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Posts tagged with: Passion

WHAT IS 13?

It’s Friday the 13th and today’s topic is fear.

What is fear?

Fear has been defined as a vital response to physical danger. If we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. However, often we fear situations that are not life threatening but pose an emotional danger and thus avoid them in the name of sanity. But by not facing our fears, we are feeding the gluttonous monster.

Think about fear in terms of your desire to write, or your lack of writing. What is stopping you from being who you are? Have you let someone else’s goals become your goals? Are you intimated by the productivity, or success, of others? Did you reach for a star only to it have fade away before you could grasp it?  Did you receive love from an editor or agent and then found that relationship wasn’t meant to last? Has life in general attacked you?

We all let outside factors affect our productivity from time to time. There is no shame it, but at some point, we should recognize that we’re causing ourselves harm by tying ourselves into a knot of stress, and by extension hurting our love ones.

Great works take time and love. You can’t give your muse love if all you feel is angst because….  So you’re not the writer who can pound out three books a year. Personally, when my life is over, I want to be remembered as writing that one memorable book for my readers rather than one-hundred toss away novels. I continue to work on my skill as a writer and I want my next work to be better than my last one.

So you haven’t made USA Today or NYT best seller list. I have my opinions concerning those publishing crowns, which I’ll keep to myself today.  However, if that’s your goal, you’re not done writing yet, right? The next book might hit a list. The same goes with gaining the interest of a publisher or agent.

So life has encroached on your path? We all have priorities. Family and friends top my list. If I walked away from them during times of need to write, I wouldn’t respect myself. I can write any minute of the day and any day of the week. Some of my best ideas came during stressful times.  A truly great story mirrors life. Take notes.

My motto has been since I started writing and continues to be; Word By Word, Line By Line, Page By Page.

So today, on the day others have imposed on us to be fearful of black cats, cracks in the side walk, mom and pop hotels, strangers, bright lights in the sky, let’s examine our fears for what they truly are and then brush them to the side and enjoy our passions.

 

 

Autumn Jordon is sneaker-wearing Ruby who authors light-heart contemporary romances and seat-edging mystery/suspense novels. Her newest release, Perfect Fall is the book of her heart. Check it out at www.autumnjordon.com and while you’re there join her occasional newsletter.   

Cross-Self Promoting Thoughtfully

What are your passions? Writing has been one of mine since my 2nd grade teacher published my Christmas story in the local paper. Eventually I became a mom and my priorities shifted to include my growing family. I became supermom, ready to turn frowns upside down with my arsenal of homemade puppy-dog-face cookies and castle cakes. Other interests crowded in, but for the most part, family and writing remained my top passions in life.

Castle Birthday Cake

Castle Birthday Cake

Two and a half years ago I was given a third. I woke up in a hospital room to the words “it’s cancer” and life thrust me onto the most brutal topsy-turvy rollercoaster ever imagined. Teal ribbons, weekly chemo infusions, pills, doctor’s appointments, mouth ulcers, CT scans, shedding of ALL hair, a mailbox filled with get well cards, casseroles, flowers left on my doorstep, pain, panic, “who will you play with in heaven, Mommy, if I’m not with you” became my life.

When I first saw the chemo ward at the hospital, and all the bald, tired people hooked up to beeping machines with bags of drugs snaking into their bodies through various tubes, I cried on my husband’s arm. “They look dead, and I’m going to be one of them.”

Hooking Up

Hooking Up

What I didn’t realize at the time, but discovered quickly, was that those people are warriors, battling with everything they’ve got. I was proud to get to know them and to become an Ovarian Cancer Warrior, fighting for my right to live and be a mom, daughter, friend, and wife, fighting a beast that stalks women silently.

OC is the deadliest of the GYN cancers as it is the hardest to detect. I was diagnosed because I happened to mention some pelvic pain and mild bloating to my general practitioner when I went in for a possible broken hand. So I was diagnosed at stage IIc with a 70% chance of living 5 years. If I’d waited a couple more weeks, it could have easily moved to stage III with only a 20% chance to survive 5 years. So early detection of these whispered symptoms is crucial to survival.

Suddenly I had a new passion. My husband and I started the SHOUT Against the Whisper campaign with a mission to educate women about the whispered symptoms of this terrible beast. So…I have three passions in my life: writing, my family (although I’ve retired my supermom cape), and OC Awareness/Cancer support.

Me & my Highland Hero

Me & my Highland Hero

One thing we can do, as passionate people, is to blend our passions together in a way to enhance each one. But doing so must be done thoughtfully.

My third book was about to release when I started chemo. Part of me wanted to scream “I have cancer; buy my book!” But the sane part of me knew that wasn’t appropriate (unless perhaps I was writing cancer books, which I plan to do BTW).

I swore to God, the universe, and to my friendly kale juicer that I would use all my talents to educate and help save women if they would keep me alive to do so. I am a public speaker and I write, and I plan to use my skills in any way I can to spread the warning, not just because I swore back in those grim days, but because I’m genuinely passionate about not letting cancer win.

So in the back of my books, I list the whispered symptoms. When I do book signings or workshops or interviews, I give out symptom cards and ask for articles to list them. This type of cross-promoting is very appropriate.

However, this doesn’t always work in the reverse. When on the chemo ward, if someone was reading a romance, I would tell them about my books, quietly and in conversation. I donated some to the ward. At my OC Awareness events I might give away books for collected donations to OC Research or Education, but it is a minor part of the big push of alerting women on how to save their lives. Every time I try to cross these two passions in my life, I must be thoughtful, because promoting my writing in the face of suffering can come across as crass and just plain wrong. Which can completely turn people off to your work, something that should be avoided, obviously, at all costs.

Some passions hit around the same level on the emotional/life importance barometer and can be intertwined easily. If you are passionate about wine and wine features in one of your books, touting your book to wine lovers, on Twitter or FB or in person, can be appropriate after you’ve set up a friendly relationship with them. You still must remain thoughtful so as not to come across as only being an advertisement, but the promo is less tricky than trying to sell romance books to someone who is fighting to stay alive.

Healthy Mom Again!

Healthy Mom Again!

I am now finished with 15 months of chemo and am getting my life back in order, though I will never be the same. I’ve learned too much, felt too much, to be the same. Actually I think I’m better for the experience. In some ways cancer has connected me to readers. One woman wrote to me after reading the acknowledgments at the end of CAPTURED HEART where I detail out the symptoms. She was an OC survivor herself and thanked me for putting the symptoms out there in the world. I think she will be a reader of mine for life now. Sometimes there is cross-promo between very different passions, even passions that fall on very different levels. But it is something that cannot be forced.

So when you take stock of your life and your own passions and interests, do think of ways to use them to help promote your writing, but please remember to do so thoughtfully. What ways have you been able to cross-promote your passions?

Since it is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and because I think it is appropriate, below is a list of symptoms. They are mere whispers in a busy woman’s life, but you must slow down long enough to notice when something doesn’t seem right. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at Heather@HeatherMcCollum.com or on my Ovarian Cancer Awareness FB page: https://www.facebook.com/SHOUTagainsttheWhisper or through my web site www.HeatherMcCollum.com .

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer:

Bloating, Pelvic Pain, Feeling Full quickly while Eating Less, Urinary issues.BEATsymptoms

Other symptoms may include fatigue, constipation, pain during intercourse, menstrual issues, indigestion, and back pain. If you have a symptom for 3 weeks or more, see your GYN for a pelvic exam.

If something feels abnormal, a trans-vaginal ultrasound and a CA125 blood test should be ordered. If you have a mass to be removed, your #1 way to survive if it is cancer, is to have a GYN Oncology Surgeon remove it.

T Minus 96 Hours & Counting

My @# *&^! Can the clock move any slower?

It’s only four days until the RWA National representatives call those who are the 2012 Golden Heart® and Rita contest finalists and already you’re grabbing Tums or sipping wine to calm your nerves. You’re four days away from realizing your dreams and you wish you could control time.  HA!

I’m writing this blog not to put a damper on the fantastic party we’re going to throw next Monday but to advise many because that is what the Rubies are all about—helping other writers. And, just so you know, I speak from experience. I sat next to the phone a few years waiting for the call from RWA and didn’t get it, and ended up in a dark place for a while. I don’t want that to happen to you. My Ruby sisters don’t want that for you, not for a minute.  That is why I decided to post this blog today.

Keep in mind only 10% of those who enter this respected contest final and a lesser percentage win the golden necklace. Only about half of the finalists get a serious look at by agents or NY editors, including those who have won the necklace. And, only a small number of writers, in all the decades of this competition, got a huge contract.

With that said, here is my suggestion. Get ready to party, but have a Plan B in place. I think Bob Mayer would agree with me, along with other authors.  You must realize the Golden Heart ® is not the only way to publication, especially in today’s industry.  There are so many paths to take if publication is your dream.  Larger houses are still looking for new talent-golden necklace optional. They’re opening new e-lines which will allow them to pick up a number of great authors. Small publishers are also looking for fresh, exciting writing.  And finally, there is the way of indie publication, which many NY bestselling authors have gone with their back-lists and new works.

Just three years ago when we, the Ruby Sisters, received our calls, we didn’t have open to us the many fabulous dream reaching options you have today. The Plan B we offered our readers in the past years was first, restrain yourselves from throwing the keyboard out the window, next dive into a huge bag of chocolate, (which led to a number of blogs offering advice on healthy living), take some time to wallow in your sorrow over this little speed-bump and then remember why you write in the first place. For yourself. It’s your passion.

It’s your passion. The words are worth repeating.

With that said, today, I’ll offer this advice.  If you don’t receive the call next Monday, look out the window and note the sun is still shining in the sky and the world is still moving. Then put this Plan B into effect. Take your polished work and submit it everywhere it is a fit. Don’t wait for the next contest results. Don’t wait to go to RWA Nationals in California where you’ll snag an editor or agent appointment.  Don’t wait another day. You have options. Get your work out there. You’ll feel much better and won’t gain a pound. Then, get back to work learning your craft and writing the next story.  An author needs a back-list to make a living.

 

Ruby Sister Autumn Jordon, know as the sly Ruby, is the author of His Witness To Evil, In The Presence of Evil and Obsessed By Wildfire.  Visit her at www.autumnjordon.com  You can follow her on Facebook, and Twitter as Ajordon.

The Latest Comments

  • Bev Pettersen: Really enjoyed your interview, Alexis and thanks for sharing your call story. Best of luck with both...
  • Janet Raye Stevens: Great interview, Alexis! Such a funny story about your call and definitely unforgettable! Oooh, I...
  • Sheri Taylor-Emery: I just love you 🙂 Wish I was half as funny, smart and gorgeous when I was your age, but...
  • Alexis De Girolami: I have seen this video Sharon but it totally slipped my mind during this interview! Hank is a...
  • Valen Cox: Thanks Benton! Striving is what it’s all about and you are a great example of that! Hugs, Valen~~~

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