Posted on 6 Comments

August 2022 Update and IWSGQOTM

do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?
Hello Lovelies,
I am so sorry I missed last month’s check-in. Things have been a bit chaotic and last month was super stressful with a lot of things on hold. Fortunately, I am able to report that a lot of those things on hold have finally shifted and we are no longer stuck in a holding pattern!
My husband finally got and started a new job so the financial stress is slowly mediating itself. My son started his new job too so now we’re all working towards our goals!
I got my surgery approved the end of last month. It is scheduled for August 30th so this month is going to be very heavily focused on getting ready for that. I have to say, I’ve been very pleased with the last several months of progress. I’ve already lost 34 lbs so my liver should be nicely shrunk down and not impede surgery.
As a lot of my saved surgery money had to go to helping pay bills while my husband was unemployed, the next couple of checks will be focused on rebuilding that fund. Then we have to rebuild our general nest egg. But once that is done, back to focusing on re-releasing my books and courses. Still prepping everything so that once the money comes in I will be set to rapid re-release.
I expect the next couple of months to be very busy and very gratifying! Now, on to the IWSG question of the month!

IWSG Question of the Month

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!
Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.   
The awesome co-hosts for the August 3 posting of the IWSG are Tara Tyler, Lisa Buie Collard, Loni Townsend, and Lee Lowery!

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

You ready?
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

Honestly, none of my 1st drafts are focused on the reader. They are always focused on the story that needs to be told. When I am plotting, I will get the main points of the story I am inspired to share down. Then from those bones I will determine genre. If it isn’t one I have been reading a lot of lately, then I will do a quick bit of research on what are the most loved and hated tropes. (GoodReads forums are a great resource for this!) then determine which of them make sense for this story and figure out how to weave those in. Once I get the plotting done, I let my characters drive and direct them to the plot map when they start to veer off course.
It isn’t until the editing stage where my main focus becomes the readers. But even then, I am still staying true to the story I felt inspired to share. I am pulling quotes that I think will resonate with readers for advertising, tweaking sentences to make them more appealing to readers, and developing my reader personas for marketing purposes.
I believe there is an audience for every story. I don’t write my stories to that audience, I find the audience for the story.
I know this means a lot more work for me, but I don’t mind the extra work.
Thanks for stopping in.
Until next time,
Keep Writing!
Posted on 22 Comments

February 2022 Update and #IWSG Question

#IWSG Feb 2022 update and Question

Hello Lovelies,

Happy February. So glad to say that. January was a disaster! I got Covid the first of the month and was down in bed for almost 2 whole weeks. I am still struggling with a nasty cough and getting winded during random activities. It has also put me behind on my goals. But I keep trucking. I finally got my 2022 resolutions sorted after a lot of soul-searching. I created an aggressive schedule to get me back on track and while I have yet to maintain the schedule, I am definitely seeing a lot more progress towards goals. I began seriously tackling my PMP certification requirements, am on schedule to re-release Elements of a Broken Mind this month and hopefully will have Angel’s Dance ready end of Feb, early March for a big promotional push for the series in March. *fingers crossed*.

 

#IWSG February Question of the Month

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!
Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.   
You ready?
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

February 2 question – Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn’t around anymore? Anyone you miss?

After walking away in 2019, I lost touch with a lot of my network. I was hardly online, and did nothing with the book world for over a year. When I came back in 2020, I was focused on doing the work, not rebuilding relationships. And even with that, I struggled a lot. It wasn’t until late 2020 early 2021 that I started reaching out to rebuild relationships. I was shocked to find so many reviewers and authors who also hit burnout and walked away in a similar time frame.

And as I work to republish my books, I find more and more to miss. One of my earliest connections was a book reviewer named Justin. He seems to have walked away from his book blog and his GoodReads librarian work. I’m sad.

Amanda Baily, who founded OWS, seems not to be doing much with her writing and that is a shame. She still is passionately sharing memes about reading and creating, but is too focused on a day job to pursue re-publishing her works. Which is a shame as she was a very gifted writer.

Joshua Robertson and his wife Diane both walked away from writing as well, again a huge shame as both are extremely talented fantasy writers. Though, I see teasings of both maybe exploring coming back or at least promoting their current publications and this makes me so happy!

While Rebekah Jonesy and Isa McLaren, who were on the board with my at OWS, have started their own publishing house and are releasing books like crazy, I haven’t been able to really reconnect with them and I miss the good times working together via video chat.

Angela Chrysler and Timothy Bateson, who were amazing connections I made through B2B CyCon also seem to have left the book world.

There are so many more who’ve gone on to other things and it makes me sad. But at the same time, I am grateful for the good times we had. Grateful for the ways that they inspired me to keep going on my journey, and hopefully I was able to inspire them too.

The reality is that whether you are reviewing or publishing, the book world is very transitory. We are all seeking a connection and often looking for monetary goals as well (as anyone in business should do, nothing wrong with that.) but when we don’t hit those goals, many move on to other things.

This is why it is so important to support creatives- whether it be book reviewers, authors, or other creatives. Buy from those you can, but even just a comment on a video, or a blog post, lets us know you care. The internet gives us a great opportunity to reach so many but it also is a massive sea that we can easily feel adrift upon. For many, we are working full-time jobs and pursuing our passion, that life imbalance is a recipe for burnout!

So please, let us know you care with a like, a comment, a purchase. Help us keep providing for you by letting us know you appreciate us.

And don’t forget to check out the awesome co-hosts for the February 2 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler,Jacqui Murray,Sandra Cox, and Lee Lowery!

You can see the rest of the hop at IWSG Bloghop

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

Posted on 5 Comments

November Update and #IWSG Question

What's harder?
Hello Lovelies,
Man alive, October Frights was a blast and it got me creating new fiction again. I LOVED it.
So, to keep in the spirit, I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year. It’s been a hot minute. But some of my best works came out of NaNo and it’s great for keeping me motivated with that collective word count goal. I need that motivation! If you’re participating in NaNo, feel free to follow me!
I am working on the 3rd book in The Hunters Saga, The Counsel, for NaNoWriMo, as well as working to get the first books re-launched under my own umbrella.
Combine that with prepping for holidays, and reconstruction from a bathroom leak, November is shaping up to be a CRAZY busy month. Definitely need the motivation vibes from everyone!
On to the main event!

#IWSG November Prompt

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!
Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.
You ready?
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

This month’s optional question:


What’s Harder to do, Coming up with Your Book Title or Writing the Blurb?

Honestly, I am the worst at titles. I either tend to go too esoteric (Elements of a Broken Mind) or too basic (The Hunters) and trying to match for genre is just…. ugh.
The blurb, I actually find a lot easier. I get more words! Lol.
But, I also am lucky to have built up a pretty awesome community and with both, I always shop them in Author Anon and after getting their feedback and tweaking, I shop them in my reader support group Heidi Angell’s Geek Street Squad. I used to use other groups to shop but found that the feedback often conflicted and was so divorced from who I am as a writer, my brand, and my audience. So now I just stick to these two groups. If you are an author who would like help shopping your titles, blurbs, covers, marketing content etc. I welcome you to join Author Anon. If you love my work, come join The Geek Street Squad!

Thank you to the awesome co-hosts for the November 3 posting of the IWSG, Kim Lajevardi, Victoria Marie Lees, Joylene Nowell Butler, Erika Beebe, and Lee Lowery!

Be sure to check out the other awesome posts on the Blog Hop
And until next time,
Keep Reading!
Posted on 17 Comments

#IWSG – How Do You Define Success

#IWSG How Do you Measure Success?

Hello Lovelies,

Welcome to another look into my life as a writer and the fun of #IWSG monthly prompts! This month we’re looking into what defines success as a writer.

IWSG SEPTEMBER 2021 PROMPT

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting
You ready?
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
September 1 question – How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?
The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

 

For those who don’t know, I’ve been writing for probably close to 30 years, publishing for nearly 15, and I have run the gamut of defining success. From setting a goal to write 50K words in a month. (I’ve “won” Nano about 9 times.) to writing The End to cap off a new story (over 17 times.) to holding my book in my hands, to being a guest speaker at conventions, to running a publishing house and helping others see their dream happen, and I’m getting pretty darned close to filling up a whole bookshelf row (my ultimate goal is to be able to write enough good content to fill up a whole bookshelf, but still working on that.)

But the best experience I have had of “success” is one that I cannot plan for or control and in some ways, that makes it so much sweeter.

That is the moment when a fan shares their passion for your work, completely unsolicited, often unexpectedly. This happens as social media posts, book reviews, at book signings, and sometimes randomly on the street.

The best example I can share is when I was at the second annual SLC Comic-Con and this young man came up to the booth asking for the 2nd book in The Hunters Saga. I let him know that it wasn’t out yet but that it would be out later that year and gave him a bookmark so he could find me online to purchase it when it came out.  He didn’t even realize I was the author but he asked if I’d read the book and went on to tell me how it had completely changed his life. He felt so alone in the world until I’d written a character whom he could completely relate to with Chris.

That was when I realized that representation matters so much. Sharing stories of people with different motivations, different drives, different hopes and dreams, different experiences, all of that is so important. Because we don’t get that so much in the mainstream media. I started my career off focused on writing strong women, women like me and my friends who didn’t fit the “traditional model”.

This is why I keep writing and exploring new and different characters and stories.

People are different. We need to accept and embrace those differences and see how those differences can create a brighter more vibrant world.

Giving that feeling of not being alone, of being seen and known and VALUED.

To be able to do that with “silly fun fiction stories that people don’t really NEED” (that quote is from a nonfan who didn’t understand why I was wasting my time writing when I could be doing really valuable work.

So glad I did not listen to that person’s opinion.

Until next time,

Keep reading, writing, and growing! 

Posted on

Survivalist Bible Plans

Survivalist Bible Plans

Hello Lovelies, 
I am so excited! I have been releasing weekly chapters of Survivalist Bible: Genesis to my Patrons, as I edit them in preparation for book launch. (If you would like to join, you can do so here. Just be sure to select the $2 or more level. You will also get one of my other e-books free!) The short story is coming along nicely, and I think we are ready to start planning the book release! 
And that means time to get the cover designed! 
Jo Michaels is willing to do the cover for me, and I am so grateful! But I need to give her some concept to work with so she can work her magic. I am torn between two different concept ideas. 
The first would add to the realism of the story: ​​

And then I could just change the section title for each book (EG Genesis, Exodus, Levi, etc.) and at the end of the serial, I would actually combine the short stories into a bible with just the title “The Survivalist Bible” on the cover and have a special limited edition done with the actual leather wrap on them as well. (Come, on, how COOL would that be?!) 
And then the more practical side of me, who is bound by money, is thinking of sending her something like this: ​​

 And then just have the background and secondary title change with each section. (IE this is Atlanta Skyline because it’s where the story starts. Exodus would be a strip of GA highway, etc.) IDK what I would do for the box set. Probably the first cover on the front, a themed image across the side, and then the last cover faded on the back to create a full wraparound effect? 
I wanted your input. Which one would make you want to grab a copy? Which one would you be most excited to see in a box set? I foresee releasing one section each month for the next 9 months. (That’s what I have figured out so far.) 
Thoughts? Ideas? Something totally different? Let me know in the comments below! 
Also, just a reminder, if you select the $10 a month option on the Patreon, then you will get a thank you in each section as it releases, and you would go a long way toward supporting the creation of the covers. 

Thank you for your input!

Until next time, 

Keep Reading!

Posted on

Guess What’s Getting New Covers? Clear Angel Chronicles

Clear Angel Chronicles Cover Update

Hello Lovelies, 
Guess what! I got the greatest gift this weekend. Jo Michaels offered to update the covers for The Clear Angel Chronicles and to create the cover for the third book to match. How sweet is that? 
She already put together a great new concept for Elements, and within just a few hours she sent a revision of Angel’s Dance. 
Here they are! ​​

​​

What do you think? Aren’t they gorgeous?! This has me so excited and motivated to work on book three! Now, I just need to finish up Survivalist Bible and the first book in Dancing River Ranch so I can knuckle down on the third book in The Clear Angel Chronicles! Squee!!!

Until next time, 

Keep Reading!

Posted on

Birthday Bash 2017 and Free Books!

Hello Lovelies, 
Only one more day until my birthday bash on Facebook! I hope you are coming, because it’s going to be pretty amazing! 
I’m going to show off all the cool gifts I got (Just to make you jelly, J/K!) and then I am going to be giving away some incredible books! Here’s what we’ve got so far: 

​​ 

Julie Alcin is giving away an e-copy of her anthology, Letters of May which is a compilition of written work and art raising awareness of mental health family. 
Jolene Huber is donating two e-copies of In Their Shoes: The Trilogy by Andrew Mackay Rammed-solid with amazing illustrations by Kreacher, In Their Shoes: The Trilogy is the first three best selling books in the groundbreaking series from Chrome Valley Books and British author Andrew Mackay. Tag along with journalist Joy Attwood, as she follows a different profession for the day to find out what their job is really like…


We have 2 ebooks of Fire’s Love by Alex E. Carey. (You know how much I loved this, right?)


Nancy E. Miller was also kind enough to offer 2 ebooks of Shark Bait

​​

Mental health counselor Kate Ainsworth received the call from Det. Rayder summoning her to the beach. Never did she guess that the trip involved a client’s head washed up on shore. Murder and mayhem ensue with Kate in the crosshairs. Ben Rayder is set to protect the woman he loves and track down the murderer, hoping it is her pesky ex-husband just so he can arrest the rich bum. Can he convince her to give love a second chance after devastating betrayal? But first, he must protect her from becoming shark bait.
5 e-books of Blade of the Destroyer by Andy Peloquin. You dark fantasy fans will want one of these! 
1 e-book of Anaerfell by Joshua Robertson- Drast and Tyran might be considered a bit black-hearted, or even immoral. Drast is cunning but reckless, hunting for admiration.​​ Tyran is calculating but tactless, searching for affection. When the two brothers set aside their ambitions to fulfill their father’s desire for immortality, they readily discover many opportunities for redemption. Now, while wielding a powerful magic that drains their life, Drast and Tyran will embark on a maddening quest, facing skin-switchers, dragons, and the God of the Dead. After we met Drast in a character spotlight, this one quickly got added to my TBR. Wish I could win one. Lol. 
Shelley Workinger is donating 3 ebooks of SOLID Clio Kaid may be 17 and just​​ beginning the last summer before her senior year, but her life is anything but typical.She’s just discovered she was genetically altered before birth and is now headed to a top-secret Army campus to explore the surprising results of the experiment.Follow Clio and the other teens as they develop fantastic super-abilities, forge new friendships, and find love as they search for answers. One of those winners will also receive 1 ebook of SETTLING (book 2 in the series!) 
SW Frontz is donating one kindle version of each of her books in the Land’s End Series. Fans of detective dramas will want to check these out! 
There is a giveaway already going, which requires you to invite friends and have them select your name in the poll pinned at the top of the event. I will be giving away at least 1 copy of each of my books.​​

The person with the most votes (not me, I know, I’m on the list, but that’s for my own internal tracking purposes, don’t worry!) will get to pick from all 8, the second-highest number of invitees will get to pick from the remaining 7 and so on and so forth. Now, if I have a bunch of people with over 20 votes, then I will add extra copies. Go on, get your friends to join the party! I also have some secret bookish goodies that you will have to show up to see! I cannot wait to share with you. The secret is ABSOLUTELY killing me! See you guys tomorrow!
We’ll also talk about Patreon, what to expect from An Angell’s Life of Bookish Goodness, and I will be answering your burning questions. But I’ll be honest, I’m most excited about the cool giveaways, aren’t you? 
Until next time, 
Keep Reading!

Posted on

An Angell’s Life of Bookish Goodness on Patreon!

An Angell's Life of Bookish Goodness on Patreon

Hello Lovelies, 
It has been a crazy busy couple of months! In case you have not heard, I have created a Patreon account. “What is this magical thing?” you ask. Well, Patreon is a subscription-based service that allows you to support your favorite creatives. It was originally picked up by the Youtube community as a way for fans to be patrons of the arts at a reasonable price, and for Creatives to be able to get paid for their content and be able to focus on improving that content. Pretty nifty, right? 
​​

Mine is An Angell’s Life of Bookish Goodness. It is a conglomeration of all the goodies shared on the blog, my booktube channel, my Bookstagram, and the random bookish goodness I share on Facebook Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads. All my bookish goodness in one location for you to access when you see fit. Also, my kiddos are getting in on the action with summer internships and will be providing more of their own content as well. 
I know what you’re thinking. “But I can access all of that FOR FREE!”

Yes, you can. And you will still be able to moving forward so long as I have time. But I spend a lot of time and money on this content for you. As an author myself, I realized that I felt guilty getting free books from authors all the time to review. Also, with Amazon’s policy changes, my reviews were in danger of being removed if I didn’t pay for the books. Yeah, I do the reviews for your readers, but I also do it to support fellow authors. I’ve been buying books for quite some time now to offset that issue. 

As some of you may know, I work from home to take care of my son with high functioning autism. I am on a very limited budget, and work from home is very… ephemeral. We have over $200,000 in medical debts and student loans, and that amount keeps increasing. Some months I make just enough to cover our cost of living, other months we live on ramen. It’s tough. When our car died earlier this year, we couldn’t get a loan for a new vehicle because my income was too unpredictable. We haven’t had cell phones in almost two years, and if my laptop dies tomorrow (A distinct possibility, as it is almost four years old.) then I will not be able to pay for a new one and won’t be able to work at all. Unfortunately, my “business” is not one that can get a loan from a bank. Too high risk.

The Patreon community would be a way to provide a little stability to my income levels and would allow me to set up regular payments on all that debt, instead of dodging collectors on the months where we only have enough to cover the bare necessities. Hopefully, it will also allow for some upgrades that are needed for us to continue to grow as a business. (And, hey, I know, some of you are in very similar straits. The economy is tough for many of us. If you can’t commit to a monthly subscription rate, I would also appreciate a tip in the tip jar of whatever you feel that you can offer.)


​​

I tried to keep the Patreon simply priced. I’m not looking to get rich! The donation levels are between $1 and $6 a month. I also have community goals that will allow me to share even more bookish goodness in the form of monthly book giveaways! When I hit 100 subscribers we will do monthly e-book giveaways. Your donations will allow me to buy from the authors, supporting their efforts as well. When I hit 500 subscribers we will add paperback giveaways to the e-book giveaways. And at 1,000 subscribers I will add a “book crate” to the monthly giveaways. These will be custom-designed by me and will include cool things themed around the book. (Similar to the Harry potter crates offered by Loot Crate.) 
If you want to learn more and get a taste of what all this Patreon subscription will offer, please join my Birthday Bash and Bookish Goodness party on Facebook May 31st from 4 pm to 7 pm MST. We have some wonderful authors who’ve donated copies of their books for giveaways, and we have some other cool special prizes! Now, go share the bookish goodness with all your bookish friends! 

Until next time, 

Keep Reading!

Posted on

On Facebook Launch Parties

Hello Lovelies, 
How many of you got to attend the launch party for The Hunted? ​​SMLXL It was three days of bookish madness, and parts were absolutely awesome, parts were a little chaotic, and on occasion it was a bit stressful! I think most of the stress was backstage and the attendees mostly had a good time.
But at the end of the event I was left feeling drained and a little disappointed for many reasons (not the least of which probably being that it was the end of a huge book launch push and I definitely need some time to recharge my batteries!) 
We had (according to Facebook, anyway) 42 interested in going, 142 who went, and 1K invited. There were times of frenetic activity and others with nary a peep. It was a lot of emotional ups and downs! 
And I have heard from several authors that they feel that Facebook parties are no longer a good way to meet new readers. That the effort isn’t worth the conversion of new followers, fans, or sales. 
I am still combing through all the figures and trying to figure that out from the data, but you know what is the best data? Hearing right from the readers, YOU! I put together a poll at the end of the event and only got five people’s information (not sure how many were just readers, and how many were readers/ authors.) So I am asking you guys to let me know your thoughts as well. 
Because at the end of the day, I don’t do Facebook parties to stroke my ego as an author. I do them because as a reader I have enjoyed them. But I don’t want to waste time doing events that readers don’t like. The last several Facebook parties I have attended it feels like an author circle-jerk. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading and I know a lot of my author friends do too, so marketing to authors has never seemed like a bad idea to me. But I want to find fun things for regular old readers too. Folks like you 😉 
So I would appreciate you taking five minutes to let authors know your thoughts on Facebook parties. What things do you like to see, what things don’t you like to see? Or would you rather just not attend. Here is the link to the form where you can share your thoughts. 
Until next time, 


Keep Reading!