Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wattpad

Watt what? Yeah. That's what I said when my editor first emailed me a link and said I should check it out.

Wattpad is a magical storyland where authors frolic with free ranging unicorns. Okay, so really it's just a place that writers post stories about anything and everything, but hey, it never hurts to throw in an imaginary mammal to spice things up now and then. Try it next time you're telling a story.

So, dutiful author that I am (translation: suck up), I scooted my heinie over there and kicked up my heels a bit. The result? Well, go see here and let me know what you think.

Unless, of course, you've not yet read A Heart Deceived. Do that first.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Slight of Hand

While trolling the shallows of the internet, over near the patch of duckweed and cattails, I came across a whale of a website. After a muscle-tearing fight, I landed the mother of all poster sites out there on the web, and yes indeedy, I'll share it with you.

Poster My Wall is seriously the best online custom poster and photo collage maker out there. For reals. It says so on their site. But shmucky copywriting aside, after playing around with the thing, I had to agree. That copywriter new his noodles. Here's a sample:

Did you see how fast my hands moved? Yep, not only did I share with you a fantastically free poster making site, but I also plugged a FREE Book Club Kit for my latest release. Don't try this at home, though, kids. Could be dangerous.

But do toodle over to Poster My Wall and play around. The downloads are free, but if you really love what you created, you can order a printout and have it mailed to you.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Got Time?

I don't know about you, but I don't happen to have a spare 10,000 hours sitting around that's easily accessible. Maybe if I looked in the closet with the bowling ball on the top shelf, I'd find a cardboard box labeled "Extra Time"... but honestly, I don't have the time to go rummaging around for the dang thing.

Too bad, because 10,000 hours is the magic number to master a skill. Really. Check out Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. The dude writes for the New Yorker so you know he's got to be good. Here's his premise:

"Success in any field comes down to 10,000 hours of experience."

Impressive, but is he correct? Do I really have to park my butt in a chair for a 10k marathon to be able to master writing a novel?

Let's take this theory out for a test drive. I spent at least that amount of time watching cartoons as a kid, which didn't turn me into an illustrator, TV executive, or even a gun toting black duck. Shoot, I can't even move my token a square ahead on the Trivial Pursuit board when I get a cartoon question.

Which makes me go hmm, maybe there's more to mastering a skill than simply spending time doing it, especially for writers. What if those hours aren't merely clocking minutes in a chair, but people watching at the mall. Or what about experiencing gravel in my sandal as I hike on a mosquito infested river walk? What about moments of rage in a traffic jam? How about simply loving, living, breathing?

I suggest that every moment a human is alive should count for something in that 10k, so don't beat yourself up too bad if you've not yet reached the goal...unless, of course, you've undergone an alien probe and are no longer a homo sapien. Then, my friend, you've got bigger worries.

Friday, July 26, 2013

What the Flippity Flap is a Book Club Kit?


And you can find this handy dandy every-kid-on-the-block-wants-it freebie right here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What Makes A Good Writer?

Spider.

Did you flinch? Did you do a quick perimeter scan of the room to make sure there wasn't one? Did you tear out of the house screaming bloody murder at the mere mention of the word? Disclaimer: if you were buck naked at the time and the cops hauled you in for indecent exposure, you may not sue me.

Words are powerful creatures, able to incite rage or passion or fear. Messing with readers' emotions is one of the perks of being a writer. It's also one of the hardest skills to master.

Case in point...the other day I picked up a book from my TBR pile and chucked it into my gym bag. I do most of my reading while on a treadmill so that I don't have to think about the way my thighs are smoking. After 2 chapters, the only emotion I was feeling was death by exercise because the story did nothing to incite anything else in me. Granted, it was written by a newbie author and later books will probably be better, but honestly, I'm not going to finish this one.

If writing doesn't grab a reader by the throat and shake out a laugh, tears, or a belch of some kind, then the author needs to go back to the drawing board and start over. Yes, it's a long process. Yes, it takes editing and re-editing and, you got it, re-re-editing. But that's the writing game, folks.

Think about some of your best loved books. Go ahead. I'll wait. And I'll bet five bucks some kind of emotional cage bars are rattled as you think. That, my friends, is the sign of a good writer.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Grill the Author

In case you haven't noticed, it's summer. Time for some tasty grilling, folks. Normally I recommend beer brats or a thick, juicy tenderloin, or if you're of the vegan persuasion, a big ol' grill pan full of brussel sprouts swimming in olive oil and caressed with a sprinkle of lemon pepper.

But don't worry...today's post won't add one centimeter to your waistline. Today, we're grilling me. If that makes you go "Eew! Gross!" then think of it as Twenty Questions instead. Ready?

What’s your favorite part of the writing business? What’s your least favorite?

Getting paid for penning down my daydreams is a pretty sweet deal. Okay, I'll be real...it's like grabbing hold of a herd of dolphin balloons and floating straight up to the stratosphere.

My least favorite aspect is marketing. I would rather wrestle a rabid racoon with sharp, pointy teeth, all crazed and frothy like the dog in To Kill A Mockingbird. There’s a reason I’m not a salesman. I stink at it.

After becoming a published author, what surprised you the most?
The freak magnet effect. When people hear I’m a published author, suddenly I’m their BFF. I’m convinced that 99.9% of the population are wannabe-writers with not only novel ideas, but entire epic trilogy tales, and sadly, most of them involve zombies or love-struck Amish virgins.

Not. Even. Kidding.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
I’d be running a B&B in England. Near a castle. On a moor. With Mr. Rochester as my neighbor. Wow. Did I mention I’m an out-of-the-closet Charlotte Bronte fan-a-maniac?

What does your family think about your crazy career?
My husband knew I was certifiably insane when he married me, so no problem there. As for my kids… My oldest son thinks it’s great but only reads audio/technical textbooks. My second son reads my rough drafts, cutting out scenes that are too sissy and/or adding in some sweet moves to my fight scenes. My oldest daughter is too busy fixing her hair to notice that I write. And my youngest daughter is pretty sure Hollywood will make blockbuster movies of my stories, and can I please get her into a starring role?

Why do you write?
Because being a pirate is frowned upon and I’m pretty sure no one will pay me to eat brownies all day. There’s also the simple matter of quieting the voices in my head by capturing them onto paper so I can have some peace.

Alrighty. That ought to do it for today. I think I'm getting char marks on my bum. If you have another question you'd like me to answer, fling it my way. Best of all, it doesn't even have to be writing related. I'll copy it, toss it into my question jar, and will answer on an upcoming Question Jar Fun Friday vlog. 

Now go eat some potato salad.
 
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