Wanted: Crystal Ball

Being an indie author is pretty darn cool most days. But then there are those days where you question everything. And by everything, I mean E-V-E-R-Y thing. Apparently I’m having one of those days today and I can’t help but think that life would be so much easier with a crystal ball. Heck, I’d take a Magic 8 ball at this point, but only if it’s the really girly pink one.

When I have to make tough decisions, there’s always that whisper of self-doubt saying what if? And as much as I’d like to squash it, I’m only human. I worry, and obsess and probably drive my husband bat-shizz crazy throughout the decision-making process. Then I make the decision and worry some more. It’s just what I do.

I had to act on a really tough decision today, one I’ve been obsessing (yes, obsessing) over for months to give up something I love. (How’s that for vague?)  It was hard. Really. Hard. Hell, I’m still sweating it now. But I have to believe it’s for the best in the long run. Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be no matter how bad you want them and tough choices have to be made. It’s a fact of life– indie or otherwise.

My only comfort? I’ve got a great support network to see me through! And that is what being indie is all about. So, now it’s vacation time for me and when I return, I’m fully committed to a renewed focus on my family and my writing.

Aloha!

 

Indie Life: To Critique or Not To Critique?

There are a lot of great things about being an indie author (namely creative control), but there are challenges as well. Let’s be honest; sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. So we hire designers, editors, and sometimes even marketeers. (Yes, marketeers is a real word. I promise.) My point? Being an indie doesn’t mean going it alone. Sure, there’s plenty of trial and error, but there are also a lot of great resources out there for writers. I recently stumbled across CP Seek, a website dedicated to helping writers find critique partners. How awesome is that?

I have a kickass team of beta readers, but I can’t help but think that what’s missing is a critique partner, someone who not only understands plot structure and tropes and character archetypes, but who shares the ups and downs of writing. (Writer’s block, anyone?) In the past I’ve been nervous about dipping my toe in the crit partner pool. I wasn’t sure if I’d have the time or the perspective to be a great partner, so I held back.

I’m starting to rethink my position. After all, I’ve been reading and writing my whole life (more or less) so how hard can it be? (Kidding!) Seriously though, I’m working on my third manuscript and I’m more comfortable with my writing and editing than ever before, so this feels like the next step. And if I can help a fellow writer along the way? Bonus!

I’m definitely going to check out CP Seek, but if there are any writers out there with helpful hints for finding the right crit partner, I welcome the feedback! I’m just getting started, but I have a feeling this is  going to be a lot like dating or, you know, finding a great pair of shoes….

Indie Life: Inspiration

Today I read an amazing story that inspired me. I actually cried– tears of sadness and tears of joy– because this story touched my heart. (If you know me, then you know this is a pretty big deal because I am not a crier.

We all have dreams in life. Some big, some small. All important. Bridget Zinn was a writer who dreamed of sharing her love of literature. She dreamt of creating stories that would resonate with young readers and wrote heroines of strength and substance. (Mrs. Zinn was clearly a woman after my own heart.)

Bridget Zinn’s dream of being published was realized yesterday when her debut novel, POISON, a YA fantasy tale, was released by Hyperion Books. Unfortunately, Bridget Zinn passed away from cancer in 2011 at the age of 33 and could not be here to share her story personally. Her family and friends have banded together to spread the word about POISON, sharing her story with readers and helping make her dream a reality.

Release days are always emotional, for writers and the people who support us in our crazy, pre-launch jitters. It’s a busy time filled with emotional highs and lows. I was wracked with nerves before the launch of my debut novel, Crossroads. It was TERRIFYING. Would people like it? Would they hate it? Or worse, would they be totally indifferent?

Creating and publishing a book is never a one woman (or man) job, not even in the indie world. In addition to the editors, designers and other countless peers who help make our work shine, there are the behind the scenes folks propping us up and encouraging us along the way. These people deserve a standing ovation, because I can assure you it’s not always an easy job.

Weeks after Crossroads released, my own father lost his battle with cancer. It was devastating for our family, but I was proud that he was able to see me achieve my dream of publication. My father was one of my biggest supporters and an inspiration himself.

*HUGS* to Bridget Zinn’s friends and family for sharing her story and honoring hew dreams by getting POISON into the hands of readers. I just ordered a copy, which I’ll be donating to my local library (after I’ve read it, of course).

If you would like to help spread the word about POISON and Bridget Zinn’s truly inspirational story, please visit the official website.

A Recipe for Poison

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

*** Indie Life is a new monthly meme that I’ll be *trying* to post every month. (Seriously. I even set a reminder on my phone.) ***