A writer’s pick me up…

Every once in a while, you need to hear you’re doing a good job. Once upon a time, when I went to an office building every day, I could find fulfillment through working hard and gaining positive feedback from my bosses. Then I became a mom, and through an interesting turn of events and a move across country, I found myself given the opportunity of staying home while my children were little as I wrote part-time and worked on my novel career.

I’ll say one thing. Performance reviews for a mom aren’t the same. There’s Mother’s Day, where the kids and hubby go all out, but most of the other days of the year, I’m just trekking along. Not unappreciated, but no one is checking any “outstanding” boxes either (not that I usually earn an “outstanding,” I realize, as my kids ate ice cream for dinner tonight;). Plenty of times though, the kids cry and whine at me, but it’s the little moments, the hugs and kisses and the “I missed you Mommy,” that are my best indication I’m doing a few things right.

Then there’s writing. My part-time work for various publications is pretty straightforward. I get the job done, and usually it needs to get done quickly. The novel writing? Well, that’s more complicated. Ever since pitching my novel to a small press three years ago, I’ve found that although I started with a good toolbox for writing fiction, I have a lifelong journey of improvement ahead.

But, two Saturdays ago, I got to enjoy one small moment of “Atta girl!” Accidental Mobster, my first published novel (and the second one I’d ever written–the first is floating around somewhere on my computer), won an award from a group of women educators, The Creative Women of Oklahoma Award for Young Adult Book. I had the opportunity to receive the award at a banquet and talk to a room full of women about my writing story. The way I was treated and the response to my books was an overwhelming lift to my spirits.

Awards push me forward. They make me want to get better, to prove I’m deserving of what’s been given. That’s always been how I’ve seen any achievement in my life–a mark that I’m headed the right direction but can always keep striving. I’m excited for the road ahead. I can’t wait to share the stories I have and let the audience into the souls of new characters.

But for just a few moments, I’m going to take a breath. Atta girl.

Cheers.

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Doing my best to form a coherent thought during a brief little speech at the banquet.

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Getting ready to talk. Happy to report the trilogy sold out before the discussion began!

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Husband didn’t get my “House of Cards” reference to my outfit until he took this picture:)

 

Five reasons YOU should be on Goodreads…

Sometimes, I forget that Goodreads isn’t quite Facebook or Twitter yet. I mean, to me, having a social media outlet for my reading (which is, you know, on that list with air and water and food and stuff) couldn’t be more important. Well, if you like reading (anything, really), and you’re always looking for “just the right book,” let me tell you why you should be on Goodreads. And if you don’t like reading, well, you just haven’t found the right genre. And that’s the honest truth.

So, check out Goodreads because…

1. There are a lot of books out there…How in the world do you find a needle in a haystack? Well, on Goodreads, through friends’ and Goodreads recommendations, and by searching for your favorite authors, you can find out what people are saying about a book and get a feel for how you’ll like it before you dive in and commit. Because, let’s face it, we’ve all started a terrible book and just kept going, simply because we’re human and need to know the end!

2. Get this! Some people love/hate something as much as you do! Sometimes I wait to check out the reviews until after I read a book that I know I’m going to read anyway. But when I look at the reviews afterward, the best thing is discovering how many people feel just like I did about it! And, because there’s always diversity of opinion, it’s also nice to know (as an author) that even if there are some haters, others will love your story to death:)

3. Authors are on Goodreads and sometimes give away freebies. Just join a discussion that features your favorite genre, and often authors of that genre will offer giveaways. ‘Nuff said.

4. The ratings feel more personal/real than the ones on Amazon. I’m sure publishers have people who post ratings on both Amazon and Goodreads, but I get a much more personal feel from Goodreads. It’s definitely a community of readers being pretty honest about what they like, and I can also easily find my friends’ reviews, so yeah, I’m liking that!

5. Sheesh, do I even need to say it? Friends make the best recommendations…One of my writing friends recommended What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarity, and I swear that thing’s like a teddy bear to me. I just love to cuddle up and fall asleep with it at night and, you know, get a little drool on the spine. And guess what? I’ve often found my favorite books come from word of mouth recommendations. So, it bears repeating. Friends recommendations is the number one benefit I believe Goodreads offers.

So what are you waiting for?