Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What's with all the death? Embrace life!

We lost too many beloved celebrities and I know several who lost loved ones last month. And the deadly blizzard took a toll on millions. I'm glad January over. Lessons learned - embrace life and make the most of the time you have, especially with those you care about, and physical things don't last.

Which brings me to my  Insecure Writers Support Group post for February. Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for establishing this totally terrific institution each first Wed of the month. It's so huge, he recruits special guest hosts to make sure we all get taken care of. And there's always room for more!

I usually write encouraging posts - I'm in a happy place with my publishing situation. But January brought me some unhappy moments. Nothing as severe as losing a loved one or a job, but I've gotten several blows to my self-esteem.
  • I've been querying agents - and we all know how depressing those rejections can be
  • Reviews are lacking... People tell me they enjoyed SIMULATION, but not many are reviewing or rating it... If anyone wants a free e-copy of any of my books for a timely honest review - please let me know! I'm sharing the love in February! Reviews are lifeblood to an author.
  • When POP TRAVEL was on sale, it did well. Then I got two 1 star reviews which I can handle, but upon further inspection, the readers posted a ton of ratings on the same day, so it didn't seem like they even read it.
  • Lastly, I'm in substitute limbo again and not working much, when I really need to.
All these negatives pile up and with the extra, get-myself-motivated, "free time" on my hands, it can be hard not to dwell on the downside, like: Maybe I'm not that great of a writer. Maybe I'm too old to get a permanent job. Being home also reminds me what a terrible housekeeper I am. Some days I just want to get in my car and drive away from it all... But I won't. Running away is never the answer. I know I have to keep going. I won't give up.

Instead, I come up with ways to motivate myself.
  • It's not me, it's them... I can't please everyone. I know I'm not a "literary" writer. I'm a lite, entertaining, action-packed fun storyteller. And many people seem to like my books. One of my neighbors got so excited when Simulation came out, and several of my students keep bugging me, asking for the next Broken Branch Falls book - those are the moments to live for and keep in mind.
  • Be productive - I've been getting lots of writing done, but it's all WIPs - emphasis on in progress. To feel more productive, I need more immediate results. I've started looking into freelance writing jobs - writing to get paid, what a concept. I love Shannon Lawrence's posts advertising publications looking for submissions. I also get updates from sites that are like want ads for writers. I'm going to start a short story file and an article file.
  • This means I need to actually submit my writing. Which means more rejections. But I also know that the more you submit and improve, the better your chances of acceptance. It's a depressing process, but it's the only way!
  • Lastly, I tell myself that this time off (that I'm always asking for) is a gift. I have time to do necessary domestic things, time to work on my online classes for recertification, and time to finish my writing projects! Like I was able to put Jolissa, chapter 2 onto Youtube!
my latest muse
We have to make the most of what we have. Find the positive. And keep going. It's just hard sometimes. Thanks for listening!

But enough of my whining. I do want to encourage you guys and I know you like to encourage others. So why not join Christine RainsC. Lee McKenzie, and me the week of Feb 29 - Mar 4 for A MEME Blog Hop! Make a funny, cute, or inspiring MEME! Use any picture, use an app, or do it yourself, and sign up below. It's easy!
And I leave you with a gorgeous parting image of MURDER (open with death, close with death...)
The amazing COVER REVEAL (and new covers) for Yolanda Renee's MURDER collection!

Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist, but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.

As wedding bells echo like the ring of toasting champagne glasses in the ice carved mountains of Anchorage Alaska, detective Steven Quaid rehabs his grandfather’s cabin into a honeymoon cottage for his new bride.

When he returns from a hunting trip, Steven’s faced with five police officers, who “Want to talk.” Plagued by two unsolved murders, the Department is searching for answers.

Steven’s jaw clenches and his heart races. Images of Sarah streak through his mind. The silence breaks as an explosion of accusations vibrate through every fiber of his being. Steven bolts…

This Steven Quaid mystery is both personal and heartbreaking.

Yolanda's first two MURDER novels:

to be released March 10.

Congrats, Yolanda!

Now let's have a lively February!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The time is a gift, just don't use it to think to hard.
I think those one-star reviewers travel in packs. I had two almost identical ones go up the same day for one of my books, but since it's from separate accounts, it doesn't ping Amazon's radar.
And wish I wasn't such a slow reader! I'm trying.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Hang in there, Tara! You've got a good attitude, and everything will work out how it needs to. The fact that you've got such loyal and excited fans is huge! :)

M.J. Fifield said...

Like Madeline said, hang in there. You do have a great attitude, and I firmly believe you'll find that success you're looking for. And it's amazing that you have fans who are asking you for your next book.

(Also, I'm sorry! I know I haven't posted my Simulation review yet. I'm sorry, sorry, sorry—it's unforgivable, I know, and I will do it soon!)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hang in there, Tara. I received your book (Broken Branch Falls) and am eager to read it and also post a review on Amazon. Thanks for autographing it when you posted the copy I won on your blog.

Christine Rains said...

Your stories are fantastic. Never doubt that. The time is a gift. Keep busy, keep trying. Perseverance is key! Yay for the blog hop and congrats to Yolanda. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

We live for those people who tell us they want more, don't we?

I want a stuffed Grumpy Cat.

Yolanda Renée said...

Thank you, Tara!
Rejections and 1 star reviews can really do a number on the mood, especially this time of year. You will persevere, but I know what you mean by sometimes just wanting to drive away. Let's go together! :)
I appreciate that you posted my cover reveal. It means the world!
And I do owe you a read and a review - moved it to the top of my list!

Chrys Fey said...

Don't pay any mind to those 1 star reviews. I know how you feel about a lack of reviews. After you've done everything you can to get more reviews, it's out of your hands. That's the hard part. I like your ways yo motivate yourself. Keep it up!

Juneta key said...

I had your Pop Travel, but not Simulation. I grabbed my copy of Simulation and will read it and post a review for you. Sorry for your struggles. I will join you in the just wanting to drive away part, but like you said you can't really do that if you want to come out on the other side smiling again. Although taking a break or a breather can sometimes be good for you and rejuvenate you. Hope the rainbow comes out soon for you.
Juneta Writer's Gambit

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It's no fun doing housekeeping when you have time off. Agent hunting is depressing so I stopped doing it. I know there are good ones out there but the ones I've met at writing conferences are so unimpressive.
Sounds like you have some good plans to keep on plugging away.

Julie Flanders said...

Sorry you had a rough month but it sounds like you are already doing all the right things to get yourself back on track. Hang in there my friend!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tara - you will be fine - those reviews aren't worth anything .. the pluses are the ones that inspire us and keep us going. I'm sure you'll find some extra places for your stories ... Patsy is always post suggestions up. Good luck - it will sort itself out .. take care and yes use this time for some extra whoomph at getting things done ... cheers Hilary

Carrie-Anne said...

At least you're selling some books! I get neither sales nor reviews. I've heard many people give scathing 1-star reviews to any book they got for free or really cheap, since they wouldn't have bought the book anyway, and expect poor quality since it wasn't for a normal price.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

There are a few books I have bought because the negative review actually made me curious. A review is a review is a review. All the best Tara.

Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine said...

Take advantage of the free time! Before you know it, you'll be back working and have no time! Happened to me on more than one occasion.

Loni Townsend said...

Reviews are tough. I haven't finished reading anything lately in order to even do reviews. At least you get verbal love!

Ann V Friend said...

Hang in there. February co host visit (smile) Blessings

dolorah said...

I have a couple of your books on my kindle. With all the traveling I'm hoping I can let my Kindle read to me. I'll start with Pop Travel.

Nicki Elson said...

Yolanda's covers are so cool!

You are a wonderful writer and storyteller. Broken Branch Falls is a classic - I'm with your students. Bring on the next one!!

Enjoy the time off. Kind of cool not knowing when it will end - I'll bet that makes you more productive since you're not sure how much time you have.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I feel your pain- from the books to the lack of domestic prowess. If only I could measure my success in dust bunnies...

But I know you're awesome, so I'll take comfort in your insecurity. I own Broken Branch and need to read it. You know how slow I am!!

Anonymous said...

You can't please everyone! Just ignore those one-stars, especially if they're giving no actual advice for improvement.

Murees Dupè said...

Cleaning the house is always an awful experience for me. But you should definitely enjoy your time. Just think, "There will just be more dust to clean tomorrow." I think you are awesome and a wonderful writer. Keep your positive attitude and don't give up. I've been thinking of freelance writing too and like you, fear it. But we won't know what can happen if we don't try. You are amazing, so please, don't give up.

Lisa said...

I think we all have times like this, where life just seems to go against writing. I too, was hit by all those deaths of folks I grew up listening to/watching... And you are right! Take the time while you have it and do what you need to do for you! Thanks for dropping by my blog!

Heather R. Holden said...

So sorry about all the things bringing you down lately! (I agree, rejections are never fun.) Glad you've been able to come up with ways to keep yourself motivated, though! That's awesome how you're branching out into freelance writing. Best of luck with that!

Cathrina Constantine said...

I so understand about the bad reviews and ratings!!! I don't like Goodreads trolls that fly by with 1 or 2 stars. And after doing well in the Amazon rankings recently, I was feeling somewhat good about my book, and then, I swear people came out in droves to purposely butcher my book with awful reviews. Just saying, you're not alone in this...

I love my publisher, but I've also been querying for an agent too, and man, what a downer. Tara, you'd think with your great writing and fabulous books you'd be snapped up.

M Pax said...

It's the number of reviews that count. It's all good. You're now an official author. I really need to read one of your books. I'm making a note of it.

Motivation is lacking this way lately too. I think it's in the water. Siiigh.

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