Thursday, August 29, 2013

Why Sticking to a Schedule is so Hard

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I can't think about pushing a stroller and checking my word usage at the same time.

Hey blogging peeps! Long time no see :)

The school year has begun, and finally I feel like I'm back into the swing of things. Having a five year old is crazy hard. I already feel like I'm one of those moms who lives in their car and I only have a kindergartner and one in preschool (and a baby).

I don't know if I've said this on the blog before, but I'm the type of person who likes to volunteer for everything because I like to be in charge. (No really, I have an ego.)

The only problem with that is, now I'm dealing with being the committee leader for cub scouts, the equipment manager for all of the kids soccer teams in Tooele, and the president of my writers group. Not to mention spending time in my son's class as well as doing critique group and other activities with my church.

To say I'm busy is a serious understatement. I like it that way, but sometimes I put too much on myself and don't let other people help when I really need it.

Which brings it all back to the title of this post. I like to have a schedule. I map out each day, putting my priorities in order and trying to get everything done. Sometimes, however, schedules get thrown out the window because the most important thing (my family) has to come first.

Let's face it, we all experience this. Ambitious people especially deal with the backlash of overbooking themselves.

So what do I do about it?

1. Relax. It's takes so much effort for me to do this, but I have to remind myself almost daily that stressing
out over things is not productive, it's just going to make me snippy. If it's too much, I just have to cut it out of my life.

2. Get a Hobby. No, I'm serious. I know it already seems like I'm crazy busy but I also need something that relaxes me enough to be able to dive back in to the hard work. My hobby used to be writing until I got more serious about becoming a professional. Now it's Korean culture, stick with me here. Some people knit, some people garden, but it relaxes me to watch Kdramas and keep up on Kpop charts. Also, I'm trying to learn Korean here and there. It's an escape from the pressure of everything else.

3. Know when to stop. This is post is a great example, I have so much on my mind that I'm spilling everything and you probably stopped reading after the bolded section. (If you didn't, make sure you say "Bananas!" in the comments. I'll love you forever.) So I'm going to stop here, because blogging is another one of those things I tend to obsess over.

What do you do when your schedule gets to be too much?

Bonus: Here's a Kpop video for you listening and watching pleasure :D

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Five: Out of the Dark

I always love it when one of my dear personal friends and critique partners has a book launch. There's nothing like seeing someone you've been a champion for succeed, and that's the case with Holli Anderson and her book Five: Out of the Dark which releases today!

Here's all the details:

Five teenagers who’ve recently discovered they have magical powers and are living in the Seattle underground feel it’s their responsibility to protect unsuspecting humans from otherworldly foes.  Things are going well until Johnathan, their unofficial leader and the boy sixteen year old Paige is in love with,  is bitten by a changeling – the venomous saliva causing him to metamorphose into a ravening beast with each full moon.  Paige vows that, no matter the cost, she will find a way to cure Johnathan of the evil that has embedded itself in his soul.  
Johnathan’s monthly transformation and daily personality roller coaster isn’t the only problem they have to deal with. The Five are also gearing up to face their toughest and most dangerous enemy yet—a powerful and ruthless Warlock who will go to any means, including high school, to build his Dark Army.

Author Bio:
Holli Anderson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing—which has nothing to do with writing, except maybe by adding some pretty descriptive injury and vomit scenes to her books. She discovered her joy of writing during a very trying period in her life when escaping into make-believe saved her. She enjoys reading any book she gets her hands on, but has a particular love for anything fantasy.
Along with her husband, Steve, and their four sons, she lives in Grantsville, Utah—the same small town in which she grew up.

Buy it today!
Barnes and Noble


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Defines Success as an Author?

"That's what you have to do to be successful." Someone told a friend of mine the other day.

I'm not sure whether to laugh or to cry at the insanity of the situation.

If you asked me three years ago what makes a successful author I would've said it depended on how many books you sold, or your notoriety. Anything less than J. K. Rowling status was not success.

Unfortunately, a big part of me still wants to believe that. Like dollar signs are all that matter at the end of the day.

Why? Why must I let myself do that? Why is it that the view from space tells me the only thing that's important are the numbers?

Then again, I didn't name this blog A Writer's Journey for nothing. It was the idea of the journey that pushed me to start blogging. It's the journey that's pulled at my heartstrings and brought me low and lifted me back up again.

It wasn't money that change my life, it was the journey. It is the journey.

I don't know how I'm going to feel if and when I ever get a paycheck, but right now I'm thinking it's going to feel a lot like working out at the gym to lose weight, then someone paying me on top of it. Even if I wasn't getting paid I would still workout because it benefits me.

Guess what I realized today after someone else told me the formula to success? I'm already successful.

Crazy, because this whole time I've been going about thinking endless five star reviews and ten thousand copies meant success. But I had to ask myself, if those things never happened to me, would I consider myself a failure? No. I've already grown so much as person. That's not failing.

Plus, I've learned something else that's insane about this journey, I've learned that I'm not a quitter.

Until about two years ago, I really thought I was a quitter. I never finished anything I started. Then I found writing. I found passion in life. It hit me one day that there was no end, that even being published wasn't the end. That no matter what, I was going to continue on this journey until I die.

There's my answer. It might not be the answer to people outside looking in. They might see that I have yet to make a sale, and they might judge that. I have to push those critics out of my head and focus on why I started writing in the first place. That won't be the end of the judgement either because I'm certain I'm going to continue to push those critics out of my head even if they're the people who hand me a paycheck.

What defines success for me? Courage, strength, and the ability to push forward and keep learning. If I accomplish that, then my life won't be wasted, no matter how much money I've made.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cover reveal: Switched

Every once in a while you read a book that blows your socks off, is super romantic, then blows your mind with an amazing twist. Today I have the honor of sharing the cover for that kind of book. 
This was the first one I read of Cassie's (after Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend) and can I just tell you, I was totally head over heels from page one. This is one of my favorite books ever. Now onto the post -

Here's all that fun stuff about Cassie:

Cassie Mae is a nerd to the core from Utah, who likes to write about other nerds who find love. She’s the author of the Amazon Bestseller REASONS I FELL FOR THE FUNNY FAT FRIEND, and is the debut author for the Random House FLIRT line with her New Adult novels FRIDAY NIGHT ALIBI and SWITCHED. She also has a three book deal with Swoon Romance Publishing, including her book HOW TO DATE A NERD. She spends time with her angel children and perfect husband who fan her and feed her grapes while she clacks away on the keyboard. Then she wakes up from that dream world and manages to get a few words on the computer while the house explodes around her. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate.

And all that fun stuff about her book:

Cassie Mae redefines the New Adult genre with a novel that answers the eternal question: What do you do when you’re head-over-heels for your best friend’s guy?

Ever since high school, Kayla has been crazy for gorgeous football player Talon. But before she could muster the courage to tell him, he became a hot item with her beautiful BFF, Reagan. The only person who knows Kayla’s secret is Wesley, Talon’s best bud—and he’s got it bad for Reagan. Now they’re all in college together, hanging out 24/7. For Kayla, seeing the two lovebirds together is absolutely unbearable. So Kayla and Wesley hatch a plot to drive them apart. But time is ticking and they must act now, before Talon gives Reagan the Christmas gift she’s been waiting for.

Sure enough, the once-happy couple is fighting, Reagan suddenly can’t get enough of Wesley’s goofy sense of humor, and Talon seems to be paying more attention to Kayla than a guy who’s “just a friend” ever should. But something just isn’t right. Then Kayla and Wesley accidentally spend a night together, and discover a hitch they never considered: that switching partners may not lead to a perfect ending after all.

And now for the real reason we're all here...

Sexy man meat. Oh yeah, and the cover..
Congrats Cassie!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Overcoming insecurites - MS #5

Welcome to another wonderful edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh.

It seems like every time I write a new book I get to a point where I think I'm the worst writer ever and I'm totally ready to give up on writing and everyone hates me and the world in general sucks. This last book I wrote was no different.

If any of you read my post a couple weeks ago, you know how low I got. Thanks to my husband, awesome comments, and good friends who helped me through, I can now say that I've finished writing my 5th book!

You'd think that after writing 5 books in less than three years writing would be a breeze, but I'm learning all the time that writing doesn't get easier with experience, in fact improving yourself means that it gets harder.

On the same coin, it also means that it becomes more rewarding. I've never been that excited about finishing a book because I normally worry about what comes next, but this time I'm relishing in the fact that I finished when there was a point where I didn't think I would.

Without further ado, here's the premise to my fifth book, THE DEFINITION OF AWKWARD. (I'm not looking for critiques yet, just enjoy it with all it's flaws.)
Seventeen-year-old Shannon O’conner is more than just a social outcast, she’s so uncouth you might find her picture in the dictionary next to the definition of awkward. Being a recluse isn’t the worst thing in the world, except when it comes to her starry-eyed crush on Jeremy Manchester.
Jeremy is everything Shannon wishes she could besuper nice, cute, talented, cute, outgoing, and well… cute. Getting Jeremy to notice her isn’t so easy, especially when she’s trying to avoid the constant bullying Vikki Cartwright and her cronies dish out, but when she falls into Jeremy’s arms, literally, she knows she can’t just sit back and watch him anymore.
There’s only one thing standing between her and Jeremy, Cole Preston. Cole is the most popular kid in school, and he notices Shannon after she’s had a makeover. Shannon isn’t interested in the jock type but her one and only friend, Marie, has it bad for Cole. Which leaves Shannon in the perfect position to help.
Real life love squares are totally not Shannon’s thing, but she wants to help Marie, since she’s the only person who’s been there for her through thick and thin. If only everything would just untangle itself, maybe Shannon can go back to hiding from the world, but true love is never that simple.

Question time! What do you do when it gets hard to write?

Monday, August 5, 2013

(Never) Again Cover Reveal!

I'm so excited to welcome Theresa Paolo to my blog today to her reveal her beautiful cover for (Never) Again. Take it away Theresa!

Today is the day! The official cover reveal for (Never)Again to be published by (Berkley) Penguin on October 15th, 2013.

Just when she had finally moved on…
…He moved back.

When college freshman Liz Wagner hears her ex's voice for the first time since he moved clear across the freaking country, she does what any respectable girl would do: Dive into the girls' bathroom.

Zach Roberts—the Zach Roberts—is back. And he’s everywhere Liz looks—infiltrating her friend group, buddy-buddy with her brother. It’s enough to ruin college altogether. But what choice does she have but to put on a happy face and pretend he didn't leave her vulnerable and alone in a pile of emotional wreckage?

Pretending works, until tragedy strikes and the only person available for comfort is the one person she wants to stay away from. When Zach turns out not to be the jerk she convinced herself he was, but the boy she used to love, Liz needs to decide whether to open her heart again to the boy who tore it out.

 Cover time: 

Available for preorder on Barnes and Noble and Amazon
Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads.

Theresa Paolo lives in the same town she grew up in on Long Island, NY with her boyfriend and Milton, their big eyed goldfish. She has a hard time accepting the fact she’s nearing thirty which is why she writes New Adult and Young Adult books, reliving the best and worst years of her life through her characters. She put her love of writing on hold while she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Dowling College. On November 11th 2011 at 11:11 she made a wish. Two hours later she was laid off. Jobless for the first time since she was sixteen she was determined to make her wish come true. Writing became her life again and after many nights of ignoring her boyfriend to spend time with her characters, she finally received the call that all her hard work, finger crossing and eye crossing paid off. She signed with Berkley (Penguin) and her debut novel, (NEVER) AGAIN, a NA romance, will be out in Fall 2013.  When she’s not writing, she’s behind a camera or can be found in the blogosphere or on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.