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Hi, Bloggers!

I'm putting together a release day blitz for SAVOR. The post goes live on Dec. 12 and I hope you can help me spread the word.

Please sign up below:


If you know other bloggers who might be interested in helping out, please show them the sign up sheet.

Your participation is much appreciated.

Thank you!

Chasing Shadows

             It’s very easy to get into writing for all the wrong reasons. You read about success stories like J.K. Rowling, who before Harry Potter was on the brink of poverty, and think “Hey, I can be that too.” Reading success stories can be great motivators. They can get you through the toughest moments of the writing process. But success stories can also implant illusions of grandeur that hinder your happiness as a writer.

            There are several milestones in a writer’s career. Many of the success stories have these. An agent. A multi-book publishing deal. Making it to any of the bestsellers lists. Your novel adapted to the silver screen. And if you really want to dream, the setting of your novel created into a theme park. Yes, we’re back to the J.K. Rowling example. It doesn’t hurt to be swimming in dough too, because who doesn’t want to fill an Olympic-sized pool with cash just to roll around in? The possible paper cuts alone should turn you off, not to mention the amount of germs. Okay, this is not a joking kind of post.

            Chasing these milestones can be destructive to a writer. We are creators, artists. This means we are extra sensitive to outside influences…like success stories. If we get it into our heads that we need to achieve all these milestones then anything we do achieve that don’t quite match up will never be enough. An example would be conquering NaNo for the first time. Or getting a five star review. Or completing the next novel in a series. Or even pressing send on the latest round of edits. Because we are chasing the wrong kinds of milestones, we’re setting ourselves up for utter failure. Or at the very least an unhappy, unfulfilled life as an author.

            Don’t get me wrong. Dreaming of these milestones isn’t wrong. Dreams are free and give us motivation to become better. To hone our craft. Clock in our ten thousand hours. But it’s when the milestones take over even the minutest decisions we make about our writing that we forget why we became writers in the first place. It becomes more about the fame and notoriety, writing that bestseller, instead of writing for the love of the craft. For the beauty of transferring what’s in our heads into a blank page.

            Chasing the dream is one thing. Letting the dream control you is another. Then when you don’t get the dream you feel less of who you think you are. Like you’re not meeting expectations. Your fellow writers then become the wrong kind of competition. You see them as obstacles instead of colleagues. Doubts begin to fester in your head. Pretty soon manuscripts aren’t getting written. When you do get published and don’t make the bestseller list you think you’re the worst writer in the world. The negative reviews blind you from seeing the positive ones. And then you start to envy the success stories instead of looking up to them, instead of trying to make something of yourself because their story inspired you.

            The life of a writer is not an easy one. Every single person in the world has a book in him or her that he or she wants to write. But not everyone actually takes the time to sit down and get the work done. An even smaller percentage has the courage to share this book with the world. Smaller still is the percentage that finds a modicum of success in an increasingly crowded and convoluted publishing business. And smallest of all is the group that can check off all the milestones I’ve mentioned above.

And the worst part? Because there is one. Most of these successes don’t even care that they’ve become successful. That’s when you as the writer with the wrong kinds of motivation will start to think that it should have been you. That you’re working your ass off and nothing comes of it. That if you were the success story you would cherish every second of it. This is when your thoughts become absolutely toxic as a writer.

            If you can find yourself in the penultimate group, shouldn’t it be enough? Shouldn’t actually sitting down and creating be the high instead of chasing milestones that might not be meant for you? Sure, one of your novels can become a breakout hit and everything I’ve mentioned will come true. But how can they when you’re keeping your eye on the wrong thing? When you’re chasing shadows instead of creating light?

            You became a writer because you love the act of writing. The craft of it. Because you can’t see yourself doing anything else with your life. Everything else that comes because of that love should be secondary. Maybe even tertiary. Be thankful that you’ve completed fifty thousand words for NaNo this month. Be thankful that you have a novel ready for submission. Be thankful that you have several novels already lined up for publication. Be thankful that you’re a published author and that people are out there enjoying your work as you read this. Whatever stage you’re in during your writing career, be thankful because you’re pursuing your dream. Maybe even living it.


Remember, it’s about becoming a better writer. Continually improving yourself and your craft. Challenging yourself to be better, to create more. Not the possible milestones that come with the success of it.     

Savor Review Tour Posters

The posters are here! The posters are here! Check them out:


Here's the second one:


Aren't they pretty?

Thank you so much, Iris from Paranormal Cravings, for hosting this tour.

Please feel free to post these posters on your blogs or websites. Any help to spread the word is certainly appreciated. *hands you virtual chocolate*

End of the Year Funk

~Just some eye candy for you~
            Feel it!

            We’re literally counting down the days to the end of 2013. The holidays are here. Malls are singing Christmas songs. For those of you in the States, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It’s finally that time of year where calories cease to exist.

            For those participating in NaNovember, it’s a time for word counts and daily writing rituals. The finish line is getting to 50k in thirty days or less.

            But there is this funk that comes over people just as the year is winding down. You feel it seep into your bones the second Halloween ends. You just want to drop everything and coast through the last two months. With each day that passes you get lazier and lazier. You just want to sit around and binge-watch your favorite TV shows. Or hang out at the movie theater all day eating French fries and sitting in the cold theater until you’ve viewed every offering for that week.

            Safe it to say I’m in that funk. I’m feeling all lazy and slow. It’s hibernating season, yet there are so many more things that need to get done. So many things in line that you realize you’re just as busy today as you were when 2013 started.

            I love writing so much that I can’t see myself doing anything else. Before I gave myself to writing, I merely survived life. Now I’m living it. But like every love affair, you have days when you just want room to breathe.

            I promised myself that I’d finish writing Relish for NaNo. And I intend on keeping that promise no matter what. Today I sat down to write chapter fourteen and it felt like pulling teeth. Each word had to be forced out of me. Nothing was flowing right. I kept getting stuck at every turn. It bordered on psychotic how difficult it became.

            But this didn’t stop me. I kept pushing until the chapter was done, or at least I reached the personal word count I’ve set for myself with each chapter that I write. Afterwards, I sat there thinking about why the story wasn’t coming out the way I’d envisioned it. Then I realized I needed to take a drastic turn. Let go of what I thought was right for the story and infuse it with something totally different. Break the rules I’ve set inside my head.

            Pain is what happens when the funk sets in. Do I give in? A year ago, maybe. There are days when I toy with the idea, for sure. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop and bum around for the last forty or so days of the year. I can’t afford to do that. My writing would forgive me, but I wouldn’t. When you love something, you keep at it. Pain is part of the process. It’s part of the growth that needs to happen for you to become better at what you’re doing.

            I got this really great advice from one of The Nerdist podcasts. Aziz Ansari said, “Get good at what you’re doing and everything will fall into place.” I may be paraphrasing, and this advice may have come from someone who’d given it to him so it’s pre-owned, but the truth of it blew my mind.

            Just because I’m in the End of the Year Funk doesn’t mean I’ll stop. It actually drives me to keep going. To play through the pain.

            Keeping distractions at bay, on the other hand, is a whole different problem. *winks*


Time Suck

Okay, so I promised to write a post about my NaNo project. This post is it...well, sort of...I will definitely digress into something better. Stay with me.

With the release of Savor fast approaching, I decided to write Relish (book 2 of the series) for NaNo. I was doing fine for the first nine days of writing, but when I reached chapter ten, I sort of got stuck. There were several different ways to start the new chapter and I couldn't decide on the best one.

This is where my wonderful time suck experience comes in.

Oh the wonderful world of Cinema Sins. I discovered their videos by accident on Facebook, but I couldn't find the article anymore. Sorry.

Anyway, there are no proper words to describe the awesomeness of this, so I give you their introductory video instead:


This one is my favorite:


After two hours of watching every Everything Wrong With video, I found a way to begin chapter ten of Relish. Best writer's block cure* ever.

Subscribe to their channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/CinemaSins?feature=watch

Happy watching!

*Some side effects may include accidentally peeing while laughing your ass off, tightness in the chest area, and possible cardiac arrest.

Apply Today

I got this last year. So worth it. Apply now:

FILIPINO CREATORS! An anouncement from National Book Development Board -
Apply now for the 2nd Ken Spillman NBDCS AFCC Subsidy.

Held annually in Singapore, the Asian Festival for Children’s Content (AFCC) brings together writers, illustrators, publishers, editors, agents and producers from all over the world. Filipinos have made a splash at recent festivals. In 2014, it might be your turn to extend your network and profile.

To help Filipino creators access regional opportunities, Australian author Ken Spillman makes available an annual grant of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) to help defray the expenses of attending the AFCC.

To qualify, applicants must have published at least one full-length work for children or young adults. Evidence of the published work may take the form of a PDF file attached to the application or a link to the site where the work is sold.

Applicants are also asked to submit a resumé and a maximum of 500 words explaining how attendance at the AFCC might be expected to contribute to the applicant’s development and profile as a writer. A statement about why the applicant needs the grant may also be considered but is not a requirement.

A commitment to attend the AFCC is also expected in the form of an undertaking to pay other associated expenses. The National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) generously offers the chosen recipient a 50% discount on the AFCC registration fee. A special code will be emailed to the chosen applicant, and this code may be used to register online.

AFCC 2014 will take place from 30 May to 4 June 2014, with the writers’ and illustrators’ conference scheduled for 28-29 May 2014. More information about AFCC 2014 can be found at http://afcc.com.sg/ .

Applications may be emailed to afccsubsidy@nbdb.gov.ph. Deadline for submission of applications is January 31, 2014. All submissions will be treated confidentially.

Some Luka Love

Okay, so I'm writing Relish (Book 2 of the Vicious Feast series) for NaNo and this happened: 


You're welcome!

Make sure to add Relish to your TBR: 


We won!

Check it out, folks!

All that hard work paid off:


So cool.

Okay, back to work for me. *reenters editing cave*

Arianne Cruz Reviews: Bitten by R.L. Stine

With the craziness of October, I have one blogger feature left. Everyone, meet Arianne:

 Welcome to my castle :)

This blog will feature my creative side with some real-life updates. I don't know how interesting it will be, but with a little imagination, I'm sure I can entice you to keep reading. Stick around at your own risk. You've been warned ;)

She reviews more than just novels and I love the way her blog looks. Check it out here.

Today she reviews R.L. Stine's Bitten.

Take it away, Arianne!

~*~

If you read my blogs, you know that I am IN LOVE with vampires. This book was sent to me for free when I bought the Vampire Academy and Blue Bloods series as a complimentary book. I read it in two days. Naturally, that means the book is good, right? Wrong.

I love the whole essence of vampirism because it is portrayed as sensual and hypnotizing. However, this book was the exact opposite. It was gross and gut-wrenching. It will definitely not going to stay in my bookshelf. The writing was great as far as the descriptions. It really gave me an image of each scene, including the really gruesome parts. But as far as the story goes, I'm not a fan of vampires turning into bats and the author describing the whole process. I'm also not a fan of detailing how they eat the animals and rip their heads off, etc. That really turned me off. This book is a true horror story. If you like books that are scary, this book is for you. But if you are into stories like the House of Night, Morganville Vampires, Vampire Academy, etc, this book might not be a good pick. At least it wasn't for me.

~*~

Short but definitely sweet. R.L. Stine is old school YA and I love him! Thank you so much for sending over the review, Arianne! It's always a pleasure having you take over the blog. 

Oh, by the way, Arianne reviews each episode of the Originals. You should check them out on her blog. 

Post Halloween Hangover

Ah, November has arrived. To writers, it's more known as NaNovember. Are you joining the writing fun? Make sure to be my writing buddy on the NaNo site when you're there.

Before I start writing about my NaNo experience this year, I want to recap my Halloween 2013.

This year, the village I live in finally has enough houses with kiddies that we can finally have a house-to-house trick-or-treating experience. In the years before they would have this activity at the park with booths. But that's no fun. This year, I got to participate and I have pictures to prove it.

I've decided to let out my inner demon this year:


Blue hair, red horns and all. Love it!

The Momager is a Witch. And she insists she's a good witch. Well, look at her:


With that smile? How can you be bad? *laughs*

Then here's the table I call the Nightmare Feast, complete now with the treats. We even had Halloween sound effects. The kids loved it! Some were staring like they were saying in their head, "What the hell's going on?" Hilarious and cute.


Speaking of cute, when the trick-or-treaters started arriving, we came across these precious babes:


Don't you just want to eat them up? I sure do. *evil laugh*

And you can't giveaway all that candy away without sampling some of the treats right? Sugar rush...


And just because it's Halloween, it doesn't mean I can't get some promotion done. So, for the YA and NA crowd that came trick-or-treating, I gave them bookmarks along with the candy. *wiggles eyebrows*


I had so much fun, I slept with a smile on my face. Then when I woke up the next morning, I felt my age...and am still feeling it. Pulled so many muscles, it's my cue to hit the elliptical machine more.

I hope you had a Happy, Scary, Fun Halloween!

P.S.

Here are the winners of the Momager Sponsored Halloween Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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