Won’t You Join My Tribe?

Did you know I have a super-secret email newsletter? No? Well, let me tell you about it. Actually, it’s only super-secret because I never mention it and haven’t sent one out since this time last year. For a while, I even removed the sign-up link from the sidebar. But it’s back now. And I invite you to take advantage of it. The newsletter is free, and I promise not to sell your info or flood your inbox.

breakingIf you follow this blog, you know I’ve been working on three books this year. Over the next several months, I’ll be calling for beta readers and sending out ARCs for each book. I could ask for help in choosing a book title or cover or maybe I’ll even name a character after you. I might even share a bit of personal news that will never appear on my blog. Also, you’ll get advance notice of publication, contests, and promotional sales.

Word of mouth is still the best way to publicize a book. Indie authors in particular need a “tribe” behind them—a support team of fans of their work who want to help the author get out the word to readers everywhere. Won’t you please join my tribe by signing up to receive my newsletter?

 

Linda

Am I blogging?

When I first started this blog, almost five years ago, almost every writer I knew had one. Of course, at that time, almost every writer I knew was unpublished. We blogged our writing progress, our highs and lows in agent searching, our frustrations, insights, and dreams. We visited each other’s blogs and actually left comments—the Like button wasn’t here on WordPress and has never been on Blogger. We also had fun.

emptyh1I miss those days, but I’m as guilty as anyone for losing the blogging spirit and becoming too busy or inwardly focused to comment—or even read—as many blogs posts as I used to. Also, I think each of us blogging writers found our niche and gravitated to bloggers who wrote in the same genres we did. As we grew in our craft and became published writers, not just aspiring writers, of necessity, we got more serious about the business side of writing.

(I’ve been using the editorial WE. Feel free to opt out of any statement that doesn’t reflect your experience. From this point on, I’ll be more cautious and speak only for myself.)

My view of blogging turned serious. I tried to make sure nothing I said on my blog could reflect badly on my public image. I felt pressured to offer sage advice. I dared speak with authority on the writing craft. I tried to hide my doubts and disappointments, always projecting positivity in hope of creating good karma. (Failed on that one.)

The word blog is an abbreviation of web log. A blog was meant to be a journal, a daily peek into what’s on your mind. As evidenced by my infrequent blogging this year, it would seem that not much is on my mind. Actually, the opposite is true. So many things are on my mind that I’m overwhelmed into silence—mostly because I’m still in the mindset of the previous paragraph.

So, I have this blog. Although about 500 people are subscribed, I think about 10 actually read my posts—and on a good post maybe 5 leave a comment. Essentially, I’m talking to myself—like journaling. The words are still here as a subtitle, but before I became a published author, this blog was titled Out of My Mind. Though some might say it’s debatable, that title did not refer to my mental state. Rather, it referred to the origin of my writing, which is mainly fiction.

Now, I’ve decided to return to blogging out of my mind. This could get scary, but I think it’s necessary for me to avoid the alternate interpretation of my blog subtitle. Even if I’m only talking to myself, it’s better than this dark silence I’m stuck in now.

signature5

Persecuted by my characters!

Christa_PolkinhornMy guest today is author Christa Polkinhorn. I “met” Christa online a couple of years ago. Since then she’s answered about a million of my questions, served as a beta reader, and been an all-around A+ supporter of my work. I’d say it’s about time I let her speak to you here. Please welcome Christa as she describes a “visit” from her characters.

~~~~~

After finishing Love of a Stonemason, the second book in my Family Portrait series, I wanted to take a break from “my family on paper” and work on something entirely different. I opened a new Word document and began to type. I was at the second paragraph of the first chapter, when I felt a soft tap on my shoulder. I turned around and gasped.

After years of writing, my heart still stutters when I see him. Tall, broad-shouldered, muscular, with unruly dark hair and those vivid verdigris-green eyes, Andreas is the kind of man I could still fall for—after all, I created him. He isn’t perfect by any means. He has a temper and can be quite crude at times, but he did mature somewhat over the years. Besides, what would I do with perfection? What’s more important, he is a passionate man with a kind heart.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I’m writing or at least I was trying to until you appeared out of nowhere. What are you doing here anyway? I thought I sent you and your family on vacation.”

He gave me the familiar “what-the-heck-are-you-talking-about” look—his eyes narrowed and a deep furrow formed between his eyebrows. “We’ve been on vacation long enough; we’re bored; we want some action again.” There was an irritated undertone to his deep, throaty voice.

“Look.” I raised my hand and motioned him to sit down on the chair across the living room, but he remained standing. “Look, I’ll think of something for you again, but right now, I’m busy with a different book. You just have to wait your turn.”

AUF-190“A different book? What different book? You’ve been saying this for weeks and from what I see, you’re still at the second paragraph.”

He was right, darn it, but how did he know? “Okay,” I admitted. “I’m having a hard time but you hounding me doesn’t make it any easier.”

“I know what the problem is,” Andreas brushed through his unruly hair. “You write the wrong stuff. You should write about us.”

“I think I still decide what I want to or should write about,” I said. “By the way, when was the last time you had a haircut?”

He beamed. “You like unruly hair; that’s why you gave it to me.”

“Stop grinning,” I said.

“You shouldn’t use ‘grin’ in your writing so much; it’s bad style.”

“You know, Andreas, you’re really getting on my nerves right now. Would you please—”

“Oh, here you are; I was wondering what happened to you.” Karla stepped into the room, giving Andreas a sweet smile. She was dressed in a yellow-and-green slinky summer dress which flattered her tanned skin. I have to admit; I do create attractive-looking characters.

“Talking to our author.” Andreas hugged her and winked at me. “Trying to get her off her lazy butt and write the sequel.”

“With such language you’ll never convince me to go on,” I said, trying to give him a punishing look. But I never manage to get really angry at him, no matter how irritating he is sometimes.

LOS_190 “Heya,” a younger voice said and two more characters appeared—the children, Tonio and Laura, sixteen and eighteen by now. Tonio smiled at me.

“How was your vacation?” I asked with a sigh.

“Okay, but it got boring, nothing to do,” Tonio said. “And I desperately need some new clothes.

It was only now that I noticed his flashy shirt. “Seems like you have some nice outfits.”

“That’s my last clean one,” he said, a slight reproach in his voice.

With another sigh, I turned toward Laura and marveled once again how much she resembled her father, the same green eyes and dark, wavy hair, and strong physique. She, too, was attractive, but she keeps complaining that I didn’t give her the slender figure her mother had.

“Okay, since we’re all here now. How about some discussion about our future life,” Andreas said. “I think we’re all ready for more. I mean you created us and you can’t just abandon us like this. We have a right to our lives.”

“A right?” I raised an eyebrow. The nerve. “I think you forget who is in charge here. I will write another sequel but first, I want to work on something else, as I mentioned before.”

“Ahem,” Andreas stood tall. “What about . . . .” And he gave me a whole list of adventures he was going to engage in.

I raised my hand and stopped him short. “I decide what you guys are going to do.”

“Okay.” Andreas shrugged. “Just trying to be helpful. I mean, we’d love you to write our stories. You’ve been quite a pain in the butt and given us some hard times, but all in all our lives have been okay. However, if you don’t want to continue, we can always go and find another author.”

“Oh, yeah? And who do you think is going to put up with you?” I snickered.

“You’d be surprised. To tell you the truth I’ve received some offers.”

Emilia_190I’m convinced he was merely bluffing—or was he? “All right, I’ll write another book. I’ll start in a while.”

“Can I have a decent boyfriend, finally?” Laura asked.

“We’ll see about that,” I muttered. “I haven’t figured it all out yet.”

“And please, give me a few more exhibitions and make me paint some great pictures.” Karla put a hand on my shoulder or was this merely the breeze coming from the open window.

“Okay. We’ll see.”

Andreas brushed through his hair again. “Yes, and, I’d really like another trip to—“

“Enough,” I shout. “Leave the details up to me.”

“New clothes, please.” Tonio raised his arms in a defensive gesture. “Just saying, so you don’t forget.”

“All right, guys, thanks for dropping by. However, if you want me to finish the sequel within a reasonable timeframe, you got to back off and leave me to it. Understood?”

“Yeah, all right,” Andreas said and the others nodded.

“Okay, that’s settled. Now could you please disappear and let me get back to work.

Karla and the children faded away a little, but Andreas stood his ground. He waited until I closed the Word document I was working on and opened a new one.

I typed “Emilia (Family Portrait, Part 3).”

He nodded, smiled, and disappeared.

~~~~~

Now that you’re intrigued by Christa’s characters, click on the covers of her Family Portrait trilogy to learn where you can purchase the trilogy. And right now, you’re in luck because the first book in the series, An Uncommon Family, is on sale for only 99-cents!

You can find Christa on her blogFacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Goodreads. You can’t miss her. She’s the one with the cheery smile and a sparkle in her eye!

AUF-190   LOS_190   Emilia_190

elle

Apparently, I need a blog editor

It appears my last post is an example of why I edit, edit, edit when I write fiction. Evidently, I need to do the same when I write these blog posts. I thought I wrote a positive post. I thought I shared a bit of wisdom. But I confused some of you, so obviously my thoughts did not make the trip from brain to keyboard intact.

For the record, I’m happy to be a published author. I’m proud of my first novel and excited to get my next one out soon. I’m thrilled that I have fans—FANS—can you believe it? I hope thousands of readers discover my books, but if they do, it will most likely be by word of mouth because, by nature and by choice, I am not a high-profile writer.

However, if I’m destined to become an author known throughout this world and beyond, so be it.

Speaking of editing, I have now written 90% of the first draft of my next novel, so I’ll soon be ready for that stage. I hoped I might crank out those last 10,000 words this week, but I’ve been stalled since Monday night. I mentioned my dilemma on Facebook yesterday and a few of my writing friends let me know this is a common occurrence at this point in a draft. I guess I’ve forgotten.

I think the problem is my attempt to not write this novel as a pantser. I wrote a simple outline and several key scenes before I started the draft, but—as they always do—the characters had their own ideas. I quit following the outline some time back and eliminated or revised some of the scenes, but I still have a couple that I can’t decide whether to use as is, revise, or trash. So, until my characters show me the way, I’m stuck.

And speaking of Facebook, have you LIKED my author page? I’ll be thrilled if you do. It takes only two clicks, first click on this link and then click LIKE to the right of my name. Come on, I dare ya’.

Even if you don’t LIKE me, I wish you a wonderful end of the week. 🙂

Dear Author, You’re a Slacker

Attention writers: if you publish one book a year, you’re a slacker! So says this article in The New York Times. It says, in this age of eBooks, readers require more, more, more. Publishers advise their authors to produce short stories and novellas between full-length novels if they want to remain competitive.

Also, the article says, readers now expect to connect with their favorite authors on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and more. Long gone is the reclusive author of times past. It seems authors today need to be writing, writing, writing as well as socializing 24/7.

How is that possible?

I know writers who’ve dropped out of the social media circus to concentrate solely on writing. I don’t believe I know a writer who hasn’t considered doing that. So, if these drop-out writers feel their work suffers when they don’t give it their full attention, what does that mean for the work of writers who are trying to do it all?

My reading has slowed quite a bit since I started writing seriously. I now consider it a good month if I read two novels, so I’m not tapping my foot waiting for a few favorite authors to crank out two or more books a year. I suppose, if you’re a voracious reader and limit your reading to the works of only three or four authors, you might often be at a loss for something new to read. Then again, you could give some new authors a chance and possibly discover additional favorites.

Your turn: Do you demand more than one book a year from your favorite authors? If you’re a writer, have you stepped up production? Do you think, in this era of “impatient readers”, writing quality will suffer—or already has? Could these “impatient readers” be mythical creations born of publishers’ desperation for increased profits?