How are you? Are you and yours safe and healthy? These are strange days indeed, my friends. In my day job, I work with railroads, so we are considered essential employees. It’s most peculiar, being designated as essential when I’m not doing anything to aid on the frontlines of this pandemic, but there you are.
These are strange days indeed.
I’ve been doing my best not to let myself fall face-first into the news. It’s a challenge for me because my #1 strength according to my Gallup Strengthsfinder is Input. I want ALL the information. So, like many of you, I am doing my damndest to distract myself.
Saturday, I received a proof copy of the paperback edition of TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE.
Sunday morning, I wrote the first 2000 words of Scary New Story. As I type this Sunday afternoon, I have bread dough rising in a bowl, a sleeping labrador on the loveseat, and The Cure (Pictures of You) on the stereo.
As you read this, I will be back at the day job, being essential. Don’t worry, my co-workers are keeping as much distance between us as possible. Even Princess has become adept at social distancing. Now, she supervises me from afar.
So, how are you doing? What are you doing to keep yourself distracted from the strangeness? CONTENTMENT is free for Kindle today if you need something to read.
Please know I am holding all those who are on the frontlines of this battle, suffering the effects of the virus or struggling with loneliness and isolation in my heart. Be well. Stay safe.
I did a cover reveal for my upcoming release. Did you see it? If not, it’s because you are not in my reader group. Why aren’t you in my reader group? I only send newsletters once or twice a month, and there’s usually a giveaway.
I’m ponying up a gift card in the one that just went out. Ten whole American dollars to spend at Amazon.
Definitely worth one more addition to your inbox, don’t you think? If you haven’t signed up, you can do so by entering your email address into the sidebar and I’ll catch you next time.
If you did receive my email and have not opened/responded, why not? Don’t you like free money? You can buy books with that, ya know… 😉
I hope you are well. I pray your families are healthy and you are finding ways to cope with the turbulence in our world.
Last weekend, I spent a good deal of time trying to look forward. Sunny days are coming. Flowers will bloom. We’ll feel hopeful again. I’m so convinced that we will, that I have a new book that will make it’s way into the world this spring, so how about that cover reveal?
This time I decided to do something a little different and use two different images from the same session for the ebook and print editions.
So there you have it. I hope you like them.
Brittany Owens is a young woman on the brink. As Brit’s career soars past up-and-coming and hurtles toward the stratosphere, she feels like she doesn’t have any control over its trajectory. Her grandfather is country music royalty. Her momager is determined to get Brit to the top at all costs. And then, there is the man she fell for when she was far too young to know any better.
Cash Dorsett once had stardom within his grasp. But the excesses that come with a life in the spotlight had him landing flat on his face when he reached for the success he craved. Clean and sober now, he doesn’t let himself think about the blue-eyed girl he left in the wreckage of his career. Much.
A chance encounter leads to an intense collaboration. But can Brit and Cash find a way to make beautiful music together without allowing her rising star to burn their love to the ground?
To Make You Feel My Love will be live on May 14, 2020!
In the meantime, be well, be safe, and be kind to one another.
I have a new project running around in my head. I don’t want to talk about it too much, because I’m not quite to the point of writing it. What if the kind of magic I have in my head doesn’t translate to the page? But I am excited about it. I’m just… waiting for that magic moment when I feel ready to start spinning the tale. Maybe this guy can help:
In the meantime, work is coming along on TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE. No release date set yet, but we’re well into editorial and I have cover art, and I love it. Here’s a little hint of what’s to come. Reveal to come as soon as I set a release date. In the meantime, I’ve got plenty to keep you occupied on the My Books page.
Spring has come to Central Arkansas. Thank goodness. As much as I love and miss my friends and family up north, I do not miss the winters. There’s a fresh-cut hyacinth in my bud vase. Last week, Fodder clipped these beauties and brought a little sunshine into the house. We’re supposed to be entering into a rainy stretch over the next 10 days, so Sally and I sat outside soaking up the vitamin D over the weekend. Hopefully, the rain will help keep the green pollen monster at bay.
Speaking of Spring…I will be attending the Chicago North Spring Fling in Chicago again this year. There’s a multi-author book signing scheduled for Saturday, May 2, 2020. If you’re in the Chicago area, be sure to mark your calendar!
It’s been so long. Too long. I just wanted you to know I’m still here. As I write this, I am at the kt literary retreat in Austin, Texas. It’s been a fun-filled weekend, jam-packed with information. I’m constantly amazed by the creativity and ingenuity of my fellow authors.
You guys, they are amazing.
People are doing awesome stuff. They work so hard. I’m amazed.
Anyhow, I’m super tired, but I hope to be around more in the coming weeks. TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE is in the editorial process. I have a cover, but I haven’t revealed it yet. I love it. It’s so pretty. I promise I’ll share it soon. It’ll knock your socks off!
No release date yet – Sara and I are running some world domination plans on the ancillary rights, so we need a little time.
I spent the weekend mainlining Grace & Frankie season 6. Man, I love that show. I’m also incredibly happy that Schitt’s Creek is back, and I get my weekly fix of Moira Rose for just a little while longer.
I’ve been working on revisions of To Make You Feel My Love. I have a slot booked with my editor for February, so it’s time to get cranking. You know how I love a deadline. I haven’t even peeked at the manuscript for almost a year, and guess what I discovered? It does not suck. Yay!
So what else is happening?
I’ll be getting the rights to some of my books back, which means I’ll be repackaging them and independently publishing them later this year. So, if you’re looking for the Coastal Heat or Worth the Wait books, hang tight!
I’m also keeping up with my list of little happy things each day. I find it’s much easier for me to pick one small thing out of my day and note it than to pick the special ones for the old happiness jar. It’s working for me, so I think I’ll keep on with it. *gratitude rebel*
At present, I’m listening to the new Audible Original version of Jane Austen’s Emma, which features none other than the fabulous Emma Thompson. Loving the production, but I realized something in revisiting this novel – I think Emma (Woodhouse) is kind of an a$$hole. Does that make me an Austen rebel as well?
I don’t have anywhere to complain about her, though, because I quit Twitter. Yep. Done. Out. Both accounts deactivated. If you’re looking for me, don’t look there.
But, hey, did I tell you I signed up for a 5k walk/run on February 29th? I can tell you it’ll be more walk than run, but I figured Leap Year day would be a good day to make a fool of myself. Plus, if I finish, I get one of these sparkly medals:
Yep. I’m in it for the bling, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
How about you? Have you done anything rebellious lately? Sign up for anything crazy? Wanna share any unpopular opinions on classic novels? Hit the comments box below!
I don’t have much to say. At this point in the year, I usually recap what I’ve accomplished, note items that were successes or disappointments, and lay out a few goals for the coming year.
But I have nothing to report.
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
I have barely touched the book that was 2/3 written at the end of 2017. I didn’t write any new words until NaNoWriMo rolled around in November, and those words had nothing to do with the previously written words. Oh, and those words are also nothing remotely resembling a novel.
I remain hopeful. In spite of the burnout, and in the face of an industry that fluctuates from indifference to implosion on a near-daily basis.
I’m still a writer.
I still have 40 completed works under my belt, two in progress, and dozens of ideas left to nurture. I’m just…doing things a little differently these days.
Writing isn’t my life. It’s not who I am at my essence. It’s just something I like to do. But, I used to love doing it. And I want to get back to that place again.
So here I am, looking forward to 2020 armed with nothing more than a battered ego, a dusty keyboard, and a bucket-full of self-awareness. And, hopefully, I’ll get something done.
Oh, and to that end…don’t look for me on Twitter anymore. I have deactivated my accounts. You can find me on Insta @maggiewells1, the book of Face in all the usual spots, and-as always- here. Like Luke Danes, I’m always here.
Wishing you all the best health and happiness in 2020. Thanks for hanging around with me. <3
It’s December. Can you believe that? I can’t. I have no idea where the year went. I’d claim I was busy writing, but we all know that would be a lie. I can say I was busy living.
This year has been one of reflection and reassessment for me, and I feel like I’m in a much better place than I was when it started. I spent a lot of time napping. And reading. I watched a lot of Netflix and college football. Hung out with Fodder and friends, and generally stopped throwing myself at the brick wall that is the publishing business.
Does that mean I’ve quit? Take a gander at this:
I started a new project with no outline, no general plot, no idea who the characters were or really what they wanted. And it was so much fun. I made it just over the 50k mark, and little by little they are revealing themselves to me. I think this new book may even have some series potential. Stay tuned.
I’ll keep tinkering with it, but I’m glad that NaNo is over. I need to immerse myself in this whole December thing. There are holiday parties scheduled for the next two weekends, then Christmas with my branch of the family, all before the actual holiday itself.
So, yeah, time to kick it in gear. How about you? Are you ready for December?
P.S. Home in Heartsfield (formerly Spring Chickens) got a makeover! Check out this nifty new cover!
I did it (and won!) every year from 2009 – 2018. A nice, even 10 years of literary abandon. A good place to stop, right?
Yeah. I’m totally doing NaNo again, but I am rocking it old school this year.
Okay, maybe not that old-school, but I am doing some things a little differently.
I’m writing an all-new story. I had to set the problematic WIP aside and try to focus on something less resistive.
I’m totally pantsing it. No loose outline. No character sketches. No beat sheets. Just telling a story.
I don’t even care if I make the 50k. Okay, I say that, but we all know I’m just enough of an achiever to take my best shot at it. I know I can do it. I’ve done it 10 times before, so I have nothing to prove by killing myself.
I’m free-flowing it in a good, old-fashioned Word document. Nothing against my Scrivener software, just feeling the need to get back to basics.
I have no idea if this story is a romance. I assume it will develop into one, but I’m not going to force it.
So, yeah. You know the drill. I’ll see you sometime in December!
I finally feel like I’m reaching the top of this burnout hole I’ve been in. I’ve been reading a lot – fiction and non-fiction – and watching a good chunk of PBS and Netflix programming. And college football, though my teams are not doing much to excite the fan-base.
I’ve also been making notes. The books, articles, and coaching sessions have helped me see some place I might improve my stalled work in progress, and breathe more life and purpose into the characters.
So, yeah, that’s where I’m at as of today.
But seeing the light at the top of the hole also scares me. If I want to get back in the swing of things, I’m going to have to step out there again. And the one thing I fear more than failing, it’s burning out again.
I don’t want to feel the same level of anger, frustration, and futility I’ve been marinating in for the last year or so.
So. I’ve given myself the month of October to ramp up. In November, I will dive back into the work. I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo this year. I don’t think I have it in me. For the first time in over a decade, I will not be spending November sweating word count totals.
Because I’ve come to realize that I want to write for the long haul, and for here on out, I will be treating my publishing career as a marathon, and not a sprint.
In my last post, I talked about my burnout. In this one, I’d update you on my recovery, and what I have discovered.
I may have mentioned it in my previous post, but I had a bit of an, “Ah-ha!” moment while watching Becca Syme’s QuitCast videos.
Becca is a Gallup certified strengths coach, but she is also an author and a member of the Romance Writers of America. She started talking about burnout issues because most of the authors she speaks to started listing the same worries/concerns.
I won’t go into detail about burnout and all the things she said that spoke to me and the way I was feeling about my writing career. I’ll just tell you that I connected with it enough to sign up for a class she was offering that helps authors identify their top five strengths (according to the Clifton StrengthsFinder) and works with them in a coaching capacity author-to-author.
Here are my five: Input|Relator|Empathy|Achiever|Responsibility
There’s quite a bit of logic behind each of these strength labels, but for the most part, they are self-explanatory. Since the Gallup and Becca’s definitions are copyrighted material, I’ll just give you my hot take on them.
Input – High input people need to take in a lot of information. They don’t necessarily become experts in everything they learn, but they store it away for future reference. I attribute my vast store of movie quotes, superior Trivial Pursuit skills, and ability to sing every word of a song I haven’t heard in 20 years to this strength.
Relator – This means I need to have a strong connection to the people closest to me. I don’t gather friends everywhere I go, but the ones I have are close and well-chosen. I think this may be why I like to include close-knit groups of friends in my stories.
Empathy – I’m good at reading the room. Whether it’s an individual, or a general consensus, I pick up on vibes pretty easily. Which may explain why the negative onslaught we’ve been enduring since 2016 has been overwhelming for me. This is why I have retreated from most social media and holed up in my blanket fort.
Achiever – The name pretty much says it all. I am compelled to complete tasks. If there’s a list, I must tick off the boxes. Like all of these traits, this can also become a weakness. This is why I broke up with my Apple watch. I don’t think it’s healthy to cuss a piece of wearable technology for not giving me stand credit for hours I know I was on my feet. Yeah….
Responsibility – I’m just a girl who can’t say no. Okay, I can, but I don’t very often, and that weighs on me. I am your get it done girl. Once I agree to something, I have to see things through. But when it’s a situation where I have to rely on others to do their part, well… it can take a toll too.
So, yeah, I’ve been talking to Becca about where these traits are working for me, and where I may not be using them to my best advantage. We’re also talking strategy for dealing with those moments when my strengths become a weakness.
So here is my self-portrait for the week:
I’m still not writing, but now my not writing is purposeful. I’m refilling my input well, and hunkering down with those people who help me generate good energy. I’ve made my blanket fort a safe space for the plot bunnies to come and play. I feed my achiever by taking notes on all the happy writing-related stuff I want to keep for later. And I am learning to identify those tasks that I truly own, rather than simply taking responsibility for everything.
I feel good. I feel optimistic. I feel like my writing career will go on for many years to come. Perhaps not at the breakneck speed of the first 10 years, but that’s okay. I’m playing the long game now.
If you are looking for me, one of the places I’ve been hanging out at the most lately is on The Corner of Smart & Sexy. It’s just me and some fabulous author friends talking books and playing silly games. Join us there! You never know who you may run into…