Category Archives: writers

Can’t sleep-creative insomnia

Now on Amazon

2:45 am Tuesday and I’m wide awake. A storm is heading my way promising 18 inches of snow. Everyone in the house is sleeping and my brain is on overdrive, no I haven’t had any coffee…yet. I think the few brain cells I have left would melt if I did.

My current book Tombyards & Butterflies is doing  fantastic in its first week of release, but that’s not what’s keeping me up. The second book is nagging the hell out of me. If you are creative you know exactly what I’m talking about. The idea that wont be quiet. The plot point that just wont stop. The character that whispers into your ears when you are driving, showering, doing the dishes or any other activity where a pen and paper( or phone) is out of reach, forcing you to stop and hurriedly get that idea down. And you do, because like a wisp of smoke, if you dont it vanishes and taunts you, remaining just at the fringe of conscious thought.

So I’m up and I haven’t blogged in a while because this latest book has demanded I write-hard and fast. It pushes me to write to the exclusion of everything else and so the blog, like a secret mistress, gets my visits in the dead of night when I can’t sleep. But the story,implacable, unrelenting, is there looking over my shoulder, pacing and tapping it’s foot. It gives me the stink eye and then floods my brain with ideas as if to say,”try writing that post now.”

I manage because I enjoy my blog and writing. My brain is always writing, always dealing with the alchemy of words, spoken and written. A part of me seriously believes that all creatives are slightly mad and unhinged-it’s what drives us and fuels our creative expressions. I can only speak to my experience. Writing a book is mad work. You sit down and have a conversation with the voices-in your head. You weave a story around that conversation and then invite others to jump into a world with you. Sure… totally sane.

Taking a blank page, canvas, or pick your medium, and transforming it into a book, a painting, a piece of music, a piece of you, is the ultimate form of creation. To bring forth something from nothing is the both the most empowering and frightening thing you can do and you must do it. To refuse the impulse is  an act of abnegation and the fastest way to insanity.

In an effort to stave off my impending madness I am going to go wrestle with a story that just wont quit. I’ll see you on the other side.

Tombyards & Butterflies- An Excerpt

Nanowrimo 2016
Nanowrimo 2016

In an effort to embrace writing here regularly I wanted to share a part of my current work in progress, but first… its Nanowrimo ! This is the month thousands of people get together and try and write a 50k novel in 30 days. Yes, its as hard as it sounds. If you haven’t tried it I seriously recommend it. You will be part of a great community and can share in the experience of focused writing for a month. I wish all the would be authors out there the best of luck in getting to 50k before the 30th!

Now for that excerpt .This is a little different from what I usually write but I wanted to go in a different direction, let me know what you think in the comments below!

Here it goes:

I remembered my grandfather, my sister, and various aunts and cousins, in their coffins and gone forever in the tombyards where the butterflies settled like flowers on the graves and where the flowers blew away like butterflies over the stones.-Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing.

 

ONE

What’s more exciting than chasing a rabid werewolf? Chasing that rabid werewolf in downtown Manhattan. The Village as a neighborhood is a warren of intersecting streets and dead ends. We had been at this for thirty minutes and I was getting aggravated.

“This is what the English did—who lays out a city like this?” I said as we ran down Sixth Avenue. “A grid, Monty would it have killed them to use a grid?”

“The Dutch were here first,” he said. “The English didn’t arrive until 1664. That’s how you get the name New York.”

We chased it down Minetta Lane off Sixth Avenue. The wet dog smell punched me in the face as soon as I turned the corner.

“There’s something wrong with that smell,” I said. “God, he reeks!”

“I didn’t realize you were a werewolf scent expert,” Monty said as he caught up.

“I’m not, but this guy smells like he hasn’t bathed in a year,” I said. “Did you see his eyes?”

“I did,” Monty said. “He seems to be suffering from some kind of reaction.”

“Reaction?” I said. “He tore that poor woman in half. That’s not a reaction. That’s a full-blown infection.”

“It does seem he’s unstable,” Monty said as he looked up and down the street.

“Just a bit, yeah.”

We followed the scent to the end of Minetta and on to Macdougal Street when a large furry blur shot past us.

“Shoot it, Simon! Shoot!” Monty said.

“What do you think I’m doing?” I said as I fired several times.

“Shoot it harder!”

We jumped behind a parked SUV. The license plate read RUFFRDR. It was one of those huge things that wasn’t quite a tank, but could never pass for an ordinary car. I figured there was enough vehicle to protect us from the Were’s razor sharp claws. That theory evaporated as it sliced through the metal and plastic with ease, rendering our cover useless. The SUV fell apart like a block of Legos and I couldn’t help thinking that RUFFRDR was going to wake up in the morning and have a very bad day.

“Really, that’s what you’re going with, Monty? Shoot it harder?”

“Strong,” rasped the creature on the other side of what used to be a perfectly functioning mode of transportation. “I’m going to rip out your intestines and eat them while you watch.”

“Wow,” Monty said. “He’s pissed. What did you do to him?”

“Now would be a good time for magic,” I said. “You know a fireball or two? Or some Were melting spell?”

“Can’t—he’s wearing null proximity rune,” Monty said. “I don’t understand why the silver ammo isn’t affecting him. You did switch out for silver ammo, right?”

“Silver…ammo?” I said, “Of course I packed the silver—shit.”

I forgot to switch the ammo.

“You forgot, didn’t you?” Monty said exasperated. “We’re out here fighting a werewolf, Simon.”

“I know,” I said. “It’s a little hard to miss.”

“I’m going to die,” he said as his voice hiked up an octave. “Out here on the filthy street alongside you, wonderful.”

“No, I just misplaced it,” I said with feigned indignation. “Hey, I had to pack all of the bags while you did your meditation thing to charge the magic you’re currently not using.”

Monty narrowed his eyes and glared.

“Are you saying this is somehow my fault?”

“I’m just saying a little magic would make this go smoother, especially since I forgot to pack the silver ammo.”

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How do you go from writer to author? Try the Self Publishing Formula.

The Author Helper
The Author Helper

I am eyeballs deep into a new course being run by Mark Dawson(Self Publishing Formula) but I will get to why that’s important a little later.

I know I have touched on this topic before but in this post I wanted to go into more detail.

So first a few facts:

From January to December of 2015, the entire calendar year-my books generated…$56.81.

From January to May of 2016 (to date) my books have generated over $2k and Im on track to gross over 5k for the year.

In plain math, in the space of a year( really a few months), I will be making 100x what I made last year.  This is mind shattering.

So how did this happen? I got help. Not help as a writer. I got help as an Author.

See last year I was firmly in the camp of “If you write it they will buy.”  My books didn’t sell well( most days they didnt sell at all) and I was oblivious to the marketing aspect of being an Author. Until I met John (you will meet him later).

Prior to getting help I had heard of Mark Dawson but I didn’t know who he was or what he did. You have all heard me mention my amazing uber editor Lorelei Logsdon, well she introduced me to John, her husband and the other half of this power couple.

John’s first question to me was “Have you heard of Mark Dawson?”

To which I answered “Not really.” This was back in December 2015. So he points me in the direction of Mark’s free videos which of course( if you are familiar with Mark Dawson) present me with an entirely new perspective to marketing and selling my work. I followed these videos and would ask John for tips here and there.

Another question John asked me was “How large is your mailing list?”

Now I knew mailing lists were important and I had one and in 2015 my list had a grand total of 11 members.  At least 4 of those were family.

To date my mailing list in 2016 has 1709 subscribers with a smaller subset being part of my launch team, which is a group of committed fans who have taken on the  role to help me launch my books and make them a success. I had never heard of a launch team before I met John. Now I  frequently add between 15-30 people a day to my main mailing list.

So where did I get this help and how did I make these changes?

Free videos from Self Publishing Formula and The Author Helper. This site is a treasure trove of information and videos for those willing to learn and apply the lessons contained within.

Where did John learn all of this? With  Mark Dawson and the Self Publishing Formula system.But here let John tell you himself.

Watch this video I promise its worth the 3 minutes you will invest.

You still have time to sign up for this course.  Its affordable and more importantly its essential to your growth as an Author. My reasoning is that if I was able to learn a great deal with the free videos from Mark Dawson and the Author Helper site.  I now I have an opportunity to learn even more from the Self Publishing Formula course.

You can sign up for Mark’s course HERE. It will be closing soon so I suggest you sign up and get this information !

Consider it an investment in your writing career. Just as importantly visit the Author Helper if you find yourself stuck or with questions.  Chances are they will have the answer you  need. The site is a resource for all Authors and I still drop in almost daily to listen to the podcasts and to increase my knowledge.

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10 things Indie Authors do wrong and 7 things they do right from Derek Murphy

10 Things Indie Authors do Wrong

 

I read this post over at creativindie and felt I needed to share it here because Derek shares some important knowledge here with indie authors.

Its a long post but worth the read. Enjoy!

Firstly, let’s define “wrong.”

A lot of indie authors are motivated by passion and say things like “it’s not about the money.”

But if we can’t agree on the goals of publishing, we can’t agree on the best practices.

I think, no matter what kind of book you’re writing, we should be able to agree that it would be nice to get some people to read it, and it would be even nicer to get lots of people to read it. And even if it’s not about the money, few authors would refuse it if it started pouring in.

So let’s start there: indie authors want more readers, and possibly more money, and are trying to do things that bring both. The problem is, the methods they are using do not produce the results they’re after.

So by “wrong” I mean, “inefficient” – as in, these are things indie authors do, but that they should stop doing because they don’t produce positive results (and can actually do more harm than good).

Not considering the market

Most indie authors write the books they want to write, and don’t think about reaching readers until after they’ve finished writing. That’s OK for experienced writers who are writing in popular genres. But beginner writers don’t even bother to learn what kind of stories resonate with readers, and they think they don’t need to learn.

Which means, they are producing a product that won’t be enjoyed.

And most indie authors think “fine, I don’t care, I write for myself and my enjoyment.”

But beginning from the belief is a fundamental flaw in the writing behavior of anybody who actually wants to make a living with their writing. You must consider readership if you hope to please and entertain readers. You must read in your genre to recognize what type of writing and stories are successful to readers of that genre.

And you must give a shit about being as good, or better, than those kind of stories.

If you are willing to face this idea, you can deliberately craft commercially successful books.

If you are unwilling, you’re relying on luck and chance, and frankly you don’t deserve success, because it’s nobody’s responsibility to fund your hobby.

Ineffective website

Does your website get traffic? Do people sign up or buy books? Then what’s it for? Most indie authors try to model their website after major bestselling authors. That’s a problem.

Bestselling authors are already famous. People are searching for them by name. They don’t need to worry about being found; they don’t need to use their website to sell books or build credibility. They just offer a cool space for fans to learn more about the author.

If you’re an indie author, your website needs to be a workhorse. It has to pull in the right readers with natural traffic (to reduce your marketing and advertising costs). It has to build trust, attract the right readers, and get them to sign up for a free offer or sell a book well enough to get strangers to take a chance on it (with lots of reviews, an excerpt, and amazing cover, etc).

Ugly book cover

How many indie authors have ugly covers? At least half. Probably more.

Book covers are such a trivial and silly thing: you spent a ton of time writing your book, but that simple JPG will make or break your success. People won’t read your description if your cover doesn’t hook them. The cover has to appeal to the right readers enough to get them to read the description – that means it has to convey mood and genre immediately. I understand it can be too expensive to hire a professional designer, but there are plenty of super cheap options to getting a cover design (fivver.com, wordswag, canva.com) that are still better than the majority of crappy, homemade book covers I see on Amazon.

Spamming people

If you’re not sure you’re being spammy, read this post. Lots of authors just copy what they see other indie authors doing. The majority of indie authors rely on spam, and consider it “book marketing” – which sucks because it makes us look unprofessional, desperate and annoying.

Anytime you talk about, mention, or link to your book to a stranger, you’re being spammy.

When you Tweet quotes of your book, when you share your awards, or sales, or special offers, or new reviews, you’re being spammy. It’s OK to do it to YOUR followers, if they really followed you because they liked your books, but YOU DON’T NEED TO MARKET to those people, because they’re your fans.

So just stop.

Instead you need to be building relationships with peers and fans, because it’s OK for them to share your news, but not for you to share your news.

Marketing, however, is getting NEW fans – and strangers on the internet don’t give a shit about your book.

You need to make them care first, by producing great content that gets in front of them; cool and interesting stuff that isn’t spam and gets shared. Then people come back to your website to find out about you.

Think about everything you post or share: are you giving or taking? If the purpose of what you post is to ask for a sale, you’re taking. If you don’t care anything about whoever is reading it, other than hoping they buy, it’s spam.

You need to be giving 90% of the time.

It’s OK to share a book launch, for a new book, and talk about stuff you’re doing surrounding the launch, but you shouldn’t keep talking about it for months after (you should have produced a lot of content during launch that brings in continuous traffic.

Another easy test of whether you’re being spammy: do you know who you’re talking to and what they want? Or are you just “shotgunning” the internet, hoping somebody accidentally takes notice and buys your books?

PS) On any platform that is mostly spam, your own spam will be ignored. That’s why paid Book Blasts by Twitter accounts with tons of followers won’t work, because they post that stuff all the time and people tune them out. You need to find people with a specific, tailored audience, who have readers who trust them, to share your book.

PPS) Advertising is annoying, but it isn’t spam: it’s OK to advertise your book directly to your target readers and make it look and sound good, just make sure you either put your ad on a very targeted, genre specific website, or you use Facebook advertising to narrow your audience. Don’t just advertise your book anywhere, for anyone, without knowing who is going to see it.

Being Overprotective

I get that you want to safeguard your work, and plagiarism sucks. Here’s the truth: if you make it big, sites will pirate your books. And even if you don’t make it big, some sites pretend to pirate your books so they’ll get clicks from people, even if they don’t actually have your books. And sometimes, although it’s extremely rare, some crazy author will actually just take your work and claim it as their own.

But the legal fees to correct such a thing are probably more than you’d ever earn from the book itself, and for the vast majority of authors, none of this stuff matters because your book is invisible anyway. Don’t be worried about sharing your book with editors or beta readers. They’re doing you a favor. Don’t make them sign NDAs.

Just sell so many damn books that everybody knows it’s your story.

Paying too much

Indie authors are usually overwhelmed by “publishing” and feel more comfortable signing with a small press, even if they have to pay for it, because they think it’s like being “really” published instead of self-publishing.

Vanity and small presses charge big fees for publishing packages that include doing things for you.

But to publish a book, you really only need cover design and formatting (and probably editing, but that’s your choice). Then you have to learn how to upload your files, and maybe build a website.

If you sign with a publishing house, it’s fine – you’re paying extra for hand-holding. It’s like paying for an author assistant (and if you need one of those you could probably hire one for less). It is really nice, and does save a lot of time, to have someone on call who can just answer everything and explain everything to you.

But the truth is, most of those companies selling packages outsource all the work, so the critical pieces like cover design are marginalized. They do an adequate job, which might look professional to you, but probably isn’t good enough to be successful. Most small presses (and even big companies like Createspace or Lulu) show at best very boring cover design samples, and at worst tragically ugly ones (and those are their best examples!)

If you self-publish, it means you can choose the best designer and give them the money directly, instead of paying someone else who is going to take a big chunk just for administrative work. Educate yourself, learn to self-publish on your own, and use your money economically to get the best design you can afford.

Promoting without reviews

You can’t launch your book, or do marketing or advertising, if it doesn’t have any reviews yet. I think you need at least 15 before you can even begin, so I hate seeing indie authors who have had books out for a year or two and are still struggling with marketing, and still have less than 10 reviews.

Yes, getting book reviews takes a lot of work and effort, and it kind of sucks to ask people (especially strangers) to take  chance on your book. You’ve got to suck it up and do it anyway. If you’re sending out requests and nobody will review your book, it’s probably a sign that your book cover sucks (they never even started reading) or the writing isn’t good enough. Also, read this:why people won’t review your books.

Betting the farm

Most authors go all out for their first book and spend lots of money. It’s understandable, so I’m not saying don’t do it. Just keep in mind, since you don’t know what you’re doing yet, you’ll probably waste a lot of money and not see the results you want (trust me I’ve been there).

Firstly, your first book probably isn’t your best; secondly, a profitable writing career is usually built up by launching a dozen or so books, as quickly as possible. So do the best you can on your first book, but make sure you also have ideas ready for your second, third and forth. Each book you publish will probably do a little better, because you’ll be learning and improving all the time, and growing your author platform (unless you’re one of those writers who is completely ignoring your author platform, not learning anything about marketing, and just hoping to get lucky).

Asking people to like their page

It’s cute when indie authors trade likes and all support each other by liking each other’s pages.

But it’s also pretty useless.

Yes, you need more likes on your author page. Until you have about 1000, new readers won’t take you seriously. You can get a bunch of likes quickly by running book giveaways (and you should totally do that). But you shouldn’t ask people to like your page.

Why should they?

They either like your page because they like you and your writing, or you’re asking them to lie and pretend to like your page. That’s a terrible, self-serving practice; everybody only likes your page so you’ll like their page, and nobody actually gives a shit about each other (I’m being dramatic, actually indie authors are very supportive and nice, but I’ll talk about that later).

You want to get readers of your genre to like your page.

But actually, having lots of likes is still useless, because when you post content to your page only 10% or less will actually see your content (Facebook is funny like that). Instead of scrolling through a thread and liking dozens of other author’s pages, you should be focusing on growing your email list.

EXCEPT FOR…. it’s a good idea to like the fan pages of other authors in your genre, and share all of their great content on your page. Instead of needing to think up new content ideas all the time, if you follow a hundred awesome indie authors, with or without big platforms, and reshare all their content, your own platform and followers will grow quickly and those authors are more likely to share your content out of gratitude.

So yes, liking and sharing can be smart marketing.

But don’t just ask people for likes. It’s lame. Post remarkable content. Be helpful and useful. Follow others and get on their radar by sharing their content.

Complaining that people don’t value books.

Indie authors sometimes complain about how low ebook prices are devaluing literature, but they’re really just grumpy because nobody is buying their books. But people don’t buy based on price.

Readers value books and are willing to pay for them.

They just don’t value your book yet.

Convincing them that your book is worth 2.99 or 9.99 is your job. If you can’t convince anybody to buy your book even at 99cents, then give it away for free.

But when you say “Buy my book! Support indie authors!” you’re asking for charity to support your writing habit.

7 Things Indie Authors do Right

OK, maybe that was harsh, but I’m trying to be helpful. The nice thing is, so many authors are doing so many things wrong, publishing successful is actually pretty easy when you do everything right.

Here are some of the reasons I’m proud to be in the indie publishing community.

These are really cool things that some indie authors are doing, or should be doing.

Try

Indie authors believed in their books enough to self-publish them, even ifthey tried to go traditional and couldn’t get an agent or a publisher. That takes guts. I love that we can now publish and reach our readers directly, even if the traditional industry doesn’t think our book would be profitable enough to publish.

I know authors who have a lifetime of manuscripts tucked away in a drawer and hundreds of rejection slips. Keep trying, and if nobody else will publish you, publish yourself and get it out there.

Support Each Other

Some indie authors are weird and crazy, and I think writers are naturally awkward people with poor social skills (I certainly am)… but there’s a tremendous amount of support in the indie publishing community, with organizations and watchdogs and bloggers trying to help one another.

The only danger is hearing a bunch of other authors “support” you when you’re making big mistakes (like when you ask for feedback on an ugly cover and everybody says they love it). It’s true you need a lot of support and encouragement, so it’s awesome that indie authors are so kind and friendly. But make sure you’re getting expert advice on the things that matter. Remember, only %.000625 of authors are actually making any money.

Find the ones that are making money and learn from them, or imitate what they’re doing.

Are Willing To Learn

Indie authors have a ton to learn and do the best they can. It can be really frustrating, especially if you hate computers. I had to force myself to learn ebook formatting and then InDesign when I got sick of paying others to do it for me. The more you publish, the more skills you’ll learn. The more skills you have, the cheaper and easier it will be to market your books and make a profit.

Are Grateful

I think all readers probably love their fans, but indie authors are grateful, because they’re overcoming a lengthier period of insecurity. When you’re traditionally publishing, you already know that somebody found some value in your work. It’s nice to hear from fans, but you’ve already gotten paid. For indie authors, you often have no idea whether your book sucks or not until you’ve published… so when you start getting actual feedback from strangers who enjoyed your books… it’s a powerful feeling.

Are Patient

 

If you’re self-publishing, it’s good to be patient…. as long as you’re building your platform and publishing more books. Things take time to catch on. However, don’t think, if nothing is happening and you aren’t selling, that things will just magically happen later. If you aren’t selling, you probably have a problem with your platform (either no visibility, or nobody wants it because it isn’t presented well enough). You need to be patient and think long-term. Be flexible with deadlines, and don’t freak out at your editor/formatter/designer. These things take time, and everybody is dealing with their own crises. Try to keep positive, and relax, even if things seem like the end of the world.

Are Fast

The first book might take years to write, but I have at least a dozen friends who can (and do) finish a book a month (both fiction and non-fiction). Most successful indie authors publish every three months. It’s important to keep Amazon ranks high and engage with our fans. Of course this is easier if you’re writing series and know what happens next. But if you want to make a living, you need more content, and you’ll need to be producing quickly. Traditionally published authors waste years sending out queries, waiting for answers, then trying to sell the manuscript, then preparing it for publication….it’s one way to do things, but it’s much slower.

Take responsibility

 

Taking responsibility is probably the key to success in any field. Don’t blame others. Don’t complain. Everything is under your control, but only you care enough to take action and make things happen. It’s not enough to want it really badly, you need to be willing to learn what it takes to succeed and do what’s necessary. I know a lot of authors whose only limiting beliefs about money or art are crippling their success.

You CAN do this – there are people lazier and dumber than you (not that you’re lazy or dumb) who are making money with their writing. You’re a smart, likable person (I can tell). If you want to make a living with your writing, you can do it, but it won’t be handed to you, and it doesn’t happen by luck.

A Dream of Ashes-My new book

A Dream of Ashes
A Dream of Ashes

So Warriors of the Way is done. It only took four years to finish the series( huge sigh). I’m currently working on the Sepia Blue stories ( on book two of five) but in between those two worlds I got slammed into this one-A DREAM OF ASHES.

First of all look at that awesome cover!

Big thanks to Carl Greaves at Extended Imagery. This is an ongoing series of books-Chronicles of the Modern Mystics with each one being a standalone. read. You can find it here.

Here is the description:

Mystics. Magic. Murder.

Ava James is a fire mystic with the Mystic Investigative Division. As a branch of the Enclave, a worldwide mystic organization, the MID is feared, respected and reviled.

When the half-charred body of a Mystic is found, the Enclave sends her to investigate the strange death. Ava finds that all the clues point to the killer being a fire mystic, one of her own. Accused by the Enclave of working with the killer she must solve the case before a secret buried in her past is revealed and destroys her world.

Can she save herself? Will she find the murderer?

If you like hardcore, fast-moving action, complex mystical powers and an unstoppable heroine, then you’ll love Orlando A. Sanchez’ thrilling new series, Chronicles of the Modern Mystics.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself writing this book. Its a darker story than my other books, but also it flowed faster and easier. Ava’s story was easy to tell and the momentum ramped up pretty fast near the start of the book. Pick up a copy and let me know what you thought.

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The Dark Flame

The Dark Flame
The Dark Flame

So I have been away from the blog for a bit due to writing and most recently editing. In the midst of this i have released a short story which is the prequel to the next book.  You can find this book on Amazon here.

This short went through a few changes. I had to add several chapters because if I didn’t I was threatened with bodily harm from my beta readers. I cant go into detail without spoiling it for you. Pick it up and let me know what you think.  

The next few months are going to be full of activity. The next book is scheduled for early May I will have a cover reveal soon. 

Stay tuned!

Synopsis:

He would sacrifice all for love.

Roland James is an Arch Mystic and an expectant father. When the Enclave discovers his wife-Mei is pregnant, they demand he adhere to the rules and give up the baby for mandatory reprogramming and Enforcer training. When he refuses, the Enclave decides he is better off dead, along with his wife and unborn child. Now, together with Mei, they must evade the Enclave forces sent to kill them long
enough for her to give birth. They must find a way to escape the Enclave or lose it all.

I enjoy hearing from you! Leave me a comment below or send me an email.

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From Writer to Author-Making the transition

authorwriter
Author/Writer

I’ve been a little quiet on the blog because I have been creating a persona. Back in 2012 when  started writing professionally I had no clue what a persona or “brand” was. I just knew I wanted to write a book and I wanted to get it out into the world.

I didn’t know about marketing or having a presence. Online or otherwise. I simply thought that if I wrote the book I would have a legion of readers clamoring to get my book.  Yes the naivete was in abundance. Continue reading From Writer to Author-Making the transition

Dont strand yourself-Connect to others-Find a tribe

island
island

Its possible you have heard some of these:

In order to be a writer you must struggle ALONE in obscurity.

There is no way you can write while surrounded by other writers or artists.

Writing forces you to be disconnected and its better that way.

A writer can only truly depend on themselves, no ones knows you like you.

I’m sure there are countless others and I’m here to tell you that its false. Actually I believed this and worse for a long time while I wrote and struggled to identify as a writer. Then I realized, if I am going through this other writers must be going through the same thing. It wasn’t an epiphany, but it was close. So I started to look around and found groups of writers who band together to write or offer support.

There are teachers who will share  their experiences( Julia Cameron comes to mind with  one of my favorite writing book:

The Right to Write http://juliacameronlive.com/books-by-julia/the-right-to-write/

as does Stephen King’s On Writing
http://www.stephenking.com/library/nonfiction/on_writing:_a_memoir_of_the_craft.html)

If you haven’t picked up these books please do. They will motivate you and give you a glimpse of what it means to write.

Another great source I have found recently ( OK I’m slow to this) are blogs. There are countless writing blogs in existence but I have found quite a few excellent ones, here are some:

http://terribleminds.com/ -Blogged by Chuck Wendig who is an excellent writer with a very unique sense of humor. On occasion he has guest writers which make for great reading and plenty of useful information.

http://goinswriter.com/– Blogged by Jeff Goins. A very good blog filled with down to earth inspiration and motivation.

He also wrote(among others):
The Writers Manifesto
(http://www.amazon.com/The-Writers-Manifesto-Jeff-Goins-ebook/dp/B00595KCBI)

Its a fast read, but a very profound call to action. If you haven’t embraced your calling as a writer this book will spur you to answer that call. Look up Jeff he has some great books that will transform  your view on writing..

I also recently joined an online writers group you can find them here:

http://www.rockyourwriting.com/

This site is run by Cathy Yardley and she has great resources for writers.

There are many more that I will share with you over time, but ideally the key is to go out and connect with others, writers, readers, bloggers, agents, publishers-Basically anyone who loves using words to express themselves. Go find them. Stop thinking you need to be alone to be a writer- I thought that for a long time and its not true. Join a writers club. Find a place where writes converge, online and off.
In NY we have a few writing cafes that are excellent places to meet fellow writers. Find the one that suits you or create one.
The key is not to be alone in this adventure we call writing.

blogdragonfly

Author Interview-Alexis Radcliff

A vanishing Glow
A vanishing Glow

I recently read a great new debut book by Alexis Radcliff.

Here is a the synopsis: It is an Age of Revolution, an Age of Industrialism. Constructs, living men who are as much brass and steel as they are flesh, man the factories and wage the wars of a ruling elite who gorge themselves on the fruits of the common man’s labor. Mystech, a brilliant fusion of magic and machine, gives rise to a new class of privileged inventors and merchants even as the country festers with wounds from decades of internal strife.

I’m not a huge steampunk fan, meaning I dont actively read the genre but this book will change that. It is an excellent read. Alexis writes  believable and complex characters. The story has twists and intrigue to keep you guessing for the length of the book and more. Alexis was gracious enough to be interviewed. Please pick up her book and give it a read. You can find sample chapters and  the links where the book is available in the interview below.

Thank you again Alexis!

Alexis Radcliff
Alexis Radcliff

Name: Alexis Radcliff

Age: 30

Where are you from?

I grew up in a small town in the Midwest, but I moved out west after college to work in tech and live nearer to both mountains and ocean.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve written my whole life on and off, and I worked in journalism all through college, but I didn’t start really thinking about fiction seriously until I was in my mid-twenties.

Do you have a novel/collection published? Would you like to tell us about it?

My first published novel is A Vanishing Glow. It’s an exciting blend of epic fantasy, steampunk, and flintlock fantasy set against a Victorian backdrop with an extremely rich world.

What inspired you to write your first book?

While growing up I read a lot of high fantasy, so by the time I went to college I was hungry for something different. The seeds of the world I built for A Vanishing Glow started there, and it just sort of percolated in my head for the next decade or so.

Do you have a favorite character from your book? If yes, who is it and why?

I’m really partial to Nilya Valsu, one of my two protagonists. I just have so much planned for her, and I think she’s a really fun character to write: she’s resilient, smart, and proactive, but she also has a lot of emotional depth to her.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

There’s a lot of intrigue in my plot, and if I could do it all over again, I might have picked a slightly easier or more straightforward plot for my first book. I’m happy with how it all turned out, but I spent a lot of time wrestling with the plot points to make sure everything wove together properly.

What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on Mystech Arcanum novella, and then the third volume in the series. I also have a very exciting superhero series planned for 2016 that I can’t wait to share!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The more I see what gains traction and what doesn’t in both social media and sales (from my own experiences and those of other writers), the more I realize how big of a deal writing more books is. Nothing will help you succeed more than having additional books out, particularly at the early stages.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Write. Publish. Repeat!

What book are you reading now?

I am currently bouncing back and forth between a few nonfiction books, Station 11, and Annie Bellet’s Twenty-Sided Sorceress series. All very enjoyable!

Do you remember the first book you read? If not tell us what your favorite book is and why.

I remember that the very first “grown-up book” I read was Piers Anthony’s A Spell for Chameleon, and I was so proud of myself for finishing it! The very first book I read on my own was probably something by Dr. Seuss, but my mom had been reading to us for years at that point.

Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

I run, I play videogames, I hang out with my husband, and sometimes I like to bake. Mostly videogames, though, haha.

Blog: http://www.lexirad.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lexirad

Bio:  Alexis Radcliff is an author, gamer, unashamed geek, and history junkie who spent the better part of a decade working in tech before dedicating herself to her first love, literature. When not writing, she spends her time reading, running, playing way too many videogames, and thinking too much about everything.

Purchase links for my novel:

Amazon.com | Goodreads | Read Sample Chapter 1 | Read Sample Chapter 2