Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, take your pick and go WOW! Have a great Sunday!

But if you don’t write, the world will never know what you might have done.
I realized back then that I had to take complete responsibility for my writing.
I had to set up times to write.  I needed to make sure that I stayed on task.
I hoped that someday I would get fan mail from readers who would be eager for my next book, and maybe that would help inspire me, but I knew that that day would never come unless I practiced my craft, all alone, with no audience but me.
Over the past few years, that realization has grown.  And you don’t have to just write the novels, you have to sell them.
Your publisher cares whether you sell, of course, but not nearly as much as you do.  It’s like horse racing, where you’ve only got one little horse.  The publisher might be backing you, but he’s got dozens of horses all in the same race.
His chances of winning are excellent.
So we have to take responsibility for our writing—not just for writing our own novels, but for editing them, writing the blurbs that sell them, getting cover quotes, and marketing them both in person and on the web.
Yes, agents and editors may help, but ultimately we must be responsible.  Writing a book is only part of the job.  It may take a couple of months.  But promoting a book well can require years.

David Farland

The bigger the issue, the smaller you write. Remember that. You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying on the road. You pick the smallest manageable part of the big thing, and you work off the resonance.

– Richard Price

The key there is: I cannot be pinned by expectation.

Some people think outlining a book robs the book of its magic. Some people think the business kills the joy of making words and creating art. But for me, the great thing that will siphon the joy out of what I do — the pesticide that murders the butterflies flitting about in the dark shrubbery that is my heart — is expectation. Not my expectation. But yours.

And now we come full circle because once again, I say:

Nobody wants you to be an artist.

Not the people who love you. Not the people who hate you. Not the people who don’t know one whit about you. Nobody wants that for you or your life.

I want you to think about that for a moment.

I want you to focus on that for a moment.

Take the idea like a pebble or a pearl, tuck it in your mouth, swirl it around.

This is what that does for me:

When I sit down and I start to write, I take a secret thrill in what I’m doing. Because this is forbidden territory. This is verboten. Everyone has built a fence of expectation around what I’m doing and yet, here I am, having climbed the fence. I’m making art and the world doesn’t want me to make art. I’m in a secret garden stealing your vegetables. I’m traipsing about someone’s home in the dark while they sleep. I’m mixing potions. I’m making monsters. I’m tap-dancing on the edge of a cliff, and the world can watch me kick off my shoes, pirouette, and lift both middle fingers in the air with a smugly self-satisfied look on my big beardo face.

Chuck Wendig

But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.
Elizabeth Gilbert

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

– Stephen King

Violate conventions and you are marked as an outsider. A rude outsider, at that.
Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

If you want little, give little; if you want much, give much; if you want all, give all.
Matshona Dhliwayo

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! Someone who dared asking  for it! And then answering the writerly questions! How cool is that? Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Jelterow Mckinnie, Jr.!
Why do you write?
To entertain readers – I want the reader to leave the story with a new way of thinking about something that is probably quite common.
When did you start writing?
At college – I had a very nice professor (Dr. Firestone) who was very generous in his reviews of my writings and he always encouraged me to save them and publish them one day. He always assured me that there was an audience for them, somewhere.
What genre(s) do you write?
Mostly fiction – however, I look forward to getting into more nonfiction one day.
What does your writing routine consist of?
I try to write at least one chapter of the book at a time. But, I do that over and over until the chapter is built up the way that I want it to be. For example, when I was writing Diary of a Teacher I went through each of the chapters and first put the things that I wanted to convey into them. The points that I want to get across. Sometimes, there will not even be characters – only the ideas that I want the reader to walk away with. Then once I’ve done that for all of the chapters – I go through the chapters again, this time putting in the conversations that I want to have take place and begin to put the main characters where they need to be. Then I’ll go back through the chapters and include the traits and tags that I want the characters to have and convey to the reader. This process continues over and over and over until I’ve added all the elements of the story needed to convey the message behind the story to the reader. So, I guess I’d say I write the story in layers!
What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
My strengths are a God given vivid imagination and the God given ability to write the fiction in such a way that it seems and feels real to the reader.
I did not develop these qualities – God gave them to me and I thank Him and give Him all the praise for them, in Jesus Mighty Name!
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
Sometimes I will see something strange or something quite practical and just let my imagination run away with me. Other times, while talking somebody will say something or I will say something and we agree that it would make a nice story. Most recently, on the current book I’m writing, Jairus, I was listening to Kenneth Copeland preaching about developing your faith and he was speaking about how God had him visualize how determined both Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood were to get through that crowd to Jesus. Then, praise God the Lord allowed me to have the idea to put it into a story so that those struggling to visualize it on their own could.
I don’t put myself into the stories too often; but on occasion I have. What I do is merge various people’s personality traits and create the character that I want or need for the story to move along. However, Live, Laugh, and Love the Golden Moments of Life does have a lot of myself in it; primarily because it is about my grandfather and I – all the fun we had in Liberty City (Miami, Florida).
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Outliner – the last time I tried it the other way I reached halfway and didn’t like the story.
Personally, I think I write slowly – but there are those who claim that I write very fast. At the end of the day it takes me about three months to finish a story that I’m diligently working on.
Tell us about your latest book (add link if published).
Currently I’m working on Jairus – this will be my first official piece of Christian Fiction and I pray that the Lord uses it to help people build their faith! The book will provide the back story for the miracle that took place for Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood. After all, Jairus was a Pharisees in charge of a synagogue at a time when most of the Pharisees were against Jesus. Just how did he come to a point in his faith that he turned to Jesus for help and had enough faith to get the help for his daughter? Likewise – the woman with the issue of blood, what is here story? She’s important enough to include and she has very strong faith; but, she’s given no identity. People, to this day, wonder about who she is and what obstacles she had to overcome in her life. The book addresses these issues – it’s going to sell millions of copies!
Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie – the technology supports it and I don’t have to go about the place begging somebody to publish me. The cost are a lot lower and Amazon’s reached the point where they can bring a print on demand paperback to market for under $10, which is a milestone! That said, one day the traditional publishers will reach out to me and we can definitely work some type of a deal at that time.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
Spreading the Gospel – Jesus is Lord!
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
Sell books! While praying the Lord instructed me to start asking for more author interviews and reviews – and I have; and praise God, you are one of the wonderful people facilitating my request; and, I thank you very much and pray that you are wonderfully blessed!
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Dr. Firestone’s advice to go ahead and do it!
Social Media: Google me (Jelterow Mckinnie, Jr.) – that’s probably the best way for the reader to use the method they like the most to get in touch with me.

Random Friday


And since I’m away, I’m going to introduce you to a guest! I found her through Goodreads and thought you might be interested in meeting someone else! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Claudie Arseneault!

Where do you live and write from?
I live in Quebec City, the capital of Canada’s majority French province. I’ve been here all my life, and English is a second language for me. I love my city, for all of its conservative faults. I think I see myself in a lot of its contradictions.

Why do you write?
Funnily enough, I recently wrote an entire guest post on this topic (it’s not up yet, but keep an eye on Ayah’s wonderful Why I Write series for it!). I won’t repeat all of those words here, but the short version is this: I write because it makes me feel like I belong. Writing allowed me to find my community. Writing reminds me that I am a professional, that I have found my path. Even when it is stressful and hard, writing is like coming home.

When did you start writing?
About ten years ago. At the time, it was a complement to my intense roleplaying habits. I ran games with a single player, and I wanted to write out the scenes between characters he didn’t witness. Then I heard of NaNoWriMo, got a sudden burst of inspiration, and after that first rush of creativity and fun, I could never go back.

What genre(s) do you write?
Fantasy is my main turf, although I tend to play around a lot in the genre. My latest novel, City of Strife, is a crossover between high fantasy and political fantasy, while one of my other projects is… steampunk-fantasy-ish. Without the steam. Kind of falls a lot into the kind of magic/technology mix you’d expect from the Tales of _____ series, or Final Fantasy. I do also write science-fiction, and when I do, it’s absolutely solarpunk—a community-driven, eco-conscious, hopeful subgenre. I love the subgenre enough to edit an entire anthology of solarpunk dragons, Wings of Renewal!

What does your writing routine consist of?
I don’t have one. I write whenever and wherever I can. This means I write on my cellphone in the bus to/from work, I write at a cat café in the city, I write after work on weekdays when my brain is half mush from the day’s labour… anything I can get done, I try to do it. I sit my ass in my chair and try to ignore twitter and social media until I have the strict minimum done. It is not always successful, but that’s okay. (I also do not necessarily recommend it? I have to watch myself because I will overwork myself if I’m not careful).

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
Characters. I have absolutely no qualms stating that: I’m good with characterization. A lot of it comes from all the roleplaying I did, and creating such a wide range of characters over the years. I pay a lot of attention to details when I build a character, and a lot of time thinking of silly things that are unrelated to the story, but that help me nail their personalities.
I also tend to build storylines that have a great many threads, and with practice, a lot of craft-studying, and trial and error, I’ve grown quite good at tying all of them into an epic ending. I like to think the last quarters of my books are the best part—that the payoff is worth it.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
Everywhere. This isn’t a question I have a great answer for, really. I draw inspiration from other stories, from history, from things I feel aremissing from what I read. I used not to put much of myself in my writing, but now I do.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Outline. Gosh, I would have written myself into a corner a dozen times over without outlines. The degrees of precision I put into them varies a lot from one project to the next, but I always have a general outline before I start (typically, the ending is more vague, and I outline it as I get nearer). Although, really, I frequently end up ditching or redoing my outlines as I write, so it’s a little of both. But I never start without some basics down. I’m also definitely a fast writer. Not in terms of words/minute, but it terms of time I can and do put into it, yeah! I get through drafts fairly fast.

final-coverTell us about your latest book
Okay, here is the short version of the blurb:
Isandor, City of Spires.
Bickering merchant families vie for power through eccentric shows of wealth and brutal trading wars. Unspoken rules regulate their battles, but when an idealistic elven lord provokes the powerful Myrian Empire, all bets are off. They are outsiders, unbound by local customs, and no one knows how far they’ll take their magic to dominate the city. Nobles and commoners alike must fight to preserve their home, even if the struggle shatters friendships, destroys alliances, and changes them irrevocably.
City of Strife is the first installment of the City of Spires trilogy, a multi-layered political fantasy led by an all LGBTQIAP+ cast. Fans of complex  storylines criss-crossing one another, strong friendships and found families will find everything they need within these pages.
It is indeed published, and you can find it here on Amazon. The book’s page on my website also contains a list of trigger warnings and all other buy links. This universe has been with me since the very start of my writing, and I’m happy to share it at last!

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie all the way! I can’t even imagine going a traditional route. First, too much of it is still hostile to wide LGBTQIAP+ casts, and I don’t have time to waste arguing about the validity and existence of my characters, or being pressurized to add a romance. Second, indie publishing allows me to choose my contributors and encourage marginalized freelancers with my money. Third, I like being in control. I like leading projects from beginning to end, and earning every bit of those way-better royalties. I do wish I had a larger marketing reach, but I’m working on that too! I just created The Kraken Collective with fellow indies, a cooperative of QUILTBAG science fiction and fantasy! We share platforms, advice, and skills, leading to high-quality books and great times.

Any other projects in the pipeline?
The second book, haha. The City of Spires trilogy was conceived as a unit, and I want to get the second one out as fast as I can. Spare my readers the long years of wait between cliffhangers (there are some).
I do have another project besides that one, called Baker Thief, which is sort of a fantasy-mystery-romance, except instead of actual romance, you have the slow bound between an aromantic spectrum character and a demisexual one. There’s a lot of me in it—twins, French puns and sentences, a city that draws upon Québec’s history—and it gets quite tropey at times, which I love.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
Two things: first, I want to provide a large array of stories in which the whole LGBTQIAP+ spectrum gets to play a part and be a hero. This is especially true of aromantic and asexual people, because these are also my stories, and I hope that through the body of work I can give voice to a large part of the spectrum. Second, I would love to earn a living with this? A lot? Hey, we can always dream. So I write or work on my projects almost every day, and I follow and listen to other marginalized voices, and hopefully as years go by things will get better.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Find the writing advice that applies to you. Seriously, every writer has a different process, and a lot of writing advice disregards that, especially when it comes to writers with disability. So, sure, try out the writing advice out there, but know that if it doesn’t work, it’s not you. You’re still a writer!
One that worked for me was: “open a blank document and rewrite.” This is a follow-up to the more common “your first draft is crap”, but it taught me not to be afraid to start over. My process changes between projects, but for novels, I will often scrap almost the entirety of the first draft. Because I need to reach the end to see the story as a whole. So I tend to rewrite with only a few looks at the first draft, from beginning to end. Even later in the project, I still apply that to entire scenes too. Sometimes it’s better to start from scratch. Scary and long, but better.

__________________

Claudie Arseneault is an asexual and aromantic-spectrum writer hailing from the very-French Québec City. Her long studies in biochemistry and immunology often sneak back into her science-fiction, and her love for sprawling casts invariably turns her novels into multi-storylined wonders. The most recent, City of Strife, comes out on February 22, 2017! Claudie is a founding member of The Kraken Collective and is well-known for her involvement in solarpunk, her database of aro and ace characters in speculative fiction, and her unending love of squids. Find out more on her website!

Sunday Surprise


redemption-final-smallREDEMPTION – A Many Lives Standalone Story
One of the best books I read this year. A tightly-woven tale of what it means to be redeemed by love ★★★★★” – Margo Bond Collins, NY Times bestselling author.
From New York Times bestselling author, Laxmi Hariharan, comes REDEMPTION the much anticipated next standalone story in the Many Lives Series. For fans of Nalini Singh and Christine Feehan. Experience a thrilling paranormal romance where shifters, vampires and immortals fight to save those they love.
Read REDEMPTION free in KU * 99c for limited only * here http://smarturl.it/RmptionLH
When differences threaten to tear fated mates apart
LEANA
I submit to no one—not even him.
Not till I was taken
Now a terrible emptiness tears me apart. For,
he’s just…gone
Will I see him again?
MIKHAIL
I never needed anyone
Then I met her, a cage fighter, my shifter. Mine.
The one I must protect
Now I want her. In my life, in my blood.
Her, only her.
Reclusive designer Mikhail Anton blames wolf-shifters for his memory loss, refusing to accept the signs that he is immortal. On meeting Leana Iyeroy, a cage-fighter and shifter, Mikhail is drawn to her in ways he can’t identify. And when vampires threaten Leana, he must acknowledge his abilities to rescue her from certain death. They must team up to save their city– before their differences destroy everything they love.
Read REDEMPTION free in KU & 99c for limited time here http://smarturl.it/RmptionLH

Sunday Surprise


A.L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres. With a background in politics, classical studies, ancient history and myth her work combines aspects of all. A lifelong storyteller the tale is all and loves to create people and worlds.

She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.

Social Media links

Amazon Author page http://amzn.to/2hK33OM

Facebook Author Page http://bit.ly/FB2j0bbdZ

Twitter http://bit.ly/Twi2hJZ3h9

Goodreads http://bit.ly/GR2iqokvK

Library of Erana Blog http://bit.ly/Blog2iAWL3o

The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book II

Who rules in this game of intrigue where magic is forbidden and elves enslaved? Journey where beliefs shatter like glass, truth is unwelcome and monsters from ancient times abound: share the romance and revenge, magic and passion, and the wages of greed in a world of darkest fantasy.

(18 rated)

 

Now in audio narrated by Shakespearean actor Rob Goll.

 

 

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2iOOWoB

Audible UK http://adbl.co/2iSW5GF

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2j1DSnF

Audible.com http://adbl.co/2i3tf5t

Ebooks available here:

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/2c5LghC

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2iqOXkr

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2hHRv9K

I-books http://apple.co/2j0B4u8

Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing to start the year well. Enjoy.

Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of defining your accomplishments by what other people did better. Someone climbed Mt Everest before you did, but by God, if you climb Mt Everest, you deserve a cookie. And “better” doesn’t mean “first”. “Better” may not even be what you think it is. Is it sales? Or critical acclaim? What? Go you and do what you need to do with your art because you need to do it.

Don’t get caught in the trap of believing you need to be first in line to be noticed. Who cares who drew the first comic on an iPad? Does anyone even remember? Of course not. Because that turns art into artifacts, and you’re not creating artifacts, you don’t need to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for Most Comic Book Pages Drawn While Hanging Upside Down Like a Bat.

You’re trying to connect with your readers by telling stories that have meaning to you and to them. Believe in what you are doing and the rest will follow…or not.

And if you never get that acclaim or those big sales, well, you did something real. And artificially trying to make yourself a Special Snowflake forever because you did it FIRST isn’t real.

Just tell your story…Climb Mt Everest. It doesn’t matter if someone else got there first. It’s your journey.

Colleen Doran

“Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. Anything at all… as long as you tell the truth… Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex, and work… What you know makes you unique in some other way. Be brave.”

Stephen King

Write books, authors. Write stories. Channel your emotions, your fears, your vulnerabilities into your work. Swallow the hurt and give voice to a song. In your books, which is what you are here for in the first place. Everywhere else? Post about cats and beards and the cupcake you had instead of dinner. Better to be banal than a bitch. Because readers will flock to the cats and the cupcakes and possibly bring you baked goods and collars with your cover art as collars to singings. But they’ll get a front row seat to watch the bitch go down.

Every. Single. Time.

Heidi Culliman

You can focus on social media and platform-building and brand-making, and it will yield you SOME return, sure. But… drum roll please…

It won’t yield you nearly as much as just concentrating on writing as many awesome books as you can for invested, functional publishers.

When a publisher asks you, “What’s your platform?” consider turning that question around and asking the publisher about THEIRS.

(…)

Be the best writer you can be. Online, be the best version of yourself. Have fun, be kind, work hard, have empathy, and hope for luck.

If you’re building a platform to sell books, don’t. If you’re altering yourself to fit a brand, dont. (Unless you’re an asshole, I guess.)

This is also not to say writers shouldn’t promote their own books! You shoul! I follow writers and *want* to hear about new releases!

(But I aldo don’t want those writers to pummel me in the crotch with ceaseless sales pitches, either.)

Anyway. Yeah. Platforms and brands are not magical solutions, so do not make them your focus, Okay? Okay.

NOW LET’S ALL GET DRUNK.

Chuck Wendig

In a recent yoga class, my teacher talked about the difference between having fun and enjoying yourself. Fun, she said, was an activity you do to escape your routines. However, enjoyment is the act of finding happiness in your routines and responsibilities. Therefore, another element of a good hobby is that it becomes a part of your daily or weekly habits, instead of something you use to run away from your writing (or life). This is why drinking, drugs, gambling and social media are so dangerous. They can provide fun via instant gratification, but long-run they don’t bring us joy. Better then to focus on habits and hobbies that help us be more plugged in to our lives–ones that allow us to enjoy ourselves.

Jaye Wells

Sunday Surprise


And it’s another guest! Don’t we have a December full of gifts? 😉 Lots of new authors for you to discover – because you’re gifting books for Xmas, right? Anyhow, I’m happy to introduce you this young lady! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Nat Kennedy!

Where do you live and write from?

I am from central Washington, in the high scrub desert. It’s dry and either hot or cold, and sometimes that offers months of staying inside, writing away at stories.

Why do you write?

I love writing. This, I am sure, is a typical answer. I mainly write what I write, gay erotic fantasy, because I can’t find enough of it to read. So, I write what I want to read. The characters are usually up beat, usually heroic, and though there’s angst, it’s rarely relationship angst. I want my lovers to love.

When did you start writing?

At a very young age… Seriously, I started writing in the early 2000s (I cut my teeth on fanfiction.)

2016-01-002-edge-of-desperation-ebook-coverWhat genre(s) do you write?

Fantasy, of the gay and sometimes erotic variety. All types, urban, to high fantasy, and I’ve some dark fantasy planned as well.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I get up at 5 am to write before work. I tend to work very well with deadlines. I am a NaNo Guru. Sometimes, if I’m rough drafting, I write in every scrap of time I can fine. But if I’m editing, I need larger chunks of time to work with.

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

My characters come across as real, relatable people. And my worlds jump from the pages, enough that readers feel immersed in them. I remember, years ago, reading a story and finally ‘seeing’ how the author made the details flow seamlessly into the narrative. No info dump. Important information evolved through the story. I then worked to emulate that. And I am doing okay, though there is always room for growth.

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

Mainly I find my inspiration from the holes in other stories I wish the author had written. I want to know about some background character. Or a hinted gay love story… why wasn’t that developed! So, I then think of the feelings that story invoked and sometimes steal that and plop it into my own world. I am inspired by negative space.

I don’t put myself in my stories. I’m far too boring.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Outline and plot it all, darling! And I am fast at rough drafts, slow at the edits depending on how good my outline was. I have improvised in the past, in fact my current novel I’m editing was improvised, and it needs so much work. I have vowed to outline always from now on.

Though, if a story does take me right, when the outline takes me left, I’m not afraid to go off outline.

2016-01-002-center-of-deception-ebook-coverTell us about your latest book

My latest book is the second in the Wielder World series, Center of Deception.

Though it’s the second in the series, I’d written books 1 and 2 (novella length) to be able to read in either order. The Wielder World is a series of gay urban fantasy. People have the power to Wield the Nerve of the World and do some amazing feats of ‘magic’. Women can do so with no repercussions. Men, however, pay a price for their power.

It’s the events in Book 1 from August’s point of view. How he got wrapped up in the male Wielder Cult. How he meets Kyle and Reggie from Book 1, and sets the seeds for future romance and hints at a greater threat to men in the Wielder World.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Wielder World is self-published because I like the power self-publishing gives me, also it’s a much faster process. Traditional routes take years. I also enjoy the self-publishing community and am honored to be a part of it.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I am editing Wielder World 3, the follow up novel called Afflicted to the Core, and I just finished a rough draft for a new high fantasy novel, the first in the World of Two Moons series.

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

Eventually, I would like to take writing full time. I’d like to build a fan base, have people excited for my next novel, and maybe, hopefully, get some fan fiction written about it. That would be quite the delight.

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

Read good books. Study them… why you liked them, how they did that thing you thought was awesome. And write often, if not every day, several times a week. Never give up. Learn to accept rejection. And write what you love, because even if people don’t buy it, at least you’ll enjoy reading it! 😉

_________________________________
About Nat and where to find her

Nat Kennedy grew up living in a poorly populated desert landscape. With no neighbors in a 1 mile radius, she had to make up her own fun.

Nat strives to create plotty and imaginative fantasy worlds, with the added benefit of gay and non-mainstream romance–steamy to tame. From couples to threesomes, including fantasy hermaphroditic races, love abounds.

Website

Goodreads

Facebook

Random Friday


For lack of other randomness, I shall let random writers dispense random writerly wisdom… Enjoy these writers on writing! And publishing! And… all the best to all the writers out there!

I do not believe in the assumption in this business that feedback from anyone can really help you. That’s not how a writer learns, folks.

So going to a beginning writer workshop and listening to other beginners tell you what you did wrong is like going to a person who does your hair who never finished high school and ask them for legal advice. You would never do that, right?

So why ask other uninformed and ill-informed and beginning writers what is wrong with your story? The only answer you can possibly get is dangerous, likely wrong, and usually destructive to your belief in yourself and your art.

Just say no, as Nancy used to say.

Set up a networking group and learn craft from major professional writers and keep writing. Trust your own art. Believe in yourself.

A ton more fun that way.

Dean Wesley Smith

 

And that’s what I’ve been having the most trouble with these past two weeks. Once again, my brain has difficulty wrapping itself around the idea that there is more than one path to success in this new world.

I’m aware of it: Hell, I preach it here on the blog almost every week. But apparently, deep down, I’m still stuck in the (almost literal) ruts of my “upbringing” in traditional publishing. When I default for myself, I default to the One True Path idea—and I default hard.

So, this blog is really not for you. It’s for me. It’s a reminder that in this modern world there is no longer One True Path. There are as many new paths as there are writers. The internet has opened the world to all of us, and we can pursue the careers we want—or at least, the parts of the career we can manage.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

 

The main question I’ve been asking myself is this: What do I have control over? Or at least, what do I have the most control over? Where do I have choices, and how do those choices affect my success? Basically, the idea is that there are four main areas that a writer has the most control over that directly affect his or her success, each of these being a leg of the table:

  1. What you write
  2. How much you write
  3. How much you learn
  4. How you market

Rather than abstract terms like “content” and “productivity,” I prefer concrete words that are more actionable — which, of course, is a fairly abstract word, but we’ll let that pass for now. There are so many ways for a writer working today to spend his or her time that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. These four legs are what I think constitutes a very sturdy table. If you are negligent in any of the legs, well, it can make your table pretty shaky after a while. A lot of writing with a poor marketing strategy often results in lackluster sales. A lot of learning without actually producing much — like the workshop junkie who goes to lots of classes but doesn’t actually write unless compelled to do so by a teacher — is equally out of whack.

Scott William Carter

 

I’ve decided that the next time a writer asks me for that one piece of advice I’d like to give every writer, I’m going to tell them this:

Buy a hat.

No, not because I have some milliner friends who need the support. But because writers, and particularly brand new beginning writers, need to understand the separation of church and state.

Your writing is not the same as your writing business.

These two things have some links between them, but I’ll say it again:

Your writing is not the same as your writing business.

When you have finished your book and it’s time to release it into the world, you must, must, must at that time take off your writing hat and put on your publishing or business hat.

Perhaps you have a pair of steampunk welding goggles instead. Or a leather workman’s apron.

Whatever metaphor or physical object works for you. For some writers, I actually would recommend that they go get a hat or something that reminds them of the difference.

I am not speaking to just indie writers here. Traditionally published writers need to make this same separation.

Writing isn’t the same as business.

Leah Cutter

 

When you’re just starting out, your craft is poor, and it’s endless frustration. You have amazing ideas that are never as good on paper as they are in your head.

Then, as you develop, you eventually get to the point where you can execute your ideas on paper about as well as you can see them in your head–and at that point, you start to feel pretty good about yourself.

But if you keep going, and keep improving your craft, you’ll eventually get to the point where the stuff that comes out on paper is SO much better than what it started out as in your head that you never *quite* believe that it came from you–and you can still improve from there.

That’s really what, for me, makes writing a total kick in the head.

– Stephen J. Cannell

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! She’s Author of the Month at Smaswords Authors group on Goodreads, so feel free to drop by over there and ask more questions!And even if she doesn’t mention it in the interview, she has Some Brief Advice  for Indie Authors! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sharon E. Cathcart!

25908261Where do you live and write from?
San Jose, California

Why do you write?
Honestly, there are stories in my head that won’t shut up. I write because I have to.

When did you start writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I made up stories and plays with one of my best friends starting in elementary school, and started writing short stories in junior high school. I’ve never really stopped.

What genre(s) do you write?
Primarily historical fiction, which is my favorite genre. I’ve also done a couple of steampunk tales that will be in an anthology next year, as well as one dark comedy.

What does your writing routine consist of?
I wish I had the discipline to call it a routine! One of the challenges I face is that I live with an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s disease. The primary effect of it is utter exhaustion (the disease kills your thyroid). So, some days all of the energy I have goes to managing my day-to-day life (including the proverbial day job). I write when I can, and for as long as I can.
25357892Because my preferred genre is historical fiction, I also spend time doing research (primary sources whenever possible). I want to make sure the details are right, and I’ll halt production if I’m not happy with how things are going.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
I think one of my greatest strengths is putting atypical characters into my stories. My protagonists are not perfect people. In my Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series, for example, my heroine is approaching 30 years of age and is not a virgin … which is not what you typically see in historical fiction. I have people in my books who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, physical deformities, etc. In the case of my newest work-in-progress, Bayou Fire, one person lives with Hashimoto’s disease.

31432511Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
I have found inspiration in a variety of places. The inspiration for His Beloved Infidel came from reading a memoir by the first social worker in Iran, for example.
I don’t put myself in my books, but my characters sometimes know things I know. For example, Claire Delacroix (the aforementioned heroine) is an equestrian. At the time I wrote the book, I was still an equestrian athlete myself and so I was able to put my knowledge onto the page.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Improviser, for sure. I have a general idea of where I want the book to go, but I find that sometimes the characters have different plans. There is a character in the Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series, Gilbert Rochambeau, who made it very clear that he was not, in fact, going to be the minor character I had initially planned for him to be. His role became very important indeed.
I tend to be a slow writer just because of my preferred genre. I am meticulous about my research and that adds time to the process.

Tell us about your latest book
I’m currently working on my first historical paranormal. This is the blurb:

Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of BAYOU FIRE?
Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans.

What’s unusual about this book is that it contains elements of reincarnation. So, I had to study both modern-day and historic New Orleans, as well as the bayou country, Creole plantation life, and more. I just returned from my second research trip this year.

31432417Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
I’m hybrid published these days. I have stories in three traditionally published anthologies. The rights to my three traditionally-published full-length works have reverted and I’ve released them again myself. I like having control over every aspect, from the interior design to the cover. I have even discovered some design talents I didn’t know I had!

Any other projects in the pipeline?
I am going to redesign, re-title, and re-issue my music business memoir. That will come out early in 2017.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
For years, my goal was to publish a novel. Then, it was to win an award. I’ve accomplished both of those a few times over. So, I’m focusing on continuing to meet and greet my fans, get new work out, and hopefully delight my readers!

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s the same one I was given years ago: Even if it’s shit, get it on the page. Editing is for later.
author-head-shotThank you for the opportunity to participate on your blog! Readers may find me on social media here:

Blog: sharonecathcart.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sharon.e.cathcart

Twitter; @sharoncathcart

Website: http://sharonecathcart.weebly.com

Sunday Surprise


Since I skipped October, I might do double ration of writers on writing and words of wisdom this month! In the meantime, here’s today’s quotes! Have a great Sunday!

Even if authors did the imagination bit for free – it is gloriously exhilarating, I do love writing – there’s still the task of making it readable, and the grind of snagging all the typos. And there’s the admin around publishing  or indy publishing, and the complexities of being self-employed. If we were paid just for editing and admin, most of us would still get a pretty lousy hourly rate. We don’t want pity – we choose to pursue our vocations – but, just like microbrewers, craft bakers, chefs, musicians and anybody else trying to professionalise a passion – we do want to be treated fairly by those we serve.

M Harold Page

Those choices are personal. They’re about the kinds of careers we want. Some of us do want to sell just one book to a traditional publisher. As long as we’re honest about the reasons for it, then it’s a good choice. Some of us want to make a fortune at our writing. As long as we are willing to work hard at it, it’s a good choice. Some of us just want our work read by as many people as possible. As long as we’re willing to continually improve our storytelling craft, that’s a good choice too.
There are no bad choices—as long as we approach what we do with confidence and education. Know what you’re giving up to go traditional. Know how much work you’re taking on when you go indie.
Don’t accept someone else’s opinion as gospel (even [shudder!] mine). Make your own opinion.
And most important of all, don’t waste time living someone else’s dream. Live yours.
In order to do that, you need to know what your dream is. But once you’ve figured that out, believe in it. Work toward it. And own it.
It’s yours.
It may not be mine. It might not be your family’s. It’s yours.
Be proud of your dream. Be proud of the work you do. Be proud of your choices.
As long as you believe in yourself, the shamers can’t control you.
Be yourself—and I guarantee you that no matter what you choose to do, you will eventually succeed at it. Because you’re not doing it to impress someone else. You’re doing it for love.
And that’s the key to everything.
Kris Rusch

And, luckily, we have options today.
Very good options. Options where we can control everything that happens to us (within the limits of anyone’s ability to determine what happens to us in anything that resembles an artistic endeavor, anyway). We do not need to sign a deal that puts our creative control in someone else’s hands. And, to be blunt, any deal that stops a person from in good faith making the art they want to make is a dangerous deal, indeed.
Ron Collins

Some people might disagree with me, but I don’t think you have to write every day to be a writer. I don’t think it’s necessary to finish or publish every story you write. It’s okay to experiment. It’s okay to scrap a project that isn’t working out. It’s okay to write just for the fun of it. And it’s okay to take breaks.
As writers, we’re often our harshest critiques. That is certainly the case for me. I’m much harder on myself than I would ever be on someone else. For now, I’m going to take it one day at a time. I’m going to work on being kinder to myself. And I’m going to try to enjoy the process of writing instead of being so focused on the end result.
Tricia Drammeh

We’re all trespassers, and you know how we get away with it? Just by doing it! By committing. By hunkering down. By making it happen with effort and thought and by shuttling off our myriad neuroses and anxieties for some other day, some other situation, some other problem. Oh, you didn’t get that publishing deal you wanted? Or the agent? That sucks. It does! And it also doesn’t matter because that’s how this business goes, that’s how life is, that is is the cost of existing. Did you think every day would offer an eager line of people serving you up your wishes on shiny platters? Or did you expect that — gasp — it would take work and improvement and effort and iteration and reiteration? Because it does. It does require that. All things require that. Writing isn’t a hula hoop — you don’t just pick it up and give a couple hip-shimmies to get that motherfucker spinning. Writing is a complex act. It takes time and failure and more failure and a little success and a little luck and more failure and then REAL success and then hey oops more failure again.
Chuck Wendig

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