On Vacation!

That’s right faithful readers, the Naughty Quillers are taking a three week vacation – virtually speaking. With the end of summer approaching, and for some of us the return to school for the little ones nearing, we decided to take a well deserved break. We’ve been going at this strong for over a year now, I think we deserve one don’t you?

But we will be back!

We’re going to enjoy these last days of the summer months before everything gets back into the swing of things. We shall return to action on September 4, 2017. So don’t go too far y’all, and mark the date on the calendar. We shall see you then, rested and bushy tailed – at least that’s the plan.

The Naughty Quillers (Doris, Jules, Kacey, Moira & Raven)

Fly little bird, fly! #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Well I totally forgot it was Friday. Had zero clue until I was heading out of work for the day and everyone was saying “have a good weekend”. To which I stared blankly at them with a big old question mark hovering over my head. Thankfully someone took mercy and reminded me it was Friday. Color me shocked! Short weeks are great because you don’t have to go to work as often, but good lawd do they mess up your internal calendar. That’s my story and I’m damn well sticking to it.

Today’s post, slightly delayed though it is, is about new authors trying new things. We all know the saying “write what you know” well by this point, but there is more to an authors life than that. We should also try new things from time to time.

The main reason folks tell you to “write what you know” is so that you become comfortable, and find a routine of writing that works for you. If you’re writing “what you know” then you are in a comfort zone for your topic of choice for your WIP. But eventually you will discover you’ve done it so often that you are now in a rut so damn deep you’re not sure if you’ll ever get out. Like the one scene in Twister where they were being chased by the tornado and couldn’t quite get the truck out of the ditch.

On one hand it’s great advice for the newbie’s out there, learn your rhythm, find your happy place, and once you have a pattern to work with, stretch out your wings. Not only will this help you grow as an author instead of writing the same old, same old to death, but it will also keep sparking your muse. Because without that psychotic schizophrenic bitch throwing curve balls and wild cards, writing can become dull. Repetitive. Boring.

I’m not saying to pull a 180 and go right off the deep end, that might be going too far unless you truly feel prepared for that. I’m suggesting maybe a different genre, or add on a sub-genre to your current pursuits to add something fresh to the mix. And then build on that. Eventually you could be doing that 180 from where you were to start, no one’s saying you have to or that you shouldn’t. But go at your own pace, in your own time, and with what feels most comfortable to you. After all, you’re the only one that knows what’s going on in your head, what your muse is thinking, and what sparks that creative juice to start flowing.

So write what you know until you’re ready to head into the unknown.

Terminal velocity #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all, you’ve made it through another week. Today will be a short post (in theory), since I have much to accomplish before I depart for the long weekend for some family time.

Pretty much everyone on the planet knows what “terminal velocity” is. For those unfamiliar it is basically the maximum rate a falling body will reach. An easy example most folks can visualize is a sky diver leaping from a plane, and plummeting to earth. The diver will pick up speed until (and there’s math involved here) they can’t go any faster in their current chosen position. Basically the end result, if they don’t pull their chute, is – well – I think we all know.

There are days where I feel like I’m in free-fall as an author. It’s not exactly a reassuring sensation, but it can have a few advantages. I’m someone who works best under deadline. As a naturally born semi-procrastinator (not always though I should mention), I do well in the time crunch. Unfortunately I don’t always have control over my “time”, the main reason being my Evil Day Job. Yes, I probably could go find another job, somewhere. But it’s not a forgone conclusion that I could find one that would allow me more “me” time. These days it’s better to have a job that sucks time than to be unemployed, believe you me. But that’s beside the point.

Everyone has “time sucks”, it seems to be a naturally occurring phenomenon that crops up the instant you become an author. It’s not obvious at first, but eventually you start to spot the pattern. The biggest ones, social media and drama. Oh the drama. And it’s usually on social media! Vicious, seemingly never ending cycle.

Sadly, although we are (for the vast majority) adults in the author community, we still cannot avoid drama. It comes in all shapes, sizes, and from any and all fronts. Getting sucked into drama is a fantastic way to feel yourself free-falling, and eventually reaching your own personal terminal velocity. It’s pretty much the point where you say “fuck this shit!” and ___________ fill in the blank. Some authors call it quits, others change everything about their author lives around, some cut out bad influences (aka: the shit disturbers, otherwise known as the promoters of drama), and still others blow their gaskets. Usually in a rather, here’s that word again, dramatic fashion.

While sitting at your desk writing, or surfing the Net won’t have you reaching terminal velocity physically, that doesn’t mean you can’t reach it mentally. We all have our limits. Limits about how much bullshit we’re willing to put up with, how many lies we’re willing to see perpetrated online, how much bad mouthing we’re willing to have pop into our feeds, and how much favoritism we’re willing to put up with – especially when it happens constantly, and with the same individual(s). We all have a hard line in the proverbial sand that when it’s crossed, all we can see is red.

The only thing we can really control is ourselves, and our reactions to what pushes our buttons. No one needs drama in their lives, unless you happen to be an actor or drama major. How you deal with everything that will filter through your feeds, emails, and lives is up to you. The only advice I will give is these two pieces:  Always take a step back, and evaluate the pros and cons before making a potentially life altering decision. And don’t let anyone, no matter who they are, tell you that you’re not making the right choice for you. Only you know you – which means you are the only one who can decide what does, and doesn’t work for you.

Beyond the screen #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Well we made it folks, another Friday has rolled around. This week has been up, down, and sideways in more ways than one – and that’s all I’m saying about that. Today’s post will be short though, since the brain isn’t wholly focused on the task at hand – apologies.

In life everyone has priorities. Some are awesome, some are okay, and others are just plain whacked. As authors we always think that writing should be our top priority. And, to a degree, that would be correct. But we also need to remember to stop and smell the roses from time to time. Not only is it a way to recharge the batteries, but it can help keep the voices in our heads in check.

Big or little, anything can work, and it all depends on you. Everyone is unique, what works for one may not work for another. Find what recharges you the best, and keep to it. Yes, you may need to evolve the technique over time, after all we all change as the years pass by. The biggest, and best (or so the parents on NQ assure me) is family time. It doesn’t matter what they do together, the whole point is to be – you’ve got it – together.

So take a walk, enjoy a film, get out camping if you’re the sort who enjoys unknown creatures trying to invade your tent (ick!), or whatever floats your boat and gets you charged back to 100%. Your mission this weekend, and you don’t have the choice to not accept it, is to step back and smell those roses, petunias, lavender, lilacs, daisies, or whatever your choice might be. Relax, recharge, and refresh body and mind.

Fake News! #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all, hope you had a great week, and also have a fabulous weekend. Let’s get down to business…

** WARNING **

The following is for Adult audiences only, as it may offend the weak willed and those with guilty consciences. It is my personal opinion, and only an opinion. It will contain profanity, several cliche’s, and likely sting those where it strikes too close to home. Enjoy.

First off, the title. I’m not talking about Fox News, Breitbart or whatever the hell it is that comes from the White House briefings. We’re authors after all, and all that crap is really nothing more than inspiration, and fodder for our next villain(s). It’s also a lot of shitty white noise that is unfortunately on nearly every station you tune into, even here in Canada. Personally I institute the mandatory eye roll, and go about my day.

No, what I mean by “Fake News” is the bullshit that certain authors like to sell, much like a bridge in the Sahara Desert. Sounds good, unless you really think about it or investigate even a little. These authors appear open, genuine, caring, and as having your back. In reality they are two-faced liars, scumbags, and would sell their own mother if it got them onto the New York Times.

The realists among authors, those of us who write for the sheer pleasure of creation, who enjoy talking to ourselves in public hashing out a story line, babble incoherently around folks who don’t understand about muses, and who will randomly tune out of conversations because they just thought of something that would make their story better, we know the odds of hitting the Times list are slimmer than fucking slim. But we all have dreams, and if it’s still sitting in the back of our mind in a dusty corner, so be it. We’re allowed to have our dreams too after all.

The fakers though will gladly stick a blade in your back, and climb over your still twitching corpse if it gets them even a millimeter closer to being “big time”. The worst part of it all is, while they are charming to you or in public, in private they are more vicious than a nest full of vipers. And you often have no clue until some unaware individual asks some random question, makes some strange remark, or gets in your face about something you are clueless about. Fakers will literally say anything, and they are usually the “victim” of the tale.

But they aren’t. What they are is cold, calculating, and willing to toss the innocent under the bus. They like to snuggle up to those in power, sell them their bullshit with sprinkles or even a cherry on top, and they always cover their asses. Sadly outing them is nearly impossible because they are slicker than a used car salesman. They are, I hate to say it but it’s really a great analogy, the current US government of the author world. They have followers who believe they spew rainbows and shit gold bricks. They can do no wrong, but you (the target of their malicious bull shit) are evil incarnate. And there’s shit all you can say otherwise. How the fuck do you proof you’re not the person they claim you to be? You can’t.

While the idea of keeping your head down, and staying out of the way seems the safe plan it will only hurt who you are as an author, and probably affect your bottom line. So instead I suggest you take care with your words online, find true friends who don’t care if you have a few screws loose – like the gals here on NQ do about one another – and do your own damn thing. Chin up, shoulders back, and tell the world at large to go fuck itself. You are your own superstar, and that’s all that damn well matters.

When one lying, conniving, bitch of an author goes down for the count another three will rise. Going head to head is not advised, and is honestly exhausting to even think about it. Instead be you, write your stories, and be gloriously giddy like a kid in a candy store each time you publish one. Live for yourself, not others. And remember this – no one can ever know you like you do. No matter what the shitheads may say, they don’t and will never truly know who YOU are. Wear that shit like a badge of honor.

Take time to chill #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all. It’s been a crazy, hectic week so this will be a short post. To that end, I’ll get down to business.

We’ve all been exhausted at one point or another in our lives. Being an adult is pretty damn exhausting when you consider all we do in a day. As authors we need to be aware that when we’re tired this can have an effect not only on our lives, but also our writing. One thing I know from personal experience is that as the day wears on and I’m writing, the more likely it is that I write my characters being worn out, yawning, thinking about bed. It’s perfectly natural, but something to remember and be aware of. Especially if you don’t want your characters climbing into bed every second chapter – at least not for sleeping, lol!

Now, not only does our sleepy mind create issues in our writing but it also, sometimes severely, affects our health. While there is still a stigma surrounding mental health for whatever idiotic reasoning, don’t let this deter you from doing what’s right for you and your well being. You need to be in tip top mental state to write that story that’s waiting to break free. So if you need to get away for a weekend, do a day spa, or hide in the pantry eating chocolate for a couple hours, do it. Do not feel obligated to explain why to anyone. We each have a responsibility to ourselves, first and foremost above all others, even our loved ones. Because if we’re not in a rested mental state how can we do what needs to be done for others?

So remember to take a moment, an hour, a day or whatever you need to refresh, for yourself. Stressing out does no one any good. With that thought, I hope you all have a lovely weekend with whatever plans you might have.

Hot summer nights #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all. And no, that title isn’t a lead into something untoward or smexy, I mean it quite literally. My part of the province has been suffering some “wonderful” heat waves, with no end in sight either. It’s so damn hot day and night that I think my brain has actually started to melt. To that end my post will be a lovely and fluffy piece full of images that help, for a time anyway, to distract me from the sweltering heat. Although they do have a rather adverse effect on my internal temperature. LOL!

Have a great weekend everyone, and stay cool out there wherever and however you can manage it.

Since there appears to still be some confusion #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone. Before we get to the more serious note of the post to come I want to take a moment to wish all my fellow Canadians, here and living abroad, a wonderful Canada Day. It’s a big one for us, we’re 150 years old! While some might argue that not all of Canada is 150, the city I live in being one of the youngest, it’s more the idea of Canada our ancestors had in mind when they first arrived that is the ripe old age. We’ve come a long way, we have a long way yet to go, but day by day we’re getting there in what sometimes seems baby steps on a universal scale – but hey, we’re still growing and learning more every year. So everyone have a fabulous day, enjoy those celebrations whatever they might be, and remember to be safe in your travels.

Now that the fun stuff’s out of the way, let’s get down to business. There have been a couple posts (I believe) done on NQ before on this subject, but in light of recent developments from an author “friend” (ie: never actually spoken to her, but she’s among my “friends” on FB, and she’s an author so she’s in the sister/brotherhood of authors) it bears touching on yet again. And this will sting – suck it up buttercup.

COPYRIGHT

Merriam-Webster (online) definition:  the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (such as a literary, musical, or artistic work)

For an author this means that when you, or your publisher copyright your work NO ONE may use it in part or whole for their own purposes without giving you, the work, and in some countries the publisher/publishing company credit and without permission. Otherwise, and this is where people apparently are stuck, it is THEFT.

Merriam-Webster (online) definition:  the act of stealing; specifically :  the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.

Another word for this that authors use, is PIRACY.

Merriam-Webster (online) definition:  the unauthorized copying, distribution, or use of another’s production (as a film) especially in infringement of a copyright.

There are way too many people in the world that think taking a book an author gave them free of charge, such as a prize or gift, and sharing it with others is okay. IT IS NOT OKAY! This is theft/piracy and also 1000% illegal. You are taking money out of an authors pocket each time you provide a free copy of their work (that you were GIFTED) to others without the authors, or their publishers, explicit written permission. And yes, to do something like give a copy to your sister, your mother, your fifth cousin three times removed on your fathers side, you do in fact require permission from the individual(s) that hold the copyright. They are the LEGAL owners of said property. You are only a visitor.

For example, since some folks seem to have so much damn trouble with the concept, think about it like this. If I were to come to your home, visit, and on my way out decide to take your TV with me. Would you be okay with that? Uh, likely not! “Well that’s hardly a comparison, it’s a TV (or other object), you’re talking about a book, they are not worth the same amount of money.” Oh really?

Authors spend hours, days, weeks, months and even YEARS working on their next story. That is time taken away from other pursuits, away from family, away from friends, and definitely far away from the peaceful path of sanity. That is time we deserve to be paid for. It’s not like (and I think I may be quoting Ravenna Tate here) you’d go to work for no money. Hell no! You expect to be paid for the hours, days, weeks, months, and yes YEARS you put into the job. No, I’m not talking about volunteer work – totally different. I’m talking about your primary means of making money to support your life. And while the majority of authors cannot live on what they make selling their books, it’s a nice little bonus every quarter that you can use for a car payment, that dental work you’d been putting off, an extra special treat for you, the kids, your significant other, or maybe to put away for a rainy day down the road. But for every book that someone STEALS (and yes, it is stealing – theft remember?) that is money that isn’t coming to us.

Did you know that there are actual sites out there that allow people who have zero relation to an artist, their producer/publisher, or even the work they have in their “hands”, to upload and SELL said work? There are. It is a constant, fucking battle that authors (and other artists) have to fight, in the middle of the worst winter blizzard ever, uphill both ways while wearing eighty pounds of protective gear. And honestly, the damn blizzard would be a sight easier to navigate then some of these fucking sites and their DMCA (take down) forms.

And, to top it all off, here’s another kick in the teeth for you of reality. Each book that sells at $2.99 a piece…we only get a small portion of that. Side note: Quit fucking bitching to authors about the price of their works already – trust me, you’re getting it damn cheap in my personal opinion and if you can’t afford it, you obviously don’t need it. Because the third party retailer takes their piece of the pie, our publishers (if you use one) takes a piece of the pie, and whatever is leftover (not much!) comes to you. So if you manage to sell a couple hundred books, you might, MIGHT, have enough to get a decent meal out on the town, and not your local fast food joint – but no alcohol included (totally dependent on where you live, sales and taxes, and the like). But for every book that is STOLEN by an unscrupulous asshole and freely given away, or worse SOLD illegally, the chances of being able to buy anything more than a burger from your local fast food chain gets slimmer and slimmer.

Now, before I totally lose my cool, here are some easy things to remember. And for those that seem to persistently insist that authors should give their books away free, WRITE THEM THE FUCK DOWN DUMBASS!

  • Stealing/piracy/using materials not of your own design/construct is ILLEGAL
  • Copyright infringement is a SERIOUS deal, and pisses authors off hugely (each country has their own copyright laws, and penalties – look up yours so you know what could very well happen if/when you are caught)
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (remember the TV analogy)
  • For some authors, full-time and even part-time, that book you’ve just stolen and are giving away/selling as if you own it, might very well be life or death (some people aren’t on health plans and have to pay for everything, so I do mean it literally)
  • If/when you are found out – there is no place on this Earth where you can hide from the wrath that will fall upon your head from a million authors world wide – not even kidding
  • How do you look in stripes/orange?
  • Remember not to drop the soap in the shower at the Federal detention center you’ll be in for a long, long, long time

The next time someone offers you a copy of their newest favorite authors book, say no. Get the authors name, get the title, and go purchase that shit for your own damn self, and then send the author that persons information. Just always keep in mind, the guards can’t be watching everything all the time in prison…

Keep your eyes on the ball #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Hello one and all, it’s that time again – FRIDAY! We’re going to get right to things today, and here we go…

While we have many posts on NQ about the content of stories, and do’s and don’t’s, one thing that needs to be said to all authors, but especially newbs, is to focus on the guts of the story. Everything you write should have one singular point that is the main focus for you. All that happens around that point is icing on the cake so to speak.

I’m talking about your core theme. Not that it has a murder mystery element, or that it’s supernatural, or sci-fi. What I’m talking about is the whole reason you’re writing it. For us, romance authors that is, it’s the romance element. While there is no singular way to write romance, or a right way to do it, you need to decide how the romance in your romance story progresses. And you must be consistent.

This does take a little forethought, and even some planning for some folks, while others can have it naturally unfold in a natural manner. Whatever works for you, but do keep your eye on the ball, or the end goal, or whatever turn of phrase works best for you.

For example, some good guidelines for your romance might be:

  • Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, boy meets boy (or whatever your combo might be)
  • The next logical step (depending on the story) would be getting to know one another however best fits your central theme
  • Along the same lines they would also spend time together perhaps doing things; walking, eating, sky diving, killing off mutant aliens determined to take over the planet and turn us all into mindless drones!!
  • There should also be some sex (d’uh!), or a lot of sex, or tonnes of sex, even copious amounts of sexual activity in all sorts of interesting positions and/or places – whatever floats your boat and works withing your central theme
  • and so forth, but you get the idea where this is going I’m sure…
  • Also, more sex
  • Did I mention sex?

Some things to avoid on the fringes of your romance might be:

  • Random surprises like killing off some character for pure shock value but for no real purpose
  • Jumping to a point too far ahead because you don’t know what to do to “fill in” the extra “time” before getting there – epilogues do not count, these are their own beasts of burden and can take place anywhere/anytime, as long as it works with your story line
  • Erratic behavior, unless that is who your character is – don’t put it in just because you can, again this all has to make sense from the first word to the last
  • Jolts are another one, this is often an unconscious thing an author does and one their editor should be catching. But a jolt (not really a writing term) is a break in the story line (whether a chapter break or a new chapter) that literally “jolts” the reader from the story – it’s disconcerting, and frankly often will ruin their read. A story should be one continuous, flowing read from start to end
  • Not having sex in a book that should have sex (ie: romance, erotic romance, erotica, etc.). If you are a “romance” writer, whether it be soft and gentle or hard and dirty, don’t fucking skimp on the sex

Basically the point I’m trying to make is find your center, your core theme, your be-all end-all for the story, and keep it front and center in your brain. And yes, like I said above, everything else that occurs is icing on the cake to make it a richer, deeper, more entertaining read – but it all still has to make sense. And most of all, it all actually has to work together. Don’t be random. Don’t do shock for shock’s sake. You’re an author, not a screenplay writer for Hollywood. Remember your craft, remember the artistry you have been gifted with, and treat it and your readers with the respect it/they deserve. In the end it can, and will benefit you.

So focus. Keep your eye on what truly matters to your story, and let the rest come as it may and how it might. Every story deserves to be told in the voice you have, but they will only be however long they need to be. No more, no less. You’ll know what needs to be said, what needs to be done, and when to type the words all authors both love and hate…

The End

Dear authors of the world #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all – we made it through another one! Before I get any further first I want to shout out to all the fathers (in whatever form they take), and wish you all a very Happy Fathers Day. This weekend I’ll be off visiting with the familial sorts, including my own father, and do god only knows what. I keep getting texts of updated itemized itineraries – and this, right here in a nutshell, is why I only go home a couple times a year. They be cray-cray! But enough about the genetic insanity that flows through my ancestral lineage, onto today’s post.

Dear Authors of the world, you’d better buckle up, this one’s likely to sting! (to paraphrase a social media celebrity I quite enjoy following).

For the love of all that is shiny and bright in the universe – USE SPELL CHECK. No, I’m not merely talking about your books (although you should), and I’m not merely talking about your emails (although you really should), and I am not merely talking about your newsletters (although you really, really should). No, what I AM talking about is on social media – whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, wherever. THIS SHIT LIVES FOREVER. You may delete it from your feed, but you all should know by now there are people out there, evil and petty people, who live to make other folks lives miserable and they’ve already done a screen shot. They stalk you, plot against you, and yet have never met you face to face. You are their own personal Goliath, and they have devious, insidious, and plain dumb ass plans to “take you down”. Stop giving them the fucking ammo! Use spell check, or if you do make a mistake, FIX IT!

I cannot tell you how many posts I’ve read, from otherwise elegantly eloquent authors, which have me wondering if their accounts have been hacked by some brain eating, disease ridden alien. Because trying to equate someone who writes books which suck you in, and won’t let you go to the crap being spouted on social media – now that there be one hell of a noggin’ scratcher.

In no way am I saying you need to be perfect, no one is, but do try your best. And, for the love of all that’s fluffy and delightfully soft in the universe, stop with the text speak. 1) I really hate having to look up some of these acronyms, and 2) you look like an fool. We’ve all heard the saying to “use your words”. Well, if you are trying to keep your brand untainted, and create the right image for who you want to be seen as, you need to be consistent in all things. Don’t fucking fly off the handle on some random ass rant when you’ve never done it before. And use the English language as it was intended, to be concise and precise in getting across your point.

Now go slap some ice on that sting, and open a damn dictionary once in a while would you.