blogging

A to Z Reflections Post

Today is the official Blogging from A to Z April Challenge reflections post day. Those of us who took part in the challenge get to talk a little about what we did and didn’t like about this year’s challenge, give feedback, and reflect on our posts. So, here we go!

This was my third year doing the challenge. Like previous years, I wrote all my posts way ahead of time in February, got them queued up in March, and didn’t have to do much in April. I know if I tried to write the posts daily or weekly in April I would fail, so I always make sure to get them up way ahead of time. That being said, just like the past two years, I experienced a pattern. The days leading up to the challenge and the first week was full of excitement and enthusiasm and fun, but after that it became kind of tedious and grueling, and fitting it into my daily life was a concerted task. Somehow, I always forget that fact!

This year my theme was 26 Things To Hate About Writing. The theme was tongue-in-cheek, and meant to be a humorous, satirical way to deal with my own writing frustrations. In a similar vein of trying to be funny, last year my theme was Pandora’s Tacklebox: The Worst Romance Novel Ever Written In 26 Days (which you can now get as a free e-book!), a humorous romp that explored the various mechanics of writing and the worst possible ways to execute them.

I think people enjoyed my theme this year. I got a lot of comments and laughs, and quite a few new followers. I try hard to be, if not as funny as I think I am, at least entertaining!

Now, onto the things I liked and didn’t like about this year’s challenge:

LIKES:

  • As always, the challenge is a great way to make new friends and find new blogs to follow. I meet new people every year and it’s always a blast!
  • I learned some new things from the blogs I checked out.
  • I got some new followers.

DISLIKES:

  • I was not a huge fan of the new way of sharing our posts each day. I understand the co-hosts have a huge job with the Linky List, but I’m not sure adding our links to individual blog posts was the right answer. The main problems I found with it were time zone issues, so many comments it was hard to sort through them, and that there was no standard format for presenting links. If we’re going with the blog posts next year, I would suggest offering a comment template that would give more information about the poster’s link. For example, about half the comments each day, I had no idea what the blog or post was about, since the commenter didn’t offer much information. Not everyone is necessarily good at selling themselves, so maybe a standard format for information about the linked post would help.
  • We could also get more co-hosts and go back to the Linky List. I for one would have no problem being a co-host next year!
  • Things seemed a bit disorganized and delayed this year. Usually our graphics and all the information is/are available way ahead of time.

All in all, it was a pretty positive experience, even with the changes this year. It’s always a relief to get to May, though!

Hello There!

So, the Blogging From A to Z Challenge is OVER for another year! This was my third year and it’s always exciting leading up to it, and fun starting off, but I always seem to forget as the challenge drags on it can become daunting and tiresome. Even with all my posts ready well in advance (I usually write them in February), there’s a lot of communication and promotion to maintain. I didn’t really care for posting our links on the daily blog posts this year instead of using the LinkyList, but I understand the organizer’s need for a change. HOWEVER, all this yammering will be for the A to Z Reflections post, so for now I’m just going to take a deep breath and say goodbye to another year of the challenge!

Now, for those of you who started following me during the challenge, I hope you’ll stick around, and I’ll fill you in a little bit about my blog:

I’m primarily a romance author and about 90% of my blog content is about writing. I tend not to focus on any one genre, more the mechanics and ins and outs of writing in general, so it’s friendly and identifiable to everyone, no matter what you write. I try to be entertaining and funny as much as possible. I TRY, anyway…

I’m also a tour host for Goddess Fish Promotions. I host tour stops primarily for romance and urban fantasy authors, so you’ll see those from time to time. Every one of them includes a gift card giveaway, and you might find some new reading, so it’s lots of fun! I am also quite willing to host a promotion/giveaway for anyone else, if you write romance/urban fantasy or something with romantic elements. This is mostly because, of course, I’m a romance author and my main fan base is romance readers, so something of a completely different genre probably won’t get much traction on my blog. Also, please note: I am not a reviewer and I don’t review books. If you’re interested in a guest spot, contact me!

I’m part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which does their blog hop on the first Wednesday of every month (also run by some of the same people who run the A to Z Challenge). Join us!

On more personal notes, I recently (and finally!) created a ‘wall of fame’ for myself in my bedroom. I left lots of space for more covers! Here’s hoping I’ll fill them in. I had posters made at Vistaprint for super cheap:

Anyone know this ‘Megan Morgan’ person?

I also got glasses for the first time in my life this past week. Truth be told, I needed them LONG ago, but I was stubborn and just used to the world being fuzzy. Now I’m freaking out because I can see blades of grass and individual leaves on trees. IT’S CRAZY.

I really like pink.

I also have a cat that needs constant attention or she will combust:

SLEEP? No sleep, ADORE ME.

So, that’s that! Welcome to my blog. Another hilarious thing you should know about me is that I’m addicted to watching Mountain Monsters on Destination America. It’s ridiculous and overblown and so very, very fake, but I can’t stop laughing at it.

Tell me about yourself!

No News Is Good News

If you are here for today’s letter in the A to Z Challenge, please see this post.

This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. The awesome co-hosts for the April 5 posting of the IWSG will be Chris @ Madness of a Modern Writer, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey!

Most unusual for me, I don’t have a lot of insecurity this month. After the past few months complaining about lack of productivity and scarce ideas on the IWSG, I’m now writing regularly and working on a pretty big, meaty project. This is what always happens to me and I should have learned by now that the fallow times are not the end of the road. I whine and moan and complain for a bit, then I get back to work.

If anything, I’m chewing my nails as I wait for responses on some submissions I’ve sent out, so there’s that. Fingers crossed!

April 5 Question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

Hilariously, shortly before this year’s challenge I turned my posts from last year’s challenge into a free e-book (at the request of numerous people). You can now get Pandora’s Tacklebox FREE in an assortment of different formats, through Smashwords! Hopefully, I can help folks learn a little about writing while giving them a laugh at the same time.

I haven’t used the challenge for any other marketing, though of course, it drives people to my website and social media, which can result in sales.  I just let my personality shine through during the challenge and hopefully that makes people want to buy my books!

It’s Almost Here!

Tomorrow begins the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge!

*excited screaming*

I’ll keep this post short and sweet since I’ll be here every day in April except Sundays (though the last day of the challenge will take place on Sunday, April 30th, because this April has five Sundays). If you’re doing the challenge too GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN! If you’re new around here and have no idea what’s going on, prepare yourself, it’s going to be a wild ride!

By the way, if you missed it, I’ve put Pandora’s Tacklebox, my theme from last year, in e-book format and I’m giving it away for FREE at Smashwords! Get a copy in any format you like!

Let the games begin!

Pandora’s Tacklebox Returns!

Last year, as some of you remember, my theme for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge was Pandora’s Tacklebox: The Worst Romance Novel Ever Written In 26 Days. I showed everyone who showed up for the challenge how NOT to write, through the adventures of manly billionaire Highlander cowboy Hawk MacHardcastle and his mermaid lover Dropsy Velvet.

Many of you got a laugh out of this, and it’s been brought up over and over during my theme reveal for this year. Some of you suggested I should put Pandora’s Tacklebox in e-book format for distribution, and so guess what I went and did?

PANDORA’S TACKLEBOX IS NOW AN E-BOOK! Ahem, that is, a FREE e-book (I wouldn’t try to charge you good people for this nonsense). You can download it in tons of different formats on Smashwords!

Let me teach you how NOT to write a book…

Billionaire Highlander cowboy Hawk MacHardcastle is tired of living the jetset life of champagne, bucking broncos, kilts, fast cars, and burning bundles of cash for warmth. Desperate to find meaning in his life, he retires to his family’s isolated cabin in the wilds of New Jersey, on the shores of majestic Lake Latrine.

There, Hawk plans on self-reflection and pursuing the great love of his life—fishing. However, Hawk’s self-imposed loneliness comes to an end when he makes a most unusual companion and fishing buddy.

Dropsy Velvet was once a young woman living on the shores of Lake Latrine with her settler family. However, a curse turned her into a mermaid and now she lives, sad and alone, in the depths of the lake. She hasn’t had human contact for close to fifty years, thanks to everyone either being terrified of her or thinking they’re drunk when they see her—but Hawk may be the connection to the world she’s been craving. Charmed by her innocent face, sparkling wit, and huge bare breasts, Hawk decides to help her find a way to lift the curse, as she will lift his: the curse of ennui and affluenza. But time is running out, for something sinister wants to flush Latrine away forever…

——-

This book was originally a collection of blog posts that made up my theme for the April 2016 Blogging From A to Z Challenge, which lasts 26 days and covers each letter of the alphabet. My hoped-for goal, gentle readers and writers, is to teach you how not to write a book. From awful dialog to awkward foreshadowing, cartoonish villains and even more cartoonish heroes, useless details, too many details, plot that goes nowhere, and metaphor-laced drivel, there will be something to offend even the most seasoned writer/agent/editor/beta reader/long-suffering friend of an author who thinks they’ve seen it all. Take notes, learn, discuss, and most importantly–laugh.

GET IT FREE AT SMASHWORDS!

Spring!

Spring has finally sprung, at least here in the northern hemisphere! Well, spring has ‘officially’ sprung, anyway. In Cleveland it’s still cold and snowy, but it’s all uphill from this point forward, right? (Unless we get one of our spring blizzards.) Soon we’ll have flowers and green and sunny days. Spring is one of my favorite seasons. Actually, all of them are my favorite except winter.

Spring being in the air also means the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge is right around the corner! Did you check out my theme reveal this week?

Here’s to bright skies ahead!

It’s Coming!

I realized with a shock this past weekend that January is almost over, and The Blogging From A to Z Challenge will be upon us in three short months! I always try to queue up my posts in February so that when April rolls around, I can sail through the challenge. Last year, of course, my theme was Pandora’s Tacklebox, the worst romance novel ever written in 26 days. I came up with a theme for this year while writing this week’s IWSG post. Now let’s see if I can capture any of the wit and humor of last year.

Nothing is officially scheduled on the site yet, but I hover anxiously, awaiting sign-ups. Are you in this year?

Edit: There will be a big announcement about the challenge February 6th!

5 Reasons You Should Start A Blog

On Wednesday, I talked about the reasons you should write a book. Even if the industry has too many books and not enough readers, that doesn’t mean we don’t need your book, or that you don’t need your book. If you’re looking for reasons to keep typing, go check it out.

Today, I’m going to tell you why you should start a blog.

I blog three days a week–usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, though sometimes it varies. So you may be surprised to hear that I, for the most part, freakin’ hate blogging. More often than not, I’m wracking my brain for the next blog topic and it’s aggravating. I never know what I’m going to write most weeks, unless I already have something lined up. I’m a tour host for Goddess Fish Promotions, because I want to promote other writers, but also because on average it gives me one ready-made post per week. I’m part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group because it’s an awesome, fun group, but it also gives me a blog topic once a month. I like when it’s easy.

So why do I blog, if I don’t really like it? Well, after you read the list below, maybe you’ll understand.

And here are some reasons why you should add another blog to the internet, because clearly what the internet needs is more blogs:

Five reasons you should start a blog:

  1. It’s cathartic to talk to yourself. When you start out, probably no one is going to be reading your blog, except maybe a few friends who are too nice to tell you no when you ask them to follow you. That’s okay. Blogging is kinda like a diary when you first start out, and it helps you sort your thoughts and learn how you feel about things. It also gives you time to practice before people actually start reading your blog. The more you do it, the better you get at it, and the more interesting things you have to say. It’s okay to fumble around when you first start. Somehow, miraculously, after two years of blogging I have over a thousand subscribers. That means I have to provide some content instead of just talking to myself–and hopefully, I’m managing that. Talk to yourself first, and you will learn to talk to the public.
  2. If you suck at social media, it will give you a platform. I really suck at Twitter and Facebook. I had a personal Twitter a long time ago, and loved using it, but eventually my Twitter fever went away. I have a personal Facebook I’m much more active on than my writing one, but it’s locked to friends and family. My writing Facebook, Twitter, G+, and everywhere else I’m expected to be are mostly full of promotion and regurgitating my blog posts. At least with a blog I’m still reaching an audience, and I can say more here anyway. I can be present without having to be good at everything.
  3. It’s great for procrastinating on your writing. I should be working on the book I’m writing right now, but I’m blogging instead. And I can still say I’m ‘working.’ Ha! Take THAT, productivity!
  4. You can reach people who don’t even read the kind of stuff you write. I know that most of my subscribers don’t even read romance and erotica, but we’ve made friends and enjoy talking to each other because we’ve found each other through places like the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This is why I started a general writing blog instead of focusing on one genre of writing. I’m more interested in engaging other writers than specifically engaging other romance writers. This is up to you, though–but remember, if you make your blog very specific, you need to find a way to reach that specific audience. Sometimes broader is better. It also gives you a lot of freedom in topic matter, too.
  5. It provides site content. If your website is lacking content, if there’s not much to put on there, a blog puts some meat on the skeleton of your online presence. Also, it can be really good for driving traffic to your site. People come to read your posts and check out the rest of the site–that’s a big bonus!

Whether you have a blog already or you’re considering starting one, you should know this: the internet is infinite, and there’s room for you. If you want to blog, then blog! You have a right to express yourself just like everyone else. And even if you find it aggravating, there’s a lot of good reasons to keep at it

Have a great weekend!

The Writing Community

One reason I love the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and participate in the monthly blog hop is because of the support it provides. It’s a huge blog hop, and it’s easy to get lost sometimes and there’s so many bloggers involved it’s hard to get to them all, but it’s a great, supportive community of writers who always have your back. By sharing what’s on our minds and what’s bringing us down each month, we find camaraderie, commiseration, and most important of all, sympathetic ears and shoulders to cry on.

This week I posted about how life has been getting in the way of my writing and I’m feeling drained and haven’t made much progress. The outpouring of support was overwhelming and I really want to thank all of you. It makes me feel better to know that other writers struggle with the same issues, and that all of us drop out of the race from time to time. The fact that we’re there to help each other get back in is heartening.

Lots of things can sideline writers and make it so we can’t get our fingers on that keyboard and produce anything:

  • Real life stress and responsibilities
  • Major life changes
  • Health problems
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Holidays
  • Too much on one’s plate

If you’re dealing with any of these things, I’m pulling for you, and I’m here for you. If you need to talk to someone about it or just moan and share your woes, I’m always available. You can comment here or contact me via email, if you would rather discuss something privately. It’s important as writers that we support each other and help each other get back up when we fall. It doesn’t matter what genre we write in, we all have the same love of writing in our hearts.

If you would like to talk in the comments, or you’re in a good place right now and you would like to offer other struggling writers your support, feel free!