Friday, July 29, 2011

Why networking is important

I read alot of other author's blogs. I don't often comment--sometimes because I have nothing to say but "Great post!" and others because there's no reason to comment. Such as a review. (Unless it's mine in which case I'll thank the reviewer.) But with reviews on other's works, I've read the blogger's words and either liked them (and the book) enough to put it on a To Buy list or didn't and will skip it.

But there's so much else out there! News on the publishing world, on what other authors are doing, on who signed with whom or who didn't sign with anyone to self-publish a novel.
That is the main reason I follow so many blogs and spend so much time reading posts on Twitter. Becasue it's important to keep up with the industry I work for. You might say writers work for themselves, but if the publishing industry isn't an industry, then what is it? A mish-mash of hapless people struggling to make a buck? Hardly.

It's a career just as any other. As a librarian I keep up with the latest books, movies, magazines, as well as budget news, state-wide happenings, and county-wide information. If I was a doctor I'd keep up with the latest research in my chosen field. So why not as a writer?

And that's why it's important to network. Even if all you do is 'Like' someone's Facebook post or retweet someone's Twitter posting. Gets your name out, their name out, and maybe it helps another author learn the latest bit of news.

(Picture taken on a Google Image search, from the site Rahmatan lil 'Alamin (Blessing for All Creation) Global Counter-Extremism Network because I liked it best.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

From the Grammar Divas

I subscribe to their email newsletter and in this is their latest. Thought I'd spread the good-will grammar. And I highly recommend subscribing to their newsletter.

Misplaced Modifiers: How Not To Lose Your Reader

A misplaced modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that is not placed close enough to the word it describes to be clear.
Confusing: The waitress served ice cream to everyone in bowls.
Wow! Everyone had to get in bowls in order to get their ice cream?
To fix, place the modifier as close to the words it modifies as possible.
Better: The waitress served ice cream in bowls to everyone.
Sentences like this are common in conversation. But they are imprecise. So they have no place in your fiction.
Note: misplaced modifiers can be hard to find in revision. Why? Because you, the writer, already know what you’re trying to say. Your mind “sees” what you intend to say. The reader, however, does not want to do your job.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What was then

I can't believe how much I've learned writing-wise in 3 years. (In other things, too, but let's stick with writing.)

Just recently I read over In the Shadows, my Civil War novella. Coming in at 10,838 words it's one of the shorter stories I've done. It's also one of the weakest. I know what happened, it fell into the category of the write until the end and be done with it.

Since then, I've learned 2 very valuable things: Plot out your stories to the finest scene. (If that isn't your way #2 is even more important). Know your characters.

The end of In the Shadows is much stronger than the beginning. Why? I know who Jack & Marion were by the end. In the beginning, not so much and it reflects my lack of knowledge.

I'll be spending the next 2 weeks adding to this story, both in content and character development. When it's finished, I know it'll read so much better!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Things I learn from Twitter

I'm pretty up on the news from world headlines to local nonesense. But I rely on twitter for book-world stuff. Like the person using a real agent's name to contract books (so not cool) or even literary deaths.

But here's acouple things from yesterday afternoon:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On taking things in stride

I am not a laid back person by any means. I enjoy relaxing and there are days when it's better to flop on the couch than to anything. But when it comes to my writing, I'm very much the push-push-push type of gal.

Writing is not an industry where push actually works. It takes a long time for things to manifest. You write the book. Finished! But THE END is only the beginning in this long trip.

By taking things in stride, by not trying to change the unchangeable, it makes for a healthier, happier, and more productive work strategy. And life. Because let's face it, somethings (and people) can't be changed.

So as you're working on your next book while you wait for word on that one you just finished, remember: Sure, it's better to have another offering to agents/publishers/readers but it's better to step back, take a deep breath, and remember you're only in control of so much.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest: David Brown

Today my guest is David Brown with his first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, thoughts on writing full-time, and 6 cats. Well, maybe not the cats. They could be keeping watch from the windowsill or standing guard around his computer. They might chime in, but that's for David and his feline friends to decide. I'm open to the possibility.

Writing full-time is my ultimate dream and with the release of my debut novel, Fezariu’s Epiphany, in May I am hoping I’ll be making the first steps towards fulfilling that dream. I’m not a greedy person, you
understand. In fact I’d gladly earn just enough to cover the bills through writing and that would be perfect for me.

In those moments when I get ahead of myself with daydreams I imagine being a full-time writer and having a small house in the country but one with plenty of land. My wife, Donna, and I have six cats and only one likes to go out at the moment but it would be nice to leave the door open for all of them and not have to worry about busy main roads.

I think my daily routine would comprise of waking up mid-morning and after a hearty breakfast taking a walk in the local area, maybe to some nearby woodland, to clear my head and exercise the dogs which I hope we would have at that point. After a long walk it would be back to the house for lunch and then the afternoon would be devoted to writing, whether it was short stories, the latest novel or a handful of blogs.

In the evening I’d take things a little easier. A glass of whisky and coke would suffice, the television would be on (probably repeats of Only Fools and Horses which always amuse) and I’d be on the laptop
doing a spot of Internet browsing for the latest news, using Twitter and Facebook and if it’s a Saturday cursing because Barnsley FC have just lost again.

That’s my dream at present and as things stand it’s a long way away at the moment. That won’t stop me from continuing to pursue my writing dream and whether I make it to that country house or not we’ll have to see. I’d gladly sacrifice that rural retreat for the guarantee of being able to write full-time. There’s nothing I’d rather do than write for a living and, believe me, I’ve tried many other jobs to convince me of that!

Book Blurb:
"The White Oak, Clarendon’s oldest brothel, lured and destroyed men by the thousands. Fezariu was different. He had never been drawn by the White Oak’s vices but the brothel had still ruined him when he was just a boy. 

Salvation came in the form of the Merelax Mercenaries – Elenchera’s most prestigious hired hands. They gave Fezariu the chance to escape from his past. Immersed in the world of dangerous assignments in the colonies Fezariu longed to forget everything about his childhood but only in facing the past would he ever be free of it."
Podcasts Purchase links: Kindle...Paperback...Kindle
Author bio: 
David Brown was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and first conceived the idea of the Elencheran Chronicles at college in 1999. He spent ten years compiling the history of Elenchera, resulting in 47,000+ years of events, 500+ maps, 2000+ pages, several short stories and many much-needed acquaintances with Jack Daniels.

David also has a blog, The World According to Dave, which features reviews, stories and dramatic tales of the horrors of owning cats.

David now lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, with his wife, Donna, and their six cats.
Fezariu's Epiphany is his first novel.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

4 Things Never to Think About Your Book

This was originally going to be FIVE things, but then I realized I could combine so it ended up being FOUR. Less of a round number but alas.

Over the last few weeks, I've re-read 2 of my short stories. Shorter stories I guess you'd call them. Shadow State and In the Shadows, the stories I recently received the rights back to. I've learned several things in those read-thrus

1. Editing is super important. That 3rd reading you really don't want to do? Do it. I can't believe I missed a couple mistakes! Misspelled words, missing quotations, weird spacing.

2. Give yourself time between readings. I once finished a story and started the read thru that evening. Wow, what a mistake! Not only was my brain fried, but it was stuck on the ending when I needed to read the beginning.

3. No word you've written is that great. No matter how cool it is, how literary, how well it fits with the theme or style of the book, if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. If people are stumbling over just to pronounce it, if you can't spell it on your own, it does not belong!

4. Going off, no word you've written is that great, edit yourself. Just because you wrote it doesn't mean it's the best thing since Shakespeare. I'm all for choosing every word that fits, carefully crafting the sentence/paragraph/scene/chapter...but if it needs cutting do it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Author: Lorelie Brown

My guest today is Lorelie Brown talking about her new release, Catch Me. I haven’t read this story yet, I read tons of westerns over the years then just stopped. However, I’ve recently got back into them and find this premise great.

Before getting to Lorelie’s post, I want to share a quote I found from Louis L’Amour, king of westerns:
''If you write a book about a bygone period that lies east of the Mississippi River, then it's a historical novel,'' he said in 1975. ''If it's west of the Mississippi, it's a western, a different category. There's no sense to it.''

Welcome Lorelie!

Hi everyone! Thanks for having me here and being willing to listen to my chatter. I promise I won’t take too long. And if you stick around through the end, there might just be something in it for you.

I like to pretend sometimes that I’m an intellectual. I write historicals because I like the juxtaposition of reality versus what can be imagined. The fine line between being true to life and yet maintaining the fantasy of the romance industry. It’s harder than it seems, as I’m sure we all know.

But then I keep talking. And eventually I show my hand.

I’m a shallow, shallow girl.

I like the clothes. More specifically? I like the mystique of a hard-edged, mean and rough man dressed up in layers and layers of “proper” dress.
Let me show you some examples:

He’s not wearing much, is he?

Wait, did someone just accuse me of pandering with hot pictures? Why yes, I am. (I want people to pay attention to me and buy my book. Why wouldn’t I pander? Bring on the hotness!)

So anyway, he’s not wearing much, right? Doesn’t in any way inhibit his hotness. That stomach alone...Wow. Bad (good?) things could happen to that flat tummy. But there’s not much mystery to this guy, now is there? He’s hot and a little broody.

Wait. More pandering. Those are accessories, Lorelie. Not clothes. Moving on.

This guy’s been up to something. He’s a little muddy and hopefully a little worn out. We’re starting to get some story to work with. He’s been working. Working hard even, it looks like. But he’s still not wearing much. Nothing’s really hidden. That tasty tank-top with the (artful) smears of mud don’t conceal those arms. In a way, that’s good. But it also is a bit of a metaphor. There’s not much to peel back on him, is there?

Doc Holiday, as portrayed by the once-hot Val Kilmer. Now there is an outfit we can work with. The vest and the long coat and the suspenders underneath. The white button-up shirt. Something intriguing about a man you have to undress, right?

My hero in CATCH ME wears a very similar outfit. Dean’s a bounty hunter and he’s tasked with bringing Maggie back to the tiny town she’s lived in all her life--and where she robbed a bank. Running around shirtless isn’t really a possibility (except that one time where Maggie watches Dean chop down a tree.) but that’s a good thing. Because Maggie is a girl who loves a puzzle. And she’ll figure Dean out if it’s the last thing she does.

Now, you could go buy a copy of CATCH ME. In all reality, I hope you do. Please, support my hot cowboy habit! But because I am such an awesome, nice, wonderful author (LOL. If you read that with a straight face, you’re more credible than I am) I’m going to give away one e-pub version copy today. In the comments, just tell me who would be your favorite man to undress. One lucky, random winner will win! (Because winners win. That’s what they do.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Guest Author:Stacey Thompson-Geer and Stevi Trinity

How To make Co writing work!

So there seems to be a lot of amazement over the fact that Stacey and I wrote a book together and are still friends.

So, we thought maybe we would talk about it so that if there is interest out there for other people that they can work around it.

Stacey and I talked about this book for a while before it came into fruition. We talked so much about it, that I could actually see it play in my mind! :)

In March of 2010 Stacey called me and asked me if I really wanted to start this project. I told her that I did. That is when we started to fill in the details, We decided how many original characters there were and the general out line of their personalities
Then we got online and started to find names that we wanted for our world and people.
We also talked in great detail about how these gates were going to come to the earth realm, and who the bad guy would be, so we decided on the details, and then I told Stacey that she had to start it. I hadn't written in years and to be honest the idea really kind of freaked me out.
So she had the first section to me in less then a day! LOL It is one of the things that I have learned to love about Stacey, when she gets excited, I better be prepared to work! ;)

So it took about a week to get the first section back to her, but I finally did.

That was when we set a goal of about a year, and we passed it back and forth.

Sometimes it was hard and frustrating. I won't lie about that, learning how to be honest completely, was a challenge that truly turned into a blessing! There were a couple of times when we both had to pass it back, and say I can't work with this can you find another avenue to take the story.

Every time we passed the story back and forth, it was a surprise, because of the way we decided to write the story, neither of us knew what the other was going to write. Lol, the truth is half the time I didn't know what I was going to write! HAHAHAHA

Sometimes we would be on a brake of writing, if we something going on in our life, and we would talk about the things we would like to bring into the story, like Stacey wanted to have an interaction with Acacia and Lynn, and so we talked about how that would go. I took her character of Raiden, who appeared by surprise later in the book, and made a whole new situation with him, that shocked Stacey, but she liked it, so I got to keep it! HeeHee ( I actually told her I would not delete it, to save my life.)

So that is how we did our book! :) We had Honesty and trust, and if we took offense, then we had to get over it. I think helps that I am so laid back! LOL

Book Description:
The world has changed, we have changed. The world we once knew has fallen away and left us in a wasteland of Magick. Powerful witches and underworld gods control our lives. The past comes back in ways we are not prepared for. The Gatekeepers are our only hope. The question is if we can get to them first.
Author Bios:
Stevie Trinity
Stevie lives in Wyoming with her family. She loves the wide open space There is nothing better than sitting out on the prairie looking out at the stars, or driving less than an hour to the Mountains and climbing trees, and yes she still climbs trees! :)

Stevie started to write short stories when she was 12. She loves poetry and started to write poems when she was 13. She then stopped writing in her early 20s, due to raising a family and focusing her attention elsewhere. When she was 30 she started to write again.

A couple of years later the Gatekeeper series emerged. She and her co author spent many hours talking about and discussing the world they created. Stacey really encouraged Stevie to write again.

Currently Stevie is working on a historical romance about the old west in a time of amazing change! She is also working on the second book to the Gatekeeper Series.

Stacey Thompson-Geer

Stacey is a wife and mother of three. She started writing in High School with horror short stories. One of her first is now published through the kindle - Silver Bullet. When she's not dreaming up her next story or novel, she can be found hanging out with her kids or reading one of her favorite authors. She is also an avid Facebooker and Twitter user. Stop by her website to see what she's working on and any of her backlist work.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Guest Author: Amanda Arista

Today I'd  like to introduce Amanda Arista! Whose last name I have the worst time typing-I want to put the t before the i. All that aside, think werepanthers. Think yummy hotness. Think I should buy this book because it looks just that good! I did. I haven't read it yet, but I bought it!

A voice of a whole other type

           Four years ago, if you asked me what I did, I would have said that I’m a medical secretary. It’s where I spend most of my time and it’s what pays the bills. Made sense. That writing thing I did was simply a very strange hobby that kept me up late at night. Concocting the moving of dark armies over the American landscape was just something I did in my spare time. It didn’t bring in money and it certainly wasn’t something that I told everyone I did.

            About four years ago, I was floundering. While being a secretary is interesting, I’m not passionate about typing up reports every day. Seeing that I was struggling, my husband issued me a challenge. I know it sounds a little cavemanish, but it worked. He said “Write a book or go to grad school.” It was the type of challenge that I hadn’t had since college, one that would stress me out just enough to keep me motivated. And being the stubborn girl that I was, I took him up on it. I was going to write a novel.

            And the first time I told someone that I was going to take a year to write a book, they laughed and joked “Yeah, the next great American novel.” Several people actually had the same response and it was quite a funny joke at family get-togethers. It was disheartening at best. But I sucked it up and joined a class at the local community college. I could do this; I just needed a little more guidance and a little less sarcasm.

            The very first thing the professor said was that if you write, you are a writer. Just like if you swim, you are a swimmer. If you walk, you are a walker. Welcome to my first Yoda lesson. If you do it because you love it, then it becomes more than what you do, it becomes part of who you are.

            Did I run out of that first class proudly proclaiming that I was a writer? No. But it was the first step in a long line of small steps towards realizing that this writing thing was not a hobby. Being a writer changes the way I look at the world, makes me ask more questions to understand the world around me. This is why it’s more than what I do.   

            Some of those first steps were just talking about my story out loud. This provided its own set of problems. Saying the words “werepanther” to a person outside of my inner sanctum was the next challenge I had to face. If it wasn’t a snicker, it was a full blown laugh. “A what?” was most people’s response. That’s when practicing a good succinct one line pitch comes in very handy, a simple sentence that sums up what your book is about. My second Yoda lesson for today: when a person asks what you are writing about, give them the one line pitch. You’ll be able to tell afterwards if they really want to hear more, or if they are just placating the crazy writer.

            I have to admit that I backed off telling people that I was writing a fantasy novel about a girl who shifts into a panther. I was defeated again, or at least tired of the crazy writer looks. I kept my head down and wrote my silly little book because I was still determined to win my husband’s challenge. I worked my tail off writing every Saturday morning, finding time to slip away to coffee shops with a few other writers who were in the same boat as me: they needed someone who wouldn’t snicker when they needed to talk about their books.  Last Yoda lesson of the day: get a group of people who understand the need to write and you will feel so much better about your own drive. They also will need practice with their one-line pitch and have been laughed at as well.

            As we know from all good tales, the hero must endure some challenges. While mine were mostly snickers about my genre of paranormal romance, I’m proud to say “My name is Amanda Arista, I am a paranormal romance writer.” I have my weapons of choice: a one line pitch that doesn’t scare my 70 year old uncle, an arsenal of other writers who are one the same journey as me, all facing down their own demons, and a book that frankly I can point to when people snicker and say “I showed you mine, now show me yours?”

            I hope that my little tale has helped you gain confidence that you are not alone. The tests will come, the stress of finding time, the looks, the snickers. But everyone one of those will only make you not only a stronger writer (don’t think that some of those snickerers didn’t get eaten on the page) but a stronger person able to withstand more that just your average Joe. Myke Cole (@ MykeCole on Twitter) said it best when he tweeted “The writing life is not for the weak. We could teach the marines a thing of two about coping with fear.”

            What kind of experiences have you had when you told someone you wrote? Pen me a line to share your stories with other writers and you can enter yourself to win a $25 gift certificate to the e-book retailer of your choice.

            Thank you and Happy Writing!

Thanks for sharing, Amanda. What to find Amanda and learn more about werepanthers, book 2, and her writing? There's her site, twitter, and facebook (search Amanda Arista, Author). Plus, I'm sure she'll love to read an email or two!

            Violet Jordan thought the fairy tales her mother wove were just a way to get Violet to sleep, not a way to prepare her for the apocalypse she is the key to preventing. When she becomes a midnight snack for werepanther Spencer Haverty, his infectious bite invokes the first element of her destiny. When Violet's budding instincts allow her to save a boy’s life, she realizes this new gig may come with perks: a slimmer figure, the attention of a handsome Guardian, and insights into her future embedded in her mother's stories. But as push comes to claws, can Violet make the fatal strike against the men threatening her new family, her new home and her first boyfriend in ages?

Chapter 15 ish
It was dark and quiet and there was no dog smell on the wind, no Chaz smell either. I sucked in the cool safe air as my head cleared.

What the hell was I doing? I asked myself. Who were they? Haverty’s men come to collect? And why the hell had I run? I’d just left him there, to fight my battles. Just left Chaz to deal with the beasties because they were his thing; they were part of his world.

Screw that. When the last time Violet Jordan let someone else fight her battles?

Oh, that’s right, until I met Chaz, there were no battles to fight. And if there was anything that invaded my little fortress, I ran. It’s what I had always done. Run, move, and start all over with a fresh slate when things got hairy.

Wasn’t getting any hairier than this.

I looked up at the waxing moon and felt the stir of the cat in my chest. I wasn’t the Violet Jordan who ran anymore. I was the Violet Jordan who threw drinks in men’s faces and threw sensei’s across the room. I was the Violet Jordan who dated male models.

And those jerks had just ruined the first good date I’d had in years.
Coming soon: Book Two of the Diaries of an Urban Panther, Dec 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Is this thing working?

I admit, I've let the chronic blogger problems allow me to become lax in my blogging. Not working today? OK, I'll just skip it. There's always tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next week. It's so easy to let things go when I know I'll be aggrivated by not being able to log into my blog!

Before I get to the rest, July is guest blogger month! Friday 7/15 I'm hosting Amanda Arista, Saturday 7/16 is Stacey Thompson-Geer, Monday7/18 is Lorelie Brown, and Wednesday 7/20 is David Brown.

Be here or be square.

Now then, what have I been doing instead of blogging? I actually watched a few B sci-fi movies. Of the following 3 titles, which I watched based only on the titles, what one do you think was the best?

Lost City Raiders: The year is 2048, and global warming has flooded much of Earth's land areas. A father and his two sons try to salvage treasures from sunken buildings when they are given an important assignment by the New Vatican.

Sand Serpants: Jason Gedrick and a small group of Marines are stranded in the remote Afghan desert. But it ain't the Taliban that's worrying them, it's these giant refugees from Tremors. In fact the big worms prove to be an ally of sorts by doing better against the Taliban than themselves but battling these enemies is something not covered in their training.

Mongolian Death Worms: When an American oil company sets up an experimental drilling plant out in the vast deserts of Mongolia, they are completely oblivious to what actually lies beneath them. Pumping hot water deep into the ground, the company is hoping to expose untapped oil, but what they end up uncovering is something no one ever expected. As the superheated water plummets its way into the earth, it strikes a nest of deadly creatures that have been dormant for centuries. Thought to be purely mythological, these monsters are in fact real…and now they have been awakened! They are angry and they are bloodthirsty.

If you said Mongolian Death Worms, you'd be correct! Skocking, I know, but you have to love a movie that makes fun of itself.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Pictures

Because I care enough to share my smiles and laughter.

What do I want to be when I grow up?

And my favorite, the cutest puppy (so long as it's not my computer *G*)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


It's another month and I finally have story ideas! I was afraid (read terrified) that the stories I wanted to do were so far off the beaten trail they'd never be publishe (like that 1920s story I love and adore that's really difficult to sell!)

But a couple weeks of not doing any writing and I think I have a few ideas. Two are for sequels to Shadow State, which I'm in the process of self-publishing now that I have the rights back. One is a vague concept for In the Shadows (see reason above) and one is for a fun sexy contemporary.

This summer I want to plot out all of these stories so that when I'm ready to sit and write them, I can with as little trouble (read writer's block) as possible.

What are you working on?

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