Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Road to a Dream

Besides having the blog tour for Afraid of Everything this month, I'm working on a new book, in the difficult early stages of drafting and figuring out what's what. As I work I've got to fight myself, especially those intruding, annoying thoughts of "what's the point?" "no one cares" "you can't write" and the one I tell myself constantly "this is boring to read" until finally one day I realize it isn't boring, someone may enjoy it, and with a few more tweaks I might have something to be proud of.

Do you have persistent, intrusive thoughts that plague your progress and block your joy? The road to our dreams is paved with these bothersome things. How do you deal with your stumbling blocks?

Today I'm visiting Ava Louise on her blog "The Road to a Dream"--don't you just love that phrase? Saying it aloud brings to mind all kinds of possibilities. It opens the imagination.

Ava is offering an excellent giveaway: one lucky commenter will get a $10 Amazon card. Come on over!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Another Chance to Win a Print Copy of AFRAID OF EVERYTHING

Nearly every stop on my blog tour has a giveaway for my book. If you want a free print copy, you'll be almost certain to win one along the way. The latest giveaway starts today at Hott Books.

If you'd like to go back to previous sites or follow along this week with more giveaways of Afraid of Everything, the link for all the tour stops can be found here at my website.

There's a case of books waiting to be shipped out one by one to lucky winners, so don't hold back!

"...a book about self-discovery, love, acceptance, and trust. While it is a work of fiction, as a reader, I walked away from this book with an open heart and the desire to live life to the fullest." --Hott Books

"...enlightening, inspiring book of fiction." --Create Write Now with Mari

“Wanting a quick fix to her life, Helena finds the path to solving her anxiety problems has some amazing twists….Spellbinding, a story that will capture your imagination.” –Thoughts in Progress

“Gowen explores some important themes in this well-written novel: living life to the fullest, seeking professional help when life is overwhelming, appreciating your family, risks, and love.” –The Lit Ladies

“What lies on the surface of this novel is only the tip of a deeply, gratifying story.” Audry Fryer, author, Going Barefoot in Greener Grass and Secrets, Lies and Apple Pies

Saturday, March 7, 2015

What Makes a Success?

Writer Teri Tiffany posted a link to this article on Facebook, about the idea of success and failure in our world today.  Teri recently had her first novel published and is struggling with the mixed ideas authors get from people.
Trajectory is the flight path an object takes after force is applied.
Every writer will have a trajectory to their writing career and will affect the lives of certain number of people.
- See more at:

You know the questions and assumptions:

How many copies have you sold?

Have I heard of it?

Is it at (name a bookstore)

And the inevitable comparisons to whatever bestselling books are now being talked about

As writers, it is vital if we are to continue doing this work we love, to ignore whatever landmarks of success others, or society at large, may impose on us. We must set our own goals, take joy in reaching every accomplishment, even if it's a very small step, and keep moving forward.

In my blog tour this week, authors Madeleine Sharples and Mari L. McCarthy post about their own fears and what reading Afraid of Everything meant to them. When one of my books touches another person, then it's all worthwhile, and I feel like a success at what I do, even if my sales or book rankings don't show it.

When I was young raising my family, I'd feel like a success when one of my children would say, "I love you, Mom."

What are the simple pleasures in your work or daily life that make you feel successful?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Insecure about Getting Reviews

I really need to go sign up for Alex's Insecure Writers Support Group. I love reading everyone's posts on this first Wednesday of the month. I need to join the crowd since I'm settled in my new home and blogging more regularly. So yes, I'll finish this post and go sign up.

Today I'm insecure about reviews, knowing this is my blog tour and the reviews are coming in for Afraid of Everything...Fortunately so far I've been extremely happy with them, and today is no exception. Audry Fryer at All Things Audry starts her post today with this statement:

"If I told you I read this fascinating page-turner about a woman who spends the first half of the story in a therapist's office analyzing her anxiety disorder and the second half in a coma, you might think I was in need a therapy session or two. Yet, what lies on the surface of this novel is only the tip of a deeply, gratifying story."

Which gives me a chuckle since I know I tend to begin my novels slowly. Unfortunately, that often leads to bad reviews from people who have no patience with it. But Audry kept reading and has given me a fabulous review, thankfully.

I don't think there's a writer out there who isn't insecure about getting reviews. We want them, we need them, we crave them. And sometimes they're great, like Audry's, and then they can be heart crushingly awful. I've gotten quite a few of those, especially for my first novel Uncut Diamonds.

How do you deal with bad reviews? Have you learned a way that works for you?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Character-Driven or Plot-Driven? Grown up or Young Adult?

Today I'm over at The Lit Ladies where they accused Afraid of Everything of being a character-driven, well-written, thematic novel in their review. I'm happy with that because when I write, I start with people. The plot then develops due to the motives, flaws, choices of the characters.

These are the kinds of books I like to read, and they're the ones I write. I also write about adults, not kids. I don't read much YA. Even when I was a teenager I read adult novels. Not risque "adult" novels, although I did sneak the most talked about book of the day Peyton Place into the house. Back then, it was considered lurid; it would be quite tame compared to what's out there now in the lurid department.

I like literary, character-driven novels about grown up people dealing with grown up issues. What about you? What are the kinds of books you like to read? And if you're a writer, are they the same ones you like to write?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Thoughts on Blog Tours

The blog tour concept has been around for quite awhile. It was really big when I first started blogging, with the idea being this was THE way to sell books. Well, by now I think most of us realize there is no THE way to sell books. A book connects to readers or it doesn't. However, visibility helps, and a blog tour is a great way to get visibility for your work.

I finally did it-- signed up for an official blog tour for my new novel, Afraid of Everything. Always before, I did unofficial blog tours for my books but this time I wanted to utilize Women on Writing. I've heard such good things about them, and believe me, it was sure great to hand all the organizing over to someone else!

I was assigned to Crystal Otto, and she is amazing! Organized, personable, available-- everything I'd like to be but aren't haha! I requested that most of my stops would be reviews, because a review is the gift that keeps on giving...long after the tour end, blurbs from reviews can help sell a book.

My first stop is at The Muffin, the blog for Women on Writing, if you want to stop by, say hello and sign up for a free copy. print or ebook, of Afraid of Everything. There's also an interview and book giveaway at Romance Junkies blog.

Those of you with books out, what are your thoughts on blog tours? Did you hire someone to set it up or do it yourself? What was the experience like, and who would you recommend?