#Mondayblogs – War Fury excerpt

War Fury is the second novella in my Avenging Sisters Series. The first prequel short story, Mod Fury, will be released this Spring 2018. 


The bad man had deprived her of this childhood with this wonderful woman and wonderful man, and now she had another life to live as she made a bargain with this goddess. Whatever that entailed, her future would never compare to the life she could have had with her mother.

“Come, we must go now. Your parents need their rest. After all, your mother is going to bring you a brother soon,” Nyx said.

The news startled Shana and she lifted up her head and wiped away tears and snot from her face. “What?” She met Nyx’s swirling starry eyes.

“Yes, your parents are going to have a baby. They will never give up searching for you, but they will never give up on their love either.”

“I’m going to have a brother?” Shana asked and though she felt joy, she almost felt jealous of the boy too. She didn’t mean to, and Nyx had read her emotions again.

“Do not worry about your future. I will take care of you, and you may see your family any time you wish, as long as it does not interfere with my duties,” Nyx said to her.

Shana sniffled and nodded once. “As long as I can see them someday…”

“Yes,” Nyx said. “Despite what is written about me, I am not a cruel goddess.”

Shana’s curiosity piqued at that statement, but she would trust this goddess. She had no choice. Nyx had saved her from a terrible fate from the bad man, and she gave her the gift of seeing her parents again.

 

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

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#MondayBlogs – High Expectations of Self

To everyone that writes out there I want you to know that I have faith in you.

I may not know you, I may have never read your work, but if you love to write like I do, I feel a kinship with you, so therefore I have faith with you.

I understand some days really suck for writing. Some days you can’t look at a white screen without getting nauseous or anxious. You post a poem or a flash fiction on your blog or journal and you don’t get any likes or comments. The world seems quiet and you feel like no one is paying attention to you, no one gets you, and it’s the loneliest most awful feeling ever.

Some days you may even want to give up writing altogether.

I’m telling you now – don’t do this to yourself.

Keep writing, even if one person in the whole world reads it and appreciates it – keep writing. Keep writing so much that people can’t help but stumble upon your work. TALK about your writing to others. Talk about them to your loved ones, your friends, and strangers on the bus or train.

If you’re an introvert – well, try to have bursts of extraversion and TALK about your writing. SHARE it. Don’t give up.

But remember this – don’t have high expectations of others when it comes to your writing. Don’t expect everyone to love it, rave about it, and tell you that you’re the best writer they’ve ever encountered.

The only one you should have high expectations of is yourself. The writer in you needs to write like you need to breathe. The writer in you needs practice, as well as gain exposure to other groups of writers to learn basic writing formulas and structure, grammar, and critiques. You need to expose yourself to how others write and what they think of your writing in order to develop a sharp mind and a thick skin.

You need to have a high expectation of yourself because you believe in your writing,  you know you can work through the pain, grief, anxiety and self-loathing and someday become confident and strong so that criticism HELPS you, and flames and nastiness bounce off you like nothing.

If your feelings get hurt, learn to be the bigger person and move on. Learn to accept that not everyone is going to like your work. It isn’t personal. If it IS personal, then maybe it’s that person who has issues – not you, because you’re strong, you’re a rock star, and you write 1000 words every day, and read other books, and go to the local writing group on Wednesdays.

Do what you need to do to be the best writer you believe you are.

When you share your work with others, and you engage with other writers and readers, you form relationships. You need to be genuine and sane, and for gods’ sakes, open your mind to their writing and opinions. Writing is never a one-way street. You don’t fling your work out there like pasta on the wall and expect it to stick to everyone’s favor. Engage with your followers, writers, and readers and become a real person to them. Don’t expect too much out of them, but try to be receptive to what they like and do. Share and have opinions. Encourage others and engage with them at a real, personal level.

I say this because forming a one-sided relationship in life never works. It can’t all be about you and not anyone else. You have that thick skin now, so you can talk to others and not let small things bother you that you’ll turn into a drama llama and then block and flame them on your posts. Remember when I told you to be sane?

The only person you can disappoint is yourself, and that’s how it should be. If you disappoint others and it cripples your writing ability so much that you want to quit writing forever, I wonder if it’s really important to you.

How important is writing to you exactly? And how important are you to yourself?

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

#MondayBlogs – Time Management and Other Failures

Last night I made a post around 9:30 in the evening. Ideally, I should have set that up last night and scheduled the post, and then it’d be done and I wouldn’t have to worry about it. You would think on a Sunday I could make one damn post!

Saturday night I had the misfortune of getting a migraine. I get them a lot, though lately they’ve been rarer. I was not lucky Saturday night. It hit me while I was at a friend’s party and it lasted into the morning. It really ruined my schedule, which really stresses me out. In a perfect world, we were supposed to come home from the party, I could make my post and schedule it for the morning, and then I could get a good night’s sleep so in the morning I could wake up early and go through all the things on my Sunday to-do list into the evening. It would have been great! I had everything planned…

*sigh*

Unfortunately, my anxiety and migraines don’t care about my plans. My social life, my career, the dogs, and all those pesky last minute favors I do for others don’t care about my writing schedule. The weeks begin to melt away and once again my drafts go untouched. It’s been daunting trying to find time to write.

I read a ton of articles and blogs telling me I’d just be successful if I’d set aside DAILY  writing time. How cool would that be? If only my days were that consistent. Maybe I do four to five days a week? Maybe I do three? Maybe I wake up super early (not the time of the day really enjoy writing fyi) and write 300 words! Maybe I write at the same time of the day as Famous Writer A! Then I’d be successful.

I work two jobs. I take care of two needy dogs and a frazzled husband (he’s a social worker, ’nuff said). I take care of myself sometimes, you know – exercise, eating, hygiene. Occasionally I write. (I don’t even want to go into my drawing and art muscles – poor things.)

Perhaps this article is a tad bit cynical. Maybe I’m just whining. And I’m sure people have tons of advice. The challenge to find writing time is working with my own crazy schedule. How do I schedule a moment of peace within a tornado of chaos? Maybe I scale back some of my busy social and work things! Maybe… Well maybe I just learn to say no to others so I can say yes to myself.

I’d be happy to hear anyone else’s woes on how they have no writing time. I’d like to know if you solved your problem and if you found some balance in your own chaos. I can’t figure out myself yet. I can’t just write whenever I have the time! I need structure, and so far that’s been the one thing that’s been holding me back.

Cheers,

© HK Rowe

#MondayBlogs – Writing Origins

I have always dreamed of being a writer. I know that’s a cliché line. Probably everyone here has dreamed of becoming a writer so they could someday see their work in print.

I guess the difference is that during the end of my teenage years, I abandoned my dream. I saw it as a necessary tragedy, an end to years as a child who dreamed of having my book in print and on the shelf at the store.

As a child I suppose I was naïve. I believed that I could be a writer because so many had done it before. I had encouragement from other adults, teachers and peers that I should write.

At age 5, I wrote a poem about horses. The poem was written in the middle of a sheet of copy paper, framed off by a pencil line. Outside of the framed poem, I had drawn apple trees with horses underneath them. This was the beginning of my aspiration to write, as well as draw.

When I was 13, I wrote and illustrated a story about a Native American girl who stood up to her Colonial oppressors and traveled the nation to speak out about her culture and protecting their lands. She was bullied, threatened and ignored. Yet she was braver than I could ever be. My seventh grade teacher had faith in me though. She sent my story down state for the Young Author’s Award.

At age 16, I wrote a poem about Marilyn Monroe and got it published in the local advertising paper. I have never been prouder of myself, and for a kid like me, it was hard. I was naturally introverted, an inward observer and thinker. I did not like socializing with people and writing was my only escape from being ostracized and bullied. I was a child from a divorced family, a child wounded from parental abuse. I was a child that often questioned a faith that did not fit me. Writing and reading (and art) were my sanctuaries.

I was always writing, filling diaries with my daily thoughts and struggles, and filling blank books with stories about female pirates, Christian girls who wanted to protect their families, and women in the Regency area that struggled to be independent in a patriarchal system. I wrote sci-fi stories about unknown worlds further expanding my creative escape.

Before my first semester of college I worked on the longest story ever, writing by hand because I could write anywhere (this was 1999, things weren’t entirely mobile at this point), and when I was finished, I used my new student ID to get into the college library so I could use the computer. I could type and write to my heart’s content, without any distractions. I wrote this story to enter a Science Fiction contest, and I was proud of how much I had accomplished. It was the longest story I’d ever written – 20,000 words! When I finished the manuscript and saved it on my floppy disk, I was ready to take it home.

Then, storm warnings went off and everyone in the library as well as the college were shuffled down to the basement. A twister was spotted in a field not too far from the college and everyone had to take safe cover in the basement.

Minutes went by and when we were cleared, I headed outside to the parking lot under a green sky, got into my car and headed home. My parents were frantic with worry. I was scolded and shouted at for being irresponsible, and I was sure I had told them I was going to the college to type my story. In a moment of their frantic worry, I felt like my story didn’t matter. I felt like I was being denied the glory of finishing my story because the storm had fueled them with worry. My accomplishment was nothing.

It wasn’t long before my focus on my writing would go dim. When I’d received acceptance into a college that focused on playwriting, something I dreamed of pursuing, I couldn’t wait to tell my mom. I wanted to become a playwright and work in Hollywood or Broadway! I wanted to write the next big TV show, or even a movie. The college was out of state, sure, but I’d been accepted, so that didn’t matter right?

It really didn’t. What mattered was the major itself. If I pursued this major it would mean that I would not go into the art field. I would not learn about design or art or even art education. My mother did not want me to give up on my art talent.

To me, it did not seem like my writing was as important as my art talent to everyone else. I was discouraged again. I left writing; I left my dream, and I enrolled in another school and declared another major: Illustration.

I can’t tell you how much this one moment in my life still stings me today. I felt like I was pressured to become an artist – to mold and shape that talent, and though I love art and design and did well in school for it, I never felt complete.

I suppose I gave up. I gave up the little girl who wrote stories and illustrated them. I gave up the dream to have a book on the shelves or write a play on Broadway.

I did not give up writing for long. Somehow, such a thing always comes back to people who have it singing in their blood, bones and brain.

I found another outlet, away from discouraging peers or family, away from my anxiety and stress to be the perfect artist… I found fanfiction.

A lot of successful authors have terrible and nasty opinions about fanfiction. They don’t think it’s real writing. They don’t believe it’s beneficial to borrow other people’s characters and make other worlds out of them.

At the time, I didn’t care about that, and I’m glad it didn’t. Fanfiction changed me. I saw all these people coming together for something they loved and putting their own spin on things. I wanted to be included. I wanted to share my thoughts. I wanted to interact with these communities.

In 2001 while I was at college, I did. I joined a few anime fandoms and began writing stories, joining online clubs and meeting other writers. There was drama, of course, but there  was also a great sense of community with critiquing and encouragement.

It was about this time I dropped my Art History minor and pursued an English Minor. I met my husband in an English writing class, and my writing began to improve with each fanfiction I wrote. I gained my confidence as a writer back; even if I was just getting encouragement from people on the net, it still meant something to me. It meant a lot to get that attention and to give it back, thus forming relationships with people. People come and go, but some have stayed, and I cherish all those relationships and experiences.

Around 2011, a fandom friend suggested self-publishing. I had seen fanfiction writers self-publish with vanity publishers and such, and I just found it way too expensive. However, I came to learn that Amazon was making it much easier for people to publish things on their own.

The idea wouldn’t leave me alone. I could finally publish something entirely mine! Someone might read it! I could share my story with others!

The little girl who used to dream about being a writer returned!

The rest is history. Last May I self-published my first original novel. I still write fanfiction to escape, but I’ve become a lot more focused on my own self-pub writing career. It’s still new, and I’m still learning, but I won’t give up this time.

I won’t let people discourage me.

I know I will always be writing. I owe a lot of my writing resurgence to fanfiction, and I am not ashamed of that. I guess the lesson is…whatever inspires you to write and improve as a writer, don’t ignore it. Take that chance. Find others who share your passion and express yourself. Don’t let people tell you not to write. Don’t let people’s opinion hold you back.

Has anyone or anything tried to discourage you from pursuing your writing dreams? Has your writing future ever seemed bleak and doomed so much you wanted to give up? What helped you overcome it as a writer?

Cheers,

HK Rowe

Monday Blogs: Giveaway & Book Review

Happy Monday, everyone!

I am still reeling from NaNoWriMo and catching up with my never-ending to-do list. I do plan on setting up a more regular blogging schedule at the beginning of the new year, but until then my posts will be a bit random like before. For now…

Tomorrow (which is my birthday) I am kicking off my Goodreads Giveaway for Unbridled. I will be giving away five FREE signed copies of my book. So you’ll see an official post for that tomorrow when it begins. I hope you enter for a chance for a free book. Who doesn’t love free, right?

In other news, I’ve been reading a lot, and normally I don’t do much reviewing of books because it seems like everyone does that, and though it probably is a good skill to foster in the indie-book world, it also depends on time. So normally I don’t have any sort of structured time for that, but when I read a good book, I feel I should share – whether it’s an indie author or not.

amandapalmer_theartofasking

The book I read recently is The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. Amanda Palmer was the former lead singer of the Dresdon Dolls, a bit of a cabaret punk band. She is an independent artist now and makes music regularly. Amanda Palmer is known for taking the music world by storm with her Kickstarter project and other advocacies, and I’ve been following her career for a while and just love her spirit, her engagement with fans, and her wisdom in art and music.

I don’t have a lot of free time to read much anymore, so I was amazed how enthralled I was by her book and finished it so quickly. I’m partial to biographies anyway, but sometimes I read them and it takes me forever, but not Amanda’s book.

I read it with ferocity, absorbing her stories, her biographical accounts, her romance with Neil Gaiman, and her struggles with asking people for help and then her art itself. Sometimes it felt like a self-help book, that I could adopt some of her wisdom with my own life and struggles. I know it probably wasn’t supposed to be like that, but once you read some of her own wisdom, you feel that her words are adaptable, and they make you think.

Especially when it comes for asking for help and receiving gifts. I feel like that can be a struggle for people, myself included, in getting over your pride and asking people for help, whether for money or goods, and when you do, as Amanda did, you see the sense of community and collaboration that is born from that. It was really touching to read about that, to see all her friends and fans come together in a unifying spirit to help.

I also enjoyed the concept of making art, how making art “is not hard” – and I guess I can see that as a more liberal sense of the concept, where if you make art for the public and someone, even one person, appreciates it, it’s a success.

If you’re a fan of Amanda’s work, I definitely recommend the work. If you’re intrigued by her, I’d look into her music and get a sense of her and then if you like her, totally pick up her book.

Here was my review I posted to Goodreads:

This book was so amazing I couldn’t put it down.
I began reading this and felt so connected to Amanda through her words, her snippets, and her stories. I was moved to tears many times that I was reading so furiously that I didn’t even realize I was crying until my cheeks were wet.
Such a powerful, moving book, that there were several parts of it I just absorbed with abandon, and other parts of it I just felt I understood her and nodded my head with what she was going through, explaining, or feeling.
It felt like a random, almost-self help book on and FOR artists, but it’s not that, (or is it? I’m not sure), it’s everything Amanda. That’s how much you connect with her when you read this book. I’ve never actually met Amanda in person, but once you read her story you feel like you’ve always known her and loved her. (But I want to meet her one day, because wow, what an amazing human being she is…)
Wonderful, wonderful book. It’s the best book I’ve read this year for sure.

Enjoy! See you all tomorrow to kick-off my Goodreads Giveaway!

Cheers.

H.K. Rowe

NaNoWriMo Progress & Writing Process Meme

I don’t know how you guys can keep up with your blogging during NaNoWriMo. Pretty much any available free time I have is devoted to my book this month, and though I’m slightly behind on my Word Count, I’m just entranced by my book this time around. It’s such a contrast from last year. I don’t know what was going on with that novel last year, or maybe I was just insanely busy, but I have been more enthusiastic about delving into Autumn Fire and working it out.

The big factor was changing up my lead female character. She’s more dynamic, more interesting, and I’ve been able to get in her head a lot better than some of my female characters. I’ve paid closer attention to her, her strengths and her weaknesses, and just her personality as it unfolds.

My male protagonist is a little more wooden, but it’s for word count right now so maybe I can finesse him during the next draft. Until then, it’s about the words!

I’m going to try to keep up with the blog at least on Mondays. I’m going to try Fridays too, but no promises!

I hope everyone is doing well with their word counts.

*

Finally, I found a Writing Process meme that I quite enjoyed. I know several writers talk about their writing processes here, and honestly, it’s not my thing. I have a hard enough time talking about my book. I don’t know why that is. I just find it more practical to concentrate on the book instead of talking about it to people for guidance. I’d like to think every writer has their own processes that fits them, and mine is not going to be helpful to anyone else.

So here goes:

1. What am I working on at the moment?

For NaNoWriMo, I’m working on a romance story called Autumn Fire. It’s a May-December relationship between an older man and a younger woman. I’m currently editing another romance story called Killer Orange. I also have several unfinished works, a fantasy novella that I haven’t looked at in over a year. I’m also working on a 7-book series to hopefully be released next year. The first book is complete, just needs some finesse.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not really into the defined sense of a genre. I like my novels to have several genres: romance, fantasy, paranormal, action, etc. I guess that’s where I differ. I am heavily influenced form Jane Austen and VC Andrews in my writing. I like relationships building from the Austen influence, and I like the dark and disturbing themes and conflict of the VC Andrews novels. My first book, Unbridled, was heavily influenced by my love of VC Andrews, especially Flowers in the Attic.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I want to share stories, and writing is my escape. I’ve always enjoyed sharing stories and writing about the scenes in my head. If people like my stories, even if it’s a handful, I feel like the writing is worth it. Not only to myself but for others’ enjoyment.

4. How does my writing process work?

I work six days a week, so most of my writing happens at night. I usually write after dinner and up until midnight sometimes in my little studio on my trusty Windows PC. If I want to write in bed, I have my Macbook. I’m a night owl so my creativity really soars in the evening. Although I get inspired and ideas during the day, I always have my notebook handy to write down what I think of. I also keep a dream journal near my bed so if I get inspired by dreams or whatever, I write them down so I don’t lose them in that lucid state. I back everything up on my Google Drive, which is the best system. I’ve transferred so many stories there that I’ve been afraid of losing.

I’m not going to tag anyone but feel free to steal this meme if you so desire.

Cheers,

HK Rowe

Ups and Downs

I have been writing and drawing a LOT. Unfortunately, it’s more exercise and practice stuff. I’m doing a lot of journaling, which is mostly personal.

I spent a two week stint designing proposal templates on oDesk so I was occupied there. Hey, money is money.

A lot of my private journaling comes from thoughts and introspections as I deal with the one-year anniversary of my father’s death, as well as being there for my mom while she goes through it. It’s not pretty stuff. One thing is a hard constant: I still don’t like sharing my feelings. Apparently people think that’s something I need to work on.

I’m musing and outlining my Nanorwrimo novel, thinking of a cohesive plot. I’m trying to get over the strange fear of editing Killer Orange. I wonder if I can get through that. It isn’t a block so much as a feeling of dread, like a dirty chore, and I need to get through that. I’m open to what other writers do when they feel overwhelmed with dread in editing their works.

On the upside, this Saturday was Madison Pagan Pride day, and I met High Priestess and activist Selena Fox. She’s one of my idols, and she’s so charming and full of love and joy. I wish I could be half the woman she is.

Work is going really well, but more is continually expected of me. Such is the game.

More writing progress posted soon!

Cheers!

H.K. Rowe