Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Loudest Story

I am most comfortable when I write. I express myself better in writing. It feels like a second skin. I have been asked, “how do you know what to write?” or told, “I would like to write but I don’t know what to write or how to start.” There is no right answer; just start. However, there is a process I go through when selecting the next story to be written. I have several notes on possible future novels. These notes do not follow any particular order. I write these ideas down when they appear. These ideas may come to me at any time, day or night, and even when I’m writing the current story. Quickly, I make a note of it and save it. When I finish the novel I’m working on I experience a new flow of ideas. Many times, one particular idea will cross my mind on several occasions and will stick around more than the rest. Although I review my notes to select the next story, there is always one story that becomes “loud” in my head. It grabs my attention and I start thinking about it with a measure of obsession. It is the story that screams at me, and I end up choosing the idea as the topic of my next novel. After I commit myself to it, the developing process starts, and I give it my undivided attention and total focus. The rest is set aside; even an idea that I might prefer. I found the process of writing a trilogy a bit forced for the reason of having to continue a story, although an idea developed into three books. I found that I prefer to write a single story – beginning to end, whether that story turns out to be a short story or a novel.

This is how I decide what to write next. On a personal note, I always start writing a new story by saying a prayer about the work I am about to start; call it a superstition, or rite of passage, if you may, but it is something I do. This is my process as far as selecting what story to write next. It may be a fresh idea or one stored for future use, but it is always the story that screams the loudest, the one that wants to be written now. I don’t take writing for granted, nor inspiration; for it I am grateful. Immensely.

 

Just a Quick Note to Readers of this Blog

Just wanted to let you know that for some reason I am not able to view the notifications section of this blog; it appears empty, and I cannot get to it. I apologize in advance for not being able to answer any comments or visit the recent blogs that have visit mine in the past couple of days, as I usually like to do. This happened once before and it fixed itself fast, so I am hoping it does. Never thought of it before, but the feeling is as having a blind blog. It feels lonely without being able to view the notifications, as I enjoy this part of the blog.

Love, and have an awesome day.

The Day I Cried

A little piece of inspiration.

 

The Day I Cried

 

It was eight in the morning. It was Wednesday, or was it Tuesday? I grabbed a cup of coffee that was already half-empty, half-warm, and stared at it. I looked at the calendar and could not decide what day it was, was it Tuesday or Wednesday. I took a sip, and put the cup aside; who likes cold coffee? The day seemed to drag as usual, soon working hours, nothing out of the ordinary. Ordinary, orderly, order, who wants order every day? I looked outside and saw a leaf flying in the wind, or was it a piece of paper? One of those thin-weathered, annoying pieces of trash that seem to appear from another dimension when you least expect it. Was I expecting something? Who likes the unexpected? I turned around to grab a second cup of coffee. This time, I intended to drink it hot. I poured the sugarless black coffee on a new cup. I set it aside; something caught my eye. A black ant struggled by the windowsill; it had three legs, three legs. I watched it as it moved, as if performing a dance of pain where the only audience was a lonely observer. I thought of my coffee. As I went to grab the already warm cup, I collapse on my knees. The cup went flying in the air hitting the windowsill and almost sending a rain shower of warm coffee to the struggling ant. Shattered. I grabbed my chest; the pain I felt sent waves all over my body, chills down my spine converging in my head. I let myself go into the agony of crying as I felt the weight of the world crawling out of my heart, slowly, as a river of pain that floods the spirit and washes the soul. I lay on the floor, on one side, watching the struggling ant reach its destination – the flowerpot near the window. She was safe now. Images of war, revolts, disease, and technology zombies clouded my brain, revealing a dirty planet. I closed my eyes, as if wanting to shut the dams of the heart, only to find out that the more I squeezed them shut, the river grew bigger, and the sound of agony came out of my mouth, a symphony of despair, a song of hopeless cries that shoot into the heavens as hungry ravens in search of food and back. I opened my eyes; the ant wasn’t there, coffee all over the windowsill, a ray of light filtering through the cloudy glass, kissing my forehead. I sat up. The ravens flew away. The spilled coffee seemed as art in an ordinary day – orderly, order. Was it order what I felt? I wiped away the tears, and one by one, collected the pieces of an empty, shattered cup of coffee. There was art in the windowsill, and life in a flowerpot. There was life, after all.

 

Hope you enjoyed it.

7 Steps to Polish Yourself as an Indie Author

As the title suggests, this post is simple and clear, and mostly describes in a general way the steps I took to follow my intention of becoming and independent author. It is a summary of steps targeted to those thinking about the topic, and wanting to know a few simple but necessary steps to take. This is what I have done and continue to do to grow as part of my journey.

  1. The first thing to do is just Write. It doesn’t matter how much you learn in theory if you do not apply it in practice. You must write and write a lot. It will help you develop a style and a sense of comfort in your own skin – because you will be your worst critic.
  2. Learn from the masters. Read best-selling authors who have been in the craft/business for long, whether they are traditionally published or not. If they have made it so far, they must offer valuable insight. Study their style and enjoy their work. Keep it simple.
  3. Read in your genre. If you have a feel for the type of stories that you want to share with readers, then read other authors who have done it. If anything, it will help you become clear on your goals as a writer, as well as discover other areas of interest.
  4. Read books to improve your writing, grammar, spelling … Educate yourself as much as you can. I would rather spend time polishing my writing than attending critique groups or book clubs. Be wise with your learning time; you know your needs.
  5. If you want to publish independently you must learn about it as much as your time allows, but keep it simple. Learn the basics and keep learning. This is a movement that is gaining momentum now and developing further due to advances and changes in technology. There has always been independent authors, however, it is a new game now and the doors are open thanks to technological advances. It is also viable and less expensive for the same reason.
  6. Learn about technology. It dictates the future of book publishing and book reading. It is wise to be somehow knowledgeable about trends, even if you have no intention to embrace it right away. At least you will have an idea on where things are headed.
  7. You might not like this last one – learn about marketing and promoting your work. Most writers think about the story and not about this part; it feels alien to their nature. It is necessary, and learning as much as you can about this topic will benefit you even if you decide to go the traditional route or if you hire someone to help you with it. Knowledge gives you a sense of control, and eases your mind.

Overall, keep it simple and don’t agonize over it. Let your writing become better, and follow your own pace. It is an ongoing effort.

Art of Selling

First of all, my best wishes for the New Year. This post will take a retrospective tone, my view on becoming an indie author, and what I have discovered on the journey. Last year was very challenging in the personal and the professional aspects, however, I can say that I passed the test – it was the feeling as I received the New Year. I took some time off to think and regroup, and I put writing aside for a while (hence Sunrise Souls is not finished). I am glad that I did this because it made me focus on my journey, and I realized that I create my writing journey and walk its path, and that I don’t have to follow another’s journey – even when it is full of great ideas and awesome “to-do’s.”  It is the spirit of indie – to create and give life to my art form, whatever it may be.

Like many independent authors, I was feeling the pressure of the indie movement (as a general) presented to us by the “new-born gurus,” and which I thought was becoming as rigid as traditional publishing in some aspects. I noticed that “one-way of doing things” was emerging, as well as criticism from the pros who were leading (not on purpose but by default in most cases) the masses of newborn indies who were trying to walk before they learn to crawl, maybe because they felt the same pressure to keep up with the rapid changes while not realizing that the pros and gurus did their crawling and hard work before walking, and took their time. I also saw the insane craving for sales, writing tons of books fast, and making money while the market “is not too saturated,” and that did not make sense to me because it was not part of my journey. The more I learned about this movement, the more I understood what I wanted my journey to be, as well as my pace and method. I guess that in short, I can say that I am not a follower but appreciate many points of view and understand that there is more than one way of doing things.

As I gave myself the time to do nothing, I found myself watching two major shopping networks during the holidays. I don’t watch too much television, and I did not buy anything, but I kept coming back to these hosts who understood the art of selling and promoting. I was mesmerized by the choice of words in description, and by the feelings that these words created in an almost non-perceived way. At one point, I heard the callers repeating the same words of the host, as if they had made the discovery. These hosts were doing the impossible – they were practicing the art of selling from afar, of selling something via the air waves, something not yet tangible to the audience, but these callers wanted it badly. The key to their selling was not to sell, but to create a strong desire, a “want it now – have to have it” feeling. They are successful at it. Although I have a strong background in sales (real estate and jewelry/diamontology), and always knew that the key to selling is not to sell at all, it was the level of descriptive selling and choice of words that caught my attention and admiration of their craft. Some of these hosts do a three-hour show on a line, and many seem to have a huge following of customers for many years. Many recognize a caller from time to time. All this lead me to think about my writing, not so much about selling or promoting, but about the necessary time to create, to build a story with the right words, and to let these words do most of the selling, awaking feelings in the reader. I am not saying that an author should not sell or promote a product, it is a necessary practice. What I am saying is that I should put more attention on the product (the writing and crafting of the story) that on the number of books, sales numbers, or revenue. I want to make a living from my writing, yes, but I don’t want that to be my sole focus/effort.  Going back to the shopping network hosts, the ones who seemed to sell more, were the hosts who focused the effort on creating a love affair with the product.

One thing that became clear during this time is that I will pursue my writing on my own terms, while keeping an open mind about new developing, and while enjoying the journey. A journey that I want to create at my own pace and space while being true to my work ethic and working style. It is the indie spirit after all.

Authors: You’re not Alone

An excellent post for Indies. Must share it 🙂

chrismcmullen

Alone

Alone

It’s easy to feel alone:

  • You sit down and write your book all by yourself.
  • If you self-publish, you do it yourself.
  • Marketing is up to you.

Indie ≠ Alone

It’s really indie publishing, not self-publishing.

  • Indie = independent. Independent means you’re the boss, you make the decisions, you have freedom, etc. Independence doesn’t mean you have to do it yourself. Choose not to be alone, if you wish.

Where Is Everyone?

Get connected:

  • Meet fellow authors. Interact with them. Read about their experiences. Discuss your publishing experience.
  • Ask for help. Others have worn your shoes. Advice is easy to give. Search for ideas. Post a question.
  • There are many free, helpful, positive, interactive author communities on the internet. You just have to look.
  • Need professional help? There are many editing, formatting, and illustration services available by many editors, designers, small publishers, and businesses. You can find affordable and reliable…

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This Video Will Give you Christmas Chills!

I think this is a lovely video that is worth sharing because it will bring joy to your heart. Watch and enjoy!

Good Time Stories

This has got to be one of the most heartwarming and sweet videos about the spirit of the Christmas season, that I have ever seen. You HAVE to watch it! It will touch your heart…I promise!

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