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The ART of Writing

This month was my year anniversary for having a book published.  July 19, 2010 was the date that Modern Day Drifter became available to buy on Amazon via the ebook route.  Since then, it is now available on Smashwords, Sony, Barnes & Noble, and a few other places.  In that time I have also published a second book, Through Smoke, which has a more meaty plot and has done somewhat better than my first book.

However, this blog is not really about that.  When it comes down to being self published, marketing plays a huge role in getting your book out there in the public eye.  It literally is a second job and takes a lot of time.  I'll be the first to say that I'm not the best with it.  I use Twitter and Facebook to link my book, but even now it seems that those wells have ran dry.  My sales have lagged pretty substantially for July.  But wait! Before you think I'm trying to get sympathy, just hear me out! ;-)

The whole purpose of this blog update was to say that I'm just going to push through the marketing woes and sales and continue to do what I love, and that is to just continue to write.  I am currently working on book three and am really -hoping- to have it out by late summer/early fall.  I'm cutting it really close! I read a quote from someone on Twitter that said:

"Unhappy with the sales of your book? It's simple - just write another one." 

It really hit home to me.  Writing is my escape from real life.  I love creating characters in scenes where I can do what I want with them and have complete control.  A few weeks back I was really feeling discouraged with writing. When I wasn't selling much I felt like I have failed as a writer.  People weren't reviewing my books. I even questioned if anyone was even reading my stuff. I didn't have any inspiration.  When I saw this quote it was like a fire got lit underneath me.  I sat and thought about it.  I used to write fanfiction long before I ever started writing original fiction.  I didn't get paid for that and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Why? - Because I love to write.

The only time I ever started "disliking" it was when money got involved.  Why did that change it?  Why was I suddenly getting greedy about it?  That's not who I am.  Now I'm looking at it from a different perspective.  I'm going to continue to do what I love.  I'm going to write out stories and escape everyday life.  I'll still publish the books as ebooks and put them up for sale.  However, I won't let the amount I sale affect my mood toward my favorite hobby.  They will be out there, available to read for those who want, and any money I make is just the icing on top. I just want people reading my stories. :-)  

I knew I had to get back to the basics and enjoy the ART of writing.  The PASSION of writing. As they say, money is the root of all evil and I'm guilty of letting it sway me.  My goal is to try not to let it bother me anymore.

Happy writing to all!  

Unsung Heroes

There's no happy medium when it comes to weather in the US this summer.  Here in Texas where I reside, we have been ravished by a horrible drought that they are comparing to the dust bowl days.  The good thing about it is that we've got better soil management now and aren't having to deal with the outrageous blowing dust.  I find myself getting jealous when I hear of a friend talking about it flooding.  It's like there is this bubble over us. Storms come this way and as they get close, they dissipate.  I've gotten to the point where I don't even get my hopes up when there's grey clouds on the horizon. The old Jessica would have been perusing the doppler and running back and forth to track it.

One thing that comes with the drought is the wildfires.  President Obama has finally considered many counties in Texas and New Mexico disaster areas.  Volunteer firefighters have been working 24/7 to get towns out of danger.  Wildlife has been spotted coming up to the urban areas to get food and water because their homes are gone.

My heart goes out to the firefighters.  Most of the men and women who are out fighting the fires are volunteer.  Regardless of if they are paid or not, it's tough work.  They are unsung heroes who are out there doing it out of the goodness of their heart.  I've always been a fan of everyday people going out and doing extraordinary things.  Firefighters, cops, EMS, military... they all hold a special place in my heart.  One thing we tend to forget about is that these volunteer firefighters also have day jobs they have to work at and then go fight the fires after they put in a full day wherever they work.  That takes my respect for them to a much higher level.

My father was a volunteer firefighter for 20+ years and he is now a paramedic.  I've grown up around it and around the men and women who devote their time to it.  These people are a unique bunch as well.  Most people I know do it because they like helping people. They don't want any flashy shows or attention.  The job becomes them.  It's who they are.

A quote from the movie Backdraft comes to mind:

"The funny thing about firemen is, night and day, they are always firemen."

And another quote from Into the Fire, A documentary:

"Your worst day is our everyday."  ~Michael Perry, volunteer firefighter 

Hats off to anyone who can call themselves an unsung hero.  That's sort of an oxymoron, because those who are actually unsung heroes won't even claim it.  It doesn't even cross their mind.  

In rough times like these, I try to find the positive in it.  It's hard on everyone, but it's amazing to see what humans are capable of.  It's the coming together and working hard to keep people safe that really shows the brotherhood and camaraderie that can be formed.  It's sad that it takes something this drastic to make us realize it (9/11 also comes to mind), but to unsung heroes, it's a normal everyday occurrence.