Monday, September 30, 2013

An Addendum To Last Night's Post

Yesterday I posted that in order to stay prolific in my work I have to be hyper organized. It's been mentioned by a few people who followed me during the Three Day Novel Contest that they remember my mentioning large amounts of whisky. 

The Three Day Novel Contest is not a sustainable homeostasis. Yes, I was able to produce a first draft of a novel drinking whisky at night and tea during the day. I didn't eat much except candy and I slept in shifts. 

Shifts of restless naps filled with half asleep daymares about what a terrible writer, philosopher and human being I am. It's not how I operate day to day. Thank God. I was told Hemingway drank heavily to write beautifully. One reread of my first draft submitted to the Three Day Novel Contest confirms I am not Hemingway. 

I've recently been dealing with some heavy life stuff. I've been having a hard time accepting loss. In response to this I've started a Monday through Friday cleanse. I'm hoping the lack of toxins wont be too distracting and my brain stays creative. We'll see.

On a lighter note I finally cracked the Createspace code... again. More on that tomorrow.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

One Writer's Dirty Secret

So many writers claim to have a creative need for chaos. I've taken workshops and joined writing circles with writers stating with shameless announcements of how much they can drink, how they can't sleep until three am and rarely wake up before noon and how much partying they manage to fit in month to month. I listen with reverence on how prolific they are in spite of so many bad habits.

I enjoy a good party just like everyone else and I've been known to stack up a few sheets of paper. But, I CAN NOT FUNCTION IN CHAOS! Does this make me less of an artist? I can drink an obscene amount, and I do, but not when I'm writing.

If you've seen the pictures of my home office I've shared in previous posts my work area is immaculate.   I have issues with balance so I'm either hyper organized or a mess. My writing space is hyper organized. 

When I have deadlines my workout schedule becomes more regimented and my sleep hours better regulated. Sharing this with you is oddly cathartic. I've grown quiet in writing circles while listening to others explain how painful and unhealthy their 'process' can be. 

My creative process, unlike many other things in my life, is pretty healthy. Perhaps because when I'm writing I'm at my happiest. I also enjoy celebrating when I feel I've completed something. Hopefully there will be a lot more of that! ;)

E.L. Watts nominated me for a Liebster Award! Thanks E.L.!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fresh Start

I admit I'm impulsive. I rush things. When I make lists I like to check things off, as quickly and not always as efficiently as possible.

My new book cards came. I've looked them over again and again. They look good. I reached out for help with Createspace. Thank you to everyone that responded. My being unable to put 'TWIST' into print turned out to be a blessing in disguise. More typos were found (minor ones) that I was able to fix. I'm okay with the Kindle version having a few typos as it's a mere $2.99. The print copy will be $12.95. I want to put out the best product that I can.

My weekend in Tahoe helped me decompress and gave me some perspective on my life and my priorities. I'm feeling much more confident this week!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Createspace Fail

This is so frustrating. I've been formatting and re-formatting the print copy of my book. For some reason I can't get the page numbers to transfer from word to a PDF file. 

If you can't tell I'm not that tech savvy and it doesn't stop there. Apparently I also don't have an eye for detail. I received my book cards and discovered a typo. I had to reorder five hundred more cards. Grrrr. I've now been obsessively proof reading all that I've done. Pain is an excellent teacher.

My mom and I are off to Tahoe with the dogs. I've decided to give myself the weekend off of book duty and just enjoy the process of creating my first draft of 'Twist's sequel 'Chosen'.  The first draft is one hundred percent my favorite part of writing a book. My mysteries are very involved and require heavy plot outlining.

Even though I plot point like mad before I even write a word of my first draft I never know what I'm going to get. It's not until I throw adversity at my characters that I learn more about them. They always surprise me. I'll anticipate them to respond one way and sometimes they react the exact opposite. I've never written a sequel and am excited to learn more about these characters that have grown into complex people with their own hopes, dreams, fears and personal struggles. 

I'm ready for my over due break from Createspace.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

'TWIST' will soon be available in print.

It only took me three days of formatting and fixing unnecessary page breaks to finally have a hard copy decent enough for Createspace to do a twenty-four review. Yes, that was sarcasm. I'm exhausted. I had to take another day off of running and it's been a beautiful, breezy sunny day. 

I'm doing yoga again tonight to tend to the knots that have developed under my shoulder blades. A fellow writer and blogger said it best. Self published writers who get things done in a timely manner are "sleepless work obsessed zombies".  I haven't gotten anything done in a timely manner and I'm beat. I'm hurting but it's a good hurt. ;)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Avoiding Burnout

I'm excited about going back to the San Francisco Art Institute, where much of the action in my book takes place, and begin promoting face to face with my intended audience. I'm excited about 'Twist's" sequel 'Chosen'. I nearly have the first draft completed. I'm also dreading the inevitable burnout!

It's easy to get rolled over by the proverbial snowball. As it grows in size it begins chasing you faster downhill. I've been warned by other writers in our community who have had this same experience. If you let your 'snowball' get too big too fast it will get to a speed you can't outrun and crush you. Think Loony Tunes. Elmer Fudd is running through the snow and Bugs Bunny's once baseball size snowball, now mountainous, crushes him.

I'm a new face on social media sites. While most others my age have built up a resistance to the bacteria I find myself exposed all at once and am now infected. 

I literally can't stop answering emails, responding to questions and plot pointing projects that don't even need to be thought of yet. I'm afraid that if I take a break my creative high will dissipate. I have three blogs and have been answering and sending countless emails trying to get my book reviewed/promoted. I've already had to turn off the internet once in order to get some writing done. Social Media ADD is it's own special kind of writers block. 

I'm ecstatic about my progress but I wont feel like I've published a thing until I get reviewed. I think tomorrow I'll take half the day to lie in sun since it's almost fall, but I can't promise anything.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Must Do Yoga!

Sorry I have to keep this post short. I'm one giant stress ball and I'm trying to make the six o'clock Bikram yoga class.

Finding a healthy balance between promoting and writing has been tough.

I joined bloglovin.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Self Publishing Is Hard The First Time

Now that I feel I can finally let 'Twist' go I'm diving into it's sequel 'Chosen'. I've learned so much. I know how to format an e-book, zip and unzip files, and I have acquired some pretty necessary Photoshop skills. I feel invincible in the self publishing world. 

Given my competitive nature and obsessive need to be published I feel my entry into the 'published authors club' was initiation by fire.  I'm not super tech savvy so for me it was a real challenge. I realize self publishing doesn't have the same cache as traditional publishing but if you put out a quality product, you earn the title. The only judges I answer to are the readers. They're the ones I write for. 

If I didn't push myself to 'get it done already' it wouldn't have happened. If it wasn't for all the help and support from friends and family it wouldn't have happened (I'm still surprised no one did me bodily harm). If it wasn't for supportive writers and readers hounding me to push the button so they can finish what they halfway started, it wouldn't have happened.

Thanks guys!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Happy Friday the 13th. It's Alive! 'Twist' is now available on Amazon.

'TWIST', the first book of my Rebecca Ashley series, is now available on Kindle. If you want to check it out simply click the link next to this post. I will have hard copies available on Amazon in a couple of days.

It took some doing but after consuming a lot of chocolate and many adult beverages Kristi and I managed to crack the Kindle code. I'm excited to finally focus on the next book of the series which I believe will be even better than the first.

There is no right or wrong way to develop a book and no two writer's creative process is exactly the same. My mysteries require pretty complicated plot lines so I outline heavily. 'TWIST' is my fourth attempt at creating an audience worthy novel and I finally did it.

Happy Friday the 13th everyone. It's my book's birthday! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Self Publishing Is Hard!

:p I officially stick my tongue and make rude noises at those who get down on self published authors. I've actually had a writer friend say, "Oh, so you're going the impatient lazy route."

I thought I would have a hard copy to edit. I expected it to arrive yesterday but I ordered it wrong. I've been formatting and getting ready to do my own proofing. I've read and re-read my book double checking for errors so many times after I got back my professional edit. I damn well nearly have my 55,000 word manuscript memorized line by line. 

Self publishing is hard. There are so many writing adjacent jobs you have to do. I'm finding the process both exciting and exhausting at the same time. Anyone have any suggestions or want to add their two cents please do tell! 

I heart comments!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Old Fashioned Hard Copies

I do read e-books but when I have the option to order a paperback I can't help myself. I know it's probably wasteful and not that great for the environment. There's just something about the way a book smells and flipping through it's pages that brings me back to the nostalgic childhood crap I enjoy reliving. 

As a kid I was always reading. I was one of those flashlight under the bed nerds that couldn't put a good book down even for things like sleep, friends, or good hygiene (JK on hygiene, kinda). 

I got this idea from Jennifer's Donnie Darko Girl Blog. When I went over to a new house as a kid and discovered it's inhabitants had their own personal library I would get super excited. I guess now I still do. 

This is a fun blog topic. Show me a pic of your library. Thank you to every dude that has ever helped me with the boxes at moving time!

Bookcases and my pet squirrel!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Goodbye Bay Bridge!

Since my stories are usually set in or around where I live, the San Francisco Bay area, I find it sad to read through my descriptions of the old Bay Bridge. It looks so different now.

In my noir mysteries San Francisco is a character in and of itself. I feel a sense of loss, over a bridge! Is that weird?

Old Bay Bridge
New Bay Bridge

New Bay Bridge

"Are you in Boston?"
"No, I'm on the new Bay Bridge."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Post For Insecure Writer's Support Group

Today is the 2nd year anniversary of Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. When my blog was new Alex posted a few comments of encouragement that really meant a lot. My blog is new now but then is was brand new. I'm talking a handful of hits new and completely free of followers. I hope I can pass it on.

I'm most insecure about self publishing my first novel 'Twist' of my Rebecca Ashley mystery series. It's so hard to tell when a book is done. I'm such a new writer that I can't tell if I'm over or under editing certain parts of my book. Sure, grammar is obvious but what about content? How can you tell a book is done?

A family member mentioned rewriting the beginning again. I'm not so sure but I'm willing to listen to what they have to say. I'm always open to suggestions. In fact, I could not have finished this book without them!

I've done everything people suggest self published authors do. I had my book professionally edited. I had a professional artist design the cover. Now I need to format the book and upload it. I will read through the finished manuscript one last time and then press the publish button. To learn more about The Insecure Writer's Support Group check it out!: 

Paperback Cover For 'Twist' Done!

As you know I've had a wild ride this weekend. I completed the International Three Day Novel Contest, had my witness statement signed that I indeed wrote my book titled 'The Academy' between Saturday 12:01 am and 11:59 pm the following Monday. I'm just coming down off the adrenalin high.

Driving over the new Bay Bridge was weird. I agree with people saying it reminds them of Boston.

Doesn't look like the usual drive into San Francisco.

Yesterday I was still amped and some how managed to focus enough to take advantage of it. I drove into the city to meet up with Kristi, my cousin and cover artist, to format the paper back cover to 'Twist'. During the night our friend Mona came over to give us some much needed input. We were glad she came over even though she had just gotten done working out and had stinky feet.  

Kristi did an excellent job.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I feel like I could sleep for a week. I was hopped up on so much adrenalin that I didn't go to bed until the wee hours. When the Three Day Novel contest ended at midnight it was wine o'clock and it took a lot to calm my nerves.

The first draft of book one for my next series is born. I've tacked it's outline to my wall as a carrot to get the next two books of my Rebecca Ashley series completed. Then I can start on my Lia Parker series. She has her own world in San Francisco and I can't wait to dive back in.

The first book of my Rebecca Ashley series titled 'Twist' is done and will be available on Amazon as soon as it's formatted. I will post the link on my blog once it's available.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Last day and I'm still in the game! Barely!

OMG where to begin. Below is my final draft. I'm typing away but not as fast as yesterday. Saturday seems like it was weeks ago. Hopefully by midnight tonight I will have the first draft of the first novel of a new mystery series. Good God I'm tired! There...that's...all...
Completed Map Of Death March

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Day 2 Of 3 Day Novel Contest

As you can see below my outline in filling out. Last night was tough but nights are always the toughest.  Switching from pounding tea to sipping manhattans puts a little pep in my step. Wine makes me sleepy but whisky is fortifying. 

Once out of bitters whisky and coke (coca-cola people) does the trick as the caffeine does help. Then, the inevitable break down occurs. I'm a fool to think I can possibly do this. I picture the managing editor flipping through my manuscript laughing as they tell their assistant it might as well have been written in crayon. Cue in nap time.

Back at it!
Day 2 of Death March