Setting your new year’s goals #writing #amwriting

Despite the title of this post, I’m not one for setting goals simply because it’s a new year. But sometimes you need a little boost or nudge to get on with setting fresh goals and the arrival of a new year is the perfect excuse.

I’m taking nine months off work on long service leave to work on my writing, and I already know the time is going fly by.

So what are my goals?

I’ve been dedicated to writing sci-fi, so I’ve decided to branch out and write in other genres. I’ve also been a bit of a slave to the full length novel, so I’m also going to try my hand at a few novellas. As the saying goes, change is good for you. I don’t have work to distract me, and although I am no longer writing as much in the evenings, I am making good word count by day. Usually at least 2k words per day, but I’ve been getting up to a very healthy 4k+ on some days.

I’ve got five different book projects on the go at the moment at various stages of development, which is also unusual for me. Usually, I stick to one and finish it before I move on. I’m finding having several projects to pick from depending on my mood has been really beneficial to my word count. If I’m feeling out of ideas on one, I just pick up another.

It’s early days with this approach but it seems to be working so far. One novella is complete, another is at 75%, and I have had a good stab at a couple of other books. Whether I ever publish them is another matter. I think sometimes just getting back to writing for the joy of it without any end goal in mind delivers its own reward.

My first two books in my new Predictive trilogy are complete and with beta readers. I have some work to do on the first one based on feedback, and I’m letting the ideas incubate before I dive in.

I’m also playing around with the fourth book in the Divided World Series. I swore I would park it to devote time to other projects, but the ideas have been flowing so I figured why not.

And I’m loving being a full-time writer for the first time in my life. And although I know it has an end date, I’m determined to make the most of it.

Wishing everyone happy reading and writing in the new year 🙂

Here’s a sneak peek at book 4 in the Divided World Series…


“You’re not a threat anymore,” Tanis said smiling coldly. “I killed you, remember?”

“Ah, so you did,” said the Master. “But I am still here, am I not?”

“This is just a dream,” Tanis said.

The Master smiled a congenial smile and bobbed his head in agreement making his slit throat gape obscenely. “That is true, but you are listening to me. How else do you think purgatory works? It creeps over the landscape of our lives, taking a piece at a time. First our dreams, then our waking world begins to crumble as it sweeps through, until it finally claims our shattered soul. As you have already pointed out, I am not yet resting with God and my work is not yet done. And she is, by your own code, a threat. You are a Shadowlander—of the warrior caste. You are genetically bound to eliminate the threat. You can no more avoid killing her than you can avoid drawing breath.”

“Hannah isn’t a threat.” Tanis turned once more to the cell door, pounded on the aged wood and called for the guard.

The Master began laughing, a rich, melodious sound that rose above his furious thumping on the door.

 

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Author interview – Lori Katherine @LoriKPoetry #authorinterview @Thereadingchimp #poetry

Today I have the pleasure of introducing author Lori Katherine who will be sharing her thoughts on reading and writing, and details of her poetry book, Flow like Lyrics.

Lori on Writing

Where do you get your ideas?

As a poet, my ideas for my poems are a reflection of my personal experiences, feelings, and emotions. I love picturing a situation in my mind and try to place the main character in the poem in that situation. I also love to write so the reader can relate to the raw emotions and feel as though they are right there!

Why motivates you to write?

I write because I love writing and always have! I love art and music and wish I had the talent they have in those forms, but writing is the thing I’m good at ( at least I think so). It’s my passion and I love it!

How many hours a week do you spend writing?

The amount of time I spend writing depends on my personal schedule, but usually I like to get in about 30 hours a week.

Best thing about writing?

The best thing about writing is being able to express myself in a way that just regular words cannot. I absolutely love the writing community which have been such a great support in my endeavors! I love when a reader says to me, “Wow! It’s almost like you were in my head!”

Your biggest writing distractions?

My biggest writing distractions I’d have to say are my family. Not that it’s a bad thing, but their timing is immaculate when it comes to me needing that quiet time to really write. Because I do put their needs before mine, I will tend to just drop what I’m doing for something they need. I should also mention that our puppy is a mega distraction while writing! I cannot resist his nose kisses!

What are your favorite books or sites you go to for writing tips / advice?

When I need writing tips or advice, my go to is the Twitter writing community! Those wonderful creative individuals are a great source of advice, tips and motivation.

How long does it take you to write a book? 

For my first book of poetry, my work was spread out over many years of writing for pleasure. My second book that is currently in the works, due out in February 2019, is about halfway completed  I began work on it in September of this year.

Have you ever cut anything from your book and why?

I have cut many lines out of my poems for many reasons such as the poem just not flowing freely or words just not capturing how I want a reader to interpret them.

Least favorite thing about writing?

My least favorite thing about writing is not having enough time to dedicate to it. I’d love to spend hours after hours just writing ideas and poems.

What do your friends and family think about you being a writer?

My friends were amazed when I told them I released a book! They had absolutely no clue that I loved writing. My family has always been so supportive of my writing journey and are my biggest fans!

Most important things a writer should spend money on?

The most important things a writer should spend money on would be marketing materials.

Least important things a writer should spend money on?

The least important things a writer should spend money on would be paying someone for a review. Major no-no!

How do you measure your success as a writer?

I measure my success as a writer when someone can tell me that my poetry hit them deeply and inspired them to pursue writing themselves.

What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting the writing journey again?

The advice I would give myself if I were starting the writing journey again would be to not rush through it! Be patient!


As a reader

My favorite genre is thriller! I have always loved a creepy, scary story that makes me want to pull the blanket up to my ears while hoping the boogie man wouldn’t find me! Oh, I could read a good thriller over and over again!

Ever skipped something important to stay home and read?

I have never skipped something important to stay home and read a book because I take my Kindle wherever I go and can read anywhere!

What is your favorite book quote? 

My favorite book quote or should I say poem quote is from Robinson Jeffers.

“A little too abstract, a little too wise,

It is time for us to kiss the earth again,

It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies,

Let the rich life run to the roots again.”

Favorite book hero and / or villain and why? 

My favorite book hero would have to be Mia from the book The Girl From the Sea. I just loved her character and her determination throughout the entire story.

Most influential book?

The most influential book I’ve read is Mountain Interval by Robert Frost, one of my favorite poets!

What are you currently reading and what’s the verdict so far?

I am currently reading SO many books that were released all at once, but the one I’m open to now is The Retreat by Mark Edwards. My verdict so far? I have read all his books and always hate when they end. I love it!

If you could have a signed copy of a book by an author (dead or living) what book would it be and why?

If I could have a signed book by an author it would have to be the first thriller book that I fell in love with which is Watchers by Dean Koontz!



About your Book…

You are living in your latest novel. Where are you living, and what is it like?

I’m living in my poem titled Keep Watching Memories. I’m living in New York City as a waitress. I’m absolutely miserable here doing what I’m doing and want to get out.

 

Like Flow Lyrics


About Lori

A passionate journey through the different emotions experienced throughout life. This poetry book of a short voyage, is an exploration of love, pain, relationships, loss, finding one’s self, and learning to love the life you’ve been given.

Lori Katherine is a New Hampshire state resident originally from Massachusetts. This is a collection of the many poems she’s written over the years. Flow Like Lyrics is her first published poetry book, however, she has been writing poetry ever since she was a young girl.

On Twitter@Loripoetry

 

Writing – where do you start #amwriting #stories #creativewritng

I have been writing for so long now that it is hard to remember where I started, but writing does start somewhere—it starts with a daydream.

Daydreaming is awesome.

There is something wonderfully fresh about a new daydream. When the blank space opens up to allow the industry of imagination to begin. The ideas that take hold can go in many directions.

That’s OK.

When it starts you have no preconceived  ideas or constraints.

dog dreams

You know it’s the one

Life is full of daydreams.

Some are better than others. Some are worthy of a second look.

You know it’s the one when your conscious and subconscious keep coming back for another visit.

You explore it, you examine it. After a while you just know it’s right.

It's the one

You have to start somewhere

When you find a new story, it is so hard to know where to begin.

Do you plan? Plough right in? Decide the end? Character profiles?

Aaaarrrhhhh!

chasing dreams

Finding your flow.

After a while you stop worrying about the plan, the beginning, the ending, your characters, because they all just sort themselves out.

You strap in, get ready, and prepare to enjoy the ride.

wild ride

Author interview – Laura Daleo @AutLauraDaleo #authorinterview #bookboost

Today I have the pleasure of introducing author Laura Daleo who will be sharing her thoughts on reading and writing, and details of her Book, The Vampire Within.

Laura on Writing

Where do you get your ideas? My ideas come from listening to music

Why motivates you to write? I love telling stories

How many hours a week do you spend writing? I have a day job so mostly on weekends

Best thing about writing? Getting lost in the worlds I create

Your biggest writing distractions? My day job

What are your favorite books or sites you go to for writing tips / advice? I really don’t have a particular place – if I want to research something, I Google it

How long does it take you to write a book? Usually about 1 year

Have you ever cut anything from your book and why? Never

Least favorite thing about writing? Finding the time

What do your friends and family think about you being a writer? They think it’s fabulous

Most important things a writer should spend money on? Advertising and marketing

Least important things a writer should spend money on? Paying for book reviews

How do you measure your success as a writer? I tend to look at the number of followers, readers and subscribers, and if this number keeps growing

What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting the writing journey again? I finished my first book, Immortal Kiss, in 1996 and really didn’t pursue it.  I would tell myself to go full speed ahead, be persistent, and get that book published!


As a reader

What is your favorite genre(s)? Tell us more about why you love them? Dark fantasy. I love reading about a character perceived as evil and where the author has made them vulnerable so I would care about them.

What is your favorite book quote? “Listen to them—the children of the night. What music they make!”

Favorite book hero and / or villain and why? Vampire Lestat – he paved the way for vampires to be individuals

If you could have a signed copy of a book by an author (dead or living) what book would it be and why? Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice – She changed everything for vampires with this book.


About your Book…

You are living in your latest novel. Where are you living, and what is it like?

Los Angeles was all pretty normal until I woke up one day craving blood, with no idea why.  I set out on a quest for answers. I visited a physic, checked out a vampire club, traveled to a vampire haven, met a ton of vampires, and took part in a magic ritual just to find out what was wrong with me.


The Vampire Within

Brandon Cass is not your average teenager. He has a taste for blood. As his hunger for blood strengthens, Brandon sets out on a quest for answers.  He comes face-to-face with the dark force which controls him and learns what he must endure to reclaim his soul.

About Laura Daleo

Laura Daleo was born and raised in San Diego, California. Her love for writing began in junior high. She is best known for her love of animals and shares her home with her three furry kids.

You can also follow Laura on her Website: www.lauradaleobooks.com

And Twitter@AutLauraDaleo

 

Why readers love the underdog #writing #amwriting

In all aspects of life, people are drawn to the underdog.

  • the geek who saves the planet and gets the girl/boy, while the jock is passed by.
  • the outsider team with part-time players who topple the mighty favorite with the money and star players.
  • the ‘David’ meets ‘Goliath’.
  • the poor farm boy / girl who becomes the great warrior / saves the universe / becomes the hero of the quest.

There is a reason why we love the underdog, and it all comes down to psychology.

As a writer, understanding the reasons and psychology behind our love of underdog characters can greatly help us when we are crafting our work.

Why do we love the underdog?

1. Challenge

As the saying goes, no pain, no gain.

The greater the effort required, and the closer, more nail-biting the ending is, the greater our sense of fulfillment and achievement. While there’s nothing wrong with natural talent (who doesn’t want it), stories are not made out of millponds, we need challenges that require a gargantuan effort to overcome.

And our trusty underdog delivers.

2. Reverse psychology

When we back a ‘winner’ that gives us the same euphoric winning feeling. So, while the underdog by definition is the least likely to win, we have been conditioned by the stories we have read, watched and heard to expect the underdog to win.

3. Pleasure at others misfortune.

Yes, humans are sick bunnies. This is the whole reason why shows like ‘the office’ are so popular. We love watching other people fail from the comfort of our safe lounge chair. Evil hands are rubbed together as our hapless hero faces an uphill battle just to stay afloat.

4. Equality

You are all sighing in relief now! No, humans are not completely evil. While we love to wallow in the misfortune of others, there is a huge thrill when the underdog perseveres, overcomes their many misfortunes, and endures challenges along the way….as long as they succeed.

And in those few stories where they don’t succeed, we often feel cheated.

Life and society is full of ebbs and flows.

Great civilizations rise and fall, and the only thing that is certain in the uncertain nature of the world, is that nothing stays the same.

The top team will not remain the top team for ever.

Good and evil.

Power and poverty.

Every dog will have its day.

How we love to love the underdog.

Author interview – J.S.Frankel @JessSFrankel #authorinterview #bookboost #YA

Today I have the pleasure of introducing author J.S Frankel who will be sharing his thoughts on reading and writing, and details of his Book, The Incredible Aunty Awesomesauce

Jess on Writing

Where do you get your ideas?

I get my ideas from everywhere! From the Internet and recent news, from throwaway lines other people say that stick in my head, and I am a HUGE YouTube watcher. I love music and music videos, and I can honestly say that no less than seven songs have inspired novels I’ve written.

What motivates you to write?

I want to tell a story, plain and simple. I love watching my characters grow.

How many hours a week do you spend writing?

I’ve never counted, but I’d say at least four hours a night, almost every night, so…about twenty-five hours, give or take.

Best thing about writing?

The best thing is coming up with an idea and running with it. I love to see a book come to life.

Your biggest writing distractions?

Music videos, noise…I like a quiet atmosphere, but with my wife and two children always talking, it’s hard. Still, they are my family, and family comes first.

How long does it take you to write a book?

For one of my novels—they average out at 67500 words—the initial draft takes only about three weeks. I know that sounds short, but I write fast and hard and long. And I am consistent. At that three-week point, the novel is readable, but by no means publishable. There are lots of mistakes in grammar and punctuation, plot bunnies, dialogue I’d like to make more interesting, etc. So I spend another two weeks or so tweaking it and then send it off and hope for the best.

Have you ever cut anything from your book and why?

Only passages that didn’t advance the plot. The late Elmore Leonard once said to trim the fat and leave the meat—or words to that effect—and that’s what I do. I’m very much a minimalist writer, and my editors have always said, “Say what you want simply, and if it doesn’t advance the plot, cut it out!” Sound advice, methinks.

Least favorite thing about writing?

Editing. It is the devil, but a necessary evil.

What do your friends and family think about you being a writer?

They don’t ask; they know it’s something important to me. My wife only asks if my books are selling—she’s from Osaka, and the people from that region of Japan are very practical.

How do you measure your success as a writer?

Success is relative. Some would say by how much $$$ you earn. Others would say, “You wrote the book. You made it!” Me, if I can improve from novel to novel and the readers tell me I’ve improved, then that’s enough. Sales depend on so many factors and don’t indicate how good a writer is. Just my take on that.

What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting the writing journey again?

Start earlier! I didn’t begin writing until I was forty-eight, and I got published a year later. (I’m almost fifty-seven). If I were smarter and had possessed greater foresight, I would have started fifteen years earlier, but my family took precedence then, so…that’s how life goes.

Jess on Reading

What is your favorite genre(s)? Tell us more about why you love them?

YA, Science Fiction, and Adventure. Loved them as a kid, love them now. I read them because they let my mind go free, and I can let go from the mundane life I have for a short time.

Your most influential books?

Gone South, by Robert McCammon. It’s a novel about a journey of self-discovery for Dan Lambert, the MC, but also for a few of the supporting characters, and McCammon weaves his story well.

If you could have a signed copy of a book by an author (dead or living) what book would it be and why?

The Voyage of the Luna 1. It was a story written in 1949, I believe, and it was the first S/F novel I ever read, probably when I was around seven or eight. Sure, the science was wrong, but it didn’t matter. That novel got me started in reading and put me on the path I’m walking today.

About your Books…

You are living in your latest novel. Where are you living, and what is it like?

Oh, this would be me as Sam Aushumness, the protagonist of The Incredible Aunty Awesomesauce, a YA Fantasy novel. The setting is contemporary Portland, and I’m sixteen, short and skinny and sort of shy, and all I want to do is to spend time with my girlfriend, Kym Kim—yes, that’s her name!—and get through school without being beaten up.



The Incredible Aunty Awesomesauce

“You have no concept of how bad I can be.” Meet Aunty Awesomesauce, the baddest aunty in the galaxy.
Don’t mess with her in the kitchen. Don’t mess with her outside.
Don’t mess with her–ever.

About J.S Frankel

J.S. Frankel was born in Toronto, Canada and grew up there, receiving his tertiary education from the University of Toronto and graduating with a double major in English Literature and Political Science. After working in Toronto for three years, he came to Japan at the age of twenty-six and has been there ever since.
Married and with two sons, he resides in Osaka. His novels, all for the YA set, include Twisted, Lindsay Versus the Marauders and it’s sequels, Lindsay, Jo, and the Tree of Forever, and Lindsay, Jo and the Well of Nevermore, all courtesy of Regal Crest Enterprises. He has also written the Catnip series (five novels), Mr. Taxi, The Titans of Ardana and its sequel, The Titans of Ardana 2: Battlefield, along with Picture (Im)perfect and more novels, courtesy of DevineDestinies.com.

Future projects for Devine Destinies include Cyber Sprite, The Auctioneer, What The Gods Allow, and Outcasts 2, all for Devine Destinies. Fight Like A Woman–for Regal Crest–will be out next year, although a release date has not been specified.

You can also follow Jess on Twitter: @JessSFrankel

Writing update #amwriting #amreading

It’s been a crazy few months and a lot of ‘real life’ issues have taken me away from my writing and blog.

Between renovations, preparing to move from one side of Australia to the other, and a todo list that sat in the hundreds, I had very little downtime.

Last Sunday, I finally got on a plane and officially moved from Perth to Brisbane for the foreseeable future. Now I can look forward to nine months off work as I take some extended leave. Plenty of opportunity to get back to writing and blogging and to look after my health. I have a new writing desk with a new view, and although I’m going to miss my old home and my little writing pod, I’m already getting a good vibe about my new writing space.

I think where we sit and write is really important to our creativity. A writer, or any artists for that matter, needs a space they call their own, where they mentally feel ready to submerge themselves in their chosen craft. My cats have already commandeered half my desk, but I’m used to that, and they have become part of the scenery 🙂

It’s going to be another week before I can let them out to play so the best they have is watching through the window.  They have already engaged in a bit of territorial wailing with our new neighbors cats… I have some turf wars to look forward to!

I’m going to kick-off my return to blogging with a series of author interviews. Details to follow.

I also have a lovely motivational reading list ready so I’ll be writing reviews as I go.

And of course the usual writerly observations and posts.

Happy reading and writing 🙂