Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guest Blogger Denise Tompkins - Finding Faith in Murky Waters

I love this image. Every time I see it, it makes me smile. Seriously, who can’t relate to this? Even when we know who we are and we know what we’re capable of, we still often reach for our support items, whether it’s a pair of control top pantyhose to rock that little black dress, or snorkeling gear for swimming lessons. Opposite extremes, obviously, but it’s all support gear nonetheless.

I felt this way when I started to write. I clung to my support items with white-knuckled fury. No one was taking away my thesaurus, laptop, notepad, pen, calculator, post-its, spiral notebook, highlighters, paperclips…you get the picture. Anything I might need was typically within arm’s reach. After all, I didn’t want to lose the rhythm of the writing because I might need a specific shade of fuscia to highlight my heroine’s backstory placement, right? We’re talking real threat here.

Yeah, not so much. What frightened me was the threat that I might not be as good at writing as I needed to be, and one of the multitude of tools available to me (Swingline stapler, anyone?) might have made the difference between my success and my failure. And there, that last word, was my fear manifested. Failure. I struggled mightily with it, racing ahead of it as hard as I could, feeling as if it was dogging every step I took. I dodged left, it followed. I wove off to the right, it was there.

Then came The Moment of Clarity. Someone very near and dear to me had watched me weaving this erratic pattern as I tried to make my way through the veritable field of landmines that every new author faces. She stopped me and said, “What’s the worst that could happen?” I shuddered. “I’ll fail.” She smiled and I swear the light of Heaven shone down on her head when she asked, “According to whom?”

This wise woman had seen all along that the only thing dogging my heels had been my shadow. In the simplest terms, I was running myself to ground because, let’s face it, you can never outrun your shadow. So no matter where I went, my shadow was there and it carried with it the fear of failure. Failure according to whom? Me. With this knowledge, I became an entirely different person. I put away all of the crazy accessories of my writing life and pared it down to the bare essentials: computer, notepad, pen and caffeine. (What? Caffeine is as critical as a QWERTY keyboard!) I changed my own perception of failure and began to work toward my goal of publication with a different mindset. I redefined my concept of success and made it more reasonable. It broke down to this:

If I’m happy, I’m a success.

That’s it. That’s what drives me to write like mad. It makes me happy. That simple goal allowed me to put away the majority of the insecurities and simply focus on telling the story. And when I got to that point, when I allowed personal success to take precedence over everything else, publication followed. It may not always work like that, but for me? It did. Here’s hoping you find that same level of happiness in your writing and reading.

For a chance to win a Kobo reader, leather cover and a copy of my new release, Wrath, pre-loaded, all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog in the comment section. That’s it. No bells to ring, whistles to blow or hoops to jump through. Winner will be randomly chosen from comments on this blog and my personal blog at www.denisetompkins.net.

The nitty-gritty: Must be 18 years old or older to enter. Winner will be selected using Random.org. Internatioanl shipping is offered. Any taxes, import or otherwise, are the responsibility of the winner. No exchanges, credits or cash value replacement. Package will be shipped insured with the most reasonably priced carrier. Any claims for non-delivery must be filed with that carrier. Author assumes no liability.


Haunted by personal betrayal, stalked by a murderer
and taunted by destiny. Finding justice—not
to mention a little faith—has never been so hard.

A murderer is terrorizing the streets of London, targeting women who look suspiciously like Maddy. Under the mantle of darkness, the killer attacks his victims from behind, severing their heads with startling efficiency and single-minded brutality. A single gold coin is left at the scene of every crime, buried in the neck of each victim. Nothing adds up, and the deeper Maddy gets into the investigation, the more she learns that there are hostile eyes in every faction—some malicious, others murderous.

Amid her struggles to stop a seemingly unstoppable killer, Maddy learns that dreams are far too fragile to juggle. Her newfound love is crumbling around her under the burdens of guilt and blame, and where one man abandons her, another is slated by the gods to take his place. Defiant, Maddy finds her struggles with free will versus destiny have only just begun.

Figuring out whom she should trust, and when, will force Maddy to reassess her alliances…and reaffirm her fragile mortality.

Warning: Contains Scottish and Irish brogues, heads that—literally—roll, seriously random acts of violence, heartbreak and hope, explicit m/f sex in a variety of locations, a voyeuristic vampire and one dinner table that will never be the same.

Denise Tompkins lives in the heart of the South where the neighbors still know your name, all food forms are considered fry-able and bugs die only to be reincarnated in aggressive, blood-craving triplicate.

Thrilled to finally live somewhere that can boast 3 ½ seasons (winter’s only noticeable because the trees are naked), her favorite season is definitely fall. It’s the time of year when the gardens are just about to pass into winter’s brief silence, and the leaves are out to prove that nature is the most brilliant artist of all.

A life-long voracious reader, Denise has three favorite authors. Why three? Because favorite authors are like chips: a person can’t have just one. Her little house was so overrun with books last year that her darling husband bought her an e-reader out of self-preservation. He was (legitimately) afraid she might begin throwing out pots and pans to make room for more books, and he didn’t want to starve.
You can find out more about Denise by following her on Twitter (@DeniseJTompkins) or fanning her on Facebook.


Pauline Allan said...

Great information! I agree. Once everything is stripped away it simply boils down to the writing. If the inspiration isn't there or the ability to get the story onto paper is missing, there's no amount of desk top fancy that will take the place of just putting the time in on writing a good story. Happiness does equal success.

Jennifer said...

Wonderful post, Denise! Welcome to the Nine Naughty Novelists and may you keep finding happiness in your writing. What more could any of us wish for?

Juniper Bell said...

I love your attitude! Thanks for this post, and thanks for visiting the Nine Naughty Novelists. Good luck with WRATH, it sounds great!

Leni said...

It is so true that when you give away what you do not need you will in turn get what you want. Even knowing that it is difficult to let go of things :) One thing that does help me is to remember that someone else could use what I am not.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Welcome to the Naughty Nine Denise! Such a good reminder about what success really is, and why we do this!

Denise Tompkins said...

Thank you guys for such a wonderfully warm welcome! I love writing--from actually sitting down to write, to research, to talking to readers and writers about why they love it like they do--every aspect of writing gives me a warm happy.

I hope that the Nine Naughty Novelists will have me back again. You guys have been the best! And your readers are beyond awesome! Good luck to everyone who commented. You've been entered to win the e-reader and cover + Wrath!


kog said...

I know I'm late - and that's fine if I missed the contest entry.

I had to say that I loved this post Denise. I think your definition of success is a very, very good definition. And I think that applies to many areas of life, not just writing. I am going to keep this in my consciousness to try and relieve some of the anxiety I have daily.

Thank you.