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Posts tagged with: liz talley

Welcome to Mentor Monday!

ASK US ANYTHING!!!

Hello, everyone –

And welcome to the new vision for the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood! I’m Liz Talley and I’ll be your tour guide for …. drum roll please…..

Mentoring!

Yes, today we’re talking about the importance of having a mentor and offering some (hopefully) helpful advice. 

First, you may be wondering  WHO needs a mentor.

The answer – everyone.

I’ve written twenty-seven books and I still need a mentor. We all do. Whether we’ve written a paragraph or fifty novels, everyone needs someone to give advice, kick their butts, cheer them on, and basically be the one person in their corner who knows what it is like out there and can get her come out swinging anyway.

I know what you’re thinking – Ohmygosh! I don’t have a mentor!

That’s okay. No need to panic because mentors are everywhere. You don’t have to meet them for coffee every week. You can find them here. On Facebook. At conferences. In fact, we’re going to do some mentoring TODAY. Yes, today the Rubies are offering to be your mentor.

I do acknowledge this is like an advice column. I do not know how to get wine out of your carpet, but I might be able to help you with a writing issue. So hit me up…. Help me help you by telling me what’s up with your writing and how I can help you today!

Patience is a Virtue…isn’t it?

Hello, friends, and welcome to a glimpse inside my head. Are you scared yet?

You know how everyone had a word of the year? Okay, maybe not everyone, but lots of people start off the new year with a guiding word, something that will encapsulate all they desire to achieve. It may be PEACE or JOY or CONTENTMENT. Whatever a person chooses, it’s the ideal he or she is striving for. I love the idea of a guiding word or phrase.

Usually, as I consider the new, fresh year before me, a word or phrase comes to me. But this year….nada. I thought. I prayed. I looked for signs around me. But nothing other than repeated suggestions for shows to watch on Netflix seemed to crop up over and over. I mean, I don’t think Birdbox can be my word for the year. So I waited.

And waited.

And waited. Still, nothing appeared. So as I approached mid-January, a time where I meet with my goal setting group, I declared I would have to come up with something. So I just scribbled down something about looking for signs and being willing to follow them because it sounded better than “I got nothing for 2019.” My goal-setting group of writing friends nodded as if that would work. Hey, it’s my guiding motto, my mission statement, my bag, baby. Who were they to stomp on it and tell me it wasn’t going to happen? Yet, inside I knew that what I had declared as my mission statement for 2019 wasn’t really my mission statement. It was like copying the encyclopedia for your homework assignment because some words (even plagiarized) are better than not handing anything in.

So as I faced a busy writing year – I have a full-length contracted novel and two novellas to complete, along with revisions on last years manuscripts – I started humming a song. “Every day I’m hustling” and then I would do that “do, do, do, do, do, dododo, do to do ta do” things afterwards and dance a bit in my seat. Hustling. That’s a good word.

But it’s opposite what I got when I was tried so hard to find my word- silence.

I don’t know about many of you, but patience is not my strong suit. I want it now. Success, strong book sales, my cover, more readers, more, more, more and I want it yesterday. I’m a bit like the ocean – I just keep coming, wearing everyone down. It’s not a great quality, other than I’m perseverant. So when I received no sign, no word to guide me, I thought maybe the universe was telling me that patience is important for me to learn.

Hustle.

Patience.

Are they really antonyms? Actually, I think they can co-exist together as my words. Like the Odd Couple. There are places in my life where I must learn to wait. To let the manuscript marinate. To remember I’m not my agent’s only writer. To allow my platform to build the right way. To hold onto news, thoughts, ideas. And there are times I need to hustle. To not rest on my laurels. To seize opportunity. To do the things I say I will do. To wake up early. Skip the next episode of Outlander. To hustle.

So I have two words guiding me this year – Hustle and Patience. Weird, I know. So do you have a guiding word or phrase for 2019? Since it’s February, how are you doing on letting it guide you?

MOVE…or at Least Get Up and Stretch!

Hello, friends, and welcome to a non-writing but necessary blog post that will hopefully have you up and toe-tapping. Or like mentioned in the title – at least stretching. 

The Rubies had a conversation a few weeks ago about our health, specifically about getting up and moving around. One of our little slippers got tied into a deadline, spent way too much time in the chair, and ended up with a medical emergency because she didn’t move enough. Yeah. That’s crazy scary considering how much we writers sit in front of the screen. So I’m bringing you some tips to help you keep yourself from…I don’t know…the ER! We’re not talking about drinking protein powder and getting back into your size 6 jeans. This is more about getting a little bit healthier.

Here are six simple tips to help you roll into summer feeling better (and maybe looking it, too):

  1. Move. Set your timer for a 20-30 minute writing sprint. When it’s over, reward yourself. Not with chocolate. With a nice walk, even if it’s only around the block. Raining or too cold? Have Alexa dial up some 80s party music and then dance. (you may want to close the blinds). Our bodies were made to move and to be productive. So make sure EVERY day that you do some sort of exercise whether it’s laundry Olympics (fold and put each item away so you’re moving constantly while doing this chore) or weeding the flower beds or walking your dog. 
  2. Dump the Sugar. I know. I know. I KNOW. I like sweets, y’all. I like skittles and Reese’s cups and cute little cookies that taste like heaven. But sugar is an enemy to your body. Not only does it add calories, but it causes inflammation and can make you sluggish. Try putting grapes or prepared berries in your fridge instead of calorie-packed, preservative-laced treats. Elect for popcorn in the afternoon or a delicious flavored hot tea. I’ll admit – this is the hardest thing for me to do. 
  3. Drink More Water. I don’t like water. There. I said it. It’s boring and tasteless and so not attractive. Where’s the color, the flavor, the little umbrella? But your body needs water. So get a fun bottle, fill it up and put it on your desk. I prefer having a straw because I tend to drink it more than if there’s a bottle cap. I can mindlessly drink more water if it’s sitting right there with a straw in it.
  4. Make a Date With A Friend. One of the best ways to ensure you’ll get up and get moving is to give yourself some accountability. Ask a friend to take a barre class with you. Or Zumba. Or whatever. Schedule walking three times a week. Not only are you forcing yourself out of a huge comfort zone – on the couch with your trusty bff (your laptop) – but you’re opening yourself up to plots, characterization, and the side benefit of getting healthy. I do Zumba twice a week, walk twice a week with my Plotting pals, and join the husband at the gym every Friday. I’m no gym rat, but I MAKE myself do it. It’s much easier when you have someone who tells you to get your butt off the computer and get to work (the other kind of work).
  5. Get a Massage. I know. You’re like Liz Talley’s lost her mind. I can’t afford that kind of luxury all the time! But what if it’s not a luxury? What if it’s a necessity? I messed up my back one time. It was like agony and pain had a baby…in my lower back. I tried all kinds of things including PT. Eventually, with the help of yoga stretches and therapeutic massage, I got over it. So now I go once a month for a deep tissue massage. It’s not an escape because sometimes it hurts, but it’s necessary for someone like me who sits a lot. It costs about $75 in my neck of the woods and I don’t miss it. 
  6. Moderation. I’m not going to tell you to dump the alcohol or coffee. Just try prying either from my cold, dead hands. But practice moderation in all things, even in exercise. You want to steadily improve your health, not sabotage it. So making tolerable changes will help you make being more healthy a reality. You can’t eliminate all the things you love (Reese’s cups!) from your world, but you can curb them. Like I let myself have a Diet Coke at the grocery check out. That’s my reward for clipping coupons and finding the perfect avocados. Yeah, I have ONE instead of a case. And I sometimes miss Zumba. But I don’t let myself fall out of the habit of going. So give yourself a break when you aren’t perfect. I swear moderation is my battle cry. A little bit is okay. Yeah, and that’s my motto. 

Okay, I could drag out a lot more health tips and talk about regular doctor visits (Fun! Right?) or how to do the perfect plank, but we’ve only got so much time before we have to get back to writing our best sellers. So why don’t you share your favorite ways to get a little bit healthier? Just don’t share any kale recipes. Yuck! LOL.

Ready, set….share your tips!

It’s WEEK THREE check in time!

Happy check in day, friends!

I know week three has come and gone. Crazy, isn’t it? Didn’t we just get started?

If you’re like me, you may have had some set backs. Weekends are particularly tough for me because, um, family. They’re so demanding. They like to be fed and have clean clothes and stuff. And, if I’m being honest, I’ve been binge-watching Game of Thrones and addictions to television programs can also be demanding. They call to me – “Liz, come sit down for thirty minutes. Half an episode, that’s all…” and five hours later I’m staggering to the fridge for more Halo Top ice cream and feeling that old familiar guilt – the you’re-supposed-to-be-writing guilt.

But that’s okay because I’m still going. It’s like a diet. You fall off and eat half a piece of chocolate cake, but the next day you have a salad. I’ve been eating my salads, too, and to date have added 14K to my WIP during the past three weeks. That’s pretty darn good. <Blowing on my knuckles and wiping them on my shirt.>

So don’t worry if you’ve been distracted or commandeered by other issues like the flu, the day job or Netflix, we’re still in this, friends, no matter how successful or unsuccessful you’ve been over the past three weeks. 

Here are some things you can do to up your game:

  • Set aside a particular time to write…and stick to it
  • Visit the chatroom. Hands down this is the best way to WWF. I’m serious. Go to the chatroom.
  • Ignore your inner editor
  • Or not. Progress is progress even if you must stop mid-book and return to the beginning to make sure your not wasting words. (Admission: this is what I had to do)
  • Indulge your muse. If you’re stuck, take a walk, read a book or listen to inspiring music
  • Read the daily inspirational posts at the WWF page here
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself
  • Or do. Sometimes you have to get real with yourself and recommit to your writing. That book ain’t gonna write itself.

So time to check in. If you’ve made your goal for the week, type I MADE MY GOAL in all caps at the beginning of your post. We’re going to do back flips (not real ones because most of us are too old for that…or maybe it’s just me that’s too old). But if you didn’t reach your goal, you’re still invited to tell us what’s going on. This isn’t about wagging our fingers at anyone. Nope. Not here. 

And we have prizes….

The fabulous Katie Graykowski has offered up a “First Chapter Critique (any genre except erotica)”

Kate Parker is giving out a $20 Amazon gift card (MORE books!)

And Heather McCollum has a PRIZE BUNDLE: $10 gift card to Starbucks and a digital copy of THE BEAST of AROS CASTLE

 

Okay, so leave a comment and let’s start week four with enthusiasm, determination and a smile on our faces! 

 

 

Love the One You’re With

The, ahem, older song “Love the One You’re With” was always one I liked, but the message wasn’t one I really cared for. If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with? Well, that sort of encourages cheating, doesn’t it? And, of course, a man wrote it. I think.

But I’ve been thinking a lot about readers here lately. Now I know some of you may be unpublished as of yet, but I think this post can apply to anything you are involved with, especially if that thing is aimed at getting new people to climb on board with something, whether it’s reading your books or attending your dinner party.

I’m the president of NOLA Stars chapter, and here lately we’ve had a huge slide in membership. All those people who were so eager to learn 5-6 years ago bolstered our numbers and it was good. We had critique groups, gave bootcamps, and threw pretty darn good conferences. But over the last 2 years, those people have fallen off the bandwagon and we’ve watched our size decrease to half. When I asked people why, they inevitably say, “I’m just not getting anything out of it anymore” or they’d say “I’m indie publishing and I can get what I need without paying dues.” Ouch! And I’m not going to lie, it hurt. It felt like a reflection on me as the President. And I stewed about it.

One day at a meeting, where I was pretty visibly upset because we didn’t even have enough people to vote on an important bylaw, someone said something to me that was like a baseball bat to the head – why worry about the people who don’t want to be here. Shouldn’t we worry more about the ones who are actually here?

Uh, DUH!

And suddenly I got it – you have to love the one your with.

Translating this to readers also makes sense. In this industry, we’re constantly chasing this or that…or our tails. Add more newsletter subscribers, creates a FB page for readers, sell more books, do ads to reach more people. Visibility, Visibility, Visibility! But what if you just loved the ones you’re with?

Think about it. You have people who like what you do. May not be a ton, but you have some, right? Love those people. Tend to those people. Write the words for those people. And you might find that before long, those people grow. And they tell others about you. And pretty soon you’re doing organic building of your readers by simply focusing on them…and not on all the other people who aren’t reading you. It’s something plenty of successful people have done. In fact, my husband who is a huge fan of KISS (yes, my dentist husband loves to rock out to “Lick it Up.” Irony?) tells me they owe their success to the few who liked them. They grassrooted that ride all the way to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.

So instead of feeling frantic about the readers you don’t have, perhaps you should love the one you’re with.

You’re welcome for the earworm 🙂

Crazy Town…Or Should I say “Crazy Business”?

A few weeks ago I as I rolled through the flat, hot backwoods of Louisiana, a song by Jason Aldean came on the radio – “Crazy Town.” Now if you’re a country music fan, you’ve probably heard it. As I listened to the words, it occurred to me that while I don’t live in Nashville, I exist in a pretty crazy, confusing, heartbreaking, soul stirring world of publication.

Now, some of you might not be published yet, and that’s cool because if you’re a smart writer, you’re paying attention to what’s happening every month, week and day in the publishing world. And if you’re smart writer (or even if you’re not so smart) you know that no one can make much sense of how to break into the big leagues anymore than those singer songwriters in Nashville playing night after night wondering why their ship doesn’t crash into the dock…yesterday.

I’ve wasted more time than I care to admit wondering this sort of thing myself. Where’s my ship? When’s it coming in? Do they know what pier I’m on? Cause I’ve been waiting a little while now and…where the hell is it?

As you may sense, I’m not so patient. LOL.

Recently I had the luck of catching the eye of a pretty good writer. She read my book The Sweetest September when it finaled in the Rita Awards a few years back. She was very complimentary, which we all know lifts us a little bit higher off the ground when we walk, and she was kind enough to mention my books to her friends….her writing friends. And they, in turn, read the book. One such writer was one who is known to populate the NYT Bestseller lists, and she reached out to me to ask a bit about my journey, and we’ve formed a friendship. Which is cool, right?

Absolutely.

Because the cool thing about having this accomplished writer as a friend is the invaluable advice I get. I’m telling you guys, I rubbed my hands together, greedily awaiting the magic advice that would get me over the hump, that would thrust me into the next level of the business. My name would be in lights…or at least in the Barnes and Noble, for cripe’s sake. But you know what her advice was?

Be patient.

Yes, be patient.

In a world scrambling to write faster, write more, market more, form a FB group, get a tribe, get a loss leader, run a sale, get a Bookbub, don’t wait to promote, another newsletter, giveaway, giveaway, write a novella….do you have a loss leader???? this writer is telling me to be patient and write good books. That’s her advice. In a nutshell (help! I’m in a nutshell). And you know, it sort of hit me upside the head.

Because I’m always trying to figure out how to do better with my sales. Are you?

I bet you are.

But the thing is, we can chase our tails until we fall out, flat exhausted on the floor, with not much to show for it. See, this writer reminded me of something I’ve always said (that may only make sense to me) but is my motto – the story is the thing.

You’re like, okay, yeah, so, you still gotta do stuff outside of writing a good book. And you’re right, but what I’m advocating is not tossing out your newsletter or running from FB parties, I’m saying that you have to write good books, you have to be patient and you have to be ready for success IF it happens. Because the fact is, for most of us, we won’t be wildly successful. That’s just fact. So all that stuff we panic about, the stuff we wonder if we should be doing, can actually be harmful to the thing that is THE MOST IMPORTANT and that’s the actual writing. 

While my son was at tutoring last week, I picked up a copy of The Naked Writer by Jennifer Probst. Often I browse the romance section and then invariably wander over to the writing section. I love that section. It’s like coming home in one way. I know I belong in that writing section because I’m a writer. Most of the time I don’t buy, but over the past month, I’ve entered this philosophical tough, pissed off girl stage where I’m just mad about my situation. It’s not a bad situation, but still I chafe at the constraints. I can’t make people buy my books, I can’t make my publisher give me promotions, I can’t make myself a success. I just can’t. And that’s pissed me off. Because I should be doing something. Maybe a Goodreads giveaway? Anyway, because I’m in this weird mood, I bought this book. This morning I read the first chapter. Damn, but it was good. It pulls together exactly what it is to be a writer. The story is the thing. And only I can write my story. In my room. By myself. With my computer (and coffee…let’s be real about that).

So what am I telling you? I know you’re wondering. Well, I’m saying you will go through times where you panic because you feel like you can’t keep up. You will go through times where you feel impatient, antsy, pissed off. You will doubt yourself, hate your friends (even though you love them), bow to buying 500 purple pens because surely that will sell more books, but in the end know that this is part of being in a crazy, changing business.  

But when it gets too noisy, chuck the crap and focus on what’s important – the writing.  In the words of Jason Aldean (or whoever wrote the song) “We love it, we hate, it, we’re all just trying to make it. In this crazy town.”

 

Three Perspectives on Your Writing

Hello, everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog on the RSS and I’m happy to be back. Late 2016/early 2017 was rough for me, but I made it. Right? That’s the perspective you must take sometimes when you drive through the rain.

Hey, I’m going to talk about perspective today. This month I’ll be doing a workshop at RWA with Winnie Griggs called Through the Lens which will deal with POV. In talking about POV with Winnie (as we fervently scribbled notes on what exactly we needed to cover), Winnie said, “I’d like to tackle perspective.” To which I said, “That will be good. Like what do you mean?” She went on to talk about two areas of perspective, to which I added a third. So let’s look at those:

Writer’s Perspective – This is the lens the writer uses in writing her/his stories. This includes world views, cultural mores, beliefs, region, etc. Essentially, who you are comes out in your writing. And it’s not necessarily your voice. Voice can be learned (to a degree). Say, I want to write funny, vampy, comedy but I’m a more serious kinda gal. Well, I can learn to apply a tone/mood to my writing and create a voice that is light, fun, and comedic. But who I am as a person will come through in the way I write characters, the way they handle situations, even the verbiage used in telling the story. This definitely shades voice. I mean, who you are, what you believe, your social conscience, your values, etc, will often leak into your story. Is this bad? Not really. It makes your storytelling individualistic. But it can have a negative effect if you use your story as a platform. How many times have you read a story and felt preached at? Raise your hand.

Now, put it down.

Hands holding a digital SLR camera with zoom digital lens. BW

LOL. See? We’ve all read something where we thought, “Is she trying to get something across here?”

In my opinion (yeah, I know you’re not supposed to write that because it’s understood) in commercial fiction, you want to be VERY careful doing this. If you don’t mind alienating half of your audience, by all means, write on with the intent of making your point. Just know before you go…uh, there.

Character’s Perspective – This is the lens the writer uses in portraying a character. It’s pretty much the most important of the perspectives because it’s the heart of your story. A good story is only as good as its characters? True? I think so. Creating believable, multi-dimensional characters is, well, a must. But your characters have to have different perspectives, right? They can’t all think and operate the same. So it makes sense that you do some legwork when it comes to character perspective. First, you have to know your characters. For many writers, that doesn’t occur until they are well into writing the book (I’m raising my hand here). Other writers carefully prepare background information on their characters. They analyze, question (hello, character interview), mull and muse over who their characters are before they even write the first word in Chapter One. There’s no right or wrong…as long as you intentionally make sure you have given your characters fleshed-out perspective. Some things to consider:

  • background – family history, events that have molded your character
  • origin – where your character is from says a lot about him/her
  • tragedy/events/nonevents
  • relationships
  • profession
  • personality
  • goals, motivations, conflicts (I ALWAYS do this chart after chapter three – it’s my spirit guide)

Once you consider a character’s perspective (essentially all the parts that make your character your character), you can more easily navigate your story and create authenticity in your characters’ actions and thoughts.

Reader’s Perspective – Ah, here’s the thing you can’t control – the way your reader reacts to your story. This has been the biggest hurdle for me as a people pleaser. I want people to like my book and my characters. But the thing is, you can’t control what the reader brings to the table. You can’t anticipate his or her perspective. He or she may have triggers that your book pulls inside them. Your characters may have a name, profession, hair color that they don’t like. The reader’s personal experiences color their perspective when they read your book. They can’t help it. It’s who they are, and you darn sure ain’t changing that. So you will have people who will say absurd things about your writing. You will have people misunderstand your intent. You will have people cast aspersions on your character based on how you write a fictional character. Crazy, right? I mean, according to one reviewer I wrote a misogynist man so bad that I (the writer) must be a man…or not understand men at all. And let me tell you, friends, I’m surrounded by testosterone (It’s me and my mama against a force of Southern redneck men). But to this reviewer, I didn’t get men. Or at least, I didn’t get her version of what a man should be. 

On the other hand, I’ve had readers bring their perspective and totally “get” my characters because they’ve lived through whatever my characters are going through. One of the best things you can get is a note from a reader who identified so much with your character that he/she LOVES the book. I can’t tell you how many people have reached out to say “thank you” for writing a character who says that or does this or goes through this, all because the reader could relate to the character. They felt they were validated because a character I wrote “was them.”

One thing I would like to note regards writing with unbarred authenticity. Writing “real” characters means oftentimes including the realness (or ugliness) of life. This leaves an author open to being accused of misogyny, racism, “slut shaming” or intolerance. If you’re dealing with sensitive topics like race, religion, politics, etc, it would be wise to get some beta reads or hire a sensitivity reader as suggested by Lizzie Shane in this post. At least be aware that readers bring a vast array of beliefs with them. You have to decide whether you ignore those sensibilities and write your characters completely flawed, or whether you temper your character’s actions, thoughts or speech to reflect a more tolerant leaning. 

Just prepare yourself for readers bringing their own baggage to your story. Have luggage tags ready 🙂 

Now you have three perspectives to consider as you write. Some you can control; others you can’t. So I’m interested in your thoughts about perspective. Do you think about your character’s perspectives? Do you find you bleed yourself into your character’s too much? Have some good stories about readers who hated your stories because of a character’s (or your) perspective didn’t match up with theirs?

Don’t be a Lone Wolf…

Or “why writers need other writers”

When I first started writing a book, I did it for fun. Most people thought I was crazy because most people think writing is work…not fun. But on those hazy, can’t-exactly-remember-because-I-was-a-tired-mama afternoons, I would put down the infant, drag out an ancient laptop and enter a fantasy world where characters did amusing things and drank lots of tea. Three years later after I typed the end, I realized I didn’t know what to do next.

I took to the internet and found…RWA.

I was titillated at the thought of belonging to an organization of writers, specifically romance writers. It was beyond comprehension that I could join and be part of something like RWA. After a few months, I researched chapters and found that the NOLA STARS chapter was IN MY TOWN! The rest is history…

So why am I telling you this? Because I kinda have a bug up my butt here lately about the attitude toward RWA specifically, and it bugs me that the perception is there’s enough information online that writers don’t need other writers. It bugs me that people say, “I get nothing out of RWA” which is something I’ve heard all too often this past month. It irritates me that people say this, yet they put forth ZERO effort to make our local chapter (or national association) better in any way. They want ROI without investment (other than dues).

Maybe I’m stepping on toes. And if so, I apologize. But I find a great deal of value in belonging to RWA. I’m a romance writer. It’s an organization for romance writers. It costs around $8 a month. They don’t ensure I’m successful but they provide many of the tools I need to grow and be successful. RWA isn’t a magic pill, but it brought me here. To this blog. With these incredible women. And that, for me, is enough for me to shell out my annual dues.

<stepping off soap box>

But this isn’t about RWA, it’s about not going it alone. And why you shouldn’t go it alone as a writer.

Over the years, I’ve learned that writing is a solitary profession. Only I can create my story. I must sit and pound out words that form sentences that form pages that make a book. It’s on me. But at the same time, I NEED other writers.

Why? Why do I need other writers?

Because this industry is tough as….well, you fill in that blank. And other writers give me something that no one else in my world can. They give me understanding, an ear, advice, a kick in the pants, a shoulder to cry on, and they do that because they understand. Because they are me. Since I joined my local chapter, I’ve had enormous support. Three ladies met with me every week to critique, give advice, eat chips and salsa. At conferences, I met my critique partner and other writers who did things like introduce me to their agent, editor or ask me to write a book with them. I’ve met friends and business associates who have helped my career whether it was to give me a word of encouragement, share a post or buy my book (and love it). I have installed around me mentors, critique partners, brainstorming buddies and true friends who know my struggle. They give me validation and knock me down a peg or two when I get too big for my britches. In other words, they complete me as a writer.

Okay, so maybe you don’t belong to RWA. You belong to another writing group. Cool. Maybe you don’t belong to a writing group but you have a critique group. Or maybe you have writer friends who meet you at a chalet in the mountains to do a writing retreat.

Good.

Because that’s good for you. You need to belong to something and you need to give something back. It’s like a balance thing in the universe. You give. You get. Universal truth, or at least I think it is.  SO this post isn’t a how-to, it’s a should-do. If you don’t belong to a writing group or partnership, do something about that. RWA has resources and so do other writing groups. Get out there and be part of something. Judge contests, sign up to volunteer, make a lunch date with other writers. Don’t be a lone wolf. Because lone wolves are lonely. And probably hungry (since wolves hunt in packs). And probably have short life spans (I’m only guessing because I’m not a scientist).

So here we go, right here on the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood you can be part of something. I mean, we’re writers and this is a platform, so let’s use it. What’s been bugging you? Are you having trouble with your WIP? Need some brainstorming help? Title suggestions?

Lay it on us…

Putting on Your Big Girl Pants

liztalley_princenotsocharming2500So this isn’t going to be one of those how-to posts some of the Rubies are so good at (I’m looking at you, Hope Ramsay :))

But this, rather, will be more confessional. See, I’m going to totally get naked here. Don’t worry. You won’t have to look at this 44 year old pudgy body, but I will open up about my career – the good, the bad, and the meh – for the last year.

Let’s begin with a brief bio: finaled in Golden Heart, sold first book three months later, sold two more five months later, embarked on career with Superromance, signed 8 book deal, realized publishing was changing, stuck in 8 book deal, signed book deal with Berkley, signed short story with Storyfront, sold two books to Montlake, turned down three book deal with Harlequin, subbed two more books with Montlake, got rejected, writing a new proposal…

And six years later, here I am. In that time, I’ve had some bright moments – a Rita final, RT Superromance of the Year, Amazon book of the month. But I’ve had some bad times too, namely, realizing I can’t control what happens. I CAN’T CONTROL WHAT HAPPENS.

What looks to be a sure thing, turns south quickly. And thus, this is where we are in publishing. So what, you may ask?

Indeed. So what.

Well, here’s what. All this time I thought if I wrote good books I believed in, if I made my deadlines, if I jumped through publisher hoops, and if I smiled a lot and was agreeable that I would reap the rewards of my efforts. That’s what we tell ourselves, right? That’s what we tell our children. That hard work pays off. Except sometimes it doesn’t.

It just doesn’t.

So two weeks ago, I made a HUGE decision to take the series my publisher felt all meh about and publish the remaining books myself. You may be like “So? Lots of authors do this.” But it feels bigger than that. Because this wasn’t about tossing something out there and seeing what happens. It’s about the foundation of what I believed being shaken, about me losing some faith in what I thought I knew and about me putting faith in myself. So for me, it was big. I quickly set about getting covers (that look awesome, btw), finding an editor (done) and creating my own publishing company – ARTalley Books, LLC. I applied for my EIN and uploaded the first offering Prince Not So Charming to Amazon. In two weeks’ time, I changed my destiny.

Here’s the whole point of this post – I resisted taking action for far too long. I didn’t believe in myself, and though I’m still quivering in my slippers, I now believe in myself, and something about this is freeing.

Yes, freeing.

I did it myself. Myself. Like a big girl. LOL.

And, though I’ve heard so many people rave about self-publishing (and just as many complaining about it), I never understood how empowering it is to make your own decisions. I chose the cover and I wrote the blurb. I selected my own meta data and figured stuff out. I’m still blown away by myself. Which is silly, but it’s true. I sort of want to huff on my fingers and polish them on my shirt. Did you see what I just did? Yeah, me. I started a business.

So what does this mean for you and what’s the point? Um, honey (and I say that in a non-offensive, non-patronizing way), if I can do it, you can too. And I’m not merely talking about self-publishing. I’m talking about writing that book you’re scared to write or starting that editing business you’ve been mulling over for months. Or maybe it’s something non-writing related – running a marathon, leaving that jerk, or quitting your day job. Deep down you know what is right for you. Stop doubting who you are, stop making excuses. Put on your big girl pants and get busy.

It’s beyond time.

 

Liz Talley is the new owner of ARTalley Books, LLC. She has published twenty-one stories the traditional way, but as of Nov. 17th, she’ll be doing some things her way. And that has her pumped! You can find out more about the newly bold Liz at http://www.liztalleybooks.comor find her on FB at https://www.facebook.com/liztalleybooks/.

Oh, and if you want to support her new business and get a fun little novella in the process you can buy Prince Not So Charming here http://bit.ly/PrinceNotSoCharming

HOT Reads Edition of Fan Girl Friday

Welcome to Friday! Can I get an AMEN?

And we have a long weekend. I can almost hear a gospel choir in the background. Yes, we get an extra day and that means more time for….READING! possibility - Beth

So what do we have on tap for you this edition? Well, a few sales from two Rubies and a couple of recommendations plus a new release. You ready to check these out and then give us your recommended Labor Day weekend reads?

First the sales…let’s check out the deals:

Ruby Sister Laurie Kellogg has The Parent Pact FREE. A Little Bit of Deja Vu will be only $1.99 and Baby, I’m Back! will be only 99 cents. All only at Amazon. Here’s the page where you can score these deals https://www.amazon.com/Laurie-Kellogg/e/B0076J5Q20/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1472784812&sr=1-1

And from yours truly (Liz Talley), the first book in my new Morning Glory series Charmingly Yours is on sale for $1.99! I’m a little too excited about having a book on sale because as a trad pubbed author I don’t get to run sales. It’s the perfect light escapist read that’s heavy on romance with a tinge of Women’s Fiction. And the cover is really cute if I do say so myself. Here’s the link where you can score this one: http://bit.ly/CharminglyYours

Oh, and Ruby Skye Jordan has a fabulous promotion and giveaway going this Labor Day weekend. Plenty of books on sale and a change to win books. There will be 24 WINNERS with tons of great authors (72 of them!) participating. You can ENTER HERE: http://bit.ly/2bdoG1M

Now on to RECOMMENDATIONS….

From Tamara Hogan:

Last week, I read former MTV VJ Dave Holmes’s new memoir, “Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs.” A “hilarious memoir of a perpetual outsider fumbling towards self-acceptance, with the music of the ‘80s, ‘90s, and today as his soundtrack,” Holmes, now Editor-At-Large at Esquire magazine, brings serious writing chops and massive pop culture cred to this bittersweet – and did I say hilarious? – coming of age story.

 Here’s a shortened link: http://amzn.to/2bG4gUb

From Elizabeth Langston

I recommend Noelle Adams for adult contemporary romance. A Negotiated Marriage and Listless are two of my favorites. LISTED will make you cry. https://www.amazon.com/Listed-Volumes-I-VI-Noelle-Adams-ebook/dp/B00BXPHW5C A Negotiated Marriage is a modern marriage of convenience. https://www.amazon.com/Negotiated-Marriage-Noelle-Adams-ebook/dp/B00B09UST8 I also like her Willow Park series. It’s set in a small mountain town in NC. Attending the same church is the the common thread throughout the series–but that is one happy congregation, because these books are sweet and steamy (is that even possible?) https://www.amazon.com/Married-Christmas-Willow-Park-Book-ebook/dp/B00H0OKQ76

 

And finally a NEW RELEASE from Ruby Julia Day (Yes, a pen name…we have a few of those but no worries, they’re still Rubies!)

  I have a new book releasing on Tuesday, Sept 6.  If you want to add it tomorrow, it is available for pre-order.  If you want to wait until next week, that’s fine too.  The book is THE POSSIBILITY OF SOMEWHERE.  My first YA contemporary romance. 

Here’s a link to my books page: that might be easier than including a gazillion buylinks. http://www.juliaday.com/books/the-possibility-of-somewhere/

Now let’s hear from you. WHAT ARE YOU READING THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND?

 

 

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