One size doesn’t fit all #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Welcome one and all. As we continue to shake things up on the blog I now get to post on a brand new day. This is going to take some getting used to I have to admit. I usually get a few hours to contemplate my post(s), all while sipping one of my many cups of coffee on a Saturday. So bear with me if my spelling mistakes suddenly take a huge upsurge in frequency, lol!

Today I want to discuss authors who are trying to be all things, to all people in their writing. Like my title says, one size doesn’t fit all. There is literally no way in this time or any other where you, the author, can satisfy every single person who will read your story. It is mathematically impossible.

There will always be someone, somewhere (usually in multiples) who has an issue with something about what you’ve written. Whether it’s the time, the location, the clothing, the language, the sex (it’s usually something about sex), how long the story is, how short it is, how much you/your publisher charged for it (that’s the other very popular complaint), the cover (pretty rare), or your creative interpretation or licence in regards to some detail (especially with real world places/locations). No matter how hard you try to write something that “shouldn’t” offend anyone – let me be straight with you here and now – there WILL ALWAYS be someone you offend.

Roughly 90% of the time it’s someone who just likes to hear themselves toot their own offended horn. 5% of the time it’s someone who didn’t a) read the description of your book (how dare you write an erotic romance and put it up where someone might buy it!), or b) disliked something you put in, or how you wrote it up. The other 5% is someone who’s offended by something, goes on a massive tangent, and it has NOTHING to do with your book. At all. As in, they didn’t even read your work but something else entirely, but put their rant and low one star rating on your product. You can usually tell from their overuse of capitalization, long winded sentences without any punctuation, and some reference to some point that never got near your work even in your earliest days of outlining. For example, you wrote a story which is in 19th century France, but they are going on about the fucking robots on Centurion Prime, and such things. These folks we like to recommend reporting and ignoring.

While most authors do try to watch their “turn of phrase” in a book they write, along with any local slang that might confuse a reader, and we all have some that have been part of our language since the first day we began to speak, you can’t go about writing your story while trying to dance across eggshells. As an author you have a solemn duty to yourself, and your characters to write from the heart. Yes, ensuring you are staying accurate with any real world location/event is usually a good idea, but we’re authors. We are licenced to occasionally flex our creative muscles for our stories. If you like a certain building in a certain city you’re writing in, but don’t particularly care for the fact it’s a fashion store go ahead and make it your own. You’re one hundred percent covered. It’s in your legal portion right up front in the book before you hit the good stuff – at least it damn well better be! In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, this is Evernight’s official “covering of our author asses”:

“This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.”

In other words: They know a guy named Joe who they hate, and had to kill in this book because doing it in real is illegal – and they don’t look good in orange. They adore that building in that city and while we know a bunch of you readers live there, they happen to hate what’s in it so for the sake of their story they are stealing the structure and using it for their own evil plans (like a BDSM club, muahaha!). They know all about that big ass war they are referencing as vaguely as possible (or maybe not so much), and you readers who were history buffs totally clued in but for the sake of their story line they moved it a few days/months/years to make it all fit.

Stuff like that.

We write fiction, even those who are writing historical or period works. Fiction, all of it. Which means ignore those folks who are tripping over the fact that you changed up their favorite spot in some city to work into your story. If they have issue direct their uptight selves to said legal speak and continue on with your day. We’re authors, we need to stretch our creative wings to ensure we are remaining true to what our muse has given to us as a gift. Naysayers need not apply.

Now, before I let you go, one last thing. This has been said a few times on here before, but because of what I’ve just written I want to emphasis this here and now. NEVER, EVER GET INTO IT WITH A TROLL. People will leave crappy reviews, so be it. People will leave shitty reviews that are in no way related to your work, report them and move on. People will try to get up in your metaphorical face on social media, remember your zen place and point to the legal stuff before going about your day. Do not EVER get into a battle of words with a troll, or some ignorant fool. They will only drag you down to their level by raising your blood pressure – and they are better at the low blows because that’s all they have ever known.

So, write what makes you happy. Write what makes your characters clamor to be heard. Write what makes you smile, bite your lip, or squirm in your seat. Write for yourself. You cannot please everyone in this life, so don’t let them take a second away from what you are doing best. Writing.

You can’t say/write that! #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-SundayIt’s that time once more, another #SensualSunday post with Moira. This week we’re going to discuss a serious topic, and one that is faced more often than folks realize or believe to be true. It’s also a tough one, especially in this day and age where everyone is offended by something or someone. Please note that the below is in no way pointed at any one individual, and the examples used are merely my opinion on the subject.

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Now, I’m not only talking about the book burners, or locking out the media during briefings, but also what we say, how we say it, and as authors our written words.

We authors have faced a lot of censorship over the centuries. There were the book burning’s of works deemed too controversial, or those that turned youths to the ways of Satan, and let’s not even get started on witchcraft, education, or any other reason someone has deemed a book to be unsuitable for our youths to read and thereby it was banned, and yes, in some instances, lit on fire! While I will agree that erotica or pornographic material shouldn’t be in the hands of anyone under the age of majority, and some other topics should have some parental guidance provided, allowing kids to read works that make them think should never be censored. The adage that “if you don’t use it, you lose it” comes to mind. Like any muscle in the body the brain too needs to be exercised, and this comes from critical and contemplative thought. Which the world sorely needs more of.

fotolia_115519302_xsFor example let’s look at the most well known book IN THE WORLD. The Bible. Yup, you read that right. Now, I should mention I am not now nor have I ever been a religious person, it’s not who I am, and this is not about to go down the rabbit hole into religion – this is merely an example everyone on the planet (except in the countries this is banned) can relate to. We’ve all seen The Bible, whether in book stores, in churches for whatever variety of reasons we might be there (sermons, weddings, funerals, etc), in peoples homes, and even in motel/hotel’s in certain areas of the world. Did you know:

  • *North Korea punishes ownership of religious materials; imprisonment or death
  • *China permits churches or seminaries that are part of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement/China Christian Council to have them, and some bookshops sell them, but they cannot be mail ordered by private citizens, or any unregistered churches
  • *Maldives says citizens must be Muslim, yet permit foreigners to practice their own religion, but only in private; Bibles can be imported only for personal use
  • *Turkmenistan permits the import, with permission by registered churches, but production is not permitted
  • ^North Korea greatly restricted, or straight out banned it
  • ^Russia banned the import of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
  • ^Spain had a prohibition against The Bible, written in Spanish, from the 16th to the 19th century

* Quoted from Quora
^ Quoted from Wikipedia.org

All right, enough of a detour, let’s get back on topic here.

Censorship happens every single day when it comes to books. Hell even the almighty Zon does it to our books each and everyday. Because it is their corporate guideline (ie: some big shot who caved to an individual(s) who didn’t want it/them showing up in their recommendations) that certain books with certain graphics/words/subjects/actions should be deemed “adult” and therefore kept away from the mainstream folks. Okay, I get it. You don’t want your 10 year old niece, who happens to be using your account to shop for her next coloring book off the Zon, being able to buy E.L. James’ book(s) off the Zon so you write in going ballistic and all offended that it should dare to show up in “her” recommended reads, and being the curious sort she is she clicked on it. Thank goodness you happened to wander by the computer before she one-clicked that sucker.

Side note: What have YOU been reading/buying that that book is showing up in “her” recommended feeds? Huh? Huh? Yeah, thought so.

I get where the Zon is coming from on this. They don’t want the angry folks taking offence to something (for no reason at all if they were ACTUALLY adults) bringing their pitchforks and torches to their front door (which happens to be at: 410 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA, 98109-5210 if you’re interested). So they go to the absolute extreme. Got a guy with his chest naked and showing his hip bones with a hint of something more on the cover? May end up being thrown into the adult category. Did you have your characters going full on bondage scene? fotolia_137449177_xscroppedMay end up being thrown into the adult category. Did you have a character go on a terrible rampage through downtown San Francisco terrorizing citizens, destroying property, and killing large bug like characters? May end up…being that movie I watched last weekend – oops!

And that there is the problem. People go ballistic, lose their shit, and everyone else around them or on the receiving end reacts by going to the extreme. Enough already! Sit down, shut up for five fucking minutes, take some deep breaths, and get your big girl panty wedgie under control – let’s discuss this like the adults we’re all supposed to be. Which is what the Zon should have done. They should have gathered information, had the maniac(s) take a psych eval, done some research on their own, figured out if maybe there was an algorithm that could easily solve the issue, talked with their tech guru’s, and even opened a discussion with those to be affected – the authors. But instead they, in their all knowing position at the top of the pile in the e-Book (and other retail items) world, made a unilateral decision that affected many authors who write of the more adult nature but nowhere near porn level. Just because you’re bigger than the other guy does not make you right.

Before this goes into a full blown rant, let me close this up with some last points and thoughts. We the people (not including countries under dictatorships, or with crazed nuclear holding presidents) do have the right to free speech, our own opinions, and the right to express them in a productive, cognizant manner to make our point/opinion known. We do NOT have the right to be douchenuggets stomping on other people and their freedom to speak, or write what they want as long as they happen to be well-informed, and factual. If they are writing/talking shit then they get what they deserve in return. So, as a whole, if we the people of the world could all pull up our big girl panties, stop being offended over every breath someone takes, and just scroll on past/skip over something that is not to our taste (unless it’s illegal, dangerous, or harmful) I think we would all be much happier in the long run.

And you, yeah you the author type person, be strong. There will be criticism, and there will be folks who pull out their pitchfork over what you’ve written while trying to censor your voice. But know this, as long as you are happy with the end result, and it speaks to who you are while possibly holding a message for someone that may need it right then – FUCK ‘EM ALL.

XO Moira Callahan

Black and white image of loving couple in a bad.

Does size REALLY matter? #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you to the latest #SensualSunday post. I have to say, to date, 2017 hasn’t been half bad. The weather has had its ups and downs, thermometer wise I mean, but I’ve been puttering along in my happy little writing bubble so there is that. Sadly my holiday time is coming to an end, which means that I shall be in full sloth mode (while writing) today. It might carry over into my evil day job tomorrow too – I have yet to decide, lol!

ruler macroBut enough of that, let’s get to the matter at hand. I’m sure many read my post title and scampered over here to see just what I might be discussing. First things first,

GET YOUR MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTERS!

Sorry, but this is not THAT type of post. Maybe another time. No, today I’m talking about books. There are so many readers out there, and I’m NOT pointing fingers at anyone – this is a general, blanket type statement, who whine and snivel about paying for books based on their page count. So, right off, let’s clear up some shit right quick…

  1. Authors who write for a publisher DO NOT SET THEIR PRICES, in fact, we have nearly Z-E-R-O (that’s a big fat goose egg) say in the matter. The only time that MIGHT be different (and I’m speaking from my experience with my publisher here) is if you make a special request that the price be set at 99 pennies, or a “Free Read” for a set time. More questions about this? See what several other authors who have posted on the Naughty Quills blog have said on this very subject.
  2. Reading corner - Window seat with cushions and a line of booksAuthors put in as much effort on a 58 page story as they do on a 400 page story, we don’t scrimp – at least those with a conscience/moral standard. We put the same blood, sweat and tears into that 58 page story as we do into a 400 page story. The ONLY difference is…you get the 58 page story sooner. That’s right, because it’s a shorter story you see it on virtual shelves sooner. That. Is. It.
  3. Authors cannot determine how long any story will be. “Sure you can!”, I hear someone spouting off – likely a non-author. No, actually we can’t. Could we force out another chapter or three? Sure. Would said chapter(s) likely be flat and unnecessary? Most likely. Would it change the price of the work? See #1 for that answer. An author can only write what fits the story-line. We can only write what our characters give us. We can ONLY write what works for the story, and what gives it flow, growth, and depth. Nothing more, nothing less.
  4. Authors are slaves to their muse. This is a fact. Without our muse we are nothing more than a carbon based life form requiring oxygen to survive on this blue marble in the universe – just like everyone else. We have to feed our muse, find inspiration in everything from the mundane to the insane just to thrive. We have many similarities 2D Man think bubbleto every other artistic individual out there. A dancer can’t give a performance of a lifetime without feeling the soul of the music and the story they portray. A painter can’t do justice to their subject if they do not see the imperfections that make it unique and all the more beautiful. So why do so many readers assume authors are any different? I have an answer for that but it’s not very polite, and could get me in deep shit, so I shall bite my tongue.

Do we wish we all have 400 page stories to tell? Sure. I for one would love to have a story so intense, so breathtaking, so deep and moving that it took me 400 pages to tell it. To bring it the justice it truly deserved. Do I have one inside? Maybe. But if it is there it’s not ready to be told, and until it is it will remain tucked away being nurtured by the stories I am telling, the works I read, and by all that I am learning on this amazing journey as an author.

Now, before this degrades into a full on rant let me leave you with some last thoughts. The next time you even consider bitching at an author for the length of their book versus the cost – STOP. The next time you think about whining to an author that they really need to write longer stories because you want to know some detail, see more on this/that character, whatever – STOP. We authors tell the story that needs to be told, however it needs to be told, nothing more and nothing less. It might be long, it might be short, and it might be somewhere in the middle.

words Thank you typography lettering decorative text cardInstead of being a sniveling little windbag why not thank the author for their hard work. The time they took away from their families, the stress they suffered, the sleepless nights their muse and characters caused, the grey hairs they’ve gained, the horrible eating habits they’ve endured during their quest to put everything on paper, the struggle to keep everything moving in the right direction, or just generally thank them for providing you with something you didn’t have before. A story that they created. If you can’t do that then it’s best to say nothing at all.

XO Moira Callahan

Elegant couple posing together.

Things to avoid #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you back to another #SensualSunday. As Kacey mentioned yesterday it is bloody cold here in Canada right now, some parts more than others. To say I’m a fair weather individual is a serious understatement. I really do not like air that makes my face hurt!

But that isn’t what today’s post is about. Although I have much to say on the topic, it’s not really about writing is it? LOL! No, today I want to discuss the use of brand names, etc in writing. Or rather the fact you should avoid doing it.

copyright symbol iconMost publishers will not allow you to use brand names, names of songs, song lyrics, search engine names, etc in your stories. Now there are a few exceptions to this rule, but you still have to be very careful about how and when to use them. I think that authors with publishers are pretty lucky, the editors who work for them and with us keep us in line when something slips past us. They have house guidelines they follow to help ensure no author for that publisher gets in trouble for putting something into a story they shouldn’t have.

How you ask can you get in trouble for using a registered, trademarked, and copyrighted name? And there is your answer right there. It’s COPYRIGHTED. Again, there are a select few exceptions to this, and it’s mostly everyday items like iPods, Google, and such but even then – they need to be used sparingly and with care. Avoid naming songs, and using song lyrics wherever possible. You can easily do this by turning it into a reference. For example, if your story’s character is dancing around singing (I’ll stick with the season here) Drummer Boy, and pa-rum-pum-pum-pumming around the house, keep the reference to upbeat Christmas music. Maybe make reference to drumming along with it if you feel the need to Drummer Dollbe more specific. Songwriters are particularly gun-shy, with good reason, anyone remember Napster?

While the odds are low that anyone would decide to sue you for copyright infringement (the use of works protected by copyright law without permission) I’ve always felt it’s much better to be safe than sorry. Because I couldn’t afford to be sued by some big corporation, could you? Doubtful since they could quite literally keep things tied up in a courtroom, and thus any lawyer you hired, for years if they so felt the need. That is money draining from you on a constant basis. Money you could otherwise be using to pay your mortgage, fix that weird noise in your car, get a new dishwasher with, or buy something you’ve always wanted but had to wait for.

There’s one other matter you absolutely must consider, your brand. If you are sued what do you think that does to your brand, your good name, and your readers mindset toward you and your other works. So the best idea is, be careful, think it through, and if you are ever in doubt – ASK THE QUESTION. Whether it is to your publisher, to your fellow authors, or your lawyer, be proactive and be safer than sorry.

XO Moira Callahan

Sexy man with unbuttoned shirt

My opinion is my story #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you to another #SensualSunday posting. I want to get right down to it, and get this post rolling. So buckle up, keep your arms and legs inside the ride, and remember not to attempt standing until the ride has come to a full and complete stop.

First off, this post was inspired by something an author friend on FB shared by an author friend of their own. I do not know the original poster, have never spoken to the original poster, but it resonated with me. This post is not directed at any one individual, group or otherwise, it is what it is. An opinion. Mine. And it just might offend some folks. Such is life.

OPINION: 1) a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter; 2a) belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge; 2b) a generally held view Merriam-Webster online dictionary

FeedbackEvery single person on the planet has an opinion. About pretty much everything. Yes, some folks will fall in line with a stronger personalities views because they aren’t the sort to make waves by stating their own opinion. But that does not mean they do not have one. We are after all human. Which means we come with this fantastic thing called free will. It permits us to each form, and hold our own thoughts about anything, and everything in the world around us. It’s only when we speak out about them in person, or on social media in all it’s forums that we then have to deal with other’s opinions.

That doesn’t make us wrong, or right. It merely makes us human.

Now this does not include the uniformed individuals who are out spouting rhetoric in all it’s forms. Whether from their pastor, a strong leader they admire, or from someone more intimately close to them (brother, sister, father, mother, lover, friend). I truly believe that if you have done your research, you have looked at both sides, and have formed an opinion based on all that then it’s a perfectly valid opinion. Is it right? Maybe, maybe not. That is not the question. We all have the right to speak to our personal opinions on everything as long as it is properly informed. Those who speak out without any real knowledge, or actual proof are the real danger to society as a whole. Because they are usually the ones who know just what to say, in just the right way to create a group dynamic full of sheeple. Or another term for this – cult.

But I’m getting off topic here, so here’s me wrenching things back in line.

As an author we all have our opinions. We write them every single day into our stories, our worlds, our characters. I for example detest liver and brussels sprouts. D-E-T-E-S-T them. This personal opinion is based on having had them for a meal on more than one occasion during one of my mother’s “phases”. I grew up in a home that you ate what was served or you made your own, or went hungry. That simple. It was the parent’s rule, and Brussels sproutsone I could live with. The point here is, that every single one of my characters will hate these two items, along with a few other food choices that I have negative connotations with. Same thing with certain types of music that I personally cannot stand, various types of movies, and so forth. Because it’s my personal opinion it affects the characters and worlds I create. But my readers still read my works because those little, trivial items are not really that big in the grand old scheme of things.

Yet if I were to post on social media, or my blog even that I had a hate on for liver and brussels sprouts I can GUARANTEE there would be at least a few individuals who would pipe up to take on the defense of that poor liver, or share a “divine” recipe for brussels sprouts. As is their right to do, because that happens to be their opinion. And I would never even think to trample another persons opinion. Now if those same individuals got into name calling, or flat out trying to verbally spear me for my opinion – well they would be gone from my social media in a hot New York minute. Because while I am more than willing to hear other’s opinions, and even hold lively debate, when someone goes on the attack it’s no longer about opinions. It’s about them believing they are right over everyone else, and if you don’t agree, then you are wrong. End of story.

Which, when I see an author talking about how a reader basically told said author to “keep your opinion to yourself” – on the authors own page I should mention – it gets my fur up, so to speak. Our pages on FB, our feeds on Twitter, our blogs on our sites are pieces of who we are. It’s where we can be ourselves, talk normal things if that’s what we want, and to interact with our followers and readers. Which means to have a reader, a follower, a supporter of said authors works tell the author to basically stuff their opinion where the sun don’t shine, something needs to be said. The author in question who unknowingly spawned the inspiration for this post has already replied to the unwanted, uneducated, and unwarranted attack on them. But the word must be spread that this is not alright, in any way, in any form, at any time.

Broken heart on slate backgroundWe are authors. We have been molded into who we are by our experiences through our lives to this point. We will continue to be changed by whatever the future holds. We will not be silenced by the uninformed, uneducated, and misguided attempts by anyone who doesn’t agree with us. We are authors, and we have the same right to voice our opinions as everyone else does. Do we need to take a greater care in how we may phrase it? Sure, none of us wants to alienate every person on our boards/sites. Do we deserved to be muzzled because someone thinks we should be? Hell to the fucking no! We are authors, we are human, we are flawed, we are growing, we are learning, we are who we are. But if you don’t like my opinion, or anyone else’s why read our books? Because every single story we right holds that same opinion within it’s pages. More elegantly scripted than the usual posting on social media sure, that’s why we have editor’s after all, but it is still OUR PERSONAL VIEW OF THE WORLD AS WE SEE IT.

We are authors, and we have the same right as you to speak about what hurts, touches, molds us into who we are. We are authors, hear us roar.

XO Moira Callahan

fashion studio photo of impassioned couple. office love story.woman's legs in red classic shoes in man's hands

Retrospect #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you all back to another #SensualSunday. This week I thought I’d do a little reflection on my career as an author. The myths and the reality. But I then realized that could be one hell of a long post, and honestly I’d get distracted part way through and who knows where we’d end up. So I thought next, what about simplifying it?

This month my publisher (Evernight Publishing) turns six years old. Now I’ve only been signed with them for just a smidge over two and a half years. But this light bulb had me thinking back to those first days, and to the last couple years of my journey. It hasn’t always been smooth and it hasn’t been without its trials, but it’s definitely been a ride. So here are my top 5 points of reflection.

Business cartoon showing two businesspeople looking down from a cliff. On the other cliff is a sign that reads, 'leap of faith'.#1 – Taking the leap
When I wrote my first book I had zero intention of submitting it. Truly. It was more of a purging to get it out of my head, and down on “paper” than anything else. But I let a friend read it who then convinced me I should send it in. Which then led to much debate about where I should send it in to.

I did my due diligence, did my research, and it finally came down to personal preference for the publishing house. The biggest reason I chose Evernight was the fact the authors there couldn’t say enough good things about the process, the people, and the general atmosphere. There are hordes of e-book publishers out there, not going to lie, and plenty look great at first and second glance. But too many didn’t hold up under the third glance of deeper scrutiny.

So, publisher chosen, manuscript polished to the best of my ability, and finger hovering over the Enter key about to send forth my first (and only at this point) “professional” work the nerves kicked into high gear. And, before I could talk myself out of it, I did it. Quickly proceeding to hyperventilate for the next twenty to thirty minutes wondering just what the hell I’d done.

#2 – Fumbling along the path
One thing everyone should know is, writing is not always easy. There are days where your fingers can’t keep up with the words flowing from your brain. Then there are days where you’re going Guantanamo Bay on your muse to get a syllable from the wench. There are sleepless nights, there are random bursts, and then there are marathon sessions that lead to even more sleepless nights – but at least these ones are productive.

There is no guidebook on what to do, what to say, or where to turn during your early days. One of the biggest reasons we seven got together to start Naughty Quills actually, to give the newbies out there some clue as to what they are getting into, what they could possibly expect to run across, and general advice for many situations that potentially may crop up. 3d Old man reading a mapWe all had to fumble around in the dark, and while we can give you some clues we definitely don’t have all the answers. Hell, most days we’re lucky if we have even a single answer, lol!

#3 – Trust your gut
This is a multi-purpose tool you should utilize. The saying “if it seems too good to be true” is exactly what this is all about. Going into any situation should you feel that something’s wrong, out of place, or generally just not what you expected do not even second guess yourself – step on back and review. While it may be a great option for someone else, it may not be best for you. And no matter what they say, or how they cajole you to get you to go along, if you’re not feeling it – GET THE HELL OUT!

For this is about you. You are the one writing the books. You are the one that knows what your goals are. You are the only one that can decide what is best for you. Believe in yourself, believe in your instincts, and do what is right for you always. You may lose “friends” over it, but if it keeps your career on the path you prefer, who the fuck cares? They aren’t the ones paying your bills, or sitting up late at night arguing with your muse about how a scene is playing out. They do NOT get a say in your career.

#4 – Ask questions
This applies to so many things, because the only way to better yourself and your knowledge is to ask the question. Everything from your research into your next story, to figuring out proper etiquette on social media, to discovering what your publisher (if that’s the path you picked) does and doesn’t like to get for books.

The best place to ask most questions is of the authors themselves. We’re a huge society who are more than willing, in 99% of cases, to assist newbie’s. After all, we were all in that same position at one time – wide eyed, terrified, and having no clue what was coming next. But you the newbie also needs to be aware that you have to come to the table Number 7 funny cartoon giraffeprepared. Be specific if at all possible, it saves everyone time that we all can be using to write.

#5 – Stand tall, chin up, shoulders back
You’re an author. This is a major achievement. While you may not have all the answers, or even an eighth of them, you’ve achieved something huge. There are thousands of people out in the world who can lay the same claim, but they aren’t you. You are unique, you are special, and only you know what it took to get you to this point. Celebrate it!

No one knows what tomorrow will bring so enjoy all the good, and amazing you’ve accomplished each day that you can. You are an author. That is no small feat that you’ve tackled. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the rush, and definitely enjoy all that comes from it. But stay humble. The world has enough diva’s in it. Remember where you came from, how you got here and be proud of everything, but don’t let it go to your head.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring after all. And the higher your horse, the harder that fall will be when it comes. And it always comes…

XO Moira Callahan

She's sexy and dangerous

Being thankful #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you back to another, and our regularly scheduled, #SensualSunday post. Since this is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada I thought I should do a post that fitted with the natural theme. I’ll be keeping this one short because my little brain is already thinking about what I might post next week.

No, I’m not planning on talking turkey, or all the dressing that comes with it – puns fully intended. Today I want to remind every author that we have much to be thankful for, and we should always remember that. So here we go, a few things that I am personally quite thankful for…

  • I’m thankful for my health, because without it where would I be?
  • I’m thankful for my job especially in these tough economic times in my province, too many others are not as fortunate.
  • Goofy Turkey saying the words, Gobble,GobbleI’m thankful for my friends and family, they keep me grounded, humble, and always amused – plus they occasionally provide useful fodder for my writing.
  • I’m thankful for the other six authors I am privileged to know who help contribute to this blog every single day. They are only a small part of the larger Evernight family that I’m blessed to be a part of.
  • I’m thankful for the artistic talent I do have, the one that allows me to write what I want, and how I want. While I may not be able to draw a straight line without a ruler, at least I’ve got an amazing fall back (lol!) talent.
  • I’m thankful for all my readers and fans. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am now. While they are only part of the reason why I write, they are definitely the main reason I keep on writing. They are generous, kind, amazing, and downright freakin’ awesome.
  • And I am thankful for each day I wake up to find the Zombie apocolypse has not yet started, because I am so totally not prepared – it’s not even funny. Really, I have so much to get ready for, thank goodness for online shopping!

Always remember, no matter how dark the day might appear there is always a reason to be thankful. Even if it’s because you remembered to pull on pants that morning. Chin up, shoulders back, and face whatever might be coming to you head on. But never, ever forget to thank those you got you to where you are today.

XO Moira Callahan

Handsome guy topless with whip BDSM

Shaping Up Shifting Shape-Shifters

Ravennas Monday MumblingsWelcome to Ravenna’s Monday Mumblings!

No, today’s post is not about tongue twisters. LOL!!

Today I’d like to talk about how I finally broke through my fear of writing another shifter series.

Writing shifters was something I was told would sell well by so many people, I felt I had to do it when I was still writing under a former pen name for a different publisher. But I didn’t approach it the right way. For one thing, I didn’t read enough shifter books by authors who sold well, and whose writing I loved.

Other things I didn’t do were research the mythology deeply enough, concentrate on sticking to the tried and true tropes, or ask the authors whose books I loved for advice. Oh no. I set about trying to do something different. Something unique. And that’s all well and good, but when you stray too far off the path, readers don’t like it. They are lost and confused. Their expectations for that type of book aren’t met.

wolfSo this time, and I had to push back a great deal of fear before I’d even try it again, this time I approached it differently from the get-go. This time I asked. I read. I researched. I dug a bit deeper. And then I came up with a unique spin, but not too unique. Not too far off the mark.

Did I hit a home run? Only time will tell.

But so that other writers don’t run into the same issues I did when they decide to take the plunge and write about those hot, sexy alpha men/animals and their mates, here are some tips I gathered from the best of the best.

Possessive, dirty talkers, alphas, show soft sides only to heroines.
Instant bond mating recognition.
Humans can know shifters exist, or not. It’s up to the writer.
Bloodlines and pack structure are important.
An element of danger.
Growling, possessive, tortured heroes.
Cave man like because they’re animalistic.

Can you relax some of these? Yes. It’s your book, after all. But these are the tips that were common among the sources I sought out before writing the first book in this series.

Now for some eye candy! These three hunks were the inspiration for heroes in my new series! Enjoy!! 

Canyon

Arizona

Stone

Until next week, happy writing!

He Did That… She Did This…

Ravennas Monday MumblingsWelcome to Ravenna’s Monday Mumblings!

Let’t talk about sentence and paragraph structure. Somewhere along the line, I know I learned this, but it was brought to my attention this past week that I tend to start A LOT of paragraphs in a manuscript with either the hero or heroine’s name, or a pronoun – he, she, his, her.

Two amazing fellow Evernight authors are going to read the second Tortured Love book for me before I submit it (thank you Doris and Raven!!) and as a prep, I sent the first book in that series, UNYIELDING, to each of them to read and understand what I was looking for in the second book.

Raven pointed out to me how many sentences I begin with a name or a pronoun. When I went back and looked at what I’d written in the second book to date (all 175 pages of it!!) boy, oh boy was she right! It was enough that she was counting them in UNYIELDING. YIKES.

pronoun trainTook quite a bit of time to go back and fix them in the manuscript, but I’m so grateful I did. This second book is a much better read with the variance. But let me tell you, sometimes it’s not easy searching for a substitute, and also making sure you aren’t beginning every single paragraph or sentence with a gerund – those annoying ING words. That sticks out like a sore thumb, too, and can really distract from the reading.

So, just one more thing to keep in mind as you write and then self-edit. Like you don’t already have enough to think about, right?

Until next week… HAPPY WRITING!!

But I LIKE Editing…

Ravennas Monday MumblingsWelcome to Ravenna’s Monday Mumblings!

Today I’d like to talk about edits. Aside from blurbs and synopses, nothing provokes more whining in authors and wannabe writers than the dreaded EDITS. Well, I guess I’m weird because I don’t mind that part. I mean, aren’t they part of the process?

Think about it. An artist does not sit down and design a perfect book cover on the first pass. It’s a painstaking process of finding or making the images, lining them up perfectly, trying again about a thousand times, finding the perfect font, balancing that with the images, on and on and on. And then they let it sit for a while and return to it with fresh eyes.

A musician does not sit down and write a piece, as if he were taking dictation, unless he’s Mozart. LOL! But seriously, it’s a long process, completed in bits and pieces, over hours and hours of detailed work and endless revisions.

film editingA movie goes through numerous cuts in the editing process. Sometimes those cuts are kept in for a separate release known as a Director’s Cut, and often they are released on a blooper reel or included as deleted scenes in a separate featured extra.

Why, then, would anyone who writes expect to sit down at the keyboard and bang out a perfect book requiring no corrections or tweaking, in the first draft? Seriously? If you believe that’s how it’s done, you don’t understand the creative process.

Take this blog post, for example. Ten drafts to get to the one you’re now reading. Sure, plenty of authors write fairly clean the first time around. I’m one of them. But I still edit my work MANY times before it goes to the publisher. Writers, like artists and musicians, are only human beings. And even published books that have had many sets of eyes on them before they were completed contain mistakes.

editing oneEditing is akin to tweaking your image or fine-tuning your composition. It’s the same necessary step in creation that an artist or musician goes through. Writers aren’t exempt from this.

Try looking at this another way. Editing is your chance to take a look at your story with fresh eyes. It’s an opportunity to make it even better. To fine-tune the emotions of your characters, and to add a bit more meaning to their conversations. It’s a chance to place tiny actions here and there that emphasize their personalties, foreshadow an important plot point for your readers, or give your hero and heroine more depth.

track changesWords are our medium, the same way notes on a page are the musician’s medium and brush strokes are the painter’s medium. Words are what we use to paint a picture in the reader’s mind, and compose a song in their hearts.

If you find the idea of going back through the entire manuscript and editing it exhausting, try breaking it down instead. There’s no rule that says you HAVE to complete an entire draft first and THEN go back. You can edit every chapter if you like. You can go back and read over what you wrote the day before, like I do, and edit that part before you move on. You can edit in whatever way you choose because it’s YOUR creation, and the only hard and fast rules are the ones YOU decide on.

edit twoEither way, expecting a perfect manuscript the first time around without the additional work of fine-tuning it isn’t realistic, nor does that do you or your readers a favor. Everyone’s work could use some improvement. It’s not your editor’s job to fix a messy first draft. It’s YOURS. Self-editing is part of the process of writing a book.

When discussing edits you receive from your publisher or an editor you’ve paid, after the manuscript is finished, it’s still YOUR job as a writer to do them. An editor is there to help you improve the story, not turn it into something intelligible, with correct grammar and punctuation. You should already be doing that part yourself. If you’re not, we have bigger problems than your hatred of editing.

Until next week, happy writing!