Monthly Archives: August 2014
In my novel, Chaysing Dreams, Tess, the main character leaves for Stanford. Here’s a little excerpt when her parents drop her off:
When our parents bring us to our apartment to drop Kylie and I off, it’s the strangest feeling. I mean, we’re going to be totally on our own. Eighteen and independent! Nobody is going to be checking up on me. No curfew! No rules! I can do whatever I want. Wow, it feels amazing to have this freedom.
Both of our parents give us really tearful goodbyes. My dad can barely look at me. He just mumbles to be careful under his breath and walks out.
After they leave, Kylie and I just lie on our beds in our apartment, staring at the ceiling. We both have separate bedrooms, but because the two bedrooms are across from each other, we can see one another. Instead of feeling excited, it feels empty. Just that quick, the appeal of “freedom” is gone.
In my own life, my oldest baby just left for college this week. After living under the same roof for the last eighteen years, I now have to get used to not seeing her every day. It feels like I’m just throwing her out there to the world. Is she ready? Did I prepare her enough? Will she be able to problem solve through tough situations? Will she know whom she can trust, or will she be naïve and trust everybody?
Yes, I torture myself with these thoughts every day and night. It’s just a mother’s instincts to protect her baby. If I can keep all of the pain away from my children their entire life, I would. I want nothing more than to protect them and keep them from all the cruelty and evil of the world.
But the practical side talks to me. Yes, I do have conversations with myself… you know, all of those voices in my head. Hence, I’m a writer. Anyway, the practical side tells me that I can’t keep my children in a bubble their whole life. Let’s face it. They have to go out there and learn. The only way they can grow up to be a respectable man or a woman is by experiencing all that life brings—and that includes the good and the bad. Yeah, yeah… blah, blah, blah…
My husband says it’s time to “cut the cord.” He keeps telling me we did our job with our daughter, and we should be proud. She’s attending a great university and isn’t that what all parents want for their children? To succeed? Okay, I’ll give that to him. But can’t she just go to a local college and commute from home?
Well, it’s been three days since Taj has left. And although, I miss her dearly, I know it would be very selfish of me to keep her from experiencing these years at a major university. After all, I attended the same university, and I have to admit, they were the best years of my life.
So, even though my heart feels like somebody is squeezing the life out of it at times, and I desperately try to take deep breaths to get some air into my lungs, I let her go. Ultimately, all a parent really wants is his or her child to be happy. And I have to allow my babies to find their own happiness.
Here’s to you, Taj. May you find your own path in life. And may your path be smooth and full of happy memories.
I know what I will be doing every Saturday night for a while. I’ll be on a date with Jamie Fraser in my family room, glued to the television.
About seven years ago, I read a series called the Outlander Series for my book club. And I fell in love with Jamie. Mr. James Fraser is the main hero of the books, and it’s so hard not to be drawn to him. He is intriguing, intense, sexy, a warrior, a man of principle, a protector, and the list goes on and on…
It’s really difficult to put the books in one particular genre. I’m pretty sure it’s under Historical Fiction. But I think it has a bit of everything in it. The heroine, Claire, falls back into time, and ends up in the middle of a war in Scotland in the 1700’s. And here, she meets a young warrior named Jamie Fraser. Well, let’s just say her life as she knows it will never be the same again.
Why do I bring this up now? All these years later, the series are now being televised on Starz. Trust me, the fans have been waiting impatiently for this moment. However, I was a bit worried. Many times, as a reader, you visualize the characters and the scenes a particular way in you mind. I didn’t want the show to ruin my visuals. For me, it was imperative that they choose the right characters.
Last Saturday, I watched the first episode. Yeah, I’ve seen that same episode two more times since then. I couldn’t be more pleased. They nailed it. Not only did they follow the books, but the characters were perfect, especially Jamie Fraser. Since he is definitely one of my fictional crushes, I would have been very disappointed if they didn’t pick the right actor.
Sam Heughan plays Jamie and boy, did they get it right! He’s intense, sexy, powerful, tall, strong, and even tender. If you haven’t seen these series yet, I strongly recommend it. It has action, history, love, passion, and suspense… I absolutely can’t wait for my date tonight!
In the mean time, I’ll leave you with some beautiful pics of Jamie (Sam Heughan).
Today is my one year anniversary since Chaysing Dreams has been published. Wow! What a ride.
When I first released Chaysing Dreams, it was more out of curiosity to see if anybody would like it. I thought all I had to do was to write the three books and share the story of Tess and Chayse to the world.
Was I wrong! I had no idea that your work doesn’t end once a book is published. I probably average 20-30 hours per week on writing, reading, and marketing. Most of my marketing efforts have been online. I honestly have had no time to go anywhere personally to get the word out except for a few book signing events I attended.
So, now that I’ve been in this “book” world for about a year, I sat back and reflected on all that I’ve accomplished.
- I have my own website! jalpawilliby.com I try to post something weekly if possible. But who would have thought that I was going to have my own website?
- I now have a Facebook page, twitter, and I just started Pinterest. Believe it or not, I have over a thousand followers on both Facebook and Twitter. Before all this, I had no knowledge of social media. I was forced to learn a lot—and you know what? I’m glad I did because let’s face it. The world is changing… and like it or not, social media is not going anywhere any time soon.
- I’ve got three trailers out on You Tube for Chaysing Dreams. Two are official trailers and one is a fan made trailer. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a very visual person. Watching trailers is kind of like watching the miniature version of your book.
- Chaysing Dreams was on the Amazon best seller list several times. Here’s a picture when Chaysing Dreams was ranked just three behind Stephen King.
- It received the five star seal from Readers’ Favorite. Three different reviewers read the book and all three gave it five stars. When those reviews came back, it felt pretty damn good.
- As of date, Chaysing Dreams has sold 452 copies (includes the paperback and the eBooks) No, it’s not thousands or anything. But to be honest, I was just expecting some close friends and family to buy it. The fact that strangers are buying it and liking it makes it all worthwhile.
- It has won “Book of The Month” recognition from Book Review Depot. This group is full of some amazing authors. So, I felt pretty awesome to be voted by them.
- More recently, it is a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award finalist in three categories. (Romance General, Romance Suspense, and Fiction Chick Lit). For me, this is completely not the type of recognition I would have expected. I know it’s tough to even be a finalist for these types of awards. If I win any medals from this contest, I’m going to Miami to accept my prize!
- I have 68 reviews on Amazon (4.8 out of 5 ratings)… I have 55 five star reviews, 11 four star reviews, 1 three star, and 1 one star. I realize that not everybody’s going to LOVE what I wrote- that’s life. But overall, not bad, right?
- The best part of this experience: I have met some pretty cool people. I’ve gotten some loyal fans who contact me regarding my books. I’ve also met some great authors who are more than willing to share their experience and knowledge.
So for now, I’m going to keep on moving forward. It may be at a slow pace, but it’s better than standing still. I’m just glad that I had enough courage to put something out there, not knowing how it was going to be received. Trust me, that’s a very intimidating feeling… you never know if the reviews will be positive or negative.
One year! I made it through one year! Go me!
For me, every bit matters. Every reader matters. Every review matters. Every recognition matters.
I’ll keep taking the baby steps because you know what? Every step matters.
So now that I’ve been in the “literary world” for about a year, I’ve been trying to research on what the well-established authors are recommending.
The bottom line? Most say that a lot of it is luck. Not what I wanted to hear, but it’s probably reality.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have goals to help you get noticed… the advice that most give is to write more. Basically, the more books you have out there, the more the chances are of you getting noticed. Some indie authors have over forty books out there.
Forty books? I’ve got two books out right now. It’s taking me about nine months to get a book published (writing the story, going over it a thousand times, sending it to the editor, going over it again another thousand times after getting it back, and sending it to publish). So that means it would probably take another thirty-five years or so to write thirty-eight books. Yeah, not going to happen.
I work full time and there’s just not enough time. I literally come home every evening and work on marketing and writing. I have to put in at least couple of hours of writing every night. I go to sleep at 1:00AM and wake up at 6:30AM to get ready for my day job. But, if I don’t stay focused on my goal, I’ll never get any books done.
I just read another author say that you should put in at least 10,000 hours into your writing before you can even assess how successful you are. Wow! That’s a lot of hours.
So, are these goals completely unrealistic for me? Absolutely. But guess what? I’m focusing on the little accomplishments. I enjoy it when I can give some readers a bit of escape from the craziness of the world. I like getting recognized by receiving various recognitions/awards (ie Readers’ Favorite Book Contest- both books are finalists in several categories; both have been Amazon best sellers in several categories; both have received numerous five star reviews). I especially love it when I see an expected review posted on Amazon. So, I’ll keep working hard because I love to write and create stories from this crazy head of mine. It’s called self-fulfillment.
Each of you authors out there should really look within yourselves and figure out what your individual goals are. Make sure they are realistic goals. If not, you’ll get discouraged. And help one another out. If you have a blog, host another author or post the review for their book on your site after you’ve read it.
My goals are simple right now:
- Complete this last book of the trilogy and make it the best that I can possibly make it.
- Get more exposures through google search when my name is googled.
- Get more reviews for my books.
- Keep up with all my social media and hope that helps to get more exposure. (I’ve got Facebook, twitter, google+, Pinterest)
- Try to blog at least once a week.
- Continue to learn more opportunities on what works and what doesn’t.
- After I’m done with the trilogy, if another idea of a story pops into my mind, well, I guess I’ll just have to grab my lap top again. 😉
I’m okay with baby steps.
If anybody feels like helping me reach any of the above goals, please read the books and leave me a review. Trust me, the reviews are priceless! Both Chaysing Dreams and Chaysing Memories are available on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Jalpa-Williby/e/B00EN2ZDCQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
A year ago today, I lost my special friend. There’s not a day that passes without me thinking about you, buddy. Thanks for all the wonderful memories…
Fly Free My Friend
Your smile, your laugh,
Your unconditional love…
Your handshakes, your hugs,
Your pride in Marklund…
Your presence, your speeches,
Your desire to please…
Your tours, your charm,
Your watch, so nobody comes to harm…
Your playfulness, your role playing,
Your loyal friendship…
Your leadership, the Marklund Mayor,
Your care for the others…
Your loving eyes, your helping hand,
Your need to take a stand…
Missing you now and always…
Forever in our hearts you’ll stay…
Although words can’t describe the pain,
We know it’s time, it’s time to let you go…
A beautiful heart, a beautiful soul,
Fly free my friend…