Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Good Karma

You don’t have to preach a sermon. You don’t have to quote twenty-five scripture verses. Just a few kind words can start the healing process for someone else. ~ Joel Osteen Ministries
The last few years, I have been doing a great deal of inner reflection, and have worked hard to be positive and to acknowledge the many blessings I have in my life. Being grateful has improved my outlook on life and the challenges I face.

But even riding a wave of gratefulness, I still get hit by rogue waves. Undertow can leave me breathless and sputtering for air.

The other night, right after reading a wonderful comment from a reader, I found an awful, negative review. It was by far, the harshest review yet. The earlier, warm glow of praise slid right off. I floundered in the waves and forgot how to swim.

This reviewer seemed angry and vengeful and went so far as to condemn the writing of my sequel. I understand my book will be judged by all who read it. And, I expect that some will not enjoy the story. A strong review either way, feels personal.

I allowed myself to get pulled out with the current, and like swallowing a mouthful of salty, sea water, I ingested her anger. It sat in my stomach, a big ball of acid, poisoning my blood and spreading through whole body. I literally felt sick.

Thankfully, I am blessed to be surrounded by good people: family, co-workers, friends and other writer acquaintances. They made me look at the reviewer from another perspective, one that made me feel less inclined to be hurt. And as if that weren't enough, I was blown away by readers who came forward to offer touching words of encouragement for my writing. I cannot begin to explain how restorative it is to have this kind of support. I'm not proud that I let this one review affect me so, but I am re-centered with my feet once again planted firmly in the sand.

Negativity breeds negativity. If you don't swim against the current you will be dragged out into a vast ocean of it. Surround yourself with positive, restorative people. People who will keep you from drifting out to sea. Likewise, be supportive to those around you.

Sea water has a terrible affect on the body, and rogue waves can hit when you least expect them. A good rule of thumb is to keep a few lifeguards nearby.

Peace.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Hello Readers!

The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before.     ~ Neil Gaiman, author

What a weekend!


Saving Toby's popularity has had an explosion during the 2-day promotional free downloads this past Friday and Saturday. I believe I have scored a slew of new readers. To those, I say welcome! As my ability to navigate the publishing field becomes more practiced and comfortable, I will happily entertain you with many more stories.

For those of you who don't know me, I began working on Saving Toby in the spring of 2010. At that time, the story was loosely configured in my head, and though I'd been writing all my life, I didn't know a lick about how to publish a book, but once I started putting this story together, I couldn't stop.

I fell in love with the my characters, and every day, I thought about how the story would unfold. I had to keep a notebook on hand at all times. Ideas flooded me day and night.

Claudia had originally started out as introverted and rather meek. But I found myself not liking her character. If you've read the Twilight series, I think you might understand what I mean when I say, I could never understand Edward's obsession with Bella. She was rather dull. I didn't want Claudia to be nondescript and boring like that. Despite my desire to make her compassionate, I found myself turning Claudia into a driven young woman who refused to have her goals sidetracked.

Though some readers have voiced their complaints that Claudia's treatment of Toby is a bit too staunch, I feel that this is what Toby needed to make the necessary changes in his life. In my opinion, her character is a true representation of many of today's motivated and focused girls; ones who I've had the pleasure to watch grow up into young women. Girls such as my own daughter, her friends, classmates and Girl Scouts, who are all now in their twenties. Despite their beauty, many of them chose grades over guys, and their will to excel has always impressed me.

And Toby, what can I say? This guy ruled my thoughts for the last three years. Oddly, narrating his chapters came more easily to me than Claudia's. I knew him from day one -- the guy stole my heart long before he stole Claudia's.

"Saving Toby" should be out in physical book form early in the new year, and "Keeping Claudia" is really
taking shape. So make sure you have a way to get updates on my progress (see below), buckle up and hold on to your seats. Saving Toby is only the beginning for me. I'm just getting warmed up.

Like small children, I currently have 5 works begging for my undivided attention. Now if I could quite my day job, I could really turn them out.

Peace.

Ways to get updates:
Get on my Email list by sending me a request at: suzannemckennalink@gmail.com

Friday, October 11, 2013

FREE Promotional Downloads!

To celebrate the new cover of Saving Toby, the Kindle eBook version will be available for FREE both Friday and Saturday. 


Find out what all the hype is about!

http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Toby-ebook/dp/B00EV6K2AC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379097630&sr=8-1&keywords=saving+toby


Thursday, October 3, 2013

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A blog about Inspiration


Back, just before I consciously decided to take my writing seriously, I was working at a job I loved. While my manager was super smart, our interoffice relationship was awkward. After paycheck cutbacks sent many of my coworkers packing, the situation with my manager darkened. Stressed by the uncomfortable office atmosphere, and now, making less money, I decided it was time to move on.

Was it scary? YOU BET!

Thankfully, I had other financial support to back up this decision, but I didn't sit around. I got another job... a few of them. They included: Web design, pet sitting and bus trip organizing for a non-profit organization on the north shore. My schedule was erratic, and I had a lot of time to think. I asked myself that age-old question, the same one I'd often asked myself most of my adult life - "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

I had an answer. I've always had an answer. I wanted to WRITE. Never believing I could actually be taken seriously or make a living off of it, I had buried that dream away. But under piles of half-written stories and papers from years of writing classes, I found my passion and dusted it off.

Is it crazy to believe such a lofty goal can be attained? At first, maybe, but I took small bites. I understood the most important part of committing to this ambition was convincing myself it could happen. I had to be open for business.

I read a great deal of motivational materials. My favorite and most helpful book: "Write It Down, Make It Happen" by Henriette Anne Klauser. She instructs readers to write down a list of goals. I wrote carte blanch. Klauser says to include a few frivolous goals - mine was "Discover the secret of youth." Other less outrageous ones were:
  • Help secure my children's futures
  • That my writing gives me pleasure and many returns
  • Be philanthropic
The first exercise, however, was the most prolific: Write it as if it has already happened. I wrote:
A complete stranger offered me a writing job. While I worked on those projects, I finished my first book.
Truth is stranger than fiction my friend - After sending in a sample of my writing to a local paper, the editor (a stranger) called me to do freelance work. MY FIRST PAID WRITING GIG! Two months later, I was offered a full time writing position. Deciding against going full time, I continued with the freelance work. During the next year and a half, I wrote "Saving Toby."

I wrapped this up neatly in a few hundred words, but be assured, the road I've traveled over the last few years was not all sweetness and light. I kept at it despite setbacks. It is my belief that if you want something to happen, you have to set yourself up for it and allow it happen. It must be an ever conscious thought in your mind.

I leave you with this final quote:
Who are you not to be great?   - Nelson Mandela
Peace

Image: Rocks stacked on the beach — Stock Photo © Bezuglov Andrey #8584182