Tuesday Takeover: The Best Part of Romance by Sarah Brocious

Life can be crazy at times. Case in point? This very article. I have had weeks to think about what I could write, would write, should write…yet, here I am on the one yard line, writing hours before it is due. I was even tempted to recycle an old blog of mine, but couldn’t bring myself to do such. So, this may be short and sweet, but it will be original.

Who am I? You will still find me bashfully admitting, “I’m a writer.” Because I honestly still find myself doubting that title every day. You can ask anyone who has ever been a part of my life, writing is who I am. I can’t survive long without putting words to paper. I have a brain that rarely stops and I think without writing, I may go mad. Honestly…mad. Writing is an outlet and it is the only thing that calms the chaos. (well, that and music) To call myself a writer feels like an honor that I don’t deserve. Yet, there are several books with the name “Sarah Brocious” attached to them, so it must be true, yes?

I had a short discussion today with a friend of mine on what exactly it is that I write. My first instinctive response was, “I write romance!!” To which I got a “give me a break” look. I argued, “But there is no sex in my books!” Response? “It’s in the way “he” looks at her. I know what that is all about.” And I blushed because it is true. What I imply in my words…in the way the characters interact, look, touch, and feel holds more meaning than the actual act.

I pride myself for this. I could write explicit scenes. I could give all the details and leave nothing a mystery. But how much more powerful is it when the imagination is involved? I don’t want my readers to get a descriptive monologue/dialogue of a kiss. I want them to actually feel that kiss. I want them to feel that look. I want them to experience that rush of butterflies to the stomach as if they were right there in the characters shoes.

What is the very best part of romance? It’s the falling part. Its the shy glances. It’s the flirty remarks and the accidental touches. It’s the whispered words of someone scared to be heard, but wanting to tell the world. It’s the rush of adrenaline when you see that person. It’s the uncertainty that they feel it as strongly as you do. And it is the attraction that pulls one person to another in ways that can’t be explained. Mere words can’t touch these experiences. BUT…words with emotion, mystery and a hint of the forbidden can allow a reader to feel it.

If I could use a word to describe my writing style when it comes to the “romantic” connection of my characters? It would be…anticipation. And I think that holds more impact at times than instant gratification.

When I decided to publish, that was exactly the thing that came up time and time again. “You could be more explicit!” “Sex sells!” But I wanted to stand out. I like being my own person. So I didn’t want to write like others, I wanted to write like me.

What does that mean?

I am the good girl….but I am the wild child, too. I am the social butterfly and I am the hermit of an introvert. I am sunshine and hurricane. I need to write in a way that makes all sides of me happy. There needs to me just enough sweet with the sexy.

Any questions?


Sarah Brocious was born February 27th 1978 into a steadily growing family. She is one of eight siblings. Growing up in a “crowded” home gave her a great need to slip away for some time alone. In those times she chose to read or write even at a very young age. From the time she could put sentences together, she found no greater joy than creating stories.

This desire continued to grow but as does often happen… life got in the way. Her love for writing did not diminish. It was pushed aside for a time.

Now in her thirties she has decided to put her “need to” aside and give into the “want to”. So far there are four books to her name. There is much she wants to share in the future… This is just the beginning! Follow her here.

sarah-b

Sep 20, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: The Best Part of Romance by Sarah Brocious

Tuesday Takeover: The Truth of Work/Life Balance through Life’s Storms by Kate Corcino

Point A: We’ve all heard them—those pithy sayings meant to get us through the rough patches. “When it rains, it pours” and the like.

Point B: As writers, we’ve all heard the impossible counterpoints, too. “Write every day. EVERY. DAY.”

What happens when Point A wipes out Point B? I’m not talking about feeling swamped. I’m talking about a tidal wave of life events that crashes over you and those you love with a destructive force that leaves you sobbing as you pick over the detritus. Whether it is one huge event, or a series of smaller events that just keep coming, you are utterly overwhelmed.

How do you manage work/life balance when that happens?

You don’t.

And that’s okay.

But how can I be a writer if I’m not writing?

Because you’re learning.

Neither life nor writing happen in a vacuum. The things that you are learning when you’re in coping mode enrich both your person and your writing. I have so many writing friends forcing themselves to work through upheaval simply because they think that’s what writers do. They push themselves into exhaustion and beyond. They agonize over every moment spent away from their manuscript.

The bear of it is, sometimes you can’t help it.

In 2005, at seven months pregnant, I tripped while unloading groceries (they don’t call me “Grace” for nothin’). The impact caused a placental abruption. Our son was born at 27 weeks. The next three months were a blur of hospital corridors, medical forms, two-steps-forward-three-steps-back terror, and gratitude. Later, when I had time to reflect and not simply ride the daily waves, I recognized all of the lessons learned during that time that inform my writing and my life as a writer. Foremost among them was perspective. No matter how terrifying my tiny son’s odyssey was, the spectre of loss that left me breathless with fear was very real to other parents in the NICU. My son survived, then thrived. He came home. Other precious lives were lived in their entirety in that unit.

In 2008, when I was barely five months pregnant, my water broke early. The team at the hospital informed me that they had no choice but to deliver my still “unviable” daughter. We refused. They quoted a 90% fetal mortality rate in ruptures before 22 weeks, but we were steadfast. We were dismissed, sent home with antibiotics to keep infection at bay, instructions for total bed rest, and informed that I should drink at least 120 ounces of water per day. IF we made it to 24 weeks, they’d hospitalize us then, when there was a chance of saving her. When we went back three weeks later for the ultrasound, an eternity of tears and fears having passed in those weeks, my membranes had resealed. Our daughter wasn’t just viable, she was perfect. Lessons learned? Belief in myself, in my instincts, in my right to say no to experts determined to tell me they know better.

In 2011, my husband suffered a heart attack in the middle of the night. A day and half later, he underwent a quintuple bypass. Four and half days post-surgery, as I sat by his bedside, I received a series of calls that makes my heart ache to this day—our 15-year-old son had been in a horse riding accident. He was taken to a different hospital because he required the highest level of trauma care. Two days and a full craniotomy later, I stood by my son’s bedside at midnight as he came out of his anesthesia, disoriented, terrified, and in pain. He begged me with slurring words to hold his hand, to sing him his baby song, to stay with him. I stood leaning into the metal bars of his bed in the PICU until dawn, holding his hand and singing “You Are My Sunshine” until my voice failed and all I could do was hum. At dawn, he finally fell asleep. My day, to be spent managing my loves in two hospitals and at home, was just beginning.

Lesson learned? I am mighty. There is nothing that cannot be handled, so long as you keep your focus on the moment you are in right then. Do not look up. Do not allow yourself to be overtaken by what-ifs and possibilities. All that matters is one moment. If you can do that, you can do anything.

2015 was meant to be a great year. I had that work/life thing on cruise control. My first book, Spark Rising, and its related collection of stories had been released at the end of 2014 and the response to the novel exceeded my expectations by miles and miles. It won awards while I was deep in writing its follow-up. At the same time, I balanced managing the household, homeschooling my two youngest children, cheering on my oldest (who’d recently flown the nest to begin his adult life across the country), and nurturing a handful of animals. But I didn’t merely balance. I didn’t manage. I excelled.

And then our household crashed, again. My chronic health condition (also nicely managed) decided it was done cooperating. I was hospitalized for a week that summer. And then again. And then again. Even as teams of doctors surrounded my bedside and told us gravely that we were done managing and I risked death if they didn’t intervene surgically, I still managed.

I finished two sets of revisions on the manuscript and scheduled both edits and my surgery for early Fall. I co-wrote a short story. I made arrangements for the kids, the animals, the household. And then I was hospitalized again, and the surgeon moved up my surgery. It couldn’t wait.

Unfortunately, it would have to.

A week before I was supposed to return for elective resectioning of my innards, an inattentive driver swerved in front my husband on his way to work. His motorcycle went down, and it took all my careful management skills with it. We began an odyssey that would span gross malpractice, finding another doctor, another hospital, and two surgeries to repair him. The morning of my birthday, I kissed my husband and went to wait in a waiting room while they replaced his shoulder. Five weeks later, he leaned over to kiss me and wait while they wheeled me in for my own surgery.

During our recoveries, I did not write. I did not think of my once-looming deadline, now postponed. I did not work in spare, stolen moments. I allowed myself to heal, for him, for our children, for me.

Because sometimes work/life balance means putting everything you have on one end of the scale because that is the side that matters most.

The miracle of it is that when you turn back to the scale, somehow both sides are still hovering, somehow still balancing. How can that be?

That’s the most important lesson I’ve learned. As writers, we are so much more than butt in chair, fingers on keyboard output. We watch, we synthesize, we learn, and we dream, even through the nightmare times. And every experience, every moment away from our manuscripts and our internal worlds, returns again to us two-fold in wisdom, and depth of character, and fullness of experience that allows our writing to grow.

Work/life balance? I’m here to tell you, my friend, that if you’re alive, you’re balanced. When the storms stop thundering and the water recedes, when you have time to rebuild and breathe again, the words will be there. And they will be so much richer because of where you’ve been.


myra

Kate Corcino is a reformed shy girl who found her voice (and uses it…a lot). She believes in magic, coffee, Starburst candies, genre fiction, and descriptive profanity. A former legal videographer, teacher, and law student, she believes in chasing dreams and the transformative power of screwing up and second chances.
She is currently preparing for the imminent release of Spark Awakening, the second book in the Progenitor Saga, a futuristic fantasy series with romance, science, magic, and plenty of action.

She lives in her beloved desert in the southwestern United States with her husband, several children, three dogs, and two cats.

You can find her first book, Spark Rising, at Amazon.

 Website/Blog ~ Facebook  ~ Twitter  ~ Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 13, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: The Truth of Work/Life Balance through Life’s Storms by Kate Corcino

Tuesday Takeover: Chasing the Dream! by Vikki Becker

Enchanted - Vikki

For many years, I let fear rule my life. I was afraid of failing, at everything, so I just didn’t try. I just existed. I pushed my hopes and dreams of being a writer and an editor to the back of my mind. Raising a family with six children, it was easy to let my dreams lie dormant. Moms are supposed to focus on their kids, right?

I had forgotten that I even wanted to be a writer. I let the thought of it slip away. Then the pain began. Debilitating, depression inducing, horrific pain. Then more fear. Fear of not being able to complete tasks, of judgement, of failing as a wife and mother. I basically gave up. The pain ruled my life. There was little to nothing in my life that inspired or excited me, beyond my kids and grandkids. I had let the dark cloud of chronic illness permeate every aspect of my being and my life. I was completely without hope.

Then, during a chat, a friend suggested journaling, to get my feelings out, thinking it might be therapeutic. At first I just sat staring at the blank pages, wondering what in the world to write. I hadn’t written anything in so long, I just couldn’t imagine where to start. Starting at the beginning, my childhood, I wrote the story as if telling it to a stranger. Then the ideas starting flowing! Out of nowhere, all of these characters, scenarios, and locations were coming to mind. So I decided to run with it. Turning the page, I started over, giving voice to the stories and characters in my head. And I just couldn’t stop! It was so freeing. My mind felt alive, on fire. I began to feel like I did before the health issues took over, like I had something interesting to say and finally knew how to say it. Starting with a family friend, who is a publisher, writer, and all around creative genius, I began letting people read what I was writing. It was nerve-wracking, waiting on constructive criticism. But feedback was good. Yes, I had some learning to do, some things to work on. But, according to people that I trusted to be honest, the ability was there. It would just take time to hone it. I just had to keep writing.

Fear of the pain and the unknown had paralyzed me. But the possibilities of the future, once I recognized and nurtured my gifts and talents, were immeasurable. Hiding in fear is no longer my first instinct. This has not been an overnight process. It’s been off and on again. Early on in this journey I had lost myself. I was behaving as if I were only my diagnosis, not myself at all anymore. Now my heart and mind are open to new things, new ideas, new experiences, and I see new things on the horizon.

The physical limitations have opened up a world of possibility for me. Through loss of some physical abilities, many other abilities have been realized. Just because my body doesn’t work how I want it to doesn’t mean that my mind will do the same. Keeping my mind active gives me hope. Hope for change, for growth! So, as odd as it sounds, I am thankful for my health issues. Because without them I wouldn’t have rediscovered my love for writing, my passion for editing, and my desire to create. My horizons have broadened since becoming chronically ill. We all have so much more available to us if we would only look inside ourselves and believe!

Your issue may not be chronic health problems. Your gift may not be writing. But this applies to so many of us in so many areas of our lives. We must not let fear rule our decisions. There are goals to be achieved, dreams to be followed, for all of us. How will we ever know if we don’t try? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be lying on my deathbed, wondering what if!

My writing may never be popular, best-seller material. I may never make a living at it. Or maybe I will! Jumping in with both feet is the only way I’ll ever know. At least I can say I tried.

I’ve found that this industry, although there are exceptions, is filled with kind, encouraging, creative people. The level of support, the tons of advice, and the friendships I’ve formed since entering this world have been overwhelming. Along the way I also discovered that editing is something that I am quite good at and enjoy. Whether or not the writing takes off, I now have a fulfilling job. A job that allows me to work from home. IN MY PAJAMAS! How awesome is that? 😉

What I have are “chronic” conditions. They currently have no cure. No treatment or med will “fix” me. However, as long as I continue to fight, keep putting words to paper, chasing my dreams, and I do NOT give upthere is hope. Hope that I can achieve my goals. Hope that the four walls of my bedroom never again have to become the center of my world. Hope that I can be someone better than I was yesterday.

I allow myself the down days, the times I need to recover, rest, and just be. And the days where I can do more, I do. But I try to remain thankful for small accomplishments. Being able to do the dishes, cook a meal for my family, write a chapter or two. These things are all important. Things that most people take for granted mean the world to me. Living with chronic illness can give you a grateful heart. If you let it.

And you, whatever your dreams are, chase them. Chase them with all of your heart. Be a fighter! Whether that means fighting from behind a laptop, banging out words on the keyboard, running a marathon, going back to school, or being the most loving person you can be! Do it! Don’t let anyone or anything, especially your own self doubt, steal from you the life you were meant to live! Books are still magical and your life is not over when you receive a chronic illness diagnosis. I am proof of that.


Vikki

Vikki lives in Northern Alabama with her hunky husband, the youngest of their six children, three dogs, and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. She’s recently started writing again, after setting it aside to raise and homeschool her kids. She’s been editing for several years now, with rave reviews from clients, and is thrilled to be able to work from home at a job that she adores. When not curled up in the recliner with the laptop and her ShihTzu, Rebel, you’ll find her camping in the woods, drifting on the four wheeler, slinging mud.

You can find Vikki here: www.enchantedediting.com ~  vikkibecker@gmail.com ~ www.facebook.com/enchantedediting ~ @EnchantedEdit

Aug 30, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: Chasing the Dream! by Vikki Becker

Tuesday Takeover: Off-the-Path Advice on a Hybrid Author’s Journey by Brea Brehn

I love being an author. I love the challenges it brings. From query letter to book reading each step I had to learn myself and brought unique challenges. I also love being able to pour my thoughts and feelings into my work and get them out of my head. Along this road I have also had the privilege of meeting some amazing people. Some are semi-famous, such as the screen writer of the hit TV series, House to horror writer Mort Castle and well known Wisconsin author Michael Perry. Others are not even published yet, but have become good friends. Through it all I have found happiness like I haven’t known since I was a kid. Writing and being an author truly are my happy place. I love every moment of it. Some of those moments have not been perfect, and those are the moments I want to share with you. Hopefully you learn from them and maybe get a good laugh from them as well.

Every writer starts with one common thing. An idea for a story, poem or article. Sometimes where we get our ideas from come from an amusing place. I have been a stay at home/homeschooling mom for over ten years. Having kids is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. It has tested me physically and mentally so many times my body and my sanity often feel like an overused muscle. Some of those limit-reaching moments have resulted in some great writing. I remember reaching one of those moments when I gave my than one year old son a muffin. Of course his sister who was three wanted one too. By the time I got them both a muffin, the one year old had escaped from his high chair mashed himself and the carpet with his muffin and ran scattering the remnants all over the kitchen and dining room. Then he was thirsty so he helped himself to a Sippy cup of water which he was happily pouring into the mashed up muffin in the carpet saying, “I cwean it mama!” All of which could have resulted in a major mommy meltdown. Instead I sat down and wrote a little story called, “If You Give a Toddler a Muffin”. Obviously it mirrored the children’s picture book If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff. My story basically portrayed the chaos of having two kids that are both toddlers and did not go any further than Facebook. The point is I took my stress, frustration, and exhaustion and turned it into something that was entertaining and amusing for others. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is where Laura Numeroff got her idea from herself! What to remember from my story is that strong negative or positive emotions often result in some of the best writing you will ever accomplish. Write what you have and what you know. Write what you are passionate about. Write about what you love or what you hate. Writing is emotion and what you write should evoke emotions in your reader. If you are emotional when you write, so will your readers be when they read it! That is an awesome and powerful gift of writing.

Another thing writers have in common is that we are often trying to get out in the world to learn about our craft, to meet others and to share our work. If you are not, do so! The benefits are immeasurable. One fantastic way to do this is at a literary conference. I was at a conference with over a thousand people in attendance a few years ago. This was before I was published. I was a bundle of nerves. I knew no one. It came time for lunch and I sat at a random table near the front. Soon it filled up with others. I made short conversation with those around me. At one point I asked the man sitting next to me if he was a writer. He looked somewhat insulted and said, “I am the key note speaker actually.” I am fairly certain the look of horror on my face gave away the fact that I had no idea who he was. All I could choke out was, “Oh”. The lady sitting next to me saved me by asking a perfectly charming and intelligent question about the TV character he happened to create, named House. Holy crap! I was sitting next to the screen writer for House! The rest of the conversation at the table was amazing and despite my flummox at the beginning of the meal I am able to look back on that experience now with awe. But I did learn a couple of things from my experience. First, should be obvious. Study the key note speaker list before the conference! Know not only who is speaking, but what they are speaking about and who they are! More importantly, you never know who you may end up sitting next to. The next person you meet may be the agent that is looking for you, the author that may give you career changing advice, or the editor that can teach you something invaluable. You will never meet them though if you don’t go in the first place. When you do go, go with an open mind and ready for anything. All of this is true online as well. If you utilize social media to its full extent you will be virtually meeting tons of people. Again, that can’t happen if you don’t create a Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or whatever else account. Put yourself out there! Being a successful author is a fine balance between social media and real world experience. One I am constantly fine tuning myself. I should add, years later, at that same conference I met my agent. We met for coffee and she is currently working to place several of my books.

Finally, I want to talk about something that all writer’s will or have faced: rejection. I got over fifty rejections, non-responses, or “this is not the right fit for me” letters before I received an acceptance letter from a publisher. You can’t put your work and yourself out there without receiving some rejection. One rejection in particular I want to share with you that was particularly painful. I always research the agent, publisher or editor I am contacting. I look at what they prefer, the works they have done before, who they represent etc. It is a lengthy process that often can take hours. At one point I was sure I found the perfect agent for a children’s picture book I wrote. Like my story she was passionate about animals. The books she represented held similar messages (but not so similar there would be a conflict of interest). I loved her encouraging message to writers and I felt like I had a good chance. So I spent a couple of hours writing up a query letter for her. I am a type A perfectionist and won’t send anything out until it is as perfect as I can make it. In other words, I spend time and effort to contact her. I sent it out with high hopes. TWO HOURS after I sent it I got a simple one sentence e-mail in reply: “This is not the right fit for me at this time.” Ouch. What did I learn from this experience? I learned that I would have done nothing different. That I sent out what was the best of my abilities and that one no does not mean all will be a no. Most importantly, that effort, time, and dedication will be rewarded with a yes….eventually. I did not give up and neither should you. No matter how many “not for me” responses you get there is a “We are pleased to tell you…” message waiting for you out there. Don’t give up, keep learning and keep writing! Another thing I learned is that a no can lead to all kinds of things. I started with an independent publisher, signed with an agent and then bought back the rights to my dystopian series to self-publish them. Each route has been its own unique journey. I have loved every minute of it.

I have learned these things and so much more on my journey to becoming an author. The key word there is learn. Like everything else, a career as an author requires lots of mistakes, learning experiences, and a whole ton of reward that makes every single step worth it! Keep writing and trying. Your journey is out there waiting.


Brea

Brea Behn is very passionate about reading and writing in all genres. She started writing at the age of fifteen, when she wrote a memoir for her twin brother. Currently, she writes dystopian, children’s fiction of several genres, nonfiction, and is building her career as an author and public speaker. Brea speaks on topics ranging from social medial, being a published author, and on more personal topics of grieving as a teen and living with PTSD. When Brea is not writing, she is reading, usually several books at the same time. She also volunteers at her local humane society, gardens, and loves movies. Brea lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their two children.

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ Newsletter ~ YouTube

Aug 23, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: Off-the-Path Advice on a Hybrid Author’s Journey by Brea Brehn

Tuesday Takeover: Something to Offer by David Estes

Estes blog post 2

As a fulltime writer, one of my key daily tasks is to simply sit, close my eyes, and think about things. There’s something that’s been on my mind lately, something that might be obvious to some of you, and I think it is to me too, but it’s just something I’m not sure people really think about much, me included. This post is about having something to offer. Yeah, I just used the word “something” four times in like three sentences. But I’m just going to roll with it.

 And when I say “something to offer,” I mean big things, important things, life-changing things. Things that keep people on their feet (literally, mentally and emotionally). Am I talking about the researchers who are making strides to cure cancer? Of course. How about the leaders out there trying to solve the challenges that face the world’s economies? Sure, them too. But offerings of that scale are not the focus of this post. My focus is much smaller, the little things, the normal people. Wives and husbands and children and brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers…and yes, second cousins twice removed. Them too. This post is about how everyone has something to offer, and how most of the time those things, however small, tend to be the biggest offerings of all.

 So why did I start thinking about all this, you might ask? Mostly because of my Goodreads fan group (David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite!), which has grown to over 3,000 members. It’s because of my daily interactions with the wonderfully diverse group of people in the group that I’ve come to realize just how much every single person has to offer, and how big those offerings really are.

 In the group we have people from all over the world, of different ages, races, backgrounds, economic situations, religions and on and on, and you know what? Each and every person in that group has something to offer each other, and most of them don’t even realize it, which is what makes it so much more special. Let me give you a few examples. On a day to day basis I see:

 -Encouragement! This is my favorite of all, because this is a hard, hard world, one where surviving is easier said than done. We all go through struggles and we all need encouragement. Well, the members of my group are all about it, sharing their writing with each other, offering praise, congratulations on small events in each other’s lives. It’s simply heartwarming to watch and be a part of. This is a welcome relief from a world where bullying has become common place, not just in schools, but in workplaces and online and on TV. In many cases it’s accepted outright, sometimes as entertainment. Well, not in my fan group. The members are nothing but kind to each other. THIS IS HUGE! I can’t say it enough, a lot of people (if not all people) have hard lives, and simple words of encouragement go a LONG way.

 -Comedy! I swear I’m laughing all the time when reading the posts in the group. There are so many funny people out there, many of them under the age of 18 (if I’m being honest, many of them are like 13, 14 years old), that provide constant entertainment for the group members. I believe that smiling and laughter are extremely important in life, and can change the lives of people for the better.

 -Caring! The people in the group care about each other deeply. If someone says they’re sick or out of sorts, the members are there to offer their shared sadness for another group member’s suffering.

 -Advice! Wow, I’ve been so impressed with this aspect of the group. It sort of just happened, people (mostly Indie authors), asking for advice about book blurbs, pitches, aspects of writing, and the members totally jumped in and helped provide some really good, constructive advice. I jump in to offer my own too, but mostly I can just sit back and watch the members take care of each other.

 -Stories! We have a Share your Writing with the Group section where members can share anything really. I’ve been so impressed by the quality of the poetry, short stories, and even chapter books that comes through from the members. And again, the other members are so encouraging to each other!

 -Welcoming! The members are so welcoming of new members, letting them feel like a valued new addition to the group right away. And so they are!

 I have so many more things to say, but I don’t want to take all day getting to my point. What I’m trying to say is that it’s the little things, the things that ANY of us can offer if we just choose to, that can make the BIGGEST difference in the lives of others. I’m trying to do better at remembering that, both for my own actions, and so that I always recognize that any new person I meet has a story and has talents and has SOMETHING TO OFFER.

 Happy reading!

 David Estes

David Estes

David Estes is the author of more than 20 science fiction and fantasy novels that have received hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide, including The Moon Dwellers, Fire Country, Slip, Brew, and his new SciFi Pinocchio retelling, Strings. He lives in Hawaii with his inspiring Aussie wife, Adele, rambunctious son, Beau, and naughty cat, Bailey. When he’s not writing, you’ll likely find him at the beach swimming, snorkeling, or reading under an umbrella. You can get FOUR FREE books by signing up for his mailing list on his website: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com

 

Aug 8, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: Something to Offer by David Estes

Tuesday Takeover: Free and Inexpensive Ways to Support Authors by Casey Bond

I was listening to the news one morning and heard the funniest story about J.K. Rowling. I love her Harry Potter series (as does my daughter). Rowling decided to put a chair up for auction, but not just any chair, the chair she sat in to write the first two Potter books. Before the auction took place, it was estimated that the chair would bring in $70,000.00. It brought in $394,000.00. Seriously. The newscaster was baffled. But me? I was all like… #smugface. Because J.K. Rowling is amazing and everyone should know it by now. Not only is her series inspiring people from all ages and walks of life to take up the pen, it’s fun and she’s kind and gracious (all the time).

This post isn’t about opening your wallet to buy a chair. It isn’t about chairs or Rowling at all, but about what the average person (who doesn’t have an extra four hundred grand sitting around) can do to support their favorite authors.

I’m by no means famous, but let me tell you what. My readers are amazing. And this post was inspired by them. So if you want to know how to encourage your favorite writers….read on.

Ideas that cost NOTHING:

  1. Tell them that you enjoyed the book! Message them or post a message on their social media accounts telling them how much you liked it! It’s so encouraging and uplifting.
  2. Tell your friends about their work. Word of mouth is HUGE.
  3. Blast social media. If you read xxxxxx book, post about it without spoilers.
  4. Take a pic of the book on your e-reader and post it on your page.
  5. Tag them when someone asks what you’re reading, if you happen to be reading their work.
  6. Send an e-mail! J
  7. Randomly check in with them to see what they’re writing.
  8. Join their fan groups!
  9. Check their pages for new releases.
  10. Have fun! I haven’t met an author yet who hates getting encouragement, who hates a kind word. We love that you love our stories and characters as much as we do. We love talking to people who get it, who consider the characters we write to be real and important. We LOVE it. We fangirl, too. And believe it or not, we fangirl over fans! Authors love to hear from fans.

Ideas that might cost you a little:

  1. Buy their e-book or paperback,
  2. Send a card,
  3. Show up at a book signing with homemade merch that showcases their work (books drawn on a tote/notebook/shirt, photo book with their book covers included in it, canvas with characters drawn on it, etc!). Authors will sign ANYTHING (within reason) so not only do you get to make cool stuff, you get their signature on it! And it’s cool. So…

I hope you enjoyed the ideas. I’m blessed to have such amazing readers and hope to see you all at an event this year! Thanks to everyone who stopped by my tables at Roanoke Author Invasion and UTOPiA con! If you’re attending Carolina Book Fest or Rebels & Readers, please stop by and see me!


bond

Award-winning author Casey L. Bond lives in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction.

You can find more information about Bond’s books via the following links:

Website ~ Newsletter ~ Facebook ~ Twitter & Instagram: @authorcaseybond

Available or Soon-To-Be Released Books:

Winter Shadows

Pariah, Book 1 in The New Covenant Series

Paradox, Book 2, The New Covenant Series

Devil Creek

Shady Bay

Reap, Book 1 in The Harvest Saga

Resist, Book 2 in The Harvest Saga

Reclaim, Book 3 in The Harvest Saga

Sin (Serial Series)

Light in the Darkness (YA Anthology)

Fractured Glass (Novel Anthology)

Crazy Love

Water Witch

Dark Bishop (Serial Series)

Jul 19, 2016 | Posted by in Tuesday Takeover | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: Free and Inexpensive Ways to Support Authors by Casey Bond

Tuesday Takeover: Writing a book is just like having a baby by Sarah Negovetich

I’ve just released my third book, and I have to tell you, every release is a bit different, but the first one is the doozy that will make you or break you. I was ruminating back on that first release when I realized just how much it had in common with having my first baby. Here’s what I’m talking about.

Information Overload

New Baby: You read every book in the library and spent countless hours combing internet articles that are one half comforting and the other half terrifying. When you manage to pull yourself away from the computer, you gorge yourself on episode of A Baby Story on TLC.

New Book: In preparation for your new bundle of joy, you read everything you can about the craft. Do you want to publish your book with a trusted professional or are you the more DIY, hands on kind of author? There are dream stories about people who sell their first book for millions and then there are those who labor for years before they birth words into the world. You take it all in: books, podcasts, conferences, webinars. And in the end you still have no idea what’s going on.

Unsolicited Advice

New Baby: Everyone who has ever had a baby, knows someone who has a baby, or has thought about having a baby will provide you with all the random advice you never wanted to know. Perfect strangers will begin talking about the most intimate parts of your body as if you were a side-show at a discount carnival.

New Book: Be prepared for Aunt Elanor who hasn’t read a book released in the last three decades to tell you exactly how to write a good book. You will graciously ignore that her last birthday card contained no less than five grammar errors. Even though you didn’t know a single author before you started writing, now that you’re doing it, everyone you know is going to write a novel…some day…you know, when they have the time.

New Obsession

New Baby: This little angel will consume all your waking and sleeping thoughts. Before hand you’ll wax poetic to the lady at the super market about the little flutter kicks tickling your belly and share baby name thoughts with your waiter. People will avoid riding in elevators with you, so they don’t have to hear about your nursery colors one more time. Only other expecting moms will share your joy obsession.

New Book: Your project is all you ever want to talk about. It finds a way into every conversation you have. Your spouse knows more about the intimate details in your head than is advisable. Other writers will gladly join you in your obsession. Plus, there are plenty of online chatrooms and Twitter #wordsprints to keep you happily engaged. Non-writer friends don’t fully understand what you’re doing. You may find that some can’t take it and slowly drift away. Your best friends still don’t get it, but will quietly listen to you talk about your writer’s block for the fifth time this week.

Loss of Sleep

New Baby: Even before the baby gets here, you’ll lose sleep thinking, dreaming and worrying about your precious arrival. Not to mention the frequent trips to the bathroom . After the baby arrives, forget it. You’re up every few hours for diapers and feedings. And if your angel is sleeping, you’re probably up starting at him to make sure he’s still breathing.

New Book:  As a new writer, time is precious. If inspiration hits at 4am, who are you to deny the muse. The deeper you go and the closer you come to publication, the worse it gets. You spend most of your daytime hours wondering around in a plot hole induced faze muttering about second act reversals and character motivation. Personal hygiene will become less important the longer your first draft takes to write. Some people close to you may stage an intervention by taking away your computer and insisting you shower and go outside.

Resource Drain

New Baby: First there’s the doctor’s bill which hits you on the side of the head when you’re least expecting it. And that’s before the baby is even born. Then you have all the gear you’ll need like a crib, car seat, five-in-one super magic sleep, bounce, rocker (it had great reviews). After the baby comes you’ll have more doctor bills and it will be time to get all the supplies you really need, like industrial strength rubber gloves and a giant bottle of Dreft. Your time also seems to disappear, and close friends will assume you have fallen down a hole lined with burp clothes and pacifiers.

New Book: In addition to all the time you’ll dedicate to the perfection of the world’s best manuscript (you have the stained t-shirt to prove it), you may find that writing a book puts a strain on other valuable resources. Conferences aren’t free and a writer can never own too many leather bound journals that you’ll never actually use because they are way too nice for notes. Cute products proclaiming your new “writer” status will quickly replace food in your basic needs list (though to be clear, chocolate and coffee are non-negotiable). You may also find that other relationships may suffer, but don’t let that get you down. You’ll always have your characters to love you.

Can you handle it?

At the end of the day, writing a novel  is not for the weak at heart or the lover of sleep. But once you hold your book in your hand for the first time and gaze onto its shiny bound cover, you’ll quickly forget all the pain and torture. You’ll watch your little book grow into the marketplace and maybe shed a tear for your first review. When that happens, you know you’re ready for book two.

SarahN

Sarah’s Bio:

Sarah Negovetich knows you don’t know how to pronounce her name and she’s okay with that.

Her first love is Young Adult novels, because at seventeen the world is your oyster. Only oysters are slimy and more than a little salty; it’s accurate if not exactly motivational. We should come up with a better cliché.

Sarah divides her time between writing YA books that her husband won’t read and working with amazing authors as an agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency. Her life’s goal is to be only a mildly embarrassing mom when her kids hit their teens.

You can learn more about Sarah and her books at www.SarahNegovetich.com or follow her antics on Twitter @SarahNego.

Rite of Redemption Blurb:

Rebecca escaped the PIT, found a family among the Freemen…and watched too many loved ones die. All she wants is the Cardinal to leave her in peace, but he’s made it clear that’s never going to happen.

When the Cardinal attacks other Freemen villages, she finally understands that no one is safe from his wrath. As the only one who’s stood up to the evil that is the Cardinal, it’s up to her to convince the others that they can’t hide forever. It’s time to fight.

The Machine predicted Rebecca would become the Cardinal’s enemy. It may have gotten that one right.

In the conclusion to the Acceptance series, enemies become allies and old friends emerge, but in the end, sacrifice may be the price of freedom.

Book Links:

Rite of Redemption Amazon order link: https://www.amazon.com/Rite-Redemption-Acceptance-Book-3-ebook/dp/B01F50EZ3C

Rite of Redemption Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30166592-rite-of-redemption

Rite of Rejection link (free from Jun 2nd to 6th): https://www.amazon.com/Rite-Rejection-Acceptance-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00P26DB08

Rafflecopter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NDJiNzM3Y2E1YzRlMDgzY2E2ZDg0Y2E3YWFjOTM4OjY=/?

Rafflecopter HTML:

<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/42b737ca6/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”42b737ca6″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_7gceje4r”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

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My social media links:

Website: www.SarahNegovetich.com

Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/sarahnegovetich

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahDNegovetich/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/SarahNego

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahnego/

Jun 28, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: Writing a book is just like having a baby by Sarah Negovetich

Tuesday Takeover: Secret Ingredient For Writers Listed Below by Caroline A. Gill

You know this already. You do. You see it every day, maybe even more often: that sense of wonder. We try to capture it over and over. Whether it’s depicted in a film, in commercials, or in a book, that feeling, that moment of discovery: that’s the magic.

In the contemporary fantasy/fiction writing, we are all under the influence of giants, standing on the shoulders of Tolkien, Lewis, Carroll, and Poe. And that sense of wonder they found in a wardrobe, down a rabbit hole, on the other side of a mirror, in a hobbit hole; that is what we all seek. That is modern magic.

The surprise in a child’s eyes at a birthday party that moment charms us, pulling at our own memories. When our main character finds a skill they didn’t know they had, or a marvelous item that unlocks a door to a new world, it’s all the same.

Discovering the new, finding the magic: we all search for that definable moment of wonder. It is the core of every journey we take, that hope that we will discover something new. That feeling becomes amplified if mixed with love. Or if it is blended with righteous defending anger. Over and over, we wait to be surprised. And we love those who manage to do just that.

Think about your favorite books and movies. It’s those scenes that pull you in, the ones that mirror the wonder you once felt. A return to innocence, the feeling of rightness in the world, the hero who rushes in regardless of personal cost these are primal human emotions.

These are how we connect with the reader. And how the reader connects with us.

Not everyone searches for the same emotions either, which is why even well written books do not appeal to every reader. As fallible, broken beings, we seek a glimpse into the Greater Good. Wonder. Magic. Surprise.

These are the things worth dying for. The friendships worth saving. Treasure beyond price.

In my novel Flying Away, Iolani Bearse encounters loss after loss. First, her father dies in a faraway war, then her mother in a car accident. Lani sees death up close, blood dripping down her mother’s face. And there is a fly there, in the car. Just like there have been flies on the windowsill of her bedroom where she waited for years for her father to return home.

But now, in Lani’s lowest moment, in the chasm of her grief, watching her mother’s eyes glaze over, shattered by her death the houseflies speak to her. Perhaps this is the first time she really listened. And they show her a magic that the insects have always kept hidden.

You’ve seen flies, zipping in the middle of the air, hovering for no apparent reason? Well, that was just so you wouldn’t see what they can do: flying fast enough they can open a portal to anywhere. If a fly has seen a location, any fly can find it. And Lani needs the houseflies and their magic, far sooner than anyone would have suspected. Because the memory thieves are coming. The green lanterns shine in dark of night, harvesting amino acids and draining away whole families, suburbs, and towns. Only the flies protect Lani. Only Lani sees the Stealers. With their help, one orphan girl can save our broken nation.


Caroline Gill

Bio:
Caroline A. Gill went to school at UCLA and NIU. She married the love of her life. Facing the world with children made her aware of how vulnerable they are. Weaving tales of courage, she tries to find hope. Living near the great California Redwoods, she finds a sense of the finite and infinite touching. The creative world is like that, especially when authors feel inspired.  She’s the author of Flying Away, a YA dystopian, supernatural paranormal fantasy. www.authorcarolineagill.com

 

May 24, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: Secret Ingredient For Writers Listed Below by Caroline A. Gill

Tuesday Takeover: How authors choose their characters by Kyle Perkins

First of all, I would like to start off by saying that I am no expert on the matter and this is not so much a guide to creating characters, as it is my own personal experiences.

A little bit of backstory on me, I never actually aspired to be an author. I was more into gaming my entire life, and I joined a text based role playing group centered around some of my favorite games. From there, I learned everything you SHOULDN’T do with a character, as well as things people really respond well to. When you filter through dozens of characters a day, and read their stories, and actively participate with them, you learn who is universally hated and who is loved. That being said…

Never make your characters invincible. They need to be roughed up a bit. This is what is known as “God Modding” in the community and it is hated more than anything else. No one is interested in characters that can pull abilities out of thin air to get past an obstacle. We look at that as cheating, and so do readers. Instead, use what you have at your disposal in your character’s history. Make it fun, unexpected and exciting to read.

What I like to do is make a character sheet for all of my characters. It’s a basic bio full of their stats and history. So, if I need to know how tall my guy/girl is, I have it. If I need to know what special abilities he/she possesses, I have it. It details their personal story for me, so that if I ever need to get out of a situation I put myself in, I can refer back to the character sheet to decide how I could get it done, based on the character.

People want characters that are down to Earth and relatable. Think back to any TV show, book, or movie you really enjoyed. Chances are, the reason you enjoyed it was due to a character or two you really liked. The reason you like them is because you can relate. You see aspects of yourself in them. How many times when you were little did you say “I’m Leonardo!” or “I’m Optimus Prime,” Chances are a ton. You liked those characters and emulated them because you liked their personalities. Even as an adult I am sure people have said, “This character soooo reminds me of you,” and you liked them based on that alone without even seeing the character. That is what makes a character well rounded. All of your favorite characters are relatable and have flaws, because in real life, we all do too.

Another thing to watch out for is making your character too “edgy.” Which is defined as “Taking coolness to its extreme and generally beyond the realm of actual possibility, while at the same time seemingly unaware of how ridiculous it is.” Your character of course can be cool and funny, but when it imposes on reality and becomes farfetched, again, you have a problem with your reader finding them relatable. For instance, if your guy speaks in cool one liners, dresses in all black all the time, has armor on and carries around a samurai sword in Manhattan, chances are he is a bit too edgy.

When a reader reads your story, the most important thing you can do for them, is make it as easy as possible for them to put themselves in your character’s shoes. Otherwise, they lose interest. Making a character relatable will actually keep a reader reading in a genre they wouldn’t normally seek out, just BECUASE they can relate to it. Let’s face it, we all want to be the star of our own movies in our mind.

Now, I am not above any of this. When I started out roleplaying, I had the edgiest characters around, because it’s a game and you typically go out of your way to win games. When people stopped wanting to play with me, I sought out answers as to why. That’s when I learned it was more about a mutual story than winning, and when you make a great, relatable story, everyone wins.

So, in closing, make your characters relatable, down to Earth, flawed and realistic. If you follow those four things, it won’t matter what genre you write in, because people will keep coming back for more.

Kyel

It was only recently that Kyle Perkins discovered his love of putting his imaginative daydreams in writing for others to enjoy. He founded and managed some of the largest text-based roleplaying groups on Facebook, which sparked his passion for storytelling and helped him sharpen his skills as an author. Since the January 2016 release of his debut dystopian novel, Reddened Wasteland, Kyle has published three other works with plans to release several more in the upcoming months, including the second installment of the Reddened Wasteland series. He’s a dog person, an Aquarius, and he lives in Florida, though he’ll tell you he lives on the internet.

Facebook ~ Amazon

Apr 26, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Tuesday Takeover: Literary Prejudices by RJ Blain

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From an early age, we’re taught a lot of things. We learn to tie our shoes, we learn to follow the morals of society, and we’re taught to adhere to a certain set of beliefs. What is popular often comes before our personal interest and likes, and literature is no different. We’re taught we should appreciate literature because it’s old or appropriate, not because we enjoy it.

Too often we’re taught to read, not taught to read what we love. Even from an early age, we’re not given many choices in the types of books we can read.

As often as not, our personal interests fall second to the strict standards of our family and society, resulting in children, teens, and eventually adults adhering to the preferences of others. Fashion is a good example of this. We wear what society teaches us is popular, not necessarily what we want to wear. Young girls are encouraged to like the color pink and pursue interests ‘suitable’ for their gender. As early as pre-teens and early teens, clothing is sexualized to conform to society’s standards of popularity. Merchandise from popular franchises, especially within the superhero genre, are skewed heavily for male audiences.

Literature is no different, and it should be. This trend is most obvious when it comes to the interests of the young, highlighted by novels like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Gray. Women are scorned for having interest in these types of books. Men, young or old, are discouraged from having any interest in the romance genre at all. Perceptions of a story’s intended audience often result in the culture of interest shaming.

Twilight has become a showcase novel of this syndrome, with lovers of this book often facing the scorn and ridicule from others, particularly among those who consider themselves more literate. This problem is present in every genre of fiction, resulting in alienating potential readers, which in turn harms everyone.

This is a problem, especially in fantasy and science fiction genres, which heavily rely on people thinking outside of society’s norms. While certain elements of the science fiction and fantasy genres have become mainstream, many still have a negative reputation, particularly paranormal romance. Other targeted sub-genres include shifter fiction, vampire fiction, and many types of space opera.

These genres of fiction have a unique quality; they attract new, young readers, which is why readers should consider putting aside their prejudices to recommend these titles to the young audiences beginning to explore fiction as a viable source of entertainment.

While many readers may not consider Twilight, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and similar books to be good fiction, they share one important advantage: they capture the imagination.

Unfortunately, too many learning to read for enjoyment are being scorned for their interests. The only message this sends is that they are not allowed to love the books they enjoyed and that their interests do not matter.

Literary prejudices hurt us all, restrict the type of literature written and released to the market, and prevent people from feeling comfortable trying a new story or genre from fear of being scorned for their interests.

Change begins with each and every one of us. Instead of scorning those who enjoy a book you don’t like, embrace them and their interests. Encourage them to read, even if you don’t find their type of book to your liking. When you review, if you think you’re just not the right audience for the title, say who you think is the audience, without prejudice.

It’s okay to dislike a book, and it should be okay to love a book, too.

Many of us love books. I, for one, would rather recommend a book I hate to someone who will love it. They’ll be reading, and that’s the most important thing of all.

RJ Blain - Author Photo

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

When she isn’t playing pretend, she likes to think she’s a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband, and obeys the commands of Tsu Dhi, the great warrior fish.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied. Discover Blain’s books here.

Apr 4, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: Literary Prejudices by RJ Blain