Friday, February 20, 2015

Running out of steam? Try this! #writinglife

There are as many different ways to approach writing as there are writers. Everyone eventually settles into their own routine using their own method. However, there is one common concept that runs across all genres. You can't be a writer without being a workaholic!

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

This career requires determination, sacrifice, and a lot of work. Increased competition demands more from writers than ever before. When self-published authors can put out books at will, the idea of releasing only a single title per year doesn't cut it anymore. Most authors I know are cranking out three to five even when they're traditionally published.

Most authors also have a full-time job doing something other than publishing. That leaves even less time for relaxing. With so much to do and only so many hours, sleep is often the first casualty and that can make everything worse. Studies show lack of sleep makes you less productive and less able to focus, meaning all those lost hours of sleep aren't equating to the same amount of quality work. 

Like many people, I have a chronic illness that keeps me running at far less than 100 percent. Several months ago, things took a dive and left me with even less energy than usual. I spent a few weeks perfecting an octogenarian shuffle and taking naps to recover from a trips to the grocery store before things settled to my current state of exhaustion. Sick or not, I still have a full-time job to do and books to write. I'm not a special case. There are millions of people like me and 'chronic' means you can't put things on hold and hope you'll feel better later. There is no such thing as better. Regardless of the excuse, publishing doesn't make allowances for illness or even catastrophe. You either finish the books and do the necessary marketing or watch your sales plummet.

Thank goodness for coffee naps! 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

It's no secret I'm a big fan of coffee. It's my favorite comfort food and better at lifting my mood than anything else. On the other hand, I haven't been a fan of naps since I was two. It always seemed like a big time commitment for very little payoff since I usually woke up more tired than when I went to sleep. Apparently, that's because I was doing it wrong.

Studies show that shorter naps are better. Even 10 minutes boosts productivity and focus. Coffee naps take that natural boost to the next level. The theory is that it takes 20 minutes for the caffeine in your cup to kick in, which leaves plenty of room for a nap. You slam a mug of coffee (or a shot of espresso), find a quiet place to curl up, put your mental to-do list on pause, and set a timer for 10-15 minutes. By the time you wake up, the coffee is metabolized, and you're ready to go. 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

After several months of almost daily naps, I can testify that the studies are right. It's amazing the difference those 10 minutes make, even without the coffee. The next time you're blinking at the screen trying to force your eyes open through another hour of editing, take a break, take a nap, and try again. You'll be surprised how much it helps.

Read the Saving Liam Series today!
Available at all major ebook retailers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Author Cat Fights and Consequences

You've read the recurring blogs about unprofessional author behavior and the downside of engaging in cat fights online. We all know it's a bad idea, highly unprofessional, and usually a bit childish, right? 

Did you know one unbridled rant can kill your career?

Photo courtesy of HannaElise 

I'm not talking about being blacklisted by a group of readers on Goodreads. I'm talking about legal repercussions. In the States it's called libel and by definition is anything you put in print anywhere (including social networking sites) that "...injures a person in his/her business or profession."(1)

If an author (or their publisher) believes their image has been tarnished or sales of a book have been negatively impacted by something posted online, it could involve more than just being blocked on Facebook. Court expenses, legal fees, and financial restitution for damage to the author's image will add up. To me that's a more compelling reason to behave like an adult than because online spats tend to make people look petty and childish.

I don't mean book reviews. I'm talking about those ugly, vicious arguments that spawn dozens of new threads and blog posts as others take sides in the discussion. They're big, emotionally charged, and usually unwise.   

Let's be honest. Professional jealousy is part of the industry and inspires a lot of heated arguments. The last year of insults and criticism aimed at the author of an unpolished yet wildly successful BDSM story is proof enough that it runs through the heart of our profession like cream through a Twinkie. She outsold more talented and more experienced writers by millions of copies regardless of the book's shortcomings. It's unfair, but our reaction to it is something we have to learn to manage within ourselves if we're going to survive in our chosen genre(s). Books we don't like by writers we don't respect will kick our asses in sales sometimes. It's a fact.

On the other side, trading insults is a normal part of Facebook and Twitter for average users. It's easy to get caught up in the negativity and start blasting away, but we're not average users and this isn't junior high. We're published professionals. It behooves us to act like adults for no other reason than we're legally responsible for what we do and say if those words damage someone else's ability to make a living. All it takes is one slanderous word hurled at the wrong author on the wrong day and a cat fight becomes something much worse. 

My suggestion? If you have a beef with someone, limit your comments to email or open a new Word document and rant it out of your system in private. Don't assume a locked Tumblr or LiveJournal account is a safe place to vent. Those conversations can be copied and shared with people outside your accepted list of users. Release it somewhere that has no spotlight. Believe me, a month later when the anger has dwindled, you'll be happy you didn't post what you were thinking.

What is your solution to avoiding online drama? Do you stay away from certain sites or have you figured out how to limit what you see? I would love to hear about your solutions. Tell me in the comments below.

Book 4 of the
Saving Liam Series
Available Now!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Valentines Day LGBT Blog Hop and Giveaway!

We're having a blog hop!

This week we're celebrating the joyous, frustrating, healing, devastating messiness that is love. As authors of GLBT stories, we have decided to celebrate with a giveaway!

The prize is an Amazon Kindle with 49 free ebooks about love! One lucky winner will receive one of these:

Photo by Yuya Tamai

...and a free copy of each of these great ebooks:

Aidee Ladnier - The Break-in
Amanda Young - Winner chooses from author's available titles
Alexa Milne - Rainbow Connection (due out 13th Feb) or Sporting Chance.
Anne Barwell - Winner chooses from author's available titles
April Kelley - Whispers of Home
Brandon Shire - The Love of Wicked Men - Episode One
Bronwyn Heeley - Winner chooses from author's available titles
C. J. Anthony - Heaven
Catherine Lievens - Jamie
Cecil Wilde - Defying Convention
Charlie Cochrane - Winner chooses from author's available titles.
Christopher Koehler - Poz
DP Denman - Any book in the Saving Liam series
David Connor - Tidings of Comfort and Joey Down Under
Draven St. James - Scent of a Wolf
Elin Gregory - Alike As Two Bees
Elizabeth Noble - Winner chooses from author's available titles
Ethan Stone - Winner chooses from author's available titles
Eva Lefoy - Love is a Mess anthology
H.B. Pattskyn - Hanging by the Moment
Hayley B James - Undercover Addiction
J.M. Dabney - When All Else Fails
Jennifer Wright - All 3 Finding Home Series books - Pavarus, Morvea, & Airos
Jessie G - The Protector
Julie Lynn Hayes - When Will I See You Again
Karen Stivali - Moment of Impact
Kendall McKenna - 1) Strength of the Pack 2)Waves Break My Fall
L M Somerton - Rasputin's Kiss
Lily G Blunt - Paint the Sky
Lisabet Sarai - Necessary Madness
Lynley Wayne - Winner chooses from author's available titles
M.A. Church - The Harvest series (book #1 and book #2)
Megan Linden - Running Off the Edge
Morticia Knight - All Fired Up (Sin City Uniforms 1)
N.J. Nielsen - Winner chooses from author's available titles
Shiloh Saddler - Private Pleasure
Sibley Jackson - Private Performance
Stephen del Mar - Dark Love
Sue Brown - The Next Call
TM Smith - Opposites
Tali Spencer - Dangerous Beauty
Tara Lain - Canning the Center
Thianna Durston - The Blake/Dusty Chronicles: Two Sides of the Same Coin
Tracey Michael - Pretty Please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Prize is a basic model Amazon Kindle ereader and English version ebook copies. International entrants welcome. Winner will be contacted via email by donor authors and provided with gifted .mobi format copies. Ebooks cannot be resold, regifted, or redistributed to persons other than the winner of this contest without the publisher's knowledge and consent in accordance with U.S. copyright laws. Contest is not affiliated with Amazon. Contest closes February 16, 2015 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time - US). Winner will be notified by February 18, 2015 at 12:00pm (Pacific Time - US).)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Bare Threads is on tour!

Book four of the Saving Liam Series is on tour!

Available Now!

Liam is not a family man. He learned to avoid the entanglement and its mire of expectations. Expectations he is destined to crush. Unfortunately, Justin is pushing him into the arms of his new family and he’s fighting every step. 

When a person he never expected to see again reappears, Liam finds a reason to make a few concessions for the sake of real love and the only man he is willing to call family.

Book four of the Saving Liam Series

Follow the tour for excerpts from the book, a little Q&A, and the chance to win a gift card.


February 2nd: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading
February 3rd: Promo Post @ Undercover Book Reviews
February 5th: Character Interview @ The Book Daily
February 6th: Book Excerpt @ Zipper Rippers
February 8th: Book Review @ I Heart Reading
February 9th: Promo Post @ Nat’s Book Nook
February 9th: Book Excerpt @ Indy Book Fairy