Wednesday, October 2, 2019

IWSG: Owning "I Am 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 writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.


One of my first posts in 2010 was about the moment I first told someone that I was a writer. I talked about how liberating, how exciting, and even freeing it was to finally say it out loud.

This weekend I attended the Storymakers and Indie Author Hub (SMIAH) Writer's Conference in Kansas City. I used to go all the time but missed out on the last few years. Although I went to teach two classes, I believe Heavenly Father gave me that opportunity to be reminded of how I felt back in 2010. Being with other writers and published authors is the best way to get over our insecurities. Suddenly, I wasn't the only person with voices in their head. Or the only one struggling to keep writing when everything around me tries to keep me from doing just that.

Traci Hunter Abramson was the keynote speaker. A little secret, she stood up and gave her speech barefoot. I loved her before that, but she is definitely a woman after my own heart. Forget burning bras, I say burn the shoes!

Okay, sorry I got a little sidetracked. I jotted down a few notes. It wasn't anything I didn't know or even blogged about myself, but I needed the reminder that day and she was there to do it. Here they are, no explanation. Read them and let them touch your heart where and how you need it today.

  • Own these four words: I am a writer.
  • When did you first decide this?
  • Your journey takes off when you have a purpose other than the original dream of—I'm going to be a writer. (wanting to add something of value to the world)
  • Best quote ever! “We may kill people for a living. But we're nice.”
  • Why do we write? Because we have to. Enough said.
  • To gain our full potential, we need to: find our identity, our confidence, our voice.
  • Fight the guilt when it comes to “how many other things could I be doing if I wasn't writing?” Give ourselves the gift of time to write (also part of balance)
  • Prioritize: seek the balance. Determine what sacrifices you are willing to make. Treat writing like a real job.
  • Our lives aren't traditional. Everyone thinks they can write a book if they only had the time. There will never be time. You have to make the time.
  • Don't compare ourselves to others. Where we are on the road/path is different.
  • Be a light, change a life.
And finally, here are the words from 2010. It's time I owned them once more. Even better, it's time I owned the phrase, "I am an author." My 10th story will be published on October 16th. I'm doing what I set out to do despite the challenges. Take that insecurity!
Originally posted Jan 2, 2010"You're a writer?"
"Yes." I spoke softly and then paused. A new feeling welled up inside and I wanted to hear it again, so I spoke a little louder. "Yes, I am."
After a small chuckle, he asked, "Did that feel good?"
"Yes it did. I've always answered that question by saying 'no, but I want to be'. I think this is the first time I've ever answered yes."
"Then you better say it again."
"I am a writer!" Spoken loud enough for the rest of our group to hear me and turn to stare.
It felt how I imagined the barbaric yawp from Dead Poets Society must have felt. Such a simple declaration once more made me feel like crying for joy. In the writing world I am a nobody, unknown, but inside my heart I finally feel like a writer. If I'm never picked up by an agent or publisher, I'm still proud of what I've accomplished. I still have a long way to go in this process (all the hard part actually), but I've learned that getting published is not what makes you a writer.
A writer is someone who writes to stay sane. They have a desire to share the visions, emotions, knowledge, whatever is floating around in their head by writing it down with pen and ink or keyboard. In order to quiet the voices in their head, they must put the characters on the page and give them room to grow. When they're happy, shocked, angry or sad, they write to help themselves come to new understandings about those emotions and what they mean on our journey through life. Writers enjoy the way words flow and conjure images. When they see the shadows of the clouds drifting over the mountains as they drive down the highway they want to write about it--so they do. When they see anything beautiful, they pick up a pen and jot a few lines. They carry notebooks with them everywhere they go. A writer is all these things and much much more...and I have finally become a writer.
Insecurity Challenge:
Tell someone who doesn't know that YOU are a writer. Smile and be proud of the gift of imagination and the desire to share. Embrace your imperfections but celebrate your successes too.

Teacher's Crush is available for pre-order at a discount price of $1.99 until release day--October 16th.
Blurb:
Jennifer Carlson returns to Eureka Springs in spite of her promise to never move back. Newly graduated from college, her only goal is to help her dad and get out of town. However, the good-looking biker has her second guessing what she really wants.

High school principal, Robert Allen has never been so conflicted. He was attracted to Jen before she walked into his office for an interview. Her sass, attitude, and the pain she tries to hide behind those big blue eyes make her unforgettable.

Jen needs a job, but she also longs for someone to see the real her and want her anyway. Rob might be that guy if he can convince her she doesn't have to run away from her future.

Anyone who pre-orders and emails me a screenshot will be entered to win a free audiobook of one of the first two books in this series. These are stand-alone but have crossover characters.
Email: charity.bradford@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

IWSG: The roller coaster of insecurity

The last month and a half has been insanely busy. And yet... Okay, before I get to the good news, lets do a quick recap.
  • End of July--our exchange student arrived (and we finished building his room)
  • August--spent an evening at the police first night event with a booth, 2 birthdays, an anniversary, I taught all day at a writer's boot camp, sent the kids back to school, day trip to Oklahoma City, and had a guest post on Janice Hardy's Fiction University
  • Last week--day trip to Kansas City, went to an amusement park in Branson, MO (more in a minute), a cave, and today I'm hosting a luncheon for 90 participants in the emergency preparedness fair I've been working on since March
  • Coming up in Sept--the preparedness fair and a week later I'll be teaching at a 2-day writer's conference in Kansas City
  • Coming up in Oct--things will finally quiet down (I think) but I will get to spend three days selling books at a craft fair with my hubby (he's selling mandala dot art items)
 

 

Somehow, in the midst of all of this, I started writing again. Monday night I finished Teacher's Crush, a small-town romance. There's still a lot of work to be done, but it is a relief to finish something. I hope to get it out to beta readers this weekend and then release it sometime in October. 

The next big project to finish will be in my sci-fi genre--Demon Rising, book 3 in the Magic Wakes Series. I don't know if I'm ready to do it, but it's so far past time to destroy Talia's world and move on. 
All these ups and down are good. I simply had to remember that trying is its own best reward. Sometimes that gut-wrenching feeling like the floor has disappeared under your feet is exactly what you need to move forward again. I guess that's what I had started to do, but last weekend at the amusement park it became clear to me once more. 

I love roller coasters. I love the speed, the excitement, the flips and twists. However, I also enjoy stepping back onto solid ground and knowing I'm safe.

Writing is a lot like a roller coaster. Sometimes the words flow quickly and smoothly. Other times they are an old wooden coaster that knocks you around and makes you feel like your spleen has been turned to pulp. Sharing that writing with others is even more like this. It's exciting, it gets your blood pumping, and then it can jerk the ground right out from under you. Only when we remember why we write can we step back on solid ground. Only then can we say, "I will continue to write no matter what others think of me, or the finished project, because that is who I am."

So, put your hands up and scream! Laugh, cry, whatever it takes, but ride the ride.

It took wallowing in insecurity for seven and a half months this time. Hopefully, next time it won't take me so long to run back around to the waiting line for the roller coaster. 

This is my favorite ride from the weekend. The video makes it look slow. Oh, and riding it at night when all you see is the stars in the sky is pretty awesome.


How are you dealing with insecurity this month? 



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 writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Summer Scavenger Hunt Winners and Insecurity is like bird poop

Let's start with our winners from the Solstice Scavenger Hunt. Thank you to those who commented. The grand prize winners were announced Monday on the Fantasy and Sci-fi Readers Lounge on Facebook. Head over there if you entered the contest.

Now, for the winners of the audiobooks I promised to those who commented on the scavenger hunt post. These three people can choose one, two, or all three audiobooks--The Magic Wakes (book 1), Dawn of the Mages (TMW book 2), and/or Stellar Cloud.

And the winners are...


Alex Cavanaugh
Liz A
Rebecca Woodie

Keep an eye out for an email from me later today.


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 writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Sometimes life is beautiful. It's like this summer walk I took this morning. Blue skies above, green everywhere I looked, the sun filtering through the leaves...

The best part was it was early enough that the road was still in the shade so it wasn't too hot. The birds were singing good morning. It was really nice.

My writing world is like that sometimes. The ideas fill my head, and when I sit to write there are no interruptions. The words flow and the story takes the shape I expected. I get up from those writing sessions feeling fulfilled, like I accomplished something.

Other times, life and my writing world feel like every bird in town decided to poop on my car.


Some poop are simply distractions. My kids need something, my husband needs something, the phone won't stop ringing, I have to do laundry or not wear clothes (ick!).

But some of the poop is insecurity.

That new release has only sold a handful of copies and no one is reviewing. I thought it was my best work yet. Must not be true though if I can't even give the thing away. No one cares but my mom. I should just give up and find something else to make me happy.

The problem is all these insecure thought processes just leave me feeling yucky inside.

So, what do we need to get rid of insecurity?

Yep, find a way to wash it away. The sad bit is insecurity will come back. That's just a fact of life that will never change. The trick is to accept it and pull out the metaphorical bucket of soapy water. Whatever that may be. This week for me it is reading notes from people who do enjoy my writing. Notes from people who are NOT my family, because it means more somehow.

And I have to keep telling myself that writing is part of who I am. Even if no one ever reads another word.

What positive things do you tell yourself?


JULY 3rd question: What personal traits have you written into your characters?

For the last ten years I've been discovering myself, or who I wish I was, in almost every character I've written. They have my fears, many of my weaknesses, but some of my strengths too. The most important of which is my inability to simply give up or give in to my fear. I believe my characters to be real, flawed, and yet hopeful for the most part. This is me in a nutshell. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

A Solstice Scavenger Hunt with lots of winners!

Fantasy SciFi Readers Lounge Presents its first ever Solstice Scavenger Hunt!


This month I'm participating in my first ever social scavenger hunt. It runs from June 16th to June 29th. With a name and theme based on the summer solstice, how could I resist? Back in my college days my friends and I created superhero personas for ourselves. I opted to be more of a sidekick, but my name was Solstice.

I could fly, travel at the speed of light, which made me almost invisible and form fireballs to use as weapons. Sometimes I really miss those carefree days of adventure.
Art by Sketch at The Sketch Pad (from a long time ago)
Now you know why I was interested in this scavenger hunt, but why should you check it out? Let me lay it out for you.

19 Authors have joined forces to offer readers:

  • a chance at $75 cash via PayPal
  • 19 eBooks as Grand Prize
  • 38 secondary prizes (an eBook from one of our participating authors) will be given to randomly chosen participants who solve the puzzle

And I will be giving away audiobooks of three of my books to those who comment on my blog.

You could get THE MAGIC WAKES, DAWN OF THE MAGES, or STELLAR CLOUD for free, just for commenting!

To play for a chance to win the other prizes, you must go to each of the authors' sites listed below, collect the "hidden" word(s), unscramble them, and then enter to win! Enter Here

Entering does not subscribe you to anything! You have the option to choose who to subscribe to and who to follow - the only requirements are:
1- you must follow the Facebook page for the Readers Lounge in order to get the winners announcement
2- use the link to enter the giveaway

eBooks prizes up for grabs:

A Bit of Magic
Azimuth
Bonded
Curse Breaker: Enchanted
Dragon Blood
Elven Jewel
Forever People
Ian's Realm Saga
Schrodinger's Cat
Shadow's Hand
Sleepless Flame
Tattoos
The Fox and The Hunter
The Glass Gargoyle
The Hand of Atua
The Shikari
This Cursed Flame
Witch's Moonstone Locket
Wolves' Gambit


Make sure to visit all the sites to gather all your words! Happing Hunting!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

IWSG June--Stop Saying "I'm Sorry"


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 writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

The awesome co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Diane BurtonKim LajevardiSylvia NeySarah FosterJennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

June 5 question: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

READING: I love books that make me feel something, regardless of genre. My heart has always connected to the adventure in science fiction as long as it's not too political. And in the last few years, I've grown to love reconnecting with that young first love feeling of contemporary romance.

WRITING: Because those are the two I love to read, that's what I enjoy writing the most. Lately, though my romance had been bogging me down because I'm digging "too deep." Not my words, but those of my writing group. There are certain issues my brain wants to dissect and deal with that is turning my romance into women's fiction. Maybe I should have stuck to my sci-fi ideas to do that. LOL, oh well. Good thing I can write what I want!

Reflections From May


May was a roller coaster of emotions for me. There were many great moments, lots of fast-paced days that left me drained, and some good lessons as well.

First, I've decided my husband and I should always travel in May. The last two years of May excursions have gone down in my "best trip ever" book. Last year it was Ireland. This year it was Alaska. We enjoyed the beauty of the land, saw humpback whales, otters, sea lions, orcas, and bald eagles. The trip was educational too, which is always a bonus in my book. Here are a few photos.

 Ice as we neared the Endicott Arm to view the Dawes Glacier. The sun came up and all the color came out.
 The Mendenhall Glacier was one of my favorite stops. Beautiful 70-degree weather and sunshine as we strolled through the rainforest.
This is perhaps my favorite photo from the Endicott Arm. The water was like glass, creating perfect mirroring and then the wake from the boat looked like ribbon.
Sea lions sunbathing. This lake in Juneau was so beautiful I kept expecting to see water skiers everywhere. But nope. Just whales and sea lions.

We returned home happy and refreshed, having enjoyed some of the best weather ever in Alaska. Of course, that meant life had to go crazy. We've stayed busy building another room in the garage for our exchange student who will arrive at the end of July. I'm also helping plan a writer's boot camp for August, as well as the annual preparedness fair in September. All three things feel like full-time jobs at the moment. That means there has been no writing which sends me into a perpetual state of frustration with everything and everyone. 
Victoria, Canada
The good news is I'm generally polite about it. This means I end up apologizing to everyone all the time for stupid stuff--like breathing. At one of my many meetings, another woman was trying to thank me for all I was doing. I immediately apologized for doing too much.

See, stupid stuff! Her lesson for me is something I really need to internalize. She said I needed to stop apologizing for being me. For doing the things I'm passionate about in the full-speed-ahead way that I do it. 

I told her I still feel like a poser after all these years. Sure, I've published books and am finally out of the red at the end of each year with them, but just barely. That doesn't feel like success, so I'm always saying "I'm sorry!"

This wise woman told me to stop because my experience over the last ten years is what makes me an expert. 

That's what I want to share with you today. We all need to stop saying "I'm sorry" for trying our best to do what makes us happy. Each day adds experience and makes us an authority in that area. Every mistake means we have something to share and teach others. 

In honor of that, here are a few things I'm participating in this month:
Browse and grab the first 10 chapters of my latest YA space opera HERE.
Browse and grab my first contemporary romance HERE.
Come back on June 16th to find a hidden word on my blog as well as the list of other participating blogs. 

And now, some more home project photos. The first is inside the room, the next two are the new "hall," and the last is the view from outside. We still have a ton to do, but we're getting there.