All about Helping…

This month our topic was, well, there was no topic. It’s a “freebie” month. Scene13ers get to blog about anythingFirst Cover Reveal!they want. Well, normally I don’t like freebies. I freeze. I over-think until I can’t think. I stress myself out to the point that my stress is stressed. But this month something really great happened and I want to share.

Last month I shared that I signed a contract to publish my first young adult contemporary romance, “Unspeakable.” Now I have a novella, “Finding Willow,” releasing, too. But as great as that is, it’s not what I want to write about.

When I wrote my debut novel, “PODs,” I knew nothing about the writing community. I didn’t use critique partners or Betas—I didn’t know what a Beta was! I had no idea there were bloggers that lived to review books, nor did I know how many there were.

But writing “Unspeakable” I had a group of ladies who read my work and told me honestly what worked, what they liked, and what they loved. Man, that was a great feeling to hear them gush over my book! Then came the second half of their email… “And this is what sucks…” Well, that let the air out of my balloon.

Second Cover Reveal!

Second Cover Reveal!

So I read their critiques, did some rewriting and had some Beta readers take a look, mainly girls the age the book would be marketed toward, and of course my group of critique partners.

Their suggestions made a huge difference. “Unspeakable” went from a good book, to a great (IMHO) book. And I realize now how essential, how priceless my CPs and Betas are in my writing career.

But there’s one other group of people other than the bloggers who are golden to authors, CPs and Betas who are priceless, and that group is other authors.

I had two cover reveals in a week. I found out about both the day before. Whoa. So I started emailing anyone I could think of that might help. And the response was Amazing. Many of you already know this because you blog here, and you stepped-up and helped. I want to tell you, you are AWESOME.

The authors that dropped everything to set-up a post at the very last minute—twice—just rocked. The way they came together to help really showed me how tight the bond is between authors. Well, how it should be, anyway.

I love helping other authors. I keep a blog for that reason, and only that reason. But to have it turned around and the help focused on me was a very prodigious experience. And for those of you who helped, thank you. You made my cover reveals awesome.

How about you? Have you ever had a time when you needed help and authors or bloggers jumped in?

It's time to read!

Get out there and fix that fence.

fenceSpring = renewal, new buds, growth.

But for some of us who’ve been starved of the sun for seven or eight months, it can also be a hindrance. There’s pressure to be outside, mow that lawn, fix that fence, paint that wagon, suffer that allergy.

As writers, we need to lock ourselves away in order to be able to march across the landscapes of our imaginations. So for me, the autumn is what holds the giddy promise of guilt free dark afternoons and evenings, when there is no pressure to venture out and I can really get stuck into some new idea. Spring, on the other hand, beckons to me to get out.

But I use it to good effect. I try always  not to start a new project in spring. Those first draft demons would drive me bonkers and turn my brain into thick porridge. Instead, I embrace the outdoors and change my way of working. I prefer to be at a revision phase, having allowed that piece (or pieces) I’ve worked on through the winter, to settle in a closed drawer. Spring is the ideal time to look at it afresh. Rediscover it and root out those weeds in nice, bite sized, sessions.

Well, that’s the plan. But you know what? if I get that one great idea while I’m creosoting the fence, I’ll just down tools and try and get it written down anyway, spring be damned.

Write, but don’t forget to live.

Rhys AThe Obsidian Pebble, first of the Artefact series for MG readers, is due for release in Oct 2013. The Beast of Seabourne in Oct 2014. Both from SHP.  Enjoy the ride.

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