Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writer's Blah by Shashauna P. Thomas

Shashauna P Thomas. 
You've finished all the other crap you had to do and finally it's that time of day you've set aside for writing. Your mind has been a buzz all day with story ideas, plot lines that make your heart race just thinking about them, and memorable characters practically screaming at you to write their tale. There is so much to do you can't wait to get started. You sit down at your computer, open word, put your fingers on the keyboard, and…and nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. You write one sentence and immediately delete it. Then you re-write that sentence only to once again delete it. You repeat this cycle over and over again. You find that you're easily distracted; much more than usual. It takes an hour to finally write something that normally would only take you a few minutes and you aren't even sure if what you managed to write is any good. Despite knowing what you want to write and exactly where you as the author want your work in process to go there is still something preventing you from writing? Yourself. And I'm sorry to tell you this, but I believe you're suffering from a case of Writer's Blah.
As a new writer I thought there was something wrong with me whenever this happened. I'd sit down to work on my writing and all of a sudden feel zapped of energy. Like I needed to take a break or a nap despite the fact I'd just sat down to work. I couldn't concentrate the way I usually do. I found myself needing to check my e-mail numerous times. Or I'd begin singing along to the music I play as background noise as if it were my favorite song of all time. Right in the middle of working on my manuscript. And worst of all the words that usually come so naturally to my brain, almost as if the characters were standing right beside me and telling me what to write, didn't seem to flow. I tried forcing myself to write and just work through it, but that didn't work. I either was completely unproductive or whatever I did manage to write needed a lot of work or if I were being completely honest with myself needed to be trashed completely.
I feared I might be on the verge of burning myself out so I'd take a day or two off from writing, but that too didn't work. When I wasn't writing it seemed as if my mind was on creative overload. I'd be in the middle of something else and all of a sudden a new idea would pop into my head. Like watching a TV commercial would inspire me to write a brand new story. I'd see it as clear as day then, but get me back in front of the computer and I'm once again having trouble transferring my ideas to paper. Almost as if adding insult to injury I'd feel completely guilty every time I took time off from writing. With so many story ideas yet to be written I felt as if I couldn't afford the time wasted not writing. I was in a funk and I didn't know why or how I got there or most importantly how to get out of it.
When I tried explaining the problem to friends they automatically thought I was suffering from Writer's Block or I was somehow overworking myself and was beginning to burn out. I didn't know what it was, but I knew it wasn't either of those. It wasn't 'til recently when a fellow author in one of my writer's group, Rose B. Thorny, brought up the topic of Writer's Blah for discussion did I finally realize what was going on with me. Listening to her description of Writer's Blah, a wonderful term she coined, and the responses of other writers in the group I quickly realized two very important things. One, she was describing what I'd been going through to a tee. And two, that it wasn't just me. There were other authors out there going through the same thing. That knowledge alone helped relieve some of the anxiety and stress I was having. And one of the main points I learned from the group's discussion was that for many of us stress was the main trigger for Writer's Blah.
Deck the Halls
All types of stress can affect your writing. Stress at home; stress at work; stress with family, friends, or loved ones; financial stress; writing stress; and of course my personal favorite future stress. When you worry and stress out about something that hasn't even happened yet. I learned a long time ago that stress kills creativity, but everyone has stress. They just learn to block it out or work around it. And that is what I thought I did, but apparently I wasn't as successful as I thought. I asked myself, 'if the stress that I have are the same ones people deal with every day then what was my problem?' and that's when it clicked. They dealt with their stress. They didn't block it out or work around it; they worked through it. And once they began working through it they realized something very important, that a lot of it is out of their control.
Once they realize what isn't in their control they can begin to focus on what is. We can't control how our family and friends act, but we can control how we react to them. If the company we work for is downsizing we can't control who they decided to keep and who they decided to let go, but we can continue to work hard and make sure the company sees us as invaluable. We can't control if our manuscripts are accepted or rejected, but we can make sure what we submit is great. And we can remind ourselves that we can resubmit our rejected manuscripts somewhere else. Often times we don't have control on how quickly money comes in each month, but we can make sure we do what we can with the money that does come in; especially in this fickle economy. No one knows what the future may hold, but we do what we can to make sure we're prepared for whatever may come.
Making sure to keep a clear perspective on my stress helped me to deal with Writer's Blah when I had it. Realizing I'm not the only author who has had Writer's Blah and talking about it with other authors helps me to know how to deal with it in the future and it helps me to become a better author. And As Rose B. Thorny did to our writer's group I pose this question to you all. Have you ever experienced Writer's Blah? And if so how did you snap yourself out of it? What triggered it for you? Are you suffering from Writer's Blah now? If you are, don't worry you're not alone.
Christmas Do Over
Info about the Author:
            Shashauna P. Thomas graduated from Cornell University and SUNY Stony Brook with two BAs' before returning to the Bronx where she was born and raised. It wasn't until after college that she first began writing erotic romances for open call submissions. That is when she discovered that writing was her true passion and she's been crafting the vivid tales she sees in her head ever since. With the love and support of family, friends, and her sorority sisters the D.I.V.A.S. of Lambda Fe Usöñ Sorority Inc. she has had a number of her erotic stories published. One of her greatest hopes is that her stories inspire her readers to be open-minded and to not be afraid to try new things. And most importantly to follow their hearts no matter where it leads them.
Buy Links:
Deck the Halls:
Christmas Do-Over:
Bondage by the Bay – Tales of BDSM in San Francisco:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

First Annual Marketing Summer Camp July 14-15, 2012

Marketing Summer Camp 2012. 
Marketing for Romance Writers Yahoo Group was founded in 2006 by Kayelle Allen, with the express purpose of sharing promotional how-to ideas and learning marketing skills with other authors. It started with about a dozen people, and now numbers well over a thousand. In the same spirit of sharing, the group has decided to hold a free online conference to make more information available. If you are an author, you are invited to take part, published, unpublished, in print, or ebook.

This year's theme is our group motto: Seek. Teach. Share. Learn. Succeed.


We chose July 14-15 so as not to conflict with other conferences during the summer. The specific times for panels and workshops has not yet been determined, but will be announced here when established. A website for the group has been purchased and will go live soon. Links will be provided.

Goodie bags will be provided for all guests, and will include handouts, promo idea sheets, coupons, discounts, and other items. We have received commitment from Romance Junkies and The Romance Studio for giveaways. More will be announced. If your company would like to donate downloadable or online-obtainable prizes please contact us by clicking

Topics for which we need speakers:
Handling Multiple Submissions

Promo Ideas
Promo Giveaways
Using Facebook Effectively
Twitter Tips and Tricks
Managing Social Media with Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Other Apps

How to Manage a Triberr Tribe

If you would like to volunteer as a speaker click here.

SPEAKERS (more to be added)

Marcia James: Niche Marketing

Dawne Prochilo: Where to Find Readers
Rolyn Anderson: QR Codes
Mary Caelsto (Jupiter Gardens): BookWorm Bags (Promos for conferences)
Rolyn Anderson: QR Codes
Dawne Prochilo: Where to Find Readers
Alison Knight: Blogging 101
Kayelle Allen: Preparing for Interviews


Finding Your Audience: Dawne Prochilo

Marketing to Specific Genres: Marcia James, Mary Caelsto (Jupiter Gardens)
Blogging: Allison Knight, Susan Palmquist
Helping Your Publisher Promo Your Books:* Mary Caelsto (Jupiter Gardens)
*Please contact your publisher and ask if they would like to take part in this panel discussion.


Group Promotions Director Karen Cote' will coordinate volunteers and promotions.
The Twitter hashtag for the conference is #mfrwSummerCamp.

The following people have already volunteered. We need twenty (20) people or more. A sign up sheet will be available shortly. You will have prepared messages to choose from, as well as your own creativity and desire to share what you're learning.

Delaney Diamond

Dawne Prochilo
Cassandra Carr
Chris Redding
Juliette Springs

To help with promotion click here.

To join Marketing for Romance Writers and be part of a Yahoo Group that makes a difference in the publishing industry, click here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

MFRW Announces New Promotions Director Karen Cote'

Karen Cote's Avatar 
Our marketing group has grown steadily over the past few years. 2012 is our sixth year. We began with twelve people and currently have over a thousand members. We have had a full-fledged professional newsletter for several years, and the group holds workshops and offers advice. We are adding our first conference this year, staffed by members. It's time to move to the next level and find more ways to help the publishing community of which we are a part. To that end, I have asked Karen Cote' to serve as our Promotions Director.
In some ways, Karen has already been doing this. She obtained promotion for us in magazines (The Book Breeze), an ezine (PRP Advertising Group), and with Lynn Crain, is organizing a contest idea she had to benefit our blogs (and its authors). She is an example of "caring in action."
Karen will be our ambassador, inviting new members, sharing information about MFRW with sites that can offer promotion, and hopefully opening doors to new opportunities to share our work as a group. She and I have discussed possibilities for the future, and ways in which MFRW can become a stronger resource, achieve value, and continue to be a "go to place" for authors needing helpful information.
Karen will also coordinate the promotional efforts for the upcoming Marketing Summer Camp. You'll hear more about that in the coming days and weeks.
Please join me in congratulating Karen on this new position. 
The staff of Marketing for Romance Writers also includes:
Group Owners: Marty Rayne, Jeanne Barrack
Newsletter Editor: Rochelle Weber
Proofers: Lavada Dee, Laurie Ryan
Blog Staff: Donna Basinow, Lynn Crain, W. Lynn Chantale, Chris Redding, Jean Drew

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Posted by Kayelle Allen

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Author Tip: Fonts and Curly Quotes

Author Tip 
A tip on fonts and special characters etc. When posting online, some sites strip curly quotes - the kind that in front curl one way and in the back curl the other and replace it with the code for that command. Sometimes it puts 3-4 other things in its place.

Which means this: "He loves her; it's obvious."
Becomes this: “He loves her. It’s obvious. ”

A font that readers don't possess can cause the same thing. For example, something frilly and fancy like a handwritten-looking font changes to courier with the codes above.

When posting, use Calibri, Arial, Times, or Times New Roman, and turn off the curly quotes feature on your word processor. Your readers will thank you.
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About the Author
Kayelle Allen is an award-winning, multi-published author. Her heroes and heroines include badass immortals, warriors who purr, and agents who find...well, the unfindable. And sometimes (shh!) make them disappear again. She is known for unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, and unforgettable passion. You can find her on the web in these places:

Monday, February 13, 2012

MFRW is on Facebook

MFRW on Facebook is a sister group to Marketing for Romance Writers on Yahoo. It enables us to post promotional info, get and give help on questions, and support one another. This group is open to authors (published and non), agents, editors, author promo services, publishers, cover designers, artists, and virtual assistants.

Join us on Facebook, and you can use the Facebook page as a target for Networked Blogs, post promotional info, and share updates about your writing.  We look forward to seeing you!


Also join our other blog: MFRW Authors - Marketing for Romance Writers