Monday, November 19, 2018

Try Something New - #Writers do more than write

I write adventure stories. I like action, suspense, and surprises. I encourage people to go out and do, to make life an adventure!

I also say: "the way to get noticed is to put yourself out there," which I know most of us hate doing.

So here's my advice, Take Baby Steps.
Trying new things might seem intimidating. So dip your toes in and test the water to see if you like it. Then, gradually go deeper... Or dive right in and make a splash. It's up to you!

Here's a list of things I encourage writers to try with small starts:
  • Make a Video - Don't worry. You don't have to be a star or an actress.
    • Starting Small - a slide show is easy to convert to a video. Experiment with easy, free movie making apps with captions and transitions, free/royalty free images and music. Before you know it, you have a book trailer! You might enjoy it and move on to bigger things...
    • Film yourself reading an excerpt (TIP: be aware of your background!)
    • Do a book review for a friend
    • Make a scripted advice video
    • More things to try: a Podcast or Vlog
  • Self Publishing - This takes a lot of work and money, but if done right can be very profitable.
    • Starting Small - there are many free publishing venues to try. Short stories and novellas are a great place to start with trying out the process. Two things you should splurge on: Cover and Editing (unless you are friends with an editor and you can trade services) Once you've experimented with a small publication, you can...
    • Try a novel!
    • Collaborate on an Anthology
    • Compile some short stories
  • Book Events - I always encourage authors to get out and represent your books.
    • Starting Small - First, attend an event as a reader and see what it's all about, get ideas, meet authors, and get advice--build up confidence. Then try local libraries, bookstores, and free book fairs. Work your way up to...
    • Bigger Book Festivals
    • Book Conferences
    • Vendor Events
    • Conventions
    • You'll be talking on an author panel before you know it!
So get out there and try stuff! Been there, done that? Share some of your advice!

And here's one of my adventurous friends for my Shout Out of the Week!

Patricia is a Michigander and transplant Yooper––that means she can hold her hands up and point to where she lives in the upper peninsula of Michigan. She's always been creative--starting with wanting to be a dancer, then an artist, and also a musician, in band all through school.

While at Grand Valley State College, she found out being an Art major wasn't for her, but she did learn a ton in her classes and met her hubby in an anime chat room, DragonBall Z. PS, she's a big anime geek.

She loves to cook, makes jewelry and knits--she even sold her wares at local craft shows. And add decorating to her list of talents. But once she tried writing a story she'd been daydreaming about, she never looked back. She even ventured into self-publishing. This woman isn't afraid to try new things!

You can find links to Patricia's books here.

And connect with her...

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

10 Places Writers Should Go

Writers are explorers.
We go places both physical and psychological. And we take readers along for the ride! Readers depend on authors to transport them to foreign countries, fictional towns, other worlds, back in time or into the future, and even just down the street. So we need to create settings that are as real as possible.

For my IWSG post this month, I challenge writers to go to these ten places, or as many as possible:
  1. Visit another country
  2. Take a trip to a different state/climate
  3. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or other opportunity
  4. Offer to speak at a school
  5. Spend the night in a strange place out of your comfort zone ==> if you live in the city, go to the country and vice versa. Never been camping? Try it.
  6. Try a new mode of transportation
  7. Explore an antique store, or grandma's attic
  8. Dare to try something exciting that you wouldn't normally do--skydiving, spelunking, scuba diving
  9. You can go online to experience some of the above when travel isn't feasible and immerse yourself in facts and photos
  10. Put yourself in someone else's shoes! This is the best thing to do when writing a character, but also in life.

The challenge is to broaden your perspective. The more knowledge you gain, the richer the experience, the deeper your characters, and the better your story will be. Have you already crossed a few of these off? I'd love to hear about it!

I also have a very well-traveled friend for my SHOUT OUT OF THE WEEK...

Rhonda lives in New Zealand, and I hope to visit her some day. She and her family recently returned home after a 51 day adventure to visit relatives in the US, and then sailed back from LA to Auckland. After spending about a month at home, they leave for 9 weeks to South America. And she documents her journeys with amazing photographs and stories. You really need to check them out! She's truly an inspiration for going out to see the world.

More about Rhonda--
Expat Rhonda Albom takes you on a vicarious adventure as she captures the essence of travel through photography, stories, tips, and humour. Along with her husband and her two teenage daughters, they have collectively visited 54 countries on six continents.

Rhonda is the owner, primary author, and chief travel photographer at the award-winning expat/travel blog  Her background includes the journalism school at the University of Missouri, a BS from the University of Illinois,  and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago. Rhonda homeschooled her girls, is a crew member of a women’s yacht racing team, and she leads a Girl Guiding Pippins group (ages 5-6). Rhonda is currently editing her first creative non-fiction book, due out in 2018.

So, where would you suggest a writer go? And do you know Rhonda? You should!
Happy November!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Hot Genres - #Horror Mashups

Tis the season for Horror. But Horror is not my genre--I don't like to be scared. Thrilled--yes. Grossed out or freaked out--no. Mashups put a new twist on the classics. With agents looking for "new & exciting," a great mashup might be the way to go. I can do mashups. Horror/Comedy, like SCREAM. And sometimes I like Horror/Sci Fi, like ALIEN. Horror/Fantasy might be interesting too, does VAN HELSING count for that?

Since I'm not the best at Horror, I'm giving you all over to my Shout Out of the Week...

For me, good horror is always about the unexpected. Taking the mundane and turning it into a horror fest has always been Stephen King's claim to fame. And yes, he's my go-to guy for horror. I'd recommend just about anything he's written! I say just about because I think some of his most recent work is lacking a good editor, but once you've achieved his status...

Halloween with Jamie Curtis, is my all time favorite horror movie. (No remakes please!)

As far as a tip for writing horror or any genre, it's all about the questions.

For instance, I took three pictures for Halloween this month and then spent some time studying them. Then I started asking questions. What is happening in this desolate dark forest... What happens at this cabin in the woods... And how does an individual become a ghost... If you check my posts for October, you'll see the results. Although, I have no rhyme or reason for why the answers came as poetry. Writing just happens that way. Ask your muse (the unconscious mind) the question you need answered, and just be ready for the answer, no matter what that is. Honestly, it's how I work.

About Yolanda Renée...
While living in Alaska, Renée learned to sleep under the midnight sun, fly fish, cross-country ski, and survive the bitter cold. She hiked the Brooks Range and traveled the state from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. The tough terrain sent her onto her next adventure--writing. The beautiful state of Alaska is like another character in her mystery trilogy. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska fill each novel, as well as murder and mayhem.

The Detective Quaid mysteries weave a rich tapestry of love, obsession, and murder. She's about to finish and publish, the 5th book in the Detective Quaid Series: Murder, Just Because.

She now lives in Myrtle Beach, SC--a far cry from frigid Alaska--but she's still inspired to write as she researches a noir mystery with Murder Beach in mind (the nickname for Myrtle Beach).

In the end, agents and publishers are looking for a combination of a great story, but more importantly, a great storyteller. You be you. It's a scary business, but worth it!

Happy Halloween!