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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 October 3 posting of the IWSG are Dolorah @ Book Lover, Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken!

October is here! The spookiest time of the year, if you dig Halloween–which I do! Being mostly a paranormal author I’m always into the scary things, and this time of year is my treat. I’m participating in several Halloween-themed promotions this month but for right now: let the jack o’ lanterns be carved! Let the ghosts rattle their chains! Let the black cats howl!

Speaking of that, I’m going to share a video at the end of the post. I don’t have a lot of insecurities this month that aren’t just me rehashing my same old, same old issues, so I’m going to give you some Halloween yummies instead.

October 3 question – How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

I try to hold on to writing no matter what upheaval affects my life–from the small to the large. Writing keeps me sane. I’ve been through a divorce, moving cities, breakups, job changes, moving house, illnesses, and every life change you can imagine–and still, I write. It’s the one constant. I think without it, I would go insane and not know my identity. Knowing I can always come back to the page makes everything better. Though sometimes it gets hard to write, in the end, I always come back to it. I have to. It’s who I am.

Happy October…and Halloween!

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Happy Friday, everyone! How are you doing this week? Anything planned for the weekend?

I’m slowly getting back into a regular writing and blogging routine–and I’ve really missed it. My day job kept my life pretty stressful and chaotic for a while, but I also know it was an utter lack of motivation at the end of the day that contributed. I HAD time, I just chose to be lazy with it, because I was so mentally and emotionally drained from everything else going on. Things are a bit less hectic now, but I know if I want to use the precious free time I have wisely, I’m going to have to make myself do it. My life is not going to go back to the way it was before, at least not for the foreseeable future.

Is it any wonder we escape into fantasy worlds?

Last night I attended the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, which honor works that explore themes of racism and diversity. I went with a friend (the woman who is the subject of the top blog post on that page) and it was such a great experience! It was really interesting listening to the award winners talk about their books and read passages from them. I met Shane McCrae and got an autographed copy of his book of poem and prose In the Language of My Captor. I’m eager to start reading it!

On my personal writing front, I’m awaiting edits on my current in-production book (with tentative, possibly-to-change release in November) and writing the sequel to it. I’m going to do something with my upcoming book that I haven’t done before and see how it turns out–and of course, I’ll make sure I share the experience on here so you guys can learn more. I’m going to use a PR service to promote it. I struggle with self-promotion beyond the obvious outlets (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) and I want to find out if it’s worth the money to hire someone else to promote it. If not, well–lesson learned. However, I feel like I can reach a wider audience (and of course, spend a lot less personal time doing so) than I can by myself. I’ll be sure to blog about the results after. Have any of you used a PR service to promote a book?

Everyone have a great weekend!

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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 September 5 posting of the IWSG are Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!

September has arrived! That means here in the northern hemisphere fall is just around the corner–my favorite season. It’s still pretty hot and summery here, so I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, but I can’t wait to break out the fall decor.

So, any insecurities for me as the seasons change? Why, of course! Those of you who follow me might remember I recently had another book accepted for publication–my lucky 13th! I’m working on the sequel right now and it’s an interesting writing experience. I kind of dragged my feet on it for a long time and was writing it slowly, but lately I’ve been working hard on it. My day job schedule is often erratic and cuts into my writing time, so I’m snatching time here and there where I can. Which means I go a couple of days without writing anything and then binge-write 5,000 words at a time. So far, it seems to be working for me. Even though I have the story kind of plotted out I’m surprising myself with where the emotional twists and turns are happening.

But, what if my fire dies out?! What if I get into another slump like my job was putting me in this summer? I really want to keep up the momentum on this series. I want to work on my OTHER series too and get the next book in that one out. Often I paralyze myself by thinking about all the things I want to do–and then not doing any of them.

Why did I become a writer again?

September 5 question – What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

I went the traditional route, though I did self-publish two books just to see what it was like. I probably didn’t do things the way most self-published people do, because I didn’t spend any money on publishing them outside of the stock photos I bought for the covers. I’m blessed that I have graphic design skills and could do my own. I’m also a pretty damn good self-editor. The books have sold well and gotten some rave reviews so…I guess I did good?

The thing is though, I don’t think I’d do it again (apart from self-pubbing the last book in the series, which I’m working on). Only because while I CAN do the work to get them out in the world, I don’t WANT to. I’d rather leave it to the publishing house. Self-publishing is a job in itself and I’d rather just write and hand it to someone else to turn into a book. Am I lazy? Probably. If I was making money hand over fist self-pubbing I’d probably feel different, but I’m not.

Happy September, everyone!

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Happy Monday everyone! I’m popping onto the blog with some good news today–I had another book accepted for publication! Somehow, in the midst of my currently chaotic life, I managed to get another book published (granted, it was submitted back before things got truly chaotic). This is lucky number 13 for me. I can hardly believe it! After years and years of being utterly convinced I’d never be a “real writer” I’ve accomplished so much it boggles my mind. 2018 has been the most successful year for my writing career so far.

So, can I be rich and famous now?

I kid, I kid. I just feel very grateful and blessed that I’ve managed to do as much as I have, and I’m going to continue working at it, even if I never get to quit my stressful day job. I’d keep writing even if I never made another dime from it. I love writing, and I love doing it for the sake of doing it.

This book is the first in a new paranormal series set in…wait for it…Iceland! I’m still working on my contemporary Man Catalog series, but paranormal romance is my first love and I knew I’d come back to it eventually. I’m just trying to vary my writing a bit to keep my mind sharp and I’m having a lot of fun with it, as well. Still, I knew the spooky things would draw me back in.

The funny thing about this book is I wrote it BEFORE I went to Iceland this summer. The country and the scenery plays a huge part in the story, and I literally described it and created the settings by using the imagery in Google Maps. I finished the book and sent it off before we went on our trip, or literally, before we had even solidified we were going on the trip. So when I got to Iceland I was like “oh please, don’t let the stuff I described be utterly wrong.” I was amazed to find all the sites I used were absolutely spot on in their descriptions–it was almost eerie. I felt like I had been standing in those places before, even though it was my first time there. Google Maps is a godsend! The power of technology is amazing. I’m also a very visual writer, so just seeing a picture helps me tremendously.

Anyway, the book is tentatively set for release in November–I’ll keep you updated! Everyone have a great day!

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It’s time for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop! The hop takes place the third Wednesday of every month (minus November/December) and focuses on the sharing of resources and learning tools for authors.

Stop by the hop page and check out all the participants and their posts this month! Also check out #AuthorToolboxBlogHop on Twitter.

Finding Your Way By the Stars, or With a Map?

First, I want to apologize for missing the hop last month–life and work have been stressful and chaotic. I’m hoping to get back on a regular blogging (and writing) schedule at long last, now that work isn’t so rough. We all go through tough times as writers, don’t we? Times that try us and tear us away from our creativity. I think the important thing is to not give up and hope for the best. That’s what I’ve been trying to do, anyway!

Today, I’m going to talk about outlining, or, in my case ‘loose outlining.’ You’ve probably heard the terms “plotter” and “pantser” in reference to writers. If not, a “plotter” is the type of writer who works out the story before writing it–whether it be in notes, an outline, or by creating a structure for the story in some other way before actually getting down to business. A “pantser” is a writer who just dives in and makes up the story as they go along, aka they’re writing by the seat of their pants. Both camps tend to have their own way of doing things and often view the other as some kind of aliens. I know I did for a long time! 😀

Here’s the thing: for most of my writing life, I was a pantser. It was just how my brain worked. I would come up with ideas, and have some kind of vague direction I was going, but I just got in the water and swam, and let the current take me where it would. This probably wasn’t a good idea when I FIRST started writing, as you can tell a lot of my early stuff suffers badly from ‘wandering writer’ syndrome. But over time I perfected it and got better and better at just following the story–and making it follow me, which was more important. You wouldn’t catch me writing no outline, no sir! I liked my freedom! I liked my open, creative flow. Down with plotting!

Then…something happened, and I can’t even tell you when or how. I started writing down notes, and then before you knew it, I started plotting out the whole story beforehand. Something I swore I’d never do. I always thought working like that would stifle my creativity, but instead it gave me a framework to play on, and most importantly, it helped me keep the story on the right path as I navigated from beginning to end. I knew what I was aiming toward and that actually HELPED my creativity. When I knew what was coming, I could plant the seeds of it way beforehand, which made the story richer.

Now, I’m definitely not a super-ridgid, detailed outliner type. My ‘outlines’ tend to be one to one and a half pages of general plotting from the start to finish. There’s still a lot of gaps and places to fill stuff in. I don’t and probably can’t plot out detailed scenes ahead of time, but I can make a summary of the story, kind of like a synopsis, and that gives me something to work with. Still, for this old pantser, that’s quite a leap into different territory!

Do you think you can teach an old writer new tricks? Have you ever changed something about your writing style? And are you plotter or panster? Could you be the opposite?