Too tired to write? (Reblogged – original by Kevin M. Jackson)

Image - bigstockphoto.com
Image – bigstockphoto.com

Now, there’s a title that resonates with me! The only state I can write in is when I feel awake, alert, alive! But lately, that hasn’t been me… The image on the left is me (okay, younger and darker). So whenever I see a post with ideas about writing when you feel anything but, I devour it! And know this: whoever writes a similar post, I’ll instantly reblog for my amazing 2,500 followers, unless instructed otherwise.

Kevin M. Jackson, author of two bestselling sonnet collections, For Life With Love and Disturbed Solitude, and the fantasy novel Storytale, gives interesting and doable options for punching those keys through the haze of your mind. I usually go for option two, that’s why I never have a zero draft stage. My draft might be puny in terms of word count, but very readable. Here’s Kevin’s article in its entirety, reblogged by permission of the author.

Too Tired to Write?

by kevinmjackson

The other night, maybe a couple weeks ago now, I sent out a tweet (@KMJacksonAuthor), asking if anybody ever sits down to write feeling too exhausted to actually write. On that night, I was. Working a nine-to-five to afford being alive and with a busy personal life, many nights come where I am far too tired to write. Do you want to know what I do? I write anyway. I’m currently in the middle of writing my fourth full-length novel, and I can’t fall asleep at night unless I’ve added to the word count.

When you do feel too tired to write, you may want to choose one of the ideas I have here.

One option is to take the night off and get a full night of rest. If you’re writing like me, at night after a long day of work and other activities, a good night of sleep will serve well for your primary job and set you up for a strong night of writing that following night. Also, when you think of writing as a second job, if you had a more typical second job, would you really be scheduled to work seven nights a week? Overall, I don’t like this option because I’m obsessed with writing daily.

Another option is to not start adding to your story right when you sit down but go through what you’ve recently written, consider where your characters are taking you, play with a few future scenes, recheck where you are in the story, then proceed with new words. I would consider this gearing up to write. With this scenario, you’re tired and would rather go to bed, but open your document anyway. As you start to look through your story and play out coming events, your mind starts rolling on your work, and you forget about ever being tired. This is my option of choice.

Better yet, grab a cup of joe and give it a go! (I may have just made up that little rhyme, so for now, it’s a nickel to use it.) Not into coffee? Grab some (caffeinated) morning tea or chocolate or a glass of Mountain Dew, whatever gives your mind a quick jolt. You could always combine this with the second option above.

So those are my only suggestions for now. I’d love to hear what some of you fellow writers do when you drag yourself to the computer and flop your head in your hand, thinking, do I really have to write right now? If I think of a few other ideas, then I will make a second blog on this topic.

_________________________________________________

Please leave your comments on the original post’s page, here. Thanks for reading!

 

Advertisements

Ichabod Temperance – WIP Interview

In this week’s interview, I’m super excited to feature Ichabod Temperance and his exciting steampunk writings! Ichabod is a gem, so I’ll let him introduce himself in his own unique way:

Ichabod Temperance is a silly little fellow with absolutely no writing credentials. Speculation is that a grotesque construction accident awakened a dormant writing bug in Icky. Doctors are desperately trying to make the boy stop, but to date, he just keeps writing silly novels such as ‘A Matter of Temperance‘, ‘A World of InTemperance‘, ‘For the Love of Temperance‘, ‘A Study in Temperance‘ and his current work In progress, ‘In a Latitude of Temperance’. (Update: Latitude of Temperance is now available on Amazon.)

For a tantalizing excerpt of Ichabod’s “In a Latitude of Temperance”, click here.

Ichabod, thank you for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself besides your collection on Amazon? 

Yippee! Thanks, Maria! I am so thrilled to be invited to your lovely blog! I am a lifelong Alabama Birminghamster. I played drums in a silly punk rock band for 28 years, studied diligently in karate for 21 years, and have been heavily involved with professional wrestling for 14 years. My wrestling and karate background helped me to land a small role in an independent film as a stuntman. The film is a sweeping, no-budget, steampunk epic entitled, ‘Engines of Destiny’. My enthusiasm in the project helped my part to get upgraded. I now get to wear a 2,700 pound steampowered mechanical suit and beat up on a young Teddy Roosevelt. This experience encouraged me to look into the genre of steampunk literature. Unfortunately, most of the material I found was of a dark and morbid sensibility, whereas the movie was upbeat and charming. Following the example of one of my castmates, I wrote my own blog adventure that in turn led to writing the books.

You’re my first writer/wrestler/stuntman guest here! What are you working on right now?

I have begun pursuing themes in my books. With the current book, ‘In a Latitude of Temperance’, the theme is vampires. In it, I have madcap adventures with some of my own personal favorite vampires in history. Sixteen vampires are involved, and only one of them is not one from history. She is a personal friend of mine.

Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

I do not think that I write as other writers do. I will mull a topic around in my head and bounce ideas off of my lovely, gracious, and kind muse, Miss Persephone Plumtartt, until I feel ready to begin. Once the writing process is initiated, I do not eat, sleep, fornicate, or acknowledge the outside world until finished. A good pace is 4,000 to 5,000 words a day during the frenzied writing cycle.

Plotter, pantser or both?

What did you call me! Oops. I mean, I don’t know what a pantser is, but I think you refer to planning out the story as opposed to letting it unfold in an ‘organic’ manner. I guess I’m a 30% plotter, and a 70% pantser. But if you press me on it, I will deny it and say that I intended for everything to work out the way it does.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Lord Bar’Bazaul, the ‘Mentholated Menace,’ would like to claim the title of being my arch nemesis, but ‘The Mystique from San Monique,’ Sku ‘le Bizzare, may have something to say about that! How they would dearly love me to be unable to achieve the end of my books, but so far, I have triumphed over their diabolical obstacles.

Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

All I need is a nice smooch from the beautiful Miss Persephone Plumtartt and I am good to go!

I bet that’s the best inspiration there is! Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

Tee, hee! Miss Plumtartt took a picture of me working as I finished up the first novel. Even though I am not looking at the camera, I know that in the photo, my mind is on the book. You cannot really see the little nook I am working in and do all my writing, but that is where I am and what I am doing. I felt it appropriate that this is the picture that I use as my author’s photo and it appears on the back cover of the books. My cat Kitka is looking in the camera and everyone thinks he is the author, not me! sigh. I am tempted to use that as my workspace photo, but instead, Miss Plumtartt has taken a picture of me with the beautiful Miss Bandit. This picture gives a better look at where it all happens.

Kitca and Miss Bandit are both lovely! Now your pic is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest. Lots of pets there already! Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

No, Ma’am, just Wiki, Miss Plumtartt’s invaluable assistance, and my own eclectic background.

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I’m gonna get romantic with Miss Plumtartt! She is starting to get a little antsy…

You do that! Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

Eek! Sorry, Maria, you are moving into a field I know nothing of as I am still very much a newbie. At this time, I am self-published on Amazon only. I am learning the ropes of promotion as I go along. Your ‘5 ways new writers can drive away potential readers‘ article has been a big help, as well as getting to participate in your ‘Calling All Critiques’ event! I am very lucky to have a friend who does my cover silhouettes and another pal who does the graphics. Miss Plumtartt does all the formatting. All I do is the writing and the promotion.

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

Uhb. I wish I did. I have learned, I think, that it is better to develop a few good contacts, than lots of half-hearted contacts, as far as self-promotion on Facebook is concerned. Spamming is a turn off.

Is steampunk/paranormal the genre you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

At this time, I cannot see myself doing anything but Steampunk/Paranormal. I am having too much fun! I cannot say what the future may hold, as a little over a year ago, I had never written so much as a grocery list, and now I have all these silly books! I’m a pantser as far as future plans are concerned.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?

Yes, Ma’am! Here is my Amazon author’s page:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Ichabod%20Temperance&search-alias=books

Thank you, Ichabod, and best of luck with your current project!

Thank you, Maria! You, your blog, and your wonderful friends have been a tremendous help to me!

Cheers!

Your pal,

~Ichabod.

Black Rook by Kelly Meade (Paranormal romance) – Review

Black Rook, Cornerstone Run Trilogy #1

By Kelly Meade

Available July 15th from Intermix

ISBN 9780698165441

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Penguin | BAM

GoodReads

My Review

Brynn plucks up courage she doesn’t have to enter a loup garou town. The charmed pendant hanging around her neck helps as it covers her Magus smell. Because if the man she intends to stop from killing her father takes a whiff of her true scent, then she’s dead meat!

But killing a handsome loup on his turf to show to her demeaning father that she’s worthy to be called his daughter and save his life, proves to be a lot more difficult than she thought. Especially when she finds out first-hand that the loup are hardly animals, as she was brought up to believe, and definitely not the villains in an impending war that could lead to their extermination.

Rook is the third son of the run’s alpha, but as a black wolf he’s entitled to take his father’s place instead of his older brother who’s been training his entire life for leadership. Falling for a Magus and mating her will instantly banish any plans to become the leader. Does she mean that much to him and, most importantly, can he trust his enemy when his world is falling apart?

Although I’ve been on a paranormal hiatus lately, and I’m not a big werewolf fan, I enjoyed this book. Not much emphasis is laid on the actual shifting and animal form of the loup, but Kelly Meade manages to seep their human form with all the loup traits that give them their distinct behavior—from natural aggressiveness, distrust, loyalty and team-spirit to the acute sense of smell and the mouth-watering physique you’d expect of a loup garou.

Their physical differences from the Magi, the ancient, tall, slim and pale creatures, led to inevitable racism that turned to hatred when the loup numbers kept increasing. Without wanting to give away too much of the plot, the element of eugenics with a military intent, creating deadly killing machines, is part of the story and that in itself held great interest. Let’s just say that vampires are thought upon as pawns, but they develop their own lethal agenda.

Initially, the story was quite slow building as a number of characters with backstories had to be introduced, but the impending clash with the conflicts, twists and culminating drama towards the end compensates. There were parts especially where the vampires were involved that had me devouring the pages! Another aspect that’s worth mentioning is that the romance takes the back seat here. It’s slow and tentative with an explosive climax (pun intended) but it’s not the main driver in this multi-faceted story.

Clashing races, preternatural skills, power struggles, an intricate plot and a love that grows strong are the elements of this promising new series.

For a hearty excerpt, read the book’s first chapter as presented in my excerpts’ blog here.

Author Bio

Raised on a steady diet of Star Wars, Freddy Krueger and “Fear Street” novels, Kelly Meade developed a love for all things paranormal at a very young age. The stealthy adolescent theft of a tattered paperback from her grandmother’s collection of Harlequins sparked an interest in romance that has continued to this day.

Black Rook is the first novel in her Cornerstone Run series, a paranormal romance trilogy from Berkley Intermix that also includes Gray Bishop and White Knight. It follows three loup garou brothers who will do anything to protect their town, their family, and the secret of their existence—and maybe fall in love in the process.

Writing as Kelly Meding, Three Days to Dead is the first book in her Dreg City urban fantasy series. The series follows Evangeline Stone, a paranormal hunter who is resurrected into the body of a stranger and has only three days to solve her own murder and stop a war between the city’s goblins and vampires. Additional books in the series, As Lie the DeadAnother Kind of Dead, and Wrong Side of Dead, are available in both digital format and mass market paperback from Bantam. Book five, Requiem for the Dead, is available digitally through all platforms.

Trance begins the story of the grown-up children of the world’s slaughtered superheroes who receive their superpowers back after a mysterious fifteen-year absence, and who now face not only a fearful public, but also a vengeful villain who wants all of them dead. Trance and Changeling are available now in both digital format and mass market paperback from Pocket Books. Tempest and Chimera are available in digital format only via Pocket Star. All four MetaWars books can also be purchased as a digital bundle.

LINKS

Website: http://www.kellymeding.com

Blog: http://chaostitan.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/KellyMeding

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelly-Meding/84164375745

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kellymeding

Tumblr: http://kellymeade.tumblr.com

 

 

 

The 4 elements of a click-worthy title

golden 100

Hurrah! This is my 100th blog post, so I thought I’d apply myself a little more with a shareable post!

Back to the title of the post: I tried what I preach with it. (Okay, aiming for a pun, I almost wrote “Headlines: your head is in the line”, which would be a tad over-reaching.) Nevertheless, the point is that if the title of your post, article or even your tweet is blah no one will turn their head your way (there I go again). I might lack experience, but I always count on my instinct and empathy skills. So, in order to turn the headline “skimmer” into an actual reader of my content, I try to think beyond of a summary of what my post contains. I try to create a title that resonates and attracts.

But if we were to put that in a title how would it read?

As the excellent article on copyblogger, entitled Writing Headlines That Get Results suggests, one of The Four U’s of writing headlines is Be Useful To The Reader. Before choosing a title, think: What will the reader gain from reading it? I tried this with my “5 Ways New Writers Chase Away Potential Readers” blog post which has proved to be my most successful so far with over 1,000 views in two days and 70+ comments (okay, there’s also spam I have yet to delete–but a spam-attracting post is a successful post!). I’m not a big name. I don’t have impressive credentials. So, if so many people made it to my actual blog, they must have clicked on the title after seeing it on some of the social media platforms I use, or (most likely) through retweets by friends with a bigger following.

I hope I’ve managed to convince you that the title was definitely catchy and click-worthy. What made it so?

  • It starts with a number. 5 ways. A number always presents something concrete. That’s always appealing. But it’s also a low number. I’ve often come across headlines boasting of showing you “50 ways” to overcome an obstacle. Way too many ways for the impatient reader! Can I tell you a secret? My 5 ways article refers to a lot more than five erroneous tactics new writers tend to follow. But I rounded these up into 5 broad categories, which allowed me to use the number “5” instead of a bigger number which might have discouraged people from taking the time to read. In other words: Be succinct.
  • It brands the target audience. 5 ways new writers. New writers were indeed the majority of the readers of this post, but also experienced writers were interested, as they wanted to see if they had followed these tactics themselves when they started out. In other words: Be focused.
  • It hits the target audience were it hurts–excuse the poignancy, but “chasing away potential readers” is the one thing a new writer would want to avoid at all costs. The whole idea of self-publishing and promoting your book is to “attract” as many readers as possible. And here I am, telling you that you might be doing the exact opposite! Wouldn’t that intrigue you to see if I’m right? (Of course, the idea that I might be seen as overstepping my boundaries since I’m not published worried me, so I started the article by clarifying that I was writing from a seasoned reader’s perspective.) In other words: (Don’t be afraid to…) Be evocative.
  • It ends with a lollipop! – “potential readers”, to writers, are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We want them! We want them all! So anything that refers to them, we usually read. In other words: Be appealing. Use sensory words and newfangled terms. If you can’t come up with any, read more edgy romance. Those ladies are surely creative!(Where do you think “click-worthy” came from?) 🙂

So, that was the anatomy of my top title in terms of “clickability” based on WordPress statistics. Combine the above with the Four U’s of the copyblogger article, and see what you can come up with yourselves!

Also, I hope I gave you an idea of “repurposing content”! Until I come up with anything remotely as popular, I thought I’d bring my older post to the surface again! What!? Not everybody has read it! 😉

Read the other three U’s of writing headlines on Brian Clark’s site:

Writing Headlines That Get Results

Any further insight on how to create magnetic headlines? Use the comment form!

 

S. L. Saboviec – WIP Interview

SL Saboviec - Head Shot - SmallI met Samantha through our recent cross-blog critique event. Apart from a participant blogger she also coordinated the entire thing, and I was impressed both by her writing and her coordinating skills. Next logical step was to invite her over for a WIP interview through which we’ll get to know her and her work process better.

Hi, everyone! Thanks for stopping by. I’m the author of the recently released fantasy novel, Guarding Angel, which came out in May.

Samantha, thank you for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?

When I was a child, I loved reading and, when very young, decided to try my hand at writing. I wrote my way through high school, but being too practical and focused on what would give me an income instead of what I love, I decided to study my second love—science—instead of my first love—writing. When I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics, I’d had enough of school and took a job at a bank as an assistant on technology projects. For ten years, I’ve worked in banking project management, but my first love remains writing. A couple years ago, I decided to vehemently, seriously, rambunctiously pursue a career in writing, and that’s how Guarding Angel came to be published.

What are you working on right now?

I have two projects underway. I’ve written and done the first revision of a dark urban fantasy novel with the working title The Exorcist’s Assistant. It’s with CP’s now, and I plan on doing another revision toward the end of summer and then querying. Tagline: A woman harassed by a demon enlists the aid of a doubting exorcist and discovers its connection to her past life and its hunger for her wife and daughter.

The second project is the sequel to Guarding Angel, called Reaping Angel. It’s the second of three books in the Fallen Redemption series. So as not to spoil too much of the first book, I’ll be vague: Angel Enael, main character of the first book, must meet the demands of Heaven’s governing Council of Seraphim for her past transgressions while struggling with interference from a now-demon love interest from her past.

Dark fantasy turning midnight black! Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

Right now, I’m delighted with the pace of my writing, but for the first half of the year, I was not. I’m currently 7.5 months pregnant, and the pregnancy made it difficult for me to write for a variety of reasons. I had originally planned to have Reaping Angel written by March … then May … Then I just wanted to hide in a hole because I’d only gotten about a quarter of it done. However, this month I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’ve been keeping up with and even exceeding my goal of 2,000 words most days. When I was writing The Exorcist’s Assistant, I found that same word count to be a good goal for both writing and revising. I work best under pressure with a daily goal and a deadline.

Plotter, pantser or both?

Both. Guarding Angel was written totally pantsy, but I had to go back and do a lot of revisions. I started Exorcist’s Assistant that way and it went nowhere. I originally didn’t want to be confined by a plot, but once I caved and tried it when I got stuck, I found that’s my method. One of the reasons I was so frustrated with myself with Reaping Angel was because the chapter-by-chapter plot was written last November. All I had to do was actually write the thing! Now that I’m underway, things change and evolve in a pantsy way. I discover new secrets, plot twists, and back story to my characters every day, while still guiding them along the general plot I’m aiming for.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Allowing myself to believe that I’m not feeling it. What does that even mean, anyway? I find that when I go back and reread what I’ve written, it doesn’t matter if I wrote on a day where my brain was bursting with ideas or on a day when I felt like my muse had a hangover. It reads with the same voice, the same inspiration. (Which isn’t to say that everything is gold; it’s just that the good stuff and bad stuff come in equal quantities whether I was feeling it or not.) All I need to do is sit my butt in a chair and get those words out. I know I have to revise, so slogging, for me, is not a reason to stop and wait for a better moment.

Hear hear! Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

The reason I decided to do Camp NaNoWriMo was because I am a bit terrified of what’s going to happen when the baby comes, since it’s our first. I find revising easier—like shaping clay into a finished statue. If I didn’t have a draft of Reaping Angel written, when was I going to do the most difficult part—getting that clay out of the recesses of my brain and onto paper? Maybe I’ll have a ton of time and motivation when I’m on maternity leave. Or maybe I won’t feel at all like writing because the baby will need my attention constantly. I didn’t want to chance not having something.

Good thinking! Those little ones are a blessing, but they can seriously mess up with the best of your intentions! Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

I have a great setup in the basement with two big monitors and an L-shaped desk. Previous to the pregnancy, I found it inviting and inspirational, but now, it feels like a torture device because the desk chair isn’t exactly top-of-the-line. That was an impediment for awhile, so now I just fluff up half a dozen pillows on my couch and write on my tiny laptop that I originally purchased to go into my purse so I could write on the train commute. If I have an idea while sitting in front of the TV, I just pick up my laptop and plop it in. And it’s easier to get motivated to write because I don’t dread the actual sitting part anymore.

Very cozy! I love it! Now it’s pinned in my Featured Writers’ Workspace board on Pinterest! Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

I used Scrivener, which I love for drafting and revising. It’s more difficult once I get feedback from my editors because I have to manually make all the changes. However, I’m a perfectionist and I have to scrutinize everything before I allow it in, so it works for me. I also use dictionary.com and thesaurus.com—for inspiration. Piece of writing advice: If you didn’t already know the word, don’t use it. Your editor, if she’s worth her salt, will magically know, tsk at you, and make you cut it. And not only her—your readers will know. If you’re not comfortable with the language you use, your writing will seem awkward.

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I’ve been throwing around the idea of starting a new game of Spore or the Sims 3. I am a gamer, but I haven’t played anything in quite a while. My husband and I are the ultimate nerds—we met on an MMO, Star Wars: Galaxies, in 2006. I don’t have time for MMO’s right now, but a fun one-player game is something I’ve been missing lately. Maybe I’ll even splurge on something I don’t already own.

A gamer who writes demon-infested dark fantasy and reviews horror without blinking an eye while pregnant. You’re amazing! Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I outsourced the cover design, which was a really good idea because I’ve had people tell me over and over that the cover is what really sold them on giving my book a try. I also outsourced the editing (developmental, copy editing, and proofreading). Next time, I might try to find a CP or two to trade proofreading services with, since the bulk of the problems are taken care of in the first two editing processes.

I did the book formatting and uploading myself. If you have an aptitude for computer languages, I would suggest using Guido Henkel’s Take Pride in Your eBook Formatting guide to do your own formatting. I’ll probably take less than an hour to do an entire novel now that I’ve done it twice (once for the ARC and once for the final version). I also purchased a paperback template but did the merge/format myself.

The Guarding Angel cover is indeed eye-riveting! Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

Talk to people on social media rather than spamming book links. Always have something on the go (another interview or guest appearance on a blog). Set a goal for how many book review bloggers per week you’ll contact and stick to it: send out lots of review copies because reviews are how you get people’s attention on both Amazon and Goodreads. And start early—a month beforehand at least, start contacting bloggers with your ARC. Then you have a strong release if you have a handful of reviews for people to see on your release day.

Your blog is http://www.saboviec.com/reviews/. Do you follow a specific branding pattern with your posts or is it a free writing platform?

I struggled with what to blog about for months. I decided to do book reviews of speculative fiction books, since those are what I read. I believe in the idea, from a philosophical perspective, since reviews are what indie writers need to get noticed and I truly enjoy helping the community.

The toughest part is saying no. First to requests, since I can’t possibly read every book in the world. Second, to not over-rating books that I didn’t enjoy, since I pride myself on being honest. It’s tempting to just say, “Yeah, this was great,” when I sometimes fear repercussions from authors who don’t take kindly to criticism. I suspect that the only one-star review I got of Guarding Angel came from someone who was offended by a review on my blog, based on the vagueness of the review, the timing of when it went up, and how someone has been methodically down-ranking my reviews for months. Not that I begrudge less-than-stellar reviews: If that’s really how someone feels, that’s fine! I’m actually surprised I haven’t yet offended some people with the spiritual ideas presented in Guarding Angel yet.

Reviewing can be quite dodgy. Is dark fantasy the genre you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

I can’t see myself writing outside the speculative fiction genre, but I have an idea of a science fiction novel that I plan on writing after I get further along on Reaping Angel and Exorcist’s Assistant.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?

Kindle US: http://amzn.to/1jTRde0
Kindle Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00K6ZM372
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/ebook/guarding-angel
Nook: http://www.bn.com/w/1119467162?ean=2940149496204
Paperback (Amazon): http://amzn.to/1vjDguz
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1gby7f7

My website: http://www.saboviec.com

Thank you, Samantha, and best of luck with your Reaping Angel!

Thanks for having me on the blog!

 

Whitney Gracia Williams – WIP interview

Update: Reasonable Doubt – Volume 3 is now out on Amazon! And here’s my Goodreads review.

It’s the middle of the summer, the temperature is rising so I thought I’d raise it further by inviting a writer who brought scorching summer heat in early spring with her Reasonable Doubt erotic romance series. Back in March, I needed to cleanse my palate from a bunch of excellent but quite dark and serious books I’d reviewed, so I picked up the first episode of the series, Reasonable Doubt #1, and found myself reading something delectably decadent instead. Although the type of foul-mouthed anti-hero is not my cuppa, I loved how fleshed-out and genuine Andrew was but especially the feisty heroine who gave him a run for his money. (You can read my Goodreads review here.) Heeding the writer’s “call to action” to reviewers to connect, I emailed Whitney and, although the series was becoming a huge success (a New York Times bestseller), she not only responded to a fan but was willing to do an interview with me! My reaction wasn’t what you’d call mature; even my four-year old quirked a brow at my bouncing on the bed. So ladies (and gents, why not?) I present to you the amazing Whitney G!

Hola readers! My name is Whitney G. and I am the author of the “Mid Life Love” series and the recent New York Times bestselling series “Reasonable Doubt.”

Whitney, I’m in awe as, despite your busy schedule, you honored this little blog.  You recently published a very uplifting Facebook post where you wrote how after the mediocre reception of your first fiction efforts, you never thought that “thinking BIG” applied to you and then Reasonable Doubt happened. Sure, this one was an erotic romance, and this genre’s audience is known to turn what it likes viral, but hundreds get published each month! What was the golden recipe here?

I honestly have no idea…I seriously did not expect Reasonable Doubt to do as well as it’s done so far. I wanted to use it as a way to improve my writing before I finished my current WIP. I was happy with the small success I’d attained before Reasonable Doubt came along, and I’d told myself that one day “bigger success” could happen to me and one of my books. (Yearsss down the line, of course…) But, since I was struggling with the aforementioned WIP, I decided to take a break and pen something short that would allow me to work on banter, scene building, and sexual tension. (I even had a post-it taped to my laptop that read, “If this is the last book you ever write, write it ten times better than anything you’ve written before…”) It definitely paid off, but I don’t know if there’s a “golden recipe” for a successful book. (Trust me, if I find it, I’ll report back and give it away to everyone *smiley face*)

You do that!! Also I now know how I will promote this interview. “How writer’s block can make you a best-selling author!” Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?  

Hmmm. Let’s make a list: 1) I have a serious addiction to candy and Starbucks. 2) I curse a lot more than I should. 3) I have a tendency to “fall off the face of the earth” (i.e. avoid social media) whenever I’m deep into a project. 4) Have I mentioned the Starbucks addiction already? 5) When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading an indie book, stalking John Grisham (and Beyonce), or staring into space…

What are you working on right now?

Reasonable Doubt 3… You know what’s crazy? I’d originally planned to have the whole series out in April. What the hell was I thinking back then?

And you suffered serious backlash! I couldn’t believe the angry comments about how you didn’t make the dates you had initially announced. Thankfully, compared to the love you got, those were a drop in the bucket. So, are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

No, I’m never happy with the pacing of my work. I always want to do more or write faster, but I think that’s a good thing. I never want to feel content. As far as a daily word count goes, most definitely. I aim for five to seven thousand a day.

Plotter, pantser or both?

BOTH! I change my mind too many times to stick to an outline, but I *have* to know the ending of a story before I can even begin.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Myself, of course.

Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

Absolutely. All the time. There are days when I don’t *feel* like writing, days when I’d much rather stay in bed and watch Netflix. However, I think about where I want to be ten years from now and that always makes me get up and get to work.

Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

I’ve attached it. I wake up every morning and write at Starbucks.

Wow! If these chairs get occupied, it means you’re writing in serious company! Now your photo is “pinned” on my Featured Writers’ Workspace Board on Pinterest. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

Not really, but I always read Joan Didion’s “Goodbye to All That” essay before I begin any WIP. She’s one of the best writers in the world, and simply reading a small snippet of her magic inspires me like no other.

That one goes at the top of my TBR list. How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I’m going to take one, huge EPIC nap!

Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself?

I now outsource everything (book covers, formatting, graphics, etc.), but at one point in time I was doing everything myself because I was nervous about handing over the reins to someone else…

Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

I have marketing tips for DAYS, but in a nutshell I’d like to say that authors should treat their books like movies. You should be promoting long before the book comes out. There’s a reason why Hollywood invests so much in advertising. They want people to know all about their movies before they come out and they want as many people as possible to watch and enjoy them opening week. Promotional sites I’ve used are Bookbub, E-reader News Today, and I’ll be starting my own writer’s blog soon to share even more. (It’s going to be called “The Delusional Indie Author” and it’ll launch late summer)

Can’t wait to follow that blog! Is erotic romance the genre you will brand yourself with from now on or do you see yourself branching out in the future?

Definitely not branding myself at all. LOL. Although, I do have a standalone erotic romance coming out later this year. I’m still trying to find myself as an author and I want to explore more genres.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?

Sure! When I’m not hiding from the world, I can be found here: whitneygracia.com, and if you want to find my books, you can find them all here: http://www.amazon.com/Whitney-Gracia-Williams/e/B0054OUT30/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Thank you, Whitney, and best of luck with with Reasonable Doubt #3! I can’t wait to find out what made Andrew turn into a hardcore cynic, and how he will turn things around after the mess he’s made with Aubrey!! (Update: I did and it explains so much! Great way to end this fun-tastic story!)

 

Strong voice, rich emotion: Struggles of the Women Folk by T.M. Brown (review)

Genres: African American fiction, historical fiction, women’s issues.
Themes: family dynamics, romance, perseverance

My Review:

This is the coming-of-age story of Georgie, a black woman growing up in rural Virginia in the 1940s. Striving to be good, all she wants is a peaceful life, but all she gets is pain. This becomes a suffocating pattern that she cannot seem to extricate herself from, and when she loses the one good thing in her life, again through deceit, she has no reason to live. But instead of letting go, she uses prayer as a balm to soothe her pain, and soon hope flourishes.

In a society rife with prejudice, stereotypes and an unabashed display of racism, black women are continuously victimized; not least from their peers. That was an element of interest in this book. And as the title suggest, this story depicts the struggle of all women folk; not only black women. I’m Greek, and around the time Georgie was growing up, my grandmother was giving birth in the fields, child after child, knowing that not all children will survive, a fact that gave birth to “Death shall claim his share”. The cynicism with which their harsh reality armed those women was carried over to their own children—not their cherished sons but their daughters. Maybe it was a way to reinforce them, make them stronger to face their own struggles, but in reality what was reinforced was their lack of conviction in their self-worth, their eternal victimization.

With a voice strong in its simplicity, T. M. Brown lays out a tale of deceit, betrayal and dark secrets and a young girl’s struggle to navigate in life through them. Although this is historical fiction, the message defies time and is still very relevant: perseverance and never losing hope.

Even though it’s overwhelmingly harrowing at times, this is a must read.

Get it now on:

AMAZON

SMASHWORDS

BARNES AND NOBLE

Excerpt

“Morning country bumpkins,” she said, same as usual.

“I don’t know why you have to be so rude to us every morning! What makes you think you so much better than us? How come we always gotta wait for you every morning? We workin in the same shop, doing the same stuff. Why you think you so much better than us?” I said as Miss Hazel and Sharon looked at me wide eyed.

“Look at you! Need I say more?” Regina smirked.

“No, you don’t need to say more, but I sure can. Like how you and Mr. Anderson been breaking dem springs on dat bed upstairs almost every night. Iz dat why you think you better than us? Cuz you up dere spreading your legs for dat white man?”

“Shut up!”

“No, you shut up! I don’t want to hear nothing else outta you! Not one more mornin! You just common! Messing round with somebody else’s husband foe a few nice dresses. I know your kind.” I didn’t know why I was so mad at her, but I just wanted to snap her head off.

“Shut up! That’s a lie.”

“No it ain’t. I hears yawl almost ever night.”

“You just sayin that cuz you jealous.”

“Jealous! Jealous of what? You ain’t got nothing I want! You mean, and ya nasty and common on top of it!”

“Just say one more word and I’ll . . .”

“You’ll what? Girrl, you really don’t want no parts of me. You take one more step and that’ll be your last! I’m sick of you!” Before I knew it, I was within arm’s reach of Regina. I had every intention of beating her down to the floor.

“Okay girls, that’s enough,” Miss Hazel interrupted. “Regina and Sharon, why don’t you go back up to your rooms for a minute.”

What? Why we gotta go? She’s the one causing problems,” Regina said as she began to make her way up the stairs. I guess she could see from the look on Miss Hazel’s face that she better not push it.

“I’m sorry, Miss Hazel,” I said after they left. “I’m just tired of her picking on me and Sharon all the time. Plus I miss my momma, and . . . and I don’t feel good.”

“I know it must be hard being so far away with no family around, child.” No one had called me child since I left my momma in Virginia. I missed her so much. I missed Donnie so much. I felt so lonely.

“You know, everybody has a story. Things aren’t always as they seem,” Miss Hazel said. “Regina has a story to tell as well. That don’t make it right for her to act the way she been acting, but she’s had her troubles too.

About The Author

Internationally recognized story-teller with a past that provides lots of material to write from!

*1st book, “A Life Not My Own”, kicks down the secret door that Tina had worked so hard to lock away her insecurities, heartache and fears.

*5 STAR rated Just Between Us – Inspiring Stories by Women. TM’s short story is a continuation of “A Life Not My Own”, providing just a tad more about her life as a young adult (not captured in my first book). Expect the unexpected…

*”Struggles of the Women Folk”, is based on fictional characters with a storyline created from stories that her grandmother shared with her as a child.

*Military service: 7 years – Enlisted

*Formal Education

*Master of Science Degree in System Engineering – Regis University – Denver, Colorado

*Undergraduate Degree in Psychology – University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Visit http://author-tmbrown.com/ and tm.brown35@yahoo.com

Get it now on:

AMAZON

SMASHWORDS

BARNES AND NOBLE

 

1fe55-fabreads-blogger-banner

 

Fabulosity Reads Book Promotions is a book touring website that promotes authors and their precious works to an extensive audience using blogs, twitter, Facebook and other Social Media, with the aim of introducing them to an appreciative readership.

They offer a diverse range of both complimentary and affordable products to help the reach of your book go that much further.

 

William Fraser – WIP Interview and writing African fantasy

William Fraser’s stories are from the spice scented breezes of the Zanzibar archipelago, the remote grasslands of the Serengeti and the dark side of Kilimanjaro.  His first novel, The Spirit Tree was inspired by a  yearlong stay on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.  William worked and traveled through Southern Africa for eleven years before settling in Tanzania in 1999.  He now splits his time between Tanzania and the U.K.

William, thank you for being here. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?  

I am never comfortable talking about myself and since childhood have hidden behind the characters I create for my stories.  I was born and raised in South Yorkshire and learned my love of travel and adventure at 28 when I visited South Africa for three weeks loving it so much I didn’t return home.  Eleven years later I moved to Tanzania where I worked for a safari ground operator and wrote about Tanzanian/Kenyan cultural tours which developed into writing stories set in East Africa

Exercise in lean writing: give us a synopsis of your current WIP in under 200 words.

It is Kilimanjaro,  the year 1800  and the King invites boys on the cusp of manhood to attend the annual Mbora Trails.  From the very beginning there is one boy, Nuhu, who stands out from the rest.  The King is convinced this Nuhu is the one foretold by the ancients who would restore ‘Upinde’,  the sacred drum, to its rightful place.

Nuhu’s best friend, Minja, dies during one of the trials and he becomes concerned that other boys seem to be disappearing without explanation, too.  Nuhu investigates and discovers the Shaman – who has tapped into an ancient power that feeds on human souls  – is behind the disappearances.  Nuhu confides in the King who is murdered the following night .  Noah is framed for the murder and runs for his life.

Heading for the grass plains and sanctuary with the Elders of Kikatiti, he is armed with a copper tipped spear, perused by his rival, Leopard and helped occasionally by his dead friend, Minja.  His only hope lays in outrunning his enemies and securing the help of the Elders of Kikatiti who are the keepers of the lost secret of the drum – the only means to overcoming the Shaman and the power of the Legion.

Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day? 

I try.   It is important to be disciplined but it is difficult to accomplish as it is important to achieve.  I used to be obsessed with completing a set amount of work each day.  With my latest project I concentrate on getting it right.  This means I am working (in word count terms) at a much slower rate than I would like.

Plotter, pantser or both?

Plotter, well no, well sometimes . . . hmm, maybe both.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Starting a new project I always find daunting but once I start, I go for it.  Towards the end of a draft sometimes doubt raises its ugly head.  Self doubt, is the enemy.

Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself? 

Yes,  all the time!  I overcome it by forcing myself to write, even if it’s uninspired drivel.  Often in these so called dry times some of my best ideas are hatched.  Or sometimes I cut myself off from the radio, TV, mobile phones, and internet.  I spend hours in self conflicted solitude, clearing my head of all the baggage.  I wrestle with silence and in the silence, eventually, the inspiration comes.

Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring for writing?

I have two.  Walking along the cliffs on the North Devon coast and walking in Arusha, Tanzania.  My laptop and office are not inspiring at all!  If I find myself staring at the laptop mouth open and brain switched off I abandon my work space to think – only returning once I am bursting with ideas about my characters and/or plot.   

Now your photo is pinned on my Featured Writers’ Workspace board in Pinterest. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps? 

No,  is the easy answer.  Google is my friend, albeit a rather controlling friend with designs on world domination.  My stories are about the life and culture of Tanzania and the fantastic folk of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Nairobi and the Rift Valley .These are better than any app.

How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

I usually have another project demanding my attention.  Often I have two or three on the go at the same time, all overlapping one another.  There never seems to be an end.

Which book publishing processes are you going to outsource and which are you confident enough to undertake yourself? 

I usually publish through Smashwords and Kindle although I am considering using an agent.  My editor has approached an agent so I may be published through a more traditional route in the future.

You blog here. Do you follow a specific branding pattern with your posts or is it a free writing platform? 

Although I am not comfortable with blogging I have a blog page.  It is more of a free writing platform – I am thinking about shutting it down.  The only reason I have it is because I am told it is a must to have one.  It is never a good idea to do something for which you have no heart or skill…   It is better, for me, I think to blog through third party sites that are far more interesting and professional than anything I could create.  It takes up so much time too.  I’d rather spend the time writing stories.

Is African fantasy the genre you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?  

I am passionate about everything East African and love to share that love with anyone who will listen.  I can’t see me branching out for a while.

Thank you, William, and best of luck with your projects!

You can purchase The Spirit Tree on Amazon and Smashwords

Ekaterina Botziou – WIP interview

With a degree in Law and a passion for the Arts, Ekaterina has worked on a whole host of different projects ranging from film to fashion, and has even been cast in Hollywood movies. Born to a proud Greek father and a ballerina mother with roots as mixed as a tequila sunrise, Ekaterina spent her formative years learning that every word comes from the Greek language and that no other nation compares to the might of the Hellenic realm. Published last year, her debut book “Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing” has enjoyed great success. Part memoir and part rant, the book provides a comedic insight into the trials and tribulations of being a modern woman faced with the demands of age-old Greek traditions and how to survive growing up with and marrying into a Big, Not-so-fat, Greek family.

Make sure you head over to my MM Jaye’s friends write blog where you can read The Last Moussaka’s appetizing blurb as well as get a sneak peak of Ekaterina’s upcoming book.

Ekaterina, thank you for coming.  I’ve got to say, your debut book sounds as rich and savoury as the Greek dish that inspired its title. Before we talk about your WIP, why don’t you tell us a few things about yourself?  

Thank you! Where to start?

I loved writing from a young age, as well as drama and dance but disappointed my father when I decided I wanted to play the violin instead of the bouzouki. Initially I decided to pursue a career as a criminal barrister and completed my Law Degree at University College London, while continuing to act in small time theatre productions and contributing articles for student magazines. I was then signed by an acting agency and was cast in various film and television roles while moonlighting as a PA in the legal field.

Did I mention the Greek bit? Good lord how could I miss that out?! Well, I’m half Greek (my father is from Igoumenitsa, Greece), but according to my Greek relations the other half doesn’t count, so I’m basically GREEK, although my Greek language skills are very poor (aside from knowing all the swear words).

A couple of years ago at the tender age of 25 (and despite all that I had learned about Greek life growing up), I did the one thing that my mother had always warned me not do. I married a Greek man; a Greek-Cypriot in fact. Scandalous.

I now live in Wimbledon with my Greek and Cypriot family and continue to dabble in showbiz while working full time in the finance sector, alongside my passion for writing. I write for British and Greek/European publications covering fashion, lifestyle and travel, as well as my blog www.ekaterinabotziou.com and I am the founder of the The Greek Wives Club; a place for all the wives / girlfriends / partners / friends of Greek men, to come together and share their experiences of life with a Spartan ape.

Even though I am 100% Greek and living in Greece, my life’s Greekness pales compared to yours! What are you working on right now?

I’m currently writing various pieces for different media publications, including a couple of essays on feminist issues, as well as hoping to write and direct a comedy play. I’m also now developing my second book, which will continue with my Greek theme although it will be fiction and will involve a re-working of some of the old Greek myths and legends, with a unique twist.

Are you happy with the pace of your work? Do you aim at a specific word count each day?

As writing is not my full time job (although sometimes it feels like it is!) I can’t set myself a specific word count each day as I have other work priorities. I make ‘To Do’ lists every week so sometimes I’ll aim to write a page or two but I don’t force myself. I go with the flow.

Plotter, pantser or both?

I’d say a bit of both – I’m very much a planner in my daily life but sometimes, particularly when writing, the original plan goes awry and I get inspired by random sources.

What’s your worst enemy in getting that first draft finished?

Chocolate cake – I find it so distracting.

I second that! And thinking about having seconds from the one I made only today. Agh! Change of subject… Have you ever experienced lack of inspiration or drive to write? If so, how do you motivate yourself?

Yes I think most writers get that from time to time. I’ll be on a roll one minute then stuck in a rut the next – it all depends on mood and circumstance and whether I feel my work is going in the right direction. Obviously if I’m writing a magazine or newspaper piece with a deadline I just have to get on with it – the best thing to do is just put pen to paper and write your heart out, then edit edit edit. When I’m writing for myself I can go at an easier pace – if I need some time, whether it be a day, a week or a month to become inspired again, I take it.

Could we take a look at your workspace? Is there a particular place you find inspiring?

My usual work space is very boring, but when I travel I bring my work with me. The picture was taken on the balcony of my hotel room in Mykonos.

That’s the furthest from boring you could show us! Now your photo is “pinned” on my Featured Writers’ Workspace Board on Pinterest. Apart from Word and Google, do you use any other writing or research tools and apps?

My family provide me with all the tools I need! Greeks are a minefield of information!

You can say that again! How do you intend to celebrate writing “The End” on your draft?

With a large bottle of ouzo. Only joking, I can’t take more than a sip! A large piece of chocolate cake will do nicely though.

I’d go for the cake without even blinking. Do you have any marketing tips or favorite promotional sites you’d like to share?

As a promotional tool, you can’t beat having your own blog – it’s a great way to network and meet like-minded people and share your work. I regularly re-blog, re-tweet and share stories on facebook from my fellow bloggers and they in turn do the same for me.

Is humourous fiction the genre you will brand yourself with or do you see yourself branching out in the future?  

Funnily enough I used to love crime thrillers and always chose that genre when writing short stories. Yet one of my favourite books is “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole” by Sue Townsend, and my intention when I began writing my first book was to create an Adrian Mole style narrative. Perhaps sub-consciously that book has made more of an impact on me than I realised! My blog and current project also fit into the humorous genre, but combine both fact and fiction.

At the moment, humour seems to work for me so I would agree that for now my brand lies in comedy. However, the articles I write for other publications do not fall into the comedy genre and cover opinion pieces, fashion, lifestyle and travel.  I like to explore a range of themes and issues, particularly those surrounding women, so maybe one day I’ll branch out. Never say never.

Would you like to share with us links where we can find you and your work?

Website:             http://www.ekaterinabotziou.com    

Twitter:                ebotziou

Facebook:           Artist Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ekaterina-Botziou/195992653784893

Facebook Greek Wives Club:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Greek-Wives-Club/347105182030245

Youtube:             http://www.youtube.com/user/ekaterinabotziou

Amazon UK:       http://www.amazon.co.uk/Greek-Expectations-Last-Moussaka-Standing/dp/1492710032/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397556727&sr=8-1&keywords=ekaterina+botziou

Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7337342.Ekaterina_Botziou

Thank you, Ekaterina, and best of luck with your next project! Can’t wait to learn the truth about mythology at last!

 

 

Calling All Critiques: Final Wrap-Up

The first Calling All Critiques event was a success!

On behalf of all the bloggers, I want to thank all entrants and participants for taking time out of your busy schedules to take part. We hope you enjoyed it and perhaps learned something along the way. Got any suggestions on how to make the next event a success? Leave them in the comments!

Third Week Visiting Winner

The third week’s visiting winner who either commented or followed one of the participating bloggers on Twitter is:

Simon Clark

You’ll receive an email soon. You have until Thursday to respond with further information for us to send you your prize. If we don’t hear from you by then, a runner-up will be chosen.

One more shout out to the bloggers!

Don’t forget to give some thanks to all our participating blogs and bloggers:

Again, thank you!