Using Tarot to Understand Your Characters and Their Actions.

A while back I wrote a post about using the Myers-Briggs Personality test to define your characters and give them depth. It was a popular post, so I thought I’d come up with another way to understand characters, and see into their future.

Using Tarot cards is a unique way to find out what your characters are going through, and perhaps help you decide what they should do next. Since you’re reading Tarot for characters and not real people, you don’t have to be an expert on Tarot to do it. And unless you’re interested in learning to read Tarot, you don’t even have to buy a deck of cards. You can use online Tarot decks and draw cards from there.

A bit of background: I have been reading Tarot cards for nearly twelve years. My mom bought me my first deck for Christmas and said, “Your great-grandmother used to read tea leaves in Ireland. Maybe you’ll be good at this.”

I don’t know if I’m good at it, but I’m definitely passionate about Tarot. I’ve spent years studying tarot, reading tarot for myself and others, and acquiring new decks. My first deck was the Marseilles deck, which is one of the oldest decks in use today.artisanal-igorbarzilai

 

My next deck was the Rider Waite deck. Probably the most widely used deck, this is a good one to start with if you’re a beginner.

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The deck I use now is the Legacy deck, which is more modern and has stunning artwork. There are numerous decks to choose from, and if you choose to embrace Tarot, you’ll understand the feeling when you connect with a deck. Legacy is my deck.

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If you don’t want to purchase a deck to read for your characters, here’s a good link for an online Tarot card spread http://serennu.com/tarot/horseshoe.php

That link offers a seven card horseshoe spread.

(*Note: This example is a simplified reading for a fictional person. Reading Tarot for real people is much more in-depth, and personal. Spreads are often more complex, and the reader is very careful with how they deliver the message of the reading to the querant.)

I drew cards for my character Mara, the main character in The Dia Chronicles series. In book two, The Embers of Light, Mara was left with a broken heart, some hard decisions, and her enemy still on the loose. I thought of her as I shuffled the cards, and the ones that came up were very interesting. For the purpose of this example I chose a five card horseshoe spread, with a card in the center known as a significator, to represent Mara. I will only give brief descriptions of each card, but if you read for your character, take the time to understand what each card is telling you.

 

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Summary of the Reading.

The cards reflect Mara’s broken heart and her sense of loss. They suggest that perhaps she’s made a wrong choice, which has contributed her to sadness. Her obstacle is clearly a person, a young man, with a selfish, childish demeanor. Her strength is another young knight, a man with a balanced view of the world and a generous heart. She must find this person to help her through this tough time. He might even have the answers she needs. The final card reveals the outcome, which seems different than what Mara has planned. Her life will be shaken up, and she’ll have to accept fate in order to succeed. (See the individual cards below).

This reading is helpful to me because there is a potential ending in book three I’ve been thinking about for some time, but was unsure if it’s the best choice. I can see from the cards that I should go with my gut and use the planned alternate ending, because it will create balance for my characters.

The Reading Card by Card.

Significator – represents the subject of the reading, Mara: Queen of Swords. The queen of swords is an independent woman. She is perceptive, assertive, independent, and a natural leader. At her worst she can be vengeful, short tempered, and deceitful when she thinks it will benefit her cause.

Card #1 – Where the character is now. Five of Cups Reversed – Separation from a partner. Loss. Inner Turmoil. Regret.

Card #2 – The character’s next step. Seven of Cups Reversed – Wrong choices. Overestimating yourself. Seduction.

Card #3 – Obstacles. Knight of Swords Reversed – Often represents a person who is reckless, unrealistic, impulsive, and foolish. This person acts first and thinks second. (Sound like Malcolm, perhaps?)

Card #4 – Strengths and Resources. Knight of Cups Upright – An honorable, possibly attractive man. He is considerate and thoughtful in his actions, but not afraid to jump into the fray. He prefers peace to violence, but as a knight he will defend those he loves. (Definitely sounds like Corbin).

Card #5 – Outcome. Judgement. A Major Arcana card, also known as a destiny card. This card represents a major change of life, a new phase, a new cycle. Face the things you fear, make the hard decisions. This character will have to accept fate, even if it’s not what she planned, in order to have a positive outcome.

What do you think, would Tarot help you with your characters? If you choose to do a reading for them, I’d love to hear how it turns out. Find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thediachronicles

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy My Books

Seven Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy My Books

Now that I’ve been a published author for one full year, and I’ve spent these last twelve months marketing, blogging, and tweeting about why you should buy my books, I think it’s time to get real with you. I want to save you all the trouble. It’s time to tell you why you shouldn’t buy my books.

7 – I’m an indie author

Yes, it’s true—I’m an independent author. I don’t have an agent, I don’t have a publisher, and I pay for the production of my books up front. By now we’ve all seen, and maybe even read, at least one train wreck of a self-published book. It might have soured your opinion of indie books altogether, and I don’t blame you. But I can promise you that professional editors, cover designers, and formatters have worked on my books. While no books, not even traditionally published books, are entirely free of errors, I have taken every step possible to provide the best quality product for my readers.

But . . . if you think indie authors are just traditional publishing rejects, and have no talent to make it in the business, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS.

6 – I’m not famous

Only my dad and my friend’s six-year-old son think I’m famous. To everyone else I’m just another author trying to sell my wares. I’ve never made the NYT Bestsellers list, I’ve never been asked to speak at a writer’s convention, and I’m guessing the cease and desist letter I got from HBO means they’re not interested in adapting my novels. Okay, that last point wasn’t true, but you get my what I’m saying.

I might not have a long list of dedicated readers waiting in line at Barnes and Noble for my latest release, but one year into being a published author I do have a growing fan base. I’ve even received quite a few emails from readers all over the world, writing just to tell me how much they liked one of my books. So while I may not be famous in the conventional sense of the word, sometimes my readers make me feel famous.

If my “nobody” status bothers you, and you’d rather read a book from a well-known author with rave reviews, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS.

5 – I’m a shameless rule breaker. I break 6 of Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. Somebody should stop me right now!

I must confess, I’ve always been one to bend the rules, but when it comes to my writing, I happily take those rules and break them whenever I damn well please. It’s not that I don’t know what the rules are. I know them very well. But if I want to use an adverb, a variety of dialog tags, or describe a setting, then I’m going to do it! I’m mindful of how and when I use them, but I can assure you, you’ll find broken rules scattered throughout my books. It’s like a rule graveyard in there.

So if you’re a stern believer in the rules of writing, please, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS.

4 – They’re not free

With the digital publishing age, millions of books are at our fingertips, and many of these digital books are free. Why would anyone want to pay money for my books when they can get a similar book for free?

You see, the trouble is that I don’t want to give my books away. Yes, I love writing. Yes, I would continue to write books even if no one wanted to read them. And yes, occasionally I will offer a title free for a day or two. But if I’m going to have fancy covers, editors, and formatters, I have to justify the cost of production with at least a marginal return on my investment. The good news is that, so far, I’ve earned more money than I put out to produce my books, which tells me I must be doing something right.

But if you’re offended that I’m asking you to pay to read my work, or if you’re irritated that any of my books cost more than 99 cents, DO. NOT. BUY. MY BOOKS. Like, ever.

3 – I like cliffhangers.

I love them! And while I don’t always employ the hard-hitting, mid-scene-cutting cliffhanger, I like to leave the door open for the next book. In some of my books I wrap up the main story and leave a teaser for the next, in others I leave some unfinished business. It’s just the way I write and if you’re going to read my books, be prepared for a cliff here and there.

The good news is that if you’re not too enraged by my cliffhanger, you can always go on to read the next book in the series. I promise the answers you seek will be right there.

But if you can’t stand a cliffhanger, and you would prefer a series to be a two-thousand-page book, then I warn you, DO NOT BUY MY BOOKS.

2 – Some people don’t like them.

If you’re still reading this post, then you’re either a glutton for punishment, or I haven’t done a good enough job of convincing you not to buy my books. This should do it: there are people who HATE my books. It’s true. My books have gotten one and two star reviews; endings have been called trite, characters unconvincing, and it has been stated that certain plots make no sense at all. Some people hated my books so much they couldn’t even get through them. To some people, my books are just that awful.

I guess I should quit torturing the world with my vapid prose and one-dimensional characters, but like any visionary mind, I’m driven by my passion and positive feedback. For every negative review my books receive, there are double, and even triple the positive reviews. For example, The Darkness of Light has a 4.7 average star rating on Amazon, and a 56% 5 star rating on Goodreads. And despite the horror show that some claim this book to be, people still keep buying it. Weird. I wonder when the world will catch on to my failures and stop encouraging me. 😉

So be forewarned, if you don’t want a book that some people don’t like, DON’T BUY ANY OF MY BOOKS.

Are you still with me? If so, this should be the nail in the coffin for you . . .

1 – I didn’t write these books for you. I wrote them for me.

I’ve tried to write them for you. I really have. But it’s never worked out. Initially, my debut novel, The Darkness of Light, was merely the result of a crazed mission to claw my way out of writer’s block. As I wrote chapter after chapter, publication was never on my mind. I was just happy to be writing again and completely in love with the story. It wasn’t until after I’d finished writing it that I started to consider publication.

The same is true with all my other books, even if the genre is a popular one. I started writing The Embers of Light with reader expectations in mind, but when I kept hitting brick walls I decided to stop focusing on what my readers expected, and focused on the story I wanted to tell. That’s the only way I can write. I’m sorry. And I swear that if no one ever bought another one of my books again, I would still want to write them.

So if you want something tailored specifically to reader expectations, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS. I guarantee they won’t always follow the guidelines of the genre, they won’t all have happy endings, and they won’t be predictable. If you can’t put it down, that’s not my fault. I warned you.

Here are the covers of the books you shouldn’t buy, just in case you get lured in by the pretty covers and intriguing blurbs. It’s happened to quite a few people, and I wouldn’t want you to fall victim as well. You might end up loving them and hating me for it. 😉

AllBooksAnd if that’s not enough, you can add this Amazon page to your block list.

The Embers of Light Blog Tour Guest Posts

The Embers of Light Blog tour is happening now and I wanted to share the three guest posts I wrote for the tour.

Check out:

Villains Have Feelings Too

Writing Fact Into Your Fantasy

The Perfectly Imperfect Romance

ALSO ~ I have a newsletter now. So make sure to sign up HERE

Publishing Books Is Like Investing, NOT like winning the lottery.

Publishing books is like investing, NOT like winning the lottery.

Of course, we all wish it was. It would be nice to write your debut novel, see it published, and suddenly it becomes an overnight success, but chances are that’s not going to happen.

Hopefully, what really happens is that you write a book, gain some fans, make some sales, and write another book.

Each book you write is an investment in your future, and your career. When you save for retirement, do you put $100 on a stock and hope it grows to a million? Noooo. You save over time, build on what you have, and diversify your portfolio.

Publishing books is very similar. You have to keep writing books, keeping depositing into your writing portfolio, and keep growing your audience.

I realized this when I released the first two novellas in my Highborn Chronicles a few months ago. My first novel, The Darkness of Light, was starting to slip in sales and I was still months away from releasing the sequel. Then I released The Highborn Chronicles and suddenly sales jumped across the board. I was bringing in new readers that also bought my first book, and my current readers were excited for something to tide them over until The Embers of Light comes out. So the more I write, the more readers find me, and the more my other books sell. The formula is so simple.

Now, like investing, there’s a chance not all of your books will make gains all the time. That’s just the nature of the business. I’ve noticed months where I make a lot of sales, and months (like December) when book sales tend to decline. That doesn’t mean you are a failure, and that doesn’t mean you should quit writing books.

WRITE MORE!

The more you write, the higher the chances that you’ll eventually create that gem that makes the rest of your work soar. If your first book didn’t do so well, write another, change your approach, expand your knowledge of the craft. Giving up means NOT investing. And I think we all know by now that investing in your future is something we all HAVE to do. 😉

Happy writing.

 

 

Re: Build Bridges, Not Barricades

Yesterday I came across this post Build Bridges, Not Barricades  It’s an opinion piece about positive collaboration between traditional and indie authors. Unlike my blog post on the same topic, this post took a more positive approach.

“Isn’t it my duty as a self-published author to fly the flag? If I don’t challenge these arguments, aren’t I just letting people go on believing in their old prejudices and misconceptions about self-published books? Yes, I am – because I don’t think that rising to this sort of bait is always the best way to present our case. I prefer a less confrontational approach, one that focuses on the positive. If whether or not you are self or trade published makes no difference amongst authors themselves, what’s left to argue about?”

I feel like this blog was written for me. Who knows, with the amount of people angry with the tone of my last blog, it might have been. Whatever the case, this made me take a step back and reevaluate the message I was trying to convey.

My blog post came across as defensive and judgmental. There was truth to it. But that truth didn’t shine through as positive for everyone, and now I understand why. I was reacting to feeling judged, and in turn, I judged others.

It’s natural for people to become defensive when they feel judged. In my personal life, I try really, really hard not to react to things without considering them first. I try to avoid controversial topics, I try to look at an argument from both sides before I weigh in, and I (usually) wait for my emotions to settle before I react. I’m not always successful in doing these things, but that’s always my intent.

I was approaching a topic I felt strongly about with a defensive attitude when I should have used positive examples of traditional and indie authors working together. I’ve had many such experiences, and I could have used those to bolster my point that we can all get along. Instead, my message drew a line between the two, and that’s where I was wrong.

In her blog post Lucienne Boyce said, “The fact is that to many authors, the divide either doesn’t exist or, if they are aware of it, they don’t view it as negative.”

From now on I’ll adopt this attitude, putting the negativity and bad feelings behind me, and move forward with the people I love to work with and who support me. I should have remembered there’s room for us all and we should celebrate each other, not criticize.

The Indie/Traditional Debate. Can’t We All Just Get Along?

You’re not the cool kid.

If you’re an indie author, I think you’ve figured out by now that we’re the underdogs, the gnats in traditional publishing’s ear, and the ones the traditionally published kids don’t want to sit with in the cafeteria.

I came in to the publishing game with rose colored glasses, a positive attitude, and a love for the supportive writing community I’d found. More than one year later the rose colored glasses are off, and I’m well aware that members of the “community” I loved so very much are often sneering at us behind our backs.

I don’t mean to say all traditional authors minimize the accomplishments of indie authors. There are many who genuinely cheer us on, showcase our books, congratulate us when we have success, and happily share the road with us.

But the judgment of indie authors is everywhere, and it’s getting harder to ignore.

I remember once seeing a tweet from an agent that said something like: Just sent a request and found out the author recently self-published. If only they’d been more patient.

People favorited this tweet and responded with euphemisms about patience, and persistence, when what they really meant was, “You idiot, you self-published when you should have waited for the right agent!”

My first thought when I saw that tweet was, “What if the author is happy with their decision?”

After I self-published The Darkness of Light I got requests from two agents. I had some discussions with these agents, exploring my options, but at no point during those interactions was I kicking myself for not waiting. When I made the decision to be an indie author, I did it wholeheartedly and without looking back. By then I’d already discovered the power I had over my career, the advantage I had over traditional publishing (mainly time and control), and the freedom to do exactly what I wanted.

There are bullies and if you speak up, they’ll target you.

If any of you follow me on twitter, you might recall the event I refer to as “Twittergate”, the day twitter FREAKED out on me. This was the day I realized our writing community was full of piranhas, and trust me—I got chewed up! During a twitter contest I’d observed some things that, I felt, came across as arrogant. I was reacting to the way some authors were criticizing entries with such detail the entrants were sure to know it was their entry being discussed. My reaction came from a place of empathy, not weakness. I wasn’t suggesting they sugarcoat things for authors in their (private) feedback. I wasn’t under the impression that this business is easy. What bothered me was the attitude with which these authors judged their peers.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” –Abraham Lincoln.

I tweeted my opinion and within one minute my timeline blew up! I couldn’t keep up with the tweets coming at me. Some agreed with me (I got a lot of supportive DMs because people were afraid of the backlash), some respectfully disagreed with me, and many others were downright nasty. I even got a DM from a very well known tweeter who had some particularly offensive things to say to me. She’s lucky I have enough restraint not to out her. Maybe I should have, but I’d rather let her dig her own grave.

Anyway, during the flurry of tweets aimed at me that day, it became clear that the general assumption was that I was a bitter author who’d been rejected by the traditional world and was now taking shots at traditional authors whenever I could.

I have a pretty thick skin. I can take rejection, bad reviews, and harsh critiques. What really got to me that day, and what really made me sad, was the realization that I was an outsider. It didn’t matter that I had a book published and was part of the same community. With The Darkness of Light I worked hard to make sure my book went through the same filters and received the same care as a traditionally published book. But that day, when twitter lost its mind on me, none of that mattered. Because I was an indie author, I wasn’t an author, and my opinion—my voice—was insignificant.

If books are fishes, and Amazon is the ocean, we’re all swimming in it together.

It sometimes seems the traditionally published world is unhappy they have to share space with lowly self-publishers. It must be frustrating to see your book—your edited, beautifully covered, extensively marketed baby— sitting next to something your neighbor’s cousin wrote on a Thursday and uploaded to Amazon on a Friday.

It must drive you insane that all the self-published dino porn books, or books that got rejected so many times the author had no other choice but to self-publish, are sitting in the same waters as your perfect novel. After all, self-published authors are destroying literature, right?

NOT.

There were crappy books long before indie authors stepped onto the scene, and if we all disappeared tomorrow, there would still be crappy books published every single day.

But here’s the thing— indie doesn’t mean crappy. Many of us take a lot of pride in our work. We nurture our books the same way a publishing house would. Sure, we often price our books lower, but that doesn’t mean our work is less valuable. It simply means there are no publishers or agents taking a cut of our work, giving us the ability to price our books competitively.

Let’s face it, while we all want to see our books in bookstores, Amazon is the largest online bookseller in the world. If bookstores are the streams, Amazon is the ocean, and guess what—we’re all swimming in it.

I recently saw an agented (but yet to be published) author call a fellow author’s decision to self-publish “puzzling.” I’ll bet that when the agented author’s book comes out in 2018, there will be even more successful indie authors, and even more hybrid authors swimming in the same ocean with him.

Don’t let them make you feel inferior.

“It matters not what you are thought to be, but what you are.” – Publilius Syrus

As I said earlier, there are many traditional authors who support indie authors and believe in their achievements. As indie authors we are marketing experts, have a network of editors, cover artists, formatters, and bloggers willing to help us create a product we can be proud of. It’s a lot of work to be an indie author, and our traditionally published friends know and respect our efforts.

There will always be the naysayers; the ones who tell you you’re not good enough because you didn’t take the same path that they did. It’s frustrating, and oftentimes, it hurts. But when you come across one of these cynics, don’t take their judgments to heart. Just because they say you’ve settled by becoming indie, doesn’t make it true. If you have readers, your book sells, and you feel good about the career path you’ve chosen, take the high road, because there are plenty of people willing to take the low road.

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Being an author IS a job. And it’s the BEST job.

I’m tired of being told (usually in thinly veiled statements) that being an author isn’t a job. Any writer that writes on a full-time or regular part-time basis will shout from the rooftops–IT IS!

One time, not too long ago, I was feeling overwhelmed with the projects I had on the go. I had more than one manuscript in the works, I had lots of editing to do (both for myself and someone else), and I was still trying to navigate the world of author marketing for my published novel. I must have been complaining. I usually don’t mean to. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have the ability to commit my time to fulfilling my dreams. But sometimes, I just need to vent.

So there I was, bitching about all the things I had to do and the little time I had to do them in, and someone reminds me that I don’t have a 9-5, so. . .

Queue ominous music…

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I’m well aware that I don’t have a 9-5. Trust me. I know it.

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So, since I don’t have a 9-5, what do I do? Let’s take today for example. I’ve been up since six am. I threw my hair in a bun, grabbed a coffee, and sat down at my computer. I didn’t have to put on make-up. I didn’t have to drive to work. And I didn’t have to punch a clock. I don’t have a boss standing over my shoulder (since I’m the boss), and I can take a break whenever I want. It’s a pretty sweet deal, really. I’m in the comfort of my own home, working away. But I’m still working! I’m what you’d call–self-employed. 😉

My first order of business for the day was to tackle some editing. I opened one of my manuscripts (one of four that need my immediate attention), and started going through my editor’s notes. It went smoothly for a while. I got through a few chapters until the other “things” started knocking on my brain–have you checked your email? Have you made a post on your FB page so your readers don’t forget about you? Have you tweeted recently?…they say all authors should tweet, you know? Have you tracked your sales over the weekend? Have you blogged? You haven’t blogged enough, that’s part of your job as an author…

So I made another cup of coffee, set aside the editing for a bit and started on the other “things”.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds a heck of a lot of work. But I like it. I don’t for one second think, I wish I was anywhere but here. And I rarely ever get a case of the Mondays.

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But here’s the thing–If I don’t do all the things I’m supposed to do, my career suffers. If I don’t write, I’m not producing a product. If I don’t spend time marketing, no one is going to buy my product. If I don’t network, I won’t have a readership or any connection with my peers.

The definition of a job is:

1- A paid position of regular employment.

2- A task or piece of work, especially one that is paid.

And guess what? Every month I get a paycheck. That’s right. On the same day, every single month, I get a direct deposit into my bank from the royalties of my book sales.
I think that sounds like a job.
But there’s one more, very important, part of this job I haven’t mentioned, and that is TIME. I don’t have a 9-5. When I’m done working for the day, my work is still staring me in the face and pinging on my phone. Again, I’m not complaining. I love what I do. But there is no 9-5 here. Last week, while trying to catch up on “things”, I worked on my laptop from 7 in the morning until 10 at night. Sure, I took breaks here and there, but by the time I was done, I was nearly blind and my back was killing me. 15 hours I worked that day. If I’d been working at an office, or anywhere else, people would say, “You work so hard.” But because I’m a writer, and I get to do exactly what I’ve always wanted to do, I’m not working.
Buffy
Now, I’m relieved to say that most people I know don’t consider my job a mere hobby or a self-indulgent diversion from the conventional standards of earning money. Most people I know say, “I don’t know how you do it. It’s amazing,” which, to me, is a compliment, and validation that I’ve done the right thing by choosing to be a writer.
I feel empathy for those who have to go to a job they hate day in and day out. Not everyone has the means to do exactly what they want. But right now, at this point in my life, I do, and I don’t think what I do for a living should be underestimated in any way. I HAVE a job. What I do is WORK. And for that work, I get PAID.
So when someone suggests that you don’t work because you’re a writer, ignore them, you’ve got too much work to do–even if it doesn’t always look like work. 😉

 

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Finding Your Writing Routine.

With all the writing advice out there, how is one to know which advice is the best?

The truth is–there are no set rules to follow. Writing is not only a process of sharpening your skills, it’s about learning what kind of writer you are, what your process looks like, and what routine you need to be the most productive.

If you look back on the post How 12 Different Authors Write a First Draft, you’ll see how different the process is for everyone.

Technique aside, the one question I see asked a lot is: “How do I find the time to write?”

This is a tough one to answer because everyone’s needs are different. We hear often that writers should write every day. I used to believe this myself, but the more writing became a routine, the more I learned that writing every day doesn’t work for me.

By nature, I’m an all or nothing person. I have to force myself to be obsessive about projects, because if I step away for more than a few days, I’ve completely lost interest in working. I tend to write in bursts, and since I don’t have kids, I have a lot of freedom to set my schedule as it suites me. I’m sure this will change some day, but for now my writing routine is fairly simple. I treat writing like a full-time job. I wake up to an alarm, get dressed, and hopefully by 9am I’m sitting at my computer working. Once I get in the writing zone, I will usually work for 5-8 hour stretches of time, sometimes more, 7 days a week.

By the time I get through 8 hours of writing, I’m practically brain-dead and exhausted, so it’s not a pattern I can keep up for long periods. Once I reach a milestone–which is usually a finished draft–I take a break to recharge.

I usually read books the same way I write them–in bursts. So during my writing down-time I spend as much time as I can devouring as many books as I can squeeze in before I have to start working again.

When my novel is finally completed, edited and ready to go, I’ll take a month, even 2 months off to regroup. There might be days when the muse strikes and I’ll write out a quick chapter or start plotting, but I don’t force myself to write. It’s a nice break and it gives me time to develop ideas before I start putting them to paper.

Now, I know everyone doesn’t always have the flexibility to spend 8 hours a day writing. Back when I used to work a full-time job in advertising, I remember using the same pattern of burst writing, only I would do it at night. I would sit with a glass of wine (or four) in my apartment in Toronto and work from about 7-8pm to sometimes 2 in the morning. I love that I have more freedom with my time now, but I definitely miss those late nights of writing where all my best ideas were born (Mara, Corbin and Malcolm were created during those night writing sessions).

Finding the time to write, especially when you have a lot of other things demanding your attention, can be tricky. But you might find it easier to manage if you know what kind of writer you are. Are you a burst writer? Do you like to write one scene a day? Do you go back and read your work, editing as you go?

On twitter there’s a 5am Writers Club. They are the morning writers, and if you don’t have time at night, this is a great way to get an hour or two of writing in before work.

My writer/mom friends usually say the evening works best for them. They also say that the summer months are a toss up for writing. Most seem to wait until the kids are back in school before they really push themselves to get writing done.

The bottom line is, find out what KIND of writer you are, and then tailor a routine to meet your needs. If you’re okay with writing a chapter a week, GREAT! If you have to knock out half a book in a short stretch, FANTASTIC! But don’t give up. Don’t tell yourself that you don’t have the time. There is ALWAYS time to be found for writing, if you want it bad enough. Apparently humans spend up to two years of their lifetimes sitting on a toilet. Imagine two full years of time dedicated it writing *wink wink*.

I think for my next book, I’m going to try and adjust my routine a bit and give myself weekends off. That way I don’t find myself procrastinating on a Sunday because all I want to do is eat candy and have a netflix marathon. I’m learning that time off is important. 🙂

Tell me what your writing routine is. How do you find the time and what kind of writer are you?

 

 

 

Book Signing, Fan Art, and Sequel Update!

Wowza! It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for me.

This past Saturday I had my very first in-store book signing. I was very nervous leading up to the day, imagining all sorts of horrors that I’m sure most authors experience before a signing–what if no one shows up? What if no one buys my book?

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to face those fears, because the singing went great. I sold some books, made some new friends, and got some experience under my belt.

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Another cool thing that happened last week was that I received a sketch of my book cover from Savannah Bolger, a very talented young artist from Ireland. Earlier in the week I posted on FB that I wish I had an artistic fan to sketch my cover, and the Universe must have heard me, because here it is! I’m so grateful that Savannah took the time to make this for me. I love it!

 

20140705_222055 20140705_222129Now for the update.

Ever since late May, The Darkness of Light has been steadily selling every single day and currently sits at #42 on Kindle’s top 100 for Mythology, and #82 on Kobo for Historical Fantasy. This is more than I could have ever hoped for my book, and the fact that it’s been out for almost 6 months and STILL continues to gain readership is amazing.

The sequel, The Embers of Light, is going to the developmental editor this week. I’m just adding some finishing touches to the end scenes, and will soon start revising based on the editor’s feedback. I’m terrified this book won’t live up to the first (I think all writer’s have that fear), but I’m hopeful that Malcolm’s story will fascinate readers as much as it has fascinated me.

That’s all for now!

 

I want to thank my 11th grade guidance counselor for telling me I couldn’t…

This post was originally my guest post over on The Dragon Blog. Now that the giveaway is over, I thought I’d share it with my readers and followers.

 

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When I was in grade 11 (because that’s how we say it in Canada), the guidance counselors had every student in my year take a career profile test. I remember it being a long drawn out test that took most of my spare period to complete. I answered all the multiple choice questions, some of which seemed completely pointless, in order to find out what my destiny would be.

When I was finished, the computer spat out five career options that fit my profile. They were: Historian, Librarian, College Professor, Archives Technician, and Writer.

I just about jumped out of my seat when I read the amazing career options I had before me. How exciting! While a little Ask Jeeves search (this was the early 2000’s, people) explained what an archives technician was, I quickly became excited about that as well.

When I sat down in front of the guidance/career counselor, who shall remain nameless (mainly because I don’t remember her name), I expected her to pull out college booklets and go over course listings with me.

Instead, she looked at my test results and frowned. Then she proceeded to tell me that there aren’t many jobs in those fields, competition for those jobs is tough, and I’d be wasting my time if I tailored my education around those career goals.

I was completely deflated and tried to argue that, if I wanted something bad enough, wasn’t anything possible?

She didn’t agree with me. However; she did TRY to stick to my career profile by suggesting I study journalism. But that area of writing never interested me. I wanted to write fiction, I wanted to study history, I wanted to live with books, I wanted to organize information, and I wanted to teach people about the things I knew!

So what ended up happening after high school? I didn’t go to college. Why would I want to go into debt to study a subject I had no interest in?

It seems like a sad story, a misguided teen gone wrong. But guess what, Guidance Counselor Lady? Without even trying, without even realizing I was doing it, I became all of those things.

I AM a Historian – 7 years out of high school I finally realized that your advice was ridiculous, and I went back to school… to University, actually. I studied English literature and History, with an emphasis on early Western Civilizations. In case you weren’t aware, Guidance Counselor, my novel is set in 6th century Britain. I have spent years studying ancient cultures including Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and British civilizations. While I may not have a PhD in history (and I very well might some day), I’d say I’m more of a historian than you ever thought I’d be.

I AM a Librarian – You should see my book collection. I have shelves filled with books in every room. They aren’t organized by the Dewey Decimal System, but ask me to find any particular one, and I know exactly where it is. I’ll even lend you one if you ask nicely.

I AM a college professor…sort of. I teach pre-GED Reading and English to adult students who fell through the cracks (perhaps because of people like you). I help these students learn about Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, and I help them prepare to take a test that will get them into college, get job promotions, and help them realize that they can do ANYTHING they want in life.

I AM an Archives Technician. While I don’t work in a museum or any type of records management position, I spend a lot of my day finding resources for others, and I even created the entire South Carolina resource directory for the South Carolina Immigrant Victim Network. It took me two years to find all the services an immigrant victim might need, and I can assure you, the people at SCIVN are VERY glad I was so good at the job.

And last, but certainly not least…

I AM a Writer—a published one at that—with great reviews, a pretty decent sales record, and several months on the Amazon bestsellers list. Also, did you happen to see the full page spread on me in our hometown newspaper?

I sure hope you did. And I hope you remember telling me I couldn’t do any of these things. As it turns out, guidance counselors don’t control destiny. Who would have thought?