Yes, it’s dark inside

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Yes, it’s dark inside

I’m perfectly well aware that many of my Alex Conner stories have grit, darkness, and sadness within their pages. But, I also know I have made them heroic, full of humor, and for some of the characters and readers, life changing. Alex’s backstory was something I struggled with. As with most central characters, I wanted, no needed, her to have overcome incredible odds and intense circumstances. One night in 2000, after hours of dancing with friends in San Diego, one of my closest friends opened up to me about what a man did to her when she was a child. I was so completely heartbroken for her as I lay there watching her always smiling face fall into sadness, but then it came to me that I can share her story and give to her a powerful ending to that nightmare within my story. She was gracious in allowing me to merge parts of her into the Alex character, and I hope the ending of Trust gave her something in return, something for all who have been abused. She is a survivor and someone I truly look up to every day.

What I didn’t count on was the transformation I would have now two years later. Yes, I put pieces of myself, my experiences, and piece of the people I’ve met in my life into each part of the first book, but I wasn’t fully aware that I was also healing from my own past. Parts of Alex took on characteristics of a young me trying to claw my way out of toxic and abusive relationship that lasted over two years. These relationships, they don’t start out that way. It’s a slow process where love, or what feels like love, comes first. Then the first violent act is one disguised as protection or jealousy, and a young girl mistakes that for unbridled love- a prince charming fighting for her honor. For me, the ugly side of him reared its head most often in conjunction with his drinking. As we became closer, it was revealed that he was a victim of his own abuser, a continuation of a cycle he was dragged into, seemingly without a choice, a way out, or even understanding of what was happening to him, to us, and to our future relationships.

No one would understand, as even my friends and family could not fathom why I was with this boy. Even my grandfather was taken aback when he wore a hat to meet him for the first time. Maybe an insignificant thing to a teenage girl raised in a different time, but looking back I can now clearly see the disrespect that my grandfather immediately saw and felt. And yes, I stayed even though there were multiple times I was scared of him, when a blade danced along my back, when I was pushed so hard I fell down a flight of stairs, when he attacked my friends verbally and at one time physically, we he lied, cheated, swore, threw things, hit his own friends, and even fought his own abuser, his father, amongst delicately wrapped Christmas presents while his mother wailed in the background, her tears reflecting a rainbow of color amid the twinkling lights.

When you love someone, and see their own tortured past, would any of you stay and try to save them, as I did? Many of you would have walked away long before I did. I tried, many times. Our relationship was tumultuous. Broken off and pieced back together more times than I can count. A staff member saw an interaction he and I had in the hallway, how he was talking to me and the way I was holding myself. Soon after I was called into the guidance office. While speaking with my counselor for the first time someone used the words “abusive relationship”. Yes, friends and family warned me away from him, but those words were powerful coming from someone outside of my life. When she called him in so we could talk, and I have seen him furious, but I have never seen him talk to an adult aside from his father in that manner. I could almost see steam rising off his body; his eyes bore into mine only once, telling me I betrayed him that this should have been our life, our secret to bear. How dare I tell this stranger a thing? And yes, we broke up, again, but we did get back together, even trying this battered relationship as I went away to college, but my counselor’s words always stayed with me, a warning in the back of my mind. I saw another counselor at college; it felt good to speak to someone who wasn’t close to me, who would listen to my secrets, who would help me listen to myself. So much so that I longed to study the human mind, psychology, and part of me longed to help others like me; however, that didn’t come till much later in life.

I left that abusive relationship behind many years ago. But some of the scars followed me, just as they did Alex. Trust was hard to come by, especially when dating, and some of the ways he treated me impacted my behavior, as if tendrils of the monster he turned into left a mark upon my being. I became jealous easily, was less confident, sometimes quick to anger, but one thing that stuck with me, helping me through it all when I didn’t want anyone to know what I allowed to happen, was my love of writing. Throwing my thoughts on paper led to poem books, many of which reflected my struggles with relationships. A novel was what I really hoped to write, and even though he never came to mind when I cycled through plots and character development, it was there, that darkness that had left a mark inside my heart and mind.

When I finally decided that I really wanted to continue my education, my high school counselor’s memory came back to me. Someone had saved me once, and even though it took time for me to really listen, I finally did. I wanted to be that voice for some other boy or girl who just needed to see and hear the truth. As I went through my master’s program in counseling it really shined a light on my life. There were parts of me I wanted to improve. Since I was going to be a mentor and counselor for young lives, I wanted to make sure I was someone they would look up to as well as someone they could learn from.

When Trust was completed twelve years after I completed my counseling program, I didn’t think of him, or the painful part of my past, at least not consciously. But as the years have gone by since the novel was completed, I have read books and posts about survivors of abuse and something in me stirred. I re-read the passages of how Alex felt when she had no control over her own life—the helplessness. How the abuse she suffered impacted her even when she thought she had gotten rid of her abuser for good. But in the end, he is gone and that part of her life is over. She could move on. She could forgive herself. Trust allowed my psyche to beat back my own lingering demons, to heal from what the relationship had done to me and to stop being so angry at myself for what I thought was weakness so long ago. So yes, this book was for me in more ways then I had realized. It is for all survivors of abusive relationships, for my friend, for anyone who has been a victim, who has felt helpless, and who has suffered at the hands of someone who controlled their body, mind, and soul.

Last year I finally revisited to the place I lived during high school and college summers, the place where this relationship began, where I was reminded that it truly existed. I never wanted to return to the small town in Colorado, I felt a relentless resentment towards this place we had moved to during my seventh grade year and that I never went back to after the Christmas of 2000. This summer I returned to visit family who still remained in the desert town of Western Colorado and I realized I hated who I was during many of the years I was there, but it had nothing to do with the actual place- the beautiful Colorado desert. It was truly a heart opening experience. I had finally allowed myself to love this place and to forgive myself. Yes, the old me had stayed because he had been only a child when he was warped into someone who didn’t know anything other than that type of love-a raw angry, controlling, terrible love. I am thankful that I was strong enough so that my part in that cycle of abuse was forever broken. As I shift away from myself, as it is my nature to be empathic and caring, I hope he has also found the strength to break the cycle. That he has love in his life a, genuine and kind love, one that he didn’t have from someone who was supposed to care for him the most.

Thank you for reading this soul-bearing post, and I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season!

Parker

Parker Sinclair

Founder, Owner & Author

Rawlings Books, LLC

http://www.RawlingsBooks.com

Author of Trust: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book OneTruth: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book Two, & Forbidden: An Alex Conner Chronicle Novella adult contemporary fantasy novels and Eve of the Exceptionals (YA fantasy releasing January 2oth, 2016).

Eve of the Exceptionals

Pre-order info

Webpage: http://www.parkersinclair.net

Sample/Purchase my books: http://www.parkersinclair.net/buy-a-good-book

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/1XIDwzO

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/ParkerSinclairbooks/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/parker.sinclair.73

Instagram: @ParkerSinclairauthor Twitter: @Parker_Sinclair Snapchat: @PSinclairauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9860680.Parker_Sinclair

Blog: http://www.parkersinclair.net/blog

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWQE3qvMyB5DEZ9wwdz8rOQ

 

 

 

 

The Author Takeover

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Becoming an author with aspirations to make it my life’s work comes with a quite a bit of internal drive, research skills, social media savvy, networking, time, and a lot of patience.  In the last month I have realize how new I am to all of this by researching how to do an author takeover, what a street team is, and unfortunately being one of many authors and sponsors scammed by the hopes of a author signing  event in Richmond, Virginia.  I am happy to report that the event was thankfully raised from the ashes by some determined, and heart broken authors.

If you are anything like the me from last month, you may be asking what in the world an author takeovers or a street teams are anyhow.  Well you are in luck!  I finally feel educated enough to share my knowledge in hopes of helping other budding authors, and to spread the word about the awesome Parker Sinclair Street Team (PSST), The Alex Conner Crew.

This will be a two part blog, so let’s start with the Author Takeover.  What is this exactly?  Where are these events that you are being invited to, asked to do, and how do you do them? I promise to cover all of these questions and more.

The Author Takeover

What is it:

  • When an author posts information about themselves and their written works of art on a Facebook page.  Most authors post excerpts from their books, where readers can buy, their social links, inspirational quotes, games, images, and giveaways.  Be sure to add links to your images, book titles, and your name.

Where:

  • An author takeover occurs virtually on a Facebook page of a book promoter, signing event attendees, publicist, another author, blogger, or your own.  It may be one day with multiple authors in time slots, or over a certain period of time leading up to a major book event.  The goal is to highlight each attending author to help them gain exposure, get their books into hands of readers, and to meet new fans.

How long:

  • Most time slots designated for each author are 1/2 to 1 hour in length.  Authors can expect to provide 5-10 posts during the takeover.

Essentials with examples:

  • Author photo & introduction of your work
    • Greet your guests and host, include genre(s), story about how you started to write, anecdotal/funny stories, etc.

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Hi everyone! My name is Parker Sinclair & I’m excited for this awesome author takeover!   I find myself genre confused since lovers of paranormal romance, adult contemporary fantasy, & adult urban fantasy enjoy my books. I am a scientist turned counselor turned writer who now believes I was the writer first, but I had lost her path. The great thing about destiny is that you’ll always find your way back to where you’re meant to be, and you pick up cool experience and lessons that make you even all the better for it all.

  • Social media, preorder forms (if you have an upcoming event) & how/where to buy links.

My Webpage: www.ParkerSinclair.net

Google doc preorder form for RVA Romance Readers Event: http://goo.gl/forms/CJZl9Xe6pL

Purchase &Sample my books: http://www.parkersinclair.net/buy-a-good-book 

Like me on Facebook: ParkerSinclairbooks

Instagram:  @parkersinclairauthor

Twitter:  Parker_Sinclair

My Goodreads Profile

My Smashwords Profile

** Pre-order forms were new to me as well.  Many signing events encourage posting them for authors to get a good idea of how many books to bring.  Google forms has tons of templates to choose from. https://www.google.com/forms/about/

  • Cover photos and description of book(s)
    • Book cover posts give you a good jumping off point to list giveaways & the rules.
    • Giveaway verbiage example:  Tonight I am delighted to giveaway one ebook of Trust.  Change your profile picture to the book cover of Trust, and comment on this post with a sentence including the word Trust.  Winner based on creativity.  Contest ends 11:59pm/date and the winner will be notified via PM.

Trust: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book One

Alex Conner’s nights of event planning and partying in San Diego, California have taken a turn for the worse as nightmares invade her mind on a daily basis. The memories of the vile man she exiled using the powers inherited from her mother and grandmother are all but breaking into her living hours, and nothing is working to keep her nightmares at bay. Will she ultimately be the one responsible for bringing this horror back into her life? Who can she trust and how is she to deal with the draw she has towards a new man in her life – a man who is definitely more than meets the eye? Visit www.ParkerSinclair.net for a sample and where to buy!

  • Excerpts from book(s):
    • Images are shown to be more popular than lengthy excerpts.
    •  Try small excerpts on an image, and perhaps more within the post.

Excerpt from Trust:  The Alex Conner Chronicles Book One

I couldn’t find her at first as my eyes followed the trunk of the tree all the way up its thickness. Legs began to form, followed by a waist, breast, and her head. The branches and leaves above became a beautifully, horrifying sight as they flowed from her head creating a mesmerizing image of gorgeously intertwining curls of hair. She looked at me, her eyes glowing emerald green for the first time. They were an exact reflection of my own, and I stumbled back a step sensing the power in them, knowing her power was a part of me.

 

  • Games
    • Get your audience engaged with games
    • I enjoy posting a quote or image, and then giving instructions.
    • quote1.png

    ~    Share one brave and daring thing you’ve done in your life that you are super proud of.

  • Close out the Author Takeover Event:
    • Close the event with thank you’s to your host, fans, supporters, and other authors. A collage of your books, all of your social media links, and asking for any questions or comments are fantastics additions to your final post.  Poster_NoDate
  • I want to thank Vicki Drane for setting up todays author takeover.  Winners: I will notify each winner by private Facebook message as well as post on my FB fan page ParkerSinclairbooks . Your ebook prizes will be gifted through Amazon and the paper back of Trust via snail mail—good luck to all of my awesome new fans.

    Before I go, here are my links one more time:

     

My Webpage: www.ParkerSinclair.net

Google doc preorder form for RVA Romance Readers Event: http://goo.gl/forms/CJZl9Xe6pL

Purchase &Sample my books: http://www.parkersinclair.net/buy-a-good-book 

Like me on Facebook: ParkerSinclairbooks 

Instagram:  @parkersinclairauthor

Twitter:  Parker_Sinclair

My Goodreads Profile

My Smashwords Profile

So there you have it!  The basics of what an author takeover is folks. I hope my experiences and research aid you in your own takeovers. Don’t be afraid of them, and check out other author’s takeover events from time to time to get lots of great ideas, and a chance to win free books and swag.  This blog is only the tip of the iceberg, so keep creating and writing!  Next up, The Street Team.

Please follow my blog by adding your email to the right on your desktop computer, or by scrolling to the bottom on your device.

Have a wonderful day, evening, life!  Stay positive, stay focused, and keep loving what you do each and every day.

Parker

www.ParkerSinclair.net

Gratitude, Positive Thinking, & the Law of Attraction

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Alex is my magnet.  I’ve been drawn to her character before the 1900’s were no more and the 2000’s stepped in.  I didn’t know what she was going to do, but what I did know is that I was going to write a book with a main character that would be powerful, damaged, skittish, funny, and sexy.  I remember waking from dreams that forced me to jot ideas down onto the closest scrap of paper my fingers could find.  The dam that I thought my life plan was beginning to chip away during that time, but the little cracks took fourteen years to burst open.

Some might question how in the world I held onto a goal for so long without giving up.  One thing that I know for sure is that my thoughts of the book never left me.  Some pages were completed, secure on a disk that moved with me from California to two different cities in Virginia, up to New York, and then back to Virginia.  Those years, the time ticking by, were dominated by thoughts of a family and of my school counselor job. Those were powerful thoughts at the time in my life.  They were stronger than the book that buzzed in the background of my mind.  The persistent thoughts stayed with me though, lingering in the abyss, not ready—not yet.

Now that I look back, I was part of the reason the books didn’t come to life till now.  I didn’t see my finished products as good enough, something people would enjoy, or to be taken seriously.  And the books I loved, the books I consumed, seemed to overshadow the words I had written. My thoughts of the how amazing J.K Rowling is, Patrick Rothfuss’ intensity, Terry Brooks’ magic, not measuring up pushed my confidence into the background.  When I felt I wasn’t good enough—I wasn’t.  The doubt attracted nothing to me but more doubt and gave me the life I feared—one where I wasn’t a writer.  I feared a life where I never prove to be good enough. Now, as I read The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, I see exactly what I was doing and what part of me still sometimes does.

For most of my life I actually thought, and maybe this is the superstitious Irish parts of me, that if I thought something was going to be good, or that something was currently awesome, I was jinxing myself immensely.  I would actually stop my positive thoughts for fear of the opposite happening.  I shake my head now after learning about the Law of Attraction.  All that focus on my fears, on worry, doubt, thinking how much better other writers were than me, about how hard it will be to break into the book industry, all the negativity was giving me what I was worried about and not what I wanted.  George Lucas knew of this phenomenon as he wrote Anakin as his own personal antagonist and creator of his worst fears and nightmares.  Anakin’s dread brought about that which he feared the most.  George Lucas is a creative genius and it shows in his characters and his stories.  The universe is abundant with creative genius and I am allowing myself to envision joining as a writer.

Just like Alex, I am a magnet. We are all magnets actually and our thoughts attract other like thoughts.   The Secret asks the reader to organize and direct their thoughts by figuring out what they want and then believe they are receiving it already.  This task pushed me to type what I really wanted in my life.  This was something I hadn’t done and in some cases, I had been afraid to totally commit to. When I hashed things out with myself what happened next brought a rush through my body and invoked powerful feelings like I was sealing the deal. She tells the reader to change the wording from “I want” to “I am so grateful and happy that I am/have.”  It was a powerful task and soon dreams and visualizations of my desired future came to me with ease. My goals didn’t seem like pipe dreams any longer, instead they were happening right now.  Of course, some of this may sound easy enough, but it took and continues to take work and devotion.  I do a great deal of visualizing each day, sometimes multiple times a day, about my future and the future of those I love.  Mindfulness practices have nearly been a daily occurrence, and trust me, I still have my meh days. Scathing thoughts drip into my awareness every now and again. The negative thoughts that tell me I’m not a great writer, my grammar needs work, there were issues in the book I should have caught, my book isn’t selling, I don’t have enough reviews, I’m not writing enough, blogging enough, or marketing enough.  The good news is, the happy and positive thoughts are stronger and can easily tip the scales!  Once you put out into the world, into the universe, what you want you see it and believe it to be true.   Then, it will all come to fruition.

What’s been incredible about my practice and teachings through The Secret is that I catch these negative thoughts quicker and find it easier to refocus.  It’s not that I don’t allow myself to be tired, angry, sad, tired, or scared.  On the contrary, I am a firm believer that all emotions have a purpose and we need them to see and experience great joys.  No, I don’t push them away, instead, I focus on the good, the things that make me happy, the love for my children, the jokes with friends and my husband, and the hobbies and exercise I enjoy.  My friend, who is reading Rhonda’s second book, The Power, showed me a section where Rhonda explains the refocusing of feelings as an addition of happiness and not the removal of negative feelings.  She relates being in a bad mood to a glass of water.  This glass contains a small about of water that is our happiness and the negative feelings are the air in the glass that cannot be removed.  Instead, we fill the glass with more water, aka happiness, and we feel better.  We then continue to see the good, to be happy, and to move towards a future that has been put into motion by our own belief that we are already receiving what we really want.  Happiness comes from being grateful for what we have now and not dwelling on what we don’t, or what is not going our way, what someone did to us, or what others have and we don’t.  It’s recognizing the amazing things in your life loving yourself, believing in yourself, lightening up, loving others, and removing stress.

As I read through the pages of The Secret with my friend, one who is also smacking the “duh” hand upside her own head, I have found clarity for my goals and dreams.  I see visions of my future and I feel confident in the fact that I will get there.  My stress has reduced, I show love and affection to my loved ones even more than I thought possible, and I am grateful for what I have now and for all that I am working towards in the future.

So, yes I am a good writer, yes people enjoy my books, and more people will start to enjoy Alex and her band of misfits along with all of the other books and characters I breathe to life in my future novels. Once I believed all of this for myself, I realize that I will achieve my goals put into motion by positive feelings about myself, my vision for the future, hard work and dedication, and believing with unwavering faith that I am obtaining my goal right now.

Thank you for reading my blog, for supporting me, for caring about my words, and for being wonderful and amazing.

Parker

How To Find The Time

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As I near the end of writing my second novel, I am reminded of what I frequently tell my students. They are encouraged to prioritize their activities, homework, and social life while also reminding them to stay positive as they reach for your dreams. In my life, there are countless days that these two war against each other. I constantly make time to write, despite the odds of ever becoming a professional writer, while the other aspects of my life beg for and need, attention.

Being a mother of two young children, an independent author, and a full-time high school counselor, I struggle to balance my time. I always want to spend quality time with my family, helping the students on my large caseload, and chasing my dream. Oh, and there’s taking care of myself by getting sleep, exercising, and eating well. Is there ever enough time in our day? Does anyone ever get enough sleep?

I hear “how do you do it?” many times a week and sometimes I have a hard time answering that question. To be honest, I am not always sure of how I do it. Especially when my 3-year-old bangs on my computer, the clock reads 12:30 am and I have to get up in less than 5 hours, or when I have blood shot eyes, a crick in my neck, and I still have to take a shower and make lunches. Not to mention the time I haven’t been able to spend promoting and marketing the book the way I really want and need to. I should be hitting the streets and passing out cards. I am supposed to be dropping into bookstores and calling reporters but I’m instead rushing home to get my oldest off the bus after a full day of work, getting in a quick run so that I can continue to stay mentally and physically healthy and strong, and all the other life responsibilities that I know we all have.

So, like I tell my students, I have set goals, and I have to get creative. I know what I am capable of now, and I am willing to keep working hard by putting out quality books. Trips are essential to market, and I will dedicate at least two times out of the year to travel and market. It is important to be inventive when trying to keep yourself healthy and some things I am really good at doing, and others, well those I stink at.

So here are the ways I have tried to make it all work. Some days I feel like I am owning it, and others, well don’t judge when I am spazzing and close to tears.

  1. How do you take the time to care for yourself?:
  • Exercise: Gone are the days I spend an hour or even more in the gym or at classes. I run or do a quick 15-20-minute workout on my non-running days. 8fit is an awesome app that I have been using for the past two months, and they have high intensity and diverse workouts, fitness coach and meal ideas. Plus, my girls love to try to do the exercises with me or at least enjoy pushing the “next” button. A small caution for all of you with small, expert device wielding or button pushing little ones. They have skipped my rest many a times, and boy does that make the workout much harder ☺ On my run days, I try to take them with me when I can. My oldest can ride her bike with me on over 3-mile runs while the little one still loves the jogging stroller. I feel I am still getting quality time with them and taking care of my body and mind.
  • Sleep: Yes, even with my second child who trained me to survive on little sleep, I still need it. We all do! Some of my compromises with her, now 3 and still hard to get to sleep and keep asleep self, are that I will stay in her room, but I will work on my computer as I sing her to sleep and be there when she wakes- up afraid. Yes, I fall asleep in there and wake confused about where I am, but hey it’s sleep! She has also become ninja-like for those times I make it to my bed, and I find her cuddled up with me at 5 am. No, I don’t think it’s the best sleep for either of us. I mean who sleeps well with little feet or a tiny toosh in their face at all hours, but we are doing the best we can and for now- and that’s okay.
  • Eat: This part I admit I am not the best at and typically consult my older, and MD wielding, sister. She does a fantastic job at planning meals for the week while my family does not. I do, however, have two little helpers now, and I have been putting them to work on smaller, and safer tasks. Ones such as making/packing lunches (beware of the double dosing on the sweeter treats. Mine are sneaky sometimes), mixing ingredients, making a salad, and my oldest can even make scrambled eggs. I also make a ton of hard boiled eggs, chops veggies for the week and divvy them up for lunches, and ask for help more when I need it.   I was the one always going to the store and started to get annoyed with my husband, but then all I had to do was ask. Now he goes a lot after work or in the morning after dropping off the girls. Communication is key, and although we are all super mothers, fathers, girl, and boyfriends, or single moms and dads, we need to ask for help sometimes.
  • Leave it!: Sometimes the best way to take care of yourself is to NOT work on your project at all. That’s right, close or don’t even pick up that laptop, notebook, or palette. Push the stress aside for a day, days, or even a week as long as you can still meet your goal or deadline. Sometimes the break unlocks a floodgate, and your creativity will come rushing out tenfold; more so than if you forced it out piece by piece instead of taking a much-needed break. This is incredibly useful for writers block, but more importantly for those of us that have a ton of other hats and need to prioritize or just rest. As long as you keep your focus while you take a break, never fully letting your dream escape the track you out it on, I’m sure you will see amazing results.

All in all, if you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be happy, those around you won’t be happy, and it will make it harder actually to reach your goal. Reaching your goal beaten down can lead to never wanting to repeat what you have worked so hard for, and if it’s a writing career you are aiming for –cranking multiple works is key!

2. How do you find time to write?

  • Into the night: Being a night owl helps, well it helps my writing but not the dark circles the next day. It also helps that I have a goal, four books in 4 years that I will keep cranking out and market the best I can. If I hit wall after wall and don’t find my niche to keep going, then I will reevaluate. No, I won’t quit, but I may need to realign my goals, and I also may not be able to keep up the pace and the late nights. I did invest in a laptop with a backlighted keyboard as well to be able to type quietly in bed next to my little one. For those of you who are early risers and don’t have to be at work at 7 am like I do, you can reverse this and sneak your writing in early.
  •  During the kids’ activities: Thankfully my girls like at least one thing in common so I looked around for class times that were the same or close to each other at the same facility.   My laptop goes with me, and I sit and type while they enjoy their class once a week. I bring my ear buds so I can focus and get a good hour in. The girls do well when I am there now, whereas before I was in the car that was not the most comfortable of experiences. There aren’t any coffee shops, libraries, etc. close enough, but you all may have one nearby that you can pop into during their class as well so be on the lookout.
  • Mommy isn’t here: When the kids know I am home it is “mommy, mommy, mommy!!!” So, yes sometimes I have to pretend I am not home, and my husband takes care of things when I am really trying to get something done. These don’t have to be major chunks of time when you can focus, so an hour or so is usually enough. This act of hiding myself away is also a good plan during your lunch break. You can eat and write a little for yourself on your break!
  • Banning Perfectionism: So, I’ve been telling you over and over again to use those little chunks of hours, and some of you may be thinking I am crazy. I know it can be very difficult for some of us to just write, to get it all down, no hold’s barred, balls out, and without fear. My husband, in fact, struggles to let an email for work flow without having all the right words and those perfectly worded sentences and structure. There are times I have felt the same. I pull out my hair out and chew on my nails as I searching for a word, a way to lead into a scene, or one of the hardest things-closing a chapter or ending a book. Now if I can’t find a word I write a simple one, highlight, and come back. If I can’t lead into a new scene seamlessly, I write a note to myself in that spot, highlight it, and move on to the next scene. It will come later, I promise.

Free writing is essential to get your thoughts out, to move through the ideas of your story, email, speech-whatever it may be. So, try to remind your anxious mind that you will go back and fix all those crummy overused words, those commas in the wrong place, or that ending and just write!!

I hope the tips I have learned throughout my process of writing my first two books are helpful for those of you chasing down your dream. For some of you, it may be to become a writer as well, or an artist, maybe you are a student in college or working on a report, article or dissertation. Whatever the case, I hope I have helped you find the time.

Parker

Parker Sinclair

Founder and Owner

Rawlings Books, LLC

http://www.parkersinclair.net/rawlingsbooks.html

Author of Trust: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book One, an adult, urban fantasy.

My Webpage: http://www.parkersinclair.net/home.html

Sample or Purchase my book: http://www.parkersinclair.net/books.html

My Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9860680.Parker_Sinclair

My Smashwords Profile:https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Sdill2

Blog: https://parkersinclairbooks.wordpress.com

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The Making of a Muse

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Music has always been a source of inspiration for me. Those of you who have read my first book, Trust, and those of you who know me are well aware of my affinity for dancing and addiction to music. My range is expansive as my father was a DJ at one time in his life. Numerous albums lined the walls in my parents bedroom as the loud thumps and tones could be heard across the house even thru the closed door of my room. Whether it was reggae, primarily by the transcendent Bob Marley, but also from the talented Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, and Gregory Isaacs, to the hard-hitting punk rock of the Dead Kennedy’s and new wave Roxy Music; I’ve been raised on it all. My family and friends continue to share music every day, Facebook, Pandora and YouTube being favorite ways to find and watch new videos and listen to songs.

For me, it isn’t always all about that bass though I do love the deep, pulsing tone of it, but the treble is just as important. However, the lyrics truly have the ability to transport you into a song, bringing your existence into being that person with the sizzling, desirable vocal cords, or who is being sung about.

Last week I needed an inspiration, as I do off and on with the business of life. I hadn’t hit my goal for Book Two and was floundering in Chapter 3 even though I have it fully outlined. Knowing where the book is going to go may be easy but filling that pathway with feelings, emotions, humor, intensity and passion is another story. Anyhow, Ed Sheeran has had great success with his latest album X, and after my friend from Colorado posted the video for “Don’t”, I knew I needed to check out his album. I downloaded it for my daughter, and in one of those rare times when I was able to head out solo to do a little shopping and visit a friend,I was allotted time to really listen to the entire album. The 30 minute drive allowed me ample time to listen to most of it and I knew I was instantly inspired and the chapter started to lay itself out in my mind.

While listening to “Afire Love”, “Photograph”, “Nina”, “Bloodstream”, “Don’t”, and “The Man” from Ed’s album are all amazing songs that had my mind drifting into scenes of my characters. They had me reliving moments in my life as his words played a movie in my head. Such a great album and as I listened to Ed wondering if so many people use music as a muse. Artists of all types of media from theatre to ceramics, from writers to graphic designers, we all use music to help us shape our visions, to create our masterpieces. So what are the muses for musicians? Other musicians are a must as they shape and influence each band, solo artist, songwriter and producer, but their own lives may be the biggest muse of all. Their relationships, the love, pain, happiness, sadness and moments of darkness and weakness in themselves and those around them make intense lyrics, realism to their performances and in many cases freedom of the experiences. Art truly is life, pieces of it, things we’ve heard, experiences, watched from a foot away to afar, it’s all about how we react, perceive and move thru it all.

From Rihanna’s “Diamond”, Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain”, Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” and “Sweet Nothing” by Calvin Harris and Florence Welch, all incredible songs that move me into the musician’s life, allowing me to dance, cry, hope, and persevere. Music moves all of us.

What are some of your favorite songs and artists? I’d love to hear from all of you and maybe we can find a way to insert some of your favorite songs and lyrics into Alex’s second book, Truth.

Enjoy the music of life and thank you for joining me on the adventure!

Parker

Check out my website for information on my first book, a three chapter sample and where to buy: http://www.ParkerSinclair.net

Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ParkerSinclairbooks?ref=bookmarks

Creativity Can’t Survive with Doubt

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There have been many days when I can sit at this computer and blast off thousands of words, flying through chapters and piecing together a story. Honestly getting positive feedback and useful criticism catapults me into creative mode. The best thing I ever did when I opened Trust after five years void of key clicks and chicken scratch journaling was to have others read my work. I knew these ladies loved the fantasy, science fiction, paranormal genres. Oh, and who didn’t mind the adult language and situations my characters thrived in, so I sent the first three chapters to them under the guise that a “friend” in San Diego had written it and asked me to get some feedback. I know that they are voracious readers who would tear thru her pages quickly and provide me with some honest feedback. This idea was a leap of faith; one that I felt would either lend to me finally finishing the book or that if could mean the end for Trust, for Alex Conner.

What I didn’t expect was their reaction. Each of them came to me asking about the characters by name, wanting to read more, and showing me that they have made some real connections with my writing. I let them off the hook at once letting them know it was me, tears threatened my eyes with joy after hearing the feedback, especially since I hadn’t even worked through the major edits whatsoever- let’s just call it a rough, rough draft.

I chose one person to read my book as I wrote it. As soon as I would write a few chapters I’d email them to her, and she gave me near immediate feedback being a super fast reader. She’s been a best friend since our daughters were one, and I trust her fully and completely. She taught me how to take criticism, how to get past doubt when to rearrange, pull back and add more. I admit I hated parts of it. I would get angry, annoyed, filled with self-doubt when she pointed out errors. I was incapable of not opening her feedback and read it during dinner, time with my family, inappropriate times of course. So I had to learn to wait to open the emails and to breathe thru the desire to want to, and before I dove into it. I worked hard to not let book stuff take away from family time or stay up too late fixing everything quickly. It was hard for me, letting things go, getting back to them later. It’s a process that has been hard for me, something that was even more difficult as the editing process went full throttle once I found an editor.

It comes down to trying to not be an immediate fixer all of the time, which even though one may think fixing it now and fast is the most efficient, it was getting in the way of my life, my children and causing me added stress. Trust worked those kinks out of me, thru relentless repetition, well somewhat, it’s hard to change. It isn’t impossible, but hard. Shaking off doubt may be the most difficult part of it all. I had to realize that even though I was making errors, and causing both my friend and my editor to question the flow or suggest a change. Both of which led to either quick fixes or hours of rewrites, my biggest obstacle was myself. I’d take their feedback hard sometimes, thinking I couldn’t do what they asked. This is part of the whole writing process as well, there were many times I doubted my ability to get to where I wanted to go in the book, not knowing how to state something or whether or not anyone would be able to visualize my scenes, be surprised, laugh, cry, really feel anything at all. I can say that I did laugh, cry, and sometimes shake as I typed, washed away by waves of emotion while the characters reminded me of pieces of people I have met and knew. The were also manifestations and of my ability to empathize with everyone, even fictional characters who I was tormenting and ripping away parts of their made-up souls and hearts. Yes you actually become invested in the world you create as a writer. So criticism, even the best and most needed will force you to doubt, to worry, to slam shut the laptop, or push away from your desk in disgust.

As I said it is part of the process, but if you give in to it, if you let yourself live in the doubt, make it seep into your being, your creativity will sputter out. It will be bound, gagged and smothered by doubt. My mother and I talked a lot about the feeling of guilt; I have coined it the evil twin of doubt. She said guilt was a useless emotion, paralyzing and parasitic. Hanging on to guilt in your life will keep you from forgiving yourself, letting anyone love the real you. Indeed, it can stop you from living. Not clinging to guilt isn’t the same as not caring about making mistakes or hurting someone, but without forgiveness or oneself and others, how do you continue? The same goes for the doubt that ate away at me. There were many times I couldn’t see the end in site, didn’t think I would ever get there, that I would never make my story work, let alone be read and enjoyed. But I got out of those sink holes of doubt over and over again. Yes, they still creep in, ask my friends as I let myself fester over a 1-star rating with no comments as to why. Yes, I have fives and great comments, but that one sad star tried to gnaw at me, poisoning me with doubt.

The best thing I can suggest is to not take it all on alone, find who you can talk to, rely on to hear you, not to fix it, but to listen. Holding on to the doubt alone is setting you up for succumbing to its siren like ways. It can shut down your creativity, starve it, and block the channels from letting the words, pictures, and music in. So whatever you are striving for in your life, don’t let doubt block your way. Put yourself out there, or your made up friend from San Diego, and take the feedback and suggestions. They will make you even better than you already are, use it to fuel your creative mind rather than use it to build a wall of doubt.

Thank you as always for walking through my mind with me and please check out my first book Trust today. Visit http://www.ParkerSinclair.net for a sample and where to buy as well as liking Parker Sinclair Books on Facebook.

Live, laugh, create and reach for the stars!

Parker