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#WW Writer Problems 1–5

22 Apr

#WW Writer Problems 1–5

If you’re on my Facebook, then you will be familiar with today’s content. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing little cards that I make called Writer Problems. I only have a few out, but I decided that I wanted to share them on here too. So today was born, and hopefully, more days like today will follow. Basically, I’ll be sharing 5 cards at a time and explaining where the inspiration came from (because there are too many hilarious stories that go on behind the scenes of these), and I think many writers can probably relate to my writer problems.

Adding this information since I received an email requesting it: I highly encourage you all to share these photos if you want! Never be afraid to take anything from my website. In fact, I love it! But please give credit to one of my websites. If you want to use these photos, for instance, please don’t crop my website name out. Thank you!

Writer Problems #1

No matter how many times I press SAVE, I still think I’ll lose the entire document when I close it (even though I use a flash drive).

1

I’m currently working on…well…so many projects. Like most authors. But I have a problem. I’m a very neurotic person – very superstitious, very particular, and I have my rituals and my fears and they practically control my life. ::takes big breath:: So, one of my OCD issues is closing documents. I can’t. Whenever I am working on something – like a novel – I seriously struggle to close the twenty documents I have up at all. Even though I also save every five minutes, which is a problem in itself, I say a little prayer before I ever close anything. On top of that, I’ve been known to reopen everything after I close it just to check. And then I save it anything. And I might open it again. It’s exhausting.

Writer Problems #2

Eureka! I have a new idea! Now if I could only finish my other ten ideas… 

2

This goes back to my first problem. I never read one book at a time, and I never write one book at a time. I’m constantly working on different projects at the same time, so it isn’t rare for another project to sneak its way into my schedule. I’ve found that it’s both a blessing and a curse. My biggest issue is picking which novel to write next.

Writer Problems #3

Strangers catching you staring at them because they look like your characters.

3

Oh, goodness. On top of being neurotic, I’m always rather awkward, and one of those things that I tend to do (which often gets me in trouble) is staring at people. A lot. Even if people don’t look like my characters, I’ve found myself staring at someone that I WISH was one of my characters. You would think that I would get better at hiding my stalking eyes, but…I haven’t. I just stare. Creepily from my corner. Taking notes.

Writer Problems #4

Having nightmares about your novel during writing, editing, publishing, and after publication.

#4

It’s sort of like having the classic dream of showing up at school in your underwear. It happens – even though you’re no longer in school – and I find it’s even more frustrating when you’re out of school and have dreams like that. I have dreams of never finishing novels that are already finished. I have dreams of being called the shittiest author of all time. (But I think Honest Trailers already gave that to someone…) I have dreams of characters never coming out and talking to me again. Ah! I could go on and on about all the dreams I have revolving around books, but my heartbeat is racing.

Writer Problems #5

Hearing a song that inspired a novel…and now all you want to do it WRITE.

5

This particular card had a funny backstory to it, but I first have to explain how I make these. Basically, I pay attention to my everyday life, and when something reminds me of a writer problem I have, I create these. So, I might not even be going through what is on the card, but I will be going through something similar. For instance, in this case, I was doing the dishes, accompanied by my handy iPod mini – it’s green – and I Follow Rivers by Lykke Li came on. For those of you who listened to the 8tracks soundtrack for Take Me Tomorrow, you will know that this song heavily influenced my writing time, so just hearing it, made me want to go work on that trilogy. I struggled to continue washing the dishes, and it reminded me of times I’ve been out in public at an event and heard a song like this, which made it difficult to even concentrate at all. Writing consumes you.

Have any of these writer problems affected you? Have any funny stories to accompany them? Share below! And let me know if you want me to continue these cards and stories in the future. If you like them, be sure to follow me on Facebook because that is where I share them first.

~SAT

#Monday Blogs: Traditional vs. Self vs. Indie: What is the best way to get published?

20 Apr

Intro:

I have had the great honor of getting to know Kasi Blake through Clean Teen Publishing, and let me tell you guys, she is someone to watch. Her imagination began writing stories at a young – including one that was inspired by Star Wars – and she wrote across many genres. Now, she writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy…and of course, this lovely blog post about a constantly debated topic in the publishing world: which route do I take?

Traditional vs. Self vs. Indie: What is the best way to get published?

This question has been up for debate for some time, and that is why I am doing a post on it. However, I will not be telling you what you should do. Writing is a business with more than one way to do things. With that in mind, I will tell you about my experiences as I published all three ways, and you can decide for yourself which way you want to go. Each publishing arena has its pros and cons.

1. Traditional: There are still many people in the business who believe this is the only way to go and don’t consider you a real writer unless you published with one of the major publishing houses. You also need an agent in most cases. No one wants to wind up in the slush pile, wondering if their manuscript is even being read. I published two Romantic Suspense novels this way.

Advantages: Being able to say you are published with a major house gives you     credibility, and people don’t stare at you with glazed eyes when you talk about your book. Traditional publishers usually have a team of editors, graphic artists, and other awesome people to help your book along. The best thing about them in   my opinion is they can get you into stores. Seeing your book on the shelves is something you don’t forget.

Disadvantages: You have little to no control over your book. Once you sign the     contract, it is their book. They will choose the cover, change the content, and    usually they come up with their own title even if you slaved over it for months. If you think it will all be worth it to have help marketing, think again. Unless you     are a big name writer, there isn’t anything in the budget for you. Most first books lose money, and that’s why new authors have such a hard time getting signed.

2. Self-published: After getting a sparse two books published with a traditional house, I turned to the diy way. At first I was against it. I didn’t want people thinking I couldn’t get published and had to do it this way. Now, I am happy I took this journey myself, and I intend to do it again. I’ve published two series this way, the Rule Series starting with Vampires Rule (Free at the moment) and the Order of the Spirit Realm Series, starting with Bait.

Advantages: Total control. You are in charge of your book, and it is your baby       from conception to the finished product. Although you should find betas to read the manuscript before you publish, everything is up to you. Not everyone likes     this concept, but I enjoyed it. You can find out how to format and how to do your own cover on the Internet, or you can find skillful people to do those things for you. Many have taken the plunge before you, so take advantage of their      knowledge, and learn from their mistakes. You keep most of the money. I loved doing my own covers!

Disadvantages: There is still a stigma attached, and some people hate your books without giving them a chance. Marketing is difficult to do totally on your own. If the book has a problem and doesn’t sell, it is on you. There’s no one else to blame.

kasiblake

3. Indie: Although I am a control freak and enjoyed doing my own thing, it became tedious, so I found a small Indie Publisher for my Witch Game Novels. Crushed will be published August 4th with Witch Hunt following a few months later.

Advantages: I can’t tell you how great it feels to have someone else in this with     me now. While I concentrate on writing, they are editing the books, doing the    covers, etc. I can breathe. Unlike the traditional publishers, they offered me more control over my covers, content, and so on. It’s been great working with them. They also do some of the marketing.

Disadvantages: You are giving up part of your royalties and some control. Once you sign that contract, the book isn’t a hundred percent yours anymore, so make sure you can trust the people you are working with. Get recommendations.

There you have it, the top advantages and disadvantages of each publishing route. You have to decide which is best for you. Not everyone will do well with a traditional publisher, just like not everyone will succeed as a self-published author. It depends on what’s most important to you. Are you dying to see your books on the shelf in your local store even if they never sell? Do you have to have control over your own covers? Does it drive you crazy and give you an ulcer when you are in charge of everything?

Bio:

kasi-2Hi, my name is Kasi Blake, and I write Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy for the young and the young at heart. I love animals, wild and tamed, and years ago a blind date made my dream come true by introducing me to his cougar, Samantha. She was beautiful, and I was too stupid to be scared. In retrospect, my lack of fear probably saved me. He let me go into her pen so I could pet her. She walked up to me and fixed her open mouth on my upper thigh. I just stroked her head and told her how beautiful I thought she was. She was looking up at me sideways while gently biting down on my leg. He pulled her back, told her not to get me dirty, and I walked out of the pen. I think she was just testing me. Glad I passed.

I was born in sunny California, but I now live on a farm in the Midwest with a dog, two cats, ducks, chickens and cows. Hearing from readers is on my list of favorite things. You can find me at www.kasiblake.com

Please check out my books on Amazon. Vampires Rule is free at this time, and Bait is an awesome read about hunters-in-training. Think Supernatural, the TV show, but with a slightly younger cast. You can also find out more about me and my books at http://www.kasiblake.com

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#SATurday: Interview with Bogart, the author kitten

18 Apr

#SATurday: Interview with Bogart, the author kitten

First and foremost, I would like to thank The Acid Oasis for asking me to interview Bogart. I immediately knew that I HAD to do it, and today is the day I share the results. But – first – a little background on this fuzzy little (okay, he’s a bit chunky) feline.

A little over four years ago, a terribly horrible person ditched Bogart and three other black cats. In a closed box. On the side of a highway. He was two months old. Thankfully, a person who was the opposite of the first person (meaning, this next person is an amazing and wonderful human being) pulled over on that highway and saved the kittens by taking them to Wayside Waifs. Two months later, Bogart became my family, and here we are today – catlady and cat – writing stories together every day.

bogartcharacterprofile

Bogart: A lovely introduction. Thank you, Shannon.

Shannon: Well, you did help me write it. How are you doing today?

Bogart: Hungry. As usual.

Shannon: We just ate.

Bogart: I get a treat for this, right?

Shannon: (pause) Sure.

Bogart: (finally sits) Great. Let’s get this started.

Shannon: What is it like to be an author cat?

Bogart: It’s tough work! I sit in Shannon’s lap most of the day, and when I’m not in her lap, I’m next to her. Even when she doesn’t know it, I’m watching – making sure she doesn’t make a mistake, critiquing every word she types, and let me tell you, there are A LOT of words, and I keep Shannon in check.

Shannon: Why are you referring to me as Shannon when I’m right here?

Bogart: It’s for dramatic effect. (pause) And this is exactly what I mean. Without me, you wouldn’t even understand the meaning of drama. And who can have literature without drama?

Shannon: (blinks) Fair enough.

Bogart: So, as I was saying (yawn mixed with a meow), this is tough work. When Shannon makes a mistake, I jump onto her laptop. She doesn’t like it very much. I get thrown off a lot, you know? But the best partners have to have disagreements sometimes. Still, I think she knows I’m right because she ends up staring at her computer for a long while after. Sometimes, she even shuts it down altogether.

Shannon: So, what happens then? When you’re off the laptop?

Bogart: The inspiration, of course! Recently, for instance, I acquired two new friends, Boo Boo and Kiki. I’m sure you’ve seen us on Instagram. (leans in close, rubs face on recorder) We’re famous. (leans out) But Boo Boo and Kiki have been a great help. We set everything up, and the second Shannon comes into the room, we begin our masterpiece. There’s fighting and yelling and cuddling and sharing. An entire collection of emotions just for one plot, let me tell you.

Shannon: And how do I – er, I mean – how does Shannon react to these pieces?

Bogart: She loves them so much, she trips. (stretches) Sometimes, over Boo Boo, but mainly over me. I’m the star of the show, the big guy, the spark. (licks paw) It’s tough work, but the fight scenes in The Timely Death Trilogy wouldn’t be here without me.

Shannon: I thought Shannon wrote that before you two began collaborating.

Bogart: (ignores) What’s your next question?

Shannon: Ah. Right. (flips through notebook) Do you have any works of your own you’ll release? Anything by Bogart?

Bogart: Now that. (long purr) That is a great question. (sees water glass in front of him for the first time. Eyes go wide. Paw lifts up. He knocks it to the floor. Purr deepens.) I love the sound of water glasses hitting the floor. It’s the musical soundtrack of inspiration. Don’t you think?

Shannon: (stares at the mess) I need to clean that.

Bogart: Not now. Not now. (sits in lap and looks up with big, begging eyes to prevent movement) We were talking about my own story.

Shannon: (pets) Go on

Bogart: I do have my own stories. Many stories. Stories I’ve been piecing together for four long years. Stories of purr-fection and cat-astrophe and mew-tovation. But these things take time. A lot of time. And for now, I am enjoying my place – as a muse, a confidant, a kitten cat.

Shannon: Kitten cat?

Bogart: It’s a new spelling I’ve come up with – in reference to a cat that keeps their kitten qualities despite hardships – a cat that maintains their dreaming selves through adulthood, a cat that never gives up. (lifts face) I’m a kitten cat, and without me, Shannon would have a more difficult time with her dreams. Someone must encourage her – just as she encourages me with treats. (long pause)

Shannon: (throws treat)

Bogart: (eats treat) But, you see, we work together, and that’s a precious thing: an author kitten cat and his author, writing into the future. (pause) You could write a whole story on that.

Shannon: I already made a note.

Bogart: Great. We should get back to work.

Shannon: Agreed. (pets) Thank you for your time, Bogart.

Bogart: Thank you for the treat. (jumps down) Now open that laptop. We have books to write.

After the interview, Bogart and I got to work on the latest piece of fiction that will, hopefully one day, hit the shelves for readers. We worked all day and all night, only stopping for dinner, coffee, and treats. He purred and slept, but I know he kept his Halloween cat eyes on every word, just waiting for the opportunity to jump onto my laptop (to prevent mistakes, of course). When we finished our long day, we celebrated by talking some more. Bogart told me of the birds that taunted him, of the sunshine that warmed him, and of the toys he found beneath the couch. In his spare time, Bogart appears on Facebook and Instagram. He also models for donations. But he mainly looks forward to another day, full of writing and kitten cat adventures. It didn’t need to be said, but I found myself stating it anyway. I love Bogart very much.

~SAT

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.05.55 AMP.S. I was a guest blogger for Little Birdy Book Blog yesterday, and I talked about 5 lessons I learned since becoming an author. What was number 1? Being a reader is much more complicated now. Check it out by clicking here.

#WW Rejected? How to Keep Submitting

15 Apr

Rejected? How to Keep Submitting

Lately, I’ve been trying to help a lot of fellow writers find publishers, literary journals, and websites where they can share their work. The market is HUGE (hence the giant, capital letters), but for many, this is both a positive and a negative description of the industry. With so many options, how does someone know where to submit? And with so many opportunities, why do I keep getting rejected?

rejectThere are so many answers for this, and none of them are accurate. It’s all guesswork. I can’t tell someone why their manuscript was denied by so-and-so, and I can’t explain why someone else’s poetry made it into The Gettysburg Review over someone else. Only the judgers could, for certain, say why, but even then, it often comes down to their mood that day or their theme that month or how well it would fit in with the other work they already accepted. Again, guesswork.

That being said, this is when I see too many writers give up hope. They’ve submitted to 20 or so places and either received rejections or nothing at all, so they stop. Now, I want to take this moment to clarify that I’m talking about submitting to places today. I’m not discussing self-publishing. While I completely support (and often suggest) self-publishing, it isn’t for everyone, and many people do give up when submitting starts to overwhelm them, so this post is more for them – this post is for those writers who have specific journals they want to see their name in, to see a certain label on their work, to be among the voices of their favorite journal. That’s their goal and their decision, and I see nothing wrong with it. So, again, while I support self-publishing, this post is directed at writers who are submitting to places who might feel discouraged by the process. Below, I’m outlining a few steps to keep your pen up and your ink flowing while also submitting and submitting and submitting until that rejection pile becomes an acceptance pile.

Here are ways to keep submitting: (I’m going to use poems for the example)

Keep a Submission Journal

Set a goal for submitting a certain number of times during a specific timeframe. Ex. I will submit three poems to three journals every month. Now, here’s the tricky part – keep track of that goal. Write down what poems, what journals, and what dates you submitted. This will help remind you that you are currently submitting, and even if you get rejected, I guarantee you’ll already feel better because – chances are – you’ll already have other poems circulating for submission. Many journals, for instance, take months to get back to someone, so submitting different poems in different places will prevent you from getting that “I’m never submitting again” feeling because you’ll already have other submissions pending.

Keep Writing

While I believe it’s okay to have a specific poem you definitely want to get published, try submitting other ones too, and definitely keep writing new ones. A story I like to tell everyone involves my poetry publications. When I started submitting them, it was almost always the poems I NEVER thought they’d pick that were chosen in the end. My “best” poems in my mind are not my “best” poems in someone else’s mind. Remember that one reader won’t like everything, so send out more than just one piece of work. Send out a variety. And then write some more. And keep writing.

Keep Reading

One mistake I see many writers make is the lack of reading, especially of the journals and/or publishers they’re submitting to. I, myself, have made that mistake by accidentally submitting a controversial piece to a journal that no longer accepted controversy. Despite the fact that I kept reading the journal, I never noticed the theme change – so it’s important to read the journal and also take notes on the journal’s overall voice and goals. Sometimes writers think they can go around this by just reading the submission guidelines, but it isn’t rare to see “to get a feel for what we accept, read our latest edition….” at the top of submission pages. Even better, many literary journals offer a free copy for you to review, so read, and read a lot. You might even find a new writer you love.

Make a Mentor List

You know you have them. Your favorite novelist. Your favorite poet. A TED speaker. We all look up to someone, and it’s great to figure out where that someone came from. Even better, find someone with similar topics and/or voice, and check out where they came from and how they got their start. That famous writer wasn’t born a famous writer. They had to submit too. And you know what? I bet they even received rejections. But they never gave up, and you shouldn’t either.

Keep on submitting!

~SAT

#MondayBlogs: Different Writing Techniques of Famous Writers

6 Apr

Intro:

I love info graphics. In fact, I’m a little obsessed with them. So, when Cindy Bates – a freelance editor and writer for Best Essay Tips – contacted me with her very own info graphic to share, I just knew I had to share it. Below, you’ll find a photo that outlines the Different Writing Techniques of Famous Writers.

Different Writing Techniques of Famous Writers 

Being a prolific and excellent writer is never easy. It took years to the world’s most famous and topnotch writers to be able to publish their work. For those who are aspiring to become one, possessing this skill does not happen overnight but you can definitely learn many things from famous writers. To improve your writing skills, constant practice is important. The best way to do this is to have your own journal. When you have your personal journal, you can freely write down your thoughts. You get to have your own space where you can express yourself without restraints and inhibitions. Apart from owning a journal, it is also known among famous writers that in order for you to be skilled in writing you also have to be a wide reader. By forming these habits, you can start having your own personal time for writing and to practice not just writing as a skill but as well as an art.

Writing techniques

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

Website Wonders

28 Mar

Website Wonders:

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of March’s Website Wonders categorized into Readers, Writers, Coffee Drinkers, and Cute Fun. If you enjoy these websites, be sure to like my Facebook page because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Enjoy!

Readers:

Neil deGrasse Tyson Selects the Eight Books Every Intelligent Person on the Planet Should Read: A lot of these books are for free too.

100 Legal Sites to Download Literature

The Best Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2012: A flashback

Writers:

How “Strong Female Characters” still end up weak and powerless (Or, Do they pass the action figure test?) A great article that debates all sides of the “strong” female character

 75+ Paid Writing Opportunities: Because writers can get paid too. 

32 Of The Most Beautiful Words In The English Language: Nefarious has a cat.

Billy Wilder’s Rules for Screenwriters: Yes, screenwriters. I think of you too.

10557215_804346322967523_6886263204870891271_nCoffee Drinkers:

Innovative Alarm Clock Wakes Users with Freshly Brewed Coffee:Who doesn’t need this?

Coffee Jokes: Why are men all like coffee?

Cute fun:

Japan’s Fox Village: The cutest place on earth.

21 Adorable Pictures Of Babies Chilling With Their Kitty Cat Companions: So cute, I died.

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed these website wonders! See you with more next month!

~SAT

In case you missed my LIVE interview today at 11 a.m. (CDT) on Google+ with author, Jonas Lee. Here is the video:

#MondayBlogs: Guest Post Showing VS Telling

23 Mar

Intro:

I am very excited about today’s guest blogger. Since recently signing with Clean Teen Publishing, it has been an absolute delight getting to know my new family, and so, I am introducing one of those wonderfully supportive and talented authors, Jennifer Anne Davis. She is sharing fantastic writing advice about the well-known writing tip “Show, don’t tell” below, and I’m very honored to be able to present her words to you.

Showing VS Telling

I just finished reading a New York Times Bestselling book. Because it’s a bestseller, I had high expectations and planned to fall in love with it. However, I was left sadly disappointed. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. After finishing the book, I sat there thinking about it. The writing, for the most part, was decent. The story interesting. So why didn’t I love it?

Because I was told the story. I wasn’t invested in the characters or what happened since it was all telling and no showing. What makes readers fall in love with characters? Why do we root for characters like Katniss, Tris, or Celaena? I believe it’s because the writer takes us on that character’s journey. We feel his or her pain, triumph, and love. In order to be invested and take that journey, we have to be captivated by the story. I believe this is done by showing a reader what’s happening, rather than telling them.

Jennifer Anne Davis on Facebook

Jennifer Anne Davis on Facebook

As a writer, it’s hard to find that balance between showing and telling. For me, when writing my first draft, it’s almost all telling. I am simply trying to get the story out without worrying about how I’m doing it. Once the story is on paper, I go back in and basically rewrite the entire thing so that I am showing the reader what’s happening. However, there are times where I do need to tell in order to keep the story moving along. Usually when the telling occurs, it’s a minor plot point and not of importance. Where showing becomes vital is between characters. I don’t like reading a story where the writer tells me how characters think and feel about those around them. A lot of times, the characters aren’t clear nor do they even understand their own thoughts and feelings. So it’s a lot of fun to read/write a story where the characters’ interactions with one another allow the reader to draw their own conclusions as to what is really going on.

On the flip side, I don’t want to overdo it with the showing either. Sometimes it’s ok to say a character had a stern look on their face without describing what that stern look looks like. Again, there is a fine line between showing too much. You have to keep the action moving along. I think that’s why it’s really important for a writer to have beta readers and critique partners.

Let’s look at one of my paragraphs from The Key.

“The girl’s eyes flew open. They were brilliant like the sea. Her hair was the color of hay, only silky instead of stiff and rough. Darmik wanted to touch it, just to be sure. The girl’s wet, gray dress clung to her body, her bosom heaving up and down from running.”

Ok, so in this paragraph, I don’t tell you her hair is blonde, I show you by giving a comparison. Same with her eyes. Also, by having Darmik notice several details so quickly, the reader has a hint that he is immediately drawn to this girl. The paragraph would have been boring if I’d said:

She opened her eyes. They were blue. She had blonde hair. She was breathing hard from running.

Yuck! So in this instance, telling is boring, dull, and adds nothing to the story or characters. Showing is what draws the reader in, captivates them, and leaves them wanting more!!!

Bio:

ABM_3681Jennifer graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. Afterwards, she finally married her best friend and high school sweetheart. Jennifer is currently a full-time writer and mother of three young children. Her days are spent living in imaginary worlds and fueling her own kids’ creativity.

Visit Jennifer online at www.JenniferAnneDavis.com

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

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