Maybe I’m the Fictional Character. I still call myself an aspiring author. Three years into my professional writing career, with four novellas and three short stories to my name and two full length novels coming out this summer, I still call myself an aspiring author. It’s like an Imposter Syndrome. And that’s a problem. The thing is, everyone goes through that moment–and sometimes that moment lasts a really long time–where they look around at their friends and fellow authors and say compared to these guys…
It happens in life and it happens in writing. Today, May 29th, I celebrate my twenty-fifth birthday. Some of my friends are married. Some of my friends are doing graduate programs, studying foreign policy in France and England. Some of my friends are getting their law degrees or working as anchors for the nightly news. My boyfriend and I live with my parents and I work part time as a nanny, wondering what lesson I missed in college to get me where I am.
And that think, be it in writing or in life, is useless. Sure, we will all feel like imposters at some point. Sometimes the sensation will come when we’re at a conference and everyone is discussing their research or word count or sales. Sometimes, the sensation will come late at night, when we’re at our desks and the words just aren’t there and the plot is horrible and why did we ever think this was a good career path, were we drunk?
It’s to acknowledge that we still have much to learn, that we can take away ideas and information from other writers. We can always find answers to our craft questions and plot challenges are a part of the path. But that doesn’t make any of us an aspiring author. Sales, publications, coming due dates or not, we are authors from the moment we put our pen to the page, our fingers to the keyboard. I’m aspiring to success, to a career that will support me, but I am not aspiring to be an author. I am an author–and it’s time I start believing that.
So, no, I’m not married (good on that point for a while, thanks…) I’m not getting my law degree or going to school for foreign policy. But I don’t want to do or be any of those things, and comparing my path, challenging and difficult as it may be, to those of my friends is a waste of time and energy, just as comparing myself to other authors is.
The only person I need to compare myself to, when I sit down to write every day, is the author I was yesterday, and she wasn’t aspiring either.
All Geneva Sterling wants is for Trenton and Sons Investment to sign the contract that could make her career. She’s been after them for nearly a year, and would have been successful too – if it weren’t for Dylan freaking Trenton. He’s hell bent on sinking this deal, and he’ll stop at nothing to get her to back off. But Geneva’s not going down without a fight, even if her opponent in this boardroom boxing match makes her hotter than anyone else ever has.
Dylan Trenton just wants to get his mind off work, and the powerful, infuriating and oh-so-beautiful Geneva Sterling. So when an associate takes him to Club Underground to check out his most recent investment, Dylan decides to go with the flow. After all, there’s a goddess in a slinky silver dress just calling his name. But when he finds out exactly who he’s dancing – and more – with, Dylan learns that hate and desire run a close parallel, and tonight he might just step over the line.
How many photographs have you taken on your holidays of golden sunset moments? Or if you are lucky enough to live in a place that has magical sunsets every day, how often do you take a photograph of the sun setting in a golden ball against the backdrop of the sea, or a farm landscape or any beautiful natural setting? I’m one of the lucky ones and I rarely miss the precious few moments when day turns to night, and the sun lowers into the ocean horizon, and the sky explodes into more colors than an artist could dream of having on a palette.
Have you ever thought about how the allure and romance of a sunset crosses all boundaries, from physical borders to cultural divides, from religious and political differences to the acceptance or rejection of sexual differences? Even age divides make no difference when we stand together in awe of a glorious setting sun.
Whether the world is at war or peace, whether we as individuals are happy or sad, alone or surrounded by those we love, each and every day, the sun will set. And for that precious moment, when the sky turns a brilliant crimson splashed with golden yellows and oranges, and the sun dips below the horizon, we are the same. Enthralled by its beauty, entranced by its promise of romance, warmed by its dying rays, and filled with hope that it will return the following day.
My best advice has to be to get on with writing your next book. Even with a publisher, an author has to do most of their marketing and publicity on their own. This takes up a chunk of time. You have to be careful to prioritize your writing as the social media & publicity demands can take over. NOTHING grows your readership more than releasing a new book.
Don’t stint when it comes to developing your characters. The more you understand your characters, the richer and more authentic your story will be. Do the research and create a family tree. It will help you understand your character’s families, where and how they grew up, their fears, and their dreams. A lot of character development often does not make it into your novel, but it’s always in your head when you’re writing so instinctively you know whether the character’s dialogue and actions are authentic. If you learn their flaws and strengths, you can better motivate their actions and emotional developments.
Anni Fife left a successful career in television to fulfill her lifelong passion, writing. In the space of one month, she shut her business, packed up her city life, and moved to a small seaside village to begin her new life…as an author. LUKE’s Redemption is her debut novel. Anni loves spending hours on the beach searching for pansy shells, more hours drinking red wine with her gal posse, and the most hours writing steamy romance novels filled with hot alpha men, and the sassy intelligent women they can’t live without. Her second novel, GRAY’s Promise, will release later this year.
A Romantic Suspense (Erotic)
Chased by her criminal kingpin father, Katya Dalca runs to New Orleans and straight into the arms of Luke Hunter. Sucked into the carnal world of the French Quarter, she succumbs to Luke’s potent sexuality. He not only steals her breath, he steals her heart, and the only leverage she has against her father. She’s left with no choice but to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life alone.
Undercover DEA agent Luke Hunter thought his newest assignment—recover a stolen flash drive to gain the trust of the Russian mob—was like any other. But his target brings him to his knees, and after one taste of her intoxicating beauty, he’s in too deep. Doing his job means walking away, leaving his heart behind with nothing but a promise to reunite. It’s a promise he can’t keep.
When Katya’s past reaches out and her world unravels, her only hope is the one man she is most vulnerable to—Luke.
Luke’s Redemption has been nominated for a RONE Award. Anni needs your votes to move into the next round. Voting is from May 22-28. Details on Anni’s Website
Barnes & Noble
The Wild Rose Press.
You can read all about me on my website, and join Anni’s Posse to get regular updates and Bonus Treats—www.annifife.com
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Amazon Author Page— https://www.amazon.com/author/annifife
Before I start writing, I quickly check social media to see what my author writing friends are up to. When I see posts like — I wrote 5k this morning OR let’s do a 1k hour sprint — I instantly get a nauseated feeling in the pit of my stomach. Which is better… counting words verse words that count?
I’m very happy for the authors who are able to dedicate most of their day to writing and are able to get a word count like that done. But I also wonder…Are those words clean and smooth? Do they go back and edit several times?
I only have a few hours of the day to write. I’d like to spend more time writing, but daily life doesn’t allow it. I’m also a slow writer. I visualize the story as the scene happens, and I write the words to the best of my typing ability…and hope I don’t have lazy fingers syndrome. I don’t aim for perfection, but I try my best to not overuse words and to avoid making loads of typos.
While I would love to be included in the group that writes higher word counts, I’m content with writing one to two pages a day. And at the end of the week, my goal is to have another new scene to send my beta readers that is somewhat clean work, as I don’t feel they should have to cross all my T’s and dot all my I’s.
My author tip is to not set a word count goal so high you can’t reach it. Everyone’s day is different. Everyone’s writing speed is different. Be you, and write what you can. We all get to The End eventually. Count on the words to get you there, and don’t let the word count control you.
Darlene resides on the East Coast of Canada with her husband, daughter, and Yellow Lab. When not working on her next book, she enjoys spending time with her family. An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loves to develop the many stories swimming in her head. She writes heartwarming contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners.
Nothing thaws the chill faster than a warm winter kiss.
She’s been on a flight from hell for over eight hours, lost four hours of daylight, and arrived in temperatures twenty degrees lower than accustomed to. Disliking winter for a reason she refuses to discuss, Danielle Lerato would rather be anywhere than in Redford Falls. She needs to get the job done and return home before getting caught up in the small town’s charm…and the arms of the handsome, brown-eyed restaurant owner.
Andrew Haley’s first encounter with the buttery blonde didn’t go so well, and he well-remembers the chill of the glass of water she dumped over his head. Now, two years later, a raging storm drops Danielle back into his life. She’s determined to leave, but he’ll do whatever it takes to convince her to fall in love with Redford Falls…and him.
If I hadn’t lost my voice I’d never have written my first manuscript. As a result of a botched operation, the slightest background noise (a car motor, wind, conversation) made my voice inaudible. Since my ability to speak loud enough for others to hear was limited, I was unable to work.
But to me it was devastating. All those important thoughts bouncing around in my head, and they couldn’t be expressed. My favorite activities ended…lunch with the girls, dinner out with my husband. I felt isolated and alone, a challenge for someone who likes to talk as much as I do.
But it was this very silence (and the mind-numbing boredom of watching endless TV talk shows and game shows) that led me to sit down one day at my computer and start typing. The first words were incredibly difficult, but writing grew easier each day, until one day I typed those magic words…The End.
…covered in a thick layer of dust, but the very act of writing challenged my mind and led me into new worlds I never imagined. Now I have three romantic suspense novels published by The Wild Rose Press. My voice has improved, and I can talk with the best of them, but my life changed forever that day I typed that first word. Remember: when one door closes, another opens.
Join a critique group. If you can’t find one in your neighborhood, join www.critiquecircle.com, an on line group of fellow writers and readers who earn credits by critiquing member’s writing. The support from that group improved my craft and provided me with a sense of community.
C.B. Clark grew up in Canada’s Northwest Territories and Yukon. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Archaeology, she has worked as an archaeologist and an educator, teaching students from the primary grades through the first year of college. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, and snowshoeing with her husband and dog near her home in the wilderness of central British Columbia.
Twelve years ago, sixteen-year old Carrie Ann Hetherington, pregnant with the child of a murder suspect, fled the small town of Cooper’s Ridge for the anonymity of Seattle. Now, faced with a family dilemma, she must risk her carefully reinvented life and return to her childhood home.
Eighteen-year-old Declan McAllister’s prom date is found beaten and strangled to death, and he becomes the prime suspect accused of the grisly crime. Now this successful Dallas businessman returns to Cooper’s Ridge to find the true murderer and finally lift the cloak of suspicion he’s faced all these years. In his quest to prove his innocence, he must join forces with the woman who shattered his heart to find a devious killer who will stop at nothing to protect a shocking truth.
Caught up in a menacing web of secrets, deception and danger, they struggle to overcome past betrayals and present danger. Can they tear down the barriers they’ve erected around their hearts and rediscover true love?
The Wild Rose Press:
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html
I can count on one hand the number of days it hasn’t rained so far this month. I know they say April Showers and all, but come on. New Jersey has had more than its fair share, I’d say. I’ve always been someone who enjoyed a good rainstorm. Opening up my windows or doors and listening to the rain stream down has given me a strange sort of peace. I enjoy a powerful thunderstorm even more. But what I’ve come to realize is there can be too much of a good thing. Enough with the rain. The question is how does your mood affect your life?
I’ve also realized that my moods are tied to the weather. Even though I like the rain, it definitely makes me more lethargic and passive. Today, though, the sun was shining for almost the entire day and it was warm. So warm that I didn’t have to wear a jacket, and for someone like me, who is always cold, that’s saying something. Immediately, I felt more energetic and more positive. It made me wonder …
I know for a fact that as the days get longer, and darkness doesn’t fall until later in the evening, I’m happier. During those long winter months when it starts getting dark by 4:30, I’m content to lock myself away and get in pajamas as soon as possible. But now that the sun doesn’t really start to set until about 8, I can get so much more accomplished outside, because mentally, my day isn’t over until it’s dark.
Perhaps less obvious, smells change my mood, too. All I have to do is walk down the street and smell someone else’s barbeque or fire pit and my mind immediately goes to everything I love about the warm weather. The sun on my skin, the beaches, the get-togethers with friends. All things to look forward to as the weather changes.
What kinds of things are your moods tied to?
Congrats to K.K. Weil for winning our Awesome Bewitching Authors’ May Author of the Month Award. Be sure to visit her highlight on ABA’s autor/reader store at http://authorscornershop.com
K.K. Weil grew up in Queens, but eventually moved to New York City, the inspiration for many of her stories. Weil, who attended SUNY Albany as an undergrad and NYU as a graduate student, is a former teacher. She now enjoys writing her own dramas and lives near the beach in New Jersey, where she is at work on her next novel. And speaking of her novels…don’t miss this one!
Griffin Stone knows the stats. Sons of abusers become abusers. This is his single fear.
After witnessing firsthand his parents’ tumultuous marriage, Griffin worries that he, too, harbors an explosive dark side. Can he escape from his father’s rage-fueled ways or is he destined to become part of the cycle?
Unable to persuade his mother to leave and wrestling with his resentment towards her for staying, Griffin volunteers at Holly’s House, a safe haven for abused women. Through sculpture, Griffin gives these women pieces of themselves they’ve long forgotten. Holly’s House is the only place where Griffin finds peace and purpose.
Frankie is an aspiring photographer, finding beauty in things most people miss, including Griffin. Griffin is attracted to her free-spirited, sassy attitude but fears Frankie will trigger the most intense part of him, the one he must keep buried.
Frankie’s got to get her act together. Her anything-goes behavior is leading nowhere fast. She’s hopeful that her latest hobby will be a building block for the future. But when a stranger appears on the other end of her camera, looking as complex as he is handsome, Frankie thinks this might be just the change she needs.
I’ve found that, with my busy schedule, I just cannot give the attention I need to give to promo. But, in today’s world, it’s imperative that authors work hard to establish and maintain a social media presence. So when you need help, grab some Me Only Time and Me Writing Time. Instead of spending money on promotion sites, I’ve hired a PA (personal assistant), and I use a promo service that sends tweets and Facebook posts out DAILY for me. The cost is very reasonable. (It’s my daughter’s service, so I know it’s reliable – But, I pay her) I still do my own promo, to a degree, but her service is sort of like a computer program running in the background, always sharing and gaining exposure for me, while I focus on my writing (and editing), and only worry about random promo. (If you wish to check it out, I’ve included her information below)
One of the most important things a writer can do is establish a habit of writing every day.
Every day. Even if it’s just five minutes, carve out some MWT time. (Me Writing Time). You can read all the how-to books and take all the workshops in the world, but if you don’t write regularly, preferably every day, all those things are a waste. Establishing a solid, daily writing habit is one of the best things you can do for yourself. This is something I need to do as well. I have so many projects and commitments, that I often ignore my own writing. Not only does my career suffer, my soul suffers. Writing is a joy, a release, a necessity. And when I don’t indulge, I feel unfulfilled. So, let’s make a pact together. Each of us find at LEAST fifteen minutes a day, every day, that we devote to writing. Not research, not revising, not reading what we’ve written, but WRITING.
1) Decide what time of the day is best for your 15 minutes
2) The day before, write a scene note, a little summary of what you’ll be writing about
3) Set an alarm for your MWT
4) Before the alarm goes off, pull up a blank document that ONLY contains your scene note from the day before
5) If possible, get away from the Internet and any other distractions. A new location is a good idea, when you can, a coffee shop, a park, a library, etc.
6) When the MWT time rolls around, set a timer and do NOTHING except write, for a solid 15 minutes. Even if it’s crappy, even if the words won’t flow, write anyway. If your mind is a blank, then write something like this: I know I should be writing my scene about when Mary learns that her sister is dead and she would be shocked and grief stricken. What would she DO though, would she cry, scream, call someone, (or, other related sen-tences/questions such as this, so that at least you’re getting something down.)
7) When the timer goes off, congratulate yourself on a job well-done (Or, if you’re ‘in the zone’ keep writing). Say, “Great job, Alicia (well, you don’t have to call yourself Alicia. You can insert your own name there). You rock! Look at what you accomplished. It’s not ready, but it’s written, and if it’s written, it can be improved and completed. See you to-morrow, same time, same place.”
8) Then REPEAT!
[FOR TRENDY APPAREL AT GREAT PRICES––LULU’S]
that can be beneficial or a group, such as SprintWriters on Facebook, which I joined but have sadly neglected.
Even if you aren’t a writer, whatever your passion is, carve out some time for it. Regardless of what is going on in your life, you’ll feel better if you treat yourself once in a while, weekly or even daily if you can. Take a few hours away to relax and watch ducks in a pond or go bowling or sit in an ice cream parlor or coffee shop and decompress, people watch, play golf, whatever it takes to give yourself a little boost to focus on YOU for once, instead of others.
If you’re an over-worked single mother (or father), a care-giver for an elderly parent, working two jobs, a stay-at-home mom or dad, you CAN find time for yourself. It’s important to do so for your happiness and your mental well-being. And, you know what? Doing so can make you a better mother, father, employee, daughter, son, wife, friend, etc, etc. You’ll feel more like tackling what others need, and less resentful, if you know you have some MOT (Me Only Time) time to look for-ward to.
So…let’s start this now. Who’s with me?
3 Packages to choose from: $20, $50, $100 – Each includes multiple tweets and Facebook posts PLUS more.
I am a suspense and paranormal author in Edmond, Oklahoma, and I have dreamed of being a writer since I was a child. I attempted my first romance at age 10 (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley), and I still have the tattered, pencil-written copy.
I lead a very busy life, but I manage to find time to read my favorite authors—Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, and Lee Child to name a few—and watching (and rewatching) my favorite shows like The Walking Dead, Dexter, Justified, Friends, and too many other sitcoms to name. But, my greatest passion—other than my family—is writing, and I am exceedingly blessed that I get to do what I loves most.
Amidst a blizzard, paranormal debunker Camille Burditt arrives at Devil’s Promenade in Oklahoma to research a supernatural ‘spook light’ phenomenon for her latest book. There she encounters a ghostly being, which she dismisses as a figment of her imagination. But as the apparition becomes too persistent to deny, Camille realizes the woman’s ghost is quite real—and that her demise was not accidental.
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That’s easy. Your Muse is Inside You. The last year and a half has been a transformative time for me. Not only did I become a published author, I also became a hybrid author by self-publishing five other books. My first novel took me ten years to write while my last few eBooks took me less than forty-eight hours.
Because I’ve learned how to find my muse. I’ve heard many writers talk about how elusive their muses are, but I don’t agree with this assessment. If you realize where your muse lives, you can access it anytime. How? By understanding that your muse is within you. Everything essential to creativity resides within you. Creation is natural to all humans and for authors that creativity equals eBooks, novellas, and/or novels.
Through going within – specifically through meditation. Meditation is every creative mind’s friend. When you quiet your mind and your external surroundings, it’s amazing how much calmer and more centered you’ll feel. Through the practice of meditation I’ve begun to change my entire life – from increasing my writing speed to losing forty-one pounds. When you allow yourself to be in quiet for a period of time (anywhere from three to thirty minutes) every day, magical things can happen to you. Creativity flows much easier through a quiet, serene mind.
You’re worth the time, and if you’re feeling drained, it’s likely because you’ve been doing things for everyone but you. Some people exercise, some cook, some take a long hot bath. So next time you feel blocked – or maybe even like you’ve hit a brick wall – trying setting aside some quiet time for yourself. Whether it’s meditation, walking in nature, or even taking a nap – taking the time to take care of yourself will not only make you feel better. It’ll make you more creative.
It’ll awaken your sleeping muse!
Jeannie Hall is a multi-published nonfiction and fiction author, hailing from the Southern United States. She writes the nonfiction “Writing in my Jammies” series of personal development books, meant to help others find more peace and happiness in their lives.
For her romantic thriller fiction stories, she uses her experiences growing up in the Deep South and love of nature as backdrops for her books. Jeannie enjoys writing intense and dark plots which twist in unexpected ways around her characters. She believes the best characters come from difficult and sometimes tragic pasts, building them into stronger women and men.
When I came up with this post, I was thinking about how I perceive the world around me and how difficult it can be to keep my characters from becoming ‘mini-me’s. I know what I think (most of the time) but I need to understand different opinions and what might make someone look at the same thing as me but see something totally different. Sometimes it’s easy, most of the time, not so much. Keeping my characters from sharing all my own opinions is a challenge. If you’re not keeping characters from sharing your opinions, consider this.
Have you ever seen the TV show Leverage? It’s an amusing, Robin Hood type show (one my tween son and I both actually like.) My favorite episode (called The Rashomon Job) is a fun example of how characters see the world around them through their own goals and preconceptions. In this story, the characters describe a museum function they all attended years before they knew each other. They explain what they did that evening and their interactions with each other, but every version had a different spin. I’ve seen lots of shows do something similar, but this is my favorite attempt. I laugh every time.
It’s a great example of how a character’s goals and preconceptions influence their view of the world. And, how difficult it can be to put those ideas aside. People make assumptions all the time because of their own experiences. I’ll admit that I often make snap decisions about the situations I observe. Someone parks in a handicap spot, but seems to walk just fine?—How horrible, they should leave that space to someone who needs it. Someone tailgates my car and at the first opportunity whizzes by me? A$@hole.
But who am I to judge? How do I know what they’re going through? I’m not a doctor, just because someone looks perfectly mobile to me, doesn’t mean they are. And maybe that person behind me is late to pick their child up from school. I’ve been there, I know the feeling. The great thing about writing is, if my character makes a stupid assumption in the first draft, I can always revise it later. Wouldn’t that be nice in real life?
As a writer, I have to get into my characters’ heads. How would they look at the world? What would they think in a particular situation? It’s a lot of fun, but it has also made me take a good look at myself (not quite as much fun, lol) but definitely worth the effort. Hopefully, I’m a better person for it as well as a better writer.
A Romance Novella Anthology
Four restless ghosts…four tales of love.
The Witching Hour by Ruth A. Casie ~ Lost: One locket filled with memories. Will finding it lead to peace and happiness?
The Ghost of You by Emma Kaye ~ A ghost saved his life, then broke his heart. Years later, he may have found a way to bring her back, but will the act of saving her destroy him?
A Spirit’s Bond by Nicole S. Patrick ~ A connection, which knows no boundaries, helps a couple find their way to love.
Kindred Spirits by Lita Harris ~ A young widow must find a way to work through her grief in order to move on and find happiness once again.
I don’t do a lot of promo, I’m seriously bad at it. So I would say the most important thing you can do for your book is to have a decent cover. As an example of how this helps, I write in anthologies with three other authors. Recently, we rebranded the covers in a series. At a recent book signing, people noticed the branding and rather than pick up just one book, the majority of them decided to buy all three.
Take what works and leave the rest. I tend to be pretty insecure. When I first started writing, if I received a negative critique I made the change. It didn’t matter if their comment worked for what I was trying to accomplish and I would end up with crap I didn’t even like. But thankfully, I teamed up with a fantastic critique group—Ruth A. Casie, Lita Harris, and Nicole S. Patrick. Through their help, I learned to trust myself more and truly own my story. Yes, I listen to what they have to say, but in the end, it’s my story and I have to do what I think works best. I’m much happier for it. (And I hope my readers are as well.)
Emma Kaye is married to her high school sweetheart and has two beautiful kids that she spends an insane amount of time driving around New Jersey. Before ballet and Scouts entered her life, she decided to try writing one of those romances she loved to read and discovered a new passion. She’s been writing ever since. Add in a hyper dog and an extremely patient cat and she’s living her own happily ever after while making her characters work hard to reach theirs.