Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How A Small Writing Goal Is Changing Everything

The past year and a half has been crazy for me. I found out I had diabetes and I got married. I've struggled with pain from migraines and my teeth. I've had mild surgery and almost had to have a second mild surgery because of a weird cyst thing that I had in my mouth. (Most of my health problems, I haven't shared on social media.) My rottweilers have been sick a lot. Izzy had pancreatitis and I was taking Mika to the vet every week because it turns out that he has Inflammatory Bowel Disorder, which is a dog's version of Crohn's Disease.

I've honestly been overwhelmed with all the changes and struggles in my life lately. I've had a lot to adjust to and work past and my writing hasn't been as quick as I would have liked.

I used to spend all day writing. I remember once writing seventy thousand words in a week. They all had to be edited, but I was happy with it.

But lately, I've sat down, been trying to force myself to write at least ten thousand words because I've been writing infrequently and wanting to catch up. Instead, I've been staring at my novels and getting overwhelmed and my mind has been going blank on a lot of days. Even when it doesn't and I write two thousand words, instead of feeling proud of it, I've felt disgusted with myself, saying things in my head like,"This isn't the way to write three or four books a year and you can't be a successful writer unless you write three or four books a year!"

Then my friend on facebook suggested making a New Years Resolution of writing only one hundred words every day. I liked this idea. It was very doable, even on days where my life was insane. I was tired of going days or sometimes weeks without progress when things got to hectic.

And because of it, I've been writing every day! Not only that, but I feel really good about myself and my novels. It's so easy to meet the goal of one hundred words every day and now I say,"As long as I write one hundred, I wasn't a failure today" even if all I write is one hundred. I've found myself writing much more than one hundred words a day and enjoying every bit of it. Where before I was criticizing myself because I still hadn't met my goal, now I am congratulating myself daily for the progress.

I think it's hard for writers not to get into this psychological head trip where we are critizing ourselves and what we write and how fast constantly. It's a muse killer. I was writing still, but it felt mechanical rather than inspired. This has breathed life back into the whole thing. Because I'm writing those extra words because I want to, not because I feel like I need to meet some impossible goal.

I'm so happy.

So if you're a writer like me and you're frustrated with yourself, cut yourself some slack and you might be surprised by how much you can achieve. I'm achieving more now without the pressure than I was before.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Writing Goals

This month, I decided to participate in a challenge that my friend gave everyone, to write at least a hundred words every day. It's not that I wasn't writing already, but I was doing it in infrequent sprints, so I wanted to get back in the habit of making sure I write every single day, so I took on the challenge.

At first, I panicked because I got a horrible migraine on the first of this month and couldn't write a word for two days (or even have the light on without wincing), but then after I recovered, I've successfully written at least a hundred words every day. (So if you already messed up your New Years goals like I did immediately that doesn't mean you can't start again now! Go for it!) Most days I write much more than one hundred, about a thousand words or so, but its good for the spirit. The goal I have to meet every day is so small that I feel accomplished pretty quickly and don't feel as much pressure. Any words I write beyond the first one hundred are basically bonus words that I wrote that day. It's a psychological trip, where instead of beating yourself up because you wanted to write five thousand words and failed to do so, you are patting yourself on the back and getting more excited about writing.

I think my writing spirit was a bit crushed lately.

Although I am not writing at super speed with a super high word count right now, I am writing more quickly than I was writing before (and with more excitement about the whole thing!)

Also, I've been working on finishing two books at once. Yes, that is twice the work, but I feel like somehow it is actually ten times the work. I think in the future, I should work on publishing just one book at a time. It's just that I wanted to make the first book free and the second book concludes the first book, so I thought it would be better to publish them both at once. But then my books come out so slowly and I'd rather get more of my books out quickly.

I say this now, but I actually have a trilogy (that I've already written the first draft of the first book for) that I don't feel comfortable publishing until I am done with all three. So we will see what I actually wind up doing in the future.

I've also been spending more time away from social media. I'd still like to keep logging onto it. I learn a lot from talking to other authors from it. But I've also been getting more writing done without it, so I'm kind of conflicted there.

Anyway, how are all of you? What are your writing goals for this upcoming year?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I'm Back

So I accidentally took a month long break (I'm not sure of the exact amount of time, but it was about the much) without telling anyone from social media, but I am back now, although I hope to be on social media less than I was before (although still present on all the different sites on occasion!) So if I owe you an e-mail or a follow back or anything like that, don't worry, I am trying to get around to finishing all of that right now. And I apologized for that.

I got caught up in the holidays and also my mother and dog who are both sick right now with chronic stuff. My Mom is getting some surgeries in the upcoming months, so I might accidentally disappear again during that time.

I didn't mean to be gone that long or I would have told someone.

I don't know if people noticed I was gone and it's fine if you didn't, I'm just letting you know what happened in December if you happened to have noticed that I wasn't around much.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Right Way To Do Social Media

I've made lists before on how to get more followers on twitter and things like that, but everything boils down to one simple rule really: BE SOCIAL.

I know it sounds simplistic, but this seems to go over some authors' heads.

When you pay for an advertisement or book tour, you watch your sales while its running. You weigh the numbers against each other (the costs versus the downloads), take some time thinking about it, and decide whether it was worth it.

Social media isn't like that.

First of all, you're never going to know how many books social media has sold for you. You have no way to track it.

Secondly, everyone else is there to get to know people. Most of my friends outside of being an author do not purchase my books. I don't even ask them to. I tell them I'm an author and they let me know immediately (usually) that they don't like ebooks or that they don't read very much or that they'll read my books if I give them to them for free. So what would ever make me think that I could go on social media, shout at a bunch of strangers "BUY MY BOOK!" and get a better reaction?

Even if you sell zero books through social media, it's still worth it. By keeping up with other authors and readers, you find out about trends in the marketplace and news happening in publishing, which can help you sell your books. Opportunities come up for you, like blog interviews and guest posts that wouldn't otherwise be there.

But you have to not be searching for those things. You have to be just enjoying yourself on there.

Authors think they are so different than actors, comedians, and musicians, just because we don't sit in front of people and perform.  But we're not really that different. We're also in the entertainment business. Even if you write serious books with deep philosophical ideas in them, you want to do so in a way that will keep people's attention. You want to reach them at their level and make them feel something.

In the same way, you should be entertaining on social media. And you should give us a glimpse of yourself.

Yes, there is so much talk about not posting things online because the internet is forever, but you can't let people get to know you, unless you are willing to risk that. It's like falling in love. Your heart might get destroyed. In fact, most relationships end that way. But if you don't allow yourself the possibility to get hurt, you'll never get to know anyone.

Being a robot online will get you are far as being a robot in a relationship-nowhere.

And really, I've never seen someone's books sales hurt over going viral. Usually their book sales improve.

This came up because I got really irritated with a guy online. He was telling everyone to follow him and like him online, so on and so forth. So I agreed to it and he made it clear that he wasn't going to follow or like the people who follow and like him.

Immediately, I wanted to undo everything I'd just done. Because, like most people, I am on social media to socialize. If he doesn't want to like and follow people back, then he's just there to sell books and not to talk to anyone, so why should I even bother to talk to him at all? He doesn't care about me or want to get to know me.

What does it really hurt to follow people back and like them, too? Why is it upsetting to engage in conversation with them? Because you don't have time? Then delete all your social media accounts now. If you don't have time for social media, then you shouldn't be on it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Published Short Stories

It's been awhile since I last blogged, but I am still here, popping in and out of social media websites at random sometimes.

There's a few things I wanted to tell you about. Basically, a couple of my short stories got published last month. One, in an anthology, and the other as contribution to. another author's novel. I thought that maybe you would like to know about them.

The first short story I wrote was part of a bullying anthology. We were all told to write a story about bullying and since I can't write anything without including a bit of fantasy or science fiction, there's a bit of that sprinkled in there. I titled my story "The Magic Pen" and you can purchase the entire book here:

http://www.amazon.com/Authors-Against-Bullying-Isabella-Tredway-ebook/dp/B00O2BTXPQ/

I only had a week to write my short story and I had to really push myself to finish it, but I wanted to write it because it was important to me. I grew-up bullied all my life in public school. (It finally stopped in 11th grade when I started homeschool.)

This story is especially important to me because for the first time ever, I included details that were real to me in my life. Like being so scared of going to school and seeing my bullies that I'd have panic attacks on the drive over every day. I'd get depression and be unable to hear anything the teachers were saying because I was too focused on what my classmates were going to do to me next. My grades suffered as a result.

Also, I really did have a counselor who would force me to see him all the time and lecture me because I wasn't as pretty as the other girls or as tough as them. He'd tell me it was "my fault" I was bullied all the time (pretty girls who don't stare at the ground and look into people's eyes don't get bullied. To this day, I still try to force myself to stare into people's eyes when they are intimidating me because of his constant lectures) and he'd criticize me about my grades.

I also really had a friend who wore Marilyn Manson t-shirts and used to scare me all the time with her voodoo dolls and knives, but she also used to constantly stick up for me as well. So we had the weirdest friendship ever. I was terrified of her and I admired her all at the same time.

Her brother really was one of my bullies. He called me cuss words and she would scream at him back. Although I never thought he was attractive like my main character seems to think about her bully.

The reason I am saying all this is because it was a really liberating experience to include some of my real life experiences in a story. It felt nice to change parts of the story and rearrange things so that my school counselor got fired, instead of continuing to insult kids long after I was gone as I know that he did.

I don't really think about how I was bullied back then often. I just think about it when I consider this current generation and what they may or may not be going through in school. I would like it so we could have a world where kids felt safe enough to be able to focus on their school work and didn't have to have panic attacks every Monday on the drive over. But if there are kids going through that, I don't want them to feel alone.

I hope my story might help some kids that are struggling. I want them to accept who they are and not think that bullying is their fault. It doesn't matter if they don't know how to fight back or how to do their make-up right. They shouldn't be picked on anyway.

So that's why I decided to submit that story for the anthology. It was compiled by an author named Bree Vanderland who feels very strongly about bullying as well. She has several books up for sale on Amazon.

---

The other short story that I wrote was for a contest for one of T.J. Loveless' books. If you don't know who T.J. Loveless is, she's one of the best authors I've ever met. She writes well and is one of the few authors I can say that I trust.

She's been writing this book series called The Fortune Cookie Diaries. It's hilarious and one of the main characters named Miracai (who is my favorite) is an absolute riot. He's a unicorn that farts rainbows. That's all I am going to say.

Anyway, she held a contest for anyone who wanted to contribute to the series to write a short story about a brand new character that hadn't been introduced yet. She included my short story and one other story in her third book. (The books count down backwards, so it says "Book Four".)

Here's the link to it, but I highly recommend you starting at the beginning of the series.

http://www.amazon.com/Unlucky-Number-Fortune-Cookie-Diaries-ebook/dp/B00MSXXG6C/

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While all this is happening, I am still slowly, but surely pecking away at the keys, trying to finish rewriting my God of Light duology. I'm still going to need critique partners to look it over one last time, but I am really excited about the direction it's going. It's turning out much better than when the books first started.

It's taking a long time, but I am choosing quality over quantity right now. If I wasn't, I could have had the books out six months ago.

Also, my downloads and sales are slowly increasing, which is exciting as well.

I've been experimenting (and submitting) some short horror stories to magazines on the side and I'll let you guys know if anything happens with any of those things.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Nowhere To Run" By Jeanne Bannon





What’s a girl to do when she falls in love with the man whose mission it is to bring her down?

With the murder of her only sister, Sara, just a few months past, Lily Valier—a woman of beauty and substance—tops the sheriff’s list of suspects in small town Maine, and for a very good reason. Dear old Dad had willed his fortune to Sara and only Sara, leaving Lily to fend for herself. However, with no murder weapon or witnesses, the evidence against Lily is only circumstantial.

Enter P.I. Aiden O’Rourke, black-haired and blue-eyed, charged with gaining Lily’s trust and learning her secrets, all to finally get the goods on her. Things move fast and feelings run deep, yet when Lily discovers the truth about Aiden, everything begins to come apart.

Aiden’s torn. Despite his feelings for her, Lily is the most logical suspect, with a great big fat motive. Except something’s not quite right. Aiden trusts his instincts and they’re screaming at him to have a look at a former suspect with far more to hide than first appeared. With little left to lose, Lily decides to stand her ground, and staying put has its consequences when the murder weapon finally turns up—and it’s Lily’s gun.

What happens to love, when trust is betrayed? 

Excerpt

The ghosts of those we love never leave us. They live on in our hearts but break them too, Lily thought as she flipped the sign on the door of the Higgstown Diner from “Open” to “Closed.” Then she sank wearily onto a stool at the counter, finally at the end of the workday. Now she could let loose the heaviness weighing her down. Hot tears stung her eyes and she let them. It was OK. There was no one around to witness her breakdown. She rested her head in her hands and heaved with sobs.

“Sara, please talk to me. Give me a sign you’re still around,” Lily said to the air. “I miss you so much.” More tears washed down her cheeks. It had been three months since her sister’s death, and there was still no escaping Sara’s ghost. Even the chipped Arborite counter where she now sat, with the wonky red upholstered stool that swiveled just a little too much to the right, brought back memories. Lily could see her older sister as plainly as if she were standing in front of her now, black hair piled high in a bun and that blue eye shadow she was so fond of. Lily smiled through her tears.

Sara had been a whiz at the grill, whipping up orders faster than Lily ever could. God, how long had the diner been a part of their lives? More than twenty-five years, she guessed. They were just kids when their mother, Nancy, bought the place—Lily, seven, and Sara, twelve.

A creak came from the back of the diner. Lily lifted her head to listen. Another small groan of the floorboards. Could Sara be giving her a sign?

“Sara?” Lily slid off the stool.

A tall, dark figure loomed in the doorway.

Lily froze, her heart near exploding. “What do you want?” she choked out in a thin voice.

He stepped nearer. “Open the register.” His voice was a deep whisper.

A balaclava hid his face; the seams of a dark gray coat strained over a thickly muscled physique. He aimed the gun in his right hand at her chest.

Her feet seemed rooted to the floor.

“I said, open the register.”

The man moved close enough for Lily to catch his scent—a mix of sweat and cheap aftershave. He shoved her forward, snapping her from her stupor, and followed as she made her way behind the counter to the cash register.

A glowing red light caught her attention. She hadn’t turned off the coffee maker! In one quick movement, Lily grabbed the pot’s plastic handle and launched the scorching brew at the woolen knit of the intruder’s balaclava. The gun landed with a thud between his booted feet as he clawed at the steaming mask plastered to his face.

Now was her chance. Lily shouldered past him to the front door. Her fingers, thick and clumsy with panic, fumbled as she tried in vain to turn the two deadbolt locks. She ordered herself to calm down. Take a breath. C’mon, you can do this, she told herself, but her heart jackhammered in her chest, and her ears pulsed with the rush of blood behind them.

Suddenly, a face appeared on the other side of the glass front door of the diner, sending Lily backward, nearly tripping over her own feet.

The stranger on the other side of the door took her in. A look of confusion flickered across his face. Then, as if coming back to himself, he yelled, “Hurry. Unlock the door!” The cold night air whipped his dark hair wildly around his face. His pale blue eyes locked on hers.

Panic had hijacked her brain. She didn’t know what to do. He could be an accomplice.



Bio
Jeanne Bannon has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years, first as a freelance journalist, then as an in-house editor for LexisNexis Canada. She currently works as a freelance editor and writer and is represented by Karen Thomas of the Serendipity Literary Agency.

Jeanne’s debut novel, Invisible, is a young adult paranormal romance, published by Solstice Publishing and has recently been optioned for film. Invisible is an Amazon bestseller both domestically and internationally and continues to receive wonderful reviews.

On October 3rd, 2014, Nowhere to Run, Jeanne’s latest novel, is set to be released by Etopia Press. Nowhere to Run tells the story of Lily Valier, a woman of substance and beauty, and her dilemma when she falls in love with a man whose mission it is to bring her down.

Currently, Jeanne is finishing up work on her third novel, Dark Angel, a paranormal thriller.
When not reading or writing, Jeanne enjoys spending time with her daughters, Nina and Sara and her husband, David. She’s also the proud mother of two fur babies, a cuddly and affectionate Boston Terrier named Lila and Spencer, a rambunctious tabby, who can be a very bad boy.

Links:


Twitter: @JeanneBannon




Friday, September 19, 2014

Win A New Kindle Or $229! Month Long Giveaway!

For the next month, I'm participating in a Kindle giveaway. There are lots of ways to enter, including one free entry. Look at the rafflecopter below!

229 giveaway  
It’s time for the next $229 Kindle Giveaway Hosted by I Am A Reader.
We are giving away 2 great prizes both valued at $229.
Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!
 
The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below.
The 2nd is available only to those share this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

Win a Kindle Fire HDX 7", Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only) The price of this Kindle recently dropped to $199. The winner will still receive a prize valued at $229.
  Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
Each of these bloggers/authors paid to help sponsor this giveaway.   Sponsor List I Am A Reader Feed Your Reader Inspired Kathy Bonnie Blythe Pure Romance Bella Street Time Travel Romance Bette Lee Crosby BookBunnyPR SA Larsen Kindle and Me Alecia Stone Dana Masting Cynthia Luhrs Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton Rachel @ Confessions of a Book Geek Jennifer Laurens Author Simple Wyrdings A Leisure Moment: A Casual Conversation about our Love for Literature Artist/Author BT A&E KIRK, YA Paranormal Authors MoreThanaReview Author Claudia Burgoa Laurie Treacy, Author Talia Jager, Author Author Zoe Forward Helen Smith (author) MyLadyWeb: Women's History & Women Authors Mini Myths: Be Patient Pandora! / Play Nice, Hercules! Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Author - Cindy A Christiansen Felicia Starr - Author C.M. Brown Librarian Lavender Romance Under Fire Megan Crane LeahSay's Views Laurie Here - Contemporary Fiction and MORE Author Kimber Shook MamaNYC Melissa McClone, Author Crystal's Tiny Treasures Deanna Lynn Sletten, Author Page Flipperz Ya Sarah Ballance C Family of 6 Danyelle Ferguson, Author YA Author Fabio Bueno Lori's Reading Corner Books are my life BookHounds Author Inger Iversen E.B. Black
Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Giveaway here: http://www.iamareader.com/category/kindle-giveaway-sign-ups   Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only), $229 Amazon.com Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). Ends 10/27/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway