Posted in #ASMSG, #IARTG, independent authors, indie authors, informative, Uncategorized, writing

Re-Inventing Yourself as a Writer

I haven’t been blogging over the past couple months, but I intend to change that today. To start, I’d like to share a few of the things I’ve learned recently.

I think it’s fair to say that every writer who’s experienced commercial success has had to undertake the task, at least once, of “re-inventing” themselves. I came across a really neat writing resource today, called Bookfox, which is written by author John Fox.

Fox explains in his bio that he’s all too familiar with rejection slips. After he got enough of them, though, he started thinking to himself, maybe it wasn’t everyone else who was wrong. Maybe he really needed to work on his writing.

He undertook the earnest office of learning from his failures, and using his mistakes to improve his writing. Eventually, he started winning prizes for his work.

Click here to have a look at Bookfox. (It’s filled with lots of great resources.)

It took me a while to learn the truth: we’re really never at the peak of our success as writers. Maybe monetarily, but not creatively. With every week that passes, and every story that we write, our works grows, takes a more pronounced shape, and gains more vivid colors. It’s like a forever-climbing house of cards that never falls down.

In a word, if you’re not succeeding as a writer, take another look at your work. It may very well be that you just haven’t caught your break yet — but it may also be that you need some re-inventing. I know that was the case for me.

 

Posted in #amreading, #amwriting, books, entertainment, humor, independent authors, indie authors, Kindle, mystery, publishing, Uncategorized, writing

Guest Author: Rohvannyn Shaw

Good evening, reading and writing peeps. With us today is Rohvannyn Shaw, author of The Dice of Fate.

 

  1. Everyone has a story about why they love to write. What’s yours?

 

I grew up with both parents being writers.  Literature was a part of life.  I always had stories to tell, but I only started to love to write when I learned to type well.  That revolutionized things.  When I got my first real computer, it was finally easy to write, revise, rethink, and repeat.  Writing was finally satisfying when my word output could catch up with my racing thoughts.  I’ve also drawn all of my life, so it’s a natural thing to illustrate.  The combination of drawings with text is especially satisfying to me.  This is why my novel, The Dice of Fate, contains a hand painted map and several pen and ink illustrations even though that’s not usual for modern novels.

 

  1. If there’s a particular book you’re trying to market right now, will you tell us about it?

 

Right now, there are two.  The Dice of Fate tells about an ordinary call center worker who is transported into a world of mystery.  She discovers her inner strength while trying to solve the mystery of how she got there in the first place.  Ultimately, it’s about learning to have faith in yourself.  It can be found on CreateSpace and Kindle and is free for Kindle subscribers.

The other is a humorous book of advice on how to be a really, really, really bad employee.  In fact, if you did the opposite of the “advice” in this book, you’d probably be near perfect!  It sprang from ten years of work in customer service.  It should be titled and available by the time everyone reads this.

 

Both books, and my other work, can be found right here:

https://subversiveartblog.wordpress.com/tales/

 

I also have a main blog called “Time to be Awesome” and that is here:

http://subversiveartblog.wordpress.com

 

 

  1. Most authors in the market nowadays have experienced their fair share of ups and downs. Will you tell us how the positive moments make up for the negative ones?

It can be hard realizing I have to rewrite something yet again, even though I thought that paragraph was gold.  Or to have high hopes about a blog post and look into my tracker in the morning and find that not even one more person has looked at my content.  However, I think those lows make the successes all the sweeter.  I really feel like I worked for what I have, like no one handed me anything.  Ultimately I would write even if I never made a cent, so anything else is a bonus.

 

  1. If you could say one thing to the whole world, and have each and every person hear you – what would you say? It could be about your books, or anything at all in the whole universe.

“Don’t ever give up.  Whatever your goal, don’t quit.  Remember, as long as there’s life, there’s still hope.”

 

  1. Who’s your favorite author? Are you more into modern or classic literature? What do you think of modern literature on the whole?

 

I have many favorite authors and they can change depending on mood, time of year, or life circumstance.  I’ll pick Tom Clancy out of the pack.  I love his passion for detail combined with his ability to tell a good story, and his amazing level of research.  I still miss him as an author.

I’m divided about modern versus classic literature.  I think some so-called classics are really overrated while others don’t get nearly enough press.  Some modern literature is pure schlock, yet is popular, while really good stuff goes by the wayside.  That’s to be expected I suppose, and it’s been going on since before everybody wrote Mozart off as popular music.

 

Wow, that was an interesting interview! I have to say, I really loved Miss Shaw’s answers.

Just a little reminder: Rohvannyn’s new book, How to P!ss Off the Customers (A Little Book of Bad Advice) is available now! Just follow the link provided above!

Thanks for reading, everybody. Have a good one.

Posted in #amreading, #amwriting, #ASMSG, #IARTG, books, entertainment, fiction, independent authors, indie authors, publishing, Uncategorized, writing

Guest Author: Suzanne Bowditch

Good evening, readers and writers. Welcome to the second installment of Blackwood’s Magazine’s Indie Author Spotlight for October! Today’s special guest is Suzanne Bowditch. Let’s have a chat with her!

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Let’s talk about writing!

 

 

 

  1. Everyone has a story about why they love to write. What’s yours?

I have loved to write since a teenager. I entered a competition at school and came second, since then I have kept diaries, journals and scribbled notes, but was never serious about my writing. Last year however, I took a writing challenge and my passion was rekindled! Now I write most days, as a fulltime writer of historical fiction.

 

  1. If there’s a particular book you’re trying to market right now, will you tell us about it?

I’ve self published my second book Alice’s Secret: A Celtic Trilogy in July. It’s the follow on book for a saga I’m writing, based in Tasmania and Melbourne.

 

  1. Most authors in the market nowadays have experienced their fair share of ups and downs. Will you tell us how the positive moments make up for the negative ones?

As a writer, I think that any feedback received is positive, especially when that reader has enjoyed your book. I encourage any feedback really, and any constructive criticism, which helps in the writing/learning process. Fortunately the feedback so far to my books has been good, which is lovely.

 

  1. If you could say one thing to the whole world, and have each and every person hear you – what would you say? It could be about your books, or anything at all in the whole universe.

That’s a very big question! I seriously think that reading produces positive vibes, helps us to learn about the world and each other, and whilst we’re deep into a book, we’re not having cause to think negatively. Reading is good for the soul!

 

  1. Who’s your favorite author? Are you more into modern or classic literature? What do you think of modern literature on the whole?

I have a few favorites, mainly modern literature. As a teenager, I loved Stephen King and had a passion for anything by Catherine Cookson. Her books on the hardships of life in northern England have inspired me. Recently I’ve enjoyed books by Elizabeth Gilbert, Hannah Kent and Margaret Atwood. I’ve just finished reading Jane Harper’s The Dry, which I’d recommend; it’s really good.

 

suzanne-bowditch

 

Excellent answers, Suzanne! Reading definitely is good for the soul. And the Celtic Trilogy sounds like it’s off to an awesome start! Great work!

To learn more about Suzanne and her work, please check out the links provided below.

 

Find me at:

 

www.goodreads.com/suzannebowditch

www.facebook.com/suzannebowditch

www.suzannebowditch.wordpress.com

 

My books

 

Elen (A Celtic Trilogy #Book 1)

https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01911AE8Q

 

*

 

Alice’s Secret (A Celtic Trilogy # Book 2)

Alice’s Secret

Posted in #amreading, #amwriting, #ASMSG, #IARTG, books, entertainment, fiction, independent authors, indie authors, Kindle, publishing, Uncategorized, writing

Guest Author: Candace Vianna

Good evening, readers and writers. With the new month comes a new batch of writers to Blackwood’s Spotlight, and first up is Candace Vianna!

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  1. Everyone has a story about why they love to write. What’s yours?

If I could give a deep answer, full of writerly angst and beauty, I would; but truthfully, it’s one of the few jobs where I can drink coffee and sit around in boxers all day.

 

  1. If there’s a particular book you’re trying to market right now, will you tell us about it?

To date I have published two books.

My debut novel, “The Science of Loving,” was a romantic comedy about a shy biologist and an edgy, tattooed architect. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… an architect? Well this is how Leslie Jacobs, a supporting character who’s currently in the process of getting her own story, described him.

“You’ve got this dangerous bad boy, don’t mess with me or I’ll f*** you up edginess. If you were any edgier, we’d all be bleeding. It’s like architects are edgy-lite, while you’re  industrial-strength concentrate, eat-a-hole in my panties edgy.”

You get the idea…

Because I was genre hopping, when I recently published my novella, “Dead Dwight: a dark comedy,” I did so under the pseudonym, E.V. Iverson.

“Dead Dwight” will definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s definitely not a romance. It’s a hillbilly zombie satire with a  twisted sense of humor I’m not sure everyone will appreciate (I’m a sick, sick girl.) Imagine a mashup of the television show “My Name is Earl” and the movies “Sean of the Dead” and “Driving Miss Daisy.”

Hey, I never claimed I was normal.

 

  1. Most authors in the market nowadays have experienced their fair share of ups and downs. Will you tell us how the positive moments make up for the negative ones?

Truthfully, I’ve always found this question a bit nonsensical. I’m not saying this to be mean, but I’ve never understood the assumption that unrelated events somehow offset each other? How can you appreciate the joys of the moment if you’re dwelling on past disappointments?

Have I struggled at times? Certainly. Growing up with an undiagnosed learning disability wasn’t easy, but it did force me to develop skills that I could pass on to my children to make their lives easier. Would I have chosen to have a special needs child? Hell no, but I would change a hair on my boy’s head.

But here’s the thing, I believe that positive things happen to positive people. And if you’re busy focusing on the negative, you’re likely missing some good things right in front of you.

 

  1. If you could say one thing to the whole world, and have each and every person hear you – what would you say? It could be about your books, or anything at all in the whole universe.

Get out and VOTE! Not just in the main elections, but the mid-terms as well. And do your homework, because the down-ticket is just as, if not more, important than the main ticket. When they say politics is local, it’s not just about stump speeches. What are the views of the people setting local policy? Is that guy wanting to be a district court judge going to be unbiased? Is he even qualified? These are the things that will have a direct impact on your daily lives.

 

  1. Who’s your favorite author? Are you more into modern or classic literature? What do you think of modern literature on the whole?

I don’t have one favorite author; I have many; and for many different reasons. There’s poetry in Thomas Paine’s call to action in “The Crisis;” awful beauty in the horror of Stephen King, and Ray Bradbury’s “Rocket Summer” is nothing short of brilliant. While I prefer the immediacy in modern writing, I do think it can become too simplistic when we’re not careful, dumbing down the vocabulary at the expense of more evocative passages.

Very nice! Personally, I know I’m super-interested in something termed a hillbilly zombie satire. How could that not be entertaining?

Hope you guys enjoyed today’s interview. To contact Candace Vianna, or to learn more about her work, check out the links below!

 

 I enjoy getting out and meeting my readers, so if any of you are coming to San Diego, CA; give me a shout just don’t try to sell me anything:
Candace.Vianna.Writes@gmail.com

Both of my books are available on Amazon and in the Kindles Unlimited library:

The Science of Loving
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MXC0E2C
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00MXC0E2C

Dead Dwight: a dark comedy
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F2ZCTCO
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01F2ZCTCO

Amazon Author page:
https://www.amazon.com/Candace-Vianna/e/B00N05FF66/

You can check out my blog (fair warning, I take adolescent glee in playing with profanity) at:
http://candaceviannawrites.com/

On Twitter:
@CviannaWrites

Facebook :
https://www.facebook.com/candace.vianna

GoodReads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8507140.Candace_Vianna

Posted in #amreading, #amwriting, books, independent authors, indie authors, publishing, writing

Guest Author: Frank Parker

Hey, everybody! Top of the evening to you, and welcome back to our September Spotlight of indie authors here at Blackwood’s. Today’s special guest is the awesome Frank Parker! Let’s have a little chit-chat with him.

author_frank_parker
Here’s Frank! (I really love this pic of him.)
  1. Everyone has a story about why they love to write. What’s yours?

I was an avid reader from an early age – one of those people that cannot resist reading the back of the cereal packet and sauce bottle whilst eating breakfast! And I was read to; my mother’s way of sharing her own love of reading with her children. Our knowledge and understanding of the world around us comes from reading. Our formal education consists principally in studying prescribed texts under the guidance of our teachers.

It was not long before I felt the need to challenge some of the discoveries I made through reading. What way is there to do that, other than writing?

 

  1. If there’s a particular book you’re trying to market right now, will you tell us about it?

May I be cheeky here and mention two books? My most recently published novel is called Transgression. It is an attempt to link the many sexual abuse scandals that were revealed over the past few years to the sexual liberation of the 1970s. A drunken romp in the back of a car that took place in 1974 has repercussions 40 years later for a successful politician.

My previous book tells the story of the Norman occupation of Ireland in the 12th century, through the eyes of the young Irish woman whose marriage to their leader was the price paid to him by her father. A number of readers of both books have told me that they prefer Strongbow’s Wife, so I recently extended it’s discoverability by re-publishing it in a paper-back edition at feedaread.com.

  1. Most authors in the market nowadays have experienced their fair share of ups and downs. Will you tell us how the positive moments make up for the negative ones?

Positive reviews are always welcome, but nothing can match actually meeting someone who has read your book and tells you they enjoyed it.

  1. If you could say one thing to the whole world, and have each and every person hear you – what would you say? It could be about your books, or anything at all in the whole universe.

Don’t believe everything you read. Read as widely as possible. Study all sides of a disputed issue, then make up your own mind.

  1. Who’s your favorite author? Are you more into modern or classic literature? What do you think of modern literature on the whole?

I much prefer modern – by which I mean 20th and 21st century – literature. English writers like Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes, for example. Since moving to Ireland a decade ago I’ve discovered some great Irish writing, too, including Irish authors now based in the USA, like Colm Toibin and Colum McCann. And, if that sounds like an all male list, I must add that there are many women writers I admire, too: Edna O’Brien has been around long enough to be ennumerated with the classics. Lionel Shriver gets to the heart of modern dilemmas. And I’ve recently read brilliant books by newer writers like Saskia Sarginson, Sarah Baume and Jana Petken

I’m still a voracious reader. I don’t confine myself to fiction, enjoying memoir, biography and political treatises as well as novels. I also include independently published authors in my reading list. I’m a great admirer of the way independent authors come together for mutual support through groups like IASD and Independents for Charity, the latter producing anthologies the proceeds from the sale of which go to support the Macmillan Nurses cancer support charity in the UK.

Not everyone likes the kind of writing that earns praise from what might be termed “the literati”, those who achieve recognition via prizes like the Mann-Booker. When I posted my 5 star review of Colum McCann’s Booker long-listed Transatlantic on Goodreads, recently, I was astonished to discover, among the reviews already posted, some that were highly critical. Maybe because I’m still open to every style and genre I am not sufficiently critical myself!

Wow! That was really interesting, Frank! It’s obvious Mr. Parker is a widely-read individual, and a very good judge of modern literature. I might have to ask him to give me a little crash course!

Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s interview, everybody. To learn more about Frank Parker, have a look at the links listed below!

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Strongbows-Wife-9781786109910.aspx

https://www.amazon.com/Transgression-secret-Member-Parliament-darker-ebook/dp/B014N1C1QC/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

https://franklparker.com/

https://www.facebook.com/HerefordAndIrelandHistory/?ref=bookmarks

https://twitter.com/fparkerswords

 

 

Posted in #amwriting, #ASMSG, #IARTG, books, independent authors, indie authors, informative, publishing, Uncategorized, writing

Publishing Tip: “Don’t Be Hasty”

Hello, indie authors. And everyone else who has the kindness to read this post!

Now — this is a post geared towards “very new indies.” What do I mean by that? I mean indie authors who haven’t necessarily just started writing (that’s hardly anyone) but who’ve just started trying to really sell their work. Some people get the hang of it pretty quickly, and are only really “green” for about as long as Stanley’s thumb usually stays lit up that color in A Troll in Central Park. But some people — hem hem, like me — are about as hard to drill information into as a concrete Mafia boot.

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Pre-used concrete boots, fished fresh daily.

Whichever type of indie you are, I just have a small piece of advice for you today. It’s very simple, and consists of only three words.

DON’T BE HASTY.

When you’re just starting out, you want to do all you can to make a name for yourself. You’re competing against thousands and thousands of other people with quality content, and you want to make yourself stand out.

But you’re only going to do that if you’re peddling quality content, too. If you throw every book you’ve ever written on Kindle Direct Publishing, just trying to garner sales and increase the amount of money you get paid every month (which is relatively small for an indie anyway, no matter what you do), you’re going to hurt yourself in the long run.

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I think that I should think about this a little more.

Only publish quality content. Only publish when you’re sure it’s worthy of competing, not just with other indie selections in your genre, but even with the best-sellers in that category on the Barnes & Noble “new release” rack. Don’t skimp on your editing, don’t settle on your covers, don’t forget little things like justifying the text of your e-book. (I hate it when I download a book with text that’s not justified.)

Because, here’s a little tidbit for you. If you start to regret a title you’ve published, and you want to take it off of your author page — sometimes you can’t. Sometimes, when you unpublish them, they do disappear — but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they stay forever, like annoying whiny ghosts in your Aunt Susie’s attic, and they just say “Unavailable” until the day you die.

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Hey — I thought Aunt Susie said you guys weren’t real? 

If you ask Author Central to take an out-of-print book off your author page, they won’t. It’s all about “the best possible experience for the customer,” they say.

But hey, it’s not their fault you published something you shouldn’t have published in the first place.

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I think we may be onto something here.

Take it from me, my indie friends. Here are three life lessons, in a nutshell.

Don’t be unkind to people.

Don’t be too cheap when it comes to things you really need.

And for goodness’ sake, whatever you do — DON’T BE HASTY!!!

Posted in #amwriting, #ASMSG, #IARTG, independent authors, indie authors, lesbian, poem, poetry, Uncategorized, writing

Armageddon: A Story in Verse (Part 1)

Two thousand and sixty-six years

On top of decades already unnumbered

Will find the two armies upon the battlefield

Wherever it may be, that Armageddon.

 

A white King and a dark prince

Each seated atop his steed

The King on a pale horse made of holy fire

The prince on a black horse made of lies.

 

Each will have an army ranged behind him

One light, and one dark

One right, and one wrong

Dark destined to be slaughtered by the King’s fiery blade.

 

He is a King of love, gentle as a lamb

But He roars like a lion, too

His blade won’t falter on the final day

When the black army stands against Him.

 

On His right-hand is Anna Berlin

On His left-hand is Vaya Eleria

Two vampire princesses pledged to the King

For the vast stretch of eternity.

 

Children of an evil sovereign

Whose bloodlust once separated them

Lovers in life, now lovers in death

Shining war blades in the King’s scabbards.

 

Ranged behind them are countless others

All black sinners while they breathed

Their lungs filled now with His clean spirit

Though their hearts have ceased to beat.

 

The dark prince taunts the king

Flaunts hell-fire in his clawed hands

Nods his horned head in satisfaction

While the sun gleams against his scales.

 

The King wears a blank expression

His fair face betrays nothing

Though His clear eyes shine with sadness

For His lost dragon-child.

 

But the dragon only laughs at Him

His black eyes flaring in the burning light

Wildfires rage around him

Circling his soldiers on all sides.

 

The black soldiers clutch the fire

Scooping it up in their dirty hands

Hurling it towards the King

While the dragon laughs.

 

© C.M. Blackwood 2016