Deadly Ever After

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

The Education of Intern Sara: Self Reflection & My Three-Month Anniversary

My Three-Month Anniversary with the Undead Duo

Disclaimer: If you don’t like love-fests, please don’t read this

So, I’ve been having a harder and harder time writing for this blog lately. Maybe it’s because I still can’t believe that anyone would actually be interested in reading what I have to say (although I soooo appreciate it when someone does) or maybe it’s because I haven’t, as of late, had a minute to assess my thoughts on my own writing deeply enough to reflect on it. I’d like to think it’s because I’m so into actually writing my book that that’s all I really want to do anymore. In truth it’s probably a little bit of everything. Or maybe I just miss seeing Kristen and Julie and am lacking the inspirational motivation they offer (it’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve had a meeting).

I definitely feel something is missing when I don’t get to meet with the Undead Duo ladies. It’s inspiring to hear about what they are working on and to be able to pick up on their insights and methods. I always learn something and it often makes it’s way into what I’m working on. Not meeting with them makes me realize a couple of things.

First, I know that I would probably still be THINKING about writing these books rather than spending time each day CRAFTING WORDS into stories. That’s HUGE and I will forever be grateful. I know that I am ultimately doing this because I want to and need to, and I have things I want to say, but there is something to be said for knowing that I have two people who are genuinely excited about reading my book, and who are supporting me while I take this journey. Now, all I have to do is just write it.

Second, I learn A LOT from these two. They have been through what I’m going through right now and have incredible insights to offer. Even though I’ve been learning a lot about writing, just by doing it, There are things that I learn from Julie and Kristen that I’m not going to realize on my own, at least not as quickly. I’m looking forward to learning more from them as we continue to meet. 

I should mention that this past Monday marked my three-month anniversary as INTERN SARA. To date I’ve written over 30,000 words and 8 blog posts. It has been an amazing three-month ride and I’m looking forward to the next three and the three after and so on.

Thank you Kristen and Julie. And with that, I will conclude the love-fest

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Life from First Person POV

Today’s Brew: Pollen Brulee

by Kristen

First or Third?

It’s usually the next question writers ask each other soon after “what do you write?”

Whatever your choice is, you are probably pretty passionate about it. You may cross genres and age groups with the greatest of ease, but how you tell the story is your voice. Chances are, you are much more comfortable with one than the other.  When I tell people I write in first person, they’ll either say they love doing it or they can’t do it. That’s how I feel about third person. For me, evening the playing field and knowing all the characters the same way flattens my storytelling. I feel like I’m giving a recap of a TV show, or just blocking out a screenplay. I’m simply reacting to what other people are doing. I admire everyone who writes third person with conviction and emotion, because I can’t do it. I can’t even bring myself to finish the project.

Back in the way day, I had a pen pal who told me she loved my letters because she felt like I was right there with her, telling her a story. I never forgot that. It’s something that I carried over to my books. When I sit down to tell my main character’s story, whether it be Callie or Melanie, or as you’ll meet later Kyndra and Daisy, I let them take over. I want it to be like my best girlfriend having drinks with me, telling me about this fantastic thing that happened to her. I want all her thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

For me, this is the best way to really dig inside one character’s head. I know how they feel about everything that’s happening, raw and uncensored. You can’t hide your crazy like that. We want characters with flaws, and the best way to find them is know what someone is thinking. You can’t lie about your thoughts.  Some of my MCs are known for their bad decision making, and in first person, the reader gets to watch that decision bloom from spark to reality, and they can cheer along or beg them to stop.

I love the idea of the unreliable narrator. A first person main character is going to give you all of her opinions on the rest of the cast and the action in the story whether she’s right or not. I’m always surprised when readers love the characters my MC hates, or when they have an opinion of a character based on the MC’s perception, but that character actually has a completely different motivation.

The best part of writing first person for me is that the reader finds out things right along with the MC.  In Because the Night, a lot of things are going on behind the scenes, and Callie takes one path, confident she knows who is responsible for the crimes. But she’s wrong, and the moment that she discovers it is just as shocking for the reader as it is for her. Had I told the story in third person or even dual POV, the reader would already know what Callie didn’t. It would have taken the punch away from that moment, almost like yelling from the audience, “Hey Callie, it was the butler with the lead pipe!” In Night Moves, Melanie is on the run, and she’s always worried she’s going to get caught. If the story was told by anyone but her, we’d know what she was going to run into when she turned the corner. We’d know who she could trust. But because she doesn’t know, we don’t either.

We experience life in first person POV. We feel highs and lows and form opinions that aren’t always right or fair. This is what makes us real people. For me, telling a story from first person gives you the grittiest, most accurate view of that character. I want you to see her weaknesses (because I believe that’s just as important as writing The Strong Female. All of us have fragile parts, but that’s another post.), her motivations, and I want you to laugh or cry with her. Like my pen pal said so long ago, I want you to feel like she, whether it’s Callie, Melanie, or the girls you haven’t met yet, is sitting right next you, telling you a story.

 

My Writing Process about Juuuuuulie

TODAY’S BREW: Margaritas. From the second I awake. I’m probably drunk now.

By Julie

I met the fantastically delicious Mary Lynne Gibbs, author of  JERICHO RISING, at Penguicon when we both exhibited the same bewildered and exhausted face that said we needed to be friends. She’s a kick ass vampire author and actor and I think I had a dream about us hanging out together at the end of the world. It was awesome. Go check out her stuff at http://t.co/nwzs2a2NiL and follow the young lady on the old Twitter machine at @MaryLGibbs. Aaaaanywho, she asked me to participate in this writing process blog, and you guys know me—happy to yap my flapper about my work, so here goes!
WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

I’m uber protective of the book I’m working on right now. Never felt like this about my books before. It even has secret Pinterest boards so I can hoard all the ideas for myself. But FINE, I AGREED, SO HERE. It’s a young adult novel called THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS, about 5 witches from 5 warring families that are indebted to tether The Chains–the veil over the world that hides magic from humanity and prevents the demons of The Gone from invading Earth.  When the Demon Prince who’s the 7th son of a 7th son comes to power he shows the witches that oppression is in the eye of the beholder, and power takes many forms.

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

This is my first YA novel and I’m looking forward to giving some complexity in the way the young witches think of their parents. There’s a fine line between the normal rules given to them as teenagers and the form of slavery they’re subjected to. It’s dark, but uplifting, hopefully thought provoking and very romantic, with a little bit of a Shakespearian prettiness thrown in there. I want it to be as layered as the teenage mind is, and isn’t always given credit for.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

I write urban fantasy because I love to see the ordinary made extraordinary. I love supernatural characters with very human choices to make. I love characters that don’t have black and white lives, and who never do exactly the right thing, because there is never a right thing for them or anyone else. I want to feel like there’s something more out there, while still being very grounded in reality. Urban fantasy for me is creating the most realistic superheroes ever.

HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?

This novel is different in that I’m actually OUTLINING. Though the novel will be in the point of view of the Witch of Stars, Celeste, I like to write books where the secondary characters think it’s about them, and this book is going to be a shining example of it because what teenager isn’t fighting for their voice to be heard? I need to know every one of these incredible witches/teenagers and the way they see the world in order to make the complete story perfect. I’m making a huge inspiration board that involves all of the witches and my Demon Prince, Lux, so that I can see all of them in one place, and how their characteristics work together. I have a monster 5 subject notebook to get every detail into. I have a separate (secret) Pinterest board for each character and one for the novel as a whole. I need this world to scream REAL and that can only be done with a lot of forethought and research. Then I dive into 1000 word a day diet.

The Witch of Stars, my MC

Celeste, The Witch of Stars

Next week I picked 3 gorgeous authors to tell us about their work. SO YOU GO FIND THEM:

Carey Torgensen, “The Torg,” is a long time friend, and the author of THE PRINCESS PARADOX, coming out in December. She loves writing kiss scenes a lot. Like a lot. And she’s always asking me to Jell-O  wrestle. I always say yes. @CareyTorg on Twitter.

seattletfiles.blogspot.com

 

Jered Meyer is probably the most hilarious person in Alaska, as exhibited by his live tweeting of Dora the Explorer and his terrible job. But he’s also brilliantly complex and sweet and has a helluva voice, and is just a wonderful friend. Go buy his books or I’ll hurt you. http://t.co/IznHZS93B3 and check out his blog which is better than ours a little. http://t.co/dCDa75nRTv @The_KJM on Twitter.

 

And I feel sorta awesome about making you check out Erik Hofstatter, whose MORIBUND TALES is getting killer reviews: “These tales of dark fiction have a true Gothic style tone to them, with influences from Poe and Stoker very much alive, mixed with the writer’s own unique twist.” – The Strange and the Curious 
He’s also a martial artist, making him better than most people, and I just plain like him very much. Go check out his blog http://t.co/9WPsxmmLGu and MORIBUND TALES http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GACB9ZC?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393177&creativeASIN=B00GACB9ZC&linkCode=shr&tag=booofthedeapr-20&qid=1393108112&sr=8-1&keywords=Erik+Hofstatter+Moribund+Tales.

 

 

 

 

 

The Education of Intern Sara: Self Reflection and the Importance of Outlining

I started writing my first book a couple-few months ago. I’ve written over 20,000 words and I’ll admit I’m pretty damned pleased with myself. I know the 20,000 words I’ve written aren’t all gems, far from it. I’ll probably end up rewriting over half of them, but after years of mind-writing I’m glad to have something down on paper.

The question I had been dealing with the last couple of months was whether or not I should have started with an outline. It’s never really been a question, it was more of an inner struggle that I had been having with myself since I started writing. The thing is, I know I should have started with an outline but I didn’t. I was so ready to do this writing thing that I wanted to capitalize on my excitement. I knew that if I just started writing that I would be writing and that’s what I needed to do.

I wrote nearly every day for about two months and got my 20,000 words, and yes, I was pleased with myself. The problem was, that I kept promising myself that I would stop writing long enough to do the outline but I never did. Day after day I would just lunge into writing. I figured I would get to it one of these days and besides, the words were just flowing.

In the meantime I had started researching and planning the next book I intended to write. I knew that the second book would be done the right way. I wasn’t going to write one word until I had fully conceptualized the main characters and outlined the book complete with noting where significant scenes would go. This was an ongoing project and the outline didn’t need to be done until the first book was nearing completion.

Two and a half weeks ago, I was gearing up to do my daily dose of writing. I had discovered writing sprints and they are my writing mode of choice now. I feel much more focused when I am sprinting, the writing comes more easily when I write with others. I was waiting for the designated time to start but realized something. I had no idea what I needed to write. This hadn’t happened to me before. In the two months I had been writing, I would just put my hands on my keyboard, or pencil on paper, and the ideas would just flow from my mind through my hands.

I finally hit the writing-wall. You know, where you know that you have a lot to say but you can’t remember what it is. I was just kind of stuck. I hadn’t by any means run out of things to say, I just couldn’t remember what they were and now I knew that I had to stop and just do the damn outline. 

I opened up a new word doc, and tried to concentrate on this book that I had been writing. I knew that once I started outlining it would just flow. I was wrong. Instead, I started thinking about my next project. I realized that I had spent two months really thinking about what I wanted to write for that project and that if any outline were going to get done that day, it would be the outline for book two. I quickly started outlining book two and within an hour I had a solid outline. I could see these characters so clearly, I understood things about them that I have yet to know about the characters that I’ve been writing for the last two months and with this realization, I knew what I had to do.

I needed to stop putting the cart before the horse with this book. My story and my characters deserve the same thought and care that I gave to book two and now I was going to give myself the time to do that. I put my 20,000 words on the backburner and started working on “book two” immediately.

I’ve been working on “book two” for nearly three weeks now and to date I’ve written a little over 12,000 words. If I didn’t already know the importance of writing an outline, I’d be sold on it now. I end each writing session knowing that I wrote something much better than I would have had I not outlined this book. Sure, I will end up rewriting what needs to be rewritten and killing darlings here and there, but I’m certain that this writing far exceeds what I was doing before, largely because of the time I put into it before I started writing.

In reflecting on the two paths, I know which path is right for me. Outlining is the only way to go. That being said, I don’t have any regrets about my 20,000-word experiment. For one thing, bad, good or great, I have 20,000 words to work with when I resume work on that book. More importantly, I did what I intended to do. I cashed in on my enthusiasm for writing and established a writing habit. In less than three months, I’ve written over 32,000 words, all of which have the potential of making it into my two books, getting me 32,000 words closer to my goal of completing a novel. My advice, do what you’ve got to do to get yourself writing, and get to that outline as soon as you can. It’s a life-changer.

THE EMBERS OF LIGHT by Tammy Farrell Cover Reveal

Today’s Brew: Benedryl

by Kristen

If you’ve read Tammy Farrell’s debut fantasy novel, The Darkness of Light, you are probably not so patiently awaiting book two of The Dia Chronicles, The Embers of Light. I have a little teaser for you in the form of a cover reveal, blurb, and date.

 

jacket2


The descendants of the ancient gods think they’ve found peace, but the time has come when new magic and ancient powers will collide…

Stripped of his Dia powers and left to rot, Malcolm is a prisoner of Valenia—a sentence he finds worse than death. His thoughts of revenge are the only thing keeping him sane, but when he finally manages to escape, Malcolm discovers that living as a mortal is more dangerous than he ever imagined. After stealing from the wrong man, Malcolm becomes a captive once more, only this time his punishment is one that he won’t soon forget. His only hope of survival is Seren, an enigmatic young girl with golden eyes and a malevolence to match his own.

When he’s led to Mara and Corbin, the two responsible for his fall from grace, their new faction of Dia is in chaos, infiltrated by an ancient power thought to have been banished forever. This only fuels Malcolm’s ruthless ambitions, but he soon realizes that he too is under attack, a pawn in a centuries old game of power and greed. As new battle lines are drawn, Malcolm finds himself in uncharted waters, forced to choose between helping those he’s vowed to destroy or give in to his lingering desire to settle the score.

Debts will be paid, lives will be lost, and no Dia will ever be the same

The Embers of Light will be available November 11, 2014.  Add it on Goodreads!!

RT Recap and How To Convention

Today’s Brew: Is there coffee shock therapy?

by Kristen

If you follow me on Twitter (and if not, why not? You know I’m fun.), you know that last week I was in New Orleans for the Romance Times Convention, or as you saw it a thousand times, RT14.  Simply put, I had a blast. All of us who spent time together are lamenting how weird it feels to get back in to our regular routines at home.

Tammy Farrell, a convention virgin (yes, Tammy, I outed you) asked me a lot of questions about RT, and we figured she couldn’t be alone with having questions about attending conventions.  I had her ask some questions I could answer on the blog that might help you if you’re wondering why the heck we go to these things.

What is the schedule like?

During the weekdays, there are panels scheduled throughout the morning and afternoon. Because a wide variety of people attend this particular convention (writers, readers, agents, editors, bloggers, booksellers, and librarians), there were panels directed at all groups of people.  I looked for ones that were about writing craft, marketing, or self publishing. The nice thing is, if a panel isn’t what you want it to be, you get up and go to another one, or just get a coffee and relax. Because your brain can get overloaded quickly at these things, there are also social events during the day that are just fun and you can meet people.  At night, there were parties to attend, but I found most people stopped by those briefly and either went out to dinner with a group or hung out in the lobby and socialized. Saturday was fan day, and the day of the huge book signing. 300 authors signed at the event. I was waitlisted because I’m an indie author, which was fine with me.  I attended another event that evening called FAN-tastic that I was able to connect with readers at.  

I’d like to know how you get set up to do a signing, what kinds of things (materials) do you need to prepare. 

Don’t quote me on this, because I didn’t get in to the signing in time. I got waitlisted.  It looked like you were automatically able to sign if you were traditionally published. It seemed like there was a predetermined amount of spaces for indie authors.  There was some controversy about calling the indie author room “aspiring writers.”  Shame on you, RT.  Do you know how many NYT best sellers were in the “aspiring” room?  I don’t think there should be any segregation at all. Just first come, first serve, no matter who you are.

If you are doing a signing, obviously you need books. Bring a sign so people can see what you have from a distance.  You want to draw them in and talk to them. Make sure you have something they can walk away with that they remember you and your brand, even if they don’t buy a book. Swag swag swag. LOL.  Before you set foot into the signing space, you need to shout it from the rooftops you’re going to be there. Activity attracts activity and you want to make sure you’re not sitting there looking at Twitter.


What’s the best way to meet people. How do you choose which event to go to?

Charlaine Harris and Jeannine Frost at a RT14 panel. I take lousy photos. Deal with it.

Charlaine Harris and Jeannine Frost at a RT14 panel. I take lousy photos. Deal with it.

Go up and introduce yourself. Just start talking. Everyone is there for the same thing. Yes, that sounds scary as hell, and it is. I suggest the buddy system.  I had two awesome roommates, Angi Black and Sarah Guillory, who I didn’t really know all that well before I went, and thank God they were awesome. It’s a lot less intimidating to enter a room with someone or looking for someone. Reach out to your Twitter or Facebook friends who are going to be at the event, and make sure you find them when you’re there. I spent a lot of time with Zoey Derrick, and because of her met Angel Payne, who was amazing. Anyone you really want to meet? Reach out to them and offer to take them to coffee.

The description of some events will tell you right away if you want to go or not. A YA sleepover party might not interest you, but the NA one? Hell yeah. Some things were publisher hosted, some were general events, and sometimes, you just want to hang out in the lobby and talk.


Best/Worst practices at a convention. 

Have a plan. I like to print out the schedule beforehand so I know what events/panels interest me.
Talk to as many people as possible.
Don’t feel like you have to do everything. Take breaks if you need to.
Try new things.


After putting out all that money, what do you think YOU got out of it? Why is it worth it? 

You might think you have a great reach on social media, with tons of followers and fans, but going to a convention is a way to really get to KNOW those people, for them to put a face to your name, and to get them invested in you, and vice versa.  I talked to Angi on Twitter before we roomed together, but spending five days living with her, I really got to know her. I barely knew Sarah at all, and I was so glad we roomed together because we probably would have never started talking on social media. Other people knew my name, but didn’t really know me, and they got a chance to see what I was all about. Some didn’t realize I had any books out. Twitter moves fast, and everyone has a lot going on.

It was also a chance to get my books in front of readers, simply asking them what type of things they liked to read. The number that said paranormal or urban fantasy was staggering, so I don’t want to hear that paranormal is dead. Readers still want it. A number of people’s eyes lit up when I told them about vampire rock stars. Would they have ever found me in the millions of books available online? Maybe not.

You can also read articles all day long, but to talk to people who are doing things well and pick their brains in person is priceless. Sometimes you find out about things you didn’t even know to ask about that make all the difference in your business. You see marketing, get to see and hear what readers are interested in, and really get to fully immerse yourself into the industry as it’s happening now. I can’t do that on my couch.

Pick conferences well, break out of your shell, and absorb as much as you can.

My Opinion and My Advice and Listen To It: Paranormal and Supernatural Stuff

TODAY’S BREW: Red Velvet Rainforest. (It’s the last of both bags)

By Julie

We’ve all heard how very dead the undead are in literature. Vampires, zombies, there’s not a spin that hasn’t been put on them, no depth of ridiculousness that hasn’t been explored. Then you’ve got your paranormal, supernatural what have yous. I have something that’s never been done before! It’s a hybrid monkey wereselkie dragon that turns cyborg!

I’m not fool enough to deny the constant warnings from agents and publishers that paranormal isn’t selling. We’ve been hearing it for YEARS. I’m not arrogant enough to crow from the rooftops that they’re wrong. THEY AREN’T. Agents are having an impossible time selling paranormal for mass market. Publishers seem to both want something that’s wildly different and stands out from the crowd, and yet when you look at the “shelves” it appears to be more of the same, over and over again.

Monsters are classic. They never go away. From the Grandfather of Soul, Dracula, to the creature from the Black Lagoon, to every obscure werechickenselkiewolf..ahem….harpy to grace the limitless minds of readers who forever want a little monster in their brains and beds. Because they’re classics, icons, everyone wants in on them. Hence, the barrage of supernaturals and angels and all the fancy froo hahahas. Some are fantastic. Some are–not. Imitation and all. Imitations of something beautiful when done over and over and over are bound to have shining stars among them and also a lot of rocks you have to sift through to find the gold. Not everyone is going to write this generation’s Interview With The Vampire or be the next Maggie Stiefvater. That does not mean the entire subject matter is dead, but that those who have to sort through the subject matter are both desensitized to a degree and over the entire thing.

In the meantime, more and more supernatural and paranormal stories burst into the sunshine through all the slush piles of the world.

So, do I think the future of supernatural and paranormal romances and horrors are dead? Absolutely not. Here is what I say to summarize:

  • WRITE THE BOOK YOU HAVE TO WRITE. Don’t let trends sway you. Writing is a mini revolution. If you write the book in your heart, it doesn’t matter what’s going on around it, it’s going to make itself known. A book that is felt strongly by the author will come through as something that needs to be read. Period.
  • PAY ATTENTION. What is the common thread that unites every successful paranormal and supernatural work? Don’t repeat it, but model after it. FINE, I’LL TELL YOU WHAT IT IS.
  • THIS IS WHAT IT IS. Your amazing new take on the supernatural means NOTHING if you don’t have a character that we NEED to know. The “thing” about your book needs to be the character that makes the thing interesting. You know what I mean? Your monster may have the most wildly innovative backstory and premise in the history of such things. It doesn’t matter if that’s all there is. The thing that sells your book is the character that makes it happen. I REPEAT. THE CHARACTER MAKES THE BOOK HAPPEN. Now I make this sweeping general statement:

THE THING A SUPERNATURAL OR PARANORMAL NOVEL NEEDS IS NOT PRIMARILY AN AMAZING PREMISE; IT IS AN AMAZING CHARACTER THAT DRIVES THE PREMISE.

The supernatural and paranormal novels will never die as long as have characters that MAKE the story happen. Think of it this way; name your top three favorite paranormal, supernatural, whatever you want, romances and zombie stories, you know what I means, and describe them or say what your favorite thing is about them.

My favorite thing about Frankenstein isn’t the premise–which I LOVE, obviously–but it is the monster’s character and Dr. Frankenstein, and what they do. My favorite thing about Beautiful Creatures isn’t the love story between a witch and the boyfriend who’s too close to her history,  but Ethan and Lena themselves. What I love about Shiver isn’t the werewolves; it’s Grace and Sam and how in love with THEM that I am.

These are a few instances of novels I love, that couldn’t be more different. But the thing that makes them all so utterly DELICIOUS is that they have very cool stories, but the characters are what make the story extraordinary.

IF YOU HAVE AN AMAZING STORY, DO IT JUSTICE WITH AMAZING CHARACTERS THAT BRING THE STORY TO LIFE. A book that does this well will always prevail, regardless of how saturated the market is. The future of paranormal and supernatural in literature isn’t dying, it’s waiting. Waiting for the next character that gives us something we need, and a story to back it up that gives us something we want.

Write the CHARACTER that haunts you and it will force itself into the world.

The Education of Intern Sara: Lessons Learned from Kat Von D (& a bunch of other people)

Wanna Write a Book? Just Do It

by Sara

When I was a kid, I truly believed that artists, particularly musicians, were magical beings that were given great gifts of talent that mere mortals could never possess. That’s what made them special and gave them the right to do what they did, make albums and tour. Although there will always be a part of me that feels that way about certain musicians (I mean, Stevie Nicks IS magical and always will be) but for the most part I know better. For one thing, I myself have worked in a very cool industry (television), on some very cool TV shows and I’m neither magical nor do I possess any special gifts that were granted to me by the talent fairy. I got to do everything that I’ve done because I decided I wanted it and I just started doing it.

That being said, sometimes we can’t help but feel that we should just wait for something to happen before we jump in and just start writing. Maybe we secretly want the talent fairy to come to us, but waiting for the talent fairy is like waiting for The Great Pumpkin. It’s just never going to happen no matter how long you wait. Sorry Linus.

In my television life, I made it a habit to make coffee-dates with coworkers and other amazingly talented people in order to learn more about the industry, learn about job leads, and just connect with people I admire. I’m a great fan of this and will tell you networking with people you already know is wonderful because you always learn something. I’m lucky that in my writing life, I have two mentor/friends, Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel, who I can go to in much the same way. My favorite coffee-date from my life as a producer was one I had with my friend Markie (not his real name). Normally, on one of these things, you catch up, (they are friends and acquaintances after all) you tell them what you’ve been up to and where you are hoping to go and they tell you how they think you can get there. Usually this involves a piece of advice, a recommendation or two on a resource you should be aware of or the name of a person you should connect with. My coffee date with Markie would prove to be different.

For one thing, I don’t think Markie and I ever even made it to our designated coffee shop. He pretty much just came to my office, sat down, and started talking. He told me he knew what I was looking to get from this conversation because at the beginning of his career, he used to do the same thing. And then he told me this story.

Apparently, the young Markie went to a producer/director type that he admired. He was expecting, what I was used to getting, a nice sit down, a coffee or a lunch, where wisdom would be shared and perhaps and encouraging word or two would be thrown into the mix (when you are lucky, you get those as well). Much to Markie’s dismay, all he got was this. “Markie, just do it!” At the time, Markie wasn’t necessarily thrilled, truth be told, he was kinda pissed. He had hoped for more than the words, “just do it.” It was a reasonable expectation but the guy just kept saying “just do it, “don’t talk about it, just do it.”

And with that story told, Markie turned to me and said, “It pissed me off at the time, but I’m going to tell you the same thing he said to me, Sara, just do it.”

And now, I was kinda pissed. Come on Markie! You know what I was looking for, why did ya do that to me? Well, that’s simple. It was the truth and he was a good enough friend to just say it. Sometimes you just need a friend to remind you to just do it.

I’ve always wanted to write a book and I’ve always planned on doing it. I figured it would be something I’d do in the future. One day, a couple of months back, I decided to just do it. I didn’t over think it, I didn’t even do the important preliminary work that I knew I needed (and still need) to do, and I just started writing. I knew that if I didn’t just start, that that feeling might pass and then I would be waiting for the talent fairy again. I’m tired of waiting for her. Besides, for all I know she’s probably on some never-ending hot date with The Great Pumpkin in Never, Never Land, never to return.

If my third generation advice hasn’t convinced you to just go ahead and start, here are two other reasons.

Reason #1

The talent fairy doesn’t visit tattoo artists. Here’s a really cool excerpt from Kat Von D’s book, Go Big, or Go Home:

One of the most common remarks I hear from people when they see on of my sketches or tattoos is: “I wish I could draw.” It’s flattering, but a part of me cringes at that comment simply because it isn’t true that they can’t learn to draw. There’s nothing special about what I do. Technically speaking, anybody can do what I do… Drawing well only requires practice, devotion and dedication, will and drive, and practice and more practice…Tests show that it takes the average mind approximately ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery of something… It sounds crazy but anyone can master anything if the so chose.

The sooner you start writing, the sooner you’ll get to be a good writer. You can’t improve on something you haven’t tried yet.

Reason #2

The talent fairy doesn’t visit dancers either.

I recently had the great honor of studying with one of the world’s greatest living dancers, Rachel Brice, a tribal-fusion belly dancer that I greatly admire. During her nearly weeklong dance/art training, we were given a lot of useful information but one thing stayed with me more than anything else.

While I know that Rachel has earned her talent, she is another person whose technique is so exceptional that you sometimes have to wonder if the talent fairy might exist after all, if she did it would be reasonable to assume that she’s made multiple visits to Rachel over the years. WRONG. It was clear in the five days of drilling, and musing about dance that she has worked hard, practiced hard and studied hard and continues to do so. At one point in our training we watched clips of dancers from many other dance genres and happened upon one dancer who was just beyond. That’s all I can say. He was just beyond. Rachel said one thing that I will never forget. (Paraphrasing here) You can’t fake practice.

In other words, you’ve either practiced or you haven’t and people can tell the difference. It was simple but profound, the time you put in, will be seen by everyone watching, and the time you don’t put in will be seen as well.

I’m certain the same is true for writing. You can’t expect to wake up one day and just know that if you write your novel on that special day, that the words will flow out beautifully and perfectly. It’s simply not going to happen that way. You are not going to get better unless you do a lot of writing and you won’t ever get there if you don’t start. So, if any of us hope to ever be great writers, we have to start by writing, work our way to being good and then keep on trucking until we attain our goals of being a writing genius. It all starts with telling yourself to just do it and following through.

So for anyone out there thinking of doing this writing thing, or anything, my advice, like Markie’s, and the dude before him, is just do it and for those of you already taking the journey, keep on truckin’.

Because the Night has a voice!

Today’s Brew: Chances are, I will either be up in the air or in New Orleans by the time you read this. Headed to the RT convention.

by Kristen

Nothing happening this Tuesday at all. (Yes, I know I’m posting on Wednesday. But I wrote this on Monday. Let all of that sink in.)

Like I mentioned, I’m headed to the Romance Times Convention in New Orleans today.  If you’re there, make sure you come say hi to me!!  Everything I packed is black, so I’ll be the one who looks like the love child of Johnny Cash and Anna Nicole.

I’m also going on a New Orleans vampire tour tonight, which I think is bad ass. Someone let Lestat know I’m on my way, please.

And, most importantly, my book baby is all grown up today!  Today is the Audible release of BECAUSE THE NIGHT!!  It’s narrated by Jessica Almasy, who has narrated over 100 audio books, including some for Gena Showalter.

Be on the look out for the promotional tour this week, brought to you by Wordsmith Publicity. I love these quote graphics!

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Fucks Given: Sex and Swearing In Writing

Okay, this is the second time I’ve reblogged Jered Meyer in two weeks, but he’s that good of a blogger.

Word Whiskey

I’m still pretty new to the blogging game, but I’ve found I have the time and material to update far more often than I first expected. This is bound to be one of my more controversial entries, but I encourage you to share it as often as possible. I don’t want to put too much emphasis on my own writing talents or influence, but there are certain topics that I think need to be discussed not only amongst writers or readers but the public in general, as it pertains to the conceptualization of what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable in terms of prose (be it in a novel, a comic book or on screen).

Before I get into the writing aspect of it, I want to cast a very honest spotlight on our honest-to-God societal reality, at least as pertains to the United States:

Children swear. A lot. So many…

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