Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IWSG October 2015 When Life Kills the Writing

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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.

I'm currently #67

It's sad, but I think my blogging might be nearing the end of its wonderfully long run. Life has become too busy. Even though I'd love to escape to writing or blogging, it's not going to happen for a while. Our house still hasn't sold and the weight of two mortgages and two sets of utilities is driving us nuts. Add two trips to the ER in the last four months and we've got a recipe for disaster. We've started looking into renting it out in order to relieve some of that stress.

The saddest thing is everything writing related is falling to the side. I've barely advertised the short story contest, and I haven't had time to sit and write in over a month. That romance novella for the collection was going so well, but I've lost the momentum now. There's also been no work on Talia's storyline--editing or drafting.

It's driving me crazy! I'm not sleeping and I'm cranky. Thank goodness this weekend I'm getting away for a writing conference. I'm considering skipping classes to sit somewhere and write. Would that be bad?

My main insecurities are around writing momentum. It took so long to get it back and now there isn't enough time in the day to squeeze in an hour of writing. Well, maybe there is, but an hour of sleep trumps writing when I find it.

Although this all sounds negative, I do have a lifeline of hope I'm holding onto.

There are three days in October where I'm running away to hide in the hills in a cabin and write. I can barely wait. Today my editor also said she could have my first round of notes to me for Search For Knowledge (probably). I really hope she does because I'm ready to move forward. Immerse myself in Talia's world again. With any luck I can then carve out the time I need to continue drafting book three in the series. That was my goal. Edit SFK and draft Demon Rising by the end of the year.

Wish me luck!

Oh, one more thing. Tomorrow the Kindle version of the 2014 Anthology will be on sale for $0.99. Please tell everyone you know. The royalties from the sale of this short book fund the cash prizes for my contest.

Please leave a link to your IWSG post and I'll get to you in the next few days. I'm at school again today.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Garfield Shindig 2015 and Kitchen Update

I've got a booth at a local craft fair this weekend. It's their first year trying this out. Today half the vendors didn't show up and that made it hard to draw in buyers who drove past. However, I still sold three books. I'm pretty happy with that. Tomorrow will be better since the rest of the vendors "should" be there. We'll see. Saturday's are better anyway.

You can see hubby's cabinet doors that have been turned into chalkboards and coat hangers. My daughter is also selling those rubber band bracelets. She sold 12 of them!

And, in spite of all the subbing, there is a little work going on at the house. Remember the first day? Pre-demo?

Well, here's what it currently looks like...

I now have countertops! We just bought some cheap laminate until the other house sells, but it's nice to have space to work. I can prepare the meal here, then carry it through the laundry room to my mom's side to cook it. Together we have a complete working kitchen. :)

Everything is at a stand still now until we sell the house. Hopefully I can post a picture of a completed kitchen before Thanksgiving. *fingers crossed*

Monday, September 21, 2015

Love Hate Relationship?

Eh, I think both words are too strong for how I feel about substitute teaching. It's more like any other job people have--a necessity for paying bills.

There are lucky people who really enjoy what they do, but lots of people just go to work because they have to. I think I'm somewhere in the middle.

What I don't like:

  • Being somewhere different every day
  • Getting the phone call at 6:45 AM (this is right after I get all my kids out the door for school)
  • Not having time to exercise or really plan healthy eating
  • Coming home with a headache so all I want to do is hide in my room
  • Too tired to write, blog, market or anything else
  • I'm not finishing projects in my house--like unpacking!

What I do like:

  • Once the bills are caught up I can say no
  • I can work every day if I want
  • The kids aren't that bad. I actually like some of them. ;)
  • Getting dressed and going out in public everyday is good for me
  • I did block off days for a Writer's Conference and a Writing Retreat in October without guilt
All in all, it's probably good that I'm subbing. It's a help while we carry two mortgages and two sets of utilities. However, I really hope my house sells before my editor is finished with our first round of edits. 

I feel like I've been absent from the blogosphere forever! What's going on in your lives?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Updates and an Author Interview with K Caffee

Sorry I've been M.I.A. again. I've been enjoying my wonderful new town in an effort to procrastinate unpacking the rest of my house. The kitchen is still in limbo while we wait for the last two cabinets to come in and for our other house to sell. Once those two things happen we can move ahead with ordering the island, countertops and remaining appliances. Oh, and the floor. Let's not forget the floor!

Here are some lovely pictures I took on a procrastination day. We bought a couple of kiyaks to putter around the lake in.

I've also added this lovely little badge to my sidebar...

Now, let's get down to business for the day. I've interviewed an Indie author I met on Facebook. I haven't read any of her books, but wanted to share her information with you.

K. Caffee is a full time graduate student who has bowed to the pressures of her muse to get the stories she likes to tell out into the big world. She has always enjoyed entertaining others with her flights of fancy, and now invites you to come along for the ride. When she is not writing, or studying, she is a willing servant to her two cats who sometimes provide inspiration for her stranger characters.

Title of Book
Book 3 of the Followers of Torments saga: Into the Sunlits

Nameless has lost nearly everything when the Web Mother rewarded his work, and now must rebuild from the ashes of his victory. With only his trainer, he journeys to another realm in search for new potential Silks to honor the oaths he gave to Her.

Developing a stable of potential fighters around an unusual group of captives, teaches Nameless some of who and what he is outside his rank and goddess’ living avatar. His single-minded self-imposed quest leads him into trouble that pulls him away from his new captives, leaving their care in the unstable hands of his trainer. When the group is reunited, the resentment expressed by one of the captives drives him to the edge of sanity. There he is tempered and forged into a new force. But is he a force of balance, or a force of chaos?


What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m doing homework. Actually, let’s get that ratio right – when I’m not doing homework, I’m writing. I also try to find time to read, draw/work on art projects, blog, and let my cat’s know I haven’t abandoned them. Once I start on a writing binge, it can be a while before I “come up for air” again, during that time, I tend to chase everything else out of my consciousness.

When and why did you begin writing?
I call myself an accidental writer. I’ve always loved telling stories, and have occasionally tried to write a book growing up. But, the written format for my tale spinning kept getting derailed about half way through. This time, I had no idea what I was getting myself in for. The Followers of Torments saga started from an old role play group in answer to the simple question “But, where did he COME from?” about the main character. That was nine years ago.

I wrote the back story, about sixty pages of it, and thought it was done. How wrong I was. Last year, the story had waited long enough, and decided to take matters into its own hands. It gave me an ultimatum that I really did try to fight. I lost. And, I’m kind of glad I did. Even if that does mean I’m chronically short on sleep trying to juggle school work, writing, and all the rest.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Breaking the repetition “button”. I’m extremely detailed oriented, and so that tends to show up in my writing as well. When I do that, I’ll cover a concept from one angle, then go back and cover it from another, and another, and another. Each is just slightly different, yet it still is the same material. It’s taken me almost two books to realize when I’m doing it, but I still am not sure I’ve shattered that habit yet.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’ve learned so much from writing a publishable book. Partly about how to strengthen my writing, and partly about the underlying themes that drive the story forward. I haven’t reached the end of the road yet, either, for the self-education. There’s always more to learn and use in refining the knowledge I have gained along the way.
And the other thing that I’ve learned, which complements both of those points: To trust myself. Even when I have a professional critiquing my work, I still have to remember to evaluate their critiques and figure out if the suggestions will strengthen or weaken my story. Some I accept, some I don’t. But, if I hadn’t learned how to fully trust myself, I wouldn’t have the story I have now, or have come so far, so fast.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Everyone says “write what you know”, and I’ll happily disagree with that. You can learn just about anything. I would strongly rephrase that to “write what you love.” If you do not enjoy what you are writing, and really have a passion about it, when you get into the hard work of editing, or the middle of your book (or series), you can really find yourself bogging down in the minute of the scene or action, and lose the story entirely. That’s when you start dealing with burnout for what you’re writing, and things become a chore, instead of fun.

What genre do you consider your book(s)?
Fantasy for certain. This particular series falls into dark fantasy because of the violence and the journey through the darker side of society and the minds of several characters.

Anyone want to come procrastinate at my house?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson

From Goodreads:
After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off with the offer of a dream job. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help of Kevin Grantham, her handsome neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.

Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn't afraid to show him that he doesn't. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.

My Take:
Super cute! Okay, I love all things Pride and Prejudice as it is, but the modern versions aren't all the same quality. This book holds its own.

It is sweet, cute, heart-wrenching even at times.

I liked that Anderson didn't try and perfectly mimic the pattern of Jane Austen's pride and prejudice. This story has its own plot line but the emotional journey is the same as Austen's work.

Emma is a soft hearted hard working aunt. She's given up her artistic dreams to take care of her niece, but she had no idea how hard it would be. And how frustrating with her good looking neighbor judging her.

Kevin's on track for a great future. It may not be the one his mother wanted for him, but he's a great pediatrician. Everything is going the way he wants, until the dump next door gets a new tenant. How is it that every time he tries to help his pretty neighbor she yells at him? He just wants to do the right thing.

I love the natural progression of their friendship. On top of all that, this is clean! As soon as I finished reading, I took the kindle up to my 16 year old daughter who is also a huge Austen fan. Being able to share a story with her bumps this up to 5 stars.

My rating scale for book reviews
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure
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