Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Focusing on the Positives #IWSG

The curious thing about being a writer is it’s a whole lot harder than it looks. Part of the job of being a writer is to question every scene, every paragraph, every sentence. Does it express everything I want it to express? Could it be better? Am I using the correct grammar? Have I broken the rules in a way that adds to the text rather than taking away from it? What needs fixing?

The list of questions is endless, but they are questions writers need to ask if they want to push themselves to make the piece the best darn writing they can produce. Of course, the questions can have a negative impact. They can cause the doubts to come knocking. This is natural and normal but doesn’t mean those doubts need to stay. The best way to send them packing is to focus on the positives—which brings me to this month’s IWSG question: What’s the best thing someone has said about your writing?

I must admit I don’t often think about the answer to this question, but perhaps I should. It’s a great reminder that yes, I can touch people through my writing, enough for them to say remarkable and unexpected compliments.

Apart from, “Yes, I will publish this piece,” I think the best compliment I ever received was over a fantasy character I’d created. My reader, rather than simply saying, “He’s good,” said instead that he seemed so real and cool that he could see stuffed toys being made based on him. And it was said with genuine enthusiasm and was followed by a string of true gushing. Wow. When I get feedback like that I’m reminded how much I love writing and that yes, I can get people excited over my characters, which was unfathomable previously (and still is on occasion).

So what’s the best compliment someone has said about your writing? How do you focus on the positives?

Next month’s IWSG question: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

IWSG Anthology Contest - Vote to Select the Genre
The second annual Insecure Writer’s Support Group anthology contest is coming up soon and this year, members get to select the genre!

Edit: The votes are in and FANTASY won!

Photo: I'm in the middle of a stressful time at the moment so my gorgeous husband took me to the National Park for lunch last Sunday to relax. We decided to go for a walk along a random track. The further we went, the more overgrown it became. Then a patch of sunlight came through the brush and I was able to capture the above closeup pic of moss on a log. I had to share.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bottled Cover Reveal and IWSG

Releasing a new book is always a nerve-wracking experience, making all sorts of insecurities crop up, so for this time around for the Insecure Writers Support Group day, I'm here to help Carol Riggs with her release. Below is the awesome cover of her new soon-to-be-released novel. Even though I'm not exactly here. But I will be again in a couple of days. Yay!

BOTTLED is a YA fantasy novel. 
It will release July 7, 2016 from Clean Reads. 

At seventeen, Adeelah Naji is transformed into a genie and imprisoned in a bottle. For a thousand years, she fulfills the wishes of greedy masters—building their palaces, lining their pockets with gold, and granting them every earthly pleasure. All that sustains her is the hope of finding Karim, the boy she fell in love with as a human. When at last she finds a note from her beloved, she confirms he has access to the elixir of life and that he still searches for her.

But someone else also hunts her. Faruq—the man who plots to use her powers to murder and seize the life forces of others—is just one step behind her. With the help of a kind master named Nathan, Adeelah continues to search for Karim while trying to evade Faruq. To complicate matters, she begins to experience growing fatigue and pain after conjuring, and finds herself struggling against an undeniable attraction to Nathan.

As Faruq closes in, Adeelah must decide just how much she’ll risk to protect Nathan and be with Karim forever. How much power does she really have to change her future, and what is she willing to sacrifice for an eternity of love? If she makes the wrong choice, the deaths of many will be on her hands.

Carol Riggs is an author of YA fiction who lives in the beautiful green state of Oregon, USA. Her debut novel, THE BODY INSTITUTE, released Sept 2015 from Entangled Teen, exploring body image and identity. Her fantasy YA, BOTTLED, will release from Clean Reads on July 7, 2016, and her sci-fi YA, SAFE ZONE, will release from Entangled Teen in October 2016. She enjoys reading, drawing and painting, writing conferences, walking with her husband, and enjoying music and dance of all kinds. You will usually find her in her writing cave, surrounded by her dragon collection and the characters in her head.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Haunted Stepsister and Critique Partners

Today I'm over at the IWSG website talking about How to be a Good Critique Partner. I'd love to see you over there. But first, check out Medeia Sharif's exciting new book!

The Haunted Stepsister
by Medeia Sharif

Published by Leap Books, it is released today!!

Sixth grade isn’t easy for Jesenya Moradi, especially since her father’s recent remarriage and tension with her new stepsister, Kammy. After an incident at school that nearly destroyed Kammy's life, Jess has been desperate to get on Kammy’s good side. But a fateful trip to an allegedly haunted bathroom changes both girls’ lives forever.

The rumors about the bathroom are true, and now Jess is convinced a demon's possessing Kammy. Eerie things happen whenever she's around – flying objects, flickering lights, not to mention the fact that something, or someone, is making people into its puppets.

Worse, the demon seems fixated on making Jess confess her part in ruining Kammy's reputation. Sticking to her Muslim faith, Jess enlists the help of an imam to exorcise the demon from Kammy. But can they get rid of the demon before it destroys her new family?

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads

Madeia Sharif was born in New York City and she presently calls Miami her home. She received my master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. After becoming a voracious reader in high school and a relentless writer dabbling in many genres in college, she found her niche writing for young people. Today she’s a MG and YA writer published through various presses. In addition to being a writer, she is a public school teacher. Her memberships include Mensa, ALAN, and SCBWI.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

On Accepting Failure #IWSG

When I was a wee thing in school, I used to do the least amount of study needed to pass an exam. Passing was my goal, even if it meant passing by half a percent. I had no motivation to do better. Why? It wasn’t because of laziness. It was because of a fear of failure. That might sound strange considering how close I came to failing. The truth was, if I failed an exam or an assignment by not studying, then that didn’t matter, but if I studied hard, or, well, just studied in some cases, and I still failed to reach my goal, then that would’ve been the worst thing in the world. That was failure on a personal level.

Silly me and my teenage self.

Of course when I eventually did wake up and start applying myself, my world opened up. I could do more, be more. Dreams became possible. They became reality.

The thing about failure is that it isn’t a monster and neither is it the end of the world. Sometimes we have to accept failure to move forward. I’d go as far to say that failure is necessary for success. We learn through failing. We grow through failure. Failing makes us stronger and wiser.

In the Christian faith we must first recognise we are sinners and need saving before we can be saved.

People with addictions must first recognise and accept they have an addiction before they can move forward and start dealing with the problem.

Writers must first write a crappy first draft before they can shape it into the published book it’s meant to become.

To make our dreams reality, we have to apply ourselves and we have to work through those endless hurdles, closed doors, nay-sayers, and our own personal fears. Sure there will be some stumbling along the way, but when we persevere, magic happens.

What are the things that hold you back? What gets you through?

Happy announcement: The IWSG Anthology Parallels: Felix Was Here has at last been released!

What if the government tried to create the perfect utopia? Could a society linked to a supercomputer survive on its own? Do our reflections control secret lives on the other side of the mirror? Can one moment split a person’s world forever?

Exploring the fantastic, ten authors offer incredible visions and captivating tales of diverse reality. Featuring the talents of L. G. Keltner, Crystal Collier, Hart Johnson, Cherie Reich, Sandra Cox, Yolanda Renee, Melanie Schulz, Sylvia Ney, Michael Abayomi, and Tamara Narayan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will expand your imagination and twist the tropes of science fiction. Step through the portal and enter another dimension!

You can get your copy from these places:
Print: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Ebook: Amazon, ITunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

On the Doing of Stuff #IWSG

I am currently not here right now. I'm off doing... stuff. Cool stuff, crazy stuff, scary stuff, and a bunch of uncategorized stuff. You know, that stuff that happens when we're not writing? No I'm not currently writing. I'm in that in-between zone where the current project is in a holding pattern while various folk ponder over it, and a new project is still brewing in the cobwebbed regions of the brain while another, different kind of project is buzzing away to a happy tune while it's getting dragged into existence. And then there's life that has a mind of its own.

So, yeah, I'm not here right now. I'm not even in Sydney. I'll make it up to you when I get back in a couple of weeks. That's when I'll be able to do the bloggy rounds.

And because my advice has always been, "Keep Writing!" I've decided to start up journal writing again. That way I can continue stringing those tricksy words together while crazy busy. Not only does any form of writing keeps you well practiced in the craft, it also helps to keep the insecurities away.


Oh, and since this month is the April A to Z Challenge, I'll be doing the letters D, L and T over at the IWSG website. Well, technically I've done them already and scheduled them to post at the right times because when one is busy scheduling is essential. Have an awesome April!

Photo: A sign of the gorgeousness of my hubs. I'm a lucky girl.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.