October 7, 2015

Find Your Tribe : #IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (or IWSG) is a wonderful group put together by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh (which now has an equally cool Facebook group). 

The first Wednesday of each month is the perfect opportunity to share my insecurities on the #IWSG therapy couch, get encouragement and support about such insecurities, and to read how other writers are faring.

Wow. I almost didn't make it this month. It's 10:30pm West coast time, so I guess I technically missed posting on Wednesday in a few time zones.

My last few weeks have been crazy. One thing I've noticed when too many things are happening at once... I start to doubt myself.

My focus wanes, and I start noticing all the incredible people around me who seem to have it together and are thriving. Life piles up, and I feel less and less capable as I juggle more and more things being thrown at me.

But thank the good Lord I have some people within the writing industry I can always turn to. Whether it's my StandUp Indies Private group, my happy buddy, or one of my awesome Fractured Glass/Seven ladies, I know there are people who will love me even when I'm in the pit and are there to help pull me out of it. Who aren't there to judge or belittle. 

I am so thankful for these people, and for many of you in this awesome group who come forward with advice or a good cheer to keep moving forward.

Since we all fall into insecurity's clutches from time to time, make sure and find your tribe. They are invaluable.

When's the last time you connected to your Tribe? If it's been a while, reach out. If you don't need them, they might just need you.

October 5, 2015

Living Life & Loving It

I've been so blessed to travel the last two weekends and see some family and friends. Living life is such an important part of who I am as a writer. Friends and family nourish my soul... and a fed soul feeds my writing.

First, I went to my cousin's wedding. He was my ring bearer twenty years ago, so I was feeling a bit old. Good thing I got married at 15. He he.

That's me with my very handsome cousin and my two sisters. So much fun! 

Then, I spend this past weekend with dear friends in Santa Barbara. My first visit... so gorgeous. And my girlfriends are the best. So much love.

Now, it's back to edits and wrapping up Chasing Destiny. More details on that will come soon. Yay!

October 2, 2015

Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) : Felicia Tatum

Please welcome the next guest in my Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) series. I’ve known Felicia Tatum online for a couple of years, but this was the first time I actually met her face-to-face. She had her daughter there, and I won her over when I gave her some fairy dust (okay, it might have been glitter, but she and I believed it was special).

As moms, Felicia and I joked that it might not have been the wisest choice to give away and had a couple of laughs. Later, I found out it did explode, but I’m sure it only means her family has a lifetime of wishes. Right?

Thanks for coming on the blog today!

FT: Thanks for having me! And FYI, I took some fairy dust, too ;)

After the story above, I have to ask: if you could have one wish from an author fairy, what would you ask for?

FT: Ohmygosh…umm…honestly, I’d want my writing to be enough to do everything I need to do to survive and maybe have a little extra to play. I love writing and I wish so hard for it to be my full time career.

So many of us would have the same wish. I recently downloaded Scornful Sadie, Dark Sorceress Trilogy #1, your latest novel. I can’t wait to read it, and I adore the cover. Can you tell us about it and share any teasers/graphics? 

FT: Yay!! Scornful Sadie is about 21 year old Sadie Tabors, a very powerful sorceress. She’s out and about fighting all the bad guys of the world when she goes back to see her family after five years away. Once she learns she’s the dark sorceress and there’s a prophecy that tells how she’ll change sorcery forever, she has to decide what she’s going to do, how she’s going to protect her family, and if it’s all worth it.

Love the teaser! Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

FT: Most new stories start from dreams, but Scornful Sadie is actually about a character from The White Aura series. She really grew on me and demanded her own story.

You are part of Dauntless Indies. How did this group get started? How do you support each other?

FT: Well, Sarah Cradit and I were talking about how it would be nice to have a group to talk about the ups and downs of publishing, the highs and lows of being an author, and decided to start it. It’s grown so much and we support each other in a lot of ways. Emotionally we’re all there for one another, we share new releases, we offer and seek advice. It’s just a great group of people :)

Community is so important. So, I've been asking all the lovelies... what's your favorite inspirational quote? Why?

FT: Do or do not, there is no try. Or something like that. Because it’s so true…you either want it badly enough to do it or you don’t.

Who doesn't love Yoda! What do you think makes UtopYA, renamed Utopia for its fifth year in 2016, so special?

FT: The people. I know more people at that con than any other I’ve been to and everyone greets each other with a smile and a hug. I love it!

A fun picture to share from this year's conference. Felicia with her Entangled Souls cover model, Nathan Weller.

✮ Quick Answers  

Last Movie you Saw: Tinkerbell and the Pirate Fairy (told you I liked fairies)
Comedy, Romance, Drama, or Horror? ROMANCE
Last Book you Read: Dark Blessing by Sarah M. Cradit
First Job: Gas station
Gift Cards or Cash? Cash

Favorite Vacation Spot: Smokey Mountains

More about Felicia

Felicia Tatum was born and raised in Tennessee. She always loved reading, and at the age of twelve began writing. Her passion for creating stories grew and in May 2012, she finally wrote her first novel, The White Aura.

She still lives in Tennessee with her daughter and her kitty. She loves cooking, books, and animals are some of her best friends. She watches a lot of Disney channel and often dreams up new book ideas. She's currently working on various projects. She's the author of the White Aura series, Scarred Hearts series, and Intoxicating Passion series.

Connect with Felicia

Please visit often for more UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) interviews, 
and check out the announcement post to see
the schedule and links to past interviews.

September 30, 2015

Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) : Delphina Henley

Please welcome my next guest in my Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) series. Thanks to the Indie-Visible group gathering, I was able to get to know Delphina this year. Cards Against Humanity will do that. She has a smile that lights up a room and is such a sweetie.

Oh, and she was a huge hit at the Saturday signing where she made everyone into a unicorn. And who doesn’t want to be a unicorn?

Thanks so much for hanging out on the blog today!

DH: I’m so excited to be here.

Unicorns clearly hold a special place in your heart. Your first two books have unicorn in the title: Unless You Can Be a Unicorn and Ask Me About My Unicorn. How did this come to be?

DH:  I have always loved unicorns and am addicted to shifter books.  I mentioned this to some HS friends and their reply was, “You should write some.”  Two years and a lot of memes later and I did.

Yay for your high school friends! You were recognized at this year’s UtopYA awards as a writer (Best Debut Novel: Unless You Can Be a Unicorn) and will be joining the 2016 conference as an official blogger (Delphina Reads Too Much). What’s the secret to wearing both hats?

DH: Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that out. My blog has definitely suffered as my writing has taken off.

Oh, I can feel you there. That's why I'm so grateful for these interviews. So, can you tell us about your current manuscript or plans for a next novel?

DH: I’m currently finishing two books. The Lion and the Unicorn will be released under my pen name Dara Fraser and is the first in an adult shifter series I am doing with Anchor Group Publishing. Mermaids Can Ride Bicycles is a chapter book for elementary age children and will be released under the name Delphina Miyares. 

Sounds like some awesome stuff is happening. Congrats! If we were playing a clean version of Cards Against Humanity, how would you finish this sentence: Always Be a ____________, unless you can be a unicorn or a _____________? Why?

DH: You saw me play Cards Against Humanity.  I stink at this game.  I give up after thinking about this question far too long.

ROFL! I'd say you should always be your authentic self, which you totally do! So, I've been asking all the lovelies... what's your favorite inspirational quote? Why?  

It changes depending upon where I am in my life, but this is one that has always stuck with me. :  Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn't have the power to say yes. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Love that one. What do you think makes UtopYA, renamed Utopia for its fifth year in 2016, so special?

DH: I have been to quite a few author events as a reader, blogger, and author.  While they were all great experiences, none of them held the magic that Utopia does.  Utopia is a weekend of inspiration, camaraderie, fun, education, relationships, and making connections in the industry.  I have heard many people say that it was life changing for them and of that I have no doubt.  It was for me.

So, I had to share me as a unicorn... so cool!

And a great picture from Delphina's UtopYA2015 experience. So much loveliness in one picture.

✮ Quick Answers  

Last Movie you Saw: I can’t remember the name.  It was a Korean film I saw on Amazon Prime about HS kids and was pretty strange.
Comedy, Romance, Drama, or Horror? Romance
Last Book you Read: Doves For Sale by Lila Felix
First Job: Taco Bell
Gift Cards or Cash? GC
Favorite Vacation Spot: Maine

More about Delphina

Delphina Henley has always been a unicorn. Delphina has been writing since she can remember and has always had a love of the paranormal. She is an avid reader and a self proclaimed shifter crack addict. Delphina currently lives in the Midwest with her husband and four kids.

Blog: http://bit.ly/delphina
Facebook http://bit.ly/FBunicorns
Twitter: @DelphinaReads

About Unless You Can Be A Unicorn

Always be yourself.

That was the last advice Scout's Grandma Nora gave her before she died. Scout has spent her life trying to be anything but, but she has a chance to start anew as she moves several states away to college. She had always thought the glowing aura she saw around some people was a childhood fancy, but when it starts coming back just as she's starting her new life, she learns there was much hidden about who she truly is.

Thankfully, she has a motley crew to help her along the way: a spunky bookseller, a trustworthy pub owner, a commanding grandmother, a possible best friend, and a hot rocker boy who only has eyes for her.

About Ask Me About My Unicorn

Loving a unicorn is easy. Yourself . . . ? Not so much.

Val is powerful, kind, a bit quirky . . . but the daughter of hunters. Facing your long time crush is challenging on a good day. But throw in a set of parents who want to sell him, his family and his friends in bits and pieces for dark magic and it adds a whole new set of problems. As secrets are revealed and danger mounts, Val must come to terms with where she came from and become the woman she was meant to be.

Please visit often for more UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) interviews, 
and check out the announcement post to see
the schedule and links to past interviews.

September 25, 2015

Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) : Kristen Bauer

Please welcome the next guest in my Meet Some UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) series. I actually first met Kristen’s adorable daughter. Since I was giving away fairy dust (okay, glitter in a bottle, but it’s all about the believing), cute young ladies seemed to find me. Oh, and Kristen has two equally adorable boys.

So, I was thrilled when Kristen made her way over during the Saturday signing. Her smile and glow make you want to run up and hug her.

Thanks so much for hanging out on the blog today!

KB: Thank you so much for having me and your kind words!

You are the creative mastermind behind Shooting Star Book Reviews. What inspired you to start a book blog?

KB: I wanted to be like the cool kids! Haha...I guess I just had this desire to express my opinion with everyone. No really, I wanted to help authors spread the word about their books. I love it when a friend comes to me looking for book recommendations and I can give them a name of an Indie author.

And we are so appreciative that you do! In your bio on the review site, you mention your obsession with Thorin Oakenshield (Hobbit)--for me, it’s all about Aragorn (Lord of the Rings)—and Ron Weasley. Which is more of a reflection of the type of hero/main character you like to read?

KB: Oh goodness! I think I like a mix of both. I like how strong, gruff, and honorable Throin is (and let’s face it...he’s played by Richard Armitage, *swoon*), but Ron is lovable, hilarious, and fiercely loyal.

Love your answer! In June, you created an author page on Facebook. What made you declare your intent to write? How long have you been writing?

KB: Being surrounded by everyone at UtopYA gave me so much inspiration and motivation. I’ve been working on my main novel for over 2 years now. Fear and hesitation kept causing me to push it back and find excuses not to work on it. I’m still terrified that no one will like it, but I’ve decided to write for ME now. I made friends with Tara Benham through a group of aspiring authors formed from UtopYA attendees, and she pushed me to create my page. It’s official now. I’ve made my commitment public; so I’m hoping it will keep my motivation going.

So excited for you. What can we expect from your first novel?

KB: I’m working on a YA paranormal retelling of Red Riding Hood. There’s a ton of other fairytale and mythical characters in it as well...Tinkerbell, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, just to name a few. There’s a twist to them but you’ll have to read it to find out. *wink*

Oooh. Sounds interesting. Okay, back to the Thorin and Ron juxtaposition. (Can you tell this fascinates me?) What are you most looking forward to exploring in your male characters?

KB: I hope to write loyal and respectful guys with a good sense of mischief and humor. I want them to treat their girls right. My children are very excited about my story and hope to read it one day. I want to make sure that my male characters set a good example for them.

As a mother of three girls, I totally agree with you. What about your main female character? In the female character movie universe, who inspires you? (See how sneaky I am, I’m digging to find out your female versions of Thorin and Ron.)

KB: I a big Black Widow fan. I also love Olive Pendergast from “Easy A.”

Strong females. Yep, we have so much in common. So, I've been asking all the lovelies... what's your favorite inspirational quote? Why?

KB: I have a few but these are the ones that resonate with me the most:
“I love the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her” because 2015 has been the year of change for me. I took up kickboxing, we moved to Memphis to build our dream house, and I’ve got grand plans to finish my first novel this year. The second quote is “Don’t be afraid of being different, be afraid of being the same as everyone else.” I’ve never felt like I fit in anywhere and for the longest time I made myself miserable trying to be the person I thought I should be. Now, I just don’t care...haha!

Great quotes! What do you think makes UtopYA, renamed Utopia for its fifth year in 2016, so special?

KB: I loved that it focused mainly on YA authors. It was the first convention that I was able to bring my children (who are all avid readers) to and not have to worry about them seeing questionable covers or swag.

I found this great pic of Kristen with Nathan Weller....

✮ Quick Answers  

Last Movie you Saw: In the theater? Minions, haha!
Comedy, Romance, Drama, or Horror? I like them all!
Last Book you Read: I just finished Dead Over Heels by Alison Kemper (5 stars, so much fun! I’m working on my review for it) and I’m currently reading Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
First Job: Hostess with the mostest at this restaurant called Youngblood’s which was a lot like Applebee’s.
Gift cards or Cash? Amazon gift cards are my fave because I can use them to feed my book addiction.

Favorite Vacation Spot: Somewhere cool. When I was 16 my parents took me to visit my favorite aunt up in Vermont in the fall. Fall is my favorite season and seeing all the leaves change...it was magical!

More about Kristen

Hi! My name is Kristen and I'm a certifiable dork. I'm obsessed with knitting, zombies, the color pink, Thorin Oakenshield, and Ron Weasley. I'm married to my best friend, Steve, and we have 3 minions to do our bidding. ;-) My favorite books to read are YA paranormal romance but I wouldn't turn down a spicy NA contemporary romance either. I started this blog so I could be like the all cool kids (I'm looking at you, Bawaka's Bookfair!). I can be extremely random. My apologies in advance. Thanks for stopping by!! :)

Connect with her on her Facebook page

Please visit often for more UtopYA2015 Lovelies (Unofficial) interviews, 
and check out the announcement post to see
the schedule and links to past interviews.