#IWSG post — If you could backtrack anything in 2017, what would you do differently?

Hello all! Remember me? I’ve missed the past two IWSG posts, being busy meeting writing deadlines and travelling. So I’m glad to be back and look forward to reconnecting and doing a great lot of reading.

Top Site for Writers

Alex’s awesome co-hosts for the December 6 posting of the IWSG are Julie Flanders,Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner! Try to visit if you have the time.

I went to the IWSG Page and checked out the question of the month, something I don’t usually do, but I think it’s a great idea when you’re stumphhed for what to be insecure about, LOL!

So here’s the December 6 question – 

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

 There is always the benefit of hindsight, but if I had known I’d have 2 publishers asking for my full manuscript for my ‘An American in Paris’ women’s fiction, I wouldn’t have planned a 5-week holiday right after the RWA conference, which left me scarcely any time to write. 

But it was kinda cool working on my story from my cruise ship balcony as we powered through the Aegean and Ionian Seas passing by the Greek Islands. I’ll never have that experience again. So, no matter if I was tardy delivering my manuscript to Avon and Tule, and they toss it in the rubbish bin because it took me 2 months to get it to them, I had a magical time.

 No matter what, I’m a writer, so I’m insecure. I’ve plenty of projects to work on while waiting on the powers-that-be. I’m revamping my paranormal story, getting a chapter done of book two, so I can include it when I re-publish my Under the Tuscan Moon as Vampire Obsession.
  • So, now tell me, are you insecure about anything?
  • What would you change about 2017 if you could?

Thanks for coming by…

Now, a shout out for WEP (Write…Edit…Publish). We posted our December challenge on Dec 1st. If you’d like to write something for us, we post on Dec 20th or before. You can visit WEP and check it out. We also have all our challenges prepared for 2018. All is revealed HERE.

WEP CHALLENGE FOR DECEMBER ............THE END IS THE BEGINNINGS

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#IWSG day — Sure I’m insecure, who isn’t? AUGUST IS BIG, SO BIG FOR ME!  

Hello friends!

I missed last month’s IWSG as my favorite aunty took ill. Unfortunately, she passed away, so I was too busy to think about posting on my blog.

But I’m back for August’s post. I love the August question:

What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

I’d rather not get started on this one — but really, I’m always against all the rules for emerging writers which the big guys break all the time.

And these broken rules don’t hurt the story.

Lately, every book I’ve picked up has got a Prologue (you know what we get told, right? Wrong. I love prologues but I’d be afraid to write one.) And backstory–you know how we get told to just insert it like splinters of glass–hey ho, I agree. Several books I’ve read recently start with a lot of backstory, whoa, pages and pages, yawn, yawn. Yeah. Readers don’t really want to be bombarded with lots of the old stuff that happened pre-story, they want to keep ploughing along in the moment. Except those who read best-sellers, apparently, LOL!

Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh and his team for keeping the IWSG on the road. This month he has the assistance of several luminaries:

Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!

If you have time, do pay each a visit.

So, what am I insecure about this month?

Well, August is very important to me and my writing.

It actually starts today (July 27th when I was writing this post) with the IWSG pitch contest. Well, Australian time it’s 10 pm tonight – 10am tomorrow. Insecurity to the max and black circles under eyes, anyone?

Hey, I totally suck at selling anything, but I’m giving it a shot.

HAVE A GO!!!!!!!!! PITCH TO AGENTS!!!
It’s all over by now. I know some of you got ‘favorited’ by editors/publishers. I got ‘favorited’ by a publisher who I later found out was a vanity publisher who wanted money up-front. I hope no one else got taken in by them. It disturbed me that they were allowed in the pit. Now, moving on…
The next scariest thing happens from August 11 – 13th. This is theRomance Writers of Australia’s conference, luckily held in Brisbane — just a short stroll across the river from where I live when I’m in town. It’s going to be MASSIVE for me as I’ve just finished my Paris women’s fiction. Well, as finished as it can be before 600 more rewrites. And my next trip to Paris in September to check my locations for my sequel…
So, I’ve written a Synopsis with the help of my critters, touched up my bio and air-brushed my photo (just kidding) and sent my manuscript to the Director of Avon Romance/William Morrow who’s attending the conference. I’ve paid for a 15-minute session where she’s going to assess my manuscript. Altogether terrifying and wonderful. This is what she’s looking for in case any of you are sitting on a ms that might suit Avon. They do take unsolicited mss for their Avon Impulse digital first line.
CARRIE FERON – AVON
Executive Editor, Senior Vice President
1. Which areas/imprints are you actively acquiring for?High concept historicals, historical romance, psychological suspense, women’s fiction
2. What subgenres are you currently seeking?Single Title, Contemporary and Historical
3. What kind of writing will especially pique your interest?I love writing with a very strong voice.
4. What are you not looking for, so we don’t waste your time and ours?Literary fiction, SF, YA
5. What would you love/hate to see pitched to you?Something with a great hook.
So, here’s hoping my story is just what she’s been searching the globe for. Now added to the session with Carrie Feron,
  • I have a 5-minute pitch to Tule Publishing
  • A session with a publisher with only 9 attendees
  • 15 minutes with Google
  • 15 minutes with Draft2Digital
and 3 days of fabulous workshops with fabulous people in between.
So, you get it? My August is going to be OUTTA THIS WORLD (even if Carrie says no thanks)!
And there’s more:
JOIN WRITE...EDIT...PUBLISH FOR THE AUGUST CHALLENGE!
I haven’t neglected my Write…Edit…Publish friends. (Well, maybe just a little…)
We have a new challenge which opened yesterday. If you’d like to try your hand at flash fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, artwork, join our REUNIONS challenge. An excerpt from a WIP is totally fine if it suits the prompt. I know we’re going to get our heartstrings tugged here.
CLICK on the SUBMIT button in my right-hand sidebar or trot across to WEP and add you name to the list. There you’ll find some extra help to participate in this awesome prompt, dreamed up by Nila Bose and the badge created by Olga Godim.
C’mon. Make my August and yours even better!

#IWSG post – Do you use a pen name?

Time for the April IWSG. Thank you to Alex J Cavanaugh and his side kicks for the month–Christopher D. Votey,Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey! 

Man, did I ever get a nasty surprise this morning when I checked whether my IWSG post had gone live–it’d disappeared. You can imagine my frustration. I’d prepared it a few weeks ago so I could clear my slate for an April write fest.

I really don’t have the heart to redo the whole thing with pictures etc, so I’ll just get to the question of the day–no, not the suggested question about whether I’ve ever used the A-Z to market a book–my question today is ‘what do you think of pen names/pseudonyms?’ I’ve been thinking of republishing under a pen name after attending a Joanna Penn workshop–she publishes under Joanna Penn for her non-fiction and as J.F. Penn for her fiction. She says it helps Amazon to target readers for the different genres.

So then I started researching, as you do, and was quite surprised at the authors who use more than one name. Who would have thunk?

Image result for images for pen names

  • Stephen King (his real name) writes Horror. He also writes as Richard Bachman, Eleanor Druse, Steve King, and John Swithen. Check them out!
  • Jack Higgins (his pseudonym) writes Mystery. He also writes as Martin Fallon, James Graham, and Hugh Marlowe.
  • Issac Asimov (his real name) wrote Science Fiction. He also wrote as Paul French and George E. Dale.
  • J.K Rowling (her real name) writes her Cormorant Strike detective series under the pen name Robert Galbraith — that secret was soon revealed!
  • Barbara Michaels (her pseudonym) writes gothic and supernatural Thrillers. She also writes as Elizabeth Peters.
  • Nora Roberts ( born Eleanor Marie Robertson) writes as J. D. Robb for her Death series and under the pseudonym Jill March. She calls herself Sarah Hardesty in the UK. Fascinating!
  • Alistair MacLean (his real name) writes Mystery. He also writes as Ian Stuart.
  • Eboni Snoe (her pseudonym) writes African-American Romance.
And of course, there’s many, many more…
  • So, the question is — why do these successful authors use pen names? I’m sure they’re not insecure about too much. Why then? Is it just about different genres, or are there other reasons? 
  • Do you think the extra work involved (new blog, new social media etc) is worth it to write under a pen name? I’ve had people tell me yes, people tell me no.

We at WEP would love it if you sign up for our challenge on April 19th – “P” day for the A-Z. You can so do both…sign up over at Write…Edit…Publish.

 
WEP CHALLENGE FOR APRIL, FITTED TO THE A - Z CHALLENGE.
Thanks for taking time in your busy schedule to visit me!

IWSG post–is our writing ever good enough? There’s help out there!

Aren’t we all somewhat insecure about our writing? Well, duh, that’s the whole point of IWSG!  I’ve never yet met a writer who wasn’t stricken with self-doubt somewhere along the line. So a perfect antidote is to attend a masterclass with someone whose past students got published after attending her classes and many ended up on the New York Times Best-selling List. I could live with that!

Facebookers amongst us will know that I’ve been attending a Margie Lawson Immersion Class for 5 days, where 8 lucky writers who were the first to sign up spent 12 hours a day learning at the seat of the master editor and make-your-novel-amazing Margie from Colorado.

The mornings were spent learning how to make our manuscripts sing louder, through more visceral writing and amplification, and the afternoons were spent writing, analyzing our manuscripts and the biggie–one-on-one sessions with Margie.

Absorbing her edit system (which of course I can’t share due to copyright) was the most awesome thing about the retreat, held in a gorgeous home in a leafy suburb of Brisbane. I also picked up 2 fab critique partners, both romance writers: Tania and Sheila in the centre of the above pic. According to Margie, we’re a good fit. They’re a couple of dynamos!

Margie has asked me to host an Immersion Class at our beach house in March ’17. I’m considering it.

No, Margie didn’t hire me as her publicist, but I’m so excited about what I’ve learned that I thought I’d share it for the #IWSG.

So I’ll just share one example of mine with you. You have to have a ms under your arm when you turn up. I brought along my 45,000 word ms for ‘Carpe Diem—Love and Art in Paris’ (WORKING TITLE).  I never got further than a few pages with Margie as she was bursting her creativity all over those opening pages (and my major turning point). I went away from the one-on-one and rewrote my opening line…and my first two chapters several times.

Here’s the opening line on my original ms:

OPENING LINE:

The stranger props himself on a bar stool in front of me like he owns the place.

(cringe-worthy much?)
REWORKING:

I watch the tall Frenchman push his way into Marcel’s Bar in Pigalle, Paris’s naughty end of town.
(After a session with Margie. Less cringe-worthy?)

Now, it still has room for improvement, of course, writing always does, but now that I’ve been Margie-fied, I have learned a few more ways to tempt the reader.

NOW after visiting other IWSGers, I see I was supposed to answer the question: how do I find the time to write in my busy day…well, lately I’ve been getting up early and writing for a couple of hours before anyone else wakes up…it’s just me, my laptop and the sea view. Then I grab two hour sessions throughout the day. I’d say at the moment I’m averaging about six hours a day writing. That’s what Hemingway did, and Dean Koontz does…

Thanks a whole bunch of koalas, Margie!

Margie Lawson's profile photo

www.MargieLawson.com

Lawson Writer’s Academy

Twitter: @margielawson

Facebook: Margie Lawson

This has been a post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Go HERE to sign up or read more posts.

Visit the co-hosts!

  1. Lee McKenzie,Rachel Pattison,Elizabeth Seckman,Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata! 

    And a heads-up for the October Write…Edit…Publish. The theme is CONSTELLATIONS, so get your little sci-fi, fantasy brains around that one. More details soon! Should be a double hoot!
  2. WRITE..EDIT...PUBLISH - JOIN US!
  • How about you? Have you attended a writers’ retreat?

  • Do you know Margie Lawson?

  • Do you have any editing tips to share with us?

#IWSG post–Chrys Fey gjves us 5 steps to defeat insecurities and also launches her latest release with The Wild Rose Press, Seismic Crimes–and a GIVEAWAY!

Time for us to throw our insecurity hats into the ring for the month of June, or to tell us how to overcome our insecurities.

First Wed of Every Month
Many thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh and his awesome co-hosts for the June 1 posting of the IWSG will be Murees Dupe, Alexia Chamberlynn, Chemist Ken, and Heather Gardner! 


Over to my special guest, Chrys Fey…

Tips to Defeat the Insecurity Monster

Writers are no strangers to insecurity. That’s why Alex created this nifty group, right? That’s also why there’s so many of us.

During the course of writing and publishing a book, we can encounter many insecurities. We question our writing skills, agonize over our lack of writing time and even our writing speed. Then we stress over revisions, critiques, and edits. Querying and submitting brings an all new insecurity to the table with the threat of rejections and the torturous waiting game. Once we move on to the publishing gig, new insecurities dawn: release day, marketing, finding readers, getting reviews, and stressing over sales and bad reviews. It is a lot to deal with, especially back-after-back, but the good news is that none of these are insurmountable.

Every write experiences these same insecurities and struggles. While knowing that doesn’t help us in the moment or show us how to deal with them, it should relieve us in knowing that we’re not alone. And because we’re not the first (and won’t be the last) to face these insecurities, there are countless writers/authors out there who can offer us guidance, advice, and help when we need it. One good place to look for that is within our group.

When I was insecure about the release of Seismic Crimes, many IWSGers signed up for my release day promo, blog tour and supported my Thunderclap campaign. In the past, IWSGers rooted me on when I was going through personal problems, offered to beta read for me when I had no one and gave me courage.

I wish there was a sure-fire way to beat insecurities as they come, but there isn’t. There are, however, some techniques you can do to help you move past them.

  1. Take a deep breath.

You’re stronger than any insecurity you will ever encounter.

  1. Give yourself a break.

We’re not perfect. We make mistakes, and we have to learn.

  1. Take a step back.

Put your book away for a few days so you can return to it with fresh eyes. Also try to look at it as an outsider (a reader, not the writer).

  1. Make a plan.

When you’re facing an obstacle that seems bigger than you, break it down into smaller (manageable) steps. Then tackle each one at a time.

  1. Ask for help.

After you’ve done all you could with editing, promoting and marketing, it’s time to seek help. There’s no shame in doing this. It’ll take a lot of stress off you, and you’ll be surprised at how many people want to support you.

While writing and preparing for the release of Seismic Crimes, I did each of these techniques for every insecurity I encountered. And guess what? I’m secure now! There are some things in the future that may bring new insecurities (book signings/events, etc.), but I’ll do these steps and I’ll defeat it!

Title: Seismic Crimes

Author: Chrys Fey

Series: Disaster Crimes Series (Book Two)

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Format: Digital and Print

Page Count: 282

DIGITAL LINKS:

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

NOOK / KOBO / All Romance eBooks

PRINT LINKS:

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA

 The Wild Rose Press

BLURB:

An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane—Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.

Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs.

When a tip reveals the killer’s location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?

BIO: 

My Photo

Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes, Book One in the Disaster Crimes series, as well as these releases from The Wild Rose Press: 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. She is an administrator for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and has participated in the Blogging from April A to Z Challenge. 

When Fey was six years old, she realized she wanted to be a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. 

Fey lives in Florida and is always on the lookout for hurricanes. She has four adopted cats who keep her entertained with their antics, and three nephews who keep her entertained with their antics. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and through her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers! 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter

HURRICANE CRIMES 99¢ SALE!

DIGITAL LINKS:

Amazon US / Amazon UK

Amazon CA / NOOK / KOBO

All Romance eBooks

The Wild Rose Press

CLICK on the link below for the Rafflecopter and you will be entered in the draw for the GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for talking to us about insecurities, Chrys. Here’s my best wishes to you for an avalanche of sales for Seismic Crimes! 

Please leave a comment and wish Chrys well!

 

Misha Gericke reveals her writing insecurities for #IWSG. Endless blog tour post. And a China sneak-peek–the Great Wall of China.

Welcome to the May #IWSG posts. Many of you will be battle fatigued after participating in the A – Z Challenge. I was busy touring China, so I’m not sure which was the most exhausting. I’ll give you a pic or two of China at the end of the post for those who have been begging to see some, but today my blog belongs to Misha Gericke who is sharing her insecurities on writing then introducing us to her new book.
Thank you to Alex J Cavanaugh and the team of co-hosts for May!
 We have: Stephen Tremp, Fundy Blue, MJ Fifield, Loni Townsend, Bish Denham, Susan Gourley, and Stephanie Faris! If you have time, visit each one and say hi!

***********************************************************************
Now, take it away, Misha!

About Insecurities

The first time I managed to finish a book, it was a huge, almost terrifying tome that took me six months only to figure out the concept.

So when the time came for me to write Endless, my second story, I was terrified of starting it.

All because it felt like I didn’t have enough understanding of the story to write it. Endless started as a concept; more than two years before that I only thought of tangentially while drafting The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice. Sort of: “I wish I could write a story about an amnesiac immortal.”

Then I had a sudden blast of inspiration right before NaNoWriMo. I didn’t have anything else to write, so obviously Endless was the best option. But I didn’t think about the world. Didn’t even know any of the characters. (Which was a new experience for me.)

I freaked out for the whole week before NaNoWriMo started, which of course meant that I couldn’t figure anything out either.

This sounds like the recipe for a disaster, doesn’t it?

Well… actually…

I started on November 1 with no clue other than the main character having amnesia.

I finished the rough draft in fifteen days. (Which was my personal record from November 2011 to September 2015.)

The rewrite took me three weeks. (I rough draft in pen.)

The book basically wrote itself. Twice.

Which does go to show you.

Sometimes, we really freak out about the stupidest things.

What has caused you to be insecure about your writing, only to turn out not to be worth worrying about?

About the Book


“First, do no harm.” Blake Ryan swore that oath to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousand year life sucking souls out of other immortals.

Things are different now. Using regular shots of morphine to keep his inner monster at bay,

Ryan has led a quiet life since the Second World War. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them.

Until a plane crash brings Aleria into his hospital. Her life is vibrant. Crack to predators like him. She’s the exact sort of person they would hunt, and thanks to a severe case of amnesia, she’s all but defenseless.

Leaving Aleria vulnerable isn’t an option, but protecting her means unleashing his own inner monster. Which is a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.

Amazon US | Amazon Universal | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

About the Author


Misha Gerrick lives near Cape Town, South Africa, and can usually be found staring at her surroundings while figuring out her next book.

If you’d like to see what Misha’s up to at the moment, you can find her on these social networks:

Tumblr | Twitter | Google Plus | Writing Blog

Excerpt

This had to be what dying felt like. Floating outside my body, waiting for that final link to my life to be severed, only vaguely aware of indescribable pain. More screams than I could count rose up around me. Hundreds of footsteps beat against tiles. I couldn’t open my eyes if I wanted to. Not when it was easier to listen and wait. People shouted for a doctor or an IV, or a thousand other things that made no sense. I listened to all the chaos, trying to untangle it in my thoughts.

Soon, I could go. The peace around me was so relaxing, completely out of place in the clamor I heard. I wanted it. To rest forever in that peace. Why not? There was a very good reason, but I couldn’t call it to mind.

A numb buzz shot through my body and shattered my serenity.

It happened again. Only this time was more of a sharp pulse. The third time jolted like lightning. The fourth…Hell. Suddenly, the screams were coming from me. My heart’s relentless thundering added to my torment.

Pain.

Everywhere.

My chest burned like fire. It hurt to breathe. Cold air drove down my throat and into my lungs, amplifying the inferno in my chest. My skin felt scorched. It couldn’t be. It wasn’t right.

I had to see. I had to understand why pain dominated my existence like this. My eyes were fused shut. My breaths grew shallow, trying to draw air when there was none. I tried to clench my teeth. I bit hard plastic. A pipe. Cold air suddenly forced back into my lungs, out of time with my own breathing. This was wrong. It wasn’t safe. I had to see. The best I got was a little fluttering of my lashes.

A high-pitched beep shot through my head. It repeated again and again. I wanted to reach over and slam my fist into its source. My arm wouldn’t lift. Something kept it trapped. A scream rose up from the depths of my soul, but the pipe jammed inside my throat stifled the sound. I only managed a whimper, trying my best not to gag. More air blasted into my lungs against my will. What was going on? I was trapped in my own body, but why?

I needed to move. I had to move. Now. Before… Even… Even though… Panic gripped me. The beeps increased at a frenetic pace. I needed to move. To be gone. Didn’t matter where. Just not here. Not defenseless. Not trapped.

The air sucked out of my lungs. I gasped, choking on nothing, strangled by invisible fingers. I tried to convulse my body. To twist myself free of what’s holding me.

Nothing.

The air rushed back in a cold flood. Seconds later it left, only to return in the same amount of time.

There was a rhythm to the air. In… out… in… out… The breaths were slow—sleep-like. I concentrated on this rhythm, striving to clear my head. If I wanted out, I needed to think. Calmly. Clearly. Eventually, those irritating beeps slowed. I tried to focus past the sound.

Voices buzzed about me, adding to my need to see, to do something to protect myself. No one seemed to pay attention to me. Good. I could use that to my advantage.

I centered my every thought on moving my little finger. It finally jerked, but collided against something solid. So the thing trapping my arm was physical and too heavy for me to lift. It was better to be trapped than paralyzed. With luck I could escape my restraints. I tried my other hand, but it was cemented stuck as well. Right leg. Left leg. Damn it! Both trapped. I had to move!

No.

No, I needed to stay calm. I tried to make larger movements, biting the pipe in my mouth against the urge to scream in pain. There was no wiggle room.

Fearing that I might be blindfolded, I focused on blinking. It worked. My eyes opened and the blur faded, revealing ceiling tiles. Why would there be tiles? Where was the canvas of hospital tents? The distant sounds of bombs dropping? The power of their explosions rushing through my blood?

No. That wasn’t right. I wasn’t there.

Where was I, then?

I hope you enjoyed visiting with Misha today and that her new book has captured your imagination. Please leave an encouraging reply for Misha. You know how insecure we writers can get.

And here are a few China pics of the Great Wall of China–that climb is a truly exhilarating, yet at times terrifying experience. Coming down is just as dangerous as going up! But I’m glad I’ve had the experience. For those of you who’ve asked for more pics/stories, they will be forthcoming in my next post!

 
Where I climbed the wall.
Base camp at the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall of China
in the Guangou Valley. Upgraded during the Ming Dynasty.
Here Genghis Khan passed through on his thunderous journey to Beijing.
 
From my vantage point on the Wall–looking down on the village below. I climbed the largest ancient structure on the planet!! Go me!

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG post–my special guest Ann Best is back to say hello and share her take on SEOs!

It’s the first Wednesday of the month. Time for the #IWSG. Today I’d like to thank Alex J Cavanaugh and his trusty co-hosts who will do the rounds, making sure everyone’s post gets a look in.

Co-hosts! Please visit:

Lauren Hennessy
Lisa Buie-Collard
Lidy Wilks
Christine Rains
Mary Aalgaard

Today I invited a long-time blogger friend from back in the day when blogging seemed so much simpler and yes, friendlier. I was sorry when my friend Ann Best, known to many of you, decided twice that she could no longer handle blogging. Thankfully, this successful memoir author is back with a WordPress blog where she hopes to garner new readers. 

Ever wonder about SEO? Well today Ann is sharing with us what she’s hoping to achieve. At the moment she’s feeling somewhat insecure as she builds her audience. I hope by putting Ann front and centre on my blog today, a little of her insecurity will float away as you make her welcome.

Over to you , Ann…

It’s wonderful to be blogging again.

It really is.

I’ve missed you, “Old Friend from Far Away.”

That’s the title of a wonderful memoir I just bought by Natalie Goldberg, and it reminds me of “old” blogger friends. Of so many of you who are still “out there.” I hope you’ll stay around for a while because it’s so true what Ms. Goldberg says in her almost-haiku introduction:

To have an old friend visit

    from far away—

      what a delight!

Memoir is the genre that life led me to, culminating, when I was 58, in a rough draft of my published memoir, my first and probably only published memoir, In the Mirror. A Memoir of Shattered Secrets, published by WiDo Publishing.

Though you never know. I didn’t know about two years ago, at age 73+, feeling overwhelmed from over 28 years of caring for my disabled daughter, that I would ever come back to blogging.

Why am I back?

Because I like people, and I like to write.

Because I thought, I’ve written a memoir that I’d like some more people to read. We’re all insecure about finding new readers – aren’t we? We all would like to make some money with our writing – wouldn’t we? And even if we get a traditional publisher, we still have to do our own marketing, something that most of us are insecure about.

And so . . .

I was browsing the Internet. I think I was on Facebook when I saw the advertisement: Join Wealthy Affiliate. Turn Any Passion Into a Successful Marketing Business. This is where you promote other’s products. But I soon decided, after joining, that I’d set up a site to promote my own product – my book. And with WordPress you can monetize (mine isn’t a free one).

I’ve been walked through building the site, the basics. I’ve learned about keywords (extremely important) and search engine optimization. And more.

Still learning. I don’t intend to be a marketing guru. Mainly just a blogger. And a writer. You write copy, or in my case it’s more personal essay.

I know the unspoken rule these days in blogging is to be short and sweet, but you need at least 1500 words for the search engines to notice you they say. And at least five posts. And more. And more.

I’ve managed two posts so far.

I’m having a wonderful time.

I feel energized.

Ideas are everywhere.

As a personal blogger, I stroll through my childhood, teen years, marriage, divorce, disasters. And research what others have written. IMO there’s always something to write about.

It won’t be exactly like the good ol’ blogger days – the world has changed. But I’m so happy to be back, and look forward to reconnecting with “old” friends “far away.”

Thank you Ann.

Please Tweet: Join #memoir #writer Ann Best at http://ctt.ec/b3Gj0+

You can find Ann’s new WordPress blog HERE. Please visit and say hello and check out her latest post, The Walking Wounded!

Ann didn’t ask me to promote her book, but it can’t hurt if you like to read memoir.

$2.99 Amazon.com

179 reviews!!

  • Have you ever taken a long blogging break?
  • How difficult was it to return to regular blogging and find readers?
  • Are you on WordPress or do you find blogspot satisfactory? Or are you on both (like me).

After you leave a comment for Ann, please click HERE and read more IWSG posts.

And the Write…Edit…Publish (WEP) winners are announced today! Please visit and congratulate three clever authors if you have the time!

#IWSG post — New Year’s Resolutions — or not?

Happy New Year! ‘Sweet 16’, we’re calling it in Australia!

Today is a special IWSG day as the winners of the IWSG Anthology Contest are announced. Thanks to everyone who entered. You’ll want to get around and read lots of posts, so thank you for coming by. I won’t keep you long.
Here are the winners of the Anthology contest.

WINNERS OF THE IWSG ANTHOLOGY SCIENCE FICTION CONTEST

TOP STORY: Felix Was Here byL.G. Keltner
The Mirror People by Crystal Collier
Ground Zero by Michael Abayomi
The Seventeen by Hart Johnson
Rainers by Sandra Cox
EVER-TON by Yolanda Renee
WIN by Sylvia Ney
Haunted by Melanie Schultz
Folds in Life and Death by Cherie Reich
Scrying the Plane by Tamara Narayan
Click here to read more of the
260 blogs signed up
Helping Alex with the commenting this week are the co-hosts for January:
Be nice and pay them a visit!

I’ll just remind you of the two fabulous romantic February Blogfests coming up–the Lost and Found on February 1, and the WEP Valentines on February 17.  Click here to see my post about them if you missed it.

LOST AND FOUND BLOGFEST -- FEB 1ST
WEP VALENTINE BLOGFEST - FEB 17
Now I meant to slowly ease my way back into blogging in 2016 but that intention was quickly wiped away with Arlee’s invitation to help out with the Lost and Found blogfest, then I’d already promised Alex I’d help in the IWSG. So, bang!

I’ve been around and read lots of posts in the last few days, and of course so many are about New Year’s Resolutions. I used to make them, but quickly learned that they don’t have legs (or willpower), so I gave up. But I read a great article recently which asked us to think about what we’re doing with these resolutions.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Apparently, in this order, our 5 biggest concerns are: losing weight, getting organised, spending less, enjoying life to the full, getting fit.

Signs of insecurity?

Nothing wrong with any of those resolutions. Self improvement is an intrinsic human goal. But how about instead of making it all about us, let’s make a resolution to put ourselves last. (Well, ha ha, many women, especially mothers, have been doing that for generations, but you get my drift?)

Let’s find one new thing to do. I agree. The world looks hopeless at the moment, but we must never give up hope. The media paints a bleak picture and we feel so small, so insignificant…what can we do to help?

We can feel so insecure about our lack of charity.

Will our few paltry dollars really help those starving kids in our city or town or village, in war zones, in dysfunctional homes? What about the people who’ve lost their homes and livelihoods in floods, droughts, fires or earthquakes? Plenty of that going around at the moment. In Australia, we can go to our banks and donate directly to these causes and no doubt your country has its ways and means. Finding some way to help those struck with misfortune makes us feel so much better, give us so much more hope.

And as writers, we can use the Power of the Pen to make a difference in this world. We are good listeners, observers. We can entertain. We can offer hope. We can offer solutions. We can tell the world what we’ve learned.

Be insecure about our writing style, or writing process, or the amount of time we spend at the computer. But never feel insecure about what we can give to the writing community and the larger community.

GREAT BLOG POSTS I’VE SEEN IN THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS

If you haven’t already read it, Kirsten Lamb has posted an excellent article on writers getting paid and how we can help this happen.

Then after I finished one best seller, reading the Acknowledgements I saw this author had, like a gazillion people working with her to make her book amazing. As indies we don’t have this help. I think we need more than a couple of betas, critique partners and a couple of paid edits. How can we make this better?

Here’s an article comparing modern writers to the great writers of old.

A GREAT WRITING OPPORTUNITY

Damyanti at Daily Write has been publicizing a great writing opportunity. The Forge Literary Magazine is actively seeking submissions now! Stories under 3,000 words preferably and they love flash fiction as long as it is literary. Check them out! 

I’m done. I hope you enjoy reading the posts today.