Sunday Surprise


Well, then it looks as if I skipped the summer! Last entry like this one was back in June, yikes! Anyhow, here we go again. Words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call them, enjoy these quotes and have a great Sunday!

As I was saying, you should listen to me because I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about. Which is really the point of all this: the further I’ve gone down this path, the one thing I know with great resoluteness is that I know less than I did when I began. My certainties are far less certain. My knowledge has faded, and in its place has grown —

*mouth opens, rainbows and ravens shoot out*

WISDOM.

Or something like it.

Chuck Wendig

 

Career authors write a lot of books. One or two books is a great start, but to go the distance in this business, you need inventory, which means lots and lots of books! I find that many authors can write five or ten books, but can they write fifty or a hundred books? Inventory is where the rubber meets the road and makes the difference when it comes to longevity in a very competitive business. I encourage indie authors to keep their focus on producing new books and getting them out to readers as fast as they possibly can without sacrificing quality.

Marie Force

 

Editors do not write your book. You write your book. The idea is yours, the characters are yours, the setting is yours, the plot is yours, the voice is yours—unless you paid one of these “editors” to “fix” your manuscript, which considering how inexperienced most of these idiots are, consists of removing every trace of originality from your prose.

Even then, shades of your voice and your perspective remain.

Your book is yours, not theirs. Readers aren’t reading your book because Annoying Person took a red pencil to your prose. Readers are reading your book because you’re a hell of a storyteller, and they like the stories you’re telling.

Have some confidence, folks. Stop giving these egotistical editors so much credit. They’re people you hire, people whose advice you can (and should) ignore if they don’t understand your work or your voice.

Kris Rusch

 

Keep writing

I still feel the self-doubt, but it’s not crippling anymore, it’s just something that I acknowledge. I let it sit with me, and put my work out anyway because there’s a part of us inside, as writers, where if we don’t write, we’re going to cripple ourselves in other ways.

We’re going to be unhappy. We’re going to feel blocked.

You need to get your words out into the world.

You need to break through that self-doubt because your words are important.

We need to hear your voice. You don’t know whose life you could change with your story, or your non-fiction book, or the words, the wisdom you have.

As an introvert, the thought of the videos I share going out into the world and people seeing them is difficult enough. But we embrace it anyway as part of the process.

And that’s how we write, and create, put our words in the world, and change peoples’ lives.

Joanna Penn

 

WRITE IT BADLY. Write it badly, write it badly, write it badly, write it badly. Stop what you’re doing, open a Word document, put a pencil on some paper, just get the idea out of your head. Let it be good later. Write it down now. Otherwise it will die in there.

— Brandon Sanderson on overcoming writer’s block to create a first draft as a professional author

 

The fact is that no matter who you are, it’s almost guaranteed that your work is probably not where you want it to be. This could be because you don’t know what your work is (a writer is always a suspect judge of their own work), it could be that your work is actually flawed (your craft hasn’t been honed), or it could be any one of a hundred different things.

For new writers in particular, though, writing six stories in six weeks gives you the opportunity understand an important truth: the best way to learn how to tell stories is to tell a lot of stories.

To understand what I mean by that, let me state the counter rule: The slowest way to learn is to keep working on the same story over and over and over.

Ron Collins

P.S. on Wednesday I mis-scheduled the post… if you missed it, scroll down below! Sorry about that! 😊

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! One of the anthology authors agreed to answer my 6 questions… so please welcome Mary Jo Rabe!

What hopes and fears do you have for our future?

I worry about the exhaltation of ignorance and hope that enough young people can be inspired to learn facts instead of prejudices.

What is your story in the anthology about?

It is about time travel and a cat and the Michigan State University campus.

What inspired your story?

I wrote this for the “write 30 stories in 60 days challenge” back in 2017. I started remembering the time I studied at Michigan State University (1969 to 1973).

What else do you write besides sci-fi (especially if it’s not your preferred genre)?

I prefer science fiction, since that’s what I love to read. However, I also write fantasy and historical fiction occasionally.

What should readers know about you?

Possibly they don’t need to know anything about me. I don’t think I’m that interesting. I grew up on a farm in eastern Iowa and have lived in Germany for more than 40 years where I was a librarian in a small special church library.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I am so very grateful for the wonderful anthologies you put together!!

Mary Jo Rabe grew up on a farm in eastern Iowa, got degrees from Michigan State University (German and math) and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (library science) where she became a late-blooming science fiction reader and writer. She worked in the library of the chancery office of the Archdiocese of Freiburg, Germany for 41 years, and lives with her husband in Titisee-Neustadt.

She has had stories accepted for Fiction River and Pulphouse. She has published “Blue Sunset”, inspired by Spoon River Anthology and The Martian Chronicles, electronically and has had poems and stories published in Alternate Hilarities, Pandora, Stygian Articles, The Martian Wave, Astropoetica, The Sword Review, Raven Electrick, Mindflights, and Space and Time.

Personal blog: https://maryjorabe.wordpress.com/

Website: https://www.teedsgalaxypress.com

She indulges in sporadic activity on Facebook and Twitter

Sunday Surprise


And a monthly feature again, words of wisdom, writers on writing or whatever you want to call it, here’s your five author quotes for June! Have a great Sunday!

My first publication was about 8 years ago, in a now dissolved webzine, Darkest Before the Dawn. No pay, just exposure. Since then I’ve been paid for certain projects, but routinely submit to publications that pay, and to publications that pay nothing. I have an MFA in nothing. I’m a low status individual and wear that title with pride. I know it sounds like sour grapes, but ultimately, all I’m seeking is for my creative freedom to someday overlap with financial freedom. I’ve heard it said the greatest thing about having money, is not worrying about it. I can honestly say I’m not driven by status or money.

Scotch Rutherford

And you know what, we’re right. The life of an artist is for others — because we just said so, and in saying so, we make it true.

But here’s the rub. Even after negating our creative potential, we’re bound to wake up the next day to a tickle of an idea dancing in a far corner of our mind, a memory that is trying to push a door open, a strange other world that is calling us. We wash those dishes, we pay that stack of bills, we drink that cheap bottle of wine, but we know there’s something else—we know there’s something more.

And there is something more. There’s the creative life. You don’t need a certificate for it, you don’t need to apply to do it, you don’t even need to ask permission to do it. You just have to claim it—and claim it every day by showing up to do it.

It’s not easy, of course. There will be naysayers, those people who think it’s silly or trivial to be a “creative type”, those who think it’s audacious and pretentious for you to write a novel, those who think you can’t do it because you lack the qualifications and the training. Unfortunately, because humans are social beings by design, we tend to measure our worth according to the opinions of others. Opinions that come from who knows where, but most likely others’ own insecurities, their need for you not to fulfill yourself—because if you fulfill yourself, you might make them feel small.

The arts don’t belong to a chosen few, though. Quite the opposite: every one of us is chosen to be a creator by virtue of being human. If you’re not convinced of this, just step into any preschool and observe the unbridled creative energy of kids as they immerse themselves in fingerpainting, telling wild stories, banging on drums, and dancing just to dance. They’re creative types because they breathe.

Grant Faulkner

“Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.”

― Philip José Farmer

Bloggers and podcasters love to discuss the state of the publishing industry. Depending on whom you ask, it’s either stronger than ever or plunging toward certain death. Generally it’s the latter, because bad/shocking news gets more attention. That’s why you hear more about teenagers dying in car crashes than elderly people going in their sleep. When I was a new author trying to break in, I gave these “publishing pundits” too much stock. I was genuinely concerned that by the time my debut was published, physical bookstores would no longer exist.

The truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. Yes, the publishing industry has undergone some major changes, especially in the past two decades. Major publishers have been consolidated into five big entities. More recently, the introduction of e-readers like the Kindle fueled the rapid growth of e-books. Brick-and-mortar booksellers like Barnes & Noble are struggling to adapt to a world in which more and more consumers shop online. So are most physical retailers, by the way. Google “holiday sales 2017” if you need convincing.

The publishing industry is not dying. It is evolving. People still buy books. They just do it online because you don’t need pants to shop online. People still visit libraries, but now they can use their library cards to borrow e-books and audiobooks. People still read, but they do it on their phones.

Change is the way of the world. Smart authors, agents, and publishers adapt and survive. Those who don’t adapt will eventually fade away. It’s that simple.

Dan Koboldt

Some of the things I’m going to relate here I seem to learn anew with every book. For example, for me a book comes together not from a single idea, but when two or more ideas clash in a kind of mental pile-up. I’ll have all these things swimming around my brain all the time, making me stare at walls and not hear my wife calling me. That’s just being a writer. But then something will happen. One idea about a character will stroll through my thinkmeat just as another idea about a cool scene is trying to make out with a third idea about “what if this was that”, then something greater than all those parts happens and boom! There’s a book. My brain is a strange place. HIDDEN CITY grew from just such a collision of cool ideas: parasitic fungus, magic out of control, a harmless drug turned deadly, a broken-down, grief-stricken citymage… But even then, once the idea collision had occurred and I saw a bigger picture in the shape of a novel, I still needed the story. This is the thing I learned again. The ideas were cool, but they’re not the story. As people wiser than me have said, plot is what happens, but story is why we care.

– Alan Baxter

Sunday Surprise


And it’s the day again. Words of wisdom, writers on writing, quotes for writerly life or whatever you want to call them. Have a great Sunday!

But the truth is, I always had confidence in myself as a writer – I had arrogance, even. Yet I had endless times of self-doubt. I think what carried me through was simply commitment to the job. I wanted to do it.

Talent is no good without commitment. I’ve had students who wrote very well, but weren’t willing to commit to write, to go on writing, and to go on writing better. But that’s what it takes.

“Feeling successful” – well, that’s something you have to work out for yourself, what it means to you, how important it is. You’re quite right that very good and highly celebrated writers may not feel “successful.” Maybe they have unhappy natures, and the Nobel Prize would just depress them. Or maybe they aren’t fully satisfied with what they’ve done so far, don’t feel they’ve yet written the best book they could write. But they have the commitment that keeps them trying to do it.

Hang in there. And don’t push it. No hurry! Writing is a lifetime job.

Ursula K. Le Guin

A few years ago, I met a famous novelist at a conference. He’d sold millions of books. It seemed like he published a new book every time the wind changed direction. As we talked about NaNoWriMo, though, he asked me, “How many novels does the world need, anyway? Why should so many people write?”

I sometimes twitch with churlishness when I hear questions like this. Somewhere within the question, I hear a gate crashing down on people’s creativity. I see a sign, “Don’t presume to call yourself a writer.” I feel a judgment: Why write a novel unless it’s going to get published and made into a product to be purchased and consumed? Why write a novel if you’re not going to make money from it?

The question disregards the spirit that has guided every writer since the beginning of time: the need to create just for the sake of creating. The need to shape the world, see through others’ eyes, tame reality, find oneself, lose oneself—to touch what is magical, astonishing, and wondrous; to exult the possible, to make the strange obvious and the obvious strange. And much more. This need is what we need to remember every day in order to show up at our writing gym and write the story that is demanding to be told.

Grant Faulkner

Why is Annoying Person on Amazon? Why is she all over Amazon?

Because writers don’t understand the “editor” field in KDP. That field is for anthology editors, like Fiction River. When we do a Fiction River, and I edit it, we list Kristine Kathryn Rusch as the editor. Because I compiled the damn book. I chose the stories. I put them in order. I line edited them. I worked on the theme with the writers. I wrote the introductions to the stories.

The volume has my fingerprints all over it, and not because I changed someone’s words or added a semi-colon here and there.

Stop, stop, stop acknowledging this new breed of “editor” in the sales material of your novels. You’re hurting your own sales and doing free advertising for those “editors.” (And yes, dammit, I’m using the quotes on purpose.)

If you need to acknowledge the “editor” as a term of your contract with her, then do so inside the book in the acknowledgements. Write: Thanks to Annoying Person, who copy edited my manuscript. She knows more about the Chicago Manual of Style than I do.

That’s it. And if Annoying Person doesn’t like it, if that doesn’t fulfill the terms of your agreement with her, then don’t work with her again.

Ever.

Kris Rusch

You will fail more than you succeed. You will remember the failures more often than the successes.

The people who believe in you now will believe in you always. Get rid of everyone else.

Readers will love your work. They will think this means they love you. They will be wrong, but do not correct them. You will no longer be yourself when you’re among readers, but an amalgamation of their perceptions of you based on your work and the pixels that make up your face. After a while, even your oldest friends will see you this way.

Pick one person you can be yourself with. It will be the person who doesn’t live-tweet your breakdown.

(…)

You will spend your entire career wondering if it’s already over but no one has told you yet.

You will not sell a lot of books. You will not earn out your advance. You will be passed over for awards. You won’t be a Campbell nominee. You will be convinced you’re not a real writer.

(…)

Fans of your work will clap and cheer at your arrival at events and then sob when they meet you and gush about how your work has touched and inspired them. It will be overwhelming. You will never know what to say. You will be celebrated, wined and dined. You won’t be able to meet with everyone who wants to see you.

Outside of those spaces, you will be treated with all the respect this society owes someone of your race, class, gender presentation, and/or orientation. If you’re a middle-aged white woman who doesn’t know how to dress herself, you will simply blend in. You will not be seen. This will be both a great relief and a big comedown.

(…)

You will travel. You will say YES! to opportunities. You will meet dynamic, amazing, talented, influential people. You will be so tired and jetlagged and anxious about money that you won’t remember any of their names. This will lead to many awkward conversations, later.

You will forget to introduce yourself to George R.R. Martin at the Hugo Loser’s Party.

You will regret being a writer. You will quit, often. Sometimes you will quit for long stretches of time.

(…)

You will be a bestseller, somewhere, even if it’s just on Amazon. You will hit a list. You will be an award winner. Hollywood will talk a lot about movies that probably won’t get made, but the free money will be nice.

You will be jealous of writers who don’t have day jobs. You will celebrate the full-time writing status of at least half a dozen colleagues who end up going back to their day jobs within five years of quitting.

You will never quit your day job.

You will dabble with scripts and comics and tie-ins. You will get invited to so many anthologies and special projects that you will have to say no to a lot of them. You will say no to Marvel, and yes to a book packager project whose team ultimately doesn’t want you.

Kameron Hurley

Sunday Surprise


Again a monthly feature, I give you words of wisdom, writers on writing or whatever you want to call it. Have a great Sunday and see you next month with more writerly quotes!

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Sales fluctuate, and after being in this biz for almost two decades I still don’t know why some things hit and some miss. It’s frustrating, but expected.

Here’s some things I’ve learned.

1. Ebooks are forever, and shelf space is infinite. Once you’re published, you’ll always be selling as long as you tend to your backlist.

2. Ebooks are not a trend. They are the new, preferred way to read, and mankind will always have the need and desire to read.

3. Ebooks are global. Doing poorly in the USA? That’s okay. There are plenty of other countries where you can make money.

4. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re a writer. You’re in this until the day you die. As long as you write good books, you’ll find readers. This may take time. And it may take some tweaking because the books you think are good need a rewrite, or that cover art you bought at a bargain price of $19 is scaring readers away because it sucks.

The universe doesn’t owe you readers. You have to earn them.

Joe Konrath

It feels like a calm period before the next big shift, a time to bed down your processes, grow your backlist by writing more, build relationships, make sure you have sustainable health and creative practices, make the most of your IP by expanding into other products like print, and look to position yourself for the next phase of growth.

Joanna Penn

“Audience” literally means “the people listening” – which tells you what an odd business writing stories down is. We are silent performers in an empty room. We lack the instant feedback that maintains and sharpens the story-teller’s consciousness of and relationship with the audience. So, does the writer consciously try to imagine a reader? An ideal reader? A whole lot of readers? Or are we each our own audience, writing a book we’d like to read, the way we’d like it written? Or do we seek a peer-group for the feedback? Such choices are entirely up to you the writer. And nobody can say what the right balance of conventionality and expectability, challenge and originality, is for you. Tailoring your writing to a specific audience/market is good for writers to whom salability is a prime value, for others it can be demoralizing, a sell-out.

The only advice I can offer is tentative: If you imagine your “audience,” your readers, imagine them as intelligent and sympathetic — ready to read you if you give them the chance.

Ursula K. Le Guin

Nothing sells your old books like having a new book. Listen, the more that you write, the quicker and faster you tend to write. So writing that new book doesn’t just give you extra sales, it helps you become a better writer. Too many authors don’t understand the value of practice. Only a fool would believe that he could sit down at a piano and become a concert pianist in one sitting, yet millions of writers imagine that they become a professional writer without practicing. Even authors who apparently take off effortlessly tend to have had a lot of preparation and secret struggles.

David Farland

Art is not a competition.

There is more than enough room in the world for all of the authors and books that are out there. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Just focus on writing your stories and connecting with the readers that love them.

If you haven’t found those people yet, have patience. Instead of lamenting that other authors have devoted readers, use that energy to find new ways to promote your books. There are people out there who will become devoted readers of your books. You just have to find them.

Some people tend to get overwhelmed and discouraged by the high number of indie authors and the fact that it keeps increasing. However, as Joanna has reminded us on her podcast, when someone becomes more serious as a writer, it’s likely they will read more books as well.

I know that my reading has increased immensely since I started self-publishing my books. So we should be glad whenever someone writes and publishes a book!

More authors in the world means more avid readers in the world, which is good for everyone.

Sara Crawford

Sunday Surprise


Since this will be already started on Wednesday, I’m doing an extra post to let you know about this online workshop, “Playing the Short Game” by my friend Douglas Smith.

I’ll be giving three free online workshops on how to market and sell short fiction, based on my Playing the Short Game writer’s guide, sponsored by the Newmarket Public Library and the Writers’ Community of York Region (WCYR). You need to register online for the workshops, which will take place on three consecutive Tuesday evenings: April 21, April 28, and May 5.

So, if you’d like to live of your royalties, writing short stories, you can’t miss this. He’s an expert, go check him out! 🙂 The times are 7pm to 9pm Ontario time, so check what time it is in your country! 🙂 It’s 1am in Italy and I still need to go to work on Wednesdays so I’ll have to pass…

Have a great Sunday!

Sunday Surprise


And since COVID-19 is screwing with my posts, so that I skipped two weeks, and I no longer have guests, I shall go back to a monthly Words of Wisdom or Writers on Writing for the rest of the year. Have a great Sunday! 🙂

It is easy to fall prey to the idea that writing success is intrinsically bound to youth. Publishing loves a literary ingénue, as if no one over the age of 40 or 50 or 60 has anything worthwhile to say. Such is not the case. The older I get, the more I have to say and the better I am able to express myself. There is no age limit to finding artistic success. Sometimes it happens at 22 and sometimes it happens at 72 and sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. No, you are not too old to have a writing career, no matter your age. Yes, it is perfectly reasonable to feel defeated when you’ve worked so hard at writing and have yet to make your mark so long as you don’t stay defeated. No, you are not promised artistic success simply because you want it.

(…)

The older we get, the more culturally invisible we become, as writers, as people. But you have your words. Writing and publishing are two very different things. Other writers are not your measure. Try not to worry about what other people your age or younger have already accomplished because it will only make you sick with envy or grief. The only thing you can control is how you write and how hard you work. The literary flavor of the week did not get your book deal. All the other writers in the world are not having more fun than you, no matter what it might seem like on social media, where everyone is showing you only what they want you to see.

Write as well as you can, with as much heart as you can, whenever you can. Make sure there are people in your life who will have faith in your promise when you can’t. Get your writing in the world, ideally for the money you deserve because writing is work that deserves compensation. But do not worry about being closer to 50 or 65 or 83. Artistic success, in all its forms, is not merely the purview of the young. You are not a late bloomer. You are already blooming.

Roxane Gay

Some of these changes that major sites do are to get rid of pirates and scammers, and in the big sweep of the change, regular honest folks get swept in. Other changes came about because of investment, change of ownership, or new managers—things that happen in every business.

For eight years, I have told indie writers to go wide and to make sure they’re protected, legally and otherwise. Be cautious and conservative when you join new sites or new ventures. Make sure you understand the terms of service, and realize that with many companies, the terms of service are take it or leave it. When you have terms of service like that, your decision to take it had better be informed, and when you get bit on the ass, you should have known that the bite was coming.

Kris Rusch

THE INDIE AUTHOR MANIFESTO
We indie authors believe all writers are created equal, that all writers are endowed with natural creative potential, and that writers have an unalienable right to exercise, explore, and realize their potential through the freedom of publication.

  1. I hold these truths to be self-evident.
  2. I am an indie author. I have experienced the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from self-publishing.
  3. I have a right to publish.
  4. My creative control is important to me. I decide when, where, and how my writing graduates to become a published book.
  5. Indie does not mean alone. I choose my partners.
  6. I shall not bow beholden or subservient to any publisher. In my business relationships, I will seek partnership, fairness, equity, and mutually aligned interests.
  7. We indie authors comprise diverse writers, unified by a common purpose to advance, empower, and celebrate writers everywhere.
  8. I am a professional. I take pride in my work and I strive to improve my craft to better serve my readers, myself, my fellow indie authors, and the culture of books.
  9. My writing is valuable and important. This value and importance cannot be measured by commercial sales alone.
  10. I celebrate the success of my fellow indie authors, for their success is mine and mine theirs. Together, we are pioneering a better future for books, marked by greater quality, creativity, diversity, choice, availability, affordability, and accessibility.”

Mark Coker

So, for me, and maybe for you, there’s power in writing with intentionality.

Decide how you want the reader to feel, and write that way.

Decide what you’re trying to say, and why, and then fucking say it.

Know the purpose, aim your voice, write with vigor and deliberation.

Take command. Be confident. Be willful.

And play, too, to find out how to make it work. Compose and recompose a scene. Go one way with it, then rewrite it another way. Learn to see how intentional changes make for a butterfly effect in the work. Learn the weave and the weft of it. Don’t just go down the river. Put objects in the water, see how fast they move. See if they block the flow or speed it up or break the river in twain.

Write with intentionality.

Try it out.

Let me know how it goes, how it feels, how it works.

Chuck Wendig

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! Another wonderful indie author! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Audrey Rich!

Where do you live and write from?

I live and write in Sunny South Florida in the USA but I’m originally from New York City.

Why do you write?

My soul calls me to write and my characters definitely beg for their stories to be written.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always loved to write and put together stories in my head but I earnestly began to write in 2011 after one late night I opened up Word and the words spilled from my fingers. There wasn’t even an inkling that I would choose to become a writer.

But it was an answer to a prayer for a career change that led me to embark on my writing adventure until the moment the characters came to life in my head and the words appeared on the screen and the writing bug burrowed itself into my heart.

What genre(s) do you write?

Currently I write YA, NA, and Dystopian Contemporary Romances as well as Fairytale retellings and I’m co-authoring a Sci-Fi story about aliens with a friend.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Definitely an improviser (pantser) but I can follow someone else’s outline. Depends on what is going on in my life. My debut novel was completed in three months so not too slow but there are times that it takes me forever to write a word.

Tell us about your latest book

My latest book, Queen of Mermaids, is the first of four books, which is Season 2 of the Kingdom of Fairytales series will be released on January 29th 2020.

It’s the after the happily-ever-after of The Little Mermaid. My character is Princess Blaise, daughter of The Little Mermaid and she’s a proud member of the Anti-Mermaid League. The irony of it all.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie publishing because despite having an acquiring editor who liked my writing and the plot of my first book, I decided that I wanted complete control of my publishing career. I wouldn’t mind working with a traditional publisher in the future when I would have more control but for now managing my own books and career works for me.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Definitely many projects that need to be polished and written but I believe I will focus on the stories from my YA series that will lead to my NA/adult Contemporary Romances because these characters’ stories need to be written.

I working on the final edits of Igniting Our Love and finish writing Denying Our Love, which are both part of my A Stonehaven High Series.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My goal is to continue improving how I tell my stories by writing every single day.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

The best piece of advice is to write what your heart and soul call you to write instead of trying to ride the trends that are popular at the moment.

_______________

Find Audrey online

Goodreads

Facebook

Blog

Amazon 

Bookbub

Instagram

Twitter

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! From the land of Alice in Wonderland’s cat… er, I mean Cheshire, England! 🙂 Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome V.L. McBeath!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Cheshire, a county in the north west of England, UK,

Why do you write? / When did you start writing?

It was never my intention to be an author. I only started writing about ten years ago as a result of researching my family history. During the process, I unearthed a number of revelations about the lives of my ancestors, which made me think they had quite a story to tell. I argued with myself for months as to whether I could write their lives as a family saga but eventually decided to give it a go. I told myself that if it was no good, I wouldn’t share it with anyone.

It took about five years before I realised I hadn’t done too bad a job and so decided to work towards publishing it. I put the first main book out in March 2017 and the final part of the series in July 2018. After spending so much time writing, I found I actually quite enjoyed it, and so decided to carry on.

What genre(s) do you write?

The first series (The Ambition & Destiny Series) is a historical family saga, set in Victorian-era England. I also have a series of historical murder mystery books (Eliza Thomson Investigates).

What does your writing routine consist of?

Most of my writing takes place in the evening. I spend most mornings at the gym, and once I get home I tend to work on the publishing and marketing side of the business. I also have a non-writing consultancy business that takes up varying amounts of time.

Of an evening, I usually give myself an hour to be sociable with my husband (LOL) and watch a bit of TV, before disappearing back to my office to spend 2-3 hours getting some writing done.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

Obviously for the first series, all the inspiration came from my family history. The fictional elements that were worked into the story were based on my best guesses as to what might have happened between the real-life events.

For the murder mystery series, my amateur sleuth Eliza Thomson was inspired by two characters in The Ambition & Destiny Series. One was Harriet. She was a fabulous character to write about but as a woman who longed for an education and a place in what was obviously a man’s world, she had a very difficult life. In contrast, another character, Charlotte had a wealthy, dotting father and wanted for nothing that money could buy. Eliza was ‘born’ when I wondered what Harriet would be like if she’d had the same opportunities as Charlotte.

As for the murders, I suppose some of my inspiration comes from people who have annoyed me over the years!

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Definitely a planner, although with The Ambition & Destiny Series, not so much as I first thought. My original outline spread the story over nineteen chapters, and I expected to produce a short novella. In reality, the story ended up as a five-book series, with something like 400 chapters!

For the Eliza Thomson Investigates series, I have to plot everything quite meticulously to make sure I plant the right clues and red herrings as I go along and make sure Eliza can work out who the killer is at the end.

In terms of speed, that depends on the book. The historical fiction ones take longer as there is a lot more background research to do to ensure historical accuracy. Once the books of either series are plotted, however, I can now get the words written quite quickly.

Tell us about your latest book

I’ve been fortunate that The Ambition & Destiny Series has done a lot better than I initially expected, leading many readers to ask if there would be more books in the series.

As far as the main storyline is concerned, that ended in 1910 and won’t be extended. I have had a couple of ideas for spin off books though and I’m about to release a new book based on the lives of my great x4 grandparents.

Set in 1808, The Young Widow is a standalone story that can be read either before or after the rest of the series. It is currently available for preorder at a special introductory price and will be published on 27th January. In addition, as with the rest of the series, it will be available in Kindle Unlimited.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie!

As I was contemplating publishing my first series, I wrote a whole blog post on why I wasn’t even going to bother going down the traditional publishing route. Everything I’ve learned since hasn’t changed my mind.

In short, it’s about control. Being based on my family history, The Ambition & Destiny Series was special to me and I didn’t want to hand it over to anyone who might want to change it.

In addition, traditional publishers now do very little that authors aren’t expected do for themselves anyway. If I have to get my work edited before I submit, build up a marketing plan and have social media followers before a traditional publisher will consider me, I might as well do it myself and keep all the royalties.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes, I’m still working on the Eliza Thomson Investigates series and the fifth book in the series is also available for preorder, although it won’t be released until May 2020.

I also hope to start researching another spin off book in The Ambition & Destiny Series.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

You can’t edit a blank page.

When you’re working on a first draft, just get the words down. It doesn’t matter if they’re not exactly right, if you repeat yourself, or if there are still gaps. That’s what editing is for and where the ‘magic’ happens. So my philosophy is to get the words down first and worry about them later.

I always do several rounds of self-editing before I send it to my professional editor and the difference between the final version and the first draft is incredible.

Follow me at:

Website: https://valmcbeath.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VLMcBeath

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/VL-McBeath/e/B01N2TJWEX/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/vl-mcbeath

Sunday Surprise


And it’s the first guest of the year! One more for the show! Ladies and gentlemen, please wlecome Wendy Rose Williams!

Where do you live and write from?

Seattle, Washington

Why do you write?

It makes me happy, brings new insights, and helps transmute energy for myself and others. Writing and publishing is an important part of my life purpose.

When did you start writing?

I began writing December 2012 to help process a rapid and profound spiritual awakening. Published my first non-fiction book December 2016.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write metaphysical fiction & non-fiction – books and short stories.

What does your writing routine consist of?

My writing routine varies depending when I have clients and speaking engagements scheduled. I like to do 4-hour afternoon sprints with my writing partner after having morning clients. I love to block off full days and even a week or two for full-time writing as I get deep into the energy. It’s most efficient for me to write in that manner vs. an hour a day. (I’m now self-employed – when I was working a traditional job, writing an hour a day on weekdays and more on weekends worked best.)

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

My strengths are taking complex spiritual topics and presenting them in a straight-forward manner that’s easy-to-understand and relatable for readers. I’ve developed this quality by working closely with test readers and incorporating their feedback. My writing has also improved by reading it aloud as I now record my books as audiobooks.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

My inspiration comes from my own spiritual experiences which I then fictionalize in a series called “The Flow.” The most interesting and universally applicable of my client’s past-life regression sessions form the basis of the “Regression Healing” non-fiction series. (I’m a hypnotherapist specializing in past-life regression, a Certified Spiritual Teacher and Reiki Master energy healer.)

Yes, I include myself in my stories in various roles.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Improviser – slow

Tell us about your latest book
My latest solo book is about a broken-hearted ghost from Colonial America who refuses to go Home for over 300 years, and what it took to get her to the Light.

https://www.amazon.com/Flow-Plimoth-Plantation-prequel-ebook/dp/B07TXXFPXQ

My latest short story, “The War Dog,” is about the unexpected events that occured when I fostered a dog 3 years ago.

https://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Sent-Stories-Touched-Miraculous-ebook/dp/B081ZG5LQC

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I love being an Indie because I get to determine my product including the content, cover, pricing and timing from start to finish.

I’ve had two short stories published by Transcendent Publishing in multi-author collaborations. “Heaven Sent” was published 12/5/19. It was a great opportunity to have the publisher’s help getting to #1 in 7 categories internationally and to receive 76 reviews in less than a month’s time. I hadn’t known how to do a formal Advance Reader Copy process, how to do Facebook Live on launch day, etc.  All proceeds from the book benefit animal charities.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes! I’m excited to complete and share “Regression Healing II: Joe & Marilyn” in 2020.

“A Seattle hypnotherapist turns to past-life regression therapy to resolve puzzling memories that predate her birth. However, when she realizes she’s seeing the world from the point-of-view of Joe DiMaggio, she struggles to accept the famous ball player’s identity as well as the energy flow between them.

The hypnotherapist flounders trying to heal her experiences as the Yankee Clipper until a young woman struggling with overwhelming memories from the same timeline is referred to her for help. Her new client has significant recall from her past life as Marilyn Monroe, including as Joe DiMaggio’s second wife.

The present-day “Joe” recognizes she needs to step to the plate to help them both release the old energy. Can they forgive one another, compounded by the extra heat and scrutiny potential famous past lives are often subjected to?”

But first I’ll be publishing 3 short stories on Kindle:

“Jack’s Journey Home”

“The Car-Whisperer: Trust Your Intuition”

“Ramona Falls: A Path to Forgiveness”

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

To write the truth, to the best of my ability, even when it’s painful to face at times and to share publicly.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Let go of ‘what will other people think,’ and set yourself free. Have FUN with your writing!

_______________________________

Find Wendy online:

https://www.wendyrosewilliams.com/

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