Wednesday, August 1, 2018

8 Questions You Should Ask Before Making Magic & IWSG

Do you ever wish you could snap your fingers and something awesome would happen?

Me too, but that's not how life works. For every action there is a reaction. I think often we just want things to work out, because we wish them to--not because we put in the work necessary to see success. Magic is like that. We want something for nothing.

But there are always consequences--both bad and good, so before you jump into anything, ask these 9, not 8, careful questions:

1. Have I made a good plan of execution? 
(It's best to think around our efforts before jumping in full storm.)

2, Have I examined my surroundings and prepared for...possible disaster?
(You can plan all you like, but no man is an island. Your choices will affect those around you.)

3. Have I asked for outside help/feedback to avoid frustration over stupid/obvious mistakes?
(Nose against the wallpaper syndrome. We all experience it.)

4. Am I prepared to try again if I utterly fail?
(Failure is the best teacher.)

5. Am I ready for the backlash (feedback) that is guaranteed to blow me over (good or bad)?
(No part of life happens in a vacuum. We have to realize that when we make a choice, we make ourselves vulnerable to the response. We can't let that part taint or damage us. It goes with the territory.)

6. Am I prepared to repurpose my efforts if necessary? 
(We may find what we want isn't really what we want, but leads us to something unexpected and wonderful. Or it may just teach us a lesson we needed to learn.)

7. Are there influences outside my power that I've not accounted for?
(Stuff happens. When failure occurs, because it always does on the path to success, don't let it break you.)

8. Am I documenting the steps leading to success?
(If you want to recreate an amazing cake, you keep the recipe. Recording how you come to your successes is often as important as the successes themselves.)

9. Am I willing to abandon ship if it doesn't work out?
(There is a point at which the cost of an adventure is too much--emotionally, physically, financially. Do you have a hard walk-away trigger?)

This has been an answer to the IWSG question for the month: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

Huge thanks for hosting
Alex Cavanaugh
Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, 
Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery!

Last month Ellen Jacobson shared MURDER AT THE MARINA along with two truths and one lie. Anyone who guessed was entered to win an eBook.

The game:

1. I once dressed up as Lt. Uhura from Star Trek for a scifi/fantasy convention.
2. I refuse to eat anything that has a wooden stick in the middle, like popsicles.  
3. I'm allergic to tetanus shots and try to avoid stepping on rusty nails at all costs. 

The lie: #1. From Ellen: I've never been to a scifi/fantasy convention. If I had, I don't think I'd look good in one of those short skirts that the women in the original Star Trek series wore, so I probably would have dressed up as a tribble instead. For some reason, the thought of putting a wooden stick in my mouth freaks me out. Bad childhood experience with a tongue depressor, maybe? If I do have a Popsicle, I eat all around the edges and throw the middle part away. I had a bad reaction to a tetanus shot as a child and haven't had one since.

And the winner is:


Congrats, Cathrina!

And speaking of magic, how about a magical story? Check it out:

Jasmyn blames herself for her baby sister's death, and she's confident her family blames her too. Instead of returning home, Jasmyn joins her coven to focus on developing her grandmother's magic. Her parents' grief is too much to bear, as is a home without Katarina. 

Logan understands Jasmyn's pain and respects her desire to live apart, but when he finds a way to undo Katarina’s death, he goes in search of his estranged sister. But his mission is interrupted -- an enemy clan of sorcerers claims Logan as one of their own, and a mysterious bond of an ancient brotherhood takes hold of him. 

When an ancient rivalry reawakens between Logan's clan and Jasmyn’s coven, the violence it unearths threatens all they hold dear. And when opposing magical forces pull at the strands holding them together, even the tightest family bonds can break. 

Buy your copy now on Amazon.

Ready to meet the author?

Tanya is a dreamer, writer, intergalactic superhero, and a mother of two little aliens posing as human children. Whenever she's not attending a piano lesson, softball game, soccer match, or jiu-jitsu event, she writes novels and short stories. You might find her running a 5K in the morning, drinking a Java Chip Frap in the middle of the day, or taking long walks in North Bergen in search of freshly baked bread and café con leche. You can find her other work at

You might run across Tanya anywhere enjoying an excellent Asiago sliced thin with fig spread on a ritz cracker.

Tanya gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. If you guess the lie, right or wrong, you will be entered to win the 2 eBooks of the THE FAMILY RELICS series(Open internationally.) DON'T HAVE A BLOGGER ACCOUNT OR AN EMAIL ON YOUR PROFILE? No problem. EMAIL to enter.

You have until Tuesday, September 4 at 2 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on September 5th, 8 a.m. EDT.

1. I drink white vinegar straight from the bottle. 
2. I have dozens of analog clocks around my house. 
3. I could never build anything "cool" with LEGOs.

So sleuths, which is the lie? What important lessons have you learned in your journey for success? Have you met Tanya? Do you read paranormal or fantasy?


  1. Some of those look like someone really got hurt...
    I'm going to guess number three.

  2. Oh my gosh, that shelf! I love these. ^_^ Especially that ladle one. I like magic. Documenting is good in case of failure, too. So the same mistakes aren't repeated over and over.

    I'm inclined to say the first is the lie, because WHY? But then why would anyone even say that, so I'm going with #3.

  3. Love the gifs and the questions got me thinking. Not bad for a blog post--if you know what I mean. Well done. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  4. You always manage to find the best gifs! All of your advice is definitely things to keep on one's mind for pretty much all ventures.

  5. So true. Great list (and great gifs).

    Okay, so I really, really want the lie to be #1. And since I'm terrible at guessing the lie, I'll make that my guess.

  6. I'm so psyched right now!!! I never win anything. Thank you!!!!

    Loving your post and gif's today, Crystal. Great advice!

  7. Those are great looking covers that Tanya has! I'm going to go with #1 as the lie.

  8. I love your No man is an island. So true. I also like the way you have the theme for this month. Great job.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  9. Re: 9 - I don't know that I have a hard walk-away trigger, but I am getting better at listening to my gut, realizing it's best to let some thing go in order to make room for new things, for better things. :)

  10. Those are great questions to ask.

  11. Prepared to repurpose - that is really good advice.

    I'll say the first is the lie because I can't imagine drinking it!

  12. Great advice - love the one about repurposing! :)

  13. Very interesting questions. Gives me something to think about.
    I think 3 is the lie.
    Have a good rest of the week.

  14. Excellent list of things to think about. Yes, and the hard trigger to walk away if it doesn't work out. Not everyone would walk away. But we should know when to.

  15. oohhh, walking away? Now that's a hard one for me. Once I get my claws into something, I mean once I decide to choose a path haha, it's hard to change my mind and jump ship :)


  16. Great advise, and the gifs... omg! #8 seems important and I wish I had done a better job at it. My wild guess at the lie is #2.

  17. Yes, for every action there is a reaction!

    Have a great August.

    All the best Jan

  18. Number 1 is the lie (even though my hubby does that too, I still shudder... lol)

  19. I love your post and how creative it was as well as true.

  20. Thanks for hosting me Crystal! You rock!

    And so do your GIFs! :-D

  21. #9 intrigues me. I don't think I've ever seen anyone state that. Giving up sounds like failure. But some people are not cut out to be writers. Hope and eagerness can only stretch so far.

  22. Great list of advice.

    I am saying the lie is #1.

  23. Great list of questions! #7 is especially something I like to keep at the forefront of my mind, due to how fickle life can be!

  24. I like the spoon trick, but the rest of those look scary. Good advice though.
    I think the lie is #1.

  25. Excellent GIFs - I fell into the pit of chuckling at them not learning the wise lessons.

  26. I especially like the idea of making a specific plan to achieve your goals. For a long time I had the vague idea that I wanted to write a novel and a memoir, but I didn't make specific plans or goals; that made it harder for me to get the work done. I've been following several people on Instagram and YouTube who make those beautiful bullet journals, and although I don't have the discipline or artistic creativity to make a bullet journal like that, it did inspire me to make my own specific plans and goals for each day. It makes me more motivated to cross off specific items on my to-do list, even if they're something small, like come up with a new name for my main character.

  27. Great questions to ask yourself before beginning a project. But never be afraid to jump in with both feet if something is calling you so strongly you can't let it go. Sometimes, that's where the magic happens.

  28. Awesome list of questions. No 1 could be the lie as I tried it once but *shudder*

  29. You're some kinda smart, kiddo. All of your tips are spot-on, and the pics to go with them are, too. (And not just for writers.)

    Hmmm, I'll pick #3 as the fib this month. Drinking vinegar straight from the bottle may sound a tad unusual, though. (I use a SPOON! HA)

  30. Rejection is the best teacher, totally agree! Awesome gifs and questions.

  31. Why do some authors write those short texts about themselves trying to look uber cool unaware that they actually make them ridiculous, silly and not really professional?

  32. Excellent advice for magic, baking, and writing. Also, you are spot on about cheese.

  33. Okay, going with one for the lie.

    'Lo, Crystal:)

  34. Loved the gifs in this one. Perfect! @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  35. That baby in #8 is priceless! Talk about making magic.

    I'm going with #3 as the lie. Everyone can make something cool from Legos.

  36. Great post about Magic and what initial expectations might be as writers begin. I like number six, and Ellen's answers are really fun insights to who she is. I think I'm going with lie number 3. Kids help you see magic in all things, even legos :)

  37. Great advice. Your GIFS are awesome!
    With regards to no 8....documenting the steps leading to success? It's a great idea... a memoir-in-the-making.
    Seems like memoirs are gaining popularity.

  38. Love the GIFS that go with the tips. :)

    I am guessing the lie is 3. Love the covers- they look awesome together.

  39. Excellent post. Really good list for people to follow.
    I'm always impressed with your ability to find authors for the game. That's awesome.
    I'll say 3 is the lie.

  40. Great tips. I think question #9 is the most important. Sometimes you put in all of your work, time, and effort and for whatever reason it just doesn't work out. Finding that ending place is one of the hardest things to do.

  41. I'll go with 1 as the lie. Who'd want to drink white vinegar straight out of the bottle?

    Good things to think about in your post!

  42. I was distracted by the GIFs more than anything. lol I just kept laughing, and then wondering about that kid that got crushed by a TV, that a real cat or rabbit or whatever in the box he hits with a baseball bat? *GASP*

  43. I'm always big on prompting others to get feedback. As much as humanly possible. Open one's self up to criticism is so important, but learning how to give criticism on a regular basis is also a great way to become a better writer.

  44. Definitely wish I could just snap my fingers sometimes. But it makes earning it all the more satisfying. Still, it would be nice sometimes if everything wasn't quite so hard:)

  45. Those GIFs were so good, I almost didn't read the words. I want the magic, but am usually prepared to work for it.

  46. That first pic is funny. We all do well to learn from our mistakes.

  47. Yes, learning from our own experiences and mistakes is good for us to be a better writer or a better person.

  48. Congratulations to Cathrina Constantine!

  49. HA! Those clips made me laugh (and snort)... and I may have to try out that trick with the ladle :)


Hit me with your cheese!