Blogger-versary!

Thanks to social media, I realized I began my blog, two years ago! My Very first blog post was about writing my book, which was super fun to revisit.

I wake up each morning and check my stats on my blog, book, Twitter and all my notifications on FaceBook. Understand that my mood for the day is not based on numbers, but I do use them to gauge my relevance in the literary world. Lately, I have been reaching more people and slowly adding to my following. And because I am a huge nerd, numbers really get me going. Seeing a measurable increase gets me motivated to do more. With my book steady at #1, and my blog views as high as they have ever been, I am feeling a little more accomplished as a writer.

SO…. In honor of my 2 year anniversary, I’d like to do a give away. This time there will be 5 winners! The winners will receive a personalized Christmas present from me. A FREE SIGNED COPY OF APPARENT POWER, the novel I’ve been working on for over 2 years!!!!

The give away will go on for about 5 weeks, I’ll pick a winner every Friday until the end of July. Here is how to enter:

  1. Follow my blog!! by clicking +Follow at the bottom right of your screen.
    1. You can also follow my Author Page on FaceBook
    2. My Book Page on FaceBook
    3. Follow me on Twitter @daciaauthor
    4. And Follow me on Pinterest @britestfyrefly
    5. And for about 7 more days you can read a very rough draft of Apparent Power at ChapterBuzz

2. Share/ Reblog/ Retweet/ Pin your favorite Britestfyrefly blog post on your chosen social platform and tag me so I know you’ve entered the drawing.

You can enter every week as many times as you’d like, but you can only win once. Happy sharing!!!

 

What I Learned Writing My First Draft

I have spent 26 months, off and on, writing my novel. So many things happened in my life in those two years: a new baby, a ton of loss, a new job, a promotion, a couple personal crisis, a bout of postpartum depression, a year of college, and ultimately growth.

Though I really want to rest on my laurels, I know that it is not finished. I know that there is sooooo much editing to do and it is killing me to take a break from it. One piece of editing advice I received which was by far the most discouraging but made the most sense, was to rewrite the entire thing from scratch. To print out my existing content, finger paint all over the pages, and type it from there. Only then can I ensure that I did not lazily skip over details that need to be added (Writer friends: thoughts on this process. It makes me want to cry but I am also seeing where I need to do this).

So onto what I have learned:

  1. Keep writing when you are stuck. If it’s too hard, then you need to go back and change something to help you move the story along. I killed someone and was stuck writing for MONTHS! So I brought him back to life and that was that. It added a dynamic to the universe that I built and was helpful down the road.
  2. Have a writing routine. Whether you spend every Sunday morning writing, an hour a day, or a specific word count per day, week, etc, just have some sort of consistent and sustainable goal to write. Once you set these goals, make them a priority.
  3. Join a network of follow writers. I personally enjoy the fellowship and talents at ChapterBuzz . Run by a self-publishing coach, it gives you encouragement, monthly challenges to help you create writing routines (See #2) and also comes with a social network on FaceBook. You can also follow Tim Pike’s blog at What Inspires Your Writing.
  4. Do NOT edit. Lawd. Some days, in the very early stages when I was not feeling motivated or otherwise creative, I would go back and edit previous chapters. Now I can see that even then, and probably less now, I had no idea what I was doing. Before it fully developed into what it is now, my writing sucked. Just wait til it’s over to edit.
  5. You can have a working title, but chances are it wont stick. I created a word to describe a main puzzle piece in my book, but after much thought I knew that if I saw a book on the shelf with that title, I’d never pick it up. It was awkward, was made up, and no one could relate to it. So thank you, Google, for helping me brush up on electrical vocabulary. I stumbled on something ironic, easy to pronounce, and relevant to the story.
  6. There is absolutely NO reason to pursue representation from an agent before your word is D.U.N. DONE! Thinking about it is going to stress you out. Instead create a realistic timeline to completely complete your work. And then MAYBE you’d be brave enough to begin the query process. So if there is less than a week from the time you type THE END, until your dream agency hosts a Twitter Query Session, you should just patiently and painfully stick to your REASONABLE timeline. Do not try to edit your first 50 pages in a week. It’s unrealistic and will not be your best work. Then you run the risk of being rejected by your dream agency. No one wants that.
  7. TAKE A BREAK WHEN YOU ARE DONE!! I had planned to finish writing on June 30th then jump right into editing on July 1st. Little did I know, the book would be done two weeks early and 15,000 words short. But the story is written. I have given myself a month and a half to edit and bring up the word count. I need a break anyway to focus on things that have been neglected like my blog, and every other social media account I have as a writer.

 

So there you have it. Wednesday is that twitter pitch for my dream agency, in case you wondered. I’m chewing my nails wanting to try my queries, but I’m scared of what happens if they love it and want more. Should I ignore them and just rest assured that they would at least want to hear it at some point? Like August 15th when I had planned on being done? Or should I just watch and see what kind of pitches they picked to check out.  UGH!!!

Hope you enjoyed. Do you have any advice to add?

The End!!!

I wrote it! The outcome is set (well as set as a first draft can be). And I will not give it away! I am still waiting to hear what my beta readers have to say. But I am pretty darn proud of myself considering I had no idea what it would even look like until last week.

I have, for the first time in my writing career, penned the words “THE END”! How did this even come to be? I plan on taking a much needed break from the book, as many professionals suggest. My original timeline was to begin editing in July.

So, hurray for huge victories. Thank you for everyone that has took time to listen to me about “my book” and even asking what it’s about so I can practice my elevator speech. There is still a long road ahead to publishing. My crap writing needs some tweaking and then I have to look for an agent. (I have an agency in mind and a particular agent, but of course I know as a writer the odds of getting traditionally published are close to 1%).

That will not discourage me from trying. December 6th (my birthday) is my goal for publishing. *Deep Breath* I can do this!!!

I am announcing that now that I am down to working the final product, I am removing my work from Chapter Buzz on July 1st. Thank you to everyone that supported my journey and offered feedback on my very very rough first draft. We started from the bottom, now we a little above the bottom. 😉 CHEERS!

The Prep

Last night I messaged my friend. All of my doubts about this book being “the next big thing”. I have the formula. I have the story. I have the target audience. I have suspense, and romance, and a lining of humor. But only 1% of books will get picked up by a publisher and go to print. I did not even graduate high school (I have an education, it just wasn’t “traditional”). I am terrified that the agent I want will look me over for a technicality. I want to call her and say “Girl, I’m writing YOUR book. I have what you’re buying.” Everything in me is screaming GET THIS AGENT! SHE WILL BELIEVE IN YOU!

But the truth is I am a 32 year old working mom of 2 kiddos. I work a 9 to 5 and make a good living punching the clock. I do not have a huge following. I don’t have a fan club. I have a handful of women that eat my book up faster than I can write it. They claim “you’re going to get published. no doubt.” but I do doubt. all the time.

I have gone to extremes of planning a book tour for a work that isn’t even done. I believe in it. I KNOW it’s good. It would be big without the traditional support of an agent, a publisher, and good marketing.

Last month I set a goal of writing 1,000 words a day everyday for the entire month. This would put my word count at 80,000 words: a solid word count for the genre of fiction I am writing. Yesterday I went to bed 250 words short. I felt defeated and clawing for ideas. I so desperately needed validation.

Today a few things happened. Someone walked into my office to tell me that they could not put my book down. They even had dreams about what THEY would do in the situation of the protagonist. She had hardly dipped her toe into the pool of the world I have created. I wanted to gush about how much would be revealed, but I maintained (If you’re reading this, I could really talk all day about it). I don’t normally do this, because after just a couple days at #1, I was put back in my place at #2 on the charts, I went and checked out the rankings and I WAS BACK TO #1!!!

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You can read a very rough draft of Apparent Power at ChapterBuzz

So over lunch I punched out 1500 words. I made up for my deficient yesterday and remain on target to finish June 30th. I just needed a little validation.  Happy reading!

Writing Smut

Today I text one of my good friends and beta readers:

Me- Ive been avoiding it, but I might have to write a sex scene

S- Probably… if it was YA you could avoid it… but she’s an adult

Me- {Whew} Disaster averted.. I think I can hold off a few more scenes

S- You know you wanna write one

Me- I’m embarrassed that my husband would read it… can you imagine being the husband of the chick that wrote 50 Shades of Grey. I got close tho.

Now I will admit that deep down, yeah I want to write it, but as a new author, I am accustomed to writing about what I know. And I am the prude person that will change the subject when I am faced with most sex conversations. (If you have known me in my 20s, yes people change). Just because i worked in a predominately male profession, does not make me one of the guys. I might use bad language in extremely colorful ways, but it does not mean I am now, as a mom, comfortable discussing such a private matter.

I am scared that someone I know is going to read this sex scene and think it’s a chapter from my memoir. Inevitably, it will be written, and I am anxious about doing it (in a giggly school girl kids of way). It’s like that first time and you’re worried “maybe I don’t know what I am doing?” Or my friend will read what I consider to be a simple vague description, and tell me it is borderline pornographic. Why is this so freaking scary?!

Anyway, I am not usually nervous about putting my writing out there, but this will be my biggest hurdle in writing my novel.

So, my awesome Readers, if you suddenly stop getting word count updates or I don’t post any new content, It will be because the smut was written and I’m too terrified to share.

If you are interested in reading my book about a MOM that saves the world, instead of a teenage girl (I was an idiot in my teens), you can find Apparent Power on Chapterbuz.com (currently at the #2 spot. “Buzz” the chapters you like and bring me back to #1!!)

number 2

“Platform”

This book thing is getting pretty serious. Thanks to another Challenge hosted by ChapterBuzz and Tim at What Inspires Your Writing, I am on target to finishing the first draft by the end of the month.

So far I have a blog, an author facebook page, a book facebook page, an author twitter account, the potential for a website, and a book that is currently #1 in it’s very VERY rough stages. Add it all up and MAYBE 1,000 people are aware I exist. In order to build on these platforms I need to post consistently on relevant subjects as well as mention I have a book coming out.

I also have a full time job, am writing 1,000 words a day to finish in time, and raising two kids while my husband is away for work.  How does someone get this done? How do I add hundreds of followers to my blog if I don’t even have time to post everyday? Getting 1000 words out consistently is a HUGE undertaking, so how can I keep up with these other social media outlets and grow them? (Yes I am soliciting YOUR advice).

Here is what I am currently planning to do. Buy a planner. Well, I bought one and am just waiting for it to come in. Plum Paper sucked me in with their blog planning section. I’ll post a good review in a couple of months if it actually works out well. Otherwise, I have no idea how I am going to keep my life straight over the next few months, much less build this gigantic following in order for an agent to even bat an eye at me.

 

The Final Challenge

This is it. I am finishing the first draft but I need your help again.

Apparent Power is already an award winning book, even before being officially published.

book

It has sat at #2 on ChapterBuzz since I posted the first chapter.

number 2

But I am not satisfied. In June I am joining another challenge on ChapterBuzz. The challenge calls for a page a week. I plan on writing 3-4 a day. 1,000 words to be exact. This would put me on target to finish the book by the end of June.

I am also not satisfied being #2. Steve is a nice enough guy, but I am far more hungry for that spot. So, if you have been in the passenger seat along this journey with me, I encourage you to go and “Buzz Up” the chapters that you like.

Buzz

I’m not soliciting your money, just maybe a little time and in return I promise to give you a thrilling a gripping story that you can say you read before it was ever released.

HOW CAN I HELP?

Register on ChapterBuzz. Place the book Apparent Power on your book shelf and read away. I would LOVE your honest feedback, but it is not required. As you finish each chapter, Buzz it if you enjoyed it.

I have been told that the first few chapters are sort of rough to read, which as a self taught, un-published author is not too bad. Once you get past the rough beginning, I’ve heard good things. But please correct me if I am delusional.

Please let me know if you’d like weekly email updates throughout the challenge. Thank you all so much for even reading this far in my blog. Every writer just wants to be read. It’s the biggest form of flattery even if you don’t like it.