Happy Hump Day #BeInspired #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell) #Writing

3e187a19367d84574de17b41b27146f0--pure-romance-book-boyfriends

Good morning all.

We’ve been having spotty internet for a few weeks and this morning, woke up to being offline. Again. Nothing like pissing off a redhead at five in the morning. So I am using data on my phone, and this won’t be a long post. My apologies.

I hope all my fellow writers are feeling inspired and writing like the wind and words are flowing off your fingertips. Be sure to take all that remarkable inspiration and let it all out. Do not stop. Do not question the plot or characters’actions or the doubts that may creep inside your head.

Simply write. Type all those words and worry about the editing/revising/questioning later.

Cxec1-FXcAAvNn210-quotes-to-inspire-writers-2-638

 

115970

 

(All pic sources from pinterest)

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!!

Kacey xoxo

Do What Suits You #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

Wednesdays

Good morning all! I hope everyone had a wonderful Canada Day & 4th of July since we were last together. Canada Day here was an overcast day but it was wonderful. A very relaxing weekend here, and I was able to write over 7k of new words! Not too shabby, right? I’m thrilled. It had been weeks since I’d been able to carve out a whole afternoon to spend with my characters. I’m so happy! *g*

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who wondered why authors do not write in every genre. It made me laugh, after all, non-writers don’t always get it, right?  She suggested that I should be writing in more genres, including sci-fi & historicals. Two genres of which are not exactly my favourites (depends who the author is that I’ll read), and I know very little about — or at least enough to write a whole book about. These two genres in particular bore me to some extents so writing in them wouldn’t be my forte, nor interest. And the discussion made me think of trends and writers who believe they have to write to trend, the hot genres, etc. 

This isn’t so. And if you do — good on you. However, I’m a believer that (and some may not agree with me, but hey, that’s nothing new), that every writer has to write what they love. I grew up reading romances and it was natural for me to write in that genre. Of course the erotic sub-genre was a lot of fun to add to my stories as well. Romance is — as I like to think of it — my fluffy cloud and I have the talent to add more elements to my cloud, such as paranormal and suspense. I’ve written these additional genres because I love them to death. I leave other genres, like sci-fi and historical, to the professionals. LOL Those writers that love those genres have a knack for it. All writers have their own special niches and talents.

We don’t have to write to trend at all. Write what you love. I think I’ve said that before here at the Quills, and it’s always true. Be true to who you are and choose the genres you feel you have a voice in. Don’t write something you can’t put your heart and soul into. Trends are great but not all they are cracked up to be. They come and go, fade away, as all genres have. Hot sellers in this business run hot and cold. What’s popular one day is dead the next. Choose the genre(s) that suit you. And if one day you feel adventurous to try your hand at a genre you least expect yourself to write, then go for it. Even if you never publish it, challenge yourself.  I tried with a sci-fi once…it didn’t go well. I’ll stay in my lane. *g*

Until next time, 

Happy Writing!!


Kacey xoxoxo

 


 

Inner Circles #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

Good morning all. Hope you’ve had a great week.

I am not going to bore you with a long, drawn out post today. What I have to say is pretty straight forward and to the point.

I’ve been in this business for years, in one capacity or another. I have watched authors hit it big quickly, come and go, and others work hard and pay their dues to reach a success level that is perfect for them. I have also witnessed the nasty in this business. The backstabbing and the authors who cannot seem to support one another. In the romance business where the majority of authors are female one would think, even expect, a group who is supportive and cheering one another on, building one another up when times get tough.

However, it is not that way. If one is lucky enough, as I am, the group around a writer is a good one. Oh, I have been stabbed a few times in the back, but I have learned the hard lessons and have 2 handfuls of colleagues/friends in this biz that I trust. Those people I trust have my back and the bonds we have built are strong, insurmountable ones.

But be warned, you cannot trust everyone. There are many out for #1 and who will take screenshots of conversations or exaggerate them, taking words out of context to make fit their own agenda. There are some who enjoy tearing other writers down behind the scenes, yet be their best friend at any other time, pretending that they love and adore that person they have gossiped or talked trash about. It is sad and pathetic.

Sounds quite high school-ish, doesn’t it? Sadly this business has more cattiness and cliques and BS than is necessary. And drama queens. Oh, there are many who need the attention of stirring up trouble and then sitting back while others have to defend themselves because of what the drama queen has brewed up. It is ridiculous.

We all have the right to vent and commiserate moments withothers.  But beware of who you let into your inner circle.

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey xoxo

A Writer’s Responsibility #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

Wednesdays

Good morning everyone! Happy Hump Day. Sorry I have been MIA the last couple of weeks. Life for me has changed this past month and I’m learning my way through balancing everything. Thank you to the other Quillers for their patience and understanding. Balancing so much has reminded me how valuable writing time is. I’m not the only writer to work outside the home, and actually have three jobs – writer, mother, and a full time day job – and for the first time since I began writing, I think I value the moments of solitude even more. And time with my characters has become golden. In many ways, I took the hours I could be writing for granted a bit because I had so much time before. I’ve learned a lesson here, and I take advantage of every five minutes I can get words down.

But in all the chaos recently, I finished my latest book. It is now fully done and self-edits were brutal. I wasn’t completely happy with it when I was done it before. Thanks to critique partners, I forged my way through the figuring out what was wrong and thoroughly revised many aspects from the original. Which leads me to today’s topic – being a vicious editor. No one else can write your stories for you and we have all said how important edits are. There are still many writers out there cutting corners and releasing stories that are not up to snuff. To each their own, but it is our responsibility to produce stories that shine.

With my last few books, I have used “Pro Writing Aid” program. It’s a godsend for me. It checks over everything from repetition words/phrases to dictation, run-on sentences, grammar, checks transitions, dialogue tags, abstract words, and more. It heavily searches through a manuscript and notes everything that needs to go. There are few things that I don’t change. I don’t want to change the voice in my stories, but I make the decisions on what I change. Nothing is written in stone. But I’ve found it a very useful tool.

I’ve mentioned my “cheat sheet” of bad habits in the past, words I use often – then, it, damn – and it is so important to thoroughly edit out those terrible habits. Readers don’t want to be repeating words over in their heads either. We’d lose readers that way. I can’t stress enough how important going back through your MS is before sending it to a publisher or self-pubbing it yourself. Be your fiercest advocate. Even if it takes you a month to do edits, then let it. Don’t publish crap that isn’t worthy. It’s that simple. Why spend a month or two, or more, on a story that you end up doing an injustice to if it’s not edited properly.

Not all writers are editors. We aren’t. However, it’s a writer’s job to also know about how to edit a story. Common story structure, grammar, to see errors, etc., is part of our job. The edits begin with the writer before sending / hiring another editor if self-publishing, and other publishers demand clean manuscripts. It’s that simple. The writer has all the responsibilities outside of simply writing the story. Too many writers are not taking this part of their job seriously and it saddens me.

It is such a disservice to your characters and stories.

A quick checklist that I tend to use when editing, even without Pro Writing Aid, which I tend to look closely for…

  1. Omit unnecessary words – then, that, it, and, overuse of the characters’ names.
  2. Redundancies – avoiding the use of ‘shrugged his shoulders’ (there’s nothing else to shrug!). ‘She nodded her head’ (there’s nothing else on us that we nod!!)
  3. NO Head Hopping!! So important. Stay in one character POV for an entire scene. If you do switch to the 2nd POV (after a few pages of one character), then make the transition easy and smooth.
  4. Limit the number of ‘ly’ words.
  5. Don’t over explain. Example – ‘Doris was angry and pounded the counter.’ I would edit this sentence to – ‘Doris pounded the counter.’ Plain and simple. We read the anger in her actions.

These are a few items on my checklist that I am mindful of with every read through / edit. They’re simple but oh-so-crucial!!  The more stories a writer creates and the more editing they do – on their own and with a professional editor when the time comes – the more their voice will shine and the better writer they will be.

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing. Happy Editing!

Kacey xoxo

 


 

Love and Prayers #Manchester #ManchesterUnited

 

Good morning everyone. Kacey here, I hope you’re doing all right. In light of recent tragic events, I simply want to say today that there are times when we need to step back and remember what is most important.

Family and friends. And remembering that violence is not the answer to anything.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families in Manchester.

manchester

 

 

With love,

Kacey xoxo

 


 

Hump Day Inspiration #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell) #StuartReardon

Wednesdays
Good morning all. Kacey here, another week has flown by and it’s been a crazy few days for me. Just when writing is taking off and all is going well, life will throw a writer completely off balance and it’s a struggle to keep up with everything.

My Great Aunt moved in about 3 weeks ago, she had an offer on a house when hers sold within a day and the offer feel through unexpectedly last week. Since Monday it’s been a pile of paperwork after another to be released from that offer and putting in a new offer on a different location. The trees used for all this paperwork, I weep for. My aunt’s kids do not live locally so I have stepped in to help, and while my aunt should really be able to do all this stuff herself, she can’t drive due to falling while packing one day, and broke her knee cap. It’s been one wonderful thing after another.

And my writing time has stalled unfortunately. I think I’ve only written 400 words in the last few days and I’m sad about it. Today is a calmer day thankfully and while I do have a pre-planned day with a friend, I am taking my notebook to get some writing in.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful writing week. And today I thought I would share some writing inspiration, especially since it is Hump Day. This man, I saw in pictures from a recent book signing and he’s been on my writer brain for days, sparking the ideas and seriously triggering some fabulous thoughts.

This is Stuart Reardon. He’ll be our Hump Day Hottie today. *g*

stuart2.jpg

I don’t have ownership on this pictures, full credit goes to FuriousFotog

Here is Stuart’s facebook page for you all to follow him too.

I think he’ll be inspiration for many books to come.  Maybe one day I’ll even have him on a cover for one of my stories. A gal can dream. *g*

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey xoxo

 


 

Pesky Writing Myths #WickedWednesday @KaceyHammell

Wednesdays

Good morning. Happy Wednesday! Kacey here, fighting sleep and a writing hangover. There could be worse problems, I know. LOL I have been plagued by the devil of writing, a story that I thought I was done with but unhappy with the end. After days of working through different passages and such, and a wonderful author critiques, I finally figured it out. Which led me down a path I never take, but the end result I believe will be worth it.

And in all this, I was thinking about writing myths. Especially the one that says “writing is easy”. Yeah, I beg to differ, writers. It is not easy. I’ve been in this business a long time, most know that I started as a reviewer at Amazon and a Romance site, and finally picked up my own pen about four years after that. I did take a four year hiatus, most also know this because of the my father’s death, and while I don’t regret it, I wonder what my career would look like if I hadn’t taken the time off. I was on an upswing with sales and gaining traction within the business. But I digress a bit. Having been in the business a long time, I’ve seen authors come and go, the struggles of some and the successes of others. And I’ve heard the writing myths out of the mouths’ of new authors and the ideas many authors have about this business. The loudest and biggest myths are these:

I touched base on it – that writing is easy.
Whoever told you this is a liar and deserves a “Gibbs smack” upside the back of the head. Writing takes blood, sweat and tears. Every sentence can be similar to pulling teeth. And we have dentists out there for that, writers shouldn’t be doing it. Or pulling out their hair. That too would be a huge no-no. I heard wigs are itchy…?  But never give up! Some stories are easier to write than others, but overall, writing is not easy.

Instant hit, then hit after hit after hit.
Nah, not true. There are a rare few that have overnight success, I’d love their marketing teams and the fan fiction writers’ who make money off of other authors’ works (but that’s a whole ‘nother topic there). I’d say about 90% of the successes out there came after years of writing, diligently setting schedules for themselves, scraping their soul to make something, anything happen with their stories. Let’s face it, rejection happens and sure, we can look at JK Rowling. She received a lot of no’s to get a yes, and while Harry Potter did become a huge hit, she is one of the rare few that’s had it. And I love her madly. But not all writers are blessed to have the instant hit and a gazillion ones to follow. Put the work in, keep writing. There’s no science to this business to make you an automatic hit. You never know when that one story will take off. It isn’t always instantaneous. Keep writing! That’s your success!

Grammar and Editing don’t matter.
And I have a castle in my backyard that’s for sale. Only authors who don’t give a rat’s ass about their work wave away editing/editors/grammar rules. It infuriates me when I hear authors / see them post on social media that they didn’t hire an editor. I don’t know any of these author’s personally, all my author pals are smart as whips and know better. Editors / editing is so, so important. I mean, come on, it’s common sense. And if your words suck because the editing is so bad, you won’t gather much of a following. Write. Edit. Repeat. Write. Edit. Repeat. Words to live by.

Writers are hermits
I kinda live in the corner of my living room at my desk, with my Supernatural and other Funko characters and a many cups full of pens that I’ll probably never use in my whole lifetime. I can call myself a hermit/introvert and such but others may not call themselves that. But then again, I’m not big on leaving my house unless it’s absolutely necessary so therein lays the belief that I am indeed a hermit. However!!! Most writers when they do get out of their house, they party like rockstars, love to laugh and have a great time. Conventions are a perfect example. While many writers would prefer to stay in their own worlds and some are hermits, we really aren’t. We love to get out and meet with friends … albeit other writers!! LOL Not all of us are hermits, we are simply selective in when we go out, and if the reason is more important than writing. *g*

Writers are bored housewives.
This one always makes me laugh. Though times have changed and the romance genre especially is hotter than ever, some people’s misconception about this is hilarious. Just a second, really, I’ll get some writer friends on the phone. Hello? Oh yes, here’s Author A – successful prosecuting lawyer in New York who writes some of the best thriller novels I’ve ever read. And Author B – a medical examiner who’s thrillers/mysteries are addicting. Oh, the librarian! Yes Author C, who runs the local library and is continually getting young children into her establishment to read. Author D – forensic anthropologist whose books … *gasp*… were made into a TV show and survived 12 seasons. (I didn’t reveal author names because of anonymity of what their careers are/were.) Writers are also teachers, marketing directors, nurses, headhunters for big corporations, hell you name it, there’s probably a professional person out there writing as well.

Never sell yourself short!! But no matter what you hear about writing, it’s your work, your brand and business. Run it with a tight fist and protect it. You’ll make your way on your own and in your own way. Don’t let these crazy myths derail you. And don’t let these crazy myths make you crazy. They are just that, myths. The reality of this business can be a lot more difficult but also a lot of fun. As writing should be. It’s storytellers sharing their love of fantasy, magical places, hot heroes and kick-ass heroines who make the job so much more enjoyable.

Ditch the myths and pick up the pens!

Until next week, happy writing.

Kacey xoxo

Oh, and because it’s Hump Day. Let’s enjoy a couple Hump Day Hotties.

(pix of Charlie Hunnam aka King Arthur & Tom Ellis aka Lucifer found on Pinterest)

Cheat Sheet of Bad Habits #WickedWednesday @KaceyHammell

Wednesdays

Good morning all. Happy Wednesday. I hope you’ve had a great week. I’ve spent most of the time writing bits and pieces to my new shifter story and working on edits for a finished piece that I am 90% happy with. Some further tweaking to do. And leads me to today’s post. Editing and my list of things – my cheat sheet – like bad habits I tend to have in my first draft. A lot of writers would say to nix them, don’t put them in your first draft, but for me the first draft is about getting the story out of my head and onto paper/into the computer. Then I return to it and fix my bad habits. So I put together a short list of the items (polished up and explained) I look out for and always improve, change, polish before submitting it. Again, this is my process and reminders that help me improve the quality of each story.

  • Commas: the comma is the most common punctuation mark and the most misused. It’s a tricky one because the rules are lax by many, leaving usage up to style guides and writers’ judgment. In weaker writing, there are too few or too many commas. Be consistent in when using commas and find the right balance.
  • Adjectives vs. adverbs: People don’t run quick; they run quickly. The word quick is an adjective; quickly is an adverb.
  • Homophones: homophones can be difficult because spell check won’t catch them examples of homophones – they’re/there/their. Complement/compliment,
  • Subject-verb agreement: The subject of a sentence needs to match the verb. Example of a common mistake: He have two lizards. The verb have does not go with the subject she. It should be He has two lizards.
  • Verb tense: The topic of tense warrants an article of its own (or maybe an entire book). There are multiple tenses beyond past, present, and future, and they are worth knowing. Be especially careful of mixing up simple past tense (We talked for hours) and past perfect tense (We had talked all night).
  • Verb tense consistency: A sentence that was originally in perfect past tense is changed to simple past tense, but one of the words in the sentence is overlooked, and you end up with something like He went to the store and had shopped for pasta. 
  • Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve: many writers seem to think the “ve” in these words means “of.” But it’s short for “have.” These words are contractions for “should have,” “could have,” and “would have,” respectively — NOT “should of,” “could of,” or “would of.”
  • Repetitious words – many writers have “crutch” words they use over and over in their stories. Mine are – then, it, that, and, just, damn. I go through the story many times to omit the usages of these that are not necessary.
  • Consistency is key: grammar rules don’t cover everything. As a writer, you will constantly be challenged to make sensible decisions about how to construct your sentences and paragraphs. Always be consistent.

The consistency for me is very important. And it’s why I keep my own style guide on file. It is a tremendous help and I learn and grow from it. It also, usually, makes it easier for my editor if I’ve done the majority of the work myself. Which is also quite important. It’s the writer’s job to handle the worse of the issues within their writing before a publisher/acquisitions editor ever lays eyes on it.

Writers should never solely rely on their editors to do what the writer can do themselves.

 

And let’s not forget, since it’s Hump Day, our Hump Day Hottie this week. Who doesn’t love David Gandy? Enjoy *g*

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey xoxo

(pic source: Pinterest)

 


 

Writing Inspiration #WickedWednesday #HumpDayHottie @KaceyHammell

 

Wednesdays

Good morning.  Happy Wednesday and Happy Hump Day.

I have been blessed the last few days of frantic inspiration in my writing so my post will be short and straight to the point. It actually feels like a Wacky Wednesday to me. I am currently writing a new story that is coming at me in weird waves. Scenes, dialogue that aren’t quite in order exactly, and moments from the story that come in flashes. This has never happened to me before, and although I have written many scenes within my notebooks when on the go, this one only wants to be written in long hand. Boggles other authors’ minds, I know, but sometimes the process is different for some. Whatever works right?

So because I’ve been so focused on what I have been writing, and researching wolves since this will be my first wolfie shifter, I didn’t have a long or witty post for today. I haven’t really come up for air a lot. And even though I’m sure I’ll be able to patch my new words/scenes together at some point, I can’t knock that I am getting words in. In this weird way, but at least there’s no writer’s block.

I leave you today with some inspiration. Hopefully everyone is writing up a storm and enjoying what they love most.wed2

wedwed3wed4

(Source of all photos: Pinterest)

And I also leave you with my current inspiration for my hero (Theo James) who is my Hump Day Hottie too.

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey xoxo

 


 

When It’s Time to Make Changes #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

Wednesdays

Good morning everyone. Happy Wednesday. Happy Hump Day. Kacey here again this week. I hope the last week has been kind to you. And productive! I had a so-so week with productivity. Not a lot of words written but I recharged my batteries over the Easter holidays with yard work, some spring cleaning and family time.  I also spent a lot of time self-evaluating and examining my writing goals.

Like with all things in life, it’s a good idea to take stock in what’s going on, who we are and the worth we should feel inside. Writing (for most writers) is ingrained in our blood. Even in the worse times when publishers are going under, dishonest people are running off with our hard earned money, and sales aren’t at their highest, we still need to write. We live, breathe, bleed and hunger for every word we write on the screen/page. That is simply the way it is. But we need to take a step back at times, think about the market we’re writing in, the publishers we are writing for and the monies being brought in.

It’s a business. Don’t lie to yourself. While writers have to write to soothe their souls and create the worlds’ we do, we want to make money do so. And when the money is not flowing every quarter, everything needs to be examined. And don’t be ashamed to admit that money matters. There are key points to look at to make money–What the writer is doing to promote their work, what the publisher is doing on your behalf and the readership they have, and what other publishers are conquering better sales. For some, it takes numerous stories before making any real money, for others it can be an instant hit sometimes. For me, my way of sales has always been a slow build. With each new release, sales climb a bit, and I keep chugging along.  I’m re-evaluating my own operations, and realize that the only way to be truly happy (for me) is to try different avenues and live by the ‘no risk, no reward’. I don’t want to get into a “stalemate” with myself and never take chances.

I did it once, with a now closed publisher who I’d always wanted to work with, and they screwed a lot of authors over. But I had taken that risk, had some reward, then when things imploded I stopped taking chances. Getting burned will do that to a person. I have since realized that I can’t sequester myself into a little bubble and never expand my horizons so to speak. I haven’t been happy in a while with how things are progressing and only I can change what will improve things for me.

When things aren’t working, change/fix/explore new options. Sometimes those can be the best decisions in a writer’s career. I’m jumping in, slowly, and shaking up my world and will try some new things. It can’t get any sadder for me than where I am now, and the mantra of ‘no risk, no reward’ is something I’ve lost along the way.

And hell, if all else fails, maybe I’ll join the circus. LOL

 

Until next week,

Kacey xoxo

Oh, if you need a little Hump Day pick-me-up…

humpday

pic source: Pinterest