Friday, January 16, 2015

Having A Little Fun...

I've figured something out over the past few weeks, having taken a much needed break from writing and, well, everything associated with the Nicola Claire brand. And my big epiphany? I don't ever want to take this job of mine too seriously.

I'm well & truly back now, entrenched in my writer's cave for a few days and the old mojo is pumping, the words flying off my fingertips, and all is right in my world again. But I've got to be honest; for a moment there, just a brief snippet of time, I did wonder if I could write a decent sentence again in my life.

"Burn out" is probably what a shrink would say. Me, I think I started taking it all too seriously. I read somewhere once, that authors who set themselves a word count to achieve each day can sometimes fall into a trap of writing for the sake of writing. I didn't quite go that far, but I did forget my favourite saying, one you've no doubt heard me say before...

I write what feels right.

And I'm going to add to that and say: When it feels right, too.

I started writing because I had this amazing story inside my head that just wouldn't stop evolving and consuming my every thought every second of the day. For sanity's sake, and because I really needed to get
the friggin' thing outta there, I started writing. Three months later I'd written the first four books of the Kindred series and hadn't stopped for a breath of air.

I was hooked. I was addicted. I was in heaven.

That was two & a half years ago and up until just before Christmas last year I can honestly say I never stopped having fun.

And then I hit a wall. Not exactly that proverbial writer's block wall, but one similar all the same. I still had story ideas. I still had plot arcs mapped out that boggled the mind. I still had character profiles that I absolutely loved. But I couldn't seem to express them the way I thought they should be.

So, I took a break, (at the insistence of my husband), and what do you know? When I sat down two weeks later, having spent the first week of my forced break worrying I'd lost my mojo, and the second not giving a flying fig, (I thank Lindauer Brut Cuvée for this), it was back. The first chapter I wrote was just as good, if not better, than those I'd written over the past two & a half years.

What did I learn? I'd started putting myself in impossible positions, setting targets that didn't feel right. I wasn't enjoying myself, writing for me (as well as my fans) but for some arbitrary line in the sand. Turning Nicola Claire into a business not a living. Or loving as the case may be.

And that brings me to my new business cards. Yes, there's that word again: business. I will confess that I dislike that word, but that's what those little pieces of cardboard are called. So, my new B cards: They're fun, they're hardly serious, and they make me smile.

Not a book, or heart, or vampire fangs, or loaded gun in sight. Just a kick-ass female, which I like to think could be any of my female characters, (or just me in one of my more adventurous dreams), kicking some serious butt.

Romance is at my heart, but I've always tended towards romantic suspense - capable females and alpha males, adventure, action, and a fast pace - be that paranormal or contemporary, sci-fi dystopian or urban fantasy in genre. Romance and suspense will always feature in my books. Hence the kick-butt chickie-babe on the cards. The anime style is just for me: love it!

And, you can be assured, all of it will be written from my soul; that happy place I go to when the words fly off my fingertips and my mind is whirring with possibilities and story arcs and character traits and sinfully, sexy trysts.

And all of it will be because I love them. Because I'm having fun. And because I'm not taking any of this too seriously. I'm doing it because it feels so damn right.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Word Counts, World Building, & The Sanity (or insanity) Of A Busy Writer...

As 2014 is drawing to a close and I'm somewhere between heavenly holidaying and gearing up for the next manic project, I find myself looking back on this year's releases and wondering just how many words I actually wrote.

I'd already tallied up the total of books written (nine to be precise, not counting book bundles/anthologies) and so I decided I'd crunch the numbers. Because, you know, I'm in no-man's writer-land right now and have nothing better to do...

And what do you know? I wrote over 800,000 words in 2014.

I cannot believe it. It's madness, but there you have it. From the first publication to come out in January; Sweet Seduction Sabotage, right through to the final release in December, the Christmas special novella; A Twist Of Heat.

Which, incidentally, arrived in paperback format this morning, but rather than subject you all to another unboxing video, I thought I'd just take a pic (see above). It looks fantabulous, BTW. And as it's probably the only novella I'll put out in print, it's also special. Not to mention the fact that the story is awesome and there's still a Goodreads Giveaway competition going for one of these little beauties right now. ENTER TO WIN! *wink wink*

Anyhoo, 800,000 words, (I just had to write that again; it boggles the mind) and now the fact that I can't seem to put a decent word to paper at the moment makes complete sense. I'm a little exhausted, truth be told. So, that heavenly holiday is turning into a sanity saving break right now.

My writer's cave is still beckoning, never fear, but although the heart is keen, the body & mind are unwilling. So, I'm pouring myself a wine. I'm grabbing my latest absorbing read, (Sand by Hugh Howey for those who want to know), and I'm logging off the computer. It's time for a breather. I might go fishing. Or take the boys for a walk along the lakefront. Or just veg on my swing seat out on the deck listening to the tuis in the trees at the end of our garden.

In any case, I'll be hopefully relaxing, detoxing from word-and-world-building overload, and will come out the other end, in 2015, with a fresh mind, an invigorated spirit, and another 800,000 words in me.

Which means, this is it for posts on all platforms, including Facebook, Twitter & Goodreads. I mean it, I'm done. Honest! That's it. At least for a few days, I mean weeks. Whichever comes first. Hmmm.

Anyway, even though we're running a 99 cent promo for the Citizen Saga right now on the Kindle US & UK stores, I'm leaving it all up to the fates of gods for y'all to find it. Amazon, that mighty place, has stuffed up the US promo, but not to worry, on January 1st, all three books in the series, on the US store, will be 99 cents each, as they are in the UK. As they were meant to be from the start. Which just proves how exhausting being a self-published author can be; dealing with promo stuff ups while in the midst of no-man's writer-land.

Now do you see why I need a sanity break???

And just so you can see what I mean, here's all the books released (including anthologies) in 2014. I wonder what the end of 2015 will look like?

I'm betting it'll be just as chaotic, just as exhausting, but just as wonderfully rewarding as 2014 has been. Thanks guys, for putting up with my ramblings and reading my books. I promise there's more in me, just after a few more bottles of wine...
Happy New Year Everyone!