• Blogging,  My Current News for Friends of Choice,  Teen/Young Adult

    Four Years and Five Books Later

    Self-publishing is a lot of work. For those who have taken it upon themselves to publish in this manner, they learn quickly just how much work it really is.

    I’ve been self-publishing since 2010, and I’ve learned a lot. I mean – A Lot! When I first started, there weren’t that many others out there mapping the way. We were all kind of stumbling around trying to find our way. There weren’t any road maps with arrows pointing the direction.

    I think the hardest was learning how to format the books. I still stumble when I try to make an ePub.

    Every writer has a purpose when it comes to writing. Some are trying to find a way to communicate, or educate. Others just want to entertain.

    Me, I started off just wanting to play the what if game. My daughter was giving me trouble at the time, like many teenagers give their parents. I needed an outlet. A way to vent and play my wildest fears. That was how Friends of Choice came about.

    I didn’t have the intention of writing a cautionary tale. This was my what if, would I survive if the main character died? Did I have the guts to kill her off?

    The next book I wrote was Aaron & Keja. This was my story of escape. I wanted to escape the land – world I was living in – all the problems and stresses – and see if the Orcs could keep the elf king from gaining magic by kill a Time Dragon. Aaron was my heroine. At this point, I thought about romance. But the romance never blossomed. I wasn’t a member of RWA at this point and have never read a Romance, which was why the romance died in the first part of the book.

    I wouldn’t call the romance off for Aaron just yet. She has another story coming up in the near future. The plot is still brewing.

    Witch Book followed Aaron and Keja. I had a lot of fun writing this story. It seemed like the prose flowed from the ends of my fingertips. I was able to write that book in 90 days.

    Road Salt came next. This was a return to my contemporary – Friends of Choice. The story needed to move forward and my daughter’s little adventure prompted part of the story line. The rest came from the fact that I am the mother of an Addict, which is my son. This disease has crippled many. Thankfully he never tried Bath Salts. I used the substance in the story after hearing my son’s rehab counselor speaking about the substance on the Sunday morning news. I ran the idea that next week across to her and she loved it.

    It took so long to write it because no one knew much about the substance. I have to search the internet, and at the time there wasn’t much information to be found there either. It wasn’t until I had an epiphany and contacted an old co-worker of mine who happened to be an EMT. When he heard what I was trying to do, he was ecstatic to help. I wish I had added more about Spice to the story line too. I guess someone else can tackle that substance for now.

    My most recent release, Along Came Neil, is my very first official YA Romance. This was the book that brought Friends of Choice and Road Salt in a new direction. One thing I learned at the rehab sessions, was that everyone deserves a happy ending. So I made sure that Karla, the main character, received her happy ending. What better way to end the series?

    I do have works in progress at this time. The one that I can talk about the most is, Sleeping on the Beach. It will be an NA Contemporary Romance featuring a new set of characters. I do believe it will be a single title and the main character is having an issue with Sleepwalking. She meets a lifeguard who is also a firefighter.

    I will tell you more about it as I develop the plot more…

  • books,  Teen/Young Adult

    Free EBook Editions of the Wings From Ashes Series

    It has been a while since I have given any of my eBooks away. Since I recently updated the editions with some edits and new book covers, I think it is time for a relaunch promotion.

    So here they are, the entire series of Wings From Ashes will be free for a limited time. Hurry and get your copies. I’m not sure how long this giveaway will last.

     

  • Teen/Young Adult,  writing

    Reflections of 2013

    The year is just about over, and many people will be working on New Year’s resolutions – goals for the coming year. But for now I want to take the time to look back and remember where I have come from.

    How and why did I begin writing?

    It all started for me back in 2008 when my daughter said, Mom come check out My Space. I looked and saw all the blogs on the site and began reading. It was a neat way to keep a kind of journal of some sort to share with others. We left comments for each other, made friends, and left lots of Kudos.

    Do you remember Kudos?

    Then my daughter turned 18. Ah – the proper age when the child is supposed to leave the nest. The only thing was, she hadn’t finished High School. Ugh!

    Yep – she left home – no rhyme or reason. Quit school too.

    I was mad. What kind of sane mother wouldn’t be? I went through life trying to help her make it from point A to point B. One grade to the next – it wasn’t my fault that she needed to stay back in school a couple of times. The first time was absolutely all on her. She wanted to be obstinate while in Kindergarten. She is my stubborn child.

    So, when she left home in 2009, of course, I was mad. That was the year I wrote Friends of Choice. I put all my worries, fears, angers, and everything into that story. I also wanted her to know that I was actually listening to her all those years. I got her. I knew how she felt, by feeling out of control because we had to move when she was finally in a school that she truly was accepted into.

    By the time, the book Road Salt came about my son had entered back into the picture. We had an on and off relationship for the past ten years while he lived with his dad. Most of that time he spent getting into trouble with drug addiction related crimes.

    2010 was the year my Granddaughter was born. She and my daughter now reside in upstate NY. That was the year that I published Friends of Choice.

    In 2011, my son entered a residential rehab and remained in that program for just about a year. While he was there, my writing began to take on a different meaning. I no longer felt as if I were writing just for myself. I was now writing with a purpose. I wanted to help the public learn about drug addiction and how it can find its way into all walks of life. No one is immune to the disease of addiction.

    Road Salt was a hard piece to write. I wanted compelling facts for this fictional story, and without the story sounding too preachy. Besides, the designer drug bath salts is a terribly scary substance.

    By the time, I was half way done writing Road Salt, a good friend of mine introduced me to Romance Writers of America. Now I had a new element to add to my writing. This was a new challenge for me.

    To many times drug addiction ends in tragedy with the user dying from their drug usage accidently.

    In Along Came Neil, I not only sought to write a story about romance, but I wanted to learn how to write a story with a happy ending. When I accomplished this for the first time, it felt fantastic.

    Everyone desires to have Happy Ending no matter how much they have screwed their lives up over the years. There is always that small chance that they might make just one single choice that might lead them to recover their lives and live. It does happen. Not as often as it should

    If only there were more residential rehabs out there like Delancy Street or the Phoenix House maybe more people would be able to find the strength to stand up against and fight back substance abuse. If the government were to spend money as they spend on the incarceration of an addict, on recovery programs where solid communities are made, maybe more of these addicts would become active community law-abiding citizens and survive to live more than just another day.

    Yes, I write fantasy too.

    Will I stop writing stories like Road Salt?

    No – I can’t. Stories like Road Salt give me a compelling reason to write.

  • Giveaway,  ROW80,  Teen/Young Adult,  works in progress,  writing,  young adult

    Monadnock Writers’ Group Meeting Minute and #ROW80 Check-in

    It is the third Saturday of the month and time once again to let you all know how my monthly Monadnock Writers’ Group happened to be. Our speaker for today was Hilary Weisman Graham. I met her a few months ago when she spoke at our NHRWA meeting in Bow, NH. That time she had told us all about the marketing things one should not do. This time she spoke about her other form of writing that she feels she loves even more than writing fiction. She is a screenwriter at heart.

    Hilary wrote a YA Contemporary a year ago called Reunited. I still have yet to read it. Winter is coming. There should be plenty of time to read then.

    Her explanation of what she had to go through to pitch a screenplay for TV Shows, explained how difficult that kind of writing tends to be. It is a never ending battle to come up with the right story line, the right characters, and what they are looking for in a screenplay during that actual moment. Many screenplays are tossed in the file after file to become lost in time.

    She was asked about the difference between managers and agents. Hilary said that the managers are more personal, and she can cry on her manager’s shoulder about things easier than crying on an agents shoulder. The relationship tends to be closer.

    All in all, I found her screenplay presentation much more enjoyable and funny. Thanks Hilary. Hope to see you again soon and good luck on your screenplays.

    Other News:

    Along Came Neil is up on Smashwords – finally.

    I don’t believe I will bother taking part ever again in the Kindle Select program, especially now that Smashwords has come out with the prerelease feature. I really do like Smashwords so much more than any other venue. The meat grinder was my nemesis in the past, but I do believe I may have conquered that. Now I just need to wait for them to approve the file for their catalogue. In the meantime I have a little treat for my readers. I have a coupon code to share with all of you and if you want you are free to share this code with your friends and your friends’ friends, and their connections too. So please pass it around. I am hoping to get some ratings and reviews if possible in exchange for this code.

    For your Free eBook in your choice of format. Promotional price: $0.00
    Coupon Code: MH37M – Not Case Sensitive
    Expires: November 19, 2013 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/368935

    ROW80 Check-In:

    I missed my check in for Wednesday. So much for my goal of not missing a post, but I won’t give up on that goal just yet. I plan on trying again and again until I finally meet that goal without having to force myself to make the posts.

    What I do have to report: I started working on the next Orgarlan Book. The first 1k words are done. I will give it a shot again tomorrow and see what kind of word count I can get before noon time. I know that 3k would be too much to ask for, but then again, that can be about the same length of a chapter, so one never knows.

    How’s your writing going this week? I would love to hear from you. Do you attend writing groups? Who have your speakers been?

    Follow the Linky Link to see other ROWers' check in progresses.

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    Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

  • ROW80,  Teen/Young Adult,  writing

    How the experience of my teens changed my Life – #ROW80

    Everyone has their fair share of experiences. What is something that has had a positive effect on you today? – This question was posted by the Phoenix House on Facebook.

    It goes with the quote – “I know people who feel like they’ve wasted years of their lives because of poor choices. They spent years in a relationship that was toxic, years with an addiction, years at a job where they weren’t fulfilled. But you have to realize, nothing you have been through is ever wasted. Your past experiences, good and bad have deposited something on the inside of you. Those challenges have sharpened you, to make you who you are today.” ~ S. Wimberly https://www.facebook.com/PhoenixHouse?hc_location=stream

     

    What mother wouldn’t feel upset to learn that their children have terrible issues, like drug addiction or being a runaway, hanging out with the wrong crowd?

    They fight with you every step of the way and try to tell you that you don’t know what you are talking about. – Welcome to the teen years.

    I have seen and met women who have not gone through what I have with my own children when they were teens. Sometimes I envy them. But do they envy me in return?

    I’m sure they have had some sort of trial with their own children. It may have happened when the child was younger, or it is yet to come. I do not wish trial periods on anyone.

    But how has my children’s experiences changed me?

    Well, until 2005, I don’t think I knew much about myself. Even my opinion of myself was pretty low. Then my son entered rehab for the very first time. I was embarrassed to admit I was the mother of an addict, or that my child had gone to jail.

    I began to accept things as they were. Slowly I began to see I was not the only person in the world that this was happening to. There were thousands upon thousands of other going through the same thing at that very moment. My embarrassment went away. That was the true beginning of my journey. I learned to accept myself as I was.

    Then the incident with my daughter happened. That was when she left home unexpectedly – she became a runaway for whatever reason. This led to her little road trip with friends who happened to be part of that crowd that my son would keep company with, more addicts. Though to this day, I don’t believe she ever developed an addiction as her brother did.

    When she took off, that was when I began to truly write. That was the episode that caused me to write Friends of Choice. No – None of Karla’s experiences in the first book ever happened to her, as far as I knew, except for the part where we had to move because the house we were renting was taken off the rental market on short notice and we were forced to move to another county. That is how we wound up living with my mom who has been happy about the living arrangement ever since.

    But the book Road Salt does have some incidents in it that did belong to my daughter. Like the road trip, I don’t know about the complete details of the trip except that they stole cars on the way from NH to Texas and back. They were down south when they were caught and arrested. The phone calls home from the prison was doctored with fiction, but our phone company would not accept calls from a prison facility. She was beside herself for this.

    Yes, the experiences of my children have changed my life, sort of for the better. I am now a writer with five published novels. Three of these novels have small incidents from my children’s’ lives decorating them.

    My daughter recently read Along Came Neil and this is what she said, “Really good series. This book has a lot of funny areas and some sad parts. The writer is also my Mother. She writes this series sort of based on my brother and I growing up making friends in the wrong crowds and other teenage troubles. Thanks for sharing this story with me mom!! 🙂 Can’t wait to read the next book!”

     

    ROW80 Check-In:

    My daughter asked me what I would be working on next. I told her it will be the fantasy series.

    I have been revising and editing Aaron & Keja for the past week. It is going slow, but will be well worth the effort. After that, I will give Witch Book a go around and then I will begin making the plot of the next book in the series. I still have a long way to go. Hopefully all the edits will be done before NaNoWri Mo. I would love for the fantasy book to be my next NaNo Wri.

     

    Have you had a past experience that change your life for the better? I would love to hear your story.

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