Weeding Out the Clutter to Focus on Writing #IGotThis #MyWANA

einstein quote

Hello everyone!

I hope the first month of the new year is turning out to be a great one for you. It’s been one of reflection and re-evaluation for me. I know many folks come up with a list of resolutions and goals for the new year. That’s never worked for me, at least not where I thought I succeeded. More often than not, the pledges and promises made during the first week in January were long forgotten by the end of February…March at the latest.

Moving to Washington has helped me get rid of a lot of the clutter that had filled my life, career choices and my writing/publishing goals. I had been moving along at status quo, not able to break out of my rut and miserable. My health once again took a backseat as I let stress rule and depression take over. My home life suffered. I didn’t feel like I could give my best to my patients and my muses all hid on me and stayed silent. 

Within a month of our move, the weight lifted from my shoulders and I found joy in veterinary medicine again. My characters clamored to be heard once more and I finally admitted to myself I need help to get my health back on track. First step on that journey is to eliminate as much stress from my life as I can. One big stressor for me has been finding ways to connect with new readers and socialize with other authors without coming off as spamming.

I had joined support groups in order to find out what worked for others and see if any of it would help me. Some methods did help and decreased my work load, but the majority of it made my stress and anxiety levels soar. Between the review swaps, like for a like, voting on Goodreads lists, tweet teams and promo posts and events, my brain damn near exploded. All of it seemed disingenuous. I wanted REAL reviews from actual readers. Still, I tried a few of the groups. In the end all of it fell flat for me. Members of some of the groups took advantage of the group dynamic but when it was their turn to reciprocate, they bailed…usually when it was time to share/help promote my stuff.

competition memeBelonging to some other groups frustrated the hell out of me because I was being lectured to on a daily basis about what I was doing wrong and if I wanted to succeed as an self published author I had to follow their way or hit the highway. Funny thing: these people know even less about what actually works in the publishing world than I did. When confronted with tried and true methods from authors who have made all the mistakes and learned from them in order to reach their success, these same people laugh and go about doing the same annoying spam posts, stacking Goodreads lists and swapping reviews. 

Never mind their behavior has attracted the “trolls” who don’t take too kindly to their reader lists being manipulated. When a book by an unknown author RELEASES with over 50 five star reviews, it raises flags…and not the good kind. It also causes a backlash against anyone thought to be friends or associated with the unknown author.

Honestly, I can’t say I blame readers and reviewers from being pissed. I am as well. Why is it “okay” to manipulate the system to give the illusion of being a best seller? Why isn’t it enough to use social media to make connections and friendships that help readers discover your work? Why is it acceptable to hound fellow authors to like your page, buy your books or follow you back on Twitter? 


A friend of mine came to the same conclusion and penned a beautiful post about it. Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author. She’s a hybrid having published on her own and this year she will be with THREE different publishers. Her memoir was voted one of the top ten inspirational reads in 2014. She didn’t even know that poll existed until her book was listed on it. THAT my friends is true success. Click HERE for her post and see why she is one of the people I most admire. She inspires me each and every day to reach for the stars.


Like Amber, I’m continuing to declutter and revamp myself and all of my alter egos. Streamlining is our top priority now. I’m going with the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid. There is no reason that I have to be so wrapped up in promotions, lists, sales, giveaways, blog hops and begging for people to check out my books. I want to WRITE! I want people to enjoy my stories. They can’t do that if I don’t have them down on paper or published electronically. If they’re hidden away in my brain, no one will get attached to the characters I love.

quotes-inspirational-motivational-quotes-self-improvement-success-faith-belief-courage-quotes-hard-work-happiness-joy-faith-courage-belief-my-perfect-line-5_largeYes writing and publishing books isn’t easy. It’s not meant to be. It’s a labor of love that takes hard work and dedication to bring everything to fruition. It takes developing a thick skin to take the criticism and guidance of editors, reviewers and readers who really want to see you succeed and won’t coddle you or let you think you’re the best thing since pepper jack cheese. 🙂

As an author, I need the feedback to improve my writing but not change my stories. They’re my tales to tell. They won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but they do appeal to many. I’m grateful for each and every one of them for taking the time to read my work and give me their honest opinions. Sometimes their words sting, but I’ve learned from them and have grown as a writer.

I’ll keep writing and reaching for the stars. I Got This!

Who’s with me?

My Crazy Writing Style #amwriting #myWANA

effective-writingI’m in the middle of four works in progress: one is with the editor for the second round of her magic, another is near completion and will be sent for edits next week, the third continues on because the characters have more to tell, and the fourth is all plotted out and over half written. Whew!

People ask me how I can keep all the stories straight in my head. Truth is I can’t. I stopped trying to do that a heck of a long time ago. Instead, I let the characters tell their story, whenever they speak up. They don’t always tell me everything in order. No that would make sense. My characters are like my mind—all over the place.

If I try to force them to tell me their tales from start to finish, they clam up. ALL of them. It’s not until I relax and simply act as their secretary do they open up and share all. It’s like listening to a favorite old relative describe an event from their youth. They don’t start from the moment of their birth, but instead with that particular moment in time. My characters do that. They’ll give me an ending and then abruptly switch to a scene in the middle then back to the end one more time before deciding to share the beginning.

twitterwritteI jot all these notes and scenes down in little spiral notebooks and then organize the scenes in some sort of timeline. Then I set it aside and work on something else using the same process. Back and forth I go until one of stories grabs hold of me and won’t let go until I have the first rough draft. I print this off and then go through it with my red pen. I then go through and make the changes and additions before printing it off again. I repeat the process over and over again until I have the final manuscript to send to my editor.

While she works on that one, I tackle the others until another is complete and ready for her to tear apart…errr…help bring out my best work. Some authors hate edits. I love them. Seriously, I love every single minute of them because I’ve had the best editors. Each one has taught me so much, but none more than Amber. She gets me and my writing style and has the uncanny ability to point out the exact spots that had rubbed me wrong but I didn’t know why or how to fix it. She tells me how the scene works or doesn’t work for her and that alone will open up the flood gates in my head. I can usually rearrange and rewrite and the entire story is better for it. 

10447412_10202419681834497_5461363201853165232_nOf course there are times when I have to mull it over and the first rewrite doesn’t quite accomplish the task, but by the end of the third round, I have it exactly the way I saw it all in my head. None of it would be possible if I didn’t have the help of Amber and the other editors who work with me and all four of my pen names. Without their help, I would have a hell of a time catching the repetitive phrases. Because I write the scenes out of order, there are times when I do repeat myself. Once i put the scenes in order, I have to go through it several times to catch these instances. Even so, there are still some I miss. That happens when you’re too close to the project and why another set (or two) of eyes is needed.

There are some authors out there who feel that self-editing is more than sufficient to make a manuscript ready to publish. They feel they’re well versed in grammar and language and are the best person to judge what they’d intended to convey to the readers. Why should they pay someone to read through their work when it’s perfect as it is.


Nothing and no one is perfect. All we can do as authors is to put our best work out there. We can’t do that if we’re too blind to see the forest through the trees. In other words, if we believe our own tall tales and refuse to acknowledge there’s ALWAYS room for improvement we might as well keep our stories inside our heads. Why? Readers will see right through it all and call you out on it. 

editor_will_work_for_cupcakes_sticker-p217333388719093045wt1ru_315Why not save yourself the embarrassment and have your work professionally edited. While it’s no guarantee your book will be a best seller, at least you can rest assured you’ve given it your best effort. If you do that, readers will find you and tell their friends. When that happens it’s a wonderful feeling—one that never grows old. After ten books now, I still get giddy when a reader tells me they enjoyed one of my stories. 

I’m finally living my dream. It may not be the same path as yours, but I’m having the time of my life just the same!


Until next time,




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