Welcome to April 2012!

In a few hours, the A to Z Challenge will start. Whooo hooo!!!

Welcome to all my new blogging buddies. To the old ones, welcome back.

Last year, I cruised through the challenge, hitting over a thousand blogs and finishing every single post on time.

This year, I went bonkers and entered a second blog as well. WHILE I have a countdown timer to the completion of my edits.

Yeah… every ticking second pokes at my heart.

But I digress.

Since I am so incredibly creative, I’m doing the A-Z of edits and revisions this year. Yep… I’m going to list every single thing I’ve learnt while editing and revising my first book. In alphabetical order.

Yep… this girl has some major ambitions…

Sadly, this will mean that I won’t be visiting back blog commentors until May, since I really really won’t have time. But I will follow back as close to immediately as I can.

If I’m scarce on your blog, please think of me and know that I’m missing you.

See you on the other side! X

How We Write

Hi all! Today’s the last GPF for the next four weeks, since arranging for guest posts that suit the A to Z Challenge would be too much of a pain. GPF will continue in May, however, and the first two Fridays are open. So if you want to become one of the illustrious people who post on my blog, please read this post and contact me so that we can arrange it.

In the mean time, I want to welcome one of my favorite and most talented blogging friends (and I know, because I critted his work recently), Allan from Publish or Perish. Thanks so much for taking the time to write this post, Al. 


How We Write

When I volunteered to write this post for Misha I thought to myself that I would knock something together in half an hour or so. I imagined I would write about something related to the creative process. That I would write about something like plot development, or characterisation, or perhaps editing.
Then Misha reminded me of the deadline she had for submitting this post. I realised that I had not thought about composing this post, let alone put finger to keyboard (I use pen and paper for almost nothing these days). The reason is of course like so many people today I am time poor. I suspect that most of us who write do so by snatching moments.

That fact made me think about how we find the time (let alone the mental space) to write. 

Writing seriously takes time. Be it poetry, non-fiction, biography, pulp or literary fiction completing works is time intensive. My best estimate for the time it took me to complete my first novel was the equivalent of six months full-time work. That does not include the time other people spent on it for me. 

That time was spread out over years. During that period I was working full time at a day job and being a parent, husband, etc, etc. This is something that is common to the vast majority of writers I know. Almost none of the writers I know (either in the real world or cyberspace) have had enough success to allow them to write professionally. 

I won’t fall into the trap of assuming things are necessarily rosy for that group. Writing as a career is going to have all sorts of its own pressures. 

So where am I going with this ramble? Time for writing. 

My first novel Veiled in Shadows took years to get from idea to print. Most of the time it did little more than languish. Then something changed. I changed jobs. I was working in the community sector in mental health and disabilities; I stayed in the sector but shifted to a program for homeless people. I was managing a set of programs that provided meals and other services (information, showers, laundry and a string of other things) in the heart of Melbourne. Most “soup kitchens” focus on the evening. Our focus was making sure people got breakfast. We started before dawn, so we closed early, my staff finished by 12:30 and I was usually out the door by 2:00 pm. What that meant was a few hours in the afternoon to myself.

Guess what I did?

Not hard was it? I usually spent that time writing, in mere months I finished off my first book (already mostly done). Then began on the second. 

Then I changed jobs again. I shifted out of the community sector into government. I am still in the homeless sector, but now I coordinate some state wide programs and provide policy advice. That left me a problem; I was going to lose my writing time. My commute time would double because I would be travelling in the rush and I would get home at the same time as the rest of the family.

Losing my writing time was not something I could bear. So I had to find a solution.

I switched from driving to catching the train.

So my commute has morphed into writing time. 

My WIP is still progressing (about 5-10 times quicker than my first book).

So the moral of my rather convoluted tale is one key to writing as a non-professional is to set aside time. Time to write. In my experience fifteen minutes set aside for writing on a daily basis makes all the difference. 

Maybe your active day (like mine does at the moment) begins before dawn and finishes only an hour or two before you hit the sack. But maybe your writing does not have to halt. Get creative with time. Perhaps there is something you can do differently to carve yourself a few minutes. I was lucky; I found a solution that gives me an hour or two each day. But it wouldn’t have happened if I had not taken the time to think about it.

Good luck!

Preparing for the crazy.

I might have mentioned this before, but I entered both my blogs into the A to Z Challenge. Because of that, I decided to take the next few days off to allow me to catch up on some blogs I still need to visit before I get impossibly far behind.

Friday will still be GPF, so feel free to stop by for that. I’ll probably still post once or twice this week, but I might not, since all craziness will be break out in Mishaland. So until Sunday, I bid you farewell.

X

How we write

Before I start, I’d like to thank Misha for hosting my post on her blog today.

Most of us are happy to talk about how we write and the methods we use – which room in the house, by hand or by computer, with or without music etc. And if you’re anywhere near as nosy as I am, you love to find these things out and compare notes. I’m not ashamed to admit that I am just as nosy when it comes to finding out about the way famous authors write.

So you can imagine my delight when I came across a number of quotes from some well-known writers as I was thinking about this post. Each one talks a little about what they do or how they write, or offers a little advice for the writer who just doesn’t know what to do next.

First of all, some straightforward advice from HG Wells: ‘I write as straight as I can, just as I walk as straight as I can, because that is the best way to get there.’ Starting at the beginning and working through to the end seems the most logical way to write, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out like that. And it’s easier said than done, sometimes, particularly when the words stop coming and writer’s block sets in.


What about inspiration and new material? PD James recommends that we draw upon our own lives. ‘Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other people. Nothing that happens to a writer – however happy, however tragic – is ever wasted.’ That’s where the small notebook in my bag comes in handy. You never know when you might visit a place or hear a snippet of conversation that you think is interesting, or perfect for a story. And you know you aren’t going to remember it when you get home…

‘Proceed slowly and take care.’ So said Annie Proulx, the writer of the short story on which Brokeback Mountain was based, and in saying that she’s clearly a woman after my own heart. There’s nothing better (in my opinion) than knowing who is going to say what when and where the story is going. Planning, planning, planning – for me that’s the key to easier writing.

For all you pantsers out there, I have the perfect quote from a great writer: ‘I have something in common with Doctor Who? I make it up as I go along, except I am better at it than they are.’ The person who said that? Terry Pratchett – a man with a fantastic sense of humour as well as an amazing imagination! Whether you enjoy reading his books or not, there’s no denying he is a very talented writer and for some people, spontaneous writing is the way to go.

You could try taking the same approach as Michael Moorcock who said: ‘Ignore all proferred rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say.’ I like the sound of this, particularly as I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like being told what to do very much! But on a serious note, why can’t we bend the rules? As writers, if we can’t create our own rules, who can?

And last but not least, we have the words of Joyce Carol Oates: ‘Keep a light, hopeful heart. But expect the worst.’ There’s nothing more I can say about this – it’s the best advice I have seen for dealing with the submission process, which is where we all end up when the hours of careful writing and editing are finished.

There is no one right way or wrong way to write. There may well be a right way for you, but you have to do a little trial and error to find that out. I tried making it up as I went along, but that turned out to be a big disaster. I know that, like in my life generally, I need to be organised when I write. I need to have the notebooks full of notes (I lovenotebooks, but that’s another story) and know exactly where I’m going. For other people, that’s a complete waste of time because they’ll just go and write something completely different anyway. You write in a way that suits you.

But that’s not to say you shouldn’t do your research into how others write. Keep being nosy. I know I will.

Which of these writers do you relate to the most? Or is there another writer that you identify with more?



Stacey Mitchell is a writer who lives in south Wales. She writes both fiction and non-fiction, and has an obsession with all things historical. Her bitesize biography of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven is being published by Collca in April or May this year.

 

 

Thanks so much for stopping by, Stacey. I’m looking for Guest Posters for the first two Friday’s of May. If you are interested in filling one of those slots, please check out this post and contact me. Have a great weekend everyone! X

Prepping for the A-Z Challenge

Hahahahahahaha… maybe the headline should be supposedly prepping for A-Z.

See… I entered both my blogs. I realized recently that trusting that I’ll just be churning out two posts a day six days a week for a month while adapting to office life

Sadly… I realized this the day before yesterday. So my time is running really low. And I still have to edit. And visit blogs… and… and… and…

Also, my body picked today to pick up a cold/flu virus, so I spent most of my day staring blankly at the computer screen.

Sigh.

I will not lose my handle on the situation, though. I’m just going to do my best to get control over the amount of hours in my day. And then I’m going to get some edits and blog posts done.

What about you? Joined the A to Z Challenge? How are the preparations going?

Opening Blog-tour

Hi all! Today I welcome Stephen Tremp to MFB. He’s here to tell us about exploding stars, black holes and Opening, his newly released novel.

Thanks for stopping by, Stephen.

Thank you Misha for hosting me on this, my final stop on the Grand OPENING Tour! I’m honored. I thought we would close things out with a bang, and what bigger bang can we imagine than an exploding star.

A Supernova: is an explosion of a massive supergiant star. It shines with the brightness of up to ten billion suns and is one of the most energetic explosions in the universe. Scientists believe supernovae happen in our Milky Way galaxy about once or twice a century. Supernovae are classified as a Type I Supernova or Type II supernova depending on the shape of their light curves and the nature of their spectra. In less than a second, a neutron star or a black hole is born. Supernovae explosions are not merely the death of a star. These massive explosions seed the universe with heavy elements (muy importante) that help to make up new stars, planets, and everything on earth, including you and me.

Black Hole: Any object whose escape velocity exceeds the speed of light. With each black hole there is a point of no return called the event horizon. Picture Niagara Falls. You see someone caught in the river heading toward the falls. If he is far enough away he can swim to the shore. But there is a point where the current is too strong and the swimmer cannot escape. He is going over no matter how much energy he expends to swim to the shore. This is similar to the Event Horizon of a black hole. Even light cannot escape a black hole. That’s what makes it black.

Fun Theories (no fun facts here as we have yet to actually observe a black hole): There are two types of black holes. Stellar Black Holes form from collapsed stars. It is possible for black holes to collide and form larger black holes. It is believed by many physicists and astronomers that super massive black holes, called Galactic Black Holes, reside at the center of each galaxy. These can be as large as hundreds of thousands to billions of solar masses.

Fun Theory: Physicists also believe there may be rogue black holes cruising (not stationary) around the universe. I hope one doesn’t cross our solar system. That would be a bad day for us.

Fun Theory: Some believe you can enter a Black Hole and emerge out the other side in another place and time. Black Hole = Time Machine. But in all probability, you would die before going through.

Fun Theory: Mini black holes are theoretically possible, but have yet to be created in a laboratory. At least, that the general public is aware of. Recently a lawsuit was brought against CERN for fear their research could bring about the end of the world, possibly by man-made mini-black holes. Thank again to Misha for hosting me today. And thank you all for supporting me on the Grand OPENING Tour. I could not have done this without you!

Insert Cheesy Self Promotion: Finally, tomorrow’s my birthday, or today, depending on which day you’re reading this. It’s March 22nd. If you feel so inspired to get me something, outside of a brand new 2012 souped-up turbo 3000 Wormhole with racing stripes, you can download either or both my books BREAKTHROUGH and OPENING at Amazon Kindle. At a buck ninety-nine each, you can’t beat it with a stick! They’re also available for download at SMASHWORDS Thanks again everyone. You’ve been great! Next up is the Grand OPENING Tour Roundup on Friday, then the A to Z Challenge. Remember to visit me at Breakthrough Blogs!

Interview with Amy Lunderman

Hi all! Today I’m welcoming Amy Lunderman to MFB. Amy’s been a constant cheerleader for me for over a year now, so I jumped at the chance to have her over for a nice girl to girl chat.

My Photo

M: Hey Amy, how about we start with the usual question: Tell us a little more about yourself? 

 
A: I’m a stay at home mom, to a very busy two year old daughter. I live in northern Rhode Island where the weather has more ups and downs than my toddler does, but I grew up in upstate NY so I’m used to it. I’ve been with my husband for almost eight years now and it still feels like we never have a dull moment! I’ve always had a passion for writing and I try to write whenever I have a free moment. If not writing or wrangling my daughter – I also enjoy reading, writing, having dance party with my toddler, watching TV and movies, You Tube, and status updates on Facebook. And if not doing any of THAT I can probably be found watching whatever is going on around me through the backs of my eyelids, because chances are I probably fell asleep on the couch! 🙂
 

M: So how many hours a day do you spend writing? Because you’re scary productive.

A: Honestly? Only about three to four, give or take, maybe a day. I usually snag an hour first thing in the morning before I have my coffee, this is when I have my best idea’s – my dreams are scary imaginative. When my daughter naps, I try to write for another hour or so, most days though I catch up on other things like my sanity. Then at night, I squeeze in another few hours of writing before bed – this is probably why I dream about what I write. If I really push myself, I can have a rough draft out in a little over two weeks, but I like the rest of my writing time to be on edits and rewrites. Lately I’ve been slowing down a bit, taking my time, and just working on past works. I’m hoping to have something new out by the end of the year, but we’ll see I guess.

M: Cool! So what’s the freakiest dream that you had and turn into a book?

A: The dream credit has to go to my zombie novel, They Walk, of course the dream is totally different than the book. For example in the book, I have a group of teens at a party before the zombies invade, while in my dream it’s already chaos. And by chaos I mean it’s incomprehensible in the way only dreams can get away with. For one thing, in my dream I’m locked in this thirty feet high walled in labyrinth type maze, and the only way to avoid the zombies is to climb and avoid slipping into the masses. I remember waking up freaking out about it! I don’t know what’s worse, fearing the hungry undead or the height of the walls I climbed. Anyways, a lot of the dream was reshaped into something readable, but I do squeeze in a little bit of it, staying loyal to my dreams and all – they’re definitely helpful.

M: Nice. I almost wish that I had dreams like that. So tell us about your newest book.

A: Currently I am working on rewrites for The Misadventures of Daria Pigwidgeon, also formerly known as Demonsoul, which is now essentially two books in one. I wasn’t all that satisfied with the way book one ended, it didn’t really seem complete to me, so changes were a must. As a plus of making it one book, I get to play around some more with the sequel and take it in a new direction! It’s basically about a teenage demon that pretty much raised herself because she was born with a soul. After realizing she won’t survive much longer under they’re treatment, she sets out across the country on her own. What was supposed to be a fresh start becomes a misadventure when her family follows her trail and disrupts the new life she built. Add to the mix of demon powers, an addicting blue eyed pretty boy, shadow stalkers, and high school – then your in the world of Daria, where you’ll never have a boring day!

During the last month or so, while I’ve been working on rewrites, I’ve also been playing around with a new idea that quickly grew into a new series about witches. This one take magic, fantasy, college, and love all rolled into an exciting thrill-ride! I’m hoping to have it out some time this summer, but we’ll see, every day that I work on it spurs new ideas. I have added it to Goodreads though, if anyone would like to see a preview of what it’s really about! 😉

M: Sounds really interesting. So who is your favorite character that you’ve written?

A: That’s a tough one! Instead of choosing just one, I’ll share the one I like most from all my works.

They Walk: Maggie – She’s the heroine of the story, and I’ve made her with enough snark and grace that she ranks high on my list of favorites.
Persona: Marty – He started out as a side character that grew to be the best friend, and eventually became a love interest who’s the best!
The Misadventures of DP: This is a tie between Daria and Chance – the two of them together make for some exciting writing time.
Witch University: Jeremiah – He’s the kind of bad boy character I love reading about except this time he’s my creation. Writing him is a blast and most times his intentions take me by surprise, so revealing him to readers should be fun!

 

M: What’s your favorite aspect to writing?

 

A: My favorite aspect of writing has to be the getting lost in a story. I love character and world building – so writing is a great outlet for that.

M: So I’m curious. What got you to start writing?

A: I pretty much started making up wild and crazy stories even before I could write anything. Mostly it was stuff only parents could say was great with a smile on there face even though it was probably incoherent rambles. As I got older though, I became influenced by movies/television I’ve watched or books that I’ve read (Are Your Afraid of the Dark; on Nickelodeon and Fear Street by R.L. Stine) so by then the short stories I wrote took more of a horror turn. Over time my short stories became the little novels that tried and slowly evolved into what I would obsess over; paranormal romance fiction!
 

M: That sounds like me. When did you start getting serious about publishing your stories?

A: I always wondered what it would be like to be published, but I’m such a shy person that the thought of sending out query letters terrified me. So I never really thought I had any other options. But, when I was working on my first novel, They Walk, I came across Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. After finding that, I realized there were a ton of other self-publishing opportunities – that became the way to go for me. Now that I’ve been getting out there a bit, the prospect of sending out query’s doesn’t seem so scary and I’s slowly working on that angle.

M: Want to tell us more about your newest release?

A: My newest release is a young adult paranormal romance called, Persona: It’s the year 2028 and an experiment that went wrong seventeen years ago sends the world in lock-down from these genetic mutations. Sixteen-year-old Moira Warner knows only fear and secrecy, but that’s understandable given she spent her toddler years in a lab. Why? Because she is one of them. Now she barely gets by with hiding her true self. That doesn’t mean that she’s averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her at a new school, she lets loose with popular jock Spencer, and realizes she’s been a fool to believe that she could be anything other than what she is; a monster. Before she can confide in anyone for help, her little slip up brings in the authority’s and now her secret is out. The horrific memories of her past returns and with it the man that ruined her childhood.

With the help from someone she would have never thought and a group of unlikely accomplices, she must come face to face with her past. A past she would rather forget. Moira now becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Liam is the only one who can provide the information she needs. But in her drive to find the truth, will Moira push her new friends to far, forcing her to leave her family, and the identity that she’s shaped? This sends her on a journey to find out what she really is and along the way she just might find herself in the process. Maybe even love, if she’s not too busy running and trying to blend in.

M: Sounds really exciting! One last question: where can people find you and your book?

A: You can find me here:Website

Blog
Twitter
Facebook

You Can find my books here:
Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Thanks so much for the visit, Amy!

It was a blast. So much so that I’d love to have some more interviews. If you’d like one, please feel free to let me know and maybe we can arrange something. ^_^