Monday, October 14, 2013

Moving On

If you read my last blog post you probably walked...or rather clicked away thinking....Whine Much??  Or something less flattering. But, whatever. I'm over it.

So, now I'm going to post something writing related. This is actually a repost of an article I did a while back on another blog...with some minor adjustments. Why am I reposting?? Well....cuz I need to post something and my mind is a bit of a blank and lately I've had a few people make that irritating comment "I always wanted to write a book". 

Anyway....writing is as easy or as hard as you want to make it, but, truly, not everyone should try it without learning the proper technique....yes, there is one and then some. And, once you learn it then put your own spin on it. How do you learn technique? By READING! Me, I love to read, doesn’t matter the genre—mystery, thriller, suspense, romance, and I tend to fall in love with the characters, especially if they’re recurring.

One of my favorite characters is Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. Lee is eighteen novels into this character and every book takes you on a pulse-pounding adventure and you can’t wait to grab the next book to see where he goes next. But, I have to admit, the first character I fell in love with wasn’t so much a single character as it was a family of characters.  

One of the first romance writers I ever read was Nora Roberts. My kids gave me one of her books for my birthday back in the early 90’s…okay, I bought it and said it was from them…they were still babies. Haha  Anyway, after devouring that book I tried to get my hands on as many of her books as I could find and that’s when I came across the Macgregor's! If you’re not familiar with them, look for them at your local library or on Amazon. Love her or hate her, Nora knows how to bring a character to life so much so that you just want to adopt them.

Building a character isn’t really as hard as some seem to think. There are workshops and blog posts galore about how to build a character using worksheets and graphs and whatever. More power to you if that’s how you do it, but like plotting….I just can’t go there. It’s not that I don’t know anything about my character when I start writing because I do, they are generally a part of me and some members of my family—Hispanic, lower to middle class, everyday people---so I don’t need to chart it all.
In my novella, Her Will His Way, I started the story knowing only one thing about my character Anita Perez—she didn’t speak Spanish. Why is this a character trait? Because Anita has just moved to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, which is predominately Hispanic, to run a flower shop. She’s too stubborn to admit she won’t succeed, especially when her sexy state trooper neighbor Antonio Hernandez tells her she can’t do it. (you’ll have to read the book…heh)

So anyway when I sit down to write a new novel the only information I need to know about my character is “What traumatic event happened to her/him as a child to make her/him the person s/he is today?” The rest—back-story, goal, motivation, conflict— will fall into place as I write.

But, I will say....though I find it easy to write a character, I sometimes have trouble naming them. So, I should do a contest or something, huh? Comment below, and I'll use your name in my next book as either a character or something else. We'll have to see where the book is going. haha

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Poor Poor Pitiful Me

(get that song in your head?...No?  Try this) heh

Okay, if you hate whining or pity might want to stop reading.  

Maybe it's the change in and sun summer to short days, cold nights autumn, or could be all the news I hear about other authors making it to #1 with a first book or a previously published book (not that I'm not happy for them, this is a tough business), but I'm starting to feel as if, maybe this whole writing thing isn't in my cards.  

I completed my first book ten years ago, after spending five years studying and learning everything I could find on how to write and sell a novel. It took eight years to get that baby published, although I had published a novella three years before. When I got that call I thought....this is it. I'm going to be famous (in a Nora Roberts kinda way)....believe me I'm not the only author to think that...delusional as it is. I didn't get too discouraged when it didn't happen, I figured, it's a short story, not many people will buy it but maybe I'll get enough of a fan base to want more work. Then, in 2011, I sold my novel, Forget Me Not. Since I'd barely made enough money to put gas in  my car with the novella, I wasn't expecting much from the new book, so I was very pleasantly surprised by my first royalty check. I figured, hey, people actually want to read my work. So I got to work cleaning up book three so I could get it published while I was also completing book four and beginning book five.  In 2012 I published Dark Obsession with a new electronic publisher who had a major publisher backing them. Then I really thought....okay....I should start making enough to pay off my credit card and put gas in my car. Needless to say, after being on sale for 16 months, that didn't fact I never surpassed double digits with any of my royalties.  Is the publisher to blame? Partly. Am I to blame? Partly.  Are my readers to blame? Definitely! Hah, just kidding.   

On the advice of another author who is raking in the dough self-publishing, I self-published my fourth book House of Cards. And while reviews are amazing and it even WON best book in the mainstream suspense category with RomCom, sales haven been....horrible, for lack of a better word.  

The thing is, I feel like I've done everything I can to get my name and books into the hands of readers. I've lowered the price, I've given them away, I've bought ads, I'm on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and several other social sites....I've done everything short of begging (okay, maybe some begging)...and still, readers don't even know I exist. It's very disheartening (to me and my muse and makes me feel like a child again) and I have to wonder, is it worth it? Am I deluding myself thinking my books are worth reading? That I can even write another book?  I mean, surely readers aren't being too subjective when they put books like 50 Shades of Grey or Dinosaur Erotica at the top of the charts....should I just start writing that kind of crap?  Tell me. What do I need to do to get my work in front of readers? my books really suck and people are just being nice? 


Well....this blog didn't make me feel any better.

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews