I Don’t Know if You Know This…

But writing is difficult. Incredibly so, some days. Enough that I want to give up sometimes, because I get convinced no one is going to read my work.

Books are work. Some people don’t realize that. I mean, you walk into a book store, snatch your fave author’s latest book off the shelf, pay for it and leave. But as you’re doing that, or sitting down later to read it, do you ever consider the time and bloody effort it took to write it? If not, don’t worry. Most people don’t.

Writers get frustrated. We wonder why other authors are selling more or making more money or have more Instagram followers than we do. I’ve been blessed to have a muse who works cheap and doesn’t complain about the time we put in, but I get tired. And I wonder if it’s worth all the effort.

I wonder if I’m any good at what I’m doing. Especially when I don’t get reviews on my books. Or when people say they’re reading something I wrote and then never comment on it. Is it worth all the effort? Why put myself through it?

Because I freaking love it, damn it. Not gonna apologize. Since I made the decision to only publish my books on Kindle Vella (super easy to access them, by the way – they’re all available through the Kindle app on your phone or tablet, or go to Amazon and look my name up), I’ve been able to write and publish more. I have 14 books up on Amazon now. Four of them are being written; you can read the chapters (episodes) that are currently posted, and I’ll add more as I finish them.

But as much as I love it, it is hard work. And authors don’t always get a lot of validation, either. We don’t make much money from our work, even though we wish we did. I’d love to go down to two days a week at my job and write more, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. This isn’t a pity post. It’s a post to say, hey, next time you pick up a book, stop and appreciate the work that went into it. Leave a review. Send the author a message on Instagram or Twitter (lf you liked it. Let’s not be a jerk, okay? Plenty of that out there already on book sites).

Anyway. Thanks for reading. I hope you’re enjoying the book you’re currently reading.

💖💫📚

My work space.

Capture the Ponies!

Some visitors to this website may not know about my first trilogy, The Flying Ponies, so I thought I would do a quick post. This is the back cover copy for Lift, the first book in the trilogy:

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Flynn, moving into the heart of the Michigan woods with her family is the biggest adventure she’s ever had. A self-proclaimed geek girl with a penchant for Sherlock Holmes, she wonders if she’ll ever have an exciting quest of her own.

But when she discovers an antique carousel tucked into the woods near her new home, her life soon spins out of control. For the ponies are so much more than their faded paint portrays. Filled with primal magic, the ponies are alive, and they have been waiting for her for a long time.

With the help of a young carousel caretaker named Black, Charlotte soon discovers that the Flying Ponies are in danger from others who want to possess them and their magic. Drawn into a battle for the carousel and ultimately the entire world while navigating her first true romance, Charlotte may have more adventure than she ever bargained for . . .

The Flying Ponies are available on Amazon, as both trade paperbacks and e-books.

SPIN HAS ARRIVED!

I have copies available directly from me. It’s also available on Amazon, along with Lift and Tilt, as a trade paperback or ebook.

TILT IS COMING…

Hey everyone, I know I haven’t been posting here as much lately. I tend to post more to Instagram and cross-post to my Facebook author page and my Twitter account. But there is big news afoot…

Tilt, book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy, is releasing on Saturday, March 2, 2019. I am having a book launch party at the Shelby Area District Library (where I work) on March 2, from 4-6 pm. Both Tilt and Lift, book one in the trilogy, will be available to buy. I will also sign the books.

Here is the back cover copy for Tilt:

Charlotte Flynn is on a mission. 
Betrayed by both Penumbra and her Uncle Baron, Charlotte is seeking the missing Flying Ponies in the hopes of uniting them against their wayward leader. Joined by Dreadful, a crazy cavalry horse; Black, her new boyfriend; and her family and friends, she plans to find the missing carousel horses before Penumbra and Baron do. 

But the hunt won’t be easy. An old friend of Black’s shows up, with intentions that might not be as honorable as she says. The Tyranny holds some of the Flying Ponies in their possession – and they’re not giving them up. Penumbra, determined to have all the carousel horses to himself, will stop at nothing to defeat Charlotte and Dreadful.

And if that isn’t enough, Charlotte discovers she, like her traitorous uncle, has magic flowing through her. Determined to bring the Flying Ponies back together no matter the cost, the sixteen-year-old may end up paying the ultimate price.

I look forward to seeing everyone! If you have any questions about the books, characters, the Flying Ponies, or writing in general, please feel free to ask them. I love talking about writing!

Tiltcoverfront

A New Year Cometh

Here we are, on the cusp of a new year. We all have things we didn’t get done in 2018, things we never even got around to doing. Will those go on your 2019 resolutions list? Or did they turn out to be not as important as you thought?

I’ve found that making resolutions rarely works for me. It might for a day or three, or maybe even a week, if it’s something I’m serious about. So I make goals, instead. It might be in the same spirit as resolutions, but it sounds better, at least to me

New author goals include: publishing and selling Tilt; writing Spin, the final volume in The Flying Ponies trilogy; selling more copies of Lift; researching and starting a new novel (more on that later); and learning as much as I can about writing.

I’d also like to ride my pony, BJ, more and take my Jeep Cherokee to the sand dunes more often and go trail riding. And, of course, spend as much time with my family as I can.

Whatever your resolutions are, I wish you well with them. I wish a blessed New Year on you as well. May 2019 be amazing!

Round Two Down!

I just finished the second edits, the color edits, on Tilt. Next up is taking all the changes and incorporating them into the manuscript. I’m hoping to get Tilt to my editor by the middle of December.

This book has been a lot easier to work with than Lift. The story knows where it’s headed, and believe me, BIG things go down in book two! Almost all of the Flying Ponies get introduced, and you get to know Dreadful more.

I hope to release Tilt in mid-winter (Valentine’s Day would be fun, wouldn’t it?). Check back on my social media as I will be updating where I am with the publishing process.

Editing With Color

I am now on the second round of edits on Tilt, book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy. This second stage is what I refer to as my “highlighter” round. Each pertinent character and sometimes story line gets assigned a different color highlighter. As I go through the manuscript, I use those colors to mark characters. I do this so I can see how many times a character is in a scene or on a page, and to make sure they continue all the way through the book. If a certain color stops, I can make sure there’s a reason why that character or story line disappears.

This strategy works well for me, and I like flipping through all the pages of the manuscript and seeing the different colors. As a writer, it’s interesting to see which characters run the show. In Tilt, the Flying Ponies themselves are quite involved in the narrative. You will meet almost all of them in the second book; and hopefully, you will like at least some of them. Each of the 32 Flying Ponies are based on actual carousel horses – some of them are on working carousels around the United States, and others are to be found in museums. The model horse for Dreadful, for instance, is at the Frontier Museum at Cedar Point Amusement Park, in Ohio. In the middle of this month I will be visiting Cedar Point, and am excited about “meeting” the bay cavalry horse Dreadful is modeled after.

Using the different colors also appeals to me as a creative person. I love to color, and highlighting my characters is almost like coloring my novel. Who knows – maybe someday there will be a Flying Ponies coloring book! The one major story line that I assigned a color is the relationship between Black and Charlotte. I’ll admit – I think they are an adorable young couple, and I’m having fun watching their feelings for one another develop, especially since a certain older brother doesn’t like that.

I’m not quite halfway through the book with the colors; once that round of edits is done, I’ll let Tilt sit for a week or so and then go through it again, this time looking for anything that feels out-of-place. I’ve signed my book contract for it, and the book will probably go to my editor in the early winter, and then finally to my publisher. I expect Tilt to release around March-April of 2019.

If you’re a writer, the highlighter round might work for you, too – and it sure makes your manuscript pretty!

 

The Magic of the Carousel

The carousel horses in my trilogy, The Flying Ponies, are all based off real-life carousel horses. They are either aboard machines still in operation or in museums, where people can admire them. Some of them are on the carousel at the Grand Rapids Public Museum; their literary equivalents debut in Tilt, book two of the trilogy.

Two of my fans (and nieces) visited the museum with their family earlier this month and took a spin on the 1928 Spillman carousel. They also took selfies with a couple of the horses; Contessa is a palomino mare and Oriflamme is a palomino armored horse (the names belong to their counterparts in my books). I was given permission to share the pictures.

I love the beauty and majesty of antique carousels, and I love the fact that these two girls were able to ride this one and enjoy it. Carousels have charm and a certain grace, and if you are able to stand quietly next to their painted ponies, you might just hear them whispering.

Magic might not exist in a literal sense, but it can be found in life. One only has to believe and be willing to seek it out in the ordinary.

Bittersweet

I finished the first draft of book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy, Tilt, last Saturday night. As I sat there, staring at my computer screen, a little disturbed by what I had just written, I thought, Wow. I only have one more book with this crew. Then it will be on to something else. And that realization hit me quite hard.

You see, writers get attached to their characters. We live with them in our minds and hearts, day after day. Someone can read your story and think, yeah, I enjoyed that. And then they move on to something else. But writers don’t get to do that. At least, I don’t. Those people, those wooden horses that fly, are now part of me. They always will be.

And I will miss them when their story is complete, when I’m not thinking of and working with them daily. They’ll still be with me, but they will no longer be in the limelight. They’ll have to move over and make room for the next story’s characters.

That’s how it should, of course. No writer can rest on his or her last story. There’s always going to be another to tell, another to share with the world. But you still miss the last one you told.

I know I shouldn’t be waxing poetic about The Flying Ponies yet. I still have to edit and polish Tilt. It probably won’t release until spring 2019, and then I have the third and final one to write, Spin. After that, yeah. It will be time to get sentimental.

But the next story is always calling, even now, even with Tilt just starting to cool off, stored on my flash drive and laptop. Still, it’s hard not to feel some bittersweetness.

I kind of want that carousel ride to last forever.

The Middle Blues

So this is what’s going on: I’m a little better then halfway through Tilt, the second book in The Flying Ponies trilogy, and I’m tapped out. I’m just done. The muse is sitting in her garden, sipping tea, and I just don’t feel like writing.

This happens. It happened with Lift, too. It usually happens to me right around the middle of the book; I’m tired of working on it, the story isn’t flowing, and when I open the story document, I sit staring at the screen wondering if there are any cool pins on Pinterest to look at.

It’s also known as the dreaded writer’s block. It happens to every writer, at different stages of their work. Mine tends to hit in the middle of the novel. How do writers deal with it? They each have different strategies. There are even writing books devoted to writer’s block. I’ve learned that giving myself and the muse a couple days off really helps. I also listen to songs that remind me of the story and the characters.

I really should be writing Tilt. I should be staring at that computer screen. I definitely shouldn’t be watching The Big Bang Theory, which is exactly what I’m doing while typing this. Ah, well. I know where Tilt is headed. I have a solid idea of the ending, which will lead into Spin, the third and final book in The Flying Ponies trilogy. And later on today, I’ll head into my office, boot up the laptop, tell the muse to hop to it, and stare at that screen.

And maybe, just maybe, the words will flow, and I’ll be closer to that ending that I can see glimpses of.

This image and quote are from (where else?) Pinterest.