Monday, June 29, 2015

Top Five Reasons to Write

I simply cannot top Jeffe's list. Still, here we go:

1) Fame! Or, at least moderate notoriety. It's amazing how many people are unimpressed when they hear you write novels but change their tune when they hear you've been published by an actual publisher.

2) Um. Yeah. So according to the movie FINDING FORESTER, in which Sean Connery, playing the character of Forrester says, "Women will sleep with you if you write a bad book." That's the allegation. I have to debunk this. See, I'm not Sean cannery and I've3 written several bad books and yet, no women lining up to sleep with me as a result of my fame and, maybe you'll have better luck. ;)

3) Your name in print.

4) Money! Okay, sometimes not so much, but hey, I pay my bills and I go on occasional trips to exotic places paid for withy writing. So, there's that.

5) There is no finer feeling than holding a book you write in your hands and knowing that somewhere out there someone else has read it and been moved by your words.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Five Reasons to Keep Writing

The cholla are starting to come into bloom here. Love seeing the desert pop with the pink and yellow.

So, last week we all did our best to talk ourselves out of writing. Some of the posts were pretty damn funny, too. I particularly liked Linda's and Marcella's.

But what are good reasons to keep writing? Here are mine.

1. Simple logic: continuing to write = producing stories

Okay, it's not a guarantee. But this is kind of like proving a hypothesis. I can be certain of the reverse - if I don't write, then there are no stories. Also, one of those most brilliant aspects of writing - maybe of creativity in general, I don't know - is that the more you do, the more there is. Writing more means I'm able to write more easily. That's the number one reason to write. Writing is an act that opens the gates. Getting that flow is one of the best feelings in the world. Maybe the flow won't happen. It doesn't every time. But it *definitely* won't flow without the act of writing in the first place.

2. Excuse to stalk authors

I've said this before, but one of the best perks of being an author is getting to be friends with people who write the books you love as a reader. The friendships I have with other authors are some of the best ones of my life. Having published books gives you a pass that changes creepy stalking into a professional exchange. Of course, having published books only happens if you keep writing. See #1.

3. Tax-deductible books, free books, early books

 Did I mention books?? Yes, I deduct all of the money I spend on books. I'd buy them anyway, but being an author transforms book buying from indulgence to professional research. It's one of the best gigs ever. Also, my friends give me their books. We trade. If I want to read the next book in a favorite series early, I need only ask. It's amazing and my bookworm younger self have never quite gotten over how sweet it is.

4. Reduced chance of insanity

Writing might make me feel crazy in some ways and at some times. (See last week's post.) But not writing absolutely makes me feel crazy. I can feel it creeping in when I take a break. There's an ideal space of time in there. I take a break between books or revisions, to allow the well to refill. It helps to do this, but I have to do this judiciously. Too long and it's hard to get the flow going again. (See #1.) Worse, once the well has refilled, it begins to overflow, which means I feel like I'm filling up with this stuff that has nowhere to go. I become bloated and stagnant with it. It feels like depression. It might end up there if I let it go too long.

5. Best freaking job in the world

Seriously. It might not be the easiest way to make money. Certainly many writers may never make a whole lot of money. But I find it pretty awesome that I can get paid to write stories. I get to write what I love, play around with ideas and characters, romp through worlds that I create and make be exactly how I want them to be. AND I get money for this??


Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Pessimist's Dilemma

The topic for this week is discussion of the top five reasons a pessimist might find not to embark on a career as a writer.

Full disclosure - I am in no way, shape or form a pessimist. But I can't talk too much about that because I gather next week's topic is talking about optimism. So I'll save those nuggets of wisdom!

I think Bruce Springsteen expressed it well in this quote:
Pessimism and optimism are slammed up against each other in my records, the tension between them is where it's all at, it's what lights the fire.

So he seems to be saying one needs a balance of both to be effective creatively. I kinda like the concept.

If this was a Twilight Zone episode and I as The Author was writing a grumpy, pessimistic character who was trying to convince him or herself not to write novels, here are some of the things my character might think:

1. All the good titles are gone.
2. All the words have been used up. Darn Shakespeare and Charles Dickens and Stephen King and Danielle Steel and J. K. Rowling anyway!
3. All the twisty plots have been revealed.
4. If I can't write Middle Earth because Tolkien already did that, there's no use in putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
5. And the real secret in my pessimistic character’s heart: If I never actually write the novel, then I can never fail at it. I can spin dreams about the fame, the accolades, the money, the celebrities seeking me out, the “Today Show” interview, the “Dancing with the Stars” invitation, accepting the Academy Award….and tell myself if I wrote the book, none of that would happen to me, so why bother? Why take the risk of putting myself out there?

There you have it!

I also loved this quote on the subject of pessimism:

When the wires are all down and your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then, have you grown old. Samuel Ullman

Come back next week and I’ll regale you with my optimistic, sunny viewpoint!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Realist's Guide to Why Not to Write

So you're a pessimist looking for reasons not to write? Step into the parlor. Have a seat. Tea? No? Whiskey. That's what you need. It's fine. We understand. Really. You see, 'pessimist' is such a judgmental word, isn't it? Those of us who fall in the 'glass half empty' part of the spectrum prefer to see ourselves as realists. Of course there are perfectly valid reasons one shouldn't write. Here. Start with my list:

You shouldn't write because:
  1. You're not into masochism - it isn't just plots that twist. Authors twist and beat themselves up and wonder why the hell they'd come up with a story that required an ant and an aardvark to fall in love.
  2. All the angst - There are these voices. "This isn't good enough." "Why are you so slow?" "YOU SHOULD BE DONE BY NOW!" They nag at you until you shout, "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Unfortunately, you shout it aloud while you're writing at the local coffee shop. The police are usually involved thereafter. The words 'psych eval' get tossed around. Sometimes, restraining orders are issued.
  3.  Floundering - It's not a swim move. Unless you call drowning in an in-progress manuscript 'swimming'. You will get stuck. You will question your intelligence. You will wrack your brain to the point that your native language looks like something scraped off the surface of Mars. And yet, you'll still have an insurmountable number of words to write before you reach The End.
  4. You'll miss out - If you commit to writing, you commit time. If you commit time for writing, it is time that cannot be committed to other occupations, past times, or episodes of Jersey Shore. You already know you can't have it all. You're a pessi--a realist. So you have to choose. Because, after all, not choosing is, in itself, a choice.
  5. If you can do anything else in the world, you should. Frankly, at the first whiff of resistance, you WILL be off doing anything else in the world but writing. After all, we realists know that true artists are driven by Divine will to create! It isn't as if sacrifice and hard work have anything to do with it. If it isn't all joy all the time, we must be meant for other things.
Now, now. Put down the whiskey bottle and stop crying. It isn't all bad. Your glass of whiskey is only half empty.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pessimistic Reasons Not To Write

On some level, there's nothing easier than not writing a book.  It's easy to come up with reasons.
1. I don't have the time, I'm far too busy.  Look, I'm not going to tell you how to live your life.  You make the choices about what you have to do, and what your priorities are.  But if being a writer is a goal you have, you have to make it happen.  Carve out the time. Choose it over X or Y or Z.
2. I'm exhausted, I can't write right now. I won't deny, I've had days were I didn't get it done.  Hell, I had a period way-back-when (before I even started Thorn) when I had days where I couldn't be bothered to open up the file of my work-in-progress. But the only way to get it done is push through the bad days and be consistent and regular about doing the work.
3. What I'm writing is crap, I shouldn't bother. Like any skill, it takes work.  Maybe it sucks, maybe it doesn't.  But practice is the only way to get better.  Lord knows I have plenty of stillborn manuscripts that never went anywhere, but that's part of the journey.  Embrace it, give yourself permission to be bad and learn from it.
4. I don't know where I'm going and the story is stuck.  All right, first: breathe. Take a step back.  Work on a different project for a bit.  Look at the outline and figure out what's the blockade.  Skip ahead and write a scene far ahead, and worry about the connective tissue later.
5. There's no point-- you can't get an agent or a publisher to notice you unless you've already made a connection or know somebody.  Not true.  Flat out: not true.  Whoever told you that is selling something (probably self-publishing services of some sort.)  I had no contacts, no "in".  I wrote, I queried, landed an agent after a lot of patience and then had more patience while my work say on editors' desks.  And I wrote more books.  I pushed through and did it because I devoted time and energy and patience to making that happen, with no "help" beyond the quality of my craftwork.
Write. Work. Push yourself. It can be done.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


1.) Stringing all those sentences together to make a novel is much harder than you think it is, especially if you don't do well with commitment and are not a self-starter. Falling into a diva rage (should you sell) upon seeing how an editor marks up your masterpiece will only complete your torturous demise.

2.) The near constant rejection is real. Depression, anxiety, and/or a penchant for overindulgence in alcohol, are often part of the author stereotype and stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.

3.) Turns out, you DO need to know spelling, grammar, and all that English stuff from school. And quite a bit of math. And depending on your genre: science and history. Do not email your 10th grade English teacher and offer her apples to edit your novel. That ship has sailed, honey.

4.) Getting paid enough to live on is far more unlikely than likely.

5.) Differentiating between the 'voices in your head' being a psychotic thing and being an authorly thing can be a line as fine as frog hair.

BONUS: Sitting in the desk chair for hours on end is not cardio.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book Release: Veronica Scott's STAR CRUISE: MAROONED

Fans of Sci-Fi Romance rejoice! Veronica Scott's latest intergalactic novel is available in eBook now!


Meg Antille works long hours on the charter cruise ship Far Horizon so she can send credits home to her family. Working hard to earn a promotion to a better post (and better pay), Meg has no time for romance.

Former Special Forces soldier Red Thomsill only took the berth on the Far Horizon in hopes of getting to know Meg better, but so far she’s kept him at a polite distance. A scheduled stopover on the idyllic beach of a nature preserve planet may be his last chance to impress the girl.

But when one of the passengers is attacked by a wild animal it becomes clear that conditions on the lushly forested Dantaralon aren’t as advertised – the ranger station is deserted, the defensive perimeter is down…and then the Far Horizon’s shuttle abruptly leaves without any of them.

Marooned on the dangerous outback world, romance is the least of their concerns, and yet Meg and Red cannot help being drawn to each other once they see how well they work together. But can they survive long enough to see their romance through? Or will the wild alien planet defeat them, ending their romance and their lives before anything can really begin?

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