Kat Daemon’s KILLING DARKNESS IS HERE!

Killing Darkness, the long awaited sequel to Kat Daemon’s Taming Darkness is finally here and I can’t wait to read it! *THROWS ALL THE CONFETTI!*

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Powerful, beautiful, and covered in scars…

Powerful, beautiful, and covered in scars…

Brielle, born of a mortal-immortal union between a human mother and the devil Himself, is prophesied to be the one capable of turning the tide in the brewing apocalypse.

As Brielle’s thirtieth birthday draws near, she strikes a deal with the devil and sets out on a journey of self discovery. In an attempt to comprehend what it means to be fully human, Brielle finds herself at the door of her therapist, Adam. Blurring relationship lines and questioning everything, she quickly learns that humanity, vulnerability, and love are things she isn’t prepared to handle. Distancing herself, she finds shelter in her father’s arms once more.

Two worlds are about to collide…

When the archangel Michael suddenly takes a deep interest in Brielle, Lucifer begins to understand that his greatest opponent is curious about more than just her choice. Michael’s fall will be Lucifer’s rise and only Brielle holds the key to making it happen.

With a human, an angel, and a demon all tearing at her heart, Brielle realizes it’s time to decide if her loyalties lie with Michael in Heaven or her father in Hell.

PURCHASE LINK: AMAZON

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Kat Daemon grew up in New York where her imagination always seemed to get the best of her. When she’s not hanging with demons, she’s usually armed with a strong cup of coffee and dreaming up her next tormented character.

She is the author of the The Darkness Saga. Book one of the saga, Taming Darkness, the story of the world’s most infamous fallen angel and the one woman who was able to hold temptation over him, is available now.

You can find out more about Kat and her books at www.katdaemon.com

I want to thank my 11th grade guidance counselor for telling me I couldn’t…

This post was originally my guest post over on The Dragon Blog. Now that the giveaway is over, I thought I’d share it with my readers and followers.

 

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When I was in grade 11 (because that’s how we say it in Canada), the guidance counselors had every student in my year take a career profile test. I remember it being a long drawn out test that took most of my spare period to complete. I answered all the multiple choice questions, some of which seemed completely pointless, in order to find out what my destiny would be.

When I was finished, the computer spat out five career options that fit my profile. They were: Historian, Librarian, College Professor, Archives Technician, and Writer.

I just about jumped out of my seat when I read the amazing career options I had before me. How exciting! While a little Ask Jeeves search (this was the early 2000’s, people) explained what an archives technician was, I quickly became excited about that as well.

When I sat down in front of the guidance/career counselor, who shall remain nameless (mainly because I don’t remember her name), I expected her to pull out college booklets and go over course listings with me.

Instead, she looked at my test results and frowned. Then she proceeded to tell me that there aren’t many jobs in those fields, competition for those jobs is tough, and I’d be wasting my time if I tailored my education around those career goals.

I was completely deflated and tried to argue that, if I wanted something bad enough, wasn’t anything possible?

She didn’t agree with me. However; she did TRY to stick to my career profile by suggesting I study journalism. But that area of writing never interested me. I wanted to write fiction, I wanted to study history, I wanted to live with books, I wanted to organize information, and I wanted to teach people about the things I knew!

So what ended up happening after high school? I didn’t go to college. Why would I want to go into debt to study a subject I had no interest in?

It seems like a sad story, a misguided teen gone wrong. But guess what, Guidance Counselor Lady? Without even trying, without even realizing I was doing it, I became all of those things.

I AM a Historian – 7 years out of high school I finally realized that your advice was ridiculous, and I went back to school… to University, actually. I studied English literature and History, with an emphasis on early Western Civilizations. In case you weren’t aware, Guidance Counselor, my novel is set in 6th century Britain. I have spent years studying ancient cultures including Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and British civilizations. While I may not have a PhD in history (and I very well might some day), I’d say I’m more of a historian than you ever thought I’d be.

I AM a Librarian – You should see my book collection. I have shelves filled with books in every room. They aren’t organized by the Dewey Decimal System, but ask me to find any particular one, and I know exactly where it is. I’ll even lend you one if you ask nicely.

I AM a college professor…sort of. I teach pre-GED Reading and English to adult students who fell through the cracks (perhaps because of people like you). I help these students learn about Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, and I help them prepare to take a test that will get them into college, get job promotions, and help them realize that they can do ANYTHING they want in life.

I AM an Archives Technician. While I don’t work in a museum or any type of records management position, I spend a lot of my day finding resources for others, and I even created the entire South Carolina resource directory for the South Carolina Immigrant Victim Network. It took me two years to find all the services an immigrant victim might need, and I can assure you, the people at SCIVN are VERY glad I was so good at the job.

And last, but certainly not least…

I AM a Writer—a published one at that—with great reviews, a pretty decent sales record, and several months on the Amazon bestsellers list. Also, did you happen to see the full page spread on me in our hometown newspaper?

I sure hope you did. And I hope you remember telling me I couldn’t do any of these things. As it turns out, guidance counselors don’t control destiny. Who would have thought?

How 12 Different Authors Write a First Draft.

I have an AMAZING post for you today! Since there was such a huge response to my “How Did You Write a Book” post, I started to wonder how my experience differs from other writers. I was lucky enough to pick the brains of some incredible authors to find out how they write their first drafts. Writing a first draft is the first and MOST important step to becoming a published author and it can also the hardest.

The questions each author was asked:

  1. How long does it take you to write a first draft?
  2. What does your first draft writing process look like?
  3. What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

The authors answering these burning questions are: Lane Heymont, Becket, Kristen Strassel, Summer Wier, Brenda Drake, Greg Wilkey, Jamie Grey, Melody Winter, Kat Ellis, Julie Hutchings, Mark Mathews and Louise D. Gornall.

They come from different backgrounds, write in different genres, and as you will see, have their own unique way of approaching a first draft; no two ways are the same. So whether you’re just trying to finish your first novel, or you’re a seasoned author crying coffee-streaked tears over your latest manuscript, remember—it’s different for everyone.

Lane Heymont

@LaneHeymont

 Lane

Lane is a literary assistant at The Seymour agency. He is also the author of The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff published by Sunbury Press.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?

Writing a first draft, for me, is always a unique experience. Depending on the book and the amount of research needed to portray the world as realistic as possible a first draft could take me from two months to six months.

What does your first draft writing process look like?

I didn’t outline my first book and overall found it to be a gigantic pain in the rear end. Not to mention it took longer to write than I’d like to admit. So, after that experience I outlined everything from character appearance to minute conversations. It worked well for me, and my second book was done in two months. Amazing, really. As for research, I don’t usually do any until I actually start writing. I find it easier to research something once I get to the point where I need to know, and then I dive into my dozens of books (already bought) to answer even the smallest question.

What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

It’s funny that I struggled to answer this question. I thought about it for a long time, and then finally decided. ADD. I swear I have it, because I write for a few hours, and then start thinking how the sunlight glistens off the street outside my office window. I sit there for twenty minutes, thinking about those pine trees out there and how funny my Maltese looks as he stares at the same tree. You can see even now I’m rambling on, thus my stumbling block. How do I overcome it? Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. I recently discovered Starbucks’ blonde brew, which is hyper-loaded with caffeine. That sets me straight for hours. Also, if Starbucks would like me to promote them I would gladly do so. *smiles wickedly*

Becket

@iBecket

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Becket is the personal assistant to international bestselling author Anne Rice. Becket is also the indie-author of the popular YA series, The Blood Vivicanti, and his children’s book series, Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?

The length of time it takes to write the first draft of my novels depends on two goals: (1) a long-term word count goal, and (2) a short-term word count goal.

My long-term word count goal is the length that I would like the book to be by the end of the first draft. That word count always changes when the novel is finally finished. But by the end of my first draft, I make it my long-term goal to write a set amount of words.

My short-term word count goal is how many words I would like to write in a day. This can vary from day-to-day, sometimes I hit the mark on the head, sometimes I’m shy of it, and sometimes I write twice as much as I set out. But as long as I can come close to achieving my short-term word count goal, then I come even nearer to achieving my long-term word count goal.

I must stress that these two goals must be realistic so that they can be achievable. For instance, if I set out to write my own version of In Search of Lost Time in six months, while also writing 10,000 words a day, then I’ve set two highly unrealistic goals for myself. I must set a long term word count goal that I know I can achieve while at the same time also setting a short-term word count goal. Once these are set, then I start writing.

So to answer the question: If my long-term goal is 30,000 words, and my short-term goal is 1000 words a day, I would write the first draft in a month’s time. This happens often, and usually I’m finished writing a first draft of that length before 30 days.

What does your first draft writing process look like?

Before I set my two goals – long term and short term – I usually have an idea for a novel.  Once I know what I want to write – whether it is a short story, a novella, or a novel – then I set my two goals.

To set my long-term word count goal, I look at novels that I like, and that are similar to the idea I’m planning to write. For instance, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is roughly 25,000 words; and the word count for James and the Giant Peach is similar. If I am planning to write a children’s story, I make the long-term goal of my first draft similar to the word count of those two stories.

To set my short-term goal, I base it on my daily ability to write a set amount of words. To do that, I must know myself, what I’m capable and incapable of in any situation, whether I’m feeling well or ill.

For a first time writer, it might be best to set a simple goal. Try writing 100 words a day; see where that takes you. If you can write more, do it. If you need to write fewer words, do that too, and without shame, because writing is an exercise; and the muscles for writing – typing, thinking, and trusting yourself – need to be built up too.

Once I set my two goals, I start writing the story every day according to my short-term goal so that my long-term goal can be achieved.

Lastly, I write my first draft organically. I know roughly where I want the story to go and I know who my characters are because I’ll take the time to write little histories of each. Then I let things happen on the page that entertain me because (and I’ll explain this further in my response to the next question) the first draft is for me; it is for no one else. I write the first draft, and let it flow from me naturally, letting the characters do and say things that I want them to do and say, things that entertain me, every word, sentence, every scene.

If I am bored writing the first draft, then there’s no point in writing. If there are holes in the story and mistakes on the page, that’s all right – I let it happen. I let my first draft be as wild and sloppy as I like. It will get cleaned up, disciplined, and intelligible to others when I edit the story in subsequent drafts.

The whole point is to write, have fun, and meet my goals every day because I want to do what I love and love what I do.

What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

The main threat to every first draft is that menacing question: “What will people think of my novel, or this scene, or this character?” Asking such a question in the first draft is the undermining of the whole enterprise. The novel will never get written if I allow this question to pester me. Naturally it will arise. However, I put this question out of my head by telling myself the same mantra, it never fails: “This first draft is for you, and you alone, and no one else is going to read it.”

You see, the whole purpose of a first draft is not for someone else to see what I’m doing, but for me to see where I’m going, what I’m saying, and how I’m expressing my idea(s) in the novel.  So I must have and maintain the discipline not to show my first draft to anyone. It won’t make sense to them, especially if the first draft is unfinished.

The purpose of all subsequent drafts is to refine my story, discipline the characters, edit out things that do not help the narrative, and make it an easy and enjoyable read for my readers as well as myself.

Kristen Strassel

@KristenStrassel

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Kristen is the author of the steamy vampire romance novel Because The Night, its YA prequel, Seasons in the Sun, and the soon to be released Night Moves, published by Forward Literary.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?

I try to get ‘er done in no more than 3 months. With the book I’m currently working on, I’m trying to trim that down to 2. It’s tough.

What does your first draft writing process look like?

For my more recent projects, I’ve had an idea in my head that won’t leave me alone. I write out a rough synopsis, and work on my characters. When the story is speaking to me, I just write whatever it tells me to. Then, I make a list of things that need to happen, or problems that need to be solved. I let the characters drive the story, so it doesn’t always go where I intended for it to. But that’s the fun of it!

For past books, I pulled heavily from life experience, so I didn’t have to do a ton of research. Now I’m branching out, and I tend to research mid draft. That way I can stay specific to what I need, or else I’ll be researching forever.

What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

Sometimes I feel like I’ve written myself into a corner, so I’ll have to go back and zig where I had previously zagged to get out of it. Also, making the characters come alive in the first draft is a challenge. We’re just getting to know each other, so I don’t always have a good feel for them.

Summer Wier

@SummerWier

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Three of Summer’s short stories are soon to appear in a Grimm’s Fairy Tale anthology by Reuts Publishing, and her YA sci-fi manuscript The Shadow of Light is currently making the query rounds.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?

This was kind of a tricky question to answer since I don’t get uninterrupted writing time very often. I work from home and my clients are in different time zones, so some days I’m taking calls, sorting through emails, and putting out fires from the minute I wake up until I go to bed. There are also different times of year that allow me to write more than others (April and May are my most productive writing months because tax season is over and my children are still in school).  I utilize nights and weekends as much as possible, without totally ignoring my family, but have yet to nail down a tried and true schedule.  That being said, I can complete a first draft in about three months.

What does your first draft writing process look like?

Chaos. Pure chaos. Sometimes I’m a pantser, sometimes I’m a plotter. When I have an idea, I just start writing, and not necessarily at the beginning.  As I mentioned above, sometimes my day is filled with interruptions, but I keep mulling that idea over in my head. Expanding it. Developing it. As I’m doing other things, ideas come to me and I email them to myself.  When I sit down to write, it’s easier to move forward because I’ve already worked the scene out in my head.

With the MS I just finished, I started with one idea and then did a complete 180 after seeing a NASA YouTube video. Incorporating its elements into my MS required a lot of research because I wanted to be as accurate as possible so I could warp the idea in a very realistic way. Even after I worked the science into my story, I still researched frequently as I was writing descriptions for the world I created.

I don’t do much revising while I’m creating a first draft. I’m a picky writer. I’m a slow writer. I sit, think, and work on each sentence as I go. I’m a little OCD, so I can’t just throw word vomit on a page and move on. It drives me nuts.

What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

Anyone that knows me even a little bit knows that WORD COUNTS will be the death of me. I can thank my business degree for teaching how to organize data and list facts. Clear. Concise. Short, sweet and to the point.  Sure, I know how to spruce things up a bit, paint a pretty picture with flowery words and heavenly scents, but I always end up on the low side of the count. I recently tried my hand at short stories, and even then, I really had to push myself to hit a 2,000 word goal. Now that’s not all bad.  It’s my style. It makes me, well me.  And thankfully, I have some amazing CPs and a rocking DE that work with me to beef up sparse areas. More than anything, I think I psych myself out about it. It’s this thing that hangs over me, traps me, inhibits me. Every page I write, every chapter I finish brings a huge sense of accomplishment.  Because holy crap, I made more words.  Going forward, I’m trying to ignore it. Write what I write, knowing that I can go back and add to it. Spruce my story up a bit. And come out with something pretty darn awesome.

Brenda Drake

@BrendaDrake

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Brenda Drake is the well known creator of the twitter pitch wars and contests. She is also the YA author of Library Jumpers, coming 2014.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?

I’m such a slow reader and writer. It takes me about six weeks to get a draft done. I’m not a messy draft writer. I kind of edit as I go along. I can’t jump around and do other things. Once I start a draft, I can’t stop until I get to the end. It’s too hard for me to stop, doing something else, then return to the draft. This goes with my personality in other things, as well. If I start to paint the house, I don’t rest until it’s finished.

What does your first draft writing process look like?

I do a plot graph and work from it. While I’m drafting, I will stop to research things that need to be accurate for the story. I usually have character descriptions to work from for each character, except when new ones invite themselves into the story while I’m drafting, then I’ll sketch them quickly and move on. I do a lot of research of the setting for the book upfront, but everything else happens when I get to something I must research. Setting is important to me, it really gets me into the story, which I have to be careful to not write in too many details. I love to use fun and unique places, like beautiful libraries, for my settings.

What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

I think just making time to write. I do have more time than others, since I’m a stay-at-home mom with kids that are basically ghosts, but I have the contests and other things pulling me from my goals. So I have to say no to things I’d love to do, but I can do once I’m done. I tend to want to do all the things, so I have to stop myself and put the writing first.

Greg Wilkey

@GWilkey

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Greg is the YA indie-author behind the very popular Mortimer Drake series.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?

The first draft takes me about 6 months if I stick to my schedule. If I get distracted or too busy, it can take longer.

What does your first draft writing process look like?

I outline and map out certain scenes that I want to happen. I spend a lot of time doing research. I love the research. I can get lost in that step if I am not careful. I do not map out the entire book. I only decide on the beginning and the end. I do not revise until the whole draft is finished. Then I go back and flesh it out. I have learned over the years that I just have to get the story out of my head and onto the page. Once that’s finished, I can really work some magic.

What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

I want to stop and edit and revise as I go. I also have to stick to a schedule due to my lack of writing time. I really have to discipline myself to stay on my schedule or else the writing won’t happen.

Jamie Grey

@JamieGrey

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Jamie is the indie-author behind Ultraviolet Catastrophe and her soon to be released NA novel The Star Thief.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?

Most of my first drafts take 4-6 weeks. I’m a huge fan of fast drafting so I try to get a first draft down as quickly as possible. It may be a mess, but at least it’s something to start with!

What does your first draft writing process look like?

For a first draft, I’ll start out with a rough outline or beat sheet so I have a roadmap of what’s going to happen. If I can give my subconscious a starting point, it fills in the gaps for me most of the time as I write. Usually a first draft for me is just getting it down, so I leave all research until after it’s finished, unless it’s absolutely necessary. That means I leave a lot of notes behind that will say “insert cool sciencey-stuff here.” I also start out with a few basic character names, but as new characters come up, I don’t worry about stopping to find the perfect name and just leave myself a note for later. I love names and I could get lost for hours searching for the perfect one! As for revising, usually I don’t do any until the first draft is completely written. I’ll go back and read a few pages or a chapter from the day before to get me back on track, but I don’t let myself fix anything.

What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

My first draft stumbling blocks usually have to do with plot. If I find that I’m stuck or feeling like the words won’t come, I can usually trace it to a plot problem or hole, or that I’ve taken the story in the wrong direction. I those cases I’ll go back and brainstorm the plot a little more deeply, or play the what-if game with my CPs to see if can get unstuck. I also don’t get as deep as I’d like into my characters during the first draft, it’s kind of like a first date in that most of our interactions are kind of superficial, so I do a lot of work during revising to make sure I fully flesh them out.

Melody Winter

@MelodyWinter

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Melody has a short story soon to appear in the Grimm’s Fairy Tale Anthology by Reuts Publishing and her NA Romantic Fantasy, Sachael Dreams is making the query rounds.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?

My first drafts take about 4 – 6 months. My writing time is limited to evenings when the kids have gone to bed, and Fridays. The weekend days are a no-no for me as my husband insists that I leave the laptop alone. Although, on many occasions I have scribbled down notes or ideas that come into my head. It’s a crazy place in my mind at the best of times, so like Dumbledore and his Pensieve, I get rid of the thoughts!

What does your first draft writing process look like?

When I first started writing ‘Sachael Dreams’ – my first full MS – I planned, plotted and researched for 3 months. ‘Sachael Dreams’ is the first in a series of 4, so I had to be quite thorough in my plans – writing a rough outline of each book. The books are quite intrinsically linked, so my research and how the plot unfolded had to be in place. I couldn’t have written this without any idea of where I was going.

None of this means that I’ve stuck rigidly to the original plans. I’m writing the third book at the moment, and since ‘Sachael Dreams’ isn’t published yet, I’m still able to go back and tweak areas that I feel need a bit less, or bit more, input to run smoothly with what I am writing now.

I have pictures, Wikipedia definitions printed out, links to websites, songs lists, character profiles and hand draw family trees, as well as a very subject specific category of new research books on anything to do with water or sea creatures!

What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

Because I’m a planner, I tend not to have too many stumbling blocks, But if I do hit a problem it’s usually with how to get something to happen so that I can write it through my characters POV. I write in 1st person and many times there are conversations that she needs to hear, but she’d not in the scene. I’m also a nightmare for using unnecessary words, ‘dead words’, as you will probably be able to see from this post. And, even though I plan what’s going to happen, my characters frequently take over and lead me astray. Pulling them back to where I want them to be can prove difficult. If I’m ever really stuck with things I iron, with my ipod earbuds in. Music never fails to inspire me.

Kat Ellis

@el_Kat

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Kat’s debut YA novel, Blackfin Sky will be released in 2014 by Firefly Press and Running Press Kids.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?

I take around 3-4 months to write a dirty first draft, and that will be something hideous, full of plot holes and missing words and typos. The kind of draft I wouldn’t show to ANYBODY.

What does your first draft writing process look like?

I am usually a serious plotter (I say ‘usually’ because there are times when I break my own rules).

Depending on the kind of story I’m writing, I might research a lot or only a little bit before I begin mapping out the story on paper. Then I get down to business and write out the details of what happens, chapter by chapter, from the start of the novel right to the end. This will normally just be a sentence or two summarising each chapter. I use this outline as a guide, and add to it and change it as I’m writing. Sometimes the plot will take a different turn than the one I’d originally planned, and that’s fine – I just revise the outline so I still have a clear idea of where I’m going.

I start a new notebook for each new manuscript, and note down anything I might want to pick up on later – a funny line of dialogue, an outline for a particular scene, a note about a character’s tics – things like that. My notebook stays with me, and is added to, right the way through the drafting and editing and polishing, until my manuscript is all shiny and ready for my beta readers.

What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

For me, my biggest obstacle in the first draft phase is time. I’m not the kind of writer who can steal twenty minutes here or half an hour there to write; I need a good chunk of time to be able to sit down and really get my head into drafting-mode. I work full time, so it’s not always easy to do this, and I can end up going for days without writing anything. Then the draft is harder to get back into, and I sometimes start to feel really detached from it and a bit quitty. Luckily, my stubbornness usually outweighs my quittiness, and if all else fails I take a few days off work to really get stuck into it.

Julie Hutchings

@HutchingsJulie

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Julie is the author of the dazzling vampire thriller, Running Home and its coming sequel, Running Away published by Books of the Dead Press.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?

I stick to a 1000 word a day diet, giving me about 3 months to complete a first draft without getting worn out on it.

What does your first draft writing process look like?

I’m such a pantser. I outline in bits and pieces as I go along, just to remind myself what I wanted to do next. But quite honestly, I start by sitting down and free writing. I have little idea what’s going to happen at the bottom of the page, let alone the end of the book. The one thing I really work my ass of at is figuring out what the last line of the book will be. Once I know the feeling I want it to end on, the words that I want to resonate with the reader, the final thing I want my character to say, I write fast and furious. I tend to write sparsely and go back to fill in later with expansions on plotlines, character development, and extended research if necessary. I do the bare bones of research to begin with so I don’t slow myself down or get too immersed in a lot of information that I didn’t need. That’s a classic move of mine and then I’m suddenly an expert on like, 18th century pottery and the soles of Dutch clogs or something. I strictly do not revise until my second and third drafts because I never know what’s happening next, and who knows? Maybe that thing I just said will work out.

What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

When I don’t outline formally, the only stumbling block I happen upon is what the hell do I do now? I’ve created this whole world and I have no idea what to do with it. Getting out of that takes a lot of forms, but the only one that always works is to write through it. I may end up with CRAP. But I can edit crap. I can’t edit what doesn’t exist.

Mark Matthews

@Matthews_Mark

Mark

Mark is the author of Stray, The Jade Rabbit, and his most recent horror novel, On the Lips of Children, published by Books of the Dead Press.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?

My last novel took about 8 months, but it came and went in sprints and dashes followed by long pauses of inactivity. I do my best work when obsession takes over a bit and I binge write. During these moments, I dream of my characters and write first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to sleep at night. Nothing I have ever accomplished hasn’t been done without a bit of madness involved.

What does your first draft writing process look like?

Start with characters that are a little messed up on the inside and throw life circumstances at them to squeeze the insides out.  All of my books have been from true settings. I think each setting has its own energy and flavor that seeps from the cracks that I try to soak up and put on paper.

I would love to be able to plot but I can’t. Generally, I just have scenes and characters, and let them decide. This means tons of wasted time going on tangents and dead ends and thus more rewrites. I prefer ‘mapping’ which is more visual.

I like the idea of rambling through the first draft and typing like mad, not worrying about misspelled words or messed up sentences. I just get through the story and write as much for tone and plot as for sentence structure and worry about that later. At times I even close my eyes when I type and move my head about in a rhythm similar to Stevie Wonder at the keyboard. (You are the first person I told that to.)  (I am not joking here) (I wrote that Stevie Wonder style.)

As for research, I may Google something real fast in the heat of the moment during the first draft, but I also heard a bit of advice somewhere about doing research at the end, so I literally may type “–do research for this paragraph here–” on the manuscript and move on.

What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

Trying to juggle writing with a life, my day job, my family, other demands. Besides that, there are the tangents I go on due to not plotting. Any final word count is probably only half of what has been written.  I figure anything you write that isn’t used is at least an exercise in writing, so even if it gets cut, it is like the fat that makes the meat juicier.  You also can’t fall in love with certain sentences and scenes in the first draft because they may need to be cut out later.

Impatience is also a big problem. I start submitting a piece in my head way before it’s done. I have to fight the urge to rush it. Especially since you need time and distance to edit. I can only reread for quality content if some time has passed. But it is very cool to forget the content of what you wrote, and then to reread it later with fresh eyes as if you were a reader seeing it for the first time.

Louise D. Gornall

@Rock_andor_Roll

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Louise is the author of the YA fantasy In Stone released by Entranced Publishing.

How long does it take you to write a first draft?

Sometimes it takes me a couple of months. Sometimes it takes me that just to write a chapter. The smallest things steal my focus. Uh, a squirrel…

What does your first draft writing process look like?

So right now I’m working on a development project with Mandy Hubbard. What that means is that Mandy has outlined and plotted a story and I’m helping her to fluff it out. I’ve never worked off an outline before and it’s kind of thrown me for a loop. Because I know what’s coming, I’m finding it really difficult to take a step back and put in all the little details I know the reader needs to stay on top of what’s going on.

Right now I’m revising and drafting which I don’t normally do, but I feel safe in the knowledge that, thanks to the outline, my plot is never going to change so dramatically that my revisions will be a waste of time. That said, I’m a firm believer in nothing shapes your book like putting it away for two weeks, coming back to it and revising the crap out of it.

What’s research? I’m kidding. I’m not great at research if there’s call for it I’ll research places, but that’s about it. I like to wing it or make it up. My “research” nearly always ends up with me just looking at the pictures.

What are your first draft stumbling blocks and how do you overcome them?

Transition scenes. I hate them when drafting. They seem so boring and monotonous. I just want to get to the action bits. I don’t really do anything to overcome this, I just kind of push on. I know I can make transitions more fun after a couple of revisions so I just keep going. Also, character names, they kill me. Again though, just pick one and push on until it becomes natural.

I want to thank all the authors who participated in this post. Follow them on twitter to find links to their books, websites, and to get more writing tips and advice.

Follow me @TamzWrite

websizeThe Darkness of Light ~ Available Now

 

How to get your indie-book in book stores

How do I get my indie-book in book stores?

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A month ago I would have had no idea how to answer this question. But with a little leg work and some incredibly helpful booksellers, I now have the answer.

You might think there’s a secret code involved, some prohibition-era password like “Jimmy two-shoes gets the goats” needed so that booksellers will even give you the time of day. But guess what? It’s actually a lot easier than you’d think.

Here’s what you need to know before deciding to approach booksellers about carrying your book.

1. Independent booksellers view self-published books and small-press published books in exactly the same way.

There seems to be a hierarchy among authors that goes something like this:

  • Author with a Big 6 publisher
  • Author with a small press publisher
  • Self-published authors.

If you are a self-published author, put your fears aside, the playing field has just leveled out a bit. The reason booksellers lump you into the small press category comes down to money. When booksellers order traditionally published books from Ingram and Baker & Taylor they get a 40% discount off the list price and guaranteed returns if the book doesn’t sell.

When booksellers order small press books and self-published books from these same distributors they only get a 20% discount and no returns. This is not very appealing to a bookstore and THIS is the reason you will cringe when your friends and family ask, “So when will we see it on the shelves?”

So unless there is a high demand for your book or you approach stores yourself, they won’t rush to order 20 copies of your book.

2. Many booksellers will carry your books as long as you provide them.

This is where you have to make sure you’re not losing money by having your book in stores. Many booksellers have a consignment program. The usual deal is a 60/40 cut on the book…the same deal the bookseller gets from a traditionally published book. They get their 40% and if the book doesn’t sell, they return it to you.

As an indie-author I get a discount on my books. The list price is $13.75 and I can order them myself for $5.50. When I order my books at cost, the sales are not reflected in sales ranking and I get no royalty. If I bring my books into a bookseller, they are going to sell my book for $13.75. They will take 40% of that and at 60% my cut would be $8.25. Subtract that from my cost for the book: $8.25 – $5.50 = $2.75 profit.

Not very exciting, is it? Also remember that I am getting no credit for selling these books, no sales ranking and no sales tracking. So with that in mind, why would anyone want to get their book in stores?

3. You won’t make a living by selling your books in stores, but you will get exposure.

The $2.75 profit sounds pretty sad, but if I sold that same book on Amazon, my royalty would be…$2.75! …Wait a minute, I think I see a silver lining here. If I’m making the same profit on the same book, what does it matter where I sell it? It doesn’t. A sale is a sale. A reader is a reader. And a reader that loves your book and tells others about it could mean a lot more sales.

Indie-authors spend a lot of time and money promoting their books. Having your book on a store shelf is basically another form of advertising that YOU’RE being paid for. If you took the profit you made from your bookstore sales and spent it on other forms of advertising, you’ve possibly just created a revolving door of marketing funds.

4. Indie-book stores and the ebook revolution.

I made a shocking discovery while talking to booksellers in my town. As it turns out, they’ve jumped on the ebook bandwagon too. One store in particular had a deal with Kobo and a big sign in their front window to promote it. If a customer purchased books using the store’s Kobo code, they would get a discount and the bookseller gets a cut. GENIUS! So if someone sees my book on the shelf and doesn’t want to pay $13.75 for a paperback they can immediately go to the Kobo store and buy the ebook for $3.99.

I know I’ve done this before. I see a book on a shelf, I really want to read it but it’s not one I’d add to my collection. Then I go on my kindle and order the book that I saw on a shelf somewhere. If I hadn’t seen the book in person, I might have never bought it.

How Do You Go About Getting Your Book In the Store And Is It Really Worth It?

This is the scary part–approaching the booksellers. If you’re shy, bring a friend. If you’re not shy, bring a friend anyway! It’s a lot easier for someone else to talk up your book. Ask to speak with the owner or manager of the store. Greet them with a smile and ask, “Do you have a consignment program for local indie-authors at this store?”….Now remember, they don’t care if you’re self-published or small press. It’s not necessary to say any more than this. Also, try to stress the “local” aspect. Independent bookstores rely on local business and therefore want to showcase local talent. It’s a win win.

Chances are they will say, “Yes, let me get you the form.” This is where they might ask you what your book is about etc…They’ll give you a consignment form that you can fill out, you give them the books and that’s it! It’s really very simple. They may even ask you to autograph the books, as one bookseller did with me.

So after you’ve hit the pavement, spent a day or two scouting out bookstores near you, is it all really worth it?

Maybe.

As authors we all dream of seeing our books on store shevles. So that’s good motivation to go stalking booksellers. But keep in mind, having your book (maybe 5-10 copies) in a store won’t make you a bestseller. Chances are you won’t get frantic calls from the store owner demanding more copies because they’ve sold out of your book in an hour. Like any form of author marketing, getting your book in stores is work and it takes time away from the thing that makes us authors in the first place–writing. Once your book is in store, you’re going to have to keep track of who has what and how many. You’re also going to want to check in with these stores every 3 months to see if your book has sold and if they would like more copies.

On the plus side, you’ re able to tell your family and friends where they can go to buy your book. It’s a great feeling to know your book is sitting next to books by authors you admire. In one store my book was placed right next to V.C. Andrews, Flowers In the Attic. You also have the benefit of exposure. That browsing customer may not buy your book off the shelf, but they might buy it online. There’s no way to track that kind of sale, but a sale is a sale no matter where it comes from.

If you NEED to see your book on a shelf you have two choices: pull one out of your coat, stick it on the shelf, snap a picture and run. OR…you can just talk to a bookseller. They aren’t dragons. They won’t cast you out of the store for eternity. Chances are they’ll be very receptive to you and your book. Most of this advice applies to independent bookstores, but it can also work for the big chain stores as well. Most big chain stores have policies that vary from store to store. So go ahead–stroll into the Barnes&Noble and ask to see the manager. You never know, they might just say yes. 🙂

Good luck with the book selling!

websizeThe Darkness of Light ~ Available now through Amazon, B&N, Kobo and select retailers.

Questions writers get asked that drive them to drink

I’m sure any writer reading this might already know what I’m talking about. It’s those well intentioned questions non-writers ask us that turn our insides into puddles of flaming hot lava. I know those who ask me these kinds of questions mean well. And before I continue, let me say just how much I appreciate the support. I really do. But for the love of GOD! Please stop asking me these questions!

Question #1 – How is the book coming?

I’m never quite sure how to answer this one. I usually say, “Good,” and my stomach does a flip-flop. When writing a novel, it’s almost impossible to judge progress in the first draft phase. More than half of it could end up in the trash by the 2nd draft. So if I say, “Great!” Then I am setting myself up for disappointment.

The God’s honest truth is, I have no damn clue how the book is going. I’m not building a shed. It won’t be finished by the end of the week, or the end of next week, or the week after that. I have no idea when it will be done or how many drafts it will take. I JUST DON’T KNOW! I know I write every day! I know my keyboard is soaked in tears! I know I feel like half the stuff I’ve written is crap and maybe I’ve accidentally inserted a line from Dr. Phil while I was watching it AND WRITING –‘Just ’cause you put kittens in the oven, don’t make ’em biscuits.’

Asking me how the book is coming feels akin to someone standing outside the bathroom door and going “So how’s it coming?”

It’s shit! It’s coming like shit at the moment.

So the simple answer to this questions is: I DON’T KNOW HOW THE BOOK IS COMING. BUT THANK YOU FOR ASKING. When I have something exciting to report, trust me, the whole entire fucking world will know about it.

Question #2 – Can I read it yet?

The short answer to this is: NO! Asking me to read it before it’s ready is like asking to watch a surgery in progress. Writers get really excited when they feel like their draft is readable. We WANT people to read our stuff. We love that people care enough to want to read our stuff. But there are many, many stages to writing. This is a long, uphill battle. It takes a long, long time. So you can rest assured that when we get to the top of that hill, holding a readable manuscript in our hands, we are NOT going to refuse to let others read it. We WANT you to read it….WHEN IT’S READY! Trust me, we’ll let you know!

**I also warn new writers to be careful who you send your manuscript to. I know for a fact that mine was sent out to others without my authorization! Never underestimate the excitement of those you trust.

Questions #3- You HAVE to send me a copy!

Ummm. No. No I don’t. I have a lot less compassion for those who ask this question. Saying I HAVE to give you a copy is like me walking over to Joe the Roofer’s house and saying, “You HAVE to do my roof…for free.” No…no he doesn’t. If you wouldn’t tell your roofer friend he has to work for free, why are you telling me that I have to?

I think if people realized how much work went into writing a novel, they wouldn’t say this…I hope. Selling books is how I get PAID for the WORK I’ve done in WRITING this novel. Some authors don’t even get free copies of their books, others get a discounted rate. So are they supposed to pay for you to have a copy? No. No. No.

The simple answer is: NO. I won’t be sending every person on my Facebook friends list a copy of my book. I might have giveaways, I might send some copies to certain friends and family, but no, John Smith, who sat behind me in 9th grade English, I cannot send you a copy.

Question #4 – How many books have you sold?

I find this question a little uncomfortable. It feels the same as being asked how much my salary is or how much I earn an hour. It’s not hard to figure out that, on average, authors make somewhere between $1 to $3 per book (not including any kind of royalty advance). So if I say I’ve sold 100 books or 100,000, you’ll either think I’m broke as hell or rich (depending on how you define rich). Unless the author is a New York Times Bestselling author, who’s sold millions of copies, asking this question is a bad idea and will almost certainly make the author cringe inside.

A more appropriate question might be, “How well is your book selling?” This gives the author a wide range of answers to choose from. They can say how many books they’ve sold, they can tell you whether they’ve made any kind of best seller list, or they can simply say “Good” or “Not great.”

So before you go asking a writer for the details of their tax return, maybe consider how you’d feel if you were asked how much you make in a year?

I’m sure there are many more questions writers get asked that makes their skin crawl. These are the 4 that have affected me. As I said earlier, I am grateful for the support and people that believe in me. But I’m telling you with the utmost certainty that if you ask me any of these four questions one more time, my eye might begin to twitch.

Interview with Author, Jamie Grey on writing, indie-publishing and the rules of writing

Okay, you guys! I’ve got another great interview for you. I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to interview all these great authors. I’m starting to feel like the Oprah of books! (Side note, I breathed the same air as Oprah once and she gave me a lip gloss. So we’re practically friends).

Today I bring you an interview with the talented indie-author, Jamie Grey. Jamie’s debut novel, Ultraviolet Catastrophe, is a YA Sci-fi that is a MUST read!

You may notice I’ve asked Jamie some of the same questions that I’ve asked other authors. Let me assure you, this is not lazy interviewing; there is method to my madness. It’s fascinating to see how every author answers the same questions differently. My hope in doing this is to help new writers see that every author’s writing process and experience is different.

So now I give you…Jamie Grey.

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When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Always? I remember writing down stories as a kid, making little books for my parents and illustrating them. Then about five years ago I stumbled on a critique site, joined and started getting feedback on my writing. I realized that maybe I could actually write things that people wanted to read. I’ve been hooked ever since!

What drew you to the sci-fi genre?

It’s funny, I actually started out writing fantasy. I loved those kinds of books as a kid – getting lost in different worlds, meeting new people. But then I started watching a few sci-fi TV shows a couple of years ago and realized the two genres were actually similar, just with different settings. Somehow when I started writing sci-fi everything just clicked, I felt comfortable and at home. It was surprising, but I’m just going with it for now J I have to say, I’m kind of a genre chameleon so I’m sure I’ll be trying out something new soon!

I’ve read your novel Ultraviolet Catastrophe and some of the concepts in it are pretty impressive. How did you come up them, and how did you make them so believable?

Thanks so much! I actually did a ton of research in physics and science in general to try to grasp some of the concepts (I understood some things better than others. There’s a reason I never stuck with that science degree!). But once I felt like I had a base of knowledge, I played the what-if game. I’m sure real scientists would be appalled with the liberties I’ve taken with the laws of physics! I also just tried to think of cool things I’d like to see in real life.

What made you decide to publish as an indie-author?

I’ll be honest, it was a tough decision. I’d always thought that I’d be traditionally published, but with all the changes going on in the industry, and after some great feedback from agents, I decided the best thing for my career right now was to go indie. Everything is in so much flux that I wanted to see what happened before taking that leap. And honestly, I haven’t regretted it once! I’m actually mad at myself for not self publishing sooner. It’s so much fun to see a book from start to finish, to pick the cover and design the interior and make sure everything is just the way I want it. It’s perfect for my control-freak self! And the instant gratification is fantastic!

Most readers only get to read a finished, polished novel. And this can be somewhat confusing to new writers, who find that writing the first draft is not always so simple. What does your first draft really look like?

Ha! My first drafts are always one big mess. I fell in love with fast drafting back during my very first NanoWrimo, and that’s basically the process I use to draft every book now. I usually create an outline to make sure I know where to go, but once that’s down, I just get out of my own way and write. It also means that there’s lots to fix once that first draft is finished. I write fairly lean, so I usually have to go back and layer several times – character arc, sensory details, internal thoughts, plot points.

I’m also a habitual offender of using “story research” to procrastinate, so I’ve taken to leaving myself notes on things I’ll need to research later, names I need to create, or bits of dialogue I’ll need to add. If it slows me down, I skip over it and come back later. But that also means I have plenty of little gems like “insert sex scene here” or “find science-y device to use here” scattered throughout the MS.

How many drafts do you write before you have a finished novel?

I think it depends on the book. Most of the time, I have my draft zero, the word vomit draft. Then I’ll do a pass to fix plot points, add descriptions and characterizations. I usually send it to my first round betas at that point. Once I get their feedback I do another edit before sending it to the next round betas. Usually I’ll do at least one more full edit after I get those comments back, sometimes two to make sure I’ve added in everything.

So that’s, um, 3-4 drafts/edits, and then the copy edit.

Do you use critique partners or writing groups?

I’ve done both actually. Right now I have critique partners that I’ve connected with online who are invaluable to me in getting my work where it needs to be. But when I was first starting out, I was part of an online writing group that was really helpful in learning how to critique other people’s work and accept feedback on my own. It was a great experience for me just starting out as a serious writer.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

Not really. I try to sneak in writing at work or whenever I can, so I’m pretty good at just diving in. I usually have to go back and read a few pages from the day before, but other than that, I just start writing. I will admit I have a pair of lucky fingerless gloves sitting beside my computer at all times. I can’t type at ALL if my fingers are cold. And they’re cute. An added bonus 🙂

What has been the most exciting moment in your writing career thus far?

I have to say there have been tons! I think the most exciting moment was when those first reviews for Ultraviolet Catastrophe started to come in. Strangers had read my book. And liked it! Such an amazing feeling. And connecting with fans was so humbling.

I have to admit, getting that first royalty check, as small as it was, ranks right up there too!

What has been the most challenging?

I think the whole publishing/writing process is so full of subjectivity and unknowns it can cause a lot of stress. Should I self publish or try for a traditional deal? Why don’t people like my book? Why isn’t it selling more? I don’t always deal well with ambiguity, and in this business that’s pretty much all there is. What works once may never work again and what’s right for one book, could be completely wrong for the next. So staying flexible and keeping my options open has been a huge challenge.

How do you measure success as an indie author?

That’s a tough one. I think it’s different for every book. For Ultraviolet Catastrophe, just getting the book published and out made it successful to me. Sure I wanted sales, but since it’s my first published book, I didn’t expect it to become a blockbuster. I think my ultimate measure of success is if I break even on what I spent to publish it. I’m more than half way there J

What are the most important steps to take before publishing independently?

Since I’m still new at this, I’m still trying to figure it out myself! I think learning the craft of writing is crucial. Writing a good book is the base for everything else. I think lining up resources is also a good idea – find a good editor, copy editor, cover artist, proofreader, book designer, etc. You need to trust them and be able to work well with them. It’ll make your life easier. And it will make your book better. Don’t skimp on editing!

I also think promotion is important. Don’t spend a ton of money, but do try to request reviews, do a cover reveal, write some articles. Let people know your book is coming. I still struggle with that myself, so I get that it’s tough, but it will help in the long run.

And I think most importantly, be grateful to everyone who helps you along the way, who leaves a review or kind comment, or just takes the time to congratulate you.  Everyone’s busy and they took time out of their day to do that.

Let’s talk about “The Rules of Writing?” We see them so often—agents, editors and writing-gurus all want to offer their helpful and sometimes confusing tips. But then we see our favorite authors break these rules time and time again.

What are your thoughts on:

Adverbs – Oh adverbs. Everyone loves to hate them. I try not to use them over-much, but sometimes, an adverb is the only word that will work. I think they have their place,  just don’t use them as a crutch. I think people go too far in hating those poor little words J

Using anything other than “said” to carry dialog –  I rarely use anything other than said, but I don’t use said that much either. I’m a big fan of using action or movement to indicate who’s talking. A tip I learned from a fantastic editor a few years ago. It’s made a world of difference in my writing.

Avoiding detailed descriptions of people, places or things – There’s such a fine line with description, especially in science fiction. You want enough so that people can picture the scene and what’s going on, but too much can make readers’ eyes glaze over. I don’t actively avoid descriptions, I just try to be smart about it and weave it in seamlessly rather than being info dumpy-about it.

Character thought exposition “He knew”, “She thought” etc… – I wrote my current book in 3rd person and I worked hard to keep those out of my writing when at all possible. I know that it can reduce the immediacy and connection between the reader and story, and there’s usually another way to get the point across. But like all rules, there are always times when you’re going to need to use those kinds of exposition.

Who or what do you look to for inspiration when writing?

Hm. I get inspiration from all over. I’m a visual person, so images or pictures are big for me. Video games and movies have sparked story ideas. A good soundtrack can get me inspired to write. And I think my friends and critique partners are pretty good at keeping me motivated and writing when I don’t want to.

What can we expect in 2014 from Jamie Grey?

ALL the books! LOL, ok, maybe not all of them. I’m publishing a science-fiction space opera trilogy this year. The first book – The Star Thief will be out February 4th. I also want to write a few short stories set in that world. And I’m toying with a new adult contemporary story idea. With spies. So yeah, I’m going to be busy this year! I can’t wait.

Jamie’s debut novel, Ultraviolet Catastrophe is available now in ebook and paperback (I have the paperback because the cover is simply gorgeous)  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FBP2YRG/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_WDDOsb1C5NCNN

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18041050-ultraviolet-catastrophe

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Quantum Electrodynamics. String Theory. Schrödinger’s cat. For sixteen-year-old Lexie Kepler, they’re just confusing terms in her science textbooks, until she finds out that her parents have been drugging her to suppress her outrageous IQ. Now Branston Academy, a school run by the world’s most powerful scientists, has tracked her down and is dying for her to attend – as a research subject.

She takes refuge at Quantum Technologies, a secret scientific community where her father works as a top-notch scientist, and begins her new life as girl genius at Quantum High. But the assignments at her new school make the Manhattan Project look like preschool – and Lexie barely survived freshman algebra.

Her first big assignment – creating an Einstein-Rosen bridge – is also her first chance to prove she can hold her own with the rest of QT’s prodigies. But while working with the infuriatingly hot Asher Rosen, QT’s teen wonder, Lexie uncovers a mistake in their master equation. Instead of a wormhole, the machine they’re building would produce deadly ultraviolet rays that could destroy the world. Now Lexie and Asher have to use their combined brainpower to uncover the truth behind the device. Before everyone at Quantum Technologies is caught in the ultraviolet catastrophe.

And coming February 4th, 2014 by Jamie Grey, THE STAR THIEF.

She might only be twenty-three, but Renna Carrizal is the most notorious thief in the galaxy. There’s just one problem – all she wants is to get the frak out.

But when Renna rescues an injured boy from the warehouse she’s casing, she finds herself on the run from the mob instead of enjoying retirement on a garden world. Turns out, the kid was a plant to lead her to MYTH, a top-secret galactic protection agency. MYTH needs Renna’s special skills and they make her an offer she can’t refuse – declining will send her straight to a prison ship for the rest of her life.

To make sure she does her job they shackle her with a MYTH watchdog, the handsome but arrogant Captain Finn. A former mercenary-turned-galactic-hero, Finn happens to have his own dirty secrets. Secrets that Renna wouldn’t mind uncovering for herself. Together, they discover the attacks are an experiment to develop illegal cybernetics that will create an unstoppable army.

The intended target? The human star fleet.

Now Renna must use her skills as the Star Thief to pull off the biggest job of her career – saving the galaxy. And herself.

Find it on Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19146092-the-star-thief

The Darkness of Light teaser

Mara stared at Valenia. The veiled dwelling in the rock fascinated her now just as much as it had when she arrived months earlier. The true exterior, hidden from human eyes, was magnificent. It wasn’t simply a cavern, but rather a grand fortress molded from an imposing mass of rock.

     The summer months were moving quickly as Mara settled into her new home and became acquainted with the Dia living there. Mara spent much of her time with little Isa, wandering the golden beach and exploring the flat, wooded acres that bordered Valenia. She hadn’t gone any farther than that since they found the murdered family in the forest. The image of the young family, mangled and bloodied, still troubled her, along with the haunting memories of her mother’s own tragic end. Her nights had become a struggle to ignore the visions while her days were spent hoping they wouldn’t return with the darkness. But in spite of these tormenting dreams, Mara felt safe at Valenia, because at least there, she was never alone.

January 28th, 2014

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Release day countdown

As the countdown to release day approaches (3 months), I find myself incredibly excited and incredibly terrified all at the same time.

My cover reveal, and the final edits have made this dream start to feel more like a reality. I can say this is probably the most exciting time in the process of writing. You’ve worked exceptionally hard, put your blood, sweat, and tears into something and now it’s a finished product on its way to publication.

This is also the most exciting part because you’ve hiked up the mountain of writing, and now you’re standing on a cliff. You don’t know if you’ll fly or fall when you jump, but the hope of flying is enough to make you smile every hour of the day. The fear of falling creeps in there from time to time as well, but you never know…you might just fly.

It’s scary to think that many people you know, and many people you don’t, will be reading something you’ve written. They could love it or hate it and there’s no way to know which it’s going to be. That is TERRIFYING.

But the good news is, the dream is bigger than the doubt.

These next three months will probably feel like they drag on AND fly by. I still have a lot to do in preparation for release day, but I’m ready to jump, I just hope my wings are strong enough.

Here’s the cover again…Just cause it’s AWESOME!

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Follow me on twitter @tamzwrite

The excitement of getting an agent “OFFER OF REP! (and why I said no)”

OFFER OF REP! (and why I said no).

I came across the above blog post by @LucasMight last night on twitter and immediately my interest was piqued.

My initial thought was He got offered representation and said no! Why? How? Why? What?

It’s no big secret that while writers write because it’s their passion (as it should be), they also tend to obsess about finding an agent, getting a book deal, and…gasp…seeing their book on the shelves one day.

It’s also no big secret that it was probably easier for Frodo to get to Mordor than it will be for many authors to get published.

If traditional publication is the path we wish to take, then we’ll likely need the help of an agent -the gatekeepers of publishing.

So when getting an agent is the first goal, the thought of rejecting one was almost unthinkable to me…until I read Lucas’s post, that is.

It’s not often that we see stories like this. I don’t think it’s because they don’t happen, but because they’re just not talked about.

Like talking about rejection while querying, publicly opening up about rejecting an agent has a certain stigma to it. And when I opened the blog, I was anxious for Lucas. I wondered what others might think of this revaluation. Would other agents read this and think less of an author because they shone a light on a bad offer?

But then I read the blog, and all of my concerns vanished. This story is candid and insightful. I also thought it was incredibly brave, not only because Lucas took the risk of putting the story out there, but because it shows that he had enough faith in his work to want only the  best for it. And incidentally, while getting an offer for representation was a great moment, Lucas was smart enough to know that all that glitters is not gold.

This is a valuable lesson for all aspiring authors to be wary when it comes to signing with an agent. Bad representation can be the death of your book. That’s not to say that the agent pursuing Lucas was a bad agent, but if an author isn’t careful, their book could end up in purgatory.

As for the blog’s reception, I can see that there’s been an overwhelmingly positive response. Writers (including me) are grateful to get a head shake, to know that it’s okay, and necessary to turn down an offer if it doesn’t feel right.

I also think that agents will commend Lucas for his honesty and  reiterate the message. It’s important to research an agent’s merit before querying them, but it’s even more important to use caution when representation is offered.

While landing an agent might be the dream, landing the wrong one could  be the nightmare.

It Takes a Village to Raise a Book

The process of getting The Darkness of Light ready for publication has made  me realize that it really does take a village to raise a book.

When I started writing it, I had no idea how many people would be involved in developing it and perfecting it. So far, I’ve needed the aid of 6 beta-readers, 2 critique partners, 1 professional critique, and a copy-editor. Then there is the cover designer, and a second editor that will do a final read through just before publication.

That makes 12 people who have had a hand in the creation of my book.

Whether you’re publishing traditionally, or going the self-publishing route, it’s pretty amazing to look back at that moment you sat down at your computer and wrote the words “Chapter One,” and now you have a completed novel, and a team of people trying to help you push your book to the surface.

No matter which way you choose to move forward, publishing a book is certainly not a one man/woman show.

 

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