Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group

This group posts every first Wednesday of each month.
Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to IWSG page and display the badge in your post.

Thank you to our host, Alex J. Cavanaugh and today's co-hosts: Hart Johnson, Chemist Ken, Candilynn Fite, Terri Rochenski, Clare Dugmore, and Lilica Blake!
Visit them to say hello ;)

I'm hoping what I'm about to say will inspire some of you :)

So I haven't shared this here yet but in February one of my books reached #58 in Amazon's overall paid store (not under this name). It stayed in the top 100 for four days. When my husband woke me up at 3 am to show me the ranking, I couldn't believe it. Never mind that I couldn't sleep anymore because I've just realized my goal for 2014 in February! I have to say this was probably one of the best moments of my writing career and very close to giving me the same kind of feeling as when my first child was born. Absolutely exhilarating.

And I'm writing this today because if I can do it, so can anyone else. With enough persistence, determination and desire, that top 100 is within your grasp too. Now that I've reached my 2014 goal, does that mean I can sit back and relax for the rest of the year? No way. Making that list was just a personal goal and much less important than making my readers happy, or supporting my family. But definitely a nice addition to my bucket list.

So don't give up, believe in yourself, strive to improve your work and with enough persistence your luck will increase as well :)

What are your insecurities today? Are you on track to reaching your goals for 2014?



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group - March 2014

This group posts every first Wednesday of each month.
Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to IWSG page and display the badge in your post.

Thank you to our host, Alex J. Cavanaugh and today's co-hosts: Tina Downey, Elsie, Elizabeth Seckman, and Julie Flanders!
Visit them to say hello ;)

I'm about three quarters into a new novel and I'm beginning to doubt myself whether it will mean as much to my readers as it does to me. I've been wanting to write this one for a long time. It's very personal context taken from my life, then twisted to make the plot more exciting. 
When writing, I actually used names of people I know whom I wanted in the story, then the names would be changed of course before I'm done. I did that because it was easier to communicate the emotion I sought. I've spoken to those people as well, telling them what I'm doing, and they were very excited about it - even if the full story is not a true story. I've warned them that people who know them and who read it may put the two and two together and draw wrong conclusions about their life, and they got even more excited!
But now, as I'm writing the final 25% I'm beginning to wonder whether it's enough. It's heart wrenching and soul piercing when I read it, but it's because I know that some of these events actually happened - but will it be as emotional for my readers? I'm not sure.
So, that's what I'm presently dealing with. The novel should be done within the next two weeks and go off to beta readers. Hopefully they will be able to tell me what they think.
I swear I can feel my palms sweating already.

Have you ever written something personal? Did it make you feel more nervous than usual? What are your insecurities today?


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group - Feb 2014

This group posts every first Wednesday of each month.
Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to IWSG page and display the badge in your post.

Thank you to our host, Alex J. Cavanaugh and today's co-hosts: Sheena-kay Graham, Julie Musil, Jamie Ayres, and Mike Swift.
Visit them to say hello ;)

Earlier this year I made a promise to myself to try to reach out to others.  This is one of my shortcomings - it always has been. I'm the listener at a party and the quiet one whom not too many people notice (at least I think so). I don't do 'drama' and can usually tell whether I would get along with someone just by looking at them. It's weird, but it's true. And it's not about their look, per say, but about the vibe I get. It's like a sixth sense and it freaks me out sometimes.

So, for the past month I have been reaching out more and I've begun to shatter that shell of social awkwardness. What did I find? A lot of new friends (online of course) who not only it seems have their own insecurities but have also extended their hand to help over and over again. I feel blessed to be part of such an amazing author community. Now, you may not have seen it on this blog because I've been publishing under a pen name Lacey Silks. For the past year and a half I've dipped my toes into writing and publishing adult romances.

My family and friends have known about it since the beginning and have been very supportive. Many of my Lacey readers know that I write under Marta Szemik, and told me they've read my books. I've never kept it a secret, but also never found a good opportunity to share this information on this blog until now - because I really would like to come out of my shell, and perhaps this way I could find some readers who could crossover to Lacey. So this is me pushing past my awkwardness and shy nature to reach out.

If you like to read erotic romance and romantic suspense, there are a few short stories available for free that you can try (My First, My Last, Bossy Request, Mistress Claire - everywhere except Amazon as I'm still trying to price match it). From Feb 5th until Feb 7th I'm also reducing the price on Layers Deep to $0.99, book 1 in the Layers Trilogy. I hope you enjoy!

What are your insecurities this month? Do you know anyone who's shy? 



Monday, February 3, 2014

Coincidences

It makes me laugh when reviewers reading my books comment "this is too big of a coincidence," or "this could never happen in real life." This really surprises me because a lot of the so called 'coincidences' in my novels are taken from real life situations - ok, not the fantasy ones, but the regualar fiction - yeah, coincidences happen more often than we know.

For example:

* After naming one of my characters and publishing my book, I found out there's an author who goes by that name -oops!
* Another characters - well it just turns out that his first name is the same as one  best selling author uses for her MC (which I didn't know), and his last name is the same as another best selling author uses for that MC. I guess I just choose them well ;)
* My characters happen to be in specific places at a specific time which changes the course of their story

OK, some real life scenarios now:

* We took a skiing vacation two years ago, just hubby, me and the kids. First time in our life at this ski resort, 8 hour drive away from our house. We go to our chalet/condo and guess what! My cousin is staying right next door! Nope, we didn't discuss the trip with him.

* On that same ski hill, we're standing in a line to go up on the gondola and someone calls my name I'm not sure how she recognized me because most of the time on a ski hill I look like this (hey, I like to stay warm):

I guess I must have taken my goggles and mask off for a moment, because a friend, who I've never been skiing with, called me.

* Now this one will blow your mind:

Spring 2001: Me and hubby go on a vacation to Cuba. We stay at a resort in Holguin and meet a very nice couple with whom we spend the rest of our vacation. We go snorkeling every day, play Foosball in the evenings, just a great time! We exchange addresses, emails, phone numbers and will definitely stay in touch (this is the key) as they live in the next province over.
Well, we lose their info and can't get in touch with them.

Fall 2005: We have a 2.5 year old and a 7 month old and go to Cuba with our parents but stay in Cayo Santa Maria. Two days later, we get a Hurricane warning and end up being evacuated (10 hour bus ride from hell) to a resort in Holguin. This resort is right beside the one we went to in 2001. Now being there, with two small kids, you can imagine we don't have quite a lot of time to ourselves and we don't want to burden our parents. But while at that resort, middle of the day, they do take our kids and we have a couple of hours to ourselves. We take our snorkeling equipment and go for a walk, turning right to go to the same beach we snorkeled at in 2001. As we walk we reminisce about the great time we had here last time.
As we walk, we see a couple on the beach who looks familiar, with a 3 year old boy. Guess who! Yup, it's the same couple we met in 2001!!!
I just couldn't believe it and neither could they. It turns out they lost our information the same way we had lost theirs. Of course we exchange our addresses and emails and phone numbers once again etc.... They come to our resort that evening for a drink. We have a great time and absolutely cannot believe our luck.
We go back home to Canada, I look for the address - AND IT'S LOST!  Please note that I'm not someone who loses things like that. Neither is my husband. Was it fate? Will we ever meet them again?
I hope so, because I truly believe in wild coincidences, and that's why I put them in my books.

Do you believe in wild coincidences?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group - Jan 2014


This group posts every first Wednesday of each month.
Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to IWSG page and display the badge in your post.



Thank you to our host, Alex J. Cavanaugh and today's co-hosts: Bob Milne, River Fairchild, Julie Dao, and Sarah Foster!
Visit them to say hello ;)

New Years has passed and we're well on our way into 2014. I'd thought I'd do a post about resolutions and what I'm planning tied in with IWSG, but somehow my mind keeps drifting to only one topic today: INSECURITY.

No matter how much I try, I find myself literally lost trying to swim through writing, publishing, marketing, cross-promoting. Yet there still seems to be a piece of a puzzle I'm missing that I cannot figure out. The only thing I can go back to is being completely insecure about my work. 

Since my goal has always been to make a living with my writing and continue writing until my fingers bleed, not reaching the specific plateau I'd envisioned is difficult and I do think insecurity has something to do with it.

So I think this year, my only resolutions will be try to break free of the protective shell I've kept, reach out to others much more, and take chances and risks I wouldn't have taken otherwise. Hopefully that will give me the strength to believe in what I'd love to reach.

What are your insecurities today? How is 2014 treating you so far? Are you staying warm this winter or has the freeze caught up to you as well?

  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2014! May you be blessed during the Holidays with love, warmth and happiness. Stay safe and I will see you in early 2014!

  (and I'm not sure why my picture doesn't want to rotate)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Every first Wednesday of the month the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) post is meant to entourage, assist and inspires other bloggers, writers and authors. This is a safe place where we post our insecurities and share them with the world as well as offer assistance and encouragement to others.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is also holding a contest! Visit today for details – lots of great giveaways.



As always, a big thank you to our host, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Today's co-hosts are Julie Flanders, Heather Gardner, Kim Van Sickler, and Elsie is Writing. Please visit them today to thank them for their time and effort.

I can't believe this is the last post of the year for IWSG. It only fits that I summarize what I've learned this past year. It's been a tough one, but with my family's support and the encouragement of this group as well as the blogging community's, the journey has still been worthwhile. I'm only writing this because I feel comfortable saying it and please note, this is only my experience, so yours may vary.
  • A little writing every day goes a long way. I've written over 400,000 words this year, (yes, I need to update my widget on the sidebar) but only because I developed a routine of writing first thing in the morning, every day.
  • Each book I've published is better and sells better than the next one. So it goes without saying that 'practice makes perfect'. Now I'm still far away from perfect, in fact I don't think I'll ever get there, but we aren't born able to walk or talk either. It's practice and encouragement from others what helps us achieve that. The same goes for writing.
  • Read, read and then read some more. If you're a serious writer, this should be part of your job. And if you are a writer/author, reading shouldn't feel like a job.
  • As a writer and publisher, I found making close connections with those writing in your genre is crucial. Cross-promotion between authors is a must to succeed.
  • Writer's Cafe at Kindleboards is a great source of information. Ensure you read the rules of the board before posting.
  • Just because you write a great book, it doesn't mean it will sell well. A lot of luck and marketing comes into play. I don't believe those who say they just upload a book and it starts selling (unless they're established authors). I speak to this from my own experience so if this has happened to you, I'm assuming you're sleeping on a bed of horseshoes and eating four-leafed clovers for breakfast. The competition is huge and ruthless. There are a lot of savvy authors out there with marketing cruising in their veins.
  • If you're in this career for the money, you have better luck winning the lottery. The ship for making a quick buck in publishing sailed over a year ago. Is it still possible to make a good living? Yes. Am I speaking from experience? No, LOL! Well, not yet.
  • Your fans should be your best friends. If you get a personal email about how much they enjoyed your book, put that information in a nice spreadsheet. Reply, politely thanking them and ask whether they'd like an ARC of your next book. This will play a huge role on your release days when on day 1 or 2 you suddenly have 20 reviews. It works! (for the reviews) Plus there's nothing better than fan mail!
Ok, I think I've covered the most important points.
Can you identify with any of these points? What are your insecurities today? On another note, are you done your Christmas shopping?