Could Have Been…

So I took the road less traveled
when I could have been a nurse
I would’ve been more popular at family parties
instead of hearing them say, “she couldn’t have done any worse

than choosing to be what she is right now
dreaming her dreams all day
doing nothing but make up stories –
is that even legal anyway?”

I could be saving lives
instead I just make them all up
I put them through hell and right back again
sometimes they even get knocked up

I could have been a nurse till I retired
and then write the stories after I was done
but that’s not what I chose to do in this life
because deep inside, I know we only have one.

Daily Prompt

A Year of Muses To Come

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

– Ray Bradbury

This is SO my New Year’s resolution – which was the same resolution I had for 2015.

What’s yours?

Muses

What A Difference A Year Makes

On Christmas Day, my sister-in-law told me that I was the happiest she’d seen me in a very long time.

“You’re finally doing what you were meant to do,” she said as she reminded me that this time last year, we had talked about how I was going to start publishing my work for 2015.  And while I did the usual, aw, thank you, I’m still working on it, and I’ve got a long way to go stuff (a habit I have to quit doing because such attitude diminishes all the angst and hard work I’ve put in my writing and publishing journey), I had to admit, she was right.

Because a year ago, I hadn’t yet taken that big leap of faith into self-publishing – at least psychologically.  Sure, I went through the motions of clicking that Publish button and all that, but in my mind, I hadn’t yet embraced the idea that I was an author – a self-published author.  I still held on to some guilt and some shame and whatever else that probably plague many self-published authors when they start.  I just didn’t believe in myself.

But what a difference a year makes.

I no longer hold onto that burning shame that I held onto for being a “self-published author” versus a traditionally pubbed one.  I smile when someone callously jokes at the holiday party, “so how many of your 5-star reviews are from relatives?” (Answer: NONE) or when people ask me why I’m not traditionally published or have a literary agent (though if you’d like to represent me, I’m open to the possibilities).

I’m an author, and that’s what matters.

As a writer, a lot of people don’t realize just how much courage it takes to put words out there, whether one is trad or self-pubbed.  It actually feels worse for self-pubbed authors like me when it’s put out there for free (free writing/reading platforms or free downloads) – especially  when you have NO idea whether anyone will connect with your characters or your stories, or worse, wonder if they got their money’s worth paying for your book when they could have gotten themselves a Venti Starbucks Latte instead.

Still, what a difference a year makes – and I wouldn’t trade 2015 with its highs and lows for anything else.

Because, in the end, independent authors like me write because as creative souls, we have no choice.  We take risks and make tough decisions with our writing, from the art (process) to the product (book).  We give away more for free than we receive – something we’re sometimes expected to keep doing just to keep ourselves current and relevant.

Still, we do it because we have to.  We do it to feed the muse that lives in our hearts and our souls.  We do it to allow for that endless flow of creativity that nourishes us and gives us reason to wake up every morning – and because we fear that one day it will stop flowing because we chose to ignore it.

Source: What A Difference A Year Makes

sex sells

sex sells!
sex sells!
why did you remove those bits out of your book
when sex always sells?
only two scenes…
out of 90K words?
only two scenes?
don’t you know that sex sells
everything else is for the birds!

who wants to read about slow attraction
when it’s instant sex that sells?
who wants to bother with character
when sex always sells?
But I’ll write about character anyway,
and the connections that matter to me
for every word I write
is really for me.


 

This is really just a rant poem, because that’s all I can really do at the moment besides ask myself why I’m still writing when I should just call it quits.  Today someone who bought my book told me she started reading it last week, and after so many missed opportunities for my characters (cock blocks really), she had to skim forward to the sex scene but even then, she said she felt let down because there was not much detail.  So she asked me how many more sex scenes there were and I said one more, and then she asked, “so what’s the book about then?”

 

Writer

No one chooses to be a writer,
not when the process is lonely.
And these days, 
quickly overtaken by the
self-marketing, the self-promotion, and the self-branding –
even the self-loathing.
Because if you neglect to do those
non-writerly things, no one will know
who you are – or care
And still the writer will do all that and continue to write anyway,
because her Soul will die if she doesn’t –
little by little
every single day.

Just Write

My NaNoWriMo novels
 
Yesterday someone in the NaNoWriMo Facebook group linked to a post that basically said that while everyone is supposed to have a story inside them, it doesn’t mean it has to be written. 

Spare the world your story because the world doesn’t need it – basically that’s my take on the article that I could only scan through because it made me gag.

It makes me wonder how anyone can tell someone such a thing to their face, but at the same time, welcome to the world of clickbait and the new wave of publishing where the reader has more power than ever before, even to the point of telling you that the world doesn’t need your story. Or your poem. Or your essay.

I don’t know about you but I only have three words to say to whoever that pompous reader was: I’m writing anyway.

Pam

five years ago today
you passed away
but I still can’t believe
you’re gone
i never got to say good-bye
nor understand why
though memories of you
live on

but i finally did get to pen
those stories in the end
the ones I kept telling you
all about
the ones you never forgot,
of loves and lives overwrought
for never once did
you ever doubt

that i’d finally let the ghosts loose
step away from that noose
that kept me silent
for so long
you knew it all in the end
my dearest, loveliest friend
just where I truly
belonged.

NaNoWriMo Files: Day 1

NaNo-2015-Participant-Banner

Well, it’s November 1st, and that means that NaNoWriMo has officially started. For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a monthlong write-fest for people like me to write 50k words in 30 days.  It sounds crazy, but the whole point is to get the story down on paper. Don’t edit, don’t stop.  Just keep on going till you get to 50K and even higher.

It also stands for National Novel Writing Month and here’s the official information from their website:

National Novel Writing Month is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (formerly known as the Office of Letters and Light) that believes your story matters.

Through all our programs, we work to empower and encourage writing and vibrant creativity around the world:

  • The Young Writers Program promotes writing fluency, creative education, and the sheer joy of novel-writing in K-12 classrooms. We provide free classroom kits, writing workbooks, Common Core-aligned curricula, and virtual class management tools to more than 2,000 educators from Dubai to Boston.
  • The Come Write In program provides free resources to libraries, community centers, and local bookstores to build writing havens in your neighborhood.
  • Camp NaNoWriMo is a virtual writing retreat, designed to provide the community, resources, and tools needed to complete any writing prompt, novel or not.

I’ve always been an advocate for literacy so this ticked all my buttons when I first heard about it three years ago. I totally failed the first year, churning out 16K words after ten years of not writing.  But the bug hit me then, because the following year, when Camp NaNoWriMo came along, I churned out 90K words of a novel whose character of Greg became the basis for Erik Maystrom in Finding Sam a year later.

That was a major accomplishment for me and I realized that even after churning out 140K words of fan fiction, I could also write just about as many words, even more, of original fiction.

For last year’s NaNoWriMo, I wrote Loving Ashe, and by the time I was done, I had 110K words done in a month and a half.  Then off to the editor followed by 8 months of percolating till I hit the publish button in August of this year.

This year, I’m rewriting the second book of the Loving Ashe Trilogy, Loving Riley, for my NaNoWriMo project.  With everything from the beginning to the clunky ending, the poor baby needs a major overhaul so instead of jumping into a whole new story, this month is devoted to Ashe and Riley (well, maybe Collateral‘s Heath and Billie, too, which is in editing phase) so I can get them through that awkward growing phase in any relationship.  It’s also Ashe’s story, which turned out to be more stressful to me as a writer because I had to rake my poor muse through the coals in this one.

If you’d like to see my rewriting progress, check out my Loving Riley page here and if you’d like to be updated of the latest chapters, opt in with your email address as well.  I think Leanpub has an option to integrate Mailchimp, which is an email software, but I’ve yet to even figure out my Mailchimp return address (oh the joys of having your own massage practice yet needing to get a PO box for your writing career).

Leanpub, which is where I’ll be hosting Loving Riley as I rewrite it, is an awesome platform for serialized fiction, with variable pay ranges for readers to choose, even more than the suggested retail price.  You see exactly how much my royalty will be, and because I’m choosing NaNoWriMo as the cause that I’m supporting, you’ll see just how much of my net proceeds will go to them.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 5.12.36 PM

I wrote about Leanpub last year but need to do a new one since they’ve done some major changes to their site, making it easier for writers to now upload finished work instead of having to write in markdown language.  While I already do write in markdown language, majority of people I know don’t.

It’s primarily populated by technical books and while it intimidated me last year, I realized how serialized books in technology works so well because coding wins and fails depends on open communication between readers/testers.  But its founder has always maintained that it’s a platform for fiction writers, too, and I was really impressed already with its output epub, mobi and pdf output.  This year, with its latest updates in the interface, I’m giving it another try with my novels. I also like that you can automatically allot a portion of your royalties to a cause you choose.

Alright, for Day 1 of NaNoWriMo, I sure am chatty, aren’t I?  Oh well, hope I didn’t bore you too much and I really need to get started with the rewriting.

What about you?  Are you dong NaNoWriMo this year?

Via Liz Madrid http://lizmadrid.com/2015/11/01/nanowrimo-files-day-1/

Remiss

I have been remiss with all my regular postings because I’m writing and researching for my writing. For someone who knows nothing about stocks and bonds and shares and margin calls, why on earth did I have to pick that as the background for my current book which is being written and submitted for Harlequin’s SYTYCW15 contest? And I’ve got less than 10 days left to go!

Oh well, I’m going to plot again.

 
Actually, maybe not.