Monday Mayhem – Accomplishment vs Ambition

Good morning! This blog post is brought to you today once again by the letter D. Hi! I’m here with Desdemona, my Dragon software, and I’m talking to myself again. After last week’s post, a few people have asked how it’s going, so here’s an update:

I’ve been working with it all week, I’m not sure that I’m getting any better, but I’m doing it. I’ve been dictating during my approximately twelve minute drive to work each morning. That time has netted me about 900 words on average each day this week. I’m only dictating basic punctuation, and not using the dialogue marks as of yet, but, yeah, progress. When I come home, I have Desdemona transcribe what I’ve dictated into my phone, I edit it, and add it to my work in progress. So far, so good. I’m finding that dictation allows me to get the bones of the scene in, and when I go back to edit it, I’m adding the color, character, and voice to the story.

In other news, at a great time the ladies from the Diamond State Romance Authors yesterday. it had been a couple of months since I’ve been to a meeting, and I really needed this one. Being around other writers helps to recharge the batteries.

We had an interesting discussion at lunch about ambition, expectations, reality and our accomplishments.

When you’re waist-deep in the publishing industry the disparity between an author’s ambition, expectations, and reality, can be…disheartening. And in those moments of despair, we have a tendency to downplay our accomplishments.

So if you are in one of those funks where you feel like a failure, ask yourself these simple questions:

1. Did I try?
2. Did I finish?
3. Did I dare to show my work, even if only to one person.

If you answered yes, to any of these, then you are an accomplished person.

It’s easy to lose sight of our accomplishments when we hold them up next to our ambitions. Most of the time, our ambition and expectations are waaaaaay up here, and our reality looks something like a royalty check barely big enough to cover lunch. But that doesn’t mean we still haven’t accomplished something spectacular.

I’m speaking directly to my novelist friends now, but I believe this applies to any creative endeavor:

Look at what you have done. You are amazing. Literally, one in millions. A percentage so minute, most people don’t even count it on a chart. The year I signed with my literary agent, Sara, she tweeted her 2015 query statistics in December. The numbers were so staggering I broke out the calculator, and did the math.

I know! I voluntarily did math.

You know what? I am one of the .003%

One-percenters may think they are something because their checks cover more than lunch, but you, me, and a handful of others? We’re in an even more exclusive club.

As writers, we build a career one word at a time, one book at a time, one series at a time. What we need to do is stop using yardsticks to measure a game played in millimeters. It doesn’t covert properly.

It’s not wrong to have ambition or expectations. Reality can sometimes be better than we expected. But please, oh please, don’t sweep your accomplishments under the rug because they didn’t jibe with the rest of that jive.

Feed your ambition.

Temper your expectations.

Plot what you can do to enhance your reality.

And celebrate your accomplishments every damn day. Because, wow! Who knew you had this in you?

You did. That’s who.

So, yeah… *steps off soapbox*

Right now I’m working on revisions for novel number thirty-seven and adding words to number thirty-eight. See what I did there?

I’m totally high-fiving myself as I eat the peanut butter sandwich I brought from home.

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Monday Mayhem – I’ve been up, down, all around…

I’ve been feeling completely unmotivated lately.

For most of this year, actually.

At first, I didn’t worry about it too much. I’d finished another NaNoWriMo in November. December had been its usual whirlwind, but with the special added bonus of a software conversion and move at the day job. Then January came, and I ran out of patience with the life I’d been living. Cue another big life change…

Is it possible I used up whatever motivation I had focusing on getting out of one day job and into the new one? Because, I don’t seem to have anything left for the writing. I’m even writing this blog post late because I am so daunted by the thought of facing this damn blinking cursor that I will do endless loads of laundry to avoid it.

It’s a phase, I know.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

I can’t leave all those plot bunnies lingering in their hutch indefinitely. Something’s going to start to stink in there.

Every author knows the ebb and flow. Some stories pour out like water. Most are prized out with pliers. Genre fiction writers have been on a roller coaster ride for the last half-decade. As the authors who drive most of the revenue in the industry, we’ve been expected to produce more, faster, better, and cheaper than ever before. And we’ve answered the call…but at what expense?

My first book was published in 2011. Next week, my 33rd (A BOLT FROM THE BLUE) will hit the digital bookshelves. Crazy, huh? I’ve written and sold 33 novels and novellas in 6 years. Numbers 34-37 are already written and awaiting editorial. I’m scheduled for release through number 38 in the fall of 2018.

I should be riding high, right? I ought to be psyched. But mostly, I just feel tired. Like Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles tired.

This weekend, Fodder and I hit the flea markets and excavated some awesome old albums. I came home with this fabulous Barry Manilow double album. And while Sally may not appreciate my rendition of Weekend in New England, I totally understood where Barry was coming from when he sang about Tryin’ to Get the Feeling Again.

There are times when I worry that I’ve fallen out of love with writing. Moments when I wonder if I could just walk away from it—leave all those bunnies in the hutch to battle it out until all that’s left is one single killer rabbit of a story with nasty, pointed teeth living in a deep, dark cave.

But I won’t. I can’t. So, I’m still meditating every night. I started doing yoga again. Mainlined Grace & Frankie season 3. And, hey, look—I just wrote a 500 word blog post whining about not wanting to write.

I just…need to find a way to get my storytelling groove back. I’m hoping the Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass album I scored for $2 will help.

 

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Monday Mayhem – My year in numbers

I’m one of those crazies who likes to quantify things. so I thought I’d throw some random stats for the year out there this week, and next week, we’ll get to open the Good Things jar!

29 – Number of novella length or longer works published (Going Deep).

3 fabulous vacations – Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York. 🙂

1 agent acquired!

52 Weekend Writing Warrior posts.

2 beloved pets lost, 1 fairly goofy pet gained.

6 – number of books contracted for 2016-2017.

76 episodes of Friday Night Lights watched in the month of August.

1 visitor from abroad. Literally, a broad. Her name is Julie and I fed her every chance I had.

23 – number of strands of Christmas lights purchased to replace old strands.

47 – the number of candles that would have been on my birthday cake if I’d had a birthday cake. We ate ice cream sundaes instead.

175,000+ words written on drafts. This doesn’t include proposals, edits, material that was cut, blog posts or other peripheral writing.

4 grueling days of physical inventory at the day job.

Whew! So that’s what I’ve been doing. I need to rest now.

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Happy first birthday, Three Little Words!

Last December, I had my first Kensington/Lyrical release – Three Little Words!

Three Little Words_Maggie Wells

Three Little Words is an erotic romance for those of us who aren’t in our 20’s anymore.

It’s never too late to make the best impulsive decision of your life.

Jo Masters isn’t the party girl she used to be, but now that she’s a woman without obligations, she’s ready to recapture a little of her misspent youth. Her niece’s wedding, with its open bar and dark dance floor, proves to be the perfect opportunity to let loose.

Gregory Stark is just trying to make it through his son’s wedding day. . . and make some time with the gorgeous brunette on the bride’s side of the aisle. His kid’s wedding probably isn’t the best occasion to put the moves on the sexy woman, who introduces herself only as ‘Josie’, but his best friend is closing in on her too and he has to act fast. With a couple of tequila shots under his belt, Greg propositions Josie — and neither wants to refuse.

****

In the summer of 2016, we’ll finally see the sequel to Three Little WordsA Will and a Way!

A WILL AND A WAY

Here’s the gist:

What’s a nice widow like you doing in a place like this?….

Consummate ladies man Will Tarrant has made it to middle age without walking down the aisle. People think he’s anti-marriage, but he knows he just hasn’t met the right woman yet. Then he lays eyes on Southern Belle Betty Asher–in the neighborhood pub of all places. She’s new in town, perfectly gorgeous–and a perfect lady. But can Will be a perfect gentleman?…

With small town life and her cheating late husband behind her, Betty is looking forward to big city adventure. When she captures the attention of the local heartthrob, she even indulges in some hot and heavy flirtation. After all, it isn’t everyday she gets to play the merry widow. She assumes their acquaintance will end there, until a job interview lands her in Will’s office–and in his arms once more. Despite their irresistible attraction, Betty’s enjoying her freedom, while Will’s finally ready to put a ring on it. Now he’ll just have to convince her that nothing could be sweeter than being tied down–with him.

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Weekend Writing Warrior – 5/17/15

I’m so excited! This week I am re-releasing my first Maggie Wells book – Seducing Steve. My old friend Steve has been re-edited and re-covered, but he’s still as hot as ever! Check him out:

“Don’t put this in one of your books, please…I can do better.”

She smiled and touched her finger to his mouth. Steve sucked the tip of her finger into his mouth, laving her with his tongue. “Too late,” she whispered. “Book three.”

“Huh?”

She snuggled into the crook of his neck and sighed. “Everything from book three on was all you.”

****

SSHiRes

Erotic romance novelist Sara Wright is searching for passion that leaps from the page, and she thinks the answer might be right under her nose. For eight years, Sara has been harboring a secret lust for her best friend and sometimes muse, Steve Larson.

Steve has loved Sara since the day he met her, but has long since resigned himself to being firmly in the friend zone. That is, until Sara confesses she’s been using her fantasies about him as inspiration for the heroes in her novels.

Determined to be the man to give her what she wants, he takes a page from Sara’s books and plots his every move to make her his. But he isn’t quite like the guys she writes about, and, in truth, he isn’t sure he wants to be. With each encounter, he ups the sexual stakes, but fears he’s giving her the wrong impression of who he is and exactly what he wants.

Her heart.

AmazonAppleB&N ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords

That’s all I have for now. Be sure to check out all of the Weekend Writing Warrior posts here.

Happy Sunday!

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Weekend Writing Warrior – 5/10/15, cover reveal, and FREEBIE!

Hi gang! Remember the book I wrote about the hotshot reporter and the even hotter marine biologist guy? Well, Going Deep will be hitting the e-book shelves on September 15, 2015 and I got gorgeous new cover art! To celebrate, I’m sharing 8 lines from Brooke and Brian’s story this week. Anyone up for a little dancing in the moonlight?

****

“Can you sing?”

“Not on a bet.”

“Whistle?”

Raising one eyebrow, he stepped into her space, forcing her to follow him into the smooth glide of a waltz. “Do you need me to hail you a cab?”

“I haven’t actually waltzed since the junior high cotillion,” she murmured, nostalgia curving her lips. “Do you hum?”

“I’ve been humming every second since I saw you tonight.”

****

Here’s the gorgeous artwork from Kensington/Lyrical Press sent this week:

GOING DEEP_Lyrical_jpg

And here’s the scoop on this story:

Going Deep

To the heart of the story.

Brooke Hastings almost won a Pulitzer Prize for her hard-hitting reportage. Now she’s sitting on the story of a lifetime and wants to prove she’s not a one-hit-wonder. But in order to get the world to take notice, she’ll need the help of the one person she loves to hate—Brian Dalton.

Brian Dalton stumbled into celebrity when he landed a show on the Earth Channel. But the hunky marine biologist never forgot the serious, studious boy who left Mobile a decade before. Now back in Alabama, he’s looking for the quiet life he always wanted and hoping for a chance with the girl he always loved. When Brooke asks him to help expose some of the lingering effects of the Gulf oil disaster, Brian jumps at the chance to help preserve the place both call home…

Available for pre-order now!

All Romance ~ AmazonAppleB&NGoogle ~  Kensington Kobo

And if that wasn’t exciting enough – Kensington/Lyrical Press is offering Three Little Words for FREE this month! Grab a copy now!

Three Little Words_Maggie Wells

AmazonAppleB&NGoogle ~  Kensington Kobo

That’s all I have for now. Be sure to check out all of the Weekend Writing Warrior posts here.

Happy Sunday!

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Monday Mayhem – Big news! Wow news!

Just in case you haven’t seen me crowing on Facebook, Twitter, and random street corners…

I HAVE AN AGENT!

Last Monday I accepted an offer of representation form my dream agent, Sara Megibow of KT Literary! I queried her in March with a pitch for Full Court Press, and within a month I had an offer! For those of you who don’t know, that is unspeakably fast for the publishing world.

So, yay! I’m beyond excited to be working with Sara and thrilled by her enthusiasm and ambition.  There could be big things happening! Wow things!

What? You still want more good news? Well, nothing is set in stone yet, but it looks like you may be seeing a sequel to Three Little Words! I submitted A Will and a Way (formerly Bossy Pants) to my editor, and they liked it! I’m just waiting for the details to be worked out.

That’s not enough excitement, you say? How about I tell you that Kensington has put Three Little Words on sale for the low, low price of…FREE!

Three Little Words_Maggie Wells

AmazonAppleB&NGoogle ~  Kensington Kobo

That’s right. Tell all your friends to grab their copy now, because Greg and Josie and their sexytime romps are up for grabs!

And finally: The winner of the signed ‘collector’s edition’ copies of Paramour and Inamorata is:

Arlene Hittle

Congratulations, Arlene, and thanks for commenting!

Wish you’d won them for yourself? Watch this Wednesday’s Whatcha Reading? post for another chance to win a set!

That’s all I have for now, dear friends. Well, that and this picture of a really cute boy who made me chase him all around the backyard, then graciously allowed me to feed him chips and sugar cookies for lunch (Hey, I can do that, I’m the grandma.).

KaysonChips

How was your weekend? Munch on anything yummy?

 

 

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