Friday, October 28, 2011

5 Realities Every Artist Must Accept

1. Your Work Isn't For Everyone
No matter how brilliant your work is (or you think it is) some people won't like it.  Others will LOATHE it. Harry Potter and The Sorcerers Stone, the book that started a multi-billion dollar industry and is beloved by generations all over the planet has almost 16,000 one star reviews on Goodreads.  The Giver, a Newbery award winner and a book I feel is one of the most important in children's literature has 4,400 one star reviews. Some people are born to be critics and enjoy doling out the negative and your work will not be the exception.

2. You'll Pay Your Time Before You See A Dime
Malcom Gladwell's the Outliers suggests the key to success at any task is 10,000 hours of practice. That's working around an 8 hour day at something, every day, for about 3-4 years. Take a deep breath.  Chances are you are not going to produce the type of work mentioned in number 1 right away.  Even seemingly overnight successes didn't happen overnight.

3. There WILL Come A Day When Someone or Something Will Make You Want To Quit
See 1 & 2.  Everyone feels beaten down now and then. But that bad review doesn't mean as much as you think it does and your next work might outshine your first.  The only way to know is to keep going. All you have to do is take a five minute tour of the internet to know that plenty of successful people struggle every day with failure. If you want to do something and do it well, keep going.

4. You Should Quit If YOU Want To 
But only because you want to spend your 10,000 hours doing something else.  Like writing in another genre, or trying your hand at graphic arts, or paying more attention to your family.

5. Karma is a Biiiiaaaatch
Once you've spent your 10,000 hours and "made it" don't forget about your roots.  Take a young artist or two under your wing and encourage them on their path to greatness. And don't marginalize someone else's path. I worry for those artists and bloggers out there that publicly bashed indie authors and/or the self-pubbed.  I think the day is coming when they might find themselves in a room, shoulder to cold-shoulder, with folks that got their start that way, folk's whose books are doing very, very, well. In my opinion, a little modesty and humility is not a bad thing to have in this business.

Monday, October 24, 2011

And The Winner is...

If you've been following, I recently took part in this awesome flash fiction spectacular, orchestrated by the talented KA Tucker called Lie or Die.  The concept was simple.  Readers got to vote on a story idea then Tiffany King, SM Reine, KA Tucker, Megan S Duncan and I wrote that story in five very different ways.

I was impressed with the quality of all the stories.  These are some extremely talented authors.  That's why I was surprised to learn this morning that my story Splitsville got the most votes!

Are you frickin' serious?

Thank you, thank you, thank you, readers who voted for my story.  I appreciate everyone who stopped by.  Thank you also Two Chicks On Books (Beautiful blog and wonderful administrators over there!) who hosted and promoted my story as well as FiktshunA Life Bound by BooksMagical Urban Fantasy Reads and Taking it One Book at a Time for hosting and promoting the other contestants.  And a special thanks to KA Tucker who spent countless hours organizing the whole thing. 

*Happy Dance* Now back to writing! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

#LieOrDie: Vote for YOUR Favorite

LIE OR DIE – The Flash Fiction Reveal is Finally Here!

The day has finally come! Five bloggers held a contest for the best flash fiction idea and sent five authors (including me) out to spin the fabulous idea in our own direction. What was the winning idea? An awesome one from Aeicha Matteson:

The characters:
Ryder - female, human, teenager, short in height, long brown hair w/blue streaks, bright green eyes, smart, sassy, tough.
Ax - (short for Aximander), male, demon (but was once human before being sent to hell), as a demon he has no permanent form, thus he possesses humans. He's cunning, vindictive, but incredibly charismatic.

The conflict: Ryder is a supernatural hunter (she hunts demons, monsters, evil baddies), but she has been possessed by the demon Ax, who has essentially bound himself to her...meaning no simple exorcism will release him. Ryder must find a way to break free of Ax while fighting for control of her own mind, body, and actions.

Their abilities:
Ryder - as a hunter she is skilled in weapons, fighting, and supernatural knowledge/lore but does not have "supernatural or magical" abilities of her own.
Ax - can shift/shimmer (teleport anywhere, including hell) and has enhanced/heightened abilities (strength, speed, hearing)...when possessing someone these abilities are transferred into them while Ax resides within them.

Us authors have plotted and toiled for many hours to create our unique flash fiction version of Ryder and Ax’s tale. Now you’ll all get to read them! Each author is hosted on one of the below blogger sites:
Two Chicks on Books - hosting me
Fiktshun - hosting Tiffany King
A Life Bound By Books - hosting K.A.Tucker
Magical Urban Fantasy Reads - hosting Megan Duncan
Taking It One Book At A Time - hosting S.M.Reine

So, go visit each site above and VOTE for your favorite! Why vote? Because on October 24th, a Grand Prize winner will be drawn. What could you win? A pile of signed print copies of the authors’ books and some swag. Check out the official page HERE for a list (grand prize winner contest open to U.S. residents only but anyone can vote; one vote per person and you can vote on any of the blogs.) Want to earn an extra entry into the grand prize? Tweet the following and paste the link into the form with your vote!:

“I voted in the #LieOrDie Flash Fiction Showdown at . Why don’t you?”

So… GO check out the 5 fabulous versions of 1 amazing idea and GO VOTE for your favorite one! 

Thank you in advance to all of you who check out my story and vote for me! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Truth About Lightning

I've been working on a new book project.  This novel is a departure from The Soulkeepers world but still in the young adult genre.  I can't talk about it yet because it's morphing into something bigger every day, a baby growing into teenager with each chapter.  Let's just say the book is electrifying in more ways than one.

In researching this work, I've come across some interesting facts about lightning.

-Lightning can and does strike twice in the same place.  In fact, if you see a lightning bolt flicker, it is probably multiple bolts striking one right after another.

-The temperature of lightning is 15,000-60,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That's hotter than the surface of the sun at a measly 9,000 degrees.

-Lightning has a current as high as 300,000 amps. (Your house's electrical wiring carries around 30 amps). Scientists are studying ways to capture this power and store it for use as an alternative energy source but because lightning strikes at 62,000 miles per SECOND, it's darn hard to build something that can contain that much power in so little time.  Plus you'd have to know exactly where it would strike.

-With all that power, it's amazing that 400 people live through being struck by lightning each year. And it's not because of the rubber soles on their shoes. That's on old wives tale.  They don't help at all.

-Mutual attraction causes lightning. Positively charged particles on the ground reach up to the negatively charged ones on the bottom of the cloud and ZAP - an amazing transformation occurs.

Hmmm.  Deadly power, mutual attraction, heat, and speed. I can't wait to be able to share more with you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's Hip to be Square

Here's a cool gadget you'll be seeing around yours truly and maybe some of your other favorite authors.  It's called the Square and it allows you to turn your iPhone into a credit card swiping machine.  I recently picked one up to facilitate sales at my personal appearances.

Easy peasy.  You download an app and they send you the peripheral device for FREE.

Sure, they take a small cut of the transaction but I think it's totally worth it considering I'm reaching people who might not have made a cash only purchase. One more barrier kicked to the curb by the use of technology, and a major win for personal sized businesses.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Are eReaders changing what we read?

I have a first generation kindle.  Since the beginning of the eReading revolution, I've been partaking of my favorite titles on the smallish, greyscale screen. But I've noticed a trend over the years in my own reading habits. And after an informal survey of best-seller lists, I realized that I might not be the only one exhibiting this pattern of behavior. What is this mysterious phenomena?

I realized the books I regularly choose and enjoy on my kindle are:
1. Shorter in length
2. Have more dialogue
3. Use shorter sentences and paragraphs
4. And generally have more action

That is to say, over time, I gravitated toward buying more genre fiction electronically.  I still buy literary fiction and lengthy works in paperback or hardcover.

In the beginning, I told myself that my choices were about space.  A book had to be a new classic for me to devote shelf-space to it.  But when I purchased The Passage by Justin Cronin on my Kindle while traveling last year, the truth became as apparent as its 1,000 plus electronic pages.  Long books become REALLY long on small screens, and when that small screen is filled with wall to wall prose with no dialogue or paragraph breaks, it is very hard to connect to the story.

So, after cruising around the best-selling ebooks out there, I noticed they hovered right around 200 print pages. In fact, several popular 99 cent works were barely longer than novellas. Submission requirements back up my theory.  Some well known publishing houses  require 90,000-100,000 word length for paper submissions but as low as 40,000 for full length eBooks.

From an author's standpoint, this phenomenon makes business sense.  Theoretically short books might get read by more reviewers and rated more quickly. Thus a good, short ebook has more momentum early on than a long ebook.  Plus, an eBook author can pump out several shorter books and sell them (at a low price) faster than longer works.

Most readers probably can't tell the length of the book based on the size of the download like they might the thickness of a paperback. I know I can't. I only notice that I whiz through the book, which increases my perceived satisfaction. Still, as a reader, it's hard for me not to think of this in the same light as when they changed my peanut butter container to look the same size but hold less at the same price.

What do you think?  Do you believe that eReaders are changing what we perceive as "good writing"?  Do think a book can read better in one format than another?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lie or Die: Have you entered your idea?

Did you know that if you enter your idea for the Lie or Die event, you can win ebooks?  It's true!

For a daily chance to win an eBook from Amazon - one of the participating authors' books of your choice- submit your  idea and tweet the following:

  “I submitted my story idea for the #LieOrDie event! Go submit yours!”

You only need to submit one idea -  and if you already submitted an idea, you are still eligible to enter the daily tweet giveaways. You can have a chance to win an eBook each day through October 8th, by tweeting and spreading the word. The daily winners will be announced on Twitter!

So, what are you waiting for? Get over to Lie or Die headquarters and fill out the form!

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