The Adventure Begins

You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

~ Christopher Columbus

 

imagesI like the above quote.  It reminds me that taking a leap of faith is not without risk, but the reward can be incredible. Today is Columbus Day and history would certainly be different if ole’ Chris C. hadn’t decided to leave that familiar shore.  I am sure he was more focused on the journey ahead than his place in our history books, but his willingness to risk it all, his desire to push the limits, compelled him to do something extraordinary.

We all have that potential within us.  That passion to take what we imagine and make it a reality. We see it every time someone stops talking about the novel they plan to write and actually sits down to do it.  It takes courage to put yourself out there and jump into uncharted water.  Writing a novel is not for the timid and faint of heart!

As with  every journey you have to make corrections when you drift off course and I can’t count the number of times I have been surprised by what can happen.  Sometimes I love the new direction, but there are times when I have to retrace my steps to get where I need to go.  It can be discouraging or exhilarating, but none of it would have happened if I hadn’t allowed myself to lose sight of the shore and step away from my comfort zone.

So, for all of you beginning your writing journey, for those that continue to pursue their dreams and for those contemplating their next published work – congratulations!  Like Columbus you have the courage to pursue your dreams.  What wonderful adventures await you!

Meet Jessica and Nate from Armed with Steele by Kyra Jacobs

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing two delightful characters from ARMED WITH STEELE the new release by Kyra Jacobs.  Welcome!

 Jessica: Thanks so much for having us on today. I had to drag Nate into the studio kicking and screaming, but he finally saw the light.

Nate: More like she threatened me with no se–(Jessica elbows him in side hard)—oof!

Jessica: On with the interview!

Kylie:  I can see you two are going to be fun to interview. (smiles)  Why don’t we start out with you telling me a little about your story.

Jessica: ARMED WITH STEELE was supposed to be a story about me and my best friend, Grace. She was in a horrific car accident, and I felt so awful because…well, I won’t go into all that. Too hard to talk about. But I knew as soon as Nate described the accident scene that something was amiss.

Nate: Meaning, she didn’t think I did a thorough enough investigation.

Jessica: No, I just didn’t think you, uh, explored all the avenues. (Nate rolls his eyes) Anyway, I was all determined to figure out what happened, and then Kyra drops this gorgeous hunk of a cop into my life. Needless to say, the story took a hard turn at the intersection of Suspense Street and Romance Road.

Kylie:  I have to admit that Kyra certainly knew what she was doing when she introduced you to Nate – whew.

Nate: (broad smile on his face as he waggles his eyebrows) Thank you, Kyra…

Kylie:  (turning to Nate) Jessica did a lovely job of summing up her view of things, but now it is your turn for a question.  How would you describe Jessica?  Let’s see if you can do it in one sentence.

Nate: Stubborn.

Jessica: Hey, that’s not a sentence!

Nate: Okay, how’s this: Jessica is a twenty-five year-old beauty living in Fort Wayne, Indiana who possesses the snark of Stephanie Plum, the ingenuity of MacGyver, and the compassion of, um….

Jessica: You can stop now before you go and embarrass me any further. (she plants a quick kiss along his chiseled jaw line)

Kylie:   So, Jessica, what attracted you to Nate?

Jessica: Ooo, my turn. Hmm, that’d be his uncanny sense of timing.

Nate: It wasn’t my fault you were speeding in chapter one.

Jessica: And that time you just happened to be jogging by my house?

Nate: Hey, that visit nearly got my head cracked open with your softball bat!

Jessica: I rest my case.

Kylie:  Ahem…remember me?  You know, the one doing the interview?  Let’s get back on track here.  Did Kyra listen to music while she wrote?  If so, what songs were playing?

 Jessica: I don’t really remember Kyra ever playing music for us. Do you, Nate?

 Nate: Nope. Though, she did have Boston’s “Peace of Mind” listed in an early draft. It’s one of her favorite songs.

 Jessica: (giving Nate a flat look) And how do you know so much about what music Kyra likes?

Nate: Uh, next question, please? (Puts hand up to hide his face from Jessica and adds in a whisper) Did I mention Jessica’s also a bit on the jealous side?

Jessica: I heard that!

Kylie:  Moving right along…  What do you do when you are not writing?

Jessica: Most of my writing is just copy edits for what my clients ask to have put on their websites. Oh—that reminds me! Wait until you hear about Kyra’s next romantic suspense: FLIRTING WITH FIRE! It’s going to be awesome! And yours truly will get some page time as well!

Nate: Oh, come on, Jess—you know they’ll all watch for the second book because I’ll be in it, not you. Everyone loves a man in uniform.

Jessica: Actually, Nate, they’ll all watch for the next book because of a certain smokin’ hot fireman named Torrunn MacKay.

Nate: (scowling as he crosses his arms) Looks like I need to have a little talk with T after we’re done here. Set some boundaries.

Jessica: Now who’s the jealous one?

Kylie:  I’ll definitely be watching for the new book.  Torrunn MacKay, you say?  Sounds intriguing.   But, let’s not get too sidetracked, okay?  Jessica, do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?  Why?

Jessica: Oh, I’m definitely an introvert. Grace is the extrovert, as is Nate. I just lurk in the shadows. Oh wait, no, that’s Nate, too.

Nate: One time. I surprise you in the shadows one time

Jessica: (mumbling) …and it better be the last… (she clears her throat and flashes a brilliant smile at her host) Kylie, thank you so very much for having us on today. Truthfully, we get kind of tired being restricted to the pages of an e-book. It’s nice to get out and stretch from time to time, isn’t it babe?

Nate: That depends—do these “stretches” involve Torrunn MacKay?

Jessica: Okay, looks like I’d better get back to ARMED WITH STEELE before Officer Steele trumps up another imaginary traffic violation on me.

Nate: The light was red, Jess.

Jessica: Orange. Burnt sienna at most.

Nate: *sigh* See you around, Kylie. And do me a favor—don’t run any reds in my city, alright? I’ll be watching.

Kylie:  No red light running.  Got it.  Although, I have to admit the temptation is a little hard to resist.  🙂  Just kidding, Jess.  Seriously.  You can stop frowning at me.

 

armedwithsteel

Blurb:

What happens undercover, stays under covers.

Jessica Hartley is looking for answers surrounding the mysterious car accident that nearly claimed the life of her best friend. She’s willing to risk it all, even her fledgling business, to find the person responsible and bring them to justice.

Nate Steele is more than willing to help Jessica, but for reasons all his own. He’s been watching the infamous Maxwell Office Solutions for some time now, convinced there’s more going on than meets the eye. When his chief issues a cease and desist order yet again, Nate has no choice but to accept inexperienced Jessica as an undercover partner outside the letter of the law.

Will Jessica and Nate be able to flush out Maxwell’s elusive villain, or will their growing attraction for each other sabotage their undercover ploy? Motives aren’t always what they seem when Jessica finds herself armed with Steele.

CONTENT WARNING: Beware drool-worthy men in uniform, touchy-feely coworkers, and vindictive ex-girlfriends.

Kyra Jacobs on the web:

Website: http://bit.ly/AuthorKyraJacobs

Blog: http://indianawonderer.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://bit.ly/KyraJacobsFB

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KyraJacobsBooks

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/19r2j1Z

ARMED WITH STEELE links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/18J8IUG

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/16j0Z1U

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1d4FYK8

iTunes: http://bit.ly/17XrmHd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music to Write By

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination

and life to everything.”

~ Plato

I’ve been on the hunt for new music just lately.  I have hundreds of songs on my iPod and have listened to them so frequently it isn’t always necessary to have the iPod on to hear the tunes in my head. I think we have all experienced having a song run through our minds in a continual loop.  Hey, they don’t call them earworms for nothing 🙂

Just the other day I was sitting in another endless meeting and all of sudden I am hearing Adam Lambert belting out For your Entertainment.  I am sure you can appreciate the irony of that song as much as I did. Thank goodness I wasn’t doing any head banging to the music only I could hear.  I had to hide a smile by ducking my head because I was totally amused by the whole thing.  Yes, my sense of humor does lean towards the ridiculous.

Music is a constant companion when I write.  It helps me tap into emotions I am trying to express through the limitations of the written word.  Sometimes it is the haunting notes of classical music that accompanies a poignant scene between characters or the driving notes of rock-n-roll to pump up an action scene.  I have found some wonderful country artists whose romantic ballads have been touchstones for more intimate encounters in my books.

My tastes are wide ranging, but in every instance the music strikes a cord with me.  Quite by accident I found a cover by 30 Seconds To Mars of Rihanna’s Stay.  I liked her version, but was blown away by theirs.  Trust me when I say that song will definitely be on my playlist while I work on my latest WIP.

I am not sure what artists or songs will eventually make the list for this new book.  Quite possibly some of my old favorites will turn up, but I am ready to explore the unknown.  After all, this will be the new soundtrack for my latest story and a vital character in building this new world.

What are some of your favorite songs?

The Mystery of Attraction

“He drew me like gravity.”

~M. Leighton

Attraction doesn’t always make sense.  Why that slightly dorky guy standing in line to buy coffee will appeal instead of the hunk at the table is a mystery.  Have you ever gone shopping in a crowded mall and met the gaze of a complete stranger and felt a tug, an unexpected awareness that makes you take a second, longer look?  C’mon, admit it…you know you have.

Being a writer gives you the opportunity to explore the attraction between your characters and make sense out of the inexplicable – at least in your book.  From the first time they meet until the HEA we delve into their emotions, dance around their confusion and resistance to each other and help them understand why that sizzle of awareness exists.  We don’t leave it as a passing glance and mild curiosity.  Where would be the fun in that?

Most of us like to put complete opposites together.  The resulting fireworks can be fun. We take characters whose lives have been so completely different there is little common ground and root for them to find their way.

In Rayven’s Keep I took a naïve young woman and threw her in a situation so far outside her experience she didn’t know how to cope.  Add in a cynical, driven man, an instant attraction and throw them alone together onboard a ship traveling to the end of their star system.  Ahh, now it gets interesting.

They can’t hide from each other, can’t walk away or slam a door for privacy.  Petty grievances can fester, feelings can be hurt and underneath it all is that simmer of attraction making it impossible to ignore the ache of unfulfilled desire.

Below is an excerpt from my book.  Tru is struggling with the knowledge she is attracted to Nick.  I hope you enjoy 🙂

Excerpt from Rayven’t Keep:

Tru edged away from the callscreen. She hated being caught between two powerful, determined men. Even Callen and Seth watched intently, their stances showing they were alert to every nuance. It made the hair at the nape of her neck stand on end.

“I’m also sure you know my reputation and it means more to you than any official report, which can be easily manipulated. You also know I’m going to put a serious dent in your funds to protect Tru. I don’t work for free. Let me do my job, Creighton. I’m very good at it.”

Tru uttered a small, shocked protest before clamping her mouth shut. She glanced at Nick, but his attention was focused on her grandfather.

“It seems like we understand each other.” The smile dropped from his face to be replaced with something more genuine. “I assume you have a plan for protecting my granddaughter and flushing out the bastards at Lodestone?”

Tru didn’t stick around to hear the details, slipping unnoticed out of the room while all attention was on Nick. She resented being the topic of conversation without any consideration being given to her opinion. To think Nick thought of her as just another job to be done with a hefty payout at completion stung. The fact she’d intended to hire him herself didn’t matter and was beside the point.

What she was feeling wasn’t logical, but her emotions were in turmoil and logic was a distant memory. Confused and off balance, she sought a peaceful place to think and, if she were being honest with herself, to sulk. Muttering unladylike imprecations under her breath about Nick, and men in general, she went outside to get some fresh air.

Sundown set the sky on fire with streaks of deep purple and scarlet. The humidity had lessened along with the oppressive heat of earlier in the day. Night creatures stirred, their rustling in the shrubbery drawing her attention and making her nervous. She wasn’t familiar with the wildlife on Alludra and opted to remain close to the house. She wandered along the path she’d walked up earlier in the day surprised to realize it hadn’t been that long ago. So much had changed in such a short time and she acknowledged her rash decisions had put her here. She couldn’t blame Nick. He’d been direct and honest with her from the beginning.

Miserable, she clasped her arms around her waist and stared unseeing at the darkening landscape. She’d never met anyone quite like him before and the attraction she felt had been immediate. She didn’t know why her heart insisted on skipping a beat whenever he was close, or why she found the scar near his eye charming. He didn’t smile, ordered her about without compunction and treated her like a nuisance.

But, he’d also shown gentleness on the ship when she cried and offered gruff comfort when she told him what happened on Lodestone. His touch sent shivers down her spine, while warmth pooled low in her abdomen. She had no control over her reaction, didn’t fully understand all it meant, but there was no denying what she felt.

Sighing, finding no solution to her mixed emotions, Tru turned to go back to the house and ran smack into an immovable, solid wall. Strong arms grabbed her and pulled her close, preventing her fall. It took a moment for her brain to catch up and recognize what her body already realized.

Nick. Warm, solid and holding her too close. Her heart stuttered once before settling into a steady rhythm and her forehead dropped against the hard wall of his chest. She relished the contact even though she knew she should move away.

A Perfect Day

May you always find new roads to travel; new horizons to explore; new dreams to call your own.

     ~Unknown

Have you ever had a perfect day?  The kind of day you hate to see end? That was Sunday for me.

A friend and I started the day out at a winery.  It was a little off the beaten track, but the setting was absolutely gorgeous.  To get there we took a ferry across the river bisecting the area and then followed the road winding through the grape fields until we came to the tasting room. Now I don’t have a particularly educated palate when it comes to wine, but the tasting showed me what I did like and, of course, I had to buy a bottle 🙂

The sun was warm when I stepped out of the car.  The sky that lovely clear blue not often seen in the Pacific Northwest.  My friend knows the owner of the winery and I was soon swept up in conversation with him and learned more about wine making than I ever thought possible in a short time.  The whole time he was chatting he was pouring samples of the various wines available – starting with the whites and moving through the reds.  I learned what “legs” meant when applied to the wine, how to sip and identify the undertones and notes of the vintage and that most reds taste bitter to me.  I had a great time.

Once we made our purchases we got back in the car for the next adventure.   Our drive wound through farm country and quiet back roads.  It was a real pleasure to be a passenger and not have to concentrate on driving for once.  We were scheduled for a tour of a Frank Lloyd Wright home.  Like wine, I know little about architecture, but I have heard of Frank Lloyd Wright.  I was interested in his design philosophy and how the home fit in its surroundings, but I found it more about nature and expanding the living space to include it than a comfortable place to spend time.  Low ceilings in some areas made me claustrophobic and the hard angles in the home made me want to add soft pillows.  Obviously, his designs were not for me *shrugs*.

No trip is complete without a visit to the local chocolate shop.  Seriously, who can pass one by without finding themselves inside debating the pros and cons of each selection?   Happy with my purchase and the mouth-watering goodies in my bag we toured the hamlet we were in and looked at some fabulous old homes.

We ended the day at a small bistro for dinner.  Everything offered was fresh that day.  I swear you could taste each vegetable used in the gazpacho! I won’t tantalize you with what I had – let’s just say it was a feast for my taste buds J.

I arrived home relaxed and with a smile.  You can bet somewhere in my current manuscript I will find a way to incorporate the sights, sounds and experiences of my day.  Why not let my characters indulge in the pleasures of a lovely day?  I am sure you would do the same 🙂

The Only Way to Travel

“It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed.

            ~Kin Hubbard

I recently had the pleasure of flying first class.  Having made the first leg of my journey in the back of a plane it was an unexpected delight to be bumped to first class for the longest stretch of my flight home.  Let me just say…wow!  From start to finish it was a wonderful experience and one I hope to  repeat in the future.  I am now officially spoiled and I can totally live with that 🙂

I admit I savored everything from the warm, damp towel to freshen up with to dinner served on china with linen napkins.  When offered my choice of dessert I chose ice cream with candied nuts and smiled to myself to have it in a glass bowl.  This was a huge difference from the $9 sandwich I’d bought when seated in the more economical part of the plane.  Okay, fine – the cheap seats.

Of course, every experience can be fodder for writing and this was no exception. The difference between classes could not have been more obvious and I realized I have the perfect opportunity to explore this divide in my current WIP.

Lyra D’Kir has a lot of responsibility resting on her shoulders, but has been surrounded by wealth and privilege her whole life. How is she going to cope when circumstances thrust her into a situation where sleeping on the hard ground and being asked to carry her own weight are temporarily the new normal? Will she rise to the occasion or be defeated by it?

By the same token, how does a former soldier react to the wealth and privilege he finds himself surrounded by?  Burke Wulfric has little sympathy for his latest charge, but can he appreciate the finer things in life or will he be too busy comparing the differences in their lives and circumstances to see beyond the glitz to the real person underneath?

Interesting questions, right?  I guess we will see what happens 🙂

Kylie Wolfe interviews Trent & Carrie from Worst Week Ever by Liza O’Connor

1The Craziest Blog Tour Ever


2Prizes
 

Worst and Best Moments of Worst Week Ever

Today, I’ll be interviewing the characters of Worst Week Ever for their Worst and Best moments during a week so horrible, yet fun, that Liza O’Connor felt compelled to write a book about it.

Kylie: So, let’s start with Carrie, Executive Assistant to Trent Lancaster of Lancaster Chairs.
trent 007 sml

Trent: Hold on, I’m CEO. You should start with me.

Kylie: *rolls eyes* Fine, ‘gentlemen first’ then. What’s the worst thing that happened to you this week?

Trent: It was the moment I saw a file cabinet tipping out of the 5th story window of my office and Carrie standing like a mindless twit, picking up papers, exactly where it would fall. In that moment, I saw the destruction of my life and the end of any chance for happiness.

Kylie: Has anyone ever mentioned you come across as a mite bit self-centered?

Trent: Do you want to hear about the worst moment of my life or not?

Kylie: Of course. Go ahead.

Trent: Unable to bear the possibility of losing my EA, I ran, without thought to my own safety, snared Carrie by the waist and saved her life. Then some idiot policeman arrested me. Evidently, they don’t like good Samaritans.

Kylie: And what was your best moment?

Trent: Were you not paying attention? I just told you. Carrie, make her understand.

Carrie indoors

Carrie: *smiles at Kylie* I understand your confusion  since it was a single event. However, when Trent saw I was about to die that was his worst moment. When he saved my life that was his best. *She grins at Trent*

Trent: Exactly! Why is Carrie the only one who can understand me? *he grips her hand* But you see why I’ve decided to keep her with me, wherever I go.

Kylie: Because you can’t make yourself understood otherwise?

Trent: No! A Lancaster doesn’t have to explain himself. But in this case I will. I have to keep Carrie close by so I can keep her safe. You’ve no idea how much trouble she got into this week.

Carrie: *pulled her hand away* My first arrest was entirely your fault. As was the reason your phone ended up in the hands of a drug dealer. And what about you hiring a FBI agent to commit a crime? That was all your doing.

Trent: *frowns* When did I get you arrested? Oh the airport. *returns focus to Kylie.* Did you know that Airport Security will arrest you if you buy a ticket to Peru, enter the international section, but don’t actually go anywhere?

Kylie: Why would anyone do that? *looks at Carrie*

Carrie: He bought the ticket so he could get past security and wait for me at my gate.

Kylie: *looks at Trent*

Trent: *shrugged* I desperately needed my EA back.

Kylie: And Carrie, what was your best and worst moment?

Carrie: There have been so many this week. I think my worst moment was making those narcotic turtles. I almost caused three people to die over that fiasco.

Trent: Who?

Carrie: Mars, your penthouse butler, Jack, your only working systems guy, and Sam, your driver.

Trent: *frowns* Well, at least that Jack fellow will stop demanding turtles to do his job now.

Carrie: *rolls eyes and refocuses on Kylie* My best moment was when Trent told me his lobby guard was wrong and–

Kylie: Hold on. I just got a text message from Liza. She doesn’t want you to discuss that matter.

Carrie: Oh, okay. Sorry Liza. Well, I was really happy when the police let me go without charging me. Evidently what I did could have gotten me 6 years in a federal prison.

Trent: *snorts* She, who actually did something wrong, gets off scott free and I had to pay a million dollar bond to get released.

Carrie: *Stands up and glares* Trent Lancaster! If you repeat your outrageous and totally untrue claim as to why I got off, I am never doing another interview with you again.

Kylie: I guess this concludes my interview with Carrie and Trent.

Trent: You should say Trent and Carrie.

Kylie: *shakes her head* You two are an odd couple.

Trent: You mean because she’s only four feet and I’m six feet tall?

Carrie: *crosses her arms and grumbles* I’m four foot six.

Trent: *Pulls Carrie to his side and hugs her* Doesn’t matter. I think you’re perfect both inside and out.

Carrie: *smiles at Trent, then  Kylie*  Just when I’m about to lose my temper, he’ll say something so sweet that I can’t help but forgive him. I can see a very good man in Trent. He doesn’t realize how he often comes across. His father was a terrible role model.

Kylie:  I don’t know how you do it, Carrie.  You obviously see something in Trent that makes you overlook his – uh- interesting personality, shall we say? Good thing you like a challenge! And it is obvious he adores you.  I wish you both the best of luck 🙂

Worst Week Ever_1600x2400

Worst Week Ever

by Liza O’Connor

New Adult, Humor, Contemporary

BUY LINK

BLURB

What do you get when you put a hardworking, can-do middle-class young woman together with a egoistical, outrageous, billionaire boss, then throw in the worst week of disasters imaginable?

Book 1 of the 3 book series A Long Road to Love.

Worst Week Ever.

Trent Lancaster spends one month without his Executive Assistant, or as his drivers refers to Carrie: ‘Trent’s brain, left hand, and right hand’. He’s had a miserable month without her at his side and to ensure it never happens again, he intends to marry his brilliant beauty. Only given all the times he’s threatened to fire her, he’s not sure she even likes him. However, the future of his company and his happiness depend upon him succeeding, so Trent begins a slow one week seduction that happens to coincide with Carrie’s Worst Week Ever when everything that can go wrong does so in hilarious form.

(Hilarious to the reader–Carrie is not having much fun this week.)

EXCERPT

Closing his eyes, Trent enjoyed the pleasure of Carrie’s body pressed against his.

His eyes popped open in horror. Oh God, David’s right. I am besotted.

What the hell was he thinking?

Statistically, his relationships never lasted more than a month and they always ended badly. A billionaire who couldn’t make a relationship last more than a month. How horrible did he have to be to chase off women who had a billion reasons to stick it out?

If he became involved with his most valuable employee, in a month, she’d dump him and quit. Then his business would collapse into chaos and he’d finally prove his father right. The old man constantly claimed Trent was a worthless human being and the world’s worst businessman.

And then Carrie arrived and single handedly saved his company. She never gave up. If one solution failed, she’d find another way to resolve the problem.

He smiled at his sleeping EA. If anyone could make him into a better man, it would be her. Carrie could solve any problem, had the patience of a saint, and the determination of a pitbull. Best of all, she loved a challenge.

Author Bio:

Liza lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels. She loves to create interesting characters, set them loose, and scribe what happens.

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LIZA O’CONNOR

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So what, I Procrastinate

“The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing.” 
~ Alan Dean Foster

I hate to admit it, but I procrastinate.  There is no rhyme or reason to it.  It defies logic.  But, I do it anyway.

What person in their right mind will put off doing something they enjoy (like writing) and use the excuse they need to dust their furniture?  Seriously!  Dust my furniture?  Most days you can write a whole chapter on the dust layering it, so why would I suddenly have this desire to shine the wood? Not only did I dust, but I vacuumed and did laundry.  I need an intervention, people.

The whole time I was finding busy work I was feeling guilty because my second chapter is languishing from lack of attention. It gnaws at me and I glare at my computer like it is somehow at fault.  Its silent presence mocks me. I comfort myself with the idea that I am doing something called “structured procrastination”.

This is a new term for me, but one I grabbed hold of with both hands.  I read about it in an essay by John Perry. (Hey, dusting is boring!)  I liked the idea that my procrastination was actually working for me by allowing me to do a task I had previously avoided.  I was accomplishing something even though I was putting off what I actually should have been doing.  I chose to ignore that this behavior is really self-deception and self-defeating.  It is a vicious circle, my friend.

The truth of the matter is words have not come easy of late.  I wouldn’t call it writer’s block exactly – it is more like a mild form of ennui.  Scenes play out in my head, characters demand attention, but it all dissolves into mist when I sit down and try to write.  I lose focus and suddenly dusting my furniture becomes preferable.  My Muse has packed her bags and is on vacation, dammit.

I know myself well enough to accept this recent bout of behavior will pass and I will sit down and fight my way back into my current story. I know I will become so involved with my writing that polishing furniture will be a distant memory and the dust will happily accumulate again.  It will happen any day now.  Really.

In the meantime, I think I  will worry about it tomorrow.

A Golden Rose

Do one thing every day that scares you.”

                  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

 

I stopped by and checked out Melia Alexander’s wonderful blog today. She was hosting a friend and fellow author, Jessa Slade.  The subject was something near and dear to my own heart, The Golden Rose Contest.

GR2013 Banner for NOR

Not only is this contest sponsored by my home chapter, Rose City Romance Writers, but it is one of the first contests I ever entered.  If you have ever wondered if a contest is worth it then let me tell you my personal experience with this one.

Every time the contest was mentioned in our chapter meetings my heart would race. I had been waffling on whether I should take the plunge and enter my recently finished manuscript .  I knew first-hand the quality and talent of the judges and the kind of thoughtful and insightful feedback I would receive. I also knew I would get an honest evaluation of my work.  There’s the rub.  Was I truly ready to hear any criticism of my baby? Even if the feedback was right on the mark? What if they hated it?  What if I really couldn’t write a decent story?

I think there comes a time in every writer’s journey where we take a leap of faith and do something that scares the you-know-what out of us.  This was it for me.  I filled out the submission form, took a deep breath and hit send.  And promptly freaked out!

Yes, we writers can be a neurotic lot 🙂

I am not kidding when I tell you waiting for the results can be a tad stressful.  I did a lot of mental gymnastics talking to myself.  No matter what, I declared, I would look at the feedback, consider it without emotion and then go back to work on it.  Ha!  Writing is all about emotion, we plumb the heights and depths every time we sit in front of our computer and put words on the page.  So don’t kid yourself and think you won’t react strongly when your results come in.  Just remember to breathe and give yourself permission to think about what comments were given.  You will survive, I promise.  More importantly you will have more of an idea on how to improve your work.

When I got the call telling me my manuscript was a finalist I was so surprised I wondered if there was a mistake.  Truthfully, I don’t think I quite believed it until I got the scores back from the judges.  Even as a finalist there was a lot work still to do on my manuscript.  Weaknesses were pointed out through excellent feedback, along with areas I did well.    I had a little time to look over the comments, make any changes I wanted and then the manuscript would be submitted to the final judges.

I didn’t win the ultimate prize – The Golden Rose, but I took first place in my category.  The final judge said some lovely things about my chapters and I thought maybe, just maybe, I might be a real, honest-to-goodness writer!

The real prize in all of this – I had judges looking at my work and giving me the benefit of their experience as writers.  I got feedback that helped me strengthen my story, a cross section of opinions that gave me a broader view of what another might see in my work and the knowledge that leaping off a cliff is not without risk, but the reward can be, well…the courage to take another step toward publication.

There are a lot of contest out there.  Do a little research, find one that meets your needs and give it a shot.  Take that leap.  What have you got to lose?

Here a blog..there a blog…

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it?”

 ~Erik Qualman

I spent a little time visiting blogs and web sites today.  I don’t do it as often as I should, because keeping up with the publishing industry and writing in general can be a daunting task.

Advice flows across these sites like a wide river, enticing the reader to stop and dip a toe in or, in my case, get sucked in for long periods of time while I lose myself reading interesting tidbits.  I find out about new releases from favorite authors, worry over the affects the economy is having on the publishing industry and what will happen now that e-books have exploded.  I mentally commiserate with other writer’s who blog about their trials and tribulations, laugh over anecdotes they share and get to do it all from the comfort of my office.  Most days it is a pleasant way to spend time.

Occasionally, I will read something that makes me stop and consider a point that is being made on a deeper level.  That happened today.  There are all kinds of opinions circulating in regards to an author having to find creative ways to stay in the collective conscious.  A publicity machine backing your newest release is not often an option for those just beginning their careers. Much is being asked of the author to promote their own work.

What has been repeatedly touted is the need for an author to have a presence beyond a book on a shelf.  What does that mean?  Sometimes it is as simple as a bookmark that you can give away or as complex as hosting a blog, a web site or having a twitter account.  With all the noise in our daily lives it gets harder to be heard, harder to get shelf space for a new untried author and suddenly writing isn’t just about writing a good story anymore.  It becomes about putting ourselves out there, showing up and raising our hands to catch a potential reader’s attention so they will find our book.   We spend our own money to help launch our creation in the hopes we will recoup our investment on the back end and garner enough attention we help our sales.

I am a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to joining the cyber highway.  It wasn’t until my book was almost ready for release that I finally got this blog up and running.  I joined Twitter thinking that would be easy (Ha! 140 characters to say something is hard work!) and finally after much whining and, well, more whining, I added an author Facebook page.

Want to know what I discovered?  I actually like blogging.  Who knew?  I get a thrill every time someone visits and actually leaves a comment. When I get a notification my tweet has been re-tweeted I breathe a sigh of relief because I managed to say something worth passing along.   Better yet, it is pretty darn awesome when someone tweets something good about you.  And Facebook – I quit whining.  Okay, maybe I just slowed down a bit.

Social media is a challenge and could take over my life if I let it.  It hasn’t been easy finding the rhythm that works for me, but I think I am getting there.  I make a point of leaving a comment when I visit a blog nowadays.  I want the author to know I enjoyed what they took the time to write.  It is all about give and take and making connections and new friends.

Will my efforts help my sales in the long run?  I haven’t a clue.  It will be fun to find out though.