Author Friday – Virginia Nelson

We haven’t had an Author Friday in a while, so when my pal Virginia Nelson was looking for people to help her out with a cover reveal, I volunteered my blog and decided to revive the thread. If you’ve got any authors you’d like to see featured on Author Friday, let me know…

Now, I want you to take a look at Virginia’s upcoming release…

hersexyskunkHow do you tell a girl who wants to find a monster that you turn into a skunk?

 

Her Sexy Skunk

5 Flames

Coming September 25, 2014

Find it on Goodreads here:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23247322-her-sexy-skunk

Blurb:

Christine Jarrods wants to be a writer of paranormal young adult fiction so she’s pursuing a degree in English. By day, she tackles Chaucer. By night, she stalks the streets looking for something magical to inspire her muse. Finding a thread that suggests one of her profs might be some flavor of shifter, she decides to dig…even though she’s been warned to let it go.

Oliver Standish has a secret. Like a lot of guys his age, he’s scraping by, delivering pizzas, trying to pay off loans from a failed attempt at school, and crushing on Chrissy—the one that got away in high school. Only his family knows he’s also trying to deal with being a shifter…he sure can’t tell Chrissy. With her fascination with magic, he knows she’d want to know more about it—but how do you tell a girl who wants to find a monster that you change into a skunk?

 

authorheadshotAbout the Author

Virginia Nelson believed them when they said, “Write what you know.” Small town girl writing small town romance, her characters are as full of flaws, misunderstandings, and flat out mistakes as Virginia herself. When she’s is not writing or plotting to take over the world, she likes to hang out with the greatest kids in history, play in the mud, drive far too fast, and scream at inanimate objects. Virginia likes knights in rusted and dinged up armor, heroes that snarl instead of croon, and heroines who can’t remember to say the right thing even with an author writing their dialogue. Her books are full of snark, sex, and random acts of ineptitude—not always in that order.

Links

Website | Blog | Facebook | FB Author | Amazon | Pinterest | Tumblr

Author Friday – I’m Not Writing Fast Enough

LissaLogoYellow_reasonably_smallI know you’re shocked. Two blog posts in a row. There will be a third tomorrow for Snippet Saturday so… It’s crazy! Kind of like the NFL Draft last night. Three Alabama Crimson Tide players drafted back to back to back. But really, there’s no surprise there. Just look at them… They’re tough. There were also three of my FSU ‘Noles drafted last night, two were back to back. One was a complete shock and surprise and I’m thrilled… I also digress.

The title of this is “I’m not writing fast enough”. It’s true. I’m not. You’ve also heard me say I’m pretty much starting over with this writing gig. It’s harder the second time around to boost the career than it was the first time. Why? Especially if I have some readers already? Because there’s competition. Lots of it. And there always has been, but it’s different now. Every Tom, Dick, Harry, and their sister Sally can self-publish. There’s also the knowledge of what the numbers or lack there of on rankings means. When I first started out, I didn’t know. I just knew I was thrilled when someone talked about my book or mentioned my name. Now, if anyone mentions either one, it’s lost in the sea of other names fifty different people are talking about constantly. There are favorites…among publishers, readers, book bloggers. So, knowledge can work against a writer and ignorance being bliss is sometimes the way to go. Just not paying attention, just burying your head in the books you’re writing. But even that doesn’t work for everyone anymore. Being visible is a key for some and not for others.

I know now what the numbers mean. I know when a book is selling. And when it’s not. But, what’s left to do? What works and what doesn’t in getting the word out so enough people go after it, especially if you’re not writing in a genre that everyone is buying? It’s easy to want to jump on the BDSM, the M/M, the New Adult bandwagon just so you can maybe get a sales boost.

Then of course there is the not writing fast enough. Day jobs. Kids. Home schooling. House cleaning. Exercise. Family. Sleep. Down time. I can comfortably write four thousand words a day. But sometimes that means ignoring everything else, especially if the words are having to be etched in blood with a razor blade. And I don’t have a husband who picks up the slack. Kids help, yes, but it’s still primarily me. Super mom. Super homemaker. Not so Super writing. So no, I’m not writing fast enough. I’m trying to hock my books on the street corners of the internet. But, when I see authors who do write fast enough, who are churning out books left and right, saying they desperately need sales, begging for them, or authors starting fundraisers in order to continue writing a series… This bothers me. Why aren’t these authors selling? What is it readers are looking for that these authors of multiple genres aren’t giving them?

I haven’t jumped on the street team bandwagon either. I’m not much of a bandwagon jumper anyway, but… Are the street teams worth it? Do they help boost sales? A writer can only write as fast as she or he can write and still write a good book. When readers are reading 3-4 books a day… Maybe this world of Buy Now With 1-Click is killing us… ( I know it kills my bank account)

It’s always been a crap shoot. If a writer is trying to make a living at this, they write. A lot. They publish. And they talk about their book constantly, but when the sales never take off, when the book sits stagnant, what’s a writer to do? Write something else. So they do and still the book sits, stagnant. They advertise, blog, beg for reviews, have giveaways, get swag printed up, and still… Nothing helps, nothing changes.

Some publishers have much better sales than others. But their wait times are a year or more for publication. Is it worth it? I don’t know. I’ve been pondering that question for months as I write. What I turn in this year to one of my publishers, won’t see the light of day until Spring of 2014 and on into 2015. Hard to make a living that way.

Some can make a living self-publishing. Some can’t.

And writing to make money is always the biggest crap shoot of all. When there are words that need to be written, not because readers are (hopefully) waiting, not because you need money to pay the rent or insurance (these are important no doubt), but just because the words need to get outside your head and on to the paper (or screen)… Writing is not a get rich quick thing for most writers. Most of us never see rich or even making ends meet.

So, is it that we don’t write fast enough? Is it that we don’t write the right thing? I write. I put out books. I doubt every word. But I keep at it. I don’t get the multiple contracts or the offers to submit on proposal, but I still keep at it. There’s a lot of what I don’t get. There’s a lot of what I don’t understand. There’s a lot that frustrates me. There’s a lot of second guessing and trying something new. There’s a lot of envy, some jealousy, some plain ‘ol dislike at the unfairness of things and the favoritism and the preferential treatment. In the end though, there’s a lot of writing. A LOT OF WRITING. A lot of putting words down. It might be in a blurb, a synopsis, but it’s getting the words down in order to get the book out. It’s writing and though I want to make money at it, though I want to sell thousands of copies, though I want to make it to a best seller list, though I want, I want, I want… What I need, what I started out to do five years ago, is write. And it might not be fast enough for readers or publishers, but I write. I might get distracted by what I don’t have, but I write. I might get bad reviews and swear I’m never going to write another word, I still write.

This is my job. It pays for the plumber, the transmission, the races, the concerts, the brakes, the tires, the cats, the birthdays, the holidays, the vacations I don’t get to take, the conventions, the promo, the groceries in the house, the gas, the golf lessons for my son, the porch railing, the cell phones, the coffee, the desperately needed night at the movies, etc… But even without a dime, I still need to write. I’ve been doing it since I was a child. It’s a compulsion, it’s an addiction. Just like coffee. Just like reading.

Maybe I don’t write fast enough. Maybe I don’t write what someone else wants me to write. Maybe I don’t write what everyone else is writing. Maybe I’m not writing to suit the reader’s preferences. But, I’m still writing.

And speaking of which…

~lissa

 

 

Author Friday: Jenna Bayley-Burke

Authors are a quirky bunch. Get a group of writers together and the combined nerdery will bring out the inner geek in the coolest cat. Even the one’s you’d swear sat at the cool table in junior high cafeteria have a few habits (and a half dozen cats) they are careful to keep hidden.

I put on my normal and hit the gym, carpool, even girls night out. But when I’m writing I have to be true to my weirdness. Case in point? I have writing pants. Yes, writing pants. A few close friends have seen my in my leopard or zebra print lounge pants, but not on purpose. Time slips away from me when I’m working and all of the sudden the carpool van arrives with a child or three and I’m sporting pink polka dots. I hope they write it off as artisic.

Nail polish is another quirk of mine. When I start a new book, I tend to keep the same nail polish the whole way through. Not that I rock the chipped and outgrown look…with Private Scandal I kept painting my nails I’m Not Really A Waitress for months. This obsession has led me to change nail products. I now have an addiction to Incoco nail polish strips because they don’t chip. I can make it about two weeks before I can’t stand how much my nails have grown and reapply…the same style. (Caribbean Christmas was french manicure because I didn’t think Saskia would bother with polish. Caribbean Casanova is Sinderella. I’m careful with what I put on my nails right now because I’m starting Caribbean Crush any day and don’t want to be married to something unflattering. I’m leaning towards a fun blue…)

The latest addition to my authorly quirks is Pinterest. I have to have it up when I’m writing. I do a board for each story, and the pictures put me in the right mood. so I’ll be pounding away on my laptop keyboard while the ipad is displaying the Pinterest board for the book. It’s crazy weird. I know. But it works.

Help me feel more normal…what’s your quirky habit?

Jenna Bayley-Burke

Website | Twitter | Facebook
New Release: Caribbean Christmas – Amazon | BN | Samhain

Author Friday

Rejection sucks. No matter the reason, it sucks. Professional rejection? Personal rejection? It all sucks.

But, it’s all in what you do with the rejection that teaches you. We’re all allowed pity parties, tantrums, crying fits, wine, chocolate, the biggest most unhealthy bacon cheeseburger with a side of fries we can handle and… Oh, is that just me? Oops… Anyway, we’re allowed to deal with it in whatever way works best for us, even if it is to go around saying ‘I suck’ for the day. In the end though, in order to move on, to prove the rejector wrong, or to prove yourself wrong, you have to get up and charge forward.

I’ve suffered through several rejections of a professional nature recently and one personal one last year. Total suckage. You see everyone around you doing awesome, getting contracts, getting requests for full manuscripts, turning in book after book, and where are you? On the sidelines reading another form rejection. Dear Awesome Author, Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately… And it’s there you stop reading. And you don’t even read it as Awesome Author, you read it as 100% UNawesome Author.

So, once you’re in your little cave and have vowed never to crawl out again, what do you? That’s where the big decision comes in. That’s where the good, the bad, and the ugly are separated.

Me, with my latest rejection, I have congratulated my good friend who wasn’t rejected, and I repeated ‘Lissa you so suck’ in my head, but have been hard at work revising, plotting, planning from my little pity corner in my cave. I haven’t made chocolate cake. Yet. I haven’t made that burger with cheese and bacon. Yet. I haven’t opened the wine. Yet. No, I’ve kept on working. I’ve been plugging along and working and moving forward.

That’s the only way I’ll get out of this corner. Working. Writing. Moving.

How do YOU deal with rejection?

“It can be depressing when no one takes interest, and a lack of response makes the writer question why they’re writing at all. To have one’s writing rejected is like you, yourself, are being rejected. ”
? Lizz Clements, Apollo Weeps

“Rejection is a challenge.”
? Veronica Purcell

“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.”
? Billy Joel

“Sometimes it’s helpful to remember that every writer sits down to a blank page and struggles with their writing. And even the best writers have suffered their share of rejection.”
? Jade Tyler

~lissa

Author Friday – Lissa Matthews

Today starts the new blog series I told y’all about a while ago. Authors talking about how they do what they do. We’re calling it Author Friday and for the first few Fridays, you’ll be stuck with me while Brandy and I fill up the calendar with more authors.

As for how I do what I do?

My answer? Structure. That’s what I’ve learned about myself. I started this year off trying new techniques of organization between writing, the business work of writing, and family life. These different techniques have each gone through revision after revision after revision. I start off thinking one way and then everything goes to Hell in a handbasket when life interrupts and I get off course and off track and end up froding. (froding = off the beaten path or when the Garmin can’t find the road you know you’re on).

My current plan is writing Monday thru Friday and handling business on Saturday and  Sunday. Business meaning revisions, edits, blog posts, website updates, contacting winners from contests, catching up on emails that require something more than just a yes or no response. I also use this time to try and connect with Brandy to plan out the work I need from her throughout the next week and how things went the week before.

This way of doing things seems to be working better for me than anything else I’ve tried. It’s easy for me to get caught up in all that needs to be done and not getting to any of it because I don’t know where to start. I’m a big believer in routine. I need it. I crave it. I need to know what is expected of me and when. I need to know what’s going on and when so I can plan around it. But, just because I need and crave it, doesn’t mean I get it. Life isn’t structured like that on a normal basis, no matter how hard I try. I am finding though that I need to try harder.

If I get done with writing by four, I can exercise and get dinner going, depending on the menu item for the night otherwise, dinner is usually started in the slow cooker. Yeah, I’ve been doing that lately, too. Menus. It helps, not only with grocery shopping but with that whole structure thing. Cookbooks, magazines, food blogs. All for different dinner ideas and they help me keep on course with this whole not eating out challenge we do in our house from time to time.

Family life takes place after dinner. Or during dinner. We’ll talk, watch a show or a movie. My son is about to start baseball for the spring and my husband will be playing softball so life will need to once again be adjusted for those things, but…they also mean I need to be done with work beforehand because I’ve found that after about 8pm at night, I’m done for and don’t want to work anymore. I get up at 6am and am going from the time I get out of bed to the time I go back to bed. I’m exhausted. We all have our different thresholds for how much we can take and I’m trying to make sure I don’t stress mine too much. I’m not getting any younger and I know I need to take better care of myself if I hope to keep going for years to come.

As for writing, many of you have heard me say it time and again, but for me it’s writing sprints or timed writing, however you want to put it. I set the timer for 20 minutes and I write, usually between 2500 and 3000 words a day. If I don’t use a timer, I flounder and I flit and I don’t get half of what I need written done. I can and have written more, like 6000-8000 a day, but those are times where afterward, I’m brain dead. I read about authors who write 10000 words a day everyday, but then end up cutting almost half of what they’ve written. I don’t understand that. I rarely ever cut more than a few hundred words and am usually adding more to what’s been written. But, that works for them. And see, that’s the whole idea behind the Author Friday series. We all work differently. We all work at a different pace. We all write books of varying length and content. What works for one isn’t going to work for someone else, but we might be able to learn something and it’s always fun to see how others do what we do or how they do what we love.

I hope you as readers enjoy the series and I hope authors will enjoy it as well. If you have an author you’d like to learn about regarding their process, leave a comment and I’ll contact them to see if they’d like to participate. It can’t hurt to ask…

For now, have a great weekend.

~lissa