The Book That Almost Broke Me

I did it.

I wrote another book.

Ok, in fairness, I wrote another manuscript. The book part will be a few weeks longer yet as it still needs to go through early reads, professional edits, and formatting. But I wrote another book.

So what, you might be saying. You’re a writer — a novelist — that’s what you’re supposed to do. I thought so too until I tried to write this one.

However, this time was different from the rest.

Perhaps it was the fact that it is the final book in my science fiction trilogy. It was as if my characters refused to share their story with me, knowing it likely was their last.

Perhaps it was the new house or the new job. Maybe my brain needed its old combination of background and routine to get into its groove.

Perhaps it was my family. The kids are getting older now. I am unfortunately finding they aren’t as willing to go to bed before the sun completely sets, just because their mom needs to hit her daily word count. Nor have our weekend become any less full.

Perhaps it was simply me.

amuse yourself with more writer problem memes at https://writerblueprint.com/writing-memes/

I should have finished this manuscript in February. That was my intent. I would take a break from the blog for the holidays and focus, instead, entirely on it. When February passed, I said, eh, it’s a short month anyway, I’m not that far behind.

Weeks stretched into months and still the most glorious words in the writer’s language, ‘the end’ continued to elude me.

I wrote during this time. Don’t get me wrong, but it was a steaming pile of word turd mixed with verbal vomit left behind to fill a blank page and little more. Thanks for that imagery, you might be thinking. Just be glad you weren’t the one expected to clean it up.

This is all to say, I might be late, but I’m still here.

I set a goal — I missed it — but I didn’t let a self-imposed deadline stop me.

Instead, I found a way to finish what I started.

I wrote a book.


My manuscript is off in beta reads, but I am looking forward to seeing it on the shelves soon. Until then, I thought I would share its initial description:

Side effects may vary.

Juliane’s woken to a world she barely recognizes with no memory of the days leading up to her time in cryogenic stasis. Plagued by guilt, Stephen longs to sleep without being haunted by the faces of those he’s lost. Both are seeking more than answers.

Meanwhile, the defeat of the Watch has created an opportunity for a new world order to step in and take power. On one side, there are the Sorcerers, a group of super-humans whose abilities come at a terrible price. On the other—Beastmen, genetically modified individuals lead by one of the people responsible for the plague and economic collapse starting it all.

Juliane is on a mission to restore her legacy.

Stephen is out to save his soul.

Can either stop the upcoming war before it destroys what’s left of humankind? In this struggle for survival of the fittest, they may have to find a way to save themselves first.

You can find the first two books in the series here:

Book 1: The Fair & Foul – https://books2read.com/u/mKJePy

Book 2: The Watch & Wand – https://books2read.com/u/mYgJ9G

Or you can learn more about my other books by visiting my books page.

Getting Started: Writer Problems Edition

Why do so many people who talk about one day writing a book fail?

Because finding those first words to mark on an otherwise empty page is a thousand times tougher to do when you decide this time you are going to start getting serious. Instead of writing anything, you simply sit there, staring at a white screen or a blank sheet of paper until you either get too frustrated, bored or otherwise called away by the real world. It can be brutal.

It’s not quite as hard as it is to stick with a novel weeks and weeks later when you’ve reached that saggy center typically devoted to world building, supporting character development or introducing the occasional red herrings, and all you want to do is move on to the next big idea, but pretty darn close.

But back to the empty page.

One of the reasons it is so difficult to get started is that many writers, myself included, feel pressure to shine with the very first line. There are a hundred, gazillion articles and pieces of advice out there (that’s likely an underestimate) on what you should do or not do when opening your story.

Don’t start with your character waking from a dream.

Do start with a flashy first hook of a line that will make the reader want to continue.

Failure to follow these rules, or open your story right will cost you, readers. credibility, sales. The love and respect of your family (who you suspect secretly wish you’d abandon this whole writing for a living dream and focus your effort on something more realistic – like getting the kids to school on time or paying bills). So, there’s no pressure to get it right or anything.

It took me a couple of tries, but eventually, I figured out a trick for getting over this fear –

Write the ABCs. Write your grocery list. Write absolute garbage. Just write something. I’ve found that words are like guests at a party. No one wants to be the first on a dance floor, but once one or two are out there and appear not to have a care in the world, the rest will follow.

That being said, I am now faced with an entirely new and unexpected writer problem.

You see, one of the benefits of my nice shiny new home is the fact I now have my own dedicated office where I can do all sorts of writerly things rather than force-fitting a forty to sixty-hour working week into a two-foot by two-foot square, partitioned from a larger room. The drawback is I haven’t had a clue what to do with all this extra space. It’s like the blank page staring at me, and I’m having a difficult time knowing where to get started.

The desk my other half so painstakingly made for me was built into the walls of our last place. Meaning, I am working with a relatively blank slate at the moment as far as furnishing goes. More specifically, I’m working off a card table.

Oh, and the zero key is still missing. Yes, its nothing but the best for me.

Logically, I know I solving at least one of those problems should be easy. I just have to find a desk I like and hope that the rest of the room’s design will soon follow. However, this is proving to be no simple task. It needs to be wide, but not too wide, as I want to be able to walk around it. With storage for my style guide and other tools, and I want it to be made of wood, but not the manufactured wood that falls apart the second you try to move it.

In short, I want it to be perfect. Hence, here I am, weeks later, paralyzed by indecision, still writing out the word zero and trying not to jostle the surface too much so as not to knock my coffee over. Even so, I’ve somehow managed to write close to 70K words on my latest work in progress (the third and final book of my Project Gene Assist series).

Part of me now worries changing my setup now will upset the creative muse (she is a fickle thing indeed), while another part is pretty sure I would be further along if I’d made a decision sooner. In either case, while I still have a long way left to go before I can say I am finished with this one, it’s, at least, a start. And the start is the hardest part indeed.

An Interview with Allie Potts via Smashwords

To celebrate the release of my latest novel, An Uncertain Confidence (now on sale at several retailer sites), I ventured over to Smashwords where they were kind enough to put together an interview for me.

allie potts headshot

Describe your desk
I write on a number of surfaces which have varying degrees of clutter. Too much clutter and I become distracted by the mess. Too little clutter however immediately puts me on edge. What if I make a mess? Where did I place my notes?
When did you first start writing?
I’ve been writing off and on since early childhood, though those early attempts will never see the light of day. I didn’t get really serious about writing until 2013 when I told myself it was time I stopped talking about writing a novel one day and actually tried doing it.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
The story picks up five years after my first book, An Uncertain Faith. Charlotte is following her dreams, however, living happily ever after is not as easy as it sounds. There is a saying that when you do something you love, you never work another day in your life when in reality the opposite is often true. We wind up working harder when it is our passion. Not less. Unfortunately, because it is our passion, we sometimes forget that others aren’t quite as devoted to our dreams as we are.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Time for the most part – it became very clear to me how quickly life can change, and how it often does so without warning. I decided I wanted to publish on my own schedule rather than wait for it to be convenient for someone else.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Few things beat holding the novel you’ve spent months on in your hand when it is finally published (aside from holding your real-life children), however in terms of writing overall I believe my greatest joy was the day I received my first piece of fan mail telling me how my words had mattered to them. Writing itself can sometimes feel like a lonely process, a letter like that reminds you it is anything but.
What do your fans mean to you?
I am deeply honored and yet at the same time terrified whenever anyone tells me they have read one of my books. Part of me hopes that is always the case. I am grateful to every single person who has taken a chance on me, even if it turned out my writing and their tastes weren’t a match.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on the third book in my science fiction, Project Gene Assist series. It’s currently a mess of disjointed scenes mixed with word vomit, but experience has taught me that it will eventually get to a point worth sharing.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
If the sound of my kids’ feet running down the hall or my dog hitting the bedroom door as she follows them doesn’t do it, an annoying alarm clock and the promise of a hot cup of coffee or tea certainly helps.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Most of the time, if I am not writing or otherwise working, I am picking up after my kids, doing the dishes, or getting lunches prepared. But during those rare, rare moments I am not wearing my ‘mom’ hat, I’m usually reading, watching a movie, or going for a walk around the neighborhood.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I am highly susceptible to suggestion when it comes to ebooks so friendly recommendations go a long way, but I also make use of the public library, support other indies as I can, or watch for intriguing blurbs in book mailings.

Books by This Author

An Uncertain Faith

Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 52,270. Language: American English. Published: November 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Women’s fiction » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Be careful what you wish for. Trapped by her responsibilities in a dead-end job, Charlotte used to yearn for the life she had before marriage and motherhood. That was until the day she came home to find her husband and son missing. Did they leave her or is there a more dire explanation?

An Uncertain Confidence

Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 58,580. Language: English. Published: October 24, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Women’s fiction » Chick lit, Fiction » Women’s fiction » General
Will Charlotte’s confidence prove to be her greatest strength or will it be her greatest mistake yet? An Uncertain Confidence is a sweet contemporary story and fast read about friendship, trust, and the lengths we often go to protect those we love.

The Fair & Foul

Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 87,560. Language: English. Published: July 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Cyberpunk, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Brilliant programmer and researcher, Juliane Faris agrees to be part of an experimental procedure involving a manufactured virus. Subjects are granted unprecedented knowledge and cellular control over their bodies, but viruses have a way of mutating and altering the altering the lives of those who never knew they were at risk.

The Watch & Wand

Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 76,000. Language: English. Published: July 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Cyberpunk, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Between a war declared on all but the most basic technology, worldwide economic collapse, and a plague-spurred global panic, governments have collapsed leaving law and order to be defined by those left behind. Stephen knows he should be grateful but can’t help wishing his life was more than survival. That was until he met a girl on the run from a group known as the Watch.

How Not to Launch a Book in Ten Easy Steps

This time next week, I’ll officially have four novels with my name on them. Four. I can hardly believe it, but it’s true. You would think that this would mean that I’m quite the expert on launching a book, but sadly this is another example of something I’m far more qualified on the topic of what not to do.

1. If it is your first project, don’t wait to start building up a presence on social media, blogs, or working on growing your mailing list until after the book is for sale. For some strange reasons telling people about your book after it is officially on sale doesn’t exactly make for the best opening weekend.

2. If it is a sequel to that first project, consider launching it within a year of the first in the series, if not sooner. You might have been obsessed with your characters and the world over that time, but apparently, readers move on during that time. Readers can be fickle like that.

3. If you do mistakenly wait for more than a year (or five), consider re-reading your original time or two before attempting to write the sequel. You might think the fact that you read and re-read your original novel twenty-gajillion times during the editing process would mean you have your character’s mannerisms and tone etched into your bone. You’d be wrong.

4. If you go ahead and write the novel without revisiting your original story and send out a half-baked manuscript to early readers, don’t be surprised when they tell you your story is flat (but in the nicest, most constructive, supportive way).

5. If you did send out a half-baked story, don’t spend more than a week questioning all your life choices leading up to this moment of misery while pondering if it might be better to change your name and start again in Idaho (which I hear is lovely), or similar place.

6. If you do decide to give yourself a break by pushing out your self-imposed publishing calendar from the Spring to the Fall, don’t think all that extra time means you can’t still be working on it.

7. If the stress of working on a seemingly never-ending project did get to you and you found yourself going on a vacation, savor that time with your family or friends, but know you will have to kick the work into overdrive the minute you get back.

8. If you did allow bad habits to creep back into your process while you indulged in a few weeks of rest and relaxation, write out a marketing and production plan the day you return so you can start planning out your tasks and get your head back into the game as quickly as possible if only to make up for lost time.

9. If the words “marketing” or “production” plan put you on edge, know you are in good company. However, know that you still have to do these things even if you’d rather put your fingers in your ear and sing lalalalalalala. Therefore, you might as well get over yourself and find a way to write that stuff down, but more importantly, follow-through. You’ll save yourself a ton of heartache later.

10. If your eyes completed glossed over #9 as some sort of mental denial, or you are already coming up with a dozen or more reasons why there was always something else more pressing to do, well then you too might just find yourself a week from launch day in a state of mild panic realizing that while you do have a completely re-written book itching to go on sale, you only a handful of advanced reviews scheduled, and absolutely no blog tour stops or social media events planned on your calendar.

It’s not an insurmountable situation, but the alternative is much to be preferred.

And that, my friends, is how not to launch a book.


Living happily ever after is a full-time job.

Uncertain-Confidence-www.alliepottswrites.comCharlotte’s life is on an upward swing. She’s in business with her best friend and her art is finally getting noticed.

Nothing could possibly go wrong … until everything does.

One disastrous night out ends with the sudden collapse of her best friend’s husband, putting him in the hospital and leaving Charlotte to manage things alone.

Uncertain about her ability to keep her business and her aspirations for artistic stardom afloat, Charlotte enlists the help of a stranger who promises to make her dreams come true. But in doing so, Charlotte may learn just how dangerous trusting the wrong person with your dreams can be.

Will Charlotte’s confidence prove to be her greatest strength or will it be her greatest mistake yet?

An Uncertain Confidence is a sweet contemporary story and fast read about friendship, trust, and the lengths we often go to protect those we love.

On Sale Oct 24th

Read an excerpt

How to Build a Readership with Blogging by Debby Gies and a progress update

I’ve finished my major re-writes and secondary edits for my upcoming sequel to An Uncertain Faith, entitled An Uncertain Confidence. This means the time has come to start talking with professional editors.

Admittedly, I could have, and probably should have, already had this conversation in order to a spot in an editor’s queue, but I wasn’t sure what my writing output would be after starting the new job. Therefore, I opted to hold off until I was sure I’d gotten it in a decent enough position to be handed off to anyone.

Such is flexibility that is self-publishing.

While I might be ready to hand off An Uncertain Confidence to an editor, there is still much to do before this book will be made available to the general public. In all probability, there will be yet another round of re-writes following editorial recommendations as well as a round of proof-reading or two (as typos have a way of waiting until you hit the publish button before they magically become visible to the naked eye). Then there is the oh-so-much fun process of lining up advanced reviews or preparing my pre-sales book launch marketing and I’m responsible for it all.

Because this is the joy that is self-publishing too.

For those of you considering going down this road too, which has been rewarding while being exhausting (much like being a parent is), I encourage you to check out an article recently published over on the Carrot Ranch Literary community on how to build a readership through blogging by fellow indie author, Debby Gies.


How to Build a Readership with Blogging and Prepare for Publishing

by Debby Gies

As writers who choose to self-publish, we must understand that we’ve chosen to be not only writers but publishers, marketers, and promoters of our work because these components are all essential parts of running a business. Yes, your business! If we intend to sell books, it’s in our best interests to learn about these things as well as building an author platform. If we don’t put in the time to promote our work, our books will surely sit and collect dust on the virtual shelves, lost in a sea of hundreds of thousands of other books…

To read more visit the source at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community Platform: Self-Publishing


As a way of saying thank you for your continued patience, I’d like to offer you with this sneak peek at the cover for An Uncertain Confidence

Set five years after the events of An Uncertain Faith (now available for Kindle, iBook, Nook, and other e-readers), Charlotte’s life is on an upward swing. She’s business partners with her best friend and her art is finally getting noticed.

Nothing could possibly go wrong – until everything does.

After a disastrous evening out, which results in the hospitalization of her friend’s husband, Charlotte is forced to seek other help to keep her business afloat, while juggling the ever-present demands of motherhood.  As a result, she has the potential to grow as a person and as an independent business owner in ways she never anticipated, but in doing so will also learn just how dangerous trusting the wrong person can be.

While the first book centered around family, this one focuses on the value of friendship, trust, and the often lengths we go to protect those we love.