Jack responds by asking him why he finds it so easy. Locke’s reply resonates within me even now.

“It is never easy!”

The universal truth about faith, true faith in any form. It is never easy. Once we grow, once we learn, once we understand that we have the choice to believe in certain things, that they are not proven fact like we may have been lead to believe as children, faith becomes difficult.

It is a choice. A conscious decision. To have faith in a spirituality. To have faith in the people around us. To have faith in ourselves.

Perhaps at times it comes naturally, you have no reason to question it so there it is. But how strong is it if you never doubt? If you never choose to beleive when you have no proof that you are right?

An why should you? If you could be wrong, why put your beliefs out there? Why allow yourself to be disappointed or hurt by finding out you are wrong?

Because Faith is a rope. It is a life raft. It is something to cling to to get you through the storm. But it is only there is you believe in it.

Believe in your spiritual truth. Believe in humanity. Believe in the universe.

Believe in yourself.

When you you choose to have faith, to keep faith, no matter what the circumstances are, there is always a light waiting for you at the end of the tunnel.  At least that’s the way I choose to live.

Join the fun

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Your book is your baby, a comparison study

I am a mother. I have two human children.

I am a book mother. I have several finished manuscripts with lots and lots of fictional humans that I made.

Now, before anyone gets upset, I know my human children are actual children and therefore more important than my fictional children, or my books.

BUT… after i saved my children from a fire, I would probably run back in for my laptop. Just saying.

Anyway… as with my human children who i carried in my womb as opposed to my brain, I want the best for my book babies. And I imagine you do to. So lets compare.

Conception to Birth: Some book parents plan the birth of their book down to the most minute detail. Some just go with the flow and pick up things as they need them. Let not have book parent wars. We all book parent in our own way (lets not get started on formula feeding your book, okay?)

Rearing: Some parents coddle their book babies and don’t let anyone read them no matter how they might edit. Some push their book babies out into the world too early and they get damaged in critiquing sessions. It’s a fine balance.

Education: Homeschool or Boarding school? Who is going to clean your book up and make them ready for the world? Can you do all the edits yourself? Sure, especially if money constraints demand it, but if you can afford a good editor, you will give your book the advantage.

College: Self Publish, Small press or Traditional Publish. We all want our books to have the very best and we all have different ideas on how that comes to be. There is no formula that says one route guarantees your book baby will be accepted into the world and make a difference, but each book parent works with their book to decide which publication is the right way to go for them.

Graduation: Publication day. The release party, the reviews, the buzz. The world is your book baby’s oyster and you are an emotional wreck. You did it. You’re baby is out in the world. You will continue to push it and advocate for it but now it is going to move forward on it’s own steam and you should be proud of yourself.

Publishing: The third option

When I started this blog last year I didn’t know much about indie publishing. I’ve learned a great deal since I started. Enough to really intimidate me to be honest. I knew a little more about traditional publishing, but still have learned quite a bit (primarily that it is still as hard to get an agent for a polished manuscript as it is with a unpolished manuscript).

What  I didn’t know anything about when I started is the third publishing option.

Small presses

The hybrid of indie and traditional publishing, small presses are publishers that accept unsolicited material and have a bit more wiggle room that traditional publishers to work in niche markets.

Their common features are: Small or no advances, higher royalty percentages, strong digital presence, faster turn around from signing to publication, narrowed, targeted niche audience.

Benefits? Depends on the publisher and on you.

Just like any other aspect of publishing, not all small publishers are as good to their authors as others.

But generally with a small publisher you have some of the freedom of indie publishing without the overhead costs. The small press will set you up with a professional editor and cover artist. They will format your book for digital print and sent out ARC and press releases, organize a blog tour and consult with you on how you can boost your sales. They will take greater risks with more creative and unique niches and ideas that are harder to get published traditionally and tend to do better in the indie market.

Also, with the way the industry is set up currently, you will qualify to enter certain competitions and be eligible for certain awards that indie authors cannot enter.

The Downside? Depends on the publisher and you.

Any advance you get will not pay for you to live while you finish this book or write your next book (the entire point of advances) and small publishers frequently lack the resources to promote on a wide scale (or their niche books can’t be promotes as such) so royalties come in slowly. Some small publishers provide their writers with work editing and/or scouting new writers and writers most definitely need to heavily promote themselves (and frequently other authors with the publisher)

While there is more freedom than with a big publisher, it’s certainly not as much as doing it yourself. You are not hiring the editor or cover artist you will be working with. You are not determining what platforms you will publish with or how it will be marketed.

A small publisher might push your book for longer than a traditional publisher. A small publisher will stop pushing your book before you would if you self published. If you choose the wrong publisher, and they don’t sell your book, they still own the rights. It’s gone to you forever (there are exceptions. I just encounter a small publisher that will give you the rights back if they don’t sell a certain amount in royalties).

There are ups and downs. There are alot of factors to think about. But this is a viable option. If you have a good book but no capital for editing, cover art, formatting, marketing and do not feel confident doing those things yourself you might want to try a small publisher.

If you write niche work (S&M werewolf mysteries, extreme gore horror, fetish romance) that is not currently an industry trend, this is a great option.

I’d love to hear more information and the experiences of other authors. What do you know about small publishers? Do you think they are a good option? Tell me more!

Reading until the Muse comes back

It’s been about two months since bad news tore the wind out of my writing sails. I have tried all manner of inspiration. Unfortunately, I am still having a hard time even writing the blog at this point. I can edit but I cannot create. And it is really pretty upsetting.

But all is not lost. Because while I can’t seem to write much, I still want the story and I am using the time to read everything.

I started with books that were just on my list but after I made it through them I moved on to the books on the lists of agents I was querying, books that are on the best sellers lists in my genres, books that I keep seeing mentioned again and again.

I’m not reading just for pleasure. I’m reading for research. I’m seeing what is out there, what people want, what methods other authors are using to tell their stories. I have to admit, while being unable to write a sentence for any of my unfinished works is really frustrating, this is necessary and helpful work (and yes, I am enjoying it).

And while I still got nothing to write, the well is being restored, slowly. When I get back to the work, I will have some fresh ideas and new methods. it is time well spent.

Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – “Happiness” #WQWWC

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

If you think about it, really think about what makes you happy, it is never money. It is feelings. We hope money can help us buy those feelings, a week at the beach, riding in a fast car with the windows down and your favorite song turned up, an amazing dinner with a gorgeous view, but even those moments are made inside.

They are made great by the mood we’re in, the people we’re with, the decisions we’ve made to be good with the world. I don’t believe many people truly do think money buys happiness, but this other quote sums up the conundrum.

“”Money doesn’t buy happiness.” Uh, do you live in America? ‘Cause it buys a WaveRunner. Have you ever seen a sad person on a WaveRunner? Have you? Seriously, have you? Try to frown on a WaveRunner. You can’t!” – Daniel Tosh

 

 

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#WQWWC – Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – “Rebirth”

Being that I am going through something of a rebirth myself this June, I thought this theme would be a good time to get back into the swing of things. I am happy to report that my surgery was successful and I am recovering well. We will see where I end up when I am fully healed.

Unfortunately, inspiration is still eluding me so what I have to offer today is an older piece.

Something Old, Something New

Forged, like a sword in molten heat.

on a cold anvil, hammered into a sheet

something strong, something sharp, something cold,

Until I’ve shrunk inside myself of old

I’m simply moving with the tide.

Beaten flat with crafting pride

It’s not unfair for me to want to have what i need.

But what must i leave behind?

Can my heart be united with my mind?

If i have faith, if i can trust could i have it all?

or did i climb so high just to fall?

 

Join the fun!

 

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Can friends be your beta readers?

You know you can’t rely on your mom and bff to be objective beta readers. You know that your neighbor and your co-worker will not give you reliable feedback (or any most of the time). So should you even bother with giving your manuscript to the friends who request it? What purpose does it serve to do so?

When I was young and naive, I sent my manuscript for “The Singing Cat” to everyone. Many friends requested it. I assumed that meant they would actually read it.

Perhaps they tried.

I know now that “The Singing Cat” was not even close to finished when I thought it was done. It was very hard to get through. It needs more work than I can give it.

Three friends got through it. My very best friends, and they did have nice things to say because the story had merit. But the real feedback came in the silences from the people who wanted the book but never said a thing about it again, or who dished out a few excuses about how they had a hard time reading off a computer screen.

When I finished the last edits on “The Silent Apocalypse” I did not start offering it to friends. When they asked, I held back. Sure I thought it was pretty good. I knew it was way better than “The Singing Cat” (writing wise, not necessarily story wise), but agents and editors weren’t quite biting yet and to be honest, it hurt to give out my baby and have it ignored. So I held onto it for a long time.

Until one night a copious amount of red wine and coaxing from the friend I drank it with had me attaching my file to an email and sending it her way. I forgot all about it.

A few weeks later we met again and she was excited. Excited about a book. My book. The book i had written and she had read excited her. Not just because I, her friend had written it, but because … she enjoyed it.

Which brings me, at last to my point. Should you give your manuscript to your friends to read? Does it serve a purpose?

Yes. But…

You need to be able to read between the lines. You need that thick skin. You need to accept that silence is the easiest, most kind way for them to tell you it’s not working for them. You need to recognize that they love you and will heap praise upon you even if they didn’t love it. You need to realize they may love it just because you wrote it.

And, if you are really truly sure you can handle all of the above, that your book is really ready, is really polished, your friends can and will keep you going during the submission process. When you get a text at 11:30 at night that says “I just finished! I am in tears!” three days after you emailed it to them, it will restore that drive within you to keep submitting.

 

Creative ways to boost creativity

There are plenty of practical suggestions for how to get over writers block or bust through a problem area in a piece you’re working on. Sometimes they even work. but if you are a creative writer, maybe you don’t want to be so practical. Or maybe you know expanding your mind and groping out into the unknown is a great way to get interesting results.

So if you are coming up against a brick wall and instead of getting a latter or walking around it or doing something normal like that, you’d rather conjure a vortex or transport to the other side, try some of these more creative suggestions.

  1. Essential Oils- They’re all the rage and you can even get your own EO dealer who will tell you what blends to use for what. Right now I’m using Eucalyptus and Lemon oil in my diffuser and I got a query request. So there.
  2. Gemstones – Blue Topaz is the stone for writers, but amazonite can boost creativity and labradorite can help you come up with new ideas.
  3. Chakra clearing – Have you considered that your energy is blocked? Maybe you should and then do something about it. Reiki, Prantic or any other energy work can help you clear the chakras, especially the throat and third eye which will help the ideas flow more freely and your ability to express them come easily.
  4. Meditation – You can do it outside, in a dark room, locked in the bathroom where your kids won’t find your- wherever, but turning on some soothing music, focusing on your breathing and trying to let your mind clear is a excellent way to get the wheels turning again on a project.
  5. Mantra chanting – I don’t really know much about this but I know you can do it on youtube. Look up mantra’s for creativity or focus or whatever and you will find plenty of options to choose from.

Do you have any unconventional ways of jump-starting your creativity? Please share them!

Grumbles from a bedridden author

I am still bed bound, mostly. First round edits on “Summer’s Circle” are progressing which is very good because otherwise I am still creatively tapped out.

So while I generally try to be optimistic and supportive, today I am going to vent just a little. These are things that are irritating me at the moment.

  1. The suggestion to pitch your work as a cross between X and Y. How about my work is just a cross between my work and my work?
  2. My dogs make as much of a mess as my kids. So it’s like having four kids in the house and at least one of them poops on the floor.
  3. Reading the second book of a sequel and realizing that all the work the author put into the first book did not go into any of the others in the series. This just happened with a series by a very famous, awarded author. So disappointing.
  4. After surgery, you have to choose between pain killers and wine. I know, it’s just good sense, but it just doesn’t seem very fair.
  5. VERY SPECIFIC GENRES when my stories don’t fit into even one broad genre. And hearing back from someone saying “Sorry I don’t do fantasy” even though my work was pitched as “horror with certain fantasy elements”.
  6. Two more friends of mine published this week. I am so proud for them and really really jealous. But mostly proud. Mostly.
  7. The conundrum that publishers and agents want unique work but they are afraid to take anything there isn’t a market for. Boo.
  8. The mild feminist rage I am feeling right about about a handful of world and personal issues.
  9. My twitter tailored trends is no longer showing me writing related hashtags and trends. I’m getting lots of sports stuff. Obviously there is a huge malfunction somewhere but I don’t know how to fix it.
  10. “Summer’s Circle” is as quietly disturbing and interesting as I hoped, now that I’m giving it the first read through. I hope it doesn’t take me a year to edit.