Category Archives: Writing

Roar Sneak Peek!

If you’ve been anywhere near me in the last week or so, then you know that Roar — the third book in my Witches & Warlocks series — is set to release November 15th. That’s THIS SUNDAY, PEOPLE! WOOOO!

I may be juuuuust a little excited about this release. 🙂

I’ve heard back from my beta readers, one of whom is totally taken with the first sentence and another who cried as she told me her favorite scenes. And then, because I was so excited that she was so excited, I may have cried a little, too.

I thought you might like little sneak peek at the first chapter of Roar. Maybe then you might get as excited as I am. (OK. Probably not. I’m pretty wound up.)

But first, have you joined my mailing list? I always send an email to my list the moment I have a link to the product page. If you want to know the minute Roar releases, sign up by clicking here.

And now, without further ado, here is the first chapter of Roar, just for you!

**Spoiler alert. If you haven’t read Speak or Hush yet, you might not want to read this chapter yet.**

 

Roar

Chapter one

 

It’s a weird thing, stalking someone with the sole intent of killing them. Following them from place to place, studying their movements. I always wonder if they’d want to live the night differently if they knew how it was going to end.

Ha.

I say that like I’m a seasoned killer. Always wonder. I say it like I’ve done this more than four times. Although, I do get a little … I don’t know … harder  … each time we kill someone. A little colder. It gets easier to consider the next one.

And so far, there’s always been a next one.

This one has a name. Nancy. I don’t like it when they have a name, it makes them feel more like a person with friends and a family who cares about them and will miss them once they’re gone. I like it better when Daya gives us a target that’s only a description and a place to find said target. Not so lucky this time, I guess.

Nancy is one of Lucy’s errand girls. Her main job is finding people suitable enough for Lucy and Albert’s little vampire/werewolf ‘create a species’ project. You know, where the leader of the vampires and the leader of the werewolves are actively trying to breed some sort of crazy hybrid. A super-race that’ll basically let them take over the world.

Nancy is really good at her job. She’s got a knack for finding people who get excited about the whole prospect of possibly dying or going insane in the hopes of ending up as some powerful new creature. Not that it matters if they’re excited about it or not. I don’t think Lucy’d stop what she was doing if the people Nancy brought her were suddenly all ‘but wait, stop!’. Knowing what I think I know about Lucy, she’d probably end up liking the whole process all the more if her victims end up scared out of their minds. Regardless, taking out Nancy will be a stumbling block in Lucy’s whole ‘take over the supernatural world’ game.

Of course, that’s what Daya says about all the vampires she’s sent us out to kill. “Taking out this target will make the world a better place. A safer place.”

I do my best to believe her. Otherwise, I don’t think I could do what she wants us to do. What she tells us to do. She says it’s our job ‘cause we’re the Trinity — Noah, Luke, and me. The champions of the witches. The heroes of the human world. Saving them all from a terrible future they don’t even know they’re facing. I hold onto that ‘cause otherwise, we’re nothing more than assassins.  

Our job’s gonna be easy tonight, though. This Nancy is nasty. We’ve followed her from nightclub to bar to nightclub, watching her toy with the men — and women — who pretty much just fall down at her feet. She seduces them, draws them into a dark corner or abandoned bathroom, then goes all psycho vampire, scares the shit out of them, drinks just about all of their blood, and leaves them to either live or die, alone and scared. She’s cruel. And she hasn’t found anyone suitable to take home to Lucy, so right now, she’s on the move again.

I nudge Noah and jerk my head in her direction as Nancy slips out of the men’s bathroom, wipes her mouth, and blends right into the crowd of her victim’s drunken friends. They’re all busy dancing and laughing, unaware of the disaster waiting for them in the men’s room. She doesn’t know it, but she’s leaving a trail of magic behind her, a faintly glowing line that traces her path, dissipating after just a few seconds. A tracking spell we put on her earlier tonight. The line really doesn’t last long enough to be of much use, but we couldn’t risk using too strong a spell on her or she’d have felt it. Damn vampires and their supernatural senses.

As soon as the door to the club closes behind her, Noah, Luke, and I slide off our barstools and follow her outside. We don’t make an effort to blend in like she did. We cut through the crowd, ignoring the protests, comments, and nasty names. No time for courtesy ‘cause if we don’t get outside quickly enough, we’re gonna lose her.

We hit the sidewalk and fan out like we know what we’re doing, Noah heading right, Luke heading left, while I head straight out towards the street.

“Here,” Noah whispers and I turn just in time to see the line of our magic disappear around the corner, heading into an alley behind the club. This is it. The break we’ve been waiting for. Need to kill a vampire? Best to do it in an abandoned alley.  Luke and I converge on the spot, moving quickly, mercury loose on the table.

Noah’s already calling on his magic. I can see it coalescing around his edges and it still takes me off guard to see him like that. It’s beautiful. He’s beautiful. His golden energy crackling at his fingertips, his blue eyes glowing faintly in the dark. I let my fingers graze his arm as we pass and his magic surges into me, awakening mine. He only tolerates the touch because he knows I need to draw on his power. Otherwise, he pretty much avoids me like the plague.

“Tueri trinitas,” he whispers — a protection spell.

“Tueri tinitas,” I say, grasping his hand and reaching out for Luke. When his fingers entwine with mine, his magic flows through my arm and into my center where it blends with Noah’s and twists itself up with my energy. We are the Trinity and I am the centerpiece.

Interficere hostium.” Luke growls his incantation — death to our enemies — and I echo it, adding my magic to his. After spending more than her fair share of decades on this earth, Nancy’s life expectancy is now only minutes long.

Still holding hands, letting our power gather and grow, we round the corner. Stride down the alley, hands held, energy coalescing. The tiger is pacing and roaring, ready for the kill. Me? My stomach is a roiling boiling mess of nerves and anxiety. Sure, I was bred for this. Sure, Daya made certain that I had just the right combination of light and dark magic so I’m some sort of moral question mark. Sure, there’s a part of me that’s designed to kill.

That doesn’t change the fact that the rest of me is a good person. I value life. All life. And, since Daya kept me embedded in normal human society rather than raising me with all the other little badass witches and warlocks she created, I fully believe that killing is bad. So, even though half of me is growing ever more excited by what we’re doing, the other half of me is very loudly going on about the whole thou shalt not kill deal.

My magic falters as my resolve wavers. The guys can feel it. Noah squeezes my hand and Luke sends a wave of dark magic straight to my heart. And that’s that. My resolve is totally strengthened. Whatever it means about me and my everlasting soul, Nancy will die tonight.

If we can find her, that is.

The trail’s gone cold. The little glowing line of magic is gone. She could be anywhere. We stop. Put our backs together so not one of us is exposed and there’s no chance of Nancy sneaking up from behind.

Laughter echos down the alley and of course, there’s no way to tell where it’s coming from. Damn vampires and their supernatural creepiness. I peer into the dark, calling on the strength of my tiger, hoping to channel some of her night vision and use it to see. One of the benefits of having a predator for a familiar, I guess. Makes me a better predator, too.

Tonight though, even with the improved vision, I see nothing. Nancy could be anywhere.

“You think I didn’t smell your magic all night long?” The words come from above us and have the faintest trace of an accent I can’t really place. Clearly, this isn’t gonna be easy. If she’s smart enough to have known we were following her, she’s bound to have a few more tricks up her sleeves.

“Baby witches are so fun to play with.” Her voice comes from the other side of the alley now. Ground level. “You think you’re so powerful.”

Luke mutters a long string of incantations, so quiet I can’t even hear them, his voice nothing more than a low growl sounding in his chest. Nancy laughs again and I can’t help it, the hairs on my arms stand straight up. There’s nothing human or humane or hell, nothing even a little pleasant about the sound. God, I hate vampires. They’re nasty and pompous and self-satisfied and have absolutely no respect for anything other than themselves.

Utter. Snakes.

It’s snowing. Not the polite little flakes of a late fall snow, but the heavy duty, real deal. Huge clumps of snow plop onto the ground and catch in my hair. One drops onto my eyelash and as I blink it away, I catch just the slightest movement out of the corner of my eye.

I choke back a scream and try not to pay any attention to the shame that catches in my throat along with it. Just because I’m supposed to be on my way to ‘hardened killer’ doesn’t make me immune to fear. I mean, I’m standing in a dark alley and a vampire is barrelling towards me. Of course I’m gonna want to scream.

I gather my magic and call on the tiger and am ready to let all kinds of hell loose when something hard and unforgiving slams into my shoulder. I fall to the ground in an uncoordinated heap, my breath knocked from my lungs and my head bouncing off the concrete, summoning a cloud of stars to dance with the snowflakes.

That hard thing that hit me and knocked me down? That was Noah. And now instead of running right at me, Nancy is running right at him and her teeth are bared and her eyes are glinting and there’s no way she’s gonna be quick and merciful. I’ve seen what she does to the people she eats.

My head’s throbbing and my chest is tight, and that sucks, but I’m OK. Which is good because I’ve got about half a second before the bitch is on Noah and that’s simply not going to happen.

Tempore prohibere!” I scream the words to my timestop spell and everything just screeches to a halt around me. I scramble to my feet.

Nancy’s got one hand on Noah’s arm and the other on his head, tilting it way back, exposing his neck. Her mouth is wide open, her wicked sharp fangs pressed against his throat. I lean in close, making sure she hasn’t pierced his skin yet and sigh in relief to see that she hasn’t.

Yet.

His skin is actually dimpling under the pressure of her extended canines. If I’d been even a little bit slower …

I brush the thought away. I wasn’t too slow. Noah’s fine. For now.

The trick is gonna be to make sure he’s still fine once I get time all set back to rights. I take a minute and walk around the scene. You’d think the snowflakes would melt when they touch my skin, all suspended mid-air like they are, but instead, it’s like the whole world distorts, bending them out of my way, only to spring back into place as soon as I’ve passed. I’m truly outside of time and therefore can’t affect anything.

Which means that I’m probably not going to be able to move Noah out of range of Nancy’s teeth. Doesn’t hurt to check though, does it? Her hand moves without resistance when I pull it off his head. When I let go, though? It falls right back into place, like I’d never even been there. So now what? I’ve got him safe, but the instant I get time moving again, her teeth will pierce his skin and that’s just not gonna work for me.

Luke’s right there. His magic all coalesced into something all spiky and dangerous. Even with time stopped, it kind of hums with the threat contained inside. Of course, his eyes are glowing red, a furious crimson that I really can’t make myself look at. His face is all screwed up with rage. Truth is, he looks scarier than Nancy ‘cause when I actually do make myself look at his eyes, it’s clear how excited he is by this whole thing.

So, Luke’s ready. The moment I let time go free again, his magic will be loose, slamming into Nancy and probably hurtling her back away from Noah a bit. I just can’t quite trust that it’ll hurtle her backwards fast enough.

I take a breath. Close my eyes. Focus. Think.

There’s got to be a way to do this without Noah getting hurt. I’m a badass witch, after all. If Daya trusts me to save the whole flippin’ world, surely, I can save the man I love. Of course, that man doesn’t love me back, but that doesn’t matter at all right now. I run my hand through my hair and gather it over my shoulder.

I think … possibly … if I can manage to let time come back together very slowly, I can get a spell off before Nancy’s teeth sink all the way into Noah’s throat. I take another breath. If I misjudge the timing even a little, Noah will die.

Another deep breath and then I free the tiger, charge her with keeping me and Noah safe. I call on my magic and while it roars to life, I ever so slowly let time slip free, hoping and hoping and hoping some more that I’m strong enough to get the timing right.

 

Book 2 in my Witches & Warlocks series is live!

IT’S ALIVE! ALIIIIIVE!!!

It’s 29 days after the release of Speak (Witches & Warlocks Book 1), and here I am announcing the release of Hush (Witches & Warlocks Book 2). Can you believe it? I know I can’t! Although, maybe, with that in mind, you can forgive my relative silence around here. I’ve made a few posts over on my Facebook page, but mostly, I’ve been nose to the grindstone, trying to get this bad boy out to the world.

And with that being said, I’m wishing you a wonderful day and scurrying around the house to get ready for the return of my family from school and work. But you better believe I’ll be happy dancing the whole time!

A cover reveal and pre-order for “Speak”

Hello, hello, hello!

Phew.

*takes a few deep breaths and wipes brow*

I’ve been busy. It’s summer, so the kids are home and that just brings its own special level of insanity, chaos, and super warm cuddles my way. But! That doesn’t mean I haven’t been hard at work!

If you’re on my mailing list, or my ARC team, or happen to know me in, you know, real life, then you probably know about the new series I had to start. And when I say had, I totally mean had. The book wouldn’t leave me alone.

Well, book one is done and getting the final touches put on it and book two is underway! Oh, ya, and I totally designed the cover myself!

Ready to see it? I’m so ready to show you because I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. 🙂

*waits for a drum roll that never happens*

Alright, fine. I’ll just post the silly thing.

 

Tada!

Ready to find out more? Head to Amazon to read the blurb and to reserve your copy.

As always, thank you for all your support!

Unleashed is unleashed!

Unleashed - Book two in R. M. Webb's Immortal Memory Series
Unleashed – Book two in R. M. Webb’s Immortal Memory Series

Woo! I’m so excited!

Unleashed – book two in the Immortal Memories series – hit the virtual shelves yesterday. Because of the support of so many of you, it debuted as #24 on the Vampire Suspense Amazon Bestseller list.

That’s pretty stinkin’ cool. I totally happy danced everywhere all day!

If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, head over to my books page to find the links to your favorite site.

I’m ever so thankful for each and every one of you. I’m looking forward to reading all your reviews and hearing all your thoughts and reading all your emails.

Ok, well, the kids are home from school, dinner’s boiling, and I have another book to write!

Happy reading!

The river stole the gods – Flash Fiction

The River Stole the Gods

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Flash fiction challenge

This post is in response to Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge. Basically, he listed several sentences, suggested we pick one at random, and then write a short story around it – about 1000 words. He does this frequently and I’ve never participated. Today though, one sentence caught my attention and wouldn’t let it go. So no, I didn’t choose my sentence at random. It randomly chose me.

My sentence? The river stole the gods.

Without further ado, the story that wrote itself while I was editing my novel this morning:

Rain fell day after day until the ground could hold no more. Grasses bent into great puddles and the river crept up its banks. People scurried like ants around carrion, lining the surging water with bags of sand, bits of stone, any piece of debris they thought might keep the water at bay. They fell to their knees and, with arms outstretched, begged the sky for pardon.

“Forgive us!” they cried.

And still the rain fell. It pelted their upturned faces as if their words infuriated the sky and the clouds. “You are not forgiven,” said the rain. “You are not worthy of forgiveness.” Within a day, the river ate the barrier the people had built, a great gluttonous devouring of faith and safety.

And still the rain fell. It fell in hard diagonal lines and the people huddled inside their church, weeping near the altar. “Why are you so angry with us?” They sobbed between prayers, their keening voices filling the small building.

Thunder crashed and winds howled. Lightning struck the ground again and again, a tumultuous onslaught of power. Trees bent until they broke and the river carried them away, bobbing and twisting and catching on each other, excited for a change of scenery after a lifetime of stillness. And still the river swelled, each raindrop adding to its girth. It tiptoed out of its bed like a child sneaking out of his room, slinking ever closer to the village.

Everything it touched, it consumed. Bits and pieces of human life gobbled up and carried away, a gift for those downstream. Water stole down the paths normally trafficked by mortal feet and poured through doors into homes, chasing people upstairs and onto roofs as if it were a monster finally freed of the dark. Relentless. Uncaring.

Children plunged into the water’s icy depths and parents lamented. “Not my child! Take me instead! Why have the gods abandoned me?” Wails of grief drowned out by the rain and the wind, the thunder and the ever present roar of water. Payers falling on deaf ears.

And still the rain fell. It cascaded down, day after day and night after night. The river overpowered the village and nothing was sacred enough to withstand its wrath. Water flowed into their churches and swept over their altars. The river stole the gods, carrying their idols down the river, forever lost to the village.

Water filled the buildings from floor to ceiling, the remains of life captured between the walls and floating inside. A doll’s hair streaming outwards as it hung suspended over a child’s bed. A dress billowing out from a closet like some exotic sea creature hunkered in a cave. Fish swam through kitchens and pecked at the flesh of those claimed by the water, invited into the realm of the air-breathers like tourists on vacation, unaware their very presence was sacrilege. “Look, Martha.” Peck, peck. “What a delightful world filled with wonderful things!” Peck, peck. “I wish I could thank its inhabitants. How strange that they aren’t here.” Peck.

Day and night were interchangeable in this new wet existence. People shivered and shook while the sun and the stars and the moon hid behind the black clouds that commandeered the world from those who thought to make it their own. “You are powerless,” said the rain to the man. “I will take all you’ve made,” said the rain the woman.

And still the rain fell.

Many perished, gave up their lives, unwilling to last through the tumultuous downpour, the ever present winds, and the bone-chilling damp. Some plunged themselves into the river, crying out against their gods. Others simply lay down never to get up again.

But there were those whose strength would not be diminished. Could not be diminished. As the water swept by, they fished debris from the river and fashioned shelter atop the very roofs that’d once covered them. And when the water swept away the shelter, they climbed into the treetops and used the leaves and branches as refuge from the rain. They stopped lamenting the rain and began celebrating each day they woke to feel the water upon their face.

“If I can feel the wet, then the wet has yet to claim me,” they said. They raised their voices to the heavens in a resplendent offering of gratitude. They rose to the challenge of cold skin and damp fingers and rain and water and wet with the grace of strength housed deep within the soul.

“I will not bow my head and fling myself into the depths,” said one to the other. “And nor shall you. For when you feel like plunging head long into the water, giving up against the rain, take my hand and I will keep you.” One by one, bit by bit, the people adapted. They grew strong, hand in hand, day by day, unconquered by the river and the rain.

And then one day, as quickly as it started, the rain stopped. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds and the sky exploded, rays of light shooting down upon the water where it burst into sparkling ripples dappled in gold. The people squinted and covered their eyes. A silence as deep as the river stretched out amongst the trees. No more pattering of water against water. No more howling of wind in their ears. They sighed and stretched their arms wide, faces turned upwards collecting the warmth of the sun.

Dear God! I think she’s dead!

*brushes away your worried hand*

No, no. I’m fine. Really.

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I ran across a major problem with the plot in my second book that caused me to have to unravel a few parts in the beginning, huge chunks of the middle, and the entire end. It was a soul crushing decision to throw away so many word and chapters, but I’m nothing if not a perfectionist. The book wasn’t going to be very good with the problem plot.

I bit the bullet and started a massive rewrite.

Because I didn’t want to miss my (self-imposed) deadline for publication, I dropped all social media and stopped posting to my blog. (I have answered emails. I love talking to my readers!) I stopped working out so that I can use those extra hours oh so early in the day for writing. I can understand why you might have thought I died.

But I’m fine. *yawns* Really. *rubs eyes and stares blearily into an empty coffee cup*

But here’s the good news. I’m like…two scenes…maaaayyyyybe three…away from ending this book for the second time. Only this time, I’m super excited about it. See, I knew back on November 30-the first time I hit The End on this manuscript- that it wasn’t very good. I knew I was in for a lot of editing. I was not excited at all. I finished it with a heavy sigh and a shake of the head.

This time? I’m jump-up-and-down-scream-it-from-the-rooftops-hug-everyone-in-my-family-including-the-dog-excited.

Ok. This blog post is 300 words long and took me fifteen minutes to write. I’ve let myself out of my cage long enough. Time to get back to work and finish my book!

*Jumps up and down with newly filled cup of coffee. Stares blearily at the mess.*

 

I’m Batman.

And so are you.

Just wait.

I’ll show you.

Something awesome happened today. I took apart the entire second half of my book.

“But wait,” you say. “That’s not at all awesome. Nor does it have anything to do with me being Batman.”

Give me a moment and I’ll explain.

I finished the rough draft of my second book on November 30, 2014. I haven’t been able to get though the first edit. I’ve been dragging my heels ever since. The Bitch has been saying all kinds of awful things to me. (If you happened to read this post then you’l know all about The Bitch. If you’ve ever been in the business of creating anything, then you probably know all about The Bitch even if you didn’t read said post.)

Anyway, every time I sat down to edit the next section of the book, I grew more and more certain that I WAS THE WORST WRITER EVER AND EVERYTHING I’LL EVER WRITE IS SURE TO BE UTTER TRASH. It got to where I just couldn’t write at all. I was sludging through mud up past my ankles and sinking further by the day. Even after people who’d read the first half were clamoring for more chapters to read, I just. couldn’t. get through.

“Again,” you say. “This has nothing to do with either of us being Batman.”

Patience, friend. I’m trying to set the scene.

Over the weekend, I sat down with Mr. Wonderful and had a very honest conversation about my fear regarding the book. Seeing as how you keep pressuring me to get to the point, I’ll boil the conversation down to it’s bullet points.

  • I knew the end of the book was bad.
  • I knew I needed to publish fast in order to improve my chances of gaining traction as an author.
  • I knew that fixing the broken end would slow me down.

I spent about a month avoiding those truths. The Bitch took that opportunity to start twisting my thoughts into awful, criticizing, statements of ‘fact’ that were crumbling my oddly over-inflated/non-existent self-esteem.

After the conversation with Mr. Wonderful, I realized that all I was dealing with was the FEAR of having to rewrite several major plot lines combined with the FEAR of being slowed down combined with the DISAPPOINTMENT of missing a self-imposed deadline that led to the FEAR that this whole endeavor is a waste of everyone’s time.

Today, I got up and brushed the fear aside.  And here’s where it gets crazy and you’ll see why I’m feeling like Batman. With the fear gone, The Bitch had nothing to feed on. She just shut up and sat down in her corner to sulk.

Without her whispering her in my ear, I got up, worked out, showered and got dressed, fed the kids breakfast, packed their lunches, cut up a bunch of fruit and loaded it into the dehydrator, and then outlined 18 new scenes for the end of the book.

All before noon.

Yes, I tweeted about it. Yes, I posted it to Facebook. Now I’m writing a blog post about it.  I’ll be honest. Calling myself Batman really tickled me. You should be tickled, too. Cause I’m cute.

Now, here’s the thing. If you’re trudging through mud, struggling to get things done, and the voice in your head is getting nastier and nastier…stop.

Yep. Just stop.

Talk to someone. Write in a journal. Talk to yourself. (Maybe only do that part if you’re alone.) Figure out what’s bothering you.

Why are you putting up roadblocks and saying such mean things to yourself? Is there a reason your inner critic is flogging the hell outta you? What kind of ammunition are you feeding that nasty little voice? Remember, that voice stems from you. You have the power to shut it up.

In order to put the voice of your inner critic in its place, you need to move out of the realm of emotion and into the realm of logic. Stop focusing on what’s wrong and start focusing on what you can do about it.

We make choices every day. We can choose to allow those negative thoughts to thrive, or we can hunt them down and remove the root cause.

Today, I’ve made my choice.

I’m Batman.

Fear Whispers its Sweet Nothings

Artists are strange birds. Odd ducks. Unusual people.

We suffer these massive delusions of grandeur, these awesome moments of self-confidence that allow us to do whatever it is we do and then offer it up for public consumption. At the same time, most of us are busy totally believing we’re not worthy of the attention we receive. We’re not good enough. We are, in actuality, hacks, and sooner or later someone is going to realize it and they’re all gonna laugh at us!

In my early twenties, I took an incredibly low paying position at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. And by low paying, I mean I made just about $100 for that entire season. My family was awesome and supplemented my income as best they could, which really didn’t amount to much. Don’t take that wrong. I’m eternally grateful for their sacrifice. That still doesn’t change the fact that my budget was tight.

I mean like skinny jeans on a fat day kinda tight.

I lived in a tiny studio apartment. I couldn’t afford to drive to the grocery store, let alone splurge on fancy things like name-brand yogurt.

I wish I could say that despite all that, I was happy as a clam. Pleased as punch. Good to go.

Truth of it is, I wasn’t. I should’ve been, but I wasn’t.

Wanna know why? There was this awful voice in my head that kept telling me everything I did, every movement I made, every part of my body was complete and utter shit. My upper arms were too flabby. My technique was awful. My artistry was bland. My ability to portray emotion through movement was trite and under-developed.

My dancing was stupid. My body was stupid. I was stupid.

Thing is, no one else said those things about me. I was the only one. I was doing the thing I loved most in the world and honestly, I was succeeding, but I was so busy tearing myself down, I couldn’t see the progress I made or the attention I got for it.

That voice overwhelmed me. I believed those awful things it said about me and eventually I was the one saying those awful things. I wanted desperately to improve, to be worthy of the sacrifice I’d made, to be worthy of the sacrifice my family made on my behalf.

Nothing I did was good enough.

Period. The end.

Let’s fast forward a decade and find me sitting at my keyboard, pursuing another career in the arts. I write stories and try to get people to read them. And I love it in the same way I loved ballet. And, guess what. That awful voice that ruined me as a dancer is trying to creep up and start tangling itself into my thoughts as I write.

It tells me I write stupid things and my stories are dumb and no one wants to read my books and I’m wasting my time and Mr. Wonderful’s time and the money we’re throwing at this venture is wasted and on and on and on.

Here’s where it gets cool.

I’m older. I’m stronger. I’m more prepared.

I know that voice is trying to sabotage me. Steven Pressfield calls it the voice of Resistance in his book The War of Art. I call it the voice of my inner critic (otherwise known as The Bitch) and know that at its root, it’s the voice of fear. Fear of failing. Fear of looking dumb. Fear of judgement.

All those awful things I say to myself are nothing more than fear whispering its sweet nothings in my ear.

If you’re suffering due to your inner critic,  you’re not alone. We all suffer when The Bitch whispers. I’m pretty sure that voice comes standard in today’s newest human model, pre-installed, no activation required.

But remember, in the end, you’re in control of this side-show we call life, at least your little corner of it. When The Bitch climbs her way into your head, her nails digging at your daydreams, her harsh voice freezing you in your tracks, it’s up to you how much you believe what she has to say.

My advice?

The Bitch feeds off our emotions, twisting them to help prove what she’s saying as complete and utter truth. In order to shut her down, stop feeding her. Switch over to the analytical side of your art. Deal in facts, not fears, proof, not hope.

Worried about a bad review? Read the good ones.

Worried that a plot line isn’t going to work? Deconstruct it.

Worried that you’re not making enough money? Create a business plan that will lead you to making money. (Be careful here. Deal with facts and worst case scenarios, not hopes for lightening strikes of luck and the most delightful of daydreams.)

Worried that your technique isn’t good enough? Get feedback. Then address any issues that are brought to your attention.

Once you start attacking the root of your fear with well-thought out plans and strategies, that awful little voice will quiet. Just as the Wicked Witch of the West, the bane of Dorothy’s entire trip to Oz, succumbed to a single bucket of water, the voice of your fears will disappear when you douse it with truth.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s a Girl to Do?

It’s cold here. Like, cold enough for the kids to have a two hour delay. Cold enough for me to have to drive them down to the bus stop. Cold enough for my car to chug and whine when I turned the key in the ignition.

As a mother, I love it when the kids are home. I love hearing their voices. I love hearing them laugh. Just the sound of them moving through the house — little thumps of feet and toys as Sir Brown Eyes and Master Moose build Lego fortresses, Lady Chatterbox singing off-key to her newest favorite song of all time — it’s enough to make me want to whip up some cookies and nurture the hell outta those blossoming little people.

As a writer, as a business woman working from home, I have to admit that having all three kids home seriously cramps my style.

The mother in me hates the previous sentence. She wants me to hit backspace until it’s gone. Obliterate it from existence. My children are precious little gifts and my time with them is borrowed. I get to enjoy it while they’re young, but once they grow even a few years older, their time will become their own.

So what am I to do? When the mantra in Indie Author-dom is write faster, publish faster, content, content, content, FASTER…how do I maintain my sanity as a mother, as a woman, as a home-maker while still making certain I carve out time each day to write?

Because writing? That’s me time. You know, all that advice on finding what you love and doing it? Ya. I did that. And you know what it is? Telling stories and putting them out there for the world to read.

I’ve had an absolute blast getting Facade into reader’s hands. Each time I see a purchase in a new country, I just sit back, kind of in awe of things. Then I generally do a little happy dance and make Mr. Wonderful look at the report, waving my phone in his face while he gives me his best I’m-proud-of-you smile. As if writing the book wasn’t fun enough, now I get to hear from the people who’ve read my story and enjoyed it enough to reach out and start a dialogue with me. I’m making new friends, new connections, learning new things…all because I followed Mr. Wonderful’s fantastic advice to publish the book I’d written.

I have, in my head, at this moment, eleven more books that are begging to get out. And they all want out right now. These new characters are cajoling me to tell their story and I can’t get to those stories until I finish the one I’m writing. And I can’t finish this story while I’m constantly listening over my shoulder for whatever trouble Lady Chatterbox brings to Sir Brown Eyes and Master Moose.

Thankfully, my kids are good kids. They see me typing away, brow furrowed, leaning into my screen, and they realize that I’m officially in Author Mode. They give me space. Cause they’re cool like that.

But there’s still the inevitable squabble, the raised voice that catches my attention, the lunch that needs made, the cough that might turn nasty in a few days, the Transformer whose leg fell off. I can’t get my head in the game because Mama Bear, that big old, instinct-driven, ever-present side of me that showed up the moment my daughter was born, is ever vigilant.

Maybe, there’s a way for me to access the JOY that I feel as a mother with her tribe at her side and marry it to the JOY I feel as an author with words and stories and ideas flowing out of me like some Muse on a sugar high.

In the meantime, someone’s sneezing, the timer on the cookies just dinged, and I’ve got a book to write.