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.

Two Great Words: The End by Jules Dixon @JulesofTripleR #MondayMessages #WriterTips

Two Great Words: The End

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So for the last two weeks I’ve been talking about the Three Act Structure. We’ve visited the beginning of a story (aka Act 1 or the excitement of meeting characters and finding out their goals, motivations, and conflicts) and the middle (aka Act 2 where we take those conflicts and we make them even worse).

So now, we’re at the end.

The End.

Those are two words authors dream of typing and when it comes down to it, nothing ever feels better.

So once a writer has taken their characters to rock bottom and had the worst of the worst happen, they’ve broken up, shit has hit the fan, everything looks like it can’t ever be fixed, and the readers are wondering: How in the world are they going to get back together? This is Act III. 

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The resolution to the story.

In the conclusion, readers must find closure. The main characters in romance will always end up together, either in a happily-ever-after or happily-for-now. And while we do this, an author must still maintain the same emotion that they have built throughout the story. Pulling those heart strings of the reader.  

For instance, in one of my stories, Rest, My Love, the black moment comes when Rahl, the leading man’s PTSD comes to a head and when he finds the leading lady, Sage, in the arms of another man comforting her. He punches the man and Sage has to make the hard decision to end their relationship for his sake as he needs to concentrate on getting better.

Rest, My Love Excerpt: 

“Sage…” Rahl stepped toward me and reached out.

I stepped back and the rain dribbled down my cheek, like tears but colder. “No. I just came out here to tell you that we need to take a break, Rahl. I need a break from us.”

“You don’t mean that. You’re my angel. We were brought together to save—”

“Each other? It seems like I’m trying to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. I’m getting sucked into your vortex of guilt and anger and I can’t handle it. I just started to love life again.” I stared into those eyes that melted a part of my heart. “Because of you.” My bottom lip tingled with the want to kiss him, but I fought giving in. “But you’re taking that away from me.”

“I love you, Sage.”

My body shuddered, some from the cold rain and some from struggling not to give in, but I needed to be strong. “I know you love me. From the moment you said it, I never doubted that fact.”

“Then can we just forget what happened?”

I didn’t want to forget, I wanted him to remember, to remember that his actions hurt people, and I couldn’t stand by and watch him crumble and take me down with him.

“No. I can’t forget. Just like you can’t forget the things that have happened to you and the things you know about Easton, and the darkness that is eating you from the inside out and the memories and fears that cloud your judgment.” I hiccupped a sob. “I forgive you for everything, but there are other people you need to atone to, including yourself. I don’t want to be another person to get caught in one of your explosions of impulsive emotion.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hit you, but he had his hands on you.”

“No, you didn’t mean to hit me, but if you hadn’t gone straight to violence and let me talk to you, you would have found out that Ollie and I are…” I swallowed as I stared into the eyes that melted my willpower. I looked away.

Maybe it would be easier for him to think the worst? If there is a time to be a good liar, it is now.

I stood straight. “You would’ve found out that Ollie and I are starting a relationship and you and I … we are finished.”

Rahl’s face paled. “You’re lying. You told me he was nothing.”

I mumbled, “I pray you get better, Rahl,” and tried to skirt past him.

He moved in front of me. “No, I don’t accept it. I don’t know why you’re lying to me but I’ll find out.” His hand ran down my arm to my wrist and he brought it to his mouth for a gentle kiss. “You’re killing me, Sage.”

Water droplets showered me as I shook my head. “No, Rahl. You’re killing yourself.”

Now, I could’ve done many things to bring them back together, but in the end, I had to torture them a little while longer while they were apart and give the reader more reasons for wanting them to come back together. I’m not going to tell you what I did, but it showed how much they were meant to be together, so when they actually ended up in the same room and Rahl was all better, the lightning bolts flew between them like they were two thunderstorms colliding, and when the storm was over, everything was good again, and then I had one more chapter to finish up all the tiny loose ends.

And their love is true, beautiful, and the real deal.

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When an author really comes to the end, the last sentences can make or break the novel. That final moment needs to remind the reader of something important, a repeated theme or a special element between the two characters. A final piece of the puzzle to make the reader go–YES!  

In Rest, My Love, I bring back something that Sage said to Rahl in the first chapter. So Sage says: 

I hadn’t forgotten my past, but I lived for the future and Rahl had decided to do the same.

And together we would create the sweet music of love for the rest of our lives.

Only you, Rahl. Only … you.

So the end can make or break a novel. Make sure yours gives the reader what they want, but not always exactly as they want. A surprise is always a good thing. 

Okay, until next Monday.

Hugs and ❤ Jules

GIFs from http://www.giphy.com. 

Unrealistic portrayals #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone, and a happy Easter weekend to everyone. It’s time to get our chocolate on, lol! I’m heading out of town, and with fingers crossed that the weather holds out. While not unusual in Canada, no one wants snow to ruin their Easter fun.

For today’s post I want to discuss the “too perfect” characters some authors expect us to buy into. Now, to be clear, I’m talking about human characters mainly but also paranormal. Aliens are outside my realm of writing, so they are exempt from today’s roasting. Everything else is fair game, so here we go.

We humans as a species are imperfect – fact. We all have flaws whether we admit to them or not – fact. We all have at least one thing, often more than one thing, that we absolutely hate about ourselves – fact. Absolutely no human being on earth is perfect – fact. I’m sorry if this has caused anyone some upset, but it happens to be the truth. Anyone that says otherwise is a bold faced liar.

So why the fuck do authors continue to make characters flawless in every way?

Let’s be clear, I don’t mean in appearance because this is not the point of today’s post. Appearance is only the books cover. Do we occasionally get snagged first by the hottie on the cover? Sure, and there’s nothing wrong with that or admitting to it. But if that’s ALL we’re looking at then it’s a pretty shallow interpretation. We have to get to know the heart of an individual to truly understand them. Looks may be our instinctive first impression, but it should never, ever be the last. We as human beings are run by chemical and electrical impulses, but it’s the story behind the cover that gives us the context we need. And now that I’ve mixed metaphors, and realities around, let me get back on track a bit here.

Every character needs at least one flaw. Not merely hair that’s unruly or a crooked tooth giving a smile some character, although it does help, but some quirk or trait or situation that makes them more human. Yes, not every character is human, fully or otherwise. But for the readers very human brain to better relate they have to see in each character something that makes them flawed or different or unique. Maybe your character was injured, and everyday is a struggle. Maybe s/he never learned to read until s/he was an adult and still struggles from time to time. You get the idea.

Too perfect characters are the ones with every hair in place, or that just styled look that we all (at least once) wish we had going for us at some point. They have the job, the car, own their house/condo before they’re fifty, dream job, amazing high powered friends, etc. They are the unicorn among the cattle. Look too long or hard and you’ll pretty much go blind. They can do no wrong. And, let’s be honest here, they are as boring as fuck! No one, I repeat, NO ONE is perfect.

Yes, romance is fiction. Yes, there is a fantasy element to romance works. Yes, we all have had dreams about “that” guy being ours. But the sad, harsh reality is that “that” guy is either the biggest dick on the planet, would have you bored to tears before your first drinks arrived, or even worse still, he bats for the other team. Talk about depressing, right?

People screw up, sometimes in little ways and sometimes to epic extremes. This is a fact. This is a reality. And when a character (male or female) screws up and has to dig themselves from the hole they just dug. They’re driving a beater that’s being held together by duct tape and a prayer. They’ve had some unexpected expense crop up that has them sweating making rent, the car payment, or the bill payments. They got a cold they just can’t seem to shake. They have hay fever, or allergies, or something else that seems super mundane but is necessary. We’ve been there, lived through it, or known someone that’s been there, we can all relate to them.

So, authors one and all, remember the seemingly little things. The details that turn your perfect smiling, classical beauty, sex goddess into someone a little less other worldly, and let’s your readers feel closer to them. It doesn’t have to be much, but even a little something makes a huge difference. Keep it real as it were.

Triggers in Writing #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely folks, Doris here. As the title says, I’m talking triggers today. Specifically those reactions readers might have when they read your story.

There is some debate in the writing industry and amongst readers about this, so firstly, let’s look at how the dictionary defines triggers.

 

ˈtrɪɡə/
noun
plural noun: triggers
  1. 1.
    a small device that releases a spring or catch and so sets off a mechanism, especially in order to fire a gun.
    “he pulled the trigger of the shotgun”
    • an event that is the cause of a particular action, process, or situation.
      “the trigger for the strike was the closure of a mine”
verb
3rd person present: triggers
  1. 1.
    cause (a device) to function.
    “burglars fled empty-handed after triggering the alarm”
    synonyms: activate, set off, set going, trip

    “burglars triggered the alarm”
    • cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist.
      “an allergy can be triggered by stress or overwork”
      synonyms: precipitate, prompt, trigger off, set off, spark (off), touch off, stimulate, provoke, stir up, fan the flames of; More
    • (of an event or situation) cause (someone) to do something.
      “the death of Helen’s father triggered her to follow a childhood dream and become a falconer”
    • (especially of something read, seen, or heard) distress (someone), typically as a result of arousing feelings or memories associated with a particular traumatic experience.
      “she started crying and told me that my news had really triggered her”

     

 

What this doesn’t explain, is the gut wrenching reaction the person who triggers will have to this. I never really understood it either, until it happened to me. I was reading a blurb, and wham…. there it was a trigger I didn’t even know I had.

Or rather I knew it made me uncomfortable, due to this particular subject being a cause of considerable upset and trauma for someone very close to me and this person still struggles with her demons every day. It was a particularly painful time for us all as a family. I’m being vague on purpose, so forgive me.

This is is not the vehicle to discuss this matter, and I guess in part that is one of the reasons why I reacted so strongly to this story.

I’d come across it previously in a dark romance I read, and I had to stop reading it. It was just too close to home for me, but, at least, it was a dark romance and in this story, it was done to the heroine, not self-inflicted. I still couldn’t read about it mind you, but that’s my own personal cross to bear if you like.

I certainly didn’t blame the author for writing it – though some warnings about it would have been appreciated – but this is where the contention comes in.

As authors, we need to be able to write the stories we see fit to write. And if you listed every possible trigger or objection someone might find in your story (which in itself is an impossibility, because human beings are so unique in their likes and dislikes) the list of warnings would be longer than the actual story.

Only half kidding.

What we authors must do, however, is think long and hard if the subject matter we’re writing about is suitable material for the category we’re writing in. In this instance, an erotic romance. Personally, and again, this is my opinion, and I am fully aware that I simply cannot be objective in my assessment here, this particular subject has no place in an Erotic romance. Now a YA one, hell yeah. I still couldn’t bring myself to read it but done sensitively and in the right framework, it could be hugely beneficial to readers.

I recently watched the Netflix series 13 Reasons why which deals with the reasons why a teenager killed herself and is based on the best-selling book of that name.

Harrowing, yet compelling watching, and it highlights an important issue. Triggers galore in there as you can imagine, and I dare say lots of people couldn’t watch/read it.

Yet it was a story so worth telling in that framework,

That blurb that triggered my very intense reaction…..

Well, I don’t know, because I certainly will not be reading it. I hope/assume the author has done her research with this sensitive issue, and I shall let the readers decide on that one.

Like I stated above I would never tell an author what they can or cannot write. And as someone pointed out to me, that blurb did a good job, in so far that it told me that there was no way on this earth that I would read that particular story.

Strong words, I know, but I still feel sick when I think about it. Which is by no means that author’s fault, but it’s something to be aware of when/if you do choose to tackle a subject which can cause strong emotions.

I had to come off FB that day, read lots of laugh out loud romances to distract me before I lost that sick feeling of dread in my stomach, the clammy hands and the rage at what I had read.

It made me understand those readers better who leave incensed reviews because they came across something they didn’t expect when reading.

Triggers, when they happen to you whilst reading are painful, real and they evoke emotions that surprise the feck out of you.

Had I written this blog post then it would have been an expletive-filled rant, which would not have been fair or constructive.

After all, that author didn’t set out to ruin my day. She just wrote the story she needed/wanted to tell and that is all any of us can do.

However, keep those potential triggers in mind when you are writing as best you can.

That’s all from me today.

Do stay naughty, folks.

Dxxx

 

Enough to fill an ocean #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

It’s that time again folks, TGIF! Which also means it’s time for another post from yours truly. So let’s get down to it.

Every single person on the planet has doubts at one time, or another. For an author they can be crippling. And while there is no tried and true method to get around them, or banish them entirely, there is one key sentence that you should hold close. For when the wolves are baying outside your window, and doubt comes knocking on your door.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

For an author our voice is in every story we write, world we create, and characters we bring to life. Every word in every sentence tells part of the tale that is our voice. Our voices hold power, it can rise above the masses, or be soft enough that everyone must strain to catch it. We use it to draw outsiders deep within the walls we’ve built, paint the picture we wish them to see, and move them through the full range of emotions. From shock, to anger, to sadness, to joy and everything in between.

We are artists quietly toiling at our chosen craft, quite often in solitude. We’re distracted, absentminded, goofy, spacey, and any other number of terms. Not a single one of us is the same, except in a singular matter, doubt.

What if this is too much, or not enough? What if they don’t take, or worse what if they do? No one will read this, or will they? Maybe I shouldn’t put that part in, but what if I do? Can I say/do/have that in there? What if no one buys it? What if no one likes it? What if they hate it?

As I mentioned in last weeks post, you can’t please everyone. So push those questions drilling holes in your brain and squashing your creativity aside, and write. They are doubts, some will be stronger than others, but that’s okay too. You are allowed to doubt yourself from time to time, but do not let yourself get bogged down with them. Grab hold of something real, something tangible and yank yourself up from the mire that’s trying to swallow you whole and drown you. Throw your shoulders back, tilt your chin up high and let out a warriors cry.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

Make yourself a compliment jar. I know, it sounds silly, but trust me on this. Put in it every compliment you’ve ever gotten, each one written on it’s own piece of paper. Put in every great thing you’ve done, whatever you’ve accomplished (big or small), and everything that instantly brings a smile to your face. Pack all those little pieces of paper into that jar and leave it in your work space. When your doubts have you up against the ropes pull out one of those little things and give it a read. Embrace it, remember it, remind yourself that you are NOT your doubts.

And when in doubt (no pun intended) it doesn’t hurt to throw your head back and scream at the top of your lungs for no reason at all. It’s definitely cheaper than therapy, and a hell of a lot of fun. Especially in a crowd.

Convictions #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

 

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Photo cred: Dreamtoyz.com/Pinterest

Good morning all. Happy Wednesday. Kacey here on another Hump Day, wishing I had a hot fudge sundae to enjoy. Don’t ask me why, it’s nearly midnight as I type this originally, and I have this sudden craving. But I must ignore it, stay strong in my conviction NOT to late-night eat. Plus, I don’t have the ingredients for a sundae. *g*

On the topic of convictions, see what I did there? LOL Convictions. We all live by them in our daily lives. Our firm belief in an opinion or belief. As authors we all need to have ones that we live by and won’t compromise on. For me, being true to myself and my author voice is the main one. I won’t allow others to dictate my career nor do anything that I will regret later. This past week, I had a rejection in the form of a revise and resubmit (an R&R), and while some might say a R&R is not a rejection, for this one, it was.

I sat back and read the feedback from the acquiring editor for a few hours and considered all the points she made and decided what was right for my story was the original version. The particular story has been published before with a well-known publisher who was held in high-esteem years ago, and while that’s is a point to make, it’s didn’t defer my from my decision. The feedback was something I didn’t agree with, and even sent it to a couple other authors who said they didn’t agree totally, and reinforced my belief that the story was fine as is.

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Photo Cred: QuotePixel.com

Every publisher looks for different elements that have to hit a certain level, from the romance to the character personalities and depth, to the writing itself. And each publisher has that right. However, as authors we have the right to feel strong with conviction about the hoops (or revisions) we want to put forth. Though I didn’t agree with the acquiring editor’s feedback completely, I value the input and will always ensure that each of my books have the elements that the publisher I submitted to was searching for, as well as everything ALL publishers might want. It is within my power to know when to make changes to a story, and not just do so in order to be published. I stand firm in my conviction that this particular story has all the elements it needs and is a great story. It’s been put through the ringer with more than one critique partner, beta readers and other authors since I originally wrote it about four years, or more, ago.

Without conviction to stay true to ourselves and the stories we write (when warranted), then what are we doing this for? While we all want to be published authors, there is no need to bow down to every opinion of others and changing things to suit others. Ultimately, first, last and always, they are our stories and we need to stand tall and proud of what we’ve accomplished. When the time is right and a publisher gives that wonderful word – YES – then it’s time for that story to shine. But don’t compromise your convictions for the sake of others.

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

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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.

Writing Romance #WickedWednesday @KaceyHammell

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then consider this …

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Until next time, have a super week!

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Confused much? #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Hello one and all, welcome to another #SensualSunday post. Another week lies ahead of us, and who knows what it might bring. Maybe new ideas, or a plot twist, or even a solution to that section in your latest WIP that’s been driving you insane. One never knows but if you keep your eyes and ears open you never know what you may find.

Today’s post is all about genre choice. Seems simple enough. But I’ve run across some books that have left me feeling dazed and highly confused about their genre.

As any author knows our characters are our guiding forces. They tell us what we need to know to form the story they have to share. To an author they are living, breathing beings and while they don’t have any real form to them, the story they are contained in gives them shape.

Now, determining who these characters are, where they are from, what they do, believe in, and so forth helps an author to figure out what the genre of the book will be. I’m not talking about what genres your publisher (if you use one) might list it under, but your core genre. For instance, Paranormal or Sci-Fi. Everything outside of that, like romance, BDSM, etc. is icing on the cake. But an author needs to know, going in, what their genre is to be.

Could it change part way through? Sure, but if it does that means the previously written portions need to be altered/updated to fit. You can’t have half a book being one genre and the rest something else entirely. It’s like writing a werewolf story that suddenly because a zombie horror but there was never any mention of zombies! This is also where reader confusion kicks in. If a reader doesn’t feel like they have just read a cohesive work, they are going to say something. Usually nothing very flattering.

Time for an example. One book I read a while back was decidedly a paranormal romance. Clear as day. No question about it. Then I hit roughly the two-thirds mark and everything changed. Took on a fantasy, almost sci-fi feel to it. Threw me for one hell of a loop. Had me questioning all I’d previously read. Was it so subtle that I missed the clues the author had potentially dropped? Sadly, no. I finished the book, let it digest, and then went back to read it again a couple days later. I knew the ending, knew all this additional information, but it still was reading as a para-romance for over the first half of the book. No hint (and I was reading word for word slowly) of the shift in dynamics/situation to come. It was almost as if the author had run out of material and smooshed in some extra stuff they’d had on the side to get their word count up. After the second reading I was even more confused by the story, and while the characters had remained (for the most part) the same through it all, that sudden jolt to a whole new tale part way through rattled me.

Now, as an author myself I can’t post reviews on sites under my author name. Not that I apparently needed to. Between the time I’d bought the book, and then got around to reading it, there had been several reviews left about it. All had more or less the same core theme to them – what the hell had they just read? And ratings that reflected this overall thought. All of which dragged the book down through the ranks because folks were shying away from it.

Was it a good read? Yup, right up to that point where everything began to change, and not for the better. If the author had written these two genres as separate books they’d likely have had raving reviews from the readers. But smashing them into one just made one hell of a mess. Running out of material for a story is absolutely no excuse to do this. Stories are only as long as they need to be. Not determined by us authors, but by our characters.

So let’s be clear here. Pick your genre based on what your characters are feeding you. If, and it can happen, the characters lead you in a new direction like my example above then go back to the beginning and fix it. Keep your story one cohesive piece that is melded in perfection. Any editor worth their salt would catch you making this mistake, but for those who don’t have one at their disposal for whatever reason, take care. At the very least use a beta reader to ensure what you have to publish is a tight work that reflects on you in the best light.

XO Moira Callahan

Keep Writing. Keep Creating. #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

saturday

 

Good morning everyone. Today, I want to be encouraging and brutally honest. On social media and in emails, plus writer groups, I’ve witnessed so many authors struggling. And it brings me to my post today to reiterate something I’ve spoke of before, but also the awareness about this business as it stands for many right now.

It’s been a difficult year in publishing and it has shaken many authors to their souls. Many have considered hanging up their author hats because of low sales and the closings of most notable publishers – Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing and All Romance eBooks. Regardless of why they closed (at least for two of them who took author’s monies and ran away), it’s disheartening to see this happen. The cause overall is low sales. Across the board, there is suffering from this factor. All authors are feeling it – whether self-pubbing or hybrid (authors who do both). Many say that love makes the world go round. I’m a realist, and let’s face it, money makes the world go round. People need it to live on and nothing in this life comes for free.

What blows in all this mayhem of author’s self-doubts and reevaluations the most is the stories we may lose from these very talented authors. It’s heartbreaking to hear of those who have stories to tell who won’t share them with the world any longer. Being an artist, a creative soul – of art, writing, music – is that the heart and soul of these individuals all have stories to tell with their crafts. If they can’t do that and profit from it, unfortunately, it can be damaging to their happiness and stifling creativity can lead to depression and loss of value in oneself. The loss of trust in those who were running businesses and supposedly working with the authors’ best interests (and abiding contracts) is inexcusable and can feel like we’ve gone 20 rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard. I have had the experience myself, lost hundreds of dollars and had to jump through hoops and land mines to get rights back to books when the publisher breached contracts. It was heartbreaking and stressful. And while it was agony and I didn’t want to deal with any of it any longer, my characters continued talking, my heart ached for stories that I wanted to write and I forged on. For the words, the characters, the writing I needed to do.

Many authors have lost faith in this business due to the publishers who have taken their money and been dishonest, stomped all over contracts and treated them like shit. It is so frustrating at the dishonesty we’ve seen as of late. I can’t blame any authors for wanting to run for the hills and who want to protect what stories they do have. It’s become a cruel business for many, in a lot of ways, but I do hope with all my heart that every author – aspiring or with a catalogue of a hundred titles – can find the median they need in order to continue writing. There are stories within all of us that need to be told.

I encourage any authors doubting themselves or the business to ponder all sides. Sales may be down, but is it only the money you’re after? If it is, well that’s your business, and while I believe it’s doing it for the incorrect reasons, remember the artistry in your soul. Do you wish to reach people with your stories, have that creativity inside you that you wish to share? If you simply wish to write stories then do so. True authors can’t go long without writing a story, can’t stop hearing those characters in their heads and their hearts bursting with stories that must be told. That is the main reason why authors need to forge on. KEEP WRITING.

If some wish to take the time to sit back, reevaluate the business and recharge after so many blows, then do so. But never stop writing. Write until your WIP folder is full. Always keep that storyteller in you alive. And one day, six months or two years from now, you’ll have succeeded in honoring yourself and created stories and worlds that are full of passion and adventure, and you’ll want to enter this business again. I’m all for taking that time away from this business, but never stop writing. This business changes daily, with many hills and valleys. But a creative mind/soul never stops. Do not close the door to this business completely.

I know many authors are still struggling with decisions about the business and if it’s worth it. I wish them all the best of luck, I really do. And I pray that they never give up completely. True artistry needs to be explored and stories need to be told. Authors, as I said, aspiring or otherwise, write the stories alive inside you and then find the path in publishing that is best for you and honors the work you’ve created. But keep writing.

 

Until next week,
KEEP WRITING!

Kacey (2)