blogging

Brief Hiatus

Just a heads up, I’m taking a break from the blog this week. I have a friend–whom I haven’t seen in YEARS–coming in from out of town to stay with me, and we’re going to see U2 on Saturday! I’m very excited. So, I’ll be off the blog this week, and scarce on social media, but if you need to get in contact with me for any reason, feel free to email me.

I’ll be back to regularly scheduled blogging next week. Everyone have a great week!

That’s It, I’m Out

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 June 7 posting of the IWSG will be JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

I’m co-hosting the IWSG today, whoo! I really love this group and I love participating in the blog hop every month, and occasionally co-hosting (this is my third time). I credit the IWSG with making me a better blogger. To think there was a time I hated the idea of blogging and barely posted once a month! Now my blog is actually my most active and widely-read social media connection.

And that fits in with my answer to today’s question, in a way:

June 7 Question: Did you ever say “I quit?” If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Hahahaha wow. That’s a big YES.

I think part of being a writer–at least, a writer who sticks with it–is experiencing that melodramatic moment where you throw in the towel and fling yourself upon the ground in a fit of despair and defeat. You scream to the skies “I’LL NEVER WRITE AGAIN!” but you know, somewhere deep in your heart, it’s a big fat lie. Because though you hate writing right now, really, really hate it like a cat hates getting a bath, secretly you still love it and you always will.

My “I quit” moment is still part of my writing oeuvre, and I keep it that way so I can occasionally laugh at myself. In 2003, I declared to all and sundry on my LiveJournal that I was done with writing, or at least, the pursuit of professional writing. I hadn’t gotten published in any significant way in all the years I’d been pounding the keyboard (just something in a zine once, which I never even saw), agents and publishers were turning their noses up at me left and right, and I just felt horribly defeated. Here are some hubris-laced excerpts from that tragic post (I will leave all typos and errors of grammar and structure as is, for underlined effect):

…About a month ago, I made a decision. I didn’t write about it in here, because I’ve been saying very little about my life lately in this journal. (If I don’t talk about it I don’t think about it, right?) Anyway, the decision was that I was no longer going to pursue a professional writing career. At first it was that I was not going to write at all anymore, but I’ve written fan fiction since then–albeit, I haven’t finished anything–so I assume I’m still writing. I’m just giving up the dream, idea, hope, whatever it is, of making writing my career…

(Good Lordy.)

…I did write a book, and I’ve had it through several agents and publishers now, trying to find someone who would give it a chance. It’s been turned back every time, and the past two times, I got a very specific answer as to why. I was told it was disjointed, contrived, dull, banal, and the characters were too one-dimensional.

And you know what? They’re right…

(They were totally right, by the way.)

…I’ve been writing for almost 13 years, I’m almost 30, and I have nothing substantial to show for it yet. Because I have this fear I’m going to die not having done anything that people would remember me for. Because I bragged to the people in high school that I would be a famous writer someday, and they honestly believed it. Because I promised someone wonderful and supportive and who was a pivotal figure in me finding the courage to be a writer to begin with that I would some day dedicate my first book to him. I’ve not made good on any of those promises yet, and I’m terrified that I never will…

(My first book was in fact dedicated to him. And oh, to be 30 again.)

…This is the reason I decided to stop pursing a professional writing career–at least, for now. It’s hurting me too much, it’s ceasing to be a dream and becoming a nightmare. And that in itself is painful too. I always had this ‘direction’ in life, and now I feel like I’ve been abandoned in the middle of the woods and I don’t know which path to take…

Goodness, it’s clear why I’m a writer, because I do have a flair for the dramatic!

I can’t remember (my God, that was 14 years ago!) exactly when or why I started writing and attempting to get published again, but I can tell you with almost certainty it was because I love to write and I couldn’t give it, or any of its trappings, up entirely. And now here I am, with multiple books published, going along strong. The reason I still have this entry bookmarked is because I eventually intend to print it out and hang it up next to my first book cover.

You may give up, but you’ll be back. Mark my words.


Make sure to stop by the IWSG site today and check out the open submission call for the IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit!

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!