Treating Writing Like My Day Job

•December 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Heart of IndiaIt took me six years to write the first two chapters of my first novel; The Heart of India.  It took six months to write the next 14 chapters.  I often ask myself why it took so long to finish those two chapters and I realized it boiled down to a few things.  The first reason? I wasn’t focused.  Wow.  A writer not focused.  (No shit, Sherlock).  I have found, in my few years as a writer, that writers are the most easily distracted people on the planet.  We can wake up with an entire series in our heads, but damn, anything, can cause us to lose it. Just. Like. That.  And then it is gone.  We blame writer’s block, we blame significant others, the cat, dog, aliens from outer space or whatever, but the truth is, to be a writer takes time and focus.

The second reason it took me so long to write those first few chapters was because I wanted it perfect.  I didn’t exactly write when I sat down to write.  Instead, I found myself editing…and editing…and editing.  I did more editing than I did writing.  While editing is great, trust me, it can also eat into your writing time.  Most self-published authors have other jobs or responsibilities, so finding the time to write is hard in itself.  Wasting most of that time constantly editing a few pages eats away at the little time you had to begin with.

The third reason was that I was treating writing like a hobby.  A seasonal hobby.  One that you did when you remembered to do it.  If you want to be a writer, you cannot write when you feel like it; you have to treat it like a job.  Writing is HARD.  Really freaking hard.  And it pisses me off when I read author interviews and they make it seem like it was nothing to write a book.  Please.  We know how much you put into it.  This is one of the reasons I get pissed off at negative reviews (but…lol…another story for another time).  Writing takes work.  And the mental and physical exhaustion can take its toll on an author.  But so does any job.

If you want to be successful at writing, you have to take it seriously and treat it like a real job.  Does that mean you have to write every single day like clockwork?  Not necessarily, but it does mean you pull out that laptop, or tablet, or good old-fashioned paper and pen, and you write.  You may not produce the best work every single day, hell you don’t even do that on your real job, but you show up every day and you work.  Writing should have the same amount of dedication.  You should put the same amount of work into it.  You were the one who said, “Hey, I want to be a writer!” So, stop bitching about how hard it is to write and simply do it.

Set goals and try to stick to them.  I personally try to write at least five pages each day.  Some days, I write ten, other days, I can barely write three; but I find the time to write.  Save editing for another day.  You can always edit.  But don’t waste valuable writing time by going back and editing thirteen chapters before you can write chapter fourteen.  You have an idea or a name or something else you want to change?  Jot it down somewhere and get to it later.  Your goal today is to write.  But there is no way I can possibly write 5 pages a day!  Okay.  Then write three.  It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the progress.  And you can’t progress unless you write.

Those of you who have already written your first novel know the pleasure that comes with writing “The End.” Those of you who are still in the process, trust me when I say, it is one of the sweetest joys in life.  But you cannot get there unless you get started.

So my challenge to you today is this; get that laptop out, set a writing goal, and write.  Remember, some days you are gonna be so hot, it’s like you’re on fire.  Other days, it will take a fire to get you moving.  But, you have to write.

Book Blast!! Karen Faignes

•December 5, 2013 • 1 Comment

Okay guys…by now you should know that I am a passionate paranormal fan and author, so it is with pleasure that I present this book blast for Karen Faignes.  Sexy vampire? Check!  Intrigue? Check!  And romance? Check! Happy reading!!

VTC

Shaytonian Chronicles – Book 1: Destiny Sets

KF Book Cover

Karen Fainges

 Author Bio: http://shayton.net/Author.htm

KF HSKaren Fainges works as a trainer in business and computing. A wife and mother, she started thinking up sci-fi stories at the age of 10. Editor of the K-tips business and computing ezine, she longed to present her fiction to the world. So she took those long ago stories, a love of the absurd and wrote about beings that were not humans. Sometimes you see a lot more about humanity and yourself when you are looking at someone else.

Author Links – The link for any or all of the following…

Website | http://shayton.net/

Facebook Author page | https://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Fainges/83671225033

Facebook Series page | https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shaytonian-Vampire-Fiction/88608175544

Twitter | https://twitter.com/annalisamara
Linkedin | http://au.linkedin.com/pub/karen-fainges/a/b99/424/

Goodreads | https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10612018

Amazon| http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Fainges/e/B0050KEU3S/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3?qid=1382177091&sr=8-3

Giveaway – details for your giveaway, be specific. You may pick one prize of more than one.

Ebooks, paperbacks, Swag or gift cards

3 pack of ebooks Shaytonian Chronicles Book 1-3

3 pack of Paperback Shaytonian Chronicles Book 1-3 Signed if willing to wait for post from Australia or from Amazons if not.

Hosting Incentive: 3 pack of ebooks Shaytonian Chronicles Book 1-3

3 pack of Paperback Shaytonian Chronicles Book 1-3 Signed if willing to wait for post from Australia or from Amazons if not.

Pit Crew: 3 pack of ebooks Shaytonian Chronicles Book 1-3

3 pack of Paperback Shaytonian Chronicles Book 1-3 Signed if willing to wait for post from Australia or from Amazons if not.

About The Book

 Book Genre: Scifi/Fantasy Vampire

Publisher: Writers Exchange

Release Date:

Buy Link(s): http://astore.amazon.com/shaytonchroni-20

Book Description:

Destiny Sets is the first novel in the Shaytonian Chronicles.

Lightning sears a scene against the eye. Trapped between reality and death, every scrap of life is fighting for existence. To stop fighting is to die.

Some precious moments of peace can be stolen from small pockets of calm. Life can take a breath and wonder at the harsh beauty. But only for a moment, then struggle resumes. And others watch.

The Shayton Chronicles begins in Destiny Sets, the story of one man. He is that drop of chaos that can spell success or failure.

Born from a vampiric race of slaves, genetically moulded to provide comfort for their masters, he alone decides to be truly free. Irreverent humour and a fierce need to know ‘why’, war within him and entire worlds are changed.

“The Stainless Steel Rat with fangs.”

 Excerpt One:

 Painting the mythic vampire

The deep royal blue sky of the Italian Riviera provided the perfect backdrop to the posed woman. She was an otherworldly figure set amongst the ancient columns. Her softly accented voice broke the stillness. “Are you sure about this?”

She watched as he added a daub more paint, “I am sure. You said it yourself, the best way to deny something it is to say it is true.”

“And what if the Council finds out?”

Alfredo dabbed on a different colour. Going by the look on his face, he still did not have the skin colour the exactly right colour of purple. It had been frustrating him all evening. There was a timeline that neither one of them had mentioned, but it loomed in their thoughts. He was getting older, and no one lived forever. His words dragged her out of the wave of sadness that swept through her. “This mythical Council of yours, what if they do notice the paintings? They are just paintings.”

“The Council is no myth. They rule our world.”

“I thought the King ruled your homeworld?”

Lisa started to shrug but remembered in time not to move from the pose. “His rule is absolute, so long as he leaves all the day to day decisions, like whether to exile his daughter to Earth, to the Council.”

“And you, as this poor exiled waif are concerned that one of those ‘day to day’ decisions may be objecting to this painting?”

Lisa snorted at the sarcasm in his voice, knowing it was meant more to chide her out of the doldrums than anything else. “They defend of the safety of Shayton. They hold dear her anonymity. It keeps her from being destroyed by those that fear the different, which, my dear, you must agree describes most humans remarkably well.”

Alfredo nodded, “And trust me, the picture of a masked dancer with obviously fake wings…” Lisa snorted again at this description of her body, “will ensure that any little slip ups like the one in Venice, will be seen as a publicity stunt and nothing else. Your Council will thank us.”

Excerpt two:

 They had made it to the bed before falling asleep in each other’s arms. Talkar woke to a cry from downstairs.

“Molly!”

He was half way down the stairs when he saw a staggering shape in the darkness. Talkar growled. He knew that smell. It was her father. And blood. Molly’s blood.

“What have you done?”

“The slut, she was laughing at me. All these fine new clothes and friends. She belongs to me. I…I was just taking her back.”

Talkar pushed past him. Molly lay in the shadows, her chair lying on its side beside her. She had obviously come downstairs, unable to resist checking on the cafe.

“Talkar.”

Talkar caught up her hand. “Molly.”

“He will never leave us alone. Kill him.”

Talkar looked at her for a moment. “Are you sure?”

“This was my perfect night. He tried to take it. I want him dead.” The last words came out in a sob of pain, hatred and fear.

Talkar let her see his fangs grow. “As you wish.” He turned slowly. Molly’s father seemed to be shaking from the shock of her words. Talkar walked up to him. With one hand, he dragged him to his feet. Pulling him close, Talkar whispered in his ear, “Run.”

“You can’t,” the man cowered, trying to drop out of Talkar’s grasp.

“I warned you once. Molly is mine now. You will never hurt her again. Because you are about to die.”

Talkar felt the need hit him. “Run!”

The man ran, stumbling into the darkness, whimpering in fear. Talkar watched him go. And then, calling to the darkness, he flew off after him. Talkar felt the Hunger course through him. It had never been this strong.

The smell of the man’s fear filled his senses, there was nothing left but the chase. Still Talkar hung back, taunting him. For long moments, he would let the man think he had escaped, then hunt him again. The man’s heartbeats filled his ears. He could taste his whimpered tears. Finally, he could bear it no longer. Tearing into the man’s throat, he ripped the terror out, drinking it down in great draughts. The heartbeats faltered, sped, then stopped.

Talkar felt his own hearts falter. He fell to his knees. The man’s blood was tainted. Not just alcohol, but other drugs burned through every cell in Talkar’s body. He screamed his pain to the sky.

He felt himself change, fill with power. A noise made him turn. He grabbed for the corpse. It was his now. This feeling was his. The Other would have to leave. Or he would fight them for it. At the back of his mind, a voice began to call. He ignored it. The flood of heat washed it away. He was in Hell again. Heat and power everywhere.

“Talkar!”

The heat dimmed. Her voice was like a cool cloth.

“Mother?”

“Fight it, son. Do not let it claim you like it claimed him. Do not lose yourself.”

“Mother, help me…it is too strong.”

“No, it is not. You are stronger. Fight it because you must.”

Talkar held on to her words and dragged himself towards them. At last, he came to his senses. He was kneeling on the grass. Underneath him was the mangled corpse of Molly’s father.

Melinski drew close and Talkar felt himself snap at her. The beast was still there. She drew closer, soothing noises calming him. “Remember this, my son, remember what it is like for the others. Remember the beast and cage him inside you. You will need him. But do not let him loose until then or he will destroy everything.”

Talkar collapsed into her arms. She tenderly kissed the top of his head. “It hurts, mother,” he whimpered as he had never done as a child.

“I know.”

 

The Trouble with Names

•November 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

As a teacher (my other job), I have been privy to a host of names that will hurt your feelings to pronounce…or spell.  We’ve all heard the story of La-a (pronounced La-dash-a, sure) and the others like Placenta, Lemonjello (La-mon-juh-lo) and his twin brother Orangejello (Or-ang-juh-lo).  Even a recent article in GQ magazine laments the decline in the names of our children today and cautions against the popular sentiment of naming children to be cute.  But dammit, sometimes cute is…well…cute.

I am still in love with the name Heaven (not the modern counterpart of Neveah, which is heaven spelled backwards), and I am still upset with my best friend Neavada, for not naming her daughter Sahara.  Come on, Neavada (Nevada) and Sahara.  Cute.  Sickeningly cute.  I have already decided that if I decide to eventually have a child, I am going to pick a name that is hella cute.  No Susie, or Jane, or Mary for me…and this is from the woman who have aunts named Margaret, Victoria, Cheryl, and the like.  No, I want a name that will stand out without sounding stupid or obnoxious or both.

But what about naming characters?  Should you go the “cute” route?  I recently read a self-published novel (which was pretty decent), but I almost gagged at the name of one character.  And I have characters named after continents.  In fact, my alter ego Rianna Morgan, published a book with the main characters named Africa, India, and Asia.  So, what was the name of this character which made me stop reading the novel for a few days?  Ready?  *Drum roll* Paige Turner.  Tada!  Oh…you don’t get it?  A character in a book named “Paige Turner?”  I am certain the author thought it was cute, and to him, it probably was.  But to someone like myself; a self-proclaimed connoisseur of cute, it was damned annoying.

But that’s not what this post is about.  This post is about naming characters in the best way for the character and the book.  In my Blue Moon Trilogy, my main character (Layla) was named because I associated it with Laila Ali (the female boxer) and I wanted a strong female lead.  I was tired of the wussy females who needed the vampire to get them out of the troubles they got themselves into (again, another story for another day), so I picked Layla.  The book title was deliberate.  In my research I discovered a Native American website (this was Layla’s heritage) and I wanted to be as authentic as possible.  With Native American roots of my own (Arawak), I understood the need to be true to her family ties.  The name Tala (book one) means ‘wolf’, while book two, Maikoda, means ‘power of the moon’, and the book three, Hania, means ‘spirit warrior’.  These titles fit perfectly with what I was trying to accomplish with the book.  As Layla, (who was a Werewolf), got stronger and better understood her powers, she changed…and so did her titles, per se.  But it was all in the name.

When naming your characters, be original, but make the name fit.  Are the parents of your main characters ultra conservative?  Then Susan or Kimberly or Jennifer might be best.  They are not going to name their twin daughters Spring and Summer.  Are they superstitious?  Religious?  Werewolves?  Have  the names fit the personality of the characters.  Was the main character born under extraordinary circumstances?  Then naming her Hope or Precious or Destiny is quite fine.  When I was a kid, there was a family down the street who had daughters named Joy, Charity, Faith, and Love…but, their father was a minister and since these were some of the Godly virtues, it makes sense (in a way).

Readers inherently KNOW when the name is being forced onto a character and when the personality of the character does not fit the name.  Unless its deliberate, where the main character laments not living up to the name bestowed upon them or trying to be more like their namesake, let it go.  Save the name for another character, because chances are, this will not be your only book.  Right now, I am holding onto Angel Haven.  Yeah, its cheesy and utterly ridiculous, but its still kinda cute.  In fact, I came up with the name when I was in middle school and wanted to write a book about a girl born to a fallen angel and a mortal.  I still want to write that book (with more mature changes, of course) and so, I am still holding onto that name.  For better or worse.

Get your ‘ish’ together or get a real job.

•November 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I am tired.  I am tired of writing.  No.  In actuality, I am tired of writing only to have who I perceive to be talentless, little “Twilight” knockoffs writing a book of useless drivel and fan fiction, awarded with a publishing contract.  Let’s be fair.  We read.  Romance, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, whatever…but we read.  Whatever our reasons, we still do.  And while most of the time, the works are ones we enjoy; we very rarely want to read the same book…again and again and again and again.  Unless it extraordinary.  Exceptionally extraordinary.  But we are in society where “talent” is a measure of how many followers or book sales you have, regardless of the structure, plot, hell, even the grammar and spelling in your book.  I am not the best when it comes to grammar.  I struggle.  My mom has to proof my rough drafts, because that part of my education is sorely lacking, but I try to put the best product I can out there.

So, that being said, I am tired.  It’s an uphill battle.  A raging battle, one that I may not return from, because I am so tired.  But all is not lost.  As an avid fan of “The Doctor,” (before David Tennant), I am always empowered at the last moment when all seems darkest.  So, in this darkest of moments, the calm before the storm, the moment before the last star in the galaxy is snuffed out and I remain the lone person in the Universe, I give in.  Notice, I did not say I give up.  Give in as I realized that I don’t have to quit.  So what if I am not getting the sales I used to or want?  So what if I have four unpublished manuscripts sitting on my desktop?  And so what if I just can’t get past this little, well, large, massive, yawning hole of a writer’s block and finish the sequel my readers are yearning for?

It’s there, in me, waiting…waiting for me to care, to not be so tired, to not give up—so I give in.  To the urge to write, to the urge to do what I want to do in life.  I was never the little girl dreaming of being a teacher.  I wanted to write.  But my very practical patriarchal upbringing set me on a different path.  I teach because I am good at it and I want to inspire the youth to seek their own fortunes.  I write because I don’t know who I would be if I didn’t.  The only time I have ever experienced true love is when I write the last word to a novel.  And begin with the first word of another.

So I write.  And read, and laugh, and cry, and bitch, and moan, and bitch some more.  Because that’s what you have to do in this business of writing.  Read what you write, see what’s out there.  You don’t want to be that knockoff bitch…but that’s a story for another time.  It burns me to see how inundated the market is with self-published books.  Books that with a bit of execution and style would be amazing, but alas poor Ulrich (or whatever his name is, was), the overall product is sorely lacking.  I don’t consider myself to be the best paranormal writer out there.  Just like my photography (when I try my hand at it), the way it looks in my mind is never the way the photo eventually turns out.  Similarly, the countless plots, and characters, and settings in my head, never seem to pan out just the way I imagined.  Sometimes, they’re better, other times—well, I just scrap the book.

The Blue Moon Trilogy was never meant to be—a trilogy that is.  It was supposed to end with Layla as a short story.  But my imagination got the best of me and well, the end result was a three-book series (and an introductory prologue) which received rave reviews.  And it was all because I gave in—to that little voice, that overwhelming urge, that undeniable yearning, to write.

So, whenever the day seems the darkest, or you can’t get your brain in gear to write the words you had been holding onto all night, or even if the kids are driving you mad…don’t forget to give in…and write.

New cover for Tala (Book one in the Blue Moon Trilogy).  Look for book two, Maikoda, coming this December!

Tala Nov 2013

Wordle

•October 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Wordle: Some Like it Hot

“Naughty Kisses”, new Erotic Noir by Rianna Morgan

•August 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

“Naughty Kisses”, new Erotic Noir by Rianna Morgan

The New Girl…Umm…Girls?

•July 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I have started a new series of books, mostly African American Romance and Erotica under the pen name of Rianna Morgan and I am also about to begin a series of Young Adult Novels under the pen name of S.A. Morgan. Look out for both new authors and the amazing books, lol, penned under their names!

Whew!

•July 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Okay…apparently, trying to juggle school, work, and writing full-time means that I am not always meeting my deadlines…or postings. Blue Moon Trilogy is done and has been for some time, it just needs to be edited and that is a work in progress. New series to start soon and it is another play on Fairytales, but this time, its less erotica (far less) and more urban paranormal romance. So stay tuned!

Link to Guest Blogging on Louise Wise.com

•November 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

http://www.louisewise.com/2012/11/use-past-experiences-when-writing.html#disqus_thread

Scheduled Release Dates

•October 31, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Here are the release dates for my upcoming sequels.

October – Once Upon A Fairytale Princess

November – Maikoda (Book Two – Blue Moon Trilogy)

December – Hania (Book Three – Blue Moon Trilogy)

January – Hell on Earth (Hell Bent and Bound -Book 2)