Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy Author ~

Posts tagged “goal accomplishment

It is not the critic who counts …

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

~ Teddy Roosevelt

 


Anything In Life Worth Having …

“Anything in life worth having is worth fighting for.”

~ Susan Elizabeth Phillips

As TIED went live two weeks early (Amazon only so far), I’m reminded of this quote. Of how true it is.

So, don’t give up, or give in, or walk away. Fight for what you want, work for it—believe in it.

Don’t be afraid to take the chance.


Writing A Novel Is Like …

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

-E.L. Doctorow

E.L. Doctorow

E.L. Doctorow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The ARCS Are Out.

So … I’m official, I guess.

Anyone who’s been reading my blog with any regularity over the last three years knows I’ve been working on my novel, TIED for quite a while. They know I went on submission about a year ago with a mixture of fear and anxiety. Somehow I made it through with a publishing contract.

Fast forward another year later, and I’m holding the print copy of TIED in my hands.

The official ARCS went out to bloggers and reviewers on Monday. The email from my publisher came over that morning, and I kind of ignored it. *continues writing TORN ignoring that TIED just released to over 200 people who are going to pick it a part.*

Wednesday night, UPS delivered the print copy (the ARC), and I just kind of stared at it while everyone else jumped around, giving me high fives, and ooh’s and aah’s.

When an author receives an ARC (ebook or print or both) the last and final round of edits are made. Small stuff really. Punctuation errors, acknowledgement page, etc … nothing too big or time consuming—or so they tell me. 😉

I haven’t started the edits yet. I’m still staring at the book.

IMG_3332

I guess I’m really doing this. Where’d the last three years go?


We Who Make Stories …

“We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.”

~Neil Gaiman — The Graveyard Book

** I am a such a Neil Gaiman fan if you guys haven’t noticed.

Neil Gaiman, signing

Neil Gaiman, signing (Photo credit: Jutta @ flickr)


THE 8 Rules for Writing

I know most writers have seen, read or heard of Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules for Writing. Obviously you guys have figured out that I am huge fan of his work—I am also a huge fan of his advice.

Here it is:

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman (Photo credit: davextreme)

  1. Write

  2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.

  3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.

  4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.

  5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

  6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.

  7. Laugh at your own jokes.

  8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.


Fear Stops Most People …

“If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me? You are a human being with a unique story to tell. You have every right.”

Richard Rhodes

Richard Rhodes 2

Richard Rhodes 2 (Photo credit: afagen)


And The Nominees Are …

liebster-award

I was nominated for the Liebster Award! Thank you so much to Jaime Guerard for nominating me for this very unexpected award. 😉 Jaime is a fellow YA fan as well as YA Paranormal Romance Thriller writer and author. Go check her blog out!

The award works like this:

– I list 11 random facts about myself.
– I will answer the 11 questions asked of me by the person who nominated me.
– I will then nominate my 11 picks for the award along with my 11 questions for them to answer when they post a response.
– If you’re nominated, your name/link will appear at the bottom of this post along with your questions. Follow the same format; paste the award badge to your blog, give us 11 random facts about yourself, answer my 11 questions, and choose your nominees…but you cannot nominate the blog who nominated you.

Here are 11 random facts: (Hmm … I’ve gotta think about this.)

1. I’m a Tea fanatic. Yes, really. Hot tea, iced tea, black tea, flavored tea. I could hang out in Teavana.

2. I’ve been dancing since I was a little. Love it. Miss it. Quit after too many injuries. Now I run. (Like that’s better or something … )

3. I’m a chef.

4. I read obsessively. Even when I should be writing and editing my own books. ;P

5. I’m a Tolkien fan to extremes. Love, Love, Love his books. Movies too. I could watch LOR from start to finish without a hitch. All 9 hours.

6. Same goes for Harry Potter. I can recite the books.

7. I have 3 dogs, and if I had more space, I would own way more than that.

8. I love Summertime.

9. I’m an introvert, but a few of my friends would probably argue with me over that.

10. I’m of Irish decent.

Here are my questions from Jaime Guerard:

1. Who is your favorite author?

I have so many, so I’ll name the big ones. Anne Rice, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, and J. R. R. Tolkien. Oh, and I really enjoy Michael Scott.

2. What is your favorite quote?

“You can’t win or lose if you don’t run the race.” ~ The Psychedelic Furs

3. What type of genre do you like to read? Why?

Fantasy. High fantasy. Paranormal. Mythology and some Sci-Fi. Both YA and Adult. I write what I read. Why? Because these genres are transporting and magical.

4. Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

I hope to still be writing stories from my heart. The ones that inspire me and speak to me.

5. How long have you been writing?

I started writing poems are a young age. 7 maybe. They were a kind of expression that just flooded out. I still write poetry. Short stories followed, and in my early twenties I tried a few strike out swings at novels. I think my writing has grown considerably since then.

6. Who has inspired you throughout your life?

My mom.

7. What is one word to describe your personality?

Hmm … Sarcastic? Hahaha. Probably depends on which friend you asked.

8. What is your favorite book and why?

That’s almost impossible to answer. Although all of my favorite authors have things in common, their writing styles are vastly different, yet equally brilliant. I could name series’ of books. The Witching Hour series by Anne Rice. The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. The Lord of The Rings/The Hobbit by Tolkien. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.

9. Life’s too short for …

Regretting the chances you were afraid to take. Better to have tried/spoke your mind/put yourself out there, and failed, than never to have tried at all.

10. What is your desert island food (you only get one choice)?

Coconut!

11. If you could have one celebrity on your speed dial, who would it be and why?

One celebrity? Geesh … idk. Probably Anne Rice. I could bounce some pretty amazing ideas off of her, I think. She’s the queen of dark fantasy.

And … my nominees are:

Short Story Diary  http://shortstoriesdiary.wordpress.com/

My Story To You   http://dragoneystory.wordpress.com/

Bottledworder   http://bottledworder.wordpress.com/

Gin and Lemonade  http://ginlemonade.wordpress.com/

Lee Rawn http://www.leerawn.com/

Rich Weatherly   http://richweatherly.wordpress.com/

AK Taylor   http://www.backwoodsauthor.com/

Alison DeLuca http://alisondeluca.blogspot.com/

Ido Lanuel http://idolanuel.com/

Leigh Gembus http://submeg.com/

Whitney Moore  http://writeinlife.wordpress.com/

Nominees,  here are your 11 questions:

  1. What books are you reading?
  2. Who are your favorite authors?
  3. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
  4. Where do you see your writing taking you?
  5. How do stories come to you? (or blog posts, poetry, etc …)
  6. Plotter or Pantster?
  7. What is your favorite genre?
  8. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
  9. Introvert or Extrovert?
  10. Who inspires you?
  11. What inspires you to keep moving forward in your writing?

Go check out all these great blogs! And Congrats to the nominees!


Always Dream

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know how to. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

William Faulkner, 1954

William Faulkner, 1954 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Still Aspiring?

Aspire: to long, aim, or seek for.

Aspire is one of those words with an embedded escape clause.

“If I really suck at this, or if I just give up, it won’t matter because I’m only aspiring.”

GHAACK!

Do you love to write? Does it speak to you?

Then WRITE.

Aspiring isn’t goal setting. It’s an escape hatch. It is scribble, scribble, blah, blah … What was I talking about?

If you want to write then write. If you want to become an author work your ass off at it. It’s hard and it will make you want to scream one second and cry the next. But writers write. It’s what we do. Don’t be afraid to put a label on it.

~ Author Unknown

~ Author Unknown


You Must Be Prepared …

“You must be prepared to work always without applause.”

~Ernest Hemingway

English: Hemingway posing for a dust jacket ph...

English: Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Lloyd Arnold for the first edition of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, at the Sun Valley Lodge, Idaho, late 1939. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


What’s In Being A Contracted Author?

Our computers

Our computers (Photo credit: aranarth)

Fear.

Yep, I said that.

Getting a publishing contract is everything you’ve wanted, everything you’ve worked your ass off for, and when you sign on the dotted line, everything you’re afraid of.

It’s a truth I think a lot of authors keep under wraps because some days when you sit staring at your story, the one that has a deadline attached to it now, the one that needs to be as close to perfect as you can make it—some days, it can feel like you’ve signed yourself up to fail. The days when nothing makes sense and you wonder who in their right mind, including yourself, ever thought your story could actually sell. The days when fear seeps in and hangs on.

From the legalese of contracts, to the swell of accomplishment in your chest that is almost immediately replaced by the tightening of panic, to the real edits and real deadlines, being a contracted, and soon to be published, author is both thrilling and terrifying.

But, in those split seconds when rays of light shine through the blinds in your mind, it is incredibly gratifying. The times when, for once, there are no blue, red, or green edits marking up your pages and your comments come back with “Great!” instead of “Huh?” or “Powerful.” instead of “Make it clearer.” Those are the days when every drop of doubt and ounce of fear is worth it. The days when you’re proud as hell. Maybe they’re far and few between, but those rays of light keep the writing fire burning bright and remind you that you should feel proud, maybe even excited–even if only for a second. 😉


It Is Impossible To Live Without Failing …

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

~j.K. Rowling


You’re Not Working Hard Enough.

Via Warriorforum.com

Like many writers, I have spent the last few years trying to ‘do it all.’ Whether I’m drafting another blog post, tinkering with Twitter, shouting out to writers on Triberr, checking my Facebook profile, posting on my Facebook author page, pinning on Pinterest, reading the dozens of emails I receive daily, or finishing my novel revisions, everyday is filled to the rim. In my mind, the most important of these is my novel. It’s the reason for everything else. Yet everything else seems to overwhelm it most of the time.

read all day long, in one form or another. In order to write well, you must read. A lot. Preferably in your genre, although reading in general is the point. I try to stay current with the latest books, all the advice on book marketing, social media reach, blog hits, and on and on. It’s endless.

via pinterest.com

Yesterday I read an article that stated people aren’t reading less in the digital age, instead people are actually reading more. Wanting more. More to download. More, more, more. Readers want books NOW. How are they reading them all? Who knows.

What it means for writers is what concerns me. Many authors are now attempting to hammer out three….four, five books a year to stay in the game.

WHAT?!

The industry standard has forever been…one book per year.

ONE. Maybe.

But with the introduction, and popularity, of ereaders the standard is changing. Rapidly.

For me, and many others, that’s an issue. Besides the fact that I write at turtle speed, and revise at snail, I’ve worked myself to near exhaustion trying to do everything, and be everywhere. How are we supposed to do it all? We can’t. And we shouldn’t try to either.

Balance is the key.

I’ve talked about balance a lot in prior posts, but I didn’t know how to attain it. I’ve had to force myself to step back, and breathe. Step back and realize that NO ONE can do it all, and do it well. Not going to happen. Not for long anyway. I still believe that through all the chatter and advice, all the constant information flying everywhere, that our main goal as writers should be creating good content.

We can market until we are blue in the face and crawling. Put our names out everywhere and brand until everyone knows it. But none of that will matter if our books suck. Writing is hard enough without trying to master social media.

W. Somerset Maugham
Via zazzle.com

I know we as writers are a helpful and supportive group. We want to help each other succeed. We want to feel like someone else gets it, and we aren’t wandering around alone searching for answers in the dark. So we read everything, follow a hundred blogs, and basically overwhelm ourselves with information. Not the best mindset to have when we are trying to write an 80,000 word novel.

Slow down. Really.

I don’t have this thing figured out either, but it occurs to me that a few things are obvious.

**Write your books and write them well. No good book—no reason for social media.

**Write your blog posts, tweet your shout outs, engage. But put a time limit on it.

**Back to writing.

Remember the reason why you are doing all of this. Is it to write stories? To get lost in those worlds? Yeah? Go get lost then, and create the best worlds you can.

The other stuff at the end of the day is secondary. Important, yes, but still secondary.

So tell me, what part of this industry have you found the most difficult?

**first posted in May 2012 before I landed the book contract, so let’s add that once thrown into the mix, things got busier. The difference? Now, I feel like everything else finally matters. 😉


Anything Is Possible …

“Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

~ J. K. Rowling

English: J. K. Rowling, after receiving an hon...

English: J. K. Rowling, after receiving an honorary degree from The University of Aberdeen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Treasure That You Seek

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.”

~ Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


What’s In An Editor? (Why Do I Sound Like An Adult?)

I tend to scribble a lot

I tend to scribble a lot (Photo credit: Unhindered by Talent)

Young Adult fantasy novels are my first go-to on reading shelves. My first love of books in general. I write them too. Pretty well, I think. At least in content, anyway. 🙂 Sometimes, however, “Laney, YA writer” gets crossed with “Laney … well, Laney.”

Why do I sound like an adult sometimes when I write? Besides the fact that I am one, I get caught up in the flurry of the story–action scenes, love scenes– and I occasionally forget contractions and ‘teen speak’, as my editor calls it. When I’m on a writing roll, I write what I see in my head. The words kind of disappear. Strange? Maybe so.

Stories read like moving pictures for me. Like a blur of color. My editor slows the view down so I can see what’s staring back at me from the screen. It’s an invaluable tool.

Writers need editor’s eyes. They are programmed to see what we miss. Although, sometimes it may feel nit picky or overwhelming–we need to use it, learn from it.

My story reads tighter, cleaner … better. As far as I’m concerned, the frustration that can come from full-blown edits are worth every ounce of hair pulling and head banging. The goal is to produce the best story I can. Even if that means cringing every time I open a document to find blue ink covering my pages. 😉


If You Don’t Have The Drive …

A writer never finds the time to write. A writer makes it. If you don’t have the drive, the discipline, and the desire, then you can have all the talent in the world, and you aren’t going to finish a book.

~ Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Everyone Has Talent …

Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.

~Erica Long


What’s In An Editor? Part 2. (How Do You Feel?)

Pre-Final edits are in full swing, so forgive my sporadic blog posts of late. The writing pendulum is searching for the mid-point.

Turns out real editing with changes and revisions takes a while. Add in a deadline and … yeah, it’s a time stretch. With that in mind, I’m continuing my What’s In An Editor post series (a spin-off of What’s In A Beta Reader). And since I’m new to the editing game, it will be a work in progress. Here we go:

I keep asking myself, “How would you feel?” Or, “What does that look like?”

Feelings are hard to write. For me. Well, I should reword. Feelings are hard to show in my writing. It’s a point of head banging lately. Rewriting sections to show instead of tell. Showing say … scrutiny, for example, causes my head to ache. How would I show scrutiny? It’s a good question. One that I’m working on.

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi is an invaluable tool. One that I use from time to time (more often lately). It doesn’t, however, give a writer all the answers. It simply leads them a bit farther down the ‘expressive’ path. After that, showing is still in the mind of the writer. Showing without repetition … harder still.

I’ll move back to my example. The sentence I needed to alter per my editor was this one: I scrutinized both of them. 

So, how do I show scrutiny?

Here’s the definition: A critical observation or examination.

I could have my character shake his/her head, but I do a lot of head shaking (it’s an easy and probably overdone fix).  I could have a disbelieving eye roll (also a bit overdone even though I like eye rolling). How about narrowing eyes? That works. When we are skeptical of someone’s behavior we narrow our eyes in disbelief.

Still, it’s a crap shoot. Seeing eye to eye on every little detail is unlikely when it comes to editing, but your words should feel right. Put yourself in your characters shoes and ask yourself, “How do I feel?”

Nobody said editing would be easy.

WRITE ON, WRITERS!


What Are You Afraid Of?

Judgement.

It’s every new writers nightmare. The reason so many hide their stories away.

What if no one likes my book? What if I only think I can write…but really, I can’t! 

Oh, god, people are going to judge me. 

BUT…..

A quote by Bruce Patrick

WRITE ON, WRITERS.


The Only Reason For Being A Professional Writer…

The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.

~Leo Rosten


Sometimes When I Think…

Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.

~Truman Capote

English: Truman Capote

English: Truman Capote (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Publishing Thrill Ride

English: Coca-Cola Thrill Ride This was a ride...

English: Coca-Cola Thrill Ride This was a ride at the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988. This death-defying,loop the loop,rollercoaster trip was not for the faint-hearted! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am elated. Elated!

That’s all I’m going to say. More to come. Soon, I hope. 😉