Not Very Deep Thoughts With M.J. Fifield (An IWSG Post)

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, y’all!

This month’s awesome co-hosts are: Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox!

This month’s (optional) question asks, “There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?”

But I’m going to skip that question because I feel like I’m too much of an industry imposter-type person to have an opinion on that.

Instead you’re going to get this…whatever this turns out to be. I’m honestly not sure what will come from this post. Maybe nothing. Maybe I’ll get bored and/or tired and/or worried partway through and delete it, like I did last month’s post. Or maybe I’ll come up with something I’m willing to share. Stranger things have happened. Somewhere. Probably. I assume. (Name! That! Reference!)

Anyway…let’s find out which one it will be, shall we?

So, a while back (probably around May 8th), I came across the following tweet and it’s been floating around in my mind ever since.

According to the above tweet, over 80% of published authors stop after three books. I don’t know if the stats went any deeper than that. (If I recall correctly, the attached article didn’t specify.) Like, 80% of all authors? Does genre matter? Do romance authors, for example, last longer than literary fiction authors or mystery authors? Do authors who publish works in multiple genres have a higher rate of longevity? Or do they maybe burn out faster because they’re trying to do too much?

Is burnout even the problem? What percentage stop because of burnout or a burnout-like experience? How many stopped because they were dropped by a publisher and/or agent (for whatever reason) and couldn’t secure new ones? How many stopped because they got into the industry, looked around, and said, “Yeah, this sucks” and got back out again? How many stopped because they simply had no more stories they wanted to write?

Now, if you happened to read my most recent post, you’ll know that I am maybe kind of sort of possibly getting closer to maybe publishing my third book. And I keep wondering if maybe this third book (should it manage to see the light of day) will be my last.

(Side Note: Yeah, I know these stats apply to traditionally published authors and not the self-published variety. Didn’t make me think about them any less.)

I’m only on my third book and have only managed to publish two titles, but I find it increasingly difficult. Not, like, physically difficult or anything, but more…I don’t know. The more I do it (publishing, I mean), the less I know if I want to keep doing it.

Of course, I said the same thing before, during, and after publishing my first two books, so make of it what you will.

(Side Note: I don’t believe this has anything to do with my decision to self-publish. That was the right choice for me. Is the right choice for me. I also firmly believe that if I had gone the traditional route back when I had the chance, I probably wouldn’t have gotten past my first book. (Side Side Note: Not every publishing path is right for every author! Do the research and decide which is right for you! No one gets to decide what is right for you but YOU!) All of my publishing-related issues stem from anxiety, a multiplude of complexes, and probably too much Dr. Pepper…)

I imagine I will always have more stories I want to write. There was a time, while I was working on Effigy that I worried about whether I would ever have any other story ideas. I thought maybe I would write that one series and then just be done with writing altogether.

I don’t think that anymore. Given how long it takes me to write/finish a novel, I’m sure I have story ideas enough to last the rest of my life and probably quite a few years as a ghost. I cannot guarantee, however, I will always have more stories I want to publish.

I work toward publishing each project to keep my options open, but I honestly don’t know which way I’ll go until I actually hit that big red “PUBLISH ME” button.

And…I don’t know. I guess that’s it. I thought I might stumble across some sort of point that would tie things up in a neat-ish little bow, but that didn’t seem to happen here.

Let me just say that if you’ve published three, six, twelve or more books, you’re a rock star. If you’re working toward publishing your first—or even just starting writing your first—book, you’re a rock star.

It’s a hard industry. Hang in there.

Halfway Point

Admittedly, I have completely lost my ability to tell time, days of the week, weeks of the month, and months of the year, but I think it’s slightly past the halfway point of the year. Which means it’s probably about that time when I take a look at the goals I set for myself back in January to see how my year is progressing. Or, you know, not progressing, as the case may be. I honestly don’t know. January feels like it was a million years ago.

—Publish Love & Other Lies

Well, I haven’t managed to do this yet. Which comes as a shock, I know. What may be more shocking, however, is that I’ve actually made some progress on this goal. I don’t really want to go into any details because doing so feels too much like tempting fate or something, but yes. Progress has been made. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

July’s goal: Continue making progress and don’t, you know, sabotage everything because I’m an anxiety-ridden freakazoid. Which I would never do except I would do exactly that because I’m an anxiety-ridden freakazoid.

—Complete first draft of Full Circle

I haven’t accomplished this, either, but I have made some progress on it. Kind of. Sort of. I mean, yesterday, I totally had this realization about the story that would mean I have to add way more stuff to it and restructure a not-insignificant part of acts one and two in order to do it. Which is totally cool and exactly what I had hoped would happen midway through the year because why make progress on a WIP when you can actually make the opposite of progress? And sure, if you want to get all technical about it, I am making progress on this story because, apparently, knowing where it’s headed is, like, a vital part of the process. It just doesn’t feel much like progress.

July’s goal: Jot down notes for this super awesome restructuring project for which I’m totally psyched. But this WIP’s on the back burner for the moment.

—Write the first draft of the Terrible Romance Sequel

Hahahahaha! Look! It’s a goal on which I wasn’t suppose to MAKE any progress yet because it’s not slated to be started until NOVEMBER! God, I LOVE this goal!

I have jotted down some ideas for it and started building its playlist (super vital, I know). I’m looking forward to November because I have no idea how I’m going to write this book. Or even if I can.

July’s goal: Jot down any notes or ideas that pop into my head. But this WIP’s still on the back burner.

—Read at least 52 books

I’m actually on track with this goal. For the moment, anyway. And that’s only the case because I decided to re-read Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series and most of those books are, like, 80% short lines of dialogue. But hey, it still counts.

July’s goal: Read at least four books to stay on track

—Walk at least three miles per day

I have…mostly done this. Some days, I miss the mark by a little (or a lot…) and other days, I clear it by a wide margin. I’ve averaging at least three miles per day and am well ahead in the yearly mileage goal count-tally thing.

July’s goal: Keep up that whole ‘not becoming part of the couch’ thing

—Declutter and downsize

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Yeah. I haven’t done this. Like, at all. I think I may have, in fact, done the opposite.

July’s goal: Continue to lie to myself that I’m actually going to do this…

And on that note…I’m outta here.

How are you doing on your 2020 goals, or were you perhaps one of those smart people who didn’t make any? What’s on your agenda for July? If it is July. (Or, you know, will be in a few days…)

Unless I forget (which I never do…), I’ll be back on Wednesday for the Insecure Writers Support Group!

See y’all then. Thanks for stopping by!

Bad Fairy

Today, on My Pet Blog, we’re putting the spotlight on author Elaine Kaye and her brand new release (with the most adorable cover art ever…), Bad Fairy.

Thistle Greenbud is not a bad fairy. She simply doesn’t like rules, and it’s just her luck that her homework is to create a new rule for the fairy handbook. But first, she has more important things to do. Like figure out how to get back at Dusty and Moss for playing tricks on her.

Before she can carry out her plan, though, disaster strikes and she finds herself working alongside the very fairies she wanted revenge on. Can they work together and trust each other, or will things go from bad to worse?

Now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Just the facts, ma’am…

Title: Bad Fairy

Series: A Bad Fairy Adventure (Book One)

Author: Elaine Kaye

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Genre: Fantasy Middle Grade

Length: 66 pagesAge Range: 8-12

Check out an excerpt…

As we watch the boys, the wind picks up, making the fern lay flat, exposing us. We gasp and make a dash for the closest tree. Behind it, we huddle together.

“Boogles! A branch just hit me,” Weedy says.

The sky turns black. Wind swirls dust and leaves, and spits pebbles at us. This is not good. We have to get going now or else our payback will get blown away.

“Let’s go!” I scream and lead the group from behind the tree, but the wind makes it hard for us to move forward.

Rose and Lilly grab hands as they run, screaming, toward the creek. Lacey stumbles over a fallen twig, landing flat and hitting her face hard on the ground. When she doesn’t move, I race to her as sand and pine needles prick my skin.

I help Lacey to her feet. Luckily, she only has a few cuts on her face. A tiny bit of blood streaks down her forehead. She looks at me. Fear is bright in her eyes. She needs help. We all need help. I peer toward the creek. The boys are still there, frantically trying to lift the bag full of stones.

Shouting a warning and waving my arms, I hurry to the creek, trying to get their attention. Finally, Dusty sees me. He looks as if he’s been caught with his hand in the pixie jar.

I point to the sky and wave them to come our way. Rain starts to fall. Dusty pulls Moss from the creek. Fat drops of water pelt my head and wings as I wait for the boys to reach me. “It must be a twisty!” Dusty screams. “We better find shelter.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elaine Kaye is the author of A Gregory Green Adventure series. She first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup, thus inspiring the story Pea Soup DisasterBad Fairy is her middle grade debut and the first of A Bad Fairy Adventure series.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher’s assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.

Amazon / Goodreads / BookBub / Instagram / Facebook/

Twitter / LinkedIn / Blog

GIVEAWAY:

3 Signed Paperback Picture Books –Pea Soup Disaster, Doctor Mom, The Missing Alphabet

Eligibility: International

Number of Winners: One

Giveaway Ends: July 1, 2020 12:00am Eastern Standard Time

Enter giveaway HERE

A Quick Bite

Hey, everyone! Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome to the blog author Patricia Josephine. She’s here to talk about her latest release, A Quick Bite.

But first up are true tales of real-life vampires…

Three Real Life Vampires (or so they say.)

Tales of vampires have fascinated humanity for centuries. Sometimes they are monsters, and other times, they are sexy, sparkling heroes. While most stories are complete fiction, here are three cases of so-called real vampires.

Mercy Brown.

Mercy Brown was a young woman who lived in New England around the 1900s. Disease spread to her family and the locals got the idea that that meant she was a vampire. After she died, her body was dug up to make sure she wasn’t a vampire. Her body hadn’t decomposed and they found fresh blood in her system, leading them to the conclusion that she was a vampire. They cut out her heart and burned, putting the ashes in a drink which was fed to her brother. They believed it would save him since he was sick. Sadly, it didn’t work.

Fritz Haarmann, The Vampire of Hanover

Fritz Haarmann was a German serial killer in the early 1900s. His method of killing was to bite the neck of his victims so they bled to death. That led to rumors of a real vampire prowling for victims. Of course, alleged cases of real vampires weren’t uncommon then, but they were usually baselss. Fritz Haarmann was eventually captures and executed.

Arnold Paole

Arnold Paole was a Serbian man who feel to his death in the early 18th century. A sad tragedy, but the story became remarkable because afterwards, local villagers stated he had become a vampire. Their proof: 16 villagers had died recently. His body was due up to be examined. They found no decomposition and claimed to have seen fresh blood on his lips. So they staked the body.

Vampires.

Werewolves.

Zombies.

These monsters tickle our imagination.

Sink your teeth into a collection of tales about paranormal creatures that go bump in the night. Each story is told in exactly 200 words and designed to give you a quick bite no matter how busy your day is.

Are you hungry?

Now available at Amazon

About The Author

Patricia Josephine is a writer of Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance books. She actually never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college. Her dreams were of becoming an artist like Picasso. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head for fun. That was the start of her writing journey, and she hasn’t regretted a moment. When she’s not writing, she’s watching Doctor Who or reading about serial killers. She’s an avid knitter. One can never have too much yarn. She writes Young Adult Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Fantasy under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow. 

Find her online at

Website | Patreon | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Goodreads

Amazon Author Page | Smashwords

Mood Music (An IWSG Post)

It’s the first Wednesday of the month (at least I think it is, but honestly, I haven’t really known what day/week/month it is for a while now, so I could be wrong) which means it’s time for another action-packed (possibly rant-packed. Like, I’d like to rant, but I’ll probably lose that impulse by the time I get to the actual post part of this post) edition of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

As always, I am assuming if you’re reading this, it’s because you’re already familiar with this group, but if you happen to be new and looking for more information and/or a complete list of participants, click on the above link.

This month’s amazing co-hosts are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken.

This month’s (optional) question asks, “Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the zone? Care to share?”

This might sound weird coming from an OCD-ridden control freak, but I don’t think I do have any real rituals.

Music probably comes the closest, though. Every WIP I create ends up with its own playlist comprised of songs that remind me of a specific character and/or scene. Sometimes, I even include songs that I call ‘opening credits’ or ‘end credits’ selections. Because I’m weird like that.

The moment I start developing a playlist for a WIP is the moment when I know I’m getting serious about that particular project. The playlists evolve as the story does. Songs are cut, others are added, and I keep doing this until the WIP is finished. (If it’s finished, I should say. I do have a long history of, you know, not finishing WIPs.) If one were so inclined, one could chart all those changes to the playlist and see exactly how many times I was wrong about the direction in which I thought a story would go.

I’ve been doing this for a good long while now. Since college—when I actually decided that maybe spending all my time writing stories meant I should maybe try being a writer. The first two projects to get a playlist were Effigy and a as-of-yet-unfinished WIP currently known as How Many Angels (possibly funny side note: it took me many tries to write ‘angels’ instead of ‘angles’. It’s possible I need a nap. Said the insomniac.).

I believe the first song to make it onto the How Many Angels list was I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today by Bette Midler. It just really fit how I saw the opening scene. It still does, which is why even though I added it to the list many, many moons (all right, fine. Decades, okay? It was decades.) ago, it’s still there.

The same cannot be said for Effigy‘s original playlist. I’m going to claim that I don’t remember what songs were on that original list, but the truth is they are super embarrassing and I don’t want to admit to them. If you’d like to see Effigy‘s current playlist (or any playlist for any of my other projects), check out the ‘Books‘ link above. It’s far less embarrassing. I think. Maybe.

Anyway, potential embarrassment aside, I use music when I need to get into the right headspace. When I go on long walks or drives, I will listen to the playlist for the WIP with which I’m struggling. There’s a character in Second Nature with whom I was having a hard time until I listened to the Alice In Chains song Down In A Hole. For whatever reason, that song clicked with me and that character so I listened to it approximately five hundred times in a row (probably an underestimate) and was able to get myself over that particular hurdle.

I also have a non-WIP specific playlist actually called “Mood Music” that is made up of instrumental music—some classical, some from movie and television soundtracks. Sometimes (most times) I like some form of noise when I work, and instrumental music can help me focus without distracting me with pesky things like lyrics.

I don’t know if any of that really counts as having a ritual. But either way that’s as close as I can get to one.

Look at that. You got a ramble instead of a rant.

Any rituals you care to share? Does music play a part in your creative process? Any song/artist suggestions for me? I’m always on the lookout for new tunes.

Hope everyone’s safe and well. Take care, y’all.