Tag Archive | Writing

Debut Author: Mia Epsilon

From Christina: Today I’d like to welcome Mia Epsilon to Time for Love. She’s recently released Wedding Belle Blues, a delicious romance novel.  She’s here today to talk a bit about writing and becoming a published author.

AS ESSENTIAL AS BREATHING

 

Writing is as essential to me as breathing. Sometimes it’s easy and I don’t have to think about it. Sometimes it’s like having broncritis and every word, like every breath, is a struggle. Being a published writer is a long held dream come true. And it’s a long road.

nanowrimo_calendar___2013_by_spooneh21-d6ooljkFor Wedding Belle Blues, several friends on Face Book gently (read that as ‘you do this or we’re coming after you’) encouraged me to participate in NaNo. If you’ve never heard of this, it’s a group to encourage writers to complete at least 50,000 words in a month, usually in November. I’ve tried NaNo before and failed miserably with dozens of excuses and reasons, some of them valid. 2013 NaNo was different though: I receive a newsletter from Breathless Press and they offered a 5 page critique of your NaNo efforts. So the FB friends and I made each other post every day how many words we wrote, what the plot was, etc I decided to send in my first five pages for the critique and less than a day later received it back. The BP editor made some wonderfully valid points, gave encouraging comments, and asked to see the entire manuscript once finished. So I had another reason to keep writing the novel.

Anna and Robin whole heartedly jumped on the wild thirty day NaNo ride with me. They told me their story, what they said, what they did, and all I had to do was type it in the computer. That’s all. Every night after ‘real’ work I dutifully typed. When November ended, I had 58,000 words to send to the BP editor. But… It was Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s and winter so the finished manuscript simply sat patiently on my hard drive. My husband asked me one day why I waited. With sweat, prayers and shaking fingers, I sent Anna and Robin off to hopefully charm the BP editor named Jen Bradlee. This was late February, a Saturday. Jen sent back an email five days later saying she loved it and BP wanted to publish it. Yes, that was me the world heard jumping up and down screaming. Hubby and I reviewed the contract word by word, I signed four days later, and began the edit rounds.

Let me say Editors have a hard job. They get blamed for being tough and not knowing ‘good’ stuff. But a good editor makes the writer better. I got blessed with an extremely good editor. Not only does she help me improve my writing, she pushes me to go beyond what I think I can do and how I can write. Take, for example, how she highlighted the word ‘she’ in a paragraph (I used it eight times), told me to change some of them, and not just to Anna’s name. I struggled with that paragraph for three hours. When I returned it, with only two ‘she’ in it, all the sentences were stronger. The paragraph was stronger and so was the chapter. She made me better by challenging me. Sure, I muttered some probably not nice things but I’m so glad she pushes me. She believes in me. That’s the best thing any writer can ask for in an Editor.

Then came Cover Art requests and more edits and line edits and promo and a whirlwind of helping find readers for Anna and Robin’s story who will love them almost as much as I do. Oh, and Jen’s request for more submissions and setting up Good Reads, Amazon, Face Book, Twitter, all the things to get Wedding Belle Blues out there to be read. Breathless Press is amazing to work for; everyone is eager to help in the ‘business end’ of writing.

Because writing IS a business; we writers sometimes forget it’s a job like any other, easy at times, hard at others and always, always subjective. Not everyone will like your work; not everyone has to like it. Writing is as essential to me as breathing.

 * * * *

Mia Epsilon lives with her enduring soul mate hubby in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, USA. She’s an avid reader of almost anything but particularly romance, a never-miss-an-episode viewer of Doctor Who and Sherlock, and happily suffers a coffee and chocolate addiction. She can most often be found at her computer, spinning new stories, or in a quiet padded nook with her e reader. Look for more stories in the ‘Weddings by C & C’ line including ‘That Night’ featuring more of Anna & Robin and ‘Take a Chance on Me’, Christine and Charlie’s story.

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Featured Title: Coming to Terms with Love

From Christina: It’s with great pleasure today that I share a few thoughts from author Dilys J. Carnie, whose title Coming to Terms with Love was voted as the “Readers’ Choice” winner last month. Please join with me in welcoming Dilys…and in learning more about her winning title.

Living the Dream

by Dilys J. Carnie

DACMy home is on the beautiful island of Anglesey on the west coast of North Wales with my family. I am extremely close to all my family members and enjoy spending time with them. I am the proud mother of two grown up children. My daughter, Emma, is a primary school teacher and my son, Christopher, is part of the family business. Anglesey has been my home since the age of eleven after moving here from Scotland with my mum and dad and three sisters.

As a young child I loved to write. I always carried a notebook and pen around with me and wrote about everything. It was a dream to become a published author. However sometimes in life our dreams get pushed to one side as mine did. So, dare I say at the young age of fifty plus I think it is time for me to see if those dreams are everything I hoped they would be…and hey, it’s never too late to go and grab that dream!

I have been through many major changes in my working life ranging from a Diana nurse, running my own skin care business, helping with the family run bus company and even hairdressing, but my heart as always belonged to putting words on paper and making them come to life.

Five years ago I managed to get in contact with my best friend from Scotland who I hadn’t seen for over forty years. She lives in America and every year without fail I make the trip over to North Carolina and visit with her and her gorgeous family. This is where I have gained a lot of inspiration for many of my stories especially The Fitzgerald Brothers in Chesapeake.

I am living my lifelong dream of becoming an author something which I never imagined happening. If I had to give any advice to an un-published author it would be ‘Never give up the dream’ because I never did.

COMING TO TERMS WITH LOVE

Coming to Terms with Love by Dilys J Carnie

Her past destroys her confidence for the future.
But when she meets the giant of a man Corey, her heart beats a little faster. Then the doubt sets in and she refuses to acknowledge any kind of chemistry. No man would look at her, and she had a son…a son that she was fighting to keep.

He tries to fight what he feels, but he has serious doubts at his resistance.
Corey finds a part of him he didn’t know existed and can’t help falling in deeper than he ever thought possible. Trying to come to terms with his feelings brings him a peace of mind that was totally unexpected. And when an old enemy of Beth’s turns up on the doorstep he steps forward to put an end to her past. Will this be the beginning to their future together?

Excerpt 1

The air was like a magnetic field, as if sparks were pinging around them in the air. She watched as he controlled himself, she admired the way he had not argued with her. Her own heart hammered against her ribs, it had been so close…so very close she couldn’t imagine the horror that would have been on his face if he had moved his hand any closer.

Beth tried to catch her own breath as she watched him in the moonlight. It seemed that every nerve ending in her body was tingling in a way she had never experienced before.

“I should apologize…only I’m not sorry,” he whispered in between the harshness of his breathing.

He looked at her and she trembled all over again. “Apologize for what? It was just a kiss.”

He stood straight moving closer to her making her take a step back.

“Just a kiss?”

“I…well a good kiss,” she stammered.

He laughed out loud. “Good? Be serious, Beth, you felt that as much as I did.” He took a step closer tilting her chin with his fingers. His gaze penetrated hers and she shook her head dislodging his fingers, taking a step back.

“Okay it was sensational…you’re a good kisser. So what? Plenty of men are.”

He sucked in a breath before he spoke.

“I touched you and the searing heat from you set me on fire, when we kissed your tongue wrapped itself round me so hard that I became part of you. The air around us is so charged that if someone dropped a match, it would explode.”

They were words she didn’t want to hear, she didn’t need him to tell her how it was for God’s sake she knew but…but there was no way in hell that she was ready for this. How could she expect someone else to accept her body when she was still coming to terms with it herself. The verve of the last few minutes started to leave her body and the realization of what had happened took over.

“Beth—”

She knew he was waiting for her to say something; she wanted to try and be as honest as she could.

“You’re right, we did…connect but it can’t go any further than this…I don’t want it.”

“Baloney.” He pushed his hands into his pockets scowling at her. “The minute we set eyes on each other we knew what it would be like once we touched, why the hell did you think that I left so quickly the other day?”

Excerpt 2

“Why is she staying in the cabin? Has she bought it?”

“Yes she bought it about three months ago.”

“Strange that a single woman would hide herself in the depths of a mountain with several feet of snow outside her door.”

“You mean as strange as a single guy who’s been hiding for three months up there?”

He glowered at his brother. “That’s different, I’m recovering.”

“Whatever, brother, but she just might be doing the same thing.”

“What do you mean?” His voice lowered.

“You do know, Corey, she has been—”

He turned completely round to face Gabe. “What?”

“Nothing. Eva would kill me and besides it’s not up to me to say anything.”

“Gabe, you can’t stop there, what?”

“Ah look there’s Eva on her way over. Sorry, bud, I’m afraid I’m going to have to go and sweep her of her feet dancing the night away.”

“Gabe, don’t you dare walk away from me.” His eldest brother just laughed and turned away, sweeping his wife up into his arms. Damn if they didn’t look perfect together.

What the hell had Gabe been about to say?

Corey couldn’t pull his gaze away from Beth, there was something about her that drove his libido into a mind of its own…she was sexy but she was trying to hide it and now when he looked at her, really looked at her, he could see that she held herself away and although the dance was sensual she was aloof with her body but she was laughing.

He glanced back at his brother dancing with Eva, and Gabe mouthed “ask her to dance” pointing with a nod of his head at Beth. Corey started to feel uncomfortable and tugged at his ear. He wanted to punch his brother who was smirking from a distance. He looked across the room where Beth was sitting down with a champagne glass in her hand.

“Well, hell,” he muttered under his breath but couldn’t stop his feet from putting one in front of the other. It was as if she could sense his approach and she turned her head to watch him. Her dark green eyes were bright, he almost tripped over his heart beat. Her soft pink lips parted as her cheeks suffused with color.

She looked around her; he knew she was hoping to escape. Corey came to a stop directly behind her and he could sense she knew he was there because her shoulders stiffened.

She looked up at Micah asking him if he would like to dance again, her voice held a pleading tone, he glowered at his friend narrowing his eyes, warning him that it would not be in his best interests to take her up on that offer. Micah understood as Corey knew he would, his friend put his hand up, grinned back and waved his arm in front of him for Corey to go forward. Corey fashioned a grin on his face before turning back to the woman sitting in the chair.

“I believe, Beth Giles, you owe me a dance and an explanation.”

“I don’t think so,” she replied. Her back was straight, her face taut as she reached for Micah’s hand.

Corey moved round the chair like a flash taking hold of her fingers in his own before she could grasp onto Micah. His friend grinned unashamedly at Corey. He was one of the few men he knew apart from his brothers who was not intimidated by his stare.

 

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Debut Author: Devika Fernando

From Christina: Today I’d like to welcome a debut author whose first novel was recently released. Devika shares her story of the step-by-step process of becoming a self-published author.

STEP BY STEP

My dear friend Christina has asked me to share a little about my journey towards becoming a self-published author. I thought long and hard about how to condense everything that comes to mind into something that makes sense, and here’s what I have come up with.

Left FootTHE FIRST STEP

In the broader sense, I have always been a writer. Almost as soon as I could spell and knew enough words, I put them together to write stories. Actually, my parents swear that when I was a tiny toddler, I didn’t use my crayons to draw stick figures and flowers and clouds, but to scribble illegible writing in rather neat lines. During my schooldays, I used to write poems and the occasional short story. When others said they wanted to become doctors and teachers and lawyers, I firmly insisted that I’d become a writer. To publish my own book one day has featured in my dreams for years and years.

Without boring you with more ramblings, what I mean to convey by this is: I believe that people who are writers just know. It’s inside their blood. Whether they have wanted to write since childhood or it just hits them in their late 40s, ultimately they have this strong bond with the writing side of their personality. If writing doesn’t come naturally to you and you don’t really WANT to write, it’s not your vocation. If it does and you do, then don’t repress it, because writing can be a wonderful way to deal with your life and can have a cathartic effect, whether as a hobby or a profession.

Right FootTHE SECOND STEP

Some years ago, it became clearer and clearer to me that more than a ‘real’ job, I would be successful with freelance work. While struggling first in Sri Lanka and then in Germany and then again in Sri Lanka to get a grip on life, I searched the internet far and wide for work-from-home opportunities and learned three things:

  • There are a million offers;
  • Almost all of them are fake, especially if they claim record income;
  • It’s best to really do your own thing.

Luck came my way when I found an agency that was looking for web content writers. I made a pittance with them for a year or so, but I stuck to it because I loved writing, because I learnt a wealth of useful things that I had never even known about – especially SEO and writing techniques – and because I now had a plan: to start my own writing business. In 2011, I quit my writing job for them and started on my own. It took some time and lots of effort, but ever since, writing articles for German customers has been my job. While I’m very glad about how well things go, I realized one thing: Writing like this – for others, without being given credit, without much flexibility and with internet marketing directing your steps – had somehow robbed me of my creativity. Gone were time and muse for writing poems or thinking up stories.

The lesson I learnt is that writing and writing are not the same. What I mean is that professional writing like articles for online shops are a totally different matter. I still love what I do and I’ll never give up on it, but I also need an outlet for the creative writer in me. Which is why I finally told myself to make my dream come true and focus on becoming an author of fiction.

Left FootTHE THIRD STEP

I didn’t just plunge ahead and risk drowning or being carried away by the currents. Instead, I read and read and read some more. I absorbed lots of writing tips, I followed other writers and I familiarized myself with all the important guidelines on story writing. All those ideas I had and the drive to just write-write-write got channeled productively by the new knowledge and experiences. Which is why I always reply with two things when somebody asks me for advice on how to become a successful writer:

  • Read as much as you can and write as much as you can.
  • Never stop learning and improving.

When I decided to self-publish, it seemed kind of terrifying. Again, there were lessons to be learnt and shadows to be jumped over.

I believe it’s important that on the one hand, you don’t lose your joy for writing and your own style as well as the focus on what you like – and that on the other hand, you are not afraid to ask for advice, to learn and to follow certain rules.

Right FootTHE FOURTH STEP

I don’t want to forget mentioning one part of my journey to becoming an author: crawling out of my shell. I am what you could call a loner, although I make friends easily and am blessed with some truly wonderful friends and a very supportive husband. Especially when it comes to my writing, I prefer to keep it to myself, to do things my way, and to view every single word as a piece of me. However, I soon realized that this wouldn’t lead me anywhere.

I need criticism. I need to share my work and discuss it with like-minded people. I need to interact with other authors and with potential readers. And once I had gotten over cringing when receiving feedback, sleepless nights wondering what others might think and the urge to let the perfectionist in me have the last say and change everything a hundred times, it actually proved to be fun. I’ve met some amazing people along the way.

So here’s what I think: Even if you don’t choose to self-publish, networking is going to play an important role. Get yourself and your work out there. So what if you earn a negative review or the only ones who buy your book at first are your friends and family? If it’s good enough for you and you have faith in yourself and you are open to what the writing world has to offer, carry on.

I went through phases full of doubt and sometimes I’m too busy to properly focus on my creative writing, but I have never and will never give up. Ultimately, that is probably the one thing I like most about myself, that I’m a fighter. In my eyes, almost every writer is. We fight against prejudice and unfair payments and social norms, and above all we fight with our own insecurities holding us back. But it’s a fight that can be won.

DevikaAbout Devika Fernando

 Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a German web content writer and as a translator. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

Her first romance novel, When I See Your Face, is now available at Amazon.com. For more information, visit Devika at her website:

DEVIKA FERNANDO

Debut Author: Gioconda Lyss

From Christina: Today I’d like to welcome a debut author whose first novella was recently released. Gioconda has an inspiring message for anyone who’s ever wanted to write.     🙂    

JUST DO IT

 My name is Gioconda Lyss and my erotic romance novella “Heaven on Earth” just came out at the end of September from Secret Cravings Publishing. I want to thank Christina for having me as a guest on her blog.

Today I would like to talk about fear. Why fear?

I believe that fear is the root cause for suffering in the world, and the one thing that stops people from going after their dreams and fulfilling their potential. I have had my battles with fear throughout the years, and only recently won. Despite being afraid of any conceivable negative outcome, I did write a book, and saw it published.

When I tell people that I am a writer of erotic romance I usually get one of these three reactions:

1. I always wanted to write, but…
2. What does your family think of you writing such (erotic) stores…and/or
3. Do you make any money with it?

At the base of all these questions always rests a layer of fear. From all art forms, writing is the one form of expression that many of us want to pursue. I believe that we, humans, as species, are naturally curious, and in love with stories; love to tell them and to listen to them. But if we all love stories so much and we all believe that we have a story in us that wants to be told, then why aren’t more of us doing it? Why don’t we write that story that burns inside us? (see #1)

I believe it is fear.

Fear comes in many forms: fear of failure, fear of success (which can co-exist simultaneously, by the way, they’re good friends), fear of not being good enough at telling stories (this goes back to the English teacher who told you that grammar wasn’t your strong suit), and fear that people might judge our character by what we are writing (see #2). This is particularly true if you, like me, write erotic romance.

The #3 fear is the one that stops people from writing (as a job) all the time. Can one make enough money to live by doing something that they love? There are a few successful names out there that everybody has heard of (J.K. Rowling, for instance, who at some point was richer than the Queen of England) but obviously, not everybody will enjoy that kind of success. Most people think that they will finally write when the children are in college, or when they retire from the job that they really hate, or when times will be better. They always reserve the pleasure of writing for a future time, but the truth is that all we have is this present time and there is no better time than the present to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and get the story out.

It took me a long time to get past all my fears (about five years, in fact) and really go after my dream. I decided that life was too short not to go after what I really wanted to do and I gave my all to my dream. I learned that when you do it, when you actually start writing and not listen to the small, nagging voices at the back of your mind, the little fears start to disappear and are replaced by an awesome, awesome feeling of accomplishment. So my advice to you, if you ever considered writing a book, in any genre, is to just do it. Do it because you have always wanted to, do it regardless of what anyone might think of you, say or do, do it regardless of how much money you might make with your book. There is a force in the Universe which, when you step into doing what you were meant to do, opens up the way for you and gives you all you need to make your dream become a reality. Just like it did with me.

Happy Writing!

Gioconda Lyss was born and raised in Romania. She now lives in Nevada with her husband, two wonderful children, and the world’s most spoiled cat and dog. Her debut novella, Heaven on Earth, is now available at Amazon and also through the publisher, Secret Cravings Publishing. You can find her on the web at Romancing the Word.