Easter's Lilly

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Writer’s Group: To Join or Not To Join? That Is The Question
 
I have many friends who are involved in writers’ groups that they love. I have not had a similar experience. I have heard that you learn so much from the feedback you get, and it makes you a better writer. Well, what am I doing wrong?

I started with a nationally known writers’ group. It was too far away for starters, and the members were of the elite. By elite I mean that they were not very welcoming to strangers, and I lived too far to get more involved with the group and their activities. I live in a small town, which I realize is part of the challenge. Next, I joined another group, but it was still far from home, and I found the content to be a bit dull. So, I stopped attending that one as well. Finally, I found a Christian group somewhere near by, but I don’t write “Christian” books, per say. They said that they are a group of Christians who write, so I thought, “Sounds great!” Before I actually found my way out there, they disbanded.

So, what is a lonely writer to do? Being educated, ambitious, and usually a pretty smart cookie, I decided to start my own. I can hear you all laughing as soon as I said that. Yes, I decided to get a group of people together and form a group. Well, I had a friend (notice the word “had”) who I used to have lunch with once a month. We will call her Angel. (Because she is really very sweet). Angel had a book idea, and she and I decided to start the group. We started it twice, because the first time it was a huge mess. We had two members who really wanted it to be an online thing, which no one else wanted, and one guy who spent every day with a pen in hand tearing our manuscripts apart. Group two consisted of Angel, her best friend, her best friend’s boyfriend, me and my good friend from college. I know, sounds like a great idea, right? So, this is what I learned about what NOT to do when forming your own writers’ group.

1)   Make sure you are a committed group of writers. Make sure everyone is there for the right reason, and they are motivated achievers. 
2)   Have the meetings in a neutral location. Make sure you don’t, for example, have it in a restaurant. What “could happen” is the members may be more interested in eating, and socializing, than actually talking about task at hand.
3)   Have some rules and stick to them. At first, I had rules and had everyone sign them, but I let it go after a while. There should be a rule about people who show up without reading the material, and a rule about not giving any feedback. Every member should participate or there should be consequences. Now, this is if you have a small group, mind you. In a large group, everyone can’t participate due to a time limit. Also, in a small group, attendance should be important.
4)   Finally, Genre may be something to consider. When I joined the national group, they all had one genre, and that is what made it fun for them. In our small group, the young people were writing young adult fantasy, while my friend and I were writing more adult novels. I think part of our problem was that we weren’t all interested in the material.

So, like I said, I think writers’ groups can be very beneficial for those who find the right fit. For me, I think the best idea is to write with simply my Mac and me. So far, we’ve been doing pretty well together.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Writing Mom

There should be a special award for the writing mom. As we strive to use our craft to take our readers on journeys far, far away, reality sometimes gets in the way. Often balancing the daily routine with getting something out of our heads and onto the blank page can be a bit of a conundrum.  If you are like me, you have perfected the act of carrying on a conversation with your children and typing without missing a beat. However, sometimes a little peace and quiet would be most helpful.

If you're a writing mom there is also a chance that you work outside of the home. Notice that I said "work outside of the home" and not simply "work." Being a stay at home mom is one of the most difficult yet rewarding job anyone can ever do. I loved my time as a "working inside the home" mom and wife, and if I am honest with myself, will admit to missing those times with great sincerity. So, what do you do if you have a job, kids, and other commitments, but the voices inside your brain are beating their angry fists on the inside of your head, begging to get out? It's time to make time. Here are a few suggestions for the writing mom.

  • Have a family meeting. Communicate with your family about what is going on with you. Communication is the key to any successful relationship. Explain that you are going to need some time alone. It doesn't have to be a lot of time, but mommy usually takes care of mommy last. Make sure they understand that this is just something that you need to do to be happy. And we all know that if mommy isn't happy, no one is happy.

  • Create a feasible routine. Find a time in the day where you will have time to yourself and write a little bit every day. Start with fifteen minutes if you have to, but don't just not write. Make sure that this time of day is when your children are either asleep, not at home, or know to leave you alone until you have completed your task.

  • Ask for a little help. If your children are old enough, ask them to help around the house a little so that you can get some work done. Reward them with ice cream, or some special mommy time, but let them do a little bit of the heavy lifting for you. Sit them down and explain how important it is for you to have a little bit of time each day to write, and you might be surprised at how accommodating they will be.
If any of you have any other tips or tidbits to share, please feel free to post in the comments. This works for me, but I will admit to getting off track from time to time. So, here's to you, writing moms out there. I can't wait to sit down and read some of the wonderful things that are waiting in the wings to be published.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Trevor Brunsink, author of The Twelve Coins says, "Don't limit yourself!"

Tell us a little about your new book. What was your inspiration? 

The Twelve Coins is a coming-of-age story about a young prince who was raised by one of two opposing kings on an island. In need of redemption, the young prince embarks on a journey to seek out twelve gold coins that will actually find him when he has shown love to others out of a pure motive. He must gather these twelve coins before he can face his destiny. 

Per my inspiration, I found a disconnect between what the Bible teaches about how Jesus' disciples will be known by their love (see John 13:35) and what I saw in the lives of other so-called Christians, including my own. I wondered what it would be like to go on an adventure in which one’s very survival is dependent upon one’s will to love others authentically. The Twelve Coins is my answer to this question. The twelve lessons in love come from 1 Corinthians 13. 

Is there a book 2 on the way? 

No other story involving these characters is planned. However, if The Twelve Coins sells well, then I will admit that I do have the beginnings of a second book in mind.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? 

I think I’m a bit of both. Per writing contests, I’ve done better writing as a pantser. However, I wrote The Twelve Coins more as a plotter, and I’m very happy with the result, as are many others. If I’m not mistaken, J.R.R. Tolkien was writing as a pantser when he wrote “The Hobbit,” which has become one of the most beloved books of all time. So, no matter your style, you may just be doing it right, for you ... just don’t limit yourself, and try writing in both styles. You may just surprise yourself. 

Do you have any writing rituals? 

I’ll try to wake up with the first thing I do being saying a prayer and reading something from the Bible, hoping to seek God’s writing-favor by putting Him first for the day. I then eat breakfast and take time to both breathe and slowly stretch, releasing any distractions that might hinder my writing process. I then get cozy in front of my laptop and start writing. I need a very quiet space to write, although music can be playing in the background so long as it doesn’t have lyrics. I prefer to write in the morning, since evening-writing keeps my mind too busy to sleep. Short breaks, whenever I feel one coming on, are important. I’m satisfied to consider a total of four hours of writing a full day’s work, as a writer needs time and space to continue to live, through which comes inspiration. 

Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.


I try to always have a bag with me to collect any cans or bottles that need recycling, as in California we can make .05 cents off each of them. My first goal was to collect enough within one calendar year to buy an ounce of pure 24 karat gold, turning it into a sort of family heirloom, which I accomplished. I now put the income towards other goals, some practical and some just playful. Within the last two years, I’ve probably recycled around 50,000 cans and bottles. 

When you are not writing what are you doing? 

I came out to Hollywood from Ohio in 2006 to pursue acting and writing. I had a small speaking role in the Season 2 Halloween episode of the hit show “Community,” opposite Chevy Chase, and I’ve had three other speaking roles on major Hollywood productions, which sadly, were cut from the final releases. When not auditioning, I’m happy to stand-in for principal actors (including Alexander Skarsgard, Armie Hammer, Paul Bettany, Joel McHale, etc) and body-double for some of them. I’ve also silently acted in the background of many other major Hollywood productions. I've co-written a short-film as well. When not working, I enjoy exercising at the gym, watching movies with my island-raised girlfriend (from Hawai'i), and catching up with old buddies over a blended mint mocha. And, if there's ever a convenient opportunity to travel internationally, I'm there. 

Please tell my readers how they can get more information about you and your books. 

The Twelve Coins has a fan Facebook page which can be found at... 

Facebook


And The Twelve Coins can be purchased at...

Amazon.com

Friday, November 20, 2015

Futures and Frosting by Tara Sivec takes the sweet out of sweets

Book Description:
Carter, Claire and their son Gavin are finally a family. They are still not traditional, no wedding ring just yet, but the love in the air is certainly intoxicating.

With Claire’s best friends getting married, the pressure is on. Is this group of friends beginning to grow up and become adults, or is the jury still out?

With all the complications that arise, the question of whether or not Claire and Carter will ever tie the knot is the sinking and on-going question. With friends making things worse, and time no longer on their side, Claire begins to doubt that the ties that bind them may not be enough to keep them together forever.

My Review:
Futures and Frosting by Tara Sivec is book 2 of the Chocolate Lovers series. Book 1 was hilarious and will have you laughing with every page turned. As you move on to book 2, you will expect the same, but … Sivec simply does not deliver.

There is an explicit warning on this book that there is foul language, explicit sex, and that if you do not have a sense of humor, you should not read it. As true as that may be, there is no conflict in this book. I didn’t find myself turning pages anxiously. Instead, I found myself skipping pages just so I could get to the end and find out how the happily ever after was going to happen, since it was clear that it was going to happen if the two main characters could simply stay sober enough to get their act together. Without conflict, there is no suspense. Where there is no suspense, it is difficult to find focus. I give this book a 2 out of 5 stars. Like I said, book 1 was hilarious, but book 2 was simply a lot of language, sloppy sex, and drunken nights. I am not even going to open book 3.

Sunday, August 2, 2015





The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks has a fighting chance for first

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Book Description:
The Darkest Hour is the first of the KGI series written by Maya Banks. The KGI series is written about the Kelly family and their black ops organization known as Kelly Group International. Book one is about Ethan Kelly, who is a former Navy Seal, and his wife Rachel, who has been missing and presumed dead for over a year.
With the Kelly brothers acting as a team to discover if Rachel is actually alive or not, the novel holds your attention with unmitigated suspense. Does Ethan reunite with the love of his life, or is he on the road to self-destruction? Only time will tell.
My Review:
Although these books do stand alone quite well, reading them in order is still the best way to go. If these books are read out of order, you will know the outcome of some of the storylines, which can make the book drag a bit.
Maya Banks is a wordsmith, and this series is one of the best you will ever read if you enjoy romantic suspense and black ops novels. The men are rugged and sexy, and the women who catch their attention are more than happy to take care of themselves. Banks is an expert at keeping the energy going all through her novels, and her steamy romance scenes are incomparable to anything else. However, after reading the other novels, and hitting this one last, I found it to drag in some parts, and I skipped quite a bit because I knew what the outcome was going to be. Also, I found that the main female character in this particular novel was unrealistically strong. It hit me as being farfetched and just too hard to believe.
When I started the series with No Place To Run, it was not clear that it was not the first book. It was after I looked it up, that I realized I was reading the novels out of order. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars, only because I didn’t love it as much as I loved the others. I do think that if I read it first, I may have felt differently about it, but it is hard to say. I do highly recommend it. This series will get you hooked, and you will wonder how you ever got along without the Kelly boys in your life.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Echoes at Dawn by Maya Banks, a Nonstop Page Turner

Book Summary:

Grace Peterson is cursed with paranormal abilities. She and her sister share psychic abilities, but Grace is special. Grace has the ability to heal. The only setback is that when she heals, she takes on the ailment or injury of the affected party. Grace has escaped from her captors and is in hiding from a black ops group, looking to take her for her healing powers.

In walks Rio, a member of the KGI. After discussing her predicament with the Kelly brothers, the men who run the KGI, he decides that he needs to be the one to bring Grace home. He feels drawn to her somehow. Once he meets Grace, he is unprepared for the gravity of his feelings for her, and when things get out of hand, he can’t see past getting her back by whatever means necessary.

My Review:

It goes without saying that the Kelly brothers and their friends are the definition of the Alpha male. In Echoes at Dawn, Rio goes after Grace with a vengeance, crazy with rage, testosterone just dripping from his pores. Rio comes across Grace as she is in the process of escaping from her captors and saves her life. At that point in Grace’s life, she is weak, and her desire to live is diminishing. Rio puts everything on the line to bring Grace back safely, but things don’t go exactly as planned.

This book was earth shattering. Although it is certainly a romantic suspense by genre, it has the delightful elements of the paranormal. The love story between Grace and Rio is heartwarming and will leave you teary eyed at the end. No matter how busy your schedule may be, this book will take over your will and demand that you finish it. I highly recommend this book for both paranormal romance readers, and romance readers alike. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. Miss Maya Banks you have done it again.








Saturday, January 3, 2015

Megan Linski says, "Word of mouth is the only thing that works in this industry."

How many books have you written and which is your latest release?

I have written almost twenty books, but I've only published two as of recently, Alora under my name and Kiatana's Journey by Natalie Erin, which I co-wrote with Krisen Lison. Both were released on November 1st, 2014. Even though I have a lot of books I won't release them until each one is absolutely the best I can make it. I'm a perfectionist that way.

Wow, it sounds like you’ve been busy. What is your background? Were you a good English student as a kid?


English is all I ever knew, really. None of the other classes in school ever mattered to me much, unless they had something to do with animals. History was another one of my good subjects because I see History as a story, just like books. But it was rare for me to get anything less than an A on an English project.

Well, that explains a lot. What is your favorite genre to read? Do you read what you write?

I write my favorite genres, which are Fantasy, Romance, and Contemporary/Issue novels. I started writing for teens so I usually work in that age group, but I'm also getting into more New Adult as well. 

I too write what I read. I suspect that it is a pretty common practice. We tend to put out what we take in. What is your muse? Is there something special that inspires you?

I think what helps most with my writing is nature. If I'm outside walking alone and enjoying myself, the ideas just seem to come with me. I love being active and getting out of the house whenever I can, and when that happens I usually become flooded with tons of ideas. The more beautiful the scenery, the better.

I can’t wait to read some of your stories. It sounds like you have a lot of wonderful ideas swimming around in your head. Do you have any writing rituals?

I just sit down and write. There's nothing really I do that gets me in the mood. I either want to write or not, and since this is all I've ever really wanted to do, I usually want to.

I tend to sit down and write as well. I let my characters take me for a ride as opposed to the other way around. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

It varies. Some of my more recent books I've plotted ridiculously, down to the last word, but I've found that my best work comes from when I just spit it out and then go back and rewrite it later, because then I've got more bones to work with. I originally wrote a 90,000 word story that I cut the ending out of and edited down to 70,000 words, and I'm a lot happier with it now. I'm more of an editor than a plotter or pantser, I believe. The first draft is only the first draft. You can do anything after that step.

After all the hard work is done, the hardest part is getting word out about your latest project. What is your favorite way to advertise your book?

Oh my, I hate advertising, haha. I would think most authors do. But I think that out of everything I've tried the best thing that really, truly works is to talk to people about it. Word of mouth is the only thing that works in this industry. It's slow but I've gained more readers just by talking to them like a normal human being over any advertising gimmick I've ever done.

Do you expect to try for a traditional publisher at some point or do you like being independent?

Ehhhhhhh come back to me in a few years and ask me that, haha. There are so many pros and cons to the indie industry, but from what I've heard about the traditional route it isn't much better. Unless a publisher comes to me with a large advance and a killer contract, I think I'll stay where I am. But that could change. It all depends on the book too. I have novels that I know no traditional publisher would consider in their wildest dreams, plus I like being in control of where my book goes. I would like my company, Gryfyn Publishing, to become successful enough one day where it's my main source of income, but that won't happen if I take a contract from another publisher. I don't know what that would say about having faith in my own company.

Thank you so much, Megan for taking the time to talk with us today. Please leave some links where my readers can learn more about you and your books.








Twitter:@GryfynPub


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