Sunday, November 22, 2009

Karen White-Owens: Advice to Myself as a Newbie Author

by Shauna Roberts
http://www.ShaunaRoberts.com
http://ShaunaRoberts.blogspot.com


Today’s Guest: Karen White-Owens

Karen White-Owens was born in Detroit, Michigan, and resides in the Motor City with her husband of twenty years. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and master’s of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University (Detroit). In addition to writing, she is a reference librarian at the Mount Clemens Public Library and devotes her free time to teaching essay writing to incoming freshman at Wayne State University. Her newest book is I Can Make You Love Me (Dafina). She is also the author of The Way You Aren’t, Now Until Forever, Love Changes Everything, Circles of Love, As Long As There Is Love, and You Are Loved.


If you could travel back in time to before you were first published, what advice would you give yourself?

Most people who know me are aware that I am a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” extreme fan. “Buffy” was the only show that I watched from the first to the last episode. I must admit that I still mourn the end of the program. In honor of the show and my new release, I Can Make You Love Me, I decided that I would become Karen the Bad Decision Slayer.

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Karen the Bad Decision Slayer

Karen returned home from an evening of patrolling the streets in search of new authors and slaying all supernatural evidence of bad choices and mistakes. In order to not wake her husband, Gary, Karen eased through the open bedroom window. She tiptoed across the room, dropped into a swivel chair at her desk, and flipped the page on the calendar to reveal the next day. Staring at the date, she gasped.

I Can Make You Love Me is due out tomorrow,” Karen muttered to no one in particular. She took a quick gaze at her husband, concerned that she disturbed him. Sighing with relief, she relaxed.

Leaning back in her chair, Karen tossed her weapon, a pink Cross pen, on the desk and glared at the blank computer monitor. An image appeared on the dark screen: a figure creeping silently across the bedroom doorway, against the opposite wall. Despite the hooded black robe it wore, green, hanging skin and a long, upturned nose identified the creature as the demon of self-doubt. Sitting quietly, she watched the creature guardedly while slowly inching her hand to her weapon.

The entity drew closer at a stealthy, steady pace until it stood behind Karen.

She swiveled in her chair, grabbing the weapon as she kicked the demon in the gut. Grunting, it staggered backward, banged into the wall, and then righted itself. No more stealth. Now it rushed forward with a raised arm. The lamplight flashed bright on an eight-inch blade. A second kick to the stomach halted it. The creature collapsed on the floor.

With her pen posed high in the air, ready to strike, Karen hesitated. She lowered her arm to her side and gazed at the black-robed figure. That moment of indecision cost her. The demon’s claw-like nails swung at her legs, missing by inches. She jumped out of the way, gave the demon one final kick, and stabbed it with her weapon.

Bright, shiny aura shimmered over the creature. Self-doubt, eagerness to be published at all cost, and reviews oozed from its body and drifted into the air before slowly fading. Hissing and smoking, the demon dissolved into nothing, leaving behind the black robe. Karen kicked at the now-empty robe with her boot before tossing the garment into the hallway.

Weary from the battle, Karen dropped into her chair and swiveled around to face her desk. Her eye widened. “Whoa!”

Karen kicked away from the smooth desktop surface, putting space between her and the work station. Purple tentacles with pink suction cups cradled the computer CPU as if it were a new infant. The monitor popped on. She watched helplessly as Windows started and began a session of My Computer. A folder titled Promotions opened, and each file was highlighted in blue. One by one the files disappeared from the folder and, she feared, from the hard drive.

“No!” she shouted, pushing the off button on the CPU. When her actions had no effect, she looked around frantically for a way to stop the creature. She dropped her weapon and accidentally knocked over a can of soda. “No! No! No!” Karen cried, righting the can and mopping up the liquid with a tissue.

The tissue dripped soda on the purple skin and ate into it like acid, creating a large orange open wound. Karen grabbed the can and poured the remaining contents onto the creature. Burning and hissing, it roared, crying out in pain, waving its appendage in the air. The monitor went blank. Karen took a quick glance in her husband’s direction. Gary muttered in his sleep and pulled the blanket around his chin.

Karen tossed the empty can at the tentacle hovering in the window. She went to the window and watched the creature make a hasty retreat down the side of the brick of the house. Folding her arms across her chest, she stated softly. “Wow! People always said you could clear your house with cola.” She chuckled. “Now I know.”

Returning to the desk, she noticed Gary’s eyes were opened. The scorn on his face was evident. “Demon?”

Karen shrugged. “I’m not sure what it was.” She answered, returning to the desk and sank into the chair to examine her computer. “It had no place here.”

Nodding, Gary smiled. Oh man! Karen felt her insides melt as she watched him. She knew that look. He reached out his hand and Karen rushed into his embrace. She surrendered to the touch of his lips on hers, enjoying his taste and texture. The air in the room became heavy with sexual tension. He pulled her down on the bed and began to caress her body through her clothes.

“Come to bed,” he asked.

She moaned, loving the feel of him near her. “I can’t.”

Caressing her neck with his lips, he asked, “Why not?”

“I have to finish the edits. They need to go in the mail tomorrow,” Karen explained as she disengaged herself from his embrace and eased from the bed. She returned to her computer and pulled the edits from the desk drawer.

“You’re going to miss out on something really special,” he promised, rubbing the spot where she’d just left.

Karen sighed regretfully. “Mm-hmm.” She remembered the last time she allowed him to sweet talk her into forgetting her work. She paid for it by working nonstop for the next two nights. She gazed at the bed longingly and then shook her head. No. She learned that lesson the hard way. It was better to do a little each day than to let the work pile up until the deadline.

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So, if you read my craziness the moral of the story is if I had it to do again, I’d fight down self-doubt and allow my creative juices to flow. I wouldn’t rush to sign a contract. I’d give myself time to think it through and learn all the facts before I made that decision.

The monster that ate the promotion files is one that I believe is very important. I did not realize how important promotion is to your book life. There are many online resources and places to ask for reviews so that your novel receives maximum exposure.

And lastly, don’t let your family cause you to lose sight of your goal. Yes, you must be attentive to their needs, but your goals are important to you. Learn to balance the two part of your life and you’ll be happier.

Here’s a piece of advice. Don’t lose the love of writing. We do this because we love to write. Always remember that.

Thank you for reading this silly, crazy blog. Check out my website at http://karenwhiteowens.com, read the excerpts from my novels, and e-mail me at karenowens@gmail.com.

I’d love to hear from you. Remember, don’t be a stranger.

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You can learn more about Karen and I Can Make You Love Me at her Website at http://www.karenwhiteowens.com/ and her blog at http://authorkarenwhiteowens.blogspot.com/. Her book is available at your local bookstore as well as online from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Borders.