Thursday, January 31, 2013

...And the Rest of the Story

I’m glad you are back. Now for the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say:

Anyway, here’s the sad part of my life—I am wondering if a mourning period for a loved one (how long should it last?) is also what is keeping me from writing. Those of you who know me personally, know I lost my brother just before the holidays (Dec 10, 2012) and I was in the middle of moving, with my mother, for the second time (had to shop for everything that goes into a house because I sold it or left it all in Alaska). It is very hard to get over this loss and some days are harder than others, but concentrating on writing and just getting through a day with my mother, who may be in early Alzheimer’s, does help.

So now I am taking one day at a time, and I do kick myself for not writing every day. But a few other reasons for not writing is the fact that now I’m wondering if I am good enough, can I pull off anything better than the last one in contemporary romance, although my book was a recommended read by USA Today’s Happy Ever After Blog in December 2011, which was truly a great honor and surprise. I like to read murder mysteries and historical romances, so I am trying my hand at what I like to read and worried I won’t be able to do it. Am I making excuses to not write? Maybe, but I do know I am in the not-good-enough mode and trying desperately to figure out how to get out of it.

I will keep with this blog and see how it goes for this year. I hope to be bringing more upbeat information about me and my writing, and hope to see you here.

Here is a little a taste of what I have been working on and maybe by giving you this little taste, it will help me keep focused on my writing path:

~ A series of romantic murder mysteries set in SE Alaska, where I have lived for the past ten years. I am going to write two short stories to introduce you to the two main characters and how they got through their life in the lower 48 up until they moved to SE Alaska. Then I hope to write three full length novels with these two main characters; book two has already been started.

~ A psychological serial killer (contemplating setting this one in Alaska too). This book, in my mind, is unique and therefore I don’t want to give too much away about it here. I am six chapters into this one. But I tell you, when you get in an angry, frustrating, pissed off mood, it is really easy to switch gears and write a chapter or two in this one—writing the next victim.

~ A fictional mainstream story my father and I started when he first moved back to Alaska in 1991 and though he passed away in Nov 2005, I am going to get this one finished even if it kills me. It will also be set in SE Alaska and set in modern times.

~ Either a contemporary romance or romantic suspense (I could write it as either) which is set in Hawaii I started over 20 years ago. I have about half of this one written and need to figure out which way I want to go with it.

~ A time travel historical romantic suspense I started over 20 years ago with about 11 chapters into it. Recently, I have been doing research and think I have figured out how I can write about a 3-5 novel series with the two main characters.

~ And lots of others. I don’t get writer’s block in the true sense of the words, I get stuck. So I just move on to another book until, for whatever reason, I get stuck.

So please bear with me as I continue on this writing journey and I hope to give you wonderful stories to read.

My next blog post I hope will be sooner and will be about healthy writing and writing healthy. Please come back.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Year, Bad Start!

So writing wise, this new year is off to a bad start. Not much writing, but a lot of thinking and reflecting back on the time since I self-published Wilderness Heart (WH) in March 2011, and even further back to when I first decided to write fiction books. WH is in ebook format and paperback, and after almost two years on the market, sales of both are about the same, but very dismal.

Looking back over this blog, and seeing no rhyme or reason to my posts or steady entries, it’s time to ask myself if I should keep up with it. Everyone who is a writer says you need a blog, but I find myself overwhelmed with what to post on it. It’s like facing a thesis homework assignment, and writing shouldn’t be like this, should it? Not if you are doing something you love to do. But I did change the layout and color scheme and I think this look is more professional.

So now I ask myself if I am truly writer. Am I a writer if:
~ I don’t write every day?
~ I don’t write a blog entry at least once a week?
~ I switch genres and don’t just stick to the one I started with?
~ I have anxiety as to whether I can write at all?
~ I let life get in the way again?
Yes, I am still a writer, even those things keep me from writing.  Or perhaps, I let them keep me from my writing path. Time for some brutal honesty—with myself, with my writing, with who I am.

A lot of my stories I started over 20 years ago, when I wrote a lot, was a member of RWA and started the Aloha Chapter of RWA in Hawaii in the late 1980s. I attended regular meetings in our writer’s group, enjoyed the critiques, and attended a conference or two. When I first started writing, I was in the Navy then got out, got married, had two kids and moved with my husband who was still in the Navy at the time. Sometimes I look back and wonder how I managed to write anything with two small kids, but I did; unfortunately, I had only finished one book.

Then, as the children got older, and I got back into working fulltime, eventually got a divorce (totally sucked), 9/11 hit (scary shit), jobs were scarce (ended up spending the money from my divorce to live on and on the verge of bankruptcy), I moved a lot (three times), life happened and my writing didn’t. So from about 2000 to about 2009, I didn’t write, but picked it back up again in 2010 while editing my niece’s book. That’s when I also found the world of Facebook, self-publishing and all the other multi-media platforms, and now I am overwhelmed again with just promoting myself and my writing.

All of these promoting platforms are a huge time suck, but a necessary evil if I want to market myself. But honestly, I seem to be only keeping up with them and my writing is suffering again. Everyone who is a writer says I need a backlist of at least three books—that it’s the magic ticket to getting readers and selling more books, and some say it is five books (just starting ten books plus doesn’t help, they have to be completed and published). But with these multi-media platforms to keep track of, my mind off bad reviews (I admit two stars certainly do hurt and I wrote back to the reviewers but they never received what I wrote to them—bad manners and all that), the Amazon review problems, the writing world in the news media (a gazillion links I’m not going to post here—you’ve all read them), self-publishing versus traditional publishing (a gazillion more links and a gazillion books from self-published writers on self-publishing), the indie world of bad books being published (the links are endless on this topic), the flukes like Amanda Hocking and E.L. James (what we all wish would happen to us), and bloggers being cute and snarky trying to sell you their online classes on writing and self-publishing (can you tell by now I read a lot) and life getting in the way, I’m not sure where to go from here.

This year, 2012, I went from working as a technical editor, writer, bookkeeper and research analyst, making the best money I ever have in my life (more than my husband per hour), to having no income at all because I am now an in-home care provider for my 76-year old mother. I also moved from Alaska back to Idaho, and seven months later another move within Idaho (a total of seven moves since 2001). I now have to deal with my husband working in North Dakota and the fact I only get to see him about every 2-3 months for 7-10 days because he works 12 hours days, 6+ days a week. Now that I am not working, I have to rely on him to pay not only his debt, but all of mine, and fund my fulltime writing career—some would call it an ideal writing setup—I get to stay home 24/7 and write. But I don't write when he is here. ;-)

But for some reason I can’t get into writing to finish my 20 year old stories and work on some new ones; I have created more in my mind and have even started some of them, but can’t seem to finish any. I even came up with a sci-fi novel while visiting my husband in ND and I don’t write sci-fi, and I came up with a paranormal novel I don’t read or write in. Anyone want to ghost write for me or partner with me to get all these books written? I might be serious here! Call me.

Stopping this here for now, but please do come back and see what else is going on in my writing.  Interesting stuff and hints at what I am working on.