Wednesday, December 5, 2018

IWSG December: Recovering from Nano and Surprise Novellas

I participated in Nanowrimo for the first time in several years. The best part is I use Nano to help me accomplish whatever my goals are at the time. In the first couple of days, I finished THE HAND OF ATUA (currently up for pre-order for Feb 2nd release). Then I decided to write a Christmas short story with the sole purpose of publishing it on December 1st.

Crazy, right!?

Why? Because I had planned to publish three books this year and only did one. Perhaps that's a stupid reason for publishing a short story, but not making my goal really bugged me.

Well, I wrote, got feedback from beta readers, revised, and edited that story in about three weeks. CHRISTMAS MAGIC is doing well at the moment. It makes me feel good, and it sometimes makes me angry. I put years of thought and revisions into my science fiction stories and they never do as well as my romance. Is that because I'm horrible at writing science fiction or simply because romance has a larger audience?

The logical side of me says the latter is true. Romance has a huge market with lots of subgenres and a voracious reader pool. Seriously, romance readers devour books. Maybe they are just easier to market to or simply easier to please? They will forgive huge plot holes, typos, and contrived conflict that doesn't make sense. Science fiction readers are much pickier.

This is why most of my writing insecurities are tied to my science fiction stories. My sci-fi is character driven not science driven. There are aspects that fall short because no amount of reading on a topic will help me sound like I know what I'm talking about--hand to hand combat for instance. Sometimes I wonder if I should give up sci-fi ideas and stick to what makes me money.

However, I love my sci-fi ideas. They give me the opportunity to delve into things in a way I feel comfortable.  Plus, it challenges me to stretch and try and be better than I am. I guess that's what matters. If only the releasing it into the world and hearing crickets didn't hurt so much. Even though I don't get lots of reviews for romance either, at least I can see sales and pages being read.

How does your writing make you stretch and grow? What part of the stretching makes you the most insecure? 




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the November 7th posting of the IWSG are: J.H. Moncrieff, Tonja Drecker, Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey!

December Question: What are 5 objects we'd find in your writing space?

There isn't a clear answer to this one because my writing space changes all the time. I don't have a dedicated space. However, if I'm writing somewhere in my home I will have:
1. my computer of course
2. a water bottle
3. my phone
4. my dog Rosie trying to sit on top of the computer or glued to my side
5. a view of the trees

That's it. If I've traveled somewhere I lose the dog.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG November 2018 The Finisher's Worry

Well, I met one of my goals! I finally finished Eleena's story. The final title is The Hand of Atua.
It topped out at 101K and since the first two parts have already been through three or four revisions, I don't think there will be a lot of cutting in the future.

For the first couple of days after writing the last four chapters, I rode that high.
Then I turned to search for new beta readers to make sure everything flowed after all the changes I made. Enter the insecurity.

What if it's worse now than it was before?
What if it really isn't finished like I hope?
What if I'm delusional and it's crap?
Can I survive wasting three years to produce a pile of fertilizer?
All I can do right now is:
  • Breathe
  • Wait
  • Go through it one more time (or two!) with feedback in mind
  • Send it to be edited
  • Release and let it go
And most of all, remember that I wrote this story for me. If others enjoy it, that's a bonus. Of course, there is still that mini-me running around in my head screaming, "Please like it! Read, review, make me famous!"
Do you find yourself the most insecure during the writing process or when you release your story?

Sadly, I think mine is when I'm finished because then it's time to share. It's easier to talk myself out of insecurities when no one else has a clue.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the November 7th posting of the IWSG are Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG October 2018--The Reality of a Writer


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the October posting of the IWSG are Dolorah @ Book Lover, Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken!

I wrote my post before I read the month's question, however, I think they fit rather well in the end.

The October Question: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

My husband thinks of me as a dreamer. For the most part, he's right, but I'm also a realist. You have to be if you're going to answer the question of why you write honestly.

Why do you write?

I write for me.

If all the books I've published disappeared from the world today, no one would miss them. I know that for a fact. Oh, sure. My mom would miss them. Maybe my kids. My good friend Kathy who has beta read every one and given invaluable advice on all of them. Maybe a handful of people that know me personally. But the world will not miss my stories. And I'm okay with that because I didn't write them for the world.

I wrote The Magic Wakes as part of my healing process from a traumatic experience and resulting depression.

Stellar Cloud is a collection of blog fest pieces from when I was blogging almost every day and reading hundreds of blogs a day. For me, it represents those friendships that helped me through some really hard times and helped me find my way as a new wanna-be author.

I wrote Fade Into Me for my girls. It was the first novel that I knew what the theme was before I wrote it. This story was a turning point for me with my writing. Still far from perfect, its a story from my heart just for them.

Even my romances are personal. Chocolate Kisses came about because a good friend's teen daughter was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She is this beautiful harpist--seriously she looks like an angel sitting on stage playing--and my brain started asking all these questions. Landscape Love was written at a time when I desperately needed to feel like I was enough. Through writing it I learned that sometimes we simply need to be enough for ourselves and the rest will follow.

Even the new book, The Hand of Atua, is about my journey of faith. Sure it's set in space, filled with war, refugees, pain and suffering. But it's really about two people learning to trust in their god. Learning that when he says "they are in my hands" all will be well, even if he calls them home instead of saving them.

So you see, it's okay that my constant begging for reviews falls on deaf ears. Right now, at this moment, I remember why I wrote those stories in the first place. They were for me. It doesn't matter what others think. I don't need their validation today (maybe tomorrow, lol!). But tomorrow I can come back and read this post and remember again.

I write for me and it is enough.


Have you reached the point where it's enough for you?

I have also started a private facebook group for people who are willing to read and critique early versions of my projects and who want free books in exchange for honest reviews on Amazon. If you're interested (all you need to be is a reader!) check it out.



Charity's Street Team
Facebook Group · 8 members
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This is a work in progress, but it will be a group where the people who read early versions of my books and give me good feedback can meet and discuss. There will also be opportunities to receive early copies of new releases for honest reviews.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

September IWSG--Calmer Emotions With Better Perspective

Last week I ran away with my family for a cruise. Getting away--no phones, no internet, no one needing anything from me, and sadly no writing either--was exactly what I needed. I didn't even get to read that much. The experience helped me get my perspective back though. 

I had been creating my own emotional turmoil because I was falling behind my goals. For some reason, I'd forgotten I was in charge of MY GOALS! Timelines can change if they need to. Especially when there hasn't been adequate time to work on a project and no one else is demanding it be finished. No matter how much I want to release it by Christmas, it will be much better to wait and put the time in that it needs to solve the problems with the plot and some major pacing issues.

This was confirmed by a few comments from a beta reader Sunday. I was lucky enough to have another author agree to read for me. Better yet, he'll be the first man to read this mess of a story. I miss having men in writer's group! He's only been through a few chapters and he's seen things that once mentioned are obvious. Sadly, they were not to my female mind. 

Funny how a few simple comments can put a mind at ease. I knew something was off, that's why I couldn't finish the story, but I couldn't figure out what it was. Now that I have a direction to work, I feel so much better. And, I'm fine not publishing this book until next year.

It'll be worth the wait, I promise! 


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The September question: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

My first novels were traditionally published because I had no idea what I was doing. I'm glad I went that route. It allowed me time to learn and grow while a team of people helped me get started. It was a smaller publisher though. This simply means they put the money up front into the cover, editing, typesetting, put the books on Amazon and moved on. There was no marketing and no timely reporting to let me know if my marketing efforts were getting results. I eventually made the move to get my rights back for those books.

All my books are now self-published. I've found that the control freak in me likes being able to access stats any time I want. If I'm running a promotion or ad, I can watch in real time to see what works and what doesn't. No more wasting time or money. Plus, I love searching for the perfect cover and having more control over that first impression. Now if something's not working, I know it's my fault and I fix it. It's quite liberating.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August Frustrations for IWSG

I'm kind of an emotional mess right now. At the beginning of the summer I set goals for my writing for the rest of the year. They were realistic and completely possible. However, I'm falling farther and farther behind. I'd like to blame circumstances and other people in my life for this, but the truth is I'm the one that allows everyone and everything else to interfere with my writing time.

For instance, last week I made plans to physically leave my house for 2 hours on two different days so I could write. I should have turned off my phone. But I didn't. I ended up using half of my writing time to work on preparedness fair stuff because of incoming phone calls. Now, this is something else important in my life right now, and it has to be done, but other professionals know how to block out their time and stick to a plan. I need to learn how to do this.

Then there is my family and friends. I love them. So when one of them says, "Hey, let's go do (fill in the blank)" I drop everything and that's what we do. Most of my family now lives near me so my week can fill up quickly with different invitations. I don't want anyone to feel like my writing is more important than them, but I need to learn to say "sure, but can we do it after 11:00" or maybe a different day, or something.

My need for everyone to be happy with me is killing my writing time and putting me farther behind on my goals. Eleena's story should have been finished a month ago and handed to beta readers by now. It still needs an ending. I made some progress, but it isn't finished. It NEEDS to be finished now if I have any hope of publishing it by Christmas.

Pray for me? I'm starting to think that's my only hope. The good news is school starts in two weeks and that will mean less running around during the day. That should give me time to sit and get my two hours of writing in EVERY DAY. With that, I should be able to finish quickly. Then I'll have to hope my beta readers are availble to read and comment quickly so I can start revisions.

Everything just takes so much time!

I'm sorry to vent so much this month. When I don't get good writing time in, and when I feel like my goals are being thwarted, I get cranky and negative. Here's hoping I'm in a much better mood by September.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The August question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

Don't worry about following all the rules or trying to make everyone happy. I did that. In the early days, I tried to shape my story to make every critique partner happy. It took a while to learn that as a writer, you will never be able to make every reader happy. When people read your story they will get different things out of it because we all have different experiences that shape our perspective.

The fix for this is to make yourself happy with the story. Look at the comments from your early readers and ask, "will a change here make MY story better?" If not, move on and throw that comment away. Sometimes a comment can show you where a weakness lies in your plot that needs to be fixed even if it isn't in the way suggested by the critiquer. Be willing to see that and take the steps necessary. So, keep an open mind, but keep your story and goals your own as you sift through each piece of advice.
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