Tag Archive: Writing


Keep On Keeping On

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I’m not very good at stopping and doing nothing. Part of me wishes I was. I didn’t even watch two and a half hours of shows today before I switched the tv off having had the constant feeling that I should be doing something else.

Reading is the closest thing I get to a day doing nothing and yet I can’t remember the last time I even let myself do that for a whole day without picking up a pen or filming something.

I actually like the creative part of my life, it focusses and energises me. Whilst I was on leave it was all pretty great. I was producing heaps and my life felt balanced. I was in a zone.

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Then though I had to go back to work.

It is a new work environment, and whilst most of the people there are great some aspects of it all are less than ideal, making what is already a stressful work environment even more so.

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I have found myself saying more and more often that I don’t give a crap. Last night my hubby told me that I had said it so much that it was beginning to worry about me because that kind of sentiment is just not me.

There are of course plenty of things I do still care about, but I have started to use that phrase as a way to distance myself from things. I am an over thinker and certain things eat away at me, even when they are not of my doing. Right now I don’t have the energy to deal with all those things and I think part of me hopes that if I repeat this sentiment over and over often enough I will stop feeling so much about the things I have no control over.

Problem though is if I start down this path am I going to be able to stop it? Because I never want to be a person with a hard heart that no longer cares for anything. I don’t want these frustrations I’m dealing with to poison my life.

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So I need to find a better way going forward.

Usually one of my best coping mechanisms is being creative but even that has changed.

My focus at the moment isn’t a world I’ve made up but a project called RAW, Rough Authentic Worship, and I’m really enjoying it, mostly. I don’t think my faith, for all my obvious and not so obvious flaws, has even been stronger. I am also really enjoying working with my husband. It definitely contributes to helping me maintain.

Thing is though when I went back to work, not only did my stress levels increase, the hours I got to be creative decreased. It was like a double whammy and we are still trying to find a new rhythm.

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Then in amongst all that is the doubt and second guessing of myself that is harder to block out when my reserves are as low as mine are now. There is that voice that is telling me to give up RAW because it is a project designed for interaction – to reach out to others, and that side of it seems like a failure, (even though I know these things take time).

Admittedly the feeling of failure is a struggle I have gone through before. Lots of people say positive supportive things but few give action to platitude. Sometimes words are the perfect solution and sometimes they are not.

The difference between RAW and writing a book only a few people read is that RAW is put together with an outward focus and fiction is simply a story I want to tell (and then if someone likes it all the better).

So how do I, in the midst of all this change, when my  feelings are so close to the surface all the time because I don’t have the energy to monitor them especially when I am safe at home, keep hold of my peace and keep moving forward?

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I don’t really have the answer to that yet. Like usual I am a work in progress. I am trying to shift my RAW focus – to be grateful for the things I am learning, the skills I am developing.

I am trying to stop the work issues from encroaching on the time I am not at work – finding ways to deliberately distract myself to stop over thinking.

Also I am trying to again find some form of balance. Trying to tell myself again that it is okay to do nothing, as well as getting in time reading just for enjoyment not research and maybe dipping my toes back into fiction as well.

Hopefully one day I will figure it out.

If you are interested in my faith journey you can always check out our Patreon site : https://www.patreon.com/roughauthenticworship

 

 

 

 

New Directions

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So I have made it to February and I have no idea how this much time has passed since my last post. I have been busy writing, a lot on my new project which is actually not fiction and very solidly grounded in my faith.

It isn’t something I was planning on doing, if you had asked me this time last year where my writing direction would go I’d have told you something very different. In fact I do still want to keep going with my fiction and I have started a new paranormal urban fantasy series but for now  this other thing fills my time.

I have been working on this new project, which will not be a book, so intensely because I need to have enough content to keep me going when my life gets so incredibly busy, which is does at times.

This is a new chapter of my life and life is full of chapters so I guess we will see how it goes. When the time is right I will share more.

Finally, and Thanks to My Readers

embracing fate kylie calwell 20191101cSo I have finally finished the Oparna Legacy series. Book 3 is now live and it has been one hell of a journey.

I have to thank all my readers for their patience. There is a story there and I feel you deserve to know it.

The writing of book 3 was interrupted by the all consuming drive to write a presentation that took me to Montreal to speak. it didn’t slow me down a lot to be fair because the characters were desperate for their stories to be told, the words just flowed.

The problems started when my original artist was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had to pass on my cover. Absolutely not something within anyone’s control and I hold no grudges there. I found a replacement artist and the deadline for my cover was I believed more than reasonable, certainly more than a month, quite a bit more. Then it became apparent that other things were far more important to him, it was as though because I was a friend my commission wasn’t as important as other things. In the end I had to ask if he was even going do it as the deadline had well passed and he hadn’t even started it. It pissed me off because if I had been any other paying client he would never have treated their commission in this manner, not for what he charged – fortunately I hadn’t paid anything yet.

By this time the story was finished and had been sent to both my beta reader and the editor.

I had other projects to work on but that delay had really set me back, I had wanted the book out before July and that was now never going to happen. I set about finding another artist and ended up with a lovely lady whose cover I am very happy with. Even that didn’t turn out to be so simple, because her previous commission took longer than expected for reasons. Again in this instance hardly something within her control.

Due to lack of cover art I hadn’t pushed my editor, but when I got that stuff back on track I realised I hadn’t heard from her. When I did get in contact I discovered that she had had internet problems that had delayed her ability to get the edits to me.

Things were looking like they’d be back on track but unfortunately I had further issues with getting the graphics on the cover and by this time these silly little hiccoughs just had me shaking my head and saying well of course it can’t be simple.

Then when I thought I had everything in place I went to do a final edit check and upload my already edited manuscript, only to discover the edited file had vanished, both copies of it, as I didn’t have just one.

I had one saving grace, I had sent a locked PDF of the final edit to someone. Only to discover that even though it was my file I couldn’t edit within it and to transfer the file from PDF was not a simple as all that. I had to do a complete format edit in the process.

Finally though it is here. I was never going to give up. Swear a lot at the universe but never give up.

If you are interested this is the Aus link but it can be found in all regions.

 

Glitter Tits

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I have done a thing. Being a volunteer at a pop culture conventions, was an awesome part of my life for a bunch of years. Through that time I made some incredible friends, had some amazing experiences and some not so great ones.

This year I had to make the choice to walk away from this part of my life. I kind of knew it was coming but wasn’t ready when it did. To help me get through I started to write down some of my memories.

This little book, mini book if you will, is the culmination of that. I don’t mention celebrity names, I don’t mention any names except mine. I don’t think it makes that much difference, the stories are still great, or not so great as a few of them are. And there are a few ‘what were you thinking’ moments of mine that made the cut, so feel free to laugh with me.

If you are a pop-culture convention goer, or fan, please buy it, read it – my little love letter to this awesome scene. Share the link with your friends, boost the signal. I love this scene and know there are still experiences I want to have.

 

Holidays

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I am currently on leave from work and I am busy, but in a way I like to be. I am writing. I have set myself various goals for these weeks off and I aim to be productive.

So many people were asking what my holiday plans were and then wondered if I wouldn’t get bored being as I’m not going anywhere this time.

Thing is for the last little while all I have really wanted to do is write. I have a novella length project that I’ve just finished the main edit on and it will hopefully be published before the holidays are done. I have also gotten my edits back from my editor and after a pain in my butt stuff around by my cover artist, I have commissioned a new artist and will hopefully have that soon, so Book three in the Oparna Legacy can be published.

Also my faith has hit the forefront of my life again and I have a project tied into that which I plan on making substantial headway on during this time off.

Then of course there is the new series I have started working on as well, an urban paranormal crime series that I think will be kind of fun.

So that’s it for my holiday plans and I can’t help but think my 6 and a bit weeks leave isn’t going to be anywhere near long enough for me to get all the writing done that I want to do.

Being An Author

I guess I really am an author. I have two books published now and a third in editing stage.

I love the cover for my second book and the thanks for the art go to the amazing Mel Schwarz, and the graphics were done by the awesome Peter B.

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I’m pretty happy that the second one finally got out, later than what I’d hoped but what are you going to do, some times life simply doesn’t go according to plan. It will mean (hopefully) that the gap between two and three won’t be as long because the first draft for three is already finished.

Other huge things are happening for me I’m about to venture into the unknown. I’m going to speak at a conference. It’s not the first stage I’ve been on, not by a long shot but it is the first where the audience is made up of professionals expecting to hear from another professional. I believe I can do this but there are still occasional doubts. I had a moment the other week when I was thinking about the people I will be talking to and I wondered why I thought I could do do this as they are all grown up and the like. Then I realised I too am a grown up I just somehow seem to forget that about myself. What it is is that I don’t take myself as seriously as I seem to think these kind of professionals do. I guess I will find out.

Also on the writing front, I jumped out of bed this morning to write down another idea. It’s good to know I have enough ideas to keep me writing for a while yet, I only wish the need to work and pay bills didn’t interfere.

I know I haven’t got a proper handle on keeping regular with my blog updates, I really wish I was better at it, I used to be. Again though, life gets in the way and sometimes something has to give. For me it is this. Here’s hoping that I will get better at keeping this updated sometime soon.

Wow

It is difficult to fathom two things. One that it’s been so long since I posted, I mean November was the last time, really, that seems wrong somehow. Two that we are already into April of 2018.

Let me see how much I can remember to catch you up on.

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I went on a mini cruise in January with my family. It’s the first time I’ve been on a cruise and I loved it. It was what my munchkins referred to as an ‘old people’s cruise’, and they weren’t wrong. It was a small boat but still it was good. I had nothing to do, no responsibility and it was great. I didn’t have to clean or cook. I thoroughly not having to do anything except read and write and spend some time with said munchkins, but I didn’t have to do that because they had their cousin to play with. Awesome.

Long and the short of it is, I really want to go on another cruise, just a bit of a bigger boat this time.

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Then there is work, lots of work, but I’ve got to pay the bills somehow.

So onto the writing side of things.

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I thought I was in really good position to publish book two of the Oparna Legacy for April then something happened. I don’t talk about my faith very often but its there, it underlies much of what I do. I don’t advertise it because I have issues with organised religion and I really don’t like being shoved into claustrophobic boxes. Anyway the long and the short of it is the big man up stairs gave me a task. This task was research heavy and became something like an obsession. Every waking moment it seemed, was taken up with working on it. It was something I’ve never tackled before and something somewhat out of my comfort zone. However it is now done, or at least the bit I can do at the moment is. And no I’m not going to be more specific because I really can’t, there is nothing more I can say until the next stage happens, if there is a next stage.

Oh and I also wrote two short stories that I have now submitted for competitions, both of which were more of the literary fiction type, nothing spec fiction about them at all. It is such a challenge to write in different genres, it may not be something I want to dabble in for a full length project but it is still worth dabbling it in.

Moving on.

In all of that I actually did get book two finished, given a solid second edit, got it to the beta reader and did the read aloud edit with my hubby (who doesn’t read but is a very happy listener who points out good things and bad). As a side note, I find reading aloud a very useful editing tool, because it forces you to go over every word in a way you sometimes don’t when you a a fast reader as I am, and know what you think you wrote, which sometimes you totally didn’t.

I now just need to find the time to catch up with my beat reader, do all those changes and a final edit before I send it to an actual editor.

Then just for fun I have also finished the first run through of book three, and I’m working on two other full length novels, one of which looks like the start of a series that will be longer than three books. So plenty of writing left to go in my very active mind.

Now you are up to date.

I’m on leave and it’s almost Nova time again. Here’s hoping I stay organised enough to update you on a way more regular basis.

 

When A Publishing Plan Goes Wrong

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I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. There were countless hours spent pounding out stories on an old typewriter at my parents kitchen table. Writing is something I’ve always done, not always in the same format, poetry, stories, plays and novels. Always, however writing.

Being a published author has been a dream, a goal of mine and it is one I have been working towards. I worked at it, I researched it, I networked. I read, voraciously. Then I wrote, and I wrote and I rewrote. Then finally I submitted to a competition, (not the first one I’d ever submitted too and not the first novel I finally finished). Much to my delight I made it through the first cut. Top 40 of 260. The next logical step was to submit to agents and publishers. After which I got a whole lot of nothing and a couple of rejections.

There was no way I was giving up on this, I loved my story, I believed in my story for as much as letting other people read it was terrifying.

The next step I decided on was manuscript assessment. A process no scarier than letting anyone read it, except hopefully if they didn’t hate it they would be able to help me figure out what I could do to improve it. The feedback I got was thankfully positive, I was thrilled that someone else liked my story. The best thing was this was where I got the best piece of advice, ‘it’s really good but a structural rewrite, if you want to put in the effort, will make it great.’ That one suggestion and I finally understood some earlier feedback that had made no sense to me.

This began the biggest part of my journey. I wrote, whenever I could, a scene here a scene there. I added, I took away. It was slow going, very slow going because when you are a wife, and mother as well as juggling work, it can be difficult to find time. Added to that was the fact this wasn’t the only project I was working on, sometimes inspiration for this project simply dried up but other ideas would just flow.

Then I had an amazing breakthrough. I got my version of the elevator pitch with a boutique publisher. Somehow I sold him on my story when I sold him on myself and my work ethic. He asked for what I had, which to be honest was an incomplete and patchy story. This kick started my writing again with vengeance. I wrote, rewrote and edited the first 50 pages and sent it off.

Even with no contract and no solid deadline it lit a fire in my belly. The writing burned through me and the story finally found it’s voice and form. The publisher got back to me and said as soon as I was done he wanted to offer me a contract. You may know how happy I was that day, it was as if everything I had worked for and through had been validated. Working my arse off I got it finished and finally got my contract.

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It would be wonderful if that was the end of the story. If we started editing and my book made it out into the world.

Instead I got

Nothing.

A few months after I signed my contract the publisher decided to go on indefinite hiatus due to stress. This left me in some state of limbo. What could I do, technically I was still in contract and he hadn’t closed the business just said he needed a break. I figured, that was probably a good enough reason to break contract if I needed too so I started putting out feelers again. Not a lot but a few, and there were no bites.

Then, from out of nowhere, when my contract was closer to its end than beginning, the publisher decides to go ahead and send me the first lot of edits, asking me how I would like to go forward. I was hesitant but the lure of publication is strong.

By this time though I had re-edited my story yet again, why not, it can always be improved. So I added his edits and sent off the new version. Then…

Nothing.

I send a message about cover art, because an artist I know has created a beautiful pic for me that I really wanted to use. I get a positive response.

Next thing I know a friend messages me and asks if I’m okay with the fact my publisher has decided to close his doors. That was the first I heard about it, then came the bulk email.

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I was heartbroken and so incredibly angry. I know there were extenuating circumstances, and I truly believe he didn’t mean for this to be the end result but it still felt like a crushing rejection. I ranted, I cried, I poured my frustrations out to an author I admire, who surprisingly answered me with some good advice.

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At this point you realise you have two choices. You either give up or you pick yourself up and push forward. I’m not much of a quitter, this is not something I’d spent a few weeks or months on and had little invested in, this was something I’d been working towards the greater part of my whole life.

Publishing is not an easy industry to break into and with the advances in technology I realised I had another choice; traditional publishing or self-publishing. My heart wanted me to go traditional, that was my dream. To have someone believe enough in my story to want to share it with others. I really wanted to be able to put a book in people’s hands. That path though could mean years of submitting and waiting and most likely a lot of rejections. Self-publishing meant I could get it out there by the time I was originally supposed to be published.

I bit the bullet. I love my story, I believe in myself (sometimes – so it must have been a good self-esteem day I made the decision) and I wanted to go forward rather than sit in a holding pattern indefinitely. I found myself an editor and hit send. I already had the art I wanted for my cover art and I know a wonderfully talented graphic designer who was happy to put the cover together for me.

When my editor got back to me saying that at times it ‘was like reading an already published book’, I couldn’t have been happier. With feedback like that you’d think it would be easy to upload to the e-book site and hit submit. One button and it is all done. That one button though carried a lot of weight, all my hopes and fears resting on one small click. In the end my hubby said ‘just do it,’ and I really had to take that chance on myself.

Publishing is scary, putting yourself out there in such a way opens you up to people you might otherwise hide from. Self-publishing may even be more so because at the end of the day you are the only one who believes in what you have done, it is all on you (friends and family don’t really count here, they are supposed to believe in you and support you).

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This is my journey so far. Not the one I wanted but the one I ended up with. I haven’t made my millions, I haven’t sold 50 copies as yet, but I have had great feedback from a large number of those who have read it. I’ve found some fans and even had my first royalty payment. All of which is better than nothing and better than not taking that chance in the first place.

 

 

In-Love-with-a-Fictional-Character.pngThis is something I have done since I first began to devour books. When I was younger I wanted to be George from the Famous Five.

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When I was about twelve I had a huge crush on Atreyu from The Never Ending Story, I balled my eyes out when Artax died in the Swamp of Sorrows.

0133735_42657_MC_Tx360.jpgLater various characters from Feist’s Midkemia filled my imagination. And who wouldn’t want Reilly’s Scarecrow to be their significant other or at least friend. I was never the sort to be swept off my feet by Mr Darcy and the love I felt for characters was mostly familial. I wanted them to be my friends. When I lacked friends in the real world I never lacked for them in my imagination. I would retreat from the teasing and hurt by venturing into other worlds;

Narnia, Crabapple Farm, River Heights, Kirrin Island, Ancient Egypt and the list goes on. I went on adventures with Pug and Thomas, Reepicheep, Tasslehoff Burfoot, solved mysteries with Nancy and Trixie.

Nancy-Drew-vintage-image.jpgAs I got older my tastes changed, but how I read and why I read didn’t. Mother would be a great laugh to hang with, in fact an afternoon spent with Eve and Roarke, Mother, Mercy, Adam and various surrounding players would be my idea of wonderful. On another day, Beka Cooper, Keladry, Annabeth, Caroline and I could all sit down over a civilised cheesecake and chocolate and right all the wrongs in the world, what a glorious day that would be.

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It’s okay if you don’t know a lot of these names that’s your loss, but then you may have a list of names I wouldn’t recognise and that is fine too. Just like in real life we all like different people, so we are all drawn to different characters and stories.

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Characters fill my head, mine and others. I often find them easier to relate to, less likely to cause me grief in any way. It was in these characters that I found acceptance to be me, as silly as it may sound. If girls, and women, such as these, who don’t comfortably fit into a mould, can have friends, family and success, then maybe I could as well. I never felt I fit, not really, but I did with my fictional friends.

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Writing my own stories in some ways has been an extension of this love affair. I never set out to write Evayn as she is now, as the character she is becoming (see what I did there?) She started in fact as what my husband lovingly, or laughingly, referred to as, my naked amnesia chick. Holy heck she has come a long way. (There may be spoilers ahead but only little ones.) Now I know her so well I know when she will roll her eyes, bite her lip or bottle up all that is bothering her. I know that holding steel in her hand calms her and helps her think. I know the dragon in her confuses her and she struggles to embrace that fully, in a way she never struggled with that she inherited from her father. I know her dark places. I’ve been there with her and want nothing more than to be with her at the end of this adventure we are going on.

There are many characters in this world I’ve created whom I’ve become attached to. Some I’ve shed tears over and others I want to slap, I hope that means I’ve done a good job with them because those are the feelings I get when I deal with real people.

Reading led me to writing. Reading has always been a central part of who I am. For me it is something that provides a break to life and all the crap that can be found in it. I willingly say I rarely read non-fiction or literary work. I read to escape not to be reminded of that which actually surround me. Reading has given me people to love and despise without the need to actually interact with people, (and I am a person that a sometimes struggles with being around people). It is also a refuge and that is part of the end result of falling in love with a world and its characters. I have read some books over and over and yes even over (sometimes to the point of the book falling apart). Those books are my safe place to go. There are times when I want to close out the rest of the world and curl up with an old friend, it is like a safety blanket, warm, cuddly and comfortable. Safe.

As a writer I want to write a story people like, a character people love and if I can create a world that people want to return to then that would be my idea of success.

Though lots of book sales would also be an acceptable definition.

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After The Fact

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So what now?

It’s a big thing. You don’t realise just how much energy you expend just before hitting that submit button. I mean you know it’s your main focus but you don’t realise just what that will mean once you’ve done the deed.

And once you’ve done that deed you can feel a bit flat, at somewhat of a loose end.

The thing about writing is it is very personal. You pour so much of your time and in some respects yourself, into what you write. You want to have a good product, but the thought of putting it out there into the world can be quite terrifying. Once your book is live the terror doesn’t go away. In some ways it increases. What if no one buys it? What if people don’t like it? It can be a dark place to find yourself and for a creative person, who may be prone to moments of depression that can be a rough thing.

If you are lucky enough to have gone the traditional route then there is not a lot you can do once it is out there. You just have to trust in your work and your publisher to get that work out there.

If you have self published electronically then it is all really on you. Which means on some level you put some of that pressure on your friends. That is a difficult thing to work through. Friends and aquaintances want to support you and so they say all the right things. It makes you feel good to read or hear that support, until you go to your author log in and realise of the 100 people who said ‘awesome’ and other mutterings of support, only 20 people have actually put their hands in their pockets to support you.

So where does that leave you as an author who has perhaps spent years working towards this goal?

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Well you get over it. You get over yourself.

If you haven’t figured out by now that you need to have a thick skin to be in this industry, then you are either naive or not been in or around the industry for very long.

It isn’t your friends fault they don’t read, don’t like the genre you’ve written in, or that they prefer a paper copy. When it comes right down to it you can’t make someone read. You also can’t expect others to actually pay for something they have no interest in. The numbers are hard to deal with. That’s all they are though and realistically selling twenty copies to people who genuinely like the story you’ve put out there, makes it all worth it. It just doesn’t pay your bills.

Sure I won’t say no if someone buys it and doesn’t read it. And I’m more than willing to remind people that for an amount similar to a large coffee you can support a writer. I also like to let people know that for such a meagre amount the writer gets more money from the electronic sale, than they would if you had spent 4 times that amount to purchase their book.

A story that sells thousands is all author’s dream, or at least I guess it is, but it is just that, a dream, and dreams like that are usually ones you work towards, they rarely happen overnight. Reality is a lot harsher but we need to take hope from the few who put their money into your pocket and embrace your characters the same way you did when you formed them from your own precious time, (and sometimes your blood as well).

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The dream may happen in the future, but it is going to take forward action for that to happen, so you can’t let the funk post publication get to you. You need to just pick up your pen, or your keyboard and just keep writing.

If someone knows how to make my story of a kick arse girl who works hard and becomes a kick arse woman with a drive to seek justice and an ability to fight for it, get out there and become an overnight sensation, then please feel free to make that happen. (I’m also fine with movie or tv series offers as well.)

Otherwise if you’ve just swung by here to read my musings in this moment, then welcome, and if you’d like to check Becoming out, then please follow the link.