Saturday, April 30, 2011

Through Hard Work All Things Are Possible

Eventually, all of my sleep deprivation and hard work will be worth it.

After enduring an eye-opening week where I tweaked the formatting of The Warriors of the Cross, I will reiterate the message every self-published author spouts constantly, 'Self-publishing is not the easy way out.' 

I can say this because I am working harder now than I have ever worked in my life (this coming from a former ICU nurse) in my efforts geared toward working, writing, publishing, and taking care of my family.  In order to keep all the balls in the air, I have to keep focusing on one aspect at a time.  My days are devoted toward my day job and its commute.  My nights are spent blogging, socially connecting, writing, marketing, publishing, and advertising.  In between all of that and as a wife and mother, I make sure my family's needs are a priority, and my kids grow up in a safe, happy, and functional home.  Of course, without my husband - my wonderful husband - I would never be able to do any of this, and my children would not be nearly as well tended.

Don't get me wrong, every precious hour is worth it, and I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it.  In some ways, it is similar to preparing for a marathon.  I have to do more, give more, and endure more in order to reach my goal of being a successful author.

During all the hours of preparation, I've learned more than I ever thought possible about the publishing industry.  While common to publishers, the intimidating terminology could be misconstrued as a foreign language to the lay person.  Regardless of the complexities, it is critical that every self-published author educates themselves on gadgets, widgets, carousels (not the kind at the fair), blogs, social networking, followers, associates, tags, clouds, HTML vs. PDF vs. Word, hyperlinks, and graphics.

With two years of writing and six months of hard work behind me, I'm almost certain I could teach a course on self-publishing.  At least then, I could educate people on all the aspects that I've been forced to learn through trial and error. 

On that note, I'm signing off and thanking everyone who is buying The Warriors of the Cross.

P. S. Below, you will see my new glyph (compliments of  Free Software Foundation) which has been added to Warriors of the Cross as chapter separators.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Virtual Friends Are The Best of The Best

While no one will replace the love, loyalty, and trust I have with my family and day-to-day friends, I've been amazed at the generosity I've been shown by my new virtual friends.  I consider my virtual friends people who I've only met through emails, blogs, reviews, Facebook, and brief comments.

I've mentioned Claudia with Phatpuppy Art -!/phatpuppyart - several times before, but her kindness warrants another round - virtually - of applause.  I go to many sites to see her work because each collection is unique.  While I'm there, I've noticed the respect and gratitude she shows those who admire her work (as well they should).  Because of this and the expedient way she has created two phenomenal book covers for me (with a third one pending), I have to say she is wonderful. 

Below is her book cover promotion.  I'm going to encourage everyone visiting my page to take time to purchase and read the books being promoted here.  My personal goal is to finish each before the end of the summer (if they get published before then).

Now, I want to tell you about another wonderful person who contacted me after she saw Warriors of the Cross on GoodReads...Jayde Scott.  I can start by saying her pen name is as beautiful as she is on both the inside and the outside.  Jayde wrote a book enjoyed by both me and my six year old son, Alex Gonzo, Royal Spy.  It reminds me of a very funny Spy Kids, and I look forward to writing a great review for her on several sites within the next few days.  In addition to this book, Jayde is writing the Ancient Legend Trilogy.  I can hardly wait to read Book One, A Job from Hell.  I'll include her book trailer at the end of my blog for every one's review. 

Jayde was kind enough to take time from her very busy schedule and read and review Warriors of the Cross.  I know these tasks aren't always easy when books are in their infancy stages.  For the use of her precious time and her positive feedback, I will be eternally grateful and a lifelong virtual friend (especially since she's from London).   

Visit her website - - and read her books.

Jayde's Warriors of the Cross Review:

     I thought Warrior of the Cross was a fantastic read with a great story and a believable voice.  Allison wasn't the usual whiney character we often meet in YA and paranormal literature nowadays. She had fears like everyone else, but she also had a strength in her that allowed her to be there for her dying brother and her emotionally suffering sister going through the motions of a divorce. I liked Allison's empathy for others, but also the fact that she wasn't oblivious to danger.  This made her seem real and clever to me.

    The twist involving Allison's true heritage was interesting. There were plenty of clues throughout  the story, but I didn't see it's magnitude until the very end.

    All in all, a great read.

It is always exciting to find people whose gifts include the ability to encourage others who are pursuing their goals.  Too often, people believe they must tear someone down in order to build themselves up.  If everyone were as wonderful as these two friends, the world would be a great place to live.  Thank you both.

A Job from Hell's Book Trailer:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Where There's A Will There's An Audio Book

I'm so busy that reading an entire book for no reason other than relaxation and peace seems like a foreign concept.  With an ITunes audio book and a 2-3 hour daily commute, I successfully made it through City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (one of my favorite authors) despite my hectic schedule.  After finishing it, I can say that I would recommend it to anyone.

Interestingly (or not), I like speeding up the rate books get read in order to finish the story quicker.  Since this was my first audio book with a man reader (at least part of it was), and he had an accent, it took some time for me settle into a steady rhythm and embrace the beautifully told story. 

As with the first three books of the series, I love every demon-fighting character.  I enjoy the vivid way Cassandra Clare portrays that which is evil, vile, and contempt.  She has a wonderful ability to bond you with her characters in such a way you have a vested interest in their outcome.  I'm not going to give anything away, but...the ending is enough to drive you insane!! 

Now, take some time for yourself and read - or listen - to City of Fallen Angels.  You will not be disappointed.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Revised Edition

It is always great to see The Warrior Series' story and its characters through other people’s eyes.  I love to hear the aspects of the book that worked for them, the emotions they felt while reading the story, and the reader's opinions of the characters and their actions. 

This is interesting to me for several reasons:
  1. If I know what works, I'm less likely to change anything about that part of the book during the inevitable revisions.
  2. If someone has a strong feeling, I've accomplished my goal as a writer.  
    • I've had people call me frantic, telling me they can't believe I did something with a character or the storyline within the book.  When this happens, I make a mental note to myself.  If they have read anything that stuck with them so strongly that it prompted them to call me and talk to me about it...I'm not apt to change that particular part.  
    • I've had numerous people tell me that something about the book's intensity made them cry.  I thought this was interesting since it is not too terribly sad.  I have tried to prompt those same people to tell me more about what within the book moved them to that emotion.  Unfortunately, it seems the reasons are too personal.  In the end, I decided there is just something about Warriors of the Cross that reminds them of someone they love/loved or maybe a special time and place in their life.
    • The latest 'complaint' is that the book is too scary.  The person who told me this knows I love her like a sister, so I don’t think she’ll mind me sharing her comments.  According to her, “I was so anxious I skipped whole sentences at the end and couldn't sleep through the night after finishing it.”  Of course, I had a great laugh after she scolded me for not telling her just how paranormal the story was.
The good news it that I’m almost finished making some minor updates to the story.  As with every other change I have made to Warriors of the Cross, I’m confident the book will be better than it was before I began my revisions. 

Thanks to all who have been patiently awaiting the newest version. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mining For Gold

Sometimes, I consider self-publishing a little like trying out for American Idol.  Most of the people trying out (self-publishing) are giving it their all...praying they are the next American Idol (Amanda Hocking). 

Early in the audition process on American Idol, I've noticed some of my favorite singers crack under the pressure and go home.  After spending the last month under the microscope where every word from Warriors of the Cross has been scrutinized and publicly critiqued, I understand how that can happen.  I refuse for that to be my fate.  Writing is not something I could abandon with ease. 

In order to prevent the burn-out, I'm working hard to keep everything in perspective.  I remind myself frequently that what I write or how I write it is not a matter of life and death.  The words are just black and white letters on a paper (computer) that can be changed or deleted with a few clicks of a button.  The nurse in me reminds myself that there are people in the hospital who would give anything to have their worst problem be a little negative feedback.  When I think of them, I suck in my gut, square my shoulders, and thank God for my blessings.

When it comes to having my book read by beta readers/reviewers, I've noticed people are either Paula Abdul-types or Simon Cowell-types.  By this I mean, they either give you glowingly positive feedback, or they give you brutally open and honest criticism. 

Here's what I know.  Both forms of responses are as important and valuable as the other.   It is up to the receiver to weed through the information and glean from it anything that will make their singing/writing better.  Equally important is the act of literally and figuratively discarding anything that will tear your emotions down or have a negative impact on your art in the future. 

Right now, I'm sifting through the feedback, as if I were mining for gold.  By this, I mean that I am analyzing the suggestions and keeping the precious feedback while letting the unnecessary or impertinent sludge be vacuumed from my thoughts.

I want to thank those who have given me positive feedback.  I also want to thank those who have given me 'recommendations' for improvement.  In the end, I'm confident The Warrior Series will be as good as possible because of everyone interested enough to respond either way.