Tuesday, July 31, 2018

So You're not going to be a #Bestseller

WARNING! Deep Thoughts Ahead
for the Insecure Writing Support Group.
No more stress, I'm done!

As some of you may know, I've been stuck in a funk for a couple of months because of several negative circumstances in a row. Plus I'm about to move, my kids are changing schools, and you don't even want to know about the Wild One. I'm completely stressed! Though some good has been sprinkled among the bad, with all that's going on I've been questioning my future as a writer. I never expected to be a best seller, but now I'm wondering what I did expect...

When I started writing, I just wanted to be published. Then I found a publisher - Woo Hoo! And I kept going. Next, I wanted to be profitable and hoped to contribute to the family income. A bestseller was never my goal, just a seller

Now, here I am with book #6 about to be published, and I'm deeper in debt. With the smaller events not producing, it seems like I'd have to spend more money to take a chance on bigger ones, and go farther away, so also pay for hotels. I'm not afraid of work, but I don't like wasting my time (and $$!) if it's not going to pan out. So, I'm at a crossroads. Should I keep investing or should I stop?

My writing isn't just a hobby, but according to the IRS, after no profit for so long it is. That means no more writing it off.

Needless to say, I'm not going to stop writing. I'm just struggling with how to make money from it. My financial obligations are such a nuisance! But supporting my family has to come first. And that leaves less time to devote to my passion. Maybe this is just a severe plot twist...

So, I'm curious - What do you expect from your writing? Is it a career goal? Are you profitable? Do you invest much money in it? Do you have an agent? Does it help? And do you have tips for making a living from writing? (I smell a survey!)

Yup. Here it is. Your Writing Career Goals - A Survey!
I love collecting and analyzing data.

And here's my SHOUT OUT OF THE WEEK:

Alex J. Cavanaugh!

Alex is a remarkable person - he's a brilliant sci-fi writer, a talented rock guitarist, and a true friend. I feel very fortunate to know him and work with him sometimes, if only through the wide wonderful web. And he's an elusive ninja--no pictures while he stealthily visits thousands of blogs! Besides authoring the popular sci-fi epic Cassa Series, he also founded the Insecure Writers Support Group which has grown into its own website, published anthologies, and continues to grow with Instagram challenges and more! A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. He's also a great reviewer!

Lastly, the RESULTS from the Down and Desperate Survey:

Do you like to read stories full of heavy, dark drama?

Do you write tales of woe - where the main character never seems to get a break?
Why do you think people like to read such dark and desperate stories?

Why do you read dark and desperate novels?
  • I only enjoy them if the good guys eventually triumph. I know which authors to trust.
  • It churns up a lot of emotions, but only if the characters are realistic.
  • I like to have my heartstrings pulled.
  • I'll read just about anything!
  • They're cathartic and fascinating.
  • Because real life is often more like a Grimms' fairytale than a Disney fairytale.
  • Not a lot, but I do like dark urban fantasy with a strong female lead.
  • I don't really read that many. I'm cued into family sagas-with some heartache, mysteries, and the occasional bleak story if the writing captures insights that make the protagonist grow... Even bleakness can be worthwhile if it rings true. I dislike dystopia for the sake of dystopia, because it seems to sell.

A ton of info today. Thanks for stopping by.
Hope your August is full of inspired beginnings!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Hot Genres - Darkness and Desperation

Dark and Desperate is always HOT, isn't it? The yearning, the unreachable, the unattainable, the struggle to find happiness in a horrible, twisted world.

Blech. Sorry, that's just not my cup 'o tea. Personally, I read more to escape my own dark & desperate, stressed-out, real-life chaos! Though I do like a little darkness with my escape, it's definitely more interesting, just not a whole book of it.

I mean, just read these titles from Amazon's top fiction list... For the most part, downright depressing!
And the covers. No hope, no happiness, just bleak, blurry, distant, nothingness! I've always wondered how some covers have so little on the front, yet they're best sellers?? Some of these are eye-catching, but some are almost bare. No fair! (Then again, I guess it depends on the genre. Scifi/Fantasy needs more fascinating covers...)

So, how do these books sound to you? Why do you think readers are drawn to darkness and desperation? Why do so many people want to read these intriguing tales of woe? And many times, they have sad or mysterious endings, far from fairy tale positive ones too. Is it just me? Could be!

Well, here's a theory or two of mine for the popularity of dismal dismay:
  • It mirrors life, people can relate
  • It shows life could be worse
  • It gives hope, if there's a good ending
  • It gives insight to others' plights
  • They like their heartstrings pulled
  • They like to feel hope for the characters
  • The triumph is that much more triumphant
And here's a SURPRISE SURVEY - Tell us what you really think.

Now for my SHOUT OUT of the WEEK!

I love this woman! We've been blog buddies forever. It was her sarcastic wit and hilarious haiku talents that drew me in. She's also an awesome author. EFFIGY is the first book in her epic fantasy series, and I've been dying of anticipation for the second, which is so close: SECOND NATURE.

M.J. blogs about the books she reads and the books she writes, the shows she watches, the music she listen to, and only occasionally about her pets. She's also an insomniac.

So writers, who can relate? Check her out if you haven't. Don't miss out any longer!


Since I will be on vacay next week, I won't post again until Aug IWSG. This will also give folks time to fill out the survey... pass it on!

Happy Mid-Summer Dreaming!

Monday, July 9, 2018

7 Things Writers Can't Help Doing

Writers have unique minds. Our thought process isn't always normal, but it's perfect for creating wonderful stories. Characters speak to us, scenes come alive for us, and our imaginations take us (and readers) to extraordinary places...

Here are just a few things Writers Can't Help...

  1. Imagining backstories of random strangers
  2. Thinking, "This would make a great twist" when something goes wrong
  3. Staring off into space because you're replaying a scene and thought of a better ending then laughing out loud from it
  4. Writing down a dream idea in the middle of the night and having no idea what it means in the morning
  5. Coming up with several different ways to kill someone and get away with it
  6. Acting out scenes and dialog
  7. Giving characters flaws of friends
Funny, right? But on a more serious note: the worst thing writers can't help doing is doubting ourselves. I've been doubting myself lately after a few bad experiences have piled up, and sometimes, it's hard to find the courage to keep going with it. But the stories still persist. And having you guys to talk to, I can fill my cup back up and write on.


What about you? Anything you can't help doing?

And now for the SHOUT OUT of the Week:

Christine is a wonderful friend, full of good advice and encouragement, and she writes some awesome speculative fiction. I'm so lucky to have her as one of my critique partners! If you haven't tried her 13th Floor series or the Totem series, or Of Blood and Sorrow with sequel coming soon, you haven't experienced some super-super-natural worlds. I highly recommend all of Christine's works. She's fabulous writer who brings paranormal, folklore, and legends to life with superb dramatic, romantic twists!

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. Married to her best friend and fellow geek, her family lives in Indiana with a son who is too smart for his parents' own good and loves to pretend he has a portal gun. Christine has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. She loves going on adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel.

Visit her: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

And the winners of my Beastly Fun Summer Giveaway are below - Thanks for playing!
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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Writing Inspiration - with Links!

Ever need a break from a WIP? Or find yourself ready to stab at something new and aren't sure where to start or what to write about? Like deciding how to cut a watermelon - you can't wait to eat it, but where to plunge the knife?

For July's Insecure Writers Support Group session, I thought I'd pass on a little writerly inspiration...

Writers are jam-packed full of ideas and stories. Most of the time... But sometimes we all need a little inspiration. When you're ready to write a short story or new book idea--especially if you're considering a genre outside your comfort zone--it can be hard to focus and pick a plot that can go the distance to become a full-fledged story. And usually our muses are scarce when we need them most!

So I've compiled some links for prompts, challenges, and even submissions! to help you choose a direction that will put you in the mood for writing...
  • One of my favorite newsletters is from Shannon Lawrence, The Warrior Muse. she usually includes awesome links for submissions with topics that will inspire you - and they pay!
  • If you're into new twists and stretching your writing muscles, try Chuck Wendig's blog Terrible Minds and his weekly challenge every Friday. Warning, he can be crass, but that's part of his charm--he tells the hard truths about writing!
  • The IWSG has a fun little prompt every Wednesday on Instagram, plus extra daily challenges for the summer! Instagram itself with all the pics can be inspiration for a poem or a drabble.
  • WEP - Write, Edit, Publish is a bi-monthly challenge sponsored by 4 fabulous ladies: Denise, Renee, Olga, and Nilanjana - and you might even win a gift card!
  • A couple of author friends have published writing prompt/submission & publication books:
If you have others to share, please do. We can all use some inspiration!
Happy Writing!

Now, for my SHOUT OUT of the WEEK!

A partner in crime (& mystery) literally! We've been blog friends forever and were both honored to be part of the TICK, TOCK - A STITCH IN CRIME anthology sponsored by IWSG.

Gwen writes fabulous cozy mysteries solved with the help and despite the hindrance of ghosts, like from her awesome Indigo Eady series. Gwen adores travel and experiencing the cultures and foods of different countries. She is always up for an adventure and anything involving chocolate - not necessarily in that order.

I love her blog header - gorgeous!


While I was in Atlanta, I got to have lunch and catch up with Sherry Ellis!

See my newsletter for more pics and info on my whereabouts and going-on.

And there's only one more week for my BEASTLY SUMMER GIVEAWAY!

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