Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The New Writing Plan: I will let go of my need for wordly rewards

So a couple of weeks ago, I told you about my New Writing Plan. I took some time off writing for Spring Break, because I was feeling creatively empty. Now I'm back and ready to put this plan into action.

Though the plan isn't in any particular order, the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about my future in the writing business was this:

I will let go of my need for worldly rewards.

This, I think, is one of the most important steps for me. Here are my thoughts on how to achieve that.

I will only check book sales on the last day of each month.

I will not ask for reviews, award nominations, or popularity votes.

I will not post "brag" posts about my books.

I will not look at any rankings of any kind.

I will not read reviews.

I will do only minimal marketing, such as maintaining my social networks, blogging, and taking advantage of opportunities that come my way. 

Yes, I basically decided to stop marketing my books. I'm afraid that's just shooting myself in the foot, but I feel it is necessary, at least for now, if I am to regain any joy in writing. So. We'll see how this goes.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Apocalypse Panel Question #2: Why draws me to write apocalyptic stories?

It's time for the Apocalypse Panel again! This month's question is a little less nightmare inducing. :)

What draws you to write apocalyptic stories?

To be completely honest, I'm not sure I am drawn to write apocalyptic stories. But I can tell you why I felt drawn to write Defenders of the Covenant, which features apocalypse-by-alien-invasion. This is from my website:

I first came up with the idea for Defenders of the Covenant while pondering the question of how far I would go to keep the covenants I have made. I take those covenants very seriously. What might I be asked to sacrifice? My life? Something harder? My mind churned up a worst case scenario of an alien invasion and a mother asked to give up her child to save the human race. That led to the short story which eventually became the novella, Consecrated.

I was fascinated with the "what if" behind that story. What if aliens invaded Earth? How would my church react? That was the basic grain of the novel.

For me, I wasn't thinking so much about the end of the world as I was about faith. Writing about the end of the world is an excellent way to delve into concepts of faith and loyalty and all sorts of things. Will I write any more apocalyptic stories? Hard to say. I don't have any in the works right now, but I never what sort of ideas are going to rear up and take hold of me.

What do you feel drawn to write?

Be sure to check out the responses of the other panelists!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A New Plan (or One Day at a Time)

Thank you! 

Thank you all so very much for your love, support, kindness, and good advice last week. I really needed it.

I have spent a lot of time thinking and praying and soul-searching about this whole thing. On Monday, I started to make a plan. It had things like write 100 pages a month, create a schedule and stick with it, and publish 2-3 books a year. All good things. But I started to feel stressed and depressed again.

More soul-searching commenced.

Then yesterday while walking at the pond, I had an epiphany. I knew what I needed to do. And it starts with letting go of the things I can't control. (Surprise, surprise. You'd think I would have learned that through all my years of addiction recovery, but sometimes my knowledge doesn't transfer well to other areas of my life.)

To make a long story short, here is my new plan:

I will let go of my need for worldly rewards.

I will surround myself with beauty.

I will nurture and protect my creativity.

I will create wonderful things, joyfully, courageously, and with reckless abandon.

I will offer my creations to the world in the best way I can find.

I will not worry about the size of my audience.

I will allow creating to be its own reward.

I will not worry about the opinions of others.

I will let go of guilt.

I will praise my efforts each day.

I will try new things.

I will do stuff that makes me happy.

I will remember that changing old habits and false beliefs takes time. I will be patient with the process.

I said that I would have to find a way to hope and dream again, and I think this is the way.

Most of these will need a specific plan for how I will accomplish it. That will come. But this is a great start. As soon as I committed myself to this plan, I churned out five pages on my novel yesterday!

So, again, thanks to you all! I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Doubt, Decisions, and Broken Dreams

Please forgive me for this long and painfully honest blog post. I have a personal policy of being only positive on the internet, but there are some things I need to get off my chest. Feelings I need to acknowledge so I can work through them. So please bear with me. (Or if you don't want to read it, that's fine too.)

Two years ago, my first novel was published. Hooray! I cried and jumped for joy. I celebrated, and I was right do so.


My gradually that dream come true turned into a soul-crushing defeat. I won't go into all the reasons. Maybe my expectations were too high. I don't know. The fact of the matter is that I have no more hopes or dreams.* I can't bring myself to hope or to dream. It hurts too much.

I have spent months telling myself I shouldn't feel this way. I shouldn't be discouraged. I should persevere and be positive. And I really believe that. But the fact remains that my heart is broken. I am grieving and I need to allow myself to do so.

I am just beginning to realize that I want two different things.

I want to write books.

To be specific, I want to write the books that speak to my soul. I want to write books about my own people and my own worldview and everything I find exciting and wonderful.

I also want to sell books.

A story does not live until it is shared with someone else. I don't need to make a lot of money. I don't need to be a best seller. But I need something. I need enough to feel I am not just wasting my time. And right now, I don't have that.

You might think these two things are compatible, but in my case they are not.

I feel I must make a choice.

I can keep writing what I long to write and give up on the hope of selling many books or being profitable. 


I can write different books that I know will sell better.


I can retire.** (That sounds so much better than giving up, doesn't it.)

I have loads of reasons, both good and bad, for making any one of these decisions. I'm honestly not sure which way I will go. I do know one thing, though. Retiring is the only option if I can't find a way to hope and dream again. Believe me, I am trying. I am plodding forward without hope, in the hopes that hope will return. :)

*This pertains only to writing. I have many hopes and dreams in other aspects of my life that bring me great joy.

**For the record, I intend to finish the Defenders of the Covenant series. The last book is out with beta readers, so I will definitely carry that through to the end.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

One Word Interview with Lisa Swinton

Today, we welcome Lisa Swinton, author of Fallen Angel to the writing chair. Let's get to it!

Stranded on a desert island. What's your must have item?
Satellite phone so I can call for help wherever the island is in the world and get rescued ASAP!

You are a wise woman.

What historical figure would you most like to have lunch with?
Jane Austen

That would be a fun lunch. I'll bet she's very entertaining.

Ideal romantic getaway spot?
Just so long as it has a beach, warm water and my husband, I'm good.

Sounds perfect to me.

What trait do you share in common with your main character?
With Antonio - I'm a planner. With Renatta - I love music.

I love music too. Planner, not so much.

You're performing on Broadway. What show are you in?
This changes hourly as I love musicals and have loads of roles I'd love to play. At this moment - Glinda in Wicked.

Awesome. Such fun music in that one. 

Thanks so much for being with us today, Lisa! 

Fallen Angel
Antonio does not believe in love at first sight until he sees her fall into a street in Milan and get hit by a motorcycle. Compelled to know if she can return his affection, he becomes Renatta’s hospital volunteer only to learn that the accident erased her memory. Together they must discover her past, present and future. In the way of happily ever after stand her opera career, tyrannical mother, and fiancĂ©.  Antonio must win Renatta’s heart before she bends to the will of her mother and marries Marcello.  Failure means a lifetime of loneliness, for love at first sight never happens twice.  

Lisa Swinton caught the romance bug early by way of fairy tales and hasn’t been able to cure it since. Instead, she feeds her addiction with romance novels and films. In between being a doctor’s wife and mother of two, she occasionally puts her B.A. in Musical Theater to good use via community theater, church choir and teaching the art of singing. In her elusive spare time she enjoys researching her family tree and baking (especially with chocolate). She loves to travel, Jane Austen, and all things Italian. In her next life, she plans to be a professional organizer 

Social Media Links:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Apocalypse Panel

So, here's a new thing I'm doing. The Apocalypse Panel. I and six other authors who like to write about end of the world type stuff (alien invasions totally count!), are getting together once a month to answer a question related to the apocalypse.You can meet the rest of the panel here. Links to all of our responses will be posted on Randy Lindsay's blog each month, so we can all discuss ideas together.

This months question is:

Which situation or event that is currently happening do you think most easily could result in the apocalypse?

Alien invasion, of course!

Not really. Despite what I like to write, I believe there is a 0% chance of alien's actually invading earth. There are plenty of ways to end the world that are more realistic (and keep me up at night if I think too hard about them). I'm going to go with an oldie but goodie (or baddie):

Global Thermonuclear Warfare.

Did you know there are more than 17,000 nuclear weapons on the planet right now? That's just insane. And it's not like world governments are all that stable. *shudder* I'm sure I don't have to outline all the effects a nuclear war would have on the planet. We've seen enough movies, TV shows, etc. to already know.

I don't really think nuclear war is imminent or anything, but I do think it is the most likely way to trigger the apocalypse.

Go check out the rest of the apocalypse authors answers over on Randy's blog!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Combining my passions

As you may know, my other passion in life is music, especially singing and guitar. So just for fun, here's a little video of me combining my two passions. This song is one that is sung by one of the main characters in The Ransomed Returning, and is important to the plot. Here's a snippet from the book, so you'll understand:

The watcher turned to face the door, but he didn't leave.

"Isn't that why you're here?" Hannah asked. "To find out about this freedom I can offer you?"

"Of course not. You are a renegade. You don't have anything to offer me."

"I see."

The watcher did not move. He tipped his head back a little and a shudder ran through him. Hannah wondered if his master was speaking to him. The thought made her shudder as well.

A song popped into her head, and the Spirit stirred her heart. She spread her hands flat against the slab and closed her eyes and quietly began to sing. "Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling, from glen to glen and down the mountain side. The summer's gone and all the roses falling—"

He struck her, and her head cracked against the wall. "Do not sing in my presence," he said.