I’m an Online Bartender (Revisited) #IWSG

This month’s IWSG question is about where we draw the line in our writing. This is a post from 2014. I can’t believe it was 7 years ago but there you go. Here’s my IWSG post (a day late and a dollar short).

When I bartended many moons ago, I stuck to the (possibly antiquated) rule of not talking about politics or religion. I kept the conversation light. Superficial.

It worked for me. After my shift, I left with a purse full of tips and my sanity intact. I didn’t take my work home with me. (Which, as a bartender, you really shouldn’t. Unless a rep comes in with free samples of a new raspberry-chocolate liquor. Those you bring home.)

Drunken conversations, disagreements, arguments, anger? Why would you want those in your head while you’re trying to get to sleep at 4 AM?

I’ve seen a few bar brawls in my time caused by “discussions”. It’s really not a good idea to drink and talk about volatile issues. In fact, one can drink a few margaritas, make a cutting comment about another person’s shoes, and that can lead to a fist fight so what might talking about religion lead to? Go ahead and give that a moment’s thought.

I have coined a new term: “Online Bartender”. I’m not going to mix you a martini. (Get your own drink and meet me back here.) I’m also not going to discuss politics or religion or current events. Bet you saw that one coming.

If a person (like me, for example) does not write about the latest news, it does not necessarily mean that said person doesn’t know or care about the issues.

I choose not to write about my opinions on religion and politics (war, abusive sports players, school shootings, terrorism, anti-this or pro-that…) here at Lemon Shark. It doesn’t mean I don’t know about these things, it means I don’t use my blog to talk about them. That’s just me.

Although…

I happen to know that some other bloggers also feel this way so please, while on your blog-reading travels, try to remember that some people are Online Bartenders.

Cheers! 🍷🍺😊

On your blog, are there topics you shy away from (or that are completely off-limits) or do you let it all out? Are you an Online Bartender?

IWSG Question of the Month

October Prompt – In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language??

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IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

Success Is a Four-Letter Word #IWSG

I have a few many tons of posts about success. Fear of success. Lack of success. What is success. Blah, blah. But, the common theme running through these narratives is that I do not believe in a generic, blanket definition of success. I think the word (along with “should” and “balance”) needs to be banned. Alas, it is here to stay. And I will whine about it once more. You’re welcome.

Success is so freakin’ personal. It means something different to everyone.

So when someone says they’re happy to have a never-in-a-million-years-will-this-be-a-best-seller book…maybe, instead of saying, “You can’t think that!” Or “Everyone wants to have a best-selling book!” Or “You’re just saying that because you know it won’t sell.” Maybe just…I don’t know…be nice and believe them.

Some writers want ALL OF THE THINGS. A traditionally published book, a NYT best-selling book, a movie based on their series. Cool. Some want enough to pay the bills and quit their day job. Excellent goal, especially if you hate your day job and your boss is a jackass. Some just want to write. And that’s great, too.

Success is getting into Oxford University, making your first million, being cast as the NEXT BIG THING in some future Marvel movie. It’s also learning to tie your shoe, figuring out your cell phone, losing 5 lbs, catching a baseball. Success is dropping your kid off on his first day of school without crying.

For me, it’s complicated. I have dreams and goals and whatnot but I also have realistic expectations and the knowledge that, whether people believe me or not, I write for me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Because it’s true.

I suppose, in the simplest terms, I define success (as a writer) by the quality of my books. Success is writing, editing, and publishing something I can be proud of.

How do you define success as a writer?  Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

IWSG Question of the Month

September Prompt – How do you define success as a writer?

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IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

The Shadows We Breathe #NewRelease

3D_Mockup_Vol1_watermark logo

It’s here! 🥂🖤 🎉

The Shadows We Breathe is now available in eBook and paperback!

eBook

Paperback

I am so grateful to have worked with seven talented, amazing authors to create this gorgeous anthology of short fiction.

Thank you to all the authors who contributed. And to Loni Townsend and Allie Potts for their help and patience in explaining techy stuff I don’t understand. 😜💕

Blurb

WE ARE ALL PART SHADOW 

Life promises joy and sorrow. Alongside the light, there will always be traces of darkness. It is the nature of being human.

In this anthology, we explore relationships—how they sculpt us, hurt us, help us, and reveal our deepest desires.

Eight artists, whose words paint worlds, bring you stories of heartache, loss, hope, and forgiveness. They unveil the intimacy and complexity of relationships.

Whether family, friend, or lover, connections to others can hold us up or break us down.

Within these pages, beautiful words are spun into tales threaded with darkness.

Discover the shadows we breathe. 

Contributors 💕

Georgia Bell is the author of Unbound, a young adult paranormal romance about love, fear, and immortality. She was raised on a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy and began writing the stories she wanted to read over a decade ago.

Author Page | Twitter

Maria Carvalho is a multi-genre writer whose short stories have appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies, including Under the Full Moon’s Light and Cabinet of Curiosities (both by Owl Hollow Press).

Author Page | Twitter

Reena Dobson began pursuing her creative writing with a vengeance when she realised the world was never going to stop and give her time to write. She now writes at the edges, in sunshine and under cover of darkness.

Author Page | Twitter

Ali Isaac is a writer and blogger living in Co. Cavan, Ireland. In 2020, she was awarded a writing mentorship by Words Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland, working under the guidance of author, Sara Baume. Her writing has been published in The Stinging Fly, Sonder, and Paper Lanterns.

Author Page | Twitter

D. Wallace Peach, best-selling fantasy author, started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked.

Author Page | Twitter

Allie Potts lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, two children, and spoiled dog. When not finding ways to squeeze in 72 hours into a 24 day, Allie consumes and creates science fiction, fantasy, post-apocalyptic quests, cozy mysteries, and contemporary fiction.

Author Page | Twitter

Mary Smith, author and poet, is based in Scotland. Her memoir Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women focusses on her work in Afghanistan, which also provides the setting for her novel No More Mulberries.

Author Page | Twitter

Available NOW in both eBook and Paperback! 🖤 🎉 

The Shadows We Breathe #CoverReveal

3D_Mockup_Vol1_watermark logo

Isn’t that gorgeous?! 

 

I am, frankly, freaking out about this. 

First… There’s the cover. Up there. Go look again. I’ll wait.

Second… This is something I’ve had waiting in the wings for years. I was fortunate enough to have a bit of time and decided to go for it. It’s an anthology of short fiction and I’ve had the privilege of working with seven amazing authors to create this book.

Third… I am over-the-moon thrilled to announce The Shadows We Breathe will be out in August! Stay tuned.

A huge thanks to all the authors who added their words to this collection of beautifully-written stories. 🖤 To Loni Townsend for the cover art. To Allie Potts for getting this cover print-ready (and creating that lovely 3D image up there). 

Blurb

WE ARE ALL PART SHADOW 

Life promises joy and sorrow. Alongside the light, there will always be traces of darkness. It is the nature of being human.

In this anthology, we explore relationships—how they sculpt us, hurt us, help us, and reveal our deepest desires.

Eight artists, whose words paint worlds, bring you stories of heartache, loss, hope, and forgiveness. They unveil the intimacy and complexity of relationships.

Whether family, friend, or lover, connections to others can hold us up or break us down.

Within these pages, beautiful words are spun into tales threaded with darkness.

Discover the shadows we breathe. 

Contributors 💕

Georgia Bell is the author of Unbound, a young adult paranormal romance about love, fear, and immortality. She was raised on a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy and began writing the stories she wanted to read over a decade ago.

Author Page | Twitter

Maria Carvalho is a multi-genre writer whose short stories have appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies, including Under the Full Moon’s Light and Cabinet of Curiosities (both by Owl Hollow Press).

Author Page | Twitter

Reena Dobson began pursuing her creative writing with a vengeance when she realised the world was never going to stop and give her time to write. She now writes at the edges, in sunshine and under cover of darkness.

Author Page | Twitter

Ali Isaac is a writer and blogger living in Co. Cavan, Ireland. In 2020, she was awarded a writing mentorship by Words Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland, working under the guidance of author, Sara Baume. Her writing has been published in The Stinging Fly, Sonder, and Paper Lanterns.

Author Page | Twitter

D. Wallace Peach, best-selling fantasy author, started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked

Author Page | Twitter

Allie Potts lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, two children, and spoiled dog. When not finding ways to squeeze in 72 hours into a 24 day, Allie consumes and creates science fiction, fantasy, post-apocalyptic quests, cozy mysteries, and contemporary fiction.

Author Page | Twitter

Mary Smith, author and poet, is based in Scotland. Her memoir Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women focusses on her work in Afghanistan, which also provides the setting for her novel No More Mulberries.

Author Page | Twitter

Available soon in both eBook and Paperback! 🖤 🎉

I have a guest post over at Marcia’s today so check that out!

One Link to Rule Them All

 

one link to rule them all

 

Most of you know of the “universal” or “global” link for books. A lot of authors use it. The link allows you to customize your book url so it redirects interested readers to the correct country. (Amazon .com becomes Amazon .ca or Amazon .co.uk—you get the idea.)

So, yes, I do want this. And, sure, I’m willing to learn about different options. Which is why I’m here today.

The companies that change your link range from free to one-time fee to monthly subscription. So you can assume they range in services. (They do.) We’re going from cut-and-paste-your-link to tracking sales, customizing domains, and tons of other techie stuff I don’t understand.

Some give you a link that automatically redirects your Amazon customers. So your country’s Amazon store will become their country’s Amazon store. This allows readers to quickly and easily buy your book from the site where they have an account. This is Amazon only.

Others completely transform your link. They go global and create a link that works in every country, on every operating system (iOS, Android, Windows…), in every store (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks…), on every device (laptop, tablet, phone…) so you’re not only international, you’re, like, intergalactic.

Here are a few that I’ve seen. If you use any of these, please let me know in the comments. If you know of any I’ve missed, drop those in the comments, too. Inquiring minds want to know.

 

SmartURL

BookLinker

RelinksMe

Books2Read

Genius Link

 

My random thoughts in (a bit over) 200 words.

ThoughtBubbleDo you use a universal link? Do you like it? Which company would you suggest and why (price, ease-of-use, accessibility for buyers)?

 

I was recently searching for the best universal/global link when I remembered this post. Forgot it was from 2017 (!) but, as it’s still relevant and quite timely for me, thought I’d repost it.

Since that post, I’ve been using BookLinker, and it’s worked fine, but I’d like to change it. I don’t need (or want) bells and whistles but do want to branch out (and away from an Amazon-only link). 

Why Quitting Writing Is the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done (Revisited) #IWSG

Wow. This month’s question is a doozy. One I’ve dealt with. Quitting writing.

Check out this post: Why Quitting Writing Is the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

I quit writing five years ago knowing this:

“I have nothing waiting for me to fill the emptiness where my dream used to be.”

It wasn’t a break, it was a promise. I was done.

Less than a year later, I realized I couldn’t keep that promise.

“I thought my life demanded I let go of my dream. I thought I had to kill a piece of myself, to make room for a new piece—one that could deal with all of the drama, chaos, and responsibilities. But it broke my spirit when I quit.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved putting pencil to paper and creating stories. I’ve always known writing is part of me. It’s not that I discovered this last year, it’s that I got a reality slap. A reminder that I need writing. Not just that I love it—I need it.”

This was a painful lesson and one I’m glad I went through.

Have you ever quit writing? Have you ever considered it? I’m pretty sure every writer, at some point, has thrown up his or her hands in frustration and yelled, “I quit!” Or something like that, anyway. But would you ever really quit?

IWSG Question of the Month

July Prompt – What would make you quit writing?

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IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

A Fresh, New Look

 

cover re-reveal

 

So… Remember all the hubbub about whether or not I should change my book covers? Well, folks, the deed it done. Just a super short post to show you the new beauties.

Meet the new Hinting at Shadows and On the Edge of a Raindrop.  

 

 

To celebrate the new look, Hinting at Shadows will be on sale for a limited time. Just 99c/99p! 

 

I’m guest posting over at Marcia Meara’s today (thanks, you fantabulous gal, you) so go check that out! 

 

Huge thank you to the talented Loni Townsend for the gorgeous cover art.

And thanks to Allie Potts for getting these covers into print-ready form so I could have my precious paperbacks (and for creating the beautiful 3D images). 

 

Laser Focused? #IWSG

 

It’s June already? What? How?

This summer is going to be interesting. Watch for some announcements and fun, my friends. Working on a thing at the moment and am pretty damn excited. 

Speaking of which, the question this month is about shelving drafts. I’m not having any of that right now. And I usually don’t. Except when I do. My collections don’t get shelved. I work and work (and work) until they’re as-near-to-perfect-as-I-can-manage then I’m done. Longer pieces are usually shelved (anywhere from a few days to ten years) but not because I feel the need to get space from them. More because I lose confidence in my abilities or something shiny comes along.

Speaking of which, my too-many-ideas syndrome I mentioned in last month’s IWSG post is still plaguing me. I’ve had some suggest that I shouldn’t write them down but, if I don’t, I’ll forget. Or, worse (way worse), the ideas will sit in my head, refusing to leave, and knock against my skull to be let out. Tylenol does not help with this.

That said, my focus has been off-the-charts amazing. I am working on one project. ONE. Can you believe? Admittedly, it’s a ginormous one so I’ve kind of been forced to focus. And it’s got a lot of parts so it feels like more than one project. And, actually, it’s almost to the point of an obsession. Huh. Okay. But, hey, focused, people. Huzzah!

Speaking of which… Yeah, I got nothing. Just wanted to type that again. 

 

Do you take time away from your projects? If so, why? To get some clarity/perspective? To clear your head? To wait for beta readers to get back to you? Because something shiny comes along?

IWSG Question of the Month

June Prompt – How long do you shelve your first draft before reading it and redrafting? 

IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)
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This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

Showers & Flowers #IWSG

 

What am I insecure about this month? Hmm.

First of all, WordPress is not being very nice and it’s not going to get any dessert. It’s possible it might get grounded if it doesn’t SHAPE UP! Stupid WordPress. Stupid formatting. ARGH! 

 

Anyhoo… I have a lot going on. Writing stuff and life stuff.

Life stuff, well, just happens and you deal. You get through it. Because. Life.

Writing stuff is…tough. I mean, writers NEED to write. That’s how we feel but, technically, it’s not true. It’s not one of the basic human needs. (But it sure does feel like it.) It’s like you must fit in your writing regardless of what else is going on. Which can be overwhelming.

Presently, I’m juggling a fair amount in the life category but, also, the writing category.

Trying to write in the spaces between life responsibilities. Editing a few books that have been patiently waiting to see the light of day. Getting those new covers together. Working on a (long-overdue) book. And, always, the technical crap. Ugh with that already. Please.

Also… My too-many-ideas syndrome is flaring up. And my ooh-a-shiny-new-project is back. I’m taking Tums but, alas, I’m still in distress.

So, yeah, a bit overwhelmed with ALL OF THE THINGS raining down on me. But April showers bring May flowers, right? Hopefully, this month will be calm. Pretty. Unsoggy. Blossoming with creative possibility and productivity.

Here’s to a bloomin’ brilliant May, my bloggy friends. 🌸

 

 

Do you try to fit your writing in or put it aside when life rains on you? Also, I’m super curious how many other writers have too-many-ideas and ooh-a-shiny-new-project syndromes. Do you? 

 

 

IWSG Question of the Month

May Prompt – Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?

IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)
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This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

Taking Writing Risks #IWSG

 

I never thought of myself as a risk-taker. A writing rebel. But, thinking on it, I guess I am.

I’ve mentioned numerous times (as recently as last month’s IWSG post) that I write what I want regardless of whether it’s popular, fits into any known genre, or is marketable. That, in itself, is risky. Also, the form, subject matter, tone, and style make my writing a pretty tailored taste.

I’m currently finishing my MS that’s not-novel, not-short-story, not-novella. And I break the rules of how it’s supposed to be written.

Also, I just posted about the possible downfalls of changing the covers of my books, wondering whether or not I should do it. Yup, I am. And they’re going to be what I like, not what they “should” be.

Oh, and, as you all know, I’m a pantser. ‘Nuff said.

So, um, yeah, I’m a risk-taking writer.

 

Wow. After writing this post, I realized I take risks in just about every area of the writing process. Yikes. 

Do you take risks in your writing?   

 

 

IWSG Question of the Month April Prompt – Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work? IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

 

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This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh.