Spending Time

There is one thing in life you can never have enough of. Not love. Not money.

TIME.

Time is the one thing in this world that you can never gain back. You can’t buy it. You can’t smooth talk your way back into it. It’s eternally moving forward, forever ticking away. It’s the one thing in life that is constant and true. No matter what you do, time moves on.

How do you spend your precious time? How do you spend those disappearing moments that only live in your memories once they pass?

It’s the number one reason I believe that if you have something in your heart that you want to do, do it. Don’t hold back. Don’t slow down. Go forward and do it because the world won’t wait. The next revolution around the sun is happening faster than we realize. Hours dwindle to minutes, dwindle to seconds, diminish to memories.

What will your memories be filled with?

This is why I wrote. I feel it in me to put words on paper. I love doing it. I love creating stories and characters. It’s my calling. These moments that I do not spend with my family are for me, and writing is my passion. If I’m writing, it is time well spent.

What do you spend your time on?

Goals and Criticism

As I was finishing up a few items for the book release giveaways of my latest novel Alyeska, I started to scroll through my previous two novels, See You Soon and The Shoreline, reviews. As a writer, I believe each novel I complete brings me to the next level in my writing like I become a better novelist as each project progresses. Going through some of these older reviews on my past projects only confirms my mindset.

I’m proud of the ratings each of my novels have including my first, See You Soon. This novella was my first go around with the world of indie authors, and I am extremely happy with its performance. Some reviews were outstanding while a few rare comments would appear negative. I refuse to consider them as such because every review is a learning moment. If a reader doesn’t like a certain aspects of the book then it is my job as the author to understand what need was not met by my work on behalf of the reader. Writing at times can be a selfish act, but without an audience, we are only talking to ourselves. That starts to look a little scary to outsiders watching the dialogue between you and you, so it’s best to have someone who wants to listen to you.

As I read through the comments, I realize how much I have grown in three short years since my first novel release. Some of the constructive feedback helped me to become the writer I am today because in those comments that some might take to heart and allow to hurt their spirit, I found enlightenment and a challenge that I gladly accepted. 

So to any and all that find criticism hurtful, my advice is this: look that person/avatar/computer personality in the eye and say, “Watch this.” Push yourself for better, strive to exceed their expectations, but always be sure that you are happy to do it. Always be hungry for more to not only outshine a seemingly below average standard, but to prove to yourself that you can be better.

Disclaimer: you won’t ever make everyone happy which is clear in any reviews you read on anything, but if you find a way to push yourself to meet the goals you set, then the only happy person that matters is you.

I’m going to try to remember this as well as we head into the new year, and I create my resolutions. Hmm. I have to get that list done soon. What goals can I set this year?

What Draws a Reader In

As a fellow seeker, I’ve been contemplating what exactly it is that draws us, the potential reader, into a new novel. Is it the cover? Is it the title, or synopsis on the back cover? How about the first few pages? Or the reviews? Could it be a combination of all the above?

As an author, each time I begin putting the final touches on my finished work these questions always pop into mind. I try to remember what it is exactly that brings me to each novel I choose to read. I picture my latest exploration into a different world and run the initial face value of the novel through my mind before settling on what aspect had hit my interest first.

Take one of my latest reads as an example, the Callie & Kayden duology by Jessica Sorensen.

As I usually do when I am looking for a new novel, I found the list for what is recommended for me based on a book I have previously read. As I scrolled through the works listed, the first thing that caught my eye was the title, “The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden”. The alliteration within the name rang in my ears, and I have to say the actual characters name’s really intrigued me! For many potential readers I’m sure when something seems to strike our interest, the first thing we do is seek for more information.

As I clicked the title, the second thing to really ignite my curiosity was the cover, a young couple shared a kiss in the rain. The contrast of the dark background to their white shirts and tan skin causes your eye to search rather than rest on any one aspect. Not to mention, what I could make out of the guy, he seems to be rather attractive. (I’m a sucker for a strong jawline.)

Finally, the last deciding factor to whether or not I was going to purchase and read this novel was the synopsis, the brief explanation on the back cover. This blurb really brought my emotions to the surface, connecting me to the characters while reiterating my infatuation with their uncommon names. After reading the summary, I knew I would find this newly created world a worth while read. (I try not to focus on reviews. I usually really like what others say is bad.)

After reading “The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden”, I went on to read the continuation of these characters in “The Redemption of Callie & Kayden” as I was already drawn in from the first novel.

What I have learned from so many authors, including Jessica Sorensen, is to appeal to the senses of your readers if you want them to consider enjoying your work. In this example, the title brought me in because of the alliteration, the cover sunk me a little further because of the contrast in colors, and finally, the synopsis triggered my emotions. Remember these steps, and you’ll have a novel a reader can’t help but read.

What intrigues you?

“Want to” and “Have to”

As an Independent Author, I have come to find a piece of very important information about how to maintain this status. Let me share! 

I am an Indie Author because I love to write; it is my greatest passion. When I write a story, I find myself lost in the world I am creating. One of the best parts about being an Independent Author is never having to worry about the stress of demands on your writing. Some people work well with deadlines, and I do not disagree that they are useful, but as a self published author, you can set your own pace without putting yourself under extreme distress. And if you happen to go over on your time limit, there is no one but yourself to answer to. 

As an author of two novels now, I find my greatest writing moments come out of no where. I start writing when the mood, or Muse, strikes, and I stop whenever the Muse has left. I like having a quota of how many words I should write in one sitting, and a round about deadline of when I would like the novel to be finished, but I never feel the pressure like I normally do at my full time job when a project has a fast turnaround time. In my mind, there is a huge difference between these two scenarios.

On one hand you have work, which its very definition is “1. the physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something.”. You are doing something for an end result. Thus, making work a “have to”. A “have to” is a necessary action like cleaning, or laundry, and even, going to a full time job. These are not necessarily things you want to do, but in order to make it through life, they are what you “have to” do.

On the other hand you have a passion. Let’s define this as well: “6. the object of an intense desire, ardent affection, or enthusiasm; 7. an outburst expressing intense emotion”. Most writers are enthusiastic about their novels; we love what we do! We “want to” write because we desire the world we have formed in our heads and have grown a great amount of affection for the characters we have created which then comes out in an intense expression in the form of an outburst on paper! 

To sum it up, as an Indie Author, you are part of a group of talented writers who “want to” write. We all love creating these worlds and sharing them with our readers. But as an Independent Author, just remember, you are the creator. There is no one else you have to answer to, so it is just fine to go at your own pace, and if you have to take a break, there is nothing wrong with that. 

Taking a break keeps your “want to’s” as passions, and your  “have to’s” at work. Let your writing flow!

How to: Focus Your Characters

Every author knows the pain of the newest curse words to be added to the writers dictionary in the last century: writers block. It happens even to the best of us. I cannot count how many times I have started a new project and half way through realized I had come to a block. Instead of becoming frustrated, here’s what I do to overcome the block and write on!

I have found that whenever I have been unable to continue in my story, I have to take a step back and refocus my characters. As I write, my characters and their personalities develop, taking me on the journey with them as they make their way through the novel. What I as the author must do is gently direct them in the direction I hope to go. Sometimes this works, sometimes my characters get away from me. When they move too far from what I hope to accomplish, I find myself stuck.

As I take a moment to find where the rest of my story will go, I think of the possibilities. If my character has come to a crossroad, I rival with them, deciding which road will be the best taken for my novel to continue. If I am in the midst of an action or dialogue and I back myself into a corner, having used every option, I take a step back, reread what has lead up to the blockage, and search for some sort of symbolism that I might have forgotten to use to help me out.

If none of the above has worked and the magical little Muse of inspiration has decided to stay away, I try and find it elsewhere. Besides writing, I enjoy dancing, music, movies, or just being in the company of those I love. I take the time to enjoy one of the above, completely forgetting the stress of my block, and focus solely on the moment. Only when I have remembered again about my work in progress, the stress not resurfacing, do I reread what I have written and write on, relieving the block.

These are the tricks of the trade that I have found to be most helpful, and I hope they help you through that rough spot. Remember, it happens to us all, and you will get through it! Write on!

 

How to: Edit Your Work

This topic is one that has hit home recently. With my second novel released, I felt like I should offer the bit of wisdom that I am gaining with each new book I finish. Depending on what software you prefer to word process your work, there are quite a few tools at your disposal to best benefit you in the editing area.

Before the final publishing for my newest novel, “The Shoreline” , I seriously contemplated sending it off to be professionally edited. I did some research, and most editing services were a bit out of my price range. I did happen to find one or two websites for people who fit into my budget, but they were swamped with submissions and wouldn’t have been able to work on my novel by the time I was hoping to release.

With these sad but true realizations, I found myself searching for other avenues for editing. I am confident in my writing ability and do not find my work to be riddled with mistakes, but I would rather my novel be the best it could for a more enjoyable read. The worst person to edit your writings is yourself. You already know what the sentence should read as, so a mistake is much easier to slip by you than a reader.

My research brought a few editing ideas, like have a trusted source read over your work. Many people within my network enjoy reading books as much as I do, so this was an easy suggestion to follow. A simple slip of ‘find me’ turning into ‘find be’ will read funny to someone who is enjoying your work for the first time.

Another was to use the “Find” tool. If you are using most any computer program, pressing CTRL+F simultaneously will call forth this search option. You can type a word into this box and it will find it within the content you are currently viewing. Within Microsoft Word 2007, I used this tool to find the commonly mistaken words, such as you’re, your, too, to, their, there, they’re, etc., to correct any mistypes.

The last tool I used was, of course, Spell/Grammar Check. DO NOT IGNORE! This simple tool so many people know exists is not used frequently enough. Most of us now rely on the auto-correct feature, so when we misspell addresss, we automatically think the software will fix it, but as seen above, the auto-correct does not always work. Before you consider any document complete, make sure you use this simple tool!

As my writing progresses, I will be sure to share every ounce of wisdom I find useful with my fellow independent authors. Happy writing!

 

 

Back at it!

It has been a while, friends, but guess who’s back!

For the past couple of months I have been rather busy with real life events, all kinds of rite of passages, but now I am back and ready to publish my second novel!

“See you soon” was a great success! Over 1,000 reviews on all different distributing websites with an average of a 4 star rating; I call that an amazing starting point. I have to thank every single person who downloaded my first novel for helping me start my self-publishing dream.

But as with all things, I must go on!

My next novel to be published is another romance. It is a far more developed and lengthy novel than “See you soon”, and I believe it will surpass the ratings my first novel received. With every novel I write and publish, another piece of me goes with it. I cannot wait to share this piece with you!

Coming to readers August 2013. The perfect summer’s end novel.

“The Shoreline”

After years of staying far from where the ocean met the sand, Alexis can’t help but be drawn to a sexy surfer, Jason.

Alexis Anderson has a lot going for her in the near future. She has bills to pay, divorced parents to deal with, and a degree she has yet to find a job for which will put it to use. Her friends, Lori and Jordan, seemed to completely have their lives together with jobs lined up and goals to meet while Alexis was just hoping to stay above water. As the girls decide to take a beach vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, none of them would have ever guessed on finding love.

After all the years of staying out of the ocean, Alexis finds herself swimming within one full of emotions she could have sworn had never existed. Jason opens her eyes to a world of possibilities, but a sea of secrets stands between them. Overcoming them might be the greatest feat Alexis has ever faced, second only to her fear of being taken under by
another wave. As her love for Jason evolves, she hopes to find common ground somewhere between the ocean and the sand, the shoreline.