Happy Anniversary and the Difference a Year or Five Makes

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.” – William Barclay

Sadly neither of those days is today. However, I did receive a message informing me that yet another year has come and gone since I started down this whole blogging thing. I decided to celebrate by reflecting on my original goals and how life (and what I post about) has changed since then.

Happy Anniversary - what a difference a year or five makes - www.alliepottswrites.com

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When I originally started out, my intent was to establish a platform in support of my novel, An Uncertain Faith, which is a women’s fiction / cozy mystery mashup (and its sequel is now officially out as well). As it was my first attempt at publishing a book, I knew I was in no position to proclaim myself an expert on either the writing or publishing process, but at the same time, I didn’t want to come across as someone who was simply winging it without a plan by sharing ALL the things I didn’t know.

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt” – various sources, but often attributed to Mark Twain

In the end, I thought the better strategy was to rule out writing as a focus as many other authors tend to do. However, I still liked the idea of sharing tips or tricks, or weekly takeaways I’d picked up along the way, which, over time, proved to mostly center on the lessons I was learning from my kids. Some were sweet lessons, while others were more akin to the following:

“Never have more children than you have car windows.” – Erma Bombeck

This strategy worked for me, though family anecdotes rarely go viral, and when they do, it is usually for the worst sort of things. Nonetheless, the content itself was easy enough to generate. All I had to do was look out my window or down the hall. My weekly posts became a sort of happiness journal – a reminder of all the things I was grateful for, and all the reasons I had to celebrate.

At some point, without intending it, this blog had stopped being a way to promote my books and my writing to a general audience but instead evolved into a way to promote myself to the internal me. I guess that is the magic of writing. You never really know what the end result will be until you first start trying.

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E.L. Doctorow

However, my kids started to grow up. They started to read. Even worse, they started having lives and personalities of their own. Unfortunately, a nagging thought began to take hold in the back of my brain: I’m their mom, and they’re still my kids, but was that really enough to give me the right to share their stories (beyond the basic funny thing they’ve said) with the general public, even if I am doing my best to protect things like their faces or their names?

For a time, I thought so, but now I’m not quite so sure.

“Always be nice to those younger than you, because they are the ones who will be writing about you.” – Cyril Connolly

And so, I’ve found myself scaling their stories back, though they remain ever at the forefront of my mind. At the same time, I’ve grown older evolved too. I’ve moved on from that earlier version of me, the one who didn’t know how much she needed the weekly written reminders of the small joys as much, if not more than, public acknowledgment of the major accomplishments.

I say this because I was able to keep a promise to myself. I took a risk and made a change. I’m now working full-time in the world of online publishing, which in some ways is completely new for me, but in other ways strangely reminiscent of the world of consumer tech, sales, and project management I left behind. Overall, it has been a positive experience, but if I thought I didn’t know a lot about publishing back then… well let’s just say:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

As a result, I’m continuing to give myself permission to mix things up from the way I’ve done them before. Therefore, while this post may have been prompted by a celebration of my blogging longevity, I’ve decided to relax my self-imposed rules for the balance of the year if not a few weeks longer. It’s not a hiatus per se, as I’m going to still try to post as I am inspired, but if life takes precedence over the written word some weeks, so be it.

However, I am also considering posting on a different day or at a different hour, testing, and refining until I find the combination that works within my new normal. (I may also ask my boys to sign a waiver allowing their mother to post with their permission). Who knows what changes life may bring in the coming year? I sure don’t, and that’s okay. Thus far, not having all the answers has worked out for me far better than I could have ever imagined.

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” – Keri Russell

I know this small decision might cause additional ripples of change in my future, however, I’m not worried. Because, while I might love consistency and know too well the benefits of having a set schedule can bring, of all the things I’ve learned over the years, appreciating the value of the small things (both the good and the bad) as much as the big things, is the one lesson this blog has taught me how to do best.

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As Seen on The Spectacled Bean – On Election Day: 7 Issues On Which Americans Can Agree

This week was election day in the US, which means we hopefully will get more than at least four-hour break before the commercials start playing for the next one, but I’m not optimistic on that front. However, while there are a lot of things Americans are disagreeing about at the moment, not all hope is lost.

Another Ally has written a great post over at The Spectacled Bean, featuring seven things that can bring us together and just had to share. You can check out her post by clicking on the following link: On Election Day: 7 Issues On Which Americans Can Agree

Nikki Kan’t Quit – Rocky Row Flash Fiction

The following is a scene featuring a supporting character from the world of An Uncertain Confidence, a Rocky Row Novel.


Nikki Kan't Quit - www.alliepottswrites.comNikki Kant drummed her fingers on her desk’s cheap veneer while she listened to the city liaison ramble on her voicemail. The desk was one of those cheap particle board models you order over the internet and assemble yourself and had a tendency to wobble if her daily paperwork and personal clutter wasn’t placed on its surface just right. The vibration from her finger’s impact sent a pen rolling off its edge. She didn’t bother to pick it up.

The liaison’s voice increased in volume, becoming more clipped by the second as he worked himself into a rage. Apparently, helping a friend was the sort of thing that was frowned upon in the eyes of the city. She’d heard enough. Returning the out-dated handset to its cradle, she pulled out a desk drawer. Her fingers paused over the accordion folder that hid her secret stash of dark chocolate covered caramel seasoned with sea salt. I’m going to need this. She pulled out the accordion folder out as well as a second file folder.

The drawer stuck when she tried to shove it close. Nikki tried again. The drawer remained firmly in its position. Figures, she thought. Folders in hand, Nikki walked over to her boss’ office. By the look of his expression through the glass window, he was off to a similar morning. She tapped on the door with her knuckle before letting herself in without waiting for him to wave.

“Chief.”

“Do you realize I’ve had five reporters call me already?” He glanced at the clock hanging on the wall over her head. “It’s not even nine.” His desk phone rang. The chief frowned. “I’m guessing that’s another one now. Do you want to explain what you were thinking?”

“Not particularly, no. It shouldn’t matter. I was off duty.”

“Off duty or not, what you do reflects on this department. I hope you understand how serious this situation is.”

“I don’t, actually. All I did was go for a run.”

“That’s not all you did and you and I both know it.”

Nikki shrugged.

The chief stood and placed his hands on his desk. “You’re on your way to a suspension pending a full investigation into your behavior over the last few weeks – you understand that, don’t you.”

“That won’t be necessary, sir,” said Nikki separating the accordion holding her stash from the second folder containing a single sheet of paper.

The chief’s eyebrow shot up. “You’re quitting?” He sat back in his chair. It creaked under his weight. “I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed. I thought it would take more to break you.”

Nikki snorted. She opened the thin folder and pulled out its contents. “I’m anything but broken,” she said placing the resignation letter on his desk. “I suggest you read it.” She tucked the accordion folder under her arm. She wasn’t going to need reinforcements after all. Finally going through with her decision after drafting the letter days ago felt better than eating a dozen chocolate bars.

The chief stared at the piece of paper. “This changes nothing,” he said.

“Oh, I’m pretty sure it changes everything.” She removed the badge from her breast and placed it on the desk next to her resignation letter.

“You walk out that door, and you’re on your own. I won’t be able to protect you anymore.”

Nikki smiled. “I survived three tours. I think I can manage.”

A brief knock on the door announced their meeting. Rangle poked his head in. “Chief, I just heard-” He noticed Nikki’s presence then his gaze moved to the chief’s desk. He couldn’t have missed the badge nor the sheet of paper. “I knew it,” he said. “I pegged you as a quitter your first day.”

“I’m not surprised,” said Nikki. “You’ve always been a terrible detective.”

Rangle’s face took on a shade of puce. He turned to the chief. “So, as I was saying, I just heard that we got a lead on that bomb threat last week.”

“It’s a distraction,” said Nikki. “If either of you had only listened–”

“That’s enough, Ms. Kant.” The chief slammed his palm down on the desk. “You’ve made your decision.” He nodded at her resignation letter. “Now, how about you get out of my office so the rest of us can do the job you’re walking away from.”

I’m not walking away from anything, she thought. She turned on her heel and opened the office door. I’m just not following your rules anymore. She closed the door with a bang. A few of the other officers lingering nearby glanced her way at the sound, but no one stopped her as she made her way past the main desk and out the door. Nikki smiled. It was just as well. They wouldn’t have been able to stop her now, even if they’d tried.

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