Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy Author ~

Publishing

To Live By… Failure.

We learn from failure.

Meet The Robinsons is one of the most inspiring movies I’ve ever seen. We should all take a page out of this script and live by it.

Write On, Writers.


Letting Go Of Your Novel

Bird in Flight

Bird in Flight (Photo credit: SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent))

Anyone who reads my blog with any regularity (Thank You!) knows that I’ve been working on my novel for two years. Two years full of a wide swing of emotions. Now, as I am officially on submission, I feel…uneasy. Anxious. A little bit afraid.

For the first time, I’m nervous about simply letting it go.

When I started working on my cover art, I felt excited. When I received the first layout, my heart skipped. Mine. My words. My name.

The second layout was similar. The fourth and fifth layouts had me feeling downright overwhelmed.

When my first wave of edits rolled in, I thought, okay, this is doable. Not so bad. When the second wave of fine toothed edits came over with suggestions and corrections everywhere, I panicked.

Oh my god. I’m actually doing this? 

All those little insecurities welled up again and sat there on my shoulder, taunting me.

This wasn’t the plan, you know. You were just writing….just writing. Like always. Are you sure you want to do this? You can back out. Keep this story tucked away like all the other ones. No one has to know!

Overreacting. All part of the process. I get it. I am supposed to be putting all my efforts toward TORN, the second book in the series. I am supposed to submit the first book, forget about it, and move to the next. I know.

But…this is hard.

Just saying.


A Week In Links

Two Italian legal / accounting books (on Stato...

Two Italian legal / accounting books (on Stato Patrimoniale) lie open, one on top of the other. Only a few lines of the underlying book’s text are legible because of the narrow depth of field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I invest a ludicrous amount of time reading. Whether I read novels, blogs, craft books or research material, I always try to find useful or inspiring bits of information each week. And then I save them. Here are some of the best links:

From The Write Angle: Fifteen Reasons Why Other Writers Aren’t Showing You The Love by Jean Oram

By Indie Author, April L. Hamilton, Fifty Shades of Hypocrisy

And lastly, New Wave Authors Blog, Of Sentences And Stories, by Author Craig Lancaster

WRITE ON, WRITERS!


What’s In A Beta Reader? Part 4

Look right

Look right (Photo credit: dlombardia)

“You look like you just rolled out of bed.”

….leaving a lake-like gleam across the surface of the ocean.

“She doesn’t like you.”

“It felt like….”

Apparently, I really like the word, LIKE.

Like is a weak word writers use as a crutch. A crutch to tell rather than show readers what our characters are seeing, feeling, experiencing. It’s a lazy word. I was shocked to discover how many times I’d used it in my MS. Shocked.

Beta readers see what we, in a flurry of writing excitement (or drudgery), sometimes miss.

** I also like (see, I did it again!) the word AS. Oh, and felt. Yeah, felt. The worst!

SHOW DON’T TELL.;)

What’s In A Beta Reader?

What’s In A Beta Reader? Part 2

What’s In A Beta Reader? Part 3


On Submission

I am officially on submission with TIED.

Eeeek!

This wasn’t my plan. Well…that’s not really true. I never had a plan originally. I never thought I would be writing for the masses. And when the thought did cross my mind, it was traditional publishing. Not because I had some kind of issue with self-publishing, but because at that time (which was two years ago), self-publishing was still fairly new to the scene. I didn’t know much about it, and as an unseasoned writer, I wasn’t sure I wanted to guinea pig myself out, or my novel.

That changed though. When you’re always writing, you’re always reading too. Novels, blogs, articles, craft books. And the authors I follow (who are amazing), gave me a lot of food for thought. Indie publishing food for thought. With the upheaval in traditional publishing, the negative press, famous authors jumping ship, brick and mortar book stores going under, and so many new authors choosing to go it alone–I was forced to reevaluate my ideas about the publishing industry and my goals as a writer.

I chose to go Indie. And when I say Indie, I mean going it alone. Solo. And I’d planned, like my bio says, to publish this year.

Why am I going on submission then? Because as a newbie, I think I need more support, and an Indie publisher can provide it. I also think that if I don’t at least try to get representation, then somehow I’ve sold myself short. Not because I need a pat on the back or some kind of validation in that regard, but because it’s part of the process of becoming an author, for me. Good or bad, it’s a part I want to say I went for. Then I will be on solid ground and able to make a sound decision in regard to my novel and my future novels.

I have a great team behind me, who I owe more than I could possibly ever repay, and I doubt they’re going anywhere, so either way, I’m feeling pretty okay.

The problem with announcing that you are going on submission is that now everyone will know if you fail. Scary. Very scary. But there’s something empowering about it too. You can’t crawl away, like so many writers are prone to do if you’re on a public stage. And like the saying goes,

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” ~Jack Canfield


The Website Launch

TheFireBornNovels.com is officially up and running. Small in size and content still, but up and running nonetheless. 😉


A Week In Links

Two Italian legal / accounting books (on Stato...

Two Italian legal / accounting books (on Stato Patrimoniale) lie open, one on top of the other. Only a few lines of the underlying book’s text are legible because of the narrow depth of field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I invest a ludicrous amount of time reading. Whether I read novels, blogs, craft books or research material, I always try to find useful or inspiring bits of information each week. And then I save them.

Author Joanna Penn, creator of The Creative Penn, has a wonderfully inspiring post on her blog this week. Recommended Book For Creatives: Turning Pro By Steven Pressfield This is a must read post by Joanna as well as a must read book, The Art of War being the prequel.

Anne R. Allen’s blog this week features a post by her co-blogger Ruth Harris. An interesting and humorous read. 11 Reasons Writers Get Rejected—And Why Only 3 Of Them Matter

Indie Author Lindsay Buroker has an informative post up on her blog. Is It Harder Today for Self-Published Authors to “Break-in” at Amazon?


The Indie/Trad Debate. Why Are We Still Talking About This?

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

It occurs to me after reading yet another scalding blog post by another author who is upset by the current state of the publishing industry, that we as a whole of writers need to stop engaging in the ‘who’s on the right or left side of the fence’ argument.

I know that we all get emotional and heated up and mad. It keeps the fire burning. It fuels the “I’ll show them!” mentality on both sides. By my god, this topic is OLD. And frustrating. And Petty.

So why, why are we still talking about it? Why are we still reading scathing posts that are meant to infuriate?

You wanna go Trad? GO TRAD!

You wanna go Indie? GO INDIE!

Who cares? Other than you, the author, it’s no one’s concern. No one’s business. People will always judge. Fact of life.

Your choices in publishing don’t need to be defended. Nor should anyone’s choices be ridiculed.

So let’s all shut up about who’s wrong and who’s right. Not all trad books are glazed in gold and not all indie books suck. Stop drawing an imaginary line in the imaginary sands of no where land. It doesn’t exist. Stop with the professional vs. amateur argument about indies ‘settling’ for second best because it’s all they could get vs. trads clinging to their sinking ship waving their credentials high above their heads.

Readers don’t care. This is a writers argument.

Readers want good stories. That’s it.

Self-pubbed, trad-pubbed. They don’t care.

Writers need to write good books and channel them in whatever direction they choose. Fact is, some writers are control freaks and the thought of giving up rights throws them into a backward tail spin. Others cannot fathom the idea of going it alone. They want the support that trad publishers provide.  There is no right choice. There is no wrong choice.

Are we all really going through the headaches of creating worlds and characters and plot lines to turn around and waste our precious time and energy demeaning other writers for the choices they make regarding how to publish? Really? That train of thought boils down to envy, jealousy… and FEAR. Let it go.

Write good books and leave the complaints at home. Spill them out there. To your dog. Or your cat. We are all wasting time yapping and pointing fingers. Not to mention making asses out of ourselves.

Our little blogosphere of writers here online—it’s not so small. We have a world-wide reach and those who are always gripping make the lot of us look bad.

Good day my fellow writers. Write On. Publish On. And remember the wise words of Author Chuck Wendig, “Try not to suck.”


When Do You Become A Writer?

During my usual perusal of blogs, I ran across Joanna Penn’s interview of Jeff Goins. If you haven’t seen it, it is a must watch. Especially for those of us who are new to the writing scene. No aspiring here, just real writers writing. Watch. It’s worth your time.


A Week In Links

Two Italian legal / accounting books (on Stato...

Two Italian legal / accounting books (on Stato Patrimoniale) lie open, one on top of the other. Only a few lines of the underlying book’s text are legible because of the narrow depth of field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I invest a ludicrous amount of time reading. Whether I read novels, blogs, craft books or research material, I always try to find useful or inspiring bits of information each week. And then I save them.

Here are this week’s links on writing and social media.

Author Kristen Lamb’s Blog, Can Facebook Hold Your Fan Page Hostage?

Author Chuck Wendig, 25 Ways To Fight Your Story’s Mushy Middle

Author Lindsay Buroker, What Does It Take to Become a Full Time Indie Author?

Author Anne R. Allen, Slow Blog Manifesto…and 8 Reasons Why Slow Blogging Will Help Your Career


To Outline Or…Not

English: Hot-swap states with transitions appl...

Image via Wikipedia

You had two roads to take, the gut instinct or the outline. You chose to write from your gut, let the story pour from your imagination onto the page. You didn’t think about where it was going because you knew it would get there. You’re 80,000 words in. Done. All feels great. Now what?

Now, Editing. You begin to go through your work chapter by chapter, detail by detail and you realize the transitions aren’t what they should be, could be, need to be or what you thought they were. Here is the biggest issue writing without an outline — headaches. You’ve got a great story but it doesn’t roll off your tongue quite right. It doesn’t work quite the way it sounded in your head.

Now for the rewrite. The biggest pain in the ass ever. It even trumps editing. And that is saying a lot. You rewrite from the beginning, move a paragraph here, a chapter there and think, okay, I can do this, it’s not so bad. Until it is bad. Until you have 30 chapters staring back at you asking to be properly read and all your thoughts become a jumbled, dizzying mess.

Now, let me start from the beginning. I’m not methodical. I’m a jumper. I get hit with an idea and I’m off. It’s my way, my style, my inspiration. But let me say that my style completely bit me in the ass. No outline is a bad idea.

I had notes. Pages and pages of notes, handwritten. I had documents–so many I couldn’t keep track of them all. In the beginning, I thought they were enough. In the end, they weren’t. Not even close. I had too many ideas. Ideas that I couldn’t reign in. Ideas that I couldn’t mold in the way I needed to—wanted to. I paid for those amateur mistakes in the end. Through rewrites, a staggering number of drafts, cuts, edits, and revisions. Close to two years worth.

Now my notes are in an abstract outline form, still free-flowing, but an outline nonetheless. Word to the wise: Get your idea, work it through and outline it. Even if that outline is as simple as a few sentences per chapter–a few ideas. Even if you only have a kernel of an idea of what the beginning, middle, and end of the story should be. In the end you will gain a ridiculous amount of time, a better story and with any luck, your sanity.


Don’t Listen To The HYPE. (It’s All In Your Head)

After I posted my novel cover, and publication target date, to all of my social media sites, I felt a combination of relief, trepidation, and…naseau.

Truth — Besides the writing community and my very close friends and family–No One knew what I’ve been doing for the last two years. Why?

Fear.

Fear of what people will think, what they’ll say.

All that crap that means absolutely nothing. 

I mustered the courage to send my cover photo to a few friends and family, and went ahead and bit the bullet and posted it on my personal facebook page. Sad thing—that scared me more than anything else. Great thing—the response was overwhelmingly positive. And still somehow, I’m uncomfortable when my friends say, “I can’t wait to read your book!” or “That is so awesome, Laney!!”

I love them. Every one of them, for supporting me. But… I also understand what it feels like to put your soul into something and have that little devil sitting on your shoulder. The one who says, What are you thinking? You really think you can pull this off? Seriously?

As a former classical dancer, I know what it means to walk on stage and swallow fear. I’ve done it more times than I can count. After a while, it becomes old hat.

As a Chef, I know the feeling you get when someone sends something back to the kitchen because they hated it, or it was under cooked, or over cooked, or who the hell knows why. It stabs you a little.

And as the daughter of a Fine Artist—I know what it feels like from the other side of the street too. My mom has always said, “Not everyone will like, or even understand what I do. I don’t care. I’m not painting for them.”  And she’s right.

Grab support where you stumble upon it, but don’t expect to find it if you go looking. That’s not what this is about. If you’re writing for the hopes of fame and fortune, pats on the back and great reviews, you’re writing for the wrong reasons. Write for you. Dance for you. Paint for you.

The ONLY person you need to convince of your talent, your drive, your passion—is you.

Just don’t buy into the hype.


A Week in Links

Two Italian legal / accounting books (on Stato...

Two Italian legal / accounting books (on Stato Patrimoniale) lie open, one on top of the other. Only a few lines of the underlying book’s text are legible because of the narrow depth of field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I invest a ludicrous amount of time reading. Whether I read novels, blogs, craft books or research material, I always try to find useful or inspiring bits of information each week. And then I save them. The talk is swinging back around to the topic of Publishing. Here are this weeks links:

Author Nathan Bransford talks about The Biggest Challenges in the New Era of Publishing

Author Anne R. Allen once again has a fantastic post Indie or Traditional Publishing? Don’t Take Sides Take Your Time

Author Kristen Lamb Big Six Publishing is Dead — Welcome the Massive Three

Author Bob Mayer Aggressive vs. Obnoxious in the Land of Publishing

WRITE ON, WRITERS!


Sometimes You Need To Scrap It. That’s Okay.

I scratched my cornea two days ago. Forgive any typos as I’m writing this with one eye.

As I am rounding out the last of my revisions and running to the final edits stretch of my novel, I’ve hit a speed bump. I have to cut three chapters. Ghaack! It’s about…7700 words. NOT that I’m a word counter. You can read why if you’d like here: Word Count Goals And The Pathway To Hell

But that’s another subject… When you’re a pantster, like I am, and when you write as slow as a turtle, like I do, you may find that what worked a few drafts ago simply doesn’t work in the final draft. That’s okay. Sometimes scenes no longer fit.

Yes, it creates headaches. But I am a firm believer that cutting makes your work stronger. It makes you look deeper, think harder, and search farther outside the box, which in fantasy, is very important. (Yeah, I write fantasy.)

As I’ve said before, if something doesn’t feel write, it’s because it isn’t. Follow your instincts, listen to your gut, and cut the scene (or at least rewrite it).


A Week In Links

Two Italian legal / accounting books (on Stato...

Two Italian legal / accounting books (on Stato Patrimoniale) lie open, one on top of the other. Only a few lines of the underlying book's text are legible because of the narrow depth of field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I invest a ludicrous amount of time reading. Whether I read novels, blogs, craft books or research material, I always try to find useful or inspiring bits of information each week. And then I save them. Here are this weeks links:

Joanna Penn has a great post on her blog this week, The Creative PennTraditional Publishing And Self-Publishing Are Not Mutually Exclusive

David Gaughran from Let’s Get Digital talks about Publishing this week in his post, Was Self-Publishing The Right Decision?

And lastly, Indie Author Lindsay Buroker has an interesting interview with Author Liana Brooks up on her blog. Check it out here: Why One Author Chose A Small Press over Self-Publishing

WRITE ON, WRITERS.


A Week in Links

Two Italian legal / accounting books (on Stato...

Two Italian legal / accounting books (on Stato Patrimoniale) lie open, one on top of the other. Only a few lines of the underlying book's text are legible because of the narrow depth of field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I invest a ludicrous amount of time reading. Whether I read novels, blogs, craft books or research material, I always try to find useful or inspiring bits of information each week. And then I save them. Here are this weeks links:

Joanna Penn has a great post up on her blog, The Creative Penn. Tips For Writers: On the Importance of Persistence. You can find the link here: The Creative Penn

Anne R Allen has an interesting post on her blog. 12 Myths about being a Writer. You can find it here: Anne R. Allen’s Blog

Lastly, Steven Lewis has this post up on his blog, Taleist, Do you have the storyteller’s intelligence? Here’s the link: Taleist

WRITE ON, WRITERS.


Revisions. Listen to the Voice.

You know that feeling you get after you’ve logged in hours revising your novel, and then it dawns on you that you have to scrap chunks of it?

Yeah, I’m there.

I wanted to label it as a block. Pin it down to being “brain tired.” Chalk it up to, “I’ve been working on this piece too long, so now I’m just sick of it.”

Revision notes

Revision notes (Photo credit: jez`)

Reality?

That little voice in my head, the one that helps guide me down these cray writing roads I find myself on, that voice told me something was wrong. And it wasn’t because I was too tired, or blocked. It wasn’t because my story was too ingrained, or that I was sick of it. The voice stopped me in my revision tracks because something was wrong.

Scrap is a harsh word. Rewrite is a more appropriate one, and something I had not anticipated needing to do. But as I’ve said before, sometimes the story simply doesn’t work. Sometimes the ideas in your head don’t play out on paper in the grand scheme. Sometimes you need to rewrite a few chunks, so the rest of the chunks, work.

Listen to your voice. It doesn’t lie, and it won’t lead you astray. If something in your story doesn’t feel right, it’s because it isn’t.


Don’t Stop

“Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

No matter how hard it gets, how overwhelmed you feel, keep going. You will get there. 

WRITE ON, WRITERS!


What’s in a Beta Reader? Part 2

My eye

My eye (Photo credit: neuroticcamel)

“I rolled my eyes around the room, searching for her.”

My beta red-flagged this sentence, and made her remarks in the margins.

“Unless your MC is physically removing her eyes from their sockets, she can’t roll them around the room. Or is that what you mean? Can she?”

Um, no.

No, she cannot physically remove her eyeballs, and roll them around the room. I had to laugh, and then rewrite the sentence. These are the tiny errors that we as writers, all caught up in our story, usually miss.

I write fantasy, so the MC removing her eyeballs from their sockets wouldn’t be too far-fetched. But, no, she can’t. Nor is that what I meant to say.

I meant to say that she gazed around the room. Looked around the room. Eyed the room.

Our betas are useful for finding a wide array of issues. This was one of my funnier ones. They aren’t always funny. But that is something to keep in mind when reading comments from a beta (or proofreader, or editor). Humor. Don’t hold so tightly to your story that you become blinded by what others tell you is wrong. They are supposed to find problems. And we are supposed to fix them.

Have you tried to roll your eyes across the room lately?

WRITE ON!

*Related Posts: What’s In A Beta Reader?


A Week in Links

I invest a ludicrous amount of time reading. Whether I read novels, blogs, craft books or research material, I always try to find useful or inspiring bits of information each week. And then I save them. Here are this weeks links:

Author Anne R. Allen has a great post up on her blog this week, When Should An Author Hire An Editor?

Author Kristen Lamb is continuing her blog series, Don’t Eat The Butt. Her 4th post in the series, Real Writers Never Struggle

Author Janni Lee Simmer has a post up on her blog, Desert Dispatches. On Publishing and being a writer in the Right Now

WRITE ON, WRITERS.


A Week In Links

I invest a ludicrous amount of time reading. Whether I read novels, blogs, craft books or research material, I always try to find useful or inspiring bits of information each week. And then I save them. This week, the focus of conversation has moved back to where it should be: Craft. The actual craft of writing. At the end of the day, we need well written, engaging stories. All the social media in the world won’t save us from ill crafted books.


First up, J.A. Konrath. His post, Writing Matters, is up on his blog, A Newbie’s Guide To Publishing Check it out.

Also on the must read list this week, Bob MayerHis post, THE Secret Handshake of Successful Digital Publishing, is on his blog, WRITE IT FORWARD

And last up today, Chuck Wendig25 Things You Should Know About Word Choice, on his blog, Terrible Minds

WRITE ON, WRITERS. WRITE ON.


A Feast for Crows.

A Feast for Crows

Image via Wikipedia

(SMALL SPOILER ALERT)

I began this series behind most of the die-hard Martin fans. Although I am a huge Fantasy fan, I read a lot of YA as well, as it is my genre. Due to do this, Martin stayed on my back burner. Until recently. I sped through the first three books. Within days. Literally. I couldn’t get enough. A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings & A Storm of Swords were consuming stories.

A Feast for Crows, however, threw up a road block, and had me crawling to the finish line. It was a slow read. Very slow at times. The storyline of AFC needed to be split in half due to what would have been a brain-numbing amount of content. The book in its entirety would have simply been too long. Well over 1,000 pages. And I mean well over. In splitting this book however, AFC felt heavily one-sided. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book, I did, but due to half of the cast of characters being cut, the book left me wanting more, and less. AFC was still, at half its content, around 775 pages long.  Although not my favorite book in this series so far, AFC is still a must read for any Martin fan. Especially if you are knee-deep in this series.

George R. R. Martin is an incredible storyteller and an inspiration for every author/writer. His cast of characters is immense, not to mention the number of details he somehow manages to not only hold inside his head, but also manages to keep straight.  Martin is currently working on The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in his Fantasy series, A Song of Fire and Ice. I know we all hope this book will be a quick release.

**For a further review of this book, see my Goodreads shelves to the right.

Over there >>>>>>     As well as reviews and opinions of previous books in this incredible series.


A Week In Links

I invest a ludicrous amount of time reading. Whether I read novels, blogs, craft books or research material, I always try to find useful or inspiring bits of information each week. And then I save them. Publishing is the topic of conversation this week. Here are the must reads:

J.A. Konrath has an insightful MUST READ post up on his blog, A Newbies Guide To Self-Publishing. His post:  Amazon Will Destroy You

Kristen Lamb’s post over on her blog, Warrior Writers, talks about The Future of Big Publishing in the New Paradigm–Bracing For Impact

And how could I leave out Chuck Wendig? Check out his take on whether or not FREE is truly FREE in the world of E-books. Is Free A Price We Can Pay? On his blog, Terrible Minds. And be sure to read the plethora of comments that follow.

Good Day Writers 😉


Goodreads and Amazon Split Ways

If you were not already aware, Goodreads will no longer be displaying book information from Amazon. The link is here:

Goodreads Librarian