Get Your Sh*t Together Challenge.

It’s the first of October (gasp!) and I’ve been feeling the need to regroup and organize. The “Get Your Sh*t Together Challenge” couldn’t have come at a better time!

What is the challenge? Well, we all have those things we want to do, but never seem to be able to tackle. Little things that pile up and that add to stress down the line. Anna from Herding Cats & Burning Soup has put together the challenge, inviting authors and bloggers to share our “to do” lists, and then cheer each other on as we complete them. As she says, it’s a cheerleading squad to encourage us in our adulting. 🙂 Gotta love that.

Day 1 of the challenge is all about planning. What are the things we’d like to achieve over the next while? Is there anything special we’re looking forward to? As for me, like most people, I’m heading into a busy season with seasonal activities with family, getting ready for the holidays, and lots of writing. So, in my case, organization is key.

I’ll be combing through my calendar, getting important dates and events listed. I hate when commitments creep up on me, so having everything noted in advance really helps. I’m one of those people who still likes to keep a written calendar. My sons have tried to get me to use an e-calendar, and I do for our immediate family, but I still like to have an old-fashioned daytimer to keep track of other birthdays, work events and get togethers with friends.

How do you organize your schedule? Do you plan far in advance, or do you prefer to wing it? Do you write it down, or do you trust the details to Google?

If you’d like to join the challenge, sign up at Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  And do visit all the blogs on the linky list at the bottom of the page to see how they’re getting their shit together!

 

Trying to turn my backlist blues into something wonderful.

This past week, I did something that scared me.

I asked for the rights back to my older books. 16 in total. My shifter series, my selkie series and a few standalones. I now have to decide what to do with them.

Right now, I’m trying to stay open-minded. I’m exploring the world of self-publishing for some of the books, and I hope to submit others to different publishers. Either way, asking for the rights back left me in a tailspin. Because no matter what I decide, I’m left with the possibility that some of those books won’t see the light of day again.

As I’ve shared here before, 2019 was already a tough year in publishing for me. As a result, asking for my rights back on these olders books felt like a sucker punch, even though I initiated this change. I want to be clear, I didn’t ask for the rights back because of anything the publisher of those books did. It was just time for a change.

But now, quite frankly, I’m having to work through my fear, and that’s not easy. I find it difficult to be creative when stressed. Still, I’m trying to look at this positively. It could be the start of something good. In fact, I want to rework some of the stories and make them stronger. As writers, we are in this amazing position to learn as we go along, so I welcome the opportunity to fix little issues in my first books. However, this is a massive undertaking and I know I won’t be able to tackle them all at once.

It’s been hard. This past week, I’ve felt less like an author than I did since day one. Imposter syndrome hit me hard. My emotions have been all over the place.  Last year this time, I had won the Northern Hearts award for A Good Man. This year, I am a writer coping with extreme self-doubt. There are days when I feel as if very few people would notice if I decided to pack it in. I would just be one less writer in an overly-saturated field.

And yet it’s never been in my nature to quit, and I love those books. When I started writing, it was because I needed to hear certain stories, and those are the ones I wrote. I hope to rediscover that awe in writing again, that passion. Maybe I really can turn my backlist blues into something wonderful.

Either way, the books in question will likely become unavailable some time this month. I’m not sure when. I hope my readers will stay tuned and continue to follow my writing journey. And I hope to share some good news with you soon.

Thank you,

Rosanna

Where have I been? Where am I going?

For those who follow my blog, you may notice it’s been a while since I shared anything. The fact is I haven’t written anything substantial for a few weeks. Mostly, it’s because my day job has been hectic and I’ve taken on extra hours, which I’ve really enjoyed. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in my writing head, and it’s nice to sometimes get wrapped up in something else every so often. And hey, as a result of those extra hours, I was one of a team of people who catalogued over 13,000 new items for a new library in our system! How cool is that?

However, my writing hiatus began before that. I had to deal with some changes on the publishing front and those changes threw me for a loop. I usually roll with the punches but this time I got overwhelmed. It was hard to write through my disappointment. Luckily, there were some wonderful people who talked me off my ledge.

When I did write during that time, I didn’t like what I wrote. I started about four new books in the space of a few weeks, and abandoned them all. I’m not being dramatic when I say this has probably been the darkest moment of my writing career, thus far anyway. It was hard, and my creativity was zapped.

I’ve always believed things happen for a reason, and I won’t stop believing it. So, I stopped writing and threw myself into my other work. There’s been a lot happening on the family front, as well. But now, I can see some time opening up in the near future, and I know it’s time to start writing again.

I’m a little scared, I won’t lie. There’s a part of me that worries I’ve forgotten everything I learned along the way, even though I know that isn’t true. However, maybe that fear is good. Maybe it’ll push me in new directions.

If I am quiet going forward, rest assured, I am still here and am still dreaming up new characters and stories. My hope is to finish the book in front of me, and then move onto a brand new series. It might take a while, but I’ve decided it’ll take as much time as it requires.

Thanks to all who have read my work. Your support gets me through those days when I lose sight of what I’ve accomplished.

If you are new to my blog, welcome! Please check out my work here.

Have a wonderful summer!

xoxo Rosanna

Giving the Muse a break. #amwriting

If you’ve been following the progress of my Handymen series, you’ll know I just finished A Gentle Man, Handymen 2. It was a long road, and often bumpy, but I made it to the end. Some books are like that. They take a little bit more out of you. However, it is now in the hands of my publisher and I hope to announce a release date soon.

 

I finished it at the perfect time. You see, my day job just got busier because of a new project and I was asked to take on more hours, which I was thrilled to do. I knew in accepting those hours that I’d have to put off any other writing projects for a few weeks, but that’s okay. After the experience I had writing A Gentle Man, frankly, I could use a break.

Of course, I told myself when I accepted those extra hours I’d still find time to write here and there. “You’ll sneak in an hour at night or on the weekends. It’ll be great!”

Here’s the thing. I really haven’t.

And, honestly, I’m not sure I could right now. I’m exhausted when night time rolls around. My day is packed with activity, much of it involving attention to tiny details. And, as I’ve learned, my brain can only handle so much at one time. I’m not being derogatory. I’m being realistic. We have to cut ourselves some slack. We can’t do it all.

Very often, my writer wheels are turning, even when I’m doing other things. I’m always going over plot points in my head, or creating new characters. Lately, I haven’t been. My Muse has gone on holiday, and she’s currently sipping a cerveza on a sunny beach somewhere. I think she might have needed the break.

So, I’m letting her have that much-needed vacation, and I hope to recharge my creative batteries at the same time. And when my project at the day job ends and my regular schedule resumes, I hope to tackle my writing with renewed energy and ideas.

In the meantime, please stay tuned for all the details on A Gentle Man, Handymen 2!

And if you haven’t picked up your copy of A Good Man, Handymen 1, I hope you’ll do so today.

Grab your copy of A Good Man here!

It’s #BellLetsTalk day. My mental health journey.

Whenever #BellLetsTalk Day comes around, my posting and tweeting finger gets ready. That’s because with every view of the video in the link below, Bell will donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives.

https://twitter.com/Bell_LetsTalk/status/1090452040118165504

I applaud Bell for initiating so many conversations about mental health and the stigma surrounding it.

My own journey with mental health has been an ongoing one, and it’s something I work at every day. I first experienced some hardship after the birth of my first son. I didn’t notice it coming on, but knew I was being plagued by dark thoughts and horrible nightmares. For quite some time, life continued. I thought I was okay, just tired and adjusting to having a baby. If anyone had told me I was suffering from post-partum depression, I would have scoffed. “Me? I’m not depressed. I’d know if I was depressed.”

But here’s the thing. You aren’t always the first one to realize it.

My husband pulled me aside one day and told me he thought there was a problem, that I wasn’t myself. In truth, I wasn’t. He was gentle and patient as he explained the things he’d seen, the things he’d heard me say. And then he suggested we visit our family doctor together.

As it turned out, I did have post-partum depression. The knowledge shocked and saddened me. How did I not feel it coming on? Shouldn’t I have seen the red flags in myself? Our doctor explained it was perfectly normal for me not to notice it in myself. It wasn’t a failing. It didn’t mean I was “broken” or “wrong.” I just needed help.

I sought treatment and am so glad I did. Since that day, our family has battled other mental health related issues as well. We’ve always been fortunate in that any stigma we’ve experienced has been minor and mostly self-inflicted. Of course, we were fortunate. So many others encounter horrible reactions and lack of support.

When your mental health is suffering, it is so easy to think there’s something wrong with you. However, the fact is our society needs to be better educated on mental health awareness. We need to learn to support each other better, which is why #BellLetsTalk Day means so much to me and so many others.

We talk openly about mental health in our family now. We have all struggled with it. We have all seen doctors and have had to have difficult conversations with each other. And I’m happy we did. If I saw someone suffering, as my husband did with me, I would have no problem counseling them to get professional help. The world can be a lonely place, and we are constantly surrounded by difficult imagery and messages. I know I still have to work hard to maintain good mental health, especially in the current political climate.

I sincerely hope today’s efforts will help everyone to open up dialogues in their homes and workplaces, so that we can build better support systems and help those who need it. No one should have to suffer alone in silence. Let’s talk.

 

An end to one of my books. A possible new beginning.

This past week, I received the rights back on one of my books. I won’t go into why it happened, but it’s safe to say the writing was on the wall for some time. Suffice to say, a publisher and I decided it was time to part ways. I wish them well and I thank them for their support over the years.

For those of you who follow my writing, the book on which I received my rights back was Night Lover, one of my paranormals.  If anyone out there has been looking for this book, I apologize it is no longer available. For those of you who read and reviewed Night Lover, I would like to extend a huge “thank you.” Your support means everything.

So, now what? This is a question I’ve been asking myself for a while. I know I could take this story to someone else and possibly get it republished. However, I don’t think I will just yet. Night Lover was actually the first book I ever wrote.  It was the book of my heart, the one I most wanted to read. Nevertheless, I recognize it had some issues. The love story wasn’t as clear cut as some others. It was actually two love stories in one, in fact, and one didn’t exactly end happily. There were paranormal elements, in the shape of a curse and an incubus, as well as historical elements. It wasn’t linear at all. There were flashbacks, in the form of old diary entries. In short, there was a lot going on, perhaps too much.

I was so proud of it. I’d worked on it for years. Some readers told me they loved it and I am so appreciative of their response. But now I need to decide what to do with this story. I think, for now, I need to put it away. My hope is, in time, that I will be able to return to it and read it with fresh eyes. In doing so, I hope to be able to transform it into something new and wonderful.

It’s never easy closing the door on one of your book babies. I am sad about it, to be perfectly honest, but also optimistic. I’ve learned a lot since I first wrote it, and I hope to be able to use those new skills to make the story better than it ever was.

As always, thank you for accompanying me on this journey. Please stay tuned!

 

Brainstorming. My nemesis.

I think most writers will tell you they have a favourite part of the writing process. Others will probably tell you they have a least favourite. I know I do.

My least favourite part is brainstorming. For me, coming up with ideas is hard and it’s the part of the process I dread, even if it’s just a little bit.

Why? After all, one might assume it’s easy to jot fresh ideas down on a piece of paper and go from there.

Well, I’ve never been much of an “ideas woman.” That may sound strange, coming from a writer. When faced with a blank slate, my mind starts to wander down dangerous paths. I start wondering if we have enough ice cream in the house, or whether or not I should spend a couple of hours searching for my new hero’s hairstyle on Pinterest. You see what I mean? It’s during the brainstorming part that I lose focus.

If someone gave me a prompt, I could run with it, even if it was something I might not prefer to write. For example, if you said, “Rosanna, I need you to write a story about a gargoyle who crochets blankets in his spare time,” I’d have that gargoyle’s backstory in no time. I’d invent family and friends for him. I’d know what he likes to eat. I’d know his name and birth sign and that he’s an expert in cathedral architecture (he is a gargoyle, after all.)

My difficulty is coming up with the gargoyle.

Eventually, I do get there. Obviously, I have come up with story ideas and I know I will again, but each new story creation  is an obstacle I have to surmount. It’s a challenge.

Challenges are good. You know, most of the time.

The challenge I’ve recently set for myself is to come up with a new paranormal romance idea. I can do this, right?

How about you? What is your favourite, or least favourite, part of the writing process?