I interact with a lot of authors, many of whom contact me about getting interviewed here. I see a lot of author bios, some that wow me and many that make me cringe. I’d even include myself in that mix. [Read more…]
New books! New books! Scanning through the new book releases always makes me really really happy. Doesn’t it with you? Here are the new ones for October. [Read more…]
Just the other day I was on a loop where an author commented on why they might need a blog. At this point I thought every author had a blog, but maybe not. I think they’re extremely valuable for authors. Here’s why. [Read more…]
It’s cover time! Covers today stand out more than ever because we have so many authors putting their work out there. How will your book stand out? What will catch the reader’s eye? Here’s some covers that caught mine this month. [Read more…]
October is only a mere 2 weeks away and that only means one thing – Halloween! If you’re like me, you spend all of Obtober (or all year…) getting in the spooky spirit to celebrate the grandiose holiday.
There’s many ways to get into the spirit; watching horror movies, drinking pumpkin spice lattes, or reading your way into the gothic realm. And reading is my personal favorite way.
Well, I guess we’re lucky that there’s so many spooky books – classic and new – on the market for us to devour late into the night.
FRANKENSTIEN By Mary Shelley
This classic novel started the sci-fi genre and it was written by a teenage girl! Shelley was 18 when she wrote the tale of a scientist’s experiment at creating life from stolen body parts. When I first read this novel, it kept me up at night. I wasn’t exactly scared by it, but I was fasinated. I couldn’t understand the scientist’s motives and I felt so bad for the monster. It’s a must-read for Halloween.
P.S: Frankenstien is the scientist, not the monster.
FEAR STREET By R. L Stine
Fear Street is a series of books written by the king of adolscent horror, R. L Stine. You may remember him from Goosebumps, the kids series, but not many people know that he also penned a young adult series all about spooky happenings in a certain ill-named neighborhood. Each book has a new set of characters, even though some background characters make multiple appearences throughout the series. Don’t let the “young adult” bit make you run in the opposite direction, though. This series is anything but mature. It deals with ghosts, murder sprees, and more all with the glitz and nostolgia of the 90’s. So come on and get scared.
DOCTOR SLEEP By Stephen King
Most spooky reads lists include King’s masterpiece, The Shining, but rarely mention the sequel that came out in 2013. This novel starts out a few years after the events of The Shining, with Danny being 8. Then it time-jumps to him being middle-aged and an alcoholic, much like his father. He still has his shine and he starts a communitive relatationship with a little girl who also has the shine. For example, they speak – states apart – by writing to each other on mirrors. Wow. Also, because this wasn’t spooky enough already, King decided to throw in a cult of unaging vampires who kill children and absorb them like mist (I had to re-read the book because I still didn’t entirely understand this part). Okay, don’t think about it – just read it!
Ok, let’s see. Do you have a pipping hot cup of hot cocoa with a touch of cinnamon in it? Have you dimmed the lights and surronded yourself with pumpkin-scented candles? Are you wrapped up and cozy in a blanket? Lastly, do you have one of the spooky reccomended books outlined in this article?
Perfect! You are ready for a spooky night in to help you LIVE in the spirit of Halloween. Go forth and remember: lock the door…
The cities best for aspiring writers offer myriad things, from publishing industry connections to strong communities of writers, from workshop opportunities to large conferences. Though every writer and every path to publication is different, the wider the variety of resources the better the city is for aspiring writers. These four cities offer all kinds of opportunities for writers, enmeshed in distinctive artistic cultures.
New York City
Manhattan’s exorbitant cost of living does throw a wrench into the idea that NYC is one of the best places to live for aspiring writers. However, there’s no denying that NYC is the main hub of the US publishing industry.
With a number of huge publishing names located there (ever heard of Publishers Weekly?) and a veritable pool of literary agents and agencies, NYC happens to be a major location for a number of writing and book conferences throughout the year. These conferences are great places to meet agents and editors in person. Plus, New York is one of the most vibrant cities in the US; aspiring writers will never lack inspiration.
Asheville is known for its downtown area and its artistic culture. It’s home to the Writers’ Workshop of Asheville, where you can register for classes, enter contests, and attend events at which you can meet other writers (and potentially find critique partners!). The University of North Carolina Asheville offers the Great Smokies Writing Program, which provides affordable writing classes to Asheville community members. Published writers and experienced teachers lead these classes, which come in 10- and 15-week options.
Seattle has a lot of cool opportunities for writers, including a number of writers’ groups, like the one offered by the Seattle Repertory Theatre. Seattle is also home to Hugo House, a place which welcomes writers of any experience level and any type. Hugo House offers classes, readings, events, workshops, and more.
The Pacific Northwest Writers Association, headquartered in nearby Issaquah, has a network of over 1,000 writers and many opportunities for meeting writers, attending events, and getting critiques. Every year Edmonds, which is 30 minutes away from Seattle, hosts the Write on the Sound Writers Conference where you can take workshops about writing and publishing.
One reason Portland makes the list is its combination of artistic culture and a relatively low cost of living. While areas like Manhattan and Seattle will probably drain the bank for aspiring writers (and may force them into more demanding jobs than they’d like), Portland affords a little more monetary flexibility. Portland is home to PDX Writers, a nexus of workshops and retreats meant to inspire writers of all kinds and experience levels. The Attic Institute and the Oregon Writers Colony also offer events, workshops, and communities for all levels of writers.
Each writer requires something different. Some may want to intern with a literary agency to make connections while others may seek a writing community with retreats and strong critique groups. In cities like these four, aspiring writers are most likely to find the inspiration they need to do the most important thing: keep writing.
As September comes around we inevitably turn to thoughts of cooler temperatures, holiday shopping and the most important item of all-football. I have only recently become a fan, motivated in part by my football coach husband, Gary, who puts God and family first-except during football season. There is nothing more amazing than seeing my easy going and laid back honey morph into into a raving banshee at the sight of running guys in assorted colored jerseys literally fighting over a much belabored pigskin.
My other motivation came from a real desire to find a way to connect with one of the few things my husband speaks on with a reverence generally found after folks have met the Dalai Lama, had a successful skydiving mission or found out Duck Dynasty has been renewed for another season (YEAH!!!).
I am big on finding connections in order to retain new information. If I can’t put it into a metaphor, funny story or acronym more than likely it will go through me like a running back going for the final score. Still, because I love my husband and he went to see the musical version of Les Miserables with me (or The Miserable Ones as he likes to call it) I felt compelled to enter this world of balldom where grown men have honest to God blowouts over the athletic prowess of other men whom they have never met yet will defend to the death.
But I’m a word geek, a quirky chick who is much more comfortable at lectures by obscure academics and writers, speaking on topics such as the overuse of the word nice than in an 80,000 fan plus stadium game in mid winter. How will I find our common ground?
I had the distinct honor of accompanying Gary a few years ago when he was inducted into the AFA Hall of Fame, with the ceremony held at the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in recognition of his semi pro career as an offensive linesman for the Virginia Ravens, playing 13 years and winning several championships and such along the way. The NFL Hall has a section for semi pro athletes, who are a special group on their own. For most of them, the love of the game is what kept them-not endorsements, fancy trainers or big salaries. What I recall most clearly about that amazing weekend were the heartfelt outpourings from men who could probably push you over with a pinky finger, describing how the love of this sport meant so much to them. Through everything they experienced-pain, lost championships and frustration mixed with disappointment, they stay committed to the sport because of their undeniable passion and faith that this thing they love will bring desired outcomes–even if not now. And that goes for both players and fans.
From a mountain of rejection letters to the again no dice application submitted for a long sought after residency, we are in this writing game with no guarantee of how it’s gonna be. Yet, in true fan fashion we support and cheer with abandon and passion, even in the midst of the worst seasons ever. As players, we stay focused on our goals and ignore the naysayers who scoff at our best attempts to win. After all, you don’t have to know football to know a game without passion is already lost.
Why not go for the touchdown?
When it comes to being an author, unexpected circumstances are inevitable. Nevertheless, what is the most important thing to bear in mind when it comes to these types of situations? What counts the most is how you react to what happens to you, especially when it comes to being an author because you will always have unexpected problems that just seem to pop out of nowhere.
Here are four things you can do to make sure that your attitude is at its best, under all unforeseen circumstances.
#1 – Focus On the Present and Future
First, whatever challenges you may face as an author, always focus on the present and future rather than on the past. For example, you may or may not have experienced this as newbie (yet), but for those of you who have been doing this for some time now, I am sure you have experienced some difficult situations with marketing or ad agencies in the past. You know the ones that would promise you one thing but never seem to deliver. They would always ask for more money and to just give them time, but you could never see any fruit coming from those investments.
Now, of course, I am sure you know as well as I, that success isn’t going to happen overnight. Obviously, some patience is expected. However, for those situations where you know that the marketing or ad agency is not doing what they said they were going to do, in those situations, instead of worrying about who did what and who is to blame (the past), focus on where you are currently in your marketing and where you want to be or what you want to do. Get a clear mental image of your ideal successful future, and then take whatever action you can to begin moving in that direction. Get your mind, your thoughts, and your mental images on where you are at currently, then on the future.
#2 – Channel All Your Energy Towards the Solution
Second, once you accept the fact that when it comes to being an author, problems are inevitable, put all your energy towards the solution rather than towards the problem.
It was the Bible that told us to, “Be angry and sin not”. Does that mean that it is possible to be angry and still remain righteous (positive)? I believe that the emotion of anger and the energy that is built up from it can actually be used for positive gain just as much as it can be used for negative gain.
Instead of using your anger or frustration in a negative manner towards your obstacle or setback, start using your anger positively by thinking and talking about the ideal solution rather than wasting time rehashing and reflecting on the problem. You see, solutions are naturally positive, whereas problems are naturally negative. It is a practical example of the Law of Opposites.
Here is the gold nugget of wisdom that I want you to get: The instant that you begin thinking in terms of solutions rather than problems, you’ll become a more positive and constructive writer and author.
#3 – Seek Out the Good and You Shall Find It
Third, assume that something good is hiding away within each difficulty or challenge just waiting for you to find it. You see, there is a Bible verse that says, “Seek and You Shall Find”. And the interesting thing about that verse is that it has a double sided point. You see if you seek out negativity, I can guarantee you that you will find it. However, the same goes for seeking out positivity.
It was Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, a major proponent of positive thinking, who once said, “Whenever God wants to give us a gift, He wraps it up in a problem.” The bigger the gift you have coming, the bigger the problem you will receive. But the wonderful thing is that if you look for the gift, you will always find it. Moreover, here is one more thing that I would like to add to the “Seek and You Shall Find” philosophy, “The More You Find, The More You Want to Look”.
#4 – Every Problem is One Step Closer to Success
Fourth, assume that whatever situation you are facing at the moment, it is exactly the right situation and stepping stone you need to continue on your journey to being a successful author. This situation has been sent to you to help you learn something, to help you become better, to help you expand and grow. It is an opportunity for empowerment.
Choose Today to Become the Most Positive Minded Author You Can Be
A Positive Mental Attitude is vitally important to your success. You can be as positive as you want to be if you will simply think about the present and future, focus on the solution, and look for the good. If you do what other successful authors do, if you use your mind to exert mental control over the situation, you will be positive and cheerful most of the time. And you will reap the benefits enjoyed by all successful authors.
Here are three steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action:
First, become solution centered author with every difficulty you face. Make it a successful habit of yours to look for the answers to your questions, the solutions to your problems.
Second, seek for the valuable learning opportunity in every adversity. Make a list of every idea or insight you can gain from every setback or difficulty.
Third, think on paper (your a writer, so this should be fun). Take some time to write out every detail of the problem, and then take the most logical next step to solve it.
Ten p.m., mid-May, Monday night shift. The usual patrol along the quiet interstate. Velvet star-shot sky, empty road. Ho-hum. Swing into the rest area, circle the loop. There—an unlighted car in a dark corner near the tree line. A male in the driver’s seat. Stranded motorist?
Stop the cruiser. Radio check to dispatch. Aim the floods. Get out. Angle-approach the passenger side. Hand on gun. Standard procedure. Observe. Use caution. Be aware.
Night insects buzz. Ripples of engine heat ride cooling air. Hot oil-stink. And—shadows?
No. Men. Two men. Racing out of the nearby woods. The driver’s door swings open, the driver surges out. What the—A flash of steel.
BACK UP! BACK UP! Can’t—falling!
“Drag him into the woods!”
“We’re going to cut your throat, cop.”
No! Can’t breathe. Can’t talk. Can’t see. Can’t—
The boxblade slices skin. Blood spurts, hot, sticky. Slippery. Struggle! Not going to die easy. FIGHT.
The button. Push the button. Push the—
The cruiser door pops. The K-9 partner leaps out, streaks through the night, an avenging guardian propelled by nature and nurture to defend and protect.
A shriek, a scrabble of shoe on pavement. An engine roars. Doors slam. Tires squeal. A thump, a whimper.
Blood. Everywhere. Multiple knife wounds. Road rash, black bits of asphalt embedded like pimples. But not dead. Not going to die. Refuse to die.
If the story ended there, what would you still want to know? Maybe you’re curious about the reason for the ambush. Maybe you want some certainty that the cop survived. Maybe you want to know if the criminals got caught.
And maybe, just maybe, you want to know what happened to the dog.
What happened to the dog?
Gotta know what happened to the dog!
As readers, one of our pet peeves is the dangler—such as the fate of the K-9 officer in the story above. We’re not talking cliffhangers, where the author stops the action temporarily to keep us turning pages. We’re fine with those. But danglers, abandoned, forlorn, ignored, and forgotten…danglers drive us crazy, and not in a good way. The thump. The whimper. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DOG?
As fiction writers, we create an entire world to engage readers. We’re responsible for what we bring to life—and how we finish off what we bring to life. We take that responsibility seriously, and readers notice. How do we know? Because readers have told us. The inspiration for this post was Gina Briganti’s video review of one of our books and her comment about books she’s read where “it just didn’t come together.”
Having it “come together” is what makes a story satisfying. That’s true of any story, including the one above, which is based on real events. Before you click the “publish” icon and release your book into the wild, read through your work once more and eliminate danglers. Your loyal readers deserve the whole story.
Still wondering what happened to the dog? In fiction, you can take the story in any direction your imagination dares to go–preferably down a road that ends with no danglers. Real life is not so dangler-free. According to news articles and the Sheriff’s Office FaceBook page, K-9 Officer Lucas suffered a torn ligament, broken teeth, and road rash. He’s recovering and is expected to be fine. His human partner spent the night in the hospital and has also recovered. The ambushers have not been caught and the motive for the attack is unknown.
How do you feel about danglers? Let us know in the comments.
Florida-based mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter writes sweet, clean fiction that is suitable for everyone in your family. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit HLCarpenter.com to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.
Connect with HL Carpenter