Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Do We Do This?

Why do we do this?  Why blog?  Most of the folks I interact with online are writers, like me.  Many of us have written novels or memoirs we want to see through to publication, and part of that journey requires we “build a platform.”  That means we must establish a public identity, a soapbox, if you will, to display our talent or voice or whatever it is we want and need to exhibit.  It’s more or less so we become recognizable, build a following, have fans who might consider buying our books.  It’s part of the job.  But there’s no rule that says we have to.  It’s a choice to put ourselves out there for everyone to see and possibly criticize.

I wasn’t thrilled when I realized I needed to establish a blog.  It’s just one more thing on my vast list of things to do, and it’s a very time-consuming one, at that.  Not so much the actual writing itself, but rather the giving back, the trolling of all the other blogs, the reading, the following, the commenting.  It’s practically a full-time job in itself.  Just ask Alex Cavanaugh.  It’s playfully believed he has an army of clones who comment on all the blogs he follows.  So if it’s so hard, why do it?  Certainly our time would be better spent writing our stories, sending out queries, or agonizing over revisions.

What I’ve found is that, in this most solitary of professions or vocations, there are others just like me, who want to connect, who need to feel a part of something, a community, a brotherhood, a family.  We don’t compete against each other.  We’re there for moral support or a virtual hug, a pat on the back or smack upside the head.  We are a team.  I, for one, know for a fact that I could never have gotten as far as I currently have without all my writer and blogger friends.  It is the single most supportive community I’ve ever personally been a part of.  And I’m proud of that, of all the folks who populate that community.  Or almost all the folks anyway, until I read a few of the comments on one of Cassie Mae’s blog posts last week.

It was a sweet post, as Cassie’s often are, about being tagged and recognized for receiving several blog awards, ones she most decidedly deserves.  Yet, while nearly every one of her friends offered congratulations for being such an inspiration to others, a few commenters felt the need, or thought it was the appropriate place, to criticize Cassie for not being serious enough, for not putting herself high enough up on a platform, as the commenter erroneously believes all authors should.  To be above it all.  To be adult and write material so she can be taken earnestly as a writer.

My thought when I read one of those comments:  

Seriously, it’s like someone being invited into your bedroom, asked to sit down on your bed for a chat then proceed to rifle through your drawers, open your diary, read it, and criticize you for what you’ve written.  I mean, basically, that’s kind of what our blogs are, a journal of what’s important to us, what matters, what makes us happy or irritates the hell out of us.  Just because we open the door and ask someone if they’d like to come on in for awhile doesn’t mean they should be rude or offer unrelated, unwanted, uninvited opinions on a completely irrelevant topic.  And then to do so without even introducing themselves, without offering a link so their authority could be recognized, so the merits of their expertise could be verified, well, that’s just plain cowardly.  And if I may say so, not very writerly at all.

What was writerly though was the reaction some of her friends had.  They took a virtual step in between Cassie and her assailants and endorsed what we all believe, that our blogs are our own.  They are who we are, what we are, and how we are.  They are an extension of our lives, our beliefs, our interests, our talents, of our very personalities.  They are us.  And we are them.  Who’s to say we’re doing it all wrong?  By what authority?  Sure, I would never post anything inappropriate or embarrassing to my publisher or friends or family or anybody, really.  But what I say, what I write, if it’s about me, it belongs there exactly as I want it, as I’ve written it. 

It’s my blog and I’ll say what I wanna say, do what I wanna do, be who I wanna be.

What about you?  What do you think?  Why do you blog?

Monday, June 18, 2012

We Are Family - I Got All My Sisters With Me

Writing has often been described as a solitary occupation.  It’s something we do on our own, sitting by ourselves at our desk or wherever it is we like to write.  But the Internet changed everything.  Now we have a way to connect with other writers and not feel so alone.

I did this via Blogger, and I’ve met countless talented writers who are at various stages in their career, but who universally reach out and touch others like me who crave not just understanding, but friendship.  I might be tenacious and determined, but I seriously do not think I would have made it this far without my blogging buddies and the critique partners I’ve met online.

There are two in particular I’d like to feature here today.  They are both beloved critique partners, and now, they are both what I like to call my publishing sisters.  As most of you know, I managed to swing an unagented deal with Sapphire Star Publishing last March. 

Well, in April, my best friend and writing soul-mate, Lisa Regan, also joined the growing team at SSP.  Although I did mention her book deal, it came right in the middle of the A to Z Challenge, when all my posts were prewritten and scheduled well ahead of time, so I only briefly touched on her achievement.  But though it might have been lost in the chaos that was April, nothing in this world could have made me happier. 

You see, although Lisa and I have not actually met in person...yet—we will finally meet in October at BoucherCon—we’ve become about as close as two friends can be.  We email looooong letters to each other twice a week and constantly text each other when news is too urgent to wait for the email.  And we talk on the phone when one of us needs the extra support.  We started as critique partners, but have become as close as twin sisters.  And, with the exception of my mother, I love her more than any other woman I’ve ever known.  She is my rock, plain and simple.  And now, we get to share every stage of the publication process, side-by-side. 

Since I’m a couple of months ahead of her in that process, I share every detail, every problem, every accomplishment, knowing she will soon experience the very same thing.  I cannot even express how wonderful it is to have my best friend experiencing the same journey at practically the same time, and with the same publisher.  It doesn’t get much better than that. 

But then it did!  That’s right.  Another one of my blogging buddies and beloved critique partners signed her own book deal with SSP. 

Many of you already know Carrie Butler.  In addition to her wonderful blog, Carrie’s a skilled writer who’s penned a thrilling New Adult paranormal romance novel, plus, she’s an amazing graphic artist who’s designed numerous blog headers, buttons, and badges for her friends and followers, including me.  But more than anything, she’s been an unconditionally supportive friend to me.  She was there when I needed her, when I had to make one of the most difficult decisions in my writing career.  And now, she is also my publishing sister. 

So it’s the three of us together at SSP now, me the big older sister with her two younger siblings in tow.  I can’t begin to explain what this means to me.  I don’t have any real, from-the-womb sisters, only brothers, and I’ve always envied my friends who do.  There’s just something special about that bond.  But I think I have the next best thing with my publishing sisters.  We stand united in our goals, in our dreams, but more than anything, in our friendship.  It’s like a second and third dream come true, all within a matter of months.  How cool is that?!

If you could bring anyone along on your journey, who would it be and why?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Busy Girl!

It’s been a very busy time for me lately.  First, I had to deal with my edits.  Though I was very fortunate not to have that many, I still had a hard time with the few I did have.  That took time away from my blogging responsibilities, and so I apologize for being remiss with my reading and commenting over the last two weeks.  I was trying to get caught up when I received my proof from my publisher.  This is the PDF file formatted for printing 6 x 9 hard copies, and I needed to read it one last time for errors.  UGH! 

On top of all that writerly stuff, we have a big event in our family today, Monday June 11th.  My seventeen-year-old son is graduating high school!!  YAY!! 

Yeah, you’d think this was news to celebrate, but he doesn’t even want to attend his own graduation ceremony.  I do understand where he’s coming from.  He hasn’t been to class there for two years as he’s been attending the local college full-time since the beginning of his junior year.  Plus, he’s never been overly fond of the school or students.  Let’s just say we live in an upscale community full of equally upscale people and leave it at that.  But still, I’m his mother and I want to see him graduate, though I think having the ceremony at Safeco Field where the Seattle Mariners play major league baseball is a bit much.  But whatever.

Even though he graduates on Monday, he still has class at the college until Thursday June 14th.  Within two hours of his last final exam, he and I will jump on a plane and jet off to Phoenix, Arizona to attend his freshman orientation and class registration at ASU in Tempe.  Talk about an abrupt transition!  WHOA!!  

We are both very excited about this trip (though I'm not looking forward to the heat.)  Since he won’t be bringing his car down, I want to spend some time familiarizing him with the public transportation so, come Thanksgiving and Christmas, he can find his way from campus to Sky Harbor International Airport.  Lucky for us, Phoenix has a wonderful light rail system that’s connected to the ASU campus. 

Can you tell I’m not quite ready to let him go yet?  I have only two months to get my head on straight about releasing him into the big bad world.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled.  I’m just gonna miss the hell out of him.  And seriously, I do not know what his father is going to do once he leaves.  It’ll be a huge transition for all of us.

Anyway, since I have so much to do for graduation and the trip to Arizona, I won’t be around very much.  I’ll still have my phone and my tablet so I can troll the blogs in my down time, but I might be a bit scarce.  I’ll return on Tuesday of next week and hopefully get back to all my favorite bloggy friends.  

What are your plans for the summer?  Any big trips?
Have kids going off to college like I do?
Wanna hold my hand while I cry?

Oh, and if you’re on Goodreads, don’t forget to add my book,
The Mistaken, to your TBR list.  Thanks!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

IWSG - Realizing the Dream

It’s the first Wednesday of the month.

I’m not s big fan of reality TV, but I do love to watch shows where ordinary folks strive to make their dreams come true.  My favorite is So You Think You Can Dance.  While I’m sure there is an inherent component involved, dancing is not like singing.  More than a talent, dancing requires skill.  To be good, you have to work at it, ad nauseum.  So when a dancer finally attains his or her dream, you know years of difficult physical labor have been applied.

I love those moments when a contestant performs flawlessly.  While the crowd roars, the dancer’s eyes fill with tears and she raises her hands to her mouth, shaking her head in disbelief.  That’s a moment of pure joy, of great accomplishment.  Whenever I witnessed one of those moments, I would cry and vow to myself that I would have a moment just like that.

Of course, I’m not a dancer.  I’m a writer, and as such, I strive to be published.  That’s my dream.  Many of you know how difficult this journey can be.  With the industry in upheaval, and the gatekeepers more rigid than ever, it seems an impossible feat, especially for a debut author.  But I’m here to tell you that while it is hard and takes a lot of work, it’s not impossible. 

There are many paths to publication, and I think it’s in every writer’s best interest to understand and consider each and every avenue.  Limiting yourself to only one route diminishes your potential for success.  You have to be willing to not only explore each boulevard and byway, you must also be willing to accept them as credible sources of publication.  Dinosaurs became extinct for a reason.  Their world imploded.  Other forms of life proved more adaptive and therefore viable. 

That’s my message: be adaptive.  Know, understand, and consider all your options and opportunities.  And don’t look down your nose at any one as being less effective or acceptable.  Ayn Rand once said, “The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.”  I don’t think the hard part is knowing which rung is best, but rather accepting each rung as a possibility. 

Which paths to publication have you considered?
Traditional?  Only the Big 6?  A small press?  Self-publishing?


Monday, June 4, 2012


I usually post on Mondays, but since it’s the beginning of the month,  I’ll be saving myself for 
Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group on Wednesday.  In the mean time, I wanted to share something with you. 

Though I’ve been a member of Goodreads for a while now, I was just granted an author’s page  and have listed my forthcoming novel, The Mistaken.  So if you’re on Goodreads and interested, click on the link and add my book to your TBR list.  And add me as a friend.  Goodness knows, I can use all the friends I can get!

Tell me, do you use Goodreads to connect with other readers and writers?  Do you ever find good book recommendations using Goodreads? 

Friday, June 1, 2012


Here it is, minus the forthcoming author blurbs

I’m so excited to reveal the cover for my book!  As a debut author, the cover art is the first tangible evidence that this is all real, it’s actually happening, and I’m not just imagining it all.  

Sapphire Star Publishing has worked hard to involve me in every step along the way, including my ideas for the cover.  Their artist incorporated every facet I imagined, and with spectacular results, I think.  Gripping covers are imperative in the book business.  An author has about three seconds to attract and hold the attention of a potential reader.  My cover needs to say, with as simple an image as possible, exactly what the story is about.  I think it does it does just that.

Here’s the synopsis:

All Tyler Karras wants is to enjoy life with his expectant bride; what he gets instead is a graveside seat at her funeral.  With the woman who killed her uncharged and still free, all Ty wants now is revenge.  His brother, Nick, has dangerous connections and suggests a sadistic plan: grab the woman responsible and hand her over to his associates—sex-traffickers in San Francisco’s Russian Mafia.  They offer Ty more than he dreamed possible.  In exchange for the woman, they’ll finally let his brother leave the business for good—with his debt wiped clean and his heart still beating.

There’s just one problem: Ty kidnaps the wrong woman. 

Now he must protect her from the very enemy he’s unleashed, but the Russians are holding Nick as leverage to force Ty to complete their deal.  Caught in a no-win situation, Ty must find a way to save himself, his brother, and the woman, but with the Russian Mafia, even two out of three makes for very long odds. 

So what do you think—do you like it?  Do you gravitate toward covers that appeal to you and weigh the art against the synopsis before buying?