Monday, May 9, 2016

The Haunted Stepsister and Critique Partners

Today I'm over at the IWSG website talking about How to be a Good Critique Partner. I'd love to see you over there. But first, check out Medeia Sharif's exciting new book!

The Haunted Stepsister
by Medeia Sharif

Published by Leap Books, it is released today!!

Sixth grade isn’t easy for Jesenya Moradi, especially since her father’s recent remarriage and tension with her new stepsister, Kammy. After an incident at school that nearly destroyed Kammy's life, Jess has been desperate to get on Kammy’s good side. But a fateful trip to an allegedly haunted bathroom changes both girls’ lives forever.

The rumors about the bathroom are true, and now Jess is convinced a demon's possessing Kammy. Eerie things happen whenever she's around – flying objects, flickering lights, not to mention the fact that something, or someone, is making people into its puppets.

Worse, the demon seems fixated on making Jess confess her part in ruining Kammy's reputation. Sticking to her Muslim faith, Jess enlists the help of an imam to exorcise the demon from Kammy. But can they get rid of the demon before it destroys her new family?

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads

Madeia Sharif was born in New York City and she presently calls Miami her home. She received my master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. After becoming a voracious reader in high school and a relentless writer dabbling in many genres in college, she found her niche writing for young people. Today she’s a MG and YA writer published through various presses. In addition to being a writer, she is a public school teacher. Her memberships include Mensa, ALAN, and SCBWI.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

On Accepting Failure #IWSG

When I was a wee thing in school, I used to do the least amount of study needed to pass an exam. Passing was my goal, even if it meant passing by half a percent. I had no motivation to do better. Why? It wasn’t because of laziness. It was because of a fear of failure. That might sound strange considering how close I came to failing. The truth was, if I failed an exam or an assignment by not studying, then that didn’t matter, but if I studied hard, or, well, just studied in some cases, and I still failed to reach my goal, then that would’ve been the worst thing in the world. That was failure on a personal level.

Silly me and my teenage self.

Of course when I eventually did wake up and start applying myself, my world opened up. I could do more, be more. Dreams became possible. They became reality.

The thing about failure is that it isn’t a monster and neither is it the end of the world. Sometimes we have to accept failure to move forward. I’d go as far to say that failure is necessary for success. We learn through failing. We grow through failure. Failing makes us stronger and wiser.

In the Christian faith we must first recognise we are sinners and need saving before we can be saved.

People with addictions must first recognise and accept they have an addiction before they can move forward and start dealing with the problem.

Writers must first write a crappy first draft before they can shape it into the published book it’s meant to become.

To make our dreams reality, we have to apply ourselves and we have to work through those endless hurdles, closed doors, nay-sayers, and our own personal fears. Sure there will be some stumbling along the way, but when we persevere, magic happens.

What are the things that hold you back? What gets you through?

Happy announcement: The IWSG Anthology Parallels: Felix Was Here has at last been released!

What if the government tried to create the perfect utopia? Could a society linked to a supercomputer survive on its own? Do our reflections control secret lives on the other side of the mirror? Can one moment split a person’s world forever?

Exploring the fantastic, ten authors offer incredible visions and captivating tales of diverse reality. Featuring the talents of L. G. Keltner, Crystal Collier, Hart Johnson, Cherie Reich, Sandra Cox, Yolanda Renee, Melanie Schulz, Sylvia Ney, Michael Abayomi, and Tamara Narayan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will expand your imagination and twist the tropes of science fiction. Step through the portal and enter another dimension!

You can get your copy from these places:
Print: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Ebook: Amazon, ITunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

On the Doing of Stuff #IWSG

I am currently not here right now. I'm off doing... stuff. Cool stuff, crazy stuff, scary stuff, and a bunch of uncategorized stuff. You know, that stuff that happens when we're not writing? No I'm not currently writing. I'm in that in-between zone where the current project is in a holding pattern while various folk ponder over it, and a new project is still brewing in the cobwebbed regions of the brain while another, different kind of project is buzzing away to a happy tune while it's getting dragged into existence. And then there's life that has a mind of its own.

So, yeah, I'm not here right now. I'm not even in Sydney. I'll make it up to you when I get back in a couple of weeks. That's when I'll be able to do the bloggy rounds.

And because my advice has always been, "Keep Writing!" I've decided to start up journal writing again. That way I can continue stringing those tricksy words together while crazy busy. Not only does any form of writing keeps you well practiced in the craft, it also helps to keep the insecurities away.


Oh, and since this month is the April A to Z Challenge, I'll be doing the letters D, L and T over at the IWSG website. Well, technically I've done them already and scheduled them to post at the right times because when one is busy scheduling is essential. Have an awesome April!

Photo: A sign of the gorgeousness of my hubs. I'm a lucky girl.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

6 Ways to Break the Habit of Insecurity #IWSG

All writers will experience a level of insecurity at some time--some more than others, some more frequently than others. It’s a natural and inevitable part of being a writer. However, this feeling of insecurity can become a repeating beastie that lurks around for too long and inhibits your creativity until your writing comes to a shuddering stop. It can become so bad that the moment you sit down to write, the insecurity flares up again. This is bad. And this is what happens when your insecurity has become a habit.

It’s time to break the habit of insecurity, and below are 6 ways that might help:

1. Recognise it’s a habit not an addiction, and that means the problem isn’t insurmountable, no matter how dark those insecurities feel. Plus, knowing there’s a fixable problem is the first step to making a change.

2. Learn what triggers your insecurities. If reading reviews turns your insecurities into a bad rash, then stop reading those reviews. If the glare of a blank page is the trigger, then try filling that page as fast as possible, allowing yourself to put down complete rubbish. At least then the page won’t be blank anymore and you’ll be able to get on with editing. If it’s an insensitive critique partner, then have a conversation with that partner, or find another one.

3. Change your environment. This one works like a dream for me. Often it’s just the cue of sitting at your computer and opening the document that’s enough to trigger a multitude of insecurities. Try changing where you write, even how you write. Try writing in a different room, or at the local coffee shop or park. Try handwriting for a while or dictation.

4. Schedule your writing time. This needs some discipline. Set a specific time to write every day and stick to it—even if it’s only 15 minutes a day. But make sure you spend that time writing. This does not include checking your social media, going through your emails, researching, staring at the monitor, or anything else you might’ve used to justify not writing.

5. Stop focusing on the negatives, i.e., how much you didn’t achieve, how you got a one star review, how your critique partner didn’t love that scene you thought was gold, how little time you got to write, how few words you scratched out this week. Start focusing on the positives, i.e., how much you did achieve, how much you love writing, how you got an awesome four star review, how you kept writing despite those insecurities nipping at your heels. Train your thoughts, so when you start to feel insecure, you won’t let it continue, or at the very least, you won’t be debilitated by those insecurities.

6. Be kind to yourself and take it slow. Don’t expect the immediate disappearance of insecure thoughts. Insecurity is what we do as writers. It’s part of the creative self. If those insecurities come screaming back—and they will—don’t flog yourself over another perceived failure. Just continue to work through it

Know that all habits can be broken with a little work and discipline. They may not break at the snap of a finger, but over time you can form a new positive way of thinking which will aid your creativity, not hinder.

How do you work through insecurities?

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Story Settings with Denise Covey #IWSG

As many know already, IWSG is starting up a free newsletter. To sign up for it, click here. It will be released on the last Wednesday of every month and it's going to be awesome! If you are an IWSG member and would like to submit a short piece for consideration (no longer than 200 words) on anything to do with writing, publishing or marketing, then please send a DOC to Chrys Fey at chrysfey(at)yahoo(dot)com with "Member Article" in the subject line, no later than March 2nd. If you'd like to be considered for the first newsletter, then please send your article no later than February 17th. 

Also, I'm over at the IWSG Website with a cover reveal for our short story anthology from the IWSG contest, so don't forget to pop on over.

And check out our new IWSG Badge! 
And now, introducing the lovely and talented Denise Covey, a fellow Aussie whom I admire a great deal. Take it away, Denise.

Do you ever feel insecure when you’re developing your setting in your stories? Do you set your stories in places you’ve lived or visited? Or…do you take risks and set your story somewhere exotic?

That old adage ‘write what you know’ has been discredited. Now it's ‘write what you’d like to know’. But there’s something to be said for setting stories in places we know. Readers somehow feel its authenticity and dive right into the story.

Here are a couple of examples from the myriad I can think of...

Did Harper Lee know her Maycomb County when she penned To Kill a Mockingbird? Did her local knowledge of the setting lend authenticity to her powerful story which still resonates with readers today?

Jump to today.

I’ve just finished reading the second in the series by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling), set in London, and can’t wait to grab the third which I see is out. Well I daresay JK knows London like the back of her hand. You can hear the jackhammers pounding away in the streets and cough up the dust in your throat; you can feel the chill air; slip in the murky snow; drink in the pubs with the flawed aristocracy, the twits…all as you follow her Private Investigator Cormorant Strike on his mission to solve the crime du jour. It has authenticity. It has a I-live-here-and-this-is-my-London tone.

I’ve always been a champion of the authentic setting, so for my novella, Under the Tuscan Moon, I recalled trips to Italy. Those medieval towns haven’t changed much since back in the day. Walk in those forests surrounding these towns and you could be back in the 1700s, the time my paranormal series is set. The wild pigs still hunt for truffles and other delicacies, the crumbling villas tower over the villages like vengeful giants.

This is my Italy...

Here's the blurb:
Within the velvety Tuscan sky, a harvest moon glows like liquid amber. Mysterious shadows seep noxiously through the unsuspecting forest, preying on the vulnerable, whose blinded gaze mocks their senses.
A man.
A woman.
Forever locked in a sensual embrace.
A werewolf howls…
A cloak swishes…
Alabaster flesh waits to be torn.
Timing is everything in the Danse Macabre.
On this night the nectar of revenge is at its sweetest.
Just ask Vipunin…
“Who is Vipunin?” you ask.
A tormented soul, longing to recapture the life stolen from him a century ago. His wait is finally over. His love, Ciassia, has returned and she will be by his side for eternity…
Or so he thinks…

Thanks so much for having me, Lynda!

Under the Tuscan Moon
A paranormal romance
Book One – Cassia

Denise Covey hails from that land Down Under, where she publishes flash fiction, short stories and travelogues in Australian magazines. When not writing, she teaches English Lit to her rapt senior students who think it’s way cool to have a writer as a teacher. Under the Tuscan Moon is her first, but not last, paranormal romance. Denise has decided it’s way cool to live in a world of vampires, angels, demons and werewolves.

Join Denise on Blogger, Word Press, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Wattpad.