Trust Yourself

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Hello, All! Today is the first Wednesday of the month so you know what that means: another installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Writers from all over the world come together to discuss our fears and insecurities. We might even meet a new friend or two!

The cohosts for this month are  Tyrean MartinsonKaren WalkerDenise CoveyStephen Tremp. If you have some time, please stop by their blogs and say hello! To sign up for IWSG, click here.

Okay, guys. I have some good news and some not so good news. Let me start with the not so good. Some of you might remember those storms that pummeled South Carolina a few weeks ago. My husband and I counted are blessings because we didn’t have any damage to our home–or so we thought. Fast forward to this past Friday and guess what? We found mold in our house. And, like, everywhere. The water from the storm caused excess water underneath our home so there was “extra moisture in the air” or something like that. Thus, the mold. The kicker? We had to evacuate. Immediately. You can imagine my utter surprise when I arrived home from my meeting on Friday morning and my husband said, “Pack your bags. Now.” My first thought: “Woo-hoo! Surprise vacation!” But my elation quickly dissipated when he told me why. But don’t fret folks; we’re in a safe place while waiting to hear back from the good folks at FEMA. At least we have our health, right???

And now, after all of that depressing stuff, on to the good news: I started another book! I know, I know. You were hoping for something bigger. Like I won the lottery and decided to share all my winnings with you guys. Or solved world peace. But this is a HUGE deal for me because every time I finish one book, I have this frightening thought that I’ll never be able to write anything else again because writing the recent project was some sort of fluke. How can I do that again???

But I’ve learned this and maybe this will help another writer struggling with the same thing: you’re creative and will never run out of creativity. You’re a great writer, and as long as you dedicate yourself to a writing schedule and put the work in, you’ll be able to accomplish your goals. It might take time, and maybe a bit of effort on your part, but trust yourself and your ability to create awesome stuff. Doubt is inevitable but don’t let it stop you from doing what you love.

What about others? Any mold horror stories? Does anyone else ever freak out about the possibility of running out of creativity???? I’d love to hear your thoughts!




How Do You Deal with Beta Reader Anxiety?

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Happy Wednesday All! Today is Insecure Writers Support Group Day and you know what that means: time to thrust our fears and insecurities uponst the world.

Co-hosts today are TB Markinson, Tamara Narayan, Shannon Lawrence, Stephanie Faris, and Eva E. Solar. Make sure you stop by their blogs and say hello!

And guess what else? IWSG is hosting a short story contest! The deadline is November 1. The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Click here to get the deets.

Okay. So, the first thing I’d like to do is apologize for being MIA. If you’ve been checking milk cartons for my pictures these last couple of months, don’t fret. I’m okay (and I promise to get caught up with all of you soon). My days have been insane lately and I only have about two hours of quiet in the mornings before spending the day chasing Le Munchkin (she loves to take my flip flops and run around the house. Don’t ask me why).  I’ve also been focused on finishing The Doggone Book (and a few other things that I’ll tell you all about later), and guess what???? I finally have a beta reader ready draft. Woo-hoo! *Throws confetti*

But, alas.

That brings me to my insecurity for this month. You know how you work on a story for a very very very long time, unleash it into the hands of others, and then develop anxiety that somehow, despite your best effort at writing a good story, the novel will absolutely suck? Well, that’s my issue these days (on top of wresting with what I’m going to write next). In fact, I’ve somehow developed beta reader anxiety (this is not to be confused with the anxiety a beta reader might feel when they get a story they’re just not into, but I should probably write about that as well).

To combat my angst, I’ve been telling myself that it’s just a story. As a writing professor once said to me, “How can it be wrong if you’re just making it up?” I’ve also been telling myself that in order to make the story better, what I need is good, solid feedback–no matter how much it stings. As writers, we know we need to have thick skin but our novels are our babies and you know what happens when somebody calls your baby ugly, right? Them’s fightin’ words!

What about others? How do you deal with beta reader anxiety? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Are You Setting Reasonable Goals?

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So, today is Insecure Writers Support Group Day, and it could not have come at a better time. But before I start unleashing my fears and insecurities upon you lovely folks, let’s take a moment for those who aren’t familiar with IWSG.

Purpose of IWSG: 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!

Our awesome co-hosts this month are Nancy Gideon, Bob R Milne, Doreen McGettigan, Chrys Fey, Bish Denham, and Pat Garcia! If you can, stop by their blogs and say hello:)

So, I am severely behind on my WIP. Like, so much so I won’t even tell you when I was planning to release the book because at this point, that deadline is laughable. I was supposed to have a beta reader draft ready in June and let’s just say that at the rate I’m able to write, they might get the book on Christmas, 2025.

I’ve been finding it nearly impossible to work on this book and I beat myself up about it quite a bit, but something has dawned on me: perhaps this book is right where it needs to be and I’m the one setting unreasonable deadlines.

I thought I would be able to:

Write at least three books this year.
Maintain another blog (ha!)
Have this current WIP ready for a fall release (double ha!)
Among several other, unrealistic goals

Here’s what I’ve learned, especially since becoming a parent:

I have a better chance at winning the lottery than I do at getting up and being able to write when I want to
Deadlines are beginning to laugh at me
I have to stop being so doggone hard on myself because sometimes the day brings things that you don’t expect, and life won’t end when you’re thrown off schedule. You just have to roll with the punches.

I’m a lot happier since I’ve decided to just roll with things and let life happen. I’ll work on this book when time allows (and work on my million and one side ventures), but in the meanwhile, I’m vowing to stop being so hard on myself and just enjoy life.

What about others?  How do you cope when you don’t meet deadlines? Do you overestimate yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

How do you Approach Blurb Writing?

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Happy Monday, Everybody! I hope that everyone had a nice, relaxing weekend, unlike yours truly, who recently discovered that:

  1. After years of having no trouble with the sun, I now have trouble with the sun. Hence, le sun rash.
  2. I’m allergic to sun screen.

As you can imagine, it’s been an interesting few days. To keep things from getting complicated, I’m just telling people that I’m allergic to the sun and staying in for the next week or so. I don’t mind. I can get caught up on Orange is The New Black and finish a little something called that doggone novel of mine.

And speaking of the doggone novel, I’ve been messing around with my book blurb. I thought, “This story is pretty straight forward. I shouldn’t have any problems boiling it down to its essence and summarizing the plot in just a few paragraphs.”

I would have done better if I’d have just slapped myself. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the blurb is on its way, but it still reeks of first draftness. One thing that’s helping me is something I learned while sitting in on a pitching session at a writers conference: give them the meat first. Prior to this, I always thought of blurbs like I did my story: save the climax for later. But listening to agents give feedback on several pitches, they all had the same thing to say: “You know, my ears perked up when you got to the part about ________________. Why didn’t you start there???”

I thought, “Start with the hooky stuff? Really?” So I’m keeping that in mind as I draft my blurb. I know the basics:

1. Give the reader a sense of beginning, middle, and end, all without giving the story away.
2. Don’t be too elusive. I obviously don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there are certain details that won’t ruin the story that will make a reader go, “Oooh! That sounds intriguing!”
3. Don’t introduce too many characters because I don’t have that much time and readers might get confused.
4. Don’t cram in everything I know about the novel, including the backstory that didn’t even make the cut.
5. Leave on a note that hints at something juicy; some conflict, some danger–all without giving away all the goods.

But, like any writer, my problem is this: I find it difficult to be objective when it comes to my own stuff–which is one of the reasons I never edit my own novels. Or cut my own hair.  I will say this: writing blurbs is waaay easier for me than writing a logline, which I’ll never try again unless world peace depends on it. Boil down the essence of my novel in just one sentence??? Cue the beads of sweat on my forehead.

So keep your fingers crossed for me! I might even have something to share with you guys in the next couple of weeks:)

What about others? How do you feel about writing blurbs? Love it? Hate it? Easy peasy? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What are you Writing?

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So, I’m just about done with my WIP. Well, almost, but not really. My live-in nanny (a.k.a. “Quanie’s mama”) has been out of town for the last three weeks so I just managed to finish up the second draft a few days ago. And baby, that was by a wing and a prayer, let me tell you, because it seems that my daughter believes she’s a pterodactyl chicken, and does a spot on impression every chance she gets (like she’s doing right now). It’s adorable, but not conducive to the quiet time I need to finish my book.

But I digress.

Anyhoo, Mama flies back today, and I’m hoping that in the next week or two, I can finish up this draft, which will hopefully be beta reader ready. If not, it’s sleeves up, draft four, head banging against desk—you know how it goes.

Despite the fact that this book isn’t beta reader ready, in the back of my mind I keep thinking about my next three books. I know I need to write a comedy for the people who enjoyed my first book, and I know I need to write another paranormal novel for the people who enjoyed my second book.

But guess what? A story that’s been in my head since 2010 just became crystal clear to me—out of the blue—on Friday. Now, ya’ll, where the heck has Ivy, that novel’s antagonist, been all this time???? And how’s she just gonna pop up all willy nilly when I have all these other books to write, and demand to be written next? Now ain’t that some nerve? These characters, boy, I tell you!

I have my romantic comedy outlined (and the first few pages written) and this character is cracking me up already. Truthfully, I’ve been chomping at the bit to write another funny novel. In fact, my WIP was starting to “turn funny” and I had to step away from it for a while and write a few pages of the rom com to give my funny monster some bread, if you know what I mean.

Anyhoo, you guys, that’s where I am: finishing up my current WIP (about a child abduction), about to write my rom com, and about to outline Ivy’s story, that ol cow. I hope to have the other two books written before the end of the year.

What about you? What are you writing? I can’t wait to hear all about it!


Do You Have a Blog Business Plan?

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I was flipping through my little pink notebook (every serious writer should have a little pink notebook:) when I found my list of blog post ideas that I’d abandoned. I also saw a note in the margins: finish blog business plan.

Sigh. You guys, I have a confession to make: I have not been the best at “planning” my blog lately. I pretty much just blog about whatever comes to mind. I view my blog as my safe place where I can connect with other writers and get free therapy. But I know that I can be doing a better job of at least being somewhat strategic, so here’s what I cooked up.

Now, I took this from the $100 Startup One-Page Business Plan but switched it up for a blog and added some other questions. I’m just going to go through and answer the questions.

What will you blog about?

All things writerly: craft, publishing, marketing.

What is the goal of your blog?

To connect with others.  

Who is your target audience?

Other writers.

*side note: I’ve seen the “should you target readers or writers” debate when it comes to writers’ blogs and here’s my two cents: target readers if you’re going to post regular snippets of your work. Otherwise, readers may not care about your process or how you plan to market your work. They’ll only care about when that next book is coming and might even view your blog as taking away from your writing time.

Here’s another two cents: Writers are also readers (duh, right?) and I think that connecting with other writers is the way to go because they are the people who are going to be your betas, help you promote your work, and be your sounding board for a variety of issues that non-writing readers just may not give a hoot about. *

Why should people want to read your blog?

Because I’m awesome. Because I will either write about things that other writers will find useful or of interest. Useful: things about marketing and SEO. Of interest: different aspects of the writing process that I might be struggling through that they may be able to have a solution for (because my writer friends are awesome).

How will people learn about your blog?

I will spam them. I will visit other, similar blogs and comment and promote my posts on Twitter, She Writes, Google+, and Facebook. 

How will your blog help people?

It will provide useful information. It will also show writers who may not have a supportive network at home that they are not alone.

How can you encourage referrals?

By bribing with food. Being nice to people. Also, when I see a blogger with a specific problem, offer up a helpful solution just because, not expecting anything in return.

How will you measure success? For instance, finish this sentence “My blog will be successful when _____________.”

Okay, so, for my blog, I measure success through the connections that I build. Not every visitor is going to be a lifelong visitor, and that’s okay. I don’t focus on numbers but I think that making genuine connections is the key for me.

Obstacles/Challenges/Specific Questions

  • Specific concern or question #1

Time. I have a young daughter and I am pursuing a writing career and building a business.

Proposed solution to concern #1

Time management/adhering to a schedule, planning out my blog posts in advance and being consistent with the day that I post.

So that’s it! Anything anyone would like to add? Do you have a blog business plan? And if you’re feeling especially daring, fill out your plan in the comments.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Guest Post – Chrys Fey – Witch of Death Blog Tour

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Happy Monday, all! Today I’m super excited because I get to host fellow author and blogger, Chrys Fey. Chrys’ latest short story, Witch of Death, is now available and today’s she is talking to us about…you guessed it: her favorite witches! Check it out:)

* * *

I love witches. I’ve never made that a secret. I’ve shared a post on my blog to help writers who want to write about fictional and real-life witches. And for this blog tour, which is for one of my short stories Witch of Death, I’ve had a lot of fun discussing them. Well, now it’s time to share my favorite witches of all time!

My Top Ten Favorite Witches:

  1. Phoebe Halliwell (Charmed)
  2. Piper Halliwell (Charmed)
  3. Paige Matthews (Charmed)
  4. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
  5. Winifred Sanderson (Hocus Pocus)
  6. Sarah Sanderson (Hocus Pocus)
  7. Sally Owens (Practical Magic)
  8. Bonnie Bennet (Vampire Diaries)
  9. The Wicked Witch/Zelena (Once Upon a Time)
  10. Cassie Nightingale (The Good Witch)

QUESTION: Do you have a favorite witch?


Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.

Book Links:

Amazon US / Amazon UK / The Wild Rose Press / NOOK / KOBO


Liberty Sawyer glided swiftly through the horde of police officers, reporters, and on- lookers. Black hair fell from a rigid part in the middle of her scalp to her hips. Her eyes were a soul-stabbing blue and her lips were blood-red. She towered over the other officers on the scene, and wore all black, which set off the pallor of her skin.

Showing her badge to the officer, she slipped under the crime scene tape. A few paces away, she spotted Detective Corbin talking to his new partner, a man she knew by name but hadn’t had the privilege of meeting yet.

“I cannot believe you called her,” the new man was saying when she came up behind them. “We don’t need a damn psychic!”

“Actually, I’m a witch.” She smiled when Reid jolted and turned to face her. “I’m

Detective Liberty Sawyer.” She stuck out her hand.

“Detective Reid Sanders,” he grunted back and took her hand.

The feel of his palm against hers sent tingles of lust from the tips of her fingers to her shoulder blade, and she knew he felt it too by the way he jerked his hand back. She winked at him playfully, hoping it would unnerve him even more.

Also Available:




Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost can…by stalking the lead detective on the case.

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.

Book Links:

Amazon US / Amazon UK / The Wild Rose Press / NOOK / KOBO



Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. She is currently working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes that’ll serve as book two in the Disaster Crimes series.

When Fey was six years old, she realized her dream of being a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida where she is waiting for the next hurricane to come her way.

You can connect with her on Facebook and her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers!

Author Links:

Facebook / Blog / Website / Goodreads







Do Your Books Align with your Author Brand?

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Hello, All!  It’s the first Wednesday of the month and you know what that means: another installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to unleash our fears and insecurities onto the world without poking out anybody’s eyes.

Purpose of IWSG: 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!

The cohosts for June are…M. Pax, Tracy Jo,Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi LeeMake sure you stop by their blogs and say hello:)

But now, on to the nitty-gritty of today’s topic: author brands. But first, I have a confession to make: I’m fresh off of a three day bachelorette party that was held in Myrtle Beach. We stayed at the Island Vista (if you’re ever in Myrtle Beach, you should definitely stay there. It’s really nice). It was my first true bachelorette party that nearly turned into The Hangover (but without Mike Tyson or that tiger, and no, I didn’t yank out my tooth) and that I’m sure will provide lots of fodder for future novels. My “bachelorette” party involved a cake, words of wisdom from good friends, and a contest to see who could make the best wedding dress out of toilet paper. But this past weekend? Lord hammercy. I’m still recovering.

But I digress.

Anyhoo, I don’t tell you all of this to gloat about the fact that I woke up every morning, walked out to the balcony, and saw the ocean (although, I’m sure you can detest a slight hint of “nan-nanny-boo-boo). I reveal all of this to say that this was a much needed break because I’ve been working hard on my novel (among other things), and now that I’m back and refreshed, I’ve been giving some serious thought about this author branding thing.

I’m almost done with my WIP (woo-hoo!) and I’ve been thinking about my next project. I have another novel outlined but the more I think about it, the more I realize that, even though it could potentially be a good story, I don’t want to write good stories. I want to write great ones. Now, when I say “great,” I don’t necessarily mean life-changing. I just mean a terrific story that’s uniquely mine and screams out, “Quanie Miller all day, yo.” A story that, when people read it, they can’t imagine anybody else but me writing it. So I’ve nixed that particular story (apologies to Kat, the protagonist of that tale) and set my sights on another one that I think I could put that Quanie swag on. Yes, folks, it’s official: I have swag on fleek (shout out to Beth Ellyn Summer, who I know will appreciate that:)

I used to worry about whether or not I should be writing humor or paranormal, but as you good folks have said to me a million times, genre doesn’t really matter: voice does.

So that’s where I am right now. Trying to figure out exactly what I want my brand to be and nixing stories that don’t align with that. There’s no way for me to know if I’m making the right choice (or if Kat’s story would have been exemplary) but I have to follow my gut, and my gut says that if I’m going to successfully build my author brand, I have to write stories that are uniquely mine, and that means not writing the trends, following my heart, and digging deep to create stories and characters that are memorable.

What about others? Do you give much thought to this when you’re writing? Do you think I’m overthinking things? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Which Keywords Bring the most Traffic to Your Blog? (and other updates)

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Hi Everyone! Happy Monday and happy Memorial Day. I know I’ve been MIA lately, so my apologies. No, Comcast didn’t kidnap me for calling them stupid (shout out to the awesome Liz Blocker:) I also didn’t get so worn out from moving that I curled up on our new sectional (which broke, by the way) and stayed there until just now. I’ve just been really really really distracted by a million other things that I’ll tell you all about later. I would, though, like to take a moment to thank everyone who checked in on me during my recent blogging sabbatical. You’re too kind, folks. Too kind.

So, what have I been up to? For starters, watching totally awesome, unlike stupid Comcast AT&T Uverse programming. Two words, folks: Doc McStuffins. My daughter is obsessed with this show. She’s only 8 months old but in our house, if you say the words “Doc McStuffins,” she will appear (because if my daughter hears those words and doesn’t see the Doc on the television, she’ll holler).

I’ve also gotten CONSIDERABLE work done on my WIP. And when I say considerable, it’s almost in good enough shape to show a completely non-judgemental beta reader who doesn’t mind some plot holes, some grammatical errors, some instances where I called the main character the wrong name, or the blocks of text that I underlined because I know they’re crappy but I didn’t want to lose momentum so I didn’t stop to wax poetic–or to figure out if a particular word was used in the right context (or if it was even a word at all). I should have it done in early June. I also did a photo shoot which resulted in a new social media profile picture for me since, according to my husband, “I’d been having that same picture since 2002.” *Scowls* I’ve also managed to start reading again, and I’m happy about that because my TBR pile was starting to look like the leaning tower of Pisa.

I’ve also been brainstorming  a list of possible blog topic–despite the fact that I’m often very intuitive about what I blog about, so a list probably won’t do me any good, but that brings me to this question: what is the number one thing that people search for that leads them to your blog? While kicking around ideas, I’ve been looking at the different keywords that drive traffic here. The number one searched item? “How to write a letter to book reviewers.” People also search for “Quanie Cash” who is a rapper, and “why does erotica sell so much?” or “why do women read erotica” which lands them on a post where I lament the fact that I’m unable to write in that genre. What about others? Are you able to see which keywords lead people to your blog? What are they? And what have all of you been up to lately?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have a great Memorial Day and be safe:)


Goodbye Stupid Comcast (and Other Tidbits)

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Happy Monday, All! I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing weekend, unlike myself, who spent the last couple of days shopping for a mattress and a sectional. Until recently, I had no idea that mattress salesmen were just as fast-talking and (seemingly) shady as used car salesmen. I guess it’s hard out there on those mattress streets and you’ve gotta say whatever you have to to make a dollar.

But that’s not the good part: it looks like after months of rehabbing our house, our move in date is here! Woo-hoo! And hopefully, we’ll get things squared away with Comcast, the root of all evil and gray hair. Sidebar: this weekend, Comcast gave us two separate appointments for transfer of service: one on Saturday between 3 and 5 (and then mysteriously didn’t show up) and then one on Sunday between 8 and 8 (and then mysteriously, didn’t show up). We finally were able to get someone on the phone and discovered that:

1,. We’d been scheduled for a “customer self-install,” which means that we were expected to take the cable boxes from the old house to the new house. Well, guess what? We don’t have any cable jacks at the new house. So what were we supposed to do? Build them? You’d think “do you have cable jacks at the new location?” might be included in the list of questions they ask you, but whatever.

2. I spoke with someone on the phone to see if they could send someone out since this seemed like their mistake to me, and was told, “Well, we can’t really call dispatch but we can put in a ticket, but we can’t guarantee that someone will call you today.” Um, why can’t you call dispatch??? Wait, let me guess: they don’t have any phone jacks at their location. Insert expletive.

But don’t let the sour grapes fool you: I’m super excited about this move, but as you can imagine, we’ve been super busy this past weekend and will be in the coming week as well. I know my visits have been slow in the last few days and will be again in the coming week, so I apologize  in advance. But I will get caught up with all of you soon. Can’t wait to see what all of you are up to, and to all my A-Zers: rock on:)

What about others? Any experience with fast talking salesmen? Any cable company horror stories? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

*Update: The Comcast technician showed up on Wednesday, April 15 but couldn’t do the install because he “didn’t have the proper tools to install the cable jacks*

Dear Comcast: If I want to get an ulcer, I’ll just drive blindfolded through L.A. traffic. 


A former customer.