Great Book for Indies

When I think about all the hours, years of research and learning that I spent as an aspiring author, I have to say that I wished that some of the information I was craving would come in a more cohesive format. Unsure of the path I wanted to take in relation to publishing, after learning as much as I could about not only the craft, but about the different publishing venues, I found that a great part of the information was scattered, biased, and sometimes, not clear enough. Eventually, after separating this information, I finally decided that the indie path was the best choice I could make, and I did.

Recently, I came across an excellent book for indie authors or aspiring authors – The Indie Author Guide by April L. Hamilton. It was first published in 2010, and I wish that I have found it then, because it is a great resource for aspiring authors or indie authors. So I am passing you this bit of information that I am sure you will appreciate. If you are serious about writing and becoming an independent author, or even if you don’t know about it much but want to know more so you can make the best decision when it comes down to publishing your work, this guide is for you. I got my copy from Amazon. It is a treasure, especially if you are starting out; it will save you much time and wasted effort.

So if you are serious about writing, go get your copy; it will be very useful and enlightening. By the way, this is my opinion and I am not endorsing or affiliated in any way; just passing along a great source.

Doubting Your Path, Saving Your Step

In most cultures, education is important and regarded as primordial in obtaining a great job, and a better future/life. I agree that education is one of the greatest tools/steps a person can take to enrich his/her life, as well as to open doors to a good future (and present); however, at times, society blinds us to accept expectations that may not be our own. It is not unheard of the person who becomes a lawyer planning to earn a healthy income, when his/her heart is speaking art, and every cell of his/her body is aching to live creating art (whatever the form), but the mind is focusing on the material/monetary part of making a living, therefore he/she chooses the path of less resistance, a more secure path. Years later, despite a successful career and many achievements, there is a void that can be felt, despite futile attempts to fill it with —————– fill in the blank. What is that void, and why?

Most likely, it is the crevices of the creative self, drying out and opening up, longing for a fresh start, and a bit of creativity.  It is the soul that starved for art for so many years and the creative spirit that has not died because it still has not fulfilled its joy. Some answer the call, changing careers and accepting a joyful way of life, while others ignore the call, deciding to stay safe, and sacrificing the experience of a more fulfilling journey. They have their own reasons, all valid, however costly.

The myth of the starving artist continues to keep the creative spirit at bay, preventing some artists to use education as a great and valuable tool to perfect their craft and create a satisfying pathway when they embark on the journey of their lives – selecting a career they love, loving what they do, doing what they love. Education enriches the journey. When you doubt your path, you can save your step, or a lifetime of steps, by using education to enhance your passion.

What if you doubt your path, even when you know that it is what you should be doing? You have listened to your heart, took a few steps in the right direction, and now, you doubt. You may have come to a halt, saving your step, and puzzled, frustrated at the lack of results, enveloped in exhaustion, saturated with the sweat of your hard work, dedication, and tears … collapsing almost, with every heartbeat that becomes faint, as you fall into your knees, looking at the dirt on the road, the dust that surrounds your creative self, and you see the drops that seem to kiss it, as they fall, the tears, the sweat … . I am so tired, you think, because you cannot utter the words. The lack of results (whatever your measure) rendered you mute, numb to creativity, desolated, angry. Angry with you and the entire world. Why? you think. I have done everything I should, and more; why? you whisper, why? you cry out! In your hands, the dirt of frustration you hold tight, squeezing every grain, until you open them, and slowly release the sand into the breeze, watching it go, lifting your eyes up, up from the dirt of the pathway, and taking in the same breeze that carries the sand. Then you notice the sky, the clouds, the birds … as if for the first time.  Because you have looked at your steps for so long, focusing on the pathway, hurried in your journey, dying to get there fast, you forgot to look up and take in all the beauty that looking up held for you. It is a new perspective now, and all it took was to save your step. Now, somehow your path seems anew, the journey seems full of possibility, and your creative soul, refreshed. Doubt? You don’t seem to find it. You breathe, you dust yourself up, you smile, and feeling grateful you happen to find yourself standing up, ready to take the next step. It is a new perspective, and all it took was to save your step.

Watercolors Friday – Celebrating Words

"Study drawing shows the allegorical figu...

“Study drawing shows the allegorical figure of Romance nude. She bends her head to read a book on her lap. Romance was one figure in a painting, The arts, in the north end lunette of the Southwest Gallery in the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building.” Graphite drawing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, I took a few days off, needing to unplug a bit, and decided to spend most of my time just reading. If ever the time comes when machines take over and we are reduced to sources of energy, as in the movie The Matrix, just plug me all over within a virtual library, and I will be happy, yielding an entire grid of energy source. I am also a junkie for inspirational and self-help books. Although I always prefered to read from an actual tome, mostly due to an engagement of the senses – touch, smell, visual – (too bad taste is not involved, as I would devour the book as well, but I have to agree that in a way ,the auditory is present in a physical tome, as characters talk and evolve in the ears of the mind, and maybe so the palate), I have found that I can read faster and consume more books using an electronic device, in this case a Nook. I read over 19 books, some shorter than others, and found myself in a delightful state, surprised as well that I have taken so much liking to e-reading.  Propped myself at the same chair, I wonder if my new neighbors would question if I am a manequin or a real person, as it happened that everytime they came home, there I was, in the same position.

I read all kinds of topics, mostly inspirational and self-help ebooks. Some I liked more than others, and a few I loved. Those, I want to share in this post, therefore celebrating words, whether printed on paper or electronic devices. The medium might evolve, however words will always remain. So as part of Watercolors Friday, I celebrate these ebooks.

  • The Beach Misses You by Steve Rhode
  • Attack Your Day Before it Attacks You by Mark Woods and Trapper Woods
  • The Path to Happiness and Wealth by Steve Rhode
  • As a Man Thinketh by James Allen (finally I crossed this one off the list, believe it or not, and so the next one.)
  • Acres of Diamonds by Russell Herman Conwell

Those are excellent in my opinion and worth celebrating today – HAPPY WATERCOLORS FRIDAY!

On Writers and Money

Question book

Question book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This may seem an odd topic, but it is one of the most annoying questions I get asked, directly or indirectly by people I know, and by strangers. It is asked as soon as the topic of my writing or books comes up. Besides annoying, I find it intrusive, and a lack of good manners. It comes in many forms, but the root of the question is the same. And the person’s goal is to know if I make money as a writer and how much. Here are some examples of the same question.

  • Are you making a living at it?
  • How much money you make?
  • Is it easy; do you sell a lot of books?
  • How are you doing with it?
  • I see a lot of people publishing books; how easy is that, is there money in it?
  • How long does it take to make it?
  • What else you do to pay the bills?
  • One can’t survive on that, right?
  • I hear the book business is not doing to well; all those book stores closing, right?
  • Oh, do you make good money?

I can go on an on giving you examples of the same question worded directly or indirectly.  When I think about it, the people who ask this question do not understand what writing entails, and most likely, they have a paycheck mentality.  I bet that for most writers who are serious and take their craft to heart, money is the last thing in their minds when they are writing.  Yes, we all want to make a living at doing the thing we love most; this is how it should be. We should all make a living this way, doing the things we love and are passionate about, but most people don’t. Most people don’t understand when someone’s passion goes beyond monetary compensation, or even fame/recognition. I bet that the majority of dedicated writers don’t care about money or fame; it is a byproduct of their love and effort while writing.  However, to be fair to all sides, there are those who write with the hopes of becoming e-book millionaires or gain fame and recognition in the field. Besides, there is nothing wrong about making lots of money and being blessed doing what you love and serving people. To me, writing goes beyond monetary compensation and fame (as a primary goal), and while I hope to one day do exponentially marvelous, that does not mean that I would love the craft more for it, or less if I don’t.

So by now, you are probably thinking what my answer is when I am asked. It usually goes along these lines –

  • I am very happy doing what I do, how about you?
  • I am lucky and blessed to work doing what I love.
  • I don’t price my passions; do you?
  • The day money becomes my story, that day I will stop writing.
  • I let the faeries worry about that part, while my Muse works on the most important one.
  • I am well.

And so along those lines it goes, usually the probing stops there.  So feel free to use those lines if like me, you get annoyed by the question. If you paint, are an artist, or live your passion, most likely, you will be asked the question many times. Some people don’t mind it, some people do, and it has nothing to do with how much money you make. Feel free to comment on the topic, how do you feel about the subject of money and writing?

Cyber Hopping

Icon-type silhouette of an airplane. (Mainly t...

Icon-type silhouette of an airplane. (Mainly to be used in Userboxes) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to guest post for Michelle Proulx, a talented young writer, author of Imminent Danger.  Here is the link to her awesome blog, where you can find my blog post – The Point of No Return.

I hope that you enjoy the blog post and that you visit Michelle’s fun and upbeat blog – you will love it.

 

And the Winners Are …

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Congratulations to the three winners of a paperback copy of The Dinorah Chronicles – Ramblings of the Spirit! The winners are Marisol Lopez, Maria A Calixto, and Grace Rhema.  Please let me know your address, so I can mail your copy 🙂  I hope that you like it.  Thank you to all of you who liked my author page.

Here is a couple of videos that I found interesting to share.

 

 

Amazing, right?

 

Ramblings of the Spirit is available through Amazon.

Thank You Ado Bajic – The Daily Rant

I was very honored and humbled by receiving the Liebster Blog Award – Thank you Ado Bajic from The Daily Rant.  Thank you for reading and considering Inkspeare worth of receiving it.  I don’t take these awards lightly.  I am always happy to know that someone found inspiration in one of my posts.  That makes me happy; and that is all I want – to be able to share and inspire others. I hope I get the rules for the award right.  Here they are.

  • List 11 random facts about me.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and their blogs.
  • Notify these bloggers of the award.
  • Ask the award winners  to answer 11 questions when they accept the Liebster Award.
  • I answer the questions left for me, from the blogger that gave me the award.

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. I am a vegetarian.
  2. I love avocado.
  3. I can’t have enough coffee.
  4. I love Purple.
  5. I love Owls.
  6. I am nuts about cats.
  7. I don’t welcome negativity or whining.
  8. I love black and white movies.
  9. I like to watch birds and take pictures of them.
  10. I like to observe people, not so much take pictures of them.
  11. I am addicted to pens and pencils, and stationery.

The Nominees are …

  1. Abominations
  2. Belle Grove Plantation
  3. Cocina de Nihacc
  4. She’s Losing It!
  5. The Kitchen’s Garden
  6. The Jittery Goat
  7. Gallivance
  8. Enchantments of a Beautiful Mind
  9. Michelle Proulx – The Blog
  10. Le Zoe Musings
  11. Old World Garden Farms

These are 11 of my favorite blogs that inspire me in different ways.  I know I have mentioned some of them before, in random posts here and there.  Some are more recent blogs that I have started to follow, and so far I love them very much. It is up to the nominees to answer the questions – I know some people do not like to get too personal or want to keep their information to a minimum. So I set you free to do as you wish 🙂 with your nomination. Answering questions is not required in my book.

11 Questions for the Award Winners (only if you feel like playing along)

  1. What is your favorite book?
  2. What is your favorite ink color?
  3. Favorite Author?
  4. Favorite writing snack?
  5. Favorite poem?
  6. Inspirational Moment
  7. Why did you chose your blog theme?
  8. What jumpstart your creativity?
  9. Best day(s) for writing/blogging
  10. Define in a few words “the simple life.”
  11. Favorite Holiday

Questions Left for Me

  1. How serious are you about your writing?  Writing is my life.
  2. Where do you face while showering, towards the shower head or away from it?  Both ways.
  3. Do you like sports?  I don’t like sports, although I enjoy watching a few – car racing, surfing, snowboarding, for example.
  4. What is your favorite book?  Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is my favorite book.
  5. What makes you angry?  Liars and Bigots make me angry.
  6. What is your happiest memory?  My Grandma telling me a story.
  7. Blue or Green?  Green.
  8. Up or Down? Up.
  9. Do you think the last two questions matter?  Yes.
  10. Would you like to get this award?  Yes.

And here is a picture of the award

liebster-blog-award

Celebrating Turtle and Robot – Watercolors Friday

This is our second Watercolors Friday, and I was just thinking about how much I loved watercolors when I was a kid (still do), even when I made a mess of water and pigment – Hey, I like that name for a blog “Water and Pigment.”  Getting back to what I was writing, childhood is a very magical time,  it should be, and as much as I  liked watercolors, I also loved reading, and following people around with pen in hand, pretending that I was an investigator (probably influenced by The Three Investigators).  This is why today, I want to celebrate a special blog – Turtle and Robot

Turtle and Robot is about children’s books reviews. The blogger (Jennifer Lavonier) reviews children’s books of all kinds and ages – from picture books, to board books, to books for early readers, middle readers, and young adults. She is a collector of these books, as well as a seller.  In her blog, she writes about those books that she loves. The blog has a very happy and lively design, representing the topic of children.  She talks about the books but also offers gorgeous pictures (the blog is a feast for the eyes) and tells you a bit about the author of the featured book as well.

I hope that you stop by this wonderful blog, especially if you have little ones, and want to know more about what is out there and get some new ideas as far as more great books for kids, as well as classics, and coming from a knowledgeable source, as this blogger has been in the field of children’s books for some time.

I hope that you enjoyed this post. Happy Watercolors Friday to all!

Announcing Watercolor Fridays

English: A palette of watercolours and a brush...

English: A palette of watercolours and a brush. Deutsch: Wasserfarben und Pinsel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I announce the first Watercolor Friday on this blog, and hopefully, many more will follow.  What is Watercolor Fridays? Well, every Friday I will celebrate other blogs, other’s achievements, inspire or gift something, whatever that might be at the time – a book, info, art … It is my way to celebrate this beautiful place we call home, our planet, and this wonderful community of writers/bloggers.  Each one of us is like a small piece of watercolored paper scattered on Earth, and each one of us have something to contribute, a picture to paint in our journey, and of course to be celebrated, and hopefully, our colors will run into one another, thus enjoying what each one of us has to offer. I hope that you get to enjoy Watercolor Fridays.

To start our first Watercolor Friday, I want to celebrate and share with you five awesome blogs that I have read for a while and hopefully, you will get to know and visit them.  I call them my oldies. Here they are.

  1.  http://marcschuster.wordpress.com/ This blog is from author Marc Schuster and is called Abominations.  It is a place where you will find humor, art, information, and writer’s insight.  I recommend his latest novel The Grievers, you will love it, hopefully as much as I did. It is an awesome book.
  2. http://jitterygt.wordpress.com/ The Jittery Goat will certainly take you by surprise with its unique humor or seriousness, and sometimes, a tiny healthy dose of cynicism, but other times, be prepare to take this blogger’s honest opinion – whether you agree with it or not, shocking or not.  And this is precisely, what makes The Jittery Goat different, and not sugar-coated.  This blog is certainly worth visiting and will sometimes take you to a place in time, with vivid descriptions in the unique style of this author.
  3. http://rosekate.me/ I call this blog a blog of beauty.  I have enjoyed the images of this photographer for some time, and this was one of the first blogs I started following, and do till’ today.  The images here are a celebration of life.  I am sure that you will enjoy it.
  4. http://fromacountrycottage.wordpress.com/ I followed this blog as former blog Arignagardener, it has moved to Fromacountrycottage.  I recommend this blog to lovers of country living, simple living, and organic living.  There is always something good to read and awesome pictures.  During the process of it moving, I missed a few posts, since I had to follow the new blog and had forgotten to do so, then realized that I was missing its posts. Glad I got back to it.
  5. http://anunrefinedvegan.com/ This is one of the first blogs I followed and I still visit.  Here, you will find great vegan recipes and organic tips, as well as the appetizing pictures of these yummy recipes, which the blogger prepares herself most of the time.  It is an awesome blog for vegans but also vegetarians, and pretty much anyone who wants to learn to eat healthier but at the same time yummy.

Well, these are my five oldies that I am celebrating today to commence Watercolor Fridays.  Hope you enjoy these as much as I do or more 🙂

Les Miserables and Your Novel

Six degrees of separation.

Six degrees of separation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miserable – Very unhappy; wretched – causing distress or discomfort – wretchedly poor. American Heritage Dictionary

 

For the purpose of this post, lets define “Les miserables” as the person(s) who showers in negativity, gets fueled by it, and is incapable of celebrating other’s good news. Now that we have defined the phrase to suit this post, I will tell you why I decided to write it.  No, the reason is not to vent (well, maybe a little), but to help other artists/writers who might be experiencing (being the target) a dose of it.

I will illustrate with an example of a recent encounter with the type.  If you are an artist/writer/creative you know how sensitive and attached to your work you are – it is inevitable and it comes with the territory.  At one point, you may become your art form, and it may become the air you breathe, your sustenance, your all.  In your excitement, you may want to share the good news, and if you are a writer, maybe even give a signed and dedicated copy of your novel to someone.  Now, that was a nice gesture, wasn’t it?

If the person falls into the les miserables category, be prepared for what will follow – a complete mockery of your gesture, a lack of respect for your art form, a complete disregard of your efforts, therefore ignoring the good news, and even the blunt admission of not intending to read it, followed by the “what’s about, I bet you it is about monsters, haunted houses … and other thoughtless les miserables remarks.” And by now, you must be wondering, and the answer is yes – it happened to me.  In this case, le miserable was not at stranger, and with not many degrees of separation.

Well, and how do you handle such les miserables?  Simply by taking the higher road. This is how to do it.

  • You refrain yourself from chopping any heads, from uttering any #*&^%# words, and proceed to breath deeply.
  • You answer any mocking questions with the professionalism of the author you are – because that is the road you have chosen.
  • You stick to the content of your book, and do not give the story away.  If the person wants to know, then let them go through the trouble of reading; after all, you just gave a signed and dedicated copy to him/her.
  •  Although you  realize that you have “slightly” been disrespected as a creative, and cannot understand why you still have that “deer hit by foglights look” on your face, you manage to politely smile, and charmingly add this sentence – “It was a lot of work, and I am so proud of myself.”
  • Next, you have to admit something to yourself, and I think this is the hardest part, and that is – “Not everyone will be happy about your good news.”
  • Once you admit that and understand that we as humans, are diversely motivated, it will be easy to let it go, and it won’t hurt your creative self as much.
  • Next, you make a mental note – “this person does not get a free copy of any of your future novels.”
  • Followed by, maybe you should consider how often you want to experience negativity and bad vibes, and decide to insert a few degrees of separation between you and that person, so the negativity and “put down” attitude does not affect your creative self.  This is not about holding grudges, this is about understanding that many times, it is better to surround yourself with more uplifting people, and leave les miserables to themselves.  If these are ties that cannot be severed completely (as in family/in laws…), then insert as many degrees of separation as you need to maintain the peace without hurting your creative self.
  • Then, let it out, share your story with one true friend who is uplifting, without engaging in character-bashing, but just exercising a natural gesture of sharing a bad experience.
  • Next, understand that this will not be the only time you will encounter les miserables in your journey.
  • And finally, let it go and don’t make more of it than what it is – no need to hold onto the negative experience – release it, and get ready to keep creating and making your next piece.

Hope that this post helps any of you that might be experiencing a dose of not requested les miserables attitude.  Keep strong, uplift your creative self, and keep creating.  🙂