I love YouTube. I learn all kinds of things on there – like where that little metal pole thingy under my hood goes after I finish checking the oil. I tell you – it was a super fun day in the scorching sun trying to put that sucker back in the right place.
There I stood holding that hot metal hood up as I tried putting that pole where it was supposed to go. I gave up, came inside and looked on YouTube. Problem solved.
Last week, I learned a new term when I was watching YouTube: ethnically ambiguous. The term has probably been around for years, but that was the first time I’d heard it.
Lizzie Chandler, the psychic matchmaker in my books, is ethnically ambiguous. When I got the idea to write the series, I wanted a female lead that did not belong to any particular racial group. Some of Lizzie’s friends are white, and some are black – just like with my own friends.
I’m going to make a huge confession here. I can be a little bit of a Pollyanna type at times. I want to see a world where everyone loves one another and all races get along. I’m not totally delusional. I know that racial harmony thing will not happen in the real world. However, it will happen in my books.
It can be a little tricky creating that kind of thing, especially when you’re still pretty new at writing. I don’t want just Caucasian and African American characters. That wouldn’t be very Pollyana-ish of me. But I haven’t spent any real time around other races. And if you don’t know other races well, there’s a good possibility that you can end up unintentionally offending people. I certainly don’t want to do that.
This post is about to end abruptly. I’m not sure how much I want to get into the whole ethnic ambiguity thing right now. But at least I’ve given fair warning to any readers who expect characters to look and act a certain way. You won’t find that in my books.
Most people consider me to be a close-mouthed person. A coworker once said that I’d be married for six months before anyone even knew I had a boyfriend.
I guess it’s true that I can be a little secretive. Not that people would suspect that when they are reading a blog where I share my thoughts with the world.
But I am keeping a pretty big secret from family and friends. I’ve been writing for ten years. Well, it’s probably a lot less when you subtract those months when I wasn’t writing because I was in meltdown mode, sure I was the worst writer to ever create an account on Amazon Kindle.
Regardless of how long I’ve been at it, only two people know about my goal to make a living as a writer. And that creates a bit of a problem with the e-book sales. I’ve read a lot of advice (that I mostly haven’t followed) on how to sell more e-books.
One way to increase sales is to tell family and friends so they can buy my books, leave reviews (which are important), and spread the word about the books. I have absolutely no plans to get book sales that way. I’m concerned about how people who know me will respond to my books.
In case you haven’t personally experienced this, family and friends are big on brutal honesty. I don’t think I can handle that. It’s one thing to have a total stranger ask, “She got paid for that?” It’s another thing to get that from loved ones.
It could take weeks – maybe even months – to recover from the devastation of having someone close to me say unflattering things about my writing. There would probably be weeping involved. And since my female lead characters are pretty similar to me, they might also be crying. No one wants to read a book about a constantly sobbing woman.
So I’ll have to remain a secret writer. Then one day, my books will be on the best sellers list, and no one will know because I use a pseudonym. That’s when I’ll tell everyone the truth so they can be suitably impressed.
A loving family member or friend will likely look at me and ask, “You got paid for that?”
One autumn night ten years ago, I was lying in bed staring at the ceiling. It wasn’t because there was something interesting up there to see. I couldn’t sleep, likely because of the half gallon of coffee I’d consumed that day.
While I certainly can’t remember what was going through my mind as I lay there that night, it probably went something like this: Maybe I should cut my hair. No, I should grow my hair out. I need to lose weight. I really want to get up and eat the rest of that butter pecan ice cream I have in the freezer.
My thoughts aren’t too deep at two in the morning.
But that particular insomnia ridden night, I did have one very surprising thought. A fleeting idea moved through my sleep deprived mind that I should write a book about a psychic matchmaker.
I immediately dismissed that nonsense because I had no desire to be a writer. The idea of a writing a book seemed preposterous.
When I was in college, I’d break out in a sweat when I had to write a ten-page paper. And since I struggled to get to ten pages in school, I knew I’d never be able to write a whole entire book.
But the thought just wouldn’t go away. And so in December 2008, I started writing about Lizzie Chandler, psychic matchmaker. To my surprise, I loved doing it!
Still, I was plagued with doubts. Just because I liked writing and the story was interesting to me, that didn’t mean anyone else would want to read it.
Ignoring my doubts, I continued with the writing. After years of writing and rewriting, I put my first e-book, Doesn’t Take a Crystal Ball, on Amazon.
A few days later, I decided that the whole writing thing was stupid. I couldn’t shake thoughts of the humiliation I’d feel when my book ended up with a bunch of one-star reviews. Even though I use a pseudonym, I just wouldn’t be able to go on if people thought my book sucked.
With a heavy heart—after all, I’d put a ton of work into the book—I logged on to my Amazon Kindle account to delete the book and give up on the foolish notion of becoming a writer.
I discovered something very awesome as I was looking at my account. Not only had I sold a book with no advertising whatsoever, I’d received a four-star review. I was over the moon. I was officially a writer. I was about to get rich.
Boy, have I had a very rude awakening! It’s been ten years. I haven’t made it to the best sellers list. I haven’t quit my day job to sit at home leisurely writing awesome books.
But while I am far from living my dream, I expect success to fall from the sky any day now.
I have changed the name of this blog many times. I can’t decide where I want to go with it. Besides providing info on new or soon to be released e-books, this site is supposed to be an entertaining way of sharing my somewhat ridiculous thoughts about everything under the sun.
And yes, I realize that no one really cares about my thoughts. Still, other bloggers don’t let that stop them, so I won’t either. I want a fun blog with lots of readers, and I will have one.
I also want a great writing career, and I’m determined to have that, too. After all, that’s the whole point of calling the blog Living the Dream!
But the writing thing is not going so well at the moment.
I’ve been at this off and on for ten years. I’ve started and given up numerous times, which is why my e-books are never released when I say they will be. But all that is about to change. I have release dates in mind for the two e-books I’m working on, and I’m determined to stick with them (this time).
There’s a bit of a problem with that plan. I seem to have my first real case of writer’s block. I have drafts of both books finished, but they need some serious polishing. So every day, I fire up the old laptop, ready to do some serious writing.
And I get nowhere.
I can see that there are things that need to be fixed, but for the life of me, I’m coming up empty on how to do it. I have to say, it’s not a whole lotta fun sitting in front of a computer screen for extended periods of time and not making much progress.
All that’s going to change though. I’m going to release two new awesome e-books in the spring of 2019. They are going to receive great reviews and sell very, very well.
A few weeks ago, I came across a file that contained partially written short stories that I started years ago. Since things aren’t going real well with the e-book I’m working on, I set it aside.
I decided to finish the short stories and put them online for Halloween as an e-book titled Undead of Night. The book contains three stories, including a young man battling the monster under his bed, a woman alone in the country facing a werewolf, and a girl forced to confront her fears and help a ghost.
Part-time matchmaker Lizzie Chandler likes helping people find love, but she draws the line at working with murderers. 74-year-old Ben Turner insists that he didn’t kill his three wives and that they died because of a curse. Lizzie isn’t buying that story.
She and her private investigator boss, Josh Alexander, are determined to uncover the truth about the dead wives. But the more they learn about Ben’s past, the more it looks like he might really be cursed.
Throw in one cartoon-watching Yorkie, two pint-sized senior citizens who can’t stay out of trouble, and a matchmaking client that doesn’t want to find her Mr. Right, and Lizzie’s in for an unplanned adventure…which concludes with a late night trip to the graveyard to remove a curse that she’s not sure exists.
I’d love for my books to be perfect–error free, interesting and fun. With that goal in mind, I’ve spent countless hours proofreading and revising Doesn’t Take a Crystal Ball and A Psychic Couldn’t See It.
I am nowhere near perfection with either book and never will be. I’ve never written a book before. I’d have to be completely delusional to think that I’d produce flawless books. And most days, I’m not delusional.
So why am I constantly editing e-books that are already available on Amazon? I don’t know. It’s not like I’m making big changes to the content.
No matter how many times I proofread the books, I find typos and grammatical errors. If I proof them a hundred times, I’ll find errors a hundred times. Still, I keep proofreading. It’s like an obsession.
While I play around with the first two books, the third one remains incomplete. At the end of book two, there’s a statement about when the third one will be available. If I don’t stop with the editing, I’m never going to get book three online in time.
A new year is right around the corner, and next year things are going to be different. In 2017, I’m going to write a book, put it online and move on. And if I really believe that, this is definitely one of my delusional days!
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