Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category
Seriously, though, writing, and especially fiction, is a lot like life…with both up’s and down’s. But this article is more about the “down’s,” so let’s look at that.
As an author, we’ve worked hard on creating our masterpiece. At least, I know I have, especially when I learned being talented was not enough. I read books on creating a Blockbuster novel, attend several fine writers’ conferences, where there were more good classes, about the entire spectrum of being an author, than I could possibly attend. I’d written four novels and was focused on getting my first, Trapped, as good as I could make it, and eventually published. I learned a lot about what makes good writing, and am amazed at how many people who strive to be authors just don’t do the work to develop their craft.
Anyhow, the only thing remotely “bad” about any of the above, was the time and effort it took to really polish my skills…and that really wasn’t so bad, after all. Some of the “bad” are things all authors experience…and have come to expect:
What’s really bad about rejection isn’t so much that this agent or that editor didn’t think your work was for them. It’s that you’ve slaved over the perfect query letter, after consuming a plethora of articles from those same agents/editors on how to do it right…how to create that compelling hook. And then you read their web site and write a personalized letter, showing them you know who they are and what they like. And then the rejection comes in your dutifully supplied SASE: “Dear Author (NOT personalized), Thanks for thinking of me. Unfortunately, this is not for us (Despite being right in the strike zone of what they say they love). Perhaps you will have better success with someone else.”
The frustration is that you went through a lot of effort to show them you MAY BE right for them, and they send the generic form letter. You know in your heart they probably never even looked at your submission. Agents admit they look for the tiniest things in the query to summarily reject you. Surely they are swamped with queries, but their cavalier dismissal of you treasure is very disheartening. How many great authors were nearly buried with rejections. Gresham, Louis L’amore (350 times – America’s premier western author, whom wrote classics, like “How the West was Won”, “Hondo,” & “Conager.”), and J.K. Rowlings are a few.
Another “bad” thing can be contests. Contests have great potential for the new author. I’ve entered several, and in fact my novel, Trapped, is published by TAG Publishers because I won their “Next Great American Novel” Contest. Trapped was also a finalist in the Florida Writers annual RPLA fiction contest, with over 300 entrants. And the “rub” here come from inconsistent judging. To qualify as a finalist in the RPLA, the novel has to receive a total of 80 or more points, out of a possible 100, based on two preliminary judges evaluation of 10 different criteria, 1 – 5 points for each. Trapped received a total of 48 from one judge and 46 from the other, both very complimentary of character development, scenes, and the 1st person POV throughout of my main character, Jackee. The latter was at the suggestion of Dee Burks, editor at TAG Publishers. Every chapter was from the POV of Jackee, and whatever happened away from her had to be learned by what she saw and what she heard.
Unfortunately, the finalist judge didn’t like all the things the two prelim judges loved, and he/she especially wanted scenes with the other characters’ POVs. So, of course, Trapped, did not win the RPLA in 2012. It’s interesting, however, that readers unanimously say they can’t put it down, and I attribute that partly to the 1st person POV. I’ve had two of my other novels also as finalists in the RPLA, with almost identical results. High marks in prelims, but the finalist judge going another way. That, as I like to say, is why they make “chocolate, vanilla and 39 other flavours.”
So, I guess the recap for “The bad side of being an author,” can be condensed into possibly one word: FRUSTRATION. Frustration with the entire judgement system that tends to keep new, very talented authors off the market.
Of course, now we have e-books, and anyone with a bit of computer skill can publish their tome. And unfortunately, self-published e-books (and print, as well, from all the POD companies, many of whom make their money mostly from the authors…not book sales) have come to be thought of as inferior… largely due to all those authors I mentioned earlier who aren’t willing to put in the work to become really good writers. There is, admittedly, a lot of junk out there. Hopefully, readers are able to sift out the nuggets and discard the chaff. That’s just one more potential frustration.
In spite of the above, I keep plugging. And it’s great to finally get the laudatory validation I’ve received for my work.
So maybe it’s all worth it, after all.
The darkness is still, silent. Jackee Maren’s heart pounds reverberating through her body as fear sears her veins. Someone’s coming. No way out. This time they will kill me. Her breath is short, her chest burns. Must run. Faster. Faster! Her eyes fly open, her heart still racing with blinding fear. Jackee breathes deeply with relief and stares at the ceiling desperately trying to calm herself. The same dream. Something, someone is watching . . . and waiting.
A tragic car accident leaves beautiful, vibrant Jackee Maren completely paralyzed, able to move only her eyes. Jackee’s husband, Phil, is devastated and her two young boys left with nothing but a shell for a mother, but still, Jackee senses the foreboding of an evil presence and knows time is short. Slowly, Jackee learns to communicate with her physical therapist, Kevin, by blinking her eyes. As evidence comes to light that her car accident was no accident, Jackee knows she must expose the person who wants her dead before they get a second chance. While Jackee works to put all the clues together, she discovers she has the ability to sense the thoughts of others, but she hides this talent from everyone but her sons, not knowing who she can trust. By actively exercising her new psychic ability, Jackee finally learns who masterminded the accident but feels helpless to stop them from trying to kill her again. Slowly a plan forms to not only ensure her boys are safe forever, but to exact revenge on her would-be murderer. Jackee vows not to rest until this killer understands what it is to be TRAPPED!
BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWHMGC-QHK8
I was born and raised in Chicago and its suburbs, living there until the age of 39. I’m now a retired corporate President, life-long fishing enthusiast, and a dedicated author. As is my nature, I’ve worked hard to improve my writing craft, and have produced 3 award-winnning novels, as finalist and/or winners of several large writing contests. I’ve also become a world-class fly-fisherman and am an expert in fly-fishing for pike & musky, and wrote a book on that, as well.
I now live in sunny Florida, and split my time between writing, fishing & fine cabinet making, but my greatest love is creating riviting fiction. TRAPPED is my first novel.
All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Kathryn+Meyer+Griffith
Now, first off, let me say, that by no means, am I or have I ever been a…witch. Nothing against Wicca but I’m just not one. I have no magical powers or cannot foresee the future. Nada.
I have seen a ghost, though. Right after my Great Aunt Mary passed away, the night before her burial, I saw her ghost in my parent’s hallway (I was sixteen and still at home) and, let me tell you, it scared the bejesus out of me. But she was just looking for my grandmother, whom she’d lived the last ten years of her life with, and I knew she meant me no harm. It was still a shock. She appeared in a ghostly halo of mist at the end of the hallway beckoning me…in German. I couldn’t spell German but I got the idea. She was lost, didn’t know she was dead and was looking for my grandmother, whom she’d loved so much in life. I ran, hid in my bed and pretended it’d never happened. Hey, but I know it did.
I have, though, always loved the eerie, the unexplained. The spooky. Horror.
Anyway, we’re talking about my book Witches-Revised Author’s Edition.
In 1991 I’d already been writing for about twenty years, on and off (though there was a long gap where I didn’t write because of a divorce, the finding of a full time job to support myself and my son, and a remarriage…life) when I contracted my fourth novel, my first of four to Zebra paperbacks, a romantic horror called Vampire Blood, about a family of vampires who ran a movie theater in a small town. I’d already had a fifth novel, The Last Vampire, completed and in with them when they asked me for another novel.
Got anything about witches, they asked. Witches are hot right now. Hmmm.
For many years I’d played around with an idea about a present day white witch who finds a diary of a long dead witch – either good or bad, I hadn’t decided – in her old house’s attic, or basement, or under a floorboard. The story would have been about the good witch reliving the other dead witch’s life through the diary. I’d always called that possible book Rachel’s Diary in my head.
So in 1991 or 1992 I began the witch book and it quickly metamorphosed into a story of a present day good witch, Amanda Givens, who’s yanked into a perilous seventeenth century past by an evil witch, Rachel Coxe, to take her place…and die a horrible death as an accused witch. I had the idea then to actually send Amanda into the past to live (for a while) the other witch’s life. Of course, being a good witch, Amanda, changes the other witch’s unsavory reputation but still ends up in a prison waiting to die for Rachel’s earlier crimes. The story, simply put, would be how Amanda overcomes her trials and tribulations, finds her lost eternal love again in the past, and finds a way to return to the present alive. In the process, learning some important life lessons about accepting what life has dealt her and the value of sisters, friendships and the love of those around her. Or good versus evil and, in the end, good wins and is rewarded. I also threw in a few touches of humor in the form of three precocious witches’ familiars…a mind-reading and speaking cat called Amadeus, a mouse, Tituba, and a tiny bat, Gibbiewackett …all with feisty personalities and quirks of their own.
I was excited about the book as I was writing it and when it was done, pleased with it, but had no idea that over the years it’d become the jewel of my writing career and the book that my fans would love the best of all my books. I loved the cat face cover Zebra did for it (a rare occurrence as I’d learned the hard way that covers weren’t always what I’d envisioned and in the early days I had no choice but to accept whatever the publisher’s gave me…and some weren’t so hot, let me tell you!).
Witches came out in 1993 and did well. I noticed soon after as I went on to publish other books that I got the most response and admiration for it. Readers loved the three sisters, Amadeus and Amanda, Gibbiewackett and Tituba. In those days I was too busy working full time as a graphic artist, living my life and writing new books to notice. It went into a second printing in 2000 and after that, sadly, went out of print. But my fans never forgot it. I’d find comments on it and discussions on the Internet…even customer reviews raving about it years and years later. I tried talking Zebra into reissuing it but after Zebra and I parted ways there was no talking them into it.
Then in 2010 when Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, the publisher, Kim Richards, asked about all (there was 7 at the time) my out-of-print Zebra and Leisure backlist novels and if I’d like to have them reissued as new paperbacks and, for the first time ever, in e-books. Sure, that’d be great! I told her. And, as they say, the rest is history. Between June 2010 and June 2012 all 7 of them (and now another 3 of my Wild Rose Press novels and two short stories from 2007) updated, rewritten and with stunning new covers will be out again. All in e-books for the first time.
Of course, that’s meant a heck of a lot of rewriting. A lot of work. Those early novels go back twenty-seven years and were first written in the days of snail mail and on an electric typewriter before the Internet, e-mails and Windows Track Changes (for editing). Oh, boy, did they need revising. As of today I can happily say they’re all rewritten now except the very first one, Evil Stalks the Night, 1984; yet even that one will be completed soon.
I’ve often been asked what I think of e-books and I have to say it feels strange, all these years later, to be so into them. I think it’s fantastic to be able to put thousands of books on one little lightweight hand-held contraption and sell them as inexpensively as we do. I started publishing e-books four years ago and have seen such great changes in even that short a time. I love the editing process now. With Track Changes it’s truly a collaborative effort between the editor and the writer and it’s taught me far more about the craft of writing than the old way of just sending off the manuscript, being asked to change certain things, but then never seeing any of those changes or the basic edits until the book was printed and in my hand. Now, no more pages added by an editor (That actually happened in Evil Stalks the Night. The editor, who I never met, added three pages of his own and I didn’t even know about it until I held the book in my hand. And the three pages didn’t make sense…ech!) that I never know about or see until the book comes out. Yeah.
With a chuckle I recall a writer’s convention I attended in 1990 – yes, that far back – and the main topic back then was…OMG the electronic books are coming! They’re going to make us authors obsolete! Print books are going to die a terrible lonely death…etc., etc. Lack and alas, what are we going to do? Ha, ha. It’s ironic that 21 years later I’m in love with e-books. They’re the future. And I think there’ll always be room for print books as well as electronic ones.
So Witches…(Damnation Books) was rereleased 2011. I’m thrilled. The cover is still of Amadeus, the cat, and Dawne Dominique did an amazing job on it. My editor, Alison O’Byrne, helped me make it a better book than eighteen years ago. Of all my novels, I’m most proud of it. It’s held up pretty well. I hope it finds many more readers and fans.
So that’s the story of Witches…the little book that wouldn’t die.
Thank you! E-mail me at email@example.com
Kathryn Meyer Griffith has had fourteen novels and seven short stories published since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, and now Damnation Books and Eternal Press. Her novels have been in the genres of paranormal romance, horror, romantic horror, time travel, romance, suspense, and murder mysteries. Her books: Evil Stalks the Night (1984); The Heart of the Rose (1985); Blood Forge (1989); Vampire Blood (1991); The Last Vampire (1992); Witches (1993); The Nameless One (erotic horror short story 1993); The Calling (1994); Scraps of Paper (2003); All Things Slip Away (2006); Egyptian Heart (2007); Winter’s Journey (2008); The Ice Bridge (2008); Don’t Look Back, Agnes (ghostly short story 2008); In This House (ghostly short story 2008); BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (2010); The Woman in Crimson (2010); Always & Forever (erotic contemporary short story 2011). All in paperback – and in e-books for the first time ever – from Damnation Books and Eternal Press. Look for them. Along with her new book, Dinosaur Lake and four SPOOKY SHORT STORIES from Amazon Kindle Direct.
Note from the author:
The Goodread’s Paranormal and Horror Lovers BOOK OF THE MONTH is now up for voting BUT JUST UNTIL OCTOBER 5! PLEASE vote for my EVIL STALKS THE NIGHT-Revised Author’s Edition. I would so appreciate it. VOTE HERE:
Warmly, author of 16 novels, 2 novellas and twelve short stories, Kathryn Meyer Griffith firstname.lastname@example.org
Evil Stalks the Night-Revised Author’s Edition is special to me for many reasons. It was my first published novel in 1984 and as it comes out again on June 1, 2012, rereleased from Damnation Books for the first time in nearly thirty years, it’ll bring my over forty year writing career full circle. With its publication all fourteen, and one novella, of my old books will be out again for the first time in decades. Sure, it’s been a grueling, tedious two-and- a-half year job rewriting and editing these new versions but I’m thrilled it’s over. I have my babies reborn and out in the world again…and all in e books for the first time ever. Now, perfectionist that I am, I can finally move forward and write new stories.
That first book was The Heart of the Rose. I began writing it after my only child, James, was born in late 1971. I was staying home with him, no longer going to college, not yet working full time, and was bored out of my skin. I read an historical romance one day I believed was horrible and thought I can do better than that!
So I got out my borrowed typewriter with the keys that stuck, my bottles of White-Out, carbon paper for copies, and started clicking away. I’d tentatively called that first book King’s Witch because it was about a 15th century healer who was falsely believed to be a witch but who was loved by Edward the Fourth. At the library, no computers or Internet back then, I did tedious research into that time in English history: the War of the Roses, the poverty, the civil and political strife between the Red (Lancasters) and White Rose (Yorks); the infamous Earl of Warwick and Edward the Fourth. Edward’s brother Richard the Third. A real saga. Well, all that was big back then. I was way out of my league, though. Didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I just wrote page after page, emotions high believing I could create a whole book. So naïve of me. Reading that old version now (a 1985 Leisure Books paperback) I have to laugh. Ironically, like that historical novel I’d thought in 1971 was so bad, it was pretty awful. That archaic language I’d used–all the rage back in the 80’s–sounds so stilted now. Yikes! Yet people, mainly women, had loved it.
And so my writing career began. Over 40 years ago now. Oh my goodness, where has the time gone? Flown away like some wild bird. It took me 12 years to get that first book published as I got sidetracked with a divorce, raising a son, getting a real job and finding the true love of my life and marrying him. Life, as it always seemed to do and still does, got in the way. The manuscript was tossed into a drawer and forgotten for a time.
Then years later I rediscovered it and decided to rewrite it; try again. I bundled up the revised pile of printed copy pages, tucked it into an empty copy paper box and took it to the Post Office. Plastered it with stamps. I sent it everywhere The Writer’s Market of that year said I could. And waited. Months and months and months. In those days it could take up to a year or more to sell a novel, shipping it here and there to publishers, in between revising and rewriting to please any editor that’d make suggestions or comments on how it could be better. Snail mail took forever, too, and was expensive. But eventually, as you shall see, it sold.
Now to Evil Stalks the Night.
In the meantime, as I waited for the mail, I’d written another book. Kind of a fictionalized look back at my childhood in a large (6 brothers and sisters) poor but loving family in the 1950’s and 60’s. I started sending that one out as well. Then one day an editor suggested that since my writing had such a spooky ambiance to it anyway, why didn’t I just turn the story into a horror novel…like Stephen King was doing? Ordinary people under supernatural circumstances. A book like that would sell easily, she said.
Hmmm. Well, it was worth a try, so I added something scary in the woods in the main character’s childhood past that she had to return to and face in her adult life, using some of my childhood and my young adult life–my heartbreaking divorce, raising my young son alone, my new love–as hers. It was more of a romantic horror when I’d finished, than a horror novel. I retitled it Evil Stalks the Night and began sending it out. That editor was right, it sold quickly to a mass market paperback publisher called Towers Publishing.
But right in the middle of editing Towers went bankrupt and was bought out by another publisher! What terrible luck, I remember brooding. The book was lost somewhere in the stacks of unedited slush in a company undergoing massive changes as the new publisher took over. I had a contract, didn’t know what to do and didn’t know how to break it. Heaven knows, I couldn’t afford a lawyer. My life with a new husband, my son and my minimum-wage assistant billing job was one step above poverty at times. In those days, too, I was so clueless how to deal with the publishing industry.
That was 1983, but luckily that take-over publisher was Leisure Books, now also known as Dorchester Publishing. A publisher that quickly became huge. Talk about karma.
As often as has happened to me over my writing career, though, fate stepped in and the Tower’s editor, before she left, who’d bought my book told one of Leisure’s editors about it and asked her to give it a read. She believed in it that much.
Out of the blue, in 1984, when I’d completely given up on Evil Stalks the Night, Leisure Books sent me a letter offering to buy it! Then, miracle of miracles, my new editor asked if I had any other ideas or books she could look at. I sent her The Heart of the Rose and, liking it, too, she also bought it in 1985; asking me to sex it up some, so they could release it as an historical bodice-ripper (remember those…the sexy knockoffs of Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Woodiwiss’s provocative novels?). It wasn’t a lot of money. A thousand dollar advance each and only 4% royalties on the paperbacks. But in those days the publishers had a huge distribution and thousands and thousands of the paperbacks were printed, sent to bookstores and warehoused. So 4% of all those books over the next couple of years did add up.
Thus my career began. I slowly, and like-pulling-teeth, sold ten more novels and various short stories over the next 25 years–as I was working full time, raising a family and living my hard-scramble life. Some did well, my Leisure and Zebra paperbacks, and some didn’t. Most of them, over the years, eventually went out of print.
And twenty-seven years later, when publisher Kim Richards Gilchrist at Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons, an apocalyptic end-of-days-novel, and The Woman in Crimson, a vampire book, she asked if I’d like to rerelease (with new covers and rewritten, of course–and all in ebooks for the first time ever) my 7 out-of-print paperbacks, including Evil Stalks the Night–I gave her a resounding yes!
Of course, I had to totally rewrite Evil Stalks the Night for the resurrected edition, as well as my other early novels, because I discovered my writing when I was twenty-something had been immature and unpolished; and not having a computer and the Internet had made the original writing so much harder. Also in those days, editors told an author what to change and the writer only saw the manuscript once to final proof it. There were so many mistakes in those early books. Typos. Grammar. Lost plot and detail threads. In the rewrite I also decided to keep the time frame (1960-1984) the same. The book’s essence would have lost too much if I’d updated it.
As I finished the final editing I couldn’t help but reminisce about all the life changes I’ve had since I’d first began writing it so many years ago. Though it was actually published in 1984, I’d started writing it many years before; closer to 1978 or 1979. I’m as old as my Grandmother Fehrt, my mother’s mother and who the grandmother in the story was loosely based on, was back then. While I was first writing it so long ago, I was a young married woman with a small child holding down my first real job and trying to do it all. Now…my Grandmother, mother and father have all passed to the other side. Many other family and friends I’ve left behind, too. I miss them all, especially my mom and dad. It’s strange how revising my old books reminded me of certain times of my life. Some of the memories I hid from and some of them made me laugh or cry. This book, though, is the most autobiographical of all my novels as it contains details of my childhood, my devastating divorce, and what my life was like when I first met my second husband, Russell, who’s turned out to be my true love. We’ve been happily married for thirty-four years and counting. Ah, but how quickly the years have clicked by. Too quickly. I want to reach out, at times, and stop time. I want more. I have so much more life to live and many more stories to write.
So Evil Stalks the Night-Revised Author’s Edition (http://damnationbooks.com/people.php?author=79 ) republished by Damnation Books/Eternal Press will be out again for the first time in nearly thirty years on June 1, 2012, and I hope it’s a better book than it was in 1984. It should be…I’ve had over thirty more years of life and experiences to help make it so.
Written this 1st day of June, 2012 by the author Kathryn Meyer Griffith
A writer for over 40 years I’ve had 14 novels, 1 novella and 7 short stories published with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, the Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press since 1984. And my romantic end-of-the-world horror novel THE LAST VAMPIRE-Revised Author’s Edition was a 2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS FINALIST NOMINEE.
My books(all out again from Damnation Books http://damnationbooks.com/people.php?author=79 and Eternal Press http://www.eternalpress.biz/people.php?author=422): Evil Stalks the Night, The Heart of the Rose, Blood Forge, Vampire Blood, The Last Vampire, Witches, The Nameless One short story, The Calling, Scraps of Paper, All Things Slip Away, Egyptian Heart, Winter’s Journey, The Ice Bridge, Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella, In This House short story, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons, The Woman in Crimson, The Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction) ***
You can keep up with me on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1019954486, my Author’s Den www.authorsden.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or my My Space www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith
From the stories of Hades and the Underworld to Persephone and Zeus.
Thousands of years ago brilliant minds like Homer and Plutarch told and wrote the tales of characters like Zeus, Hades and Persephone. The stories ranged in theme, moral and purpose, but had such far-reaching, universal appeal, many of the motifs can still be found in the literary works of today. At its core, mythology served as a way for humans to analyze both themselves and life as a whole—something people still do—either independently or in classes— to this day.
Humans seem to have this innate desire to make sense of their existence and the world around them, and that is reflected in the arts such as writing, music and dance. That being said, it comes as no surprise to me that several contemporary teen fiction/young adult novels mirror these thoughts and ideals. Below are just some titles to consider if you are looking for some added mythological context. Many of them use the myths and characters in modern settings, which eloquently displays their timeless relevance.
Centered around middle-schooler Iris Greenworld, this book by Sarah Deming puts ancient Greek gods and goddesses like Dionysus, Aphrodite and more in modern day Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Throughout the novel, Iris learns some lessons in self-confidence and strength, while also instilling some morals of her own onto the gods and goddesses. She also learns of various myths. It’s a great take on a traditional coming of age novel as it has an element of escapism I think many adolescents crave, while giving a cool, relevant history/culture lesson all at the same time.
Overall, it’s a story about self-discovery, which, if you think about it, is all the myths really were to begin with. Trying tales of a species trying to make sense of its existence.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Really any book in this series is a great example of the juxtaposition of the modern world and ancient characters from myths of the past—this one just happens to be my favorite. Taking place in New York, the story centers on Percy Jackson—a demigod who is just 12 years old. The ever-present reminders that they are, in fact, in modern times, such as the presence of magical sneakers and references to a Las Vegas Casino, help the reader connect to what might otherwise be a foreign, unrelatable topic.
It keeps readers grounded in reality, while giving them just enough room to slip into the fantasy realm. Overall, just like the other works mentioned, it helps remind people that no matter how far we’ve come as a species, the human experience will remain the same—same hopes, fears, dreams and emotions curse through us as they did through the people around during the heyday of these myths.
Authored by Tera Lynn Childs, this book examines the life of Phoebe, a high-schooler with dreams of attending USC. When a strange, unexpected turn of events places her on a secret island in Greece, amongst peers who have god-like superpowers, she is forced to find her inner strength in order to persevere. Along the way, she is faced with her fair-share of distractions, because after all, everyone has their own “Achilles heel.”
That is perhaps the biggest take-away from this book, that regardless of era or culture, people are imperfect and must rely on a sense of self and willpower to succeed.
Psyche in a Dress
Call me bias, but this book just might be my favorite on the list. It follows the life of Psyche—a young woman struggling to find her identity. I find it so compelling, because it gets right down to the fact that the struggle of self-acceptance is far from a new concept. It is an age-old dilemma that, women especially, struggle with.
All about lost love, and loving one’s self, this is a great read for anyone trying to have faith in themselves as an individual.
Written by Esther Friesner, this story recounts the tale of Helen of Troy—only this time from a different perspective. Although unlike the other books listed this novel does not take place in particularly “modern times” its approach is definitely contemporary as it allows the reader to hear and connect with Helen’s inner feminist. Unlike the traditional tale where Helen is seen as an object, she is given real personality and character here. She’s an individual with her own thoughts and feelings and girls everywhere can connect with her.
This is a must-read for anyone who can relate to the feeling of being ignored and overlooked—a timeless emotion far too many people experience….
So, whether you’re studying it for a class, or just interested in it yourself, you might consider reading one of these books. They offer new, fresh perspective on age-old tales we’ve all heard.
Patricia Garza is a freelance blogger and education writer that can offer suggestions on anything from choosing between accredited online colleges to picking a major. She welcomes your comments below.
Posted in Articles, Crime/Detective, Paranormal, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Virtual Book Tour Guests, tagged Animals, Cops, detective, Humorous, Paranormal, Psychic, Romance on September 5, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
I was a late bloomer and didn’t start my love of reading until I was in my twenties and then I couldn’t get enough of the wonderfully, smutty Harlequin books.
I’ve worked in the government sector for fifteen years and always dreamed of having a job that I could work from home. This crazy idea came to me one night, after reading a particularly sizzling romance. Why not try my hand at writing one? So, out of the blue I told my husband I was going to write a Harlequin novel. He said, “Okay.”
I figured I’d read enough of them, I could write one—no problem. Eight thousand words later; I realized it was harder than I thought. I also realized, I wasn’t writing what I was most comfortable with—animals.
I put my Harlequin attempt on the back burner and started writing “The Boss from Hell”. My boss, who I adored, had been fired and his replacement was a living-terror. It was really easy to come up with material to write about and of course I threw in a bunch of romance and of course animals. Ninety thousand words later I was still optimistic that I could write for a living, but I’d need a lot of support, my cat couldn’t give me. The support came in the form of Romance Writers of America and all the people involved in the local chapter.
Several of the members of my local chapter read my book and made numerous suggestions, one of them came from an independent publisher—Books to Go Now. She told me to put the novel aside for now and try my hand at a short story. That’s where I incorporated the paranormal aspect to my writing and it really clicked for me.
I submitted ‘Flamingo Blues’, as a Christmas short story to Books to Go Now and I was offered my first contract. ‘Be Mine’, a Valentine short story, is book two of ‘The Corny Meyers Series’ and in addition to a contract, I won the holiday contest too. Woo hoo! Klutzy Love is book three of ‘The Corny Myers Series’, which was released August 2012.
I’ve been a jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none, my whole life. I’ve worked in restaurants, weight loss centers, worked in a fish cannery and even worked in a top salon in Seattle, but none of that was as satisfying as seeing my own words in print. That’s why I write….
About Klutzy Love blurb:
Corny is a hot chick with a great job that she loves. All that changed in the blink of an eye when her boss had an accident involving an oversized rubber band. She’s still a hot chick, but her boss is dead.
Steve Spears is a seasoned narcotics cop who ends up wanting to strangle Corny on a regular basis. After finding out Corny’s dream of opening a pet detective business, he decides he doesn’t want a girlfriend who routinely puts herself in danger. That’s his job!
Corny misses Steve, but she’s getting on with her life. She decides to get a month’s worth of dating out of the way in a single night, by combining her three favorite things—men, food, and alcohol.
Steve’s big gun and cop’s intuition saves Corny’s life, but not from another trip to the emergency room. He makes Corny promise never to get hurt again—she agreed, but has her fingers crossed behind her back.
She loves romance. Loves reading romance, living romance, and especially loves writing about romance. She gets no greater feeling than watching her characters come alive in each other’s arms. Most of all, she loves giving her characters the happily ever after they deserve—with a few bumps and bruises along the way.
One of her favorite things to do is picking up a new book and sinking into the story, immersing herself in the emotions between the characters. She hopes to inspire her readers the same way her favorite authors have inspired her.
When not writing, she can usually be found either curled up in her recliner with her cat and a good book, or in the kitchen baking sourdough bread or bagels.
My website: http://www.sharonkleve.com/
My blog: http://www.sharonkleve.com/blog.html
You know what I hate about writing? Getting stuck. I have all this wonderful stuff in my head. All these great story lines and characters and places I want them to go, and they just refuse to move. They stand there, staring at each other like dummies. Why does your brain do that? Why do you just get overwhelmed and not able to move?
On the other hand, I hate it equally as much when there is nothing. Absolutely nothing. Where I just sit there, looking at the last thing I wrote and wondering where the heck I was going with that idea. Those are the times where you just want to delete everything and start over. Don’t do that! Whatever you do, don’t start editing now! Wait until your story is finished. I can’ tell you how many times I have fought the urge to cut out something only to come back days or months later and realize just how much it added!
I know when you are stuck there is a big part of you that just want to give up. Get up and take a walk or watch a movie or even check your Facebook. When you are burnt out, taking a break is a good idea. However, sometimes you just need to force yourself to start writing. Starting is always the hardest part.
I know it sounds foolish, but sometimes I just start writing stream of consciousness. Things like ‘I don’t want to write today’ and ‘I am so bored’ or ‘This is not going to help’. But it does help. It gets my fingers moving and my brain on the right track.
Other times, when I have too much going on, I take the time to write it all down at once; just a splurge of words on the page, disjointed and chaotic. But it helps me to get it out and makes me feel like I can stop remembering everything because it is written down somewhere.
This is the same reason I have started carrying a notepad with me everywhere I go. When I get a great idea, I write it down. That way I don’t forget or stress myself out trying to remember until I get home. Even a couple jotted down words can remind you of a whole story line you might have forgotten about. I know I’ve had inspiration form dreams that had I not written it down I would have never remembered even an hour later.
Inspiration can hit any time, and so can writer’s block. Getting over writer’s block is sometimes just as simple as writing something, anything. So, the next time you feel stuck and out of ideas, or overwhelmed by them, take a minute to just free write. You may be surprised at how much it really helps.
By the way, don’t fret about spelling, grammar, etc. You can always fix it later. If you focus too much on the details, you will lose your flow.
Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to summer nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.
Dealing with a case of writer’s block often feels worse than suffering from the seasonal flu. Fortunately for most of us, we’re able to get through the creative sickness on our own and eventually find our way back over to the creative side of things. Yes, even the greatest writers have trouble finding the right words to say from time to time, but when writer’s block grows into an infectious plague and terrorizes ever word we try to pen, that’s when things get much more serious. How can we work to become successful writers if we can’t find the right words to say?
Authors, journalists, and bloggers often suffer from writer’s block. Writing something new each and every day can feel like a tremendous weight to carry, especially when your career depends upon it. When we’re required to be creative all the time, the pressure and anxiety can build up so much that it becomes impossible to bear. So when writer’s block takes hold, what’s a writer to do? Well, the good news is that there are always ways to work and navigate through a nasty case of writer’s block. Sometimes all it takes is a few resources to help make us well again. Whenever you catch a nasty case of writer’s block, here are four reliable medicines you can utilize.
Turning towards the inspiring works of art that made you want to become a writer in the first place often brings you back to those initial moments of inspiration you felt about writing. If you’re ever unsure of the right words to say, read through your favorite books and stop on the lines that tug at your creative soul and re-read them over and over again. Believe it or not, you’re planting a seed for creativity by doing this. No, you don’t have to read through every book on your bookshelf to make it work, but reading the authors you admire most will sometimes awaken a creative bone in your body you forgot you had.
Whenever we’re uptight and tense, often the best thing to do is walk away from the situation that is causing us stress. No, I’m not saying you should abandon your work entirely, but if you’re absolutely stumped and unsure of the words to say, that’s your brain’s way of signaling to you that you need to give yourself a break. If you aren’t focused on the task at hand, your work is inevitably going to suffer. Taking a short nap is a great way to give your mind a break. For just an hour or so, allow your brain escape, relax, and contemplate the thoughts racing through its pathways. By the time you wake up calm and relaxed, you’ll be able to come up with the right words to say.
Being cooped up inside in front of a computer all day isn’t good for nurturing a creative mind. Should you find yourself in the middle of a sentence unable to type one more word, stop what you’re doing, put on a pair of walking shoes, and go outside and behold the world around you. Humans are meant to walk around and experience nature, and some of the greatest writers of our time – including Mark Twain and Henry David Thoreau – wrote about the profound inspirations and influences of nature. Indeed, catching some rays of sun will likely warm your creativity right back up to where it’s supposed to be.
When I’m absolutely stumped at a creative crossroads, I’ll call upon fellow writer friends and trusted colleagues to help me out. After reading my work, they’ll sometimes suggest a minor change in the structure, phrasing, or organization of my work, and like magic, I’ll be able to get myself right back on track. Having someone else look over your work helps bring a strong sense of clarity and perspective to your writing, which inevitably helps you navigate right out of that writer’s block.
We all feel at a loss for words at some points in our life. As long as it only occurs every once in a while, writer’s block is something we should be able to navigate through with a little time and a lot of patience. Should you find yourself a creative standstill, however, perhaps you should reach for one of these four reliable medicines.
Maria Rainer is a freelancer blogger who believes that online learning is at the cutting edge of higher education. In her mind, the online degree path is an ideal one for students who want an education that fits the needs of a web-centric society. Please write her some comments!
Leland studied Creative Writing and Ethnic Studies at San FranciscoStateUniversity where he discovered the enormous possibilities of poetry, experimentation, and critical theory. He eventually earned an MFA in Writing from ColumbiaUniversity on a merit fellowship. He has published fiction in Open City, Fence, Dark Sky Magazine, Drunken Boat, and Monkey Bicycle, among other literary journals. He is also the project director for an upcoming literary event series, Phantasmagoria: Language and Technology of Suffering, for which he received fiscal sponsorship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
About the book:
Is Epstein a despicable man?
He’s certainly trying desperately at something. When his wife disappears he’s frantic to talk to his daughter. But what can he tell her? There must be a reason and he’s all but sure about the gruesome answer. Can he protect Sylvia from the truth, from her terrible lineage and, ultimately, from himself?
Off-beat and sordid, The Blood Poetry is a twisted, yet honest look at our desire to connect with others and the ways in which we are often stymied by our own efforts to get closer. Epstein is a curious mix of monster and romantic struggling to maintain a shred of dignity in his dingy, beat down world.
What was your inspiration for The Blood Poetry?
The title of my novel, The Blood Poetry, came to me quite a while after I finished several drafts. I plucked the title from a line in the novel where an evangelical preacher of a church led by conjoined-twins who date back to the Civil War, refers to his sermon as “blood poetry.” That seemed very fitting to me as a title. The novel literally and symbolically revolves around “blood”—as nutrients for the undead characters; the blood of explicit and implicit violence; and, perhaps most importantly, blood as the central metaphor for “family and lineage” which, for the main character, is the source of his suffering. Also, as a fiction writer and reader, I’m very drawn to voice and adroit uses of language—not simply lyricism, but the odd ways one can craft language to demonstrate a character’s state of mind; the manipulation of cadence and tempo to convey tension rather than relying on plot; and, when it comes down to it, I like reading other writers who invent bizarre ways of narrating because it feels like I’m being invited into a really strange and, maybe, dangerous place.
Tell us something about your hero and/or heroine that my readers won’t be able to resist.
I don’t think there are any true heroes in my book. The protagonist ultimately transforms into an “anti-hero.” He’s our narrator, our vehicle into the novel’s world, and the character with whom a reader may feel very conflicted empathizing. I hope he’s more complicated than simply being despicable—he is, in fact, empathetic, too; pretty funny, vulnerable, and victimized; and really does have a sincere interest in the wellbeing of his daughter, Sylvia. The question is: Can he overcome all the uglier elements of his personality?
Is there a villain or villainess in your story? Tell us about him/her.
Although I just described Epstein as an anti-hero, the villain that he reveals to us as the epitome of evil is Professor Applebaum—his mother’s boyfriend during Epstein’s childhood. Professor Applebaum—as a bloodsucker and stand-in for forces which terrify us most as children—transforms Epstein’s mother into “a monster.” He observes—and is complicit—in the suffering that Applebaum imposes on victims. Although our main character was a child during that time, the fact that he was complicit in the pain of other people devastates him. Epstein is not, at his core, an evil man.
Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
I think my favorite character in the book is the daughter, Sylvia. As the writer, I was able to develop a lot of empathy for her; plus, in the beginning, she’s very rambunctious and rebellious, morphs into someone who is more introspective, but still has a lot of verve. Sections which involved her were a lot of fun to write because I allowed myself the freedom of messing with the language, as well as mimicking her internal voice. She seems to be the smartest, most empathetic, and most humane character in the novel.
What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
I’m not totally sure, but I’ve always liked the opening. It begins immediately with Epstein sprinting toward Sylvia’s school—the set-up is tense, and I hope the language reflects that.
What do you love most about being an author?
I really, really like making things up—characters, worlds, and voices. And it’s always exhilarating to affect people who appreciate dark fiction in a meaningful, impactful way.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Thanks for still finding wonder in the world of words.
Author’s twitter: @lpitttsgonzalez
Author’s facebook: www.facebook.com/TheBloodPoetry
Link to excerpt: www.goodreads.com/book/show/15727062-the-blood-poetry
Link to purchase page: www.amazon.com/gp/product/1935738259
Link to book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheBloodPoetry2012