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November 2013 - Tianna Holley | Tianna Holley

When Life Gets in the Way of Writing

Posted by on Nov 20, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

How exciting it is to finally get to a scene I’ve had in my mind for a long time!  My fingers can’t wait to type it out, and it’s hard to focus on anything else.  That is how I felt about a week and a half ago.  My daughter was at a birthday party, and I spent the afternoon in my vehicle in the parking lot of the party place doing research for the big scene.  Around 6:00 p.m. I ate some dark chocolate and continued with my research.  By the time we got home that evening, I was no longer hungry, and I was ready to do some writing.  I grabbed some lemon water and went to my bedroom to type.  That night I went to sleep with a smile on my face, because the following day was Monday.  The children would go back to school, and the hubby would go to work, leaving me an entire day of silence to type out my big scene.

At least, that was the plan.  That night I experienced extremely vivid dreams and woke drenched in sweat.  When I awoke the next morning, I was too drained to get out of bed.  It was the first time I was not able to get my children off to school.  My hubby had to do it.  My entire day was wasted, and I got nothing done.  It seems, I erred by skipping dinner and had a sugar drop during the night, which left me without any energy the next day.

That Tuesday I went to a doctor and had tests done.  Then two of my children got head colds (one is VERY cranky while sick), and there were routine appointments throughout the week.  I’ve also got a lot of company coming in for Thanksgiving, so I spent my weekend trying to get caught up on housecleaning.  This week has been spent with more doctor appointments.  (Everything came in normal, and I’m healthy, just won’t be skipping dinner any time soon.)  Last night I had to cook for a brunch at my son’s school I attended this morning.  I also found an email last night reminding me that one of my daughters will be on stage singing tonight in choir.  I also need to bring cookies, separately wrapped (which means I need to bake some quickly).  I’ll add that since I’ll be having two Thanksgiving meals at my home with many guests for the entire week, I need to have a lot of desserts and meals made and in my freezer before they get here.  (Two pumpkin pies are in the oven now and will go straight to my freezer.)

What happened to my writing?  I was so close to an exciting scene, yet it still sits there waiting for me.  It’s not one that I want to start and have to walk away from in an hour.  It’s one of those I want to be able to focus on to get it right, and it won’t be easy to put down until finished.

The rest of my week is packed, and I have a conference to attend this weekend before my family gets here right when I get home.  Although I knew this month would be busy and I did not sign up for NaNoWriMo, I’m watching my fellow authors zoom through their word count, and yes, I’m jealous.  I keep reminding myself that life happens, and this month I just have to go with it.  Next week I will enjoy the company of my family and friends, and my novel will be waiting for me once it is over.  Life will return back to normal, at least until Christmas.

Until then, I have to be content with knowing I’ll get back to Alissia’s adventure soon, and I will also be starting a new stand-alone novel also.  It’s a story that came to me back in October, and it is demanding to be typed out.  It won’t go away or leave me alone.  I guess it needs to be told, even if it is not in the fantasy genre or something I had expected to write.  But, Unexpected Metamorphosis was not planned either.  It just came and demanded to be written.  I guess that is how it is to be then.

Well, I have pies to put away, laundry to finish, and cookies to bake.  Sadly, I wish I was writing today.  It truly bothers me that I can’t type 🙁

Thank you for all the support, and I hope you’re enjoying your week.

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Should You Use a Pen Name?

Posted by on Nov 14, 2013 in For Authors | 2 comments

Although this was not a question I struggled with, I have found that many aspiring authors don’t know whether they should use a pen name.  I’ve also seen authors change their names after starting their writing careers.  There are group discussions where I’ve read that some authors think pen names are overrated and not a necessity.  So, here are my thoughts on whether you should use a pen name or not.

First, Google your name and see what comes up.  Then go to Goodreads, Amazon, and other social media sites and do a search on your name.  I also want you to see if you can use your name for a website or if it is already taken.  When you become an author, you will be marketing your name, and if it is common and already found all over the place online, it will be more difficult for your readers to find you.

Next, you need to decide whether your name is easy to remember and easy to spell.  Since most marketing is now done online, you want people to be able to remember you if someone mentions your name in a conversation.  They will also need to be able to go home and search for you online.  I love unique names.  However, there’s no benefit to you if people can’t spell your name.

The next question you need to ask yourself is what kind of writing you will be doing.  Almost all the erotica writers I know use a pen name, and if they also write in another genre, they use another pen name for that.  They keep their erotica names strictly to that genre.  Not all of them do this, but most of the ones I know do.

When deciding upon a pen name, you need to remember that you will be signing this name often and quickly in front of people.  From experience, I know this can take some getting used to, and it’s easy to get confused while you’re trying to talk and sign a new name at the same time.  Therefore, you need to make sure it comes easy for you to sign.  Practice writing it out a few times to see how comfortable it is.

As for me, there was no question on whether I would use a pen name or not.  When I Google my real name, thousands of sites pop up.  It is very common.  Although Tianna Holley is similar to my real name, the small change I made makes it easy to find me online.  When you type in my pen name, I show up.  I’m not competing with hundreds or thousands of others on the web.

I have learned that signing under my pen name can be somewhat problematic at times.  In fact, there’s a story behind the first time I signed in public.  It was completely unplanned, and I was caught off guard.  I had just received the first shipment of books and went to the post office to mail out some of the signed copies.  The woman behind the counter noticed the extra book I had accidently brought in, and she asked about it.  Then she pulled out money and plopped it on the counter and began to spell out her name for a signed copy.  As I happily complied, much attention was brought to me, and everyone soon started talking about me being an author.  It did not help that I was in my workout clothing and no makeup.  I was trying to hold a conversation with the people, spell the woman’s name behind the counter (which was unique), and sign a new name.  Although I consider my handwriting to be messy, my handwriting under pressure is even messier, and I felt horrible at the scribbling I had done to that woman’s book.  I tell you this to let you know it takes a little getting used to sign a new name, and you will have to do it under pressure at times.

Since the change to my name is very subtle, I also have another small problem to deal with.  When I have spent a weekend at a book signing, I find that it is hard for me to remember to sign my real name for a while after that.  I will sign my pen name on school documents and such.  I’ve had teachers ask me which is my real name.  I send letters to them on notes I’ve bought with my author name and web site at the bottom, yet I sign my real name beneath my message.

There is a benefit to having a pen name.  It would seem strange for me to market myself.  It’s much easier for me to become Tianna Holley when I need to sell myself in front of others and online.  Although I’m still talking about myself, it makes it better to do it under another name.

I hope this helps and forgive me if you find any faults in today’s post.  I’m typing this out fast, as I have a child that has to be at a doctor’s appointment shortly.  When I get back, I will do a better check, but I did not want to miss today’s post on this topic.  If you have any questions or comments, I do welcome them.

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Calling All Authors in the North Atlanta Area

Posted by on Nov 13, 2013 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

I know that I have some social media connections with other authors living in the Atlanta area, and I’d like for us to get together as a group.  I’m not thinking anything formal or classes.  I would just like a night out so that we can meet and do some fun networking.

One of the greatest joys of doing what I do is when I’m around other authors, talking about the industry and writing process.  Although my friends and family are great supporters of what I do, there’s nothing like being around those that truly “get” what I’m saying.

So, if you live in the Marietta, Roswell, Cumming, or Woodstock area, maybe we can find a central place to meet for dinner one night.  Contact me if you are interested, and I look forward to meeting you.

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What’s the Best Way to Support an Author?

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

So, you’ve read a book, and you loved it.  What should you do now?  Well, that’s easy!  After a long exhale with a smile on your face, you should let the author know that you enjoyed his/her writing.  After all, a novel is a work of art that took countless hours to write, and in the end, almost all authors question themselves.  Sure, we know we have an amazing story to tell.  We wouldn’t put it out to the public if we didn’t believe in it.  But, we are also human, and deep within every one of us, there are times of doubt and confusion.  On a great day, we are excited about what we do.  On a bad day, we question our sanity and wonder why in the world we do what we do.  This is especially true for the more unknown authors, which is the majority of the market.

So, how do you speak to an author?  That’s simple.  Leave a review!  Leaving a positive review on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. is the best gift you can give to an author.  Those reviews are more important than you may know.  On Amazon, reviews push the author up in ranking, as well as help potential readers decide on whether to purchase the novel.  As for Goodreads, it’s all about potential readers deciding which book to read next.  They may have thousands of books on their ‘to read’ shelf, but in the end, most of them look at reviews to decide which one to actually read.

What I’ve learned so far, is that most readers don’t leave a review.  Yes, they may love the novel, follow the author on social media, tell all their friends to read the book, and even be kin to the author, but in the end, they don’t leave a review.

I’ve even heard a story about an author that gave out 500 advanced copies of her novel so that she could get reviews in before the book was published, yet not even half of the readers wrote a review.  Ouch!

I don’t blame the readers.  I, myself, never left a review until becoming an author.  I never knew how important they were until now.  Our society has just recently become dependent on reviews.  I mean, there’s not many purchases I make without looking at the reviews.  I even have a scan code on my phone to help me while at a store.

So, if you love a book, leave a review.  All the authors I know read their reviews.  They will get your message.  If you want to get even more personal, you can also see if the author is on social media.  Although some authors have other careers and don’t do much online, the majority of the authors I know are online, and they listen and respond to their readers.  You can find me on almost all the social platforms, but I am most active on Facebook.

Oh, while leaving a review on Goodreads, you can also become a fan of your favorite author.  Same goes for Amazon.  It only takes a second to click on the button.  It’s just another way to show your support to a writer you enjoy.

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Dressing as Alissia One More Time

Posted by on Nov 5, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Although I said I’d never put those painful purple contacts back in, I procrastinated too long and had to quickly find a costume for this year’s party.  The good news is that the contacts did not hurt like they did in Las Vegas.  However, I lost complete vision in my left eye about thirty minutes into the party.  Everything became a total blur, so I took them off and went on with the fun of socializing with my neighbors.

My husband went as Willie from Duck Dynasty, and he tried to talk me into buying this ridiculously huge duck costume that looked beyond horrific.  He even begged, but that was never an option.

This will most likely be the last time I dress up as Alissia.  I don’t have the jewels she had, anyways, and I don’t compare anything to the description in the book.  I tried though, and it was fun.  I especially enjoyed it in Vegas when Melissa dressed as Anika, Alissia’s close friend.

I will say that I am very blessed to live in a new neighborhood where just about everyone knows each other, and we even like each other.  Parties and gatherings are always enjoyable where we live, and after moving around for most of my life, I believe I have found my home and am settling down.

I’m curious to know if anyone else has ever dressed as a character from a novel for a costume party.  If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.  Dressing as Alissia is my first time, and it was fun.

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My daughter believes in sideways shots.  Last year my husband and I dressed in Roman outfits.  My hair was so short back then, and Daryl needed to smile.  I think that was his first time dressing up since childhood.  He’s getting the hang of it now.

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