LoveBytes Monthly Author Post – Charlie’s Writing Space

lovebytesbanner400

Hello all! Later today, I’m over at Love Bytes Reviews for my monthly author post, and this month, I’ve decided to show you all where the mayhem writing happens. Stop by and check out my little corner of chaos.

http://lovebytesreviews.com/2015/01/24/charlies-corner-of-creative-chaos/

Fabulous Five Blog Hop

Fab 5 blog hopHello all! I’ve been tagged to answer these five fabulous questions on the Fabulous Five Blog Hop by the lovely Anne Barwellauthor of gay romance. Anne’s published with Dreamspinner Press with titles including Shadowboxing, A Knight to Remember, and the upcoming Winter’s Duet.

1. What am I working on?

Right now I’m working on Healing Hunter’s Heart, book two in the Little Bite of Love series–the first being An Intrepid Trip to Love. It’s been on the schedule for a long time but was temporarily put on hold while I worked on the first four THIRDS books. With those completed, I’m back on getting Hunter and Ari together again for their happily ever after.

I’m also working on some THIRDS series flash fiction and Against the Grain which is the fifth book in the THIRDS series from Ash and Cael’s POV. There’s also edits for Rack & Ruin, the third THIRDS book (due out in Nov) and Vixen’s Valor the third North Pole City Tales book (due out in Dec). A Rose By Any Other Name is out in less than three weeks! It’s been a pretty busy year.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I think every author has a unique voice, including me. I believe my readers know what to expect from my stories. There’s always a sweet romance with plenty of humor. I don’t think I could write something that didn’t have some humor in it. I love writing banter and comedy. Always happily ever afters, even if the guys have to stumble along the way to get there. I also tend to write stories with pretty large casts.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’ve been writing romance since I can remember, but I started writing m/m romance through the historical genre because I love the 20s and 30s, but it was tough finding stories with gay characters of the time that didn’t end in tragedy. I wanted the fellas to get their happily ever afters. I found Whistling in the Dark by Tamara Allen by accident on Amazon while browsing. It was one of my first m/m romances and it stayed with me long after, not to mention inspired me to write my own historical m/m romance. I write what I do so my characters get their happily ever after and maybe touch a few hearts a long the way.

I’ve broken out into other genres because I love writing whatever catches my fancy. I also write to entertain. To sweep folks away to another time or world for a little while. Make them smile, laugh, and maybe shed a few tears. We all need to get away for a while sometimes.

4. How does my writing process work?

I get my best writing done on a deadline. Yep, I’m one of those people. It took me a while to figure out my pace and what I wanted to accomplish. Starting this year, I’ve been writing full-time, so I have a schedule I put together of what I’m writing and when. This helps me keep true series books especially from being released too far apart, which is a mistake I’ve made in the past. When inspiration strikes, I start asking questions, start listening to characters who start speaking to me. I begin planning and plotting, developing characters before I move onto a rough outline of what’s meant to happen when. If I get stuck, I work on dialogue which helps me get unstuck.  I only work on one book at a time, unless I’m editing.  There’s usually a lot of coffee and *headdesk* moments involved.

5. Who’s next on the blog hop?

Some personal faves and awesome authors whose books I love: Lex ChasePiper Vaughn,  Kim FieldingMichael Rupured, and Sarah Madison

Heigh ho, Heigh ho, it’s off to write I go

Hello all! As you may have noticed, things are starting to get a little busy around here, and they’re about to get busier. This year, my writing career has officially kicked off. I’ve had to make some sacrifices, but certain circumstances have allowed me the opportunity to write full-time. It’s terrifying yet exciting. Like any job, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Unlike every other job I’ve had in the past, this is the first time I don’t wake up in the morning with a groan. (They don’t call it an evil day job for nothing!)

small_7829361646A lot of folks don’t understand this crazy life of mine, especially friends of the family. They think I lounge around all day in my pajamas, chilling, and doing little else. Although I may indeed lounge around in my yoga pants or pajamas, I’m doing a heck of a lot more than chilling. A part of this misconception has to do with the culture I grew up in. To a lot of these old-school folks, unless you’re doctor, nurse, lawyer, secretary, in pharmaceuticals, or just making a ton of cash, it’s not a real job. It can get frustrating, but I’ve learned not to pay attention to it.

When I decided I was going to take the plunge and do this full-time, I knew I’d be giving it my all. I work from 8 a.m. until midnight, making sure to take appropriate breaks, play with my puppy, make human contact, get exercise, and eat healthy and so on. I take the weekends off, though sometimes when I have a tight deadline I might have to work. See writing full-time, means writing all the time, and I’m not talking about writing books. Before I was published, I wrote, so I’ve been building a book list, plotting out stories, and starting manuscripts.

I now have a writing schedule and tentative release schedule for this year and the whole of next year. This year the releases start in July through Dec (except for Oct), next year they start in Jan through Dec, so there (hopefully) won’t be any big gaps between releases. I’ve learned a lot in the two years I’ve been published and I’m putting that knowledge to use. Like I said before, writing isn’t the half of it. So what’s my to-do list look like? Brace yourself.

  • Edits for Blood & Thunder (we’re on round 3, followed by Galley edits with a tentative release date of Aug 4th)
  • Edits for A Rose By Any Other Name (we’re on round 1, release in Sept)
  • Write blog posts for Hell & High Water release day party
  • Write 10 blog posts for Hell & High Water Blog tour
  • Edits start on Rack & Ruin end of June
  • Rise & Fall manuscript due July 1st
  • Set up he Blood & Thunder Blog Tour & Cover Reveal
  • Facebook chats in July & Aug
  • Twitter Takeover in July
  • Finish the THIRDS website
  • Sort out GRL swag
  • Writing deadlines Jul-Dec
  • Blogging

Aside all that, there’s the emails that come in, my social media accounts I need to manage, and maintain a presence on, several other guest posts and I’m sure there’s stuff I’m forgetting.

small_6574317555I know what some of you may be thinking–those who aren’t hyperventilating–I don’t have to do a good deal of what’s on that list, or I could release less books, but like I said, this is my career. When I worked in management, I worked my butt off, so why would I give any less to something I’m so deeply passionate about? I love writing fiction and love sharing those stories with readers.

Despite all the work that goes into it, I love what I do and I’m lucky to have the support I do–the ones who don’t think I should get a real job. I also have an amazing publisher that works things through with me. If anything gets to be too much, they’re there to help. I make sure to rest and take care of myself, though I have plenty of amazing folks who remind me to come up for air should I need it. So yes, it’s getting busy around here. I hope you’ll join me along for the ride!

rosedivider

photo credit: fiddleoak via photopin cc
photo credit: thomas.leuther via photopin cc

Valentine’s Day special treats!

1137562_book_of_love_1Hello everyone! Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, which means lots of lovey dovey goodness. What will I be offering during this time of chocolate hearts and candy kisses? Let’s see…

Trip and Boone won the poll for the exclusive Valentine’s Day flash fic available in February’s newsletter (will be sent out on the 14th especially for Valentine’s Day. Every month after that, newsletters will go out the 15th).

Jacky and Chance were runners up, so you’ll get to see how these two spend their Valentine’s day over at Guys Like Romance, Too! on Feb 12th!

Feb 14th – 16th is the Power of Love m/m romance blog hop. Stop by for some fun and a giveaway!

In His Corner and Writing Update

In His Corner CCochetHello all! As some of you may have noticed, In His Corner is currently unavailable. Its one year contract with Torquere Press came to an end a few days ago, as my story was part of their Charity Sip Blitz. So what’s going to happen to my little story now? Well, I hope to make it not so little, and get it re-published. Why? Because the original word limit was 8000, and as I was writing it, Jessie and Eli really grew on me–as my fellas have a habit of doing.

I’d done a good deal of research regarding 1920’s boxing, much of which I didn’t really get to use, and I kept thinking about how much more I could do with the story, how it could really benefit from being longer.

While I loved the short story, I only just managed to dip into Eli and Jessie’s personalities, not to mention their history. With Jessie especially, I felt there was a great deal more to him than what I was able to fit in with the original word count. I really want to go more in-depth with him and what he went through when he lost everything, how it wore him down, stripped him of his confidence, and then how everything changed when Eli came back into his life.

Once I wrap up some of the stories I’m working on, I hope to give Eli and Jessie the opportunity to tell their story without a word count limit. I’m thinking novella, but who knows, it may even become full length. For those who enjoyed the short story, don’t worry, none of it will be lost, it will just be incorporated into the new story but with a lot more added in.  Boxing during the 1920s was fascinating, with its legendary figures, celebrities attending matches, and the gangsters and bootleggars of the time trying to muscle in on the action. There was excitement a plenty, and I hope to capture a little bit of that.

On the writing front, Johnnie’s third edits are going back today, so *fingers crossed* next should be the galley. I’ve got some fun stuff to share with you regarding the book as soon as it hits Dreamspinne’s ‘Coming Soon’ page which I hope will be… er coming soon. I imagine Jack’s book will be in soon for first edits as well. I don’t have a release date for Johnnie’s book as of yet, but I’ll be sure to let you all know when I do. I’ll also be posting more about the story soon, so stay tuned!

Hello: Take Two!

weeklynewsupdateHello folks. It’s been a while since I posted something new, but this month has been somewhat disastrous for writing what with family obligations among a host of other family shenanigans. Life is bound to happen.

It’s been so crazy, I forgot my own birthday. Well, nearly. I happened to look at the calendar today and realized it’s tomorrow. I’ve also got family visiting from out of town, and next week there’s a bunch of house stuff that needs sorting. Hopefully I can get everything back on track for the new month, and maybe even get a couple of posts out before then. There are some awesome guests coming up at the Purple Rose Tea House, along with some great giveaways.

As for what I’m working on (or been attempting to work on) Hunter’s book and a historical have both been fighting for center stage pretty much nonstop, which has made things a little tough as well. It’s hard to concentrate on one story when your brain wanders off and starts thinking of another story, especially when they’re such completely different genres. I have managed to get some reading in. I want to hone my craft and make it the best it can be, so I’ve been reading up on some recommended writing books. Most of them I found on Kristen Lamb’s Blog. If you’re an author, and you haven’t checked out her blog, don’t miss out!

Yes, there are LOADS of books on writing out there, and a lot will rehash the same “rules” or principles, tell you things you already know, but there are certain books which I have found to be very helpful, not just because of the content, but because of how it’s presented. I admit, I prefer textbooks where the author “chats” to me rather than presenting paragraphs and paragraphs of clinical sounding information.

As an author, it’s my job to know my strengths and weaknesses where my writing is concerned. It’s pretty safe to say  that my strength lies in my characters. I LOVE creating characters and giving them life. My weakness, plot and structure, so I want to strengthen that. Here are the books that I’ve read/am reading:

Bob Mayer – THE NOVEL WRITER’S TOOLKIT: From Idea to Best-Seller (Writing)

James Bell ScottPlot & Structure: (Techniques And Exercises For Crafting A Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish) (Write Great Fiction)

Jessica page MorrellBullies, Bastards And Bitches: How To Write The Bad Guys Of Fiction (This one’s more for bad guys. I want to improve my antagonists)

I finished Bob Mayer’s book and took lots of notes, and I’m halfway through James Bell Scott’s book, highlighting and taking notes. Most of the information isn’t new, but it’s done in a way where I can pinpoint those weak spots and try to make them better. So far, I’m enjoying these books.

On the publishing front, I reckon edits on Johnnie’s book will be coming through anytime now, and then at some point, production will start on Jack’s. I’ve also got to start thinking of what I’m going to do for The Impetuous Afflictions of Jonathan Wolfe and The Heart of Frost once they’re published. I want to come up with some creative promo, though with Jack it will be much easier since it’s a Winter/Christmas story. Busy times ahead!

x Charlie

Writing M/M Romance and Getting Started

Hello all! When I first started writing M/M Romance, I did a lot of research. Not just for the stories I was writing, but on being a writer in the genre. I wanted to start off on the right foot. I’m one of those people who likes going into something with as much information as possible. If I’m travelling, I have print-outs, maps, GPS, the whole nine yards. I know, it doesn’t sound very spontaneous or adventurous, but I beg to differ. I’m all for setting off on an adventure, I just like to be prepared.  Heck, you should see my bag. I carry everything from a portable first-aid kit to a spare, fully-charged phone battery.

JL1I researched everything from marketing, to the genre itself. I make it no secret that I was inspired to write my own historicals after reading Tamara Allen’s beautifully written stories. When I read Whistling in the Dark, it stayed with me for days. The story, the characters, the feelings, stayed with me. I read A LOT of M/M Romance. I read The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks by Josh Lanyon (my first Lanyon book), and loved it. I read more of Josh’s work. I saw he had published a book called Man, Oh Man! Writing M/M Fiction for Kinks & Cash and I rushed out to buy it because I’d heard it offered some great advice for newbies like me on writing M/M Romance. I wasn’t interested in the cash bit–although making a living from my writing is a goal I’m striving for, it wasn’t my reason for getting into M/M romance.

Any author who goes into writing M/M fiction solely for the money is in for a surprise. I’m not saying it can’t be done, because there are plenty of authors who do it and do it well, I’m just saying authors who are only in it for the money, who lack the passion for what they do, won’t be fooling anyone. Your love for what you do comes through in your work, and if it’s not there, then it will reflect in the writing. That’s just my two cents. Anyway, so I wanted to read what Josh had to say, and the book turned out to be such a great help, and a fab source of info on everything from insight on the genre to publishers.

JL2Over a year later, I’m a published M/M Romance author with 11 stories under my belt (a mixture of novellas, short stories, and free reads) with my first full length novel coming out this year, and waiting to hear back from two publishers on two other stories. I have a few reader nominations for my books, a Best Author award from Speak Its Name, and a growing readership. I’ve had the best year ever! Then, I received a message from Josh Lanyon, asking if I would like to contribute in the Historical Round Table discussion in the updated Man, Oh Man! Writing Quality M/M Fiction. Arms flailed. Flailed madly around the room.

Not only did I feel honored, but I was going to be part of a discussion that included Alex Beecroft, Tamara Allen, Ava March, Aleksandr Voinov, and Charlie Cochrane. Me. In the same vicinity as some of the historical authors whose books I’d gobbled up before nervously submitting my first story. The flailing continued.  Obviously, I bought the new book, because how could I miss a discussion on historical M/M Fiction from these authors? Then I see my name in the book. I blink then peer at it, still amazed it’s there.  Yep, that’s my name all right. Not a typo. I managed to give useful info rather than paragraphs of ermahgerd typed over and over like a geeked out version of The Shining.

Before I became published, I read the first version, and now that I’m published I’m reading the second, because it contains 373 pages of awesomeness on everything from marketing to pacing, theme, dialogue, and author etiquette. It has loads of input from authors from all different genres, from reviewers, and publishers. If you’re considering writing M/M fiction, I can’t recommend this book enough. The M/M genre has changed pretty dramatically since the first version came out, so it’s certainly worth the read. A big thank you to Josh for allowing me to be a part of it.

You can get your copy on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Man-Writing-Quality-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00DSTMFTE/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1373998953&sr=1-8&keywords=josh+lanyon

x Charlie

Tuesday Talks: Relationship Drama-Rama

TuesdayTalksCCochet180Hello all! Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Talks. Today I’m rambling on about something that comes up quite often in reviews: Conflict. In every book, the characters face conflict, whether internal or external, sometimes one or the other, at times both. When it comes to writing romance, one conflict which is usually a given is the relationship between the main characters. Will they get together? Won’t they? If they’re an established couple, does something come between them?

Then among the characters relationship there’s external conflict as well. Someone’s trying to kill them, people are out to separate them, aliens have landed and the fate of the human race is down to Carl and his sexy lover. I’ve been told, the more conflict the better, but sometimes, the main conflict in the romance is simply the relationship and the struggles the protagonists have to face to attain their happily ever after.

I’ve read plenty of romances where the main focus is the relationship. Heck, I’ve got a few myself. One thing I’m seeing is reviews where folks are saying something akin to: there was no conflict, or the story was boring, nothing happened, it was just about the characters and their relationship. Obviously it also comes down to the reader.

If the characters are well written and I enjoy them, I’ll be drawn into their world and care about what happens to them and their relationship. There doesn’t need to be a whole lot of external conflict or three separate plots going on. I’m happy to read about their relationship and how they get together. Some folks believe as it’s romance, the main focus should be the romantic relationship, while others believe there needs to be more to keep the story interesting.

What do you think? How much conflict do you believe a romance novel should have? Should it always include action? External conflict? Angst?  

Monday Media: Techno Trauma Part 4 – Pixlr.com

MondayMediaCCochet180Welcome to another Media Monday and Techno Trauma edition. I currently run two websites, this one–which is my personal author site, and The Purple Rose Tea House–which is for promoting m/m romance authors. Both have different themes and color schemes. For my sites, I try to create all my own graphics, not just so they match my sites’ themes, but for copyright issues. To make my graphics, I use Photoshop. But what if you don’t have Photoshop? It’s a crazy expensive program. I have an older version that I’m perfectly happy with and have no intention of offering my first born for a new version anytime soon. It does what I need it to do.

Well, fear not. You don’t need Photoshop to create your own web graphics because there are plenty of free programs out there you can use that will get the job done. The first thing I have to insist is that you play around with your program–whatever it may be, and get to know it a little before you start creating and putting graphics all over your website. If you’re an author, your website/blog is your online home. It represents you. It’s what readers, agents, reviewers, fellow authors, and everyone sees when they look you up. Dress to impress they say. Your website says more about you than you know. It’s not about paying ridiculous amounts of money for a site, especially if you’re just starting out. It’s about putting in the effort to put your best foot forward. Your website can be clean and simple, but it should look professional.

pxlrIf you’re putting a site together and don’t know how to go about it, just ask. There are always folks happy to help. I’m always happy to offer a hand where I can. I didn’t pay for my website, nor did I take any courses. I learned how to put it together the best way I could from the ground up. What I didn’t know, I Googled. This site was a white blank slate when I started, with the coding there as a start off point because lord knows I hate coding. Anyway, onto the graphics. The interwebs is full of tutorials for how to make this or that graphic for the multitude of programs out there. One of the those awesome programs is Pixlr.

Pixlr is laid out nearly the same as Photoshop with almost all the exact tools. It’s easy to use once you get the hang of it and the best part? It’s free! The editor opens up right online and you’re ready to go. I’ve put together a super easy tiny tutorial for creating a badge on Pixlr, using the Advanced editor. (Just click on the images for full screen view).

Step 1: Go to www.pixlr.com and choose Open Pixlr editor (Advanced) option.

main screen

Step 2: Click on Create a new image.

Main page

Step 3: Give your new file a name and choose your size. The Presets drop down box is pretty awesome, because it has some industry banner sizes already set up for you. I’m choosing 180 x 150 for a button badge. If you don’t want any of those sizes, just choose a random one and you’ll see the height and width boxes under it. Just change it to whatever size you prefer. Under it will also be a little box with the word Transparent next to it. That’s especially handy if you want a transparent background for making a .png file.

NewDoc

Step 4: So there you see our 180×150 box with transparent background. Now I’m choosing my background color. Let’s say it’s for the tea house. You see the set of numbers and letters next to the red check mark? That’s the color code. When I’m designing a theme for a site, I make sure I jot down the codes for all the colors I use. This will allow me to have consistency with all my graphics because I’ll stick to those exact colors. So I’ve chosen my color. Now I click OK. Then I go to my little bucket tool over there on the left and click on that. I hover my bucket over my blank background and click. Voila, your background is filled in. *** Very important. Make sure to save your file. Since you’ll be working with layers, save as a PXD. Go to File > Save > PXD (Layered Pixlr image).

choose base color

Step 5: As you can see, my background has been filled in. Now I want to give it a little border. I love borders. It neatens things up. With my trusty color codes at hand, I go over to the right hand side. The box in the middle is your Layers box. At the moment, we only have the one layer which is out background. The great thing about working with layers is that whatever you do to one, won’t affect the others. I use a lot of layers when I work on something. Now on the layers box at the bottom there’s a bunch of little symbols, the third one in is the Layer Styles (properties) button. This lets you add a drop shadow, bevel, or glow to your layer. Now Photoshop has a Stroke option for creating borders, Pixlr doesn’t, but if you select Inner Glow, set the hardness and opacity all the way up, you get solid lines. Boom, instant border! When you click on Color, the color chooser will pop up. Click OK and as you can see, my button now has a nice border.

border

Step 6: Let’s add some text. Let’s say this badge is for my post headings for when I have a guest post from a fellow author. In my tools, I select the button with the A which is my text button. Click anywhere inside your graphic and the Text box will pop up. Type whatever you fancy in the box. Choose your font, the size you need, the style, and the color. Again, this is where your color codes come in handy. I used the same purple as my border. Click OK. Don’t worry if it’s not lined up, we’ll be moving it next.

add text

Step 7: In your toolbar, the black arrow with the little cross is your Move tool. When you click on that, whatever layer you’re working on, you can move things around. Now if you click on that, you can move your text. If you want to be precise, click on your arrow tool and then use your keyboard arrows to nudge the text in whatever direction you need to get it aligned.

straighten

Step 8: Next, let’s say you want to add some kind of image related to your badge. I went to Stock.xchng and found me this nice little open book. I saved it to my PC and now I want to open it. So I go to File > Open image… I find my open book which I saved and open.

open image

Step 9: There’s my book image. Now I want to select my book. Here’s where we separate the boys from the men. You can either use the wand to select the background (not the book) and then invert the selection (which is what we’re going to do) or you can use the Lasso tool to select just the book. The Lasso tool means you’re handdrawing the selection. Yes, it’s more difficult, but also more accurate. Now what I’ve done is select the wand, clicked on a white section of the book’s background and then use the Lasso tool to fine tune my selection. Pressing down Alt (PC) while using the Lasso will take away from my selection, while pressing Shift and using my lasso tool will add to my selection. Okay, so I selected the background of the book. What’s next? Go to Edit > Invert Selection. Now my book is selected instead of my background. Copy and paste that that sucker onto your badge.

selection

Step 10: Okay, that bad boy is huge! Let’s fix that. Click Edit > Free transform. A little box with dots will appear around your image. What you need to do is hold down the Shift key while you drag the upper left corner dot inward. What that will do is make certain your ratio stays the same, so the image will get smaller on all sides, not just your height or width, giving you a wonky image.

free transform hold down shift

Step 11:  Here’s a closer look at the Layers box. As you can see, there they all are. I’ve got each layer, there’s the Layer Styles (properties) button where I added my border to my background, there’s the Add Layer button and the Delete Layer button. You can click on any layer and then click the Layer styles and add a drop shadow or glow.

layers

Step 12: Okay, so let’s say you got your badge how you want it. I shifted the text a little further down, my book is centered. I want to play with some filters but at the moment, my background, book, and text are all on different layers. If I were to try and add a filter now, it would only add it to the layer currently selected. Because I won’t be coming back to this image, I’m going to flatten all my layers so it’s just one layer. I go to Edit > Flatten Layer. *** Let’s say you want your background to be transparent and you didn’t add any color or border to your image. To keep the transparency, instead of clicking on Flatten Image, you click on Merge Visible just above it instead. If not, your transparent background will become a solid color, usually white.

flatten image

Step 13: Soon as that’s done, my image is now one flat image. Now I can play with Filters! If you click on Filter at the top there, you’ll see all kinds of fun options. Each one will bring up it’s own dialogue box where you can make adjustments. I chose Vignette, picked another one of my color codes and played with the size, giving my image a little glow around the edges. If you don’t like the filter you just applied, click Edit > Undo, or Cntrl + Z (PC). Make sure to save your file. Go to File >Save> Choose either PNG (If you have a transparent background) or JPG format and that’s it. You’re all ready to go!

play with filters

Well, I hope this little tutorial was helpful. Pixlr is an awesome image editor. When creating graphics for your site, be aware of the edges around your images. Too many white pixels around a pasted image will make it stand out as a pasted image and looks unprofessional. There are plenty of ways around it. By lowering opacity on drop shadows you get a softer, more natural looking shadow.

If anyone has any questions on creating graphics, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help, maybe even do another tutorial. If anyone wants to know how I did something specific on any of my sites, feel free to ask that as well. Happy imaging!

Tuesday Talks: Motivation Cultivation

TuesdayTalksCCochet180Hello all! Welcome to another Tuesday Talks. Today I’m yammering on about motivation. I consider myself to be very lucky. I have the opportunity to do what I love. I’ve sacrificed a good deal in order to do that, but I still consider myself very lucky. It should come as no surprise when I say being an author isn’t easy, and although I knew that when I started this venture, I really had no idea.

Being an author is more than just writing, it’s being part of something bigger. There’s a lot more to do than finish that manuscript. The whole process is rather crazy when you think about it. I sit down with an idea, work and work until that idea blossoms and characters become real, a story emerges, type, type, type until it’s ready–though to you it never feels ready enough. After the initial readying of your manuscript, with the bouts of “oh-my-god what if they don’t like it”, comes the putting on your big girl/boy pants, preparing your synopsis after the initial groaning and moaning and “how am I supposed to condense 100k into 5 pages?!!”, you survive that, sort out your blurb, general description, feel your heart beating against your chest as you compose your email to the publisher, remember to attach everything–very important, and hit send. Then you wait, wait, wait, oh my god you wait.

ccworkIn the meantime you work on something else. You blog, and tweet, and post to Facebook. you play Candy Crush Saga, and you say “please” every time a new email enters your inbox, and you wait some more. You try not to let it get to you that everyone seems to write so much quicker than you, that new contracts are popping up every day like daisies, that everyone seems to be celebrating, and you wait. You mope and play more Candy Crush and then one day, out of the blue, you open your email, and there it is. New contract. And you squee so loud they can hear you in Jersey. Then a few months later, you start your edits, and in between you blog, and you tweet, and you Facebook, and as the day gets closer you start to freak out because “what if they hate it?!” and then you have to figure out what you’re going to do for your launch, and you have to write how many blog posts? Galleys, and cover specs, and then your baby is unleashed upon the world.

You feel proud and happy and a little queasy, and you do your promos, and you start getting the reviews in, and some make your heart soar and some tear you apart, some are beautiful and some are just plain mean, and you keep going and going until the time comes when you start the whole process over again. There’s gallons and gallons of coffee involved, sleepless nights, stress, and headdesk moments. You have a dozen social media platforms to keep track of, a community to be a part of, a family who’s trying to drag you away from your PC, and you grab your keyboard because Ha! it’s wireless, and take it with you as they wheel you away–I knew I should have gotten a chair without wheels! What’s the signal range on this thing? And you have days where you wonder what the hell you’re doing with your life and why? And then you pull yourself together and get your keister back behind that desk.

yepSo no, being an author isn’t easy, but I love it, and I’ll toil and work, and not sleep, and fret, and do it all over again because I love what I do, and I love all my readers, and I love all my author friends, and I love my publishers, and I love my reviewers, and it’s one big love-fest. It’s not easy, but you pick yourself up and you try, one day at a time, and you do your best, and you KEEP GOING because you’re important and what you do is important, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! There’s ups and downs, but it’s worth it. It’s hard work, but you keep going. You find ways to keep yourself going, because the world needs stories, and people to read those stories, and someone’s gotta do it, so what are you waiting for?

How do you keep yourself motivated?

***