A blog for all bookish things

Welcome to week 2 of my HOW-TO blog series for writers!

Today, we’re talking about How-To be a better Writer:

Last week, we covered the workspace. This weeks issue is a quick and easy post on one of the most basic and most overlooked necessities for any writer, no matter the genre.

All Writers Must Be Readers

Sounds simple, right? Well, it is. See, reading for pleasure will make you a better writer. It’s a fact. Ask any successful author.

And still, you’d be surprised how many wanna-be writers I have met who don’t read for pleasure. Ever. It’s appalling really. And yet they are trying to put their work out into the universe and expecting the masses to do the thing that they do not. Which is to Read.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying it is impossible to become a successful writer without being a Reader. It is definitely possible, but HIGHLY UNLIKELY.

Writing is hard work.

And the odds are hardly ever in your favor. Consider that we live in an age where any yahoo can post basically anything they want on Smashwords and KDP (Amazon), and call it a book. Most people don’t do that. I mean, A LOT of them are really GOOD, but some of them aren’t.

So when you and I spend a year of our lives creating a plot, characters, and storyline that we are sure will change the world, it can be difficult to get your book-baby to rise above the masses when it has to wade through all the crud.

For me, writing is the most fun I will ever have in my life on any given day. That is why I do it: because I love disappearing into the worlds I create, into the lives of the characters whose existence is so much more exciting than mine. But the time it takes, the devotion it requires to find critique partners, to self-edit, to take the criticisms, and more editing, the marketing, and cover design … It’s not always fun to reread the same manuscript a ba-jillion times.

But I do it. We Writers do it.

And since the mere task of writing a book that someone else may actually want to read can be so daunting, and the odds of getting our work into the hands of the right people with the power to make our collective Best-Selling dreams come true are slim, we have to put in the effort to make ourselves good writers. So there’s less work overall. And being a Reader is one small way to make sure that you don’t have so much POST-writing work to do.

Reading someone elses work can help in SO many ways. Like enlarging your vocabulary– other authors won’t describe things the same way you would. Some of them are very crafty with their “gymnastic linguistics.”

Some of them are better at transitions than we are.

Some of them can say a lot more with a lot fewer words.

Reading can make you see the bigger picture– authors with major publishing houses have a team of people around them to help make their books better than they ever could have on their own. So when you read their books it can help you get a better idea of what a well-structured story should look like. This also helps if you are looking to land a major publisher.

And reading is FUN! It’s exercise for your brain.

It does what nothing else on earth can do: it lifts your imagination, takes you out of your own head, and puts you inside someonelse’s. You can learn about places you’ve never been, meet people you never would have dreamed of. You can travel through time and have the adventure of a lifetime.

No one in their right mind should want to say “No” to that. (Judgy, I know, but it’s true)

So, dear Writers, do yourself a favor and Read.


That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading, and I hope you continue to do so. And when you’re finished with that book, help an author out and leave a review. Afterall, word of mouth is how most Readers decide to what to read next

 

Welcome to the first post in my new How-To blog series! I’m diving right in … but be sure to read all the way down for some amazing resources on other sites that might have what you’re looking for.


Before you start writing, you have to have an idea, right? So let’s start with how to write the story:

Get Creative!

Whether you write poetry, micro or flash fiction, full-length novels, or friggin comic books, you have to have an idea of what you want to write about. And then you have to write in the way that works best for you.

Let’s start with the basics:

  • THE WORK SPACE: Writing can be really tough! Find a place to write that works for you and make the time to do it a little every day. Your space should fit easily into your daily routine, be comfy and accessible.
  • DO IT YOUR WAY: If you need peace and quiet when you write that’s where your space should be. Or if you want to sit in a Starbucks and tap-tap-tap away on your laptop or phone, or go old school with a paper and a pen, then that’s what you should do. Remember, this is your space to get creative, so you need to feel comfortable!  You know ANNA TODD, world-wide best-selling author of the AFTER SERIES? Yeah, she wrote all her books on the social media site for writers: Wattpad. Even after she landed her six-figure deal from Simon-Schuster because WATTPAD was her virtual office, necessary to her creative process. 
  • DON’T GET DISTRACTED: Don’t get caught up in the distraction of the FIRST-LINE! Yes, they are important to engage readers, but you don’t need to worry about that when you’re just getting started. You will go through your book so many times and make so many changes along the way, those first few words will come when it’s time. 
  • JUST WRITE: If you’re having trouble getting started, do something that inspires you! For me, I am inspired by music. Most of my plots and characters have been formed around songs! The main character in my Threestone Trilogy, G, was formed from the song “Be Somebody,” by Thousand Foot Crutch. His nemesis, Daemon, came from the song, “I Never Told You What I Do For a Living,” by My Chemical Romance. 
  • DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF: This is probably the most common mistake most of us writers make. We think there should be limitations and rules about how we write. Don’t get me wrong, rules may work for some people, but they don’t work for me. If you start thinking about the things you aren’t supposed to do, you’ll never get around to what you want to do!  So, set the “writing rules” aside and let your imaginations run wild!(Ironically, I just realized I’m writing a list of rules!)

Okay, that is all for now. What about you? What activities help you get creative? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments section!

Want more advice about writing that book? Click here for more amazing tips and advice.

Be sure to click and follow so you don’t miss next week’s post on Developing Your Story!

Big News!

As some of you may know, I’ve been pretty ‘blogga-non-grata’ since I started college last summer. I’ve been trying to keep up with life and all the promotional stuff that goes with being an Indie author, while keeping up with my homework, writing new books, and still doing all that stuff that daily life demands that I do.

Basically, I have learned that suck at doing all of it. Well, at the ‘keeping up’ part. The only thing I have really kept up with is my school work.

I have been thinking lately, about how much I have learned …

When I first started thinking about putting my first novel, Between Octobers, out into the universe I found the whole idea daunting.

I was scared of what people would say about this thing  I had spent years secretly pouring my heart into. I had no idea what to do or how to go about getting a book deal.

I had no idea all the work that came after typing “The End.”

The questions were overwhelming:

How does one go about getting a book deal? What is the process like?

Where can I find free resources to help me with the things I don’t know how to do?

As a new writer with no experience, I had no idea all the aspects of writing that came after the words, “The End.” And, honest to God, I wouldn’t have learned a thing if there weren’t so many talented writers and authors out there giving their own little nuggets of wisdom through their own blogs.

And you what they say, “those who can’t DO, teach.” 

So, I have decided to start a How-To blog series on how to do all of the things a new author needs to do. Starting from scratch.

Developing a story. Taking your story from idea to the page. Perfecting that manuscript, building your social media platform, writing the perfect blurb, landing a literary agent–if you think you need one, and hopefully sealing a publishing deal. And all the scary steps in between!

The series begins on Monday, so stay tuned! 

 

Happy Thursday!

Below are the week 8 audiobook selections. This week’s audiobooks look very interesting to me, specifically the selection by W.E.B. DuBios, as I took a Sociology class last fall and found him fascinating.

Free from SYNC Summer Reading program:

 

By Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Read by Kyla Garcia

The Red Umbrella is a moving tale of a 14-year-old girl’s journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro’s revolution.

In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. And soon, Lucía’s parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.

Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?

The Red Umbrella is a touching story of country, culture, family, and the true meaning of home.


By W.E.B. Du Bois

Read by Rodney Gardiner

A cornerstone of African-American literary history, The Souls of Black Folk is a classic work by W. E. B. Du Bois. Originally published in 1903, it contains many essays on race and equality, but is also a piece of seminal history as laying the groundwork for the field of sociology. Some of the essays in the novel were even previously published by the Atlantic Monthly magazine. When writing, Du Bois drew from his personal experiences as an African-American in America to highlight the issues of prejudice that were still going on into the 20th century.

 

So you’ve heard me go on and on about the SYNC Audiobooks Summer Reading Program, right?  If you remember, every week in the summer, they give away a pair of audiobooks. Usually fiction and non. Mostly YA, but it’s really great YA.

All you need is a working pair of ears (or just one) and the Overdrive Media App, that you can get absolutely free here.

Well, I have been very behind in my blogging for several months now, and I haven’t talked at all about the audiobooks being given away this summer. So, you’ll find all the info you need below. And since the giveaway for the first two books ends tomorrow, I’m posting Week 7’s Giveaway below, so be sure to read all the way down!

SYNC Selections for week 6 (June 1-6):

 

Beast, by Donna Jo Napoli | Read by Robert Ramirez
Published by Recorded Books
Young Persian Prince Orasmyn lives a peaceful life of quiet duty and thoughtful obedience. Tending his fragrance garden gives him much more pleasure than the bloody royal hunts staged by his father. But a single wrong decision sets in motion an ancient curse that changes Orasmyn’s fate forever. Told he will be killed by his own father, he is transformed into a lion on the day of a great hunt. The prince has no choice but to flee beloved Persia and his precious family. Balancing his fading human memories with his new beastly impulses, he makes his way to Europe-where his destiny awaits in the person of a French beauty named Belle. Donna Jo Napoli once again weaves the magic she has shown in books like Crazy Jack and Zel, transforming a well-known fairy tale into an unforgettable epic of duty, love, and redemption. Robert Ramirez’s narration captures all the anguish and struggle of Orasmyn’s quest to regain his humanity.

 

Of Beast And Beauty, by Stacey Jay | Read by Julia Whelan
Published by Tantor Media
It’s pointless. Hopeless. Even if she weren’t afraid of me, we’ll always be enemies at the core . . .

In the city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra is raised to be a human sacrifice. Her death will ensure her city’s vitality.

In the desert, a mutant beast named Gem fights to save his people, known as the Monstrous, from starvation.

Neither dreams that, together, they can return balance to their worlds. When Gem is captured for trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, he becomes a prisoner of the city. Isra enlists his help, and soon begins to care for him—and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

She’s a queen; I’m her prisoner. I am her monster and she is mine.


SYNC Selections for week 7 (June 8-15):

If I Run, by Terri Blackstock | Read by Nan Gurley

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore. But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run? Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

Plus One, by Elizabeth Fama | Read by Julia Whelan
Published by Elizabeth Fama
A dying wish. A family divided. A love that defies the law. Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays, who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol concocts a plan to kidnap her newborn niece—a Ray—in order to take the baby to visit her dying grandfather. Sol’s violation of the day/night curfew is already a serious crime, but when her kidnap attempt goes awry, she stumbles on a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population. Sol escapes the authorities with an unexpected ally: a Ray who gets in her way, a boy she might have hated if fate hadn’t forced them on the run together—a boy the world now tells her she can’t love. Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day/night divide, Elizabeth Fama’s Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.


Hope you enjoy the audiobooks. But if audiobooks aren’t your thing, you can always try finding them at your local library or on Kindle Unlimited.
Reading is exercise for the brain!
Until next week …

A Few Updates

Hello, faithful followers and fellow bloggers! I know, it’s been too long … I have a great excuse though. I’ve been getting my edu-ma-cation.

Er … uh, I mean bulking up the brain.

You know, feeding the neuro-receptors.

Brain-break

Finals for Spring semester have ended and I am over-joyed!

Number-5

If not a little fried …

Squidward

Anyhoo, Here are my updates:

  1. With all that has been going on lately, I have missed blogging so much! I’ll try to do it more often, but I still need to WRITE. Which, as we all know I time-consuming, but SO worth it.

 What’s that? You want to know what I’m writing?

wpid-img_20150424_075431.jpg

Well, REACTION, of course: the third and final installment of my Sci-Fi Trilogy.  And until that is released this fall …

2) I want to share my newest book covers! That’s right, all of the books I have already written have gotten NEW and improved covers. (I’ll be blogging about how I got them all at a SUPER AFFORDABLE price in the near future)

3) Here they are:

Freaking awesome, right!?

And guess what else?

4) You can now get all of my books for free on Smashwords in any format! You can also get them free from Amazon if you prefer Kindle Unlimited. So click the links and get your free awesome books today!

And, as always …

cropped-wpid-img_20150516_142017.jpg

Well, technically, the saddle is a chair.

 

At my desk inside the master bedroom. That’s where I keep my laptop.

The Fall Semester has ended and the Holidays have passed, (Thank God! They were exhausting, weren’t they?)

While I am awaiting the start of Spring classes at my local Community College, I’ve been trying to make use of the downtime with WRITING!

And just in case you’re interested, I am working on the third and final book in my thrilling Sci-Fi trilogy!

The book is called REACTION and I’m planning on releasing late this year.

Still tinkering with the cover

INERTIA  and …

*free with Kindle Unlimited!

*free with Kindle Unlimited!

FORCE

*also FREE with Kinlde Unlimited

*also FREE with Kindle Unlimited

were the first two, and as exciting as those plots were, this last one is going to blow them both out of the water. AtomicBomb

I’m just over 20k words so far, but the book is already plotted out in my head! The final, BIG ending is going to be SO much FUN to write. I can’t wait for you all to read it.

terX20j

 

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: