Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Friday Features’

Guest

Sharon Ledwith

Shares her journey to publication.

The journey to publication wasn’t easy for me. In fact, it took me a great deal of time and effort to get to where I am now. So, let’s go back in time to 1995 when I got bitten by the writing bug during a Planning Your Novel workshop I attended for fun at the local college. One of the exercises I volunteered for still sticks in my mind. The teacher handed me three pennies, and I had to throw them into a waste basket one at a time. I managed to get all three coins in, shooting at different angles and distances. My teacher, Tom Arnett—a NYT bestselling author—was surprised at my luck because the norm was usually two pennies in. He explained that getting all the pennies in would suggest your (writing) goals would be too easy because the person threw them from a close distance. On the flipside, one penny in (throwing too far away) suggested having unrealistic expectations/goals about a career in writing.

You could say that this penny exercise set the bar for me, and gave me some hope in a field I knew absolutely nothing about. I ended up taking Tom’s night course, Starting your Novel, and from there the writing games began.

Trying to get published looked something like this:

• Write a book (I choose a paranormal romance) which took about 2 years, including research and learning the basics.

• Attended a workshop where I met an agent, and handed her a query and outline, which eventually got her interest. This went back and forth for a time (about four years) until the agent admitted that my book wasn’t developing the way she wanted it to go, so we decided to go our separate ways. Sigh.

• Around 1998, I had a dream where I saw seven arches, and there were seven people (five kids, two adults) with crystals in their hands, walking up to these arches. It definitely had an Indiana Jones feel to it. At that time, I was trying to get my paranormal romance published, and had no intention of writing in the young adult genre. But this idea kept growing in my mind, and wouldn’t leave, like some mystical force pushing me from behind. So, I thought I’d challenge myself to write a time travel series based on that dream, calling it The Timeliners, and later The Last Timekeepers.

• Had some luck with The Last Timekeepers when an agency and publishers showed interest. But their interest was short-lived. Rejection, rejection, and more rejection followed.

• In 2003, we sold our graphic trade business and house, packed up, and moved to our cottage in a popular tourist area located in Ontario. I decided to become a tutor for the local Literacy Council in the winter of 2004. While living pretty much off the grid (we had dial up internet), I started a teen psychic mystery series entitled, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, pulling from my experiences living in the wilds of cottage country.

• I enrolled in a two-year correspondence course geared toward writing for children and teens to beef up my writing chops.

• Then, I decided to try my hand as a participant in the 2005 Muskoka Novel Marathon, where previously I had helped with the organizational aspects of this event. The idea is to write a novella or novel in three days, and the winner gets a chance at publication. During the course of the marathon, our dog died suddenly and I left for the day, only to come back the next day to finish writing my manuscript in time to submit it. It was truly a bitter-sweet experience.

• My writing suffered after that, and I decided to enter the workforce as an animal care attendant at the local Animal Shelter for the next fourteen months. During this time, I finished my writing correspondence course, tinkered with Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, then finally woke-up and quit the animal shelter to get back to writing. I wrote a whole book out of my animal shelter experience, and geared it for my teen psychic mystery series. I sent in that manuscript and got rejected a lot, but one agent showed an interest. He later sent me a lovely rejection letter. Sigh.

• Finally, in 2010, I decided to dust off my time travel story, update the characters and give it a fresh voice. I sent it out—mostly to agents—and got rejected again, and again.

• By this time, I had decided to check out ebooks and how to go about publishing them. Since I owned a graphics business for over twenty years, I had some business background, and it seemed many authors were being forced to wear two hats in these changing times. So I started a blog in May 2011 to create an on-line presence.

• Then, I entered the 2011 Muskoka Novel Marathon with the idea of doing the prequel for The Last Timekeeper series. Two writers there had just signed publishing contracts, so this gave me some hope. I asked if I could use their names as a reference when querying their publisher. They said, ‘No problem,’ but I’d have to wait until September to query. After the novel marathon, we all exchanged social media info.

• This is where hard work and opportunity collide. One of those writers shared a link on Facebook, which I thought was the publishing company she had signed with. But it wasn’t. It was the link to a new epublishing company calling for submissions. What the hell, there was nothing to lose while I waited for September to roll in. I sent out my query the end of August, and got a reply within seven days—Musa Publishing wanted to see my manuscript. Excited, yet not getting my hopes up, I sent my young adult time travel manuscript in. They loved it, but wanted revisions. Actually, they wanted a huge, big-ass rewrite that included making the entire book only in one POV, instead of the five I originally had written. Each kid had their own chapter. This publisher only wanted one kid per book. So they offered me five books right off the bat.

• I signed the contract September 13th, 2011, with a release date of May 18th, 2012. Plenty of time for rewrites, and plenty of time to learn what’s expected of an author in this new paradigm of publishing. I followed up with the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series, Legend of the Timekeepers came out in August 2013.

• Time travel to 2015 when Musa Publishing closed their doors permanently, and Mirror World Publishing appeared to open their doors for me. Not only did they take on The Last Timekeepers series, but in 2017 added Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls to their young adult list of books. Woohoo!

Honestly, I’ve come a long way since 1995, and I’m still learning and growing in this crazy publishing business as it continues to evolve. Presently, I’ve got two young adult book series under my belt, both published through Mirror World Publishing. And I’d wager three shiny pennies that they won’t be closing their doors any time soon.

If you’re an author, what does your publishing journey look like? Did it take you a long time to get published? Would love to read your comments! Cheers, be well, and thank you for reading my post.

Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series:

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries…

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with this freakish power while trying to have a normal life. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures…

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Read Full Post »

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Learning about romance

by

Anne Montgomery

Once, after reading one of my manuscripts, my agent said, “I really like the historical part of the story. Why don’t you write it as a stand-alone romance?”

I winced. A romance novel? Me?

I have a pretty good idea about where this book is going, don’t you?

I’ll admit here that I’ve been a bit of a snob in regard to that particular genre, which I was surprised to discover is the number one book-selling category on the planet. Not sure why I’ve often scoffed at romance novels. Perhaps it’s the covers: the swooning women with their heaving breasts, the muscular men, all sixpacks and flowing hair. Those books just never sang to me and I never understood why other people wanted to read them.

So, in an effort to learn, I contacted some of my lovely romance-writing friends. I put on my old reporter’s cap and grilled them like a detective looking for clues, my goal to understand why anyone would want to read a romance novel.

Boy, did I learn a lot!

 

“Romance gives us a glimpse into another world,” said author Tina Ruiz. “Sometimes it’s a world that we don’t have around us. Romance novels are like fairy tales to grown up women, where the men are nice, cater to our every whim, and shelter us from everything that might make us sad or hurt.”

“It’s possible the diversity of romance novels is a magnet for diverse individuals,” said romance author Nancy Kay. “From contemporary, to historical, to mystery and thrillers there are any number of themes to attract a number of tastes.”

 

Okay. But why are these stories tops in sales department?

“In my humble opinion it’s because we live in a shattered world that is full of bad stuff and romance is the ultimate good stuff,” said author Catherine Castle. “True love, loyalty, people who care about each other’s happiness.”

“Simple answer – escape,” said author Sloane Taylor. “Escape from the husband/wife who takes you for granted. Escape from the kids demanding all your time with not even a thanks. Escape from the boss who is a major ass. Escape from the bills that keep mounting. And especially in today’s world – escape from the pandemic and it’s personal repercussions.”

 

“The mainly happy endings in a frequently bitchy world,” Australian author Vonnie Hughes explained.

Hughes went on to say that romance novels don’t cost as much as other genres and they tend to be shorter, so don’t require a big investment of time.

I have certainly read books that contained romance, though that part of the story was mostly secondary to the plot, so I was curious as to what exactly defines a romance novel. Of course, my first thought in our post Fifty Shades of Grey world was sex. But Ruiz pointed out that actual sex is not always the big draw.

“It is the illusion of sex that grabs our hearts,” she said. “In a lot of movies, the man and woman don’t even kiss until the very last scene. That moment gets built up from the moment they meet until the end of the book or movie. It’s the part we are all waiting for, so when it happens, it is absolutely wonderful.”

Still sex is often part of the format.

“Reading a book where sex is prominent is pretty awesome,” Ruiz said. “Because it gets portrayed in a different way than we have it in real life. Some men…are not perfectly, let’s say, kempt, when they walk into the bedroom. The men in the books and/or movies are like a Prince Charming. Every hair is in place, his teeth shine, his eyes twinkle, and his breath is probably minty fresh.”

Another rather obvious requirement in a romance novel is that romance needs to be the most important part of the story.

 

“The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work,” Kay said. “There can be subplots as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.”

And, there’s something else I learned. Romance novels apparently should not end on a depressing note. There must be an “emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending,” Kay said. “In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.”

 

That sounds nice, doesn’t it? I can now see the appeal of romance novels. Perhaps it’s time I gave one a try.

How about you?

 Here’s a little from my suspense novel based on a true incident. It’s not romance but I hope it intrigues you.

As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.

When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers.

And then the girl vanishes.

While the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born deep in the wilderness.

BUY LINKS

 

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Selected Insights from Julia Quinn

By Pamela Gibson

I write historical romance and Regencies have long been one of my favorite genres. Over the years, I’ve sat through several presentations at in-person conventions, learning different perspectives from some of my favorite authors. Here are a few I recently came across from Julia Quinn, the author of the Bridgerton series. She made them during a panel discussion in 2016.

Plot or characters, which comes first? . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

SMP Authors’ blog

Read Full Post »

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

#IWSG What stops you?

By Marie Andreas

I hope you all had a lovely and safe start to the new year :). Today’s IWSG question is looking on the reader side:

Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books? . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Marie Andreas’ blog

Read Full Post »

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

What Will You Do When Your Characters Misbehave?

By Joanne Guidoccio

When I first heard this question at a creative writing workshop, I was tempted to say that I intended to firmly hold onto the reins. A neophyte with no literary credits to my name, I couldn’t imagine characters actually misbehaving on the page. Thankfully, I paused and waited for more seasoned writers to respond.

What followed was . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Joanne’s blog

Read Full Post »

Friday Features

We talk about

Miss directions

My husband and writing partner discussed the building of a cabinet pantry. We spent the better part of an afternoon talking about the size and construction of the pantry to make sure it was exactly like I wanted it. Afterwards, he went to Home Depot to get the lumber.

While holding the front door open so he could carry the lumber in I noticed the first piece was shorter than I thought it should be. When I commented he answered as he went back out the door saying, “Didn’t you want it counter height?”

No, I thought as I closed the door behind him. I didn’t. Didn’t he remember what we’d discussed? I peeked through the side window curtain anxiously wondering what he’d bring in next.

The next piece was short too, and I became concerned. He laid the second piece on the floor next to the first and my angst jumped. They were definitely the wrong size. Did he have all the pieces cut wrong? I awaited the next piece, hoping it wasn’t going to be short too.

The third piece came in and I gave a sigh of relief. It looked like the right length. Then fourth and final piece came in and I could envision the size of the cabinet we had discussed.

“You scared me,” I said. “I thought you’d cut it wrong.”

He laughed and replied, “The other two pieces are the top and the bottom.”

My husband had purposely led me on, leaving me with a new question each time he brought in a piece of lumber.

As writers it is our job to lead our readers on, posing new story questions that will make them want to turn the pages. Each scene and each chapter should leave your reader with new questions about the plot you are constructing, the reasons your characters are acting and reacting, and how they are going to resolve their conflicts.

For example, in The Wizard of Oz, the over arching story question is will Dorothy ever get home? But along her journey in Oz a number of other questions pop up like:

  • What is going happen to her because her house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East and killed her?
  • Are the characters she meets along the way going to be friends or foes?
  • How do Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man figure in the story?
  • Will the Cowardly Lion sleep forever in the poppy field because his companions couldn’t carry him out in time?
  • Who is the Wizard …really?
  • How will the Wizard grant their wishes? Or can he even do that?
  • Will the Wicked Witch of the West get Dorothy before Dorothy and her companions get the witch, and thus secure Dorothy’s way home, a heart for Tin Man, a brain for Scarecrow, and courage for The Cowardly Lion?
  • When the Wizard’s hot air balloon leaves without Dorothy is she going to be stuck in Oz forever?

Each one of these questions moves the story forward, posing new problems that the characters must solve in order to reach their final goals—going home, getting a heart, a brain, and courage. A story with only one question is a simple story that will not hold readers’ interest for 300 or more pages. Baum answers his story questions fairly quickly after he has posed them, but it’s not necessary, nor desirable to do so, in today’s stories. We want our readers to keep turning those pages to find those answers.

But beware one thing—the questions you pose must be answered before the book ends. There is nothing more frustrating to a reader than to finish a book and discover you, the writer, have left out an important answer to a burning question you posed.

I forgave my husband his little joke, but only because he got the pieces right and made me a beautiful cabinet. Make sure you do the same thing for your readers.

Hope you enjoyed a little look into our lives as writers and learned something as well.

Links for our books are on our book page or under the menu at the top of the post.

Read Full Post »

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Are You A Real Writer?

By LORENE M.

Seriously, are you? How do we even define what “a real writer” really is? Who says who is a writer and who’s not? Is there an International Organization Of Naming Real Writers or something similar I should know about?

All jokes aside, most of us probably have different views regarding what a real writer is. And this makes me wonder if . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Writing about…Writing blog

Read Full Post »

Friday Features

We think writing and Christmas have a lot in common.

Preparing for Christmas is like writing a book—not that anyone gets much writing done in the weeks before the holiday. The concept, however, is the same; start early and stay on target.

For an easy Christmas holiday:

  • Shop all year long, especially on vacation where you can get one-of-a-kind items, and avoid the mall rush.
  • Plan in advance. Knowing your menu weeks in advance and looking for recipes you can prepare ahead, freeze, or have on hand reduces stress in the kitchen and lets you enjoy the holiday too. Don’t want to cook ahead? Then remodel the kitchen (not before the holidays, of course) and get that second oven you’ve been wanting so all those green bean casseroles will fit in. Better yet, let someone else host.
  • Get familiar with your Christmas dishes. Start using your Christmas dishes at the beginning of December so you don’t have to get them out of storage at the last minute. That 24 piece place setting of hollies and Christmas trees needs to be used more than once at Christmas dinner!
  • Get next year’s Christmas cards as soon as they go on sale.  After all, you have a pretty good idea how many you will need for next year, and they never go out of style.
  • Begin next year’s Christmas letter now. Start in January and keep a running tally of the important things you want to include. If you bind the letters in a notebook you have a ready-made life journal. One stone, two birds.
  • Make a goal list. Shopping done before Christmas, house cleaned thoroughly by the first weekend in December, trim the tree the day after Thanksgiving (since you don’t have to shop on Black Friday), Christmas cookies baked by the second weekend (or cheat and just buy them), the guest room readied right before your guests arrive, and so on. Tweak the list to fit your needs.

For easy book writing:

  • Write all year long, every day. Then when you take all that time off in December to get ready for the holidays, you won’t feel so guilty.
  • Plan your book in advance. Some seat-of-the-pants writers claim too much planning takes the fun out of writing. We’ve done it both ways, and have found thorough planning and plotting keeps us out of those pesky writer’s blocks. You just have to be willing to let your characters speak to you even if they don’t want to go where you’ve planned.
  • Get familiar with your book and characters. Let the novel and your characters live with you daily. When you are thinking about the book all the time, the words come easily to the page and your characters’ voices sound more real.
  • Get your ideas as soon as they come to you. Carry a notebook, or use your phone, to jot down everything that comes to mind about your current WIP or ideas for new books. Even if you don’t use the ideas now, they may work, with some tweaking, for something in the future. Writers are always writing and we need to capture those ideas when they come.
  • Begin your next book now. Writers who don’t think about future projects while they are still working on the current one run the risk of writer’s block for their next book. A running log of ideas, thoughts, characters, or anything related to the next books will make coming up with the stories easier. We brainstorm when we drive places, capturing all our ideas, good or bad, in a composition notebook. In a single composition book we have at least 10 new ideas waiting to be developed. Will we write them all? Maybe not, but we have ready-made journal filled with possibilities.
  • Make a goal list. Set writing goals for yourself. Whether it’s 100 words a day, or 20 pages a day doesn’t matter. It’s the goal that counts. Tweak your goal list to fit your needs and you’ll be surprised how quickly those 100 words will turn into pages, and pages into chapters, and chapters into a book.

So this holiday season, when you are laying your gifts beside the nativity, under your Christmas tree, give a gift to yourself. Promise to start writing early in the New Year and stay on target. Who knows, with perseverance and a little luck, you could be tucking your brand new book under next year’s tree as a gift to someone else.

Happy Writing and Merry Christmas!
C.D. Hersh

Read Full Post »

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

World building: Vegetables

By Cindy Tomamichel

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” The advice from Michael Pollan, author of ‘The Omnivores Dilemma’ would sound strange to many people not in an affluent first world country. Most people in history and in many places today don’t have a choice, with meat being a much smaller part of their diet. This dichotomy then affects fiction, particularly if you wish to write something . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Cindy Tomamichel’s blog

Read Full Post »

Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

WHY SOME STORIES WILL NEVER MAKE IT OUT OF YOUR NOTEBOOK

By Lucy Mitchell

It has taken me a long time to accept this. When you start out as a writer, your ego assures you that ALL your stories will, at some point, turn into bestselling novels. You happily fill up an array of notebooks with stories, quietly confident, they will all feature somewhere in your future writing career.

I mean why would you doubt your ego?

It is only after writing seriously for several years, you come to realise that . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

Lucy Mitchell’s blog

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »