Friday, December 30, 2011

Global Warming? End of the World? Or......

Just really nice weather? I gotta say, I'll take it any way I can get it. This December has been the warmest in my memory, and I didn't have to trudge through snow and slush to clean out my chicken coup, or help my kids down the hill to their bus stop. Yet, oddly enough, I still hear people saying it's because the world will end in the year 2012...is that such a bad thing?

Here's how I see it: those of us who believe in a higher power will be in whatever Heaven or Nirvana we were promised (except those of you who killed innocents in order to jump to the front of the line), and those who don't will go *poof* into non-existence. No more bills. No more stress. No more illness. No more pain, or evil, hate or sadness. It's that really such a bad thing?

Then, of course, there are those who believe it's the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse. Fortunately for me, I've watched tons of movies about zombies, and read twice as many books. I can survive any type of supernatural attack! Oooh, but what about you? Will you be running for the hills, searching for Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, and Jessie Eisenberg? Or will you become a Shane from Walking Dead and let your morals disappear, killing anyone to save your own ass...even if you don't have a family while the other guy does?

As for me and my family, we'll be hunkered down here, with all our critters, burning wood in the fireplace for heat, eating our chickens and their eggs to survive. Okay, so that sounds a little lacking in variety, but it's better than eating our dogs...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Goodnight!

It's officially Christmas Eve, and I'm as excited as my kids are for the annual festivities. One slight problem; the Christmas party has been cancelled for the first time in thirty eight years due to an idiot in the family. Have not fear, Momma Claus is here.


I will never allow anything or anyone to ruin Christmas for me. My Lord and Savior was born regardless of who does what, and my kids will still have gifts to open, as will my nephews and nieces. There is no better joy for me than watching a child (more specifically, those in my family) open a gift I lovingly picked out just for them.

So, if the party is cancelled, what shall I do? I'll tell you what I'm going to do- I'm going to shower, put on some makeup and some goofy Christmas jewelry. Then, I'm going to load the kids, and the gifts into the car and head out to my family. First, my sister's house. I can't wait to see my nephews' expressions when they open their gifts. Then, I'll head to my mom's where the kids will open the gifts grandma chose for them.


Okay, so there will be no chocolate chip cookies, no rye bread and dill dip, no sandwiches and relish tray. There will, however, still be joy. There will still be gifts. There will still be love.

 I don't need no stinking party!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What the F*ck is Going On?!

Normally I blog about things to do with writing. You know; tips, links, inspiration, etc. Sorry to say, today I'm going to be on a soap box.

Another news report came out today about a 24 year old man raping, slapping and burning a one year old girl with cigarettes. He then persuaded a 15 year old to have sex with him. Just last week a mother beat her thirteen month old son to death because he wouldn't stop crying and go back to sleep. She was hung over and wanted to sleep in. Then, the infamous case of Casey Anthony murdering her beautiful little girl, Caylee.

Why?! Why is this happening? I asked my husband his opinion and he thinks it's because of all the instant sources of news. It just gets more attention. I don't think that's the case. I think it's way more prevalent.

I have never given birth to a child, yet I'm the mother of three beautiful kids. Never would I even think about beating one of my kids. Have I slapped them on the behind? You bet I have. Have I ever closed my fist and punched one of my kids because I was hung over and wanted to sleep? HELL NO!

I keep going over these atrocities in my head. Is it from the easy access of pornography? No longer to you have to hide your face and go into an adult book store. A few clinks on the Internet, and viola! You got yourself some porn.

Maybe it's because of the whole 'you're okay, I'm okay' mentality. Or perhaps because society as a whole refuses to make children accountable for their actions or give them any responsibilities. Maybe it's because of the entitlement mentality. 'I deserve this!'

I'm sure the ACLU's habit of protecting criminals isn't helping. There was a story I read of the ACLU claiming death by lethal injection was cruel because the man in question would feel the discomfort of the needle going into his arm. This same man was sentenced to death for brutally raping and murdering a three old girl. In my opinion, the death penalty was entirely too easy.

Why isn't society as a whole demanded more from our government as far as protecting the children? Why aren't we beating on doors and demanding they severely punish anyone who would not only molest or rape a child, but abuse them in any manner. If a human being is capable of beating a baby to death, or raping a child, is this really someone we want breathing the same air as the rest of us?

And here's another thought; where are the vigilantes we always here about? I'm not saying I condone murder, but I have to admit...I wouldn't shed a tear if some piece of shit baby raper was beat to within an inch of his life on some city street.

I know you all have opinions on what is happening. And I'm sure there's more than one of you who will say I'm evil or a sinner for wanting these monsters to suffer. Here's you chance to sound off....the comment board is all yours!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Rose by Any Other Name....

Wouldn't be a rose now, would it?! Seriously, though, what is in a name? At least, what's in a character's name? I've written and completed four novels, all of whom have names that I'm very happy with. Each of the characters came by their names in different ways; a name of a friend, heard the name on TV, or (my favorite) derived from a candy bar. However, recently one of my characters decided that he no longer wanted to be a Choctaw with long black hair and black eyes. Nope, now he wants to be a white male with short brown hair and dark blue eyes (think Sam Worthington). What?! I made you, you can't change your mind. Oh no, it doesn't stop there. Nope, he no longer wants the name Jason.

So here's the point of the story....I'm having a hell of a time naming him. I posed the question on Facebook and have received over thirty names. Yet none of them are good enough for the hero of my book. Christy, the characters aren't real, honey. They're just a figment of your imagination. Oh, yeah, try telling that to them.

How do you come up with names for your characters? Do you have a list of your favorites? Do you pick from baby name books? Maybe the websites? Or do you let them tell you their name? I'm dying to know how other authors "develop" their characters. And not just the main ones, but the secondary ones, as well.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Best Internet Time Wasters.....

Those of us who write full time (no, I don't make a living doing it, yet. I'm a stay at home mom, so I write a majority of the day) always have ways to waste time instead of writing. Following is a list of some of my favorite sites where I waste time. Having said that, I should also mention I have found some of the best writing information and advice at some of these site, so I guess they weren't a complete waste of time.


1. facebook - Of course, I linked you to my fan page, but obviously that's not where I spend the most time. However, I'm an opportunist...head over, like my page, then hang out for a while. This site is where I connect with friends, family, fans, and of course, fellow writers.
2. Twitter - Here's another place where I get some info from fellow writers, editors, agents, publishers, and of course, celebrities. I don't find this site as engrossing as others, but I can see how people can become hooked on it.
3. Absolute Write Water Cooler - This site is nothing but a HUGE source of info! Any question you can imagine writing related can be answered by people in this forum. There's categories for everything. I tend to spend a lot of time in these threads!

4. Writers Digest - If you pay for a subscription you'll get lists constantly of pubs, agents, etc who are currently accepting submissions. I subscribed once, but now I just traipse through the forum. Another place with gobs of info.

5. The Writers Cave - Who doesn't like looking into other people's windows? Okay, that sounded creepy. What I mean is, who wouldn't want to see the work space of their favorite author. Paige Cuccaro has compiled dozens of authors' caves; I can spend a lot of time, and have in the past, just flipping through the pics, comparing work spaces of successfully published authors.
6. Nathan Bransford's blog - This former agent turned writer has a great blog. Everything from How to Write A Query, to his take on books. Mr. Bransford's blog is another site I find myself spending hours reading.
7. Query Shark - This site is just all around fun. Sure, it's informative, but I get a kick out of reading some of the really bad queries. Oh come on...you know we've all written a query to make you cringe! But don't worry; this site isn't just the bad American Idol auditions. She has very helpful info, as well as great critiques. She'll show you what works, what doesn't work, and why for both on all things query.


 
Well, that'll do for now. Don't want y'all to spend all day playing instead of working. You gotta keep your AIS, but that's not just to play on the Internet. Have a great day, and make it productive. The end of the month isn't that far away for you participating in NaNoWriMo!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guest Blog: A.E. Mableson "What is This Mysterious Process Called Writing?"

In keeping with writing blogs I present my next guest blog in the series. He was a little concerned about guest blogging as he isn't traditionally published...yet. Oh, don't worry. You'll see Mr. Mableson around soon. Until then, I've attached his website at the end of his post so you can read some of his short stories. Make sure you take a second to pop over and read a couple.

Without further adieu, A.E. Mableson...


What is this mysterious process called writing?


The question was prompted by a colleague who, upon reading one of my short stories, glanced up and asked, “How do you do it?”

My face, usually blank, must have been blanker.

With a flourish, she indicated the paper in her hand. “This writing? How do you do it? I couldn’t do it. How do you come up with a story like this?”

My answer was a shrug and a stammer. “I don’t know,” I said, “I just write. The stories come.”

This incident happened several months ago and I have yet to come up with a good answer to her question.

In the wee hours of the morning when the sun and the moon are still eyeing each other across opposite horizons the question still flits across my mind. How do we do it? How do we writers take pieces of this mosaic of words that we call a language and assemble them into a story?

I have done many different things in my life and building a story is like none of these things. I have built a house. With a house, you start with a plan. Using the plan, you assemble the lumber, plywood, doors, windows, pipes, wiring and shingles into this cohesive thing we call a house.

A story is different, though. I have no plan. I start with an idea, usually only a title or even a beginning sentence. My first novel, The Magic Pipe, had its infancy in smoke curling about my face as I enjoyed a cigar.

From this idea, the story flows. I tack words together into sentences, solder sentences together to form paragraphs, splice paragraphs into scenes and glue the scenes together to form chapters. A story emerges from this mass of thought and words. If a carpenter tried to build a house like this, he might end up with a boat or an airplane.

I am still at a loss. How does this process work? How do we writers do it?

As writers I am sure we all ponder this question. Are the stories just floating around in the air about us and our minds just latch onto them pull them in and we write them down?

Maybe the stories are just lurking within us, waiting for us to sit down and release them from their captivity in our brains.

In my case, stories have always surrounded me. My father and grandfather were inveterate storytellers. Family stories, passed from generation to generation, caressed my ears from infancy to adulthood. We lived on a farm near a small town. This town should have been too small for a library, but it had one. My mother took me to this library when I was small and soon tales like The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham captivated me. Later on the librarian guided me to the stories of Tom Swift, Jr. The Bobsey Twins and the Poppy Ott stories.

As I grew, so did my taste in fiction. Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Ray Bradbury, James Michener, J. R. R. Tolkien and more all line my bookshelves.

All writers, if they want to succeed, are readers. We read voraciously. Is this the source of our stories?

Do these stories that we read just float around inside our minds, forming and reforming themselves, until they finally spew out of our fingers in a new form? Could they be the fusion of our life experiences and our reading, the result of which surge out into the stories we write?

As I ponder the question I realize that it doesn’t really matter. What matters are the stories that we write. They are kind of like the flowers that grow in my garden. I don’t care how the plant took the sunlight from the sky, carbon dioxide from the air, nutrients in the soil and water from the rain which falls and use them to produce the flower. I just enjoy its color and fragrance.

Upon reflection, I guess I don’t care how or where the stories come from. I just enjoy writing them and I hope that people enjoy reading them.



You can read short stories by A.E. Mableson here.
Thank you to Mr. Mableson for joining me on my blog. You're absolutely brilliant!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Guest Post by Katie Salidas - How many more words do you have until you’re done writing that book?

For my first guest post, I'm joined by the incredibly talented, and beautiful Katie Salidas. Katie, thank you so much for participating. You can find her books and the many ways to stalk her at the end of the post. Without further adieu, Katie...



So my dad comes over the other day. He pokes his head into my makeshift office. He sees me typing away in a MSWord doc and asks, “How many more words do you have left until you’re done writing that book?”

“Oh probably 30k or so more words,” I said with a bit of a groan. I’d been working through a particularly hard scene and the words were not coming fast enough for my liking.

To that, my dad responded with, “Great. Can I get you to help me with some typing when you’re done?”

Dad’s question got me thinking. An author’s view of a word count is different than most people. Non-authors don’t really know what it’s like to write a book. It’s a creative process which is a very abstract concept to non-creative types. It’s not a matter of just hitting a word count. You can’t take my average words per minute typed and use that to estimate how long it would take to write an 80k novel. If that were the case, I’d be churning out stories by the truckload monthly! That would be pretty awesome though, wouldn’t it?

A lot of “writing time” (and I’m using myself as an example here) is spent staring at a blinking cursor, making odd faces at it while you work through a plot issue in your head. There are also many hours of research that need to be done for some stories. Distractions like: Email, Facebook, Twitter, and Message boards might have something to do with that too, but we’ll just ignore their influence for now. =p

For me, an average writing session can last anywhere from 1-3 hours, and in that time I may not get more than 1k words down on the paper.

Of course, some stories take longer than others to write. My first novel took 5 years. The second, only 6 months, but by the time I got to the fourth one, I was back up to taking a year to write it. Each story is like a living, breathing thing, which requires its own amount of time to grow and mature.

So, while I’m stating a word count goal to my dad, it’s really not a measure of how long it will take me, just an end result. Which means I won’t be getting out of helping him with his typing project any time soon. =p

Alas, a writer’s work is never done.

Thanks for reading, and if you want to check out my work, you can find me at

http://www.katiesalidas.com/




Immortalis Carpe Noctem (Book 1)

Becoming a vampire is easy. Living with the condition... that's the hard part.

Bleeding to death after brutal mugging, twenty-five year old Alyssa is rescued by the most unlikely hero: the handsome and aloof vampire, Lysander.

His gift of immortal blood initiates Alyssa into a frightening, eternally dark world filled with: bloodlust, religious fanaticism, and thousand-year old vendettas.

With Lysander as her guide, Alyssa will have to learn what it takes to survive in the immortal world. She'll have to find the strength to accept her new reality and carpe noctem; or give in, and submit to final death.


Hunters & Prey (Book 2)

Becoming a vampire saved Alyssa from death, but the price was high: the loss of everything and everyone attached to her mortal life. She’s still learning to cope when a surprise confrontation with Santino Vitale, the Acta Sanctorum’s most fearsome hunter, sends her fleeing back to the world she once knew, and Fallon, the friend she’s missed more than anything.

Alyssa breaks vampire law by revealing her new, true self to her old friend, a fact which causes strong division in the group that should support her most: her clan.

Pandora’s Box (Book 3)

After a few months as a vampire, Alyssa thought she’d learned all she needed to know about the supernatural world. But her confidence is shattered by the delivery of a mysterious package – a Pandora’s Box.

Seemingly innocuous, the box is in reality an ancient prison, generated by a magic more powerful than anyone in her clan has ever known. But what manner of evil could need such force to contain it?

When the box is opened, the sinister creature within is released, and only supernatural blood will satiate its thirst. The clan soon learns how it feels when the hunter becomes the hunted.

Powerless against the ancient evil, the clan flees Las Vegas for Boston, with only a slim hope for salvation. Could Lysander’s old journals hold the key? And what if they don’t?

And how welcome will they be in a city run by a whole different kind of supernatural being?

Werewolves…



To purchase the Immortalis books (In print and ebook):

Amazon USA

http://www.amazon.com/Katie-Salidas/e/B003APXXWO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Amazon UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Katie-Salidas/e/B003APXXWO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Amazon DE (Germany)

http://www.amazon.co.de/Katie-Salidas/e/B003APXXWO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Barnes & Noble

http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?WRD=katie+salidas&page=index&prod=univ&choice=allproducts&query=katie+salidas&flag=False&pos=-1&box=katie+salida&ugrp=2

Smashwords

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/KatieSalidas


About the Author:

KATIE SALIDAS



Katie Salidas is a Super Woman! Endowed with special powers and abilities, beyond those of mortal women, She can get the munchkin off to gymnastics, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, and swim lessons.  She can put hot food on the table for dinner while assisting with homework, baths, and bedtime… And, She still finds the time to keep the hubby happy (nudge nudge wink wink). She can do all of this and still have time to write.

And if you can believe all of those lies, there is some beautiful swamp land in Florida for sale…

Katie Salidas resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mother, wife, and author, she does try to do it all, often causing sleep deprivation and many nights passed out at the computer. Writing books is her passion, and she hopes that her passion will bring you hours of entertainment.

http://www.katiesalidas.com/

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How NOT to Succeed as an Author

How many articles have you seen on how to become a successful writer? Ten? Twenty? One hundred? I know I've personally scoured through the Internet trying to find every article on how to become a successful author, how to find an agent, how to schedule a successful book release party. Yet, here I sit, unpublished (with a traditional house, anyway), and still completely obscure and unknown.

So, I've decided to write an article on How NOT to Become a Successful Author.

Tip 1-Don't bother editing your work....that's what in-house editors are for.
Why should I bother editing anything win the publishin hows will due it fore me? I mean, isn't that watt they git paid four?


Tip 2-The second you finish your manuscript, write a query and start searching for an agent. Any agent will do, so just pick a name out of a hat and hit send.

You finished the book, why not go ahead and shop it? I mean, I know you spent at least a good week or so, why waste anymore time on educating yourself about specific agencies, or even revising and perfecting your manuscript?!


Tip 3-When you receive a rejection, email the agent/s immediately and demand they give you a legitimate reason as to why they aren't interested in your masterpiece. They obviously couldn't see past the hastily written, typo laden query to see just how very brilliant you and your story really are.

Tip 4-Instead of querying through email, why not send all queries through mail whether the agent asks for snail mail or not? In fact, make sure you send something along...say, maybe a bouquet of flowers, or a box of candy, and send it certified. That way, if they have to sign for it at least you know they received it.

Tip 5-Don't bother with writer's groups, or online networking. You don't have time to talk to other people. You need to live the life of a writer, so lock yourself away and write. Other writers will just be jealous of your talent and drag you down. In fact, if you let anyone critique you, they may steal your work and make a lot of money.

Monday, October 31, 2011

How do you keep AIS?

Once again, I lay awake last night staring at the ceiling! As boring as that sounds, this is the time some of my best ideas come (my mom's always comes as she's drifting off to sleep). While I know I promised to start posting on a strict schedule, a little thing called life continuously gets in the way. However, having said that...I promise to try to post more regularly. Deal?

So, without further adieu, today's post. I kept thinking about my promise to bring writing tips by experts...but, as I lay in bed last night, I thought "who better to give advice than other writers?" Lord knows, I have plenty of those up my sleeves. I'll start the tips and add tips and advice from other writers through the next few weeks.

What's my topic, you ask? How to keep your AIS. For those of you who aren't Everybody Loves Raymond fans, that's A** In Seat.

Okay, CL, how do you keep AIS? Well, I'm glad you asked. Here are a few of my favorite AIS techniques and tips I've learned, read, or come up with over the past year or so.

1. Gotta have the noise. There are some days when I'll turn on the TV while I write. Now, this is not something you want to do if you're easily distracted. If I turn on the TV it has to be something I couldn't care less to watch; you know, Real Housewives of whatever County, Bad Girls Club, or some chic talk show.



2. Easily distracted by the television? This happens to me at times, as well. In this instance, gotta have the music. I always suggest building playlists around a specific book. I'm lucky enough to have a program to burn Cd's, so I can pick lots of songs, and load up a few discs. If you don't have this technology, there is always playlist.com. At this site you can build as many playlists as you want from their large music library. Or, you can choose someone else's to listen to. I prefer mine, thank you very much.



3. Make sure you have food or drink within reach. I'm not saying to keep a small refrigerator within reach, just a snack. My biggie is Jolly Ranchers. This is something I started after I quit smoking. I also have to have coffee or a glass of soda within arm's reach. If you keep these around you won't have to stop to search out a snack. There's one more excuse you can't use....


4. Don't turn off your Internet. Yep, you read that right. Personally, I found if I shut down my Internet I get overly curious and at times anxious. If I keep these things up and in the background, I'll see along the top if I get a new email and can head over and come back in less than a second (I'm obsessed with my email. Never know when an agent will contact you).


5. My last tip for the day is smells. I can see you all making faces. I mean scents, as in aroma therapy crap. I prefer lavender, or apple cinnamon during this time of the year. During the warmer months I lean toward floral or citrus scents. But, back to this season...I have incense sticks I burn in an ashtray (I no longer use them for cigs), or about six candles I burn throughout the house, as well as tarts I melt in a warmer. I get my tarts from the lovely people at Mr. T's Tarts and Gifts. If you use goat's milk soap or tarts, check these people out. Love their products, and they sell them at a great price.



Well, that's it for today. Was any of that helpful? What do you do to keep your AIS? Any strange rituals before you write?

Friday, October 7, 2011

If you make me mad I'll give you a bad review!

Not really, but this sure seems like the way of the writing industry. I guess when I started looking for other authors, I was completely naive. I thought we would all hold hands and encourage each other. Of course, not everyone would get along, as that's just the way it is, but those people would just choose to befriend someone else. I had no idea that if someone disliked my shoes, my nose, my hair, or my style of writing it would become their personal mission to destroy my spirit.

Let me just say this...no, my feelings aren't hurt, I won't be hanging from my shower stall, dragging a razor across my wrist, or even frowning. Just because someone may not like me will not change who I am, or how I feel about life.

So, to the point of this blog...should authors review their friend's books? I've noticed a lot of "give mine a review, and I'll give yours a review", whether or not the book has been read. Hell, I had a couple of friends do that to my first book when I first released it. Then, to my surprise, when these people decided I was no longer a part of the popular crowd, they first took their reviews down, then took turns bashing my book in other's reviews. Grow up! I will not review a book I've never read, I will not give a great review to a book I don't like, and I will not attack someone because I don't like them. There is actually an author I know whom I've lost all respect for, yet I rather enjoy one of their books.

Do you think authors should trade reviews? What if you/they have never read the book? Do you think this is a slippery slope?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I broke my promise to you all....

Get over it! *laughs*

While I know I promised a specific format, I seemed to have forgotten life will always get in the way of my best laid plans. Most of you know we moved two months ago, so I'm still working at getting the house completely unpacked, situated, and organized. Then, as is custom to my personality, I added three more hens to my brood of chickens. I now have five hens and one rooster. Now, I've already gotten two eggs from my new girls, but that doesn't mean they're going to be worth the $15 I spent on them. I guess only time will tell.

This article will be a short one, as my little backyard farm is calling my name, but I wanted you all to know I haven't forgotten about you. I will have an interview up with someone I highly respect within the next week or so, and this is definitely an author you don't want to miss.

Until next time, keep reading and keep writing.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Self-Publishing Vs Traditional Publishing (Take Two)

As an author, the biggest dream we have is to have our work in the hands of the masses. We want others to not only read our work, but be inspired, their lives changed, their hearts warmed. Actually, for myself, I just want to know someone, anyone has read my book and enjoyed it. One of the greatest joys for my writing career thus far was finding out I had sold copies of my paranormal romance, A Repeating Life, in the UK.

So, which revenue is best for an aspiring author: traditionally using a literary agent, or self-publishing through the many resources available? There is absolutely no way for me to include all the information I found on the web in one blog...at least not without making it ten pages long. Therefore, this subject will be broken down into a few Mondays.

To start, let's look at some of the success stories. The first one who pops in my head is the infamous Joe Konrath. Mr. Konrath was traditionally published for many years before opting for self-publishing. He has been known to sell 18,000 books in one month. He broke the chains from his publisher and went off on his own. Obviously, this is an exception, not the norm, but can you imagine selling this many copies of your work without having to share your income with several others?

Another seriously noted author is Amanda Hocking. In her early twenties, she wrote a couple of books, self-published them, and - voila - she's rich and successful. Okay, that's not quite how it happened. In Ms. Hocking's situation, she continuously worked on new books, reached out for review, and constantly put out new books. Eventually, all of her hard work paid off. But, as she says here, it a whole lot of work. Of course, with a traditional publishing house you'll still be doing a lot of marketing for yourself, but not nearly as much as when you self-publishing. You do all of your own marketing, your edit all of your own work or pay someone to do it for you (way smarter than relying on your own eyes), you make your own cover art (again, pay someone else to do it unless you're a graphic art graduate), format your book for both e-book and paperback, etc, etc, etc. I think I personally spend more time on everything but writing most days.

It needs to be said that Amanda Hocking recently signed a four book deal with St. Martins recently. You can read about it here.

There are many other success stories through self-publishing, but obviously way more through traditional publishing. I am in no way pushing for one more than the other. You need to find what works best for you. Would I go traditional if I was offered a decent contract through one of the big houses? Hell yeah! But I refuse to sit around and wait for fate to come to me...I'm beating on her door demanding some attention!!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Interracial Erotica Author Tracy Ames Joins Me on My Adventures

It’s with great pleasure I introduce Tracy Ames. Tracy, thank you so much for joining us. Can you tell the readers, what inspired you to write your first book?

First, I’d like to thank you for having me. You’re a peach!

Trust me, the honor is all mine!

Nick and Alyanna, the main characters in Seduce Me, were my golden couple from my column days. The readers took to them and soon there was a grassroots plea for full novel. At the time I was working fulltime as a software engineer so I shoved it to the backburner. Long story short, I scribbled the first two chapters of the manuscript while dying a slow death in one of those long, boring ‘town hall’ meetings corporate America inflicts on its innocent masses. I guess my inspiration was fueled by my unyielding love of writing, an overactive imagination, and a sore bum.

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?

Absolutely. The message I try to convey in all of my stories is that no one is perfect; there are going to be ups and downs and the only way to truly experience happiness is to let go of our selfish limits we place on love. Forcing love to live up to our expectations by saying ‘You have to love me this way, within these set guidelines, or no way at all’ inhibits its growth and sooner or later we out grow it. Then what? We write the relationship or blame our mate. It’s a common scenario but I think the essence of this message is lost when writers take the easy road by glossing over the fallibility of the characters when in fact flaws add depth and makes our characters relatable.

What books have most influenced your life?

I love the classics specifically the writings from the Brontës. In fact, readers drew parallels between Mr. Dermot from my novella and upcoming novel Spanked and Charlotte Brontë’s Byronic hero Mr. Rochester which tickled me pink because my character was very loosely based on the Duke of Zamora.

Can you tell us what book(s) are you reading now?

Oh, this is dangerous territory! I’m currently traveling so my literary arsenal has gone mobile. I’m juggling three new reads Yes Ma’am by Kay Jaybee, Wet by Charisma Knight, and Check Mated by BJ Thornton (I love this book!). I’m also re-reading In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales by Mitzi Szereto and Transported by Sharazade.

Will you share a little of your current work with us?

You can find part of my fall release, Beg Me, on my site until the end of the month as well as Spanked my novel being published in 2012.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Research is the most difficult and the most enjoyable aspect of my process. I put in a ton of hours fact checking, and needling through the minutiae of my subject matter before my pen hits the paper.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I’m royal historian and self-avowed history geek. As a child, other little girls were satisfied with pretending to be the princesses we saw on television. Not me! I was more interested in her lineage which is why incorporating those elements into my first two books came with ease. Since then, each new topic has fortified me in one way or another.

While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?

Without a doubt. Coming in at a close second in the area of difficulty is the emotional tax all writers pay while writing. There are two particular scenes in Make Her Want It which struck accord with my readers—some experienced crying fits. Those scenes were extremely taxing and very emotional but that’s what good writing is about…it’s a mental/emotional rollercoaster.

What are your expectations for the book?

I try not to put too many expectations on my work. I hope to entertain as many readers as possible, and steer clear of bad press and cacophonies.

How are you same/different from your main character?

There’s a little bit of me in my characters. Those close to me will attest to my wackiness. Catch me around 2am, which is when I normally write, and you’re in for a real treat. I infused Alyanna with my spirit of independence and lady-like virtues while Sonya, my heroine in Make Her Want It, received the implacable stubbornness of my youth and my razor sharp tongue.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Continue to write even when you believe you have nothing to say. It’s disheartening to hear neophytes say, “I have nothing interesting to say.” Stop trying to be someone else. Keep writing; sooner or later your voice will find its way from beneath the pile of grot. Trust me, most writers cringe when they read their early work. You’re no different.


I want to take the opportunity to thank Tracy for joining us today. I’m sure there will be a lot of readers updating their TBR lists after this.

You can find Tracy at InterracialErotica.net.



Seduce Me can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.



Make Her Want It can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble



Friday, August 19, 2011

I started thinking about what I enjoy when reading blogs, and wanted my own blog to be informative, and fun. So, here’s the official new schedule…



Monday – Awesome articles from brilliant authors, publishers, editors, and agents. The information will span the entire world of writing, including marketing and publicity.


Wednesday – There are so many unbelievably talented authors out there, I need to interview as many as possible. Wednesdays will be dedicated to interviews of authors I know and love, as well as some just breaking through.

Friday – First, the introduction of the hottie of the week. Then, it’s anything goes. There will be no specific format for the last day of the work week. There will jokes and fun pictures, anecdotes (both mine and others), and…well, you get the point. This will be the day we start our weekend with a smile.

Hope you’ll stick around and join in on the fun!!
.
Before I end my blog, I wanted to let everyone know I've moved my blog. I will keep this one up and active until everyone is able to find me. The new blog is located on my website. I hope you choose to follow me to the new and improved site!!
 
Until next time, Happy Writing!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm baaaaaack!

Well, ladies and gentleman, I am back after quite a long hiatus. No, it wasn't about a break or rest...nope, Internet issues, kids home from school, then a move. Life apparently had other plans for me other than writing.

The kids start school tomorrow. Translation: I'M FREE!
Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but I will finally get the opportunity to work on my writing, blogging, marketing, networking, etc. without the incessant "Hey mom"s!

At the moment, I have two book available for purchase, or if you're interested in writing a review on your own blog, free download. The first release is titled A Repeating Life.

My newest release is titled She Who Hunts.
She Who Hunts is an Urban Fantasy about a Demon Hunter. The book contains violence, gore, sexual content, and language...you have been warned *laughs*.


Within the next few weeks, this blog will be on a structured schedule. I have yet to decide what days, specifically, I will be posting on, but I promise to keep you all updated. Until next time, thanks for hanging in there with me. I solemnly swear to never leave you again...if you're lucky. *barks evil laugh*

Monday, June 6, 2011

Do Opposites Really Attract?

When creating my characters, I tend to rely on my favorite past-time...people watching. Sometimes, my characters are random strangers I observed on a certain day. Others, and most often, I use characteristics of people I know. In other words, you may very well share a specific trait with a character, or perhaps read a conversation you recognize.

My main characters tend to have some form of a relationships, be it romantic, or purely platonic. I tend to use my own marriage when writing the 'romantic' aspects. But, the question really is, do opposites attract? My husband is a very laid back man. He rarely tells me no, and will eat anything I put in front of him. He couldn't care less if I wear makeup or designer clothes. Therefore, most of my males tend to be more laid back, and live to make their ladies happy.


I, on the other hand, tend to be a little high strung. I'm constantly full of energy, and anxious. I can hardly sit still more than thirty minutes at a time without getting restless (not a good trait for a writer). Therefore, my females tend to be high strung and energetic.


But, is this a normal phenomenon? Do attracts truly attract? I've seen many couples (both in my personal life and through general observations) who don't compliment each other's 'flaws'. Rather, they seem more like oil and water, bouncing painfully off each other, never melding or mixing, always pulling away from each other.


So, are my characters so far from he norm as to not be realistic? Of course, in fantasy, realistic is not really necessary. But, can you possibly care about a character who seems so far out of right field?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Helping our neighbors...regardless of where they're located.

Today, I've watched as the news broadcast reports of people donating food, clothing, even toys to the victims of the tornado in Joplin, MO. This isn't the first tornado in Missouri this year, but it is the deadliest and most destructive yet.

At last count the death toll had risen to 117 dead, and hundreds wounded. Homes have been destroyed, possessions gone, even simple things like food and water are hard to come by. A local company, Twiddlebits, has organized an online auction with several other vendors. All the money will go to buy supplies such as clean drinking water, non-perishable food, toiletries, even undergarments (who wants to wear used ones?lol).

Personally, I'm a couponer and have used my recent stockpile to donate the much needed toiletries, such as toothpaste, body wash, soap, and deodorant. I was originally planning on hosting a garage sale for all the clothing we no longer wear, as well as backpacks, toys, even some baby supplies from my babysitting days. Instead, all of these things will be headed to Joplin, MO this week.

If you have any items you no longer use, or would like to give to the victims please head to Fox2Now for the nearest donation drop-offs. Everything is needed; clothing, sheets, blankets, non-perishable food, bottled water, toiletries (deodorant, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste, hairbrushes and combs, toilet paper, towels, wash cloths, etc), undergarments and socks, shoes, etc.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Not writing related...well, sort of

Today is Monday, May 23. The last day of school for my kids is Friday, May 27. During that time my son will graduate middle school, and my daughter will turn 12. Then, on Saturday, May 28, my youngest son will turn 13. Seems like a great week, right? Wrong!

Not only will my kids be home spouting "I'm bored!" for the next three months, my darling daughter is one step closer to her teen years, my pre-teen son will officially be a teenager, and my oldest son will be entering high school. If I was emotional person this is the week I would be carrying around a box of tissues!

Now, onto the crappy part. As much as I like hanging out with my kids (they're finally old enough to understand my humor), and as much as I like to sleep in, the next two months is going to be very difficult. Many of you know I have to pack the house, find a new house, finalize the home loan and get us moved...all by the end of July. This will all happen with the kids running circles around me, "Mom, can I go to xxx house?",  "Mom, he won't stop talking to me!", "Mom, she won't take turns with the video game!", "Mom, he cussed!", "Mom, can we have ice cream/soda/a snack/*enter food product here*!".

My mom was a stay at home mom until I was fourteen years old, and there were five of us total, although she only stayed home with four of us. At times, we didn't have enough money to go anywhere special. But, some years, we got to go to Six Flags, the Zoo, Purina Farms, Grant's Farm, etc. As much as I'd like to say the kids and I will be playing all summer long, we all know how difficult this will be while trying to get all the other things completed!

Well, I'm off to pack some more/clean/house hunt/run errands/market/write/network...just pick one and let me know what I'm doing! Lol

Monday, May 16, 2011

Life always seems to get in the way!

I am so closed to finishing my latest novel I can taste it. However, every time I sit down to write something comes up. I have been blessed to stay home while my husband works. Even with not working outside of the home I still don't seem to have enough time in the day to get everything done. As if my plate isn't full enough, now I have two months to pack up a household of five (not counting all the critters), find a house, and get us moved. I really don't mind packing, it's the moving part that sucks. There never seems to be anyone in town when I need them.

So, I got to thinking: there has to be others out there with secrets to time management. I've heard of some who break everything down in time increments. You know, two hours for writing, two hours for networking, two hours for marketing, two hours for housework. What I'm curious about is those of you who work outside of the home. How the hell do you find time for everything?

Personally, the way I've been doing things lately (before the news of our quick move) is every time I hit a wall in my writing, I get away from the laptop and do some housework. When it's time for a break from manual labor, and if the story hasn't rebooted itself in my brain, I move over to networking and marketing. Granted, neither have been done to the extent they both need to be lately, but I'm trying.

I have a script to write for Voices of Valhalla which is do by the end of the month. As the publicity chair of the St. Louis Writers Guild I'm not thinking it would be uber professional if I were to turn it in late. Nah, not so much. So, do the math...moving, housework, three children (two with substantial special needs), pets, writing my novel, writing a script, networking, blogging, marketing, etc, etc, etc.

Anyone know where I can buy a few extra hours a day?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Networking, Internet, and Relationships....

As an author I'm a member of several networking groups. I'm on Facebook, MySpace (apparently the last person), Twitter, LinkdIn, etc. On these sites I've met hundreds of fellow writers, some in my genre, others not. Networking is extremely important, but how do you keep everything in balance?

I'm a married mother of three, and slave to several pets including reptiles (those of you who own them know how much time it takes to care for them daily). I'm responsible for keeping up the house, laundry, dinners, grocery shopping, running errands, and a slew of everyday oddities. On top of these regular daily chores, I also have children who require medication, constant visits to mental health providers, as well as the usual pediatrician visits. I haven't even started the orthodontist visits, yet.

Now, with all those things going on I still have to find time to write, research, market, format, etc. Then I'm supposed to spend hours a day on these networking sites? How in the world does one do that? I get on Facebook and Twitter two to three times a day, check the first page, like and comment, then head back to whatever it was I was doing before opening Facebook.com. I try to read blogs, and have found some which are extremely entertaining or informative, but either don't leave a comment because I have nothing constructive to add, or someone else beat me to the punch.

Am I setting myself up for failure by not trolling every networking site and blog and leaving comments, "likes", or the good ole "lol" on every single post? Am I setting myself up to be seen as self-centered or a recluse? I definitely don't want the people I've built relationships with thinking I'm ignoring them, but my time is stretched so thin it's damn near transparent.

So, please, dear wise ones...how do you balance life, writing, and networking? Those of you who seem to be active on fifteen boards...are you retired with grown children, or did you find the secret for an extra hour in the day?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I've been interviewed....

Check out this interview done by the incredibly talented and absolutely beautiful erotic author, Gina Kincade. While you're there check out the rest of her naughty blog. Just sure there are no little ones around you...there are some naughty pictures, too. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How can you NOT be obsessed with vampires?

I'll admit, I've had quite a fascination - okay, obsession - with vampires for quite a while now. Technically since I was about twelve. Bella Lugosi intrigued me, but didn't quite push my buttons, if you know what I mean. It wasn't until The Lost Boys until I realized how very sexy they are.
Of course, they weren't too sexy when they vamped out and bit into the biker's skull, but they were still members of the Undead.
I began wondering at a young age what the pull was about immortality. Would anyone really want to live forever? I mean, think about it...everyone you know and love would die and you'd be left behind. You'd have to experience all the evil of the world for the rest of eternity (at least until the Apocalypse). But, if you could live forever as an incredibly beautiful, powerful, majestic, flawless creature such as a vampire would it change your decision? What about the whole blood drinking thing? Could you stomach it?

Here's my two cents...no way in Hell would I want to be a vampire...but I wouldn't mind being bitten by a few of them. Here's a few pics to prove how sexy these dark creatures are, and I'll start with my absolute favorite...Edward Cullen.

While some find his character to be a bit of a stalker, I find him to be romantic. I mean, a whole other level of romantic. And what about those eyes...yum!


Who could forget about the vampire Lestat...

and his brooding sidekick Louis?

Oh, don't worry guys, here's a few vampiresses for you....

Half vampire/half human Rayne is crazy beautiful!


Here's Aaliyah (RIP) in The Queen of the Damned. Anne Rice is the queen of vampire novels!

Get your fill now, because she is so NOT sexy as a vampire, but Lord, look at that body!


Enough of the girls...let's get back to the smoking hot male vampires who haunt my dreams!

Mmmm, Armand! I do believe quite a few hotties were in Interview with a Vampire. I mean, did anyone know who Brad Pitt or Antonio Banderas were before this movie?


Now Blade breaks all the rules. Not only is he a half breed, but he hunts and kills vampires. I'll forgive him...how can you not when looking at this pic?!


I've only recently begun watching the first season, but Vampire Bill has me hooked! Mmm, those eyes!


Here's another of my favorites, though not many people have seen Moonlight. Mick St. John, the sexy vampire!!!


And Gerard Butler in Dracula 2000. I'll confess, I love him in any movie.

Now, keep in mind, vampires are said to be first class lovers with unbelievable libidos. What woman wouldn't want to be ravaged by one of these sexy beasts. Every time I watch a vampire movie, (not the ones where they turn all gross and evil looking), all I can think about is their sexual prowess and the way they can glamor you into orgasm. Ahhhh.

I think I'm done for the night. I'm going downstairs to watch another episode of True Blood Gotta get my fill!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Stephanie Meyer, Rachel Vincent, Stephen King...oh my!

Someone recently told me they hated Stephanie Meyer's writing. "Why?" I asked. She couldn't give me a specific answer, other than she's tired of vampires and the writing was amateur.

It got me thinking...what is amateur writing vs professional writing? Of course, there are those who can write text books for students, but is that how you want to read a story? Or would you rather read a story and believe, to your soul, that it is being told my a seventeen year old girl?

Is it possible that Stephanie's writing is lacking, or that she very brilliantly told such a beautiful story that it sucked millions of readers in, regardless of their age. (Yes, I'm a Twihard.) Is it possible that Stephen King could be considered a mediocre writer, even by others in his genre? Sure he could. But, my real question is this...by what standards do we judge a writer, and how do we determine a favorite book, or author.

There is one commenter on my site who likes to bash writers, and pretend they are the last great writer. To be honest, I get bored when reading this person's little stories; they just don't suck me in. That, and it's written in first person; first person writing always reminds me of the little stories in nudey magazines.

I'll tell you how I decide who's my favorite, as opposed to who I'd never read another book by. The story. "Oh, CL. That's what we all look for; a really good story." Of course, we do. But, by what standards.

As I've admitted before, I'm a Twihard. I mean a really hard core Twihard. But, Stephanie Meyers isn't my favorite author. I love Rachel Vincent, and have devoured every book she has written. Why? Because I get sucked into her stories.

Writers suck as Meyers, Vincent, and King have the ability to suck you into a story so well, that when you put the book down, you forget the characters aren't real. I remember reading Stray by Vincent for the first time, and actually wondering how Faythe Sanders was doing after I'd put the book down hours before.
How about how every woman who's read Twilight fantasizes about finding their own Edward, regardless of the fact that he's physically seventeen years old. And regardless of the fact he was described as being as hard as stone and ice cold to the touch. Ew! Who wants to snuggle with an ice cube? Um, me if it happens to be Edward!

Well, here's my favorite part. This is where I ask you how you base your decision on your favorite author, or book? Do you guy by the goose bump factor? Or how about how many nightmares Mr. King's book gave you. Maybe it was a fear of an unknown, non-existent creature. Sound off and let us know...and don't forget to tell us who your favorite author is or what your favorite book is.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Romance on my mind...

I'm sitting up at 12:45am, listening to the Eclipse soundtrack. It happens to be the song played in the background when Bella and Edward come close to making love. It's got me thinking heavily about romance tonight.

What is romance? I watch movies and sigh in want. You know, the scene on The Notebook where they lay in bed as an elderly couple and drift off to Heaven together. Or, movies like the Twilight saga where the two people are so madly in love they'd rather give up their own lives to save the other. But is this what we want in real life?

When Billybob Thorton and Angelina Jolie were married they each wore a vial of each other's blood around their necks. While others found this morbid and disgusting, I found it incredibly romantic. I had even planned on giving my husband a similar gift, until I found out he felt like the rest of America...EEK!

Now, I write romance...I breathe it, read it, write it, dream about it. But, each time I sit down to write, read, etc my image of romance is different. Is it what we dont' have? Is it what society tells us is romantic? Should I base all my stories on the same concepts as every other romance writer? Hell no, that would be boring.

But, if I write 'romance', and what I find to be the most romantic gesture (like when my husband told me to go ahead and spend the extra money to buy myself both a laptop AND a Dyson vacuum) isn't viewed as others as romantic, then what the hell am I writing?

My good friend, Norma Beishir, recently wrote a blog on our dream man. What is that? What is the true dream man? Sounds strange, but I found mine; he works overtime so I can focus on writing, he loves my kids as much as I do, and he tolerates my obsession with reptiles. Oh, did I mention he got me a cat for my birthday a few years back, even though he's allergic to cats? 

Sorry, I digress. Is our dream man flawed? Does he have the perfect body? Does he have...bodily functions of which we won't discuss? Or is he real? My ideal man doesn't have a hard body. Oh, don't get me wrong, I like a nice physique, but those 'perfect bodies' you see in ads spend entirely too much time in the gym, and don't allow themselves the yummy foods I love to cook. I want a man with a little extra meat on him. I want him to have a scar. I want him to cry when his heart breaks; but not cry because he stubbed his toe.

In my books, I always try to make both my lead characters flawed...but is that considered romantic? Should my heroine be perfect, without a hair out of place, no discerning characteristics, just your atypical heart shaped, pouty lips, full breasts, and an hour glass figure?

I'd love to know...what is your idea of romance?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh what shall I write about today?

While I never have a shortage of thoughts, I always have a shortage of fingers with which to type. My husband and I were watching television the other day, and after seeing a commercial, I had a fantastic idea for another book. Is this odd? Nope.

As writers, or artists, we are constantly bombarded with inspiration, ideas, and character makeups. At any given point in time you could pick up a manuscript from a writer you're friends with and see some of yourself in there. Everywhere I go I see something, hear something, smell something that begs to be written about. So what to do with all these thoughts? Where to put all of these ideas?

No, seriously, I'm asking you. Where do I put all of them?

I carry a memo pad in my back pocket day in and day out, but that doesn't seem to help organize all my thoughts. I bought a voice recorder, but I used it until it gave up. So, where to put all these thoughts?!

Every book you've read came from an idea that popped in author's head while they were driving/working/napping/showering, etc. These ideas usually come in the form of a "what if". What if there was no such thing as trash pickup? What if a elementary school prodigy created time travel? What if a sheltered teen had telekinetic powers and set the prom on fire? Okay, that last one was from Carrie, but you get the idea.
The next step is fun; we get to daydream and call it a job. I'll sit there and dwell on that idea, embellishing it, putting characters into the scenes, building more of the world. How many times has something happened and your mind ran with it? That's what it's like for writers on a daily basis. Our minds won't let us just see something for what it is. Rather, we see things for what they could be...you know, add in a few vampires, or nymphomaniacs, or whatever. We get to create the world in any way we want.

But there's still that nagging problem...what to do with all the ideas while we're busy working on that one, or in most author's cases, those four stories?!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

No, I'm not weird. I'm just an author!

"Hello, CL."
After reading through a bunch of conversations on various links I'm a member of, I've come to realize, we're an odd bunch. At least to those around us.
Someone recently asked if our family members and friends think we're weird. That was hard for me to answer. I mean, I've always been weird, writing has nothing to do with it. Come on, I prefer the color black, including in my eyeliner, I dye my hair a different color every couple of months, and I own lizards as pets. One of them is over five feet long, and I refer to him as my baby. While that may seem weird to others, it's completely normal for me. Did I mention I put my big green baby on a leash and take him outside to sun during the summer? Again, completely normal for me. Hey, the baby needs sun sometimes.

I think what people truly think is weird about writers is what comes out of our heads. My current work in progress, for instance, is about a petite red head who just happens to hunt and kill demons. "But, Christy, doesn't that sound a little dark? I mean, why are you thinking about demons?" My answer, I'm not thinking about demons, Tena is. Who's Tena? The red headed demon hunter...duh.

I also tend to talk to my characters, as well as talking about my characters as if they're real people. They do become real, at least to the creators. Ask any author about her/his characters and they'll tell you, once we're done with a book it's like telling an old friend good-bye. It hurts in a way. Seriously, I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Think about it this way...if you worked at a job for, say six months, became close to your coworkers, knew everything about them (and I do mean everything), wouldn't you be sad when you had to walk away, never to talk to them again? Of course you would. That's how it is for us. We're getting to know someone, albeit someone we created, then we kill them/marry them off/end the story, never to look back at their lives again. See, now you're sad, aren't you?

For those of you authors out there, feel free to chime in and explain to the non-authors how very NOT crazy we really are.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Show me yours and I'll show you mine....

Every writer has a cave; somewhere they prefer to write. So few of us actually have a separate office in which to write, and those who do seldom use only that room. Personally, I use my laptop. Sure, I have a desk top computer just like the rest of you, but I only use it for the Internet, you know, Facebook, Twitter, blogging, research. I've only written one book on this computer, and it has since been completely rewritten.

One of my favorite links to visit is on Paige Cuccaro's site. The link I love to check out is called The Cave. You gotta go have a look around. Some of my favorite authors have their "offices" pictured on there.

So, here's the challenge. Show me yours, and I'll show you mine. Don't want to post it directly this blog? Feel free to email the photo to me at clparks@clparks.com. I'll take a couple of pics later when the husband wakes up and post my lovely writing area.

While you're at it, why don't you tell me/us all about your weird little writing ritual. I, for instance, have to have my feet covered, my cigarettes and coffee within reach, and some kind of background noise, be it music for my mood or mindless television.

Don't be scared. We already know how strange you are...now it's time to prove it. Yeah...I called you strange. This coming from the Lizard Lady.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Do I have anything important to say?

I woke up in the mood to blog, then realized, there's nothing truly important enough to denote a chunk of space to blurb about. There's more a swarm of ideas and thoughts running through my head this morning.

For one thing, my self-published e-book is doing fairly well so far. Granted, it's not yet available on Nook and other such appliances, but it will be shipped to B&N, Apple and others sometime this week. Therefore, though I told you all it was already available, it won't actually be available for download until sometime next week.

I've been researching marketing and promotional ideas at an exhausting rate lately. My back is aching from all the hours I've sat in front of the computer, but I think I'm finding some really great resources.

One blog I found interesting was by Amanda Hocking. In this link I've provided she details (in her own way) how she came about her self-published success. Strangely enough, she's now being represented by Steven Axelrod of The Axelrod Group. I wasn't aware she had planned on signing with an agency, but I also don't know her personally, nor do I make it my business to keep track of everyone else's decisions.

I've also found a great download by John Kremer titled 50+ Ways to Tweet. This has been a little more work than I had anticipated, but I've found some very interesting people, or I guess that would be Tweeple, as well as some interesting links and nuggets of info.

Of course, Writer's Digest is a wonderful community of writers from every genre who hold a wealth of information for all writers. I've made some awesome friends from that site, and even found my writer's group by going there.

That's all I can think of this morning with such low amounts of coffee in my system, but if you can think of anything I didn't post, feel free to link us all to it!

Until next time, Happy Writing!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's no longer a secret....

I have self-published my first book. Why, you ask? Well, that's why I'm writing right now.

I originally went the traditional route, working all last year on queries, synopses, talking with and emailing agents. I did get offered a contract, but after a lot of thought and prayer I decided it wasn't the right option for me. For one thing, I've never been the most patient person in the world. It's not so much the wait as the hurry up and wait that kills me.

The second, and biggest reason, is I really don't care if I make NYT Best Selling list. I just want my books to be read and enjoyed. Who cares if some stuffy critic likes my book, as long as my fans keep coming back for more. Another reason is I really have no desire to have my face plastered everywhere like my beloved Stephen King or Stephanie Meyer. Don't worry, I'm not comparing myself to them, but when going the traditional route all creative liberties are restricted and you become an employee of the publishing house, instead of the other way around. I don't want someone telling me how to write, how to market, etc.

Some have doubted this decision, although the some is a tiny percentage of people I've talked to. I'm posting a link to a very informative article to argue my own point here. After reading this link, as well as many others, including some by JA Konrath, I'm convinced I'm doing what's best for myself and my family. I have no illusions of gradeur, or fantasies of wealth. I just want to make a living doing what I love. After all, don't we all dream of living our dreams?


For those of you who haven't seen the links yet my book is available here and here. Head over and sample the book or feel free to purchase it.

Until next time, happy reading.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Change is in the wind.....

I've been going back and forth as to whether I should write this post or not, then I decided...what the hell?! Someone may actually benefit from it!

For over a year I had pursued the road to traditional publishing; you know, find an agent, shop the editors, sign with a publishing house. Just like every other author before me, I had dreams of signing with a big NY house, and someday watching a movie based on my NYT best-selling book. But, something changed for me. I started researching the publishing world to the point of giving myself a headache, day in and day out. What I found was a little disheartening.

The chances of landing a publishing deal are very small, even for the best authors, which I don't proclaim to be. Then, if you land a deal, you wait for up to two years to see your book in print. After your book has been published and is sitting on the shelves of a bookstore, there's absolutely no guarantee it'll get picked up by anyone.

When you've been published, even if it's by Penguin, or Simon &Schuster, you are still responsible for marketing yourself. Of course, for some authors there is a chunk of money put aside for PR, but for the majority of us, it sits in our hands. Which, by the way, is fine with me. Besides, who loves and knows our work as much as we do?!

So, after thinking about all of this I started researching self-publishing. I've come across countless articles focusing on the pros and cons of this new trend. But I've found more in favor of this phenomenon than against.

I've never been one to seek fame and fortune, in fact, I have no desire to be famous. I like my privacy, thank you very much. However, I do want my work read. I don't find myself needing to make millions a year, just enough to keep food on the table, and a roof over our heads. I had endless conversations with some published friends of mine, all of whom went through the traditional route of publishing before switching the 'other side'. The moral of this story is I've decided to self-publish.

Now before you get excited, my paperback won't be available on shelves anytime in the near future, though it will be available in ebook as soon as this week. I'm going to post a few figures I found in an ebook I purchased last night. Hopefully, Mr. Konrath won't take any offense to my using an excerpt from his book Newbies Guide to Publishing.

I tried to copy and paste a specific chapter of Mr. JA Konrath's book, but it wouldn't let me, so let me break it down for you:

In 2009 Mr. Konrath $2008 in pocket from his ebooks sold through a publisher. That's in six months and four books worth.

While I'm not sure if these totals are in the same year, they are the same books and also a six month total. The money Mr. Konrath made after self-publishing was $6860. That's a huge jump!

But, CL, it's not all about the money! Okay, so why do you write? Are you writing just for the creative aspect? I personally don't sweat blood every day just to look at the pretty words sprawled across the monitor. I want to make a living doing something I love. And to make a I have to get paid!

So, as of today, February 28, 2011, my novel A Repeating Life can be found and purchased on Smashwords. Sometime this week, it'll be available through Kindle, Amazon, etc, etc, etc. And unlike publishing through a big house which would force to me to price my ebooks at $6+ I can price my book at whatever I want...and I've chosen $0.99. Yep, you read that right, you can read my novel for under one dollar.

I'm still learning about the world of self-publishing, but thanks to wonderful people like my good friend Norma Beishir, and Ruth Ann Nordin (both of whom have books through Amazon), I'm one step further than I was last week!

Through the next few weeks I will be adding blogs, posts, links, and such on the world of self-pubbing for those of you who wish to learn more. For now, head over to http://selfpubauthors.wordpress.com/ and learn more. There are some brilliant authors on that page who know WAY more than I do!

Until next time, happy writing!!!!

Sample and purchase my novel, A Repeating Life, here:
http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/clparks

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Obsessed with my characters lately!

I've already posted two prior blogs about characters, and character building, but I got to thinking...where do they come from?

I've heard so many authors discuss this topic. Several are like myself; they let the characters tell about themselves. Well, now that sounds pretty skitzophrenic when you think about it. After all, how does an imaginary being (I say being because they're not always human) tell about themselves?

This is how it works for me.

I sit down with an idea. As Florence Fois says, an idea that pops in my head from...wherever. Sometimes I see a person and think of a what if?. Other times it may be from a dream. Either way, as Fois says, it's an idea that must be loved and cultivated.

Great, now I've got this idea for purple people eater from the city of Christy. Now what? Well, obviously, the story needs characters, not just the problem and city.

So, I start writing. At this point, I've yet to plot. I do it backwards most of the time.

The first page will usually be trashed eventually, but it gets my brain moving as to what I want to happen, and who I want it to happen to. Okay, so a strong willed, kick ass, moon eyed female will be the heroine. Great. But what about the hero? Will there be one in this story? Of course...what can I say, I'm a sucker for romance. Or maybe it's just really great sex scenes.

So, my male character turns out to be a medium height man, lean but muscular, with a bicycle mustache. How do I know this? Because when I'm writing I can picture the people.

I will literally close my eyes and see the scene play out in my head as I begin typing. The people I see in my head become my major players. When I first started twenty something years ago with just short stories, all the females resembled me, and all the males resembled a boy from New Kids on the Block. What can I say? My world hadn't quite evolved at that point in my life.

My current book started a little differently. My heroine was inspired by one of my close friends, Sharon. She's a tall, beautiful woman with long, curly red hair, and blue eyes. Now, my character is actually tiny - she's barely five foot two - but you get the gist.

Each and every single writer comes up with their characters in both a similar, yet different manor. I usually know starting the book approximately what kind of personality I want my key players to have. But, sometimes they surprise me and do something I'd never think them capable. My current heroine actually had a little meltdown recently. Being as she's hardcore and deadly with knives and swords, it kind shocked me. Guess even my characters are as flawed as myself.

Wow, that seemed a little rambling, but you get the point. Anyone want to tell us how you start with your characters? Or maybe you can explain better how the characters "tell" us about themselves.