Category Archives: facing failure

Cyber Monday: Last Day for #99cent #Romance & Last Nano Update

Moonday Mania

the last nano check in

So I’m a nano failure. Maybe. If you count writing 50,000 words in 30 days as the only way to count success. But I don’t. I count my successes differently. And my success is that I wrote more words in November than I’ve written in any month so far this year. I re-established some great writing habits. And, I re-discovered my commitment to writing.

Now that’s success!

I also am committed to trying something I’ve never been able to pull off successfully and that is: writing new words every week, even while editing. You see, I’ve usually been the type of writer to be immersed in one book. I write that book, then let it sit and maybe edit or work on something else, and then when I’m ready to edit the book I leave the other projects and dive into the edits. No writing new words because I’m all about the one book.

But, I want to be a more prolific writer. When I’m writing, and I’m in the flow, I can produce a decent amount of words per week. But then I stop writing, and getting back into that flow takes too long. What I want to have happen is I want to be able to keep that ability to write in the zone even while editing.

So that’s one of my new goals as I head into December.

Now, December is typically my month to review my goals, so I’ll be doing that very soon on the blog. This last year was a very different year for me. I went from a really difficult Fall 2013 into Winter 2014- sick and run down. I slept for the first few months, totally re-vamped my diet and lifestyle and got myself healthy over the spring. Just when I should have been writing I started a new job, that threw a wrench into my Diva writing style. And I’ve ended up here. Fed up with the Diva and ready to write.

So, top of my list of goals will be to write new words every week. Even when I’m editing the heck out of Broken Mirror, which is my other top goal. My health slid a little over November, another reason I didn’t hit my word goal. The killer cold lasted two weeks and sapped my energy. But that’s just another excuse. I’m looking forward to being healthy in December and writing as if it’s Nano again, but adding the editing in. Will I hit 50k in December?

No. I’m not planning on it. But I am planning on  increasing my word count from November. And who knows? If I do this all year I may head into next November with 50k being a possibility. Hey, I’m an optimist. It could happen!

How was your November? Did the fall weather, snow, or being sick knock you from achieving your goals? What are you going to do about it? Are you going to be the Diva and whine, whine, whine? Or are you going to pull up the big girl boots (mine are tall and black) and get moving on your goals?

Today is the last day to purchase those 8 amazing romance authors at 99 cents!

your next favorite book sale

 

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

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Filed under facing failure, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo

Nano Update and 8 Author Book Sale!

Moonday Madness

a blog just before turkey day

Hi all! I’m Nanoing away, more about that in a minute.

The big news: Black Friday is coming up and you get to shop for romance from your easy chair!

your next favorite book sale

Eight fabulous romance authors have gotten together to bring you a 99cent sale that lasts all weekend.

Everything from spicy Gothic romance (hmm, wonder who’s book that is?) to romantic suspense to romance for women who love men who love curves and everything in between! It officially starts Black Friday and runs through Cyber Monday, so get your clicking finger ready and shop! shop! shop!

Book links, blurbs, and covers will be coming soon!

Back to the Nano front!

I’m still slogging away at Nano. Someday I WILL hit 50 thousand words in a month, but it won’t be this month. The killer cold hit last week and it’s slowed me down. I’m not sure (okay, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t happening this month) if I would have been able to hit 50k, but the good news is I’ve hit a decent word count stride, and here’s how I’m doing it.

I’m hitting the road!

Yes, I’ve had to leave my cozy writing nest with my ever flowing coffee pot and fireplace and head to the library. When I’m there I don’t even ask for the WiFi code, I just head to the quiet room and see if there is a table available and write! If I’m lucky, I can get a whole room to myself, but last week it was crazy there, I couldn’t even find a study carol that was unoccupied and I had to use a sofa and perch my laptop on my lap. (Um, they may be named laptops for that reason, but that was not the best way to write.)

And of course, last week I was hampered by coughing. There’s nothing like being in the quiet room in the library and hacking out a lung. Not only do you feel the shame of being the one to break the silence (unlike that dude who had a whole conversation on his cell-phone, despite the big sign that says NO CELL PHONE USE) but, I also knew that everyone was wondering if I carried some killer disease.

Cough, cough.

Back to the word count!

And now you see why I haven’t hit the 50k, despite the 2k per day I worked in the library. I let too much life intervene. But the good news is I’m almost at 15k, and that is a fabulous word count for a regular month. Also, I’ve figured out what is working for me to get me through this period of my life where I’m the sandwich generation and working part time. That’s huge! Because ever since last year I’ve been struggling to get new words on the page, and that’s not like me. Thank goodness for the library!

So how is the book coming?

Okay, so I’m cheating. I’m not really working on a new book for Nano. I started November with the goal of finishing up Broken Mirror, the third book in the Tales of the Black Court and the book that I’ve been struggling with for months, and then moving on to a new book in the Haunted Holidays series. But, since I’m behind, I’m just working on Broken Mirror. And that’s fine with me. It’s not like I’ll be winning Nano anyway. And I’m only counting new words for my Nano page.

So my grand total, so far is: 16,099 words written in November.

And the total for the book, so far is: 53, 415

In other words, Nano helped me hit 50k and I’m almost finished with the rough draft, which should come in close to 60k and be done this week. WOOT! I’m taking that as a personal win, even if it’s not a Nano win.

Did you try Nano? How did it go. It’s not quite over yet, you might still buckle down and make it! Only if you skip Thanksgiving. Oh, to be Canadian and have Thanksgiving in October so it wouldn’t interrupt Nano! LOL

Next goal? Check out next Moonday Mania’s post next week to see what I’m doing next and how my new habit is going to continue into the New Year.

Also in December: read all about my fabulous road trip to Glenwood Springs with my girlfriends. WOOT!  We laughed the whole time and I wish I could tell you everything, but “What happens in Glenwood, stays in Glenwood.” At least some of it’s okay for sharing!

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

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Filed under book sale, facing failure, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo

Nano 2014 Middle of the Month Check-in

Moonday Mania

a nano-istic blog

NaNoWriMo PARTICIPANT 2014 graphicI’m starting NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) today. Okay, it should have started on Saturday, but I couldn’t really start then. I had plans. It’s Saturday, right? Saturday is generally a family day in my house. So how do I write every day and still fulfill my family obligations?

Well, the answer is I don’t. I can’t write every day. All I can do is try to catch up on the days I do write. That does mean I’ve never actually hit fifty thousand words in one month.

Darn!

So, why attempt Nano at all if I am pretty sure I won’t hit the 50k?

Good question.

I do it because I’m always hopeful I might. You can’t reach the top of a mountain without trying and even though I’m pretty sure I’m not prepared and out of shape for the climb, I’m still trying. Right up until today I still figure I can catch up. But then I hit the middle of the month and realize it’s likely not going to happen. So, do I quit?

NO!

I keep trying to climb that mountain. I keep writing. Even though I’m pretty aware that I am going to have to stop short of the summit I head for the next best thing, the saddle that’s close to the top. In Nano terms, for me, that means I’m thinking 30k. Which is a pretty amazing amount of words in a month. If I hit that, I’m pretty stoked.

Okay, I can’t get the winner’s t-shirt. And I really want it this year, it’s cool. But, given my job, my kids, my parents, oh, and the girl’s weekend that I thought was going to be in October and got moved to November, I’m going to be happy if I hit 30k.

Will my novella be finished?

Sadly, no. But Broken Mirror will be in it’s rough draft stage and I should have a good start on the novella and I will have some writing momentum worked up that I’m planning on riding into December.

Check back next week to see how I’m doing. This week was not a great word count, but this month is so much better than last month, and so much better than the month before, that I’m riding Nano as far as I can go!

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

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Filed under facing failure, Moonday mania, Nanowrimo

Fall Resolutions, Part – The Whine

Moonday Mania

a blog based in my reality

Before I dive into Jessica Aspen Writes I want to dive into the news.

ghosts of christmas past by jessica aspenGhosts of Christmas Past, my contemporary Gothic romance is now available on all channels: Amazon,  Barnes and Noble, IbooksAllRomanceEbooks and Kobo The ghosts make it perfect for Fall and Halloween reading as well as Christmas. And of course it’s a romance, so give it a go.

I’m planning a birthday party for The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court. I love Fall and Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so the month of October will be filled with special tricks and treats and birthday celebrations for my first fantasy romance.

Now on to the blog!

WARNING: This is the whiny blog. If you want the actual resolutions, tune in next week where I tell you what I plan to do about changing my mindset and my schedule.

My new year starts in the Fall. It always has. School starts in Fall and from the time I was a child, that’s when the year shifted. Yeah, we have the big party in January, but that is such an artificial time to start the new year that it’s never felt right. I have fun in January. I even re-set my goals and participate in the whole New Year’s Resolution things. (You can check out my January Goals Post HERE.) But both my gut and my heart say the new year starts in the Fall.

This year, more than ever, I’m looking forward to school starting and having the house to myself. As I travel the path of becoming an author, (yes, six books out and I still feel like I’m in the becoming stage) I find that every day, week, and month my goals and life change. When my kids were in school and I wasn’t working my current job, I could write! I was so productive. Two thousand, three thousand words a day poured out of my brain and into my laptop. I edited and polished and produced. And then this year I changed jobs and summer hit.

Yikes!

My kids aren’t little, but they are super distracting, and my new job happens almost every day. EVERY DAY! I know, I know, the rest of you are thinking I’m crazy. (I did warn you this was the whiny blog, didn’t I?) Other writers get up at five in the morning or are typing long after everyone has gone to bed. Well, I can’t do that. At least not the writing at night thing. I fall asleep on the couch between 8 and 9 pm, most nights. My husband is always waking me up to send me to bed and my brain is mush.

Okay, then there is the writing in the early morning thing—before work. My brain takes time and coffee to wake up so I’ve been doing other work at 5 in the morning. Like writing blogs. A little caffeine and a fantastic spell-check and I can write non-fiction. I can even edit other people’s fiction, but create my own? That takes me being a more awake, a lot more sunshine.and way more coffee.

So this year my Fall will be a true New Year. I’ll be re-immersing myself in writing after a ton of editing last year and a summer spent reacting to everyone else’s needs. This fall I will be putting writing first and tell everyone else to go away. This year, I’ll be the no excuses writer. The one who I read about who says they write 8 hours a day and don’t let anyone or anything stop them!

Because I’m not giving up. No way. No how.

What happens to you when you have one of those seasons that takes away from what you really want to do? Does the whiner in you come out? Are you like me and whine, have the pity party, then pull up the big girl boots and move on to the work?

Author Bio:

jessica aspen, authorJessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email please go to: http://eepurl.com/zs4Sj

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! http://eepurl.com/zs4Sj

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Filed under channeling success, facing failure, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing organization

Stephen King, the threat that hangs over all writers

Thursdays Bite

a blog about the horror of writing

I’ve started writing ghost stories. Gothic romances of vulnerable heroines, desperate heroes, and scary haunted ghosts. I have an extensive reading background in Gothic romance and I love it, so it’s easy for me to create the spooky house, the dark and stormy night, and the hero who might be a threat.

What isn’t so easy for me was writing the ghost. But luckily I have my own ghost lurking behind me, Stephen King. Not that my little haunted holiday romance is anything like Stephen King’s writing. It’s not. Not at all. Don’t pick it up thinking it is. But more to the point, Stephen King is what scares me.

cujo by stephen kingI’m so terrified of him that I’ve never even read one of his fiction books. Just the idea of reading Cujo or Pet Cemetery makes my palms tingle and my knees weak. I know I won’t sleep. I know I’ll be afraid to even turn off the light.

That’s the kind of writer I want to be. Someone who has mastered his craft so well that even the thought of reading their books brings up emotion. I have read Stephen King’s book On Writing. And that was scary enough. I know have Stephen haunting me. Lurking behind me if I don’t write with dark looks, waving a judgmental finger at me. Saying, “You didn’t write today? For shame!”

When I first read On Writing and realized that Stephen King did not consider you a real writer, a serious writer, unless you wrote everyday, I nearly gave up. There was no way with a job, two small children, and a house to run, that I was going to be able to write every day. I needed time to focus. Time to work without someone needing me. Time to write.

But I didn’t give up. I faced the specter of Stephen King’s dire warnings about not writing and I did my best. I wrote slowly during those days. If I hit 500 words when I wrote, that was a good day, and if I wrote three days a week, that was a good week. But still he haunted me.

Even now I can feel him standing behind me. Why are you wasting time blogging? Why aren’t you writing the book? What are you scared of?

Um, you.

I am scared of not writing. Scared of writing. What if it’s not good? What if they hate it? What if I fail?

Stephen moves in closer. I can feel him nearly touching me. So what?

So write.

Even though I’m scared, the ghost of Stephen King is right. None of that matters. What matters in the end is the wordcount. How many words got down on the page. In the long run, that’s all I’ll see as my success or failure.

Who is your motivator? What ghosts do you have lurking behind you  driving you to succeed?

Happy dancing! Ghosts of Christmas Past recieved two five star reviews this week! WOOT! You can read Patricia Statham’s review at Books To Curl Up With or you can check out the five stars that Kathy left on Amazon or Goodreads.

And don’t forget, Ghosts of Christmas Past is only on sale through the end of August. Get your holiday read for 99 cents today!

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Ibooks and AllRomance E-books

Author Bio:

jessica aspen, authorJessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email please go to: http://eepurl.com/zs4Sj

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! http://eepurl.com/zs4Sj

 

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Filed under About the Author, channeling success, facing failure, ghosts, Ghosts of Christmas Past, paranormal inspiration, Thursdays Bite, Writer's Journey

Goals, Goals, Goals

Moonday Mania

a blog for picking yourself up and starting over

It’s been awhile since I addressed goals. I used to have a huge list of goals, take classes, market, improve the blog, but then Fall of 2013 was so stressful my body just gave in. Now I’m recovering from that and as a result, I’m honed in on the most important goal, getting Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court out the door.

Because the fall was so difficult, and then I didn’t feel well, everything became delayed. I was supposed to get my Christmas novella edited in the fall, that got pushed back. I was supposed to outline Broken Mirror, and that’s been pushed back. At first I was devastated.

These were my goals. I’d given myself plenty of time. I should be able to get them done. Or at least get one of them done. But as sub-contractors didn’t get things to me on time, and then the day job blew up, and other events took precedence, I began to realize: the universe was sending me a message.

And I had better listen.

So I am refocused. My goals have slimmed down for the year.

Number one, Prince by Blood and Bone.

Number two, write Broken Mirror.

And number three, get the Ghosts of Christmas Past out the door.

That’s it. From a huge page long list of goals I’ve winnowed it down to the basics. And I truly believe I can get all three of these done. Prince by Blood and Bone will be off to the proofreader this week. Cover is finished! YAY! And once I do the corrections I can get it published.

I’ve got a cover artist lined up for Ghosts of Christmas Past, all I need to do is polish up the blurb and send it to her, and I will have a cover. The book itself is in the last stages of re-writing, from there it needs to go to line- edits, then the proofreader, and then it too will be ready for publishing.

So that leaves Broken Mirror. My poor neglected book that should have been in edits by now and has instead been waiting impatiently to be written. Plan is to outline it this month, and then get started writing. Of course I have the day job coming up, and a few other things, but I believe that by the end of the summer it should be written, and ready for some edits. So that puts it on track for publishing in early 2015. If I get it done sooner, so much the better, but I’m not setting myself up for failure this time.

Who knows what the coming year has to bring? Who knows if I’ll get the book back on time from others when I send it out, or if the cover will be as difficult as the last two covers for The Black Court series? Who knows if my life will stay on track?

What I do know is no matter what happens I will do my best to stay the course, even if it means re-working my goals on a daily basis. Because they are my goals. I get to tweak them, I get to decide what works for me. And that’s one of the benefits of being a writer. And one of the pitfalls.

How have your goals been this year? Are you on track? Have you ever had to scrap everything and start over? Was it difficult?

I’m guest blogging today on When Paleo Met Sally about my Journey to Paleo. Check it out HERE.

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Filed under channeling success, facing failure, Goal Setting, Writer's Journey

Five Things to Remember When Reading Your Book Aloud

Moonday Mania

just a random blog

Hi all! I’ve had some questions on Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court and yes, it is nearly ready! I’m so excited to tell you that I think I should be in possession of a cover any day now. Really, very soon. Okay, maybe by next week. It’s been like pulling teeth to get this book to market. The cover has been a challenge and I’ve learned a lot of dos and don’ts in how-to do a series of covers. The next one I’ll get all my covers done at the same time, so I’ll have them ready on time and they will go together. Finding images to compete with the amazing cover for The Dark Huntsman is a challenge!

Speaking of The Dark Huntsman, thank you to everyone who voted for it in the JABBIC contest. I’m pretty excited to see how it does. I think the cover competes very well but it’s tough being so far down on the list. I nearly gave up with all the scrolling through 80+ entries. Thank you to everyone who persevered and got through the whole list of paranormal entries. Whew!

I do have a blog topic today. Of course. So let’s get to it!

Have you ever sat in front of twenty, thirty, fifty people and read your work out loud? I think every author should try it, at least once or twice. Last month I had the pleasure (um, gulp!) of reading a section of my book out loud to my chapter members. I’ve done this before, but I have to tell you it never gets easy. And each time I’ve learned something different, so I thought I would share my thoughts on how to read-aloud.

1. Don’t necessarily choose the first chapter of your book.

I did this both times, and while I feel like the first chapter is good for an introduction, it may not be the best section to read aloud. Don’t get me wrong, it might be the best section, but it might have a bit of introduction that the book needs, but isn’t the best for a read aloud. Pick a section that is very intense and will catch the audience. Hopefully this is the first chapter, but first chapters sometimes have a lot of scene building, and that isn’t as exciting for a read-aloud, especially if you have less than ten minutes. Choose a very exciting passage, one that might take a little verbal explanation for the audience, but has them hopping out of their chairs.

And target your section to your audience. I read aloud the first section of Prince by Blood and Bone, which is very exciting, but it is full of fantasy elements. This was a group of romance readers and writers and some of them are focused only on the contemporary genre. They get speed-bumped by magic and attacking ogres. I would have been better off choosing a love scene with heat and tension between the couple. Different audience, different choices.

2. Do chose your section ahead of time and practice

The other times I’ve read aloud I had the time to sit down and go through the pages, figure out what I wanted to read, and practice reading it out loud. Last month I didn’t. I had to grab my book, sit down and read cold. It made a huge difference. I found myself self-editing as I read and that didn’t make for as smooth a transition as it could have. I wanted to cut things, and re-arrange them, and it made me stumble as I read. If I’d taken the time to choose the section first, I might have chosen a different one. One that read aloud a little more smoothly.

Choose a passage that has action and dialogue, and isn’t packed with internalization, back story, or scene description. Unless one of those is incredibly compelling and packed with tension, you will lose your audience fast.

One note: some of the words in your passage you might be comfortable with using, you know what they mean and you use them correctly in a sentence, but when reading them out loud, you might not be able to pronounce them! Tripping over words or passages is better discovered in the privacy of your own bathroom, um living room. (Okay, you read out loud where you want to, and I’ll read out loud where I want to.)

3. Practice

This one is so important, I am putting it in twice. You need to know how you read and how long it will take you to read what you’ve chosen out loud. Practice slowing down. Most of us read twice as fast in a real read-aloud situation, so be sure to account for that in your timing.You need to make sure you can pronounce all the words, and you need to make sure nothing in the passage is a speedbump. In other words, if you have some illicit words that you can type with impunity, but you can’t read out loud in front of a group without stumbling and blushing, you’d best figure that out at home!

Practice your cadence. Figure out where you want to add emphasis to words and what spots might be good for pausing and looking up. Try out voices for dialogue. That may not work for you, but it could be the thing that makes your reading stand out.

(If you have time, it’s good to video yourself reading out loud. You will learn a lot about habits you have, such as coughing, pausing, or reading too fast. Do it live, because we read very differently in front of an audience than at home in front of the mirror.)

4. Lay out your clothes ahead of time

20140210-074140.jpgThis is good advice for anything you are doing that might make you nervous. Interviews, read-alouds, dates. Take the time to vet your outfit. Try it in different positions and make sure it is comfortable as well as stylish. The very first time I read aloud I chose a lovely modest, cover your knees, pink skirt. At least I thought it was modest. Imagine my surprise when I went to sit down and cross my legs and felt a small draft. It was modest standing up, but sitting down slightly above my audience made it a little more risqué than I truly appreciated. I spent a lot of time worrying about that(tugging it down, shifting positions) when I should have been focusing on my reading!

(At least the shoes look good!)

5. Seed the audience

If you can, make sure you have some friendly faces to look at. Part of your practicing reading should be to look up every so often and make eye contact with your audience. This is much easier if you have made sure you have someone you know at each triangular point. In other words, if the room is like a clock face and you are at 12 o’clock, place a friendly face at 3, 6, and 9. This way you have a target face to glance up at. They will be smiling at you, and nodding encouragement, instead of those horrible blank expressions it’s likely the rest of the audience has plastered on their faces.

Reading your own work can be a challenge. I think it’s important, as an author, to try it out. For your first read-aloud experience you might try reading someone else’s work out loud, that way you will only be nervous about the reading part, and not the actual “OMG, I’m presenting my baby on a plate to wolves!” Because that’s what it feels like. For me, I think it’s worse than sending books out on submission, because you can see in their faces if they are bored or intrigued.

What if it doesn’t go right? What if it’s a bomb?

The odds of your first read aloud going the way you want it to are slim. Do it anyway. Do it because you might garner a few fans. Do it because it’s a challenge. Do it because it’s good to get to know your work in a different way. Just do it.

What challenges have you faced in front of an audience? Have you ever read your own work out loud? Had a wardrobe malfunction? Been reading and realized mid-stream that you’d failed to target your audience? Share with me in the comments, I love to hear from you!

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Filed under About the Author, channeling success, facing failure, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Tales of the Black Court Blog Tour and Where the heck is Book Two?

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

Hi, I’m still on tour  with The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, and there are only a few spots left to go. Here are all the fabulous romance blogs that I’ll be appearing on for the rest of the week:

the dark huntsman blog tourJan 9 Interview
Aly @ Aly’s Miscellany
Jan 9 Spotlight
Share My Destiny
Jan 9 Spotlight
Book Suburbia
Jan 10 Guest blog and review
Victoria’s Gossip
Jan 10 Spotlight
Paranormal Romance and Beyond
Jan 10 review
Mousehead & Tales
Jan 13 Spotlight and review
The Book Landers
Jan 13 Spotlight and review
On the Broomstick
Jan 13 Spotlight
Tattooed Book Review
I’m loving all my tour hosts, and guess what? So far, overall, they love the book. That’s amazing to me and has got me excited for Prince by Blood and Bone, which was supposed to be out by now. But it’s not. If you were wondering, I’ve hit a few snags. My editor got it back to me nearly a month late, and of course by that time I was working and I dropped the ball. I did get through all of her edits, but while I was doing that I realized I needed to tweak it one more time. And then there were the holidays. Also I’m waiting on my cover artist to get my cover to me. It’s harder than you think to put just the right cover elements together and she has a life too. Sigh.
No worries, the book will be out soon. All I need to do is get the cover together, finish my final run through, convince my oops editor that she has the time to get it done ASAP, and put it all together. Not much, right? LOL
At this point I’m having to say, okay, this book will be out much later than I had anticipated. And learn from the whole experience.
What have I learned?
Number One: Wait to tell anyone when the book will be out until it’s at the oops editor and has a cover.
Number Two: Get the cover way in advance. Much further than I think I need it, because there are bound to be issues.
Number Three: Don’t sweat it when life intervenes, because it always does. Just because I set the goal and thought I’d put it all in place to achieve it, doesn’t mean everyone else in my life will fall in line.
And Number Four: Okay, there really is no number four. That’s all I learned.
So, the book will be out when it’s out and I am doing everything I can to facilitate that. Then it’s on to book number three, Broken Mirror. Needless to say I’ll be applying all my hard won lessons. So when is book three coming out. Sorry, my lips are sealed, but I will tell you MY goal is before 2015!
What has fallen apart in your life lately? Have you had to give up control to other people and then wait for them to come through? What about your own planning, was it appropriate? Did it have fail-safes? Leave me a comment, I’m always interested in what you have to say. Unless it’s that spammy stuff about sales. Sorry, you all get deleted. 🙂

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Filed under Bloghops, facing failure, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite

Writer’s Block and Fiery Bride author Cynthia Woolf

Moonday Mania

Welcome Cynthia Woolf

This week we start off with fellow Colorado author Cynthia Woolf. Cynthia’s western romance Matchmaker & Co. series that includes Capital Bride and Heiress Bride, has grown very popular and well known in western romance circles. A multi-genre multi-published author Cynthia also is an author of another western romance series (the Tame series) well as two Sci-fi romance novel series; Swords of Gegara and the Centauri series. Please welcome, Cynthia Woolf, to Jessica Aspen Writes.

With my latest book, FIERY BRIDE, I got something that most other writers have gotten before me, but that I really hadn’t experienced up until now.  The dreaded Writers Block.  Yes, me.  The person who has written twelve books in two years had Writers Block.  I literally didn’t write for more than two weeks.  I simply didn’t know where the story was or was going to happen.  At one point I got so frustrated, that I just didn’t care.

I’d sit and stare at the screen.  I watched movies and read books.  Nothing.  I worked on other stories.  Well sort of.  I was able to come up with some ideas for other stories, but actually starting those stories was as hard as trying to work on the one I already had going.

My critique partners suggested scenes I could write that hopefully would get me going but even then I couldn’t break through.  I felt scared.  What if I’d written all the stories that I had in me?  What if that was all there was?

Finally, one of my critique partners suggested that I download my manuscript to my kindle and read through it.  Now you may ask why to the kindle when I could just print it out and read it or read it on my computer screen.  Well, I’d already done both of those things with no effect.  The beauty of downloading it to my kindle is that I couldn’t make changes.  I could only read.

So I read.  I discovered that it sparked my imagination and suddenly I did know where the story was going.  The next thing they, my critique partners, did for me what hold Just Write sessions.  These are times when we get together to “just write”.  Except for the first half hour when we catch up and lunch when we visit again, there is no talking.  Just writing, hence the name.

Now you may ask what these sessions are good for.  Well, we’ve discovered that there is a great energy that we have when we write together.  We also, in that first half hour and again at lunch, bounce ideas off each other.  You can almost see the sparks coming off us as we rattle off ideas for each others stories.

I would never have made it through this last book without my critique partners.  They gave me hope and guided me through a tough time.  If you don’t have critique partners get some.  Get ones that you love and that care about you and your writing and that you care about.  You don’t have to write the same genres; as a matter of fact it’s probably best if you don’t.  You get better, more unique ideas and perspective if you don’t write the same type of books.

Regardless of what you do to get over it, remember that it will pass.  Writer’s block is not forever, unless you want it to be.  If you give up, then you’ll stop writing, but if you keep after it, keep trying, then your book will come out.  It just may take longer than you want or are used to.

FIERY BRIDE:

fiery_bride 200 x 300After a disastrous marriage, Matchmaker Maggie vowed never to marry again.  She will never give another man the power of life and death over her body and soul. Unfortunately, that doesn’t keep her lonely heart from fantasizing about her newest client, Caleb Black. She made the mistake of starting a flirtatious correspondence with the clever devil, believing they would never meet. But when his new bride abandons her mid-way to Colorado to elope with another man, Maggie is forced to face the devastatingly handsome Caleb and explain.  Now she’ll have to stay long enough to make things right and find him a new wife.  But Maggie better hang on to her vow with both hands, because Caleb has other plans for the fiery matchmaker…and a very seductive kiss.

author cynthia woolfCynthia Woolf was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden. She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends.

She was and is an avid reader. Her mother was a librarian and brought new books home each week. This is where young Cynthia first got the storytelling bug. She wrote her first story at the age of ten. A romance about a little boy she liked at the time.

Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and her critique partners for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity

TITLES AVAILABLE

CENTAURI DAWN

CENTAURI TWILIGHT

CENTAURI MIDNIGHT

TAME A WILD HEART

TAME A WILD WIND

TAME A WILD BRIDE

THE SWORDS OF GREGARA – JENALA

THE SWORDS OF GREGARA – RIZA

THE SWORDS OF GREGARA – HONORA

CAPITAL BRIDE

HEIRESS BRIDE

COMING SOON

FIERY BRIDE

WEBSITE – www.cynthiawoolf.com

FACEBOOK – www.facebook.com/CynthiaWoolf

Twitter – @CynthiaWoolf

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5148049.Cynthia_Woolf

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Filed under facing failure, guest post, Moonday mania, writing craft

Shame and the Act of Forgiving Ourselves

Today I’m very excited to bring to you one of the rising stars of my local Romance Writers of America chapter, Selena Laurence. I met Selena for the first time last year at our October Author’s Tea, but I’d seen her all over Twitter and Facebook as she’s crit partners with one of my fellow GaimX’rs, Jamie Raintree. This year I’m excited because Selena will  be one of our authors at the tea with a total of four books out by 2014, three of them out this year including her fabulous New Adult romance, Hidden! Please welcome fellow Colorado Romance Author member, New Adult and Contemporary Romance author, Selena Laurence!

Shame. We’ve all felt it at one time or another. There are lots of ways to define that icky burning feeling you get in your gut when you think you’ve done something wrong. The one that I think is the most useful is this, from Merriam Webster: a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.

Shame is painful, but the most important thing to remember about shame is that, like Merriam Webster’s says, it’s caused by your own consciousness. The bottom line about shame is that no one but you can cause it, and no one but you can end it. Shame is something you decide to feel. And only you can reverse that feeling.

hidden by selena laurenceIn my New Adult novel Hidden, which releases on July 23rd, both the hero and the heroine are experiencing a great deal of shame. In particular, the heroine, Lyndsey, feels that her past as a victim of domestic violence is a reason to be ashamed. Lyndsey is a young woman who didn’t have the resources and support that 18 year olds ought to, and that led her to involvement with the really wrong guy. The shame she feels after she leaves that relationship drives everything she does for years afterwards.

What Lyndsey has to learn, and what we all have to learn at some point in life, is that you can only get rid of shame by forgiving yourself. No one else can do it for you. We all make mistakes, all find ourselves in situations we wish we weren’t. We all make choices that turn out to be wrong, have needs that lead us astray, and feel shame sometimes. The key is to see what we can learn from the experience, and then forgive ourselves as quickly as possible, because as long as we can’t forgive ourselves, the world can’t either.

The dedication in Hidden is written for my daughters, who I thought of often when I wrote the character of Lyndsey. My daughters are amazing young women, one just out of college and the other just starting high school. They have long lives ahead of them where they will make plenty of mistakes, but the message I want to impart to them that comes from Lyndsey is this: There is no mistake so big that you can not move on, no lesson so harsh that you will not recover, and no shame so severe that you don’t deserve to be forgiven.

Hidden 

Nick Carlisle comes to Hawaii to hide—from what happened during his military service in Afghanistan, from relationships, from love. Lyndsey Anderson came to Hawaii to hide too—from the man who abused her, from the sacrifices she made, from her dark past. But when Nick meets Lyndsey, Hawaii gets a whole lot hotter, and they find they can’t hide their hearts. As Nick fights to come to terms with what he’s done, Lyndsey struggles to forgive herself for the choices she’s made. But when the dangerous past threatens the beautiful present, can they survive to learn how to love? And who will finally reveal what’s hidden?

Bio:
selena laurenceI love to write romantic stuff that helps you get away. Life can be a grind, and things like jobs and school and dirty dishes make Jill a dull girl – and me too! So, I write Contemporary and New Adult romances about hot guys and smart girls and cool places. It’s an Escape from the Everyday.
 
Ways to find Selena Laurence:

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Filed under facing failure, guest post, New Adult