Yay I just hit 200 followers on this blog!!!

200

Just a REALLY quick post to say I’ve hit 200 followers on this blog!!

OK so technically on the front page of this blog it says I have well over 2000 followers – but don’t be fooled, that’s including my Twitter followers and Facebook friends.

Maybe you think I’m daft revealing that I don’t actually have as many followers as my blog states. But I wanted you to know the true number of hard-won followers to my blog I have.

Here’s to many more!

And if you’re following my blog, THANK YOU!!

Confession

ConfessionI have a confession to make.  You know how on social media, blogs and writers’ blogs in particular we’re often told that a success for one indie author is a success for us all?  Well sometimes I find it really hard.

I find it hard to swallow that while my novel is languishing at the bottom of the Amazon rankings (well it feels like it anyway!), Mr or Ms Successful Indie Author has sold millions of copies of their novel and is doing very nicely thank you.

As a Christian, I know I need to take a step back from myself and not ‘covet my neighbour’s success in writing’!  And I’m trying, really I am. But sometimes it’s a bitter pill to swallow when I read about so and so’s book doing fabulously while mine… well, isn’t.

See the thing is, like most if not all indie authors, I’ve put the hours in; I’ve worked hard to write and then publish a novel, done a blog tour, updated my blog regularly, tweeted, posted on Facebook etc etc.

I do realise it doesn’t necessarily work that way – I may have worked hard but perhaps my book just isn’t quite what people were interested in reading.  But I feel I’m not quite at the point where I can truly be glad for others’ success.  I’m trying hard but I’m not quite there yet.

I guess it’s a lot like life in general – for most of us there’s always gonna be people who’re more successful than us, have a better job, bigger house, more expensive car etc.

I find it helps me to remember what the Bible teaches – that ultimately these things don’t matter.  What’s important is not how successful we are materially but how we live our lives.

When I consider this life and all the things (i.e. possessions) we hold dear, I often think of the ancient Egyptians and the way they painstakingly filled the tombs of their Pharaohs with their most treasured possessions, much of it still priceless today, in order that the Pharaoh would take it with him to the afterlife.

Because ultimately it’s the same with us: the success we have materially in this life and all our possessions aren’t going to go with us when we die.  So what’s the use wasting precious time getting hung up on so and so succeeding more at something than me?

I hope that someday soon I’ll be able to read about a fellow author’s success without feeling a pang of envy, and be truly glad for them.

Am I the only one who struggles to be gracious when faced with others’ success being greater than mine?

Yay editing done!

Editing

Well I’ve actually done it! I’ve finally finished editing my novel Reunion of the Heart. OK so technically I told you I’d finished the other day.  But it needed tweaking, so I tweaked it.  Now all it needs is to be proofread by my mum once she’s back from holiday. Hooray!

My husband is gonna work on a cover for me, so I’m hoping to publish it by the end of the summer at the latest. But I was wondering about something – whether, once I’ve published it, to do a blog tour or not? What are your thoughts?

I did one for The Inheritance when I published it last year, but although I worked really hard for it I didn’t get many comments on the blogs I was a guest on.  I’ve actually heard that blog tours tend to generate more traffic to the host blogs rather than interaction for those doing the blog tour.

I’m DEFINITELY doing a cover reveal this time.  I have to say it didn’t even occur to me to do one last time – I didn’t really know much about the whole process of self-publishing and all that I would need to do to promote my work.  Having seen a lot of cover reveals on various blogs, I think it’s a good idea for me to do one.

And now that I’ve finished editing Reunion of the Heart, I can FINALLY get back to working on my next as-yet-untitled project – another romance, this time with a young woman who’s a teacher as my MC and VERY different to my MC in Reunion of the Heart. I’m looking forward to this; it’ll be good to continue on with it.

When I last looked at it, I remembered that, having written a bit over 4K on it, I’d gone back to the drawing board so to speak and I’d made a whole load of new notes which I really need to read through.  I made more notes because I really needed to flesh out the plot and actually invent some scenes for it – I truly am a plotter rather than a pantser.

Although I don’t always stick rigidly to my original plan, I do find that I can get a bit lost in the story if I don’t have a clear idea in my head as to where the story is going.  So for me it’s best if I have a clear plan in place.  That way I don’t become stranded, as I was with this new project before I did some more planning.

To update you with my blogging progress – well I’ve had some hiccups i.e. not doing WIPpet Wednesday this week as I mentioned in my last post.  But I am blogging more often than I was.  I’m not doing so well keeping up with reading other people’s blog posts.  I must confess I delete most of what comes into my inbox!!

Anyway as I mentioned in a previous post, I’m doing what I can and ultimately that’s all I can do.  I’m getting new followers on Twitter all the time and some new followers to my blog, which is slightly harder to see since I linked my blog to my Twitter and Facebook accounts lol.

I would like to change the theme on this blog sometime soon – I’m a bit fed up with all the pink!  It’s a bit much even for me lol.  So I’ll be working on that at some point.  But not today :-P

I also want to sign up to Google+ (although I may be signed up for it already as I have an Android tablet and phone and they keep telling me that so and so have added me to their circle or something like that) and maybe a few more.  But all in good time.

Where are you at in your writing journey?  Are you happy with the way it’s going?  Do you find it helpful to have a big presence on social media?

What about social media?

What about it?  Well continuing on my blog posts about what makes a good blog, I just wanted to write a quick post about the importance of social media and how good it’s been for me and my writing, as well as to tell you what I’ve been considering in relation to it.

I guess technically blogging and blogs are a form of social media, but in this post I want to focus on how I’ve found that other forms of social media can support it.

Personally, I wouldn’t be without social media.  It’s transformed the way I write.  Although I don’t use a whole load of different social media sites (I only really use this WordPress blog, Twitter and Facebook), through it I’ve been able to connect with many other writers around the world.

Social media as we know it is relatively new.  Ten years ago, say, there weren’t all these blogs around. There was no Twitter and Facebook had only just started.  So when I was first experimenting with writing longer stories, there wasn’t half as much support available to me from other writers as there is now.

My husband was the person who suggested to me that I start a blog to promote my writing and then do a search on the internet for other writers’ blogs to connect with.  I’ve said what I’m about to say before, but I think it’s worth mentioning again: I started a blog and then I did my searching and I got nowhere.

I did a Google search on other writers’ blogs and came up with very little.  I was discouraged – how could I possibly connect online with other authors if I couldn’t find anything on the net?  Then my sister suggested I try Twitter.  I joined it a couple of years ago and I’ve never looked back.

Joining Twitter is one of the best things I’ve ever done; through it I’ve been able to meet a number of other writers face to face, as well as connect with other writers all over the world.  My blog is starting to take off – I currently have 181 followers – and it’s enabled me to promote my writing a lot more easily.  I use my WordPress blog in conjunction with Twitter and now and then with Facebook and it’s really helped.

However, having said all that, I have had some comments that I only have Facebook and Twitter share buttons on my blog.  The thing is they’re the only social media sites that I’ve signed up to.  Now I’ll be honest here – as much as I want to promote my blog and for it to be as visible as possible – I don’t want to have to sign up to a  load more social media sites, such as Google+ (which keeps trying to sign me up anyway!!), Pinterest, Instagram et al.

The reason is that I already struggle to keep up with the demands of writing, working, housework (yes I do some!!), looking after our dog, church and everything that goes with that, socialising, reading, reading and commenting on others’ blogs, Twitter and Facebook, to name but a few.  And so I just don’t want to burden myself with yet another thing on the list that I should be doing, when I can barely keep up with what I’m already doing.

So my conundrum is this: how do I or can I promote my blog via other social media sites without officially joining them?  Now to you that might sound like a daft question.  Maybe it is, maybe it’s obvious that it’s not possible.  All I had in mind was that people who visit my blog might be able to click on one of the share buttons – if I added more – and share my work if they were on those sites themselves.  A bit like, say, me sharing an article I’ve read online on Facebook.

And that’s my parting question for you: is it possible to be more visible on social media as a writer WITHOUT signing up for dozens of sites that I might not have the time to use anyway?

As always, your comments are very welcome. :)

An interview with my character Michelle

Hi all.  Seeing as I didn’t have anything else to share with you this week, I thought I’d do another character interview.  This time, however, it’s with a character from my new as-yet-untitled WIP, which is a romance about a young woman working as a teacher in a secondary school (11 to 16 yr olds).

The character’s name is Michelle and she’s my MC Rebecca’s closest friend.  However they’ve fallen out because Michelle has complained to Rebecca that she’s never around anymore for her friends.  She’s pretty much told Rebecca that she feels teaching can’t be that much of a tiring job; see here for last week’s WIPpet Wednesday to read Rebecca’ s mother’s attitude.

Needless to say Rebecca isn’t exactly impressed by Michelle’s attitude.  But now, in my interview with her, it’s Michelle’s chance to give her side to the argument.  This doesn’t relate to the date (shock, horror) but I hope you enjoy it!!

Me: Hi Michelle.  Thanks for agreeing to meet with me. 

Michelle: It’s my pleasure.  Anyone who’s a friend of Rebecca is a friend of mine.

Me: Thank you.  Well, as I mentioned in our phone conversation, I wanted to talk to you about your relationship with Rebecca.  I’m particularly interested to learn about how you two have been getting on since she started her teaching job.

Michelle: (sighs and flicks hair back) It’s not been easy.  For either of us.  I know what Rebecca will tell you – if she hasn’t already – that she’s working so hard at her teaching job and none of us understand that.  I’ve had an earful from her already about not appreciating her enough and so on and so on.

Me: So you do understand then, and she’s just making a big deal out of nothing?

Michelle: Yes… um, no that’s not fair.  Look, the thing you’ve got to understand about me and Becs is that we’ve known each other for a long time.  So we’ve had the odd falling out now and then as all friends do.  But this time around it feels different, like Becs is different.  I feel like I’m not allowed to complain about the fact that she’s hardly ever around for her friends.

Me: (nodding) It sounds like you’re no longer on the same page.

Michelle: Exactly.  And I don’t know what to do about it, how to return our friendship to what it was before she started her job.

Me: Maybe Rebecca feels that you’re underestimating all the work that she has to do?  I mean I’ve heard from others in the teaching profession that it’s not a nine to five job, that teachers have to take a load of work home with them…

Michelle: (snaps) Is that what she’s told you then?  That I’m ‘underestimating’ her?  She’s one to talk.  I have a very demanding job myself you know.  But I suppose working day in day out managing a call centre isn’t very demanding by her standards? 

Me: (holds hands up) I’m sorry, Michelle, I meant no offence.  The two of you are obviously at a bad place in your friendship right now and the last thing I want to do is make it worse. (I pause) Maybe you and Rebecca should think about finding a common ground, you know, something you could talk about that’s non work related?

Michelle: (nods) That might be a good idea. (sighs) I would hate to lose my friendship with Becs, you know.  That would just be the worst thing that could happen out of all of this.

Me: I’m sure that won’t happen.  Why don’t you just call her again, maybe invite her out for a coffee and have a proper talk?

Michelle: (doubtfully) I could try.  But I’m not sure she’d be interested, she’d probably just say she was busy or something.

Me: Well you never know until you try.

Michelle: That’s true.

Me: How are Susie and Karen getting on with Rebecca these days?

Michelle: About the same as me I think, although they’re not as close to her as I am.  (pauses) I am quite a demanding person, in that I demand a lot from my friends.  I expect them to be loyal to me and to be there for me when I need them, even if it’s just a quick phone call for advice.  But I do give a lot back; I try to be a loyal friend myself and I care about my friends.  I care about Rebecca – maybe she thinks otherwise, but I do.

Me: (nodding) OK, well I don’t think I had anything else I wanted to talk to you about.  Only, I just want to say again – don’t give up on your friendship with Rebecca.  She needs your friendship; I’ve only known her a little while, but I can tell that from the way she talks about you and your falling out.  It’s like she’s bereft.

Michelle: (reddens a little) Oh.  Well that’s good to know.  I have missed her… I’ll call her again.

Me: You do that.

Michelle: (nods and reaches over to shake my hand) Thank you very much for your advice.  It’s so helpful.  Maybe I’ll see you around.

Me: I’m sure you will.

If you would like to get involved with WIPpet Wednesday, all you need to do is post something writing-related on your blog.  It should ideally relate in some way to the date, but don’t worry if not!  Then add your name to this.

Thanks goes to the Queen of Monkeys herself K. L. Schwengel.

Feeling frazzled

Frazzled

OK it’s not me that’s feeling frazzled, although I have been on the verge of tearing my hair out on occasion!  No, it’s my character in my new WIP, which I haven’t actually done anything with since the end of March.

This is because of work commitments, but also because I’m currently editing Reunion of the Heart, which is going well and hopefully will be finished soon.  At which point I can send it to my mum for proofreading. :)

For today, the 21st May, I’m sharing 21 lines from my as-yet-untitled WIP.  In this scene my MC Rebecca is feeling frazzled.  She’s just started working as a teacher at a secondary school (for 11 to 16 yr olds) and it’s tough going. And now her mum and dad want to come and stay.

Rebecca can’t bear to have them come; she’s too busy and is feeling the strain.  But on the phone to her mum, it’s clear that she just doesn’t understand how stressful teaching can be.  Rebecca gets lots of holiday, as her mum sees it, and doesn’t work weekends, so where’s the problem?

But Rebecca isn’t having it…

‘No, I’m sorry but you can’t.’ Rebecca heard her own voice sounding exasperated and wondered why her mother always had that effect on her.  It was six thirty on a Tuesday evening and Rebecca was a couple of weeks into her new job.  She was feeling crotchety.

‘But you don’t work weekends as a teacher,’ her mother pointed out helpfully.  ‘Surely your dad and I could come and stay.  And anyway if you really needed to work, we could go off and do our own thing.  You’d hardly know we were there.’

If only that were possible, Rebecca thought.  ‘I’m sorry, Mum,’ she said, ‘but it’s just not possible.  I’ve got too much to do.  If you were a teacher you’d understand.’

There was silence the other end of the phone.  Rebecca couldn’t help her last barbed comment – her mother never understood.  And she was beginning to think that even if she had chosen the career path her parents had favoured, they would still never understand her.  Finally the pause ended.

‘All right, if that’s the way you feel,’ her mother said stiffly.  ‘I’ll see if Maria’s free.’

Thank you God!  Rebecca mouthed tilting her head up to the ceiling.  Then she thought of her sister.

So that’s Rebecca’s story for the moment, as I haven’t written much beyond this point.  It’s all in here! *taps head*

To join in with WIPpet Wednesday, just post on your blog anything you’ve written lately.  Relate it to the date somehow and then link up with us here.

Thanks K. L. Schwengel for being our lovely host. :D

Indie Author Manifesto

Indie author manifesto

THE INDIE AUTHOR MANIFESTO by Mark Coker @ Smashwords

I thought I’d share this with you as for me it sums up everything that defines an indie author.  I hope you agree! :D

Emergence by K. L. Schwengel – Cover Reveal!

coverreveal

I’m pleased to have the privilege of doing a cover reveal from one of my favourite fantasy authors, the lovely K. L. Schwengel.  First of Her Kind, the first book in the Darkness and Light series can be found at Amazon.com and Amazon UK.  Emergence is the second book in the series, and continues the story of Ciara, a young woman who in the first book was gradually learning about the forceful magical powers she possesses and how she could control them…

Emergence ~ Book Two of the Darkness & Light Series

The battle for Ciara’s power has drawn the full attention of the Emperor and the Imperial Mages, forcing Bolin to put duty above safety and take her to Nisair. It won’t be an easy trip, even with an Imperial escort and a Galysian elder accompanying them. Especially since Donovan has found himself some new allies, one of whom wields a dark magic that has literally gotten under Bolin’s skin.

For Ciara, coming to terms with the increasingly tangible manifestation of her power could destroy her. Even if they make it to Nisair–something that grows more unlikely by the day–there is no surety of safety for Ciara, or any of them. Not with Donovan willing to gamble everything to achieve his goals, or Bolin’s uncharacteristically reckless behavior, the result of which is the attention of something that has everyone worried.

Loyalties will be tested, lives will be lost, and no one will emerge unchanged as they find things are not always so clear on the line dividing Darkness and Light.

About the author:

K. L. Schwengel lives in southeast Wisconsin on a small farm with her husband, a handful of Australian Shepherds, Her Royal Highness Princess Fiona the Cat, and assorted livestock. Growing up as the youngest of nine children, and the daughter of a librarian, Kathi spent many hours between stacks of books, and secluded away in dusty archives, drawn to tales of medieval heroes and conquering knights. With so many characters and ideas spinning in her head, she had to get them onto paper or risk what little sanity she possessed.

She has been penning wild tales of magic and mayhem as long as she can remember, but opted to follow her artistic muse first. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and spending many years working as a freelance artist, grocery clerk, art teacher, graphic designer, stable hand, advertising account coordinator, dog trainer, and process technician (among other things) she answered the call of her writing muse. When not writing, Kathi trains and trials working Australian Shepherds, still paints, dabbles in photography, graphic design, and anything else creative her assorted muses send her way.

Kathi’s work is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and other on-line retailers in both paperback and e-book versions. Signed copies are available via her blog.

mequinnHow to connect:

Blog: http://myrandommuse.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KLSchwengelWrites

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kathils01/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KLSchwengel

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6871795.K_L_Schwengel

 

100 followers of this blog!!!

100 blog followers

Just a quick post to say: Yay I’ve reached 100 followers of my blog!!  It’s such a great feeling knowing that there are 100 different people out there wanting to read what I’ve put on this blog, offering me their comments and often advice in my sometimes turbulent life as an indie author.

Thank you to all of you who are following my blog, you don’t know how much it means to me to know that I have your interest in me, my blog and my writing. Having published my debut novel in August last year, it’s been amazing to have the support of my fellow bloggers, many if not most of whom are writers themselves and also on this journey.

And I mustn’t forget to say that I wouldn’t have a blog at all if my husband hadn’t suggested it, so BIG thanks to him too!!

I’m looking forward to an exciting 2014, when I’ll hopefully be publishing my next novel.  So thank you once again and watch this space!

Interview with David Lewis

David Lewis

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing an exciting new author David Lewis who has just published his debut novel Xakk Marks the Spot.  Here’s what he had to say about his writing process and the path to publication:

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

The dream originally struck between 2nd and 3rd grade.  I had read the entire “Goosebumps” series by R.L. Stine and knew right then I wanted to be an author.  Though the dream came and went over the years, as do many things growing up, it returned in full force around 3 years ago.  I began 2 other manuscripts and decided the stunk.  Finally, the right idea hit and I never looked back.  I’ll continue this in the next question.

 

How did you come up with the idea for Xakk Marks the Spot?

There I found myself hanging out with a friend of mine who happened to live in my garage at the time.  As we were there listening to music and simply relaxing with nothing better to do, a vision popped randomly into my head.  There on the deck of a pirate ship staring back at me were two teenage boys and a girl the same age; a younger boy in the center, on his right a clearly related boy closer to 20, and to the young boy’s left, a blonde girl whose looks could kill.  The ideas began to flow and one day at a time, things became solid enough to begin a book.

 

Did writing Xakk Marks the Spot require much research and if so what did that research involve?

Before I began writing the first book, I went to the library and read deeper into books on writing, and the process as a whole.  It wasn’t my first manuscript, but I was so ecstatic on the idea that I wanted to do everything write (lousy pun intended).  During the same three weeks or so, I plotted out what was originally a series of five books.

I would say more and more research truly came during the actual writing of the book.  The main goal of my new age world of piracy was to avoid becoming the same old 17th century cliché pirate tale with swashbucklers, nearly impossible to understand, go hunting for Black Bar’s cursed gold while on the run from Port Royal.  We’ve all been there and done that; Hollywood, too.  While classics such as Treasure Island, of my favourites, can never be replaced, I felt it was time to give the world something new.  Why not have their tale take place in the future and have them hunting for “lost” treasures of today?

Overall, more of my research went into geographical information, nautical language, and root words of foreign languages in titling elements of the story.  During the year and a half it took to get it to where it is today, I’d like to think I sat on most elements of the story to bring out originality and to avoid nasty plot holes.

 

What’s the biggest challenge you faced while writing it?

My biggest challenge was waking up every day and continuing to work.  Between over 100 rejections by literary agents, people who thought I was crazy and that it would never succeed, stress, and insomnia, the challenges were never ending to say the least.  Though that many agents rejected versions 1 and 2 of my work, version 3 (which is the published work) was only turned down by one agent.  Her response made it feel like she sat on it for 11 weeks, then opened to page one already set on finding something reasons to reject me.  She was very nice about it, but I’d wish she read more than 10 pages.

 

What have you found to be most helpful to your growth and development as a writer? 

Rewriting, editing, rewriting, editing—wash, rinse, repeat.  I look back to the original version of my book, and even at past manuscripts in the drawer, asking myself how in the world did I ever think this was good enough for anyone to spend time on?  It wasn’t.  My biggest growth came from practice, practice, practice.  Tiger Woods never stepped out onto the course for the first time without countless repetition on the driving range.  I had the ignorant opinion that my work would shine through from the very get go due to its originality.  That just wasn’t the case.  There are tons of great books being written by no name authors that will never reach the shelves.  I’d like to think some of the greatest works ever composed will never be read.

 

What has the experience of going through the self-publishing process been like for you? 

The process of publishing seems synonymous to the word migraine.  I found myself in constant mental anguish over every small detail, constantly second guessing my “executive decisions”.  Between final edits, formatting, and the difficult process that is having an artist bring your characters to life, I lost plenty of sleep.  However, being published, regardless of sales success or not, was a major dream of mine since a young age and now it has come true.  Seeing it up on the e-shelves (soon to be paperback) is an indescribable feeling.

 

Looking back over the whole process of writing and publishing Xakk Marks the Spot, is there anything you’d do differently?

I would’ve waited to query literary agents.  I rushed the editing process in a couple months, which felt like enough, only to be rejected again and again.  Even my first full rewrite was rejected again and again.  Also, I would’ve started my social network such as Twitter and Facebook much sooner.  Agents take authors who’ve established a platform much more seriously.  It shows you’re not another hack who read Twilight or Harry Potter with plans of writing something way better.

 

Have you got any tips for other aspiring writers?

Going off what I just said—my absolute number one piece of advice for authors beginning the journey is DON’T QUERY TOO EARLY.  Once you are turned down by your whole list of dream agents, you’re faced with tough decisions.  My next piece—never give up, EVER.  I wanted to quit and give up more times than I can count.  I convinced myself, however, that I’d regret giving up way more than finishing the job and failing.  Once you reach a certain point, failure isn’t an option, as if it ever was…

Thanks to David for being a great interviewee.  If you’d like to find out more about David, his blog can be found here and he can be contacted on Twitter via: @DMWLewis

You can buy Xakk Marks the Spot from Amazon.com or Amazon UK.