Dec 9, 2015

Mindful Writing - The Key to Finishing That Novel

Have you heard of mindfulness? I hadn't either...

Okay, so I have been really bad at updating this blog. So in an attempt to post at least once a month, I've decided to share some writing things that not only writers can benefit from.

I am a natural worry-wart. Everyday is something new, but not really: I worry about my kids, I dwell about money, and I ruminate about fears of the future. You know, a lot of people worry. At times these obsessions consume me to the point where I cannot focus on anything else. I grow anxious and depressed, and find myself on a slippery slope.



Well, after my last bout of depression, I began to attend a women's group focused on Mindfulness. I've never been good at sticking through with new therapies. I've tried all sorts of things in the past but nothing really seemed to work. So taking in this mindfulness stuff sounded like another failed attempt,  but I went to group once a week because hell it was better than sitting at home dwelling.

What is Mindfulness? It's simple, really. It's the focus of "one thing at a time". Being mindful of yourself, your surroundings, the babble in your brain at any given time, and then how to focus on only one of those things at a time.

Now, this isn't a raving post to tell you all how Mindfulness actually ended up curing my obsessive thoughts, and bla bla bla, because I still get to be a bumbling worry-wart. In which I am! All the time! But that's okay. :)

But what it did was help me focus on the voices in my head (the worrying) and taught me to stay in the moment without them consuming me. I still fret over sometimes unnecessary things, but now I can obtain whether there is a real threat or if my mind has entered "story mode". LOL That is what I call it anyway. When the mind dwells, it can imagine ANYTHING! It's really just fear and trepidation... your mind is always thinking. And when there's anxiety around it, it tends to throw in worst case scenarios.

After I figured that out, I decided to see if mindfulness could help me in my writing attempts. Yes, the fret and anxiety even took over my most beloved hobby. At times, I would sit and "try" to write, but instead I was thinking all sorts of things: Will readers even like this? What publisher should I send this to? Gosh, I so do not want to edit this when it's time. And over, and over again, I would spend hours fretting, and only have maybe 100 words written. And I considered them all junk.



When I learned about mindfulness, I figured there had to be a way to incorporate that into writing. OMG! I thought using mindfulness in my real life was hard, but trying to apply it to when I was writing? No, fucking way.

How can mindful writing help, then? Well, it takes practice and a "turning of the mind" so to speak. To constantly use the saying "I am just going to write, right now". Because there is nothing else in this moment. No editing, no publishing, nothing. Then, sit down and write. Allow the words to flow, regardless of rules. This is the first draft, nothing matters most than just getting this down.

I'd never been able to write a novel until I sat my ass down and wrote mindfully last year. Today, I have my 3rd novel finished, and ideas for troubled novels that I thought would never see the light.

When I takes notes, I do my research just then. I figure out character names beforehand so nothing disturbs my writing. And if, for any reason I cannot write, I applaud myself for what I have accomplished and plan a better time for myself, usually a couple hours later or the next day.

I've listened to other writers talk about their writing habits and wondered how the hell they do it. Now, I think I've figured out what works for me.

Are you interested I giving it a shot? Even if you're not a writer, mindfulness can help no matter what you apply it to. It just takes 5 minutes. (Okay, this is a 7 minute video, but mindfulness meditations only take 5 minutes.)


FYI: I am not a paid spokesman (or whatever). I truly feel mindfulness works for me, and wanted to share my experience.


Nov 30, 2015

Have you read it yet?

If you never had a chance to read "Project Wasteland" well you're in luck! 

Coming December 10th from Evernight Publishing: 


Operation Wasteland: Aftermath

The "reboot" of the original!

After a great disaster that killed millions, the world turned a sweltering, deserted wasteland. Ten years later, hybrid droid Randy Hawkins is starting his fifth rescue mission for the Rescue and Reconnaissance Unit. In search for survivors, his assignment takes him further south into America than he’s been before, wondering if anyone would still be alive in this desolate tract.

Someone is, and meeting lone survivor Preston turns his resolve upside down. Preston is a caretaker of his own group, keeping them alive no matter what, just like a strong, brave, and gorgeous leader would. Now Randy must decide: follow his mission strategy and persuade Preston to come back with him, or fall dangerously in love with the man, despite the chaos looming ahead.

 



Nov 5, 2015

NaNo 2015 and a Rebranding (of sorts)

Whoo hoo! Give it up for NaNoWriMo 2015! Are you participating?



It's been a few years since I have, but decided to go for the gold and participate in this year's event. Knock on wood, I have a good lead on the wordage and hope to have something to share soon. I will share one thing:

This story is about a man who falls for someone who tries to kill him.

Oooooo....

Lies and deceit - by both MC's

Hmm, I'm not sure what else yet. I'm only to 8k as of this post.

In any case (fuck! It's hard to type this blog post with a sticky keyboard - darn kids.), if you haven't noticed, I've had a few fantasy and sci-fi releases in the last year and a half. Well, this is me "kind-of-ish" rebranding my writing style.

If you've followed along with Azalea over these first four years, you will notice in my biography or my about me was this line:


"She also has a new-found interest in sci-fi and fantasy."

And I have dearly enjoyed the fantasy genre since I discovered my interest in it. What does this mean? This means I will be focusing a lot on writing/publishing fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal, while I leave contemporary alone for awhile.

Seriously?

Yep! Why? Simply because while I still have an interest in it, I just cannot find pleasure in writing it. It's not magical enough. Unless I'm writing urban fantasy, LOL.

So, yes, expect more fantasy coming in the next few years, as well as a continuation to Operation Wasteland,  a re-release of my previously self-published book. And possibly a lot more. *winks*

And freebies! If I can get my arse in gear for those.

Have a wonderful November!

Aug 2, 2015

Available for pre-order!

Now available for pre-order at Liquid Silver Books:


Malrith's Shield!

It's finally available, guys! :)

The official blurb is coming soon, but here's a little teaser.

In a world where dragons are killed on sight and their summoners executed, Kohaku finds love in the arms of Sawyer, the hunter who saved his life. Together, the two search for a missing dragon and dare to fight the evil that threatens them all. Azalea Moone breathes life into a world filled with magic in her new fantasy romance novel, Malrith’s Shield.

Jul 4, 2015

Now Available: Token of Hope!

Now Available:

Token of Hope


A "Love is an Open Road" story presented by the
Goodreads M/M Readers group!

Read free here (members only): 
 
Official downloads will be available very soon!
 
 
 

May 29, 2015

Summer Full of Releases! And "That Moment You Realize..."

It's going to be a busy summer here with writing, editing, releases, and more. Here's the rundown of everything going on.

1. M/M Goodreads group Don't Read in the Closet 2015!!
I have cover pretties to share for my story in the DRitC anthology:





My story is titled "Token of Hope" and it's my first official step into writing fantasy. I've always been quite interested in the genre, but I was also a little scared to try. I'm still a little intimidated. This story will be released sometime soon.


2. "Project Wasteland book 2, The Chaos": I'll release this book soon, depending on the release schedule of the other books this summer. I had intended to release in June but it may be delayed.

3. "Malrith's Shield": Also coming soon!! My first full length M/M romance fantasy novel. :)


Okay, now how about that moment you realize... that the 15,000 words you've already written need to be overhauled because the plot has changed? Yeah, that. *sighs* I have a lot of rewriting to do.

Mar 2, 2015

DRiTC: Love is an Open Road event and writing goals!

I done grabbed my prompt for this year's Don't Read in the Closet event at the Goodreads M/M Romance Group. This year, the title is "Love is an Open Road". This is such a wonderful event. I haven't had a chance to participate for a couple of years due to a few different things, so I am so looking forward to this year!

Here's my prompt, by the wonderful Breann:

Dear Author,

Just look at all that arrogance. Bastard isn’t so cocky now that I’ve got him in my dungeon. He and his damn cat have been a thorn in my side ever since I took over this kingdom.
I would love a fun, high fantasy, enemies to lovers story. Please no dub-con or non-con.

Sincerely,

Breann
___________________________________________________________________

I'm so excited to get started on this, and already have! I'm also on pins and needles though, because I've written plenty of enemies to lovers stories in the past... and well, they didn't come out so well. *twiddles thumbs* But I'm totally up to the challenge again. This time, I hope to write it well. 

Want to know their names? (yes, Mr. Kitty has a name, too!)

I think I've already figured them out, and I'll reveal them very soon!

In any case, my writing goals for the next two months:

Write and finish this fun prompt!
Submit Malrith's Shield to publisher
Write more on Malrith's Shield sequel
When I can, write on The Oracle's Light

Feb 14, 2015

MM Romance Holiday Flash fic - Valentine's Day blog hop! 2015



Whoo hoo, I'm participating in the M/M Romance Holiday Flash fiction blog hop. This time, the theme is Valentine's Day! And guess what? A special present, I'll be giving away a copy of (most) any backlist title to one lucky commenter.

Check this website for available titles to choose from.

Want to win a book? Give this short 1,000 word piece a look and then comment (don't forget to include your email address) for your chance to win! Giveaway will remain open until next week, Saturday Feb 21st.

And if you haven't yet, read my winter-themed flash fic piece here. This short story focuses on the same characters, Fithel and Sawyer, also from my current fantasy work in progress titled "Malrith's Shield". Enjoy!

Warnings: Possible NSFW, and a dancing naked elf.
------------------------------------------------------------------




 The bed rustled and dipped beside him. Fithel turned to spot Sawyer next to him, eyes clenched shut, breath coming out in gasps, and his forehead covered in sweat. He twitched and groaned and shifted his head as his dream consumed him. Fithel had seen this all too often. These nightmares had plagued Sawyer for years.
 
He gently brushed his fingers across Sawyer’s moist cheek. Sawyer jerked away from Fithel’s touch, pinching his eyes even tighter.


“Sawyer,” Fithel whispered. He reached under the blanket, finding Sawyer’s hand gripped to the underside. Tender coaxing usually brought him back from his nightmares, but Sawyer opened his lips and tightened his fingers around the blanket instead. “It’s only a dream.”


“N-no...” Sawyer moaned. He jerked his elbow, almost catching Fithel in the chest. “Stop!” 


“Sawyer!”


“No! Please don’t—“


“Wake up!”


At once, Sawyer’s eyes popped open. Focused on the ceiling above. A bead of sweat ran down the side of his brow. Fithel grasped his hand as he let go of the blanket, finding his skin unusually cold.


“You’re okay,” he murmured in Sawyer’s ear. “Another nightmare, huh?”


Sawyer nodded. He glanced out of the corner of his eye; a teardrop trickled down his cheek, mending with the sweat already there. “I-I’m okay, now.”


“Sure? They’ve been pretty bad, lately. Want to talk about it?”


After letting out a sighed “No”, Sawyer rolled on his side and snuggled close to Fithel’s chest.


Being close made Fithel’s heart swell. He was always there when Sawyer had a nightmare. Always embraced him, soothed his fears, and though Sawyer never liked to talk about his dreams, Fithel made the promise that someday, they’d leave Sawyer alone. It would happen—Sawyer would awaken happy and full of energy, instead of in a panic. Someday.


For now, what always worked was Fithel turning Sawyer’s attention to something else. “Do you remember what day it is?” He brushed his hand lightly upon Sawyer’s arm.


“Hmm, the festival?” 


“Uh huh. The Saint Valentine’s festival.” Fithel chuckled. The annual occasion was one of the king’s favorite events: a masquerade and a buffet with all the nobles in Anscien, as well as the bestowing of some of the country’s most eligible bachelors to unmarried, capable women. “Who do you think is in turn to marry this year?” 


Sawyer tensed. “Not me, I’ll tell you.”


Fithel let out another laugh. “That would be something, wouldn’t it? You are of age, don’t forget. There’s nothing stopping our king from arranging your engagement to some beautiful young lady.”


“You wouldn’t let him, though, would you?” Sawyer jerked his head up, eyes wide with concern.


“Of course I wouldn’t.” Fithel cupped his chin, and eased closer to close the gap between them, nibbling at his lips playfully. “Unless...” 


Sawyer’s throat bobbed. “Unless?”


“She wouldn’t mind sharing,” Fithel whispered against Sawyer’s skin.


Sawyer sat straight up with flushed cheeks, the blanket rolling down his naked chest. “You wouldn’t! After all this time, you’d just let everything go at an instant like that. I can’t believe yo—“


Clasping Sawyer’s hand to interrupt his bickering, Fithel chuckled until his chest hurt. “Calm down, love, I’m only kidding.” Sawyer furrowed his brows. “You should know me better by now. I’d never let you go so easily.”


Sawyer’s expression softened. He slowly laid beside Fithel. “It’s nothing to joke about. It could happen. Any day now, the king will call my name and I’ll be arranged to marr—“


“If it does,” Fithel tightened his grip on Sawyer’s hand. Needing the closeness, he forced Sawyer over on his back and straddled his hips. “I promise to fight the decision.”


He leaned close and pressed his lips to Sawyer’s. A hot moan wafted across Fithel’s cheeks; Sawyer had closed his eyes. Wrapped his arms around Fithel, fingers digging into the small of his back. Fithel loved the feel of his partner, and the way he succumbed—helpless and weak against his jokes, and his ministrations. Sawyer’s length twitched against his, another wanton groan escaped from deep in his throat.


“Hold that thought,” Fithel breathed. “What I really want to do tonight is...” He pounced to his feet, balancing himself on the hard bed above Sawyer. “Dance!”


Sawyer’s eyes drew wide. Fithel jumped to the floor and hummed a slow melody as he held his arms out in front of him, imagining holding Sawyer in his arms. There he danced. The grand room would be dark with dim lanterns sparkling against the buffered marble floor. He’d danced with Sawyer every year during the masquerade; it was what he most looked forward to.


A familiar chuckle interrupted his fun. “Hey,” Sawyer said. “Behind you.”


“What?” Fithel opened his eyes to Sawyer sat on the edge of the bed with a grin, the blanket gathered around his waist. 


He turned around to find the bright morning light shining through the open window on his exposed backside. A grey-haired maid stood below in her stained gown, staring up at him with curiosity, and maybe a little wariness. Fithel put on the biggest smile he could and waved at her. “Hello!” 


The maid lowered her head, he thought he saw her cheeks turn beet red, and continued her trek across the garden.


“You gotta’ love me,” Fithel said excitedly as he turned back toward the bed.

Sawyer shook his head. “Flashing everyone in the kingdom, huh? I should be a little jealous.”


“Are you?” Fithel asked in a husky drawl. “Should I ask someone else to dance tonight, then?”


Sawyer narrowed his eyes. “You wouldn’t.”


“Hmm, I could.” Fithel knelt on the bed, leaning into Sawyer. “Or I could dance with two. It could be fun, couldn’t it? Oh, I know. How about the guard Et’os? He’s quite the dandy, isn’t he? Imagine it, Sawyer, you and me and—“


“Don’t think so,” Sawyer murmured. “I’d never share you. If that Et’os or anyone tried anything, I’d have to slash his throat.”


“So you are jealous.” Fithel brushed his lips playfully against Sawyer’s once more. “Don’t worry. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but you and me...” He pressed into Sawyer, forcing him down on his back, and crawled between his legs. “And this bed.”

---------------------------------------------

Don't forget to read more flash fic today by these fabulous authors:

https://wordsthatburnlikefire.wordpress.com/

https://ameliabishop.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/valentine-flash/

http://www. jenawade.com/blog/

http://velvetpanic2.wordpress.com/








Jan 15, 2015

Lessons learned in 2014

I've been thinking a lot lately (hehe, when do I not?) about the things I'd learned in 2014 and throughout the four years I've been a published author. Now, I've learned a lot. Some of those things are completely random like writing tricks, word usage, editing, etc, etc, but what I'm talking about are the bigger things.

What's bigger than deleting all the filter words from your manuscript? Life stuff, that's what. Especially if they can be used while writing.

I'm usually quite talkative on social media. If you haven't yet, check out my Facebook profile, https://www.facebook.com/AzaleaMoone, where I'll ramble on about plot ideas, writing, and totally random stuff. But otherwise, I'm a pretty private person. One thing I didn't tell anyone, except in private forums of course, was that 2014 was the year I went through a(nother) pretty big depression/anxiety kick.

It was a year of learning, in both real life and my writing life. There were a lot of things I had to learn to put aside and let go, this included parts of my writing. It took almost six months for me to get out of "la-la-land" -- this is what I called it -- and to start enjoying writing again. But I was still learning. I needed to be strong. And I'll always be learning. It's the best thing about this hobby/career that I love.

So what have I learned in 2014?

1. Self-publishing is way too easy: And it's the "easy way out". It requires almost no promotion, unless your willing to take the time, and I wasn't willing last year. But it's still easy to just edit, format, and slap it on Amazon. No sending to review sites, no need to attend FB parties or blog hops. Nothing. Just set it and forget it.

And unless you want to set your career down and forget it, most likely, it won't get you anywhere if you're not willing to do the work of marketing. Writing is fun. It's supposed to be. Promotion is fun if you make it. But I admit, I'm guilty of doing nothing when it comes to promoting new releases last year. Part of it was lack of motivation, part of it was just not knowing what to do.

This year, my goal is to start submitting to publishers again. And doing the work I need to, aka marketing.

2. Be Mindful: or "take things one at a time". This is something I've tried to strive for these last four years and I just gotta keep working on it. It means if you're writing, just write. If you're editing, just edit. If your ready to submit, submit it. Don't think about submitting when you're still writing. And don't worry about edits when it's still out on submission.

This one is tough, because what if you're thinking of publisher X for the story, but you don't know if said publisher will be the best spot? This is my problem. I constantly go back and forth between deciding on which publishers to send to when I'm not even done writing the damn story!

So yes, stay mindful. If your doing the dishes, do the the dishes, don't think about cooking dinner at the same time. FYI: I started practicing mindful meditation and DBT skills last year. Even though I constantly have to remind myself to stay mindful, it's a great thing for anyone to have -- a moment to yourself to just breathe.

3. Don't sweat the small stuff: this is another one I have to constantly strive for, and it goes along with "Be mindful". But basically it means don't worry about what readers are going to think. I'm writing for myself at this moment. Don't worry about the editing process, don't worry about sales, don't worry about this, that, and the other shit you cannot control.

Don't worry about the drama happening over there in the community. Don't worry if a reviewer only gave you three stars.

Don't worry about all these damn filter words in your manuscript, right now. That's what editing is for.

4. My skin is not as thick as I'd like it: and it probably never will be. At least it's toughened up since my first book. *smiles* But it wavers at times, and especially during that time of month and that's okay.

5. Writing is not the most important thing: I used to want to write A LOT of books. Why? It meant more fans and sales. I didn't necessarily write the things I wanted to, though, and for that, I paid. Now you ask, but aren't you happy with the books you've written so far?

Yes and no.The one's I'm not happy with are gone (see previous post about books no longer in the market).

But also, I needed to learn that life is the most important thing in life. I have a family, a house, a cat, everything else that needed attention. And I think I'd paid too much attention to my "fantasy lands" and not enough on myself.

It was a rough year in 2014, but then again, it was the most beautiful year. I adored autumn in Nebraska. I had paid mindful attention to the gorgeous fall leaves and comfortable temperatures, all while attending to real life. And I also found time to attend to my creative side as well, without too much avoidance.

I had found a way to enjoy everything without getting too overwhelmed.

I had done this by focusing on one thing at a time and by staying positive.

2015 is set to be a great year.

Jan 12, 2015

Introducing: The newsletter!

It's been a long time in the making, but I've finally decided to create a newsletter. Now I just need some people to send it to.

If you're interested in staying up to date on my new releases, subscribe now!

What other benefits does it include?

News about sales
Special subscriber only coupon codes
Free safe-for-work (SFW) flash fiction
Work in progress excerpts
And more!

Plus, it's only sent bi-monthly around the 15th, meaning it will not spam your inbox once a month!



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