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Eye of the tiger

We’ve all heard the song and we’ve all seen the movie. Rocky movies, one through five were a staple in my household when I was growing up and I think it taught me something about life.

 Rocky, the first movie in the series, has to be my favorite. Why?

Well I’m going to explain and just for all of you who have never seen this movie, let me just say: Spoiler Alert!

In the first movie, Rocky knew he could never beat Apollo. All he could do was outlast him. Get knocked down then get right back up for some more. Well anyone in the writing business will tell you: it’s a lot like that. Receiving rejection from editors, agents, consumers, anyone really- is hard, but the point is to pull yourself up by the boot straps and keep fighting, keep writing, keep doing what you love.

Now Rocky, he knew he couldn’t win but did that mean he went into the ring like a pansy?

No! He fought like hell, gave Apollo Creed a run for his money by hitting him with his best shot. 

When entering the writing and publishing world or any new career, don’t go into it thinking you’re going to fail. Put your best work out there, show them you’re willing to learn, willing to take constructive criticism, show them…what you’re made of.

Finally, the last round is over and the judges have to decide who won the fight. Well of course Apollo keeps the title of undefeated champ of the world but no one would have expected this underdog to last as long as he did. Especially Apollo, who thinks it was just a lucky fight for this southpaw. Most of us know, that Apollo demands a rematch, which Rocky goes on to win.Why?

This is obvious: He had the eye of the tiger.

He was hungry for the win: Wanted it more than he wanted anything else.

What better way to look at life. Want your dreams more than anything else. Work hard then work even harder to achieve your goals. Remember you’re the predator, hunting your prey, which is your dream. You’re hungry for it-starved, so never take your eyes off it, always have…the eye of the tiger.

The open window

With spring fast approaching and the weather reminding me of it already, I find myself ready to open the windows of my home. Let the fresh air, the songs of the birds, and the smell of spring flowers into the rooms.

Sigh…It’s too early. I know, but it’s got me thinking about being open in life. Like the window, it can let in the good things the world has to offer, yet it can also let in the bad.

 Obviously you wouldn’t want the window to be open during a torrential rain or wind storm. Dust, dirt, and water filling the rooms is a strict, no, no, but when you open a window in life, is it a risk you take?

Like writing a book for example, I’m opening myself up to the public, showing them my creativity at a large-scale. I’m sure some people will love it, but I’m also very sure some people won’t.

 Criticism can hurt, we all know that, but that’s the name of the game. When you open a window, you open it to what ever may come and hopefully most criticism will be constructive.

 Okay maybe that’s asking too much but either way, I think one has to take the good and the bad with a grain of salt. My writing might sound genius to one person and like a load of crap to the next, yet neither of these people would be wrong.

 I can hear the gasp already but listen up, it’s kind of like the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Not everyone is going to think you or your work is great, you defiantly can’t please everyone. One person may give you a rave review giving you confidence galore while someone else comes along and cuts you off at the knees…it’s tough, there’s no doubt about that. The trick is to use this knowledge to your benefit.

 So I know what you’re thinking, ‘if it rains just shut the window?’

 Right? Well maybe, if it’s an actual window but as far as criticism is concerned I’m not so sure if one should shut it all out. Heck, it may help you grow stronger in writing or whatever venture you are trying to accomplish. One thing is certain, we may not see ourselves or our work as others see it. We’re too close to the project or looking at it through an emotional lens. Sometime criticism is the only thing that may give us a better looking-glass at our own work.

 Lets keep this in mind the next time someone gives you something to think about, good or bad…and remember try to be your own open window.

 

The write sock

Picking the right genre in romance is hard right? Wrong. I think most authors will tell you that they began writing in their genres because it was something they were very passionate about to begin with. Yet this got me thinking, what if you are undecided, or what if you like two genres and can’t choose between them? Well I have an analogy that might help but let me just add; I’m not an expert by any means…just someone that has been learning along the way.

Picking a romance genre is a lot like picking the perfect pair of socks. Socks, you ask? Yes, please don’t commit me before you hear me out.

When picking a genre ask yourself, what am I comfortable with, what do I feel confident in, what would be way over my head, and what makes me unique? Or in sock terms, the comfy sock, the white sock, the ugly sock and the borrowed sock.

The comfy sock: For me a comfy sock is made of soft cotton. Wrapping snuggly around my foot and ankle, making me feel… oh, so warm and happy.

I’m comfortable writing paranormal romance. Why?

Probably because I have read a lot of them. When I write about witches and lycans I feel at home. Transporting my mind into the land of magic and mayhem is fun and exciting. Oh and dare I say it…just like the perfect sock it make me happy.

The white sock: Clean and crisp, fresh from the package, makes me feel, oh so pretty. The look at me now socks. Yeah that’s right I said it, I’m proud to wear these socks.

I wanted to write about something I was going to be proud of. Something that would make me dance around the room singing, something that I would want to show off to my family, friends, and eventually the world. When I write paranormal romances, I’m confident that I have something… creativity… a message… just something to offer that people would enjoy.

The ugly sock: Yes y’all know what I’m talking about here; the sock with holes in the toes and heels. The one with dirt stains that are all stretched out that you push to the back of the drawer and say, “I’ll wear these gardening or painting or,” whatever, you’re not wearing them to the doc’s office that’s for sure. You don’t want anyone to see them cuz let’s face it, they’re just not good.

I’m a firm believer to write what you know. I love to read historical but I don’t feel like I could ever write one. At least not yet, I envy other authors that write them…I mean they transport you back in time, making you believe you were there. Personally, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I would feel over my head. Not able to deliver the type of story I know I’m capable of. So, whatever you write you want to put your best work out there, not hide it under the bed or in the back of drawer.

The borrowed sock: Sometimes I accidentally grab my hubby’s sock. How can I tell the difference? Well about half an hour later, I find the sock shimming around my ankle as it bunches up in my shoe. Yeah, super fun.

I have so many favorite romance authors but when I write a romance, I want it to be my own. Coming out with fresh ideas that no one has ever done-hard. But, I like the challenge, it was one of the reasons I started this whole venture. Remember all the reasons you wanted to write to begin with. Let your voice be heard. Be inspired by other authors let your imagination roll with them but your unique voice is what readers really want to hear. Anything other than your original voice just won’t be the right fit for your book.

Yeah okay so I know this was a stretch but I hope you liked it but above that I hope for all you out there, writers or not… I hope you find the ‘write sock’ in your life.

 

 

Two, the luckiest number?

So what does it take to write a book? Since coming clean with my alter ego this is a question I have been asked repeatedly. Well the answer isn’t as easy as one might think but this is what I’ve come up with. It takes two things, for me at least.

One, was determination.

I was getting published. No matter what it took, I was going to see this through.

Yeah okay, there were moments of complete insanity. Breakdowns, where I considered this to be a fools mission but I pushed through the moments of ‘this is crazy’ and moved forward. I mean I had to, right? The book wasn’t going to write itself. Fortunately, an idea came to me: surround yourself with other aspiring authors.  This was a, capital H-uge plus. To find other authors, determined to keep me on the path of ‘writeousness,’ was more than a light bulb moment. Central New York Romance Writers, keep me grounded, motivated, and inspired. A girl couldn’t ask for more.

The second thing….imagination!

Who remembers playing with their stuffed animals, dolls, G.I. joes…etc, and so forth?

For those of you that can’t see me right now, I’m raising my right hand, and pointing at the rest of you with my left. Yes, you know who you are, you did it too. Such a natural instinct, to create and dream. Yet somewhere along the lines, as adults, we start to lose that ability to believe in creativity.  For some, this never happens and for me…I was one of the lucky ones.

Although some days, I get into a game of tug of war with my creativity. I mean, it’s not easy to create an alternate reality when the one in front of you is waving red flags. Examples of this would be, oh lets see…work, grocery shopping, laundry….I could go on and on but I won’t. Y’all get the idea. Stress equals writers block.

BUT….there is a but here. I know one thing is for certain. No matter how old we get, no matter what is standing in the way of our dreams, if you stay young at heart and are determined to accomplish your goals than nothing can stand in your way. Nothing.

That’s what it took for me to finish my novel and that’s what it will take for me to maintain my dream. Now this I ask you…What will it take for you to accomplish yours?

Dream a little dream…

Once upon a time, I had a dream to become a published author. Recently that dream was realized, thanks to Soul Mate Publishing but it was a long road to this point.

 About a year ago, I got serious and figured out a way to make this happen. I mean that’s what dreams are made of right? Preparation meets opportunity, and I for one wanted to be as prepared as possible when I heard the words, “We want to publish your book.”

After “X” number of hours spent studying and researching I spent an equal amount of time forming my game plan…that’s when A Witch’s Love was born. Almost a year of writing later, I was ready to submit, that’s when the cold feet hit. Someone is actually going to read my work. Yikes! I know that probably sounds weird, like why were you spending all this time to write it, if you didn’t want anyone to read it? 

Imagine spending all this time, expanding your brain to the outer limits as you pounded a key board for days on end, for someone to tell you that your book was just not ready.

Ugh…I still have nightmares.

I knew I needed more information and support than a well equipped laptop could bring me, that led me to Romance Writers of America and eventually to my local chapter, Central New York Romance Writers. Without the inspirational women there, I would probably still be spinning my wheels.

I would like to say it was easy, or that it was the luck of the Irish that helped me realize my dream, but the truth is, it was a lot of hard work. Work that made me giggle with excitement and cry with a gusto. I am certain my journey into publishing has only just started. What will follow?

More hard work, flaying tears, and side-splitting laughter I’m sure. For Rome wasn’t built-in a day but I know I wouldn’t be able to do any of this if it wasn’t for my family, friends, and groups believing in me.

However… For everyone who has a dream, know this: It all starts with believing in yourself.