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)

Writing Romance #WickedWednesday @KaceyHammell

 

Good morning everyone! Welcome to Wednesday. Kacey here, starting the new change around the blog and looking forward to greeting you on a different day, different time, different bat channel…errr, well, bit off there, but you get my meaning. 😀

I’m keeping in line with April’s original “Wicked Wednesday” idea. Not everything will be wicked, maybe a little wacky mind you, there will be good information and such as always too, but today, I’m starting with a topic that I was discussing with my mother the other day.

The most wicked LOL, but also the wackiest part of this business, and we’ve touched on it before, is the reaction to the Romance genre – erotic romance sub-genre too – but some people still hold a heck of a grudge against Romance in general. I’m not sure what it is, and everyone is entitled to that opinion, but I’ve read romance since the Harlequin days and back some ##### years ago (since I was 11), and have thoroughly enjoyed it. And it inspired me to be a writer. A lot of people are of the mindset that writers aren’t “real” writers if they write romance. Okaaaaaayyyy. We put as much blood, sweat, research(most of us who do our job well), and tears into writing and are great storytellers. I’ve never understood some of the public opinion on writing one genre over another makes for a better writer than others. Romance sells, and does so quite well. There are hills and valleys, dips and dives over the years but the romance genre continues to sell.

The people around me (not immediate family) don’t consider what I do … real. If they can’t get the books at the local bookstore, then I’m not a real author. My temper rises when I hear this crap, but it is true and is what I live with. But things really take a nose-dive when they learn that I write in the erotic romance sub-genre. Oh it tickles my funny bones to watch people go pale, swallow hard a few times, and form some thoughts. Usually incorrect ones, and I get things like “oh so it’s porn”, or “not real literature then”.

No one, absolutely no one should judge another person’s reading material!! Ever. And to be judged by people who think you are not a real author, when you have more than a dozen titles published, is just so wrong. It is almost evil! LOL  So very wrong. But really, we have to take the judgment with a grain of salt. Not everyone enjoys reading what we write, and not everyone is an author. They couldn’t possibly understand what goes into writing a story and getting it published. In their minds, they could believe we just put scratch down on paper and no one of real merit is publishing us.

So take the good with the bad in terms of judgment and always be true to yourself. You know what your stories are worth, your value as an author.  Never let anyone’s negative opinion get you down.

Learn to laugh their opinions away because you’re the one with the catalogue of stories to your name. Enjoy that!

And then consider this …

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Until next time, have a super week!

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Edit or Regret It! #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

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Good morning everyone! Kacey here again. Happy Saturday! I hope your week was amazing and easy. Hectic schedule here but overall, not too shabby of a week. I even had time to get some writing in, which is a blessing, and daily words have increased my WIP nicely.

In one capacity or another I’ve worked with publishers for over a decade. Many roles, many responsibilities and have a decent amount of insight to various practices that each publisher adheres to. With that knowledge, and discussions with other author friends, I’ve come to know which areas need the most author attention with every release.

The short answer of course, is everything. All details must be maintained and all authors should pay attention to every single minute detail. Editing is one that is the biggest *must* for all releases. The top important thing that has to be given every amount of attention and many passes should be given to every MS. Most authors go through 2-3 rounds of edits. I know there are some that only get 1, and that’s fine and dandy, but I personally think all manuscripts have to have at least 2 rounds of edits, then a thorough Line Edit done by the author.

This is my routine anyway. And I am aware that many publishers do have proofreaders/line editors, HOWEVER, I am a firm believer that it is my duty and responsibility to give every story the quality of my time to make it the best ever. Some publishers SAY they have proofers/line editors, but in my experience I have found for some publishers that isn’t always correct. So after completing edits, some places do NOT send it off to any other individuals for their fresh eyes and to perfect the nitpicks that slip through. Editors and authors are human, we all make mistakes and things slip through the cracks.

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But as I said, I feel it falls more at my feet than anywhere to ensure a story shines. After 2 rounds of edits, I have even asked for a 3rd if there is something I am still struggling with, I do my own line edits. I trust my publishers, but I would rather do everything on my end, without having to rely on anyone else. I will clear all comments/track changes from the MS and make a PDF copy of that “final” copy from the last round of edits. I’ll load that PDF onto my tablet and go through every single sentence – checking punctuation, consistencies, plot points and flow – everything that an author is responsible for with his/her story. Whether it is a 5k story or a 90k story, every sentence is scrutinized and polished. And believe it or not, though I have spent hours in front of my desktop working on 2-3 rounds of edits, I find that I see mistakes a lot clearer if I don’t have the pressure of editor notes and seeing anything other than a clean copy. Reading it as if I am seeing it for the first time, going in with that mentality, helps so much. I’ve even come away with 7-8 pages of errors to fix after the line edit. It can take a while, but like with anything someone has pride in, the MS starts with me. The editing and polish of each story has to be done, and start with me. That quote “the buck stops here”, is how I see things when it comes to my stories and what process they must go through. As much as I love my publisher(s), I believe that I must take matters into my own hands in case something falls through on their end. I’m sure it doesn’t happen but “better safe than sorry”. Besides, an author should never expect their editors to make the stories shine, doing all the work for the author. No way.

Trust your publishers, of course. But always remember that you – the author – are the director of your own story and business.

What final product do you wish to have in the readers’ hands?

 

Until next week,

Happy writing! xo

Kacey (2)

Writer weirdness #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you to a fresh new #SensualSunday post. Today’s post is just as the title suggests, and while I definitely cannot, nor would I ever, speak for all authors around the world it’s true for me. Take it as a cautionary tale more than anything if you’d like.

Like Kacey mentioned in her post yesterday about her physical illness mucking up her writing, there are many other things that can affect what we put on the page beyond the obvious. Being aware of them will ensure that whatever you are working on turns out exactly how you hoped with minimal (fingers crossed) rewrites.

A prime example is your mood. If you are upset, sad, over the moon giddy, or whatever emotion it might be, this will have an impact on your work. The happier you are when you Vintage radiostart writing the more upbeat your WIP will feel. Pissed off for some reason, again this will carry into your writing. Suffered a loss, yup – you got it, it will color how you are writing in the moment.

As an author you need to be especially aware of your mood, strong emotions in particular, when you sit to start work. While there are no quick, easy, or instant fixes to get you into the place needed to write whatever the scene may be, if you are at least fully conscious about your mood then you can also be aware of how it may be affecting your writing. On the other hand though it can be a great source of inspiration. For example, something at work gets you hot under the collar and puts you into a frame of mind where you start picturing varying, and more creative ways to off your annoying co-worker. Use that for the scene of a fight, or confrontation, or anywhere that conflict is needed. Do not go offing your co-worker! As much pleasure as it might bring in the moment, you need to keep in mind the long term consequences for your career.

Another thing I find that will change my writing style, TV/movies. I’m a writer who likes to have chatter/song going in the background to keep the sounds of the city at bay enough to keep me on track. But I have to be careful about what I have playing. Just the other day I didn’t notice that one movie had ended, and another started up. Usually no problem, except I went from a modern day film to a period drama. I first clued in when the way my male character responded to his female lead shifted from modern day vernacular to the more mildly stilted, flourishing manner of a different time. Frankly I don’t even think my character knew the meaning on the one word he suddenly spouted out. But my brain vintage televisionsubconsciously took that turn of phrase from the movie, and supplied it to me to type in. Not the first time it’s happened, and it won’t be the last either.

It can also be a huge benefit. If I’m stuck on a scene, doesn’t matter what it could be, if I can find some music, or a TV program, or a movie that suits the mood I’m aiming for then I will find myself slipping into the proper mind set. Not saying it works all the time, but any little thing helps especially when I find myself with a big old blank where the words should be flowing wildly.

Biggest advice I can give to end today’s post, be aware of your surroundings when you settle in to work. You never know what might cause an impression on your mind to turn your bad-mouthed lead into a right proper gentleman/lady. Have a great day, and see you next week.

XO Moira Callahan

Not always according to plan #SatisfactionSaturday @AuthorMoira

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I’ve hijacked Kacey Hammell’s spot – and there’s nothing you can do about it!

Just kidding. Due to a real life situation Kacey had to take today off from her usual posting spot here on Naughty Quills, so in I step which means you get a double dose of Moira Callahan. I know, it’s mildly scary for me as well. Since this is an unplanned post I’m going to go off the cuff. Strap in, hang on tight, and remember to ensure you keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times. So I give unto you, my take on #SatisfactionSaturday…

Crazy Expectations vs. Reality

As an author our lives are a balancing act, not always the most stable one either. For many, new and established, we have day jobs to pay the bills, family, friends, meetings, appointments, various other commitments, and general real life turmoil that takes us away from our true passion – our writing. On top of all that is the need to maintain a public presence on social media.

MatchPoint NYC image

MatchPoint NYC image

My biggest piece of advice is to, from day one, be 100% totally honest with people. While they may not be able to recall everything you ever tell them, at least if you’ve put it out there then you’ve done your part. For example most people know I work a full-time job that pays my bills, keeps a roof over my head, and food on the table. My writing, while my passion and my much preferred career path, isn’t enough (yet) to make it my sole source of income. Though I do have a dream that one day, oh one day…

When things went to shit in a rusted out bucket at the day job I put that out there as well. No specifics, but I made sure my reader/fan base knew that my writing would suffer and the books would slow down for a while until everything was figured out. While I’m still figuring things out it is getting better, and my writing time is getting longer, and more frequent once again. Not where I truly want it – yet – but we’re getting there.

I figure that as long as I keep the conversation realistic, and fact filled then the readers/fans will understand that while they wish for a next book tomorrow, sadly it’s not happening no matter how I wish it would. Until they invent a way for us authors to write while we’re asleep, we all need to keep everything balanced so we don’t run ourselves, and thereby make our writing suffer, ragged. You are no good to your muse, to your art, to your career if you are not first and foremost taking care of yourself. Recharge those batteries however works for you. Your writing, and your readers will thank you. So too will your editor but really, I like the idea of occasionally driving them a little crazy.

There you have it. Thank you for reading today’s unplanned post. Now I’m off to do my usual posting for tomorrow. Have a great Saturday, a fabulous weekend, and to all my Canadian friends, readers, family, and fans – Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

XO Moira Callahan

And because Kacey suggested some hot pix’s… I give you some hot pix!
All images below are the sole property of Michael Stokes Photography.

 

Where There’s a Will There’s a Way #SatisfactionSaturday #Writing (@KaceyHammell)

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Good morning everyone, Kacey here to wish you a Happy Saturday and Happy October 1st! Boy, the year is flying by isn’t it?! Leaves are changing color, the mornings are chilly and the country is gorgeous dressed in fall and/or Halloween decorations.

I believe I’ve posted in the past about never giving up on your writing. Never giving up on YOU, the author. It is something that always needs reiterating in my opinion. It’s so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of writing woes.  Writing woes such as not being inspired, not never-give-up-quotes-6writing a word fora  week or month, having no characters battling for your attention. I’ve had a year of that. Health wise and struggling with two works in progress that stalled more than once and made me question everything. Now, some authors will say “there’s no excuse for not writing” or “if you want to write you will make time”. I get what they are saying and for the most part I agree, but what the hell does an author do when nothing is clicking, health is poor, family matter (which take precedent) drain you to the point you have nothing left to give your writing…

You do what is best for YOU. And you write 10 words a day, which the next may lead to 20, etc., and by the end of the week, you could be up to 200 a day. Don’t be disappointed with yourself!! Those are still words. They may not be the masterpieces you think they should be but they are still words. Keep focused and give yourself time to clear you head, write some poetry, write a blog post, write a terrible short story that a publisher will never see.

This year I did all the above with two stories and I’m happy to say they’re both done, and one has just recently been accepted by a publisher! (can’t say more than that because the paperwork hasn’t been signed yet). When one book stalled, it took me a while to realize I was spending too much time and angst on it before I started another story. I have never worked on 2 stories at once before. It was something I never understood other authors liondoing. Too many voices, too many antagonists, too much to deal with. However, doing so pushed me through some hard times and big hurdles to jump over. I will be forever grateful to my hubs for talking me off the ledge and convincing me that sitting on one story for months and not writing a word, wasn’t getting anything accomplished. He convinced me to ditch my preconceived notions of not writing two stories at once and … well, he was right. But don’t ever tell him that!! LOL

Now with two stories done, the 2nd near ready to be sent to a publisher, I’m reminded that I’m the maker of my career and the only one to control how things progress. I wanted to give up so many times. I’ll be honest, there were more tears over not writing than what I shed a couple days ago when I received the yes from the publisher. Only writers will understand this, but my soul ached not succeeding in daily word counts, how long it took to write 2 stories. I felt like a failure, that I shouldn’t be writing, and that it was a career that I’d run my course with already.

My father always said “Where there’s a will there’s a way” (and it wasn’t because “will” and “way” were family names either! LOL). He always told me that determination and pushing through every obstacle is the only way to make it in life. But one never, ever gives up. And he was right. No matter what stands in our way, we have to break through it, stomp on it, set it on fire and move on. We can never give up. Not on ourselves or our characters.

I know there are many aspiring authors, and seasoned vets, who are struggling with a story, a world they’re building or feeling defeated if they receive a rejection from a publisher. But do not give up. I’ve said it before in posts but it needs to be said again so other writers who stumble upon Naughty Quills can read that where there’s a will there’s a way. Never give up and never succumb to the despair or hopelessness you may feel. If you want something bad enough then fight for it. But remember to take the time for yourself while you’re struggling. Clear the mind and soul, then continue to fight like hell for that story. Never give up on it.

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Until next week, always keep writing!

Kacey (2)

Walk Out With Head High #BookSignings #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

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Good morning all. Kacey here once again. Hope you’ve all had a phenomenal week.  This past week was a recovery from last weekend when I was away at the Ignite Your Soul Book Signing in London, Ontario. I had such a fabulous time, met a lot of new authors and readers and revisited with old ones. The event was awesome and I can’t boast about it enough.

One thing I wanted to cover this week was about book signings. They are incredible, a lot of preparation and a wild ride. For a lot of authors, they enter a book signing determined to sell ALL of their print copies, get rid of all their swag and walk out with a fistful of dollars.

Not to burst anyone’s bubble – and having sold out a couple times myself – that is NOT the attitude to walk into a book signing with. It really isn’t.

Stop scratching your head and frowning at the screen. You heard right.

The main focus of a book signing SHOULD always be … MEETING YOUR READERS (first and foremost, hence the capitals), networking with reviewers and collaborating with like-minded writers like yourself.

Sure it would be amazing to sell all those print copies and head home with that fistful of dollars, but it doesn’t always work out that way for every author, nor is it the goal. There’s nothing – NOTHING – like meeting your fans/readers in person. Especially for the first time. Talking to those people who love your stories as much as you love them is the most amazing feeling; I can’t even gather the right words to express it. Trust me, when you do book signings (the first or fiftieth time), it’s a heartwarming and humbling experience. For those readers to come see you, talk to you, be interested in your stories/you, it can open an author’s eyes to what is truly important.

Some authors have walked out of book signings with a defeated attitude. I’ve witnessed it and my heart goes out to them. But knowing from the beginning what the book signings are all about and what you really want to walk away with, makes the experience 100 times better.

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When you have the chance to do a book signing, understand that it’s a chance to meet readers, not all about the money. Going into a book signing with only money in mind is setting yourself up for failure nine times out of ten.

Enjoy the moments, love the readers and be ready to smile for photos. Then take that experience home, those awe-inspiring moments when the readers beg you for the next story to a series or pick your story up for the first time, and write like the wind! Be inspired after a book signing and write your next fan-favorite!

 

Until next week, happy writing!!

Kacey (2)

Allow Them to Inspire You #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

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

This past week has been super super busy with getting ready for the Ignite Your Soul Book Signing Event. I’m currently in London, Ontario, the book signing is this afternoon and having a great time.

I also finished TWO, OMG!, TWO stories earlier this week. I’m super psyched and praying to get them in the hands of publishers by month’s end. Self editing is SO SO IMPORTANT!! That comes first before progressing any further with a finished manuscript! Always remember that!!

So since I’m out of town, business but playing around too with other author friends and readers, I am only leaving you with some inspiration today. Inspiration to get the creative mojo flowing so you can all write your great stories!

 

 

Write authors, write!!

Until next week,

Kacey (2)

 


 

Reading Is As Important As Writing #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

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Good morning all. Happy Saturday. I hope you’ve all caught up on some much needed sleep. This week was a hectic one here. School resumed for the year this past Tuesday and while I am glad to have the writing time again, I really dislike the early morning routine. But, another 180-ish days to go until summer vacation once again. *g*

While I was gearing up for the kids to return to school, I took some much needed “me time”. And what I mean by that is the avid reader part of me who forgot what it was like to while a way a few hours each day and enjoy a frickin’ fantabulous book.

Yes, 2 were for critiquing from a couple authors, but 4 others (read in the span of 6 days, even with a WIP calling my name) were all pleasure reading. Sometimes, as writers, we can forget about the time we need to replenish our minds, rejuvenate our romantic hearts and remind ourselves how much we love to read for complete enjoyment.

And as a writer, we have to read as much as we can. It’s that “learn from what you read” motto of writing what you know and reading whatever we can get our hands on in order to broaden our horizons and learn from others. There was a time when I could read a book a day, and from those stories I was bitten by the writing bug that I will always be eternally grateful for. There is nothing like a really great story to inspire a wanna-be author. These days I don’t read as much but when I do, it’s with savoring results and an appreciation for all the authors who continually inspire me with their worlds/stories/characters. And re-reading a classic, a first edition for example, the smell and look of those older books reminds me to appreciate every one and to dive right into it and be transported on a journey as if it’s the first time all over again.

Reading other romance stories, as well as many other genres including poetry and biographies, travel books, my writer’s soul in rejuvenated and reawakened. Let’s face it, sometime a writer can hit a wall of “no imagination/no inspiration”. When that happens, it sucks royally so we writers need to figure out how to get all cylinders firing once again. And what better way to do that, then simply read. Read for fun, read for an essay you need to do for school, or choose a topic you want to learn more about that your children are interested.

Reading is food for any soul and it feeds a writer’s soul incessantly.

It’s simple really, if you want to be a writer (and even when you do become one), read everything you can get your hands on.

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Until next week,

Happy reading AND writing!! xo

Kacey (2)

 


 

Finding the Perfect Title for a Story/Series #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

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Good morning all. Kacey here again to start off the weekend with coffee or tea, words of wisdom and a whole lot of yawning. *g* But let’s just jump on in with things today.

Titles — series or for stories.

It SUCKS when you have outlined your story/series, have notes in the margins, everything is perfect from the titles to plot to characters and the outline is saved to your computer so all you have to do is sit and write your fingers off…and then you learn that another author has released stories with those exact same titles/series names and your dream of the perfect stories is blown to smithereens.

Last week, after being struck with inspiration at 3 a.m., a whole trilogy came to me and I grabbed my trusty notebook and pen from the bedside table — EVERY author should have these at their bedside — and outlined (for a solid hour then dropped back into dreamland like a slam of a door) about 20 pages of plot, characters, turns and twists, and the titles of each book, as well as the brothers’ last name for the series was PERFECT for each and every single one.

Now, normally when I consider a title, I will look at many bookstores for the same title, series name, and google a dozen times. However, at 3a.m., I was in no way going to break my concentration to do so, and to see a social media post of  a series with MY title, books with MY titles on it…was deflating to say the least.

This isn’t a case of plagiarism in any shape or form, absolutely not, but everything was so perfect for my trilogy. It was soul-crushing to discover the usage of the same that I’d thought. My outlines didn’t seem so amazing anymore, the spark for the brothers and the series didn’t shine as brightly and I didn’t want to go back to the drawing board to change anything. Without these titles/series name, it threw everything off kilter because of how tied in the intricacies are. Nor do I blame the other author. I mean, my stories aren’t written yet and the ideas that inspire each author can sometimes cross paths as far as titles and character names go.

But, I won’t give up. NEVER!! I will get back to the outlines and see how I can shift things around, see what is triggered for all the stories. It’s just very difficult to get excited about such details then find road blocks in our way. The right info will come to me again, I know they will. Sometimes in this business we have to suck up what doesn’t work and keep trying.

As I mentioned above, and as far as direct advice goes for my post today — do always check bookstores online — amazon, kobo, B&N, etc., plus Google — when titling books and series. It’s always nice to have that piece of your story (outside of the writing) that is all yours. You’ll find authors who may have the same book title as you do once in a while, but if you can start out with one that is all yours when your book releases, it’s a bonus. A small minute detail to some authors but to others — like myself — I like having that aspect as all mine.

Titles are important, as are the series names an author comes up with, and they can become very endearing to each author. And it’s what may draw a reader in first, along with the cover and blurb, so we all want to have the best ones we can and ones that fit our stories from first to last page perfectly.

 

Until next week. Happy Writing!

Kacey (2)