I've been at this writing game a while now and I've managed to get a book or two published. In order to do that you have to learn a few lessons along the way, even if you're a really slow learner you publish eight books and you will learn a thing or two.
(Some of the things you learn are more about yourself and your temperament than anything else, maybe those are the hardest lessons of all.)
As a result of hanging in there so long people do sometimes ask for my advice on all manner of things from how I structure my time, how do I get my ideas, how do I manage my social media...lots of different things about the writing life...and I try and give practical answers.
There's a lot of aery fairy information out there that isn't super helpful. Telling someone to find their muse for example, what does that even mean? And where should they look for her? And when they find her, then what, do you offer her a warm beverage?
I try to give people more practical advice for while I have the soul of a fairy godmother and would love everyone to be able to make three wishes and have them come true, in life I'm a fairly practical soul. My advice is practical usually and actionable.
People often respond with "Oh that's such a great idea!" so I figure some of what I tell them is useful.
I woke up this morning with a lot of things to do and realised that I probably haven't been taking my own advice all that much in the latter half of October. Now I'm in a pickle I could have avoided. Don't you HATE that? I know what to do.
Here's an example. When people ask what is the most important thing about social media I always tell them, be consistent. Yet have I written a blog post in the last 10 days? No. My blog posts load across the social media platforms so I get many bites at the cherry for one task...I explain this to people several times a week...yet I have ignored my own advice.
I've had two books on promotion this week. Did I send a mail out to my subscribers? No I did not.
You get the idea. I know this stuff, I tell other people to do it and I haven't done it.
There a couple of reasons - well maybe lame excuses for this - one being I always forget that I feel a bit flat the week of so after I launch a book...the truth is unless your book goes gang-busters this is pretty common. It's a huge deal to write a book, get it edited and formatted and published. Doesn't matter if you're traditionally published or indie - that's a whole lot of work. The number of people who tell you how happy for you is high, the number who buy your book or leave you a review is way lower and that always stings a little. It can take a few days to shake that off.
The real reason I haven't done all the things I meant to was I didn't have an up to date to-do list. And there's no excuse for that. The truth is without a list stuff gets forgotten or shoved aside and things just don't happen. I know this. I've essentially worked alone running a small business for fifteen years. It's not rocket science.
There are lots of great programs and apps you can do all this organisation on but I like the feeling of crossing that line of chicken scrawl off in my notebook. (I do use the apps as well).
So here's my advice...follow your own advice, sometimes that's the best advice of all.
And as part of my blog tour for Any Way You Slice It - I'm running a competition to win a $20 Amazon gift card. Please enter below.
Time to get ready for National Novel Writing Month
I woke up in the middle of the night last night and realised it was less than two weeks to November which means National Novel Writing Month #NaNoWriMo is just around the corner.
I've written lots of blog posts about it over the years including a series on how to prep for the month that went from the practical - preparing your home and meals in advance and your health - to the more emotional aspects of story writing and stamina. Here is a link to the post I did last year which is very comprehensive - 2014 #NaNoWrimo blog post.
I think this is my 7th time participating in #NaNoWriMo. Not all of the books have been published but Hearts Afire was my first book I wrote during National Novel Writing month and it remains one of my favourite novels I've written (and I think lots of readers agree).
I haven't quite decided what I'm writing in November - part of the cold sweats last night. I'm either writing a seventh book in my series that ties everything up in a neat bow, a novel from the series I write under a pen name or a chicklit novel set at my local beach. I have a feeling the last one will win out. It means I can take my laptop down to cafe's and write and call it research. I'm kind of loving that idea right now.
Also I think it might be a nice change to take a break from the characters who have occupied so much of my time the last couple of years. A working holiday if you will.
I'm a pretty disciplined writer these days. Not in October I haven't been but I've stuck pretty faithfully to my #1000wordsaday challenge this year but I really like the commaraderie of National Novel Writing Month. Also because Christmas arrives hot on it's heels and life seems to lose any sense of rhythm in December and January I enjoy knowing I've accomplished something.
So with the two weeks to go it's time I followed some of my own advice:
- pre-make some meals
- decide on a story and come up with a plot (this one is key I think - all the frozen meals in the world won't help without this)
- tell the people in my life I'm doing #NaNoWriMo so they know where my free time is going
- get ready to say no to a few things
- set the DVR for any shows I want to watch
So are you participating in National Novel Writing Month? If so what will you be writing?
It's release week for Any Way You Fight It book 3 in my Upper Crust series.
It is always fun releasing a new book and you hope people enjoy it and support the book. To get you hooked, if you're not already here are a couple of incentives.
Any Way You Slice It, the novella that started it all is #free. Download it for a fun, fast read.
As a further teaser Any Way You Dream It is just #99cents. That's a bargain. Books 1 and 2 for a grand total of #99cents.
The easiest way to get them all in one place is to swing by my Amazon Author Page.
Finally it is release day for my latest novel in the Upper Crust Series - Any Way You Fight It.
I'm so excited that this book is finally out there and available for readers. I really enjoyed writing this novel and I love the character of Cherie who was so supportive of her friends in Any Way You lLice It and Any Way You Dream It.
This is a story about second chances and letting yourself take them. I hope you take a chance on this novel.
It is available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016LLTVJ2
And to celebrate the release Any Way You Dream It is only 99cents so grab a copy while you're at it.
Any Way You Fight It - Blurb
Matchmaking came easily for Cherie . . . unless she was matching herself. A successful realtor, Cherie could sell a piece of property with ease, she could match up her friends with their perfect mates, but she couldn’t seem to find love for herself. Heck, even her seventy-five-year-old Nona was dating again! Cherie had the perfect love once, or so she had thought. But that was a long time ago, and yet, Luke was the standard by which she measured all potential mates.
After matching her two best friends and watching them live their happily ever afters, Cherie decides it’s time to make a change and get back in the game. Now all she needs to do is balance what she wants (a Luke-alike) with the demands of her crazy Italian family (a good, Catholic Italian boy).
Just when she is ready to shake off her past and move forward, her past walks through the door of her favorite local pub with her best friends. Luke is back, looks better than ever, and still has eyes for Cherie. And Cherie can’t control the heat she still has for him. But as with most long-lost loves, he has a past as well, and that past just might prevent Cherie from finding her happiness despite what her Nona’s visions predict.
Can Cherie and Luke make peace with their pasts and look forward to a new life together? Or will this be the final good-bye?
Extract from Any Way You Fight It
"Right—I'm going to give you the abridged version."
"I'll take whatever you offer," she said.
"Well, when I was eighteen I had a romance, I suppose you'd call it."
"Yeah if this was eighteenth-century England."
"Whatever," I sighed. "And it was a secret. He knew, I knew, and one friend."
"Nope, he wasn't Italian, and I just didn't want them stalking me and ruining everything."
"Makes sense. I never had that kind of family. I could have dated an axe murderer and my mom would have been happy I had a man, but I can see your situation was different."
"Yeah, so we had this lovely summer fling. And then he dumped me."
"Yeah, and he just left and didn't say good-bye."
"Yeah, it was. And it hurt and probably more so because no one knew so I had to act all normal and I couldn't discuss it with anyone."
"So, you've never talked about it?" Her eyes popped wide.
"I never have." I took a fortifying sip of beer. "The thing is I date, I flirt, but I haven’t really met anyone who made me feel like that guy did."
"Wow. That's a long time between boyfriends."
"Yeah, I went out with a couple of nice guys in college, one for almost a year, but that spark or whatever wasn't there. And because of my parents’ whole ‘you can't end up with someone who isn't Italian’ attitude and because I haven't met any Italian guys who lit that flame . . ."
"You've stayed single . . ."
"Exactly." I sighed.
"But now you're ready to move forward, why is that? I mean I know that was big for you to tell me, but you didn't tell me anything Piper couldn't have handled."
"There's more . . ."
"Oh goody!" She clapped her hands.
"Calm down, Glinda the Good Witch. This is hard for me."
"Sorry, but what's changed? Is it because Piper and I have found someone?"
"I think partly, but a couple other triggers have hit as well."
"I think we need fries for this part?" she asked, waving down the waiter. "Okay continue."
"First, although it didn't happen first, my mother has waived the Italian rule. Apparently having a single thirty-year-old daughter who isn't producing offspring means she has to compromise, so I'm allowed to date non-Italians now."
"That's pretty huge for her."
"Yeah and for me. The thing is part of me is really resentful about it. I'm happy but I'm also thinking—now, why now? Why not ten years ago, five? All these years . . ."
"That makes sense." The fries landed and we each took one and blew it. We had years of experience and neither of us was stupid enough to burn our tongues now. I squirted ketchup in the corner of the basket. We liked to dunk or scrape our fries through not smother them. "On the other hand, better now than never."
"So that's good news for moving forward." She snapped her fry and popped half in her mouth. "So, what was the other thing?"
"I saw him again."
"Him? The guy from way back when?"
I nodded. "The guy."
"Wow. Where? When? Who?"
"Here. Last week. Luke."
"Holy shit, Cherie. Luke?" Lucy's eyes were bugging out of their sockets.
"Yep, holy shit."
"You dated Luke? He dumped you and then he walked in to this very bar years later?"
"And we made you guys hang?"
"And how was that?"
"It was freaking weird." That was an understatement.
"He's very hot; I can see why you had a fling with him. You have excellent taste."
"Thanks, I think."
"So, did you find out why he dumped you?"
"I didn't ask. It doesn't matter. It's old news. Seeing him again just proved to me it is time to get on with my life. It's time to take a chance again, and now that I can date beyond the Italian-American community, I can find myself a Luke-alike."
"A Luke-alike. A guy like Luke."
"Why can't you just date the real Luke?"
It did seem like an obvious solution but the real Luke was in love with his dead fiancée. I didn't need to go into that.
"The real Luke lives in New York and is emotionally unavailable. But I will admit he is hot, and apparently that kind of hot is my kind of hot."
"So you want my help to find you a Luke-alike?" she asked, finally putting the pieces to the puzzle together.
"Chase must know tons of blond, buff babes who could maybe like me."
"Babe, anyone who doesn't like you is an idiot. Have you seen yourself? You are gorgeous. And now you’re gorgeous and open to possibilities."
She clapped her hands again. "This is going to be so fun. Now I get to be the matchmaker."
I wasn't sure how Lucy's matchmaking skills were to be honest, but she was all I had. It did feel better to have told someone.