Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Insecure Writers Support Group 2017

It's 2017! I hope this is the year that brings your dreams to fruition.

It's also the 1st Wednesday of the New Year. January 2017 and time for us to share are insecurities or to give out encouragement. IWSG was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh and has grown into a wonderful writer community. To read other post go here.




January 4th Question: What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?

I can honestly say not one. Every rule is in place to challenge us to become a better writer. They have certainly made me a better writer. They are all second nature to me now. Alarm bells go off in my head when I break one. But it is possible that I don't know all the rules. I'll be curious to read what others have written.

Today is also the announcement for the winners of the IWSG Fantasy Anthology. When I learn the out come I'll post an update in here since I entered.

If you haven't picked up a copy of my epic fantasy yet, here's your chance at the friendship price of just 99 cents. I'll be redoing the cover and adding a print copy soon and the price will increase to $2.99




Thank you for coming by, Nancy


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Write, Edit, Publish. Utopian Dream Challenge

This challenge for Write, Edit, Publish is titled: Utopian Dreams. Pretty picture.
To read what others have written go here.

Write, Edit Publish is a blog hop that challenges writers, poets and artistic members to post a story, poem or something other than that. Started by Denise Covey the two big wigs that run the show are Denise and Yolanda Renee. Both are talented authors. Denise writes Romance and Yolanda writes Mysteries. So it's time to let you all read my story.

Flash fiction is a form of writing to help authors tighten their prose without losing content, traditionally 1,000 words or less. Enjoy.

Beyond the Gate

Disappointment tailgated me like a road rage driver out for revenge. I’d had so much ambition when I was young. I would be a success. My plans included a thriving and well paid career. A loving husband. Brilliant and devoted children. I wanted to be, no, I needed to be more successful than my siblings. I needed to prove that I was somebody.
I have a career. I make good money, though not as much as my brother. But then, he is a man and I am woman. I have a husband who is faithful. He’s a yes man and doesn’t argue with me. I like that. He makes good money though he isn’t advancement material. Still…what is lacking? Romance. A girl shouldn’t complain, right?
My children. Well…one should accept what has been given I suppose. Still, I could want more. They both struggle. First in school and then in their choice of jobs. Neither attended college. I pushed them to, but they refused. Neither makes a third of what I earn. They value what I never did, the simple joys of life. My brother’s children both have degrees. They both have ambition. Where did I miss the mark? 
I must face the fact. I’m a failure. With that thought I made a margarita, my third, and sat down to watch a thin and beautiful woman push a line of jewelry on the TV. I liked this jewelry. I often bought something, but tonight my mind wandered and I remembered the dream. In it there was an arched wrought iron gate and I could see a garden beyond. I’d had this dream every night for a week. It felt like a memory, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. And why would I be attracted to that anyway?
I finished my drink and went to bed.
*
Thursday dawned as thousands of Thursdays had in my life. There was nothing unique. Nothing out of the ordinary. I drank a breakfast shake and headed out the door. Getting in my BMW I headed downtown. An hour later I was diverted from my usual parking spot by construction.
            “Damn!”
            I found a spot five blocks away from my office building in a neighborhood, parked and locked my car. I didn’t wear walking shoes to the office. Dressed professionally, I wore high heels. I considered taking the shoes off, but I didn’t have a spare pair of panty hose, so the trudge in heels was necessary.
            I wasn’t alone. Perhaps a dozen others were preparing to walk the side street as well. I eyed them, but they seemed as aggravated as I was. I slung my purse over one shoulder and prepared myself for the trip.
            I allowed a number of people to get ahead of me. I didn’t need their company. I only knew one of them and I didn’t like him. His name was John, and he whined about every task I handed him. I went a different way even though it would take longer.
            Two blocks later I came to the gate. The same gate in my dream. I was sure I’d never driven or walked along this street before.
The wrought iron was perfection. A filigree at the top of the arch, the gate was between two brick pillars and left open, beckoning. Beyond I could see a pathway that wound between trees and flowerbeds. It seemed separate from the house, a land to itself.  
            The scent of magnolias filled the air and one bush hugged the brick pillar and peeked between the iron bars. I felt pulled. I wanted to enter. I wanted to abandon my life, my disappointments. I took a step closer, than another one. I reached the gate and touched the cool iron. I could almost hear a chorus of voices calling, “Come…come…be welcome. Utopia awaits. Let your cares slip away. Dance with me under the moon.”
            I must resist. I have responsibilities. I am a successful business woman, wife and mother. Yet the pull.
            I had reached the top of my profession. There wouldn’t be another advancement, no more raises and I had to deal with men over me who could care less about my needs. Of course, I didn’t care about those below me.
            My husband. Yes, I loved him. He loved me more as it should be. He also lived in his own world and never helped me with the housework, or cooking, or grocery shopping. He didn’t even attend any of our children’s after school functions. Of course, neither did I. My career was number one. Number One! And for what? To appease a group of people who didn’t give a rat’s ass about me. Well, I didn’t care about them either.
            My children. Both are grown. They have their own life and they don’t have much time for me. I give them ample advice especially after downing several margaritas, but they roll their eyes and ignore me. Both have married sub-par humans. I’ve given up on them.
            My thoughts wonder to my sister. I haven’t given her much thought and no time for years. She has very little in material goods and she has suffered. An abusive marriage. She once asked me for help and I denied her. The nerve. She never amounted to anything. Of course, I knew she never would. But, now, after years of hardship she was happy. She valued her children and she even stayed married and her husband has turned into a good man. Her family is close. Not like mine.
            So…what is there for me?
I stepped beyond the gate.

Word count: 940

Note: I know people like this character, but this isn’t about any one person. Rather it is a story about our choices and how we value others. N. R. Williams


If you want to leave a critique you may. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. May your New Year fill you with Happiness. Nancy

I found this post and highly recommend it. The Hard Truth About Publishing: What Writers and Readers Need to Know.



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG Reviews and Questions

It is the first Wednesday of December and the last Wednesday of 2016. Happy Holidays!
Time to share your thoughts, insecurities, frustrations, etc., etc. In other words it is time for the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. Started by Alex J. Cavanaugh. This baby has grown into an impressive community of writers and authors. If you would like to read what others have said go here.

UpDate: The review that I discuss below has been changed to read: I have to say I was underwhelmed by these stories. 

I do not like research. Of course as with any good writer, I do research. So what is the IWSG question of the week? I have trouble finding it every time even though my lovely friends have told me where to go. Ugh! I will add it to the bottom of this post. When I find it.

Reviews.

The bane of all authors. Or so it would seem. A review can be thrilling and send you into orbit. It can be constructive and give you a glimpse into what works with your book and what doesn't. A review can be so discouraging that you want to give up altogether. Is it really worth the aggravation?

All published authors know the importance of reviews. We try to encourage our readers to leave one. A book I read recently advised to request a short blurb from readers. Review or blurb, both are necessary.

So how do you view your reviews?

I get excited when I see there is a new review. I've been fortunate in that most of my reviews are positive, even better than I had hoped. Let's face it. That book is our baby. It contains a big part of our life and shelters our hearts.

I have not received a review with any information as to how to improve except for one that wanted me to add little pictures before each chapter. This person downloaded my book for free. I really wanted to tell her, I don't have enough money for little pictures. But I didn't.

Do you comment on your reviews.
OK. Admit it. You wanted to slaughter that nasty reviewer with your exceptional writerly skills. Me too. But the advice is not to.

So let's talk about nasty reviews. Trolls! Beware. They hide in wait to attack you.

I have received two nasty reviews to date. My very first review was one of these and it sent me into a dark place. The reviewer, a man, criticized my use of a unicorn to bring the gift of language to my heroine in my epic fantasy, The Treasures of Carmelidrium. He said picking up on a language was easy. Not for me it isn't, nor for my heroine. He didn't like how I handled the confrontation between the villain and heroine. And there were several other choice things. I was devastated. It took me about a week and then I looked him up. He is self published and every review he had received to date was critical in the worse possible way. He simply gave me the same treatment. Therefore, I ignored him. Nothing he said was helpful.

The second nasty review I received was for my new release. Halloween Collection 2. This is a collection of flash fiction stories. Anyone who has written flash fiction knows these stories are short, short, short. She basically said that the stories were boring, that my writing ruined the greatness of the story, and advised that I take writing lessons and join a critique group. There was more but that is enough to send an inexperienced author into a pit of gloom. She gave me three stars. I made the mistake of going to her blog, reading her post and commenting. I thanked her for buying my book and told her I'd been writing for 30 years and was a member of a critique group with other published authors. The next day she had changed the 3 stars to 2 stars.

So...neither negative review was helpful. They both left me with the impression that the reviewer was a frustrated writer who was disappointed by their lack of success and channeled their disappointment by attacking other writers.

I have read and heard writers give this simple advice. Be kind to others. When you are kind and thoughtful, it will come back to you. Karma. I practice this. When I leave a review, I always talk about what I enjoyed in the writing. We authors struggle to bring the reader something they will enjoy. I'm not after the Pulitzer Prize, I just love writing.

Have you gotten a nasty review? Or one that thrilled you?

The question for December's post is: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

I plan to finally break through the promotion barrier and be a best seller. I will achieve this by continuing to upload books and by following the advice from other authors and from books I've read.

Now! Just in case: Your thinking I might be a lousy writer and deserved that review. So here is another review for my epic fantasy.

The Treasures of Carmelidrium.
"This is the best book of the decade." Amazon reader.



To order from Amazon.com click here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What is your favorite character? IWSG


Time again for an insecure post. Created by Alex J. Cavangaugh this baby has grown into something amazing. To read what others have written go here.


The question of the month is...




What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?



Characters! 

I love my characters. I think most writers love their heroes but I love them all. From hero to minor character to villain. 

Of course it helps to know their backstory. I do even though most of that is never included in the story. I put my characters through the meat grinder. They are challenged, tested, abused until they cry out. Then they recover or overcome or both. And yes, sometimes they die. 

I have two favorite characters to date. Prince Healden and Missie from my first epic fantasy, The Treasures of Carmelidrium. Healden is pronounced Hel-din. Like Heather, you don't say heat-her. Healden is a real name. It is Teutonic and means 'protector.' If you've read the books you know he does exactly that. 

Missie is a nickname her father gave her. She is a modern American University student and gifted flutist. She is thrust through a portal into a medieval world where her music is the key to saving the world from the evil tyrant, Renwyck, Lord of the Symberveen.

Tall order. I have many favorite scenes but here's one that brings a smile to my lips. Missie's given name is Michelle. She's just found out that Healden is romantically interested in her. Frustrated by her circumstance she let's lose. 


Healden frowned and raised his hand, running his fingers through his thick hair. “I assure you, my Lady. My intentions are honorable.”
    “Honorable, what does that mean? I’ve known more than one charming, good looking guy. Besides, you’re a prince, and…I’m…a commoner.”
    “You are hardly common, my Lady.”
    She glared at him with emphasis. “To the point, your Highness, I will be no man’s mistress.” 
    To her aggravation, Healden’s mouth began to twitch at the corners. “I hope not.”
   “I am a commoner, Healden. Everyone knows royalty and commoners don’t mingle. A thousand years ago, nobility and royalty had arranged marriages for profit and land.”
    “A thousand years ago in your world. My Lady, much has happened, and I understand how difficult all this must be for you. Accept my apology and allow me to escort you to dinner.”  He held out his hand.

Ahhh...heart flutter.


Amazon link.

Who is your favorite character? Someone you created or someone from a favorite book?

Nancy

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Constellations or Spooky tale for Write, Edit, Publish blog-hop





In this post for the October Write, Edit, Publish blog-hop we are challenged to write about the Constellations or to scare you with a Spooky tale. Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee have really put on their witches hats to come up with such a challenge. We'll, I've done both. Alas I'm not alone, so I've added the link that will take you to the list of all the other writers and artist. To read go here.




Guess which constellation is in my story? You're right.









Orion

Half the student body was in the park tonight. At least it felt like half. Some were gathered around the huge bonfire in the pit the park provided. Most were smoking pot and drinking beer. I was using one of the telescopes Mr. Weaver had provided to study the stars along with my classmates.
            “Hey, Wigs,” Brian said, walking up to me along with his buddies, Jack and Paul.
            I glanced at them. “My name is Katie.” The students at my school had started calling me ‘wigs’ after I lost all my hair during chemo, two years ago when I wore a wig. All better now and my hair was back, short but real.
            Brian stopped in front of the telescope blocking my view. “It’s not fair that you were assigned Orion.”
            I stood up straight ready for a fight with the class bullies. “What’s it to you?”
            “We want Orion.” Brian shoved his hands into his pockets.
            “So?” I looked between the three.
            “We are all from Orion,” Paul said.
            “Huh?” Paul was tall and too thin.
            “It’s true,” Jack said. “Aliens came down and colonized this planet from the Orion system.”
            “You’re saying we are from the Orion system? That we are aliens?” This sounded a lot like that weird T.V. show.
            “Not exactly,” Brian said. “We mated with the inhabitants. Changed the DNA.”
            “So what exactly does this have to do with me?” I folded my arms.
            “When you do your report,” Brian said. “Add that in.”
            “You’re joking, right? You want me to humiliate myself by claiming that advanced aliens had sex with cave women? The answers no, boys.”
            “Look.” Jack grabbed my arm. I yanked it out of his fingers and backed up.
            “You three are just pissed because Mr. Weaver gave you the Big and Little Dipper. Maybe you should take it up with Orion, I hear he’s moved in down the street. Big guy, white hair, carries a sickle.” I approached the telescope. Brian picked it up.
            I put my hands on my hip. “Hey Dipper boy, put it down!”
            “You are just---” Jack seemed to have a hard time figuring out how to insult me.
“Hand over the assignment. You take the two Dippers and we take Orion.” Brian’s grin made me want to smack him.
            “Why don’t you go to the nearest cave and dance with the Neanderthals.”
            “Because you won’t be there, ‘Wigs.’” Paul stepped a little to near and I backed up.
            Mr. Weaver came over. “You alright Katherine?”
            “Yeah, just great.” I said. “These three want Orion instead of the Big and Little Dipper.”
            “The assignments stand. Get to work on your project boys and leave Katherine alone.”
            Brian, Paul and Jack walked away grumbling. Mr. Weaver adjusted the telescope and nodded at me. I finished my study of Orion and put my notes in my backpack and left.
            My parents had bought a house that skirted the park. I approached the back gate about fifteen minutes later. I was still mad at the dipper boys and took several steps over the brown grass in the backyard toward the rear of my house. The night had been cool, but a sudden blast of frigid air came on the wind and I was shoved to the ground. I grunted, lost my breath and turned over on my back. The fallen oak leaves rustled beneath me.
            Above me in a cloudless sky was the constellation Orion. Now I’ve never been good at connecting the stars the way the Ancient Greeks did, but as I watched a laser light spread between the stars to outline Orion. His sword sheathed at his side and a sickle raised in one hand.
            As I watched, Orion turned his head and his eyes came alive in shades of red. He leapt from the sky and landed near me. I gasped, my hair was tossed in the wind about my face and I wondered if someone had slipped me a hallucination pill in my coffee.
            “You dare to mock me, human?!” Orion’s deep voice rocked the bare branches of our oat near me. I opened my mouth but couldn’t speak.
            “Die!” Orion swept his sickle past my head. I scooted back like a desperate bug on my hands and feet, straddling the ground. Orion’s sickle slammed into the oak tree. It groaned and a dead branch fell slicing deep into my side. I gasped. Pain coursed through my body like ghostly fingers trying to freeze my soul. The imagine of Orion blurred. I felt the ground shake with his weight as he walked away and realized he had left.
            The wind still whisked through the bitter night. Oak leaves swirled around me. I held my side were the oak had injured me. Blood flowed warm between my fingers. My breath now came in short gasps. My last thought as I died was; The Dipper Boys would get Orion now.


Word Count: 825

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed my story.

Now available on Amazon for the low friendship price of 99 cents.


To purchase go here.

Also available:


To purchase go here.


N. R. Williams
Copyright 2016
All rights reserved.