Category Archives: Musings

Choosing the Right Head Shot


Call me cheap, but I don’t want to pay for having an expensive head shot produced for my use in publicity materials. First, I am not Dean Koontz, with thousands of fans and followers. I am not Tom Clancy or Nora Roberts, a best-selling author. I am simply Fay Moore, a country girl with a big dream–to write murder mysteries that people will buy and enjoy reading.

In that vein, I picked a photograph that I think would make a good head shot when needed.

Fay head shot 2013 stranger photographer

I think it looks kind of “writer-ly.” People will look at it and think, she’s friendly, approachable.

Maybe between a friendly face and an attractive cover, I can sell a book or two. What do you think?

The Mental War with Fear and Self-Doubt


As a writer, I have struggled with self-doubt throughout writing my first novel.  When I made the decision to create a book, I wrestled with selecting a story. My imagination had several threads that had been dreamed up over the years. I couldn’t settle on one because I doubted whether anyone would like the characters.

My friend Debbie decided she would push me a bit. She has always been an avid reader of murder mysteries, so she came to me with a cast of characters and insisted I write her story.

I want to thank Debbie for doing that. The psychology of writing someone else’s story erased the fear of starting. After all, this wasn’t my story or my characters. What was there to fear? My brain converted the assignment to the equivalent of classroom homework. The writing began.

By the end of the first chapter, all that was left of Debbie’s story were the main character names. My imagination kicked in. Debbie’s plot was replaced by one of my creation, and I was on my way to writing a book of my own.

Because I didn’t start the story with a preconceived plot, I would run into walls at times, not knowing where the story was going to go next. Sometimes it was days, while other times it was weeks or months between writing bursts. My characters were the ones writing the story, not me. I had to wait for them to tell me what was coming next.

Sometimes real life inspired a segment. A happening would get incorporated into the plot, which then led to the next tangent in the storyline. I was as enthralled as any reader in what was coming next because I didn’t know.

In the end, the story told itself and came together nicely. Looking back, I am amazed at how it got done.

Now what?

It has been roughly six months since I finished the first draft. This week I am wrapping up work on this book. Why has it taken so long? The only truthful explanation is me. My fear. My self-doubt. I am scared to put it out there.

My friend, and prolific author, Lauren Carr has taught me that I am my own worst enemy. In the time between finishing the novel’s first draft to the time it goes to press, Lauren has published TWO novels. She is my inspiration and role model.

She is already broadcasting news about my next novel in order to get me moving. The pressure is on. My new characters are percolating and throwing story parts at me. This time I have a grand storyline in my head already. I know the beginning and the end. The middle is still being created.

At the moment, I am not fearful. I am excited. That will change. The first bad review will crank up the self-doubt inside me. But I have a few defenses against my fears this time around.

First, I know I am still on a learning curve. Like any first, my novel will have beginner errors in it. I know that, and I will learn from my mistakes.

Second, I have written a complete book already. So there is no question about whether or not I can. I’ve already done it.

Third, I have set a goal. By this time next year, book two will be done. I will have cut the time it takes me to tell a story in half. Then I will write book three in six months. That’s my plan. With an end target in sight, I have something to aim for. The finish line is concrete. That is a motivator.

I hope telling my experience has been helpful to you. Maybe you see yourself or maybe light has been shed on the source of your own block. My wish for you is that you get a strangle hold on the neck of your own fear. Choke it, so that you, too, can make a breakthrough in your writing.

For Good Luck


Kirin kiss cropped

 

In several Asian cultures, there is a mythological beast called the Kirin. According to Wikipedia, the Kirin heralds the arrival of a wise sage or illustrious ruler. It’s appearance is a good omen and brings the one who sees it prosperity.

 

Not only did I see the Kirin, but I kissed him when we discussed the late summer release of my novel Dead with Envy and my short story “Strange.” Seems that kiss had a powerful effect; the Kirin’s eyes blazed! He promised me lots of readers and a successful new career as a best-selling author. Wow.

 

He urged me to get cracking on my next murder mystery, One Way Ticket to Las Vegas. Alrighty then!!

 

A Stroll Down Memory Lane


A year ago I wrote the closing segment to a story circle featured on Cameron D. Garriepy’s blog. The story, called “The Reunion,” can be found here:

http://camerondgarriepy.com/join-the-the-story-circle/the-reunion-june-2012/

If you have ever found yourself in an awkward or embarrassing situation, you will identify with this story. It’s a quick read–perfect to go with that morning cup of coffee.

A year later, I am ending another storytelling experience. I am wrapping up my first novel. I met with Acorn Book Services Friday. An editorial review of the manuscript is imminent. That is the last step before publication.

Affirmation–The Payoff for Hard Work


To those of you who have followed this blog for a while, “Thank you.” I can think of moments when several of you, through comments, kept me motivated, tilting at my windmill–finishing my novel. When I doubted myself, you chided me. When I celebrated a breakthrough, you cheered me.

Besides writing my book, I had another goal: I wanted to share what I was learning with others. I wanted another writer to learn from my mistakes or discover a tool to save time. In that vein, I shared my embarrassing moments or time-wasters, so you could learn. Other times, I shared wisdom from experienced authors, so we all benefited.

Yesterday I received a tweet from youth book author Jim Denney that is one of those special remarks. The tweet read:

Jim Denney@WriterJimDenney @MooreFay By the way you have an awesome blog for writers at https://faymoore.wordpress.com/ . Every serious writer should follow it. All the best!”

Thank you, Jim. If you are unfamiliar with Jim Denney, you can learn more about him here:

Jim Denney Author of the Timebenders series for young readers, beginning with Battle Before Time. Author of the ebook Writing in Overdrive: Write Faster, Write Freely, Write Brilliantly. Visit me at my Timebenders blog site: Jim Denney’s Timebenders and at my blog site for writers: Jim Denney’s Unearthly Fiction. On Twitter: @WriterJimDenney

Jim Denney battle-before-time-cover

Everyone Thinks It’s So Easy


Perhaps to a select few, authoring a good book is easy–or at least that select few make it seem effortless.

For the rest of us, it is agony. First, we anguish over getting the manuscript on paper. Then we slave over editing. Next comes marketing, which, for the first novelist, means telling everyone we know, back to the boy who pulled our braids in sixth grade, that we have a book out. Trying to appear professional,  we plan to avoid begging, but we beg anyway for someone to buy our book. Finally we sit with angst waiting on the first book sale, then the next, and next. We give ourselves ulcers.

And if the book doesn’t sell, we are crestfallen. Aunt Linda said the book should be on the best seller list. Cousin James said he would buy a copy, then didn’t. Our best friends are avoiding our calls. We line up a book signing–and no one shows up.

Somehow, this doesn’t feel  easy.

Music To My Ears (Eyes)


A writer begs to be read and appreciated for his craft, his art. Today I was lifted from a groveling place on the ground to Cloud Nine by author Shelton Keys Dunning.

A while ago, Troy P invited me to write the ending to a short story called “The Reunion.” Three writers preceded me in contributing to the story line. The author that started the tale was Shelton Keys Dunning.

To make a long story short, in the comments on my post “Writing Changes,” Dunning wrote words that made me giddy. I have to share them here:

I saw your potential in storycrafting when you finished my The Reunion on such a perfect endnote. I’ve been a fan ever since. I’m truly looking forward to purchasing everything you do!

If you are a writer, you know the weightiness and import of those words to my soul. It means every agonizing hour spent trying to get it right is worth it.

Shelton Keys Dunning, I pray I never let you down. And know this, if I screw up once (or twice), I will drive myself to fix it the next time around. For you! For readers like you who make the writer’s agony all worth while.

I love you. Thank you for lifting me up!

And, Troy, thank you for inviting me to write in a different venue, allowing me to reach out to a broader readership than this blog affords me. I love you, too.

I look forward to the day I can pay it forward and help out another writer. Helping each other to grow and expand is what it is all about.

Writing Changes


For two years, I have been working on a first novel. In April, I took time off from life and hid out far from home and distractions and finished the first draft. Since then I have been editing and getting some professional input. There is, at last, light at the end of the tunnel.

In revising the work, I noticed that my writing/ storytelling abilities improved from the first chapters through what followed. It’s subtle, but there. And it makes me smile.

Smile? Yes.

It means this old dog is learning new tricks after all. It means there’s hope for any writer to make his work better by investing the time and energy to make it so. It means that maybe, just maybe, I will produce a story that entertains, engages, intrigues the reader. It means, maybe, I can sell a book or two.

Smile? Yes.

It means I can writer another book. In my head I am already three-quarters of the way done with the next plot. And the third is percolating there, awaiting its time. And the fourth.

Smile? Yes.

I didn’t know I had it in me to write more than one novel. I’ve learned I do. And I want to.

Good-Bye, Simple Life


When I started this blog about writing my first novel, I had no idea of the complexities of the world of publishing and selling books. I didn’t know that the writing of the book would be the easy part.

There was a time when I read the daily blogs of many, many people, keeping up on details of their lives and projects. I enjoyed the interaction, the making of new friends. We talked about our dreams. We dreamed about telling stories that others would read and enjoy. Together–at our own pace–we put one foot in front of the other and started the Writer’s journey. We encouraged each other.

Man, I loved those times!

Then came knowledge–cover design, marketing strategies, book conferences, interacting with the media, and more. Intermingled with all of this is the grind of the re-write and editing, editing, editing.

Plus, I have work outside of writing. And family and friends who need nurturing. And it’s summer: the grass is growing; the garden needs weeding, the ants taking over my house need murdered; the animals need care and play time.

I have complicated my life–by choice–in so many ways. Even though I have given up commercial farming, there is no spare time in the schedule. In fact, I am busier than I ever was. And I am trying to get the #$%^# novel finished!

Okay. Now that I have bawled like a baby and thrown a tantrum, let me say this–I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe one thing. Me. I’d change me to be better organized, less frazzled, less fearful of the unknown, more optimistic about the future. But I wouldn’t change a thing about the craziness of the book world I have embraced.

Simply said, “Good-bye, Simple Life.”