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)

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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)

Mood & ‘tude #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Good morning one and all, it’s that time again. To turn your clocks ahead (oops! needed to edit this) one hour if you are among the unlucky stuck with Daylight Savings. An outdated, and in my opinion, useless practice that maybe made sense at one point, but seems to be nothing more than a major pain in the derriere now. If they wanted to make it less painful, they should actually put it in the middle of a Monday – at least in Spring – who wouldn’t mind losing an hour off their Monday?

All right, enough moping, onto the post.

MOOD:  1 A temporary state of mind or feeling; 1.1 The atmosphere or pervading tone of something ~ Oxford online dictionary

ATTITUDE:  1 A settled way of thinking or feeling about something; 1.1 A position of the body indicating a particular mental state; 2 Truculent or uncooperative behavior ~ Oxford online dictionary

We authors are always trying to paint a certain mood with our stories. Whether it’s making the reader laugh, cry, or sit on the edge of their seats with tension, our goal is to create something the reader can’t help but get swept up into. Easy to do? Hell to the no it’s not! But every now and again the planets and stars align.

Then there is attitude, easy enough to portray with your characters actions and words, but there is a fine line of going too far or not far enough. No author wants a wishy-washy character who’s boring or dull, but you also don’t want a character that everyone is disgusted by or straight up hates. Unless they are the bad guy/gal in the story or the character to be reformed, then go for it. Make them reviled for every metaphorical breath they take. Have your readers hoping, and rooting for their demise.

Now there is the combination. Getting the right mood that works with the attitude’s you’re bringing to the scene, and vice versa. If one part is off it creates a disjointed scene that interrupts the entire flow to the story you’re telling. Learning to blend them in the right proportions does take time, and also takes listening to your beta readers and editors. They will help you to navigate these treacherous waters, and keep everything on the straight and narrow.

What may help you best is visualization of the scene. Put yourself into the mindset of the character, in that scene, and go from there. Not easy, but with time you’ll train your brain to do it and it’ll come faster, and easier with each story you write. This includes every character from your mains, to your antagonist, to the next door neighbor, to the individual at their “favorite” coffee house taking orders. The better you can picture them the better you can write them and create the realism that will help your readers view them as “real”.

So visualize the mood of your scene, get your character’s attitude geared up, and write. While there will be tweaks to be made – there always are – go with whatever you/they are feeling in that moment. You never know what might come about, or what you may create. Get your feels on folks.

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.

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

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

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

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

* Quoted from Quora
^ Quoted from Wikipedia.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XO Moira Callahan

Black and white image of loving couple in a bad.

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

 

Recipe for a Book Blurb with Less Fat, More Flavor #HumpDayHangout with @JulesofTripleR

Recipe for a tasty book blurb with less fat, more flavor.

recipe-for-a-blurb

I’m going to say a word that will make some—maybe the majority of—writers cringe.

Blurb.

No, that’s not a bodily noise like a belch or a burp.

In case you’re not familiar, a book blurb is the well-organized and expressive words that a make a reader fall in love with your book. It’s the description of what was written. A succinct and interesting representation of say 20,000 words? 50,000 words? Or maybe even 100,000 plus words … in 50 to 150 words.

Yes, it’s taking what took thousands of words to communicate and shrinking it down to only a few sacred and poignant words.

Blurb is another word for hell. Of that I’m positive.

So yesterday, I sat with a new writer who had polished her brand new 15,000-word baby to a sparkling shine, ready to submit to a publisher, so excited and starry-eyed, and then I showed her the joys of writing…the blurb.

And she loved it!

I’m kidding.

She agreed that it was a pain just above having a bikini wax after allowing four months of winter growth down there. And those authors who love doing it, they are indeed a special breed—of crazy. But love you crazies!

However, blurbs are a necessary and required agony that comes with writing.

So here’s how we started.

First, we looked for blurbs of popular books in her genre that spoke to us on Amazon. What did they all have in common? I found three things.

  1. The blurbs were brief and informative. Ones that were longer seemed over-done.
  2. The blurbs used lots of figurative language but gave real details as well.
  3. The blurbs kept the reader guessing, and in the end, wanting to know more.

So we worked together to create a blurb for her submission, and in the end, it was fun. Kind of.

Here would be my recipe for a romance blurb. Note, it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing. It’s a recipe that’s meant to be flavored with your seasonings. Baked in your brain oven, and served only when you’ve trimmed, plated, and decorated it into a beautiful presentation. In other words—don’t rush it! Take your time. Run it by a couple of other authors. We’re here to help—really!

Jules’ Recipe for a Blurb.

  1. Character XYZ before their conflict, little about them. What’s happening in their world?
  2. Then something happens to change their life/ideas/perspective/plans/efforts Whatever it is, it’s big!
  3. Then life gets worse! And the character is required to make a decision.
  4. Can the character change/find happiness/make amends before it’s too late?

So for example, I’ll use the blurb from Chaps: Cherry County Cowboys 2.

  1. Where does he start?

Rising rodeo star Nate O’Neill never expected to be living in a small Nebraska ranching town waiting for his rodeo brother to recover from a vicious ride.

Poor Nate, he’s all alone in a strange town. What will he do?

  1. What changes in his life?

His unplanned stop steers him into the arms and bed of local celebrity, Tennessee Reed.

Oh, so he’ll do Tennessee! What fun!

  1. How does it get worse?

Soon he questions what thrills him more—the rodeo or Tenn.

No rodeo? Gasp! But he’s a cowboy! What has that NFL football player done to him?!

  1. Will he change to find his happiness?

Forced to face his reckless past, he’s reminded that relationships can cause damage far worse than any bull ride … and maybe he’s headed for the same suffering again.

So he’s been hurt in the past, will he see that this time is different? That’s something a reader must read the book to find out.

Then I did the same for the other main character in the book, Tennessee Reed.

Professional football draft-pick Tennessee Reed returns home emotionally shattered by the unexpected passing of his father who left Tenn with a hereditary secret buried in his chest. He might be dying inside, but when Nate walks into his life all Tenn’s troubles seem to disappear into those hazel eyes and he’s never felt more alive. Will Tenn follow the cowboy wherever life leads? Or will he protect his heart and watch those fringed leather chaps ride away?

So there you have it! Now, go write your blurb and make it yours.

Hugs to all…and don’t forget! It’s HUMP DAY!

hump-day-bitches

Hump Day Meme Credit

 

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

Edit or Regret It! #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Until next week,

Happy writing! xo

Kacey (2)

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