Push The Button

My book is ready to drop in a few days.  All I have left to do is hit the little ‘publish’ button but I’m feeling a tad squeamish.  I get emails from authors who have self-published and want to sell me their guides on how to correctly publish my book.  Is there a wrong way?!

Let’s face it everyone has a guide, a book, a best-practices manual, a notebook full of tips; I even watched a video of an author with a giant binder full of…stuff, and I just have a button and a book.  What do I know?  Apparently, nothing.  After all, I don’t have a giant binder full of stuff.  

It’s a scary leap to jump off that self-publishing cliff with the world telling me I shouldn’t, I can’t, I-wouldn’t-do-it-if-I-were-you.

 NOT WITH THAT ATTITUDE, WORLD.

I’ve chosen to block out the negative vibes of, “Dumb author thinks she can publish her book.  Pfft” and instead I am focusing on, “Dumb author thinks she can publish her book!  Yay!”  There.  That’s more like it. 

The mere fact that I traveled the journey to get to the spot where I’m ready to publish, is a feat in itself.  I wrote a whole book.   

I waded through the self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy that plagues every writer and human on the planet.  I’m not over those feelings and hopefully, never will be.  They push me to be better and to expect better from myself.  I think those feelings were the catalyst that pushed me to finish. 

As the next few days unfold and I steady my finger over the ‘Publish now’ button, I’ll hold tight to the belief that I am worthy of pushing that damned button. 

All the while, I will allow my middle finger to wave freely at the world…and that binder full of ‘stuff’.  

Advertisements

A Sneak Peek

I’ve been inundating the internet with graphics of quotes from my book, False Hope. Below, is another I created to give a sense of Ashley’s thoughts on death, grief and hope. I’ve also given a brief summary of the book. Enjoy!

Ashley Wells is a young woman making her way in Toronto. A new job at a small law firm propels her into a romantic relationship with Jax Fuller, a handsome young intern destined to be her biggest mistake. As their bond deepens, Ashley can’t help but think Jax is hiding his true self. As she navigates through the deception, betrayal and grief she discovers the truth about her lover and the dangerous game he is playing. She becomes embroiled in a fight against a crime boss determined to stop at nothing even if it costs the lives of those she loves,. Ashley summons her courage to fight for justice, and in doing so, confronts the limits of the human spirit. In her final testament of love, Ashley forfeits the life she had for one filled with an uncertain path and an undiscovered landscape.

Romancing The Work

I just finished work on my first romantic fiction piece.  It took me over a year to write and my days were fraught with doubt, indecision, and wine.  I wrote the original manuscript over twenty-years ago.  At that time, I had pitched it to publishers, agents and to whoever I could find.  After the onslaught of rejection letters arrived, I decided to put it away.  I felt it was destined for the great slush pile in the sky.

Fast forward twenty years and that manuscript sat there daring me to open it and take a peek.  So I did.  The bones were still good, but the story and the characters needed work.  I needed better dialogue and a better plot.  I opened my ten-year-old laptop and started typing.  I bought a book on how to write a novel.  I researched websites on how to write a good romance.  I bought a fresh notebook and wrote character outlines, plot structures, subplots, point of views, dialogue and pretty much anything that popped into my head.

I kept a running recipe card summarizing each chapter so I could remember details of characters like birthdates, hair color, eye color, traits, jobs, families, and backstories.  I kept pictures of my old apartment in the back of the notebook so I could take it out and look at it remembering it in detail.  It is the inspiration for Ashley’s apartment in the book, right down to the weather-beaten picnic table and it was fun to relive that time through a character’s eyes.

I took the pile of rejection letters and went through them.  Again.  I researched how to write dialogue.  I researched plots and pacing.  I wrote and rewrote chapters.  I sat in my basement and isolated myself from everyone, who still insisted they needed to see what I was doing.  I took my ten-pound laptop to work and wrote outlines on my lunch break.  I rewrote the chapters at home in the evening.  I read and wrote for months.  Then I stopped.

I left the project for three months.  I’m not sure why.  By the fall, I was ready to tackle it again and began.  Again.  It took me until June to finish what I started. 

But I finished.

And I’m happy I didn’t give up.  I’m happy I didn’t listen to that voice telling me to put it away.  The voice that said it was too hard and complicated and no one would read it.  I’m happy the rejection letters sat in my file daring me to try again because, without all of that negative “I-knew-you-couldn’t-do-it” attitude, I proved them wrong.

My decision to self-publish was born from the above-noted rejection letters.  I didn’t think I was as bad as all of these lovely publishers and agents thought I was.   I am determined to get this book out into the world by the end of this month and I can’t wait.

Wading through all of the self-publishing advice and webinars and blogs can be tedious.  I picked one person who sounded knowledgeable and listened to his advice.  Some of it I used, and some I threw aside.  Not everything is written in stone.

I just want to publish a book.  Simple. 

Apparently, not.

There’s designing a cover and editing your work.  Selecting a platform and uploading files.  Formatting, ISBN numbers, social media, marketing, and the list goes on.

Tackle one thing at a time.  I started months ago researching book cover design.

I created a cover for the book using a free online service.  I just couldn’t find a resource or a designer that fit what I had in mind.  I used the suggestions I found online.  I researched the most appealing colors and the most attractive fonts.  I went through stock photos and templates.  I wasn’t liking anything I saw.  I stuck to my original plan and with a new YouTube vid in my mind, I designed what I wanted. 

 Through happenstance, my cover came to life.  I love it.

It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed every step of the process.  I’m now working on the outline for Book 2 and have ideas for the third.   I’m taking my time and I will publish when I feel I have everything set and ready to go. 

If you are working on your first novel, keep going.  You’ll want to give up and throw the laptop out of the window but resist.  Drink the wine and take a walk.  Then go back to it.  The journey in writing the book is the most fun. 

You’ll find there are no better words than “The End” staring back at you.

Little Girl Writing


In beginning a memoir project, I decided to dig through my old journals just to get a feel for what fifteen year old me was thinking. Holy cow, I think I should have just closed it up and left it be. Teenaged angst, early views on relationships and the all-important she likes him-he likes someone else drama happening. I didn’t remember writing any of the events that transpired in those pages, but I remember the feelings. The awkwardness. The shyness. The melodramatic events of school dances and hockey games; movie nights and trips to the record store; history classes and failed math tests. How much I missed my Dad.  

I skipped ahead to my second year of college to compare. It seems I grew up a bit in that time. The theatrical expressions were lessened and I spoke more of the transition of becoming my own person from that of a little girl in a confusing world. I loved living in the city. I loved working with the kids in residential treatment. I loved feeling necessary, intelligent and valued. I grew in college. I grew from a little girl writing down her daily activities to a young woman experiencing a life independent of parent, familiarity and routine. My entries were less frequent as I moved through classes and newfound friendships; downtown escapades and girl retreats up to northern Ontario. As I read through my second year the absence of the mention of my brother’s death was surprising. Not a word about one of the most traumatic events of my young life was there.  

The glaringly obvious absence of such an event should not have been a surprise. I must have thought I had outgrown the use of a journal and had no need to write such drama down on pages. I must have been so overwhelmed with emotion, I couldn’t bring myself to record it at all. I wish I had. I wish I would have written every last detail of it. The shattering phone call. The train ride home. The days leading up to the funeral. The Thanksgiving dinner where we laughed until we cried. The devastation of watching my brother grow from an impulsive angry child to a more mature independent young man with his own apartment and a girlfriend, then having it all taken away in an instant. His life was moving forward in a more positive adult direction. We were all breathing sighs of relief. And then it changed.  

It could have been cathartic. I remember thinking as I walked away from those difficult days with my mother and my family and boarded the train back to school that I was returning a different person. I remember thinking I wasn’t the same after his death. I had changed somehow. I had grown.

I have been journal writing these past few months on a more regular basis. It may not be filled with all of the drama and angst of my teenaged years, but I find it soothing to write my thoughts on paper. It may not be cathartic nor reveal a secret hidden meaning of life, but it certainly gives me perspective on my life now and my life then. Perspectives on my changing world as my children grow from kids to adults, embarking on their own journeys and new discoveries; and how I continue to fit in to their ever-evolving lives. Apparently, my main reason for living right now is dinner prep and food organization.  

With all of life’s changes, it’s nice to take a look at where we were and where we strive to be. Maybe keeping a journal is another way of taking stock and reflecting on the journey. If you are a journal writer, take a look back occasionally to see where you were.  

You may be surprised at how far you’ve come.  

 

Write a Blog Post

Write a blog post

It needs to be done

Write a blog post

People are waiting for one

Write a blog post

You have nothing else to do

But write a blog post

It can only be you.

Memories of Drowning and Other Stories

 

So, I’m now an official Indie author.  My book hit the Amazon jungle on Sunday.  I’m not sure how I feel about it, yet.   It’s like taking a little piece of your soul and throwing it up in the air, waiting for somebody to catch it.  And hold it.  And like it, just a little bit.

The silence is what’s awkward.  Not knowing if people will like it and hoping nobody takes it and trashes it into nothingness.   It’s weird, really.  I’ve been flung into the virtual abyss with nothing, not even a life jacket to keep me from going under…scary place, this cyber universe.  But I did it to myself.  I put myself out into the big wide world to see what’s what…no point in turning around and running back home.  Might as well hang out a bit and see who gives me a nod.

So, I’m going to be annoying.  I’m going to make a complete nuisance of myself and be in your face and stare at you until you get all uncomfortable and move around in your chair looking for the nearest exit.  I may even follow you to the door…but I’ll be out here a while, so send me back a coffee or a donut or even a warm blankie, will ‘ya?

It’s a bit chilly out here…..

I Have No Business Watching the Osmonds or Reading King…Apparently

Please tell me why I just spent ninety minutes watching the Osmonds’ life story? Ugh… I shit you not, that’s exactly what I did for NINETY INANE MINUTES.  How is that even legal?

 My life has reached a point of stagnation that a movie about the Osmonds manages to hold my attention FOR NINEY MINUTES.  I just kept watching and watching.  It was like I couldn’t tear my eyes away and when the Donny and Marie show spirals out of control it was like I was reliving the tragedy “I’m a little bit country” all over again…then they lose 80 million dollars (yeah, 80 million) and then they start a tour again, then Merril faints (oh noooo)  and then suddenly, they’re all grown up and singing on some wanton stage dressed in black, “He’s ma Brother”   The End.  There.

 I just saved you from having to watch that movie. 

You. Are. Welcome.

RUN KIDS, RUN!!

RUN KIDS, RUN!!

In other relevant news, I just finished reading Under the Dome by Mr. King and it was fabulous.  A tad long, but great.  Wonderful.  You all should read it…just kinda flip through some of the non-essential boring stuff…you’ll see what I mean if you get the epic book that could double as the manual for orchestrating world domination with nothing more than a few arm bands and lighter fluid.  AND, written in Japanese…It’s huge and heavy so if you plan on carrying it around with you, don’t.  You’ll end up in the emergency room with back spasms or shoulder issues. They (meaning Steve) should have affixed a warning label on the cover stating the weight of the book may cause damage to your central nervous system if carried long distances.  Or brain issues if you read incessantly for periods of time that you get confused if there’s a dome surrounding your house or if that’s just your cat blocking the windows with her giant fur-clad body. Or when the next case of radiation may spontaneously invade your space that you think you need to run to Walmart to see if they have wayward lead rolls in stock to cover the windows of your car should you choose to drive up to the nearest cliff to see the strange purple flashing light….it’s a King book, remember?

Bigger than the dome

Bigger than the dome

  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  It’s a two-man lift, …or two-woman lift…or one-man/one-woman lift.  An epic saga in that I-wanna-read-it-all-in-one-sitting-but-I’m-slowly-going-crosseyed-and-what’s-that-strange-idiotic-cat-doing-since-I-don’t-own-a-fucking-cat kinda book.  You get what I’m saying here…IT’S FUCKING HEAVY.   Just to be clear. 

‘Cause that was totally comprehensible…

It’s been a long day.  I need wine.   I could possibly be checking in with you all later this evening if I’m not drunk…or it may be more fun if I am.  Either way. 

Wine.