Wednesday, April 30, 2014

When Life Knocks You Down by Diane Burton

I saw this on Facebook and thought how appropriate it is to our monthly topic of success and failure. I’m sure we’ve all been knocked down sometime during our lives. Health, loss of a family member and/or a job, crushing defeat. So what do we do? Pull the covers over our heads and stay there until “it” goes away? Or do we tough it out?

Or maybe a combination. Many times I’ve wanted to crawl under those covers. But I had responsibilities, people depending on me. I had to put grief on hold, suck it up, and do what needed to be done. Not always, though.

Many times, I just retreated. Sorry to say, when friends wrote, I didn’t answer. In hindsight, I’m sure there was some depression going on. Especially when I lost my mom, mother-in-law, and a special aunt within eighteen months. Still, life goes on. Eventually, grief eases. It never totally goes away. You just learn to live with it.

Maybe success is getting back up after being knocked down.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

First, You Have to Know What Success Is For You

By Glenys O'Connell @GlenysOConnell
Before we can be successful, we have to know what it means to us as an individual. In writing, perhaps more than many other walks of life, there are many ways to be successful, depending on what the person – you – want to gain from your work.

And there are many people who will tell you how to become successful – often the advice is contradictory. I remember being told ‘Write the book you want to read’ and at the same time being told ‘Write for the market’.

Well, I worried, what if my taste in reading material isn’t what the market wants? I guess the thing to do, really, if you want to be published is to update your favorite reading material with what you learn from researching the market, in order to write a book that you want to read – and other people want to read, too!

For example, I’ve always loved ‘gothic’ mysteries, in particular the work of the legendary Phyllis Whitney. Her books don’t appear on the top selling lists anymore, but basically, her writing category has morphed into ‘romantic suspense’, still with the woman in jeopardy theme but a lot sexier  and more dangerous and wide-ranging – and who can complain about that? So I can write the plots I love, and still write for the market, yes?

One thing I do know, there are few – if any - fast tracks to writing success. Read about many bestselling authors and you’ll learn they have been writing for years before hitting the A-list. Stephen King claimed he could wallpaper his room with all the rejections he received before Carrie’s success!

The Internet is full of Get Rich Quick Schemes – save your money, avoid them and keep writing. They often have tempting titles like: Ten Minutes to Double Your Income! Unlock Your Writing Power! Free Money Making Plans! The Secret to Writing Success! Maybe I’m biased, but I suspect the only people to get rich from these schemes are the people selling them.

Personally, I think you have to define what you consider to be success for yourself – and surprisingly, that doesn’t always come with a dollar figure attached.

Usually when we think of writing success, we think of the bestseller lists, adoring fans
waiting for signed copies of our books, royalty cheques big enough to impress the stodgiest bank manager, and write-ups in the popular press. But before you throw yourself into the mad dash for the number one spot, consider this question: What does writing success mean to you? Do you even want to reach for the stars?

For some writers, the act of writing is fulfilling enough. For others, it’s knowing that somewhere out there someone is reading their work. Still others are burning with a message they need to get out into the world – whether they ever earn a penny or not. If your writing can make one person feel that they are not alone in the human condition, would that be enough to make you feel successful? Or do you want to grab the brass ring, to have adoring fans and publishers fighting to catch your eye?

Too many of us set off on the wrong road, never questioning what we actually consider to be success on our own terms.  Success isn’t a generic, one-size-fits-all garment; we each need a different version of it. And too many writers come to a crashing standstill, unable to reach a goal they don’t understand or have the aptitude for, or are actually subconsciously undermining, instead of pursuing a dream that fits them just right. And then starts the painful process of self-blame, of denigrating our talent and belittling the work we’ve done when it was, perhaps, simply the wrong work, the wrong success path for us.

So, learn your craft, write well, and choose your own path to the success you want.

And if anyone has used one of those ‘quick path to success’ plans out there and been successful, I’d love to hear your story!
Glenys O'Connell is a multi-published writer of romantic suspense and comedy, a playwright, and non-fiction author. She wrote the book on writing basics: Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book.



Monday, April 28, 2014

Hurricane Crimes by Chrys Fey

Hi Roses. Today we have Chrys Fey as our guest. She's in the middle of a book blast and we're one of her blasting stops. Hope you enjoy!

*Hurricane Crimes is a short story.*

After her car breaks down, Beth Kennedy is forced to stay in Florida, the target of Hurricane Sabrina. She stocks up supplies, boards up windows, and hunkers down to wait out the storm, but her plan unravels when she witnesses a car accident. Risking her life, she braves the winds to save the driver. Just when she believes they are safe, she finds out the man she saved could possibly be more dangerous than the severe weather.

Donovan Goldwyn only wanted to hide from the police, but the hurricane shoved his car into a tree. Now he's trapped with a beautiful woman while the evidence that can prove his innocence to a brutal crime is out there for anyone to find.

As Hurricane Sabrina wreaks havoc, Beth has no other choice but to trust Donovan to stay alive. But will she survive, or will she become another hurricane crime?


On the television set, which was fighting to stay alive, was breaking news. She caught bits and pieces of it as she emptied the bowl of blood-tainted water and threw out the cloth. It was about a high-speed chase that had occurred about a half-hour ago. Beth shook her head. Apparently, Donovan wasn’t the only idiot driving around during a hurricane.

She went back into the living room and began replacing all the medical supplies into the first-aid kit. Behind her, a reporter was explaining that the driver of the car was believed to be a murder suspect.

“The name of the—”

The lights flashed, prompting Beth to snatch up her flashlight.

“Donovan Goldwyn.”

Her fingers went cold around the plastic tube as ice frosted her veins. She straightened her spine and turned stiffly to the television, her heart wasn’t beating in her chest. On the screen was the picture of the man who was right now changing in her bedroom. Above it was a caption in bold letters that read—SUSPECT.

She gripped the flashlight in her frozen fingers. Her heart thudded fearfully. She stared into the immobilized violet eyes through the glass.
“Oh my god,” she gasped.

She had brought a murderer into her home!

Beth Kennedy, the heroine of Hurricane Crimes, is sharing one of her poems:
A hurricane is on its way.
Rain falls onto my skin,
sinking into my veins.

Waves crash into the beaches,
filling their wet claws with sand,
taking away my home in pieces.

Wind gains the strength of gods,
extracting vengeance on my land,
it doesn’t ponder, it doesn’t stop.

Hurricane Sabrina is on her way,
and she has one goal in mind-
me and my last day.

Book Links:

The Wild Rose Press:

Chrys Fey’s debut, Hurricane Crimes, was published by The Wild Rose Press. Mid 2014, she will be coming out with her second romantic-suspense eBook, 30 Seconds. She created the blog Write with Fey to offer aspiring writers advice and inspiration. She lives in Florida where she is ready to battle the next hurricane that comes her way.

Author Links:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Writerly Activity to Avoid by Betsy Ashton

@GoofyWriter Working at Artist out of Hiding #AOOH weekend. Come on by.

@bff Where are you? Looked all over the place for you. Please respond @GoofyWriter

@GoofyWriter In the front window. All set up with laptop and great writing ideas

@bff Found you. You aren't doing anything.

@GoofyWriter I'm writing. What else does a writer do?

@bff You don't look normal

@GoofyWriter I'm not normal. I'm a writer. I'm supposed to look different

@bff Going home for some props to help

@GoofyWriter Props?

@bff Here, put these on

@GoofyWriter Pajamas??? Who you kidding???

@bff And these

@GoofyWriter Bunny slippers?????

@bff Well, that's what you wear at home.

@GoofyWriter Now I have writer's block. I feel like an idiot and I can't think of a thing to write

@bff Do what you do at home

@GoofyWriter Walk around and babble dialogue

@bff Sure. It works when no one's watching

@GoofyWriter Stood, walked, waved arms in the air, mumbled, ranted

@bff And?

@GoofyWriter Writer's block dented. Sat down and wrote for half an hour

@bff Wash, rinse, repeat

@GoofyWriter Jumping around like a madman and screaming dialogue

@GoofyWriter In the back of a cop car in handcuffs

@GoofyWriter Hey, @bff, can you bail me out?

@GoofyWriter @bff

@GoofyWriter @bff

@bff No longer your bff. You're crazy. Bail yourself out

@GoofyWriter Not LOLing

@bff I am


Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences published by Koehler Books in March 2013.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Too much success?

I work full-time in a rather demanding job (tech writer for a BIG company). We had a recent reorganization and I still have my same boss, but I suspect I'm going to have some new duties. Where I've been a project leader unofficially in the past, I think I'm going to be made one officially in the future.

This is a double-edged sword (not quite "failure" but still...) If I was at a younger point in my career, I'd welcome this. It will be a challenge and will keep me very busy and I'll probably need to learn a bunch of new tools. I am hoping to retire in a few years, so this will likely be my swan song at work. I only hope I'm up to the challenge.

This means I'll need to cut back on some of my publishing goals, since I think I'll be nose-to-grindstone at work for the next year or so. I do my fiction writing at night, and sometimes I just don't have the energy. If I get booked into a lot of late meetings, then I may need to find a new schedule.

So -- new challenges ahead!

(30 books and counting)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Failure Isn't An Option by Brenda Whiteside

Release date May 2
Failure isn't an option. I've just agreed to write and deliver a five book series for The Wild Rose Press. The series is called Love and Murder. The first book, The Art of Love and Murder, releases on May 2. The second book, Southwest of Love and Murder, is on my editors desk now. I'm five chapters into book three, The Legacy of Love and Murder. Books four and five are nothing more than a glimmer of an idea in my head.

I've never written on deadline before. I've never promised books that I don't have the plot planned yet. Hands are trembling slightly.

Yesterday, I did the math, figured how many words I need to write each week. It seemed a better plan for me to do it weekly rather than daily. Life can get funky on a daily basis. I live on a small family farm and this year is our first to take our pickles out to market while increasing our output at the same time. And then there's the granddaughter and my mom who lives down in the valley. So if one or three days a week I don't write, I'll just have to double my output on another day.

I thought I'd share my schedule with you. My success hinges on a schedule. That's my personality.

Working in the dirt attire
May to the last week of July:
5:30-8:00 coffee, email, promo
8:00-11:00 farm chores
11:00-12:00 shower, lunch, clean kitchen
12:00-5:00 granddaughter time (1-2 hours), write
5:00-7:00 dinner, clean kitchen (thankfully have a husband who cooks)
7:00-8:30 read and critique for my critique partners

Once the end of July comes, the pickling begins. I have NO idea how my schedule will work out. Wish me luck.

Visit Brenda at
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at
She blogs about writing and prairie life at