Feeding the fear, drawing the well

23 Feb

I just spent my winter break on a movie marathon with my kids. I could have been more productive but I caught a nasty cold and felt my body needed the rest.

Feeding the fear…
I noticed that when I spent a lot of time on Facebook, my fear of writing increases. I see lots of feed from friends with new releases which feed into my fear that there is no longer enough space for new stories. Or that my stories are not au par quality wise with what’s up there.

Or I follow the latest thoughts on publishing which gets my head spinning into what I should do next, which in turns feeds right into my fear of rejection.

My biggest fear just after I sold was that I’d turn into a one-hit-wonder. And the funny thing is, it actually happened. And the world didn’t end.

In plotting, I always ask this of my characters. What is their worse fear? Now how can I make this happen in the plot? How can they grow from that?

Not very different from my own life. Failure is how we learn.

Filling the well…
What I noticed in watching my LOTR and Harry Potter movie marathon was that I really really love this sword and sorcery world. I really love the pure faithful type love story of Arwen and Aragorn, I really love the good against evil battle, the big things. And watching and taking in those stories in turn creates those voices inside my head that can’t be silenced and need to go on paper.

I’m not sure how it happened that I turned my focus from that to book marketing. I don’t think that shift is very good for me right now. And while I know the business side of thing is important, I really think it should not take more than 10% of my thinking time.

And I think that what is coming into my head via various media should be a whole lot more wonderful fiction stories and a whole lot less chit chat feeding into my fears.

Goal: Finishing the edits of Warlock’s Kiss
I am done with the first scene and started to edit and patch up the second scene which is hard because it’s a rewrite. Some of the things I had written just don’t fit into the new story. I’m not as productive as I should be and being sick didn’t help. But I’m mending and tomorrow starts a new organized week so I’m confident I’ll see progress this week.

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

p.s. readers who may wish to comment can do so on my Facebook page or on Twitter. My life needs a little simplifying right now :)


We need more inspiration

18 Feb

After all the complaints and arguments over publishing I see on social media, I think what we need to see more of, is inspiration.

A reminder that we don’t get far without constant work and that behind every success, you will find a lot of hard work and someone who, at one point or more, was down and didn’t give up.

We all have a tendency to want it all for nothing (it’s a law of physics after all) but the truth is that there are always set-backs on roads to success and accomplishments.

It’s been 15 years since I graduated with my PhD and I usually see this degree as a passing thing, something I don’t really want to mention while out at my day job. I shrug it off, like it’s just one more thing on my resume. But I was recently reminded of how so many people who have PhDs wanted to quit at some times. Of how hard it actually is to go through this for 5 years, wondering if you will ever make it.

But you stick with it and you become a different person. Not because you’re smarter, but because you are tougher.

Reaching for goals and doing the steps makes you a more resilient person.

Goal: finish Warlock’s Kiss

What did I do yesterday to get closer to my goal?

We watched a movie as a family last night and yes I didn’t want to write. But the laptop was right there by my bed so I told myself I’d fix a few things for 15 min. Managed about 40 min and I’m almost done with the edits of scene 1. It will be done by today. Moving forward.

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

p.s. readers who may wish to comment can do so on my Facebook page or on Twitter. My life needs a little simplifying right now :)


Writers and the lovely subject of money…

18 Feb

I’m off work this week and spent much too much time on Facebook yesterday.

Much much talk on money out there.

On how much money writers make, on how they can make. The truth as I can see it is that the information I read out there seem entirely biased based on who writes the article. It’s practically impossible to get a straight answer.

And the question is, should I bother? Right now, for me, the answer is no.

The one freeing thing I did for myself was to get a day job.

There is no way in my mind I could earn what I earn right now, with pension, health care and sick days, with writing alone. In fact I do believe that those who do support a family on their writing, and I’m not talking about the outliers here à la J. K. Rowling, do so as John Scalzi wrote in You’re Not Fooling Anyone… by writing a whole bunch of other things besides their fiction.

And so it’s with peace of mind that I pass on the subject of money, to read more on the subject of craft and motivation (I supposed if one has to pay the bills, that’s your motivation, but when I tried that, I found I wasn’t emotionally strong enough to sustain the pressure).

Goal: finish A Warlock’s Kiss

How did I get closer to the goal yesterday?

I’m cheating a little here this week, because I am off work so it’s easier to write. But I’m switching my schedule around. For a year or so now, I’ve been writing at 5 am before the gym.

But this winter, I found that really hard. My son takes my iPad to bed at night so I have to hunt for it every morning in his teenager bedroom. I also feel like I’m on a work treadmill and the morning is a good time to breathe. I really must go to the gym every morning and I often have early work meetings.

So I started to write just before bed. I switched to my laptop now and it is secure on its charger by my bed. And the worse that can happen is that I go to sleep a half hour later.

So I found the evening writing less daunting and I managed a good 40 min of editing last night on the first scene of this novella. I’m feeling the stamina returning (although the real test will be next week).

I am also refilling the well this week, which I so often forget, by doing a marathon of LOTR with my kids! Oh happiness! It’s cold and rainy in Seattle right now, fantasy movies seems the perfect way to take a much needed rest this week.

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

p.s. readers who may wish to comment can do so on my Facebook page or on Twitter. My life needs a little simplifying right now :)

Location:36th Ave NE,Seattle,United States

Living on borrowed time

17 Feb

When my father died about 9 years ago, suddenly at the age of 65 during a geology field trip in Morocco, I learned that one lesson.

We all live on borrowed time.

My father’s death triggered my writing endeavor. I no longer wanted to wait.

Last night, I found out via Facebook that a dear friend I hadn’t seen for 8 years, but with whom I had exchanged many positive quotes and memes, died suddenly at 40 years old, leaving behind three children.

I’m not sure why it affects me so much. Her resilience, her energy, her sunny personality brightening my days, perhaps? To be reminded that life is so short. That, as I thought with my father, we need to cram in as much as we can in this one life, just in case it’s too short.

You chase all these goals and you wonder: is it the goals that makes me happy or the chasing?

I did try the no goal approach last year, and I was miserable. And I think that yes, part of my dip in my writing after the sale, was that I had nothing left to aim for. The next rung was way too high in my mind.

I really don’t know what the pursuit of a good life should be. But I know what it’s like to feel settled and at peace for me. A little step closer to my goals, a day well spent with the people and things that matter most to me.

Ironically, that was my father’s life. What he taught me and what my mom still repeats to me.

Il faut des buts dans la vie. Il faut que tu avances.

Writing Goal: finish Warlock’s Kiss

What did I do yesterday to get closer to my goal?

I wrestled with my dying laptop and finally transferred the file from my iPad. I took 30 min before bed to edit. Scary. Lots of work ahead because I’m adding to an existing story. Right now it’s all over the place. But some stuff is good. So more of this later tonight.

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

p.s. readers who may wish to comment can do so on my Facebook page or on Twitter. My life needs a little simplifying right now :)


How do you recover from being a one-hit-wonder?

16 Feb

Where was I these past months

Nowhere special. Well except for that holiday in Maui, which I guess is pretty special. I’ve been writing, thinking about my writing. Thinking about how to proceed. Reading and learning about the industry. Writing some more.

My holiday in Maui was a big goal which took me 4 years to accomplish. First there was the classes I took at UW. Then getting into a teaching program. Then complete it and graduate with a Masters in Teaching. Then getting a job as a science teacher with Seattle Public School. Then finally earning and saving enough to take my family on a holiday.

Well worth it!

Some basic truths about achievements:

To get somewhere, you have to put in the time and effort. Wishful thinking doesn’t get you very far.

How do you recover from being a one-hit-wonder?

Good question isn’t it? Usually, you learn from the past. You work really hard for a goal and you learn that this is how you achieved it. But if you once got where you wanted from that “perfect storm” heavily speckled with chance, you will fail if you try to reproduce that.

I will fail.

I saw a great video by Brian Tracy this week and his words struck me. Do something over and over until you become very very good at it. Eventually, you will be able to it faster and excel at doing it.

There are very few gatekeepers in the writing business anymore. So this above become even more important.

Pick one thing, one genre, one format. Stay with that. Get really really good at it.

I’m terrible at that. Ever since I got that one book published, I wrote in 4 different genres, 3 different lengths, 3 different heat levels. Didn’t work on getting good at any of them. Only submitted one thing half-heartily. That’s what happens when you get your first ever manuscript published in NYC. You think you can do it again!

In bodybuilding, they say that you can’t build muscles and burn fat at the same time. You need to pick one thing first – otherwise you are spinning your wheels.

I did a lot of wheels spinning with writing in the last 3 years. Which is probably ok since the industry was changing so much. But not a plan to stay on for much longer.

But in December, I finished the second installment of a sexy paranormal romance novella series. And now, that’s my one thing to work on.

Until I get really really good at sexy para rom novellas series, I am not changing. I don’t really care if there is a market for it. I’ll find a way to get it out. But my conditions are, it has to be good. I have to learn to make it good.

I have to learn to be that person who can write those well. And to paraphrase Jim Rohn, the reason to aim for a goal is more in the personal improvement than in the goal.

So right now, I’m polishing A WARLOCK’S KISS, book one of my Warlocks of Mabon series so I can send it to a writer friend to read.

And what can I do today to get me closer to finish it?

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

p.s. readers who may wish to comment can do so on my Facebook page or on Twitter. My life needs a little simplifying right now :)


A twinge of writing envy

04 Aug

I have to be honest and confess to a little writing jealousy today. Not much, just an Amazon book recommendation which made me think “this should be me” which of course is totally unlikely, because the writer in question is good, established and has likely worked harder then I ever worked so far.

Nevermind, whenever I see a paranormal romance with a touch of magic, I get a little twinge of envy. And regret.

What to go with this writing jealousy?

So what do I do with that? I often get down on myself and take a break from the writing – oh big mistake! What I should work on is do what I did today, turn that negative energy into fuel to get to my white page and work, work work!

90 minutes today, squeezed between the kids and the meals and the cleaning.

What I learned today:

When I work on my story, the writing jealousy goes away and is replaced by hope! The hope that maybe, if I persist, work hard, and stay positive, that could be a little bit me one day.

Something to work on…

Still writing,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Rusty writing coming back

03 Aug

Back home and back to writing after my holiday home in Québec. I plan 2 weeks off from writing in the summer to spend lots of time with my mom and another 2 weeks at Christmas to spend lots of time with my family.

I feel a little rusty coming back to it after a long break but I managed an hour of light editing today – easing my way into it.

I spent my plane rides with an excellent and motivating book on goals by Brian Tracy, a pen and notebook. I feel I have a definite goal and plan for my writing now. It’s motivating but also scary.

I was nervous to encounter my writing again today. But somehow it was easy. I always wonder if I’m wasting my time, but today I didn’t feel that way at all.

What I learned today:

At the end of the day, while I’m still actively writing in the hope of making another sale and being read, I also really really love my time spend with my story. It’s MY time! Not truly lost, is it?

Writing today,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Writing tools I already have

16 Jul

Today’s writing was a mere 30 minutes of editing before the gym. I’m still liking this story – a lot.

Today’s writing: 30 min before the plane leaves!

I’m packing to go on holiday today, starting my first writing break of the year. I’m a little nervous about taking 2 weeks completely off writing today so I’m trying to figure out what I can do that’s writing related but not as formal as writing and editing. Options are reading contemporary romance to get more into it, reading books on writing, beta reading (I should really do that) or reading a goal oriented self help book to motivate me and give me better direction. I’m not sure yet but by tomorrow I should have a good idea of what works.

What I learned today:

I’m toying with giving sexy contemporary romance a real try (i.e. keep going with that genre) and I made a list of the tools I have to help me write those. Here it is:

“I have already tools to write romance!”

- The clear GMC method to write a blurb and set the story I got a long time ago from a workshop.
- The conflict grid – again from a workshop.
- Characters traits: defined using tricks from Jim Butcher’s blog.
- Characters sheet from Mary Buckman’s book.
- Characters questions from Donald Mass’ book.
- Save the Cat method to storyboard and plot.
- TV tropes for story idea.
- my own way to craft sexy love scenes!

And that’s what I have so far!

Editing, planning,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Epic battle with writing resistance

15 Jul

Today’s writing was an epic battle not with myself but with life around me.

Sometimes resistance really does come from outside of you.

First I fell asleep again after my alarm went on and woke up at 5:30 am just in time for the gym (okay that one is my fault). Then I hit the couch with my laptop as soon as I walked in the house at 7:00 am. Laptop died. Twice. Then the household woke up but anyhow… I stuck with it and got a scene finished after an hour and a half of editing.

I’m back on the romance. Had a chat with my 13 years old who is wise beyond his years and convinced me to complete all the different genres I have (contemporary romance, paranormal romance, novella and middle grade) and submit them all until I get one bite. Hey that’s the kid who is now learning viola on top of his violin so he can get into his school senior orchestra.

You do what you can to get where you want to be.

And it’s a good thing I’m now working on this because I am totally in love with the story and characters and it just fit the mood I am in right now. I can’t stop working on it.

So that’s the plan for now.

What I learned today:

I bough a copy of Writer’s Digest this week-end and the editorial gave me a great idea. Think of one reader who would read your book. Give her a name, describe her, like: Skyler, 24 years, female, computer programmer by day, gamer by night, live with boyfriend and has a secret addiction to Twilight.

Write for one reader alone!

When you got your one reader, write for that person only. Be consistent. Narrow your audience. Don’t try to write for a 13-99 years old crowd of everyone’s invited. Stay focus – your book will be tighter.

I do like it. I’m working on defining my reader. But I think it will help me because I will stick with one theme, one heat level, one type of hero, one type of setting. It might certainly help me from switching tone throughout the book.

One book – one tone.

Also agent Scott Eagan had a good article this morning on keeping your main plot line throughout your story.

Still editing,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Running away from a story…

14 Jul

Today’s writing was somewhat self-indulgent.

2 hours of editing the contemporary romance then 1 hour doing the same think on the steampunk. Most of it I did super early this morning while my family was still asleep.

Why switching back?

What I learned today:

A strange thing happened as I continued to work on the contemporary romance. Yes it was fun. But then I started to think about where I could try to sell it. I googled publishers, then followed up on their authors telling myself that maybe I should read more of them during my upcoming holiday.

Then I saw that I had tons of competition and even if “that’s what selling right now” and it’s fun, I still get the same stress as I’m thinking of seriously submitting this new work.

Running away from a story doesn’t make the new story easier.

So lesson learned. Maybe I won’t be breaking the “finish what your start” rule after all, because running away from a story doesn’t make things easier.

The break was nice but I’m back on attacking the big complex fantasy story. Still going forward and still writing daily.

At time confused, but still writing,
Marie-Claude xoxox


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