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Tips for Fellow Authors

Fellow authors: this post is for you! My assistant Nicole and I were approached by Kobo and asked to write an article about how to use your Kobo Affiliate Account to the fullest. See our tips and tricks for getting the biggest bang for your buck at Kobo! Read the article on the Kobo Writing Life blog here.

Writer's World-social media

Another post wherein I write five different versions, erase them all and throw my hands up in exasperation and simply don’t post. I’ll try to be brave and struggle on this time.

First, let me explain about the writing/erasing/not posting business. I’m an author. People come to my site for one of a few reasons (I assume). Because:

1-they’ve read one/some of my books and liked them. Want to find out more/what’s next.

2-they’ve read one of my books (all  it seems to take is one) and want to know where to send the bombs/ prayers for my misbegotten soul/ ‘how to write’ lessons.

3-they’re authors themselves who know and like/or dislike me and want to see what I’m up to.

When I feel the urge to write about something generally writerly, I figure the people in category one MIGHT be interested, but probably not. The category two are too busy correcting my grammar for me to worry about them, and the category three? Well, it’s back to what works for one person might not work for another. So sharing my opinion about how I write a book, what I think about reviews…whatever…it’s ALL subjective and I don’t ever want to piss someone off unintentionally.

So– this is shared for whoever is interested from MY perspective and my reality right now. People who do things differently than I do are not evil, twisted, stupid, amazing, wonderful or otherwise anything but doing things differently than me. Opinions stated below are subject to change, not valid on alternative Saturdays in the winter, eat your veggies.

On to the main topic: SOCIAL MEDIA

I’m not the queen of social media. Face it. I’ve been on the road, living in a camper for more than 9 months now. I’ve had lousy internet for most of the time and in order to maintain my writing–ie the actual stuff I do that makes me an author? I’ve cut back on a ton of stuff.

Yahoo groups, which I simply loved when I was starting out, have been cut to basically nothing except when I’m being bad and procrastinating. It’s not that I don’t enjoy talking to people at Yahoo groups, but I find the format so slow. Finding the threads that interest me/pertain to me, reading through all the comments: when I have 15 minutes in a MacDonalds to get ‘caught up’, yahoogroups don’t work. They did work at one time. Things change.

Facebook. Part of me wishes I was more into Facebook. I have an author page, but I’m terrible at posting there. It seems so much like another blog to me, and while I see the value, and I know there are a TON of people on Facebook, honestly? It’s icky work for me to go there. Sorry, Facebook lovers.

My blog– as I said, people coming here should be here because they want to be.  ;) When I have time, I find this a little like a diary (mid-month updates and new cover reveals) I actually enjoy blogging, so when I can, I do it.

Other blogs: back to the time issue. I have some author friends who I read their blogs. I have reviewer friends who I drop by their blogs. I’ll link off a tweet occasionnally and drop in at a new blog. But the key things seem to be FRIENDS or INTEREST, ie the tweet about an article that catches my eye. It’s rarely the tweet about ‘I got an awesome review!!’ that I link through to read. Because…yeah, I want to be writing. I mean, I’m happy people got a good review. I’m happy that they have a new book out. But I’m not the target market for promo blitzes. Seriously. I don’t usually have the time.

So back to social media, there’s also IM. I have about a dozen names on mine, and I talk to Bree of Moira Rogers almost every day. But other than that? It’s occasional. To say hello. To scream in private about a frustration. To bounce ideas off people. I consider it the equivalent of my phone. One on one mostly, and it’s very much me time.

And finally, (although I know there are a ton more), Twitter. If IM is a phone call, then Twitter is my water cooler. I go there to say hello, see what’s hapening, laugh a little, get recharged. Maybe get challenged to do a writing sprint or something. I personally do not see twitter as a promo tool. I hear some people use it as one. I usually unfollow them pretty damn fast. No, I’m kidding. I know some people DO use it well. Now, I -do- occasionally RT an awesome review. Or one that makes me LOL. Or a super ranking/sales info. I do that for the things I think my friends would be interested in seeing.

But when someone #FF me? I love it to pieces and I’ll always try to tweet you back to let you know that. Or if you tell me you loved a book. I’ll say thanks. Because if we were in person, that’s what I’d do. I wouldn’t turn you around by the watercooler, wrap my arm around and SHOUT into the office. “THANKS, FOR LOVING MY BOOK.”RT>@twitterreader, Just finished reading your story: Were-slugs Of Eternity. It was awesome!”

And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry. That was my momentary rant :D (this is when I usually erase posts because I figure I’ve managed to offend SOMEone by now.)

Key point I’m trying to make: Use what works for you.

I’m not about to start announcing XYZ a million times on release day on twitter because a) either the people there are already my readers and other than a momentary SQUEAL on my part, they don’t need more to know the next book is coming out/out already or they are b) author friends and I’m not promoing to them– I want them to stay friends.

Social Media is what YOU need, when you need. I might change what I do once I’m settled more, but right now? This is what works-and what HAS to work. If you’re an author, don’t just do what everyone else says you have to do. Try it, discard it, make it your own.

***Note. I’m not saying you’re a terrible person if you DO retweet reviews. I’m not saying you’re silly to post promo…yada yada yada. Disclaimers all over. But promo on twitter/etc is just not what -I- want to do. And if there’s even one person out there like me whose skin crawls every time they even THINK about RTing a review–know you are not alone.

If I’m doing it wrong, I’m fine with that. I’m happy.

And if you’re a reader or an author and not following me on Twitter, I’d love to see you there. Trust me– no promo blitzes. Just chatting. :D

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Writers World- Q&A session

I’ve been getting a few questions via email, twitter and IM about my writing process and thought I’d hit them here on the blog.

How do you come up with ideas and transfer them to the page?

Coming up with ideas- there’s a million different ways people find ideas. For me, a lot of my stories start with a location/setting. Or a single scene. Or a single question. Wolf Signs started from me reading paranormal books where people could talk through their ‘mate’ connnection. And I wondered what that would be like for a person who had been deaf for a long time? Add in a trip to Granite Lake cabin, and the book setting and plot was nearly there.

Turn It On started from a single scene–a woman walking up a set of stairs in a huge old house, a man watching her. The two of them laughing from the top and bottom when the phone rings and the woman panics.

Tidal Wave was the location (Maritime trip with the family) and a picture of a woman wading in magical looking cave. Falling Freestyle was a local town and the fact I love to ski. The cowboy stories– setting is a beautiful part of Alberta that I’ve visited often camping and otherwise.

Find a setting. Or find a set of characters, and see where they want to be set!

I haven’t found yet that I’m ever lacking for ideas. Partly because I’ve done a lot of cool stuff over the years, traveled to neat places, and I’ve read a ton. Sets up lots of ideas to be played with.

…and transfer them to the page?

There are a million methods to do this as well. The one I’ve found that works works best for ME? I think of the three main things I see happening in the story. Something in the beginning, the middle and the end. And then, I write.

Now some people plot more, and I’ve done that. Some people don’t plot at all. I like to have SOME kind of target to aim at. But, I discard targets as soon as they aren’t working and move to the new one that IS working. Example? My first stab for Wolf Flight included an idea about Missy being a Russian wolf Princess. Ummm, no…

When I’m writing, I write–and this is MY thing–I write in bursts of 20 to 30 minutes. I can go all out, ignoring spelling errors, typos, whatever. Just keep going. This tricks me into ignoring the enticing but non-productive internet toys like Twitter, and Spider on my iPad. I often sprint with friends, either on twitter or on IM. That keeps me accountable and makes me less likely to ‘stop and check my email’.

I find writing for an hour straight is too much. I can clean up, and add in layers for an hour, but new writing? Like shorter times.

Mantras

What do I think about as I write? Here’s what would be printed above my writers desk, if I HAD a desk instead of being a gyspy. ;)

#1- Just tell the story

Can also be phrased as “…and then? And then what happens?” I’m a storyteller. The fact the story is on paper, still means the adventure has to progress. When i get ‘stuck’, I write down what happens next.

#2- Action or Dialogue

While I’m writing what comes next? I try to use either dialogue or action. Yes, there’s internal dialogue that occurs. There are times I describe the scenery…but its the action and the dialogue that…yup. Tell the story.

——–

Little dip into how I go about it. I’ll cover other areas other times. Oh, and for any of you aspiring authors, did you know that I started blogging right around the time I got my first contract? A lot of those early blog posts have description of what I was experiencing of the first time (edits, cover art forms). Try the archives here on the blog, but they don’t work, you can read things at the original blogger site : http://vivarend.blogspot.com/

:D

Nowadays there is lot of unforeseen circumstance which force humanity to take remedies. You can order medicines directly your office. In these latter days the stock you can find in online pharmacy is actually high. Some medications are as a rule used to treat many types of bacteria, such as tonsillitis and infections of the throat. Other ones are used to treat diabetes. Cialis is a remedy used to treat divers afflictions. What do you have to know about cialis order online? Presently many families search for the exact keyword ordering cialis online on the Internet. Perhaps you already read something about it. Having erectile malfunction can beyond doubt complicate romance. What can cause erectile disfunction? A row of psychological issues can produce erectile dysfunction. What should you discuss with a physician before taking Cialis? Any curing may cause dangerous side effects. Sometimes side effects can be actually dangerous. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your drug.

Writer's World- tools. Use as needed.

I promised I’d talk about the writing process every now and then, and this week I have an interesting story to share.

There are many many ways to get from “It was a dark and stormy night…” to “The End”, and one of the key components of maintaining sanity is to realize that what works great for one writer sucks as a method for another. There is no one true path in writing.

And the longer I do this for, the more I also see there are no absolutes. There are some tried and true methods that I’ve heard authors swear by that totally and completely do not fit with my personality and writing style, and I would have bet it all that I would never ever touch that method with a ten foot pole. This past week? I used one, and it’s saved my mind.

I’m in the middle of revising and adding to Rocky Mountain Haven, the second in the Six Pack Ranch series. It’s a good book to start with–it won the 2011 EPIC Erotic Western award, so I’m not just boasting. ;) But I have the chance to make it even better and make the whole series a little richer by adding in another dimension with extended family action. etc.

Where do I begin to add to a book that people praised the pacing? There are no easy gaps to fill.

I read through it and took notes, getting a little distracted along the way by the hot smexing (heheh). I broke the book into parts in my head…before the picnic, before Thanksgiving, before the big reveal… I counted how many scenes were done in the hero/heroine’s POV. Still nothing. I know a couple scenes I want to add, but they have to make sense and flow, not just get tacked on willynilly.

And that’s when it happened. I broke out the index cards.

To a committed plotser like myself, this is like willingly taking hemlock. I don’t organize my stories, I don’t fill in charts with character qualities. Heck, I usually have to go back through the story after it’s written to find out what colour eye the characters have. But I was desperate, and impulse told me to try this, so I did. And damn if my instincts weren’t right again.

I went through the book and every scene got a card. For fun–because even work has got to be fun–I used yellow for Beth’s POV, blue for Daniel’s, red for the hotter scenes. Then I grabbed some tape and any scenes that HAD to go back to back? Taped them together. Stuck them on the foot board and suddenly…I could at least see where additions to the story wouldn’t be interrupting the flow.

In fact, looking at what finished the end of one chain, and what started the next chain let me see what kind of scene I could add in between that would actually enhance the flow. There was some crazy happy dancing the moment I spotted that. And then, I started adding cards. The loose cards taped the headboard are ideas for new scenes. In the end there are at least eight scenes I taped up there and as I’ve been writing this week I can feel the story gelling together beautifully.

Will I ever use index cards after this? Not sure. I’m not about to start story boarding and taping up cards the walls from day one, but I will never say never again. Because when something works, it’s like experiencing a little bit of magic. I don’t want to miss those a ha moments. They’re so much fun!

Nowadays there is lot of unforeseen circumstance which force men to take remedies. You can order medicines directly your office. In these latter days the stock you can find in online pharmacy is actually high. Some medications are as a rule used to treat many types of bacteria, such as tonsillitis and infections of the throat. Other ones are used to treat diabetes. Cialis is a remedy used to treat divers afflictions. What do you have to know about cialis order online? Presently many families search for the exact keyword ordering cialis online on the Internet. Perhaps you already read something about it. Having erectile disfunction can beyond doubt complicate romance. What can cause erectile dysfunction? A row of psychological issues can produce erectile dysfunction. What should you discuss with a physician before taking Cialis? Any medication may cause dangerous side effects. Sometimes side effects can be actually dangerous. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your remedy.

My Writer's World- goals

AKA why am I doing this?

I’m still on my convoluted journey around the US, using my time as a gypsy to explore new locations, to spend time with my family, and to think about what I want the future to look like.

You know, asking myself what do I want to be when I grow up? :P

It turns out, I want to be a writer.

But after two years of publication, and, well according to Goodreads, 29 books (including freebies) there are finally some defining terms for ME that are fitting into the picture.

I want to write the best books I can. That does mean that what I write now is different than what I wrote three years ago when I started. There are so many lessons I’ve learned, in terms of editing, and plotting and just how I spend my time online. And occasionally the lessons have settled in, and then six months later, have to be relearned because my life situation has changed, or my writing style or…

Nothing is static.

So, in terms of goals? What does that mean for me? At this point in time, I can honestly say I am writing the books that I want to write.  I’m not writing to the “market”, I’m not trying to see what new boundaries I can push, except in terms of writing better stories. More character development. More emotion when called for, more humor when that’s the ticket. Not all my stories are going to be for everyone~ heck, the fact I write both paranormal and contemporary means that right off the bat some people will shy away from some books.

But even after all those books I’m having more and more fun because the stories still thrill me. The fact I make more sales on some books and less on others? Nope–not an issue, because frankly the readers who like book A and the readers who like book B don’t care about sales. They care about the characters. The story, the chance to enjoy a getaway.

And I enjoy writing them all. The sarcastic wolves, the adventurous contemporaries, the red-hot mystical shifters, the sexy sexy cowboys…

My Writer’s World Rule #1: Write what you love.

Nowadays there is lot of unforeseen circumstance which force men to take remedies. You can order medicines directly your office. In these latter days the stock you can find in online pharmacy is actually high. Some medications are as a rule used to treat many types of bacteria, such as tonsillitis and infections of the throat. Other ones are used to treat diabetes. Cialis is a remedy used to treat divers afflictions. What do you have to know about cialis order online? Presently many families search for the exact keyword ordering cialis online on the Internet. Perhaps you already read something about it. Having erectile disfunction can beyond doubt complicate romance. What can cause erectile dysfunction? A row of psychological issues can produce erectile dysfunction. What should you discuss with a physician before taking Cialis? Any therapy may cause dangerous side effects. Sometimes side effects can be actually dangerous. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medicine.

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