Writing Inspiration #WickedWednesday #HumpDayHottie @KaceyHammell

 

Wednesdays

Good morning.  Happy Wednesday and Happy Hump Day.

I have been blessed the last few days of frantic inspiration in my writing so my post will be short and straight to the point. It actually feels like a Wacky Wednesday to me. I am currently writing a new story that is coming at me in weird waves. Scenes, dialogue that aren’t quite in order exactly, and moments from the story that come in flashes. This has never happened to me before, and although I have written many scenes within my notebooks when on the go, this one only wants to be written in long hand. Boggles other authors’ minds, I know, but sometimes the process is different for some. Whatever works right?

So because I’ve been so focused on what I have been writing, and researching wolves since this will be my first wolfie shifter, I didn’t have a long or witty post for today. I haven’t really come up for air a lot. And even though I’m sure I’ll be able to patch my new words/scenes together at some point, I can’t knock that I am getting words in. In this weird way, but at least there’s no writer’s block.

I leave you today with some inspiration. Hopefully everyone is writing up a storm and enjoying what they love most.wed2

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(Source of all photos: Pinterest)

And I also leave you with my current inspiration for my hero (Theo James) who is my Hump Day Hottie too.

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey xoxo

 


 

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 knew 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?

Measure Your Own Success #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here, with my thoughts on Success.

 

In particular how you define success. And you know, this will be different for everyone, and if you start comparing yourself to other authors, well, then, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed.

There will always be someone who is more successful, or who you perceive to be more successful. And you know this whole successful thing is relative.

Yes, I think we can all agree that there are those authors, the ones that immediately spring to mind, because everyone has read them, or at least has heard of them.

You’ll find them in every bookstore, on posters in public transport etc.

Fame and success right there, I guess.

I’m not talking those authors, however. I’m talking you and me, the average run of the mill person, who also happens to be an author.

How do we define our success?

Well, the obvious one is to look at your sales. I just did an interesting exercise of working out my average sales per book with both of my publishers. It was a rather eye-opening experience, and it made it clear to me where I should be sending the majority of my books in future.

I’ve gone with my gut on these things in the past, but as hubby reminded me this is a business, and it deserves a calculated approach. In my case a calculator-wielding hubby, lol. Seriously, I’m useless with numbers.

So, that is certainly one way to measure your success. However, if you only look at your sales, you will probably end up disappointed. It goes back to there will always be someone who sells more than you do.

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I don’t believe money can ever be your sole motivation to write. If it is, you will a) end up disappointed, or far worse, b) sell your soul and integrity to the devil, and simply churn out things that you know will sell.

And that, my lovelies would be a such a shame. Of course, we all need to eat, and if you write full time with no other income, then yes, to a certain extent you will have to do that.

No judgment here. Every one of us authors defines their own career paths, and what is right for one will not be right for the other.

However, if you’re one of the multitudes of authors who write in addition to an evil day job, or to simply contribute to the family income like I am, then you can be more discerning in how you define your success.

To me, in its simplest form success means being a published author. Every time I type those magic two words – The End – I get such a buzz. It’s  hard to describe if you’re not an author, that sense of achievement.

Then there is that magic moment you get your publisher’s e-mail to say they would like to publish the book. The buzz of release day, and the oh so precious reader comments.

Never underestimate the power of that. A reader saying they enjoyed your story. That you lifted them up on a bad day. Even if that book tanks, to know that you reached that one reader… success in my book.

So, be who you need to be, and define your own success, peeps.

Make Your Dreams Happen

That’s all from me today, folks.

Do stay naughty and count your blessings. You’re more successful than you think!

D xxx

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.

The #99cent Decision #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

Wednesdays
Good morning everyone! Kacey here, and I wish you all a wonderful Wednesday. The temperatures have been so amazing here in my area of Ontario, Canada. The sunshine has felt wonderful on my face, and we’ve had some rainy days, but the rise in temps and seeing the sun more days than not, makes up for it.

This week I want to talk about something that can stir the pot with many people in this industry. Things can get pretty heated amongst authors about the 99 cent pricing on ebooks. There happened to be a kerfuffle on social media recently that I added my opinion to, by a fairly well-known author’s (depends on  the genre you read) who expressed a serious snarl about some authors having so many books in their catalogue for 99 cents, and how the industry was suffering because of this factor.

Now, adding myself to the mix since I have a book for 99 cents, which has always been in my catalogue for that amount, I took this seriously. The word count on my book is just shy of 10,000 words. Why would I want my readers paying more than that for a story at such a low word count? It’s a second to a series (the first always free), and I like to use the 2 short stories to readers who haven’t read my work before. I don’t want to give them all away for free, and having these 2 in my backlist has worked, I’ve had readers comment that they found me because of these stories and they searched for more, and found the longer, more pricier titles.

I’m all for having an opinion in this business, everyone has one and is entitled to it. However, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when some authors scream “wrong” when another author chooses to take a path they don’t agree with. The author I mentioned above who was quite vocal about the subject, said things like “this is destroying our industry”, “it’s bribing readers and sadly devalues the books” with regards to the 99 price point. Hell, over a decade ago there wasn’t bitching and fighting about ebooks and smaller publishers destroying the industry.

Hmm, look at things now…

But back on topic — yes, sales are down across the board, a lot of authors are second-guessing this as a career and my heart goes out to them, but honestly, who are we to dictate to another author how they run their business? And this is a business. The path I choose may not work for another author, vice versa, yada yada yada. So why does anyone have to make statuses with all caps,  and make disparaging remarks without knowing the author’s reasons for putting his/her books at 99 cents? We don’t pay their bills, don’t walk in their shoes or know their struggles. Some authors put their books at that price when they are just starting out and want to have the exposure to run ads in newsletters, etc. Perhaps they simply want to offer their books at a low price all the time for his/her readership? God forbid an author writes for the love of the art and giving readers – who may have health issues or are unable to spend much on books – something affordable?  Don’t be so quick to pass judgment on others.

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My lower priced titles will remain at their price, and out of more than a dozen stories in my backlist catalogue, it’s not that big of a deal. I don’t find it devaluing my work because the reasons are mine to do so and I love every story that comes from my heart and soul. Perhaps people who shouldn’t, again, pass judgment on people they know nothing about. Just because a story is 99 cents does NOT mean it’s because the author devalues his/her work. That is, in my opinion, the issues of others who want to belittle others.

And while the industry is very saturated and it’s difficult to get noticed or to always be a best-selling author, every author has to follow their own path. Again, it is their decision to run their business as they see fit. Also, another point is if a book is 99 cents, an author only sets the price is they are self-publishing.  Publishers have control over pricing and often have sales running to spotlight a new release, which is part of a series or simply to try some new marketing strategies.

But authors should be standing united without anyone telling them what is wrong or right. Every author has their own opinion on what success is and how they should run their business. Perhaps we should all root for everyone and write more books instead of bashing others?

Sounds like a plan to me…

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey xo

 


 

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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Let’s get real #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here with a hefty dose of realism today. I apologize in advance if this turns a bit ranty, but I’m just sick to the back teeth with people’s attitudes to writing.

Many of us quillers on here have touched on the general slump which seems to prevail in sales these days. Not a day goes by it seems, when you hear of another author who hangs up the writing head.

I always shake my head in wonder.

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Maybe, I’m just being naive, and of course, I’m not walking in that person’s shoes and there are no doubt a multitude of reasons why a person stops writing, but I just don’t get it.

Writers write. It’s what we do. I know I don’t feel right when I don’t have characters in my head clambering to have their story told. Then again, from as far back as I can remember I’ve spun stories in my head. Imagine my surprise when I found out that some people didn’t do that.

The number of times I was told off for daydreaming in class is unreal. Even nowadays, I can be lost in my own world, and you know I like it there. You’re never lonely when you are constantly concocting stories and get to live a thousand lives. Be that as the characters you write about, or the characters you read about in a book.

I’ve always felt sorry for people who don’t get that enjoyment from immersing yourself in a book.

I digress, however.

So, how then can anyone simply stop writing?

Oh, don’t get me wrong I get the financial reasons behind it. How could I not? Do you think it’s cheap bringing up nine children and assorted furbabies in the south east of the UK?

I can tell you, it’s not. Far from it. Hubby and I had to tighten our belts on more than one occasion, and that’s okay. We chose to have a large family, and we stand by our choices. Hubby has always worked his socks off to support us all, and I have always worked in one form or another to help out with the family income.

At one point, when we had just the two kids, I was actually earning more than him.

*smiles*

However, all I ever wanted was to be a mum at home with her kids and when that day finally came, I was beside myself with excitement. I still worked, in one form or another, mind you, always around the kids and driving myself ragged.

Fast forward quite a few years, and hubby’s work situation changed to such a degree that we could manage on just his wage, and I was free to pursue a life long dream.

 

I had stories that I wanted to share with the world, and the fact that readers out there want to read said stories still gives me the most amazing thrill.

That’s why I’m writing. Not for fame, status, money or whatever else you can think of. Certainly not to become a USA or NYT Bestseller, nice though that would be. And should I ever make it on one of those lists, you’ll hear me squealing about it like a loon, for sure.

Could I live off my writing? Heck NO! But then, very few writers can and you know what, that’s okay. For me, at least, writing was never about the money.

Sure, I love a healthy royalty cheque as much as the next writer, but Hubby and I long ago decided that this writing business is far too fickle a mistress to ever be able to rely on it as a source of income.

Sure, there are those writers that do and kudos to them, but I don’t need that pressure in my life. As it happens I do sell well and I make a nice enough contribution to the family coffers, which means that we don’t have to tighten our belts quite as much as we used to.

A big thank you to my lovely readers here!

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I can see you all roll your eyes now. Well, that is all well and good for you Doris, as you don’t have to live on your writing. Not all of us have a hubby to support us. No, of course, you don’t, and that’s why the majority of writers have an Evil Day Job that actually pays the bills.

Trust me, if my sales ever drop that low as to not help us out anymore, then I, too, will have to seriously think about going back to some form of paid employment, but, does that stop me from continuing writing?

No, it wouldn’t. Writing is in my blood, always has been, always will be, and while my productivity might drop right down, I would still be writing.

Like I said, I can only speak for myself, and I’m not walking in that author’s shoes who makes the decision to stop.

I do feel sad for those that do.

This is a tough business and hugely oversaturated market, but there will always be room for good stories, and writers write.

Just do so with realistic expectations. If you’re looking to get rich, then this is not the career for you. However, if you’ve got stories inside of you burning to be told, then take a deep breath and dive right back in.

Tell the stories on your heart, and if you do manage to get some success then don’t let it get to your head. Likewise, if you don’t or you only sell mediocre whereas others, in your eyes, far less talented authors, soar….

Well, the green-eyed monster gets to us all, yes even me. I shake my head and I bitch and moan about the unfairness of it all in private as much as the next person, but, you know, it’s a wasted emotion.

It really is. Even for authors right at the top of their game, there will always be someone who sells more, is more popular etc.

This isn’t kindergarten, folks.  Life isn’t fair. Deal with it.

Instead of getting sucked into that negative spiral chose to be different. Stay and think positive, and write. That is the only thing you have any control over. And for goodness sakes be grateful. It is such an incredible privilege to be able to write a story, to have a publisher wanting your work and to have readers spend their hard earned cash on you.

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That’s all from me today, folks, but before I go…

Stop groaning in that corner!  😉

You’ll notice some changes around here because we had a little shuffle around.  Some of us Quillers are taking some time out, so we had a bit of a restructure.

So, your future schedule on this blog will look like this.

Monday: Jules Dixon

Tuesday: Yours truly

Wednesday: Kacey Hammell

Thursday: Raven McAllan

Friday: Moira Callahan

Saturday and Sunday, you can take a breather from us. We’re nice like that, folks.

Now, get outta here, but do stay naughty. 😉

D xxx

 

 

 

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)