Rip the blinders off #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Welcome to another Friday post folks. Gotta say, this week was better than last. My back, and hip are doing much better which makes me a much happier camper. The fact I can sit for more than ten minutes at a go makes everything easier – including writing. Today’s post is going to be some realities that, while covered before in various posts, need to be covered again. After all, no one considering becoming a published author should go into things blind. And many authors need a reminder. That being said, everything below is my personal view point, and/or opinion and no one else has had say in what I’ve posted.

Writing a book is easy. It damn well shouldn’t be. Yes, some stories come easier than others, but this is something that will be representing you for decades to come. Do you really want something out there you whipped up in an hour?

Every good idea’s already been done to death. Not by you it hasn’t. Every author in the world could write every fairy tale (for example) and not one of them would be the same as the others. Because not one author is the same as any other author. We all have our own views, our own thoughts, our own perceptions that make our fairy tale unique.

Being a full time author is the only way to go. If you can feasibly manage it, absolutely but most new authors (and even some long time authors) can’t. You need to be realistic, and do the math because you will NOT be making any money to live off of in the first year. Buy a cup of coffee, or get a decent meal – sure, live off, not even if you hit the NYT best sellers list. That first year sees more money going out than staying in your pocket. Which leads into a huge myth….

It’s an easy way to make tons of money. Stop right there. If you are in this only to make money then you need to reevaluate immediately. An author is an artist. Their art, the words they use to tell their vision, is a development that takes time, thought, and refinement. Pumping out works just to make money is what has caused a flooded market, and takes money away from those of us who are putting our hearts, and souls into every book we create.

There’s always ways to make it to the #1 spot. There are. Moral, and immoral ways. Moral ways are doing the work, putting out the best product possible, and advertising until your fingers fall off – all to gain the purchases that push you to the top. Immoral ways include “gaming the system”. This involves things like key word titles, specific tags that pull your book into nearly every genre on a site, and several other scummy tricks that take thousands of dollars away from hard working, honest authors. Don’t take the easy way out, in the end it hurts us all, but it will give you a black mark you’ll never get rid of.

Using pieces of other authors works. This is called, say it with me, PLAGIARISM. Or if that’s too tough for you to say, try THEFT or PIRACY. Yup, you got it. While you may “love” how an author wrote a particular section, use it for inspiration to make your own work better, don’t go and steal it in part or whole. For one thing, readers always can tell when they’ve read something previously even if it’s in an entirely different context. Particular words, turns of phrases are an entirely different beast – every author picks up something from their favorite reads and incorporates it into their write. But decent, law abiding authors do not EVER steal copyrighted material from another author. Can you say LAWSUIT? You will if you ever do this, and it could well cost you more than you have. Trust me, there have been several cases where a reader outed an author for their devious theft of materials. And they will never, ever write or earn a living again because of it.

Pseudonyms are good/bad. Many authors write under their own names. Authors, like myself for example, write under a pseudonym. I personally do it because of my day job work environment, and the requirement to keep my writing very separate from my real life existence. Other authors use a pseudonym because of family issues, privacy issues, or just because that’s what they’ve decided to do. The choice is entirely yours, and not something anyone else can decide for you. If you are comfortable with everyone you’ve ever known from diapers to today knowing you write whatever genre you’re going to be writing, use your own name. But whichever way you go, always keep your real life social media 100% separate from your author social media if you have young children. I say this only as a safety measure, and the fact authors can attract some weird (Misery by Stephen King anyone?) followers.

Publisher vs. going Indie. Again, this is something that only you can decide on. Each has their pros and their cons. See Jules Dixon’s post from Monday this week for some info on that, but do your own research. Some people, like myself, don’t have the time in the day to be an Indie author – you are literally responsible for everything. Others have the multi tasking gene to the extreme and thrive in such an environment. To each their own.

Social media options. There are many, and again this will be your personal preference what you do and do not get involved with. Facebook is a good start, and gives you the options of Pages. Twitter has it’s pros and cons, just like everything else out there. Do some research, talk to other authors in your position (publisher or Indie), and figure out works best for you. You can always get rid of, or take on more as you go along and discover what’s benefiting your career.

And last, but not least, one last myth that needs to be dispelled.

Making it to the New York Times (NYT) best seller list. For 99.5% of authors this is a fantasy. Do we all wish we could see our names on their list? Abso-fucking-lutely! It’s a huge coup for an author. But the reality is that in an over saturated market it is harder now than it was twenty years ago to get there. The other harsh reality you need to swallow is that you likely need to have an agent, be with a traditional (aka: paperback/hard cover print first) publisher, and have your editor on call at all hours to even get close. E-publishers aren’t in the same hemisphere as the traditional publishers. It’s much easier to get your book published through an e-publisher, like Evernight, but becoming a best seller is a lot harder. And being an Indie is even tougher. But nothing is impossible, and it’s always good to hold onto at least one dream no matter what it might be. It’s what keeps us motivated, writing, and creating new and fantastic stories each and every day.

Best piece of advise I have ever been given – never stop writing. Pretty simple, and yet some day’s it’s the most challenging thing ever.

Raven’s (short) ramblings on ‘just say no’

Hi all, Raven’s ramblings and Thursday thoughts on prioritising.

And learning how to say no.

You would think that would be easy eh? Two letters joined together to make a very important word. N-o. NO. No. Not even not a scooby, not on your Nellie, or no chance. Just no.

Rejection. Serious mature woman in formalwear saying no to you while stretching out a paper

There are twenty four hours in a day. It might sound a lot. Some times it really, really isn’t.

Contrary to what some believe, or achieve, we should spend around a quarter to a third of those asleep. Then there’s all those other things that somehow come under the heading of *insert you name* jobs to do. Be it full time employment outwith the home, children, the housework, cooking, gardening, or yeah the dreaded ironing. Whatever. All things to be done within those twenty four hours of a day. Plus if you have a significant other, spending time with each other so you actually remember what he/she/they look like.

Along with this, we write.We squeeze it in. Write when and where we can. Even if writing is your full time job, and your only responsibility is yourself, you still need to eat. to wear clean clothes, upset the dust bunnies on occasion, and heaven help it, and whisper it quietly, take a day off.

To get all this done, you prioritise.

Not always in the same way. One day it could be the doctors or the dentist, or the dreaded supermarket shop. Another, writing 5k and sitting in your pj’s. Whatever you deem is most important at that time.

On those days, you’ll have to be firm, and learn to say no to other ‘suggestions’.

It’s a fact that as writers we can be selfish. Writing can consume us. Anything to do with it, and we are jumpy, twitchy people until it is sorted, be it an arsy hero who won’t do as you want, or edits to be back days before you get them sort of thing. And if you are anything like me, you feel you should drop everything (except your knickers, there’s no time for hanky panky) and do whatever it is, and sod ironing, hubby, dinner or whatever.

You have to learn to say no. No, I can’t sort my arsy hero, those edits, your m/s immediately. I have to prioritise. Tonight, I promised child #3 we would go swimming. I am not going to renege. I haven’t seen my S.O. for a week they have been away. Tonight is our time. Today I am meeting a friend, we haven’t seen each other for six months. Or whatever. I will do what ever else is needed in order of importance.

It’s not easy. Believe me it isn’t. But deep down, if you know what is the right thing to do, then do it.

Prioritise, and just say no. It gets easier the more you say it.

Politely. Explain why you can’t do whatever it is. An extra school run, shift at work, beta read in two hours, or yeah the edits.

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And on that note, as I spent last evening chatting to my Dh, whom I see little enough of as it is and ignoring the need to be back by Thursday edits, which I got in the early hours of yesterday I’m off to make coffee and attend to the edits.

They are my priority for today.

The ‘no can do’ note is on the ironing, the vacuum cleaner and the ring the plumber/joiner/man in the moon for me note.

Not today. Today i’m going to ‘just say no’.

(Except, not to coffee. I never say no to coffee. Or chocolate. Or wine. But they are necessities really. The first two to get through the prioritising, the later to celebrate it.)

Happy reading, writing, and prioritising,

love Raven x

(all images, source pinterest)

 

Writing Inspiration #WickedWednesday #HumpDayHottie @KaceyHammell

 

Wednesdays

Good morning.  Happy Wednesday and Happy Hump Day.

I have been blessed the last few days of frantic inspiration in my writing so my post will be short and straight to the point. It actually feels like a Wacky Wednesday to me. I am currently writing a new story that is coming at me in weird waves. Scenes, dialogue that aren’t quite in order exactly, and moments from the story that come in flashes. This has never happened to me before, and although I have written many scenes within my notebooks when on the go, this one only wants to be written in long hand. Boggles other authors’ minds, I know, but sometimes the process is different for some. Whatever works right?

So because I’ve been so focused on what I have been writing, and researching wolves since this will be my first wolfie shifter, I didn’t have a long or witty post for today. I haven’t really come up for air a lot. And even though I’m sure I’ll be able to patch my new words/scenes together at some point, I can’t knock that I am getting words in. In this weird way, but at least there’s no writer’s block.

I leave you today with some inspiration. Hopefully everyone is writing up a storm and enjoying what they love most.wed2

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(Source of all photos: Pinterest)

And I also leave you with my current inspiration for my hero (Theo James) who is my Hump Day Hottie too.

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey xoxo

 


 

Make a Choice #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, peeps, Doris here with some thoughts on choice. Our lives are full of choices, aren’t they?

We get up every morning, chose what to wear, what to have for breakfast, etc. etc.

Those are what you might call the easy choices, though, when you have several teen girls in the house, the choice of what to wear is anything but easy. It’s more like this.

However, this post isn’t about clothes, but the choices we make as authors, in particular how to conduct ourselves online.

Here on the Quills we said many times over that as an author, you, are your brand. Whatever you put out there, your readers will see, take on board, form their opinion on you,  the author, the person, and ultimately your books.

And you have a choice to make. Do you want to be known as the author, who bitches about everything and everyone all the time?  Do you, I mean, really?

We all get off days, lord knows I have plenty, but does the whole world really need to know about them? I like a good rant as much as the next person, and yes, sometimes they happen on FB, but most of the time, I keep my ranting in private.

Once it’s out there on the interwebz it’s there to stay.

By all means, share personal stuff that you are comfortable sharing, have your opinion, but express it respectfully and not at the expense of others.

Like the author who likes to poke fun at other authors by quoting lines from their books, and ridiculing said scene.

That is just not on. I have stopped reading an author who kept on getting her giggles like that, and while no names were ever quoted, it’s just bad form.

Don’t be the mean girl in the author playground.

While I’m on that subject, don’t be that author, who appears clueless about her own success. The Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it posts, I’m so nervous about this new release… etc .. when your readers would no doubt buy your shopping list, were you to put it out there, get old fast.

I exaggerate on purpose, here. Of course, you can and should squeal about your success. Of course, you should thank your readers, just sound like you actually mean it, ya know.

Readers are awesome, and they deserve to be praised. Just stop already with the fake surprise when you’re on top of your game and pretend you don’t know it. What is that all about?

On the flip side of that, don’t be a diva either and think you’re better than anyone else because you’re outselling them. Nope, doesn’t work that way, and it will not gain you any friends.

Don’t be that author who tears down a reviewer for daring to not like your book, especially if the review is a constructive one. And even if it isn’t, rise above it. That reviewer is entitled to his/her opinion as much as you are.

Don’t like something your publisher does? Well, then take your stories elsewhere, just be sure you do it for the right reasons. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Then again, it might be. You won’t find out unless you try.

Choices, see we all have them.

I can hear you all wondering what on earth brought this post on. Well, a myriad of things, to be fair. I’ve lost count on how many times I was going to wade into something on Social Media last week, and then deleted that post, or reply, before I hit send.

Try it, it’s therapeutic. You get whatever it was off your chest, without adding fuel to the fire, and you can get on with your day safe in the knowledge that you haven’t fallen into the trap to think your opinion is more important than anyone else’s.

And being devil’s advocate here, that goes for this blog post too. I’m fully aware that I’m ranting a tad today. Forgive me. It’s coming up to that time of the month and I turn a bit like this…

 

 

That’s all from me today, you’ll be pleased to hear.

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx

 

 

 

 

Author Lessons Learned by Jules Dixon #MondayMessages with @JulesofTripleR #amwriting #LitChat

Author Lessons Learned

I haven’t been in this industry for decades like some, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned lessons. In just three years of being published, I’ve garnered some thoughts and here are three I’d like to share.

giphy (55)1. The choice between indie publishing and traditional publishing should be one you consider extremely carefully. With Indie publishing the author retains control, you are the decision maker, you don’t answer to anyone but you, but you also lay out the funds to make covers, buy ISBN’s, editing, formatting, and 100% of the marketing. Whereas with traditional publishing the costs of everything but marketing are assumed by the publisher and they should be. If a publisher makes you buy a cover or editing or almost anything…just say no and run!
So consider not only how much control you want, but your time, your available funds (noting that it takes upwards of $2000 to properly and effectively self-publish a book), and the amount of effort you want to put forth. And yes, $2K, so budget appropriately. But when you give up control to a publisher you are taking the chance that a cover won’t be your “exact” vision, the editing might not be exactly what you’d pay for, or the marketing might be far less than you ultimately want. Actually, the marketing probably will be less, and you’ll want to put forth some extra effort for your book. Your baby deserves it.

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2. Writing is only 50% of a successful book. The other parts are everything that comes after you write that “The End”. Including revision, getting critiques, beta reads for quality, then everything from cover and editing through marketing. And those things take time because they are important.

Don’t get me wrong, the story is extremely important and ultimately is a writer’s signature on paper. But the rest is the polish on the story and the way to get readers interested in reading. And that other 50% takes a lot of time. So much time that an author can find themselves…not writing! Which is…gasp…what we should be doing!

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3. Something is going to go bad or worse. I don’t care if you’re an NYT or USA Today best-selling author or sell two wonderful copies, at some point or another, the $hit is going to hit the fan in some way. And no matter what, you have to be an adult and suck it up. Maybe you’re not going to like something your publisher does or doesn’t do. Or you not going to get the reaction from readers on your book that you were hoping for. Or your series might crap out, leaving you with stories in your mind, but readers are moving on to other genres, books, series’. Things that are out of your control will happen. But it’s not what happens that matters, it’s how you react that matters. AND that’s what you can control. 

So you…let it go. I’m fully aware that it’s hard to, but for your sanity and your future, you let whatever it is slide off…and you keep writing. You reexamine whatever your plan was and adjust. And you move forward.

Forward.

Not backward.

And you definitely don’t stop.

If writing is in your soul, you just let it go. 

There are about 100 other…okay a 1000 other…thoughts/ideas/tips I could touch on, but those stood out to me this week. I’m sure next week another 3-1000 will stand out sometime soon and I’ll revisit.

Have a great week!

❤ Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES

All gifs from Giphy.

Dreamers Wanted #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

OPENINGS AVAILABLE:

For individuals who can let loose the tight coils of reality, to fly beyond the mundane into the wildly fantastical, and who are not afraid to stretch beyond what they know. Experience is not required as everyday is a knew learning experience. Bettering oneself is encouraged. Strength of self, and a sense of humor a must. Apply today!

Welcome to Friday one and all. Hope you’ve all had a fabulous week. Personally I cannot wait for the weekend to kick in. Like our fellow Quiller Raven I’ve had a rather painful week, it (quite literally) has been a pain in my ass. Sitting, laying down, walking, and several other movements that I normally do in my everyday subconsciously have had me gritting my teeth. Raven, oh dear sweet Raven, I feel your pain – PS: Feel better soon!

But enough of that yeah? Onto the post!

While the ad at the top of this post isn’t real, it should be. Especially in this day and age. We live in a world that is too serious, too focused on being offended by every breath some stranger never before met takes, and that seems to have a giant stick up it’s rump.

Authors are part of a unique breed. We were either born as, or encouraged as we grew to be dreamers. While many might accuse us that we live with our heads in the clouds, and in some cases this could possibly be true, it’s not that way for everyone. In the heat of the story – sure, absolutely, definitely we’re all wrapped up in what’s happening. But we’re also pretty damn fine multitaskers. After all we have to keep names, places, dates, etc. all straight in our heads while writing, but we can also script notes in our heads while we attend to everyday business. For example many authors have families which means schedules that are insane on a daily basis, they find time for everyone in their lives, and yet still get their writing done. Not that we can’t get days, items, names confused – cause we can.

But authors are a breed, or at least were once upon a time, who didn’t sweat the little things. Unfortunately there seems to be too many cutthroats, too many overly pompous windbags, too many shysters, and too many self-proclaimed best authors flooding the market. People these days seem to view publishing as a get-rich-quick scheme instead of what it is. An expression of the imagination put into words to be shared with family, friends, and strangers near and far.

While I have absolutely nothing against an author making money off their works, we all dream of the day we can do it full time after all, those who are pumping out works faster then I can sneeze three times in a row make me highly suspicious. We need to bring back the dreamers. Bring back the love of the art that is writing a well told, well woven tale that helps the reader escape the harsh realities of our current world. We need to reinvest ourselves, and help others to find the path that is fiction at it’s finest – whatever the genre. Not only is it a relaxing pastime (when things are going great), but it’s also a beneficial one to not just the readers.

An author is an individual who has found a way to zen out in a highly constructive manner. Slipping into another reality for minutes or hours at a go. Pouring out the stresses of the day onto the page, and coming away with something fantastic in the end. And often times a weird twinge, crick or ache from all the strange positions we contort into during the process.

No one said writing couldn’t be a dangerous gig, and if they did – THEY LIED! LOL!

So let’s bring back the dreamers, the visionaries, and all those who can take anything dumped their way with a grain of salt. We need more calming influences in the world, and definitely more wondrous escapes from reality. We only get one shot at this thing called life, why not live it in a fun, amazing, and imaginative manner?

Raven’s ramblings and Thursday thoughts on…No pain no gain?

Morning all. Raven’s ramblings on Thursday again.

This isn’t actually a ‘how to’ post, so feel free to ignore me and go and have a cup of coffee instead.

But if you wonder what the growing old disgracefully, bus pass toting, granny is going on about this time…read on.

This week; on the subject of pain and how it clouds everything.
feel better

(pic, source pinterest)

Oh boy does it.

I guess some of you know that by now I’ve had a slipped disc, which pressed on a nerve this last couple of weeks and it knocked me for six. I’ve been a miserable, snivelling, gibbering wreck for much too long. So much for doing as I tell my heroines and pulling up my big girl panties and getting on with it.

Ha, I couldn’t even bend down to put those panties on some days. (TMI sorry…)

I found it hard to concentrate on anything at the beginning. To stand, sit, lie move…anything made me do a silent—and not so silent—scream.

Sheesh.

But after a couple of days, I decided I could wallow, or learn something from how bloody helpless and uncomfortable I felt.

As wallowing wasn’t actually that comfortable, I decided on the latter and made notes. Some, on scraps of paper made little sense. That was the incredibly med-fuelled me. But gradually, as I eased off on the meds, and looked at the world through less of a fuzz, I accepted that my pain had in some ways been my gain.

I’ve had fibro for years but its not that bad, so this was an eye opener of how lots of people feel all of the time. And boy it sucks. The last time I think I had such intense pain was giving birth.

So you might wonder, what’s this got to do with writing?

Rather a lot.

One of the things we are told is to use life experience when it is possible. After al if you’re describing how someone feels… be it in labour, yes, with a slipped disc or incredibly happy on their wedding day, if you’ve experienced it, you have that extra edge.

notebook and pens

Now before you start throwing things, I know we can’t always use life experiences. Hell I’ve not met a shifter (I don’t think) or danced with a vampire, (ditto). Sky-dived or made love in the bushes on Lamma Island. Or indeed lived in Regency times. Although I have lived in a regency house or two.

Those never experienced things? That’s where a good imagination and excellent research facilities come in.

But if I have a heroine in pain you’ll know where the descriptions came from!

 

Happy, (and hopefully pain-free) reading,

 

Love Raven x

When It’s Time to Make Changes #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

Wednesdays

Good morning everyone. Happy Wednesday. Happy Hump Day. Kacey here again this week. I hope the last week has been kind to you. And productive! I had a so-so week with productivity. Not a lot of words written but I recharged my batteries over the Easter holidays with yard work, some spring cleaning and family time.  I also spent a lot of time self-evaluating and examining my writing goals.

Like with all things in life, it’s a good idea to take stock in what’s going on, who we are and the worth we should feel inside. Writing (for most writers) is ingrained in our blood. Even in the worse times when publishers are going under, dishonest people are running off with our hard earned money, and sales aren’t at their highest, we still need to write. We live, breathe, bleed and hunger for every word we write on the screen/page. That is simply the way it is. But we need to take a step back at times, think about the market we’re writing in, the publishers we are writing for and the monies being brought in.

It’s a business. Don’t lie to yourself. While writers have to write to soothe their souls and create the worlds’ we do, we want to make money do so. And when the money is not flowing every quarter, everything needs to be examined. And don’t be ashamed to admit that money matters. There are key points to look at to make money–What the writer is doing to promote their work, what the publisher is doing on your behalf and the readership they have, and what other publishers are conquering better sales. For some, it takes numerous stories before making any real money, for others it can be an instant hit sometimes. For me, my way of sales has always been a slow build. With each new release, sales climb a bit, and I keep chugging along.  I’m re-evaluating my own operations, and realize that the only way to be truly happy (for me) is to try different avenues and live by the ‘no risk, no reward’. I don’t want to get into a “stalemate” with myself and never take chances.

I did it once, with a now closed publisher who I’d always wanted to work with, and they screwed a lot of authors over. But I had taken that risk, had some reward, then when things imploded I stopped taking chances. Getting burned will do that to a person. I have since realized that I can’t sequester myself into a little bubble and never expand my horizons so to speak. I haven’t been happy in a while with how things are progressing and only I can change what will improve things for me.

When things aren’t working, change/fix/explore new options. Sometimes those can be the best decisions in a writer’s career. I’m jumping in, slowly, and shaking up my world and will try some new things. It can’t get any sadder for me than where I am now, and the mantra of ‘no risk, no reward’ is something I’ve lost along the way.

And hell, if all else fails, maybe I’ll join the circus. LOL

 

Until next week,

Kacey xoxo

Oh, if you need a little Hump Day pick-me-up…

humpday

pic source: Pinterest

Measure Your Own Success #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here, with my thoughts on Success.

 

In particular how you define success. And you know, this will be different for everyone, and if you start comparing yourself to other authors, well, then, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed.

There will always be someone who is more successful, or who you perceive to be more successful. And you know this whole successful thing is relative.

Yes, I think we can all agree that there are those authors, the ones that immediately spring to mind, because everyone has read them, or at least has heard of them.

You’ll find them in every bookstore, on posters in public transport etc.

Fame and success right there, I guess.

I’m not talking those authors, however. I’m talking you and me, the average run of the mill person, who also happens to be an author.

How do we define our success?

Well, the obvious one is to look at your sales. I just did an interesting exercise of working out my average sales per book with both of my publishers. It was a rather eye-opening experience, and it made it clear to me where I should be sending the majority of my books in future.

I’ve gone with my gut on these things in the past, but as hubby reminded me this is a business, and it deserves a calculated approach. In my case a calculator-wielding hubby, lol. Seriously, I’m useless with numbers.

So, that is certainly one way to measure your success. However, if you only look at your sales, you will probably end up disappointed. It goes back to there will always be someone who sells more than you do.

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I don’t believe money can ever be your sole motivation to write. If it is, you will a) end up disappointed, or far worse, b) sell your soul and integrity to the devil, and simply churn out things that you know will sell.

And that, my lovelies would be a such a shame. Of course, we all need to eat, and if you write full time with no other income, then yes, to a certain extent you will have to do that.

No judgment here. Every one of us authors defines their own career paths, and what is right for one will not be right for the other.

However, if you’re one of the multitudes of authors who write in addition to an evil day job, or to simply contribute to the family income like I am, then you can be more discerning in how you define your success.

To me, in its simplest form success means being a published author. Every time I type those magic two words – The End – I get such a buzz. It’s  hard to describe if you’re not an author, that sense of achievement.

Then there is that magic moment you get your publisher’s e-mail to say they would like to publish the book. The buzz of release day, and the oh so precious reader comments.

Never underestimate the power of that. A reader saying they enjoyed your story. That you lifted them up on a bad day. Even if that book tanks, to know that you reached that one reader… success in my book.

So, be who you need to be, and define your own success, peeps.

Make Your Dreams Happen

That’s all from me today, folks.

Do stay naughty and count your blessings. You’re more successful than you think!

D xxx

Two Great Words: The End by Jules Dixon @JulesofTripleR #MondayMessages #WriterTips

Two Great Words: The End

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So for the last two weeks I’ve been talking about the Three Act Structure. We’ve visited the beginning of a story (aka Act 1 or the excitement of meeting characters and finding out their goals, motivations, and conflicts) and the middle (aka Act 2 where we take those conflicts and we make them even worse).

So now, we’re at the end.

The End.

Those are two words authors dream of typing and when it comes down to it, nothing ever feels better.

So once a writer has taken their characters to rock bottom and had the worst of the worst happen, they’ve broken up, shit has hit the fan, everything looks like it can’t ever be fixed, and the readers are wondering: How in the world are they going to get back together? This is Act III. 

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The resolution to the story.

In the conclusion, readers must find closure. The main characters in romance will always end up together, either in a happily-ever-after or happily-for-now. And while we do this, an author must still maintain the same emotion that they have built throughout the story. Pulling those heart strings of the reader.  

For instance, in one of my stories, Rest, My Love, the black moment comes when Rahl, the leading man’s PTSD comes to a head and when he finds the leading lady, Sage, in the arms of another man comforting her. He punches the man and Sage has to make the hard decision to end their relationship for his sake as he needs to concentrate on getting better.

Rest, My Love Excerpt: 

“Sage…” Rahl stepped toward me and reached out.

I stepped back and the rain dribbled down my cheek, like tears but colder. “No. I just came out here to tell you that we need to take a break, Rahl. I need a break from us.”

“You don’t mean that. You’re my angel. We were brought together to save—”

“Each other? It seems like I’m trying to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. I’m getting sucked into your vortex of guilt and anger and I can’t handle it. I just started to love life again.” I stared into those eyes that melted a part of my heart. “Because of you.” My bottom lip tingled with the want to kiss him, but I fought giving in. “But you’re taking that away from me.”

“I love you, Sage.”

My body shuddered, some from the cold rain and some from struggling not to give in, but I needed to be strong. “I know you love me. From the moment you said it, I never doubted that fact.”

“Then can we just forget what happened?”

I didn’t want to forget, I wanted him to remember, to remember that his actions hurt people, and I couldn’t stand by and watch him crumble and take me down with him.

“No. I can’t forget. Just like you can’t forget the things that have happened to you and the things you know about Easton, and the darkness that is eating you from the inside out and the memories and fears that cloud your judgment.” I hiccupped a sob. “I forgive you for everything, but there are other people you need to atone to, including yourself. I don’t want to be another person to get caught in one of your explosions of impulsive emotion.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hit you, but he had his hands on you.”

“No, you didn’t mean to hit me, but if you hadn’t gone straight to violence and let me talk to you, you would have found out that Ollie and I are…” I swallowed as I stared into the eyes that melted my willpower. I looked away.

Maybe it would be easier for him to think the worst? If there is a time to be a good liar, it is now.

I stood straight. “You would’ve found out that Ollie and I are starting a relationship and you and I … we are finished.”

Rahl’s face paled. “You’re lying. You told me he was nothing.”

I mumbled, “I pray you get better, Rahl,” and tried to skirt past him.

He moved in front of me. “No, I don’t accept it. I don’t know why you’re lying to me but I’ll find out.” His hand ran down my arm to my wrist and he brought it to his mouth for a gentle kiss. “You’re killing me, Sage.”

Water droplets showered me as I shook my head. “No, Rahl. You’re killing yourself.”

Now, I could’ve done many things to bring them back together, but in the end, I had to torture them a little while longer while they were apart and give the reader more reasons for wanting them to come back together. I’m not going to tell you what I did, but it showed how much they were meant to be together, so when they actually ended up in the same room and Rahl was all better, the lightning bolts flew between them like they were two thunderstorms colliding, and when the storm was over, everything was good again, and then I had one more chapter to finish up all the tiny loose ends.

And their love is true, beautiful, and the real deal.

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When an author really comes to the end, the last sentences can make or break the novel. That final moment needs to remind the reader of something important, a repeated theme or a special element between the two characters. A final piece of the puzzle to make the reader go–YES!  

In Rest, My Love, I bring back something that Sage said to Rahl in the first chapter. So Sage says: 

I hadn’t forgotten my past, but I lived for the future and Rahl had decided to do the same.

And together we would create the sweet music of love for the rest of our lives.

Only you, Rahl. Only … you.

So the end can make or break a novel. Make sure yours gives the reader what they want, but not always exactly as they want. A surprise is always a good thing. 

Okay, until next Monday.

Hugs and ❤ Jules

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