Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdoms, writers on writing, you name it! Enjoy these writers’ quotes and happy Sunday! 🙂

However, artistic freedom sometimes comes with a price. And that price is sometimes too steep for many writers to pay. Low sales, bad reviews, and so on.
Artistic freedom takes courage to write what you actually want to write, not just what you think you “should” be writing to keep the money flowing or what your workshop tells you to write or some editor or agent tells you to write.
Courage to hold onto your own artistic freedom is sometimes difficult and certainly not an easy task.
But the artistic freedom this new world of publishing gives you should be cherished. I know, I worked thirty years without it and now that I actually understand how lucky I am, I’m going to defend it even more
I love the freedom to make my own choices in publishing, right or wrong.
I love the freedom to write what I love to write, what I want to write. Period.
And once again, I will say it simply: I love this new world.
Dean Wesley Smith

There is a saying among writers: “When you write a book, the first words of the novel will sell that novel, but the last words in the novel will sell the next.” In other words, a powerful novel will make your reputation, will cause people to remember your name, so that with future books, the fans will simply pick them up without thinking. They might not need to know the title or check the reviews on your next novel. They’re fans for life.
David Farland

Because ELIXIR was my first book, I didn’t write it under a deadline. I could take my sweet time to work on the story, waste hundreds of pages on tangent plot lines that went nowhere, stop and start as inspiration ebbed and flowed, and revise indefinitely. All told, I spent almost seven years on that first book. And then the publishing gods smiled on me and I found myself with a two-book contract which allowed me a little over seven months to write the follow-up, UNVEILED. Given my writing history, this task sounded almost impossibly daunting. What I realized, however, as I successfully completed the manuscript well within the deadline, is that tasks expand or contract to fill the time available. I took seven years to write ELIXIR because I could. I wrote UNVEILED in seven months because I had to. More time does not necessarily make for a better book, either. When there was all the time in the world, that time was most often unproductively frittered, whereas the deadline had a way of sharpening my focus, making me more attentive. And attention begets inspiration.
Ruth Vincent

Inspiration comes and goes, creativity is the result of practice.
– Phil Cousineau

What I know is this:
We’re writers, and writers write.
And so, this year’s authorial resolution is far humbler, far smaller –
Write, despite.
What I mean is, no matter what happens, keep writing. No matter how exciting or terrifying the news becomes, write anyway. Force the time. Look away. Focus up. Eyes on your paper. Demand of yourself the creation of stories. Carve out the mental and emotional territory, and the temporal and physical landscape, in order to keep doing what you’re doing. In times like this, the distractions are endless. It’s easy to stop. It’s all too simple to feel overwhelmed by what’s going on and to stare at the Eye of Mordor as it fixes its gaze upon you. And yet, no matter what, you gotta do the thing. You gotta tell the stories. You gotta write it all down.
Write, despite. Or if you’re so inclined, write in spite of everything.
Your art does not need to be rebellious for you to rebel against everything. Just making art is an act outside the natural order. It is already a contravention of the status quo. And it’ll only get moreso in the coming year(s). Write despite. You needn’t aim any higher than that. You can. But the best thing you can do is to give yourself that mandate:
Write no matter what, write anyway, write always.
Have a great 2017. Carve your words into its hide. Tell the monster your tales.
Chuck Wendig

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Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! From my latest curated bundle, Thieves… She is even out there this weekend, if you are at the Wild Wild West Steam Fest in Santa Ana, go and greet her! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Michelle E. Lowe!

Where do you live and write from?>
Southern California.

Why do you write?
Why does someone want to be a cop, or actor, or engineer? It’s installed in us at birth. I believe that we’re meant to do these things, even if we don’t realize it right away. I love stories, and I love telling stories. Creating worlds, characters, and plotlines out of thin air is a magical thing which is fascinating that people (especially someone like me) can do it.

When did you start writing?
I’ve written small stuff throughout my life. Short stories, poems, things like that. When I was nineteen and in college for graphic design, I was alone, grieving in my dorm room. I’d just lost my older brother in a motorcycle accident. To occupy my mind, I decided to write out this story that had been playing around inside my head for a while, and once I started, I couldn’t stop! I swear, it happened in a snap. As hokey as it sounds, in a split second I’d found my calling. I like to think my brother was telling me something.

What genre(s) do you write?
Fiction mostly. I wrote one nonfiction book about the life story of the infamous highwayman, Claude du Vall, but the rest are all fiction. Steampunk/fantasy, science fiction, a few children’s books, even a thriller.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
I’ve been writing for the better part of twenty years now and would like to make it my full-time profession. Doing what you love and making an actual living at it IS the dream, right? To do so is to promote and to reach out to readers so to build a fan base. I’ve attended events like Gaslight Steampunk Expo and Gaslight Gathering in San Diego, WonderCon, and this weekend, I’ll be at the Wild Wild West Steam Fest in Santa Ana, signing books. I love doing these shows because I get to meet people and chat with them, which is always a treat for me. I also make connections, which is critical for any business.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
I’m not sure if this qualifies as advice and it wasn’t said to me personally, but there’s this lovely quote by Toni Morrison, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”I like this quote a lot because if an author writes what they want to read, the story will be more enriched by the care and devotion the writer is willing to put into it.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Having an outline is a must for me. I don’t like diving into a story with no compass. Having said that, I don’t restrict my story to any framework. Most of the time, I end up writing a completely different story outside of the outline. Planning out a story beforehand simply helps me push forward faster and allows me to document little details I might later forget. Outlines aren’t barbwire fences that demand to be followed, but a guide assisting you on your way.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle
Legacy (vol.1) is my steampunk/fantasy story. It’s the first of a six-part series, (which are all written, the last four only need to be edited.) The premise is that an evil man named Tarquin Norwich is searching for a toymaker, Indigo Peachtree, and the only way to do so is to force two outlaw brothers, Joaquin and Pierce Landcross, in helping to find him. Tarquin sends his children, Archie and Clover across the English Channel to snare Pierce in France, while Tarquin and his oldest son, Ivor, go after Joaquin in the north. Nothing goes as planned, however, and the story becomes a cat-and-mouse scenario of who can find who and what first. Here is a link to a short video about Legacy which includes excerpts of the book itself. 😊

(buy the book on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords or get it in the bundle Thieves)

Tell us about your latest book
I just released the second installment of Legacy, titled Legacy-The Reunion. It basically picks up where the first book leaves off, but with a completely different storyline. In this story, Pierce Landcross discovers that his long-lost parents are imprisoned in Newgate Prison and goes in to rescue them. He soon finds out that there has been an inheritance left to the family and when Pierce goes to the lawyer to collect it, he discovers that in order to claim the fortune, he must first follow a series of clue throughout the Netherlands to its location. Pierce is also accompanied by a beautiful and clever young woman, Taisia Kuzentsov, and together they seek out the loot. Their quest isn’t without risk. A dangerous bounty hunter who has his eye on the inheritance and on the price on Landcross’s head, is tailing them, waiting for the right time to act.

(buy the books on Amazon and Barnes&Noble)

Any other projects in the pipeline?
I’ve just started on the next series, The Age of the Machine, which I have set up as being four books total. This series will be more steampunk than fantasy like Legacy is, and hopefully just as much fun to write!

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Find Michelle online

Webpage

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon

Goodreads

Random Friday


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, total randomness but I don’t have anything to say. So I shall let others speak for me – they’re so much better at it! Have a great weekend!

It’s really hard to understand people who are wired differently. I’m never really going to understand people who think going to clubs and getting drunk with friends is fun, and they’re never going to understand why I think staying home on a Friday night and working on my art is fun. I don’t believe everyone who doesn’t have drive is just out partying all the time, but we all have different things we do. Some people watch a lot of television. Some people like to shop. Some people go to concerts. Or roller skate. Or play basketball. If I played a lot of basketball on weekends would that be a problem?
(…)
Also, I think many people don’t realize that the drive exists before getting the work, and when you’re going head to head with some kid who is pulling 40 hours a week at art making before they get their first job, you’re up against someone who has jet propulsion while others are still trying to invent the wheel. That drive comes early, and it sometimes never goes away. It’s a huge advantage. Where does it come from? I don’t know. It’s not fair, but it’s an essential, and it will topple the talented, confound the uninitiated, and look like magic to others.
I’m not going to apologize for my focus and ability and I don’t think anyone should have to. No one feels the need to apologize for being smart and studying a lot, why should I apologize for making art a lot?
I don’t think any amount of explaining will get through to people who simply don’t get it. Either you have drive or you don’t. I feel a lot of sympathy for those who don’t and who want it. It must be like trying to see a color you simply can’t see.
Colleen Doran

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
Franz Kafka

Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.
Philip José Farmer

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

Artistic freedom.
I have no one I have to answer to for my choices in what I write, how I write it, or why I pick a project I pick.
No one.
If readers don’t like something I write now, I figure they might in twenty years. So I don’t let readers into my process at all. I don’t write for money or fame or any of that stuff.
I just write for me.
And only me.
Total artistic freedom.
That is something that I never had as a traditionally published writer. Not once, not ever. Even when writing my own books there were always gatekeepers and sales forces and so on.
And anyone going into traditional publishing now not only gives up all rights to their work, but also gives up all artistic freedom.
In this modern world, a writer does not need to do that. I have no idea why any writer would willingly do that.
Maybe, just maybe it’s because complete artistic freedom and everything that means scares writers too much. Too much responsibility or something.
Dean Wesley Smith

Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call it… here’s your monthly dose of quotes! 🙂 (and thank you, Lyn, for posting the #LTUE2018 quotes)

“… Every time you write a book, you’re actually writing two books at the same time – the one on the page, and the one in your head. That’s why it’s so difficult to edit your own work – because when you read what’s on the page, you’re filling in the gaps with the stuff that’s only in your head…”
– Maxwell Drake
#LTUE2018

“…There is no such thing as Writer’s Block. All writer’s block means is that you’re bored, you want to be doing something else, you’re stuck, you’d rather be playing Call of Duty. Want to know how to get past writer’s block? Give yourself a good shake, clear your head, sit down in the chair and get back to work, and remember that this is the best job in the world and how lucky you are to have it… and that just like any other job, you don’t get to wallow if you want to get paid. I mean really, how long would an accountant last if one day he looked at his spreadsheets and was too bored with them to do his job? Who would hire a builder who lost the vision halfway into building a house? I could go on, but you get my point – if you want to have a carer as a writer, you don’t get to have writer’s block…”
Larry Correia
#LTUE2018

“…If you want to effectively write the other [other gender, race, culture, politics] you have to start by doing your homework. Get out of your comfort zone. Meet people who are different from you; talk to them and listen to what they say. Read books written by/for people with other points of view. Open your thinking. And keep in mind that no matter how much research you do, the character you’re writing only represents one person, and not all members of the other group…”
(Panel discussion)
#LTUE2018

“…As humans, we operate on a trust cycle – for example, I trusted a pilot I had never met to fly a plane built by people I didn’t know to bring me here to speak to a room of strangers. And even though we know there’s no guarantee of a tomorrow, we plan for it anyway. Science Fiction builds on this forward-thinking mindset…”
– Todd McCaffrey
#LTUE2018

“A good writer can watch a cat pad across the street and know what it is to be pounced upon by a Bengal tiger.”

― John le Carré

Sunday Surprise


And it’s the first guest of the year! And she’s Italian like me! I heard her speak at a panel here in Rome and later contacted her through Facebook. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli (I kind of heard the announcement in a Sam Rockwell’s voice from Galaxy Quest: “And now please welcome Commander Peter-peter-peter Quincy-quincy-quincy Taggart!”)! 😀

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Where do you live and write from?

I live in Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia (Italy), a beautiful city by the Mediterranean Sea.

Why do you write?

I write to make my stories real.

When did you start writing?

I was 17 or 18. I loved (and still love) films and I had so many stories in my head, so I started by writing screenplays. Then I turned to fan fiction. I’ve written original fiction since 2009.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write science fiction and thrillers.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I don’t have a special routine for writing. I don’t write every day. I plan my writing periods ahead of time. They usually lasts a few months, depending on the length of the book (I can write 40-50k words a month). In those periods I put myself in front of my pc for 4-5 hours almost every day (except holidays). Sometimes I do that first time in the day, sometimes late at night.

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

I think I’m good in getting the reader into the mind of the characters. With practice, I learned to identify in the PoV characters and use the proper style (that is “show, don’t tell”) to write the story from their head.

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

I find inspiration in everything that touches my life. Real personal experience or what other people told me. Books I read, films I see, TV series I watch. Articles I read. Everything and anything.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I’m definitely an outliner, although I often change the outline during the writing. I think I’m a fairly fast writer. I tend to write 1500-2000 words per writing session (4-5 hours).

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

My main goal is writing stories that I care to become real (in my mind), i.e. books that I would read as a reader. Writing is currently an important source of income in my life. My goal is to make it be so also in the future.

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

I really can’t remember one in particular.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)

My latest book in Italian is “Oltre il limite” (Beyond the Limit), book three in the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy (it’s a crime thriller series).

My latest book in English is “Kindred Intentions”, an action-packed thriller set in London and surroundings about an undercover agent, Amelia Jennings, who becomes prey in a man hunt. Her life will change completely in exactly 24 hours.

I hear your English title(s) is (are) published by Amazon imprints. How did that happen?

An English edition of my crime thriller “The Mentor” (original title: “Il mentore”, book one in the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy) was published by AmazonCrossing in autumn 2015 and it was a bestseller, reaching No. 1 in the Kindle Store in USA, UK, and Australia.
The translation rights in English were reverted to me at the beginning of December 2017, so a new edition, with a brand new translation, will be published in the near future.
I landed this contract with Amazon Publishing in 2014, when “Il mentore” was published in Italian. It was selling very well for a few months, when I received an e-mail from a person at Amazon Publishing who wanted to speak to me over the phone. We had an interesting conversation, then I was contacted by an AmazonCrossing editor from Seattle. I had the chance to meet this person at the Frankfurter Buchmesse a couple of weeks later. After that meeting I received an offer from her.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

In the English-speaking market, I’m focused on translating and get the whole Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy published.
Concerning the Italian market, I’m starting to work on the fourth book in the Aurora Saga (science fiction), titled “Sirius. In caduta libera” (Sirius. Free Falling). Moreover I’m writing a book about self-publishing, based on a class I taught at the University of Insubria (Varese, Italy) in 2016.

______________________________________

Blog: http://ladyanakina.blogspot.com

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Random Friday


And I shall open the year with words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call them to ease you through the new writing year… Happy writing and reading! 🙂

There are a lot of negatives in the writing life. Rejections, bad reviews from both readers and critics, poor sales, editors who quit on you before your book is published, Internet trolls, self-doubt, depression, and worst of all, utter indifference from the world. The positives of a writing career outweigh the negatives by a country mile, but you have to be prepared for the negatives so you can survive them and not let them derail you. Mental toughness – or maybe resiliency is a better word – is just as important, if not more so, than any other quality for a writer’s continued success (not to mention sanity). And just when you think you’re as tough as any writer who’s ever lived, you’ll take a hit which knocks the breath out of you and lays you out flat. And then you’ll get up, shake it off, and get back to work. Because you have to.
Tim Waggoner

Writer is a job.
I almost feel like I should end it there.
WRITER IS A JOB, he yodels, then goes and writes.
Writing can be a career. It can be a hobby. An art form. A distraction. An exploration. Some get paid nothing to do it. Others, very little. Some make enough with it to do the work full-time. Sometimes “writer” is even a job title inside a company. If you work for a video game company, or for a movie studio, or for any kind of content creation company… nnyeah, yes, those people are writers. It’s real. They’re not unicorns. They’re not secretly mailroom attendants who were given the job title of ‘writer’ just to make them happy. Don’t diminish them. They are writers who write and they write for money. I get the point. I’m not saying you should quit your day job and expect the MONEY HOVERCRAFT to back up to your house and fire wads of cash into your garage with a cannon, but there’s money there. And occasionally, it’s very good money for the time you put in.
Being a writer does not mean you are also automagically at a job. Being a writer and making money does not mean it is your only job. I had a day job while freelance writing — until one day, I didn’t, because I was making enough as a writer. A lot of novelists and freelancers have day jobs, but that doesn’t mean writing fails to serve as a companion job. It’s like, just because I ate a meal at lunch doesn’t mean dinner does not also comprise a meal. If I have one child, I may also have a second one — the second one isn’t a pet or a robot. You can have two things. You can hold two truths. You can have more than one job, and writer can be part of your cabinet of professions.
Chuck Wendig

Here’s the truth of indie publishing, folks: It’s a business. It takes five to ten years for a business to become solid. So if you started your indie publishing business in 2010, you might (if you managed it well) be seeing some predictable patterns and very real growth. If you started last year, you’re still in the early years yet, and you have some tough times ahead.
Those of you new to this blog will note that I say “indie publishing” when so many others say “self-publishing.” The reason is simple: it now takes several people to produce a book. Yes, you can do most of it yourself (self-publishing) but to do it well, you need copy editors and maybe a cover designer, beta readers and some classes in marketing (or someone to teach you how to write ad copy). There are a lot of things worth hiring out, and some things you should keep close at hand, and those things all vary according to the author.
But very few authors go it 100% alone. Those authors are self-publishing. The rest of us, those who hire out a few (or all) of the jobs? We’re indie publishers.
Kris Rusch

My advice is this: give yourself the freedom to explore new genres and new avenues of your imagination. Don’t limit yourself to autobiographically “write what you know.” You might find yourself slowly cannibalizing your life experiences, as I have done at times, but it’ll be the natural result of your storytelling, not some paint-by-numbers autobiography masquerading as fiction.
You’ll have the most fun writing—and your readers will have the most fun reading your work—when you do one thing above all.
Follow your passion.
Dave Hendrickson

If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.
– Toni Morrison

Random Friday


Since Sundays were busy with other stuff and I don’t have any random fact for you, here’s some writers on writing, words of wisdom or whatever… It’s been more than two months since the last, so I hope you like it! Have a great weekend! 🙂

First off, I need to explain what I see developing for a writer in this new world of publishing.

With discoverability difficult, with no real way to even manufacture or promote yourself into a bestseller anymore, the writer of today going forward is going to have to build a career slowly. And build it on quality storytelling and productivity.

In other words, the writing world has returned to what it used to be. When I came in, the standard was that if you were prolific and could keep learning and getting better and were persistent, you could start making a small living in ten years or so.

Now, with the indie road to sudden riches gone, writers must learn numbers of things to survive in this new world and start making a living with their writing.

A writer must be prolific. Long gone are the one-book-a-year writers making decent money (past the crop of older traditional bestsellers still going.)

A writer must be a good small-business person. Long gone are the days when you could have an agent take care of you.

A writer must learn sales language and be able to understand sales. Long gone are the days when a sales department did all the work for you.

A writer must learn how to do all their own production. Long gone are the days when you mailed off a manuscript and it came back a finished book a year later.

So now a writer must be a writer, publisher, production person, and a sales person, all balanced and wrapped together in tight, but separate spaces.

That’s the reality I see going forward for writers.

Dean Wesley Smith

Look, if there’s room on bookstore shelves for my books, which smash together genres like a toddler with building blocks, then there’s room on shelves for whatever you got going. Don’t worry about the ephemeral vicissitudes of “the market,” or fret over what’s trending with agents and publishers right now.

Write the story that screams to get out of you. Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy. Don’t be like Arnold on The Magic School Bus, the kid who always said, “I knew I should’ve stayed home today.”

Nobody liked goddamn Arnold. He should’ve stayed home. Don’t be Arnold

Michael J. Martinez

The bottom line is that writers need the freedom and relief of knowing they aren’t failures just because they don’t promote books a certain way.  I know authors who have written excellent books who have done ads, mailing lists, newsletters, blogs, Facebook, and other things very well.  And yet, their sales aren’t showing it.  You’d swear by the lack of sales that they aren’t effectively promoting their books or that their books suck.  Things couldn’t be further from the truth.  They are doing everything right, and for some reason, they aren’t selling as well as they should be.

Whether marketing gurus will ever admit this or not, there are forces outside of our control that impacts our sales.  We have no control over which reader reads our books, likes it enough to pass it on to others, or even if a particular reader has a high level of influence within his/her circle.  All writers can do is control the product (book) and the type of promotion they choose to do.  From there, it is out of our control.

So take heart if you’re a struggling writer.  You’re not alone, even if you might feel like it.  No one can guarantee your success if you follow their formula.  They can only give you strategies that might help.  But they can’t promise you anything.  Take their advice with a grain of salt and apply that which fits your personality best.

Ruth Ann Nordin

So why is this? Is it because, as many would like to so casually say, I just haven’t done “enough”?  That I just don’t live and breathe writing every second of the day? That I’m not a *real* writer? Is it because my books are bad? Because if they’re good and I’m really trying I’d be a monetary success by now. I’d have tons of money. I’d be rolling in the easy dough.

Right?

Wrong. Because writing is not a get rich scheme. Period. Sure, there are going to be a few success stories. Some people can get rich at anything, but just like in traditional publishing, those are few. How many Stephen Kings are there? How many JK Rowlings? How many midlist people you have never even heard of?

Exactly.

So, my point is not to say “boo hoo” (I’m happy with where I am). It’s NOT to ask for your advice, it’s to say that maybe we should stop judging success by whether we are making a fortune and start judging it by whether we’re writing books we love – books that our readers love – and quit worrying about whether we’re selling as many as everyone else.

Besides, it’s impossible to truly compare to everyone else because, you know, no one wants to cop to the numbers.

Have a pennies on a tombstone kind of day!

Joleene Naylor

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Sunday Surprise


And it’s writers on writing, words of wisdom, writers quotes and have a wonderful Sunday! 🙂

Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.
P.D. James

Making money is about providing a product or service people will happily pay for. To publish profitably, you need a book that people want; a book they will enjoy reading. Then, you need to produce it into a beautiful product that appeals the target audience and immediately conveys benefits; then you need sales copy and reviews that overcome objections and convince them to buy. Then you need ways of driving traffic to your product.

After all that, you continue tweaking until your conversion rate is high and consistent. Most authors think “writing to market” or considering your audience means writing shitty bulks to fill a need. That’s not at all what I’m saying. I want you to write better books that people actually enjoy, not the book that you enjoy writing. Write for others, not for yourself.
Derek Murphy

But let me give you a couple hints I gave last year (or you can learn how to fix in the blog posts, my book, or the sales workshop.)
If your blurb contains plot from more than the first chapter of your novel, you are in trouble.
If you can substitute the words… “and then this happened and then this happened and…(so on)” for your plot elements in your blurb, you are in trouble.
If you have any of the verbs… is, was, has, will… (and so on) in your blurb, you are in trouble.
If your blurb is a massive, long paragraph, or two, or three massively long paragraphs, you are in trouble.
Tags…? Got any?
Got any author information besides the fact you were born and love cats?
And so on and so on…
So, are your book sales not what you think they should be??  Then just maybe your actual sales tools are bad.
Your book might be great. But few people will ever read it in this modern world if you push them away.
Just saying…

Dean Wesley Smith

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
W. Somerset Maugham

Recently I posted this comment on Facebook: “People always ask me how I find time to write. I don’t. I choose to write.” I was in the process of finishing a movie novelization that I had only a few days left to turn in to the editor, so I didn’t pay much attention to the comments that followed. When I checked Facebook later, I saw that several people found my comment “not supportive” and even hurtful to people who had so much else going on in their lives that they didn’t have the privilege of extra time to write. I tried to clarify by adding that “Everyone has their circumstances, but anyone should be able to find a few minutes a day or week to do some writing.” If people truly want to become writers, they need to make a commitment to producing writing, however they can work it into their lives. Seems like common sense, right? If you want to get good at something, you have to practice.
Tim Waggoner

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a much revered guest! One of my first Goodreads friends! A lovely British gal I had the honor to meet in person after Loncon – she didn’t make it to Helsinki, but hopefully we’ll meet again in Dublin 2019. Or in London, whatever comes first, haha! Anyhow, she has a new book out, so check this interview! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcom J.A.Clement!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in the UK; I’m from the rural North but live in the South and work in London as my husband’s family live on the South coast.

Why do you write?

I write because I get twitchy if I don’t. I can only go so long without writing. Sooner or later it all bubbles up in me and life goes dull until I’m writing again. Then the gleam comes back.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always written, as far as I can remember. The first lengthy piece of writing I can remember was when I was eleven. My English teacher set us the task of writing three interlinked short stories. My friends did half a page each and grumbled about how hard it was. I didn’t dare tell them that mine were about twenty pages each and I’d had to ask for a new exercise book!

What genre(s) do you write?

Mostly fantasy, though I write contemporary humour under another name which I’m not going to tell you (as people will insist that they know who my characters are based on. I try to take that as a compliment that they seem so real, rather than being irritated. They’re not, but still…)

What does your writing routine consist of?

I write in my lunch hour when I get one, so it’s all a bit piecemeal. Sometimes in summer if I’m not too tired I write on the train instead of sleeping. If I’m really compulsively in the flow, I email myself bits of text while I’m in the lift or waiting for the kettle to boil or while tea is cooking. You’ll understand why editing is quite an important bit of the process for me!

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)

My latest release is due tomorrow. A few years ago I wrote a Christmas story called A Sprig of Holly, about a girl called Greta. Recently I decided to revisit Greta for a novella called The Holly & the Ivy, which takes place a few years after when Greta’s daughter goes missing in a storm, and Greta finds out a little more about the help which came to her in the course of that first winter.

http://mybook.to/sprig_series

It’s almost fairytale /adventure style in tone – my other stuff is hardly the full grimdark but bad things happen to good people, whereas this is a lot lighter; gripping, I hope, but more like the sort of adventure story you used to get before everything went a bit dark and Nordic. A bit of light relief from an increasingly grimdark world, perhaps.

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

Write the most excellent book you can, and then move onto the next one. It’s easy to get tangled up in self-doubt and over editing, but when it comes to it, you have to trust yourself and your editors, and release your book to the lions, so to speak. Readers will make up their own minds. In the meantime you need to not be wasting time doing stuff like hitting refresh in case a review comes up. There is so little time in this life to actually write, you just need to squash it in wherever there is two minutes spare, and get on with it. Once it’s written, the editing and polishing is time consuming but not generally outrageously difficult, but first you need to write it completely to the end or you’ll be perfecting chapter four for the rest of your life and never publish the damn thing at all.

Blog: http://jaclement.wordpress.com

fb: http://www.facebook.com/jaclementwrites

Author Central

Goodreads

Sunday Surprise


Since I skipped July, here’s some words of wisdom, writers on writing, inspirational quotes for writers, whatever you want to call them, to take you through the summer… Happy Sunday!

NO MATTER WHAT, KEEP WRITING.
William Gibson shared some advice on that phone call. First, never do a multibook deal. Second, don’t buy the big house. Sound counsel, although I was bummed that sinister monkeys weren’t somehow involved. He also said that many of his most successful writer friends are distinguished by the fact that they KEEP WRITING, rather than getting distracted by side projects or celebrity. The week before Cumulus came out, I finished the rough draft of my next novel. It’s currently in editorial and I’m gearing up to dive into a new story. Writing is the ultimate democratic artform. If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably written an email. If you’ve written an email, you can write a book. It might not be the Next Great American Novel, but it would be yours. If you’ve written a book, you can write a better one. If you’ve written a better one, then please don’t stop because I want to read everything you dream up. When it comes to storytelling, we are the only things standing in our way.
Eliot Peper

Learn to write by doing it. Read widely and wisely. Increase your word power. Find your own individual voice though practicing constantly. Go through the world with your eyes and ears open and learn to express that experience in words.
P.D. James

Simply put, your mission with your fiction is to entertain your reader enough for a few hours that they will want to buy more of your work.
If you take the attitude that you are always learning, always having fun, always practicing and trying to entertain people, you will discover you are more productive and sell more.
If you are having fun, entertaining yourself while you write, then your readers will feel that and be entertained as well.
You can sell your practice sessions, folks. Practicing has no pressure on it. Write clean, keep learning, and keep having fun.
That really is the secret.
Dean Wesley Smith

Publishing is a racket because most self-publishing authors see their books as an investment, when it’s actually a gamble. It’s a gamble because they don’t know how to reach their readers (or who their readers even are). They don’t know whether anybody will really enjoy their books. They hope to make some money from their books but because they didn’t write it for the money, they are OK with continuously spending more and more time, effort and money into their books even when they get zero results.
Publishing is a racket because the majority of people making money in publishing are the people selling services to authors. People selling services (myself included) get paid for their time and expertise, but have no interest helping you to make your book successful. (That’s not exactly fair, I should also point out that it’s because, in this business arrangement the author calls the shots and most first time authors make terrible choices, even when the people they hire for help try and get them to make better choices. There’s a built-in tendency towards self-sabotage when the least experienced person gets to make all the decisions).

Derek Murphy

Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.”
Neil Gaiman

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
Louis L’Amour

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