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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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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Monday Mayhem – Written in the Stars

This weekend, Fodder and I packed a suitcase and a snack bag and hit the road. I decided at the eleventh hour to attend the North Louisiana Storytellers and Authors of Romance (NOLA Stars) Written in the Stars conference, and I’m sure glad I did.

Friday evening, I arrived in time to hook up with my DSRA pal, Nena Clements, and say hi to fellow Arkansan, Keri Ford. I was also in time for the food and fun of the meet and greet reception. 🙂

Saturday was jam-packed with great workshops, a chance to meet some writers I’ve only chatted with online, and (dun-dun-dun) my first-ever, live pitch to an agent or editor. That’s right. I have 8 novels, 16 novellas and over a dozen short stories published without ever having to sell a story with just the words coming out of my mouth.

You know what I learned?

I’m no good at it. The second I got past the introduction, my thoughts went haywire and all semblance of cool went flying out the door. I…am a babbler. Thankfully, the agent and editor that I spoke to were both very kind and patient. They’re also at least partially fluent in babble, because they both asked to see what I was offering.

So…yay! I did it! And now I know what I need to work on before zipping out to NYC for RWA nationals. Well, that and the stories I want to write before I go. So this week, I will once again be preparing submission packages for Full Court Press.

*claps and bounces* I’m just so relieved that people seem interested. I’m also relieved that I don’t have to do that again until July.

How about you? Are you a savvy salesperson? Can you talk your way through anything? Or, are you one of those people who purposefully chose a major that involved mainly essay tests and blue books?

bluebks

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Monday Mayhem – Submissive me

I’m kicking a couple out of the nest!

Once again, ladies and germs, I am on submission. Gird your loins.

I emailed the manuscript for Bossy Pants (sequel to Three Little Words) to my editor just minutes ago. Now, I have to polish my proposal package for Full Court Press and send it out (on request!) this week as well.

Sending fresh manuscripts out into the world is always nerve-racking. What’s an author to do while she waits? Well, there’s usually a little binge snacking, a lot of hand-wringing, multiple neurotic emails to the critique partner, and then I move on to the final solution…start something new.

Last week, I pitched a few ideas your way and you were kind enough to give me your feedback. Book one in the Hooligans series will be the next full-length manuscript I write, and I am super-excited to tackle Rory and Mary Pat’s story.

But first, I have a couple of chances to pitch/propose other works if I can pull together outlines before the deadlines. So yeah, I’m going to be scrambling for the next couple of weeks. But there are worse problems than too many opportunities, right?

How about you? Do you have multiple projects going in your life? How do you decide which ones get attention first?

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – Mmmmkay?

Hiya gang!

How’s it going? I’ve been completely…lazy. Okay, maybe not completely. I did have a release last week – Yay! Spring Chickens!

SpringChickens-MEthridge-Md

Also available in paperback for those of you who wish to bump the old cover off the shelf, though I imagine I may be giving away a signed copy or two once I get mine.

In other news: I added about 4k to Bossy Pants on revision. For those of you who don’t know, Bossy Pants is the follow up to Three Little Words

Three Little Words_Maggie Wells

It features Greg’s best friend and perennial bachelor, Will Tarrant. Will is a bad boy who may be just a tad misunderstood. He also looks a suspiciously like Dermot Mulroney.

Beverly Hilton Hotel

Funny how that happens.

I am also getting the rights to Seducing Steve back and will be preparing to revise and re-release it as an self-published title. 🙂

And did you know that every Sunday I post 8 sentences from one of my works on my blog? It’s part of the Weekend Writing Warriors challenge and it’s a lot of fun!

In other news:

  • Had a hot writing date with the fabulous Parker Kincaid on Saturday, and got the scoop on what’s been happening with her Shadow Maverick Ranch cowboys – all I can say is it sounds yummy!
  • Received print copies of novella bundles submitted for RITA award consideration. The Last First Date in print and with the Harlequin logo on the cover. I might have geeked out just a little.
  • I’ve started my tenures as President of the Diamond State Romance Authors and Vice President of Passionate Ink RWA, so I will soon be a Google Hangouts master.
  • The not-so-new-anymore day job continues to be a vast improvement in terms of mental/physical health as well as general happiness.
  • Took Fodder to pick out his first-ever pair of prescription eyeglasses. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing some hot professor types popping up in my work.

Other than that, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Netflix, but I’ll save that for Fangirl Friday. I’ve also started a book I’ve been waiting for, but that falls under Whatcha Reading Wednesday, so I’ll just ask…What have you been up to?

 

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Happy New Year!

special-quotes-for-new-year-2015 (800x450) - Copy

The Winner of The Last First Date and Lisa Fox’s fabulous One Kiss is:

Lindsay Cross!

Congratulations, Lindsay and thank you all for stopping by to check out my new blog. I hope to have more fun and giveaways for you all in 2015!

 

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It’s release day!

STBlaise-MWells-MD

HOT NIGHTS IN ST. BLAISE by Maggie Wells

The Complete Calendar Collection – January – December

Welcome to St. Blaise

Home of the Men and Women of St. Blaise Regional Medical Center

When the St. Blaise Regional Medical Center Board of Directors hired hometown girl, Beth Watkins, to jump-start their public relations, they never imagined she’d be stripping their most prominent doctors, nurses, and support staff down to their birthday suits in order to beef up the hospital’s bank account.

Six men and six women were chosen to represent the best and brightest of this little town nestled in the heart of the Mark Twain National Forest. They also happened to be the hottest tickets in town. Soon the fundraising calendar is spiking temperatures throughout the Show Me state, and the men and women of St. Blaise are setting their small-town nights on fire.

Limited time price only $0.99!

IBOOKS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | SMASHWORDS | ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS

 

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