Author Interview Tips for Newbies

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When I published Blood Bonds: Stories from The Lily and Quinn Series early this month, I wasn’t sure what to expect. While I have been published traditionally in anthologies, this was the first time I have gone it alone.

I have been doing my best to get the word out on my social media platforms, and was wondering what else I could do. The answer came to me one morning when I woke up to find a Facebook message from a reporter at the local newspaper. We went to school together and she noticed my posts about being published, and asked if I wanted to do an interview.

I knew I’d say yes but I needed to call my friend and writing buddy Sherry D. Ramsey for advice. Of coarse, she let out a ‘yes!’ when I asked if I should do it. I replied back to Erin, saying I would do the interview. She was excited and said she’d be calling for an interview in a few hours.

Aside from thinking about feeling like an impostor, I kept thinking of the worst. What if I came off like an idiot? What if I was misquoted? What if she asked me something and I didn’t know how to respond? But, in the end, everything went off well. And I am really pleased how it turned out. Here’s what I did before hand:

Deep breaths: Simple, I know, but there are times when we forget to breath. Focusing on those deep breaths also helps as a distraction from negative thoughts.

The story: I went over different things in my head about the book. Why I self published, what I liked about my characters, when I started the series, etc… Having answers in my head made me feel prepared.

The questions every writer gets: Why do you write? Where do you get your ideas? When did you first start writing? These are things many authors get asked and I tried to think of as many as I could. Again, I was trying to prep as much as I could.

Positive thoughts: My husband, Sherry and a couple of other friends I told were happy and excited for me. The exposure would help get the word out. I reminded myself I may get a book or two sold because of this but also: as a writer, especially in a small community, it tends to feel lonely. (Thank goodness for my writers group!) So, I also thought letting the community know  about another writer was a good thing. There are more writers then people realize in Cape Breton. We have lots of talent here, including those who write. Sometimes I feel we are in the shadows. I tried to focus on the positive and remind myself that I got this.

I was very excited this week to read my interview.

It turned out very well and I am very happy with it. So, if you get asked to to an interview for a newspaper or blog, do it! And each time you say yes to an interview, it will get easier each time. Those nerves will go away. Or mostly, at the very least.

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Why I Started Blogging

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I honestly never really thought much of the ‘why’ until recently, believe it or not. When I first started I had a little blog for a year or so called From The Bear Cave. When I started it was because a number of my author friends had blogs too, so I thought, why not?

But it wasn’t going in the direction I really wanted it to. So I put blogging aside for awhile. It was probably a year later (maybe longer, I don’t really remember) that I came back with The Geeky Book Lady. This allowed me to have the freedom I wanted. I am a huge geek who loves to read and write fiction. I felt really good, like I had a do-over.

I blogged the odd time but not as much as I wanted. Life got in the way, and I was dealing with depression and shit in general.

But this year I have gotten back to it, more serious then I have ever been. It isn’t because I am looking for a thrill or validation when I get post likes and a new follow. It isn’t because I am looking to be a popular blog. And it certainly isn’t because I think I have lots of great things to say and everyone should listen.

I think the real reason I started blogging, was to make friends and connections in the writing community. To find other people to nerd out over the newest Marvel movie or bitch about a problem with a current WIP.

I’m from a small place, with not much going on. I love Cape Breton, don’t get me wrong. I just find it hard to find like minded people. One of the reasons I love going to a comic con is because I am totally at home with my peeps. I chat to people everywhere and have even made some friends.

Another reason I started blogging more is because I am trying to be a better writer. That won’t happen if I don’t write. And my mind tends to be one big cluttery mess. So sometimes “word purging” on here helps. It organizes my thoughts or if I have something on my mind, I can get it out and move on.

And one last bonus: it has been helping me keep myself on track with my goals for the year. I love my wrap up at the end of each month because I look at it and think ” fuck yeah I accomplished something.”

We all have our own reasons why we blog. What is yours? 🙂

 

 

10 Minute Con-Guest Blogger

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I am very pleased to welcome my very first guest blogger, Pam Humphrey! Pam is a part of 10 Minute Novelists, a group on Facebook for writers of all genres. I joined the group late last year, and I am really enjoying it! Pam, welcome to my little corner of the universe, and thank you for being here!

By Pam Humphrey
As writers, some days we struggle to find ten minutes in a day to dedicate to our writing. We scrape together small snippets of time each day, adding words to our work-in-progress. Those words add up.Our small things, brought together, can make something great.
The writers of the Facebook group 10 Minute Novelists believe that this is true. Started by Katharine Grubb, who wrote the book, Write A Novel in Ten Minutes A Day, the Facebook group offers tips,encouragement, and community for time-crunched writers worldwide.

August 9-11, 10 Minute Novelists will be hosting their first ever conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. The theme is fitting: Small Things Brought Together. The conference hopes to bring this online community of hard-working writers together for learning, support, and fun. Through the speakers and learning opportunities, they hope writers can make connections, amplify writing energy, and add tools to their writing toolbelt.
Their speakers include:
James Scott Bell, bestselling author of Plot & Structure, and award-winning thrillers like Final Witness,Romeo’s Rules, Don’t Leave Me, Blind Justice, Deceived, Try Dying, Watch Your Back, and One More Lie,will give the keynote.
Donald Maass, founder of the Donald Maass Literary Agency and author of The Career Novelist (1996),Writing the Breakout Novel (2001), Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook (2004), The Fire in Fiction(2009), The Breakout Novelist (2011) and Writing 21st Century Fiction (2012), will speak on The Fire InFiction. This hands-on presentation will reveal how master contemporary novelists make every book great—and how participants can use the techniques of greatness in their current manuscripts.
Janice Hardy, founder and owner of FICTION UNIVERSITY, is the award-winning author of The Healing Wars trilogy, including The Shifter, Blue Fire, Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins, and of multiple books on writing, including the bestselling,Understanding Show, Don’t Tell (And Really Getting It). She’ll be speaking twice on Saturday: Planning Your Novel in Ten Easy Steps: 10 Surefire Steps to Planning a
Bestseller! and (later that day) on Revision Readiness: How to Revise.

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For more information go to http://www.10MinCon.com The conference price is $329, but will go up to $379 after March 1, 2018. Price does not include travel, airfare, or hotel accommodation. Price does include lunch for Friday, August 10 and Saturday, August 11. Hotel accommodation information is also available at http://www.10MinCon.com.

Make time for your writing this summer. Join us at 10MinCon!

Pamela Humphrey, author of Finding Claire and Finding Kate, has been a member of 10 Minute Novelists since March 2016. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, sons, black cats, and a leopard gecko.

Why Every Writer Needs A Writers Group

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No matter if it is an online group or an in-person meeting, being in a writers group can help you out a lot. Joining my group was one of the best things I have ever done. I joined The Story Forge about fifteen years ago.

My group is laid back. We get that life happens and you can’t make it to every meeting or that you can’t get so many chapters written. There are also groups out there with more structure.

A Mixed Bag.  Our group has everyone from those who write for fun and for themselves, as well as published authors who are busy in the writing community. (Writers in schools programs, signings, readings etc…) We bounce around ideas and talk about various topics. We all also have different genres that interest us, from poetry to sci-fi and mainstream. Everyone has something to offer.

Support and Encouragement. I have left more than one meeting feeling inspired and ready to concur my current writing project. And on days I have felt like I want to give up, my friends help me realize that I am being crazy. If one of us is in the middle of something big or crazy, like NaNoWrimo, we encourage each other to keep going. Not every one in our daily life understands what a writer is feeling, but your writing friends always do and are there to back you up or give you a kick in the pants if needed.

You Learn A lot. My writing and editing skills have improved immensely since I started going to The Story Forge.  I also feel more confident when I critique someones work. While I am far from perfect, I enjoy helping others and feel I can help.

Brainstorming. Stuck with a plot? Need advice on a topic? Or maybe you are unsure if killing a character will help or hinder your story? Ask your writing buddies. They will give you feedback that you can mull over and help you figure out where to go next. Sometimes more brains are better than one.

Feedback. Finished a piece and need a second pair of eyes? Odds are someone will offer to read your work for you. The great thing about this is that they may see something you missed. When you read your own work umpteen times, you are going to miss the little things, or a problem you didn’t realized you had.

A Night Out. Writers tend to be solitary. Not always, but I am one of them. When I am not at work or out with friends, my favorite night in is curled up with hubby watching tv or with a book. It’s good to get out and talk with people who share your interests.

 

Where to find a group: Check your local library and ask a librarian. That’s how I learned about The Story Forge. You can also find them online like on Facebook. I belong to online groups as well, but meeting up in person gets you out of the house for an evening out, and you can make real life friends you can meet up with in between times. One of my friends is coming over tomorrow, for a coffee and a mini writing session. When all else fails, start your own! Put up a flyer at a local library or start your own online group.

How I have changed and benefited since joining my group: I have been published four times. (Soon to be a fifth…our group is putting an anthology together and the money made will go to our local library.) I have learned a lot about writing and improved so much. I have made some great friends; one of which was my matron of honor. I have become more confident and learned how to turn my inner critic off.

That’s just my take on it. I love my group so much and think every writer can benefit from having one.

Do you belong to a group? What is your favorite thing about it?

 

A Gift For One of The Writers in My Life

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Last Christmas I was trying to get creative with my gift giving as well as shopping local as much as possible.

I am lucky to have other writers in my life, and two of them are my closest friends. When trying to come up with gift ideas for them, I decided to do something “writerly” for them. Now, I won’t share my original idea as I might do that for Christmas 2018 for both of them. 😉 But I would like to share a part of  what I made for one of them.

My friend Jo-ann from Inspiration Pie and I had been out for coffee one afternoon, and she was talking about feeling stuck, being in a rut and whatnot. Later that day I was in my office looking through craft supplies when an idea struck!

I found a mini Smashbook I had bought ages ago. I was saving it for the perfect project. And I found it! I am a sucker for a homemade gift.

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With the help of stickers, washi tape, printouts I had and *Pinterest, I made her a mini survival kit. 🙂

I tried to include as much as I could. One important thing was inspirational quotes, to help keep her motivated on a bad day. 🙂

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Another important thing I wanted to include was some writing prompts. Some I made up, while others I found online. I did several pages with prompts.

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Of coarse, I also included various writing tips for getting unstuck.

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I searched old hand outs from writers group and online for other tips for world building, characters, etc…

 

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I had a lot of fun making this for her, and she was genuinely thrilled when I gave it to her. I used to make handmade gifts a lot, but got out of the habit. I think I will get back into that old habit, at least a little bit.

What writer themed gifts have you given/gotten?

*Pinterest is my Google. I give full credit to those whose posts I printed.

Nanowrimo Wrap Up

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Hello fellow writers and wrimos!

I had good intentions-as usual- to write a post before Nanowrimo started, and to update during the month.

However, life was a little hectic in October. Mr. C was prepping to go away for work, so we were spending time together, mentally prepping and doing laundry…so much laundry. (We had no clue what he should pack or how much for his six month stint away).

After he left, I jumped right into Nanowrimo mode and was writing and focusing on it as much as I could.

I was a Nano Rebel this year. I decided to write short stories instead of a novel. I haven’t decided yet if that was a good idea or bad, haha.

I failed to hit 50k. However, instead of hating myself for “failing”, I am looking at the positives.

I wrote more in November then I would have if it wasn’t for Nanowrimo. I also have three…maybe four…short stories in progress. One is mostly done. (Although I realized the other day I need to change a lot at the beginning but it is for the best).

I attempted Nano and in my own way, I won. If you didn’t get to 50k, don’t beat yourself up about it. You didn’t fail. You started something, and now have something to work with in the coming months.

It also helped me get back to my writer brain. I have ideas for other stories, plus I want to get back to unfinished works and edit first drafts. I have also been reading articles and tips to write better fiction.

I lost my writing mojo for awhile. I think I might have found it again.

How did you do in November? Did you crack that magic number or fall short of your goal?

Making A Plan And Making Writing A Priority

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It is really easy to put things off. I am the Queen of Procrastination. It isn’t that I don’t want to do certain things, but the phrases “I am going to start this soon” or “I will get on that tomorrow”, become easier to say. And tomorrow turns into the next day and so on.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about my writing. I am kicking myself for wasted days and being lazy. I’m not as prolific as I used to be. I’m not happy with that, so it is time for a REAL change.

I’m not the type of person to write every day. Some writers are. Even during NaNoWriMo there are days I don’t write. Either because life is simply too hectic that day, or I need to give my brain a little bit of recharge time. (Although I only do that if I am at least a day or two ahead of schedule.)

While I am not a person to write every day, all week, all year, I know I can write some of the week. So I am making myself a schedule of sorts.

I am vowing to write four days a week. If more, bonus! But unless life takes some major curve ball, I know I can write (or edit) even a page or two that much during the week. I have no real excuse right now not to do that.

I have last year’s Nano to work on, plus a new project I have been dying to get at. So I have a great starting point for my work.

Instead of just thinking about writing, I need to get off my ass and start DOING.

Have you made any new changes or goals for your writing? If so, what have you decided to do?