Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February 2016 IWSG The Crazy Coaster


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.


By the end of January I felt really good about myself, my family life, and my writing. I only accepted two substitute jobs and focused on getting back into a good mental place myself. There were still struggles (as there always will be) with my teenagers. It made for a long month of ups and downs.
However, I buckled down and finished the first round of line edits for SEARCH FOR KNOWLEDGE. It was brutal! I basically sent a rough draft quality manuscript to my editor and we had to kill lots of repetitious words--felt, something, looked, was, went, got, know, only, just, and a couple others.

My insecurities had diminished and life looked good.

Then bad news hit us.
Jan 28th--the woman who planned to buy our house (and has been renting it since November) learned her ex-husband had destroyed her credit since the divorce in October. There's no way she's getting a loan to close in February.

Hubby and I spent hours talking about our options. We had given her a cut on rent because she was going to buy the house. That meant her rent didn't cover our mortgage, much less the management fees and any repairs she requested. Which she had done a lot of! We wanted to be fair and kind to her, but we needed to take care of our family too. The best plan was to ask her to pay the full rent so we were no longer paying for her to live there. If she agreed to that, we wouldn't re-list the house for sale giving her time to raise her credit and buy the house.

Jan 29th--she refuses to pay the higher rent and will move out at the end of February. Now I'm terrified she'll do something to the house in the next month. I know that's stupid, but my imagination tells me she's angry with us and thinks we are cruel for kicking her out. However, she doesn't know us. She doesn't know that while she was living in my beautiful, fully loaded home, I was living without a complete kitchen or floors in half my house. Now that she can't buy, I will have to pay two mortgages again, and the chance of completing our renovations are pushed back again.

January 30th and 31st--I didn't want to get out of bed, but by the end of the weekend I had resigned myself to substitute teaching every day and destroying the hard earned peace of mind I'd gained in January. Sort of. Not really, but I'm trying! I also got notes back from my editor to go through one more round of edits.

My biggest fear is that I'll never finish these edits. The second book will never be released and even if it is, I'll never finish writing the 3rd and 4th books in the series. Life if trying its hardest to keep me away from my dreams. I seriously want to hide in bed all day rather than fail or get knocked down again.
Good thing I re-watched GALAXY QUEST recently.
So, I subbed yesterday and I'm subbing today. Tomorrow I'll do my rounds to visit you and edit more on SFK. Hopefully this will be the last set of edits before moving on to getting cover art and a release date. I'll keep you posted!

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who commented last month. Your good thoughts and support have really helped me keep moving forward. I'm continuing to take the steps necessary to enjoy my life and keep writing. I just wish it was easier! :)

Monday, January 11, 2016

A New Week of Edits and Book Trailers!

Thank you all so much for your kind thoughts and advice last week for IWSG. I enjoyed reading them as I went about the business of the week. It was busy and I didn't get to visit as many blogs as I'd hoped. There were doctor and dentist visits and this...
Elaine's Cake 
Reception set up.
It's the first wedding cake I've done in years. I believe I missed the stressful excitement of helping make someone's special day even more wonderful. However, I'm glad it's over!

This week I dig back into the third round of edits for Talia's next story installment--Search For Knowledge. Things are going well and we are down to the nitty gritty clean up. Hopefully, I'll have an idea when it might be released soon. Right now I just know 2016, this year! Yay!

I keep trying different background music for the book trailer. What do you think of this one?

My next post will be the blurb. I need help!
Hope you all have a great week, catch you later!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

IWSG January 2016--Pushing through the Depression

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 #62

Okay, so it's time to come clean. You know that old adage, "Fake it 'til you make it"?

That's the life I've been living online and in public for the last year. Our family has been under constant stress for that long with various things--debt, kids struggling with physical and emotional health issues, moving, remodeling, renting out the other house, new church environment (which has been wonderful but requires more of our time {which we wanted}), my own struggles with insecurity as a writer, wife, and mother to name a few. But I kept telling myself, "Keep smiling, be positive, don't give up and you'll get through all of this. You can do it!"

It worked, sort of. It always does. The problem is you can't live that way indefinitely. I thought I could be strong and bully my way back to the life I wanted eventually. The one thing I knew for sure was that I didn't want anyone to know how worn out and down I was. Not even my own family.

In the end it all piled up until the first week in November found me getting out of bed to send the kids to school and then crawling back into bed until noon or later. I didn't clean. I didn't cook. Netflix became the only reason to get out of bed. My husband finally begged me to go talk to someone.

So I did. Turns out my daughter gets her OCD from me. Looking back I can see that I've always had it, but it's very mild and I've been able to cope with it on my own. Until now. My OCD isn't about germs or all the bad things that could happen, but it's centered around scheduling. Mostly it's about me feeling like I'm in control of my own life. For the last year I've NOT been in control of any part of my life. At least it didn't feel like it. That's why I shut down. In my mind I think, "Why bother making goals when I can't do any of the things to achieve them? Why get out of bed at all? If I don't, I won't fail."

If I don't cook dinner, my family won't complain that it isn't what they wanted.
If I don't get out of my pajamas, I'll have less laundry to wash.
If I don't ask my kids to clean their room, I won't be disappointed when I have to fight with them for hours to get it done.
If I don't sit down to write, I won't get interrupted and frustrated.

To be honest, it was a relief to talk to my doctor. Even though I already knew what he told me I needed, it felt good to have someone else say it. I needed help. A low dose OCD/anxiety med has helped me get out of bed each day, set a few goals around my house and actually work on it.

On the writing front I had to concentrate on simple things. I gave myself permission to wait on finishing Talia's 3rd book so I could work with my editor on the 2nd one. The only other thing I worked on was getting FADE INTO ME and STELLAR CLOUD make into audio books. These were things that didn't rely solely on me. Someone else was there to encourage me to keep moving to the next step, or in the case of the audio books, they did the work.

These successes have helped build my courage back up. Now I'm ready to dig back in a little at a time. Sadly, I still have to substitute teach, which is horrible for my brand of OCD. The weird part is when I'm at school, I enjoy it. The hard part is getting the call 10 minutes before school starts and having to readjust my planned schedule. *sigh*

To celebrate a new start, I'm giving away a copy of each of the new audio books. Just sign up below and leave a comment as to which audio book you'd prefer. You can hear a sample of them on Audible.
FADE INTO ME
STELLAR CLOUD

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 1, 2016

Book Review I AM SLEEPLESS: SIM 299 by Johan Twiss

From Goodreads:
The planet Ethos is at war with a savage enemy known as the Splicers. Their only successful defense is the Prime Initiative. All newborns with the compatible genes to become primes are taken from their families and injected with the Prime Stimulus. Those that survive the stimulus develop extraordinary abilities and are conscripted into the Ethos Army for training. But each ability comes with a defect.

After turning twelve, Aidan is moved to the upper-class at the Mount Fegorio training complex. But Aidan is different than the other primes. Not only does he have two abilities, but he has no defects, besides the fact he is unable to sleep. His special gifts allow him unprecedented success in the virtual training simulations, known as The Pit. Using his unique abilities, Aidan goes further than any prime in history by reaching the final simulation, sim 299. No one knows what lies after sim 299, not even Director Tuskin, the ruthless and reclusive ruler of their planet. But someone, or something, has been guiding Aidan there, waiting for him to complete sim 299. If he can pass the final tests, he may unlock the key to ending the Splicer War.


My Take:
Remember back in early November I promised a review of this book? Is a late review better than no review? So sorry this review was so long in coming. I actually read this book in only a few days. Since it's been over a month, my review will be a little generalized because of the passage of time. However, the most important thing I thought while reading this was this:

This is reminiscent of "Ender's Game" while being completely unique!

Yeah, I'll try to explain that thought. The theme of Sleepless is very similar to Ender's Game. Humanity has spread to several planets, and the current civilization has been shaped by a previous war. The military has spent a long time trying to ensure victory in case of another attack by the Splicers. Part of that process means testing children to find the limits of their intelligence and abilities. Aidan is the one the leaders have set their hopes on.

Here's where Twiss makes his story uniquely his own. Primes.
Primes are not human. They are genetically engineered to have special abilities like speed, strength, the ability to change their density, engineering (mechs), and puzzler mode. (You'll just have to read to get a full grasp on what I'm talking about here.

Twiss does a great job teaching you about his world without huge info dumps. He throws the reader in and lets you figure it out with little hints here and there. When things get complicated, he let's it be something new the cadets are learning about themselves so the reader doesn't get lost.

I LOVED the twist with the SIMS. And the secret behind Aidan's birth. :) I won't give away any spoilers here! However, I'll say this was a fun, fast, energetic and at times edge of your seat ride. I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes in book two of the series.

I give SLEEPLESS a solid 4 and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the Ender's series. This promises to be just as riveting.

1-5 scale and what it means:
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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Lay Me Down by Tamara Hart Heiner

Have you heard of the new Kindle Scout Program? This is what replaced the Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest. The new set up is sort of like American Idol for authors. You throw your book into the mix and then advertise like crazy to get people to read an excerpt and nominate it if they are interested in reading more.

If you stay on the hot list, you could win a publishing contract from Amazon.


One of my best writing buddies (that I see in real life on a weekly, sometimes daily basis) decided to give it a try with her last book LAY ME DOWN. Maybe I'm biased because I got to help with edits of this book, but it is fantastic! Seriously, a week after reading the completed version I was still talking like Kylee. "I know, right?" I was still thinking about Price and how he would cope with everything. I'll stop here so there won't be any spoilers.

Well, Tamara is down to the last two days of this contest. Take a moment to go read the first three chapters of this great YA story. It's a little paranormal, or maybe goth? It's definitely suspenseful, heart wrenching and sweet all at the same time.

Here's the link for her page on Kindle Scout.

Blurb:
Life is more than just breathing.

Kylee Mansfield knows what it is to be alone. Her dad left when she was seven, and her mother remarried an abusive alcoholic. Kylee finds ways to escape reality, usually by substituting one pain for another. Things take a deadly turn when a jagged cut shows up on her arm, and she doesn't know where it came from. She enlists the help of her neighbor, Price Hudson, to help her uncover the truth. But Price shows her much more than just her past—he shows her what it is to be alive.

First page of CHAPTER ONE:


Kylee leaned against her bedroom door, her heart beating erratically. Even from here, she could hear Bill swearing and yelling in the living room. She squeezed her eyes shut. Why was he still going on? He should have forgotten about her by now.

“Please stay in the other room. Please stay in the other room,” she chanted to herself. She glanced down at her throbbing arm, noting the small rivulet of blood collecting in the corner of her elbow.

Her mom’s shouting mingled with Bill’s, and something large crashed into a wall. The single-story house rattled as Bill’s thundering footsteps approached.

“Kylee!” he roared, the full extent of his fury echoing in the one word.

She whimpered. Her eyes landed on the chair scooted against the wooden desk next to the closet. She lunged for it, intent on propping it under the doorknob like she had so many times in the past.

Barely had she vacated her spot by the door before it banged open, slamming into the opposite wall with its force. Kylee shrieked and spun around.

“I’m sorry,” she sputtered, her hands splayed out in front of her for protection. “I should have stayed out of it. I—”

He cut the rest of her apology off with a left hook to her jaw. Kylee stumbled backwards and went down to her knees, a little surprised she hadn’t seen that coming. Bill was angrier than usual.

Here's that link again--
Click HERE to read the complete first three chapters and to NOMINATE!

After you read the excerpt come back and tell me what you thought in the comments. Each person that reads and comments will get an entry into a giveaway for the audio version of FADE INTO ME or STELLAR CLOUD--winner's choice! I'll give away two copies on January first. Share this post and get another entry for the giveaway!

This is all on your honor. ;)
1 point--read and comment
1 point--sharing by tweet, facebook, word of mouth or whatever with other readers (mention what you did in the comments (#LayMeDown)


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