Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IWSG & A Visit from Christine Rains

Happy IWSG day, all! It's time once again for our monthly support group hosted by the Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh. This month's co-hosts are Chemist Ken, Suzanne Sapseed, and Shannon Lawrence. Thanks to Alex and his co-hosts!

If you're not already a member of the group and would like to join in, visit the IWSG sign-up list here.

This month I am grappling with the same insecurity that has been gnawing at me for the past few months. I can't seem to get anything written and I have totally lost my focus. I am determined that I will not have this same problem by the time our April meeting rolls around and the only thing for it is to sit down and write, but for now I'm turning things over to the wonderfully talented Christine Rains. Christine is here to talk about the insecurities that come along with publishing. I'm thrilled to be a stop on Christine's tour to promote her new book, the contemporary erotic romance Loose Corset.

Take it away, Christine!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

Working with a publisher brings with it a whole mess of new insecurities. I didn't think it would be all a breeze after being accepted, but I underestimated how much the things I can't control would get to me.

I can't see my sales stats even though I'm doing all the marketing. Is anything I'm doing working? I won't know until the next pay period, and they send out checks every quarter.

There are two more books in the Dice & Debauchery series. They're complete, but they're waiting in a queue for a new editor. I don't know where in this queue I sit. But I do know it depends on my sales how quickly I move up the line. It could be the summer when the second book is released or maybe not until the end of the year. I don't have any control over it.

Have readers asked for more? Do they like me? Could they decide to cancel my contract if I don't sell well? I don't know. And it's driving me bonkers!

There are advantages to having a publisher, but there are also ones for self-publishing. No matter which way I go, I get new gray hairs.

What are your insecurities this month?

Book Blurb:

Geek girl Morgan Reid has been to many conventions, but none that had her wishing it would never end.

Dressed as their characters from the online game Steampunk Quest, Morgan and her best friend meet the other players for the first time in real life. Morgan's attraction to the gorgeous Dean Bradley is immediate, making it difficult to breathe in her tight corset. Even after a few dice shattering orgasms, she doesn't believe this can be anything more than a con fling. But Dean is making her feel things she's only read about in books. Can Morgan let go of her cool-headed logic and allow herself to fall completely for the perfect geek guy?

About the author:

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She's married to her best friend and fellow geek living in south-central Indiana. They have one son who is too smart for his parents' own good and loves to pretend he's Batman. Christine has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not reading or writing, she's going on adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. (South Central Indiana Fiction Interface). She has several short stories and novellas published. The Dice & Debauchery series is her first contemporary erotic romance.

Please visit her website  and blog

You can also find Christine on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Purchase links:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Finding that time to write is something I struggle with too. When I have those moments, I cherish them dearly. I hope you find some moments too, Julie!

    Good luck, Christine!!

  2. It must be frustrating not to know what is happening with your own book! But you're doing a lot, so I'm sure it's helping :)

  3. Julie, thank you so much for hosting me today. Your focus will come back. So much has been happening lately. *hugs*

    Elsie, thank you!

    Sarah, thanks! I really hope it is.

  4. Julie, hope you find your focus.
    I know what you mean, Christine. I have no idea if I am affecting presales with what I am doing now.

  5. Hang in there, Julie! Maybe try scheduling fifteen minutes of focused writing time, working off a prompt for fiction or try nonfiction, like writing up blog posts or journaling.

  6. Don't worry, Julie. I'm sure you'll come out of your funk soon. Try going to a movie similar to the kind of stories you write, and watch how the writers make the story work. After a couple of hours watching these screenwriting tricks, I always come home ready to sit down and see if I can do that in my stories too.

    And Christine, great job describing your insecurities. Now You've got me worrying about the publishing part.

  7. Alex, we do what we can! :)

    Chemist Ken, thanks. And I hope that doesn't deter you!

  8. Julie, I hope you can find your muse soon and handcuff her to your writing desk.

    Christine, I hear ya, and hats off. I'm too much of a control freak. I don't think I could ever handle going traditional. It would drive me crazy.

    IWSG #142 until Alex culls the list again.

  9. Oh, man, writers are an insecure bunch, aren't we? Both of you have stories published all over the place and should be very proud. But I guess that part about worrying how the next book will get written and published never goes away.

  10. Hmmmm ... those geeky dice must be in high demand.

  11. And sometimes your brain is telling you to give it a breather. Then the writing comes back with a vengeance!

  12. Julie - Don't worry, you will get back into the groove of things when you are ready, or when inspiration hits.

    Christine - Sorry the situation is driving you crazy. I hope you get answers soon. Wishing you the best.

  13. That's a great list about not knowing how your sales are going with a publisher even though you're doing all the promotion. Some of the big publishers only sent reports every six months. Last year my romance publisher started sending checks and sales reports every month. That really helps.

  14. Christine - I didn't know that about traditional sales . . . and I'm glad to know in advance, thank you! It would be hard to operate in the dark.

    Julie - I hope you get your groove back, soon. I know you can. :)

  15. I've only been rewriting and I don't count that is writing, so I know how you feel. I really want to write, but can't. I hope April is a better month for you, Julie!

    Christine, I hate not knowing what my sales are until the end of the quarter. It's a pain because I want to know what works at the time and what doesn't.

  16. I hope inspiration strikes you, Julie (though I do hope it's not physical, and if it is physical, I hope it's not a painful experience).

    Whoo-boy, Christine. I get how you feel about not knowing your numbers. Just know that I think you're a wonderful author, and I hope to see more from you.

  17. Melissa, I haven't decided if this deterred me from doing it again or not!

    L.G., the worries never stop, it seems!

    Stephen, they are! :)

    Murees, thank you!

    Susan, I wish mine did every month, but they're quarterly. And even then, they might be a month behind with the huge number of authors they have!

    Tyrean, it is, but I do hope having an already built in readership with the publisher helps.

    Chrys, me too! I just have to try not to go batty as I wait.

    Loni, thanks so much!

  18. Julie - Maybe it's seasonal. I'm in that "chasing my tail, getting no where" funk as well.

    Christine - Being in the dark is so frustrating. Hope you'll find out everything is going great.

  19. There are all different ways to promote, and today what is considered good promo is constantly shifting. I guess the best thing to do is find what you can do and enjoy doing.

    Good luck with your launch.

  20. Julie, it can be pretty hard to get back into a writing groove. Maybe try free-writing or using a prompt to ease back into it.

    Christine, those are definitely disadvantages with using a publisher. I hate those unknowns. It might be why I enjoy self-publishing so much.

  21. Julie - keep at it, I'm sure the words are there, just waiting for the right moment. I'm having great ideas - whole scenes appearing in front of me - at the moment convenient times, which I forget when I have a pen in my hand!

    Christine - yes, the lack of control/immediate sales info etc is hard at first. Hopefully your next sales report will put your mind at ease!

  22. Oh my that would bother the hell out of me if I wouldn't know where I stood and what was going on. I don't understand why they can't inform you? I guess it is because I don't know this world. In the end I guess it is like the weather-sometimes we hate it and other times we savour every bit of the sun's rays but we have no control over it so we have to make the best of it. Julie-hang in there..sometimes we have to let things "go" in order for it to come back again. Don't think too much about it, let it lie and when your mind calms ideas will start

  23. Hi, Julie, Hi, Christine!

    First, CONGRATS Christine! All the best with your new book!

    Julie, I so get the not writing thing. I can't even remember the last thing I wrote. Sad, really. I will be writing a query this week... does that count? LOL. Finalized my novel and after the SCBWI conference I need to get my story to the alumni who are willing to at least consider it. YAY!!!

    Crazy life...crazy YEAR! And, it's only MARCH!!!!!

  24. Yes, just write it down. Doesn't matter where or when or how. Just do it, even if it's a little bit. I soooo understand feeling lost when my muse goes hiding. You are not alone. :)

  25. Julie, I read Polar Day and loved it!! I can see another in the works! Don't worry, you know your muse is taking a siesta!! Your fingers will be dancing over the computer keys soon!!

    Love Christine's cover. Need to read this one!!

  26. Julie, after focusing so long on one story, it's hard to find the groove with the next one. It'll come--hopefully soon!

    Christine, I had no idea that you couldn't get your sales stats from your publisher. Sounds frustrating, but at the same time, maybe a relief that you're not obsessed with numbers on a daily or weekly basis. I dunno...just trying to think of a bright side. Best of luck with the new release!

  27. Hi there from a fellow IWSG member! It seems there are insecurities every step of the way, even once you are published. I think the hardest thing in the world is to believe in ourselves which is why I say affirmations about it every day! :-) Good luck,Julie!

  28. Congrats on the book. Marketing is hard and not know if what you're doing is having any impact makes it harder.

    On the plus side, the gray hairs are free! Good luck. I've added Loose Dice to my reading list. Geek love rocks!

  29. I'm sorry you're feeling blocked, Julie. It happens to all of us. Sometimes you just have to wait it out, but it WILL pass, believe me.

    Christine's book sounds like so much fun! Wishing her much success!

  30. Julie: I'm having problems just sitting down to write too. No excuse, I am unemployed, I have time, but so much is unknown I can't concentrate.

    Christine: it must be difficult to not be in complete control. This seems to be the route of traditional publishing. It would work for me as I don't want to learn how to track all that stuff myself anyways.

  31. LD, thank you!

    Cherie, it definitely makes me appreciate the control I have in self-publishing.

    Annalisa, I really hope so!

    Birgit, my publisher has over 800 authors, so I don't even know if they know until they write up the check!

    Michael and Cathrina, thank you!

    Michael P, yes, I do suppose it's a good thing I can't be obsessive checking my stats! :)

  32. Gina and Lexa, thank you!

    Dolorah, I'm a little obsessive about tracking my stuff. I'm trying to learn how to be more at ease not knowing!

  33. Julie, I'm in the same place as you - it happens to me when life really gets in the way. The advice I try to give myself is to be gentle with myself, be patient, do a little at a time. It's hard, but it'll pass.

    Congratulations, Christine! That would make me super insecure, too. It's so hard not to know what's working!

  34. I've heard of more than one author waiting and waiting to hear from their editor/publisher. Hang in there. I'm sure they are just busy with all the projects on their desk. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  35. I have the same struggles, Julie! Finding something to write and sticking with it has been really a struggle this year. Hopefully it will get better for both of us! :)

    And Christine - your book sounds fantastic! I'm sure that things are going well! :)

  36. I don't think I could handle it if I were at someone else's beck and call, and kept so in the dark. I'm not against the idea of someday being traditionally published, but I'd hate to hand over the reins to someone else in such a big way.

  37. Julie, I hope you can get some writing done.

    Christine, I can see how that would be frustrating, especially after having done so much self-publishing first. I'd want to know all that information, too.

  38. Anna and Krista, thank you!

    Carrie-Anne, it is difficult to give over control. It's been a learning lesson to be sure!

    Shannon, I check my stats a lot especially when I'm touring. I try to figure out what's working, but it's impossible when I can't see the stats!

  39. Give yourself permission to write crap. Tell yourself you're just going to write. It doesn't have to be good, it doesn't even have to be fit for illiterary consumption, but write. Allow your brain to spew some writer diarrhea and it will unclog the block every time.

  40. And for Christine. I hear ya. I'd like to try the self-pub gig...for all those reasons you've mentioned. That and well, I wouldn't have to share the money and I could use that toward promotion. I may be bugging you for advice!

  41. Making time for all I want to do still plagues me.

  42. Best of luck beating your writing funk Julie. Christine writing is not for the faint of heart. So keep strong.

  43. Sometimes when my muse escapes me, Julie, I read and try to forget about my stories... for some reason that always does the trick:) Good luck.

    And Christine, I completely agree with you. It's hard waiting and not knowing...:)

  44. Elizabeth, self-publishing is awesome. A lot of work, but totally worth it. :)

    Sheena-kay, thanks!

    Tania, totally! Thanks.

  45. So sorry you've hit the wall on writing. It happens to us all. Blogging helped me get through my last one. So did just sitting my butt in the chair and reading and rereading and editing my wip, and, after awhile the muse was back. But it took over two months for me to find it again. Christine's novel sounds interesting, and I really enjoyed her sharing her insecurities about being traditionally published. Thanks for sharing...

  46. Maybe this is a good time to take a little break from writing. 2014 was a very hectic year for you between publishing booth books, and your mom's illness. I'm sure your mojo will return in no time, Julie!

    Christine, Sorry this has been such a frustrating process. It sounds like you've written a wonderful story, and the cover looks fabulous! Wishing you much success!


  47. Lisa, thank you!

    Julie, thanks so much!

  48. Hi Julie - you've had lots going on ... sometimes we just need to step away and not worry - then things start getting into place again - that happens to me - then for whatever reason that aspect becomes clear.

    Christine is amazing with her books and stories ... as are you with your Polar books ... take care - cheers Hilary

  49. Don't beat yourself up over it. Look at what you've done in a relatively short period of time! You might be due for a brief write-cation after all you've done lately. I'd wait for it to feel fun again and you feel inspired to the point that you can't wait to sit down and write instead of forcing it and getting frustrated. The muse will return, I'm sure of it. Mine seems to take frequent, prolonged vacations, but so far always comes back.

  50. Sorry, I forgot to comment on Christine's novel. It looks really fun, quirky, and sexy! Thanks for sharing your experience with traditional publishing. Hard to know which way to go these days. Also, I love your bio-made me laugh. :)


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