Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Progress on Amid the Darkness (Refuge Inc. Book Two)

Refuge Inc. Series
I'm making progress on the second book in the Refuge Inc. series but it has been a bit slow. I think the issue is my unwillingness to let go of Before the Darkness and move on. My decision to indie-publish Before the Darkness made my task of marketing the book almost a full-time job and it has taken away some precious time needed to continue writing book two.


With the day job, three kids, and a husband who's away busting his butt most of the time, I still find a way to write the second book in a series I am absolutely proud of. Progress is slow, but steady.

Before the Darkness has been getting mixed reviews. One thing that stands out to some readers in book one is the readers' inability to connect with the characters fully. If I have to explain to readers why the characters are the way they are, then I didn't do a good enough job explaining it within the book. I NEED readers to look deeper. However, I'm currently writing book two to introduce more character development between the main characters, answer nearly all questions that book one left unanswered, and hopefully bring the readers to better understand the characters' reasons for doing the things they do, act the way they act and be the way they are.

For those  of you who enjoyed book one and are looking forward to book two, you guys keep my motivation high and I can't wait to share Amid the Darkness with you.

THE STORY IS NOT OVER! By all means, it's only just begun.

I intentionally set up book one to be more character driven, and as realistic as possible in regards to the irrational choices a couple of regular guys might make in the midst of a worldwide catastrophe. The characters relationship, struggles, background, fears and motives are the main focus in book one. In book two I aim to introduce more interesting characters, bring more twists and surprises to the table and take you further into the mysteries of Refuge Inc. The characters' relationship to one another AND others is the focus of book two.

There's a lot of surprising events I have in store for book two. So make sure you come back for the latest news on the Refuge Inc. series.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tips on Handling the Negative Book Review & FREEBIE

FREE copy on Amazon for stopping by!
August 10th & 11th ONLY
As an author since 2005, I've had my share of negative reviews of a couple of my books. They range from a simple, "Didn't like this book!" to several paragraphs of hate, bashing and pleading for no one to buy a copy. Yes, I've seen it all. So how do you handle negative reviews of your book?

Here is an in-depth look at the three choices you have when dealing with negative book reviews. You can either not let it bother you, vent … but privately, or avoid reviews of your book at all costs. Here's a closer look at the pros and cons of each choice.

Thick Skin:

Pros: Everyone's opinion varies. You tell yourself this every time you see another 1 star rating of your book, or another reader shares how much they didn't like your book. You can't please everyone, so you write the best book you can and allow readers to take from it what they will. After all, with every new manuscript comes improved skill. No matter what anyone says, you're going to write, aim to entertain a feel a sense of accomplishment with the completion of every book, and do it over and over again.  Sticks and stones …

Cons: It takes a while to completely develop a thick skin. We're all human. And it's is very difficult to know that the project you put so much into, sacrificed meals and restful nights for, doesn't make your readers tingle with satisfaction as you do. No one likes to hear they sucked, failed or could've tried harder or done better, especially when you think you gave everything but your sanity to perfect the project. It hurts and we carry that feeling around, trying desperately not to let it affect our ability to persevere. Thus developing our thick skin. It's a painful process. It's often looked up upon to be unaffected by words or what others think. However, sometimes the negative has a way of seeping in, especially if it's been building up. Developing a thick skin takes practice.

Venting … privately:

Pros: Venting your anger helps get it out of your system, and when you talk to someone you trust and who understands your frustrations it makes dealing with your frustrations that much easier.

Cons: Venting, even privately, can sometimes leave you feeling weak, amateur, and further embarrassed especially when your best friend or spouse say the same thing over and over. "Don't take it personal." "Not everyone is gonna like your book." "Just focus on the positives." Hey, you already know that! Still, "whining" about a bad review will sometimes have you defending yourself as a thick-skinned professional to those you are venting to.

Don't read reviews:

Pros: If you don't see it, it doesn't exist. Out of sight, out of mind. What you don't know can't hurt you. You don't have to worry about looking like a cry baby to your spouse or best friend, and you don't have to practice growing a thick skin. It's the easier of the choices.

Cons: You won't have a clue what your audience thinks of the story or your writing no matter if what they say is good or not-so-good. Which means you won't know what you need to improve on in your next book or where your strengths lie. Sometimes the customer is right. After all, they are your target audience. Sometimes reading others discuss the good, bad and ugly in your books is a great learning experience. You can learn a lot about your writing style, voice, characters, etc., that you would've never known by avoiding reviews of your books.

Extra Tips:

  • Don't leave comments to correct, explain or disagree with the reviewer.
  • Don't encourage family, friends or fans to leave comments for you.
  • Think of all reviews as an opportunity to learn.


As a gift for stopping by my blog, pick up a FREE copy of BEFORE THE DARKNESS here on Amazon today and tomorrow only.

Free copy here:
Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

Check out the other blogs in RJ Scott's Anniversary blog hop for August 11th -12th!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why Isn't Every Writer Famous?

Most authors have the same dream … to be a bestselling author, make tons of money and contacts, gain millions of fans, have a movie deal or five, gain respect from the masses and forever be known for our craft.

There are probably millions of writers throughout the world, but only few in comparison live that writer's dream.


Well, it has to do with a lot of factors. No single author could follow the exact same footsteps as another author and have the exact same outcome. There are so many minute differences that the outcome will never be the same.

Remember in the movie Jurassic Park, when Jeff Goldblum's character, Dr. Ian Malcolm, was talking to a woman about the butterfly effect? He took a drop of water and allowed it to run down the back of her hand, and then he did it again with another drop of water. Even though he placed the second droplet in the exact same place as the first, the second droplet didn't run down her hand in the exact same path of the first droplet as she predicted. Why? According to Malcolm, "Tiny variations never repeat and vastly affect the outcome. Which is unpredictability."

So no matter what you do to mimic successful, bestselling celebrity-status authors, you will not come to the same conclusion. You may come close to or even succeed that writer dream, and that's a good way to look at it too.

What are "tiny variations" in publishing?

  • The story itself. No two books are exactly alike. They may have come from the same idea but different authors use their different skills and come up with different stories.

Remember those games we used to play in grade school. One person tells a short story into another person's ear, by the time the story makes its rounds between ten other people it has changed vastly. The same with stories written by authors, the characters, the motives, the descriptions, the conflict, it all contains tiny and mostly significant variations that affect the outcome and overall reading experience.

  • The book's audience. Just because one book is getting rave reviews doesn't mean another following its same path with get the same reviews. And we all know how powerful word-of-mouth advertising is. The more buzz surrounding your book, the greater the chance more people will take notice of it.

People, like literary agents and book publishers, movie directors and even celebrities who can endorse your book. Or for some, their buzz might just result in an increase readership and their relatives finally taking them seriously as a writer. It's never the same for everyone.

  • Pure luck. Yes, I went there. To be brief and blunt, some people have it and others don't. Even some authors who get six figure book deals and movie contracts sometimes don't know how it happened. Some don't even try, they publish a book and the book just takes off without any promotion at all. Trust me, it happens. I chalk it off as pure luck. Some have it. Some don't.

So here we are, millions of authors vying for the same attention, the same respect, and the same outcomes as some of the lucky greats before us and the lucky greats even beside us. When the best thing we can do for ourselves is write the best stories we're capable of, work hard to do what we do best, keep striving but ultimately let the cards fall where they may and enjoy the experience.
We'll all have a unique writing experience and that's what makes writing so special to begin with. Let's cherish the unpredictability.

Do you know some tiny variations that you would like to add? Leave a comment.