A Year Ago Today…

A Year Ago Today…

A year ago today, I had my launch party for my self-published novel, Last Look Back. The book was published a month before, but November 14th is what I consider to be the official publication day. It’s the day when everything started. And when everything ended. I was no longer a novice with dreams of being published. I was now a published author with sales to generate and people to read my book. If you’ve been following my blog since this time last year, you will be aware of my up and down journey with the self-publishing industry How my sales have been minuscule and my morale has gone lower than that. It forced me to consider whether writing was the right career for me and whether I was good enough to call myself a writer. The book’s not selling so that must mean it’s no good which also must mean my writing is no good. I’m telling you, my pity spiral was intense. I didn’t give up writing entirely (it’s too much apart of my soul to do that) but I was ready to wipe my hands clean of getting published ever again.

Perfectly sums up my mood.
Perfectly sums up my mood.

And then I found out about Writer’s Digest Self-published Book Awards. I can’t remember if I spoke about it on my blog or not, but earlier this year, I entered. I think it may have been one of those last ditch efforts to see if my book was good or not. Last month, I found out I didn’t win. I was so used to disappointment by then that it didn’t seem to matter. Depressing, I know. Yesterday, and this is when it gets to the good part, I got an email that read: Your 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition brief judges commentary. It was the comments from the judge who’d read my book. I immediately exited out of the tab my email was on. I was thinking, Yes, I know my book was bad, I’m not ready to hear you say it though.

Closing my ears. Not listening to your probably negative feedback.
Closing my ears. Not listening to your potentially negative feedback.

I stepped back and saw how ridiculous I was being and told myself, Be a big girl, read the dang email and get it over with. You want to know what happened? I didn’t die. Criticism is hard. We know that, but it’s not going to kill you and the comments my judge had were really helpful. The judge pointed out some of the mistakes I’d made, mistakes that I’d call rookie mistakes. Rookie mistake should’ve been expected since Last Look Back was the first book I’d published and I shouldn’t have been beating myself up over how good or bad it was since it was only my first book. I can be my own worst critic. Here we have someone who is reading my book objectively and they aren’t nearly as mean as I’m being about it.

oh thank you
You didn’t think it was horrible? Oh my goodness, thank you.

I’m not going to share everything, but I do want to include one little snippet. Mostly, so I can look back at this when I’m feeling down.

The judge wrote:

 Suggestions: Study editing and punctuation or hire a good editor. Get a great book on self-editing to cut costs on paying for an editor. Attend writing workshops and conferences where classes for these writing skills are common…Wonderful talent shining through. This writer needs to keep writing!

–Judge, 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

To hear my book is good from someone that knows me is one thing, but to hear that my book even vaguely has some sort of potential from someone who doesn’t know me except for some words on a page is something else entirely.This person knows nothing about me except for the pages I sent in and for them to say I have talent, the book doesn’t entirely suck (my words, not theirs), you need to keep writing, and on top of that, to give me tips on how to move forward, was exactly what I needed to hear. I have direction. I have something that I can do to actively get better. I used to think I was an idiot for trying to self-publish so soon, but now I see that everything needed to happen exactly as they did, so I could get here. This year has been one of the most difficult years I’ve experienced, but it all worked out because I’m still here with a story to share with you and a plan for the future. For that I am grateful and because of that, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Until next time,
❤ Maya

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Yep, Still Happy…

Yep, Still Happy…

This happiness movement of mine is still going strong. I am still so very happy. I don’t think I ever knew that it was possible to be so happy. Of course, there have been those days that throw me off, but surprisingly, those days don’t last for long. I am able to bounce back quicker. It’s crazy how one little change in perspective can change everything. When I decided that no matter what, I was going to choose to be happy, I don’t think I anticipated how happy I would be. I love it! I love this feeling. Even with all of the horrible things happening in the world, I will still be happy. It’s taken me a while, but I choose happiness and I will always choose happiness above everything. I hope you all are happy as well and are taking the time to do what makes you happy.

Happy
Choose to be happy.

I’m going to take this moment to share a few thing that have been making me happy:

My family: They’re my rock and they keep me going.

The little things: I always look for the little things, the things that most people wouldn’t notice from the butterfly that stops to say hello or the cloud that looks like a rhinoceros, it all makes me happy.

Reading: Reading is one of my most favorite things to do. It helps me explore places and ideas without leaving my home. I’ve been reading as long as I can remember and have always loved it. I’m also reading a lot more now which is making me very happy and has a lot to do with the next happiness-inducing item.

YouTube: You all know how much I love YouTube. I could go on and on about who my favorite YouTubers are. Recently, I decided to not just watch videos, but make some of my own. I’ve joined YouTube (again.) I tried YouTube in the past and it didn’t quite work out because I was trying to do it everyone else’s way instead of doing it my way and I never really knew what I was doing. Now,  I do and I know what I want. I want to be a BookTuber which is the corner of YouTube devoted entirely to books, book reviews and book topics. For someone who loves books so much, it’s surprising I haven’t joined sooner. Here’s my channel if you’d like to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkMVxL4PKW9rHkDHPO4-tdA It’d make me very happy if you did.

Inspirational quotes: You all should know how much I love quotes and inspirational quotes have really been helping me stay motivated and happy. I have a lot of favorites but at the moment, this one has been really speaking to me.

fly
What if you fly?

Sometimes we fear taking the leap because we’re scared we’ll fall, but we could just as easily fly. We won’t know which until we take the leap. The same thing goes for when we don’t try something because we’re scared we’ll fail, but there’s an equal chance that we’ll succeed. We just have to go for it and we just might fly.

❤ Maya

P.S. I know you all probably think I forgot, but I still owe you all a post updating you all on the progress I may or may not have made on book 2 of my book Last Look Back. That post will either come out later this week or next Monday. Keep your eyes open for it.

I’m disappearing again (Blog Hiatus)

I’m disappearing again (Blog Hiatus)

Now, don’t get mad.

calm-down

If you remember my last post, I wrote that one of the things I wanted to do within 6 months was finish the sequel to Last Look Back (that book I published last year in case you forgot. Visit my website for more information about it, in case you really did forget.)

In order to finish the book in the time frame that I want to finish it, I have to take something off my plate and sadly, that thing will be this blog. Like the many breaks from this blog I’ve taken in the past, we know that it won’t be forever. How long it will be, not even I know, but I’ll come back to you guys. That’s a promise. I may pop up occasionally, just to update you in the midst of my writing, but I have no idea when that’ll be.

Also, I’ve just made a big Book Outlet purchase and it’s made me want to film a book collection video. If you’d like that video, hit the like button or comment below. Depending if you all want that video and how busy my schedule is, I hope to have it up sometime in July. 

I hope you all have a great summer and I’ll see you when I see you.
❤ My

M<3: Last Look Back by Lara Sean (Book Recommendation)

M<3: Last Look Back by Lara Sean (Book Recommendation)

book cover mockups1

Before we begin, you can read the complete summary of Last Look Back on goodreads.

This recommendation is a little different from my others. Unlike my other recommendations where I tell you my thoughts on a particular book, I’m going to share what people are saying about my book, Last Look Back by Lara Sean. I could rave about my book all day, but I think it has more clout when you hear it form someone else, so here you go:

“I love to read all types of books and every once in a while look for a good mystery/thriller story. When I received my copy of Last Look Back, it did not take me long to get involved in Octavia Steele’s life journey. Mid-way through the book, I found myself unable to put it down and realized it was 2:00 a.m. in the morning! I honestly had to force myself to read one chapter a night until the last 3-4 chapters. I finally finished the book at 3:00 a.m. that morning. Seriously! I know that I am not the only one who truly enjoyed this book and is anxiously waiting for the next one.” -Phyllis P.

“Last Look Back is a novel that kept me captivated from start to finish. I found myself immersed in a new type of mystery with twists that you’ll never see coming. This is a novel written for those who love the world of espionage, romance, and suspense all merged tastefully into one.”               – Mi’chelle W.

“Last Look Back is an exciting story that follows the main character, Octavia “Vie” Steele, and her journey to reclaim her life. Vie’s quirky attitude, strong mentality, and loyalty to those around her makes her a lovable character. The story is not predictable. It has different elements that draws readers in. I had a great time reading it. It kept me on the edge the entire time. I was engulfed in figuring out how Vie would turn out in the end.” -Dominique J.

The reviews above have been used with permission and is their honest opinion of my book.Little to no edits have been made to their original statement.

Last Look Back is available for purchase. The paperback can be found here and the ebook can be found here.

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My

Goodbye “Storytime with My!”

Goodbye “Storytime with My!”

It’s time we’ve said goodbye to Storytime.

GoodBye

As we say goodbye to another project, it’s got me thinking. I recently read an article about what makes people ditch a book, but what about what makes a writer ditch a project they’re working on. Is it that the project is too ambitious or overwhelming, too boring, too normal or are they just not feeling it anymore? For me, the last option is usually what causes me to give up a project and that’s why Storytime is going bye-bye. The novelty of doing a story every week has worn off and now the show as a whole is becoming more work than it’s worth. The short stories aren’t serving a purpose other than I have  4 more short stories to my collection and the show isn’t serving it’s original purpose either. It was supposed to be a break during the week, but is a lot more work than I first imagined and hard to keep us with, so I think it’s time for me to say goodbye.

If you’ve been following me for a while, or really just the last few months, you know I go through phases. I get really excited about a project or schedule and before long the excitement inevitably wanes. Despite the number of times this cycle has happened, I still find myself feeling bad about it. That I should stop giving up on projects and stick with it. But then the other side of me says that if I’m not feeling a project anymore then I should let it go. If I make myself do it, the creativity will suffer and then what’s the point. I’m a person that needs to try a lot of things before I settle on one that I like. I believe my blog is a testament to this trying and you all get a true view of what I’m like and what my process is like. Plus, I can promise that depending on the day, you’ll always find something different and I’m sure that as a reader that’s what you want. I’m glad that even though there are numerous projects that I’ve worked on, the overall framework of the blog hasn’t changed. Throughout each cycle, I’ve gotten better as a writer and found projects that I like while figuring out which projects weren’t the best for me. It’s a process that I’m thoroughly enjoying and that I don’t plan on changing. It’s who I am and I accept that.

Give it some time and “Storytime with My” might be back. This might be goodbye for now, but that’s depends completely on you all. If you’ve been enjoying “Storytime with My,” speak now and I’ll start it up again. It’ll be less frequent, but on a consistent basis, probably sometime in April. For the month of March, I’ll be working extra hard on my manuscript so the second draft is done by April and I can work on book 3 for Camp Nanowrimo. Yes, I’m doing Camp Nanowrimo for the first time this year. I’ve never been to camp so I’m extremely excited for this new virtual experience. Whether I decide to bring back Storytime or not, the responses I’ve done so far will be added to the Short Stories tab which you may have noticed in the menu above. There you will find all of the short stories I’ve written on this blog in one convenient location. You’re Welcome.

From the #Rule-breaker,

My

P.S. Looking for a good book to read? Let me recommend my book,  Last Look Back for your consideration. The paperback can be found by clicking here and the ebook can be found  here.

“Storytime with My” Page 4 w/ finished response

“Storytime with My” Page 4 w/ finished response

Welcome to “Storytime with My” Page 4. The only big change this week was that I took out the break for you all to write during the show. The break felt weird and the music was even more weird so I took it out. Hopefully, this allows the show to flow a little better. Let me know if it does…

Now first the live stream…

And now an outline of what I talked about…

First, as always, we had a little chat. I hope everyone’s day is going well and you are meeting your writing goals.

  • Main points:
    • my website is live! Check it out at larasean.wix.com/author
    • I discovered Bookoutlet.com. OMG, this website is amazing. Books for read-iculosly low prices (their words, not mine). I ordered 4 books for 20 dollars and that included shipping and some of the books were hardcover. This website is amazing. You have to check it out.
    • I introduced “M<3: Book recommendations.” As you know I love to read and this year, I’m trying to read more. I like to talk about books, too, but I usually have no one to tell about the books I especially enjoyed. That is, until now. Hopefully, every Tuesday, I’ll have a book recommendation for you all. Either a book from the past that I especially liked or a book that I just finished. I’m super excited to be able to tell you all about my most favorite books.

Okay, now it’s time for the prompt:

Incorporate this quote into a short story or scene. Use it as the first sentence, last sentence or somewhere in the middle. The sentence in its entirety has to be somewhere.

“If my future were black, it was better surely to face it like a man than to attempt to brighten it by mere will-o’-the-wisps of the imagination.”  -pg 108 (The Complete Sherlock Holmes Volume I)

And now for my response:

“If my future were black, it was better surely to face it like a man than to attempt to brighten it by mere will-o’-the- wisps of the imagination,” Fawn said sadly. His head dropped and he averted his eyes. He couldn’t bear to look at her.

Lisia breathed. Tears flowed slowly down her cheeks , but she stayed strong. “If you were a man,” she said. “You wouldn’t let me go.”

“You don’t understand…” he began.

“No, I understand,” she said, interrupting him. “You’re afraid of loving me because of your curse. Your stupid curse.”She spit out the words angrily.

“It’s not some stupid curse,” he told her. “Who knows what will happen to me because of it …or you. I can’t let anything happen to you.”

“I don’t…” she tried. “I know you’re scared. That’s all the more reason to have me with you.”

“And if you get hurt?” he asked her. “I’d never be able to forgive myself. You need to go,” he said  sternly.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she said softly.

“You need to go,” he said and he tried to push her as gently as he could out the door.

“I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE!!!” she screamed and she burst into a bright blue and iridescent figure. Her skin became translucent and her body began to glow.

Fawn jumped back from her, afraid. This was the moment that his powers would’ve awakened. He would’ve killed her instantly, but that didn’t happen. Nothing did.

“What are you?” he asked looking at her astonished.

“Did it ever occur to you that your mere will-o’-the-wisps of the imagination were powerful than you could ever imagine? That they could help you.”

It didn’t make sense. “My powers,” he said. “What’s happened?”

“Fawn, I am the last chance you have at beating this curse and I am NOT going anywhere!”

If you would like to listen to me read it, fast forward to the 11 minute and 12 second mark. (It’s a little choppy because of the G+ on Air internet connection, but you get the idea.) Also, expect a bookoutlet haul very soon, I’ll probably post it on my instagram @luv2rite1922.

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My

P.S. If you have any writing prompts you would like me to try out, please let me know in the comment section below.

P.P.S. I wrote a book! It’s called Last Look Back (of course you already knew that). If you want to purchase it, click here for the paperback and here for the ebook. Thanks in advance for your support.

“Storytime with My” Page 3 w/ finished response

“Storytime with My” Page 3 w/ finished response

This Storytime with My was formatted a little differently and I hope you all enjoyed the change. I’m going to format these posts differently as well.

First, the live stream…

And now an outline of what I talked about…

First,  we had a little chat and I updated you all on what’s been going on. Mainly, I’m working on a website, I’m on tumblr, larasean.tumblr.com, and I want to start the #iloveme project. The post should be up by now so check it out for more details.

Did I forget anything?

Oh yeah, I AM OFFICIALLY A GOODREADS AUTHOR!!! Lara Sean and Last Look Back are on goodreads. Check them out here.

Also, I’ve realized that I like talking and having a little chat with you all so it will be very unlikely that the stream will be much shorter than 30 minutes. I will do my hardest to make sure it doesn’t get much longer.

Next, the prompt:

eyes

And now for my response:

His eyes. That was the first thing that I noticed about him. They were dark brown and they twinkled. They actually twinkled. Especially when he smiled. When he smiled and I looked into his eyes, I fell all over again.

When he got sick, I knew things would be different. Those twinkling brown eyes were the first to fade. They became listless and gray and I knew the rest of him would change soon after. I was told by the Guild that it was silly of me to be sad. Keran was an Incan and would return to me soon enough.

Once every one hundred years, he would die and be given a new life. Depending on the life and where he was placed in the world, he may be able to return to me or maybe he wouldn’t. He would have a different body, but his eyes would never change. He would always be my love. I would have to wait and pray that he would come back, but I knew if he hadn’t, I’d have to move on.

Before Keran finally took his last breath, he made me a promise. “A year,” he said. Wait for him for a year and if he couldn’t come back to me by then, then I could go on with my life.That was foolish. I had no life without him. I was sure that I would wait for him forever. He didn’t have to ask. I held his hand tightly and then he was gone.

The Guild was prompt in the removal of his body. They had to keep his body safe in case another Incan was assigned to it. I was left alone. I couldn’t muster anymore tears to cry. I just waited …and waited.

It was hard. I cried a lot in the beginning. Without him, it was like living without an arm or my leg or my heart. For a while, I hated him and his stupid eyes. If it weren’t for those eyes that drew me in and wouldn’t let me go, then I wouldn’t be having this problem. I wouldn’t be hurting so much. Why did I have to love him so much?

365 days inched slowly past and Keran was nowhere to be found. By this time, I had accepted the fact that I was desperately in love with him and would wait for him forever. As night fell on the 365th day, I prepared myself for a lifetime of waiting.

Then, on the morning of the 366th day, there was a knock at the door. I opened the door absentmindedly. “Hello,” I asked the stranger. He was tall. His head almost hit the top of the door frame. I had no idea who he was until I looked into his eyes. He smiled down at me and his eyes twinkled. I burst into tears and hugged him. It was Keran. It was my love.

“Sorry, I’m late,” he whispered, which was nonsense. I shook my head, my cheeks stained with tears,and hugged him as tightly as I could. I looked up at him, into the eyes that I fell in love with, and said, “You could’ve taken another 30 years and I would still be here. I am yours and you are mine. Forever.”

As I said in the stream, I worked on the prompt earlier in the day and edited it during the live stream. I liked that so much better and you can see my excitement during the show. Working on it earlier gave me time to work out what I wanted to say and I was able to read more enthusiastically because I already knew much of what was on the page. If you would like to listen to me read it, fast forward to the 19 minute mark.

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My

P.S. If you have any writing prompts you would like me to try out, please let me know in the comment section below.