Friday, April 4, 2014

Moving

Things have been really crazy for me this month. I've been meaning to make this post for a week, but only got the chance to do so right now.

As of April 1st, I live in a new place. I've been slowly moving in every day.

And later this month, I am also getting married.

I have barely had a moment to do anything except for focus on these two things. It's exciting, but I really wish I could get some of my books out sooner. I'll do what I can!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Realization

Since I wrote that last blog post, I've been thinking about the comments on the blog and about my writing, trying to figure out what was wrong lately.  I think I know what it is. I took the passion out of my writing. I was trying too hard to please people. Thinking too much about how I wanted to sell more.

I don't know what most people believe an author's style is when it comes to writing, but to me it's how the author views the world around them. What an author finds interesting, what experiences she or he has had, the way they sympathize with people and process things are all going to color the way they write a story. Even the way an author speaks or has heard people speak is going to affect their writing. It's why a bunch of different people can take a similar idea, like writing a romance novel about vampires, and make it into totally different stories from each other. Because they view the world differently, so they are going to take the characters in different directions and focus on different aspects of what it means to be those characters. One writer, who is more in touch with feelings, might write more about what a character is thinking, while another, who studies martial arts in their spare time, might write about fighting more.

I've been very insecure about my writing style lately. I don't get jealous of other authors who sell more than me, I usually instead try to read their writing and figure out what it is about them that makes them better than me. See if I can improve myself through their example.

I notice that a lot of popular writers are ones who view the world like a fairytale-the kind that tune out real life horror stories, like people dying or being hurt-and favor a rosy view of the world. I, on the other hand, want to understand people's suffering. I have a deep admiration for characters that struggled and were at the end of their rope. I love reading stories that are positive and upbeat, but I don't think most of those stories fit my style of writing. I just kept thinking that you should write what you'd want to read and I know that I read a lot of upbeat stories where the characters aren't necessarily as emotional as my characters are, so I thought I'd try to write them, too.

I've been trying to change myself to make people happier and to sell more books. The only way to improve as a writer is to change, but to change the way you fundamentally write also takes a lot of the passion from the story. It starts feeling more like a stranger wrote your story than that you did. You have more trouble connecting with the characters because you didn't put much of your life into them.

I was starting to feel like passion for writing was bad. That it clouds your judgement of what is good that you wrote and what needs to change. I might connect, personally, with a certain chapter that I wrote, but readers might hate it, and I shouldn't blind myself from their perspective.

I still enjoy writing even if I put very little of myself into it, but it's not quite as addicting. When critique partners tell me I need to change something, I'm trying to fix it according to their brains, instead of finding a creative way inside my own brain to make the story better. It becomes mechanical and not my own.

But the passion is coming back and I'm very excited about that!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Confidence

I haven't been feeling the most confident about my writing lately.

I bought some covers for stories I've been working on and shared them on the blog a few months ago. I like to give out any news that I can as soon as I can, but now I sort of regret it.

One of the hardest things for me is writing the blurbs on the back of a book I am publishing about which books are going to come next. I want people to get excited about the next books, maybe even look for them after they are published, but at the same time, I can never really tell for sure what story I am going to complete next.

Even if I already started writing them, whose to say I can finish them? What if the next book doesn't turn out right somehow? Should I publish it anyway just because I promised people I would? I doubt that I could do that, but I feel like I'm letting people down if I don't.

Even if I finish writing a book, like I did with these most recent books, there's always the possibility that I'll show them to critique partners and suddenly decide that I hate them, which happened to me lately. Ugh. I worked for months on giving and receving critiques. Now that I'm adding the critiques to my notes for my story, I feel like my story is the worst story ever.

On the positive side, I got really great critiques from my critique partners! If I can incorporate all of this stuff and fix my story completely, then it's going to be the best story ever.

On the other hand, the critiques I got were discouraging. I'm afraid it's not possible to fix it. Which is exactly why if I can correct this mountain of problems, it will become the best story ever.

In fact, one of the biggest critiques I received was that people absolutely hate my main character. Agh! Does this mean I have to change her story entirely to make her more likeable or can I just add little details here and there, where she does nice things, to make her more redeemable?

Not to mention that there are problems with the pacing and the romance of the characters, which drives the story. I even messed up a bit on some of the fantasy setting and rules.

I love being a self-published author, but to some degree, there is something I'm sad about when it comes to not having a publishing company. A publishing company would force me to focus.

Publishing Company (PC): "You finished romance novel 1, now write romance novel 2."

Me: "But I want to work on fantasy novel 3!"

PC: "I don't care! We are paying you to finish romance novel 2."

Me: "But I hate romance novel 2!"

PC: "Do it anyway."

And I'd get it done without procrastinating by writing blog posts, going on facebook, or working on other story ideas I have. And if it was really terrible when I was done, they would tell me. I can never truly know on my own whether it's a good or bad idea to publish something. I just have to do it and see what happens. Then I have to take full responsibility for what I've done either way.

Every new book you write, you want to be your big book. The one where people notice you. The one you can use to make a lot of money and use to justify to your friends about why you don't have a day job.

It gives me a headache to think about it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Your Opinions Matter

I have a confession to make and that confession is that I experience a lot of self-doubt when it comes to my writing. It's been bad lately. I received a lot of feedback from critique partners. I don't know about other authors, but I agreed with almost all of it. I'm afraid that I can't fix my book. I'm afraid I will have to move on and work on other stories, even though I've been working on these two for a long time and already announced that I will be publishing them.

I used to have a second pen name, but I wound up deleting all the stories I self-published under that pen name recently. This was also how I found out that you can't officially "unpublish" anything on Amazon. It won't be sold anymore, but records of its existence will always be there. I decided those stories weren't written well enough anymore.

I think I experience this self-doubt partly because I'm not as emotionally attached to books that I've already written as most authors are. Sometimes after I finish writing and editing a book, I wind up absolutely hating it.

To tell you the truth, when I self-published Pandora's Mistake, I hated it a little bit. I like my Medusa's Desire story, but feel a lot of times like it might not be the kind of story most people would like to read. I was wanting to write according to formulas more. And I tried to tweak the way I write a bit in the stories I've been working on lately. I want to experiment and give people more of what they would like.

But then I started getting a bunch of awesome and encouraging reviews. At the time, I was thinking about quitting writing the Fate of Eros series or at least putting it on hold for a long time. But when I read those reviews, they encouraged me. People were enjoying my writing. I was motivated suddenly to want to work on the next book about Sisyphus.

With indie authors, we don't have publishers telling us what to write. All we have is our readers, so your reviews actually mean a lot to us. I'm not saying that we will get angry if you write bad reviews. I am saying though that sometimes, if you really like a story, and tell an indie author about it, they might be encouraged to work on that series more, just for your sake. We want our readers to be happy.

Authors are more accessible than ever, especially indie authors. As readers you have more power than you think. In the past, it was publishing companies deciding what should be published and advertised to make popular. Now, it's you deciding what should be popular. I like that readers have power.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Update On Things

First of all, I just want to say that I've been feeling really energetic and happy. I didn't talk about it on here before, but I spent the last few years constantly exhausted. I didn't know why, but it was a battle every day just to get out of bed. When I discovered my diabetes, I honestly didn't know how I was going to have the energy to exercise daily. Now, on the other hand, I've been exercising and eating an extremely low carb diet. I feel better than I have in a long time. It was all that extra sugar in my blood making me feel sick!

I used to tell my Mom all the time that I felt like someone three times my age, but now I feel young again. You don't realize sometimes how sick you were feeling sometimes until you get a lot better. It makes me feel excited about life.

Also, I've found more time to devote to working on writing, which is great, so hopefully I'll be getting more things done soon!

What I've been working on lately is critiquing a lot. For some reason, a few months ago, I decided I wanted about seven critique partners to help me critique my god of light stories. I sometimes think I can do more than I actually can. I thought I could read and critique seven novels in a month. After all, I know some editors who are amazing at their job and can do things like that. But I am nowhere near their level, so a few months later and I'm still working on it.

But finally, I see the end in sight and can start rewriting my god of light stories hopefully.

I've also been adding to some of my other stories here and there when I have the time.

I feel like I've learned so much about writing. I tend to underwrite instead of overwrite if that makes sense. I leave out details. I forget to show important events happening. I skip whole scenes and assume the reader will get it anyway. At least, that's how my writing is before my critique partners see it. One of my critique partners convinced me to add whole chapters to my Medusa's Desire novel for instance!

Because of my critique partners and their constant drilling into my head that I need to work on this, I've gotten better at explaining things, developing characters, and showing my story rather than telling parts of it. I learned that details aren't boring, they make the story deeper a lot of times.

There's always more to learn and improve on as a writer.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Angie Sandro - Dark Paradise Cover Reveal



DARK PARADISE
Angie Sandro
July 1, 2014
Grand Central Publishing/ Forever Yours


BOOK BLURB:


DARK LEGACY

Mala LaCroix has spent her whole life trying to escape her destiny. As the last in a long line of “witch women,” she rejects the notion of spirits and hoodoo and instead does her best to blend in. But when she finds a dead body floating in the bayou behind her house, Mala taps into powers she never knew she had. She’s haunted by visions of the dead girl, demanding justice and vengeance.

DEADLY SECRETS

Landry Prince has always had a crush on Mala, but when Mala discovers his sister, murdered and marked in some sort of Satanic ritual, he starts to wonder if all the rumors about the LaCroix family are true. Yet after Mala uses her connection to the spirit world to identify his sister’s killer, he starts to form his own bond to her . . . a very physical one. As they move closer to each other and closer to the truth, Mala and Landry must risk everything—their families, their love, and even their lives.


GIVEAWAY:

Angie is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



ANGIE SANDRO:

Bio:


Angie Sandro was born at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Within six weeks, she began the first of eleven relocations throughout the United States, Spain, and Guam before the age of eighteen.

Friends were left behind. The only constants in her life were her family and the books she shipped wherever she went. Traveling the world inspired her imagination and allowed her to create her own imaginary friends. Visits to her father's family in Louisiana inspired this story.

Angie now lives in Northern California with her husband, two children, and an overweight Labrador


Author Links:









Saturday, January 4, 2014

Self-Publishing Advice That I Disagree With

Myth #1: Do Not Self-Publish Before You Are Ready

The problem with this advice is that you are never ready and you'll always make mistakes. Self-publishing and writing are crafts you can never master. You have to improve and innovate yourself all the time. Even if you make it to the top of your game (whatever that means), you still need to try new things and get better if you want to stay where you are.

So you are basically never ready and you never fully know what you are doing.

I changed my book cover. I found mistakes and messed up formatting for books I self-published. Was it the end of the world? No. I improved those things. I'm getting better at what I can with the resources that I have.

It's better to try, fail, and learn than do nothing.

Also, the first book I ever self-published was Medusa's Desire, but it wasn't the first novel I ever wrote. While I have no wish to self-publish the previous two books I wrote, there's nothing tangible that I can say that explains why this book seemed like the right one to me. It just did.

Myth #2: Self-Published Authors Who Have Grammar or Spelling Mistakes In Their Novels Weren't Ready To Self-Publish

People get really mad at self-published authors with mistakes in their novels or self-published authors who have "poorly written" novels, whatever that means. The truth is, none of us can write a good novel. We need critique partners and editors. And even when we have those, there are still sometimes mistakes in our novels.

It's true with traditionally published novels as well. Some have small mistakes like typos and others have huge ones like poor character development. But that doesn't matter and doesn't always make it impossible for them to succeed.

It's best to minimize those mistakes, but it's also good to remember, that authors are humans, not gods. So we make mistakes and it's okay.

Also, people disagree on what makes a good novel. I know some people would say a novel riddled with grammar mistakes is automatically a terrible one, but not to everyone. When I was a teen, I preferred fan-fiction online riddled with mistakes over reading published and polished novels. *shrugs* So I liked the ones with mistakes better at the time.

And I've read at least one editor who said it's better to make grammar mistakes and have something interesting to write with good pacing and character development, then to have a story that's boring with terrible pacing and characters, but with zero grammar mistakes.