What If. . .

what if

 

This quote was posted on The Writer’s Circle, a group that posts about writing stuff on Facebook (click the picture to go to their page). It inspired a conversation among my writer friends, in which one friend told me about a “what if?” writer’s conference she attended. The speaker gave them the following writing prompt:

  • In 12 words or less, starting with “what if” ,  charismatically describe your book so everyone will want to buy and and read it.

Sounds simple enough. But here’s the funny bit-it’s not. 

Here is what I came up with for The Gatestone Chronicles: Fayling

  • What if you were the only person who could fix magic?

It isn’t a bad sentence, but would it sell my book? It doesn’t really hit at the real story, does it?

Okay, let’s try again.

  • What if a human could save the universe from fairies?

Hmm. I like that one better. Closer to what the book is about, but it vilifies the fay a bit too much.

One more time.

  • What if saving one life could magically alter the course of fate?

Okay, well it isn’t perfect, but to be fair I have to keep it to twelve words, so it will do.

 

What about you reader? Tell me what you came up with in the comments below. Happy Writing!

What I Am Up To

I know, I know, it is really late in the day and I should have posted much sooner. But wait until you hear about what I spent my day doing (then you might forgive my flakeyness). Since it is summertime, my good pal Kristin Swartfager is out of school (she works at a preschool), at which point she switches hats from teaching young-ins to illustrating and arting up the place.

Curoius?

 

I knew you would be. Here is a taste:

Yarn for title page

Yup. It’s a ball of yarn. This is one of many adorably irresistible images that will appear in our first collaboration, Timmy Tommy Tum. It is a picture book with a rhyming story about a human-like kitten who refuses to go to sleep. Yes, it is for children.

The reason (and my excuse) for being so un-bloggy today is because Kristin and I spent the day refining our work. You will see the results of our cooperation very soon.  Until then, bask in the cuteness of the characters she drew to represent us in all of the books (yes, there will be several more to come) we do together specifically for kids.

KS&AL (1)In other news, my webpage got an update. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here: authoralsant.com

I will give you updates as our happy partnership produces more awesomeness. Until then, Happy reading!

 

Plot Decisions

love triangle copy

 

 

Ah, to romance, or not to romance? That is the question I have been presented with this week.

You see, I was aiming at a urban fantasy without any lovey dovey stuff. Partly because I was afraid my attempt at literary smootchy-smootchy would end up super cheesy, but also because I wanted to focus on Jeremy-my leading fellow- and not who he is kissing. I have invented a politically unstable world, and thus far I have focused heavily on that. But as you may know, writers invent characters, and then those characters seem to do whatever the heck they want to do, regardless of your original intentions. So now I find myself battling the seemingly natural progression of a budding relationship between two of my people.

I took the issue to several of my writing buddies, and a funny thing happened. None of them had an issue with an underlying romance. Nobody thought it was cheesy. Most of them didn’t know why I was even asking, thinking I’d done it on purpose. Do you know what did happen? I got pretty divided camps on who Jeremy should end up with.

Huh.

As it it turns out, I have written myself a bit of a love triangle, without realizing I had done it. So I had a choice. Let it work itself out as I go along, or try and snuff it out. When I talked to my hubby about destroying the bit of romance, he protested. Loudly. I got a stern, “what does it matter if there is romance in it?” lecture. Oh, and he tried to say he didn’t care which girl Jeremy ended up with, but he had a lot more positive things to say about the witch. . .

Sooooo. . .

Apparently the romance stays. But I am going to blow some stuff up. You know, just to compensate. =)

 

 

 

Progress report

I have known for some time that Fayling belonged to a series that has been forming in my head. I am pleased to announce that series has found a title, The Gatestone Chronicles. Fayling will be book one. I have commissioned artwork for the cover and secured an editor, so I can safely promise you will see it in print before summer is over. Work on Fayling began a long time ago, but I have learned to work more efficiently, and to feed the creative monster that lives in my brain. As a result, years worth of work are finally seeing real results.

With this new found method of writing, I can comfortably promise my readers that book two of The Gatestone Chronicles- which I will not name until closer to it’s completion- will be released sometime in 2016.

Between book one and two, I am working on a collaborative project with my artist friend from Nitsirk’s Grotto. I will give you more info on this project as plans solidify.

So that’s what I am up to reader. What are you working on?

April M. Reign

radio graphic

Today I would like to share a radio blog interview of a new acquaintance of mine, April M. Reign. If you have not heard about her yet, you will. She is an extremely prolific writer, and she offers great advice that has already helped me focus and produce work I can be proud of. The best part: She is completely self-published, and an Amazon Bestseller. So when I say she has great advice, I say so based on her impressive resume as well as personal experience.

Around the 28 minute mark in the interview she starts talking about her upcoming free info sharing programs (such as webinars) that will help new and inspiring authors through the entire publishing process. When I hear more from her about that, I will definitely share it with you, and I’m sure it will pop up on her website.

Click on the radio bar image above to listen to the interview (you will be taken to another webpage).

If you are interested in reading any of her work (and you should be) you can go to her website at:

www.aprilmreign.com

-or-

click on the picture below to go to her Amazon page to see a list of her available books.

April's book

Use of image graciously permitted by April M. Reign

Judie Mare, Poetically Incorrect

Here we are again, and I have yet another writer to throw in the pile of awesomeness. For my poetry loving reader, I introduce Judie Mare, and her new book Poetically Incorrect, available on Amazon.com (click the picture below) If you recall, a few weeks ago I talked about  a friend I was helping  navigate the world of CreateSpace. I am by no means an expert, but it turned out pretty cool. Judie is a talented wordsmith, and I encourage you to pick up a copy, if you are poetically oriented.

judie's cover copy

I Write, You Write, We All Write Books!

Writing is a challenging thing. There are always a million other things to do. There are always a thousand reasons not to.

I may not be any good.I don’t have time. So-and-so thought that this was a bad idea. Oh, but what if I’m terrible at spelling? I never took creative writing in school. I don’t have a degree in literature.

Ignore all that. Sit down, and pen the idea- or type it. I don’t care how, just do it. You are good enough, your ideas are worthy, and screw so-and-so. All that other stuff doesn’t matter. Writers come from all walks of life, and in a rainbow of colors. If you have the desire to write, and the ability is there, the other stuff can be taught. Grammar can be corrected. But there is only one you, nobody else will do what you can.

Stop making excuses, and write you darn book. Go on, right now. Do it!

Opinions, and Where to Put Them.

As you know, I live off in my own world, full of fairies, monsters, and creatures of my own invention. I like living this way, and I have no intentions of my work reflecting anything that isn’t me.  I’m weird, and I’m aware of it. It showed through in Tilted Tales, and it will shine equally as bright in Fayling (my pending novel).

Now, when I share my work for critique, I get lots of great advice and encouragement from my fellow group members. But I sometimes get critics who just don’t like my genre. They question a characters abilities, and try to enforce real-world physics into my book. “that’s not possible,” one person will say “a character cannot be all powerful” another will say. Yes, because being able to move walls means nothing can ever harm you. It’s an ability, my friend. Not all mighty perfection. Magic is supposed to be unexpected, and put the super  in supernatural. Their problem is not with my style, by the subject matter. And that is just fine; clearly they are not my target demographic.

Thank god J.K. Rowling didn’t listen to any such advice.

Feeling the way I did about the review of my current chapters, something occurred to me. I am always encouraging other writers to seek out and listen to the advice of other writers. I may have left an important tidbit of advice out of that sentiment:

Don’t stifle your own voice because someone doesn’t like your theme. Listen to the grammar corrections, and the honest concerns about your plot. But take the opinions of the people who don’t like the subject matter (and judge the work accordingly) and place their opinion on the shelf, where it belongs. Your writing is yours. Don’t let anyone try to change that.

Writers Helping Writers

I’ve talked about socializing and networking with other writers before, and today I would like to expand on that thought.

Recently I have been helping a friend with the formatting on her poetry book (You know I will blog about it when it is released). I’m certainly not an expert, but I am fairly well versed in several different book-related computer programs. I am always volunteering myself to teach people to use Microsoft word if they need help with it, among other things. I firmly believe if you have a bit of practical knowledge you should share it. When I finished my book my friend asked for my help with hers. She was having a hard time getting her book Create Space friendly, and of course I was happy to lend a hand-especially since I had the helping hand of a good friend with my own works. I’m happy to say it is coming along nicely- and bonus: in helping her I figured out a few new shortcuts I did not know before.

I can’t say this enough: Be a member of the writing community. There are tons of resources available for free, be it a blog, book, or video. But the strongest and most beneficial help you will ever receive is going to be from one-on-one interactions with other writers.  In my case, I take important editing advice from my writing group, from other bloggers, from online writing friends I have made, and from friends and family who read my work. You never know when someone random in your life will have that touch of expertise that you desperately need. Nobody is perfect, and nobody knows everything right out the gate. For anyone who wishes to be successful at any level, you must reach out to other writers, for about a million different reasons. It would take me weeks to write down every single benefit to having writer friends. Seriously.

If you really need an example to convince you, here it is: Saving my book to be suitable for Kindle was problematic for me- the words all mushed together, and all of my carefully plotted out spacing just went up in an unimpressive, underwhelming poof. I was venting this frustration to another writer, and he told me I was saving the file in the wrong format. That’s it. Drop down menu, one click. Entire problem solved with one sentence, just because I knew the right person, and said the right thing, at the right time.

So find a group, be it online or in person, and start meeting people. You can only benefit from the social networking, and you may prevent yourself from slowly morphing into a library troll. Nobody looks good with green skin.

Happy writing!