Blogging From A to Z — ‘Fear’

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Definition: To be afraid.

One of the greatest troubles I’ve faced as an author is fear.

Mostly fear of inadequacy and fear of rejection.

I think at one point in time or another there is a twinge of it in all of us. We worry our piece is not enough. That the edit job missed too much. That people will hate it. That we as authors have failed in some way to live up to the legacy that other authors have left for us.

Its normal and most of the time about as unfounded as the monster under the bed but its as real as anything.

For some it is the thing that prevents us from pushing out work out into the world for others to enjoy. For some it prevents them from ever starting.

I struggle daily even though I know I’ve done my level best to ensure a great book is what I’ve set in front of my readers and even when I hear the reviews I still worry.

The more authors I speak to the more I realize that while it may not entirely disappear but it does become more manageable the longer you are at it.

What is it you fear most for yourself or your writing?

Blog Highlight: The Lindsay Show

This week I get to spotlight a great friend of mine. Lindsay blogs about indies, interviews, cover reveals, reviews and almost anything she can to help an indie get noticed. 🙂

A bit about Ms. Lindsay:

I am a wife, a programmer, and now an author. I have an adorable mini Schnauzer and more books than I have room for. I love reading romance because no matter what may be happening in my life, I can always count on my books to end happily ever after. The day I met my husband was the day I truly began believing in happily ever after. After hearing me complain a few too many times that I had “nothing” to read despite the hundreds of paperbacks scattered around the house, my husband began suggesting I write my own stories. When I finally took his advice I discovered that although I enjoy my day job as a software engineer, my true calling is to be an author.

My sister drilled into me an appreciation for fantasy and mythology, something I try to bring to my books. My debut novel, Breaking the Nexus started as a book written for NaNoWriMo and has grown to so much more. It was the conduit that introduced me to a fantastic group of independent authors who have changed my life in unimaginable ways.

When I’m not writing, I’ve found a passion for blogging and interviewing fellow authors. I also love reading (of course!), baking, crochet, sewing sock monkeys, playing video games, and all sorts of random crafts. I have an incurable love of rubber duckies and stuffed animals, and I believe nobody should have to grow up if they don’t want.”

 

You can find Ms. Lindsays blog here —–> http://lindsayavalon.blogspot.ca/

Blogging From A to Z — ‘Efficient’

a-to-z-letters-eDefinition: Acting or producing effectively with a minimum of waste, expense, or unnecessary effort.

So I am writing this post early Saturday instead of Friday in case any of you were noticing the lapse.

I have a problem with Fridays. Fridays are my most inefficient days. It is something I have struggled with for a long time and it is something I work hard on fixing as I have always had a million things on the go and weeks end is a good time to tie up loose ends and then go into the weekend with nothing left from the week before.

At least that’s my theory.

Easier said than done. Yes some weeks are better than other but most of the time I hit a wall like I did yesterday. Got absolutely nothing accomplished in the grand scheme of things. I ended up surfing on Facebook and watch Dr. Who. Not the best use of my time.

Today however I’m going to try and finish up the odds and ends so I can start tomorrow fresh!

What things do you to be efficient? Do you make lists or set goals?

Q & A with Jen Estes

Swing and a Miss! Miss Jen Estes that is! Please welcome another mystery writer to the block!

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jen estes author big leaguesWhat would your bio say?

Jen Estes is the author of the Cat McDaniel Mystery Series. A former baseball blogger and freelance sportswriter, she has been featured in Digital Sports Daily, Penthouse Magazine and Examiner.com.  She is a member of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR), Springfield Poets & Writers, Sisters in Crime and the National Writers Union (NWU).  Jen currently lives in Illinois with her husband and cat. When she isn’t watching baseball or writing, Jen enjoys running, yoga, traveling and all things sci-fi.

When did you start writing and why?

I wrote my first novel, which ended up being the first in my series, in 2007 after my team’s baseball season ended just a little too soon and I needed an escape.  (Yes, I’m a Cubs fan!)

If you are a parent how does being a parent affect your writing and writing habits? Or does it?

I’m not a parent (yet), but many of my author friends are and I have tremendous respect for their time management skills.  I’m not really one of those people who can write for a specified time in a specific spot on a specific day.  When I’m in “the zone”, I tend to immerse into my fictional world with just the occasional break back to reality.

Who is your favorite author and why?

As far as modern authors, it changes depending on my mood.  But for classics, it’s Jane Austen and much of that is due to her timelessness.  It’s amazing that her books are still funny and relatable two centuries after they were written.

What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?

I just want to be able to take readers away for a few hours and bring them back with a smile.

Traditional or Self publishing? Why?

It depends on the writer.  As a noob, I needed the hand-holding of traditional.  On the other hand, I have a friend whose been writing professionally for thirty years and recently made the switch to self-publishing.  He raves about his newfound independence and the freedom within his work.  The book itself can also weigh in on the debate too, as traditional publishing tends to control the trends and self-publishing provides an outlet for books that might otherwise never see a bookshelf.

Talk about your journey into the wide world of publishing.

In all my years of reading books, I never once stopped to find out how they’re made, but thankfully the internet provides a pretty good road map.  I started sending out queries to agents and most of them were very kind in their rejections, but explained that the mystery genre just wasn’t what it used to be and warned me it would be a tough sell.  After five months of querying, I finally found an agent that not only loved cozy mysteries, but loved my book too.  She shopped my book to a variety of publishers and eventually I was made an offer by Camel Press, an imprint of Coffeetown Press.  My initial contract was for three books and after Big Leagues’ debut, it was DoublePlaycoverextended to five.

Tell us about your book (s).

Double Play is the third book in the Cat McDaniel Mystery Series.  It takes sportswriter Cat McDaniel to Buffalo, where she’s just starting to get her life together when her gambling brother shows up on her doorstep.  As the long shots turn into locks and hundreds turn into thousands, her curiosity steps up to the plate. Between the betting lines, she finds greedy gamesters, desperate ballplayers and an enterprising bookie looking to raise the stakes.

What inspired you to write these books (or in this genre)?

I don’t have to look far for inspiration.  Baseball is full of scandal.  I use a generous helping of artistic licensing, but most of my stories start after reading a real-life exposé.

Tell us why we should love or hate your main character?

Cat is a perpetual underdog.  No matter where she goes in baseball, she’s surrounded by sneaks, cheats, elitists, brats, snobs, pervs, hypocrites – all of whom are more than happy to point out that she doesn’t really belong.  But she’s there because she truly loves the game and believes it’s worth saving.

Do(es) your book(s) have a soundtrack?

Cat spends a lot of her time at ballparks, so she’s constantly drowning in the cacophony of Jock Jams.

*****

And thats the ballgame!!

Follow Jen on her website and be sure to check out her book on Amazon!

 

Blogging From A to Z — ‘Determined’

a-to-z-letters-dDefinition: Marked by or showing determination; resolute.

As an indie author one thing you have to be is determined.  You have to pick a goal for yourself and stick with it. Over time you may find that your goals shift and warp some but you have to stick with it. It is a long process and there may be a lot of set backs. But if you as an author want the world to see your work out for all to enjoy you have to stick with your goals and not let any set backs stand in your way.

I have had to face a bad publishing contract that resulted in a poorly edited and poorly presented first edition which I had to have redone entirely from the ground up. I had an agent who took me for 500usd (if you havent already been told never ever pay to have yourself represented. They should work on commission not out of your pocket). In the end however I have stood my ground and not allowed these things to deter me from my end goal.

Truthfully these adversarial situations made my work better in the long run.

What hurdles have you had to overcome?

Blogging From A to Z — ‘Connected’

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Definition: Associated with or related to others, especially to influential or important people.

When I first started this journey into being an indie author one of the things I worried most about was the reception I would get from other authors. I worried that I would be seen as the new kid on the block and that the amazing authors who walked the path before me would want nothing to do with me because I was below them.

Sad no? I sincerely believed it.

Key word. Believed. Past tense.

I have been lucky to find some amazing indie authors, support groups and many other places to connect with other authors and people  who have similar interests as me. It has made the journey so much more than a struggle but an adventure!

So if you are just starting out on your adventure reach out and find those groups and make the connections!

GUEST POST: How to Recycle A Story by Miranda Stork

How To Recycle A Story

 

As I’ve been searching through several cool books on Amazon in the last few days, I’ve been considering something interesting. How do we writers make our stories so different from other stories before us? Or are we simply recycling them in some way?

Don’t get me wrong, nobody is getting accused of plagiarism, don’t panic! I’m thinking of something different. I remember being told a long time ago at primary school, by a lovely English teacher, that a story I wrote was very like one she had seen somewhere in a children’s book. I was quite upset, and pretty threw a small tantrum, muttering something under my breath. She laughed and told me not to worry about it, that it was actually a good thing. By copying parts of it unconsciously, it meant I had read lots of books, the integral part of being a successful writer.

While that made me happy that I was well on the way to being the next Stephen King (I wish!), it made me worry that no-one would ever find my stories interesting if they had already read it elsewhere in a different form. Surely, I thought, the point of writing is to aim for a reach that holy grail of writing, the Original Idea?

At least it is for me, and maybe it’s a ridiculous thing to aim for. Every time I see a story that is even slightly like mine in plotline, I have to change my entire manuscript. I want to have that single book that no-one has read yet, the one that they read and gasp, “I didn’t even realise how much I wanted to read this!” But perhaps my books are always going to be a little similar to others, especially as it slips neatly into the Paranormal Fantasy/Romance genres, meaning it must have similarities to other books.

But maybe that’s a good thing? All writers and readers head towards the end of the novel with two thoughts; to find out what happens, and the unconscious desire to make the characters come to life. When a reader hits the last page, and nobody has leapt out brandishing a sword, or sweeping past the flatscreen in their crinoline dress, they need that feeling again. So they start another book with similar characters, hoping this might be the one to jumpstart them out from the pages.

Also, it’s a known fact that with all of the literature and art that has been produced in the past few hundred years, some ideas will repeat. We sometimes refer back to these ideas for inspiration; I even listen to music to inspire me as I write, and you could argue I could use an idea from the song and put it into my novel.

So perhaps we should always aim for the perfect Original Idea for our novels, but not worry too much about unconsciously using an idea from a book from several decades ago. After all, they do say that mimicking is the best of flattery!

What do you think? Or did I lose you somewhere in the waffle?

Moon Rose Publishing has just released their newest book, A CELTIC TAPESTRY! An anthology between eight authors, each one has taken their own twist on one of the Celtic festivals of the year. From sunny spring to chilly winter, everyone’s favourite season is given a fresh and enticing take in this wonderful collection. To celebrate, Moon Rose Publishing is also hosting a fabulous giveaway as part of the release!

Blurb

The wheel of the year turns, bringing the joy of spring, the warmth of summer, the richness of autumn, and the merriment of winter. But eight Celtic festivals link these seasons together, bringing with them romance, lust, danger, and even magic. From a city under threat from night-time creatures at Ostara, to a selkie caught by the light of the Lughnasadh moon, to a writer caught in the flames of a fiery goddess at Imbolc.

Eight authors have come together to give their own twist on these festivals, weaving each story with a blend of myth, magic, and contemporary telling…to create A Celtic Tapestry.

 

The Trailer!

 

Excerpt (Shadows In The Dark, Miranda Stork)

The light buzzed and flickered about her head before returning to its static glow. Rebecca gave it a disdainful look, tapping it with one finger. Shaking her head, she returned to brushing her teeth, her tired face reflected in the bathroom mirror. She really needed to rent a new house—the landlord did nothing to fix the faulty electrics. At least it was cheap though.

Laughter floated through from the TV in the bedroom, making her brush faster. She hated missing this program. Rebecca spat out into the sink, running the water to clean off her brush. As she placed it back into its holder carefully, she glanced back up at her face. Her fingers traced the sides of her eyes, where crow’s feet were starting to emerge. Ugh. Rebecca had always been one of the first ones to say that you should grow old gracefully, but she didn’t mean at the young age of twenty-eight. She peered in for a closer look-

What the hell?

Blinking, Rebecca spun around in shock. She had seen a shadow blur past in the landing behind. The blood drained from her body, her limbs going icy with fear. Someone is in my house! With the bathroom door wide open, she had a full view of it. Her head darted from side to side as she tried to look for anything that might be a useful weapon, if she needed it. The bathroom was not the best place to find it. If only I’d had a machete installed along with the bath suite. Finally settling on her straighteners, she padded out into the landing carpet. They wouldn’t have been her first choice, but she was ready to give a good smack with them if she could.

The light in the bathroom buzzed again, flittering on and off as if a moth was caught in its beam. The sound made Rebecca flinch, but she ignored it and slowly tip-toed across the dark landing. She knew better than to shout out, “Who’s there?” She had seen enough horror films to know that you never got an answer, and that was usually how you gave away where you were. There was no noise from the spare room where she had seen the shadowy figure run into. The light in the bathroom finally came on full again, but then the landing light came into life.

The hair on the back of Rebecca’s neck stood on end as she dared a glance at it. She knew full well it wasn’t switched on. It flickered on and off, before finally giving up the ghost and returning to the darkness. A trickle of cold sweat ran down her forehead, making her grip the straighteners even tighter, everything in her body willing her to scream and run away. For a second, Rebecca did think about darting down the stairs, grabbing her mobile to ring the police, and running outside. Really, it shouldn’t even be a thought. She should be doing it.

A noise from the spare room made her look up in panic. Her chest rose and fell rapidly with the silent breaths that were rushing from her lips. Taking a nervous swallow, Rebecca leaned her arm out to switch the landing light back on, and advanced towards the room. The landing light flickered yet again, but stayed on, bathing the landing in artificial yellow glow. Her lips had never felt so dry. Her heart was pounding against her ribcage so fervently she was sure it would give her away before anything else, the blood from it rushing through her ears louder than the laughter from the TV.

Rebecca’s hand trembled as she reached out to push the spare room door open. It slowly swung on its hinges, protesting loudly with a creak. Great. So much for not letting them know I’m here. Moving fast so she didn’t get surprised herself, Rebecca lurched across for the light switch in the spare room. She snapped it on, bracing herself in the doorway, and turned to find—

Nothing.

No-one was there. With the room fully lit, all she could see were the cardboard boxes from when she had moved in. A layer of dust. The carpet. Nothing else. Even the curtains at the window were still. She nudged the door back on itself, to be sure no-one was hiding behind it. Another scan. No, the room was definitely empty. Rebecca let out a deep breath and lowered the straighteners. She gave a nervous laugh, echoing off the walls.

“See, this is why you shouldn’t live alone…silly girl,” she muttered to herself. A ‘ping’ of noise made her look up sharply at the ceiling light. It was swaying. A moment ago it had stood still. A breeze, perhaps? The windows really need that insulation putting around them. It continued swinging, and began to flash on and off, as the other lights had done. As if in response, the bathroom light and the landing light began to do the same. Rebecca refused to be worried by it this time. Damn electrics. But she couldn’t ignore it when she suddenly realised the laughter had stopped coming through from the TV—instead just channelling static.

*‘Copyright of Miranda Stork*

Author Bio

I was born in Guisborough, North Yorkshire in 1987 and have lived in various places around Britain, including Newcastle and Glasgow.

My writing is inspired by various writers, including the vivid characters of Charles Dickens, the imagination of Stephen King, and the gothic imagery of Anne Rice.

My love of horror began at an early age, when I was only three or four. I could read proficiently at the age of three, and devoured fairy-stories, but I always had a bent towards the darker stories, such as the Brother’s Grimm’s tales…Red Riding Hood was always a firm favourite, although I always felt sorry for the wolf, despite him having tried to eat everyone!

I write a mixture of paranormal romance, fantasy, and thriller, all finished off with a healthy dose of erotica! 😉

Author Links:

Blog: http://writermirandastork.wordpress.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/authormirandastork?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Mirandastork

 MRP Website Author Page: http://www.moonrosepublishing.com/#!miranda-stork/c17yy

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4279057.Miranda_Stork?auto_login_attempted=true

 

 

 

 

Book buy links:

MRP Website link: http://www.moonrosepublishing.com/#!a-celtic-tapestry/cayu

Amazon links:

Amazon US http://goo.gl/8vFFV

Amazon UK http://goo.gl/TVzuh

Amazon CAN http://goo.gl/0GRqw

Kobo link: http://goo.gl/BFFWo

 

And now for the giveaway! Well, what IS the free stuff? Moon Rose Publishing, as part of the A CELTIC TAPESTRY tour, is giving away a ton of good stuff. You could win a print copy of A CELTIC TAPESTRY, a sticker pack, bookmarks, a beautiful necklace and jewelled bookmark from Tara S Wood, or an e-book of the anthology!

<a id=”rc-7adce33″ href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7adce33/&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

<script src=”//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js”></script>

Link: https://www.facebook.com/ACelticTapestry/app_228910107186452

Blogging From A to Z — ‘Bold’

a-to-z-letters-bDefinition: Fearless and daring; courageous.

There are many things that will stand in your way as an indie author. A lot of things or people that may knock you down or make you feel less than worthy. Heck! You may start to doubt yourself at one point in time or another, but guess what?  You can not allow yourself to give up.  And don’t regret being you!

If you need to make a splash! Make a splash! If you need to do something different? Do it! Be bold, be courageous. Be you. The world needs you 🙂 Just as you are.

 

 

 

Blogging From A to Z — ‘Admirable’

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Admirable.

Definition: Deserving respect and approval.

One of the things I have had the pleasure of doing over the last year or so is meet some pretty admirable people. People whose work I admire. The time they spend honing their skills both in their books and their marketing skills. One thing you can never do too much of is learn new things and these folks dont hide the things they have learned. They share!

If you are an indie author who is looking to hone your skills, looking for inspiration or a reader looking for a good read you definitely have to check these wonderful folks out!

Ashley Barron

Charity Parkerson

Christine Moore

Lindsay Avalon

Mia Marlowe

Miranda Stork

 

Suzan Tisdale

 

Trish Marie Dawson

And there are more too! These are just a few!

Anyone who you admire? People who have helped you along your way? Tell us about them! 🙂