Dear authors of the world #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

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

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

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

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

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

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

Promo, Promo, Promo… #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Happy Tuesday, folks, Doris here. Now before you get too excited about the title, this is not a how to promo post.

Online Promo in blue

Heaven forbid! There is enough information out there about that. Every Tom, Dick, or Harry seems to have the latest must do.

You know the ones, do XYZ and you’re guaranteed sales….

Yes, well, my take on that, if anyone starts off with that, run a mile. NOTHING guarantees sales. The right promo helps, of course, but what will work for one author will not work for the other, and we all have to decide what level of promotion we’re comfortable doing, and most importantly can sustain doing.

Like with most things, consistency is the key here.

There is no point having a blog, if you don’t blog, for instance, or only do so every once in a blue moon. I aim to have a blog post up every day. This isn’t for everyone, and some weeks I don’t manage it, but I will always have a Tuesday/Wednesday/Sunday post up at least, because they’re memes I participate in every week, and you know what. They get tons of views.

So, if you have a blog chose a day/days that you will always put something up, no matter what, and you will get readers checking it out.

Likewise, if you have a website – and as an author, you really, really ought to have one of those – then for the love of all that is holy make sure it’s up to date. Links work etc.

It’s frustrating for a reader to come on your website and not find the latest info they’re looking for.

Those are the basics really, the staples of being an author if you like. That, and having a social media presence.

Again, whichever platform you use, be consistent and be there. I was on Facebook a long time before I ever published a book, so that’s where most of my promo efforts are located, and when I say efforts, they simply contain in sharing my new releases, maintaining my author page on there, and above all to be social.

There is no need to bash your readers over the head with endless promos. Be engaging, be you, and they will naturally seek out your books, if you write in a genre they’re interested in.

And if you don’t? Well, guess what. That’s okay too. I’ve got many friends on FB who wouldn’t dream of reading my book, yet I value my interactions with them.

You are so much more than the books your write. Let your personality shine through, concentrate on writing the next book and the rest will fall into place.

Ah, but Doris, you say, that’s easy for you to say. You’ve been at this for five years now. You have a good reader base, yadda, yadda, yadda.

True, but I’m not doing anything differently now than I did when I started back in 2011 when I got my first contract.

I had three books out with three different publishers in the space of three weeks back then. Why? Well, one, because I don’t believe in putting all our eggs in one basket (proof in point, two of those publishers don’t exist anymore) and two, I’d been in a mad writing frenzy for a year and had lots of manuscripts available to me.

I have continued to be a prolific writer, though nowhere near as productive as some authors I know, who I’m convinced cannot do anything but write.

Personally, I prefer to have a life, spend time with my family, and get that work, write balance right. Because that is important too, you know, folks.

all the work not doing

Give yourself time off from all that hard work, be that writing, or indeed the dreaded promo. Your stories will be all the better for it.

Nothing sells books as well, as more books. Think about the last time you discovered a new to you author, whose work you love. Remember that squee-worthy moment when you checked him/her out and discovered their backlist? Yeah, never underestimate the power of the backlist.

I’m a happy bunny indeed when I discover an author I love has lots of books I can gorge on.

Never forget your best promotional tool is to keep on writing. I know not everyone can write fast. For some getting two, three books a year out is a big thing, and that’s okay. If that’s the way you write, then you just have to go with it, but I’d say being you out there on Social Media becomes even more important.

Don’t be that author, who promotes the one book over and over and over. It will not gain you more sales, it will just make folks roll their eyes and yawn.

If you have a backlist, mention one of those. If you have an upcoming release, mention them. If you have nothing to promo, then post kitten pics…

Side note: I do love kitten spam! *smiles*

Seriously, though, you get the idea. Be YOU.

By all means, try out different promo hats to see what fits but don’t get too hung up about it. Don’t feel you have to try the latest craze that everyone is going on about, especially if you’re not all that comfortable with this whole promo thing.

Here at the Naughty Quills we covered this topic a few times, so, if you haven’t already, check out these posts:

Marketing Materials

An Author’s Backlist

Promoting Your Work

Anatomy of a Promo Kit

Newsletter Importance

Building Readerships & Relationships

Think that will do for now. Your head will spin if you read all that.

That’s all from me today.

Do stay naughty, won’t you!

D xxx

 

Rip the blinders off #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Welcome to another Friday post folks. Gotta say, this week was better than last. My back, and hip are doing much better which makes me a much happier camper. The fact I can sit for more than ten minutes at a go makes everything easier – including writing. Today’s post is going to be some realities that, while covered before in various posts, need to be covered again. After all, no one considering becoming a published author should go into things blind. And many authors need a reminder. That being said, everything below is my personal view point, and/or opinion and no one else has had say in what I’ve posted.

Writing a book is easy. It damn well shouldn’t be. Yes, some stories come easier than others, but this is something that will be representing you for decades to come. Do you really want something out there you whipped up in an hour?

Every good idea’s already been done to death. Not by you it hasn’t. Every author in the world could write every fairy tale (for example) and not one of them would be the same as the others. Because not one author is the same as any other author. We all have our own views, our own thoughts, our own perceptions that make our fairy tale unique.

Being a full time author is the only way to go. If you can feasibly manage it, absolutely but most new authors (and even some long time authors) can’t. You need to be realistic, and do the math because you will NOT be making any money to live off of in the first year. Buy a cup of coffee, or get a decent meal – sure, live off, not even if you hit the NYT best sellers list. That first year sees more money going out than staying in your pocket. Which leads into a huge myth….

It’s an easy way to make tons of money. Stop right there. If you are in this only to make money then you need to reevaluate immediately. An author is an artist. Their art, the words they use to tell their vision, is a development that takes time, thought, and refinement. Pumping out works just to make money is what has caused a flooded market, and takes money away from those of us who are putting our hearts, and souls into every book we create.

There’s always ways to make it to the #1 spot. There are. Moral, and immoral ways. Moral ways are doing the work, putting out the best product possible, and advertising until your fingers fall off – all to gain the purchases that push you to the top. Immoral ways include “gaming the system”. This involves things like key word titles, specific tags that pull your book into nearly every genre on a site, and several other scummy tricks that take thousands of dollars away from hard working, honest authors. Don’t take the easy way out, in the end it hurts us all, but it will give you a black mark you’ll never get rid of.

Using pieces of other authors works. This is called, say it with me, PLAGIARISM. Or if that’s too tough for you to say, try THEFT or PIRACY. Yup, you got it. While you may “love” how an author wrote a particular section, use it for inspiration to make your own work better, don’t go and steal it in part or whole. For one thing, readers always can tell when they’ve read something previously even if it’s in an entirely different context. Particular words, turns of phrases are an entirely different beast – every author picks up something from their favorite reads and incorporates it into their write. But decent, law abiding authors do not EVER steal copyrighted material from another author. Can you say LAWSUIT? You will if you ever do this, and it could well cost you more than you have. Trust me, there have been several cases where a reader outed an author for their devious theft of materials. And they will never, ever write or earn a living again because of it.

Pseudonyms are good/bad. Many authors write under their own names. Authors, like myself for example, write under a pseudonym. I personally do it because of my day job work environment, and the requirement to keep my writing very separate from my real life existence. Other authors use a pseudonym because of family issues, privacy issues, or just because that’s what they’ve decided to do. The choice is entirely yours, and not something anyone else can decide for you. If you are comfortable with everyone you’ve ever known from diapers to today knowing you write whatever genre you’re going to be writing, use your own name. But whichever way you go, always keep your real life social media 100% separate from your author social media if you have young children. I say this only as a safety measure, and the fact authors can attract some weird (Misery by Stephen King anyone?) followers.

Publisher vs. going Indie. Again, this is something that only you can decide on. Each has their pros and their cons. See Jules Dixon’s post from Monday this week for some info on that, but do your own research. Some people, like myself, don’t have the time in the day to be an Indie author – you are literally responsible for everything. Others have the multi tasking gene to the extreme and thrive in such an environment. To each their own.

Social media options. There are many, and again this will be your personal preference what you do and do not get involved with. Facebook is a good start, and gives you the options of Pages. Twitter has it’s pros and cons, just like everything else out there. Do some research, talk to other authors in your position (publisher or Indie), and figure out works best for you. You can always get rid of, or take on more as you go along and discover what’s benefiting your career.

And last, but not least, one last myth that needs to be dispelled.

Making it to the New York Times (NYT) best seller list. For 99.5% of authors this is a fantasy. Do we all wish we could see our names on their list? Abso-fucking-lutely! It’s a huge coup for an author. But the reality is that in an over saturated market it is harder now than it was twenty years ago to get there. The other harsh reality you need to swallow is that you likely need to have an agent, be with a traditional (aka: paperback/hard cover print first) publisher, and have your editor on call at all hours to even get close. E-publishers aren’t in the same hemisphere as the traditional publishers. It’s much easier to get your book published through an e-publisher, like Evernight, but becoming a best seller is a lot harder. And being an Indie is even tougher. But nothing is impossible, and it’s always good to hold onto at least one dream no matter what it might be. It’s what keeps us motivated, writing, and creating new and fantastic stories each and every day.

Best piece of advise I have ever been given – never stop writing. Pretty simple, and yet some day’s it’s the most challenging thing ever.

Make a Choice #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, peeps, Doris here with some thoughts on choice. Our lives are full of choices, aren’t they?

We get up every morning, chose what to wear, what to have for breakfast, etc. etc.

Those are what you might call the easy choices, though, when you have several teen girls in the house, the choice of what to wear is anything but easy. It’s more like this.

However, this post isn’t about clothes, but the choices we make as authors, in particular how to conduct ourselves online.

Here on the Quills we said many times over that as an author, you, are your brand. Whatever you put out there, your readers will see, take on board, form their opinion on you,  the author, the person, and ultimately your books.

And you have a choice to make. Do you want to be known as the author, who bitches about everything and everyone all the time?  Do you, I mean, really?

We all get off days, lord knows I have plenty, but does the whole world really need to know about them? I like a good rant as much as the next person, and yes, sometimes they happen on FB, but most of the time, I keep my ranting in private.

Once it’s out there on the interwebz it’s there to stay.

By all means, share personal stuff that you are comfortable sharing, have your opinion, but express it respectfully and not at the expense of others.

Like the author who likes to poke fun at other authors by quoting lines from their books, and ridiculing said scene.

That is just not on. I have stopped reading an author who kept on getting her giggles like that, and while no names were ever quoted, it’s just bad form.

Don’t be the mean girl in the author playground.

While I’m on that subject, don’t be that author, who appears clueless about her own success. The Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it posts, I’m so nervous about this new release… etc .. when your readers would no doubt buy your shopping list, were you to put it out there, get old fast.

I exaggerate on purpose, here. Of course, you can and should squeal about your success. Of course, you should thank your readers, just sound like you actually mean it, ya know.

Readers are awesome, and they deserve to be praised. Just stop already with the fake surprise when you’re on top of your game and pretend you don’t know it. What is that all about?

On the flip side of that, don’t be a diva either and think you’re better than anyone else because you’re outselling them. Nope, doesn’t work that way, and it will not gain you any friends.

Don’t be that author who tears down a reviewer for daring to not like your book, especially if the review is a constructive one. And even if it isn’t, rise above it. That reviewer is entitled to his/her opinion as much as you are.

Don’t like something your publisher does? Well, then take your stories elsewhere, just be sure you do it for the right reasons. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Then again, it might be. You won’t find out unless you try.

Choices, see we all have them.

I can hear you all wondering what on earth brought this post on. Well, a myriad of things, to be fair. I’ve lost count on how many times I was going to wade into something on Social Media last week, and then deleted that post, or reply, before I hit send.

Try it, it’s therapeutic. You get whatever it was off your chest, without adding fuel to the fire, and you can get on with your day safe in the knowledge that you haven’t fallen into the trap to think your opinion is more important than anyone else’s.

And being devil’s advocate here, that goes for this blog post too. I’m fully aware that I’m ranting a tad today. Forgive me. It’s coming up to that time of the month and I turn a bit like this…

 

 

That’s all from me today, you’ll be pleased to hear.

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx

 

 

 

 

Admit when you’re wrong #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Welcome one and all to another #SensualSunday post. First up, I’ve gotta apologize for last weeks post and my boo-boo which has been fixed in the actual post. I blame it entirely on not enough sleep/coffee, the result being a fried brain getting all frazzled and confused. And I’m Canadian, it’s in my genetic makeup to extend a heartfelt apology when I’ve erred. Secondly, this leads into my post today so let’s hit it!

As a species authors can be categorized by many terms, and the longer you do this the more you’ll add to your portfolio. We’re crazy, absent minded, off our rockers, easily distracted by shiny/pretty objects/images, and so much more. It’s our creative nature that has us always searching for new material and ideas. We are who we are, and that’s pretty damn special. But we can make mistakes, we are only human after all.

One thing that every human being on the planet Earth needs to remember, get through their thick skulls, and practice at all times – if you are wrong about something, own the fuck up and admit your mistake. Too many times in the author world I’ve seen someone called out on something they genuinely believed in, but when they came around to realize their error and apologize, they are lamb basted. Come on people, get your heads out of your tightly pinched sphincters and chill. Authors are just as human as you, your neighbor, your co-worker, and everyone else in the world around you are.

Ah, but we’re held to a higher standard aren’t we?

It’s all because of this presumed “fame” we hold because we have published something, have our name on it, and our name is linked to however many dozens of other items on the Net (social media, our web site, author pages, etc). But this does not make us any less human. We were born, had scrapped knees, went to school, got a job (or two, or three), and we have bills to pay. Human right? Damn skippy. So why do readers/fans and others seem to think we are living in glass houses up on a pedestal where we do no wrong? Probably because the moment you gain “fame” in any form you are now no longer classed in the same rankings as the rest of the mere mortals.

If you stick me I bleed, how does the fact that I wrote and had a book published make me more than you?

Yes, there are authors out there who gladly soak up the adulation and don’t care when they screw the pooch. They are not the sort to apologize either, but this doesn’t mean they are not wrong. (I could insert some correlation between this and the US President – but I shall resist…mostly.) They are also not the types anyone should be looking up to, or using as their inspiration to be a better person.

Now, before I degrade into a full on rant let me end this post with this thought. If an author (one book or hundreds) speaks out in error, and you a “mere mortal” correct them and they apologize – fucking just accept it. They have been proven incorrect, and they realize that thus thanking you for pointing out their error in thinking with a heartfelt apology. Don’t lord it over them, don’t be a dick and rub it in repeatedly on social media (I won’t say what that makes you), just be a good human being to another human being and accept.

On the flip side of that, authors if you have been proven wrong, damn well apologize for the error already. Be the better human being, admit you were incorrect and show others how to do the right thing. Be the example people assume we’re supposed to be. We’d all be much better off if people would just apologize. Then we could all get on with living our screwed up little lives.

XO Moira Callahan

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.

fotolia_135297725_xs

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.

From the chaos we must rise #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you back to another #SensualSunday posting. First off, I’m sicker than a dog this week – we had some “plague” (doubt it’s an actual plague) sweep through the day job this week taking out about 60% of us – so if this post meanders a little off track I shall state here and now, sorry! I’ll survive this, my nose may not from all the blowing, but it’s already starting to clear so my pre-first sniffle care obviously helped get me through this quicker. But you’re not here to read about the icky illness I’ve contracted, so on to the actual post.

Let me straight with you – the world is going to Hell in a hand basket, and there’s no one at the helm. I’m sorry, but that is my personal take on things. This makes me all the more desperate to bury myself in the various worlds my crazed mind has cooked up, and escape the insanity. But it still intrudes. Sometimes too close for comfort.

But that’s beyond today’s point. In our overly media saturated world with news, information, advertisements, peoples opinions, etc. streaming at us 24/7 from all around mediathe globe constantly bombarding us with truth, half-truth, and pure bullshit they scraped up from who knows where, we the authors need to remember our primary reason for having this gift to write.

We are the ones to give sanctuary and refuge to weary minds. To provide a place of respite, however brief, for our readers. We are the creative minds behind re-imagined, and imaginary worlds near and far with everything from humans to aliens inhabiting them. We have the skill set necessary to take something simple, transform it, and make it into a magical realm yet unseen by anyone before.

This may seem too great a burden for some, but really, is it? We are authors for a reason. We have a vision of a (sometimes) better world that we want to share with everyone we can. To give hope, to provide solace, and to encourage some mild escapism from the realities that are our current times. It is a great responsibility to be sure, but never think it to be a burden. It’s a gift, not a chore. And if it ever becomes either a burden, or a chore, then I’d advise you to rethink why you are writing.

We’ve all had times where it seems to be too much, don’t ever think you are alone in that. Each of us has hit a rough point, or three through the years. It’s like anything that challenges, and stretches you to be more, it’s fucking hard work. But we all feel the pure joy, and love in what we’ve created and that, that right there is why we keep moving forward. No matter what the world throws your way, no matter what insanity might next pop up in your news feeds, remember the love you have for creating your worlds, your characters, and your stories. Let it flow through you, onto the page, and out into the world. We all need it now more than ever before. So chin up, shoulders back, and know that you’ve got this.

XO Moira Callahan

bearded macho man with roses

 

It’s not easy, but stick to it #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Hello, and welcome to another #SensualSunday post. In today’s world, especially of late, distractions are easy to come by. For author’s this can be perilous since we naturally have inquisitive minds always looking for that next “something” to spark our muse and therefore our next story. It’s a slippery slope though, and one you will need to train yourself to avoid.

Sounds good, and simple enough, but how do we do it?

It’s definitely not simple, but there are a number of things you can do to help with the squirrel-on-red-bull syndrome. Below are some suggestions, by no means are they hard and fast rules, use them or parts as they work for you. Or merely use them as a launching point to figure out what would be best for the individual you are.

Create a schedule, and stick to it. This can be tough on occasion because we all know that real life likes to throw us a curve ball here and there to keep us on our toes. But making a schedule can actually have an added bonus, showing you where you might be a little lax. For example if you have allotted X number of hours a week to writing, but find that during the work week that time ends up being shaved due to one thing or another, adjust your schedule. This is particularly important if you are not a single individual living by themselves where you have additional flexibility to your schedule. If you are married, have kids, etc. you have to take into account their schedules, and all the extracurricular items that could throw a wrench into your well laid plans. Your first draft of your schedule will likely be much like a first draft of your newest WIP. It has holes that need to be filled, things to be rearranged for better flow, and tweaks made to make it efficient. Don’t give up, just be ready to adjust with life.

Get off social media. This is a biggie. Social media is a huge time suck that, while you might be able to now converse with a giraffe in their native tongue, it isn’t getting that book Social Media Web Signswritten now is it? Yes, as an author you do need social media to get out word about your latest release, stay in touch with readers, and also chat with other authors, along with making contact with folks who may be in a field/specialty you need some advice on for realism in your story. But keep on task, don’t allow yourself to be sucked into the vortex that is memes, cat vids, and latest so-called shocking and breaking news from sketchy sites that are “reporting” on things you want to happen but realistically know likely are not.

Lay down the law at home. This is a toughie, unless of course you’re single and live on your own dancing to your own piper. But it needs to be done. You support your family every way that you can, so they in turn should be supporting your career as an author. If this means they leave you be for an hour each night to do your writing, then it has to happen. Yes, there will be exceptions to this, but you also need to remain firm in your resolve that you want to progress in your career and that means occasionally locking yourself away for some writing time. There is also the other side of this coin, the family that finds your “career” as an author amusing, and assume it’s a passing faze. Yup, there are folks out there that truly think it’s “cute” when you proclaim yourself to be an author, usually at the point where you say the words “romance” or “erotic” or both. These folks don’t get it, may never, but it doesn’t mean you let them bulldoze you. Stay firm, do what needs to be done, and make the time to write just as important as little Timmy’s soccer game, or little Donny’s recital.

Make a plan for your writing time. Now that you have that hour block each and every night, you need to know what you are doing with it. Some days you won’t be in the mood to write, other’s may see your muse off doing whatever muses do when they aren’t screaming ideas at us at full volume with a brass band keeping beat. Doesn’t mean you Business plan for 2017can’t be furthering your career. Some nights it may mean doing upkeep on your much neglected website, others you might need to interact with readers, and then there will be times where you look at your current work and figure out if you’ve missed something that might be throwing your muse off and thus stumping you. There’s always tomorrow to get that wench back in line, and working hard to further your story.

Keep notes. While pantsers, and plotters, and everything in between have their own opinions on this I do recommend keeping at least some basic notes. Things like character appearance, important locations in your story, and anything that might be vital to the next book if you’re writing a series. It’s much easier to take a look through some scribbling’s than it is to search back through your last story to find out what color your second least important character’s eyes were. Something you may not have even mentioned, and would have put into your notes thus allowing you to develop him/her however you see fit in the next book in the series. Another plus to notes is where you’ve left off. If you’re the type of author who has two, three, or twenty WIP’s going on at once leaving yourself a quick note as to where you stopped in the story will assist you when you come back to it. A quick glance at the notes, a read through of the last paragraph’s and you should be able to transition back into whatever world you’re working on. Something helpful if you have stories in different genres, and times.

There you have it, a few things that might help you find a better way for you to keep on writing. Like I mentioned these are merely some tips, and maybe not for you, but maybe something above struck a chord and you found it useful. That’s our goal here on Naughty Quill’s, to not only help guide new authors through the confusion but also just maybe give a long time author another way to do something. We never stay the same, even in our writing, we are growing constantly which means that what may have worked in the past might not work where we are now in our careers. Don’t panic. Growth and change are good, ninety-nine percent of the time.

XO Moira Callahan

bare female body with red bow

Thursday Ramblings with Doris (@mamaD8) – Friendship, Loss, Writing or the lack thereof

Hello, folks, Doris here. I know what you’re thinking. That Naughty Quills blog is all cockahoop this week. Raven did a post on Tuesday, Doris is here on a Thursday…whatever next?

The lovely Raven did, indeed step up for me on Tuesday, so as she’s not feeling too great with her fibro, I thought I would return the favor. Mind you, I’m not sure I’ll make much sense, so bear with me. These will be true ramblings indeed.

Those who follow me on Facebook will know why I couldn’t post on Tuesday. If you don’t, you can read my blog post here.

I don’t really want to get into the ins and outs because I’ll only burst into tears and then this post will never get written. Like Raven said in her Tuesday post, friendships are wonderful, and I’ve been blessed with many friends which I’ve made on Social Media. Folks which I may never meet in real life, yet who I count as my friends.

Happy group of finger smileys with social chat sign and speech bubbles

I can’t even begin to tell you how much comfort I found from the outpouring of support my family and I received this week.  To know that a Facebook status will alert those dear to you and your extended network to rally. To know that folks are with you in spirit, and no matter what day or time it is, someone, somewhere in the world will be up and helping you through it.

 

This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced that support. Earlier in the year when my daughter broke her collarbone and needed an operation, my FB friends were right there with me. At a time, when a so-called-real-life friend showed her true colour and let me down badly, which resulted in the end of that friendship, my online friends were there for me.

Plenty of real-life friends too, I hasten to add, but this post is about the friends we make online.

Social Media, when used for good is a powerful tool. Us authors are told we need to use it to market ourselves and our books, but I have always maintained that social media is first and foremost about making connections with people. I was on Facebook a long time before I became a published author, and I’ve always shared stories of my kids etc, slices of my life, celebrated and cried with my friends, and I swore to myself that I would continue to do so.

Of course, being an author, let alone an erotic author means, I’m not as free as I used to be with what I share. While I’m happy to talk about budda, I will rarely name the older ones, put up pictures etc without their permission.

It’s common sense and I know authors with pen names and sensitive jobs, shall we say, will try their utmost to never share personal information. Others, yet, seem far too free with what they share.

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I’ve always adopted the motto, that I don’t share anything I wouldn’t be happy to share with the world.

Be yourself, just avoid the overshare as much as you’ll hopefully avoid overdoing the promotion. I’m not talking release day madness here. We’re all allowed to make a nuisance of ourselves then.

Where am I going with all this? You know, I have no idea, I seem to have gone off on a rambling tangent…

Wouldn’t be the first time, would it, now?

*smiles*

The point is, I think, that you can make Social Media what you want it to be. I hope I come across first and foremost as a person, who cares. Yes, I’m also an author, but I value my friends for who they are, not what books I can sell them at any given time. Though, you know, if you feel like buying my books… I shan’t stop you either, which brings me nicely to another point.

nominate

The Evernight Readers’ Choice Awards are once again upon us. Nominations are open and you can find all the details on this link.

Go forth and nominate. This is where authors will list their books and say please nominate me. Well, I’m going to stick my neck out here and say this. I’m sure readers remember their favorite books and authors and will vote of their own accord, but that’s just my take on it.

You won’t find me listing my books. I’m far too all over the place, emotionally this week, for starters.

It’s kind of ironic, that my post on here last week was about NaNoWriMo. I have yet to write a single word this week on anything. In fact, this blog post and the one I wrote on my blog about losing lil Luther has been the most words I’ve managed since Sunday.

I’ll get back to writing, of course, I will, but I have no idea when. It’s progress that I can be on my laptop at all without bursting into tears  because it’s so closely linked to my writing buddy.

Anyhoo, this isn’t supposed to be a sad post, but one that celebrates friendship, the connections we make to other people, and I will include our pets in this, because where would we be without them? Lost, that’s where. A bit like I am right now, but I also know that I’ll find my way back.

Every day it gets a little easier after all.

That’s all from me today, you’ll be pleased to hear. Told you it was a rambling post.

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx

 

 

Makes me see red #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you back to another #SensualSunday post. Before I get into the main topic today I want to wish everyone a safe, and wonderful Halloween. It’s my most favorite holiday of all – ghosts, and ghouls, goblins, and all manner of spookiness. Really, it’s my kindred holiday because I’ve always been a little weird, always a prankster, and it speaks to me. So have a good one folks!

Now, onto today’s topic. Which I will warn now may well degrade into a rant, may well get some panties in a twist, and may well have some people becoming all indignant. Suck it up buttercups. If you do get your panties in a twist, or start spluttering and becoming indignant – then maybe this hits too close to home and you should really take a look at yourself. Because this is an ongoing issue that only seems to get worse the more technology takes over, and society slides deeper into the gutter. I’ve touched on this topic before, as I believe some other Naughty Quiller’s have as well, but it quite obviously needs to be mentioned yet again.

BULLYING

I was bullied in my teen years, junior high to be more specific. A group of three slightly older, definitely bigger girls thought I would be a great target because I was quiet, and usually had my nose stuck in a book. What I knew even before that first day of them harassing me was to give them nothing. I wouldn’t give them a response, I wouldn’t give them a look, I wouldn’t give them a hint of anything I was feeling, and most of all I wouldn’t give them the fucking time of day. They were not worth wasting a single second on.

That was then, and this is now. I’ve grown up and realize that their lives were either in turmoil, or something was going on that they felt they themselves had no self-worth. To make themselves feel better they tried to take me down a peg, and ruin who I was so they could puff themselves up. Do I occasionally think about those days they would follow me home taunting, teasing, and occasionally throwing items at my back while I purposefully ignored them or chatted about fun things with the friend at my side? Sure! Who wouldn’t Stop Bullying Poster Infographicwhen it was such a pivotal time in my life. I was … 13? … at the time give or take, that’s a tough time in any kids life. Between the hormones, the body changes, and everything else – we’re pretty damn fucked up for a while there. Not that it gets any easier in the years that immediately follow, but eventually it does and life goes on.

The times I most think back to those girls who likely had shitty lives, and felt no self-worth is when I see bullying on the Internet. Mainly on FB, but it’s everywhere – don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not. The really “good” bullies on the Net are the ones who do it on the sly, the down low, and with little tricks. These are the sick shits you have to watch out for, because they are trying to rip you to shreds anonymously. After all, how many of us can say we know the true identity of all our “friends” on social media? I can’t, I know the real names of maybe a 1/3, tops. But even then, social media and the Net provide them with a certain shroud that allows them the power to think they can say, do and get away with anything.

Some examples of bullying, especially among authors, on social media I’ve seen most recently are, but no where near limited to:

  • Post pulling – This is where a bully makes a comment on a thread and then when their target speaks up to commiserate, send condolences, etc they delete their comment leaving only the reply which now makes the other individual look completely off their rocker.
  • PM asides – This is where a bully, usually with a group they’ve conned into thinking they are the “victim”, black balls a person in the privacy of Private Messaging (PM’ing) all while making seemingly odd, off the wall comments in a thread conversation. The real trash talk is taking place behind the scenes while they drop seemingly benign comments that only the true victim (the bullied individual) can read into.
  • Passive-aggressive “help” – This is where a bully gives you “helpful” advise while still putting you down, or belittling you. To an outsider who doesn’t know the whole truth it reads as nothing more that what it says. To the bullied individual it’s yet another cut to their heart and soul. For example, if a group of people are getting together, chatting on social media about the when and where, and suddenly the bully in the group singles out someone with a “well-intentioned helpful tip”. This is where it reads like helpful advise, or even a way out while still keeping face, in reality it is a slight, a stab to the back, and it is filled with only hateful intent. They don’t want you there because they have plans to further ostracize you in the group and it’s easier if you don’t show.

These are only but a few examples of shit bullies pull on the Net. There are so many examples that it would take me literally days to write them all up. But there is a solution. If you or someone you know is being bullied on social media, report it and warn others. They may not listen, but eventually (next week or three years down the road) that “friend” they think is the bees knees will turn on them and make them the next victim. Do not stand idly Schild 106 - Teamworkby if you witness someone, even a stranger, being bullied. We need to stop this shit, in RL and on the Net, in it’s tracks. We need to be the ones to make the Internet and all it’s social media a safe place to be once more.

Bullying is particularly rampant in the author community. I’m not talking the one to two star zingers on GR, I’m talking about the authors who play the victim on the Net to lure in “friends” to “protect” them from the “big bad”. I’m talking about the authors who are pleasant to your face, and stabbing you in the back in their next breath. I’m talking about the authors who spread rumors, and vitriol in private, yet appear helpful in public. They are NOT the victim, they ARE the disease. And it’s a disease that will take ALL of us to eradicate. Bullies on the Net are essentially stalkers. It’s true. They stalk their targeted victim, get them to open up, save up the information they’ve gathered, and then they begin their campaign to ruin them. It always starts small with something like, “hey did you hear what so-and-so said, is it true?”, but it grows quickly and insidiously.

Do not stand idly by while someone is being repeatedly targeted. Be the better human being and speak out. Tell them it’s NOT okay for them to be speaking out of turn, because they may not know the true context in which someone said something. We can all agree that we have said something in the heat of the moment that we regret when we cool down. Do YOU want that to be the ONLY thing you are EVER remembered for?

I. Think. Not.

Be better, be stronger, be a role model for others. If you screw up, own it and apologize. While the other party may not accept at least you did your best, you were open and honest – that’s the best you can do. Let’s fight bullying in all it’s forms together with kindness, understanding, and unity. We are authors, a few thousand among the billions living on this world who are our reader base. There are more than enough out there for us all to have a piece of the pie. There is no reason why we can’t all play nice in the sandbox.

Now, before I let you go after this rather long and wild post – it kinda came in a mad gush of words – a couple last things to cover. You are amazing, you are strong, and you are beautiful just how you are. We were all put here to be unique, to be a piece to the bigger puzzle. Not everyone is out to screw with you, your life, or your career. But I hope that what I’ve shared will assist you in being aware, and help you to watch out for those out to harm rather than help. Let’s all stop trying to be someone we’re not, and be who we are meant to be instead.

XO Moira Callahan

Sexy naked young man on bed