Monday, June 5, 2017

Trauma and Writing: the Dark Side of Being an Author

I have three blogs. On one of them, I posted about Hidden Trauma and opened up about a deeply emotional situation that had recently come up.

Oh, you say. That's all well and good, but what's that to do with writing? (You may have a British accent in my head... 😜)

One of the things I try to do with my writing is to describe pain and emotions in a very real and visceral way. I don't just say "her face turned red with anger". I say "rage crawled up her neck and over her ears, narrowing her vision and tightening the muscles in her neck and scalp".

Same emotion, but if you've ever been really pissed, you recognize the physical "symptoms" I've described in the second quote. I want people to be able to see what I write in terms of emotions and not just say "yeah, I've been mad". I want "OMG, that's just how it feels!"

But the thing is, in order to do that, I have to not just feel things, I have to NOTICE what I'm feeling. I have to remember what muscles clench when I'm afraid, what temperature my hands are when I'm scared. I have to remember the full physical sensations of getting the breath knocked out of me. I have to pull back the sharp feeling of a cut.

Because of this, and other reasons, and despite my natural tendencies to hide or suppress my emotions from others, I force myself to be open about what I experience. I push myself to share, in part so others will share similar experiences. I make myself write down the sensations instead of pushing the discomfort away.

I analyze my own traumas... for you, my readers. (Cue guilt-trip music and fade to black... lol)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Branching Out: Going into a Different Genre PLUS Book Release!

I love, love, love fantasy. I really love Urban Fantasy, which is what Too Wyrd and the Runespells series is. But I have a dirty little secret.

I'm pretty good at writing erotic romance.

So, what's a writer to do? I wrote a fantasy-based erotic romance, of course!

I cranked out the novella (short novel) of Her Favorite Mistake in only a month (along with two other shorts), and I released it to the world!

So, if you are into that kind of thing, check it out! I've gotten a lot of positive feedback on it, though I'm still waiting on "official" Amazon reviews.

Hey! you could review it when you're done! Just sayin'.

Once upon a time, Arthur was king…

When Nimue met Merlin in her role as Lady of the Lake, she couldn’t resist the forbidden passion. She’s been running from the consequences since. Now called Illianna, she meets Simon, her lover reborn, and the dangers of the past are still chasing them. Is it their destiny to find love or to relive tragedy?

A steamy story of Merlin and the Lady of the Lake, Her Favorite Mistake will leave you wanting more Hot Fae Knights!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Responsibility of an Author: Networking as an Indie or Small Press Author

The indie and small-press author community is small but mighty. Our power lies in our ability to help each other in much the same ways that a larger press helps its authors.

Ok, but what does this really mean?

It means we create and share our own marketing opportunities. Many times, this takes the form of social media events, sweepstakes giveaways (with dozens of books from dozens of authors), donating ebooks to other authors' events and giveaways, newsletter "exchanges" (where two or more authors feature each other in their newsletters), etc. It also means crowd-sourcing marketing techniques and sharing events with fellow authors.

It also means that, if an author is taking advantage of these opportunities but not sharing and reciprocating... what?

What does it mean when an author is taking advantage of the freely given and freely available opportunities, but not paying it forward to those same authors that are sharing information and events with them?

Well, you have an author who is now "That Guy".

That Guy is the one who never seems to share events, but always seems to manage to sign up for time slots in the events. That Guy is the one who is always asking for help or advice, but never has any to give back. That Guy is the one who begs for beta readers and reviewers - which, for That Guy, is also code for free editing - but always has a reason why he (or she) cannot beta read or review for you.

Because so much of the indie and small-press author community is about a sharing and exchanging of resources, it is incredibly important to reciprocate - give back what you receive. Make it part of your writing goals.

Many authors find that they have less time to read than they used to. It makes sense - we are busy writing. I decided that, in order to keep myself on target, I would make it part of my quarterly goals to beta read/review at least 2 books each quarter from my indie/small press contacts, in addition to any entertainment reading I managed to cram in. (See more about my quarterly goals HERE.)

Other suggestions? Take note of what specific people in your network are interested in. If you have a pal from a writing group who does romance, shoot them a link to a romance-based book release event that he/she can sign up for. If someone in your fantasy author group has been begging for marketing hookups, let them know about the sweepstakes featuring fantasy books.

What this means is that it is important to think about the people in your network - who they really are and what they need. You should consider, not just how you yourself can use the information you come across, but also how others might use it, too.

Trust me, that generosity will come full circle. People remember those who have helped them, and they will be thinking of you when they get something popping up on their radar. When authors share, we all win.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Authors Getting Feedback

I recently received a lovely email from a gentleman who had read Too Wyrd. He told me that he never wrote to authors, but he enjoyed the book so much, he was looking forward to the next one.

I know that many people love things, but only tell their friends, etc. After all, authors, actors, musicians - they can seem distant and egotistical (more on the misinterpretation of introverts thrust into a spotlight later), unreachable.

Sometimes, as a creator of entertainment, I feel like I am throwing my work out into a void, hoping that there will be some sign that I'm doing good work. Then, I get a message, or an email, or a glowing review.

It bolsters my heart and gives me motivation to do the hard things - like writing those scenes that make you cry or rage. Trust me, I feel it, too.

Take the time to send off a little note to your fav creator. Let them know that their work isn't languishing in the void. Tell people when they've touched your soul.

That's the only reason we do this - it sure ain't for the money... lol

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Practically Writing is at SEVEN episodes!

Can you believe it?!? I'm about to put out episode EIGHT! I never thought I'd be a vlogger and a blogger... and so many other things. But you, my loyal audience, have made it worth while!

Check out episode seven, and subscribe to my channel to get the bi-weekly videos, immediately!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Decisions, Decisions - Help me decide!

I've been presented with an opportunity to join a group of bloggers for blog tours. This would consist of me posting pre-written blogs as a way to help authors promote their work.

So, my question is this: Would you enjoy periodic posts of other authors' work among the ramblings of your humble host?

Please click this link to respond, or just comment below!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Three Seashells: The Dangers of Not Backing Up Your Details

There was a post earlier today, in which a friend ask (begged) to know how the three seashells are used.

For those who don't know, the three seashells are what replaced toilet paper in the future in the 1993 Sylvester Stallone film, Demolition Man. The main character expresses confusion about the seashells and all the future-people giggle and comment on how he doesn't know how to use them. But it is never revealed how they are used.

24 years later, people are still trying to figure it out. Demolition Man was a good movie, but not great, so why is it that a throw-away entertainment flick has this effect?

Like a crappy cliffhanger ending, people are left wondering about something that should have been neatly tied up in the course of the plot. It isn't a big thing, but it's the thing that can make or break the perception of a work. It happens the same way when a TV show is cancelled too soon, or a sci-fi franchise makes up a technology that they don't adequately explain.

It's the reason authors need to research so much for small details. If we get them wrong, we risk creating the three seashells.

People remember Demolition Man, in part, because of the seashells. But it isn't a good way to remember it. We remember that there was this simple thing that probably wasn't supposed to be answered, or answerable, and the thing left us hanging. The seashells stole the movie away from the action (decent), speculation about the future (ironic), commentary on society (way deeper than it should have been), and more.

Instead of being lost to time or gaining a cult following for the symbolism, it is reduced to a question: What about those damn seashells?

Having a real reason for the seashells and addressing their use enough to have it make any kind of sense would have solved that. And it is important to remember not to leave the seashell question unanswered in other works of fiction.

You don't want your hard work remembered because of a bathroom joke gone wrong, do you?