Novel, Published Author, Self Publishing, Writing

Falling In Love… With Fictional Characters

Any reader can attest to this… to say that they love to lose themself in the story of a good book… and to fall in love with the characters. It happens. A lot!

I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. For me, it was because of my love of acting. Taking on a role, and becoming that character was the best part about acting. It provided that escape from life, that escape from homework, friend drama, family drama… any drama! It created its own drama and I thrived on that. I still do. I’ve seen a ton of memes floating around on social media about readers falling in love with characters. But what about the writer? Has anyone ever wondered, while they’re reading a book, did the writer feel what I’m feeling?

One of my favorite quotes on writing is by Robert Frost. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” I love this so much because it’s so true. As a writer I feel all of the emotions that my characters feel. I cry when they cry. I’m angry when they’re angry. I’m surprised when a twist in one of my stories happens, because if the reader is surprised, you can bet that I shook my head in confusion and said, “Didn’t see that coming!” And of course, when my characters fall in love, you can also be assured that I am head over heels in love with them, too.

It’s kind of funny to experience those feelings, but I look at it as a positive side effect. Those chills and flutters are exciting in the beginning of any relationship, so it’s fun to embrace them as a writer. Right now, I’m currently working on the third book in a trilogy. I just released the first book titled, Where We Belong. Just like I did in Where We Belong, and in the follow-up book that’s yet to be released, Coming Home, I’m falling in love with my current character in The Courage To Return. I love the visual of him (more on that in a future blog post), I love his quiet nature, I love how he loves.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

I fall in love with the female characters, too. I even have a different kind of love for my evil characters. They create conflict and of course we want to see the protagonist overcome any adversity, but those villains are there for a reason, and I kind of love them. I think more than loving them, I just enjoy the hell out of writing them!

What about you? Do you fall in love with your characters when you read or write? Drop a comment and let me know! Thanks for stopping by!

Novel, Published Author, Queries, Self Publishing, Writing

Query Time… Take Two!

Welcome to the third blog post that chronicles my query experience… or as I like to call it, My Exquerience! Last time I posted, I wrote about how I was feeling twitchy just thinking about the possibility of sending a query letter. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there no matter what you’re doing! I take those nerves as a good sign. Back in the day… yes, I just said back in the day… when I was doing theater, I was always a bundle of nerves before I got on stage. I would pace, my hands would tremble, and I’d feel sick to my stomach. I’m surprised I never actually got sick before I performed, because that’s how badly the nerves would get me. But every time I stepped on that stage, all those nerves melted away and turned into energy for a good performance. Over time, I took those nerves to be a good thing. The rare times I felt chill before I went on stage, it wasn’t a stellar performance. So, I’m embracing my twitchiness.

Ok, I know I just recapped my last post, so I’ll move on. The book I was going to query was The Art of Zen. My first standalone novel. Well, I started looking at the query form, and it requests word count. In my research, all agents request word count. I got twitchy again. Zen is a long novel. Really long. Research says that a debut novel should only be 80,000 to 100,000 words. Well, even though Zen is not my debut novel, it would probably be considered a debut because I’ve never been traditionally published.

I pondered the situation and reached out to a few friends. Should I fudge the wordcount in the hopes that an agent will request the entire manuscript and fall in love with it? Outright lie? Or should I tell them the honest truth and hope they give me a chance? I knew what the right thing was, and that’s what I was told. Tell the truth. There’s no sense in lying when you’re trying to build a potential relationship with someone. I get it… and I felt guilty for even thinking of lying. So, if you happen to be reading this and you’re a literary agent, I apologize. I’m only human.

The dilemma is that Zen is over 200,000 words. Yup, you read that right. I write big books, and I cannot lie! (You rapped that, didn’t you?) After a long discussion with my editor, here’s what I came up with. I’m going to reread The Art of Zen and turn it into two books. Yay! More time with Tia and Spencer. I’m also going to re-edit my baby, Set It Free, and put that on my “To Query” list. In the meantime, I’m going to query Where We Belong, since it’s about half the size of Zen. It’s also releasing on March 23rd, so make sure to check it out!

Yesterday, I was supposed to work on my query for Where We Belong, but I hit a snag uploading the cover. I finally got it uploaded last night and it should be good to go. Now I can focus on shouting it out, and on reworking my query letter.

It’s a lot of work, and a total labor of love. But guess what? I love it! I’m in the midst of writing the third book in the Where We Belong trilogy. I just love this group of characters and I can’t wait to share them with all of you!

Thanks for reading, and for joining me on My Exquerience!

Novel, Self Publishing, Writer's Block, Writing

8 Reasons I Don’t Want To Write… Right Now

It’s been a tough week in the world of writing. I’m really struggling to get through another chapter of my work in progress. It’s not because the story is boring, or because I don’t feel connected to my characters. There are a lot of reasons I’m just not feeling it right now.

Don’t get me wrong. I love writing. This is what I want to do full time. I want to write, create stories, and share them with the world. I want to be a best selling author. I want all of that. But this week, I don’t want to write.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Then of course, I question myself. Am I blocked or unmotivated? Some people will argue that writer’s block doesn’t truly exist. It simply means you’re unmotivated to put the work into your manuscript. I disagree with that. While I may entertain the idea that writer’s block isn’t real, because I’m not lacking for ideas or the path of my current story, I don’t think it’s always lack of motivation. For me, what I’ve realized in the past few days is, I’m burned out. I’ve put a lot of work into my current new release. I’m trying to build a business while I’m promoting my work. I think I’m spreading myself a bit thin and starting to recognize that a small break is in order.

I hope you continue to read so I can share with you, the 8 reasons I don’t want to write… right now.

  1. Burn Out
    Like I said, I’m stretching myself too thin between writing, editing, promoting, and working on growing my business so I can make money to contribute to my family.
  2. Netflix
    I blame You. Not you, the one reading this. I blame You. Season 3 of the crazy, messed up show came out last week and consumed me for three days. Yup, I binge watched the entire thing. Before that, I binge watched Midnight Mass. I keep finding shows to get sucked into and it’s cutting into my writing time.
  3. Mind Chatter
    I usually only struggle with mind chatter when I’m trying to meditate. Maybe I need to meditate? Maybe that will clear my head because right now, there’s a lot swirling around in there and it’s stifling my creativity.
  4. I’m In My Head
    Here’s the thing I’m really struggling with. Have you ever read one author’s work and several books into their inventory, you realize you’re basically reading the same story, just with different characters and a different location? I remember thinking this with one of my favorite authors. I’m not going to say who, because they’re a huge inspiration to me, but the last book of theirs I read, I remember thinking that it was all familiar. Sassy, strong female calls out mopey, distant male. They have witty banter where she puts him in his place several times, then of course, they have sex and all of that melts away. The details, and pacing of these books became so routine for me as I was reading that I stopped reading this author. I’m afraid that’s going to happen with me. I know, I know… I’m the first person to tell another artist to never compare your work to others, but this is really getting to me. Are my stories predictable? Do all of my characters experience intimacy in the same way? Are my steamy sex scenes predictable and boring? In my current WIP, I’m facing a steamy scene and I realize this is what is making me struggle. I’m so worried I’m going to write it like I’ve written so many before, so I’m just not doing it.
  5. Life
    I’ve got some stuff going on in my personal life that’s pretty heavy. Not sharing it, just listing that this is one of the reasons I’m not pushing forward. It’s hard to create when a certain situation keeps popping into your mind, and then all you can do is cry. Or get angry. Those emotions can fuel a good scene, but that’s not what I’m working with right now.
  6. Music
    Don’t get me wrong. Music is amazing and I love so many genres and have tons of favorite songs. Lately, I get certain songs stuck in my head. Not just an annoying ear worm (I hate that saying, by the way) but the same songs that will pop into my head at all hours, even late night hours when I’m supposed to be sound asleep. I’ll wake up out of nowhere with these songs in my head, and it’s not even the whole song. It’s a line in a song that repeats over and over and it annoys me. The more it annoys me, the more it plays. Anyone have any advice for clearing that? Seriously. I hate it.
  7. Social Media
    Yes, I know it’s my fault that I log into Facebook and scroll Instagram, but it’s a total distraction, not to mention a time suck and I’m 100% guilty. It’s great for procrastinating!
  8. I’m Selfish
    Yes, you read that right. I fully admit that I am a selfish person and that’s why I’m not writing. Here’s the thing. When characters present their stories to me, it’s just me and them for a long time. I watch the saga like a movie in my head. When I’m ready to start putting it into words, I’ve already become invested in them. Their lives, their heartache, their love… everything. When I am getting close to finishing a book, I slow down. I want to cherish those private moments I’ve witnessed and I’m not so quick to share. It happens with every book I write. For the past week, I’ve been daydreaming, which is important work for writers! I see their story, I feel their feelings, and I’m keeping it to myself because I’m not ready for it to end yet.

Follow up…

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

It’s been about a week since I wrote my 8 reasons why I didn’t want to write. I took the time to give my brain a rest. I have things I want to accomplish, and I’ve learned that when I try to rush through them, or do them all at once, I start to get frustrated and things don’t go as planned. That’s ok. Sometimes you have to walk away from what you’re working on, no matter how important it is to you. That break resets your mind. Creativity comes back. The words flow, my fingers move over my keyboard with ease. The words are definitely back. I’ve finished the chapter I was working on and my characters got to enjoy a steamy moment together. I’m still slowing down since I’m near the end of this particular book. I can’t help it. I love them and they’re real to me. I’m not ready to say goodbye to them yet, so for the time being, I’ll remain a little selfish.

Fellow writers, artists, musicians, creators of all kinds… how to you deal with a block? Do you believe in blocks, or do you think it’s being unmotivated or being burned out? I want to hear from you!

Thank you for reading my blog… stay tuned for more!

Job Interview, Workplace Drama, Writing

Current WIP

Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

Through my years working as a receptionist, administrative assistant, and an executive assistant, I’ve experienced some pretty crazy things! From bad bosses, to outlandish gossip, I’ve seen it all and I’ve heard it all. Some situations are so out there, you’d have to actually be there to experience it in order to believe it.
At one point, I started to outline a book sharing all of my experiences, but I decided to do something different instead.

For the past 2 years, I’ve been working as a virtual assistant. (Check out my Facebook page here!) I’ve taken my years of office experience and I’m now offering my services to solo professionals and small business owners. I specialize in helping them with all the admin pieces of their businesses, like email newsletters, website updates, and calendar management.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

If you’ve followed my writing, you may remember that a few years ago, I started to document the interviews I was going on in my search for a new job. Some were great experiences, some of them were absolutely ridiculous, none of them ended with a job offer.

So, you may wonder what one has to do with the other. Administration and writing fiction. Well, instead of writing a non-fiction book about my observations as an admin, or about all the tea I could spill, I decided to merge the two.

My current work in progress, or WIP, is titled Executive Decisions. It follows the story of blogger Lauren Lane, who has had a year filled with 17 job interviews and not one offer. In the 17th interview, Lauren meets Drew Hanson, the CEO of Hanson Enterprises. Drew peeks at her blog ten minutes before her arrival and decides right on the spot that he’s not going to hire her. During Lauren’s interview, he even quotes her writing back to her about her job interview experience.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

While most writers might be thrilled to have their work quoted back to them… Remember that scene from When Harry Met Sally? Harry’s friend Jess says, “No one has ever quoted me back to me before.” This should be a writer’s dream for Lauren, but not the way Drew Hanson does it. A run in after their interview shows the reader that these two might never see eye to eye. Instead of doing the mature thing and moving on from a bad interview, Lauren decides to take the low road for a bit and make Drew a perfect example of what a bad CEO looks like.

I have been having fun writing this book! When I write, my characters become real to me. It’s been nice to have Lauren to “share” my experiences with. She’s bold and honest when it comes to speaking up about the interviews she’s had, along with crazy workplace drama that she shares along the way.

I write contemporary romance, so somehow these two make peace and have an epic love story. Stay tuned for this one, you won’t want to miss it!

In the meantime, Meant To Be, book 4 in the Heart & Soul series will be available on October 5. Take a look at my author page on Amazon to see all of my books.

Thanks for stopping by!