Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 almost over, writing, writing

Feeling better about my career as an author. I took four days earlier this month, Dec. 8, and booked a hotel room in Melbourne at the Doubletree on the beach. Getting away from all the distractions, from the dogs to DH and the house, really helped. I was very sick, though. We had our annual Christmas party the weekend before and someone came and gave me this vicious sinus infection. So I was coughing the entire time i was away, but I STILL MANAGED TO WRITE 30,000 words. In four days.

Goal had been to write 40,000 words. I figure that 10,000 less is damn good, considering I hardly slept. I'd get up early, have my coffee on the balcony of the room and look at the ocean, and then get to work. There was a desk by the window where I kept the pink laptop, and I would write and write. Sometimes I would take the alpha smart down to the pool to write, but mostly I stayed in the room. In the early afternoon, I'd head out to Friendlys for chicken noodle soup.

It's a weird feeling, being alone for four days with only a book to write. Very isolating and lonely, but when I book these solo writing retreats,I am determined to make the most of them and get the most for the money I'm spending on the hotel. 

I returned, went back to the day job, and the writing, as I knew it would, slowed because of the holidays. Christmas is over now, and the fun and frenzy, and I hope to write a great deal this weekend. I have 46,000 words on Navy Seal book 3, and my goal was to get to 50,000 words before New Year's. 

I did tally up my writing income for this year and feel much better about being an author. I didn't produce as many indie books this year as last, so the results are as expected. Not sure about next year. Figure it will be one step at a time. I was really bogged down emotionally and time-wise with the mold problem in January, moving out of the house for 3 weeks, and then the nightmare with the &#*@#& mold contractor, who turned out to be a total asphalt, and then the renovations. But the kitchen is done, even though we had to hire the original granite installer to tear apart the granite counters and then reset to our satisfaction because the &*#@&# mold contractor did such a crummy job, and both bathrooms are done and Holly, whom we thought we would lose twice this year, is holding her own. Lots of crisis this year, which doesn't help you as an author. So I'm grateful I managed to produce 3 books for self publishing, and write the HQ books as well.

Guess I'll see what 2017 brings. I have my eye on some projects, and the Mating Game will be out in March. But I have learned over the years that I can break my back trying to produce books, but the stress will affect my health, and that is something that I must put first. balance. That's what I strove to attain in 2016 and I'd say I did a decent job of it!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Where did this year go for this writer?

I have no clue. It's December. I still haven't started on the HQ book due. I am taking four days to go to a hotel this weekend to write. Focus. Being home has too many distractions. Laundry. Dogs. Stuff to do. I figure four days away, no phone, home, etc. and I can stream through and really make a dent in this book.

I wrote earlier this summer that I had burnout. Now I realize part of the burnout is that no one is buying the books. It's one thing to feel tired and burned out; another when no one is buying your books so you think, "Why am I killing myself to write this much?"

I've been sidelined with other projects and trying to make money. The short story turned into a novella of 41,000 words and it's out Dec. 12. Pre orders suck. Not the worst ever, but close. Very discouraging. I'm finally using instafreebie for a newsletter list, to build it up, but it's slow work. And I'm not even sure that it will work because it seems readers only want free, at least some of them. I have loyal readers who love the series, and I'm grateful for that.

Xavier's book is finished and going to edits in January, but I may delay publication in order to really promote it. I don't know. I suspect Xavier's book is the last in the series. I work really hard and it's not paying off. I told a friend this weekend at our Christmas party that I'm tired of spending all my free time promoting or trying to figure out promotions instead of writing.

I started a new project under a new name, to totally cut myself off from my real name. That project is 80 percent finished. Yay. No plans to promote, just put it up on KU and see what happens. Not even hiring a proofreader or editor. It would be hilarious if it made money. AFter all the money I've spent on editors and proofreaders, and this project takes off without either, I'd just laugh.

It costs me an average of $1,000 to produce an indie book, between the cover, editing and proofing and formatting. And I doubt I will break even with Cowboy Werewolf. Sad, sad state of affairs.

Monday, October 3, 2016


Personal problems. They affect everyone. But this time, my writing has stalled. I'm trying really hard to kick start it again. It's like an old motor that needs a fresh infusion of oil, or gas.

I've never had this problem before, not to this degree. It's worrisome. DH says it's stress. Holly was sick the week before, but doing much better now. I don't know. Maybe it's the market and feeling discouraged, like no one will read what I write.

I have to find a way out of this.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Busy, busy

Can't believe it is Sept. 17 already. I'm floored. I started writing a new short story which is a novella now, and I'm up to 17,000 words. But I got copy edits for the next HQ book, which were given to me late. So this weekend I have to do them as they are due Monday. Such is the life of a hybrid author.

The novella means a lot to me because I still have burnout and I'm still struggling with the writing. It was a fun project, and I needed a fun project. Not a project to make money, but a project to rediscover my joy in writing. With all that has happened this year, from the renovations from the mold, the dog being critically ill and having to take her back and forth to the ER, the stress of my work at the day job, though it is PT, it's been a tough year. I'm trying to learn to balance everything and most of all, take care of my health. And my stress levels. Lately I've woken up with headaches. DH said it might be high blood pressure, but last Friday I was at the doctor and it was fine. I think it is sinus trouble.

The good news is my back troubles are mostly gone. Taking the mattress topper off our bed has helped a lot. I need a firmer mattress. My hip problems are mostly gone, just twinges now and then. the CT scan showed nothing, except normal aging degeneration/arthritis.

I need to exercise more. I got my Fitbit out but this weekend, it's not happening much since I have to get these edits done. It's so freaking hot still. I will join YouFit. That's a certainty.

And I have another book due Dec. 1. I might ask for a one month extension. No one is going to read it in Dec. anyway. Everyone is too busy.

I think I have a plan, though. This weekend I am working on Cowboy werewolf to send to a beta reader, and doing edits as well. Then next week I will finish Cowboy werewolf since I have only 10,000, no, less than 10,000 words to go.

I'll head out to a bed and breakfast or a hotel if necessary for a few days next month to get away so I can focus on the third RS book for HQ. And also in between I will finish X's book. I have 45,000 words already. Maybe I can get that book done to have an early 2017 release date.

I used to go like gangbusters on books, and I've slowed down this year. Some of which is because of the HQ books I've been writing; others because of the stuff at home with the house. But I'm slowly putting the pieces back together.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday August 22, 2016 breaktime, sort of

Have not written in here in a long time. I did turn in the book that was due July 1...on time. I turned in the proposal a little late, on July 18. The book was more important as Shielded by the Cowboy Seal is out in Feb. Good news! My editor read it, loved it and had only a few changes, which I have not yet gotten back. But I did get the acceptance check, which was really nice!

A bright spot in the ups and downs of our lives, caring for an elderly rescue dog and another one with severe kidney failure. Day jobs and responsibilities.

I told myself I was taking the month of August off to recover from writing. I did write 2,000 words on Xavier's story this weekend when we were at Ft. Myers Beach for Dh's birthday. I wrote in the sand, warming my toes in the sun. Every day we swam in the Gulf, and each morning, we took a long walk along the beach. It was sorely needed.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Writing struggles

Haven't posted in here in a while because, quite frankly, I've been struggling to write the book due in a week. It's a new to me genre, and comes with all sorts of challenges. Not only layering in the conflict, but also the suspense and the mystery. My beta readers love it, but I'm still struggling. I know what the problem is... I'm burnt out.

I need to refill the well. The vacation in April was great, but didn't do the job because soon as I came home, I had to crack down and write the book. And so I was tasked with writing a 70,000 word book in two months.

Holly's renal failure also hit me emotionally more than I realized. I worry about her so much. We are giving her fluids twice a day, and hoping to taper off, but the internal medicine vet wants us to keep doing twice a day, 200 ml, until next month's appointment. She IS much perkier and seems more alert and she's eating, so that is good. It was the 1 year anniversary of Dolce's death this week, so I really got hit hard. Plus a coworker I've known for nearly 20 years died unexpectedly. I was going to talk with her about a project and the next day, she was dead.

Life goes on, but the older I get, the more I'm reminded of those glimspes of how mortal we are. And how we need to cherish every moment.

So after I turn in this book, and turn in the proposal for the next one, I'm taking a break. No more indie stories for a while. My income from books has gone way down, as it has for many other authors, which is another reason I've been struggling. It's one thing to write books and have a fab income and get that monetary and necessary reward. It's another to have a new release and have it tank. I need to stop, take a good, hard look at my writing career, and reassess.

And take a break. Maybe on the two days off during the week, instead of struggling to write, I'll go to the beach and read. Or visit a museum with a friend. Regain that love of writing.

Until then, it's finish this book. Almost done. Only 6,000 words left. I can and I will do this!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Break time

What a crazy year it's been already. We are on vacation this week, taking a break while our house sitter watches over things back home.

From the bathroom fiasco to Holly, our Shih Tzu, getting seriously ill from kidney failure and needing sub Q fluids twice a day, and Cookie, our other Shih Tzu having breathing trouble, and trying to write and publish books, and the stress of DH's job and my PT job...we needed a vacation.

It's hard for us to pack up and simply leave, not only because of work, but mainly because our dogs are elderly and can't be boarded. We did board Holly at the animal hospital because of her needs, but the vet advised that next time we probably won't have to do that. We are blessed with a good friend who can house sit and watch over the other dog, and a great pet sitter who can help as well, so that is why we left this week.

And it was my birthday, and I needed a vacation!

And getting away has been interesting because as I put it to DH, when you are so stressed with trying to get so much done, and have so much on your plate, and then you finally slow down, your body simply says, "Ok, I'm collapsing now!"

I'm more tired NOW than I was before. Part of it probably is the altitude of the mountains...we are in Estes Park, about 7,000 feet above our Florida sea level.

I've spent four days NOT writing or doing anything closely resembling work. And now, on Tuesday, it's time to get back to business. I have a book due in June and I also want to get cracking on the rest of Xavier's story.

But the view by the window is lovely, even if the sky is grayish and sullen, and there is a rather frisky marmot who keeps popping in and out of view as he scrambles along the river, looking for food, or handouts.

Happy writing to me!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Tristan, ah Tristan!

My apologies to you, the Silver Wizard I created for my Werewolves of Montana series. I had every good intention to finish your book and move on. Your book is now (partly) with an editor, but it is not finished.

After I finished writing the last post about trying to get back to your book, I spent most of the weekend at our rental unit. I had to hire movers to move out the sofa and loveseat we'd purchased to live in the condo while the demolition was taking place in our home. But we rented the condo and the new tenants were moving in.

Then that Saturday, DH and I spent the day cleaning and doing last minute fixes to the place to make it nice for the new tenants.

Come Monday, it was back to the day job. And then on Feb. 18th, the Thursday I had off from the day job, I just sort of collapsed. Well, that and I had to send in the proposal for the next Navy SEAL book. Oh, but I got my hair done!

Tristan, you wouldn't understand, being a guy and a wizard, how important it is for a woman to have a beauty day after she's been through the hell of renovation and having to be uprooted from her home due to a flood and mold.

So I figured the week of Feb. 25th... that's when I could focus on your book! But that was the weekend of Sleuthfest, the annual mystery writers conference. I did at least send off the revised proposal to my HQ editor. But alas, no time to write your book except in bits and pieces.

That is why today, Thursday, I am concentrating on YOU. I'm nearly at 50,000 words, about 5,000 more to go. You're finally going to get out of the hell of the Shadow Lands.

And maybe soon I'll get out of there, too, with my house! Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Writing again

Back in October, I had to set aside Tristan's book (The Mating Season) in order to work on Navy Seal Seduction, the first romantic suspense book for Harlequin in my new trilogy. That book was due Jan. 15.

I finished the book, and I'm so proud that I did, because we had a huge crisis happen to us the week of Christmas. We had a flood in our master bathroom and discovered lots of black mold growing between the walls. We had to hire a mold mitigation contractor and gut the bathroom, and remove part of the new kitchen. And we had to move out of the house last month, Jan. 17, while all this work was being done.

We moved back last weekend, Feb. 6. It was tough on our two elderly Shih Tzu dogs, one of whom has stage 3 kidney failure.

The mold was discovered when we removed drywall in the kitchen to see if the flood was caused by a burst pipe, and we discovered the bathtub drain was leaking and rusted. Not good. There was standing water in the peatrap. And the mold. After the drywall was removed, my husband and I started getting very sick with respiratory problems. He was coughing and I was coughing and wheezing at night.

I now have bronchitis, thanks to all this.

But I digress. I finished Navy Seal Seduction, it went to edits and it's DONE DONE DONE. Navy Seal Seduction is out July of this year. I also wrote the proposal for the second book and turned that in.

So now at last I am ready to return to writing Tristan's story. It's been a long, grueling two months and it's tough to get my writing mojo back for this book because it means switching from RS to PNR. And with all the chaos of the house, and renting our condo, almost all our spare time has been sucked up with home obligations.

My goal tomorrow is to read through what I've written, and then push ahead on this story. Wish me luck!