• Oh, my stars!

    As I’m typing this, I’m amazed that I am not in the bottom of my closet in fetal position. I had a horrible shock yesterday, the kind an amateur author might have difficulty surviving.

    I was getting ready to do more editing on my first e-book, even though it’s been online for years.  I want that book as good as I can possibly get it. I was debating whether more editing is worth my time. I decided that I should probably leave that book—and the second one—alone.

    To reinforce that decision, I went to Goodreads to look at the ratings for the first two e-books. They both average four-star ratings. I decided I can live with that, so no more editing for Doesn’t Take a Crystal Ball or a Psychic Couldn’t See It.

    I was about to leave that page when I saw it.

    My other e-book, Undead of Night, had finally received a rating. It wasn’t a good one – TWO stars!

    I always figured I’d be distraught at my first low rating. To my extreme amazement, I was somewhat amused by those two stars.

    I gave that book a very good effort, but it’s not what I’d hoped it would be. Now, I do think it’s worth three stars, but that reader obviously disagrees.

    Because I’m an amateur, it’s comforting that disappointed readers can get their money back from Amazon. As far as I can tell, my non-fan has not gotten a refund. Wouldn’t blame him/her if he/she did. No one should lose money on a crappy e-book. 

    In some ways, it’s good to have that low rating. I no longer have to worry about when it’ll happen, or how I’ll respond. It’s happened. I’ve mostly shrugged it off. And now I’m going to move on with the writing.

    While I’ve decided not to revise my first two books, I do plan to revise Undead of Night. Obviously, there’s room for improvement.

    It will remain on Amazon until the new version is available. It’ll be my badge of dishonor!

     

     

  • Writing update

    The picture pretty much says it all. I haven’t been writing. Have barely thought about it. For once, I have a good excuse for my laziness.

    I was sick from the week of Christmas through the end of January. Other than going to work and sitting at my desk in misery, I pretty much did nothing but sleep for over a month.

    Whatever I had probably would’ve cleared up a lot sooner had I gone to the doctor, but I don’t rush to get rid of any condition that takes away my appetite. (Ten pounds lost! Yay!)

    Now I am back to full health and ready to write. I have a renewed passion for telling the tales of Lizzie Chandler and the rest of the gang. In fact, I’m so motivated that I am going to do revisions on the e-books that are now available on Amazon.

    I’m not planning to make major changes to the e-books. I want to polish them a bit and make them seem less like they were written by an Indie writer who does everything on her own without even a proofreader. Granted, I am an Indie writer who does everything on my own, and I plan to stay that way. I just don’t want my books to reflect that I’m an amateur.

    My goal—or maybe I should say resolution since it’s still pretty early in the year—is to treat writing like it is important to me, because it is.  I’ve just gotten off track with it.

    From now on, I hope to work on my books at least three days a week. In addition, I will post more regularly to my blogs.

    That seems like a pretty reasonable plan. I should be able to stick with it. I can’t succeed in writing if I don’t do any!

     

  • About those release dates…

    In general, I’m a woman of my word. If I say I’m going to do something, you can trust that it will absolutely happen…and it will happen on time.

    When it comes to my e-book releases, it’s a whole different story. Or maybe I should say it’s no story, as the books aren’t getting completed as planned.

    It’s not that I’m not trying. I fully intend to get those books online when I say I will. It just isn’t happening. The stories aren’t the way I want them to be. Rushing to meet a deadline I created isn’t helping.

    I’ve decided to stop stressing myself out. I’m going to do my best to write good stories and not get caught up in deadlines. I’m going to relax and write when I feel the urge. It’ll take the pressure off, and hopefully, get the creative juices flowing better.

    This new plan means I won’t release Once Haunted, Twice Shy until next year. Instead, I’ll finish A Most Unusual Hexplanation and get that online in October 2020. That shouldn’t be a major challenge because that book is about 80 percent done.

    If my muse cooperates, it should happen. If she doesn’t, I’ll have to create an embarrassing post about missing yet another planned release date.

  • I think I’ve got it!

    I enjoy writing, but it’s not easy for me. Being a woman of few words, it is sometimes a struggle to get scenes on paper the way I picture them in my mind.

    The book I’m currently working on, Once Haunted, Twice Shy, is proving to be quite a challenge.  This past weekend, I figured out what’s wrong with it: The tone is off.

    Most people don’t know this, but I have a natural tendency toward silliness. I hide it well, but it comes out in my writing. The tone in Once Haunted is too lighthearted for the kind of main character I’m trying to create.

    To get the book like I want it, I will have to do more work on it than I thought. And that means it will not be released in January 2020 as planned. Hopefully, I’ll have it online before the end of February.

    I am conflicted about all this. On one hand, I’m happy that I know how to fix what has been bothering me about the book. On the other hand, it’s a bit weird making the book darker, especially with Spongebob, Looney Tunes or Golden Girls playing in the background as I write.

    It should be easier for me to write Once Haunted than the humorous Lizzie Chandler books. I have a degree in counseling and have worked in the criminal justice, mental health and social services fields. I’ve seen a lot of dark, disturbing things.

    Fortunately for me, what I see in the real world at work doesn’t carry over much into my private life. But I’ll have to be able to call on some of it if I want to make Mikala the slightly tortured soul that I imagine her to be.

    In spite of the overall darker tone planned for the book, I’m not going to completely rein in my silliness. There has to be some comic relief. No one wants to read page after page about some poor, retched soul struggling to get through life. I doubt I could bring myself to even write something like that.

    I’ve still got a lot to learn in regards to writing, but I do think I’m finally on the right track with this book. With hard work and tons of re-writing, I should end up with the balance I’m going for with Mikala.

    Look for Once Haunted, Twice Shy in February 2020!

  • A not-so-chilling ghost story

    I believe in ghosts, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. (Well, not too ashamed, anyway.) Believing in ghosts is not unusual for folks born and raised in the South.

    I grew up listening to my grandmother’s “true” tales of things that go bump in the night. I’ve personally witnessed a few hair-raising incidents that increased my belief in the paranormal.

    If you’ve ever watched a ghost hunting show, you know that I’ve just described the childhood of every star on every paranormal show that has ever aired on TV.

    But I have no desire to go ghost hunting like the people on those shows. I want to use my experiences to write spine-tingling stories of the dead. Unfortunately, it’s not going as well as I’d hoped.

    I’m trying to finish Once Haunted, Twice Shy and get it online in January. The ghostly scenes aren’t very scary—to put it mildly. Footsteps on the stairs and creaking doors might be good for a supernatural horror movie. But for a book…not so much. And I can hardly have my ghost popping out of a closet and yelling boo.

    Writing Once Haunted is proving to be quite the challenge. It’s difficult for me to even find ghost stories that I enjoy reading. Maybe that means it’s nearly impossible to write a good one?

    I hope not, because I’m determined to write an amazingly spooky ghost story. When my e-book hits Amazon Kindle in January, I expect tons of comments from readers saying how they had to sleep with the lights on for days after reading it.

    I know… I’m a big dreamer. Probably makes you wonder if I really am in my right mind.

  • Looking for love in all the wrong places

    Lizzie Chandler, one of my main characters, is a psychic matchmaker. She uses her gift to help lonely women find love. Lizzie has a great success rate, with almost all of her matched couples living happily ever after.

    In the real world, finding the right partner is way more difficult. There are tons of online dating sites, but I don’t have a whole lot of faith in them.

    I’ve tried several different ones. It wasn’t because I was really looking for love.  I was mostly just curious about online dating. I never went out with any of the guys that I interacted with, but being on those sites was entertaining.

    One guy emailed me within a day of me setting up my profile. I didn’t post a picture, and from what I’ve read, profiles without pictures don’t get many responses. The fact that the guy contacted me so quickly was a definite red flag that something was off.

    After I exchanged a few messages with him, I thought he sounded familiar. I asked if he used to live in a certain town that was just over an hour away. Never heard from him again!

    It was no real loss, as I wasn’t actually looking for Mr. Right. It did put me off using online dating sites, even to satisfy my curiosity.

    The whole experience was pretty bad, but you want to know what’s less fun than trying to meet guys online? Having well meaning friends trying to find a match for you.

    My friends don’t have the talent that Lizzie has. Talk about disastrous attempts at matchmaking! I’m not sure what they were thinking when they decided to hook me up with any of those guys. Fortunately for me, my friends don’t play Cupid too often.

    Dating sites and matchmaking friends failed to lead me to a guy that I like. I don’t run into many decent, eligible men when I’m out and about.

    So where am I supposed to look if I get serious about meeting The One? Maybe I should give online dating another try. Maybe I used the wrong sites before. Surely there’s at least one site worth my time.

    Have you ladies had any luck with online dating? If so, what site do you recommend?

     

  • Do real psychics exist?

    The main characters of my books are psychics. One character, Lizzie Chandler, is a psychic matchmaker. The other, Mikala Davenport, sees dead people.

    While psychics make for great entertainment in books, movies and TV, I’m not sure if there is any more to them than that.

    I grew up in the South.  I won’t say where, but it’s one of those states that people are a little embarrassed to claim. A few years ago, I moved to another state, but I’m still a Southerner.

    We’re known to have some odd ideas down here. All my life, I’ve been around people who firmly believe in psychics.  I’ve always wavered on that subject. I’ve had psychic readings at fairs and flea markets (or swap meets as some people call them).  The psychics at those places were pretty bad.

    There was one older Native American gentleman doing psychic readings at a flea market.  I immediately thought of those wise old Indians in the movies.  Not being racist there, but we all know Hollywood plays up that stereotype.

    I’m guessing the guy at the flea market was counting on poor suckers believing that Hollywood nonsense.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I was one of those suckers and forked over twenty of my hard-earned bucks to the guy.

    He started the reading by telling me I’d live to be 40 or 45 years old. As you can probably imagine, things went downhill from there! That was a number of years ago, and I still can’t shake that stupid prediction. I’m not going to admit my age, but let’s just say that if the guy was right, the Grim Reaper might be knocking on my door any day now.

    Once, I went to a house that had one of those “psychic adviser” signs in the yard. The sign should have had the “for entertainment purposes only” disclaimer on it, because it was the most laughable psychic readings a person could ever have.

    The woman would say something, and then ask if she was right. When I said she wasn’t, she’d say, “Yes, it is.”  It was quite entertaining, but probably not in the way that woman meant for it to be.

    Before I go on, I’m going to take a moment to offer words of wisdom: Never, ever go into a total stranger’s home for a psychic reading (or any other reason if you can avoid it). There are a lot of crazy people out there! I had my coworker with me, but still, it was beyond stupid for two young females to willingly go into a stranger’s home.

    I saw a sign in one yard for “physic readings.” I was smart enough not to stop there. If the person couldn’t see that the sign was spelled wrong, then she certainly couldn’t see into my future.

    I did go to one psychic who seemed to REALLY know his stuff. I’m not going to say more about that person, because I’m paranoid that he’ll know I’ve been talking about him online.  I’m thinking it might be a bad thing to get on the wrong side of a true psychic.

    But then again, maybe that guy snowed me, and true psychics don’t even exist. I’m not sure what to believe.

    What do you think? Are there people who really have the gift?