Thursday, July 28, 2011

Are Writers Too Sensitive?

Well if that isn’t a silly question, I don’t know what is.  I think that anyone that takes pride in their work, that puts so much of themselves in it, loves it, nurtures it, molds it to make it just how they want it to be would be a bit sensitive about their work.  I have heard a lot of writers refer to their writing as their babies and that is what it is like I think, especially with the stories I am working on at the moment for me even.  I personally think that is a good thing, it makes it personal to each writer.  They put themselves into the stories and if someone doesn’t like it, it is hard for them to take, kind of when someone doesn’t like your children for whatever reason.  What? What do you mean that there is something you don’t like about my child?  Are you insane or just stupid?  Obviously you don’t know what the heck you are talking about or well, you are an idiot, no other way around it because you are wrong, WRONG I tell you!

LOL… Well that is how a lot of people feel, you say something negative no matter what it is, even if it is just advice about something and suddenly not only are you a moron but not worthy of my time.  No one likes to hear negativity especially if it is about themselves but after I cry, stomp my feet, throw something at the nearest person that is dumb enough to get within my firing range, I process it and take what I can from it, always trying to improve myself.

I would like to say, for the record I am under construction.  When I started this journey at a friend and fellow author, Martin Sharolw’s encouragement I had so few skills on designing anything in regard to formatting, covers, or anything really to do with writing.  My computer skills are shall we say… below most of the people that I have met, but higher then others too so that has to count for something?  I however am learning a great deal from people!  I am shocked more than you can imagine being able to figure out how to use Photoscape to make covers that I was proud of.  Not because they looked good, since I thought they did, but because I conquered that huge dragon of figuring out how to do what I did.  I figured it out on my own too, talk about amazed.  I still have a lot of work to go on my covers but thanks to some wonderful people, I think I might be headed in the right direction, or rather on a zigzag path that will eventually get me there.

Now it has been pointed out to me that I have my books titled all wrong.  I wrote the main book in my first series, Time Well Spent and it was suggested to break it up into sections and sell each of them for a small amount so people would get a feel for my writing and buy the complete collection that way.  I took the time to break them up into what seemed the best way subject matter and walla, 7 books were created.  I then titled them Time Well Spent Series, book 1-7 depending on the book of course.  My son pointed out to me that for those books, they need to have a totally different title and Time Well Spent isn’t really needed on the cover at all.  A friend also pointed that out to me before that just a few days before that even.  Well dang it, here I thought I was doing well and whap!  Nope.  When I thought about it, they are right!  They do need to be titled differently.  

So now I am in a big pickle!  What to do!  Why am I writing all this?  Because I asked for opinions on my covers and I got very few, (should have given me the first clue that there was something wrong!)  Some really liked them, and only one pointed out that the font had issues.  She was right because when I figured out how to shrink it down to see how it looked in a smaller version, it was terrible.  On the sites that are selling them, they look different than the one I saved, can’t read it well and it’s not as clear as they should be.  So I am back to the drawing board.  

I want to say, for the record, I want and need opinions.  If the font or color scheme sucks, let me know! I am a work in progress and I need all the help I can get.  Everyone has opinions, not all I will agree with but I would much rather hear them and know why they are saying what they are so I can make that decision.  I am not going to break if you say my work sucks, but it will help me improve it.  My goal in joining groups and joining in with people is because I genuinely want to help others succeed and I want to do the best that I can in my own work.  I think of this as a learning experience for everyone and if I can help anyone, I am more than happy to do it.  So when I ask for opinions, give them to me please.  I have no problem telling you that I think you are off your rocker and that I don’t agree if I don’t agree.  I think that helping each other, we are going to turn this world upside down with our words being stronger and more professional.  

Thank you for reading my ramblings… go out and hug an author!  Thank you for all the comments that are sure to pour in now too because well… we are all in this together.  

Before I go, I know these are still not right but opinions would still be good stylewise.  I am still not sure the titles.....

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Book Covers - Opinions Please :O)

Hello Everyone! 

Did you all notice the new book covers for the Time Well Spent Series?  I have been busy working on new covers as well as going through each book to put them back up on Amazon as well as Smashwords.  I have a new book, the Time Well Spent Series – Names Edition which will be coming out in paperback soon as well.  I listened to my readers who wanted names in the stories so this book, the Names Edition is for you.

I noticed when I put up the new covers for the Time Well Spent Series and moved the covers over for Jennifer’s New Erotic Adventures with its new cover on the Complete Collection, which the other four books look really out of place with the new covers.  What do you think?  Do they need new covers too?  Maybe something that shows what each book has in it?  The strawberry fits well with the first book but not so sure about the rest of them?  I would love your input as well as your thoughts on the new covers.  Which one is your favorite one?

Happy Reading!
Bella Marie

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Life Moves On….

Well hello everyone!  It has been a while since I have done a blog because as with everyone in the world, life happens, which is one of my favorite things to say when someone complains about something.  It is flat out the truth, no doubt about it.  Everyone deals with things in their own way.  For me it takes me a lot of time to process things, really for it to sink in when there is a change in my life, especially if it is a big change.   There have been a LOT of big changes in my life lately :O)

I am not someone who likes change at all and the thought of not being in control or worse yet, having someone else take control away from me is not pleasant.  The very worst thing though is dealing with things that are so far out of my control and accepting the fact that no matter what, there isn’t anything else I can do to fix a situation.  Sometimes the best way to fix something is to let it go and that is so hard for me to do.  I don’t give up easily.

This journey of self-publishing is so involved that it is hard to believe that I just put out my 14th book!  I am working on another book that is totally different from the erotica that I have out now but getting the time to actually sit down and write it is not the easiest thing to do.

Lots of life changing things going on in my life.  Without going into detail to boor you all to death, I have a special needs child with many issues.  My job is coming to an end.  (More time for writing until I am homeless :O) 

My child has many issues but the most important thing on my mind at the moment is keeping her safe, as well as those around her safe.  She is almost 12 and has severe mental health issues that should not be impacting a child so young.  She also has cerebral palsy and is very violent, was born severely drug affected plus a huge laundry list of other issues and diagnosis.  The bruises that I have along with those who work with her are pretty amazing at times.  I have had her since she was about 14 months old and she is becoming more then even someone with our education in her issues are not able to keep her and others safe anymore.

The state I live in doesn’t offer much help.  It’s amazing how many friends leave or become suddenly unavailable when you have a child that even just someone to talk to about the newest issue would be welcome.  I don’t want validation for what my decisions have to be, but someone to listen to the latest amazing thing would be not only welcome but helpful.  Don’t have to say a dang thing, just listen to what happened now.  It is a lot to ask of someone though, there is always something that shocks me, which quite frankly is NOT easy, but it is hard for someone to understand the extent of damage that is done to this child’s brain.

Family is the same way… oh everyone would love to help if they just knew what to do.  I don’t blame them, honestly I don’t.  Living with this child and her issues for about 10 years as she progressively becomes more violent and unpredictable is hard for me and my grown children.  It is hard to watch and not know what to do, not understand what is really going on with her.  If it wasn’t for my adult daughter co-parenting her with me along with her partner, we would not have made it this far.  She is truly amazing and one of the things I am most proud of in this world. 

So at this point… I am juggling writing for my sanity, because it helps me focus, a volatile child that has voices talking to her and telling her things that I can only imagine.  She is on adult medication, hitting puberty where her issues are all magnified, and likely becoming more impossible to handle which is not even fathomable.  Not being able to work because of this child and her issues, no income coming in, losing my job, but not losing faith that it will all be ok.  It always works out.

I am going through the motions, have found comfort in not only my writing but also the people I have met along the way.  Amazing indie writers that write from their heart, from their imagination and can create worlds that it helps a great deal to escape reality when I can find a spare moment to do so.  

I know what the outcome of my situation is going to be, or rather what it will probably look like.  At this point, I would love to go somewhere, say a cave that has electricity so I can continue writing, have access to submit my books, and not speak to a soul for a good year.  Ok well maybe that wouldn’t work but it is a nice dream :O)

Life does move on… it just may take turns that you have no idea, or desire to go down.  So my updates may come in spurts and flutters but I am moving down the path, continuing to do what I can while keeping a smile on my face as much as humanly possible.  Besides, smiling in spite of conflict always makes people wonder what is wrong with you :O)

Happy Reading Everyone!
Bella Marie

Monday, July 18, 2011

Smashwords Sale!

Hey Everyone!

I just signed up for the sale at Smashwords and you can get 2 of my books for free and one for 50% off. 



This one is 50% off

Happy Reading!
Bella Marie

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Editors are People too!

I have been spending a large amount of time going through my book, Time Well Spent to get it ready for Creataspace publication.  I figured that is the next step since so many have commented on how they really want it in hard-copy.  

First I started with the cover.  I had a fantastic one picked out to work on, sexy scene, the whole bit.  Then I decide that may not be the best way to go.  When people are reading erotica, they don’t like to announce to the whole world, yep! I love reading erotica!  When I have purchased it, it has a very subtle cover, if not just words and a picture that really says nothing about what the book is about.  

I decide to wait on that, start preparing the book for publication.  The other thing about this particular book is that I had written it with no names in the story, well except one story, so people can easily imagine themselves as the characters.  The limited feedback I have got basically says that they like names better, so yep, going to do this edition with names.  Of course that means going through each story and making changes.

I had noticed that on Smashwords, I get a lot of sample downloads but not many sales in this particular book.  I thought that odd in a way, figured this book must really suck if they can’t get past the first bit and want to read more.  I have just finished up the book tour promoting it and still sales are not very good.  Well I may be onto something in changing my book so it has names I think?

Here I am, going through my book and I find one error after another.  What?  That doesn’t make sense.  How could this be?  How bloody irritating!  Heck I had gone through it multiple times, how did I miss the changes that needed to be made still?  (An error to me could even be as simple as one or two missed word placements for a story in the collection of 15 short stories in the book.  One error to me is too many for my books!)

I have heard other writers complain about this too, they have editors looking through their books, even just readers that highlight errors and still there are problems.  Granted even traditionally published books have errors, heck I own a few that are horribly edited in fact that are traditionally published.  Of course my book has no errors in it!  I made sure!

So what I have learned from this experience?  Always read through your work no matter what professional goes through it, paid or unpaid.  If someone says that the editing has problems, go back through it.  Things can be missed.  Not everyone is a Grammar Nazi as some say they are.  It is distracting to be reading along and a word that should not be there is suddenly there.  When there is a lot like that through the story, it is hard to continue to read the book.  It distracts from the story.  

Don’t get me wrong, I am going through each of my books at the moment and making sure that there are no errors in them.  If I find any, I will be fixing them.  This is not to say in any way that they all need fixed because they don’t; it is just a realization that there is no way I am alone in this and well, I am somewhat of a perfectionist in some things :o)

Editors are people too, they make mistakes and each author needs to really look at their work to make sure that it is what they want out there.  If not, fix it!  Hire a new editor.  I have yet to find the program that will find every single error in a book on the computer.  People make mistakes… fortunately they can be fixed :O)

Happy Reading!
Bella Marie

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Amazing World of Independent Writers….

(Original Post..

As with all worlds, real or imagined, there are good people and there are those that really need to work on their people skills.  Perhaps it is the balance of good vs evil? Of course it could always be that they really got up on the wrong side of the bed, slipped and fell and nothing has gone right since.  For whatever reason people are grumpy, mean spirited, rude, unkind, or whatever negatively descriptive word you would like to throw in there, everyone has an off day, even me :O) 

I decided to go on tour with my book through BK Walker with the Virtual Book Tour CafĂ© and this in my last blog for the tour I have been on for a month now.  I have met some really wonderful people on this tour as well as have had the pleasure of knowing before I went on tour.  I have also met some really grumpy people from every aspect of my writing experience.  I would like to sing the praises of a few people that I have met, who have helped this rather new writer who is getting use to trying to promote my work in this crazy world of self-publishing.

For those of you who have read my blogs as well as interviews, I am sure it won’t surprise you to see my mentioning Martin Sharlow author of several books, including Chronicles of Blood .  He is the one that inspired me to publish my books in the first place, giving me some much needed advice.  Between him and his daughter Shanda Sharlow, author of Jenni for one, they have been my inspiration.  I am a huge fan of their writing as a reader.  Their work stands very well on their own but I wanted to give them a thank you for all they have done to help me along the way.  I would also like to heartily thank anyone who have or will purchase my books, I am beyond honored. 

When my tour started, BK was wonderful, set up my tour very quickly and with some great people.  There are some that went completely out of their way, exceptionally nice and helpful.  I completely appreciate each and every single one of them!   I had the pleasure of going onto Katie Salidas’s website for an interview and in doing so; I was able to read one of her well-loved books, House of Immortal Pleasures.  I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it.  She is an inspiration for my next book; she was so very genuine and kind to me.  

The Golden Pen Review, Kiki Howell from Authors by Authors, (totally love her concept of authors helping authors!), CJ Black from CJ Black Satin, Sally at Bibrary Bookslut, Miranda from My Eclectic Bookshelf, Kari  From theTBR Pile and last but not least, Jocelyn Modo who so graciously decided to host my last tour when someone else wasn’t able to do it…. I thank you all for being so kind to me!

Now I would like to thank all those wonderful writers over at Indie Writers Unite!  I discovered this wonderful group for writers on Facebook that made my first experience with really grumpy people seems so very isolated!  I could go on and on mentioning the wonderful people that I have met on this site, sharing their wonderful books, helping each other in this confusing world of self-publishing, (at least confusing for me :O)  

The first person who welcomed me and I got to even comment on her new book title which was fun, is Melissa Smith. She is so very kind, always commenting on things, letting people get to know her.  Mike Cooley not only was kind and welcoming but he shared his idea of putting music with his poetry.  I have never been a huge fan of poetry but I love the one that he shared along with his song that he wrote for it.  I am very impressed, looking forward to hearing more from him.  I could go on and on naming people but it would take a very long time.  I will be continuing this subject on my personal blog for those who don’t mind a shout out as well so if anyone would like to comment on the idea that would be fantastic.  I look forward to reading so many new books!  I am reading Shanda Sharlow’s Jenni at the moment but I will get to all those others too. 

There are some amazing people, books and music out there that I truly hope that those who haven’t taken a chance on an Indie author like me and the people that I have raved about, so you don’t miss out on something wonderful!  

Happy Reading!
Bella Marie