So Here’s What Happened This Week (June 28, 2013)

 

Phobias

 

What I Did: Sent out a bunch of queries for my novels Rain on the Water and Singles Vs. Bridezillas. Contacted indie editors for a new series of blog articles on self-publishing.

What I Saw: DARK SHADOWS, THE TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE

What I Read: THE UNCONQUERED by Scott Wallace

Cool Links I Found:

Publisher’s Rejections Don’t Mean Anything (and What Does)

Perseverance: How Long is Too Long To Keep Reaching For Your Dream?

Links from Wannabe Pride Members:

Self-Help Extracts Sample

Read this Book! AS WONDERFUL AS WANT by Joyce DeBacco

So Wonderful As Want

 

I recently read AS WONDERFUL AS WANT by Joyce DeBacco. I tend to prefer lighter, more humorous books, so this was not one I would have normally chosen to read. However, Joyce posted her book on the Wannabe Pride Facebook page and I do try to read as many of those as I can.

AS WONDERFUL AS WANT was truly well worth the read. Set in the 1920s, it a story of love, loss, and the consequences of the choices we make. This book featured lean, tight writing with the perfect amount of character and setting descriptions. The writer paints a clear picture of the people and places without being verbose. The characters were expertly layered. There were no clichéd people to be found as almost no one, save perhaps the sleazy salesman, was all good or all bad. This book was professionally written and edited and I would not hesitate to recommend the book or to read her next offering.

 You can find the book HERE.

 

So Here’s What Happened This Week (June 21, 2013)

 

Cooking

 

 

What I Did:  FINISHED the first draft of novel #4! Also got several rejections for novel #3…

What I Read: SO WONDERFUL AS WANT by Joyce DeBacco

Cool Links I Found:

Links from Wannabe Pride Members

Cowboys Can Fly

Karen’s Killer Book Bench: Soul Rescue by Doug Simpson

Writing and Publishing Blog 

Midnight and Holding

Carving Your Path

Today, please welcome guest blogger, Katriena Knights!  Katriena is the author of several paranormal and contemporary romances, including Where There’s a Will, from Samhain Publishing, which reached number 22 on the overall Kindle bestseller list. She is a full-time writer and editor. Visit her website at katrienaknights.com or her blog at katrienaknights.blogspot.com

caffeine

If you keep track of the publishing industry via blogs and industry articles, you know that today is a great time to be a writer. There is so much opportunity for writers right now—traditional publishing, self publishing, small publishers, big publishers, short stories, flash fiction—it’s a great big, crazy world out there where we, as authors, can carve out our own careers exactly the way we want to.

You know this until you start reading the industry articles and blogs that say today is a terrible time to be a writer. Writers are abandoning the traditional path, taking sides, belittling others who make different choices. What will happen to “literature” if the traditional publishing paradigm is broken? It’s a literary apocalypse, and we’re all going to be crushed to death under the steel boot of Amazon.

I tend to subscribe to the former mindset. However, in this age of nearly infinite opportunity and options, it’s more important than ever for writers to know as much as possible about all these options, and be prepared to carve a path that doesn’t look like anyone else’s.

 This is the biggest problem I have with a lot of those industry blogs, articles, and “experts.” Each one has its own agenda. Which is fine—we all have agendas. But there seems to me to be far too many people stating that their way is the best way, or even the only way. Such-and-such writer made a million dollars self-publishing, therefore everyone should self-publish and anybody who doesn’t agree is willfully blind at best and stupid at worst. Then so-and-so writer sings the praises of traditional publishing and states that if you haven’t been vetted by the “gatekeepers”—agents and Big Six editors—you’re not a real writer.

And this is why we can’t have nice things. Because as soon as something new enters the picture—self-publishing, or Big Six publishers trying new distribution models, or Amazon throwing out a new sales model that changes the rules—we all take sides. We line up on each side of the line. One group is vehemently in favor of the Big New Thing, while the other group insists the Big New Thing will lead to nothing short of an apocalyptic implosion of the entire publishing industry, if not the world and possibly the solar system.

The writers I truly respect are the ones who are able to look at all the Big New Things and figure out which ones work best for them. The “hybrid author”—someone who takes advantage of several different publishing avenues, including self-pub and traditional publishing—is starting to look like the author who will have the highest levels of success in the future. This is an author who can look at a new opportunity, evaluate it, see how it works in her personal business model and how it can help her reach her personal goals, and then embraces or abandons it as she sees fit. She doesn’t then tell everyone she knows that it’s a horrible idea and no one should ever go that route. She takes the attitude that it works for her, but might not for someone else. It works for Joe and Jane down the road, but isn’t really our hypothetical author’s cup of tea at the moment.

This doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to new ideas that are not a Big New Thing but more like a Sucking Hole of Suck. Publishers throw out horrible contracts, or come up with new business models that alienate the reader or the author or both. The more balanced view evaluates these dangers in an objective manner and points out the problems. In fact, some authors have been able to influence publishers to change these Sucking Holes of Suck into Slightly Less Sucking Holes of Suck by writing about them and bringing them to the attention of the writing community at large. I think it’s important to know what’s going on in this sense, and to be able to look at well-thought-out evaluations of different new opportunities, rather than relying on the knee-jerk reactions of people who have already made up their minds about one route or the other.

My advice is to make up your own mind. Read what you can about anything new that comes by. Read what you can about the old, established ways, too. Keep in touch with the industry. Decide what opportunities fit your goals or help further your brand, if you like to think that way. Don’t become so entrenched in one viewpoint that you can’t look objectively at the others. In the long run, picking bits and pieces from all the available opportunities will probably give you the best foundation for a long-term, successful career. But you have to find the combination that works for you, which will take some trial and error. Your path through this vast forest won’t look like mine. It won’t look like Joe and Jane’s down the street. It will look like yours. It might cross mine or Joe’s or Jane’s from time to time, but in the end it won’t be identical. And that’s okay. And don’t let anybody ever tell you differently.

So Here’s What Happened This Week (June 14, 2013)

Mr. Rogers

What I Did: Reached the 25,000 mark on my new novel!

What I Read: SOUL AWAKENING: THE DACQUE CHRONICLES by Doug Simpson

Cool Links I Found:

The One Thing Every Writer Needs

How Good Books Can Lead to Spotless Floors

Tear Down the Writing Wall: 6 Tips to Help You Finish Writing Your Novel

Links from Wannabe Pride Readers!

Author Peek : Interview with Doug Simpson

Nobody’s Child

So Wonderful As Want

 

Birth of a Gay Author

Today, please welcome guest blogger Brad Windhauser!

 

Writer

In 1995, I was a college junior creative writing major. I was also newly out but unclear to the extent I should let this impact my work.

I was really looking forward to taking a screenwriting course. Not only was I happy to get a crack at something besides fiction and nonfiction, but I had an awesome idea for a comedy about what it was like to work in a restaurant. Inspired by several viewings of Clerks, I knew I had a winner.

On my workshop day, I read my first ten pages to the class, inserting chuckles where I deemed appropriate. When I finished, I couldn’t wait for the positive feedback to flow. Crickets. My professor cleared her throat and asked across the conference table, “So, you’re a writing major?”

This is the type of feedback squashes a young writer, and I was devastated. My teacher told me to take a few days and then call her over the weekend. We’d get at some better ideas.

I wasn’t all that comfortable talking with professors over the phone—it seemed really personal and I didn’t know this professor at all. But while we talked, she asked what I was passionate about. I rattled off the usual: music, books, drinking, etc. I was waiting for her to start snoring on the other end of the line. She asked again: “No, really, what matters to you?”

I thought for a moment, took a deep breath and then said, “Well, I did just come out.”

I felt bold saying this to someone I didn’t know, and a bit confrontational, as I was somewhat daring her to take the point and run with it. Was I crossing a line by bringing this up? Did I have a right to explore this in my writing? The best thing I figured I had going for me in the moment was that she was my professor, and if she had a problem with it, I’m sure there was someone I could talk to. Still, I held my breath.

So I waited for her to maybe hang up, brush off the comment… I don’t know, do something incredibly dismissive. But instead, her voice perked up. “There, that’s a place to start.” The rest of the conversation she continued to probe how I felt about being young and gay at that time—Ellen had yet to come out on TV, so the culture was shifting but it was not exactly welcoming. Given this, taking on “gay” content was a risk—an artist might be embraced for being bold, brave but as equally shunned for pulling back the curtain on this slice of life people were not yet all that comfortable to discuss openly.

Eventually, I mentioned that I had this idea for a story, based on what I’d heard about this ex-gay ministry movement. I was incensed that these people were brainwashing gay people into being something they weren’t. I was over 21, so I felt safe from being carted off to one of these counselors or whatever they billed themselves as. But some people, either because they were too young to have a say in their own lives or because they were religious and the Bible was telling them that they way they were born (having same-sex attraction) was “wrong” were not so lucky. Someone had to speak up. What would happen if more people bought into this?

And so I gave this idea some thought—what if a group within a church was not getting the results they wanted from their “conversion therapy”? Would they try and find a researcher who was willing to probe and find the “gay gene”? And if they found such a person, would this person be able to find it? And if he did, what would people do with that information? And what if this researcher had a family, who would be impacted by his work? How would he be able to even carry out his experiments? I figured he’d have to be able to experiment on somebody, and so this group would find a way to seduce and then kill healthy subjects. But the subjects whose health made them unfit test subjects, they’d have to dump the bodies. This is when the cops would get involved. And the lead detective, what if he was gay?

That’s your story, she said.

And although the screenplay I eventually wrote was not good, it served as the basis for what became my first novel, Regret. In this novel I flushed out the three storylines—the religious group, the researcher and his family, and the lead detective and his failing relationship with his partner. Through these characters and storylines, I developed themes that I knew weren’t just of interest to me but also to the gay community in general. I crafted stories through this book that I hoped would shine a light on something that needed attention for the purpose of starting a conversation about these issues.

I will always be grateful to Jackie Apple for pushing me in her class to write towards things that mattered to me. She wasn’t the only one to ever do this but she was the first to get me to buy into it completely. I haven’t looked back since.

I was nervous that people would label me as a gay author then and still think about this at times now, but at the end of the day, if an author like me don’t tell our stories, no one will—or at least not well. I’m proud of the impact being gay has on my work.

In addition to Regret (which is available on Amazon HERE, you can follow my current blog where, as a gay author, I chronicle my experience reading the Bible for the first time. I was curious as to why this revered book is so often used to justify bigotry towards the LGBT community.

You can follow me on Twitter at @VirgoWriter.