Monday, July 29, 2013

Guest Post: Keep Swimming by Karin Tabke (aka Karin Harlow)

“Keep swimming.”

 I live by Dory’s immortal words. But seriously, when life throws one roadblock after another at you or exhaustion holds you down like a cement block, what’s a girl to do?  As a mother and a writer I’ve wanted to just stop swimming and let the cool gentle current of nothingness take me away.  I mean let’s face it, as many times as I would have liked to have checked out of motherhood for a few hours, it was only wishful thinking.  No one else was going to feed and nurture my babies like I would, so I took a deep breath and dove back in.  It was the same when it came to my writing.  Every time I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and say, “Screw it.  I’m done. This is too hard and full of too much rejection,” I looked at the pile of rejection letters on my desk (yes back in the day they actually snail mailed rejection letters) then to the flashing cursor on my computer screen and realized, if I quit, there would be no one to care for and nurture the people in my head.  So, back at it, I went.

Eventually my hard work as a mother paid off.  I have four amazing adult children who are happy healthy and positive contributors to society.  So did my perseverance to sell to a New York publisher. I have over a dozen amazing published stories giving readers all over the world cause for pause, or in my case, since I write romance, long satisfied sighs as they read the happily ever after ending.

But I had help along the way.

As with raising children, raising a book from an idea in your head to seeing it on a retail bookshelf, there were ups and downs, setbacks, victories and heart wrenching disappointments.  But for me the most amazing part of raising a story was the other moms and dads I met along the way.  Moms and dads with the same emotional struggles I faced.  The same hopes, fears and dreams for their stories that I had for mine. It takes a village to raise strong contributing children and it sure as hell takes a village to write a strong amazing story.  I could not have, WOULD not be published today if it were not for the village that took me into their arms and held me when I wanted to give up and celebrated with me when I hit each and every milestone regardless of how big or small it was.  Writing to publication is a journey, just like raising children.  

Today my publishing goals have changed.  The golden ring for so many years had been New York.  I’m proud to say I am published with Simon and Schuster, Penguin Random House as well as Kensington.  But the call of self-publishing had become so loud, I could no longer ignore it.  So color me a hybrid author.

I thought long and hard about taking the self-publishing plunge seriously.  Oh, I had written a few stories for self-pubbed anthos I was invited to be a part of, but other than the story, I wasn’t responsible for the production part.  But I knew if I were to really going to get serious and self-publish, I was going to have to learn the ropes, and supervise the production and distribution of my work.  Not what I wanted to do.  But I made the decision to do it, and do it right.  That meant finding the perfect village.  And believe me when I say, it took a village. I had no clue as to the inner workings of uploading files, hell I barely know the difference between a word doc and a pdf.  Cover art?  Editing?  Copy editing?  Formatting?  Can you say clueless?  The only thing I knew how to do well, was how to write a good story.  So that is what I concentrated on, and probed my friends in the know, the ones who do understand the production side of producing a quality packaged story for their expertise.  I put together an amazing production team for my debut self-published book, THE DARE, book one in the serial series, The Chronicles of Katrina.  I knew I had to write and package my story so that it would and could stand up to anything New York produced.  My village didn’t let me down.  THE DARE, is not only beautifully produced, but it’s a damn good story.  I worked hard on Simon and Kat, and it paid off.  Readers love Simon, and can identify with Katrina. I receive daily emails begging for DOUBLE DARE, Chronicle two.  

Like Dory, I kept swimming the churning ever evolving publishing sea, this time into uncharted waters. And thanks to my village, I managed to steer clear of the sharks and invisible nets and not only stay afloat but cut through the water like a dolphin after dinner.  :)  Life is good.  

How about you?  If you’re a writer where is your publishing heart?  If you’re a reader, do you read self-published authors?  Answer either or both and I’ll randomly pick two names for a digital copy of THE DARE (Amazon, Nook, iBook or Kobo).

PS, I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about this incredible journey.  If I can help one person avoid the quicksand, I’m a happier writer.  :)

Happy Monday!



THE DARE is contemporary erotic fiction with the signature Tabke hot cop. 
I dare you…
Dr. Katrina Winslow has always known who she is; an elite scientist, a certifiable genius and ultra-reserved when it comes to love and relationships. So when a simple game of truth or dare offers the cool doctor the opportunity to shed her lab coat and glasses and put on a pair of sexy stilettos, she accepts the dare.  But will shedding her inhibitions fulfill her every desire and help her discover if she can be truly daring or will it cost her everything?
Two men, one a sexy stranger, and a night of no holds barred passion…
What would you dare to do?
THE DARE: The Chronicles of Katrina (Book One) by Karin Tabke
Author’s Note: This is book one of a four part series.
If you're interested in learning more about Karin Tabke (or Karin Harlow), please visit her website: Karin Tabke| Author of Contemporary, Historical, and Paranormal Romance.  And don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of THE DARE.


  1. Wow - great post. Thanks, Karin :) And it's hard not to squee as I am a huge fan!!!

    No questions, but I will come back to this when I resume my writing journey (yes, I've stopped swimming for the moment, just treading water to catch my breath and re-group). As for reading self-published authors...yes!

    1. Glad you enjoyed, Janet. Treading water is good, you're still moving. :)

  2. Great advice, thank you! I think that a lot of writers end up just treading water or floating when they CLAIM to be swimming....but they don't KNOW they're treading water.

    Wishing you all sorts of success with THE DARE.

  3. Love the post. Wish I'd read it before my umpteenth rejection letter this morning. I spent several hours thinking about it and decided that I'm not going to quit writing but I need to be realistic and quit trying to get published or maybe just put my books up on Amazon so that someone besides me can get to know my characters.

    Thanks for all the encouragement you've given me over the years. All the best.


    1. Holly, I know you have faced rejection, and I have always encouraged you to keep swimming and will continue to encourage you to keep swimming. I have hundreds of rejection letters. HUNDREDS. Keep writing, keep improving, keep working hard and I Promise you it will pay off. xo

  4. Thank you so much for this fabulous post. Yes, motherhood and day jobs are exhausting.It's wonderful and inspirational to see people who hold fast to their dreams.I wouldn't be even at the stage I'm at without the help form all my writer friends

    1. Nancy writer friends are the best friends and many of mine have actually have become just friends who also write, and who are crazy like I am to keep writing. ^.^

  5. Awesome post Karin! You always do the real talk! I appreciate it!

  6. Karin, you are always an inspiration! I went small press, had a little success. I keep trying for NY, but I get the sense they just don't *get* me and my voice (though I do have one editor that LOVES my voice and he seems determined to work with me. I'll know more next month--hopefully.) I went the self-pub route with a series that might have been picked up by one of the digital first publishers, but I wanted to see if I could do it myself. I could. That "big series" that New York sort of wanted--enough to ask for revisions but then changed their minds? Yeah, that one. It's coming out this fall. And it's all me, baby. Am I terrified? Abso-freaking-lutely. But that's okay. That village we belong to is pretty smart. Can't wait to read THE DARE!

    1. I love our village, Silver! And congrats on your new project, let me know when you go live with it! xo

    2. I love our village, Silver! And congrats on the new series, plz let me know when it goes live! xo

  7. Awesome post, Karin. I'm glad that Tigris shared this because it's exactly what I needed to see. I'm at that point in my writing journey where everything is a big pile of suck, but I have to remind myself to "keep swimming." Because I know when it's finished, that pile of suck will be a beautiful masterpiece. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Steph even after you publish you'll think your work is a big pile of suck! I don't think that ever goes away. Just keep writing forward.

      PS, love me some Tiger woman.

  8. Awesome post, Karin. I'm glad Tigris shared this post so I could see it because it's exactly what I needed to see right now. Right now, everything in my writing journey looks like a big pile of suck (except my writing friends, of course), but I know that when it goes through the process, it's going to be a beautiful work of art. I just gotta keep swimming. :)

  9. I'd like to thank Karin for stopping by The Guide yesterday. Isn't this an wonderful post? =o)

    Thanks a bunch, Karin!


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