Monday, November 28, 2011
A post for the sake of changing up the post . .
Not that I don't have topics to post on; or promises to keep with reviews . .
But my computer is acting up since I lost my internet - didn't return 100% after I replaced the modem - and typing any form of text document has become a real chore. This resizing problem every time a document auto-saves is worse than frustrating. And you notice how I'm consciously monitoring my language to keep it a nice moderate PG.
Well; don't let this attempt at a post fool ya into thinking my problems are over. In these few lines I've had to tell blogger 3 times I don't want to leave this page, and fought the resizing from 100%, to 180% , all the way down to 20%. Yep, my word processor and e-mail have been bitten by the same issue.
Nope - its not a virus. Just something seriously freaky error that makes it difficult to make any form of text document.
I'm working on things; slowly. (hehehe I've been at 80% document size for the last couple paragraphs. Does that meand I'm typing fast enough for it not to auto save?) Everything is slower in Orland . .
I'm sorry if you're missing my comments; I can lurk as long as I don't try to comment, and can read e-mails as long as I don't try to reply. I work on word documents until I'm ready to toss the NetBook out the nearest closed window.
I'll be posting my reviews and blogfest excerpts as "fast" as I can.
Please forgive me as I harness technology. Move along; nothing to see here yet . .
(as the text box grows to 125 and immediately shifts until it settles on 40)
Got any fix ideas you care to share in comments?
Monday, November 28, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
We’ve all heard it right? The family member(s) that say “Oh yeah; I loved your story" when they finish the first or tenth rough draft.
And the author US says, with a bright expectant smile; “Yeah? What did you like?”
And author US asks for a more specific review. “Anything stand out in your mind? I mean, like, what exactly did you like?”
“Oh, everything. I liked that you wrote it. You’ve been at it for how many years? And gosh, your efforts have paid off. Really great novel. So, when do you start collecting royalties?”
And author US wants to ask “Do you know who the main character is?” But the ego says, “Let it go Dude; walk away.”
I don’t know about you, but that answer sucks for me. I don’t want my friends and loved ones to like it cuz I wrote it. I want them to like it cuz it’s fucking good. Or, to dislike it cuz it sucks.
Well; my sister called the other day, just to say she got the book An Honest Lie, Vol 3 in the mail.
“OK,” I say. “I got mine on Tuesday.”
“I think I got mine on Wednesday,” she says. “Why didn’t you call to say you got it?”
And I’m thinking, why?
Then she says, “I read your story. I like it.”
"Thanks,” I reply. “Did you read any others?”
“Oh yes. I read Mike From The Mail Room too. Really good story. Hey, your’s was as good as that one.” She says that last like she's surprised I measure up . .
“Yeah,” she answers.
By now I’m totally excited, even though its my sister telling me my story is good. When I told her the publication was out, she went right over and bought the book, even though I told her I'd send her a copy of the anthology for free. I haven’t sent her any of my unpublished writings in several years. I didn't ever want to hear that "I liked it cuz you wrote it" phrase again.
“So, did you read any others besides mine and Mailroom Mike,” I ask again.
“No; but I’m gonna read The Santa Fix next. I like the sound of that one, and its almost Christmas ya know.”
“Yep. Actually, that’s next on my list too. I also read my friends’ stories, (Stephanie M Loree) Skin Script and (Eric W. Trant) Melvin Gee’s Short Trip To Hell -”
“OK,” she interrupted. “I’ll read those when I get around to it. I’ll read the whole book, but I’m reading in the order the stories interest me, not the order they are indexed. ”
“Good, that’s how you should read an anthology.”
“But I read your’s first and I thought it was really good. So I knew the other authors would be interesting. That other one was really good too. I liked him, I’d read more of his stories. And I glanced at the titles, and first few sentences whhile thumbing through to find your story, and I think these are excellent writers. Hey, I went to the online links in the book. Did you know Vol 1 had 4000 submissions, and vol 2 had 5000?”
“Yeah, I read that too,” I said. I’m blown away she looked it up.
“Well, I think that’s great that you got in when so many author’s submitted and they only accepted 10 new authors.”
“I don’t know how many submitted to this anthology,” I acknowledge.
“Still, I think you’re awesome. We always knew you were a good writer.”
“Thanks,” I say. My heart is brimming. My sister loves my writing; and has something to compare it to that she likes also.
"By the way; what's with the cover? It's disturbing and compelling both."
"I know huh."
(I didn't have an answer for my sister - or any others that have asked - at the time of this conversation, but did query the publisher Debrin Case, "one of those enigmas, who runs between the fine line of genius and crazy at the same time." Mr. Case consented for me to publish this comment: "The artist will be explaining some of the cover in her upcoming interview, however there is a major part of the whole "An Honest Lie" format that involves personal interpretation and involvement and I am very happy to see what sorts of questions are generated by the cover and themes. As such I never give a definitive answer about such matter but feel free to make up whatever interpretation you desire.")
“Well, I gotta go,” she says. She never talks long; and that’s ok with me because I don’t hear well on a phone and she knows this.
“Uhm, before you hang up; did you like the ending of Scent?” I'm worried about this, b/c it wasn’t what I had originally written. The SrEditor and I had a long discussion regarding this revised ending.
“Yeah. I knew its was *spoiler*. Was I supposed to figure it out before he did?”
“Yep. I left a couple set up clues early in the story." I’m laughing and crying a bit.
“It fit where I thought it should go.”
“Cool. And did you get *spoiler*?”
“Oh totally. When you said it was a Werewolf story, I didn’t expect that. But I got it. I liked it.”
Forgive me for being a bit sappy, but my sister liked my story; and she thought the anthology was full of good authors. Her only complaint was that it is soft copy and not hard back.
But you know, this conversation got me thinking. I wonder if maybe our "friends and family" members aren't just as worried about their feelings as readers regarding our writings as we, as authors, are. I mean; do they worry they like the story only because we wrote it and they will be the only one's who think it is good? Do they feel vindicated in their opinion of our writing once a complete stranger has also publically declared their positive feedback?
Purely rhetorical questions; as I'm too self conscious to ask my own supportive systems for answers . .
But as far as first reviews go, I'm glad my sister was the first in my day life circles to like not only my short story Scent, but the also the anthology itself.
Here is an official excerpt from the publishing site - in case you were tempted to purchase your own soft copy. Or you could wait until early 2012 when the Kindle edition is available . .
Near the gates, he undressed and shifted, and was about ready to seek an entrance when he heard the clump of goat hooves. It sounded muffled, slightly odd, but Reggie decided the cement was distorting the sound. It felt good to be stalking hoofed prey, and Reggie took his time following the clumping sounds. Once he located the stomach rumbling noise, he tracked it from behind a hedge. When he could stand the sounds no longer, he leaped over the greenery, fangs and claws extended for a quick slash across where the neck should be.
What he landed on was a young girl wearing pink platforms and a matching pink skirt. Reggie was as startled as the girl, and tried to stop his attack mid-leap. He managed to close his jaws as his face connected with her chest, but the swipe of his paw left a deep bloody slash from shoulder to hip.
She screamed and kicked her heals against the ground, and the semblance of dying prey hit Reggie’s wolf senses with renewed strength. An efficient bite to her neck stopped her screams. Reggie sat back on his haunches for a moment, licking her blood from his lips and wondering what he should do now.
Scent, Donna Hole, Open Heart Publishing; Copyright 2011
**P.S: I was absent a week due to my modem dying (the funeral involved my 13 year old Bug looking for a hammer to bash out his frustrations on the object of his defunct desires). I'm still having some internet/blogger problems; apparently a NetBook doesn't like being detached from the internet any more than I did. So please excuse me while still try to accomplish a comment here and there . .
Why yes, I did steal this from Roland Yoemans. His post on queries and mine on family feedback seem to go together - and I love the song. Thanks Roland (he knows I always expect a moving song when I visit his blog). And I'll be showcasing his next week; so please do stop by again . .
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Uhm, I'm not sure the date cuz I haven't been to my day job in a few days - sta-cation, ya know. But its Saturday when I'm finally posting, and I had meant to write and post this on Friday, as I should have had the time . .
But its also my payday; a shopping day for groceries and other household items. And bills. So frustrating; most my bills are paid on-line, and I'm having internet problems. And the bill sites also seem to be having system outages as they are all down just now. Yeah; go paperless . .
Anyway; I'm late to this (by my own timetable) b/c I went shopping, and there was the latest DVD releases of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2; and Pirates of the Carribean, On Stranger Tides. So, I bought them; and spent a lot of family time this evening watching TV. With no computer attachments.
Yeah; my Bug looked at me strangely all evening.
So, back to Three Word Wednesday (3WW). This is a writing prompt of three randomly chosen words that post on Wednesday (about 12:01a). No hard and fast rules to post on Wednesday, you have a week to come up with a flash fiction/Haiku/poem/etc that uses the words. You post your exact link to the 3WW writing, then blog hop the other persons on the link.
Since the ending of both the Romantic Friday Writers and Rule of Three events; I've been at a writing loss to create something new at least once a week. 3WW has been a writing staple for me for some time, so I'm happy to get back into it.
Below is my rendition for this weeks prompts: impetus, solace, vindication. Vindication was actually the hard word for me this week. This is an original writing for this prompt; and open to any and all critique/feedback. Keep in mind it is unlikely to be developed past this flash fiction excerpt.
Sasha sat on the uncomfortably small toilet with her shopping bags cluttering the cramped space between her feet. Her large, canvas purse was in the middle of the disarray, right where she could keep her eye on it as she chatted on her cell phone and kept an eye on her watch.
“God, not that again Mom. Will you ever give up.”
Sasha adjusted the oversized bra and girdle that contained the bulk beneath the polyester running suit. It was hot and itchy; more confining than the retro pink hightops that weighted her feet.
“I know; its been ages. Its time for me to move on. Whatever I’m doing isn’t working.”
The last few restroom patrons had left a good three minutes ago, and while Sasha was pretty sure she was alone, there was no way to see outside the stall without opening the door. Or peeking under the gray partition.
“Ok, see you soon.”
She folded the phone, leaned forward, and was about to drop it in the purse when a face peeked under the stall.
“Shit,” she exclaimed, frozen for an instant as she took in every detail of the face and shoulders she could see.
A bright yellow Steelers sweatshirt; complete with a hood that covered a head with brown curls peeping out the top and sides; chocolate brown, round eyes with lashes a Cover Girl model might envy; light dash of freckles on a small, upturned nose; a wide mouth with thin, unpainted , curvy lips. Caucasian. Young; maybe 15. Boy? Girl? Impossible to tell.
The face disappeared with a high-pitched giggle; the purse disappeared with barely a nudge of crinkling paper.
Sasha launched herself off the toilet seat with the impetus of a slow burning missile shedding it entrapments as it launched out of the hanger. She had carefully arranged the six packages so there was an uninhibited path once the purse was snatched; but hadn’t counted on the bulky padding to catch on the paper holder, or the door bolt not to instantly slide under her fumbling fingers.
“Shit,” she screamed again, finally releasing the stall lock.
That high pitched giggle echoed as the heavy door to the public bathroom swooshed closed.
“Not this time Sucker,” Sasha vowed as she yanked it open and dashed through; knocking over a well dressed Mom and her twins.
She caught a glimpse of the suspect’s yellow shoulder rounding the corner, heading into the main mall. Gripping the cell phone tightly in her left hand, Sasha sprinted for the entrance, grateful she’d talked her Lieutenant into the high tops instead of the platforms he thought made her an authentic mark.
She ran, the padding shifting and bouncing around her slender body. Sasha was a college triathlon winner; a bit of fluff wasn’t about to stop her from performing her duty.
In the main mall she hollered “Police, outtta my way. Duck. Move. Police,” as she ran as fast as the crowds would allow. She didn’t stop to apologize to those she accidentally knocked over, leaped over, or purposefully shoved aside. She had a bead on the yellow and wasn’t deviating her course for nothing.
Then the young perp stopped as a wave of pedestrians converged at the Hickory Farms concession.
“No you don’t,” Sasha mumbled, opening the phone as she tugged and pulled off the disguise padding. The suspect also made a slow show of stripping off the bright yellow, too obvious sweatshirt.
Sasha pressed the speed dial key that rang to the surveillance team. “At the Hickory Farms concession; in front of Sears. Caucacian, maybe 15, curly brown hair. Dark blue shirt, baggy jeans and . .”
“You’re kidding?” Came the response. “You just described every kid in the mall.”
Sasha panted as she answered. “Heading towards Khols; not many people here. Come on, chase me.”
She ran, keeping the curly head in sight as it dashed up the less crowded corridor. Not that it was empty at three in the afternoon on a Saturday. She heard snatches of Hmong, Spanish, Hindu and Arabic. She dodged strollers, lovers, and gawkers and at an unexpected junction, she lost sight of her kid with her purse.
“Over here,” she heard in English just as she came to a panting stop.
A door to her left was swinging shut. She gawked in a 360 circle; and seeing no one who could be attached to the voice, she followed it anyways into the dark recesses of the mall offices. By now her muscles were starting to ache, and her breath came in jagged gasps. She crashed through a double set of doors, and saw her quarry standing amongst five other similarly dressed youths.
“Vindication,” she panted, coming to a limping stop in front of the gangsters.
She tucked the cell in her sports bra and pulled her revolver from the utility belt on her waist.
“Cut!” Shouted the director.
Celia Nunez, aka Det. Third Grade Sasha Moore on the TV drama Outcasts, sagged to her knees, the rubber gun bouncing a few feet away as a multitude of feet clattered forward. Someone patted sweat from her face, another pushed a bottle of water at her. Whoops and shouts sounded from the gang of youths.
“You’re limping,” Ted, the director, said just behind her ear.
“Yeah, well, it’s what, the 49th take on the same run? Give me a break.”
He kissed her cheek, then stood up and addressed the crew. “That’s a wrap. We start again at 5am tomorrow.”
“Was it OK this time,” she asked as he helped her to her feet.
“Well, your gun was supposed to be out already before you entered.”
Sasha ducked her chin and mumbled a curse.
“Forget it; there are other takes I can edit in.”
"Oh baby, not tonight," she pleaded. It was already after 9pm, and he'd left at 4am that morning for set up. "No, one more take; I can get it right,” she started.
He waived off her offer and pushed her towards a waiting assistant. “See that Ms. Celia gets home to a bubble bath," he ordered the prim, nervous looking girl.
Another new aid to get used to, Celia thought as the girl led her to the solace of a waiting limo.
* * *
What ya think? Really?
Oh, and yes; I was in a public bathroom with a kid peeking under the door when I came up with this idea. Like, a two year old, not a gangsta punk . .
And don't forget - if you haven't already - to vote for Round 2's WRiTE Club contestants. Enter your comment at DL's site to vote.
Have a great weekend y'all.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Today is Davin Malasarn’s birthday; so it seems the perfect day to write the review for his short story collection The Wild Grass. This is Domey’s first published anthology; I don’t think he’s put ALL his short stories into this one, so I’m hoping there will be another anthology soon.
You can visit Davin at his website, (where you can read more reviews and excerpts) or at The Literary Lab.
The most appealing aspect to these stories is the strong voice. Or should I say perspective. The first person POV was so clear and vivid in Sacred Bodies and Shattered that I was sure these had to be personal stories that the athor was sharing. However, the voice is as strong in Obaachan (a female Japanese-American), Waiting For My Dogs To Die (an older, married American man), Moon Boys (a fourteen year old boy), and A Boy In The Sky (age three or four). Even the two 2nd person writings pulled me in, as if I wasn't just peeking into the character's head, but actually living inside their skin. And the 3rd person POV stories were so close they may as well be written in 1st. This just shows how vivid, how realistic the author voice is.
All the stories were about life; sometimes its unfair, sometimes it passes you by, sometimes its so tragic you ache with jealousy and longing. Even the couple stories that had endings that could be considered "complete" left room for reader interpretation on the specific meaning. My favorite, Red Man, Blue Man has such an interpretive ending. I like short stories that show a moment, or an emotional theme, as a glimpse in the character's life without drawing any conclusions about the events. These story make me think about life in general, leaving me to contemplate what the true meaning could be for me.
Because of the contemplation factor, I did not read the collection in one sitting. Some of the stories were so moving I did not want to go directly into another setting, another character. I needed time to mull over the story, let its implications wash through my soul.
I have read this anthology a few times over the last couple months. I'll be sitting around, thinking of nothing (or maybe what's for dinner) and a line from one of the stories will flash through my thoughts; or perhaps I'll be out somewhere and see someone or smell something that reminds me of one of the stories/characters, and before I know it, I'm picking up the Kindle and browsing through to find the one that keeps tickling my brain. And of course, I can't read just one, now that I've finished all 17 . .
Yep, definitely an anthology to be read with a glass of wine and lots of time for contemplation.
I would give this collection more than 5 stars, but that option isn't available yet.
Click on the purchasing link to get your copy in either print or e-book.
About the author:
Variations On A Theme, the third short story anthology published by The Literary Lab.
Monday, November 14, 2011
David Black of Dave Wrote This is hosting the I Love the Noughties blogfest.
For those of you who haven't met Dave, he is hails from London, United Kingdom and has an impressive profile: David Black is an actor, writer and one quarter of Mr Carruthers Presents. His Acting CV is here and he is represented by Nelson Browne Management. He has also written for Behind The Bike Shed, TWK and has a couple of interesting writing projects on the horizon..." An interesting blogger worth visiting, whether or not you sign up for the blogfest.
Wow, I didn't realize how many wonderful movies, music and books came out in each of these years, so picking only one for each year was impossible. And long . . I didn't realize how involved this blogfest would be, but since I signed up and I hate to cop out entirely, I decided to do more of a summary of the decade and things I liked. Sorry Dave . .
BOOKS: I read a lot of Stephen King from 2000 to 2004 as he was finishing up the long awaited Dark Tower series. I was happy to see him producing other works too as it seemed the accident that nearly took his life also robbed him of his creative outlet. The world would be a lesser place without his unique voice.
My two favorite Terry's (Terry Brooks and Terry Goodkind) were also entertaining me with new releases in my favorite series': The Shannara line, and a new one starting with Running With The Demon for Brooks; and The Sword of Truth series by Goodkind. Then was this new author JK Rowling and her MG/YA Harry Potter series. I started reading HP just to see what all the fuss was about in the news, and managed to finish the first two novels just as the third was hitting bookstores. The other YA I liked - although its not exactly YA, was Christopher Poulini's Herritage series: Eragon, Eldest and Brisinger. I hear rumors there is supposed to be a fourth . . .
MUSIC: My love for country music started somewhere about 1995 as country music was getting a bit more rock into its beat - and I discovered line dancing. But as the new millenium rolled over, and my kids were discovering their own style of music - decidely not country - I had to start listening to what they liked. At first, it was more to know WHAT they were listening to; but I started liking a lot of their favorites too. Who knew I could ever like Insane Clowne Posse (ICP), Eminem, System of a Down, Rob Zombie. Weird stuff.
I also rediscovered my love for heavy metal through some newer groups: God Smack, Linkin Park, Nickelback, Slayer, Sublime. Lucky me, they also like the same oldies I do: AC/DC, Guns' N Roses, Ozzy, Metallica . .
MOVIES: Can't have a list of movie events without topping it with Lord Of The Rings, The Matrix, The X-men, Spiderman,Transformers, Star Wars, and of course, the ongoing Harry Potter saga (which leaves entirely too much of the storyline out, in my opinion). Beyond those awesome, long awaited series events, the list of movies that blew me away awesome story lines, acting, special effects, etc; would go on for several pages.
But I'll leave you with just one video. I loved all the songs in the movie so much I bought the soundtrack, and it is still one of my favorite CD's to write to.
Others participating in this blogfest listed below:
Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut,
All you have to do is purchase the book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and then email the receipt to:
She will then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost!
If you are not familiar with
veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page, yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Ok, so I'm reading through this novel, adding my critique comments; but my mind isn't totally on the story. Why?
Well; I've surfed the blogs here and there on day job and crit breaks and seen what's out there - even if I haven't commented. (BTW; I did finally vote for the Ren3 finalist, but I'm unhappy I had to chose only one. I'd buy all six novels if I saw them in a bookstore . .)
There are several events I want to participate in - yes all in my community events or listed in my right side bar. But I'm behind in my critiquing b/c I joined too many events in October, had my own publishing excitement, had to write a submission for my ftf crit group, checked out loads of blogs and several blog tours . . and now I'm giving a lot of heavy thought to just chucking it all and reading some books.
I got tons of those sitting around in the Kindle or physical bookshelves waiting to be read . .
So; back to the crit . . I'm reading along and the scene involves *** and I'm intrigued and engaged enough not to add any red or blue comments. But the segment sticks in my mind, apparently; because not long after I read ### which is totally unrelated. Except to my muse . .
So I open a blank works document and work on ### which eventually brings me to $$$ and that sorta ties into *** . . Well, that sucks, because its over word count for the WRiTE Club excerpt thats been on my mind for a couple weeks. OH, wait; is that where this is going? How did I get there from the ms I've been reading for over a month?
"But, don't you like ***" Muse asks.
Nevermind; the problem now is I have this shiny new idea that has nothing to do with anything I've been working on lately but looks sort of . . . Damn.
Tell me you've never encountered the problem?
You're working on this one thing, and some rude *#$ just pushes everything else aside in your WRiTE brain; and next thing you know you've started a new project. And haven't a clue where its going, or where it came from, but if you don't drop everything and write it out as it comes to you in bits and pieces you're sure you'll lose it forever.
Except . . you'll see the full blown idea on the NY best sellers list under some other author's name; one that had the time to develop that shiny new *#$ when it breezed your way for 30 seconds and all you did was write down the bare basics that looked like "Once upone a time . ." and then you went back to whatever it was you were working on at the time . .
Tally ho writer friends; how many works in progress do you have that are from one sentence to 1000 words or less?
Adult content in the below video - cuz I just needed this while I'm submitting to contests and short story publications and reading for others . .
Seriously tame for ICP - if you've ever listenend to their stuff . .
Monday, November 7, 2011
For those of you who visited me through October, you will know I participated in the month long writing extravaganza called the Rule of Three blogfest - which is also a contest. There were about 65 participants, with four co-host/judges.
The judges have compiled a short list of six finalists who they felt captured the essence of the shared world Renaissance. I didn't make the short list (or the long list); so I won't waste your valuable time posting my entries. I loved the shared world challenge, and honestly forgot the event was a contest with prizes. I didn't envy the judges (Damyanti Biswas, JC Martin, Stuart Nager, Lisa Vooght) the task of choosing just a few excellent writings for the long list; and then to have to whittle it down further to just six.
However, for the final judging, they have cordially invited the blogger community to visit each of the six finalists and then to return to the Renaissance blog site to cast a vote for the best written short story. The hosts do request that you cast your vote for the best written story, not just for your favorite blogger/author.
Even if you haven't heard of the Rule of Three blogfest/contest, please consider this your invitation to assist four weary judges, and every other participant in the event, in coming to a decision on the winner of the Ren3 extravaganza. Cast your vote by Friday, November 11; prize winners to be announced Monday, Nov 14.
And if you like what you see of the current writings, and regret that you could not participate yourself this year, check out the May 2012 Renaissance revisited post and add your name to the list of potential writers. It is not a locked in lindy list, just a tentative interest comment.
Thanks in advance to everyone who shows their support by voting.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Wow, another month has come and gone, and its time again for the Insecure Writers Support Group. My inspiration this month came from an unexpected source; an offline critique partner who asked me a bunch of questions about the benefits I've received from a writing blog. Ahem; I went on for hours . .
But honestly, the answers to his questions may have done me more good than my friend; so many thanks go out to him for allowing me this opportunity to post portions of our conversation. This inspirational guru shall henceforth be known as Prospective Blogger (PB) and I, of course, shall be ME . .
PB: How did you get started blogging? Why did you start?
ME: I got started by frequenting an agent blog (Nathan Bransford), at our face-to-face group leader's recommendation. I lurked (meaning read but didn't comment, even as annonymous) for a few months. I enjoyed the blog topics, but what really hooked me into it was the other bloggers/commenters that frequented the site. Its was quite a social gathering. After clicking on quite a few of my favorite commenter's links, and reading their blogs, I got tired of signing my name after each Annonymous comment I made, and got a lot of help from the people there in creating my own blog (thank you again Anne R Allen).
PB: Does it (blogging) scare you?
ME: Yes; big time. First, because I'm really not all that social - I can be crass and unacceptable, and I don't like offending people. Blogging is like standing in a crowded room and trying to have a conversation with everyone at once. In person, you can see the faces of the people "listening" to you. In bloggerland you cannot. You never know who is reading your content. But my rule is I never say anything that I'd be ashamed to have broadcast on live TV.
Secondly, EVERYTHING you put on your blog is considered published material. So you want to be careful how much of your WiP you publish. IT COULD BE STOLEN, or you may not be able to get a project published in the commercial market b/c it has been "electronically" published. Those scenarios are rarely a problem, however. There are very few - if any - original story ideas out there and someone else's version of Your concept won't look exactly like your's. I've heard rumors that if an agent/small publisher likes your query/partial, they may visit your blog/web site looking for writing samples; but also to get a feel for you as a person.
I've been blogging a couple years now, and I still get nervous about some of my posts, especially if I have an unpopular opinion on a current topic. Most bloggers are courteous, and encourage differing opinions; and there have been times when others have thanked me for stating their own opinions that they were too scared to post on their own. So I do still get scared, but taking a risk is good for me.
PB: Do you feel pressure to keep adding fresh content?
ME: Yeah I do; but that's on me, not the community. The more followers I gain, the more I want to please them with something fresh and new. And, I hate seeing the same post on my blog for too many days at a time. I rarely have more than two posts a week though. Some people update their posts every day, other's only a couple times a month (or less).
I'm not just keeping the content fresh for other bloggers though; I'm ensuring that if an agent/publisher that I've queried stops by, they see I'm actively involved in networking - self promoting. And I think a stagnant blog hurts sales on published works; especially self-published. I keep in mind that all those bloggers are also potential readers/buyers for my publications and if I disappear for long lengths of time; they will forget me. Blogging is first and foremost a social media, but it is also an essential marketing tool.
UPDATED: Since I wrote the above response, I've seen several posts regarding the purpose of a blog; and yeah, some differ from my opinion of garnering prospective readers and the hope that a queried agent/publisher might see what kind of writer/person I am. These bloggers have valid points to consider, and I encourage you to visit:
- Ann R Allen hosts editor Ruth Harris with a Reality Check on the published author;
- Bryan Russell aka Ink (Alchemy of Writing) expresses the reasonable and unreasonable expectations of blogging
- VR Bartowski part one and part two
- Adam Hein's signal-to-noise post - just so you twitter folks don't feel left out
PB: Does it put you in contact with new people interested in writing? Published authors? Editors?
ME: Definitely; all of the above. It really is true that non-writers do not fully understand writers. Blogging has given me a place/people to talk to about my frustrations and triumphs in my writing in general. People at work shake their head at me (and at home too) when I talk about a character/scene I'm trying to get just perfect. "You talk about your made up characters like they are real people," THEY say. To me, those characters and their plots are real.
Who else but another writer can understand the difficulties of writing a scene or POV when the character stubbornly refuses to allow the story to go off in that direction? Who else but another writer understands that sometimes you have to have a sit down conversation with your character as if you were talking to a rebellious child? The cool thing about interracting with other writers is they have also had similar issues, and you can compare notes/tips/or just plain rant your heart out. On your Blog :) And nobody will think you crazy . .
I've met a lot of published authors - both inde and agented - and being able to read about their writing/publishing journey gives me incentive to keep writing because I know it does happen to everyday people like myself. People I feel I know better than those I interact with on a daily basis in my off-line life. Sometimes it takes years to get published, sometimes the story is picked up right away. And there are a lot of accessible agents/editors/publishers who maintain a blog. They give good advice and resources about writing in general, and about the publishing industry.
Following an agent/publisher blog does not guarantee you will be represented by them; but you get to know how agents think, and what they are looking for. I've followed some for a while before I either queried (reading their blogs helps with that little bit of personalization) or decided they were not the agent for me. Blogging with these highly sought after individuals takes some of the scaryness out of querying them.
PB: Does it serve to motivate or inspire your writing life?
ME: I only had the one story concept. Once I wrote my women's fiction trilogy (and been rejected by three prestigeous publishing houses), I was at a loss as to what to write next. It was like I had the one story to tell, and once it was written, I was done being a writer. Joining the blogfests has inspired several shiny new ideas. Some of those flash fiction diddies have inspired complete short story or novel ideas. The Cyborg fairy tale and the Eros and Chris story are both the products of blogfests. The blogs have also inspired me to attempt writing in different genre's. I never would have attempted a twisted fairy tale, or a fantasy/sci-fi concept without the encouragement of other bloggers or the shared story ideas. I don't believe I'd still be writing if I hadn't become involved in blogging. I certainly would have given up on revising/querying the trilogy a couple years ago.
PB: Has it helped you become the published author that you now are? If so, in what ways?
ME: My short story Scent (An Honest Lie Vol 3; Open Heart Publishing, Oct 2011) never would have happened without the blogs. I met Eric W Trant (one of the most inspirational writers I've met online) through a blogfest. I liked his bold tone and attitude right away. We exchanged critiques on a few occasions, and I really liked his writing. Eventually one of his short stories was picked up by An Honest Lie, and he advertised the publication on his blog. I bought the anthology solely to read his story. I liked it, but I also enjoyed the other authors. The next year he published a story in Vol II, and I bought that book also, hoping I'd enjoy it as much as I did the first anthology. I did. When the publication was accepting submissions for Vol 3, I jumped right on it - with lots of encouragement from Eric. And, my short story is now available for sale . .
The other short story I have published in Bewildering Stories also came about because I had interacted with bloggers who had this e-zine on a resource or published list. I read quite a few of the back issues before deciding my story Two Minutes In Tomorrow would fit their publishing criteria.
But I'd have to say, the biggest help blogging has been to me in getting published is by giving me confidence. Confidence in myself as a writer, and also in my ability to recognize "good" writing techniques in others. I've offered critiques to several writers online - some of them I've worked with all the way through getting agents or accepted directly by small publishers. That gives me confidence in my own writing ability that I do actually know how to craft a story. If other writers - published or not - read my feedback and suggestions and say "yeah, I didn't see that" or "I didn't think of it that way", then I know I can also do that with my own writing. Sometimes I've given feedback to another writer on a technique or phrasing, and went back to my own writings to see if perhaps I was making the same mistake; or perhaps something in their character/setting/story line helped me over a stuck point in my own project.
PB: I want to put my words out into the world but when it comes to the idea of a "writing blog" I guess I struggle with what I would say on it. Any advice or even just the first thing that pops into your head to say about it would be great!
ME: (This answer has been modified; just a smidge.) How much you post, or what content you put up is up to you. Your blog truly is what you make of it. As VR says, post what appeals to you, but also what you think might appeal to other readers. Much of the links I post here is for my info - what better place to put info/inspiration that tweaks my interest - and if I like it, I'm hoping it will be interesting to others as well.
Now that I think of it, a good place to start your lurker/blogger experience is with The Insecure Writers Group, where you will find a very long list of participants in the blog hop. The ISW is a monthly event where bloggers can disclose their writing/blogging fears, frustrations, accomplishments, etc; and gain encouragement or congratulations from other bloggers. This event happens on the first Wednesday of every month, so you may have to scroll down a few posts on some people's blogs if you're slow at visiting (as I am). Just click on some random names so you can get a feel for a variety of bloggers and what they post about.
Thanks awesome critique partner/potential blogging buddy for allowing me to post your, and a lot of my, blogging/writing fears.