Stars, Stripes and Reviews…

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Happy 4th of July!!!

Okay, so it’s a little before the 4th, but I don’t want to miss out on wishing you all fun in the sun with your family and friends.

Over the past few days I’ve had some highs and lows. I’m going through a low at the moment. But I don’t want to get into that here. I want to focus on the better parts so this way I won’t get dragged down into some dark abyss from the likes of which there is no return.

A High: Yesterday was Indie Pride Day!!!

What’s that you may ask??? It’s a day that Indie Authors band together and promote the hell out of each other! There was even a party on Facebook! (Isn’t there always a party on Facebook?) And as of right now, I’m like 10 likes away from 400!!!! I think I may start up my post-it note pictures again. Those were pretty fun.

Another High: I got past the block that I had with One for Sorrow!!!

It’s not done yet (insert sigh here), but we all know that one of my major hang ups is writing love scenes. I’ll read them to death! But writing them is really awkward for me. So, with everything that I’ve been struggling with getting past this scene is a big thing for me.

A Third High: I’ve signed up to do another Facebook Party!

An author I met at the Indie party is having a party of her own in August. It’s the Fight for the Fae Cover Reveal and it will be hosted by Ariel Marie. I’ll post more information the closer we get to the party. I’m going to be doing my FIRST EVER Author Takeover!!!! It’s so exciting to think that I’ll be the center of attention for an entire hour! (I honestly think I’m gonna be sick. If any old pros have any tips or tricks, I am all ears!)

Now, it’s time for a couple of Lows… I hate them. But without them, the highs wouldn’t be as sweet.

And funny enough, the 2 major lows that I’ve learned about have to do with Amazon.

Low #1- Being paid by the page.

I don’t know how many of you know this, but Amazon has taken it upon themselves to pay authors by page. People were outraged and ready to pull their work from the Amazon roll call… except, it was for books enrolled in the KDP Select program.

Now, when I explain things, I like using examples. I’m going to use Tangled Temptations by me, and The Sweetest Thing by TB Bond (yes, she knows I’m using her title). Both of these books are in the Lending Library. Tangled Temptations is 207 pages, while The Sweetest Thing is only 27 pages long. Amazon thinks they should level the playing field by paying per page read.

When it’s broken down that way, it makes some sense. A lot of people jumped the gun and instantly thought that Amazon was going to do this for books across the board. They haven’t yet. KDP Select is not something you HAVE to do to get your books out there and noticed. I have my own reasons for having my books in the program, and while I can see their side of things, it’s also a little busted that now authors that try to make their home writing novellas and shorter stories have to work triple time for someone who writes longer novels.

Then I found Low #2 and it broke my heart.

A Book Blogger/Author on Facebook (I hate to say, I’m on FB a LOT more than I am on Twitter) shared her story of how she went to review a novel and Amazon will not publish it because they feel that she “knows” the author. From the little bits that I have read, and I will admit that I haven’t searched out every single detail of the story, she knows this author online only. I don’t think they met face to face ever. She likes the author’s FB page and follows her on Twitter.

Everyone is upset because of Amazon really has no right to just say “You two are friends and so you can’t seriously give an honest review of their work.” Add to that the new algorithms that I saw something about. Newer reviews are going to be given more of a weight than older ones, and if you seem like you know the person, then they’re going to remove it. I may as well have no reviews!

I try to think of reviews like a quote from an old video game, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2
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I’d rather have 100- 3 star reviews saying that my story needs work than 20-5 stars waxing poetic about how awesome I am and blowing smoke up my chimney… just saying.

Now… here’s where a catch-22 comes in to play. There are author groups and websites that won’t consider your work for whatever type of membership, or anything unless you have over a certain amount of reviews! And I’m not talking about 5-10. I’m talking 100+

Yeah. And let’s not forget to mention that indie authors and bloggers are a tight group! We’re bound to become friends/followers of each other! I can’t tell you how many authors and blogger that I (stalk) follow on both FB and Twitter! Now, I don’t go reviewing books anymore because I don’t want a tit-for-tat situation. Less drama for me that way. If I don’t like a book, I just won’t read it again. My really close friends will know my thoughts, but I don’t want the author to get upset and then go and bash my book for the hell of it (it hasn’t happened, and I don’t want it to! I looked at the reviews that I wrote and they could be considered harsh but honest. I don’t want a personal attack. Been there, done that.)

So basically, Amazon is getting a little big for its britches. As Indies we’re going to have to band together and figure out a way to either cut Amazon down to size, or figure out a way to live with their changes.

I know this post was long and a little (lot) all over the place. I want everyone to have a Happy 4th! I’ll keep everyone posted on the progress with One for Sorrow. And I’ll see you all next time!!!

Dawn

 

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Inspirations & Detours

Hi everyone!!!

People say all the time that life is a journey. It twists, it turns and as long as you let it, it will take you on a grand adventure.

Writing can be the same. Except kids join you. And every four or five steps there’s something else that someone wants to do, another is trying to pull another’s hair while the oldest is trying to steal the ice cream of the youngest and the one smack in the middle has a new bright idea.

This past year and a half I have tried to come to terms with my writing. I have been depressed for the entire time I worked on One for Sorrow. And it’s like I’m sinking into a deeper abyss the more I obsess over it not being complete. Maxwell Investigations was fine to sit on the back burner since Victor isn’t ready to shine (no… my vampire’s do NOT sparkle LOL) and with this new arch that it’s taking on, I needed to figure out which way it was going to go.

Then there were other storylines…. Anya Roman, Werewolf Guardians, Pirates vs Ninjas, Balance, Western Paranormal Steampunk, Fairy Tails, The House of Cain….

Each and every one of them wanted my attention. For a period of time, I seriously thought that I burned myself out. I cried thinking that I may have to give up on writing because each voice, each story started screaming so loud that I couldn’t hear anything.

I may have mentioned before how I was just going to stop and let the chips fall where they may. I have reached a point where I can’t cry. I can’t wallow. All I can do is move forward.

And then it was like Christmas.

When I was asleep last night, I had a visitor.

Madison Maxwell.

She was sitting at my computer. She looked just like I remembered her. Enough of a Royal to be respected, and enough rebellion to bring about change. I was too shocked to move. When she noticed I was in the room with her, she just smirked and said “There’s 1 Maxwell left, and I want to have a Black Widow moment.”

When I woke up, I knew exactly what she meant. When I started The Maxwell Investigations series, it was supposed to center around Madison, Dylan, their 3 brothers, and parents. As the story grew and was fleshed out, Vampires and Werewolves were added into the mix. Now we have Succubi, Fae, Gargoyles etc. With the events of Dangerous Dalliances, I see the need to have at least 1 scene where the local governments are trying to figure out not only what is going on, but also how to keep their respective countries safe.

I can totally see Madison talking to Congress, trying to calm everyone’s temper, and then just saying screw it. We police ourselves. If you want to try to come after us, so be it. We’re done hiding… and then walking out. I doubt that’s how it will really go, but oh I can picture it. screen-shot-2014-03-06-at-11-59-11-pm

 

And in the middle of all of this, Jimmy can get his happily ever after. I think I may start on this soon. I have no title (which is usually the first thing I come up with) and I’ll probably be even more inspired for Siobhan since I’m going to see Age of Ultron this Saturday. I’ll keep everyone posted on what’s what and where’s where. I hope my ramblings didn’t bore or confuse anyone.

See you next time!!!
Dawn

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Pressure, Anticipation and Lip Sync Battles….

Hey everyone!

I really have to get better at updating this. It’s been entirely too long. And I hate to say it, there isn’t much new on the writing front.

I’ve been sitting and staring at One for Sorrow and the more I want to write, the more I try, the less I come up with. It’s bothering me to the point where I’ve been totally stagnant. I’m furious with myself. Everything that I used to do to try to bring myself back from the abyss of writer’s block hasn’t been working. So here I am, reading, gaming, and wasting time waiting for something to come to mind to write.

And I’m still getting nothing.

I know there are a lot of people who are waiting for something from me. Anything would be nice. There are started ideas across 2 computers, countless thumb drives, and Google Drive, but again, I can’t seem to get inspired enough to write it all down. I’m sorry that nothings. If I could sit here and say, One for Sorrow will be done and out in time for the summer, I would. I really would. But currently I’m feeling a little like: MfCnVOZ

 

The only real highlight I have going on at the moment are the Lip Sync Battles that I’ve been having with TB Bond. She and I have been going at it since the show started on Spike. We’ve been threatening each other with challenges since we saw them on Jimmy Fallon and now, it’s just something silly and entertaining to pass the time. You can look for them on my Facebook page if you haven’t seen them yet.

So this is all from me at the moment. Drop a line if you’re interested. I’m going to try to come up with something to write about… eventually…..

Dawn.

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Updates for the season

Hey Everyone!

I know it’s been a while. Time completely got away from me. One moment I was getting ready for Thanksgiving, the next, it’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day. I have been over the river and through the woods with ideas on my writing. But for whatever reason, I would sit at my laptop and NOTHING would come to me.

I’ve had nightmares about this. I’ve questioned my career as an author over this. What would happen if I couldn’t write anymore? Was I a phony because I’m not writing everyday? I saw so many memes and “inspirational quotes” that made me want to break out in hives. I looked at the calendar and saw that I haven’t put out anything in nearly (now over) a year! When I would try to advertise, my tweets would be lost in the shuffle that is Twitter and Facebook is changing so many algorithms that out of the 327 people who have liked my page, only 3 people (including myself) would see it.

It also doesn’t help that my mind comes up with all of these “worse case scenarios”. Plus I’ve been making costumes for my daughter and niece for Halloween, trying to edit One for Sorrow (and by trying to edit, I mean rewrite the WHOLE FLIPPING THING), come up with marketing ideas, swag ideas, adjusting to my job and keeping my house together.

I think I burned myself out.

It rips at my heart that One for Sorrow isn’t finished yet. I want this to be the best novel I can make it. You guys deserve nothing less. I’m also doing some shuffling in my head. I want to see what can I do with Maxwell Investigations, The Mudfoot Chronicles (a steampunk western that my father {of all people LOL} inspired), and a pair of secret project that may or may not be completed.

I WILL say that I sent away my paperwork to have a table at the Gaithersburg Book Festival (May 16 ,2015). I’m excited about that. I’ll have new bookmarks, maybe design a button or 2 as well. Since everything is up in the air, when I get confirmation, I’ll let all of you know if I got in or not.

Well, that’s all for right now. I don’t have any dates for anything, sadly. But stay tuned!! I’m going to keep you all posted with what’s going on.

Till Next Time!!
Dawn.

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Up for Air.

Hi Everyone! I’m pretty sure I’ll have a Thanksgiving Day post. I might not. There’s no telling what news I’ll have in two days time.

I’m dropping a line to make another confession. Maybe it’ll give some one with the same struggles insight. Who knows.

I first published Dragon’s Awakening back in 08. So I’ve been a published author for 6 years. Between Dragon’s Awakening and Tangled Temptations, I had a decent job. My home life came down to a routine. I was able to write, be a mom, and get everything I needed to get done in a day.

Then, in 2010 I lost my job.

I tried to hold as many pieces of normalcy as I could, but slowly everything started to fall apart. I remained unemployed for 4 years (not by choice) and while I was trying to get my work out, it was still hard because I could barely afford to put food on the table, never mind paying someone $600+ for them to edit my books.

By the end of 2011 I lost whatever good focus I had. My game plan was to be home, focus on my writing, and watch my name take off. It didn’t happen. I barely sold anything. The only times I saw any numbers was when I would post a book for free. I thought that the more I wrote, the more I would sell, it would be like a trickle down effect.

That didn’t happen.

I tried to join in on Twitter conversations and the like to see if I could sell more. That didn’t work either.

Then home life started to take hold. I rent out my mother’s basement, so when she needed a sitter for her foster children, I became it. My life revolved around changing diapers, Disney Jr. and making sure the Kidlets had the best they could hope for.

The more I tried to write, the more I stared at a blank page. The more I tried to force something, the more I hated it.

I was at a point where I was about to completely give up on my writing.

Over the summer I was able to find a part-time job.

I thought my slump was over. The foster kids were reunited with their family. I had a steady flow of income, the world was finally back on its axis!

Or so I thought.

After spending so long unemployed, the transition back to work is hard. Trying to get back into the swing of everything isn’t as easy as I thought it was. I thought I could wake up in the morning get my daughter to school, get a few extra minutes of sleep, head to work and then when I get home get to writing.

Yeah. That’s not working.

My daughter has martial arts classes, then I have to check her homework and cook. I have no clue how I did this before!

And I didn’t even mention the hell I put myself through stressing out to make 2 Halloween costumes.

But I’m not complaining. I’m thrilled for my job. I adore my daughter. While I may only be able to squeeze out a few minutes here and there, I decided to take the next few days and do something I haven’t done in a really long time.

I’m going to breathe.

If I write, great. If I don’t, that’s okay too. My daughter is going to be more into what’s on her plate and her iPhone to really pay any attention to what I’m doing. And so I’ll probably read and be thankful for the little wonders that seem to keep me content.

Anyways… this post has taken a turn. And I’m going to end it here. Feel free to drop me a line if you want. And if I don’t talk to you again this week, have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Dawn

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A Heavy Decision…

Hi everyone!!!

I haven’t fallen off the Earth or anything. I’m still here. I’m still trying to get a handle on work, home, writing and then trying to market myself, while trying to hold on to some of my own identity.

But I don’t want to get bottom-of-the-ocean deep. I’m writing this to give everyone an update on what’s going on with my writing.

First up, Two for Joy.

I know One for Sorrow hasn’t hit the Kindle yet. A few friends are eagerly waiting this new series from me. So I’m going to give you the really good news that I’ve started on Book 2 and it’s coming along nicely.

Now, about One for Sorrow.

When I started working on this, I had a hair-brained concept. I started writing and it blossomed into something that I never would have thought. I sat on it so I could get a few thoughts on it and then I would self-edit, put it out and be on my merry way.

That’s not what happened.

I started talking with other authors. I started to see where I was going wrong with my writing. While my story was good, there was mistakes that if I shopped it around, agents would have probably laughed as they put it in the shredder (or at least tossed it into the recycle bin of their computer.). So I went back to the beginning to make it a tighter story.

It’s not just tighter, it’s like I’m writing the book all over again. I’m adding things that it simply slipped my mind to put in the first go-round. Things that I don’t really, really need were cut. So I’m working on getting the best novel that I can out to you all.

Now, that being said, I have reached a major decision.

We all know that I started the Maxwell Investigations series because of half-baked out ideas and having fun. Do I regret it?

NEVER.

Would I do things differently if I had the chance?

Definitely. I would have found an editor I could afford. I would have picked more brains to understand what the hell head-hopping was.

Am I going to go back and re-write the first 3 novels?

HELL NO!!!

I know the kind of writer I am. It’s one of the reasons why I hate doing edits so much in the first place. I don’t go in and change a word here and a word there. I open a new file, see where the scene is supposed to go, and write. There is nothing saying that where I end up in a re-write of Tangled Temptations will be where it needs to be for the beginning of Precarious Possessions. Precarious Possessions could throw Dangerous Dalliances into a tailspin and there would be no survivors! So no. As much as it pains me, for my own sanity, I can’t go back and re-do any of them.

Where does that leave Maxwell Investigations?

When I finished Dangerous Dalliances, I looked at it as AN ending of sorts. The first Arc is done, but there are still more adventures in store for the Maxwells, Solomons, and Davenports. There were too many new characters and unanswered questions. I won’t leave it unfinished.

I’ll keep everyone posted on what’s what. I’m hunting for images to make my own little blurbs, so if you see them on Twitter or FB please feel free to share.

Till next time!!!
Dawn

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True Confessions: An Apology.

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Hey everyone!

This entry into my True Confessions series is really an apology to my 8th grade English teacher, Mr. Fagan.

I’ll give you all a little back story.

In middle school, I was in the 3rd highest class in my grade, 3-C. We were honor students. We were the snarky smartmouths that felt like we could get away with just about any and everything (because we usually did).

Our assigned English teacher, Mr. Asher went out on sabbatical half way through the year and his replacement was Mr. Fagan. On his last day, Mr. Asher asked me to give Mr. Fagan a chance. He was a good teacher and I could possibly learn a lot from him. I told Mr. Asher that I would give him a shot if he didn’t treat me like an idiot (I was a 13-year-old idiot).

My teachers all knew I loved to write. I walked around with a clipboard and instead of class work I wrote a Western with two sisters trying to hold onto their father’s ranch while falling in love with ranch hands (13-year-old, cowboy obsessed idiot LOL.). So the English teacher switch felt like a beloved Nanny abandoning me.

But like I told Mr. Asher, I was going to give him a chance, as long as I wasn’t treated like an idiot.

So on that first day back to school after the New Year Holiday, I walked into my last period of the day. Even though I hated the idea of Mr. Asher not being there, I was willing to move on… until I saw the blackboard.

In big bold letters, Mr. Fagan wrote the words that signed, sealed and delivered my loathing of him.

“What is a Sentence?”

Like I said before, we were an honor roll class. I was going to be a New York Times Best Seller. I could translate Shakespeare without even trying! I’ve read and written reports on Dumas! There wasn’t a test I didn’t score less than a 95%! I was going to take up Greek Tragedies by the end of the school year! How DARE this man, this STRANGER come into what I felt like was MY DOMAIN and insult me like this???

What is a sentence???? I believe my exact words were either “Get the f**k out of here” or “You’ve gotta be f*****g kidding me.” (yeah, I’ve had the mouth of a trucker since way before I was 13).

Needless to say for the rest of the school year I was a right little bitch to Mr. Fagan. I never did my work. I didn’t pay any ounce of attention in class. I had written him off and tossed him aside from the moment I copied his signature and had a permanent hall pass. If I wanted a drink of water, or go to the bathroom, I would simply stand up and walk out.

Now I sit here trying to edit my work. And I’m finding myself wishing that I would have sat my little happy ass down and listened to him. Because with all of my accomplishments, all of my high grades and the fact that I have so much written under my belt, there is one thing that I have tried to hide and am finding that I may not be able to much longer…

The basic concepts of grammar are lost on me.

This could be why my novels are lacking the epic sales that would make me a best seller. For all I know they open my novels and see some glaring mistakes, back out of it. Never to look at it again.

I’m working on this now. But it’s hard. Like reinventing the wheel hard. I write what sounds good to me, then I’m told “it’s passive voice” or “you’re head hopping.” I can put a sentence together without a problem. But there’s no way I could deconstruct it.

So now I’m ready to pull my hair out because I was too much of a stubborn a*****e to listen to my mentor and give the poor man a chance.

For that Mr. Fagan, I am truly deeply sorry.

I don’t know if he’ll ever read this. But on the 1 billion/1 chance that he does, I really do wish I would have listened in 8th Grade English.

That’s my confession folks.
Till Next Time!
Dawn🙂

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