Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hi, I'm Andrew and I'm a Writer and I'm Terrified

And repeat after me...

"Hi, Andrew."

It's been two years since I've really started seriously writing and I have to tell you, I'm terrified. I've tried to hide this from everyone, but the truth is. I'm a writer and I'm terrified.

There's a part of me that wishes we could have a 12 step program to deal with the ups and downs of writing. As writers, we're addicts. We're addicted to the words in our heads and how they move onto the page. We gorge ourselves on them and when we come down, we crash. Just like any other addiction.

When you think about it like that, it's kind of frightening. But at the same time, it's also amazing. We create stories in our heads. Entire worlds full of people and things and then we throw them out into the real world for others to see.

And that is the terrifying part. Others get to see it. Others get to experience these worlds we've created and judge them. And as much as we try to pretend that we are immune to criticism, we are still scared that someone won't like this beautiful creation.

So, I'm terrified and excited. Hate Jacket is out on submission. I have researched agents and beat my query into something resembling a state of awesome. And I'm terrified that I've screwed something up. That my query may not be strong enough. That my characters voice won't be clear or my plot will have holes large enough to drive a semi-truck through. That my dialog will be flatter than a pancake. That I've missed some major typo that I should have caught in revisions. That I didn't do enough revisions. That I'm not good enough.

I try to pretend that these thoughts don't plague me at odd hours of the day. I try to pretend that I'm fine and I'm not screaming inside in abject horror. I try to pretend that I don't want to curl into a small little ball, hide under the covers until it all goes away.

This is what I do when I'm scared. I pretend. I pretend that everything is fine. Unfortunately, that's self-destructive. It's a siren's call that I know will lead to me closing myself away and wasting my time playing computer games and not writing. Which is what I've been doing for a couple weeks. Which is stupid because I have an AWESOME new shiny story that is clawing at my brain to be told. I've written 1,000 words on it. That's it. I should be a couple chapters in by now.

But I'm scared. And that's ok. It's ok to be scared. If I wasn't scared, I wouldn't be human. And I am human.

I also know that I can't do this alone. It's not for a lack of strength. It's not for a lack of confidence. I know I can do this, but there is no reason I have to do it alone. I have friends and family there to cheer me on and help me when I need help.

Last night when I forced myself to sit down and send out queries, I posted on twitter. I had no less than a dozen people cheering me on. Wishing me luck. Seriously, my feed exploded. It was almost overwhelming to see. It made it easier to send out.

Hi, I'm Andrew. I'm a writer and I'm terrified but I am so grateful to all of you who are there to support me in this insane pursuit of a writing career. No matter what happens, I'm not alone. And that makes all the difference.

'Till Next Time

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by Others

I can't remember who sent this too me, but if I had a guess, it would be my friend Jaime Dement. It fits her and her sense of humor. It is also one of the reasons she inspires me on a daily basis. I met Jaime on Twitter through #writemotivation and I am so glad I did. Between throwing burning dino cookies and other mayhem on twitter, she's a writer, a mom, a care-giver, works a full-time job, and writes.

Somehow she survives. It isn't easy. Some days she barely has energy to write a dozen words. But despite that, she still cheers all of us on. Giving us a kind, supportive word despite the stresses in her life. Even when she wants to give up and just curl into a ball, she's still there cheering me and others on. Even if we only write one word. You see, to her, one word is progress. It's one more word, one more step closer to the finish line. It's still forward momentum.

Does she want to quit sometimes? Yes.
Does she get buried under the stress of her life? Yes.
Does she give up? No. She, like T-Rex there with the grabber claws, is unstoppable.

This inspires me. She inspires me. And when I need a friend, she's there.

So next time you are struggling and thinking about tossing in the towel, remember, you aren't alone. There is someone out there who is struggling too. And there are people like Jaime who are there to give you hand up, a pat on the back, and a big plate ninja star dino cookies.

So, thank you, Jamie. Thank you for being the awesome person you are.

UPDATE: The dino pic is courtesy of one my other awesome friends, Abigail Kern. I had a 50/50 shot of picking the right person and totally blew it. Sorry! Abigail is also funny, awesome, and runs one of my most favoritest blogs ever.

'Till Next Time

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Decisions and Being Thankful

This post is brought to you by the amazing Claire Legrand and the letter U for unicorn.

I've been following Claire on twitter for some time and her posts are always some of my favorites. If you haven't met her or know of her, get yourself to a bookstore and look her up. Or better yet, here's a link! Seriously, she's awesome and I want to read all her words. *looks embarrassed* I just haven't yet...sorry Claire! Anyway, Claire does a #365Thankful tweet everyday to help her focus on the good things in life.

So, here's mine for today. I am thankful for everything that has been happening in my life. I am thankful that I have the support of friends and family in this tumultuous world.

So to make up for my lack of reading her excellent words, I will give her a unicorn instead. Because Unicorns make Claire happy.

So, for those of you who know me on twitter or FB, you'll have heard the news that I got a pass on Hate Jacket from the Agent who asked for it through Brenda Drake's PitMad twitter party.

Anyway, I'm not mad, I'm grateful. The agent gave me some amazing feedback. She did like the story, but to her it was too commercial and suggested that if I try for a more literary feel, that she felt it would be more likely to sell. What this means is that Hate Jacket is a good story, but to the agent it moved to quickly to delve into the issues it was presenting.

At first I was very upset. Hate Jacket got a pass and the agent who passed on it is really good, but then I started talking to people about it. Family, Facebook, and Twitter all responded with support and encouragement. As well as some differing opinions.

Despite their opinions, everyone said the same thing "Keep Writing" "Don't Give Up".

So now I have options and in the world of publishing, this is a good thing.

Option 1: Keep Hate Jacket the way it is and find an agent who thinks they can sell it. The story is good, that much I know. The question is: Will it sell as is?

Option 2: Take the passing agent's advice and make it more literary and see what happens.

Both options are very doable. I know I can do either and find a home for Hate Jacket.

This isn't the end. It's not even the beginning. Were this road leads is where I chose. And that, my friends, is an AWSOME feeling.

Also, Unicorns are badass. You can argue with me, but you'd be wrong.

'Till Next Time

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by Old Time Radio Drama

Starting a new novel is a little intimidating. Especially after the intensity of Hate Jacket. To be honest, I'm flailing and procrastinating. I'm sure this is normal. Not only did I finish it, I participated in Pitmad, and sent my baby off to be (hopefully) accepted. We'll see.

So, in attempt to distract myself from all the negative thoughts floating in my head, I need to write something. Last week, I talked about the silly idea I was playing with. I'm not writing it right now. Silly stuff is hard for me to write (despite being a super-goofball on twitter).

The reality is I need something serious to write. I want to write silly, but it isn't as easy for me as it is for some. Yes, my stories can have humor, but as a whole, they seem to have some dark elements in them.

The exception being Sir Grumpsalot that was recently published in Veux Magazine, Issue 11 (page 32-33). Seriously, it's cute and the magazine did a wonderful job with it. Serious props go out to Ada Adams and the other editors.

So, back to your regularly scheduled blog post.

That's right.

I'm flailing.

Ok. I have an idea. It started as a dream, but is morphing into something awesome. One of my inspirations is the old radio show, The Shadow. I was first introduced to them in a drama class in 8th grade. They were fabulous and so well done (for that era). I did some research on it and didn't realize that the guy who wrote it did so for 20 years.

Anyway, my main character has the ability to see a persons darkest desires/wants/fears, etc. Basically all the bad stuff people hide behind closed doors in their heads. She doesn't like this ability because she can't control it. She looks into a person's eyes and she sees it. What she sees doesn't go away.

I've been doing a lot of research on this in the hopes that I'll find some mythos behind it. As of yet, I haven't found anything. Which is weird, because I would think someone would have had this myth somewhere.

The end result is that I need to create my own. I don't want to link too directly to the Shadow because of it's long history and I don't want to interfere with it. So, no, her great great great uncle was not the guy the radio show was based on. Not gonna happen.

What I do know for certain is that this will be a Dual POV. The MC is going to be around 19-20, so it falls under the "New Adult"/"Adult" category (depending on your preference). Not sure if there are going to be romantic elements or not yet. It's still early, but I do have the first two chapters sketched out in my head.

'Till Next Time

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book Blitz: Timespell by Diana Paz

Today, we are once again joined by the lovely and talented, Diana Paz. This time as part of her book blitz. So today we have a little backstory on where Diane got her idea for the book. Hope you enjoy!

There is also a giveaway at the end, so check it out!

Where Do Story Ideas Come From? Timespell’s Origins

One of the first questions people often ask me when they see I’ve written a book is, “Where did you get the idea for the story?” For me the answer is complicated. The first gleam of an idea came in the form of a pair of teenaged time-crossed lovers, and I can honestly say the idea came out of nowhere. I wrote down the scene in my mind as I saw it, and that scene became the epilogue to the book.

Yes. I wrote the epilogue first. Oops!

But Timespell is about more than just what happens between the main love interests in the story. It’s about best friends Angie and Julia, who begin the story excited about unlocking the power of the Fates. They will be able to time travel once they find the final Daughter of Fate and seal themselves to her forever. The bulk of the story took shape in my mind while thinking about how different the girls were from each other. Julia is silly and sarcastic, Angie is responsible and sweet, but what about the third Daughter of Fate?

I toyed with a lot of ideas, but one that kept coming back to me was the one I thought the least likely would work. Kaitlyn.

Kaitlyn was certainly fun to write, as well as a challenge. She isn’t a conventional choice for a book’s main character… fearless and power-hungry, she has a mean streak a mile wide. For some reason, the idea of forcing Julia and Angie to work together with someone so unlike anyone they would choose for themselves really appealed to me. I wanted to find out if they could manage to work together for the sake of the world, or at least, for the sake of keeping their powers. Would Kaitlyn change after being connected to the other two girls? Would the experiences they shared traveling through time bring them together somehow, or only highlight their differences and tear them apart?

The origins of Timespell began with the characters and my curiosity about what might change them. As the girls came to life on the page, and as one adventure led to the next, the story took on shape and before I knew it, I had written all the way up to the epilogue that started it all. Finding out what happened between the three girls was as exciting as finding out what happened to the fate of the world.

In TIMESPELL, the brash and impulsive Julia must team up with her sweet and straight-laced best friend, Angie, and the malicious and power-hungry Kaitlyn in order to keep the witch-like powers of her inheritance. But these powers come at a cost. The girls are bound to serve the Fates, and their first mission sends them back in time to Marie Antoinette’s Paris and eventually, into the chaos and war of the French Revolution.

Buy it now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,
or your favorite book retailer!

Diana Paz writes books about magic, adventure, and romance. She was born in Costa Rica, grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she’s a beach bum. Diana graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a highly sweetened iced coffee.

Author Links:

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday's Children: Inspired by Twitter and Idle Minds

As I wait for the potential phone call from the agent of awesome that has Hate Jacket, I have been advised to write something new. I was also advised to not write any follow-up stories to HJ. The person giving me this advice said that if something goes wrong and I don't land the agent, I should be prepared to focus back on HJ and not on any sequels.

Sound advice.

So, I pulled up my word document titled "Story Ideas" and start going through the list.

And I heard crickets. Not a single story was talking to me. Why? Well, Julius wants more word time. He wants his story to continue, but I can't work on that. I have to focus on something new. Something completely different.

So I go back to my friend. She suggests that I avoid anything involving angels, vampires, werewolves, dystopian, or apocalyptic themes. As a joke, she said definitely stay away from vampiric angels in a apocalyptic setting.

And I was all...
And as those things always go, it devolved into silliness.

It got worse a couple days ago when I mentioned it to some twitter friends. Then the ideas start really flying. When the dust cleared, I had bits of a story. Granted it's full of silliness, but it did get the brain moving again. I don't plan on writing it anytime soon, but maybe one of these days when I need something silly, I'll look back and do some more plotting.

So here is what I came up. The concept sounds very Anime, so I decided the title should reflect that.
Title: Sugar Blues
Genre: Urban Paranormal Romance Apocalyptic Dystopian Scifi
Story notes:
Vampyric Angels duke it out in Dystopian Apocalyptic world. Main character wakes up and looks in a mirror and only sees her wings which shimmer and glitter. Falls in love with her main opponent, who is female, and they have to team up to bring down the oppressive hedonistic oligarchy that controls their lives.

Also included: Sentient bees as an alien lifeform bent on world domination (they were behind the apocalypse). Shape-shifting unicorn pole-dancing enforcers (for the oligarchy). A spaceship named "Kitchen Sink" (might change that). And magic swords…both types (one of them may be sentient and another may, or may not, have fallen into an intergalactic garbage disposal unit). A 2,000 year old perverted empathic seer of ambiguous gender.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system for the moment, maybe my story ideas will start loving me again and talk.

'Till Next Time

Cover Reveal: Northern Bites (Aurora Sky #2) by Nikki Jefford

NORTHERN BITES, Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter, Vol. 2


Love bites.
Probation sucks.
Thanks to Dante’s recklessness, Aurora is now partners with
Valerie: the redheaded, backstabbing vixen.
Dante is in full flirt mode. Fane’s tactics are far more ruthless.
Something carnal has awakened in Aurora and neither boy is helping tame her
When a member of the unit’s team is found dead, Aurora and
Valerie are sent after a vampire in Sitka, but Aurora suspects the killer’s much
closer to home.

ADD it at Goodreads.

Expected Release Date: June 27, 2013

On SALE: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter Vol. 1 is on sale for 99 cents until April 7th for Kindle and Nook.

Enter to WIN: Signed Aurora Sky paperback, Blood Bath cherry scented shower gel, and a Blood Transfusion mason jar with straw (US) or an Aurora Sky ebook, 3 winners (INT). Ends soon!

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Wow! What a Rush! #pitmad and #writemotivation recaps

The last couple days have been a blur. It started Friday with the #pitmad twitter party put on by the fabulous and awesome, Brenda Drake. It was open to any author with a completed manuscript. Having missed out on Pitchmadness, I wasn't exactly sure I would be involved. I'm glad I did.

I ended up twitter jail from all retweets I was doing as the pitches flew past my screen. That and I was tossing in my own tweets as well as participating in the #fakepitmad party that a couple of my friends started. I was posting lines from They Fight Crime website. Go there. it's awesome. Here are a couple examples:
He's a witless bohemian farmboy on the wrong side of the law. She's a chain-smoking antique-collecting research scientist married to the Mob. They fight crime!
He's an uncontrollable dishevelled librarian searching for his wife's true killer. She's a beautiful gypsy pearl diver with an MBA from Harvard. They fight crime!

It was a pretty wild day and a lot of people got requests. Carissa Taylor was kind enough to compile a list. If you participated, check it out. You may have missed something.

Congrats to all 235 manuscripts that got requests. Good luck to you all!

I wrote up 7 different tweets that I rotated throughout the day:
  1. YA: 17yo Julius Monroe hates the world, but if he wants a chance for love, he must stand up to his father's rage or lose it all. #PitMad
  2. YA: Julius just wants to be left alone. Too bad the popular girl and her jealous boyfriend didn't get the message. #PitMad
  3. YA: Julius' trusts his best friend with the truth of his father's abuse. Unfortunately, Julius' friend has a secret of his own. #PitMad
  4. YA: 1 badass jacket+1 abusive father=Julius' life. Toss in a friend with a secret, the school bully and his GF and you have a mess #PitMad
  5. YA: With failing grades, and an abusive father, Julius hates his life. Until love comes from an unexpected source. #PitMad
  6. YA: a story of life, love, pain, and one badass jacket. #PitMad
  7. YA: Christina wants to help Julius pass social studies. Her jock BF wants to use him for a punching bag. Messy is an understatement #PitMad
I wasn't expecting anything, but it was worth a shot. Imagine my surprise when I got pings on #1 and #6.
First I was...

Then I was...

Then I was...

Later that night and the following day I was...
Sometime around 4:30 pm Saturday, I clicked send and stumbled out of the writing cave. I'm sure I consumed toxic quantities of caffeine in order to get it all done and sent.

So now I wait (as all of those of us wait). And while I'm waiting I will be doing this...

And finding other things to distract a new story...I have been advised that agents love it when you have a lot of stories. I was also advised not to write dystopian or anything involving vampires, werewolves or angels...including vampire angels in a dystopian apocalyptic future...even if it sounds awesome.

I also have several books, comic books, and a manuscript (epic fantasy FTW) to beta read for a friend.

It's a good thing I have 26 story ideas in my story idea word document.

Changing gears:
#writemotivation was a huge success for me. Got all my goals accomplished. Not to sit back, regroup, drink all the coffee and try not the panic too much.

'Till Next Time