Thursday, April 27, 2017

Isolated Excerpt

In light of Courageous Heart nearing publication, I thought I would share an excerpt from one of my books. Not from Courageous Heart, however. I'm going to be sharing a small piece of the first book in my Finding Hope series, Isolated, because if you haven't read Isolated, Courageous Heart probably won't make a whole lot of sense to you.

Of course, if you haven't read Isolated, an excerpt probably won't make a whole lot of sense either.

Oh well.

Here's to confusing all my readers with a excerpt out of context! :D Enjoy!

"About my family...I guess all you need to know about my mom is she's the kindest person you'll ever meet. But she's also insane.

As for my sister...where do I begin? I'm a triplet. Mom only kept two of us, 'cause she couldn't feed three more mouths back then. That's what she says anyway. I always assume the third either died or had something terribly wrong with it. But at any rate she kept my sister and me. But that's about where our resemblance ends.

My sister is everything. I am nothing.

Her name is Cinderella. I'm Cassy.

She's what you call the beautiful, talented, intelligent type.

I'm not. Any of those.

I won't say it hasn't been hard growing up in her shadow, but we're as close as anything. I'd do anything for her and she'd do the same for me.

Oh, and we don't call her Cinderella. That's her name to be sure, stamped right onto the birth certificate it is. But we just call her Cindy."

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Mountains to Hurdle

I don't usually do "list posts" but I'm going to give one a go today. I want to talk about the obstacles that crop up in every writer's life, more particularly in the lives of fiction authors. So let's begin!

1. Self-doubt is probably the biggest obstacle to writing. It plagues writers day and night. Every time they sit down at the computer it stops their fingers from typing. It's powerful and it is crippling. We all have that voice in our head constantly saying things like, "Your writing is terrible" "You'll never be good enough" "Everyone will laugh at you" "You'll never find a publisher" "You'll never write anything good" "You'll never finish your book"...etc. It is never-ending and it is hard to get past it.

Here's the thing though. You are amazing.

You have a story to write. No one can tell the story like you can. And you will be amazing. Maybe the first draft will suck...guess what? First drafts always do. Just keep going. Tell that voice to shut it, and then write what is on your heart. You have unlimited creative power if you'll only learn to silence the voice in your head and just write. Some days it will be hard. I still have hard days. But just remember that you are amazing, and that YOU are in charge, not that negative voice in your head. So show them who's boss.

2. Distractions. They come in many forms. Social Media. Books you want to read for pleasure. Movies. The mall. Don't get distracted. You have to learn to stay focused and diligent or your story will never get written. That isn't to say never do other fun things. It's all about balance. The way I find balance is by making myself a schedule of specific times that I have to write, specific times I'm allowed to read, and so forth.

3. Criticism. This one is especially hard. You pour your very soul into the stories that you write. When people have negative things to say about that story, it feels like a personal affront. That story isn't just a story, it's you. I get it. I struggle with accepting criticism and not letting it control me. You have to learn to be objective about it. When you get the criticism, in whatever form, take a day to feel the emotions. Maybe you'll cry. Maybe you'll be angry. Don't, DON'T, complain to people or yell at people or do anything irrational. Just keep to yourself and feel those emotions in private. Because you only get one day. After that, you have to get over it.

I start by writing down the criticism that I received. I look it over, and try to find the root of the problem. Is it the story itself they don't like? The writing style? The characters? I figure out what the problem is. And then I take a good hard look at my story and decide whether or not they are right. Sometimes, I do have terrible character arcs. So if someone points it out, instead of getting all riled up I thank them and then study my characters a bit to see what I can change to make it better. You have to learn to let the criticism become a positive thing. It can help, I promise. Just don't get emotional after the first day. I do one day for the emotional feelings because let's be honest: criticism hurts. It's painful. That's your heart and soul they're talking about. So yes, have a good cry. And then pull yourself together and figure out what you can fix.

4. On the flip side of that, only having people in your life who tell you how awesome you are and how amazing your writing is doesn't help either. You need those people, because authors suffer from self-doubt like a leper does from leprosy. It's constant, and painful, and you can't write without having self-doubt. So yes, gather up those encouraging people and surround yourself with them. You need them. But don't cut out every negative voice. You need someone, not to criticize perhaps, but to be rational. Be truthful. Be objective. If something isn't good, you need to have someone in your life who will tell you so. Otherwise you'll never notice anything is wrong and you'll never fix it. Meaning you'll never improve your writing and you really will suck. So find someone who will speak the truth gently but firmly and listen to them.

5. Comparison. A huge no-no. Don't ever compare yourself to other authors, it will only lead to more self-doubt. We all want to be like our heroes, or like those famous authors who have become household names. I get it. I want that sometimes too. But don't compare your writing. One, those household names are generally household names because they spent years honing their craft. You're a tiny green shoot, they're the full-grown tree. Also, you're never going to be like those authors, and you shouldn't want to be. You have a unique voice, so use it. Don't try to be like someone else or compare your work to someone else's. They aren't you, you aren't them. Your writing is special in its way, the same goes for theirs. And comparing yourself with other authors will only lead to you judging yourself and finding yourself coming up short. So don't. It doesn't matter what they do. You aren't held to their standard. You are held to your own. It is not a competition against other authors. It's a competition with yourself. Compare your recent work with something you wrote a couple years ago. See how much you are improving? That's great! Keep it up!

Well those are five of the many obstacles that writers face. Avoid them, at all costs. 

Happy writing, everyone! :)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter [2017]

Celebrating with family this weekend and thanking Jesus for his sacrifice. I will never get over the fact that the Creator of the Universe loved me, and you, and all of us, enough to die so we might live. I can hardly fathom it, but I am immensely and eternally grateful.

Also, it's my niece's very first Easter!! :)

Have a blessed Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Letter to the Dreamers

Dear Dreamer,

So you've got it into your head that you want to write a book. That's wonderful! So do it.

I'm going to share some things with you, so put those listening ears on and pay attention. Writing a novel is much harder than it sounds. Writing a novel is also one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. And writing a novel is definitely more fun than most anything else I've ever done.

If you want to write a novel, because you've thought about it for years, or because it just came to your head now, here's what I have to say to you: don't give up. Writing is fun! But writing gets hard. Outlining. Editing. Re-writing. Research. Publishing. It's hard. So keep that chin up and push through it. You CAN do it.

You'll encounter distractions. Ignore them.

You'll encounter skeptics. Ignore them.

You'll encounter encouraging souls. Surround yourself with them.

Your writing may be absolutely terrible right now, and that's okay. Just keep writing. No one's writing is perfect the first time they try. No one's writing is perfect the second time they try. No one's writing is perfect. Period. Don't judge your writing. Write your story.

Find the story you are passionate about. The hardships of writing lessen tremendously when you are passionate and crazy excited over the story you are telling. So find that story and write it.

Don't think for one minute that you can do this your own way. Will your writing be unique? Yes. The more so, the better. You need your own voice, so don't be afraid to be yourself. However, you can't throw aside all the things that previous writers learned along the way. They know what they're talking about, they've been in your spot before. So learn to listen. And don't get discouraged if you don't know how to do it. You can learn, if you keep your mind open. Just listen to those who have gone before.

Don't try to avoid the things you don't like. I hated outlining books and avoided it like the plague. Once I gave in and learned to outline, I loved doing it. And more than that, my books improved a hundredfold. So don't shy away from the aspects of writing a novel that you don't enjoy. Learn the trade and do it well and your books will be the better for it.

More than anything else, you have to believe in yourself. It sounds cliche, but it is true. As a writer there will be a million voices telling you not to do it, that you can't do it, that you shouldn't do it. And no voice will be louder than your own. Self-doubt is a disease that plagues every single writer in existence. Don't listen. You are a writer. You are amazing. Tell your story.

Write every day. Write in your novel. Keep a journal. Start a blog. Any of it. All of it. Write.

Takes classes. Learn the trade.

Be diligent. The novel you want so badly to write is never going to get done if you don't sit down and write it. So make sure that you actually sit down and write it.

Outline. Plan ahead. Research. These things are important.

Most importantly...write the book. Tell your story.

Don't give up.

It's more than worth it.

with love,
A fellow writer

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Official Website

Guess what? Guess what?!

I have an official website!


I am so excited! :)

I probably shouldn't be so happy about something as simple as a website, but I truly am. I'm elated! I put it together myself and did all the work alone, which means there's probably mistakes to be found. But I'm still very proud of my website and very happy that it exists at all. :)

Here's the link if you want to go check it out: My Website

Since doing my little blog post about marketing I've been looking into effective ways to market books and one of those things is to have an actual website which is one reason I took the plunge and got a website. It also adds a level of credibility as an author to have an official website, so that's another reason. And it was fun to put together, so there's another reason. :)

That's really all I have to say for now.

Have a lovely day, everybody!