Author, Sharon Ledwith, Finds Her Comfort Zone.

An Author’s Comfort Zone

by Sharon Ledwith

This post could have also been dubbed ‘Balance 101 for Authors’. It’s been almost eight years since the first novel in my young adult time travel series hit the cyber bookshelves. To this day, I remember that there was so much to do, and it felt like there wasn’t enough time to do everything. Sometimes, I still don’t. I needed a time portal just to get all my marketing and promoting put in place or at least a diary. This included getting a website up and running, ordering promotional giveaways, setting up blog hops (are they still a thing?), writing a multitude of blog posts, and joining the appropriate social media networks. The lists seemed endless, and when the date finally arrived for my book release, I was wearing my shoulders as earrings.

Needless to say, by the end of my first book blog tour, I was exhausted, spent, and bent out of shape. Even my eyelids ached.

What I learned from the whole experience years ago is that authors need to learn to structure their writing life, or their writing will take a nose dive. We need to learn to create balance so that the task of being a writer plus a marketer plus a promoter doesn’t wear us down. So, how do we do this when so much is expected of a writer nowadays?

Start with finding your comfort zone. Find your personal comfort level with promotion or marketing, do that and do no more. That’s it. Do it. Or you’ll get burned. If you don’t heed my advice, then sure as shooting, negativity will leach into your writing. And that’s the last thing a writer wants!

Need help finding your comfort zone? Go to the dollar store and buy a timer or download a timer app on your phone. It will be one of the most important investments (and cheapest) as a writer you will make. For less than two dollars you can purchase a piece of sanity to help you organize your writing life and keep you in your zone. Set your timer to check emails. Fifteen minutes? Twenty minutes? Then do the same for Facebook and Twitter. But keep in mind which activity will help you as an author in the long run. Apply the 80/20 rule. Write (produce) for 80%, promote and market for only 20%. After all—social networking is a marketing strategy—as long as you treat it as such. Then, once you have laid the timer law down, set it for how long you want to sit and just write, with no interruptions (unless the dog or you really need to pee).

So, stop pushing the zone. Relax. Let go. Breathe.

That doesn’t mean writers shouldn’t learn or try new things. By all means learn and try. Get your hands dirty if you must. But don’t burst a vein in your brain doing it. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you collapse into a quivering mass of writer goo. As writers, we must protect our work—and ourselves. It takes time to build an on-line (and off-line) marketing presence in this publishing world. Learn this, cut yourself some slack, and prosper.

Thank you for reading my article! How do you find balance as a writer? Do you use a timer, or have you tried other ways to create balance in your writer’s life? Love to read your comments!

Ready for a trip to Atlantis? Here’s a brief intro to one of my time traveler books.

There is no moving forward without first going back.

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.

Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

AMAZON BUY LINKS

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

A Penny on the Tracks

A few years ago I published a book called, A Penny on the Tracks. The story is loosely based on my  friendship with my childhood best friend. The piece started out as a short story I wrote for my college Creative Writing class twenty-one years ago. It wasn’t that great, but luckily I held onto the pages and after many revisions was able to turn the mediocre short story into something publishable.

I could not have foreseen sitting in that classroom two decades ago that that badly-written short story would someday be published. So if you’re reading this and you’re a writer, HOLD ONTO YOUR STORIES! No matter how bad you think they are. Typed words are not permanent. You can always make them better.

APennyontheTracks-web
A Penny on the Tracks

“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when their hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa feels guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality. After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the tracks is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Alicia+joseph+a+penny+on+the+tracks&ref=nb_sb_noss

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Alicia+joseph+a+penny+on+the+tracks&ref=nb_sb_noss

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Alicia+joseph+a+penny+on+the+tracks&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

The Elwardain Chronicles

WYRD’S END, Book III in The Elwardain Chronicles series written by gifted epic fantasy author Carol Browne, is now live! The books in this trilogy are packed with action and adventure. Be sure to get your copies today!

Determined to spare Godwin the violent death shown to her in dreams, Elgiva uses the portal to cross over into his dimension.

Meanwhile, members of Godwin’s tribe seek sanctuary at the settlement. What has caused them to flee for their lives?

Disguises must be lifted and secrets revealed and wyrd will unfold as it should.

But time is running out…

For it is winter and the darkness is coming;

A darkness with teeth and claws.

BUY LINKS

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction but has also taken a plunge into non-fiction with Being Krystyna. This story of a Holocaust survivor has been well received.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Get Ready to Vote

It’s hard not to get political these days as 24-hour news channels, with nonstop talking heads, argue for their side of the political spectrum.  So a certain amount of political partisanship is expected over issues like healthcare, the national budget, gay marriage, abortion, and social security. But political partisanship over a highly contagious virus that infects people with no regard to party affiliation sounds counterintuitive to me.

I’ve stopped watching the White House coronavirus briefs because I can only take so much of an insecure narcissistic patting himself on the back for a job well done, as 81,199 Americans have died from COVID-19, and these are just the numbers from people who died in hospitals. There is no count of people who are dying at home from this virus.

Donald Trump has politicized every aspect of this virus. He has blamed lack of testing on Barack Obama, even though COVID-19 wasn’t around when Obama was president. He has blamed the lack of medical stockpile, like masks, ventilators, and PPE on Obama, even though in February of this year, the State Department sent 17.8 tons of medical supplies to China. But even if it were true that Obama left the stockpile bare, why didn’t Trump do anything to replenish it? He’s been president over three years. Seems like that should be sufficient enough time to order ore supplies, I mean, he certainly found time to golf.

Trump has encouraged this country to become even more politically divided over this virus. He has used his Twitter account to agitate his followers. As Democratic governors have issued shelter-in-place orders, Trump tweeted for those states to “liberate” themselves, and people protested with guns, nooses, and Confederate flags.

Just a few days ago, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled the Democratic Governor’s shelter in place order, and within hours bars were packed with patrons crowded close to each other, sans masks or any kind of social distancing.

What could go wrong?

Back in April, Trump estimated the death total by August could be 80,000, and here it is mid-May, and we’ve already surpassed that.

I wonder how differently this pandemic would have been handled if we had a competent President, with an uncorrupted administration, in charge.

But we don’t have that, so all we can do right now is wonder, at least until November. Then we can vote.

 

trump-what-say-is-so-dumb

 

Feeling Overwhelmed as a Writer? You’re Not Alone.

Please welcome author, Sharon Ledwith, to my blog as she writes about the many hats a writer has to wear, which can be very overwhelming.

 

from Sharon Ledwith

As an author, the number one emotional challenge I find is being overwhelmed. These days, writers must wear so many hats. Indie authors more so. If you’re lucky to score a contract with a publisher like I did, a lot of the work such as your book cover design, editing, formatting, and some marketing and promoting like book blog tours are taken care of for you. When you’re under contract with a publisher you’re part of a team, and are expected to participate fully. But if you decide to go with self-publishing you either learn the ropes and wear all the hats, or delegate and hire cover artists, editors, formatters, and book promotion or marketing specialists. And believe me it’s not cheap.

We live in a new time of publishing where the rules are not quite yet defined, and anything goes. So writers need to figure out what they can handle, and what they can’t. I hired a web designer. I’ve even hired a book promotion specialist company to help with my social media presence as an author. Writers are a tough breed. You must realize that you can’t handle everything. Or this business will break you. It’s humbling to understand you need to rely on others, and it will create a sense of peace. Balance what you can, and dole out the rest.

Writing is such a solitary profession. Humans need human contact. Period. Face it, we weren’t born to live a life of solitude. Like attracts like, and writers are no exception. I connected with other writers through courses, social media, my publishers, writing groups—I could go on, but you get the gist—because of our common love of books and writing. Writers know what other writers go through. They feel each other’s pain, know what it’s like to be rejected, and invest a lot of time, energy, and money into a profession that may or may not pay off in the long run.

Supporting other writers, and helping them out when the going gets tough, has helped me tremendously when I’ve felt down in the dumps and overwhelmed. And those awesome writers do the same for me. These emotional challenges happen to the best of us. So why not hang with like-minded souls, who can give you a hug—virtually or physically?

What are some of the emotional challenges you’ve faced as a writer? How did you deal with these challenges? Would love to read and respond to your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading my article!

Here’s a glimpse into one of the books from Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, my teen psychic mystery series.

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

 

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:
The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:
MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀
The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:
MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀
Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:
MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀
Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:
Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:
MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀
Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:
MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀
Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby and a moody calico cat.
Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.
BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

Living in a Vacuum Never Made Anyone Successful

Author Sharon Ledwith visits my blog.

Spying on Your Competition is a Great Way to Success

by Sharon Ledwith

Spying is a catchy way of saying “do your research and stay tuned in.” Regardless of what you call it, it’s a mandatory part of being successful. It’s also a great way to build connections. There’s an old saying that to be successful you have to stop obsessing about the competition. I agree with that to a certain degree, but to be unaware of what other authors in your genre are doing is never a smart idea.

Regardless of what you write you need to be dialed into the competitive landscape. Knowing what others in your target market are doing, writing about, and promoting can be key to your success as well. Not that I would ever encourage copying, but being in tune with your genre and market can be a fantastic idea generator, not to mention it gives you the ability to stay ahead of certain trends that haven’t even surfaced at the consumer level yet.

First rule of spying: study your target market, the books as well as other authors in the industry. It helps you to also differentiate yourself from them in products, services, and pricing. Again, you don’t want to copy, you just want to be aware. Another lesser known reason for doing this is that if you’re struggling with your social media (like me)—both from the aspect of what platform to be on to what to say to drive more engagement—keeping these authors on your radar will greatly increase your marketing ideas. Living in a vacuum never made anyone successful.

Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, you want to know who else is writing on your topic or in your genre. Google search is a great place to start. The results will not just turn up names and book titles but also show you the best ways to interact with your reader.

Google is packed with names of authors who write about your topic or genre. As you begin to compile your list, I want you to do one thing: ignore big brands because it’s likely that they can do anything they want and still be successful. If you’re a middle grade writer, names like Rick Riordan and Brandon Mull come to mind. These authors are big, powerful brands. You want the smaller names—the people you may not immediately recognize. Why? Because they have to try harder. If tomorrow Riordan or Mull decided to put out a book on poetry, while their fans might be surprised, they would likely still buy it. But if a lesser-known author did that they’d look like they have writer-ADD. Not good.

So start putting your list together, as you do sign up for their mailing lists, and follow them on Twitter and any other social media site they use. That’s what I do. Aside from the obvious reasons why you want to do this, I’m a big fan of supporting other authors in my market. Share their Facebook updates, retweet their great Twitter posts, and like their Instagram images.

One of the hidden gems of this research is it will also show you what social media sites to be on. If you’ve been struggling to figure out where your market resides, this strategy should really clear that up for you. Why? Because if you’re plucking names off of the first page of Google you know one thing: whatever they are doing to show up in search, they’re doing it right. Google has made so many changes to their search algorithms that you simply can’t “trick” the system anymore to get onto page one. Look at their updates. What are they sharing and why? How often do they blog? Are they on LinkedIn instead of Facebook? Is there much going on for them on Pinterest or Instagram? Really spend some time with this. Not only will it help you tune into your market but it will cut your learning curve by half, if not more.

Successful authors leave clues. Are you following their bread crumbs?

Here’s a glimpse into one of the books from Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, my teen psychic mystery series.

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

 

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Our Idiot President is Dangerous

Other than walks with my dog, today was the first time I left my house in eleven days.  I drove my mother to get a blood test. We pulled up to the facility, and a nurse wearing a mask and gloves came to the car door. After taking my mother’s name, the nurse pricked her finger. She secured the sample, thanked us, and walked away. The whole process took less than five minutes.

I then went to the post office for stamps. There was a sign at the entrance instructing all people to stand at least six feet apart. Only four people stood in the wrap-around line that would normally fit at least twenty people, yet I couldn’t move much past the door. The person in front of me stood at about six feet. No one tried to enter the post office as I stood there, but if they had, they wouldn’t have been able to come in. They would have had to wait outside the door until the line moved up.

These are the times we’re living in. Staying home, drive-thru blood tests, closed bars and restaurants, and six feet of separation are the new normal. But it’s all worth it. People are dying and it appears things are going to get worse. We’re not even at our peak of infections and death, and already the idiot president in charge is talking about opened business and packed churches—in the middle of a fucking pandemic.

Being home twenty-four hours a day, with twenty-four hour news channels of constant Coronavirus coverage, as well as social media, can be overwhelming. I am overloaded with news, and most of it fills me with anxiety. I no longer watch Donald Trump’s news conferences because I’m sick of being lied to.

Here is a president who was briefed on the severity of Coronavirus in January, yet spent two months publicly downplaying the virus’s threat in the States. Trump refused test kits offered by the World Health Organization in January because he didn’t want to know the numbers for fear that they’d hurt his re-election chances. So he spent two months lying to the American people (he’s actually spent his entire presidency lying to the American people) while telling us that the virus was contained and it would all go away in April with the warmer weather and in two weeks we’d be down to zero cases.

The lies continued into March, even as Trump finally decided to take this virus serious. He told us everyone who wanted a test could get a test. That wasn’t true. Then he said there’d be a millions tests available at the end of the week. That wasn’t true either. The next week he said there’d be over four million test kits available. There weren’t. Hospitals were running out of masks. Trump said there were millions available. Yet another lie.

The next three weeks will deliver us more deaths, but Trump’s main concern will be the Stock Market and his re-election.

God help us all.

 

 

 

Now is Exactly Why We Need Healthcare For All

I’ve always believed that every person, regardless of how little money they may have in the bank, deserves to go to the doctor when they are sick so they can get better. If there is treatment and medicine available to ease their ailment, as a basic right, a person is deserving of that treatment. My sentiment has consistently been that we are all interconnected in this life. We are a much more stable and functioning society when everyone is as healthy as they can be, and good health begins with a right to good and affordable healthcare.

If you’ve ever played a sport, sang in a choir, or been a part of anything where your success depends on another’s performance, you know you are only as strong as the weakest person on your team. So to assure your success, you build that person up and help them to be at their very best, because it’s for the common good of everyone involved.

That’s how I feel about healthcare.  We don’t live in an isolated world. Our personal health can depend on how well the maker of our favorite sub sandwich is or the stranger we high five at a baseball game.

As I write this, the first American to die from the coronavirus has just been reported. We have yet to realize how fast this virus will spread in the States, but there is not a more telling time than right now that demonstrates just how dependent we are on the health of others.

It is to the benefit to us all that people who are sick can go to a doctor and get better.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Write

I recently found a piece of paper with my 2017 writing goals listed on them. It was depressing because on the list were stories that three years later I still haven’t finished.  A closer look at the list made me feel a little less of a failure when I realized my writing goals in 2017 were quite ambitious, but still, I need to do better.

One of the stories I was to finish in 2017 started out as a novella, but now is over three hundred pages. I’d write a little. Stop. Work on something else. Then go back to it. But for the last year and half I have given the piece all of my attention, stopping only to write two short stories. Twice, I’ve changed the course of the plot and have deleted over a hundred pages–months of work–but the plot change was necessary for the story.

I’m sure I can not be the only writer who wonders if she should have written more with the time at hand, but sometimes the words do not flow easily. I write, forcing out words I know will eventually be deleted, but I write them anyway, because a writer writes. Maybe not always well. Maybe with words she knows will be replaced, but she writes.

Keep writing. Write through blocks. Write through distraction. Write through internal doubt.

Just Write.

 

Writing pen and paper

 

 

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