Book Review: The Glass Wall series by Madison Adler & Carmen Caine

I wanted to start the year off with a book recommendation. I was with family a great deal of the holidays, and had more down time to read than usual. I read a number of new books, but as I always do, I re-read some of my favorites.

One of them is a series called The Glass Wall. Madison Adler and Carmen Caine are the authors. There are four books in the series – The Glass Wall, The Brotherhood of the Snake, The Inner Circle, and The Egg. There’s also a short called Behind The Mirror – and it’s worth reading. Gives great background information.

I loved every single one of them. It’s young adult, and it’s paranormal. I’d even call it a romance, although that’s not the main point. As with many of the YA series I read, the romance is mixed up with everything else going on in the story.

Sydney is the heroine of the series – a seventeen year-old who is headed for yet another foster home. There’s no whitewashing the truth she deals with in regards to her mom. Mom is a character you want to throw something at the few times she turns up on the page.

The difference with this foster home is that she really likes her foster parents. They are both very likable and engaging. I love that her foster mom is an Ebay queen. I won’t spoil it for you.

The relationships develop well, and it’s not merely the romance I’m referring to. There’s a scene at Christmas with all the kids that will make you weepy.

The language is a little formal at times, but if you’ve read my Sisters Of The Curse series, you’ll know that doesn’t bother me one bit. I like formal. My favorite books are Jane Austen. To me, the formality is appropriate with the characters using it.

Here’s the breakdown – Sydney gets to her foster home, and learns that she has a smokin’ hot neighbor named Rafael. He’s got some weird parents. Then she meets Jareth, another smokin hot guy who is also the Big Deal in the music scene. Jareth hangs around, being snarky (my favorite kind of guy) and you get the sense there’s a chance for romance with both of these guys.

Then Sydney learns that they are Fae, and their hotness quotient shoots off the scale. She’s appealing to them because she is part and parcel of Fate in the Fae world.

I love how the author manages to show all these world-ending issues (and they are there in all four books) along with the normal crap one has to deal with as a teenager.

I read through these books like a shot, and the instant the last two in the series were available, I got them. I think one of them was the first pre-order I bought.

If you like YA, with a hint of dystopian, and the always present chance at romance, this is a series for you. I can safely say that as I read it again, and loved it as much as I did the first time around.

For the record, I’d love to have a Jareth lurking about my local Starbucks.

The Glass Wall series on Amazon

2016, and Looking Back on 2015

It’s the last ten days of the year as of today. That sounds so final. I’ve been busy with all the things I need to have done with the holidays approaching, and haven’t been as good on sticking to my desired schedule. However, I have been looking over what I’ve accomplished this year, and then to what I want to get done next year.

It doesn’t hurt that I did a podcast with a fellow RMFW member today and we talked about it.

So here’s my Year In Review

3 Novels
1 Novella
1 Serial novel, in six parts, which equals a novel

One of my novels, and two parts of the serial are in a box set, which I’ve found helpful. I love working with other authors.

It doesn’t look like as much as I’d like. I have another novel that I am working through, but there’s a lot of stopping and starting, because I haven’t found the groove I want for it yet. Lordamercy, I wish it would come on and hurry up! I’m waiting!

But all in all, I’m pretty pleased with my output.

So what have I learned this year? Well, marketing is something you need to be doing research on regularly. I don’t think that you have to change your plans with each new technique, but I do think you need to be aware of the ways other authors are doing well, and what’s been a struggle for them. Not that everyone will find success the same way. I’ve learned a lot, however, from reading what has and has not worked for others.

My marketing this year was rather hit or miss. I have been on a strict budget, most of which has gone to my cover art. I plan to have a somewhat bigger budget next year, so that I can work on my marketing plan all year.

I’m going to keep my books in Select, and my pen name is wide. I like being able to see the differences.

I’m shifting genres next year. I have a trilogy planned, and then a five book series, and all of them are paranormal romance. I love reading and writing it, so that’s my focus for the next year.

I’m going to change the spacing of publication. I’ve read a number of blogs and articles on this, and I think I’m going to release them closer together. So that means writing ahead. I’d like to be FAR ahead, but I’m not there yet. I think I need to be, though. We’ll see.

Once I get Catrin’s Grimoire published, I feel good that I’m finishing the story arc in a satisfying place. That feels good – all the things I introduced in Thea’s Tale will be tied into a fairly neat bow.

What have I learned? You have to know your genre, and you have to study what genre your work fits into. Then, you need to study your genre tropes, and follow them! You’re not being original or awesome by flouting them. There are exceptions to every rule, but I believe more in the idea that people read in a certain genre because they know and enjoy the expectations of the genre. It’s your job to give them a rewarding and interesting read that meets their expectations. Within reason. We all know you can’t make everyone happy.

I like shorts. I didn’t think that I did, but I wrote the serial novel, and then my last novel for the year was around 60,000 words. I also enjoyed writing the novella. Learning this was a news flash to me. I like reading longer novels, but in reading a number of shorter novels to see how others were structuring their work, I found that I enjoyed the quicker read.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? LOL

So you have my year in a nutshell, and the basic premise for my 2016. What are your goals? What do you want to do next year? I’m going to play with my marketing more, and see what happens. I’m going to have more fun with my writing. It’s not any easier than when I put out my first work, but I’m learning more that allows me to enjoy it to a greater degree.

Which is awesome.


My wish for all of you in the immediate future is for a wonderful holiday, however you celebrate, and a fantastic New Year! Be safe!

And when in doubt, go skiing.


Post Turkey Day Reflections

This is not going to be my usual type of post. I want to talk about barriers. Hang on. This is a long one.

When we get older, we are imbued with fear. Well, I have been. I think it just happens. I was fearless when I was younger. My attitude was, ‘Well, why not?’ This applied to what I could do, couldn’t do, wanted to try, thought I might like, everything. The world was my oyster.

As I got older, I learned more of life. We all know how that goes. It shows you, first gently, and then with a hard bitch slap, that everyone has limitations. Or at least, Life wants you to think that way.

For someone who was only limited by what I felt were limits (and I just didn’t have any when I was younger, because I was convinced of my own fabulousness and ability to conquer whatever Life or anyone else put in my way) learning that someone or something else set limits and would let you hit up against them hard was an ugly revelation. I stumbled, then fell. Having done so spectacularly, I became cautious. Perhaps even fearfully so. I don’t know. I look back, and see where my fearful caution held me back. I think, Why? I know it seemed important at the time.

Living in any sort of state inspired by fear is an awful thing. You do it long enough, you don’t even notice it. It’s always there, part of the landscape.

fear of failure

I’m 45 now, and letting go of some of the fear. Why? Because I like me, and getting to this point has been a journey from that younger me who loved herself, and felt no fear. So fuck it. I like me. I’m not backing down or apologizing for that. Not anymore.

But an adulthood of fear of some sort or another is a hard habit to kick. That hit home with me this past weekend. I just started skiing again in the past several years with the family after…oh…twenty years since my last foray into trying to ski.

What I’ve learned is that I am afraid. Of falling. Of breaking something. Of something I can’t even articulate. We planned to go out on Friday, when everyone else was fighting over a TV at Best Buy or some other Black Friday thing. Everyone got up late. No one made the push for going – and I finally did, even though I was dragging my feet.

So on the drive up, I mulled over why I dragged my feet. I hate the walk to the slopes. Getting the kids ready. All the circus-like atmosphere to get a family out for the day.

On the ride up, I forced myself to shift my attitude. It was a beautiful day. Sunny, and the wind wasn’t kicking. Since I ski near the Continental Divide, no wind and sun is a gift. (Note: It didn’t go over 20 degrees all day, but we weren’t cold. It was too sunny.)

You know what? Getting the kids suited up and ready wasn’t as bad. My boots fit amazingly this year, so the trek to the lift wasn’t so bad. No whining from the aforementioned kids. It was nice.

On to the lift we go. First run down, and it’s not so bad. Little icy, which makes me nervous. Then I think, wait. Last year in spring snow I fell face first ass over teakettle, and I was fine. Thank god for helmets! So I fall. So what?

I spent that first run watching my kids and making sure I hadn’t forgotten everything. Then we go down the second time, and holy hell. It was better. I watched my kid (the one I was assigned to), and I leaned forward, and forced my shoulders to drop.

That run was fantastic. I got some speed, which I normally am not comfortable with. I’m always afraid I’ll lose control. One more aspect of the fear issue.

What’s so bad about losing control? Well, for me, and this will be different for everyone, when I lost control, I totally dropped my basket and my life went to hell. So I am negatively conditioned to hang onto control like my life depended on it.

Even to the point where I won’t go fast skiing. I changed that on Friday. I let go, and I went fast. Guess what? I didn’t lose control. When things got dicey, and I am sure they still will, I managed it.

I managed it. Take that, Fear.


Which led, because my kids love the lift that takes an eternity, to more reflection. Look how much I enjoyed the day that wasn’t a full day, nor was it the most challenging day we’ve ever done. I had a fantastic day. I took more risks (no moguls or anything like that) than I usually do, and I did it skiing faster than I normally would.

Because what the hell? I’m not a crazy risk taker, but ANY step out of my normal is a risk for me.

And since then, I’ve had a weight lifted off me. Some of that weight is still there. I’ve spent too long keeping control and worrying and making sure that “something” doesn’t happen. My wariness and cautious nerves won’t ease up overnight.

But something left. And it’s not a bad thing. All because I took a deep breath, and said ‘What the hell?’ on the first day out of ski season.

So take a chance this week. It doesn’t have to be big, or even anything that someone other than you notices. It just has to be a chance for you. Bite your lip, take a deep breath, and just go for something. Something just for you.

Because that’s what this is all about. In our own way, we are all


Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, I know. I’ve been gone for a month. I’ll tell you what happened. Frostburg. That’s what happened. My alma mater. I went back, after over twenty years, to a Homecoming.

Goodgawdalmighty. I am not the sprightly lass I once was. That one weekend wiped me out, and I’ve been playing catch up ever since.

That is such a sad statement, but there it is.

Enough of my woes. On to the important stuff. Catrin’s Grimoire is going to be a December release, rather than November. Because life. After the last month, I completely understand why writers lock themselves away from everything. It would be nice, but you know, kids want to eat and stuff. LOL.

In the Inspiring Others category, Have You Made Your 2016 Goals?

Why not?

It’s nearly December. You need to think about what you want to do next year. What idea is burning a hole in your brain, and won’t leave you alone? What new series do you want to do? How are you going to improve your marketing?

Writing your goals down, and sharing them with someone else is one of the most effective ways to make sure you meet them. The only goal I missed this year is my November release. I’m annoyed with myself, but one of the things you MUST do when self-employed is put a time limit on beating yourself up for missteps, and make plans on how that won’t happen again.

So the next post will be focused on goal setting. I’ll put mine out there, and welcome you to do the same.

And I wish you all a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy the things that make life great. What you’re thankful for – and what’s not to be thankful for when there’s a Dancing Vader?

I love this.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/keAhk3Lz6E8“>[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keAhk3Lz6E8&w=560&h=315]


Self-Pub – The First Steps

Ok, so if you read my last post, aka, The Long Ramble, you’ll know that my journey to where I am now wasn’t an overnight event. I had to be coaxed into self-pubbing.

Let’s start with Your Book. Is it done? And by done, I don’t mean you’ve written ‘The End’ and popped open your favorite adult beverage. I mean, have you had someone (NOT MOM!) read it, looking for flow? Do you have a beta reader? Someone who will firmly but clearly offer you constructive criticism?

If not, you need it. One of the ways I bridge chapters or scenes that are giving me grief is trot them into my critique groups. When most of my two groups say the same thing, it’s time to look over the whatever it is. Good example of this – of my most current WIP, both my Tues and Thurs groups wanted place and timeline clearly laid out. I’ll tell you the truth – I did a flashback within a flashback.motherofgod

Yeah. It’s all gone now. BUT – in the flow of my writing, it made sense at the moment. You need someone else to tell you – HEY! NO!
–But nicely.

You should be able to go back into your work, and read it, and think, Hey. Wow. I don’t really suck! (Or is that just me? I’m always surprised that I like what I’ve written when I read it as a proof on my Kindle. Usually because I’ve been working hard on various parts of it, and I don’t have a sense of the whole.)

Have you had someone or a program edit it for you? We all think we’re Shakespeare, twisting and manipulating words until the audience is just right in the palm of our hands, and a lot of times, it’s true. But not always. So you need someone, or at the very least, a copy editing program, to tell if you the sentences make sense. Personally, I have an editor, and she does both developmental feedback and line editing. We won’t go into our disagreement over the Oxford Comma. Yes, it’s a thing. Prior to writing a book, I had no idea.

If you’re on a budget, and who among us are not? – I have found three programs that are FREE – and will offer you help and suggestions.


These are the three that popped up when I looked for software. At the same time, this came up as well, and I love her idea of using all three:

At this point, this is where we are:

  1. Finish the book
  2. Have it edited, both developmentally and copy.

Once you’re there, what else should you be doing? My opinion? Go forth and find a cover artist. At this point, you might not have spent anything, particularly if you’re on the budget plan. Here’s where, and once again, this is MY opinion, you’re going to need to spend a little.

Your next step is to find a cover artist. If you’re on a schedule, while your book is being edited, go look for a cover artist. Take your time, email some of them, ask them what their policies are, ask for a sample contract. Here’s what I look for in my cover artist:

A) Ebook version
B) Print cover and facebook banners/posts
c) How many edits/revisions will they allow?
D) Do you own the cover? Can they use the cover elsewhere (I recommend strongly that you make sure you own the cover – that is, the image generated by your contract with them. A lot of images are available for purchase and use – but you and your artist will arrange them in a specific manner for your work. THAT piece is yours. Although you may want to allow them to use your work in their portfolio.)
E) What is their payment policy? All at once, before the work is done? After? Half now, half later? What is their guarantee that you’ll be happy?

Remember, they are artists, just like you are. If they do work for you, they should be compensated. I had an artist I worked with that I didn’t end up going with. I still paid her for the work she did. Anything else is inappropriate.

There’s also Canva.com, if you want to fiddle about on your own. Having done this for my pen name…be wary. But I use Canva for a lot of promo stuff – I make my own banners, posts, business cards, postcards, etc. Back to that in a moment.

At this point, you’re here:

  1. Finish book
  2. Get it edited
  3. Have a cover designed

Now comes the tricky part.


I watched a video from H.M. Ward where she likens your book to a three-legged stool. Your book is the seat, and the cover, sample, and blurb are the legs. Any of those are not on par, the stool will not hold up.

I like that. So look at the blurbs in the genre you’re working in. What are they doing? Longer? Shorter? Personally, I start long, and then go short. I just got a blurb review recently, and I am in the process of redoing all my blurbs. It’s worth it.

Think about it. When you’re browsing, what catches your eye? What makes you click ‘Buy’ on a book?

So back to the Canva. Check it out if you haven’t already. Canva is a great resource for the DIY side of indie publishing. I made business cards, postcards Facebook banners, pics for my Facebook author takeovers, and anything else I can think of with it. Canva doesn’t cost a thing unless you use their elements. I generally don’t need to – although like anything that doesn’t cost, there are limitations. But for me, it works nicely. It’s something to check out to see if it can be utilized as part of your toolbox.

At this point, this is where we stop for the time being.

  1. Finish Book
  2. Get it edited
  3. Have a cover designed
  4. Write up your blurb

This is already long enough, so I will be back in a few days to talk the next steps: Hitting The Publish Button.


In the meantime, work through those first four steps.

Onward and upward!

Back from the dead

Well, good grief.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted. WTH? I was being better than that. Well, here I am, back and repentant. It’s been a busy week. In all honesty, I look at how I scheduled life before I stopped working outside the home, and wonder how did I get anything done?

Enough whining. Tonight, I want to talk about why you publish, and how to make the decision. In order to get there, you’re going to have to go back to 2013 with me.


Settle in. This is a long one.

I had just joined RMFW. Gone to the Conference. Pitched my first agent, and gotten a request for a partial.

I was On. Fire. Guuuurl, I was gonna land that agent (my Dream Agent, btw) and become an overnight success. Sent in my pages, and within a month, I’d heard back from the agent. Thanks, but no thanks. Nice note of rejection, but a rejection none-the-less.

So I joined Query Tracker, and started the round robin. I don’t know now how many rejections I have based on who I queried, but in early 2014 I sure as hell did. However, I was still confident that even without Dream Agent, it was Gonna Happen.

I was also in the midst of critique group change. The one I belonged to was not a good fit, and I landed in the Tuesday group I am still part of. The moderator of that group, with whom I am great friends with, and I were on the same journey. Finished book, doing edits, working on something new, and querying.

Then the moderator went to a conference, and came back all a-gog. She’d heard one of the biggies in the indie world speak. She laid out facts, contract specifics, and most importantly, money.

I’ll never forget the talk we had after that Tuesday meeting. It changed my life. Literally. I went and did some reading on the author she’d heard speak. It was Courtney Milan. If you haven’t read her thoughts on indie publishing, I recommend it. Then I did the Bad Thing. I put ‘indie publishing’ into the Google browser.


The first person I found was Hugh Howey, the indie darling. I’d read his Wool trilogy without knowing he is an indie, but now I did all sorts of online stalking on his journey into publishing. I remember sitting at my netbook, and just having to lean back at the sheer overload from what I was reading. (I have to tell you all I met him at Dragon Con last year, and WOW. He’s really a nice person, and very passionate about self-determination in the publishing world, which I love. He also has an amazing blog @ wayfinder.com. Its worth reading, particularly, if you’re like me and in addition to being an indie writer are a passionate sailor. The boat envy I have….oy. Anyway)

Which led me down a rabbit hole, but I pulled back, and concentrated on my own work. I finally, FINALLY, put Novel #1 under my bed and stopped querying it. Focused on something new, because the way to get better is to write something else. Came up with an idea for a new series. (That is Sisters Of The Curse, in case you were curious. LOL) Worked all summer and fall last year on Thea’s Tale, and getting better at my craft. One thing my critique group taught me was that I needed work on my craft. I started reading craft books, going to classes, LISTENING to those who might know something more than me.

That’s important, boys and girls. There’s always someone who knows more than you. Go find them, when you have a question. LEARN. Good lord, you can google anything. I’ve learned the most random things from Google. There is no excuse.

And I finished Thea’s Tale. SO now…the thing was done. What then?

Revise, have beta reader read it, and revise some more. Then once more, and then – Get an editor. Don’t take just anyone. Interview them. I am lucky – I know my editor, and she’s not only a fantabulous editor, she’s part of my target audience. So she can tell me what doesn’t work for the audience I’m going for. Give the book to the editor, and leave it be until s/he sends it back. While you’re waiting, find a cover artist. I know there are people who say DIY, but I disagree. I think having someone who is a professional (even if you’re one) but is not emotionally invested in your book can give you a more balanced view of your cover. JMO, however, and you’re welcome to disagree.

Work with your artist. I pride myself on my ‘artistic eye’, but you know what? Every single idea I shot to my artist (see my earlier post about those two amazing ladies) looked like shit. Let’s not pull punches. My ideas looked like shit, when the ladies took my idea and did exactly what I wanted. So I started telling them what I wanted theme-wise, generally, and let them do their job. Guess what? You can see the beauty of what they came up with.

Then we come to the hard part. I did all of the above -and now I have this book waiting on a pre-order, and I don’t know what to do next. So off to Google I go. Because I have to dip my toe into the waters I fear the most in this process – the marketing waters.


To me, marketing is the shark tank of my business. Who knows the best things to do? What will work for me? It worked for Author X, and this worked for Author Y, but Author Z does it this way – it’s enough to make you go crawl into bed and put the pillow over your head.

But, my dear reader, you cannot do that. Your book will fall to the floor, and wither and die. You must find a way to get your book out there, in front of readers.

My first suggestion, knowing now what I know? (Lordamercy, what a difference a year makes!)

  1. Write a series, and PLOT that business out! I’m telling you this as a lifelong pantser who is finally moving to big girl land and doing some plotting. Read Take Off Your Pants, by Libbie Hawker. Your world will change. Promise.
  2. Publish the first three in your series FAST. I’ve seen recs to wait and publish them all at the same time – I didn’t do that. I’ll have four out in a six month period, and I’m starting to see a bump from multiple books. At the start of 2016, I’m going to release in that ‘all at once’ method, and see how it works. LOL – I promise, you’ll hear about it. Whether you like it or not.
  3. Pick your social media – and be HONEST with yourself on what you’ll use – and use it. Post 80% of value content for those reading your stuff. That means NO PROMO – of you, or anyone else. I won’t lie – I have done more than 20% promo at times, and no more. I love talking self/indie publishing, so that, and the crap that interests me – that’s what you’re going to get. I also am on Twitter, and FB – but that’s it. I decided those three venues were the ones I wanted to invest in, and that’s all I’m doing.
  4. BE NICE. In my search for marketing, I have come across so much stuff about authors and other creative people not being nice online. Guys, if you’re here (and I don’t mean you, Mom) and reading this for some little bit of education, you want to be successful with your creativity. Negativity doesn’t sell, and in this day and age, it NEVAH goes away. EVAH. Even if you delete what you posted 2 minutes ago. I think you can disagree, even discuss passionately with people – but be respectful.
  5. Respect those who work with you. As I mentioned before, hire an editor. And a cover artist. Get some beta readers, or a critique group. Even if you don’t agree with them, respect them. They’re taking the time to help you improve your work. Hear what they have to say. No one says you have to agree. But listen. They might be right (see my earlier comments on my cover ideas ALL looking like shit. To the last idea, folks.)
  6. You’re a business now. Treat yourself like one. Get a coupon folder, and put ALL receipts in it. That’s the first step – to train yourself to not toss things. But get that little folder or you’ll just die with all the little bits of paper. I met an agent who said she took pics on her phone of the receipts – I think I’m going to train myself to switch to that. Makes it easier for record keeping and transition to Quick Books or the like. Read about taxes for the self-employed. Keep track of your mileage. Become a LLC. I haven’t done the last one yet, but that’s next on my list. Because this year, I have to add author stuff to the tax info. To say I’m nervous, even after years of being self-employed, is an understatement. I’m sure you’ll get a post tax filing post outta me.
  7. Engage with people. Now here I’m just meandering off into Lisa land. I have seen the little prawny bump in my sales. I’m not doing a lick of promo right now, mostly because I am working on three different WIPs, and I am reading and planning for a) the next promo push; b) all the things I have to do for some of my marketing; c) those three WIPs, and d) reading and compiling better ways to try and market. Seriously, that’s what I’ve been doing since mid-September. I’m also really involved with my writers organization, and I work with the self/indie published folks. Helping others. Sharing what I know. Seeing if I can help all of us market more – and I really and truly believe that is why I am seeing the sales bumps. Because I’m out there not promo-ing for me – but working with and for others. I’m engaged. It helps that I am working on a topic near and dear to my soapbox and heart. So find your passion outside of your work – and get to it. LOL – I know, easier said than done. What with all our free time, right?

I think that’s it for now. Look for more from me as I continue on this journey. I love indie publishing, and I love the path I’m on. I think it’s a path with room for everyone who wants to be on it.

When I first heard about self/indie publishing – it struck a chord in me that nothing about publishing had prior. Nothing. I can’t explain the feeling of wonder, of total amazeballs, that I could Do. This. Myself.

Sure, I’ll make mistakes. I won’t do a pre-order again unless I have hordes of fans emailing, and the damn thing is done, and just waiting on edits. But guess what? *I* get to do what I want. I get to try things, and have the choice of failing without worrying about whether my publisher will drop me. They may have some rather harsh language for me, sure. But that’s it. After the harsh language, we go back to the drawing board.

You need to consider what calls to you. I had this discussion at the Gold with another writer, and she is 110% in the traditional publishing camp. It’s where she feels good, where she feels called to be. I think that’s fantastic. I’ve said it before – this is a great time to be a writer. We have choices. We can be where we are because that’s where we want to be.

For me, that’s indie publishing.

If you have questions, feel free to ask. I’ll answer as best I can. I’m certainly no guru – but I know what I’ve done that works, and what hasn’t. I;m always happy to share.

Ahhh! Almost forgot. Go RIGHT. NOW. Start reading Kboards Writers Cafe. The amount of sharing of info on that will be mind blowing. And it will put you on the path.

Time for Goals

While it’s not the end of the year, I have hit a number of my goals, and feel it’s the appropriate time to set more. One of the things that kept me on track was the fact that I posted my publishing goals on here, and FB, and while I don’t flatter myself that I have a reach of any significance, I put my goals in writing where others might see them.

To me, that made me accountable.

I’m on track to release Catrin’s Grimoire in November. I’m really excited – the story is going well. Perhaps there was a bit of plotting in there…LOL! Probably. I have been a panster for so long, it’s weird to plot.  Anyway, it’s on track and going well, which is the important thing.

There’s one more book after CG, so what do I do then? There may be one healthy novella, but I’m not committing to that. I’ve been considering what to do, and how to actually write it down and give myself a realistic set of publishing goals that go until the end of 2016. So with that, I decided I want to work on other series.

Staying in the fairy tale realm, I am going to write a true romance. Sisters Of The Curse was not a romance, per se. The romance was a subplot, but none of the stories had romance as their main story arc. For this series, it’s going to be a trilogy, and it will be a true romance. I think I’m going to use the legend of the Goblin King – not Jareth and Sarah, unfortunately.  I do love their story, but I want to create my own Goblin King. So there’s one.

Then, I want to do a shifter series. I LOVE shifter books – and my faves are wolves. So look for a Pack series. That will probably be five books. I’m still fiddling with the outline of the series. I know everyone and their mom has done wolf shifters, but I love shifter romance, and the wolves are the ones I keep coming back to. So there you are.

Finally, I talked with my Beloved. He’s not a reader. Thankfully, Darling Boys take after me, because I feel like not loving to read is missing out on one of the most creative things man has ever done. Reading has been such a major part of my life. Anyway, he has one series he likes to read, and I asked him, point blank, what was it that drew him about that particular series. He said, I can imagine myself as the MC, and see how I could survive in the circumstances in the book.

That was really eye-opening to me. I had ideas of why he liked that series, and none of mine were right, LOL. So that started me thinking, and I think that will culminate in a dystopian series of some sort. That’s my newest series idea, and the one that is closet to infancy, so the detes are fuzzy.

First step towards a destination – plotting the journey there. You’ve now made it through my Step One. The TL; DR version
1) Finish Sisters Of The Curse with Adelaide’s Tale, sometime in January 2016
2) Five book Pack series – wolf shifters
3) Goblin King based trilogy
4) Dystopian story – may be a trilogy? Not sure yet.

I’m up to eleven books for next year. So I’ll stop. That means I need to be publishing every month. It feels REALLY. REALLY. SCARY to put this in writing. That’s a metric ton of writing on my part.

BUT – in order to get somewhere, you have to decide to go. This is me announcing my decision.

Back to writing.

ETA: I have been thinking of nothing else since I made this post. In the next month, my goal is to firm up my publication schedule. I’m one of those people who do better with a deadline. My editor, the long-suffering Rachel, may not be as thrilled. I shall bribe her. With Cards Against Humanity addition packs.

Look for that by end of October. I’m interested to see what I come up with, too!

The Evil Voice Within

We all have it. None of us want it. What do we do with it? (A little Buffet-inspired intro to start your read here.)

One of the things I’ve been chatting with other authors recently about is that dreaded Voice Within. Or as I call it, the Evil Voice Within. You know it. The one that takes your self-doubt, insecurity, worry, fear, whatever that go-to negative emotion is, and makes it a fire-breathing dragon.

A real, live dragon, who’s in a bad mood, snarky, and rampaging around in your head. dragon

I want to evict the %)^$@^&%, but he always finds his way back.

Why is that? We’re doing something amazing. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone can write a book. Most of us can start, and get part way through, but finishing the thing? That’s a feat. I should know. My thumb drives are littered with sizable works that are not done. Writing it is only the first part of the whole thing.

Then, one must finish it. After it’s finished, you really need to read the thing again. For content. To see if it’s something you want to let out into the world. To see if you need to take your hacksaw and weed-wacker and do shaping and pruning. To see if you love it when you read it, or if you cringe. Hint: If you cringe, you don’t need to trash it. You may need to just leave it for a bit, and then come back and do some revising.

All along the way of the aforementioned journey, you have to listen to Mr. Snarky Dragon. Telling you all his stuff and nonsense, tossing in his one liners when you’re least expecting it.

So how to get around him? Everyone, no matter what you do, occasionally comes up against that dragon. I think authors have a particularly assy dragon, but I’m willing to admit possessing a bias.

Here’s how you do it. You ignore it. Tell it to )%$^#%^ off. Go read a good review. Go look at your latest craft book (folks, you need to be reading them. I am the worst about actually doing it, and now that I have, I am kicking myself for dragging my feet before).

Plan out your next marketing campaign. Then go and visit the social media of your author friends. Talk about their awesome cover, or let them know what you loved about their book. Discuss ways to market, talk about how to ramp up something for the holidays.

See where I’m going with this?

Own that you occasionally give Snark Dragon space in your head, and then move on. Know that you can and will be successful, and it will probably take some time. It’s also going to take work. Hard work. Sadly, I’ve yet to meet any authors who have that lovely cabana boy offering them grapes with nimble fingers and an adoring gaze. Or if they do have one, they’re being verrrrry low-key about the whole thing.


We can all aspire to a pool boy, so to speak. We just need to get our minds around it.

But Lisa, you cry. I love me a good Ryan meme, but that’s a meme! I see no Ryan, nor any grapes! And certainly not peeled grapes.

Here’s what I do:

If I’m frustrated with a particular work, I walk away from it. I leave it to simmer on its own, and I go do something else. At this exact moment, I have a WIP I’m writing, another WIP I work on when I’m tired of WIP #1, and I am outlining a new series. So if I get caught up and stuck, I have something else to do. Not everyone can work on more than one project at a time, so if you can’t, get out of your chair, and go for a walk. Take the dog. Go look at nature. Hang out with your kids. If you feel you MUST be doing something, get a digital recorder, and talk out your story issues. Sounds silly, but it works. I also find if I’m stuck, a long shower helps. I think a lot in the shower. It’s relaxing.

If I find that my book sales are not where I want them, I go and look at what others in my genre are doing. Not to give SD ammo, but I want to see if they’re doing something I’m not, and ought to be. I am an avid reader of promo threads – forum threads where people write up their marketing plan for a set period of time, and then report on it. Reading the successes and challenges of others not only gives me ideas, but it reminds me I’m not alone on this journey. That’s important for us.

I said it earlier, but go read a craft book. I am a dedicated pantser. I don’t like to plot – or at least, I didn’t think I did. However, I’m reading a lot about increasing your output, and all the people I see who are doing it right, and creating success are doing so while using some pre-writing organization. So it’s worth considering, in my opinion. It can help you to get out of the corners we sometimes paint ourselves into.

Finally, I realize that no matter how much I love this career, I’m going to have some off days. That there are going to be times when it’s just going to be sucky. I am more thin-skinned than I ever realized, but putting myself out there as an author is forcing me to toughen up. To know that I am doing the best I can, that I don’t see this as a scheme, but as a long term career where I wish to put out commercial quality content for essentially the rest of my life. And that the one day where Snarky Dragon gets free range head space with me – it’s ONE DAY.

So kick your dragon back to his cave, and know that you’re on the right path. Even if it turns out not to be the right path in the long run – that’s the beauty of being a writer, and an indie writer in particular. We can change. We can shift focus. We can adapt.

And we will succeed.

Now go write.

Post Con – The Mondayest Tuesday


So it’s the dreaded post Con. Blech. It’s always a let down. I love Dragon Con. I get to see friends I don’t see most of the year, and go to panels that are talks by actors I love, or meet authors I fangirl over, or craft panels that discuss various aspects of writing and the business therein. Such was the case this year. I hate to see it end. Plus, my costumes were kick-ass. More on that later.

My husband and kids are the sweetest. My husband said, It’s good to have you back, and both kids wanted to snuggle a little extra last night because they missed me. The feels, ya’ll.

On to business. One thing I noticed is that there is a divide still regarding self-publishing, and that makes me…verklempt. Self-publishing is a good thing for ALL. If you publish traditionally, you have options, and the freedom to look to other avenues if your publisher is not doing right by you. I know it’s not that easy, but it’s an option, and ten years ago, it wasn’t. Options are good things, regardless of whether or not you take them.

As an indie author, I was unhappy and annoyed to see the large swath of opinions re: self-publishing dependent upon the programming track I went to. I attended a panel on marketing via the Electronic Frontiers Forum, and it was excellent. Even though there were folks were working within the traditional system, they were happy for options. In the Writers’ Track, it didn’t seem to be the case. There was what seemed to me to be a more negative mindset about the indie publishing industry. I have, in the past, asked for more self-publishing focused panels, and I suppose this technically met the bill – but it sure didn’t stick to the premise of helping people understand their options.

Let me lay it out for you. The gatekeepers have shifted. It used to be if you wished to call yourself an author, you had to find someone to let you in. Now, you can walk yourself through the gate, and get to the garden on your own.

Do you need to be as professional as possible? Yes, indeed. Get an editor. Get a beta reader. If you are not seriously skilled at graphic design, hire a cover artist. Check the contracts with all these folks, and READ THEM. Make sure you know what you are agreeing to. One of discussions I saw that all participants felt passionately about was regarding cover art. Do you own the art, or do you merely license it? What rights does the artist, the creator, have in regards to further use of your cover? It’s something to consider. It’s taking IP and who owns what to a deeper level.

The thing about doing it yourself is that you do it ALL yourself. But to me, that’s the best thing about it. You do it all YOURSELF. See the difference there? I’m a closet control freak. I like to be in charge. Yes, I admit it. Of my work – I definitely want to be in charge. I want to make the calls for me. Will I screw up? Probably. We all do as we are learning.

The best part of Cons for me are meeting people like you. After one of the craft panels I went to, I was talking to one of the presenters, and they suggested we repair to the bar to continue the conversation. It was an amazing hour, talking craft, word count, genre, business, marketing, price – I am so very thankful that this person took the time from their schedule to help along someone who has lots of questions. That meeting alone left me with a professional high that hasn’t worn off yet.

We’re a solitary lot. We sit in front of our screens, and let the creativity flow from our head to the same screens. That’s awesome for your readers, but you need to get out from behind the screen, and talk to other people like you. Go hang out in a place where there are TONS of people who are just as nerdy and passionate as you are about stuff.

And for me, it solidified my thoughts on being an indie. Last year, I was at Con as someone who hadn’t yet published. This year, I have three books out. My perspective has changed slightly, from how I listen to what I’m hearing. But my thoughts on this path haven’t.

Why? Because I have looked at the options, talked to people on both sides of the options available, and still feel this is the best option for me. That’s the hard part – figuring out which is the best option for YOU. The more I explore, the more I feel this is it, and I’m where I ought to be.

If it weren’t for self-publishing, I wouldn’t have these options, and I can tell you I probably wouldn’t be where I am. I could be somewhere better, or worse. I don’t know. But it wouldn’t be here.

I just got the trade copies of all three of my books this week. Come back from Con, and books are waiting. It doesn’t get much better. I’m headed to the RMFW Gold Conference this weekend, and I’m really excited. That’s nothing but writers, and people at all stages of the business. The potential to meet and talk and learn is enormous. Explore other options, hear things that have worked for others and see if they might work for me.

There’s always something to be learned – and now, like I mentioned, we as authors have OPTIONS. Seek them out. See what resonates with you. Try out some of the options. You may fail, you may not. But you won’t know unless you explore – and having self-publishing as one of those options is a good thing.

That’s the takeaway I’d like to see – that sure, you can self-publish – but here are the pros and cons, and here are the pros and cons of publishing traditionally. Weigh them, and see what’s best for YOU. Not me, or anyone else. Once you hear that, weigh it. What can you live with? What do you think will be your struggles? For me, it’s solidifying a marketing plan, and time management. I’ve been trying to write this damn post all day and keep having distractions. *What? A squirrel??!! Quick! Let’s go – oh, look, fun FB post!*

It seems to be an either/or with some factions on both sides, and while I am passionate about my decision, it’s MY decision. There is no other option for me that will be the best. Having the ability to discover that and see what will work best for you is truly marvelous, and one of the things I feel makes this such a great time to choose to write as your career.

And now, in a totally unrelated subject, most of the costumes I wore this weekend. I need to snag one other pic because it’s my interpretation of Dean and Sam’s Impala, and who doesn’t love Baby?

Until then, I give you the Tardi Sisters and the 7th Doctor, me as Potassium in the Parade of Elements in the DC Parade, and my Battle of the Planets/G Force/Gatchaman Joe/Jason the Condor costume. (I love this costume beyond belief. I would call it George if it didn’t already have a name.)

Now get to work.

thedocntardis fabana sapfab


Crunch Time

So. This weekend.

Here is my To Do:

Finish Newsletter and post before 9/1 (almost done, waiting on one thing) (Did I mention this bad boy is 29 pages this month? 29 pages, people! All member driven content! Yay!)
Make sure all print copies of three books are going to be here in time for Conference
Get the last minute things for Dragon Con
Pack for Dragon Con
Obsess over list of what is needed for Dragon Con
Clean the house
Make schedule list for when I am gone
Grocery shop for the week
Laundry – mine and kids

Where am I in this list?

Laundry working. Newsletter nearly finishedDONE. Scheduled and archived to boot. You can’t tell but I’m laughing like Dr. Doofenschmirtz right now.


To do list for DC made. House is getting there. One final thing for the printing and I should be done. This may involve a call to the POD company, however. I’ll make the schedule and plan the meals later tonight, in between getting house and laundry ready.

I might actually be out of here in a timely fashion, rather than a mad, wild-eyed rush.

Not counting my chickens, or anything. There’s still three days before the plane takes off, after all.