How to Avoid Writer’s Panic

dog

Your face when you look at your to do list.

What is Writer’s Panic, you may ask? Well, it starts when you realize you haven’t been writing as much as you should. Then it deepens when you realize you’re falling behind. Next you’re neglecting your side projects to the point where they don’t exist, and something completely unrelated to writing completely monopolizes your time.

Now, it might be a happy thing. You could have a baby or adopt a kitten or go on vacation, or there could be a death in the family or a stressful move to another city. Either way, once you settle back in, all you can do is sit there and think about how very, very far behind you are.

Having just had a quarter-life crisis of sorts, I am there. I have an unedited novel from two years ago that still needs finishing, for god’s sake. Follow these steps and you will be up and running in no time.

Step One:

Get over your Writer’s Block. I have a post on that here, and it basically boils down to forcing yourself to write. The easiest way I’ve found is to just write whatever I feel like it whether or not it’s any good. Just sit down in front of the computer and make words happen in some sort of logical order.

Step Two:

Create a list of everything you’ve been working on in the last year or so (or shorter/longer, depending on how long you’ve been away from things). Organize the list in groups of things that are nearly finished, things that you’ve just started, and things you absolutely want to finish.

Step Three:

Decide on what to start on first. Have a short story that just needs editing? The choice is clear. Do you have five half-finished novels and no idea which to start? Think of which one is going to be the easiest to write and which ones you would weep to see go unfinished.

Step Four:

Don’t set any hard deadlines. Until you’re back into the swing of things, deadlines will only make you worry more. You can maybe set goals such as “finish novel B this year” or “write every other day at least” but you have to find a relaxed balance where you can stretch your wings, as it were. It might take time for some people to get back into the groove of things and there’s no use in stressing yourself out when you don’t have to, especially when returning from any kind of stressful break. 

Ask family members and friends help for motivation if you need to. Activities like NaNoWriMo or writing groups can help motivate you without putting any real pressure on you. You just need to remember that writing is supposed to be fun, no matter how much the opposite can seem true sometimes.

To celebrate my return to blogging, I’ve put my book Wildflower Crown for free on Amazon! Click here to claim your copy for Kindle. (It will work on a regular computer too, just download the app!)

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Wildflower Crown is now available for purchase!

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Wildflower Crown is available on Amazon in eBook and paperback! Until Amazon gets around to joining the pages, here is the eBook link and here is the paperback link.

I’m super excited to share this with the world. I really like the story and I think you guys will too!

For those of you without money who are interested, I’m looking for reviewers and will give a free PDF or MOBI of Wildflower Crown in exchange for an honest review to be posted on Amazon, Goodreads, and your blog. You can comment below or use the contact form on my “contact” page to ask about getting a copy.

My Bookshelf: Lola and the Boy Next Door

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Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.”

Jeers:

  • There was very little sympathy for Lola’s birth parents. People fall on hard times, it happens, and not everyone addicted to drugs is a terrible person.
  • I hated how long things dragged on with Max (the hot rocker boyfriend).
  • I think school is a much bigger deal in young people’s lives but she took away from that in order to force St. Clair and Anna in at the movie theater rather than just having standalone books.
  • The gift Cricket gives her at the end is like beyond what anyone could accomplish and is setting impossibly high standards (okay so I’m a little jealous but whatever).

Cheers:

  • I thought that the story was wonderfully 3D and I liked all the characters.
  • I loved Cricket, though I have no idea why he was actually into Lola.
  • It was a very sweet story and I enjoyed reading it.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. I’d say read Anna and the French Kiss first, since the setting of Paris is way cooler than San Francisco (in my opinion) but all three books can be read in whatever order and you won’t be that confused. It’s really sweet and really captures the confusion of youth.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Lola-Next-Door-Stephanie-Perkins/dp/0142422010/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Excerpt from Wildflower Crown

Wildflower Crown

Wildflower Crown

© Charlotte Cyprus

Prologue

The woman kept to the shadows, avoiding the torches that lit the streets. A hood concealed her face and black cloth was thrown over the basket in her arms. Little whimpers came from the basket, but the woman shushed it, moving through the unfamiliar village slowly. She avoided the men walking home from the pub and went farther to the outskirts of town where there were smaller houses stuffed with squalling children.

Fog rose up from the ground in the cold night air. The streets were tracks of dirt that the recent rain had turned into mud, and it sucked at the woman’s boots as she struggled to keep herself unnoticed. A pitiful cry came from the basket in her arms. The woman paused to reach her hand in and stroke the baby’s cheek. She was rewarded with a happy gurgle.

The woman was caught off guard. She looked at the baby, so sweet and small and innocent. Had she gone far enough south? The king would be hunting her, she knew. It had been a foolish thing to take revenge on the king, but she hadn’t counted on getting pregnant. The baby’s father had no idea where they were, or that the baby existed, but it was for the best. The babe could live out an anonymous childhood away from the chaos of her own life.

A child’s cry rang out in the night, but it wasn’t her baby. The woman froze and listened hard to find where the noise was coming from. The child called out again, and the woman determined that it was the little house across the street. The roof was crumbling and the door was hanging at an angle. As the crying continued, a light was lit. The woman could see it through the shuttered window.

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Crafting the Perfect Kiss

Pucker up!

Pucker up!

I write romance. I read romance. I watch romance. I live romance. One of the biggest deals in romance is the first kiss, yet for the life of me I am not satisfied with the quality of the kissing scene in Wildflower Crown. I want them to be better than my previous novel, to set the stage for the rest of my books. I want to make women swoon! And men too, I guess, but I’m pretty sure they don’t swoon all that often.

Bro, stop breaking the forth wall as she cleans your teeth.

Oh yeah baby clean those teeth.

My problem is that my scenes appear too mechanical. I struggle with balancing describing what is actually happening and not having it read as “insert Tab A into slot B.” Maybe I’m the only one who will notice it, in the end, but if I get it smooth enough that when the person who crafted (which would be me) it is absorbed into the scene then I know I will have done a good job.

"I'm so wet right now." "So am I."

“I’m so wet right now.” “So am I.”

However, when I try to veer away from the mechanical and go towards the metaphorical, I end up making it sound ridiculous. Maybe this would be a little more forgivable in modern romance, where at least you can say “Electricity shot through her,” but I find myself stuck on this one scene thinking, “What the hell do I write now?”

“He leaned in and kissed her. Their lips came together gently, like two pillows smashing together. Her lips were soft as if he was rubbing his face against one of the aforementioned pillows. Heat spread through him like someone had dropped boiling fondue on his chest then washed it off with very warm water.”

Om nom nom give me that wittle tongue.

Om nom nom give me that wittle tongue.

Needless to say, the scene above will not be in the final draft, but I’ll be damned if you don’t read Wildflower Crown and think, “Oh well that was a nice kiss.” I’ve decided that to accomplish this, I won’t actually use the word “kiss” during the action. It was one of the many tips I found while Googling about, the best of which can be found here.

My Bookshelf: In Her Shoes

In-her-ShoesTitle: In Her Shoes

Author: Jennifer Weiner

Genre: Literary Fiction

Amazon summary:
“Meet Rose Feller, a thirty-year-old high-powered attorney with a secret passion for romance novels. She has an exercise regime she’s going to start next week, and she dreams of a man who will slide off her glasses, gaze into her eyes, and tell her she’s beautiful. She also dreams of getting her fantastically screwed-up, semi-employed little sister to straighten up and fly right.

Meet Rose’s sister, Maggie. Twenty-eight years old and drop-dead gorgeous. Although her big-screen stardom hasn’t progressed past her left hip’s appearance in a Will Smith video, Maggie dreams of fame and fortune — and of getting her big sister on a skin-care regimen.

These two women, who claim to have nothing in common but a childhood tragedy, DNA, and the same size feet, are about to learn that they’re more alike than they’d ever imagined. Along the way, they’ll encounter a diverse cast of characters — from a stepmother who’s into recreational Botox to a disdainful pug with no name. They’ll borrow shoes and clothes and boyfriends, and eventually make peace with their most intimate enemies — each other.”

My summary:
You know that roommate you never want to deal again? The one you were paired with freshman year who snooped through your stuff and puked on your bed? That’s Maggie. You know the girl who studied so hard in middle school that everyone knew she was going to an Ivy League college? That’s Rose. When Maggie gets kicked out and has to crash at Rose’s place, along with a slightly stolen pug and an impressive shoe collection, they’re both reminded of how much they truly loathe each other, and learn to get over it. Sorta. Eventually.

Cheers:

  • I enjoyed reading about a character with a learning disability. It was a good portrayal, I think.
  • I really enjoyed the romance aspect of it.
  • Overall, I enjoyed the book. There was an interesting plot, I enjoyed how the characters were portrayed, and I felt like everything was wrapped up well at the end.
  • I enjoyed their grandmother too.

Jeers (possible spoilers):

  • The book moved a little slow. I guess that’s just part of the genre, but still.
  • Rose seemed a little shallow. There is more to a person than a history of being bullied and liking to read.
  • Not enough pug.
  • There was one POV of Jim that we didn’t need. At all. I didn’t want to know that he was fat and bullied and a bumbling virgin before he got attractive, that didn’t make me like him more, it made me like him less. Tons of people are bullied and they don’t turn out to be dickwads.

Would I recommend it?:
I bought it at Goodwill because it had a pug on the back, and I’d recommend you do the same. It’s on Amazon for $0.01, so you shouldn’t have trouble getting it cheap. It’s not the sort of book I’ve give raving reviews about, jumping in my seat to recommend it, but it was enjoyable and it kept me interested.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/In-Her-Shoes-A-Novel/dp/0743418204

 

Kiss of The Fey – The Meaning Behind The Title

Originally, Kiss of The Fey was called Woman of Fire, Man of Ice. Why? Because I didn’t have any better ideas. Xenos was literally made of ice and Johara had a fiery passion. It all fit, right? However, I decided that the title didn’t really work with the book. It was too cliché, I felt, and it just didn’t convey the message that I wanted to get across. It was just a bit too literal and silly.

After tons of different titles were scribbled down and rejected, I decided on Kiss of The Fey. There are a few reason, all of them fairly obvious once you think about it.

  1. The literal kiss. Xenos kisses Johara, which wakes her up. However, Xenos isn’t a fairy. He’s not magical. Why is his kiss in the title? Well, if you look up the word “fey”, the Scottish definition is “marked by a foreboding of death or calamity.” That fits very nicely, doesn’t it?
  2. The figurative kiss. Going with what people typically assume when they hear “fey,” the fairy Kasmira “kissed” both Johara and Xenos with her magic. Without it, we wouldn’t have had much of a story, so it’s a pretty important part.

It’s not a very exciting explanation, nothing secretive that involves spies or explosions, but there you go. The meaning behind the title.

-Charlotte Cyprus

Posting Reviews on Amazon

Alright, Amazon has made things a little more complicated for posting reviews on books you didn’t purchase. To post a review, you have to use this link http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews?ie=UTF8&action=preview if you haven’t bought a copy. You can mention that you got a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review or just go ahead with your review, whichever. I had a friend who couldn’t find any link other than the “Post a Customer” review link on the book’s page that wouldn’t let her review it since I had given her a free copy, but there might be somewhere else on the actual page to review it that I’m just missing.

Anyways, I’m still giving out free copies of my book to those of you who will review it on Amazon/Goodreads/their blog, so just fill this out if you’d like a copy!

As soon as I figure out Smashwords and get Amazon to cooperate, I shall be back to posting normal blog posts. Until then~

I’m officially published on Amazon!

As it turns out, Amazon is full of shit when it says “Processing will take 3-5 business days”, so Kiss of the Fey is out a day early. What I will take away from this is that I shouldn’t set hard release dates, because Amazon doesn’t know what it’s doing. I published the Kindle version AFTER the paperback version (like actually clicked the button) but it says that it was published yesterday, even though it was after midnight when I hit submit, but the paperback version says it was published today.

Oh well. The moral of the story is that you can find my book here, so check it out! Also, for the last time, I’ll remind everyone that to follow my author blog you can just hop on over to here.

I’m also looking for people to review my book, both on Amazon/Goodreads and on their blogs! If you’re interested in getting a free PDF copy, fill out your information here and I’ll get that emailed to you.

So that’s that. I hope everyone will enjoy my book! I’ve worked really hard on it. I shall now celebrate being published by climbing a mountain. (Seriously. I’ll post pictures, assuming it doesn’t rain on us.)

Excerpt from Kiss of The Fey

Kiss of the Fey

Prologue

Johara stormed away from the balcony, slamming the glass door and making a dramatic entrance into the ballroom. Most of the guests ignored her, but the queen caught her eye and beckoned her over.

“Johara dear, what is this fuss about?” her stepmother asked. She sipped at her drink and kept a smile on her face. The queen was dressed in a smooth silk dress covered in pearls and gems of many colors. Her hair was tucked away without a single strand out of place.

Johara’s dress was ruffled and torn at the strap. She knew that her turban had come askew as well. “A man tried to take advantage of me on the balcony,” Johara said. Belinda shushed her, drawing her back further from the crowd of people.

“Quiet dear,” she hissed. “There’s a party going on. We wouldn’t want news of you losing your flower out on the balcony to spread.”

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