My #Publishing Dilemma

Photo Credit: Pixabay Free Images

I love writing stories and poetry, and one of my dreams is to be a published author.


I retired from the workforce in January 2015 (five days before my 44th birthday) due to my worsening eyesight (coupled with moderate hearing loss), and now live on Social Security benefits as well as my husband’s salary.

Although I consider myself as a writer, I feel like I’m a faceless woman with no true status or identity of any kind.

Why is that?

I desire to write books and have them traditionally published; but, since I’m on Social Security, I’m not allowed to make any money. So, this puts me in a frustrating dilemma.  How do I go about realizing my dream now?

Writing is NOT a hobby for me.  It’s my passion and my life.  Would not making money off my writing put me in the “hobbyist” realm?  Gosh,  I hope not.

What to do?

I could self-publish but if I put my books on “permafree” would people want to “buy” and read them?  Would my books be considered as “inferior” just because they’re for “free”?

On the other hand, being in this predicament is somewhat liberating as I find I have more range to do things differently than many authors.  So perhaps this really isn’t such a terrible thing after all.



Sunday Story: The Vanishing

Click on image for original story

*Author’s Note: I wrote this short story over five years ago.  It’s dark.  It’s creepy.  It’s one of my secular, mainstream stories that I decided NOT to submit for publication now on Wattpad. 


Story Blurb:

Leesa, a mother and wife, contemplates on the undesirable state of her life…but one should be careful, you might just get what you wished for in the most unexpected of ways.


Shadows wavered in the expansive backyard as the woman peered through the round window in front of her.  The reflection within the twilight didn’t reveal a happy face.  The skin under her brown eyes, fixed on the deck that spread beneath the small set of panes, sagged with a purplish hue.  Premature wrinkles lined her eyes and mouth.  No, she definitely wasn’t a happy person.  Her hands mindlessly moved each dish from the stainless steel sink, rinsed under cool water, and then carefully placed in the racks of the dishwasher.  She then reached for the knife and grabbed the wrong end.

“Damn it!”  She recoiled and placed the bleeding finger into her mouth.

Nope, it’s been the week from hell, and this was just another reminder that it hasn’t end yet.

Voices drifted into the room from a nearby television.

“Here are our top news of the hour.” A male news anchor said. “State and Federal law officials are investigating multiple cases involving children who have gone missing in the past three days. In every cases, each child reported to have disappeared sometime between bedtime and morning…”

“Frank.” She turned her head towards the living room. “Please turn it to something else.”

“Yes, dear.” A man’s voice said.

A click sounded and a commercial about a brand of soda came on.  She went back to rinsing a coffee mug with the uninjured hand when the floor board creaked.  She turned and smiled at her four-year old daughter who stood, wearing a pink nightgown, at the entrance of the kitchen.

Renee.  The small child was the only source of joy in her otherwise joyless life.

“What’s the matter, Renee? Did you have a bad dream?”

The girl shook her head, locks of blonde curls waved over her petite shoulders. “No, mummy.”

Mother picked up a towel to dry her hands. “What’s wrong then?

“There’s a boogeyman in my room.”

Click here to read rest of the story on Wattpad…




I have two other short stories also on Wattpad.  These two have been previously published.

His world was ending. How will he choose to go out? (Click on image to read the story)

Four college-aged people are dead on an island. The killer? Unknown, but definitely not human. Anna Mae Hart and her partner are called to help with the investigation and things get bloody from there. (Click on image for story)




#IWSG Best Ways To Start a First Draft?

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

This month’s question: What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?


For the past few years I’ve managed to keep a schedule of some kind for blogging.  This year, since I desire to convert a screenplay into a novel, I feel I need to set up a schedule for that as well.  Just figuring out the how part.

I joined a Facebook group, Finish Your Novel, a project really that’s dedicated to doing just that-finishing a novel.  It’s my hope that this group will help keep me accountable and moving forward throughout the year with my book.   I’ve been a writer for a number of years with short works published;  I’m ready to take the next leap to being a published author.

I think about setting aside three days each week to devote solely to writing the first draft.  Will probably do it chapter by chapter.  The challenge will be how to best incorporate the flash-back scenes since they will take place throughout the novel.  Also to keep me going forward, I plan to set a daily (or maybe a weekly one instead) word count goal that I can track via Word as well as a spreadsheet.

Now, the next question is–should I start by planning out the book (character development, outlining the story line/subplots, etc.) or just jump right in and start rewriting the story from the screenplay?




Writing: Would You Do Things Differently If You Could Go Back In Time?

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This month IWSG question is: if you could backtrack and do things differently as a writer, would you? 


Wow, this is a loaded question.  One I have pondered on and wondered about from time to time.  Who hasn’t?  Especially now that I’m in my mid (ish) 40s, this question keeps popping up in my mind.

My first inclination is to say “Yes!”

I’d have attended SUNY Potsdam (only) majoring in Journalism instead of bouncing around at least six different colleges and ending up with a degree in Physical Education (which I barely used).

As a journalist, I would have traveled the world.  In this reality, I’ve only visited one other country…Canada.

Perhaps I’d even started my own magazine or newspaper company.  Or, maybe even branched off into the publishing industry and became an editor or something.

And just perhaps I’d ended up living in Boston (one of my fave cities) where I’d pen my first and break-through novel that landed me on the New York Times’ Bestselling List.

If I’d done all the above, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

As a writer.  As a poet.

A mother.

A wife.

Living on a small farmstead in eastern North Dakota of all places 🙂  Writing full-time at home.

I’m richly blessed.  I don’t think I would give this life up to relive it as a different person.  It’s nice to dream about it, but that’s it, just a dream.

I like this reality better.

What about you?  If you had the opportunity to go back and do anything differently as a writer, would you do it?




Thursday Thoughts: On Writing Life


Back when I worked full-time in the Banking industry, I used to complain how I never had enough time to write.  I’d get up each weekday morning by 4am to get myself ready first, and then get hubby and son up before hitting the road by 5:45am for over an hour’s drive (in 35 miles) into downtown Raleigh.  I’d work 7am till 6pm (most days).  By the time dinner and homework are done, it’s easily 9pm and by that point, I’m ready to crawl in bed.   Weekends were usually reserved for catch-ups, house chores, and errands.  I’d managed maybe an hour of writing time each week.


With being “retired’ from the work force (am only 46) due to disabilities, I have loads of free time on my hands.   I’ve discovered, though, I waste a lot of time doing pretty much “nothing.”

Nothing being spending way too much time on social media, and watching internet-stream tv shows and movies.  Well, these were what I was doing for the past year and a half before depression hit me hard.

Or, perhaps mid-life crisis?

I found myself looking back, and wondering what did I have to show for being here on this world?  I really didn’t find a career I enjoyed (long story) so ended up in the Banking industry for the last 15 years of my working life basically as a glorified paper-shuffler.

Family put aside, I had nothing tangible.

I wanted more.  I desired to leave a legacy.

At this point, I’ve published several short stories, essays, and poems; but 99.9% are online magazines.

I now want more.

Something solid, concrete.  Something I can hold in my hands.  And smell.

This means I need to get serious, and smart with my time management.  I figure a way to start doing that is by tracking every word I write.


This means less time with social media and other forms of entertainment.

I value my writing gift, and feel I have at least one book within me, enough so that I need to start valuing my time more than I’ve done in the past.

So, this is where I’m at in my writing life.  At a cross-road, and I’ve decided on the path to take.  Now, let’s see where it takes me.

Got to love adventures, eh?  🙂

What about you?  Where are you at in your writing life?  Are you happy with it?  If not, what changes could you make?


Books and Reading and Reviews (Looking for Books to Read!)


I’m looking for one-three (clean) Romance books to read between now and January, and am open for suggestions!  I’d prefer it to be an ebook, but will take print versions as well.  If you’re an author of such book, please let me know a bit about your book’s premise to help me decide.   Whichever book(s) I decide to read, I plan to post a review on this blog by the end of January (if not, sooner).

You can let me know either via the comment section below, or through the Contact form.

🙂 🙂 🙂


I Fear I’ll Never Publish a Book

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This month’s question:  Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?



I’ve participated in NaNo nearly every year since 2008, and I will do so again this year.   I won twice, first time in 2008, which was the most complete first (and only) draft I’ve written.   It’s an apocalypse-science fiction story I titled Hope Falls.  It’s to be the first book in a series.  I believe it has promise only that…

It’s still sitting on my hard drive (have a binder with printed pages as well–somewhere).

I love to see it published.

Why haven’t I done it yet?  I mean, it’s only been NINE years.

Honestly, the editing/revision part scares the crap out of me.

Shorter works I can handle.  Just not sure how I’d handle a book-length editing process.

I feel like a wuss.

A coward.

And I’m worried.  Really worried.  If I’m this frighten over one manuscript why would it be any different with another?

Am I a lost cause?  Can I break this rut I’m in?

I’m a published writer in that I have short fiction and poetry published in multiple zines (both online and print).  My next goal is to be a published author.

I fear that dream may never come true.



Difficult Writing Process (Poll Results)


The other day I posted a poll (both here and on Twitter) asking which part of the writing process was the most difficult.

Here are the results.


Marketing 51%

Rev/Edit 21%

Writing the story 21%

Coming up w/ idea 7%



Marketing 56%

Rev/Edit 22%

Coming up w/ idea 11%

Writing the story 11%

Overwhelmingly, marketing seems to be the most difficult for writers.  The reasons?  There could be many.

One could be that the writer is an introvert, and finds the social media intimidating.  And speaking of social media, there are thousands and thousands of writers and authors on them trying to get their books and stories out in the world.  With all that noise, how does one writer or author find a way to stand out and be noticed?

What’s even more frustrating is that it doesn’t matter if you’re traditional or self-published, you’re still expected to do most of the marketing.

How does one even start?

Here’s an article I found that offered some insights: Marketing Your Books


According to these results, coming up with a story idea doesn’t seems to be that big of an issue for most writers.  I suppose what could be problematic is choosing which idea to use.  Which one will readers want to read?  Which one will I want to write a book-length manuscript, and not get bored half-way through?

For me personally, at this point in my writing career, the editing/revision is the most difficult part.  It’s like trying to get a donkey to do something it really doesn’t want to do.  Yeah, I can be that kind of a donkey.


Book Review: Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel Without an Outline

Available October 1, 2017. Click on image to purchase book.

Annalisa Parent, teaching extraordinaire and editor of Chair & Pen: Musings on Writing and the Writing Life, has come out with a new book called, Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel Without an Outline.

If you’re someone who tends to write on “the fly,” but always seems to have a problem either finishing or figuring out where the story’s going, this book is for you.

Annalisa, a Pantser herself, understands how other fellow Pantsers tend to lose their way when they write a book because of the unorganized fashion of their creativity.  This book aims to help them–you— find your way through the “muddle” quicker.


By finding the patterns (or theme) in the story, and then build upon them.

This book is not your typical how-to-write book.  The instructions and examples are not in your usual cut-and-dry and formal format.  This is nothing like an ordinary book about writing.  Did I say that Annalisa is a teaching extraordinaire?  Well, she proves it in this gem.  Her presentations throughout the book are personable, easy to grasp, and her witty sense of humor and uncanny culture references make for a truly enjoyable learning experience.

Annalisa believes in taking the whole writer in account and not just about providing knowledge.  For the first part of the book, she turns her attention solely to the writer.


Knowing and accepting yourself for who you are as a writer is half the battle in your journey to becoming a published author.  She talks about brains, and how Pantsers are who they are because of the way their brains are wired.  She talks about how we tend to limit ourselves by giving in to our fears, and how the wrong kinds of feedback could damage our future as writers indefinitely.  Annalisa shows us how to turn all of this around.  How to manage the fears and find the right kind of feedback needed to move our writing forward instead of backward.

Annalisa firmly believes that having the right mindset coupled with positive support could mean the difference between having a publishable or an unpublishable book.

The focus of the second half of the book is on the writing craft as she breaks down various parts such as character development, plot structure, conflict, setting, pacing…all geared for Pantsers.  She provides tips and exercises on how to take what you have and improve upon them rather than change everything.   Annalisa is a firm believer in NOT interrupting the creative flow as you create your story; but to take what you have created later on and make them better, interweaving them together so they become connected as part of one seamless story.

Annalisa truly understands you as the writer, and takes a holistic approach to helping you reach your goal-having a complete and publishable book.  This book is unique and a joy to read.  You learn more about yourself as a writer, gain the confidence needed to move forward while enjoying the journey.