Balance

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If 2018 had a word for me, it would be unbalanced. At least, that’s how the last six months of the year have gone. You know when you set goals/deadlines for yourself, and things start to pile up? And then it’s like a snowball rolling downhill, and you’re the target?

That was me.

So, for obvious reasons, my goal for 2019 is ‘balance’.

Balance in writing. Balance in my personal life. All about balance.

(How many times can I use the word balance in one post?)

My plan is to tackle this issue in a few ways.

I don’t know about other authors, but I struggle with all recommendations for ‘how an author should author.’ All those ‘experts’ who have the latest greatest advice. I think you have to be careful not to fall down every single rabbit hole with them.

And it is SO hard not to.

There’s always the latest greats ‘everyone is signing up for it’ new social media app or site. Mewe anyone?

Here’s the truth we never want to accept. You can’t be on EVERY single site. You can’t follow every piece of advice. You can’t be all things to all people (I think Lincoln said that.)

You just can’t.

There’s only so much of my brain power I can give.

I’m autistic, balance is crucial for me. If I push myself too far, I shut down. It’s horrible for my health to continue pushing and pushing.

That was 2018 for me.

Unhealthy.

So, 2019?

All about that bass…I mean balance.

What’s your word for 2019?

 

Remember to Breathe.

(Actual representation of me last week.)

I’ve reached the stage of NaNo where I hate words. I’m convinced I could happily burn my WIP. And I’m definitely questioning my sanity.

I’m tired.

In 2017, I wrote approximately 140k across several short stories and three novels.

This year, I’ve written a 90k novella trilogy, a 52k novel, and I’m on track to wrapping up another 65k – 70k novel. Plus a handful of flash fictions. So if all goes well, I’ll end 2018 having written over 200k words in total.

For me? That’s a lot.

In all honesty, this year, it was too much. I didn’t allow myself enough time to rest.  I didn’t set enough boundaries around my time.

Being a pantser (and not much of a plotter), my brain works best with breaks. I don’t really know where my ideas come from. I tend to just…sit and write, whatever comes out–comes out. Burning myself can be worse than writer’s block. More like writer’s too fucking tired to remember what words are.

I’ve promised myself to do better next year by taking breaks between my projects next year.

In part, my drive to do more and more comes from being autistic. I’ve an inner need to do and be more because of a less than healthy desire to make up for other areas where I can’t quite do what others do. (It’s hard to explain if you don’t experience it.)

On my list for December?

Relax, read through my massive TBR list, watch my favourite holidays movies, and wrap up this fun Urban Fantasy.

I’m not kicking myself if I don’t quite hit the NaNo deadline.

Writing should be fun, and if I add too much stress, I’m not doing myself any favours.

 

Nope, No, Never.

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Everyone has advice on how to manage your social media. Everyone. People sell books, hundreds (just do a check on Amazon.) And like tips on writing, tips on book selling/promoting can often be contradictory. And, I’m grumpy enough to usually avoid jumping on the bandwagon.

One: I hear quite frequently is that you should always link all your social media accounts, mainly FB, Twitter, and Instagram, for crossposting.

Here’s why I disregard that:

  1. Linking accounts creates a nightmare if you are ever hacked.
  2. 50% of the time the hyperlinks created via crossposting wind up not functioning correctly.
  3. Each social media platform has a distinct vibe. Things I post on FB don’t necessarily reach a Twitter audience.

Having said all of that, I will occasionally copy/paste posts between FB and Twitter, but very rarely.

Two:  People often recommend an app that auto-shares a post to all your FB groups.

I’m not a fan, personally. I prefer having control over what posts where.  You also run the risk of promoting in a non-promo group or promoting the wrong book. For example, promoting a non-paranormal novel in a paranormal group.

Three (or maybe Two B): Another App is an Auto-Retweeting on Twitter one.

Here’s why I think that can have disastrous consequences. You’re surrendering control of what winds up posted on your account. What happens if you wind up retweeting a post about someone’s personal grief over the death of a loved one?  Or, retweeting one you actually disagree with?

Also, I’m a control freak.

I want to know what I’m sharing.

Four: Don’t be too personal. (Or transversally, always be yourself.) I’ve heard marketing/promoting experts offer both schools of thought.

I firmly believe, for better or worse, you should always be yourself.

Readers will be drawn to who you are. And if they aren’t, they probably won’t enjoy your book. Books are an extension of ourselves in many ways.

Last but not least, Five: Creating Teasers.

Granted, creating teaser images doesn’t quite fall into the same category as all the others. It’s an important one. If you’re going to use images to promote your book, be sure you have the right/permission to do so.

Seriously.

It can save you a world of hurt if you get sued.

Also, it’s disrespectful to the photographer if you’re using their work without permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To NaNo or Not to NaNo.

The above gif is an accurate demonstration of how I’m feeling–and National Novel Writing Month hasn’t even started yet. The last five years I’ve successfully taken part in NaNoWriMo, though I think one year I didn’t quite hit 50k, but I didn’t finish the story so I consider it a win.

Ivy, Alicia, After the Scrum, The Caretaker, and One Last Heist all started life as NaNoWriMo stories.

Now, I’ll be honest. NaNo makes me lose my mind. At no other time of the year would I even attempt 50k in a month, but it’s a challenge I always find impossible to refuse.

When I started thinking about this year, I’d initially decided not to participate. My deadlines have gotten all messed up and I didn’t know if I’d have a book to work on in November.  My year has been fairly busy with writing a novella trilogy and writing a novel. But for all the chaos, I do genuinely love particpating in NaNo.

I’ll be cheating this year. My novel is going to wind up being around 80 or 90k, so my goal for November is 50k. That’s my NaNo goal, even though technically the story won’t be finished quite yet.

If I hit 50k, I’m considering it a win.

I’ll be exhausted, but a winner.

Are you taking part in NaNo this year?

 

Author Interview: Aaron Speer

Are you a panster or a plotter?
If you asked me this when I first started, I’d say plotter. Every scene. All arcs. Now though? I’d say its 70 30 pantsing.
 
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
Yes I do. Music is my best weapon. I’m always listening to specific download tracks based on the book I’m writing.
 
What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over. 
The Godfather
 
Describe your perfect writing space:
Alone. Quiet. In a bedroom or small office type space.
 
Do you write your title first or story first?
Title always
 
And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:

She sent me a photo of tonight’s dinner. Strange, as she had cursed me out not an hour before. She had never sent me pictures of anything like this before.
I began to wonder, was this a message? A chilling warning of the night ahead?
My beautiful fiance had only been released from minimum security less than a year ago. I never asked her what her previous husband’s died of…
 
US 4 Book Banner
Universal Buy Links:
Undeadly Secrets Sereis:
The Independents Short Stories Series:
The Undisputed Series:
Trinity
 
 
Author Bio:
I love writing adult paranormal fiction. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts… oh my. I’ve been writing since I was 11 but I’ve always been a dreamer… often getting caught staring off into space as I created stories in my mind.

One of my stories, Night Walker (Undeadly Secrets Series Book 1), won the 2017 Golden Stake Award at the International Vampire Film and Arts Festival held in Transylvania annually. I’m still quite chuffed about walking away with it after facing some great contenders.

The Fourth book in what some refer to as The Undeadly Secrets Saga released in early 2018 and I followed that with my first Contemporary Romance (MMA) release in August of 2018. I also have a short story thriller series, The Independents, and will be branching out into other genres in the coming year.

My favourite activities include spending time with family, dragging my forever patient wife to watch my beloved St George Illawarra Dragons, popping into the movies for the latest blockbusters, going to the gym for my dream body. Or just a body. Anything, really.

My beautiful wife and I welcomed our first child into the world in 2017. My fans declared him the Prince of Speerverse and claimed he seemed to take after me in his want to build the tension as high as possible… making us and our loved ones wait 3 long days for him to make his entrance. My wife and I live with the love of our lives in Sydney, Australia: the setting for the majority of my works.
Stalk Links:
 

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Let’s Talk About Sex.

“Why do you write gay romance?”

Author interviews always seem to include that question for me. And my answer is probably never entirely satisfactory, mostly because I don’t have the answer. There was no epiphany or grand moment. No critical thought process that I’ve heard other MM Romance authors give.

Gender and sexuality have always been a bizarre concept to me. It’s an autistic thing. I feel a bit detached on the idea of both. So, for me, romance is romance is romance.

While I am a woman and I identify as one, gender is one of those concepts I’ve always been quite detached from. I’ve spoken with other autistics who also find the male/female thing confusing. It’s a hard feeling to accurately describe.

It doesn’t affect my writing–and yet it does.

And by that I mean, when I write my brain doesn’t get caught up on gender differences necessarily in the same ways I see from allistic others. I do, however, seem to get into a rhythm of writing something in particular and struggle to shift into a different area. So, after starting with After the Scrum, my flow has continued with M/M, though all things considered my novels tend to include a diverse group of relationships amongst the cast of characters in the stories.

Sexuality or sexual orientation is equally different in my head from how I hear a lot of allistic authors talking about with their writing.

Sex scenes whether m/m, m/f, mmf, or mmm are the hardest bits of writing for me.

Another part, as a panster, I never genuinely set out to do one or the other or a variation. The story just spontaneously shows up from wherever my muse lives in my brain. I barely manage to plot out…the plot.

(The annoying part that I have zero control over. Fucking muse lol.)

I swear I had a point when I started this blog post, but I’ve gotten distracted.

I genuinely considered deleting this and starting over, but other autistic romance authors might appreciate and relate to seeing my struggles.

 

 

So Long Farewell.

(Ten points if the song is now stuck in your head. Sorry, not sorry.)

Saying goodbye to a book series is always bittersweet as an author…and as a reader. Saturday was a book release day for me. Haka Ever After came out and is the last of my Sin Bin series. I’m excited to move forward to new projects but heartbroken to leave my retired rugby lads behind.

It’s tricky, I think, to figure out where a series should end. There’s always a part of me that wonders about different characters whose story I didn’t tell. But then, my muse runs away toward a new shiny idea, and I don’t get a chance to be sad about ending my series.

I never intended to write The Sin Bin. In fact, I wasn’t supposed to write the story that inspired the series–After the Scrum. I had a completely different idea planned for NaNoWriMo 2015, but I made the mistake of watching a rugby match.

Big mistake.

Francis and Caddock sprung to life, giving me barely a week or two to prepare before November. And then, somehow, Graham decided his story wanted out in The Wanderer. Each tale led into the next.

It’s quite strange to look back on the series now. One of those moments where you can’t quite believe what you’ve accomplished. All those words on paper. It’s exhausting just to think about.

I’m proud of my rugby lads.

I’ll miss them.

But, I’m no to the next adventure.

If you’re a writer, do you find yourself missing a series when you’ve finished it?

Or as a reader, do you prefer to read a series or standalones?