When Two ‘Rights’ Collide! (Is there an app for that? Also, an update on my ‘write a novella in 30 days’ challenge & where the heck I’ve been!)

Two face - MO2

I needed help. Since my last post on March 15th, I’ve been doing something instead of writing that was the absolute right thing for me to be doing. I’ve been fully engaged and committed in being an advocate and caretaker to my dad. He went into the hospital at the end of December and it’s been five months of terror watching the care system that supposed to help, in his case, do so much to hurt him.  A long story, too long to go into here, and I don’t want to fill up my writing blog with the sad tale. Although, one day I might want to create another blog to express my disgust, anger and disappointment over what we’ve been going through as a family. Nuff said on that topic for now.

The absolute truth is that I don’t regret the time away from here, which was used to focus on doing the right thing of being fully present as a daughter to a man who has been a fantastic dad. I regret that other folks weren’t as equipped or were too negligent to acknowledge how careful they should have been with someone we treasured so.  I’m still a faith-filled, blessed and hopeful person who over the past months have read or seen on the TV news other families going through some really awful situations.  Terrible things, and I pray they will somehow, someday find peace, joy and healing.

The thing is, while dealing with all of the unexpected challenges in my own life right now, I have never stopped wanting to write. That—is another absolute truth I’ve had to stop ignoring, stop putting aside, because I was too mentally or physically exhausted from long days of work and night shifts of being by my dad’s bedside.

Hence, I realized I was bound to two very right things, which were colliding. One of those right things; being a good daughter was getting all of my energy and attention. While the other right thing—living out my heart’s desire to write, to be a writer, to publish stories I think some folks might really like— was getting no time or attention.

There was little while in there when I had real trouble reconciling celebrating my writing successes (yes, I did finish my novella) when I was having so little success in making things better for my dad. Not that I wasn’t putting in the effort to ‘fix’ things for him, but I reached a point where I realized that not writing was not the proper response to the situation I was in. If anything, not writing, was adding to my state of being– helpless. So here I am. Back on my journey, and feeling good to have come out of my writing slump.

This step wasn’t easy, and I recognized right off, to get back on track, I needed help. Here’s the lesson fellow newbies— if you, on your own journey find yourself in the middle of a ‘two rights colliding storm’—get help! I went searching for a writing coach and soon found out they were out of my price range, and many seem to be offering assistance to writers to improve their writing (not that I don’t need that kind of help.J)  Someday down the road, I might seek out a coach to point out for me what I should immediately STOP doing, and what I should immediately START doing! But right now—I need help to just get the words outta me. I needed assistance with time management, direction to find the places in my day to write when my life seemed to be too busy to accommodate my writing. And, of course- I craved that daily encouragement to keep me going at the task. I found it. It’s going to cost some cash, but having joined a supportive writing community with a focus on teaching you how to increase your production, in just a few days, it’s already paying off. I’m writing!

Waiting for a flood of creativity to suddenly appear, wash over me, and make me a writer didn’t. Taking even five, ten, fifteen minutes a day and being accountable for whatever time you do commit to, until I incorporate and adapt the habit of working on my WIPs, is a manageable way of tackling my procrastination problems.

Now—updates!

I did finish that novella in 30 days! Hand wrote it into an 8 x 11 Staples wirebound notebook that is falling apart from being carried with me everywhere I went. I’m happy with the story, and thrilled that I finally have “Tending Deacon’s Garden” on the pages! Yes, it’s going to be a task typing it up, but—I’ll do it!

I’ve sold close to another 45 ebooks —so, yeah for that! I’ll get my new sales totals on here soon. Also, I had mentioned that I would be checking on why I hadn’t received any royalty payments from Amazon—I did that. You have to have royalties of at least $100 before they cut you a check or deposit funds into your paypal account.  I was at $96 and change, so, I should be seeing that money sometime soon. All Romance Ebooks did deposit $18.36 into my paypal last week. Nice.

Well, my friends, I’ve told you my tale. I know I’m not the first writer, and won’t be the last one who has trouble sneak up and overtake them. Maybe someday some struggling writer will happen upon this post, just at the point where they have ‘two right things colliding’. Maybe someone reading right this entry today is wondering if they too can find their way back to writing. Consider this– if you’re going it alone– go out and search for a writing community, my friends!  I did, and ya know what I discovered?  Many authors, new or established—have hardships. They have troubles, they have fear, they have time management issues, they have anxiety. Fears, troubles and anxieties very much like my own. They struggle along, and– they write.

And—they even find time to encourage me to do the same. Just what I needed to get up, dust myself off and get back to work.

FYI, I also revised a chapter in my WIP “I See You” and will do another one this week. I’m back on target to self-publish this year—wonderful!

So – keep writing, people!!

~venice

P.S.—Look out for another one of my freebie shorts this weekend. Just a show of my appreciation for how patient you’ve been with me.

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Write a Novella in—30 days?! (or, I Must Be mad, I Tell Ya— Mad!!)

Write a Novella in—30 days?! (or, I  Must Be Mad, I Tell Ya—Mad!!)

So—

Can I write a novella in 30 days? Well, we’re about to find out, people!

I’m both excited and of course, terrified over putting this kind of declaration out in a blog post. Knowing it can be seen and that perhaps others might hold me to accomplishing this goal, that I might fail—well, is pretty darn scary.  But—I’ll do my best!

MP900387781-MO Goal in dictionary

A goal!

Does writing happen for most writers without making some kind of targeted mission plan? Isuspect not. Goals do hold us accountable don’t they? I’m thinking what better way of closing in on this writing objective than making a public pronouncement of the one I’m expecting to accomplish in the next 30 days.

I’m going to finish the first draft of my novella DEACON’S GARDEN, the second volume in the LOVE BLOOMS SERIES, by —

MP900309636- calendar 4.15

It’s funny, I was thinking of using March 15th as my starting date, and April 15th as my crossing the finish line one.  I was waffling a bit on the dates until I went looking for a picture of a calendar to dress up this post and found the one above highlighting April 15th! You know I just had to take that as my beyond coincidence confirmation that the universe was giving me the go ahead for me to follow through on the impulse of doing this 30 day challenge. Sign from God? Yes, to me it definitely felt that way. And it will take some divine intervention for me to fit this in to my life’s schedule that’s full of busy and stress-filled work days, and most every night spent hanging out with my dad at the nursing home he’s in for eight weeks of rehab. Most days I’m getting home at 10 or 10:30, spent and more than loopy.

I know I said a while back I was going to switch my attention to indie-pubbing my WIP novel, I SEE YOU coincidentally I churned that one out during another 30 days challenge come to think of it! So yes, I do have firsthand experience –this 30 day turnaround is a realistic target!  Just FYI–the last time I did this y’all I was in the middle of a total bathroom and kitchen remodel.

I’ve slowly been revising my novel,  got through about 13 chapters on a first round of revisions and  I expect I SEE YOU will hit about 28-30 chapters– a pretty hefty-size novel once I’m done with it.

But this guy-

h

Yep, Chase!

‘Member him? The character I told you about who insisted his name was Chase, not Wes, not Luke, or any other cowboy-sounding name I could come up with. He’s the male lead (hero) from my novella DEACON’S GARDEN and the dude just won’t leave me alone! I’ve got to get this story out of me, or I’ll always find him pulling me back to it, and leaving me to feel flustered and unfocused.

The other thing is—

I’ve been blessed with a round of five star reviews and some other positive feedback over the last months for my short story BLACKOUT IN THE GARDEN OF LOVE.

Comments like these:

This short story is a refreshing change from the usual IR fare.

The characterizations and dialogue (internal and external) was spot on! I look forward to reading more of this author!!!

Keep up the excellent work and please keep writing!

Not only have these kinds of lovely comments made me grin and dance around like a fool—they’ve also triggered a logical conclusion in my head. Made me grasp the concept that the wise marketing thing for me to do as a new IR writer on the scene it to ride this tide of positivity by bringing something else to the market sometime sooner rather than later.

Anybody up for a challenge? Wanna get the writing juices flowing through you like wildfire, or go ahead and try that no-carb detox you’ve been thinking about, got a junked up room in your house you’d like to give all your extra time and attention for 30 days and turn it into a room of splendor? Let’s do it! Join me and put something on your calendar for the next 30 days. You don’t have to make a world wide proclamation, you know–just a quiet ‘tween you and nobody else challenge is cool, too.

Oh, and I’m going to lose five pounds, too!

I don’t know if this burst of energy is spring fever or winter madness—either one, I’m pumped!

~venice

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236 and counting! Did I Tell Ya I Hate Math? (Indie Writer Ramblings)

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Here we go, as promised– my sales numbers! Finally. I don’t really hate math. I’m just not a huge fan of doing anything that constantly raises a pointer to the limits of my intellectual capacity…sigh. Anyway, what I’m saying is — ya see any blatant errors, just kindly whip me out a private email and let a girl know if she’s got something obviously screwed up that most any elementary kid might have caught. Okay? Thanks!

I indie published BLACKOUT IN THE GARDEN OF LOVE on October 8th in 2012.  I honestly didn’t do much marketing. But I did hook up with a few Interracial Romance forums, and I think that helped me out a lot.  As a reader, I’ve discovered the IR genre is a small enough world that the news of new releases travels in a pretty natural flow, through word of mouth. It’s a great advantage when you’re writing to a niche audience if you know where to go to just get your face or words out there, fellowship– and make friends. I wish I had more time to do more of that kind of stuff, as I thoroughly enjoy chatting with other lovers of IRs! I especially love running into other readers and writers who are diggin’ and searchin’ for sweet IR reads.

Anyhoo—here’s what I sold:

On Amazon/KDP

October  — 68

November – 66

December — 28

January — 30

February — 15

207 sold @ .45 cents royalty per ebook = $93.15.

***

Barnes & Noble/Nook Sales:

5 sold @ .52 cents royalty per ebook  = $2.60.

All Romance Ebooks: (60% royalty)

(just started selling Blackout on that site on 1/8/13)

24 sold @.77 cents royalty per unit = $18.58

Total sales/profit for Blackout = $113.81

236 ebooks sold.

Now, have I gotten any of this money yet? Nope. I suspect a check from Amazon should be showing up someday soon here (I believe there’s some mention of 90 days turnaround). I’ll follow up on the payment part of this indie pubbing experience in another post one day soon. If anyone has any info about Amazon’s payment turnaround, I’d love to hear from you!

The money I’ve made covers the cost of cover art, proofreading and formatting for Blackout– and the lil bit leftover might put a few bucks in my pocket.  The experience is worth gold and so is all that I’ve learned. I’ve had the joy of finishing a story and sending  it out into the world, and mostly getting  very nice reviews (except for the single star one I got, which I want to talk about ‘processing’ that  bad rating  I received in a post here, too.  Probably it will be sporting a title like– “I Indie- Published and the Worst Possible Thing Happened and– How I Survived It” or “Oh Lawd– Whyyyyy???” Something like that.

So other newbies– like me, it’s possible your first publication may not stuff your bank accounts with the 50k or 100k you’ve heard others proclaim as their return on the hours spent writing a story. Yes, I know Blackout was a short story, I’m happy to have sold as many as I did, but my heart and writing spirit isn’t put off.  I’m ready for the next adventure and challenge of putting what I’ve learned about writing and publishing to work on my next project. Make it the best read possible, and okay, I might let myself fantasize – just a little bit– about making tens of thousands of dollars and moving up the ranks on Amazon– I’ve got that kind of imagination, ya see.

But–I’m not discouraged, and I hope that anyone that has a mind and soul to give their words to the world won’t be turned away from their dreams because their first book(s) didn’t sell in huge numbers. The thing is, I am finding quite a bit of comfort & satisfaction in the journey so far.  I made a move, put some  real action behind it, and made something happen! Very satisfying feeling, and now since I’ve honed my skills—hey, anything is possible for me. And—anything is possible for you, too! Let’s just keep it going, right?

Somewhere over the rainbow and all that good stuff!

🙂

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(Next time around- What Is My Next Project, Again?)

Changing Horses (Um…why didn’t I think of this earlier!)

Cowboy Lassoing a HorseChanging Horses

or

Why didn’t I think of this earlier!

I want to indie publish something else— and soon! I’m not a marketing wizard, but I do know it would work to my advantage to keep my name out there with IR fans.  While my short story BLACKOUT IN THE GARDEN OF LOVE  doesn’t appear to be taking the interracial romance world by storm, I’m sure I’ve got some eyes on me. People wondering — hmm, what’s up with this Venice chick?  Is this short story all she got? I’ve come to understand many readers aren’t interested in shorts, and some folks who do buy them, like them hot, hot and hotter!

I’ve told you guys about TENDING DEACON’S GARDEN, and explained to you all how my hero wanted me to give him his chosen name of Chase. I said, I’d probably let him have his way, and I said I’d be writing Chase and Lani’s story next.  I’ve got a strong outline and a few scattered scenes done for this novella, it seemed like a good idea to give the project the green light. Honestly, I’m not one of those speedy writers, and yes—building up my productivity is something I definitely need to work on. Deacon’s Garden, which I’m still planning to publish in 2013, is going to take me a while to whip into shape. The thing is, I realized that potential readers are going to see another short story coming from me if I roll out a novella.  I’m wondering–Is this my best move at marketing myself?

I’m glad I got BLACKOUT IN THE GARDEN OF LOVE out in 2012. Indie-publishing in 2012 was my goal, and I made it. I learned the ropes (okay, I’m still learning the ropes!), and I sold something that I wrote, with very little marketing. (I’ll get those November sales numbers up later this week.)

Here’s where I’m taking this–

Lately, I’ve been reading that IR fans are not happy that there are some many IR authors not putting out what the fans are craving—novels! They want a long read, they want a stories they can get lost in, and they want characters that aren’t cookie-cutter, but who have depth and layers.

Hmm, they want novels?

have a novel that I’m currently revising. I’ve got a good story they could get lost in and my hero and heroine have tons of depth and lots, and lots of layers

See where I’m heading here?

There’s an old Tower of Power song that says “Don’t Change Horses in the Middle of Stream”—but I’m gonna do it–

I’m changing horses!

A few weeks ago, I was happily revising the 10th chapter of my WIP novel I SEE YOU —and it hit me.

I SEE YOU should be my next published work.

I wrote the draft for I SEE YOU during a month long Novel-writing boot camp given by the folks over at Savvyauthors.com—a great place for new writers to take very inexpensive courses/workshops, and hang out with new and established writers. I had no idea that the deal was for people who signed up for the boot camp to commit to churn out 2000 words A DAY, mind you. I have to say, this was the ‘there’s no turning back now’ moment for me. I had failed several NaNoWriMO efforts in the past, and I was in the middle of remodeling my kitchen and bathroom. In my heart, I knew I had it in me to not go running for the hills when it came to this writing challenge. I had to stand up for what I wanted, and I was ready, house remodeling insanity be damned.  At the end of thirty days, I had a story I LOVED — and still do.  Now, for about a year after writing that first draft, I just couldn’t kick start getting to work on revising the twenty-four very drafty chapters I ended up with. I was happy with my story, but didn’t have confidence in my writing to complete it.

Well, that’s how things were going until June– when I took another leap of faith.  I started revising chapters and sharing them with a small group of folks who not only encourage me to keep it moving, but who give me great insight into reader POV of my novel.  (thanks, TST ladies!)

I’ve already revised ten chapters of I SEE YOU, and as soon as the holidays are over, I’m going to push myself to revise one chapter every week. That kind of schedule should get me through the remaining ones pretty quickly. I know I’ll have to work on a 2nd, 3rd, and … well, more run throughs to get I SEE YOU ready to send off for editing, but– this makes sense.  I can put all my work and energy, and focus on ONE project. This switching up on projects works out for me on lots of different levels! I guess, being able to switch direction like this just might be one of those great perks of being an indie-writer. 🙂

With life pulling me in so many different directions, it’s nice to know when I come back to the writing table; I’ve got one project to make happen. This is absolutely the right move for me. I feel like I’ve got a tight hold on the reins and I’m ready to take this ride!

Taking Leaps, facing challenges, oh, and not running for the hills, apparently, are all a part of this writing gig.

I SEE YOU, another contemporary, sweet IR from me, has tons of drama, and some LOL moments, too. Just like life!

EEK FLASH! Now I have to come up with a clever and kick-butt synopsis. Ouch!

🙂

Feeling good.

~venice

It’s December? Really?

Oh my, where did November go?

MS.OF time pic

What happened?

Well, there was the big storm Sandy and all the extra work hours I had to put in due to the technical problems our systems suffered. Then—there was all the cleaning house, shopping, and preparing for Thanksgiving. Okay, there was also that little bitty trip I took out of town at the end thereNow it’s – December? Really? 

Over the month of November, I made lots of choices, right?  And while I got a lot accomplished, I got very little writing done. Since I’ve set out to be an indie writer, that truth– the complete lack of attending to my dream, is a very bad thing. And I need to do some serious time management revamping. Did I really need to spend every free hour devoted to hunting down every dust bunny I could find? Washing and scrubbing, spic & spanning floors, walls, curtains, windows with such determination that all I could do by end of day was shower and flop down on the bed, unable to even put together a sentence or a lucid thought? How did that work for me, huh?

Choices.

I want to write. Why don’t I? It all comes down to the ‘choices’ I make, doesn’t it? Not more complex or complicated than that. I have to acknowledge that being a responsible ‘choice-maker’ on my part has to come down to factoring in what is important to me. To start putting what I want to do toward the top of the list and doing less of those dust bunny hunts, and running around doing things I’m hoping will make life better for others.  Especially when a good amount of my work-like-a-dog effort didn’t make much of a difference in ratcheting up my family’s enjoyment of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Being together, being thankful for our health and wealth (as modest as it might be), having a few laughs and sharing a good meal is what they were looking for. Not the fact that the kitchen and bathroom curtains had been washed and ironed. So, I won’t be taking my Christmas holiday prep down the same road. No way!

Time to get back on track with my dreams; put some goals into place and time for me to focus on making the kinds of choices that will make everyday a bit of a holiday for me. Lesson learned!

So here’s what’s going to be comin’ from me:

-My sales stats for November

– I’ll get another freebie posted

And, I’ll share with you all the changes I’m making to get my next story indie-published sooner in 2013 rather than later!

Though it’s a little late—I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

~venice

Let’s do a little celebrating!

Let’s do a little celebrating!

Yes—

I’m a published indie author!

And if that’s not special enough—today, November 14, I have the honor of being interviewed by my good friend Mae Clair over on her blog FROM THE PEN OF MAE CLAIR.

Mae has been in my corner from the beginning. She’s encouraged me to pursue my dreams to write and taught me so much. We’ve been friends for years, cheered each other along the way, finally deciding that 2012 would be the year we’d both take the leap into becoming published authors. Though she went the traditional route and I went indie—we both ended up debuting on the same day! Amazing, huh?

Mae Clair’s paranormal romance, WEATHERING ROCK is published by Lyrical Press, and getting rave reviews. I’m celebrating for my friend, too! She’s a wonderful writer, but she’s also a terrific marketer. The woman has become a social media wizard!

She’s also featured a lot of amazing writers on her blog, and I don’t mind telling y’all that  I am doing a pretty funky Snoopy Dance over getting an invite to hang out with her to chat about  indie publishing, writing, interracial romance, sweet romance, BLACKOUT IN THE GARDEN OF LOVE, what I have in the pipeline and some other great stuff!

So please pop over and join the celebration. Drop by to read, comment, or um…dance with me and my pal Mae Clair over at her blog

FROM THE PEN OF MAE CLAIR. It’s gonna be a blast!

~venice