Say what now? #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all, and for some the precursor to a long weekend. Here in Canada we get Victoria Day on Monday, A celebration for Queen Victoria’s birthday, who at the time of our (aka: Canada’s) Confederation and establishment of dominion in 1867, was the reigning Canadian monarch. Say that five times fast. Which was, if you’re doing the math, 150 years ago – that’s right, it’s Canada’s 150th birthday this year. Another name for the weekend, quite obviously, is the May Long Weekend. The official demarcation between winter and spring, or the point at which it is now *cough* “safe” *cough* to start dethatching the grass, planting the crops, etc., and for the truly die hard, dedicated lunatics out there – the first camping trip of the year. For those of us who are authors, and not lunatics of the camping variety, we’ll be writing. Which in an extremely roundabout way segues into my post for today.

WRITING IS NOT A REAL JOB

Yup, you read that right. And sadly there are people out there who actually believe this type of malarkey. What I’m hoping to do, if I should manage to avoid a full blown rant, is to dispel this rumor once and for all. But let’s start at the top and work our way down shall we?

JOB: 1. an assignment at which one regularly works for pay (Related Words: business, employ, employment, occupation, profession, career, livelihood, living, etc.); 2. a piece of work that needs to be done regularly (Related Words:  endeavor, enterprise, undertaking, responsibility, etc.); 3. a specific task with which a person or group are charged; 4. the action for which a person or thing is specially fitted or used or for which a thing exists (Related Words:  niche, calling, occupation, pursuit, vocation, duty, mission, etc.); etc… taken from Merriam-Webster online thesaurus and abbreviated as needed for this posting.

We as authors endeavor to undertake the profession of writing. Do we hope to make it a career? Abso-fucking-lutely. For the majority of us though this isn’t going to happen. But it’s a calling, a pursuit that we have to take part in, a vocation and a calling that speaks to our very souls. It is our duty, not only to ourselves but our very spirit, to take on the mission we were always destined to pursue. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let’s take it from the word go. Like anyone our day begins by getting out of bed.

From there it’s a variety of the following, but in the end we have as much (sometimes less, sometimes more) to do as the average non-writer type person to get done in a day. And then we still have to get in our time/word counts.

  1. Rise & Shine – or the variant of Groan & Grumble, Moan & Creak, Bitch & Bargain, etc.
  2. Freshen Up – otherwise known as beating down the bedhead, de-furring the tongue, and so forth
  3. Fuel For The Day – usually trying to slurp down a too hot coffee/tea too fast, burn the tongue/roof of mouth, and curse mornings; occasionally there might be a spare 2 seconds for something to eat
  4. Out The Door – this could involve kids, or just yourself and/or significant other, usually in a rush because despite all best laid plans you’re somehow behind schedule, not for the first time that year naturally
  5. Day Job – most authors have this beast of burden to contend with in one form or another unless they are lucky, or have sold extremely well to support themselves
  6. After Job/School Activities – folks with kids know there’s sometimes too many things to try to cram into one afternoon/evening, and yet somehow everything is always planned for the same night (sports games/finals, dance class/recitals, band practice/recitals, etc)
  7. Evening Relaxation – ensuring kids get watered and fed, usually a meal is crammed in there, homework (theirs or yours), etc
  8. Writing – now, unlike those who are lucky to have the daylight hours to write in while the house is partly or fully empty of small demanding beings, those of us with the Day Job get only a set number of minutes to hours to write in a night
  9. Inevitable Crash – bedtime, aka: when the muse really starts coming up with ideas but you’re too exhausted to care/write them down because you’ll remember in the morning, even though you won’t/don’t

Now, as mentioned there are variations on this, but the above is the gist of things of the “average” day for an author. Not only do we contend with everything non-writers do, we still have our actual career, our writing, to try and get time for in every single day. But it’s not JUST writing. For newbies and those who haven’t hit it “big”, we also have all the stuff some lucky authors have assistants for. Things like marketing, research, arranging for trips, conventions, etc. Which is 100% separate for the hundreds of daily tasks we still see to by ourselves, or at least oversee (grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, bill paying, household fixes, etc, etc, etc.)

So, to those out there that say that writing isn’t a job or a career, that it’s a “cute hobby”, I say unto you – PFFT! I challenge you to step into the shoes of the average author and take our lives for a spin. Like anything out there until you’ve walked a mile in the shoes of the one you are belittling, zip it. You have no more right than anyone else to judge, just like we have no right to judge you in whatever you do. Mutual consideration, understanding, and compassion people. Get over yourself and realize that the first step to a better world is to stop judging that which you have never done and therefore do not know.

By any other name… #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone, and also an early happy Mothers Day to everyone. I have to say that this week has been a weird one. Nothing I can put my finger on though. It’s almost like I’ve managed to completely forget something for the entire week. But haven’t got a damn clue what, lol! Oh well, probably doesn’t matter. After all, if it was something truly important I’m pretty sure someone would have said something … right?

Today’s post is probably going to be nearly as odd as my weeks been, so bear with me here. If I tumble into the ditch I promise I’ll pull myself back up eventually – if not, send help! Shakespeare’s quote from Romeo and Juliet started to meander around in my brain while I was doing some casual meandering about social media *cough* watching videos *cough*. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Most people know the saying, in part or in whole – depending if you were into Shakespeare’s funky English. Unlike some fellow classmates who groaned out loud, I quite enjoyed his word play. The man could turn quite a sentence.

The point here though is that people have all sorts of terms, phrases, or choice words for authors. But it doesn’t really matter – we are still authors. We are professional, or soon to be, wordsmiths. We slay dragons, save people, jump through flames, dash into danger, and a variety of other insanity every single day – with the words we write. While we may not be truly knights in dented armor, superheros, firefighters, cops/feds/etc., we do have ourselves a special skill set. We can take the letters of the English language, jumble them up, shake them viciously, and slap them silly until they turn into words. Words we then arrange, rearrange, and sometimes despair over, until we’ve created sentences. And where one sentence exists more are surely to follow.

Never let anyone take this away from you. Too many authors who have barely begun, or have been writing for years/decades, let the doubts get to them. And while I can’t speak for anyone but myself, this just isn’t right. It can be depressing, it can be lonely, you can and will feel isolated at times, and it will drive you right to the brink of insanity on the best of days, but it’s truly worth it. And that’s something anyone even thinking about stepping onto this cracked, chipped, and with the occasional stone missing path needs to consider. Authors need some level of self-assurance, inner strength, or ego even to take the first steps forward. You, the author, need to believe in who you are, your ability, and the vision you have for what’s to come.

Because without that, you too shall falter. But that doesn’t mean you have to let it stop you. We’ve all stumbled, scuffed a metaphorical knee, or taken a blow. It’s a fact of life. And unless you are living in a bubble, it’ll likely happen again. Something to be aware of especially in the era of instant everything.

Like that rose as long as you are putting words to paper you will be an author. No matter the name you, or those around you choose, it’s a truth that can never be taken away. So, now that my brain is starting to meander off I’ll finish up this post before we really go off the rails. Well, more than I already have that is.

Stay true to who you are, and to the path you have chosen. Stick with the vision you have in place and keep moving forward. Let the naysayers, and opinionated fools fall to the wayside. You’re going to be too damn busy writing to pay them any attention. Or you damn sure better be!

Recipe for success #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone! It’s been a long week, but I’m happy to report that Mother Nature is apparently working on getting herself sorted out. We’ve been seeing blue skies with minimal clouds, and plenty of sun. I also saw a pair of robins out getting a snack, a sure fire sign that spring may have actually, and finally sprung. Fingers crossed! Now, onto the post – it’s a short one today. Too much sitting right after my chiropractor beats me up is exhausting.

Today’s post header is a lot misleading, but with a purpose. Too many people, ads, scammers, spammers, etc. all seem to have the “quick and easy, sure fire way, money making tips that THEY don’t want you to know about” formula that pulls in the unwary, or the lazy. Do. Not. Be. Lazy.

In this business of pouring out every emotion, thought, hope, dream, vindictive thought, guilty pleasure, and everything else onto paper – there is no quick way to shoot to the top. There are two types of authors who make it to the “big time”. Those who had plenty of luck on their side (right place, right time) and those who work hard. Those authors who fall into the first category still had to do a lot of the second. That’s right, hard work. But there is a trick to it, all you need to do is find out what works best for you, and put in the time and effort.

No, it’s not instantaneous, and no, it’s not easy. But to make it truly worthwhile you need to sweat it out, and have a couple sleepless nights. At the very least. In the end you’ll be all the more appreciative of the success, big or small, that you’ve gained. Because you earned it your way.

You need to think about writing, promo, and everything authoresque as that recipe you found online and are attempting for the first time. It may not work at all, or it may be just the ticket. But like any recipe you tackle sometimes it needs tweaking. Perhaps it had too much of this, and not enough of that. So you adjust and try again. Writing, like cooking or baking is always a work in progress. What may have worked a month ago may not be getting it done today. Don’t give up, just change how you’re looking at the problem.

Think outside the box you’re currently in. The air will do you good, and you never know what you might find out there. Can it be discouraging? Sure. But think of the euphoria you’ll feel when you find that right mix that gets you productive again. So get out there and find the recipe that works for you. Just don’t think it will always remain 100% the same.

Some pointers to help you on the long road:

  • Persistence is a virtue
  • Research is your friend
  • Watch and learn all you can
  • Ask questions when you hit a wall
  • Educate yourself, it’ll only help you get better
  • Set goals, from small to big to achieve each day for a sense of accomplishment
  • Learn when to step back and take a breath
  • and most of all, Don’t beat yourself up. This is a marathon not a sprint.

It’s a tough gig you’ve chosen, but knowing your limits and knowing when to push past them will get you far. Also, never be afraid to ask for help. The author community is vast and rather knowledgeable. Just make sure you know what you’re asking for to ensure no one feels their time is being wasted. We all get stumped from time to time, it’s okay if you do too. And, no matter what, keep on keeping on.

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.

Dreamers Wanted #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

OPENINGS AVAILABLE:

For individuals who can let loose the tight coils of reality, to fly beyond the mundane into the wildly fantastical, and who are not afraid to stretch beyond what they know. Experience is not required as everyday is a new learning experience. Bettering oneself is encouraged. Strength of self, and a sense of humor a must. Apply today!

Welcome to Friday one and all. Hope you’ve all had a fabulous week. Personally I cannot wait for the weekend to kick in. Like our fellow Quiller Raven I’ve had a rather painful week, it (quite literally) has been a pain in my ass. Sitting, laying down, walking, and several other movements that I normally do in my everyday subconsciously have had me gritting my teeth. Raven, oh dear sweet Raven, I feel your pain – PS: Feel better soon!

But enough of that yeah? Onto the post!

While the ad at the top of this post isn’t real, it should be. Especially in this day and age. We live in a world that is too serious, too focused on being offended by every breath some stranger never before met takes, and that seems to have a giant stick up it’s rump.

Authors are part of a unique breed. We were either born as, or encouraged as we grew to be dreamers. While many might accuse us that we live with our heads in the clouds, and in some cases this could possibly be true, it’s not that way for everyone. In the heat of the story – sure, absolutely, definitely we’re all wrapped up in what’s happening. But we’re also pretty damn fine multitaskers. After all we have to keep names, places, dates, etc. all straight in our heads while writing, but we can also script notes in our heads while we attend to everyday business. For example many authors have families which means schedules that are insane on a daily basis, they find time for everyone in their lives, and yet still get their writing done. Not that we can’t get days, items, names confused – cause we can.

But authors are a breed, or at least were once upon a time, who didn’t sweat the little things. Unfortunately there seems to be too many cutthroats, too many overly pompous windbags, too many shysters, and too many self-proclaimed best authors flooding the market. People these days seem to view publishing as a get-rich-quick scheme instead of what it is. An expression of the imagination put into words to be shared with family, friends, and strangers near and far.

While I have absolutely nothing against an author making money off their works, we all dream of the day we can do it full time after all, those who are pumping out works faster then I can sneeze three times in a row make me highly suspicious. We need to bring back the dreamers. Bring back the love of the art that is writing a well told, well woven tale that helps the reader escape the harsh realities of our current world. We need to reinvest ourselves, and help others to find the path that is fiction at it’s finest – whatever the genre. Not only is it a relaxing pastime (when things are going great), but it’s also a beneficial one to not just the readers.

An author is an individual who has found a way to zen out in a highly constructive manner. Slipping into another reality for minutes or hours at a go. Pouring out the stresses of the day onto the page, and coming away with something fantastic in the end. And often times a weird twinge, crick or ache from all the strange positions we contort into during the process.

No one said writing couldn’t be a dangerous gig, and if they did – THEY LIED! LOL!

So let’s bring back the dreamers, the visionaries, and all those who can take anything dumped their way with a grain of salt. We need more calming influences in the world, and definitely more wondrous escapes from reality. We only get one shot at this thing called life, why not live it in a fun, amazing, and imaginative manner?

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.

Emotional baggage #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Welcome back folks, as I write this the weather outside is rather frightful, but it provides interesting mood to say the least. This #SensualSunday post is all about emotions. That we use in our writing, and those that effect our writing.

Let’s be honest – authors can be rather emotional. We are invested in our characters, their story, their happiness, what’s going on around them, and so much more. This is not a bad thing by a long shot, but not today’s focus. Nope, today’s focus is on what an author feels and how it can change their story.

I personally can happily admit that when I’ve had a bad day, been in a piss poor mood, and/or been ready to do bodily harm – I have sat down at my computer to either write a scene in a current WIP, or opened up a new doc to write out my mood. I have several docs in a special folder titled, I kid you not, my Kill Folder. Yup. I actually have a folder saved with all the dismemberment’s, murder’s, and various other brutal endings to folks lives tucked away on my computer. Some scenes, with tweaks to fit in better, have made it into my WIP’s while others may well rot inside that folder.

bebe llorandoFor an author our writing is an outlet for all our emotional baggage. If we sad, angry, joyful, annoyed, or feeling blue we have the perfect place to put it all – in our writing. But there are two sides to this story. While being in an emotionally charged place can help in writing a specific scene (angry – killing off a character, sad – characters saying their goodbyes, etc.) we do need to take care not to try writing a scene in our MS that doesn’t fit our current mood.

A prime example – you just received some bad news, your emotions are all over the map, you’re crying, ranting, not in a great place. Why the hell are you trying to force yourself to write a sex scene? Not to say there are not authors out there who can’t take negative emotions and channel them into something different, but most of us are not wired in that manner. And your readers will notice that the scene that should be happy, or sexually charged feels off or even awkward, like you were forcing yourself to write something you weren’t emotionally into. So don’t. If you’re not feeling the mood of where your WIP is – write something else. Go onto a different scene that better suits where you are in the moment, or like I do, start a folder to let out everything in a non-destructive (in reality) manner.

Not only will your characters, and story thank you but so will your editor and your readers. In the end you too will be much happier with how the story turned out, which is a great feeling and one we all strive to achieve. “Write what you know” isn’t merely about jobs or places, people or situations, it’s also about the emotions we feel or don’t in any given situation.

Moral of today’s post – Don’t force that which you’re not feeling.

XO Moira Callahan

Sexy couple in bed

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

Be careful with that shtick #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

It’s Sunday folks, which means it’s time for Moira to post. Hope you’ve all had a great week. It’s been an interesting one I have to admit, not always in a good way but at least it provides plenty of fodder for my writing.

Before I get started on this weeks post, a huge shout out to our newest member Jules Dixon who will be taking over our Friday posting slot as Michelle Roth steps aside to focus on her writing, and all things she needs to. We’re thrilled to have Jules joining us and can’t wait to see what she might have to share.

This week I need to be straight with you authors. Lay off the gimmicks already! While it’s one thing to use a shtick (Yiddish for gimmick) in your promo, it’s another to constantly be using it in your writing. There is a huge difference between plotline, and a gimmick. I think some of you may need to learn the difference, and quickly.

3d cartoon laughing, 3d renderingNow, I’m NOT saying you should not have characters with unique “special traits, interests, or activities”, that isn’t what this is about. What I want to discuss is the same, running gag line in some series. Once is a belly laugh, twice is a chuckle, three times gets old and earns an eye roll. Don’t even get me started on when I see it in four or more books in the same series.

A plotline is one thing, and if your series has a continuous plotline from book one to forty, great! This provides a continuity between each unique book in the series tying them all together. There are authors out there that are MASTERS of this, making each book a stand-alone while still melding each from the series tightly together. This is a good thing.

But a running shtick gets old, and fast. Have a gimmick between two of your characters during their story, go for it, it provides a little side humor and shows a deeper bond between them especially when it’s in fun, and done properly. When it runs for a series, and every single character – can you say “boring”? Readers will spot it nearly as fast as they will that glaring spelling mistake in your first paragraph, and they WILL call you on it. Don’t keep doing the same thing time and again. Tried and true is okay, but it won’t bring in new readers, and it won’t keep the ones you have in the long haul. So drop the shtick, and grow your skills. In the end you’ll thank yourself for doing it, and your readers will too.

XO Moira Callahan

Hombre Fuerte