Friday, August 20, 2010

Time for a change

When I began writing the Strange Neighbors series, I honestly didn't know if I could do it. 3 ginormous novels about the same characters? Oh my! I had never written anything in a series and had never even written a book that long! I was happily epublishing novels about 3/4 of that size and even shorter novellas.

So what changed?

Pirates stole my paychecks and I could no longer justify the time I was putting into writing, attending conferences, advertising...all the stuff an author must do to sell their books. Working for twenty or thirty cents an hour? Holy poverty! I don't live in India where I might be able to survive. I live in NH where it gets cold in winter.

Circumstances demanded I change to a publisher that paid advances...that way I knew I'd be getting paid for my work. Royalties on top of that would be gravy. In epublishing, royalties are all you get, period. It's a gamble and in the past it paid off. It rarely does anymore.

Well, I did it. I just wrote 'the end' on my third and final novel in the Strange Neighbors series. I feel a mixture of happiness and sadness. I love the ending. Everyone gets an HEA (happily ever after.) But I'm going to miss my characters. I've come to know them so well. I've watched them grow and, yes, change. Each and every one of them.

Fortunately, I'm already thinking about two other series. Not one...two! One would have 4 stories in it and the other would have 3. So, was this a fluke or can I do it again? Happily, I think I can. I also have a 3/4 finished novella and a promising short story another publisher asked me to write for them.

So, what's next? I wish I knew. Right now they're all calling to me, demanding I tell their stories. I think I need a day off to think about it. But, seriously, I mean one day. I feel like something's off if I don't write every morning.

Does anyone else feel like that or am I the only obsessed writer out there?



  1. You're not the only one Ashlyn.

    I love my characters soooo much, it's difficult to let go of them. But others do show up.

    I'm finishing up revisions for SEALed Forever and already new characters are trying to cram their way into the forefront.

  2. I haven't written since Monday on The Wolf and the SEAL, Ash, and I'm feeling semi-guilty about it. But with working full time, catching up on teaching online after work, and my main computer being down, AND the humongous blog tour I'm promoting daily, answering comments,'s been hard to get back to writing the story. Oh, and I've just gotten another bear order, which makes 4 in the last week... Now, that's not to say I haven't been thinking about it. Constantly. About scenes playing out between the characters. Etc. And I know I'll be working on my word count all weekend. So I feel I'm okay this week and probably through the end of the month while the blog tour is going on. :) As long as by the weekend, word count is done. :)

  3. Can't wait to see what's next!

  4. I haven't written all week and I'm feeling guilty and beating myself up over it.
    I think I just needed a break from writing.
    I agree with the piracy's becoming harder to justify writing ebooks and I love to write them.
    Congrats on "The End" I'm sure the next series will be terrific!

  5. Terry, you're not superwoman! (Or are you?) With all that going on, it's no wonder you can't find the time to write.

    Now, Amber...what's your excuse, woman? LOL. Get to work!


  6. congrats on finishing, Ash! As to the writing every day thing - I've been getting up earlier than I have to to get ready for the new job just to put a thousand or so words on the page. So it's not just you!

    But, yeah, our muses really ought to take a vacation that coincides with ours. :)

  7. Excellent, Judi! That's more self-discipline than I have. I'm trying to do a little yoga to start my day. Um, yeah. I haven't started yet. Tomorrow?


  8. Ashlyn,
    I know what you mean. I have been working on a series for over two years and the characters have become 'family' to me.

    I feel the need to write everyday and it pains me when I can't (family schedules are a pain especailly in summertime--looking forward to this coming week and school back in session). I need to work at least 2-4 hours straight to feel like I accomplished anything and feel good. Writing is a release for me.

    Thanks for the information also on epublishing--have been agonizing over which way to go to start out. So your comments helped.

    Good luck to you on everything.

  9. I agree with Ashlyn about being sad to say goodbye to the characters at the end of the book. To me it only seems natural to create more stories about the supporting characters. In STRANGE NEIGHBORS, I totally loved all of her characters and I am thrilled there will be more stories about them! Keep them coming,

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  11. Hi Loni-Lynn,

    I didn't mean my experience to be advice for anyone else. epubbing was a great way to start out.

    I established a track record--proving to editors and agents I wasn't a one hit wonder. I learned tons about promotion. I found my voice and gathered fans. And I had editing that taught me a great deal about the 'rules' of writing...especially when an editor would say, "I hate it when I see (fill in the blank) in mss."
    Well, that mistake won't be made again!

    All that was well worth it. But after the initial learning phase is all set, and a writer makes the leap to traditional publishing, it's time to learn all over again! LOL.


  12. Oops, I meant Loni-Lynne, with an e.
    Funny but I have a character at the end of book three name Lynne for the friend I took half my pen name from

    And Leigh, Thanks so much! You're a sweetheart to say such nice things about Strange Neighbors.

  13. I write something everyday. It helps keep me focused but I have to admit, the last 6 weeks have been tough with real life issues. I feel guilty more than a few times when I look at the pittance of words but at least it's everyday.

    Glad to hear you're mentally planning more.

  14. Oh, that's funny!! I just made the leap to quitting my day job to write since I'm making enough that way through e-books to justify doing so! (and quietly panicking)
    Like you, I love to write and feel utterly guilty any day that I don't, but I wish making the jump to print publishing was as easy as you make it sound!!
    Got any suggestions along those lines, besides the standard (tighten up query letters, do your research, submit, submit, submit)?

  15. Ashlyn,
    No problem with the name. Actually Loni Lynne is one of my pen names for some of my stories. (Loni is fine--long story and so is Lynn) My blog site is Loni Lynne so it comes up as such. I like the idea of your character name too--it works :).

    I do enjoy ePublishing and I am still looking to use it for many of my stories (I'm constantly writing various sub-genres, can't help it. I know, stick with one to get established--but which subgenre?) Many great authors are out there in the ePublishing world and I enjoy reading them.

    But for my series I was hoping more for an actual traditional publisher. But I am open to all possibilities and trying to learn/see as I go. It's confusing but I'd be happy with either, just to get established.

    Thanks for your reply, I appreciate it. Have a great day and wonderful weekend.

    Just Loni :)

  16. You're not the only one. Sometimes I wish I could take a day off.

  17. You're so not alone! I have to write before I even jog in the morning. If I don't my whole schedule is thrown off :) Congrats on finishing, that's so awesome!

  18. Congratulations, Ashlyn. I have to admit I work on motivation more than structure. I'll write for 17 hours straight, then won't write for a week. But I'm determined to change that. With deadlines, I have to get more structured.

  19. Hey lady,

    Congrats on finishing that book! And yep, I've just about had it with the pirates, too. Samhain is the only e-pub I know of that gives an advance, though it is very small. Like you, I've about had it with pirates, not to mention you're on your own with advertising. Without the advance to help offset that I find I'm spending in promo just about the same amount that I make from my books! LOL! The only reason I can find any humor in it is that I have a full-time job and can write simply because I love it.

    If not for that, there's no way I could justify this gig ;D

    Hugs, darlin',


  20. Hey, TJ! Great to 'see you' here. My worst fear is having to go back to an EDJ. (Evil day job.) I recently went to a tarot reader who said I'd never have to. I could have kissed her! LOL

    And VJ, another foot in the door is to enter contests where your dream editor is judging. That's how I got my first contract with Ellora's Cave. (It cut about 6 months off the response time too!)


  21. Ashlyn,

    I'm at the stage you were at with pirates. They're decimating my sales, and it's certainly time to do something - unfortunately the scenario that's looming is going back to the workforce.

    Like many of you, I start to feel a bit edgy if I don't write. I'm thinking of taking the weekend off writing my WIP, but I'll still have to do a couple of blog posts so really, I'm still working.

  22. I think, as a whole, writers are most insecure bunch on earth. We are filled with self-doubt and once we finish one project, instead of feeling confident about moving forward, the fear that we can't do it again niggles our psyches.

    And yet, we perservere. Why? The only thing I can come up with is, because we'd explode if we didn't. Not everyone is compelled to make stuff up every day. It is our blessing and our curse. We write because it's like breathing for us.

    As to how we're published, that's a whole other issue and one authors don't always have control over. I started with print only with Dorchester. Then, Leisure Books moved to making ebooks available the same day the print versions came out. Now, the books will be ebooks only at first, then trade paperback 6 months later.

    Back to the only thing I can control--stringing words across the page . . .

  23. As an author who has 18 novels in print and 1 non-fiction about to hit the stands, plus now a career of (at this date and counting) 18 erotica e-books, I will take the e-book model (pirates or not) any time.
    The reasons?
    We could be here all day and night as I expound with examples from me and dozens of my print-pubbed buddies, but first and foremost is the print biz model which leaves an author to the slings and arrows of more misfortunes than the e-biz model does. Yes, you get an advance and you get promises with that. But promises do not pay the bills or cover the hassles Print Pubs put you through, and worse, they set you up for ultimate failure.
    Print houses must become more honest about what they buy, why they buy it, how they devote themselves to any author they contract and refine their relationships with distributors and chains.
    An advance means money in your pocket, but there, too, you may be, as someone said in this blog, earning thirty cents per hour. I know many print authors who claim that for all their efforts and advances, they earn MINUS 20 cents an hour!
    PRINT is not nirvana. And the speed with which the various houses' balance sheets show red ink prove that.