My Writing Journal

The Reason Why I Write

reading-masquerading-our-love

In December 2008, with my children in elementary school and my husband’s job in jeopardy I prayed, followed by countless hours searching for a job. The answer to my prayer: I found the perfect job for him.

This scare prompted me in early 2009 to think about starting a business so we would be prepared when we became empty nesters, so again I prayed. I should’ve asked to grow my C.P.A. clientele, but my love for the profession, for working with numbers had diminished.

Later that year, my son wanted to read a book I thought might not be appropriate. I wanted to read it first. The love for reading I suppressed for years reawakened. I devoured teen books but switched to adult romance books because the teen romance books didn’t have enough hope in them. Reading became an addiction, worse than when I was in high school.  I gave up television months later.

In 2011, on a night too wired to sleep, I opened up my laptop to surf the Net. But instead of clicking on my email or Facebook I clicked on Word and began Masquerading Our Love.

I had no plot, no character names, nada.

It didn’t matter because my fingers flew across the keyboard at the same time the words appeared on the screen. I could clearly see these characters; they weren’t characters I tried to fit into the story developing in front of my eyes. They were real. Only  readers and writers will get this.

The following morning I showed my husband those first thirty pages. Based on reading six pages he encouraged me to continue. Despite the obligations of being a wife, a mom, and the sixty plus hours of volunteering I finished this book in three months.

The thought “Now what” ran through my head, more than once.

PUBLISH, of course. Duh, anyone?

Not having any clue, I joined critique and Facebook writing groups, as well as the Florida Writers Association “FWA”). I spoke to agents, acquiring editors, and publishers while continuing to write more books . Based on everything I learned, and an acquiring editor, who liked my writing and my plot but not my main character, I decided to follow the self-publishing route.

After four years working on this novel and others, my close friends and my writing partners encouraged me to publish. My insecurities wanted to silence their voices but because of their insistences I prayed to win a prize in a FWA’s raffle drawing in 2015. In the middle of the crowded room, I closed my eyes and prayed.

A simple prayer: if God wanted me to publish soon then He should allow me to win something. Now I’m not lucky. Maybe I win once in five years but when my eyes opened they focused on the first number the announcer said. No big deal as more than ten of the twenty tickets started with it, then the second, still no big deal. For the rest of the numbers as my eyes read the next number on that ticket, my eyes didn’t look at any other, the announcer said it. I won a free formatting, valued at $185. Yes, it was time to publish despite of my insecurities. And it was time to tell my friends and family I hadn’t told.

After that moment I knew that I had to publish no matter how many doubts ran through my mind. From that point on, I won my cover without me knowing I entered that contest, I won a $150 Amazon gift card, and many other prizes. These wins confirmed my writing path, pushed me forward until I finally published the paperback in October and the ebook in November.

Summarizing the reason why I write: it was an answered prayer from God. And He doesn’t make mistakes.

If you’re interested in purchasing the ebook you can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble., and Kobo. It’ll be on iBooks soon.

It’ll be on sale for only $0.99 until November 15th.

Leave me a review and let me know if it impacted you. Thanks and love everyone! 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Stretched Nerves or Jumping Beans?

I’m finishing up with the last and final, I hope, edit of my novel before it’s handed off to formatting. And at the moment, I can’t decide if my nerves are stretching or if my stomach has jumping beans bouncing off its walls. It comes in spurts as I listen to the monotone voice on Word read two pages at a time.

Yikes, did my editor miss that typo? If he did, are there more? Or is it my eyes playing tricks on me. I double check the spelling as my ears listen to the slow, boring voice read on. And there go the nerves, pulled too thin.

Will the readers complain if they see a tiny typo or will their brain skip over it because the first and last letters are right? Oh, no the dreaded bad review because my editor and I missed a typo.

Should I postpone the release?

No!

It’s time to let this baby enter into the unknown world of readers and see how well it’s received. My friends and family say I’ve held on to this book too long and they’re right. Almost five years after I finished the first draft and thousands of hours working on it.

Yes, it’s time.

Besides NaNoWriMo 2016 is right around the corner and I haven’t figured out whose story to work on next. Jason? Sabrina? The antagonist, Dave? Or  the bus story?

Heck my first born entered college this August and I can’t decide, which one I dreaded releasing more to the world. He is in a safer environment than my book will be, so it seemed easier after a year of preparing for the final day we said, “Bye.” And he did come back for laundry day and brought a friend, who is the sweetest suite mate.

Hence the toss up between nervousness and excitement.

Fortunately, my to do list is reaching the stratosphere. Okay I’m exaggerating, but it sure feels like it, so sometimes it’s more like numbness that I’m feeling.

Until next time.

When maybe

                           I

                                 ….. WILL   (drum roll, please)

BE

PUBLISHED!

I bury my head back into my book, and yes, the nerves are stretched and the jumping beans ricocheted off the walls.

 

Standard
Uncategorized

In A World Full of Hate I Choose to See Love

In a world full of evil and hate I see love.

I see love

in the drops of rainwater dripping from the petals of a rose.

in the embrace of a mom with her newborn child; what unconditionally love.

in the arms of my true love, who accepts me for who I am, despite all my faults.

in the hugs of my children, because we love each other no matter what.

in the bloom of a flower placed in a vase by a loved one, because it represents love.

in the songs of the birds.

in the intertwined hands of an old married couple walking the track, because despite the hurt, suffering they have gone through they have chosen to stay together.

in my church, where all races, all ethnic groups are represented as they hold hands to pray for our country, because they love each other and want peace in the world .

in the soldier, who is thousands of miles away missing his family, but stands firm to guard our freedom.

in the trees, standing firm, providing us with shade on a sunny day or shielding us from a rain shower.

in the pastor, who guides the sheep sacrificing time away from his own family, because he loves.

in the majestic mountains, which tower thousands of feet above us.

in ocean’s waves, which can tower over us crashing against the shore or gently wash our tears away.

in the fluffy cumulus clouds, because we can stop and observe them moving fast or slow, across a blue or gray sky.

in the nimbus, dark-threatening  clouds, because even though they hide the sunshine and bring us needed rain to fill our reservoirs, our lakes, and our rivers so we can have living water.

in the hands of missionaries, who risk their lives to bring the truth to say many.

in the hearts of the Followers, who continue to worship despite their persecution.

in the bonds of sisters, who pray for each other despite not being related by blood.

in the bonds of friends, who choose to stay, encouraging the one whose  life is torn apart by a destroyed marriage.

in the donors, who give their child’s, spouse’s organs to save the life of another human being, while grieving their own loss.

in those who choose not to buy useless, worldly possessions they desire so that another may have water and food.

in those who rejoice in the joy of others, while struggling with their own problems.

in those who sacrifice their time to serve others.

in those who speak words of encouragement and love to those who are discouraged, downtrodden.

So despite the news filled with hate, with evil I will continue to see love in the world no matter how much hate is thrown our way. I will not stop believing that in the end, the love shown to us will overcome everything and transcend even our death.

Please choose love by continuing to show your own love to one another no matter what happens.

Standard
My Writing Journal

Link to Blog Post on Advice for Writers

I love how authors help each other even through the simple action of providing advice. Casey Hays’s asked a question on the one advice we received to share with a new writer and out comes this wonderful blog post for all writers to read.

Click for Lessons from the Iceberg blog post

I’m included in there with the simple advice to “Find your own voice because no one writes like you do.”

It’s a simple sentence summarizing all the years of workshops, reading, and speaking to authors that I can impart to others. Although not one person ever said it quite that way, I know it is the one advice I could give and it ties with the meme I tweeted 0n Thursday.

Copy the leader should not not the road to sucess.

We are each special in our own way, therefore we should follow our own path to success. What worked for one successful author may not work for me or you. It’s important to learn from others and we should attempt to emulate all the amazing things they’ve done, but we can’t copy them without stepping back to see if it works…for us.

Please let me know if it helps with your own writing and continue to love and encourage others.

P.S.

You can apply this even if you aren’t a writer: There is only one you, so follow your own path to success!

Standard
My Writing Journal

Harmful Book Reviews and Personal Attacks

On July 28th, 2014, I wrote about negative book reviews. My simple advice to my newly published author friends: use any constructive criticism and ignore the insults from their bad reviews, the hurtful words, which inflicted such emotional pain. One of them abandoned her penname and switched genres.

But almost two years later I’m back on the same topic.

Why?

Why rehash something already covered?

Because it’s important. Because it’s not only about bad book reviews, although this post will focus on them.

No, the issue is not negative reviews; it is how some reviewers write them without caring how it’ll affect the author. It’s about how people treat other people. How we interact with each other. And how reviewers hide behind their screens and feel justified to attack a person or their work.

Authors need reviews; they’re crucial for their publishing careers.

However some reviewers sling insult upon insult as though authors are not human beings, as if they don’t have any feelings. And it is immensely, utterly wrong.

Yes, WRONG! (My editor would kill me for the shouty caps, but I want to shout.) It isn’t showing respect for one another. Don’t you agree?

Many authors read every single review.

They really love the positive ones: where the reader identifies with a character, where the reader cries over a scene, where the book touches them. When readers say that the book changed them, then it’s a home run.

They dislike the negative reviews, however they understand that not everyone will like their books, but the harmful ones, well, they rip a new author apart. It can even dissuade an author from continuing to write. They may never write another word again, even if they may have better books already forming in their heads. Writers will only become great authors by writing. Just pick up the first book of an author you like and see how much they’ve grown, how you love their newest work more than their first.

The lack of sensitivity can wound the soul of any person, but more so for the vulnerable writers who share pieces of themselves in every book they write.

It’s not that a reviewer doesn’t have every right to state that they didn’t like the book and why, but they do not have the right to throw insulting words like they’re confetti at a ticker tape parade.

Because words, my friends, are powerful. They can lift a person up or push them down to the bottom of a dark, slushy pit, which is impossible to climb out of without the help of friends.

Words can build or destroy a person’s self-esteem; they can inspire or dishearten a person.

And authors spend enough time self-doubting themselves, wondering if others will enjoy that one book after slaving thousands of hours, they don’t need any help. Yes, authors spend so many hours plotting, writing, thinking, editing, re-editing, one book. And they probably spend an equal number of hours worrying about whether anyone will like it, they don’t need to read horrible words in a review. They’ve already beaten themselves up enough.

These books become their babies and when someone bashes one or them, well it creates deep rips in the authors’ hearts. When a reviewer lashes out against a book, the author’s pain is like the one a parent feels when their child is bullied.

It’d be fantastic if book reviewers remembered to focus on the book, because behind books are authors, who just exposed a part of themselves to the world. Everyone is vulnerable to negative words, especially new authors without a fan base encouraging them to continue.

A negative review won’t harm the author, if the reviewer states that the book wasn’t for them or they couldn’t connect with the main character or even that they didn’t like any of the characters. It might saddened authors that someone didn’t like their baby, but it’s much better than calling a book dumb, stating that it’s the worst book ever written, that the characters are idiots, stupid, or that the author should never write another book.

Do reviewers realize how their words affect authors?

Most likely not.

But since honest reviews are necessary for a book’s success, reviewers can use kinder, gentler words when expressing why they disliked the book. And perhaps reviewers should mention one redeeming feature, even if it’s that they loved the cover the author chose; it may just help an author not to fall apart or worse quit.

And if you’re sending a text or an email, please stop and think if your words will be hurtful or uplifting. Show your love to others by using intentional words to inspire greatness, to motivate them, even when pointing out negative issues.

Let’s love one another… always!


 

Standard
Uncategorized

My Heart’s Freedom

I wrote these 298 words from a Flash Fiction Prompt (the sentence on the ninja butterflies) due today. I’m not sure if it’ll be accepted or if it’ll win, but I posted it here cause it’s a different take from a scene already in my book. I think it works better, so I’ll interweave some of it. Let me know if you like it or not.

 

Eyes don’t deceive me! It can’t be him!

Christopher Mark Cooper flirted with another, a beautiful, expensive-wearing-clothes model. Her flawless face didn’t have a stitch of makeup on.

His sparkling, green eyes moved in my direction.

My own eyes automatically shifted, watching my best friend score the winning goal. I shouted, “You go girl,” but my lungs no longer worked.

I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t remove the image of him with her; but still I peeked at them.

She laughed looking up at him.

Great if I stood next to her she would look down at me.

She touched his arm. Jealousy brewed inside me, made my stomach spill out my spleen along with bile.

Now I feel like ninja butterflies are throwing ninja stars at my stomach.

How could he? We hadn’t committed not to see others, but I hadn’t moved on. Eight months later my heart couldn’t find his replacement. Silly emotions, my brain roared, for a guy I met three times, but my useless heart belonged to him.

Why in my high school stadium? Couldn’t he have taken her anywhere else? Stood with her anywhere else?

My trembling fingers touched my friend’s shoulder. “Frank, my dad’s waiting for us downstairs. Let Maria know I’ll call her later.”

“Sure. See ya. Bye bro.” He fist bumped Nick, and smacked Jason. “Let’s go congratulate our girl. Wasn’t she awesome?”

Already forgotten by my friends, I grabbed my brother’s arm, pulling him away from his soccer buddies leaving us.

“Is dad here?”

“He will be by the time we meet him.”

“Thalía Cassandra Reynari you’re such a party pooper.”

I hurried along, hiding between the crowds, avoiding him.

It was my turning point, the moment I discovered how to forget him; how to live.

My heart’s journey to freedom!

Standard
Uncategorized

#wipJOY March 2016 Third Week

20160104_161418 SAILBOAT BEACH

Protagonist versus Antagonist Week (13th through 19th):

13) Thalía overcomes the fear of losing CM to be true to herself.

14) Will their parents discover what is right in front of their eyes?

15) What scares me most about editing this story is balancing the pacing and descriptions.

16) What scares me most about sharing this story is that readers won’t connect with the characters, they won’t be emotionally invested, they’ll hate it, etc.

17) He can’t learn how much my decision is killing me or how terrified I am that I’ll lose him. (Thalía’s fear)

18) My characters are braver because they take more risks than I did at seventeen.

19) Writing this book has made me braver; I’m willing to share my writing, whereas before my writing only existed for myself.

Standard