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When in Doubt

For this week's post On Writing, I thought about Self-Doubt and Reality TV. How can these two concepts connect to writing? Well, they're closer together than you think, dear reader.



First, Self-Doubt. Unfortunately, this is part of the writing process. A writer that doesn't have doubts may be knocking on the door of disappointment. Not having doubts doesn't mean you're confident. It can mean a myriad of things, which I will leave for you to dissect, dear reader, since that's not what this post is all about.



What I wanted to focus on is the upside to doubt. It makes you more receptive to feedback. Being closed to feedback can really hurt you as a writer. Feedback is important because it allows you to see new avenues into the story with which you might not have seen while writing. If you didn't have doubts, then possibly, you would not see the need to venture down those fantastic avenues.



Now, where does Reality TV come in? Well, I love watching competition shows like Top Chef, Top Model, and especially Project Runway. What these shows have in common is the opportunity to pursue a dream. We are all pursuing our dreams; at least, I hope we all are because it would be a waste of a life if we didn't. If you watch these kinds of shows, you will see that more often than not the contestants have self-doubt. At the moment, I'm watching Season 8 of Project Runway, and from what I'm seeing, there's a lot of talent among the contestants. But even the most talented ones second guess themselves. When Tim comes in to critique the works-in-progress, the designers go two ways. They either doubt themselves more or they find clarity based on the critic.



As writers, we are faced with doubts. Is my story good enough? Am I doing this right? What if they don't like it? What if I don't get an agent? What if I don't get published? What if I crash and burn? I'm sure there are many other similar questions in your head, dear reader.



But at the end of the day, it always boils down to the "make it work" moment, borrowing Tim's catch phrase. Will you make something out of those doubts? Or will you let the doubt paralyze you from following your dream? In the reality shows that I’ve mentioned, these questions come to life. Those who make it work find success while those who let themselves drown in doubt end up sent home.

Blogger Interview: Vampires and Tofu


About the blog:

Book reviews and giveaways and new friends, oh my! At Vampires and Tofu, you'll find a lot of vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts and other things that go bump in the night. I read a lot of YA paranormal, but I'm also a fan of horror and grown-up books too. You may even find some chick lit thrown in the mix every now and then. Basically, if it sounds like a good story, I wanna read it and share it with you! I try to make my giveaways fun, entries usually involve answering a question or taking a quiz so I can get to know everyone better...I enjoy hearing what everyone has to say and making new friends!

About the Blogger:

First and foremost, I'm mom to two amazing daughters, 17 and 23. I work full time in a casino (my teenage dream of becoming a Solid Gold dancer didn't quite work out) but am hoping to hit the lottery soon so I can have more reading time! I've loved books as long as I can remember and yes, vampires have been a part of my life from the beginning...my mom named me Angelique after one of the characters on Dark Shadows! I love comic conventions, my living room has a wall full of shelves displaying horror movie action figures, and oh yeah, I'm a vegetarian (hence the tofu =) I'm addicted to reality competition shows like Top Chef, Project Runway and America's Next Top Model as well The Vampire Diaries...as a matter of fact, I'm planning on marrying Ian Somerhalder next spring, however I'm fairly certain he's not exactly aware of this yet....



Interview:

How long have you been blogging?

I started my blog back in March of this year.

Why did you decide to blog?

My youngest daughter bought Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl for me for Christmas and I fell in love with it. After reading it, I started looking up other YA books on the internet and discovered all these awesome blogs where people talked about books and I decided I wanted to do that too!

What books do you blog about and why?

I've always been drawn to books with supernatural elements, so those are the ones I tend to blog about the most. But I don't limit myself to any one genre. I also read horror, women's fiction, graphic novels and anything else that sounds good...I'm planning on diving into Jane Austen for the first time soon!

What memes can be found on your blog?

I don't really do memes. If I get a book I haven't seen a lot of buzz for, I'll do a "This Just In" post, and every once in awhile I'll do an "In My Mailbox" post, but I prefer to stick to reviews, giveaways and event postings...things like read-a-thons, zombies vs. unicorns, and random book/supernatural things I think readers might be interested in.

What is your review style like?

I like to keep my reviews informal, like I'm talking to a friend and I try to inject some humor whenever I can...

If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?

Friendly!! I've "met" some incredibly nice people since I've been blogging!

What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

Don't worry about what your blog "should" be like...let it be an expression of you and what you love!

Niceness counts. Respond to comments and emails...you never know when you'll make a new friend =)

The technical stuff takes awhile to learn...Google is your friend when you have a question (But lots of bloggers are more than willing to help you out if you ask nicely!)

What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

Taking part in blogging events, Twitter, Facebook, giveaways...I've found all these to be good ways to get the word out about your blog and get people reading. Plus, they're fun =)

If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

My hope is that people who read my blog will have fun and find something they're interested in reading! I think there's a book out there for everybody!

What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

I've got some great YA horror stuff lined up for next month that I'm really excited about as well as some other fun Halloween happenings.

Blogger Remarks:

The moment I visited Angie's blog, I fell in love with it. So, I would like to take this time to thank Angie for taking the time to answer a few questions for this Blogger Interview series. Dear reader, you should visit her blog ASAP by clicking on her blog button below:


Thanksgiving Giveaway!

Dear Readers,


I know I promised to have a giveaway the moment we hit 300 Followers, but it took me a while to get to it. Why? Because I was thinking about the right thing to give away. As you know, I don't really give away books since there are many sites that do that. I like giving away other stuff that I've picked out specifically for you, dear readers.


For this giveaway, I decided on something Cute and Silly. Yes, I said it: Cute and Silly. I found these figurines that use solar power to move. They are so adorable, and I thought, why not give them away?


There will be FIVE winners for this giveaway.


Chosen by my beloved friend, Noey. Visit her HERE.


The mechanics:


1. Choose the figurine you like best.


2. Give me your name.


3. Give me your email.


All of this in the comments section.


Now, here are the figurines:


The Apple


The Bunny


Spiderman


The Cow


The Pig




That's it. Plain, Simple, Cute, and Silly.


Thank you so much for being a follower of this site, dear reader. Thank you for seeing my writing through. And thank you for all your continued support.


Oh, and did I forget? This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.


Contest ends: December 10, 2010.


So, join now, and then, spread the word.

Author Interview: Tracy Krauss


Canadian born archeologist Mark Graham unearths a remarkable discovery while at a dig in the mountains of Zimbabwe – pterodactyl remains and giant human bones buried together. Speculation leads to the possible existence of a mythical race known as ‘Nephilim’, a pre-flood people alleged to have descended from both gods and men.

But skepticism and sabotage delay Mark and his team as the dig site is compromised, putting their discovery – as well as his very life – in grave danger. Deceived and framed by trusted friends and colleagues, Mark struggles to safeguard his findings and protect his reputation in order to unearth the mystery behind the Nephilim.



Author Info:

Tracy Krauss grew up in small town Saskatchewan and has always enjoyed writing, along with many other creative pursuits. She received her Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Saskatchewan with majors in Fine Art, and minors in History and English. She has lived in many interesting places in northern Canada with her husband, a pastor with the PAOC, and their four children. She currently teaches English, Art and Drama at the High School level and lives in Tumbler Ridge, BC.

Interview:

1. When did you decide to start writing?

Writing was less of a decision and more of a compulsion. I have been writing in one form or another practically all my life, but seriously for 25 years. Most of my author friends report a similar NEED to write. It's just what I do.

2. What is your genre and why did you decide to write a novel in it?

Most of my novels fit into 'Romantic Suspense' and AND THE BEAT GOES ON is classed as such. It is also 'Christian' fiction in that there is a strong redemptive element in it, but hopefully it is not preachy. I love a twist and I love suspense, so I guess that it was just natural to write in this genre. I also enjoy a healthy dose of romance, but I'm not much for sentimentality (or what I call 'sappy') so that is where the 'romance' comes in. It is definitely an important element, but not the main focus.

3. Were you worried about the word count of your work?

I never actually paid any attention to word count. I have since learned that many publishers are sticklers for anything too long, especially for a debut novel or someone who is relatively unknown. My next release, MY MOTHER THE MAN EATER, (coming out this fall) was too long and I had to slash one whole sub-plot. The tightening process made it better, though, I think.

4. Do you have any writing quirks and what are they?

I thought writers were quirky period.

5. If you can describe your novel in one word, what would it be and why?

CONSPIRACY. The book is built around a potential conspiracy that an archeologist faces (and the mayhem that ensues) after a very controversial find.

6. How did you decide on the title and what does it mean?

This book is actually a stand alone sequel, of sorts, to another book I wrote called PLAY IT AGAIN. The first book is the story of Mark Graham's parents, an ex rock and roll junkie and an accountant whose unlikely rendezvous leads to all kinds of complications and subsequent intrigue. Since that book was based on a musical theme, I thought it would be cool to continue Mark's part of the story with another musical title. Also, the title speaks to the ongoing rhythm of the universe, man's connection to the past through archeology, and the inner 'primal' nature within the human race in general. Probably a lot deeper than the 'Sonny and Cher' imagery that might first pop into one's mind ...

7. What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your novel?

I hope they come away with questions rather than answers. I was very interested in the discrepancy between modern scientific theory about the origins of the universe and those held by Christians and other proponents of 'Intelligent Design'. I do not pretend to be an expert on the subject by any means, but have tried to prick the interest of my readers to delve into the possibilities for themselves. (I don't think there are any pat answers, by the way, on either side of the argument.) Also, I hope they come away entertained. That is the bottom line, I think.

8. Tell us a little about your road to publication.

About six or seven years ago I started thinking about submitting some of the plethora of stuff I had written over the past couple of decades. After several rejections I realized I still had a lot to learn and began honing my craft. Sometimes we become so emotionally attached to our writing that we can't see it objectively. Since then I have embraced every rejection, critique, review, etc. and have continued submitting my work (and subjecting myself to the cutting edge of constructive criticism.) I also had a lot to learn about how to submit, write queries etc. About two years ago I finally gained the attention of three different agents/publishers and signed a contract for AND THE BEAT GOES ON. Unfortunately, I have learned that finally getting published was the easy part! Marketing and promotion by authors themselves is apparently part of the new world order. :)

9. What advice can you give other aspiring authors out there?

Embrace every rejection, critique and criticism and learn from it. Perseverance and tenacity are essential, so stick with it. If you're a writer on the inside, you won't be able to stop writing anyway.

Blogger Remarks:

Thank you so much, Tracy, for giving my readers the opportunity to get to know you and your work better. It's a pleasure having you here at Reads, Reviews, Recommends. Dear reader, if you want to know more about Tracy and her work, you can click on the websites below:

Tracy Krauss
the creative process from a Christian perspective
www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.blogspot.com
www.krauss.aegauthorblogs.com

When Life Gets In the Way

So, you’re on your road to writing a novel, but life gets in the way. Some family problems arise or someone gets sick that you have to take care of. Life gets stressful. Work gets stressful. Basically, anything and everything happens to keep you away from your writing. What do you do?



The first thing, find the time. No matter what, find the time. If writing is something that you really want, and I’m sure that it is since you’ve made a commitment to get serious about it, you have to find the time. A paragraph, a page, that’s all you really need to move forward with your writing. Don’t let life get in the way of what you like doing. If writing makes you happy, then you can use it as a refuge, as a safe haven where you can get away and relax. If writing stresses you out, then you have to reassess your priorities (but that’s a whole different post).



Second, writing will always be there. You may not be able to get to it right now, but it will always be there. I’m not saying that you have to forget your writing, you just have to prioritize. I’m sure you hear and read that word a lot: Prioritize. Know what comes first. This is actually something difficult to do if you don’t have goals to keep you grounded.



Now, the reason why I’ve gone down this road is because of what I’m going through right now. My mother is recovering from major surgery. This might not seem like a big deal to many, but for someone who doesn’t get sick, to go into surgery is certainly something big. So, I’m the one taking care of her. This is a full time job in itself. It takes me away from my writing more than I care to admit. But, I also realize that my mother comes first. Without her, I wouldn’t be writing. This is an example of life getting in the way. It’s one of those obstacles that come along that test your fortitude and planning skills.



So, using what I’m going through as an example, we can break down what I have been saying. First, I made sure that all my editing for Lunar Heat is done. A day before my mother’s operation, I sent the manuscript off to my agent. One less thing I had to worry about. While at the hospital—and with the help of Wi-Fi—I made sure that the website was updated. That counts as writing, too. At the same time, I caught up with my reading, and I started Solar Freeze, which is another novel I am working on. All this added to feeding my mother, washing her, and cleaning the bedpan. Yes, dear readers, I am an expert in cleaning bedpans. I have to make sure to add that to my list of skills on my resume.



The bottom line, no matter what life hands you, it’s no excuse to stop what you love doing. Writing is something that I told my self I wanted to do professionally for the rest of my life. So, no matter what, that’s what I am doing. Regardless of the job you’re in, whether you’re an investment banker or a teacher or a sale representative, when life gets in the way, you still have to follow through, right? No matter how fun it is, writing is still work. It’s still something that I have to do on a daily basis. I may not go to an office from nine to five, but I do sit in front of my laptop for that long. I still plan to get paid to do what I love. If I let life take me away from that, what happens?

Superstitions Connected with Accidents

An accident is an unintentional misfortune or other occurrence that has no apparent cause, but with the superstitious generally blame upon sinister forces. Echoing the Christian doctrine of an omnipresent God, popular folklore has often attributed accidents to some hidden influence or else to the working of luck, blaming such everyday mishaps as sick animals and broken pots on ley lines (invisible paths that criss-cross the land and possess strange powers), devils and their agents, such natural phenomena as the phase of the moon or the flowering of a certain plant, or just the fates in general.



In the East Midlands of England, for instance, accidents are said to be most likely when the bean plants are in flower. According to some interpretations, outwardly innocent happenings around the home may threaten dire consequences. Thus, a picture that falls off the wall for no obvious reason, or a window blind that comes down without warning, are omens of death that should not be lightly ignored. Even picking up things that have been accidentally dropped on the floor is risky: much better to get someone else to pick them up and then to withhold any work of thanks -- then both parties not only avoid ill luck, but may also get a pleasant surprise.



Specific examples of accidents that are somewhat perversely good omens include the Japanese belief that is a patient's medicine is accidentally spilled, then he or she will shortly recover.

Blogger Interview: One, Two, Three...and there were books


About the Blog:

I try not to discriminate genre when reading books but I can't help but be more favourable to certain genre like Young Adult, Children/Urban Fantasy and Science-Fiction. As much as I love reading books, I'm also obsessed with cover arts. You can often see me write about US/UK version, International version, Hardcover/Paperback etc.

I rarely write spoilers on my review, it's mostly about the style of how it's written and comparing characters to others and my thoughts of the book in a whole.

In addition to book reviews, I also write about movies based on books and Japanese anime.

About the Blogger:

Growing up, I never really liked reading. BUT three years ago, I met my best friend who introduced me to the world of "Fantasy" books.

Since then I devoured all sorts of books to make up for the lost years.

I've lived half my life all over the world, countries like Malaysia, Canada, and France. Currently, I'm in Belgium for my master studies.

I love sharing opinions and even critiques from others so don't hesitate to leave any kind of comments.

Oh ! and I'm waiting for my new Kindle to arrive this month ! So excited ! ^0^



Interview:

How long have you been blogging?

1. It's been a little over two months now, I hadn't realized it until now. lol

Why did you decide to blog?

2. First it was to satisfy my own compulsion to categorize and make things more easy to remember by writing. (since I forget things quite easily)
Then when I discovered the joy of reading other people's comments about my thoughts and discussing it lengthly about a book that I (or we) passionately loved was very exciting, since I don't have many friends who loves to read as I do.

What books do you blog about and why?

3. I try my best not to focus on "one" genre but mostly I read Fiction, Young Adult, Children/Urban Fantasy and Science-Fiction. I think it's more interesting to read about something that you cannot see or vaguely believed in as a child, (I still try to believe) rather than any other genre. It takes my mind off things like...."reality" I guess. And I love my escape.

What memes can be found on your blog?

4. Currently, I have none. But I've recently received offers from authors asking to read their 'advanced reader edition' and write a review on them.

I think, if I get those offers consistently, I will create a monthly meme with their interviews with me. But these days, I write whenever I finish a book when my mind is at it's clearest.

What is your review style like?

5. Like I've mentioned above, I don't contain a lot of spoilers. I mean the "book description" part is something I copy and paste from the book site to give the audience a general idea. The first think I recognize about books is how it's written, so I write about the writing style a lot and compare the characters to other books and honestly it more of a rambling of thoughts that goes on inside my head however weird they might be.

If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?

6. Changing, I'm not easily satisfied. Since I've started blogging two months ago, I've changed the design more than 5 times. The layouts, coulours, background pictures and such. I'm fairly happy with the design I have now but out of nowhere, I might change something about the bolg just because I got bored, so don't be alarmed when it does. ;-)

What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

7. First sight is important, to me at least, and readers should easily locate what they want to find. And regularity, don't be away for months on end for flowers to drop out of your blog.

What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

8. I only have two at the moment, but I'd much rather have an eager participant than a non visiting follower.

If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

9. I hope my review can help them decide whether to read a certain book or not. Or at least the benefit of the doubt.

What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

10. Friendly comments, thorough reviews, interesting insights.

Blogger Remarks:

I met Kathryn through Book Blogs. When I visited her blog, I just fell in love with it. I knew that I had to share the blog she calls home with all of you. To visit her blog, you can click on her blog button below.


123 and There Were Books”=

Reader Recommended Giveaway

It's been a while since I posted something for the Giveaway section, so I decided to recommend the giveaway Lou is having at:




Reader Recommended Gratitude Giveaway details:

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card
Giveaway ends 11/28
The winner will be selected by Random.Org and will be announced by 12/2 on Reader Recommended. They will be also be notified via email. If the winner does not respond within 5 days, another winner will be selected.
To Enter:
Follow my blog on GFC (new followers will receive 1 entry; old followers will receive 2), then click and fill out this FORM.

Bonus Entries:
+1 - Tell me about your favorite book of all time in the comments

Blogger Remarks:

So, click on her blog button and enter her giveaway.

Author Interview: Sylvia Massara


Sarah Jamison is on a mission to find a boyfriend for her lover’s partner; and Sarah’s best friend comes to the rescue with an idea so crazy that it just might work. Enter the enigmatic Mike Connor. Sarah hates the man on sight, despite the fact that her body tells her otherwise. Mike Connor is smug and full of himself; but Sarah thinks that with his help, she can finally be with the love of her life.

"The Other Boyfriend" is Sylvia Massara's debut novel. While Massara affectionately calls the book "chick-lit," most readers agree that it's so much more. Smart, funny and real, Massara's characters come to life in the most unexpected and interesting ways.

Currently available in ebook format only.



Partly inspired by real life events, this is a story of courage, the gift of friendship and unconditional love. The story involves three people whose lives cross for a short period of time and the profound effect which results from their interaction. Alex Dorian, freelance travel writer and a survivor of severe child abuse, arrives in Sydney in an attempt to exorcise the ghosts of her past. She shares a house with Steve and the disturbing Matthew, a homosexual couple. Alex finds herself inexplicably attracted to Matthew, and she must battle with her repressed sexuality and her fear of intimacy.

Due to be released in late September, this beautifully told story explores the true meaning of unconditional love--for both one's self and for others. Readers of "The Soul Bearers" will come away with a deeper understanding of human relationships and of what it means to truly love without condition.

Author Info:

Sylvia Massara has been writing since her early teens. She has written in a variety of genres, from stage plays to screenplays to novels. Since she can remember, she’s loved immersing herself in a world filled with characters of her own creation.

Massara has recently published a quirky romantic comedy in ebook format, entitled "The Other Boyfriend", and is about to release a general fiction life drama, "The Soul Bearers" soon. Both books will be released in paperback toward the end of 2010.

Additionally, Massara is the owner of writing services business, Tudor Writing Services, where she provides freelancing writing, proofreading, editing, website and social media services. 

Massara lives in the Sydney, Australia, with husband, Nick, and four-legged daughter, Mitzy.

For more information about Massara's background and full bio, visit her official website and blog.



Interview:

1. When did you decide to start writing?

I’ve been writing since my early teens. My whole life I’ve been making stories up in my head, so it’s only natural that I would write them one day.

2. What is your genre and why did you decide to write a novel in it?

I don’t have a particular genre; I would call myself a ‘mainstream’ author, though I’ve written chick lit and have recently released a general fiction drama. In past years I wrote comedy, thrillers and action stories as well.

3. Were you worried about the word count of your work?

No. A good book will be finished when the story is told, whether it takes 60K words or 160K. It all depends on the story and how it keeps moving.


4. Do you have any writing quirks and what are they?

Writing quirks ... hm ... only that I’m crazy if I find even one typo in my manuscript. I am very picky and I tend to over edit at times.


5. If you can describe your novel in one word, what would it be and why?

My romantic comedy, I would describe as “quirky”, because it’s a bit mad-cap.
My drama novel, I would have to describe as “inspirational” because it teaches one to persevere in the face of adversity, move on and face the future with optimism.

6. How did you decide on the title and what does it mean?

“The Other Boyfriend” was named thus because the heroine in the story comes up with a plan to find a boyfriend for her lover’s partner (her partner is in a relationship gone sour, but he cannot seem to let go of the woman he’s with; so our heroine hopes to find her a boyfriend so the way is clear for the heroine to be with the man she thinks she wants).

“The Soul Bearers” was named after a particular story that one of the characters in the book relates. He says that it’s a sin to kill a butterfly, because when a person dies, the soul is carried by the butterfly until the soul is ready to go onto its divine source, hence the butterfly is a ‘soul bearer’.


7. What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your novel?

Inspiration, not to be afraid of change (even when it seems that the change is not for the best). This is reflected in both novels and the characters learn to overcome obstacles in the face of adversity.


8. Tell us a little about your road to publication.

After many years of trying to go down the traditional publishing way I decided to take destiny into my own hands and went with digital publishing. This has opened the door to many opportunities and has widened my networking circle. I have full creative control of my work and don’t have to write to a formula, just to please a publisher. So now I publish when I want and I do all my own promotional work through the social media.


9. What advice can you give other aspiring authors out there?

Persist and don’t give up; whichever way you choose to go – traditional or self-publishing. Above all, if you self-publish be prepared to invest a little money and get someone to proofread your work. You want to make a good first impression. Lastly, be prepared to promote yourself as much as possible. It can take months and months before you will have a large enough following to start making big dollars, but in the end it’s worth it.

Blogger Remarks:

I would like to take this chance to thank Sylvia for giving me a chance to interview her. Both books look fascinating. Take the time to look them up, dear reader. Also, on the Author Info section of this interview, there are links that you can click on which will give you more information about Sylvia and her other projects. These links are in purple.

Rejection?

Monday madness, dear readers. Are you feeling the drag of the week? Did your day start of great? Or did your week begin in disaster already? To those who’ve begun their week with a bang, kudos! May the streak continue. For those who’ve started their week in less than pleasant circumstances, it’s not the end of the world. Tomorrow is a new day and all that.



So, last week, I wrote a little about the querying experience. Every time I get updates about agents, I still feel like I need to send them a query. Funny how that happens sometimes. At the end of that post, I promised to write about rejection.

Everyone goes through rejection in some form or the other. I won’t get into the rejections suffered when in a relationship. That’s a whole different post. What I want to focus on is the rejection every writer starting out receives. I think it would be easier to count writers that don’t get rejected than those that do. Yes, there are those mythical cases of getting a yes the first time out. We won’t focus on those, either. What I want to look into is the writer that sends out query after query and receiving rejection after rejection.




When I started out querying Lunar Heat, I felt nauseous the whole time. I would send out ten queries per week. When the rejections started coming in, I felt bad. Of course, I felt bad. In the beginning, it feels bad, but I soldiered on. I began changing my mindset when it comes to querying. I realized that querying is actually a process of elimination. Remember, your goal is to find the best agent to represent your work. You don’t want someone who’s only half interested in your work. You want someone excited about your story and willing to go out on a limb to sell it to editors and publishers—the kind of agent that gives a hundred and twenty percent.

Rejection is a necessary evil in the business of publishing. The question is: will you let a rejection stop you from seeing your work in print? All you need is one yes. No matter how many queries you send out, all you need is one yes. Of course, it’s nice to have several agents wanting to represent your work, but in reality, one is more than enough. And, the best part, you can always query the agent again after a few months. They may have rejected you the first time around because your novel isn’t what they’re looking for, but maybe the next time you query your novel becomes exactly what they are looking for.



The author that became my inspiration when it comes to querying is J.K. Rowling. She queried and queried, getting one rejection after another, until someone gave her a chance. Imagine how those who passed up her work must feel now that she’s made a bazillion dollars? One yes. That’s all it takes.

Once you have your list of agents that you plan to query, don’t let getting rejected get to you. Mourn the rejection for a couple of hours (even a couple of minutes) then move on. Remember, there’s an agent out there for you. Someone who wants to represent your work. Someone who believes in what you’ve written and will encourage you to make it the best that it can be. Someone who will champion your work. Weed out the rest and find the very best. There’s nothing wrong with rejection. Actually, come to expect it. An agent rejecting you does mean that your work is crap. It means that he or she is not the right person to represent your work, and maybe, you won’t want someone without passion for your work representing you anyway. With so many agents out there, you would be hard pressed not to find one.

Blogger Interview: Scarrlet Reader

Click Here

About blog:

My blog is a very welcoming place! I love to be able to write my reviews out and post them and not have to nag my friends about my recent reads (which they like too). It's a comforting place of mine. I love it there! It was probably one of my best decisions to start one!

About the blogger:

Hi, My name is Caitlin and I'm a book addict. I'm a high school student who plays softball and has a library in her bedroom. I love to walk to my local Starbucks and drink myself silly in caffeine and I love Dystopian novels with a passion!

Interview:

How long have you been blogging?

I've been blogging for just about three months now, but I've discovered that blogger makes time go much faster! It only feels like I've been at it for a few weeks!

Why did you decide to blog?

I didn't really decide to blog, blogging kind of decided for me. I just really loved talking about books! It made my friends go crazy when I started a rant about my newest read. Blogging just can't naturally to me, so I could express my thoughts of books.

What books do you blog about and why?

I mostly blog about YA books, but somtimes I read a little something outside that realm. YA books are apparently the "IT" thing to read that the moment, but i can remember about three years ago when the genre was kind of slow I'm a mazed at how much it progessed and I'm posotive it's because of all the fabulous writters and their wonderful stories that did it. I read YA because it's what I enjoy, it's what I relate to.

What memes can be found on your blog?

The memes I hold at my blog are:

In My Mailbox, Blog Hop, and Waiting on Wednesday. I don't really do a lot of them but these are the ones I really enjoy to take part in!

What is your review style like?

Hmm, it's probably be detailed reviewing I think. I have the tendecy to rant a little in my review, especially if it's a bookI loved. I tell you what I liked, what I didn't, and I go into detail about characters and stuff. Though I promise to leave out any major spoilers! ^^

If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?

Scarlet. That's how i would describe my blog. Scarlet is a more intense form of red. I like to feel that I am very intense about reading and I care about it very much. A Scarlet can also mean like a star or someone famous. Ever heard the saying of "a Scarlet"? Well also like to think that my blog shows and entertains people just like "a Scarlet" would. It's a weird description, but my name isn't ScarrletReader for nothing ;)

What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

If you are not organized you better fix that. I'm not the most planned out persona nd after starting blogging I discovered tha tI had to time when i would post things, I had to stay on track of everything and I believe that I've become much more organized because of it. Also say tha first think that comes to mind. Really. When you write a review don't think one thing about the book and then change it because you don't think you should write that. If you second guess yourself while writing a review how can you be true to the words you write? Make sure it's what you believe should be said about the book for people to know.

What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

Well, when I first started blogging I had been following several other blogs and knew a good amount of things to try. I do the Blog Hop, which is a wonderful meme, I talk with people on twitter, I recently posted a giveaway, I try to talk with authors and become friendly with them. I do a bunch of different stuff but in the end I'm grateful to who ever clicks that Follow button because when I see that number go up I just feel like I'm on top of the world. People care what I write about, it's a wonderful feeling.

If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

I hoped readers see from my blog that this is something I really enjoy to do. I hope they feel the passion I have for the books I read and the how much care I put into my blog. I hope they read a post I made and feel the need to comment on it. I hope I can get a reactio nout of them and let them know, what's what.

What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

They can look forward to more post about no just reviews, but other topics. I could be holding a few more giveaways. but also I hope something in the future they see in an improvement from me and how my skills with blogging develop.

Blogger Remarks:

I would like to take this time to thank Caitlin for granting me this interview. I always love seeing what other bloggers are up to. To visit her wonderful blog, you can click on her blog banner at the top of this post. Give Caitlin some of your love by checking out her site.

Author Interview: Adi Alsaid


Somewhere Over the Sun follows Alan, a spirited young writer with a wandering imagination who has discovered that the stories he writes are suddenly coming to life. At the suggestion of his loving father, Alan embarks on a quixotic journey to visit friends and use his newfound gift to write them all happier lives.

There are a few limitations to his power; he can’t cure diseases, he can’t summon pots of gold, and each story leaves behind some physical discomfort. However, the appreciative and optimistic Alan is not deterred from creating fantastical characters and storylines to give his friends more literary lives.

Interlaced by the lovely and true to life vignettes he writes for his friends, the narrative takes us inside the imaginative Alan’s thoughts and those of his hosts; college friends, a childhood chum, his editor and a former love.




Author Info:

Adi Alsaid graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in Marketing, but spent the majority of his time there reading and writing fiction. Somewhere Over the Sun is his debut novel and was written in Monterey, CA. He was born and raised in Mexico City to Israeli parents whose love and support made this book possible. Adi is usually unsure of how long he will remain at any given address, but chances are he is living somewhere in the northwestern hemisphere. He hopes this book brings his readers even a sentence’s worth of happiness.

Interview:

1. When did you decide to start writing?

I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision. In sixth grade, we got a homework assignment to use each of our ten vocabulary words in a sentence. I don’t remember the vocabulary word I used in the sentence, or what the sentence even was, but I know it felt good to write. Since then, I haven’t really had much of a choice. Writing is a compulsion that comes out of me and I kind of just get out of the way and try to keep my day-to-day life from containing the compulsion.

2. What is your genre and why did you decide to write a novel in it?

Somewhere Over the Sun is a literary fiction novel. My initial inspiration for the book was a thought that came in the middle of the night. I rushed to the computer, wrote it down and forgot about it for a few months. When I graduated from school and didn’t get hired for a job, I decided I’d spend the next phase of my life writing. I revisited the middle-of-the-night idea and expanded it into an outline. I wasn’t necessarily planning on it being literary fiction, but I think that’s just the genre that my writing naturally falls into. To me, the language with which the story is told is just as important as the story itself.

3. Were you worried about the word count of your work?

Worried might not be the best word to describe it. I’m not very good at worrying. But I was definitely conscious of it. This being my debut novel, I researched what the average is for literary fiction novels that actually sell. I decided on the range of 80,000-100,000 and I let the story dictate how long it would be within that range. I was more concerned with how many words I was writing each day. Since I wanted to get the book written and published before my visa to live in the U.S expired, I set a goal of 1,100 words/day. I kept that up for about a month and a half, then dropped down to around 800-1,000 words for another month and a half after taking a volunteer job for 20 hours a week. After another month and a half the book was finished at around 83,000 words. After a month of doing my own cuts, rewrites and additions, then a few more editor-mandated revisions, my total word count came to 82,720.

4. Do you have any writing quirks and what are they?

The need/compulsion to write is the one with quirks, not me. If I’m sitting at a coffee shop with my computer in front of me and Microsoft Word’s blinking vertical line ready to be told what to do and inspiration hits, then everything goes well. But sometimes I’m driving down the freeway and absolutely must write down a sentence or a paragraph and I have no choice but to type it into my cell phone and text it to myself.

As for quirks in the writing itself, I often break the fourth wall. The word ‘hug’ and its variations make a lot of appearances in the novel.

5. If you can describe your novel in one word, what would it be and why?

Imaginative.

Because the protagonist is a very imaginative guy and it just happens that he can make his imagination come to life as soon as he applies it to the written word. You’ll get to read a few of his short stories that come to life, as well as spend most of the novel inside his fascinating mind. Sometimes I go back and reread some passages and feel amused and proud at what I was able to come up with.

6. How did you decide on the title and what does it mean?

I don’t want to give too much away, but the title of the book comes from the story that Alan, the protagonist, writes for his editor. Throughout the book, Alan wants to use his power to bring happiness to his friends’ lives. His editor, M, lover of literature, believes in that clich├ęd but true phrase, “There is nothing new under the sun.” So Alan, optimist and simplifier of all of life’s problems, writes M a story that’ll allow him to explore a place somewhere over the sun, where maybe he can fall in love with a whole bunch of new plots.

7. What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your novel?

Enjoyment. I want them to get at least one sentence’s worth of happiness; to giggle out loud in public at a passage, or smile stupidly to themselves without realizing that they’re doing it. And then tell everyone they know to go buy it. But mostly happiness.


8. Tell us a little about your road to publication.

I queried dozens of agents for a couple of months. Two of them requested my manuscript, and both of them passed because they felt it was not the right project for them, although they did have good things to say and assured me that the project would be right for someone else.

Unfortunately, time wasn’t on my side, and I could no longer sit around and wait for agents to respond. I am not a citizen of the U.S, and currently on what’s called an OPT visa which expires at the end of 2010. To ensure that my book would be published in time for me to try to get a new visa, I chose to go the self-publishing route. I’m thankful that the option exists. This way I can make some agents regret their decision to pass me up.


9. What advice can you give other aspiring authors out there?

Submerge yourself in your writing. Give yourself a chance to actually dedicate some time to writing. Get an idea and hole yourself up somewhere with a beach. Don’t tell any of your friends or family what the idea is. It’ll help you focus on what you want the book to be instead of what everyone else thinks it should be. It’s also quite fun to torture your loved ones with the secret of what the book is about. Definitely get an editor to give you notes while you’re writing so you have constant input; someone who isn’t afraid to dish out a compliment but who knows their stuff, literary-wise, and will give you constructive criticism in big, red angry letters.

Blogger Remarks:

I would like to take this time to thank Adi for granting my this interview. My readers do appreciate learning about up and coming authors. If you want to learn more about Adi, dear reader, please take the time to visit his website: http://www.somewhereoverthesun.com/ He is also on Twitter: twitter.com/AdiAlsaid

It’s a query life

I woke up a couple of days ago with a calendar note on my cell phone saying that I should send a query to a certain literary agency. I don’t remember when I’d saved the message on my phone, but it got me thinking. Did you know that even when I already have an agent the urge to send out queries hasn’t left my system? It’s like a phantom limb, you know that it’s not there anymore, but you still feel it attached to you sometimes. I actually thought about the query I would send for a second, then I remembered what I really needed to do: edit.



Anyway, querying is probably one of the scariest, if not the scariest, part of the writing process. Let’s say you already wrote your novel. It’s been proofread. You’ve edited it so many times your eyes are crossing. You’ve shown it to critique partners and beta readers. Then, you edited it some more. Now, you’re ready to query. Feel the nausea? I sure did. Every time I sent out a query, I thought I was going to hurl. It’s an out of body experience, really it is.



When I began taking my writing seriously, I started putting together my agent list. For every YA novel I bought, I would make sure to read the Acknowledgement section. Usually, the writers mention their agents on this page. Write down the names of the agents and make a list. Doing this gives you credible agents to send queries to because how credible can someone get when that someone is being acknowledged by the writer for his or her participation in getting the novel published, right? Also you can casually mention in your query letter that you’ve read the book of the author that particular agent represents. This counts as doing your research. And don’t be afraid to set your sights high. If you want Mr. or Ms. Number One Agent, then why not? You never know.



So, now, you have your list and your novel. Next, you need your pitch. It helps if you have a one sentence summary of your novel, a one paragraph summary, and a two to three paragraph summary. Each increasing in detail. Why do I say this? Because there are agents that only ask for one sentence. Some ask for a paragraph. While others give you more space, hence the two to three paragraphs. It’s best to stick to three paragraphs as a maximum. Why? Because it shows the agent that you know your story enough to fit the whole thing in three concise and well written paragraphs. Now, I’m not saying that this is set in stone. I have read about instances where the query of the author was the synopsis of the book itself. This does happen, but it does not mean that what worked for that author will also work for you. Safest thing to remember, read the requirements of the agency website. Follow their query format or instructions to the tee. It’s the content of your query that really matters, but it also shows the agent that you followed specifically their site’s instructions, meaning you’re not just recycling your query letters.



In the end, I believe that your query and your first chapter is the initial impression you’re making to a prospective agent. Make sure you spell check, grammar check, and re-check. Have someone else read it first, just in case. I once wrote a query to an uber agent and I accidentally used Mr. instead of Ms. I was devastated when I reread the query after hitting the send button. Miraculously, she asked for a partial. Weird. Anyway, next Monday, I plan to write about rejection and what it really is all about.

Superstitions Connected with Abracadabra



Abracadabra is a magical incantation that is now associated chiefly with stage conjurers and pantomime witches, but it has in fact a much longer history as a cabalistic charm. First mentioned in the writings of the Gnostic physician Quintus Serenus Scammonicus in the second century BC, abracadabra comprises the abbreviated forms of the Hebrew words Ab (father), Ben (son), and Ruach A Cadsch (Holy Spirit), though an alternative derivation relates the word to Abraxas, a god with snakes for feet who was worshiped in Alexandria in pre-Christian times.






The charm was said to have special powers against fevers, toothache, and other medical aliments as well as to provide protection against bad luck. Sufferers from such conditions were advised to wear metal amulets or pieces of parchment folded into a cross and inscribed with the word repeated several times, with the first and last letter removed each time until the last line reads just A. According to the thinking behind the charm, the evil force generating the illness would decrease as the word grew shorter. once the charm had proved effective (after a period of nine days), the wearer was instructed to remove the parchment cross and to throw it backwards into an eastwards-flowing stream before sunrise.






Such charms were, according to Daniel Defoe in his Journal of the Plague Year (1722), widely worn in London in the seventeenth century as protection against the plague. Simply saying the word out loud is also said to summon up strong supernatural forces, hence its use by contemporary stage performers and entertainers.



Blogger Interview: All the Days Of


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Blog Info:

My blog started out just being a normal personal blog with mish-mash posts about my loves and hates last year. It has developed with time and these days are mostly a book-blog with some personal posts thrown in. I have started doing some book reviews and are still trying to find my feet in that area. Although I am loving the learning process, it is still a little daunting. I have actually received my first books for review from publishers and are excited for this new challenge.

Blogger Info:

My name is Chrizette and we live in a lovely part of South Africa. In summer, we try to go camping at least twice a month (great opportunity for lots of reading) :) I have two beautiful Jack Russell doggies - the little sister is only six weeks old and I have not been sleeping! Recently I have re-discovered my love of reading and am currently obsessed by all kinds of romantic fiction especially paranormal and historical fiction. I am trying my hand at reviewing books and I love the learning process. I also love cross stitching and oil painting but I am not spending nearly enough time on it at the moment.



Interview:

How long have you been blogging?

It's been just over a year now - I started in May 2009.

Why did you decide to blog?

Originally I blogged because I felt that I was just floating around not doing much of anything in my spare time. I wanted to have a purpose for my idle moments. So I started off blogging about my interests - cross stitching and painting mostly. And when I re-discovered my love of reading, my blog slowly started turning into a book blog :) These days I am also trying my hand at book reviews. Loving it!

What books do you blog about and why?

I mostly blog about fiction. My favorites are historical and paranormal romances but as long as there is a little romance in there, I am happy with any genre. I am not too fond of YA but I do read it - in fact my last review was a Young Adult book which I absolutely loved.

What memes can be found on your blog?

I don't really do memes. The only one I do regularly is the BLOG HOP from Crazy for books. Love finding new book blogs.

What is your review style like?

I have a very informal way of writing. I like to think that I write as if I am chatting to a friend, telling her about a new book I have read. Off course I am still very new to reviewing and am trying to find a way forward - something that fits my personality. So I am sure my style will still develop further.

If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?

Eclectic - a little bit of everything.

What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

Just follow your heart and don't take criticism too seriously. As long as you are enjoying the journey, you are a success.

What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

I am not seriously doing any promotion at the moment. I only participate in the BLOG HOP.

If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

I don't only review popular authors on my blog, so I hope to introduce my readers to books they would not normally read. I am also a member of netGalley, so I occasionally review a book before the release date which I hope will give my readers another book to add to the TBR pile :)

What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

I hope that in the future my blog will become more and more streamlined and that my reviews will become better and better.

Blogger Remarks:

I met Chriz through Book Blogs. I'm glad that she gave me a chance to interview her, and now, she's doing her own Blogger Interview series on her own site. Thank you very much Chriz for giving us a chance to get to know you better. To visit Chriz's blog, you can click on her banner above.

Author Interview: C. John Coombes


CLAUS: A Christmas Incarnation, Volume One, The Child, is a 650 page work that includes some illustrations, poems, and songs, also by the author. The ebook is an affordable version of the original custom ordered hardcover book.

1854. Elizabeth Dennison, a now elderly woman, awaits the arrival of a long lost acquaintance. The meeting, initially dreaded as much as desired, fortunately rekindles an old friendship. It is in this reunion, a passing of memories and knowledge, that the guest requests specific details of Elizabeth's life.

So begins a story during the early 1800's, days after Elizabeth Dennison is removed from her home and sickly mother to be cared for by the wealthy Claussen Family. A favor for which, in return, she is to provide service as a maiden servant.

At a young age, Elizabeth faces a wary relationship with the Claussens and her new surroundings. Most of all, she is both frightened and mesmerized by Christopher Claussen, a powerful man and husband to Lady Rebecca. It is this relationship that ends up sweeping Elizabeth away from her home in Scandinavia to battle the perils of a voyage across an ocean, and a life on the American frontier.

Elizabeth comes to believe that Christopher holds sway not only over her life, but the world as a whole in something more than a natural way. He is god-like in her eyes and becomes very much the focus of her fragile childhood years.

Volume one is a fulfilling read unto itself without the need for further reading. It is a saga rich with ambiance, details of the era, and characters that are as real as life. If you desire to be swept away with Elizabeth on a journey through time and emotion then you will not regret this story.

Author Info:

Born in San Francisco, California, raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Father was a commercial artist and provided the environment for artistic expression at a very early age. Attended Kendall School of Design and entered into the Army during the Viet Nam War as an illustrator. Left the commercial art field to pursue other opportunities.

Married with two daughters. Currently semi-retired. Replaced art with writing for pleasure. No famous or wealthy relatives. Typical kid grown to become happy husband and father. Average American Joe in every respect other than creative obsessions.

Interview:

When did you decide to start writing?

I don’t think it is so much a question of when as why. My father was a commercial artist and art was the environment I was born into. In the sixth grade my parents and I were required to attend a meeting with the principal and teacher of my school to discuss my refusal to tell the truth about three illustrations I supposedly could not possibly have drawn. My father felt pretty proud knowing he had seen me draw the pieces. I bring this up because creative people are driven to produce and the venue may be writing or art, or sewing a dress, making a soup. I expressed myself in art while writing was something on the outskirt of my awareness.

I starting writing poetry (I use that term loosely) in my later teens when I began to have more emotional contemplations. I remember working a summer job in close proximity of a girl a few years older than me in the art department of a major corporation while I attended design school. I had a crush on her and in conversation discovered she wrote poetry. She was pleased to hear that I did as well, and suggested we swap some of our pieces. Kinda of a “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.”

Well, when she showed me hers, I was horrified. I had never seen such incredible use of the language. The worst part was that I already gave her my piece of crap and there was no getting it back. I suffered over that humiliation to such an extent that I never wrote another line seen by a mortal for twenty years. Until one soulful day.

I had a friend at work who was involved in a tragic accident. He was driving with three of his children when struck broadside by another car. His son died in his arms while he stood at the side of the road. His daughter was in a coma and died shortly thereafter. The tragedy kept him out of work for a year, and in counseling, as he struggled to make sense of God and life. It cost him his marriage.

Then came the day I heard he was returning to work. I considered how I would have to face this man and express my sorrow knowing full well that the words “I’m sorry” just don’t cut it when a father’s son dies in his arms and his entire world has since collapsed. I suspect it was the emotion welling up inside that set me to sitting down and putting my thoughts onto paper.

I wrote a poem titled ‘Souls of Innocence” and I gave it to him framed. It still hangs in his hallway where it has been for many, many years. That poem has gone out to a number of grieving parents. Just a few weeks ago a couple who were visiting me asked if they might have a copy to present to friends who had also lost a child.

Something about writing that poem opened a floodgate of pent up creativity. It made little difference to me if the stuff was good or not as long as it relieved my creative pressure. I also quickly discovered that working with art was difficult with children underfoot due to the mess and especially the distraction. Writing on the other hand, was as simple as flipping a switch, creating a world, flipping it again to shut the door on that world until the following day. When I returned, the characters were all still there waiting for me. Nobody had suddenly dried out. It was clear to me that I could paint with words far more efficiently than I could with pigment. In fact, I can’t think of anything more efficient for creative release except for maybe singing.

So, it wasn’t so much of when as why.

What is your genre and why did you decide to write a novel in it?

I don’t have a genre. I have a mind that does not easily shut down. This tends to make me a light sleeper and a prolific dreamer. My dreams have always been extremely detailed. I think nothing of seeing the bricks in a wall. I have cities that I return to and drive streets I know only in my dreams. There are certain high rise hotels that I repeatedly go to. It was just such a dream that presented a vision about Christmas that stayed with me for a long time. For each of three Christmas dinners, I attempted to convey this dream to a family that looked at me like I was just plain nuts.

I understood that you “just had to be there”. I gave up on describing the vision, but decided to put it on paper to save me from forgetting it. I decided to put it into the form of a very short, forty-page something, for my daughters.

I clearly remember sitting down at the keyboard and saying aloud. “All right, where to begin. Mmmm, I’m thinkin’ snow. Mmmm, Sweden. Yes! All right, I need a time. I think maybe like early 1800’s, Copperfield kind of a thing. Okay, Sweden, 1830.” I stared at the blank monitor and said the most profound blurt ever. “What the F**K do I know about Sweden in the early 1800’s.”

I reached for some of my reference books. It is now many years later, I am at about 2100 pages and still reaching for reference books.

Were you worried about the word count of your work?

Not at all. I am free of that curse because I never wrote with the idea of selling my work. I never even considered it. I write for creative release or else I get very, very irritable. Besides once I passed about two hundred pages, I penned my own demise.

Do you have any writing quirks and what are they?

Only the same quirks I live with day to day. My friends say I am anal--a perfectionist. I don’t see it, but I do believe in doing something once and doing it well. So I get very concerned about being reasonably accurate in my descriptions. A good example of this would be when I made my first editing pass on volume one. Much of that book takes place on a large three-masted sailing ship. I studied all the terms in a two hundred plus nautical dictionary to make sure I did my best to describe everything on that ship best I could. Some people will call that anal. I would call it close.

If you can describe your novel in one word, what would it be and why?

Rich. Because although many readers like lots of dialogue to keep a story moving forward, I believe dialogue without description is like a house that’s not a home. I love description but am very sensitive about when to ease up. At times I push it to the limit, but I am allowed to go to the limit. Dialogue delivers emotion but not ambiance.

How did you decide on the title and what does it mean?

Well…it’s a Christmas story. The connection is very subtle.

What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your novel?

Total believable immersion into a world that is so real they can talk to me about the characters as if they all had just suppered. Most of my readers have read the books more than once. I can’t think of higher praise. They might read the first time to get something back for their money, but the second and third are truly for love of it.

Tell us a little about your road to publication.

First of all, publication was never a consideration. I started out writing the novel for my daughters. It was only after I had developed the first volume that things changed. I used to slip in a marina where I would walk down the dock ten times a day and see the gal reading at every pass. Finally, I stopped one day and asked her if she would mind critiquing a manuscript that I had written. I told her that I was in no way a writer, that I had never been trained to write, couldn’t remember if I had passed English in high school or not. It would be obvious, but this was about the story and not about the grammar. I told her I had been trained to take crushing critiques and that she would have to be brutal. I asked if she would keep in touch while she read and especially right afterward before the feeling slipped away. She was very willing to do the reading, not so much to blister me.

She finished the book but I never heard from her. I thought the worse. I ran into her husband and he said Nancy didn’t get back to you because she was crying so hard she needed a couple of days to recoup. I just stared at him. Nancy came looking for me the next day and said, “I don’t care what it cost, I want a copy of that book. I want a copy of that book.”

I said fine, I would photocopy it for her. Little did I realize the price to photocopy was over two hundred dollars. For that price I could make a custom book, which I did. What I didn’t anticipate was thirty or forty other people wanting their own numbered and signed book. So I ended up making something like fifty individual books, numbered and signed, with the names of the presentor and presentee printed as Christmas books of old. They were each done individually and at that time cost about sixty-five dollars each.

I couldn’t sell an ebook if my life depended on it, but I have had a hundred people beg me to print up another limited number of the hardcovers knowing full well that those books will cost them a hundred bucks each.

Between my understanding that publishers will never touch me as an unknown with such a long novel, and having so many people asking for a means of reading the story, I turned to ebooks. My problem there was the way my writing came to a stop in the third volume. This was due to the time it took me to learn applications for page layout, computer illustration, PDF formatting, HTML conversions, website development, just to name a fraction of support activities that I undertook in order to make the work public. I enjoyed learning all of it, but it cost me dearly in terms of actual writing.

What advice can you give other aspiring authors out there?

Because of my situation, what I have to say is irrelevant. But what I say is simple. I say only one thing, and one thing only, over and over…….write for the pleasure of writing. To write for expectation only ends in certain death by heartbreak and frustration.

I often say that Madonna could break a pencil on a piece of paper and get a hundred bucks for it. I could paint a portrait worth a thousand and be lucky to trade it for Madonna’s broken pencil.

Blogger Remarks:

I would like to take this time to thank CJ for giving me the chance to interview him. It's been a pleasure. And dear reader, you can visit CJ's site here to learn more about this enigmatic author.
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