Professional Review!

Hey everybody!

It’s been a while since I last updated. A LOT of stuff has been going on…

*ehem.

BUT.

Back in April 2020, I entered the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. They recently announced the winners and runner-ups. I didn’t win or place, but I got my commentary back and I thought it was really great! So I wanted to post it. 🙂

(Scale of 1-5, 5 being outstanding, 1 needing improvement)

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 4

Character Appeal and Development: 4

Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary: This cover hooked me from the start, as did the blurb on the back. I think the production of this cover design and the inside of the book is well executed and the cover art especially will hook the right readers for this story. I really enjoy this type of fiction in which the setting and characters are at once so relatable and similar, and yet something is very, very, askew in their situations so that you know it’s a bit of a problematic situation for them! While this type of alternate America story might be a little close-hitting to the obscurities of our current reality, I didn’t mind reading it and thought it was interesting and clever in the way the plot turns and twists. I would have liked a bit more character development throughout the plot, and to see a bit more of the city and world fleshed out, but I thought the idea of this book was quite interesting. There were a handful of fun moments where things took a turn I was not expecting and I was surprised at how some of the characters responded but in a good way. I like being surprised in that way by stories like these. It was great fun!

Here’s a link to my book if you’re interested: The Underground Dogs by J.C.D. Kerwin

Now I hope to really get moving on completing my other space opera novel and some short stories I have milling around in my head. I haven’t written in a while so I really want to. Maybe this is some motivation I need!

🙂

Spring in My Step

Albany-Bench-1

Hello everybody! It’s springtime here in NY!

I have been gone for quite a few months. Just work and things. Kinda haven’t felt the very best in terms of being confident about my writing, either.

It seems now is a perfect time to write, read, and talk about writing with what’s going on in the world. How are you all doing with COVID-19 and being isolated? M and I have been doing well; we are watching lots of old movies and going for walks. I thought this would be a great time for me to break my writer’s block, but I haven’t done that as of yet, and we’re starting week 7. I have been reading, though, which I’m happy about.

I used to have my nose stuck in a book all the time growing up. I kinda stopped reading as I got older. Now I’ve gotten back into it. I’m glad. I love reading. I’ve gone through 4 or 5 books so far. Right now, I’m currently reading Raven Black by Ann Cleeves. It’s a mystery thriller. I’m liking mysteries right now.

I was scrolling through Facebook last week and I came across a competition that the Writer’s Digest is holding. It is the Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards. I caught it just in time; the deadline for submitting work is May 1. It’s an expensive entry fee, but I talked to M and we decided I should go for it! So I sent in The Underground Dogs. I’m not holding my breath, but I’m hoping for honorable mention!

Speaking of The Underground Dogs, sales have been okay. It seems they’ve slowed down. I thought they might pick up due to everyone being stuck at home. I might have to change my ad strategy. It’s a double-edged sword; I hate having to pay for ads because it gets expensive, but it’s the only way to get people to find my book on Amazon. So far, 12 people have reviewed it and I have a 4.5 star rating. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I encourage you to go get it. Its dystopian fascist themes are reminiscent of what’s going on in today’s world. It has some thrills and humor, too. I am sure you’d all enjoy it!

I also discovered people are rating and talking about The Underground Dogs on goodreads. I had no idea! It has a 4.33 rating on there! And there are 8 people who are currently reading it or want to read it. How amazing is that? It made my day! I feel somewhat ignorant and naive I completely overlooked goodreads. It seems like readers very much like that site to talk about and rate books. I will have to make an author profile over there. If you have a goodreads account and have read The Underground Dogs, please consider rating and reviewing it there! I’d be very appreciative.

So, because of those things (Writer’s Digest competition and ratings), I feel more motivated to work on my novels and start writing again. My psych and M have been telling me to “just do it” and write something. It is much easier said than done, of course. I am really going to try though. I have set myself a somewhat lofty goal: I want to self-publish (with Amazon) 4 more books before I am 40. Without telling you how old I am, know this is doable, but ambitious. BUT! This also means I have to move my butt, stop feeling sorry for myself, and actually WRITE! I am hoping to do so ASAP.

I am also thinking about adding a section to my website here about self-publishing. I am thinking of putting together some FAQs and How To’s. There is so much information out there and I figured out a lot of stuff for myself. I think I’ll put together tips and tricks in one spot to help others that have no idea where to go.

Well, that’s what is going on with me. Let me know what you all have been up to!

-JCDK

Failure

writer-depressed

So it’s NANOWRIMO…. Every year I have the best intention to write every day and complete a lot of writing work. And every year I fail horribly.

I tried really hard this year but as each day went by, this giant wall just hit me. I can’t write. I haven’t been able to write for a long time. It seems like it’s been this way since I finished The Underground Dogs.

I thought I broke the block the other day when I came up with a new plot for one of the novels I have going on. It doesn’t seem like it, though. I still can’t seem to write anything of the story.

I can’t seem to write anything at all.

I don’t know why, really. I think some of it is that I feel disappointed that The Underground Dogs isn’t selling as much as I hoped it would, so I have this feeling of “What’s the point of writing anything if no one is going to read it?” Another part of me just always thinks my stuff is crap, and then yet another part of me is so let down at the fact I’m a tiny drop in an ocean of other “writers” trying to get their words out there. (I wonder how many of them are really storytellers though?)

I just don’t know what to do. I just hope I can force myself to sit down and write something soon. It’s making me very sad and I think it’s just making my depression worse and worse…..