Hey Black Cat Blog interviewed me. It’s full of puppies and zombie hunting and cake. Go check it out!
This week marked a major first. In my #WO2016 group, a group for authors how have books coming out in 2016, I volunteered to lead a twitter chat. The subject I came up with for the chat was all about villains. What could be better?
So this past Saturday, instead of writing for an hour, I got to spend it with some really amazing authors and bloggers and others. We got to tackle such important questions as:
- Who was your favorite villain of all time?
- What made that villain stand out above the rest?
- Who would you consider the weakest villain of all time?
- What made that villain so ineffective?
- It’s been said villains are the true reflections of the hero, do you agree?
- What makes a villain a villain instead of a protagonist?
- How to keep empathy with a villain without surrendering their evil?
- Wounds: how MCs and Villains treat them differently.
- A good villain forces the hero to evolve: what do you think?
- Villains generate the primary conflict in stories: how do you make that happen?
- What are the worst villain clichés?
- What is your current villain’s GMC?
- What inopportune truths does your villain reveal to the hero/world?
It was the fasted hour in my life. I could barely get questions and thoughts out before responses flooded in. I learned a great deal, and I will be a better writer for it. But after only ten minutes something incredible happened, something I didn’t expect. Our discussion was popular enough it was categorized as trending on the main twitter page. I’ve never been a part, let alone leading, a trending twitter chat. So many talented views and thought compounded together to get the notice of such a worldwide program. I am humbled.
Writing also went well. I got through some major hurdle chapters and wrote about 13k words. I also got through about half the interviews.
I will finish the interviews by this weekend and write through the next two attacks by next Wednesday’s check in. Thanks for keeping me working and going, guys.
Now, go check out my fellow writers’ updates as well. The list of those on this Writing Wednesdays Blog Hop are below.
Ann Anderson Noser tagged me to share seven lines from the seventh page of a work in progress.So here’s an insider preview into THE SCIONS OF WRATH, book 2 of the American Scions series.
Devon’s anger coated my thoughts laced with something else. Turning up the volume between us I could feel him creasing his brow and tapping his fingers on the dash of the car. Devon was suspicious. Then I caught his last thought of demanding me off the case.
Ease up there, bucko. I don’t like be shot at…
I don’t like being shot, but don’t start thinking of pulling me off the case.
That’s not what I was doing and get out of my head, woman, and let me figure this out.
I smirked. Sucks don’t it.
Now I’ll tag 7 other authors to play this game:
This week has been extremely productive, just not quite in the way I meant. I have several hobbies that I pursue passionately. Writing is obviously one. I love it, but not my only love. This week I have had to focus on another pursuit just as dear to my heart.
Recently I have gotten back into martial arts, Korean styles. And by me, I mean I have, my writer-husband, JP Sloan, and my son has been in it for a while. My husband and I have had to play catch up and have been under scrutiny to determine where we fall in our abilities. This week we earned our green belts. We couldn’t be more excited.
Piggybacking on this, we decided we needed a more dedicated practice space. So all of last weekend was dedicated to organizing and redoing our basement to create a dojo space just for us. As a good New Orleans girl, basements still freak me out. I expect the water to rush in at any moment. But I after 10 years, I have to admit the extra space is really nice. It was a lot of work, but so, so worth it. No we have everything that the basement held before in one area up on shelving. On the other, larger end, we have a full dojo complete with mats, mirrors, artwork and an amazing heavy bag we get to hit around whenever we want. So without further ado, the fruits of my labor.
Lastly, yes, I did some writing as well. I wrote just over 10k words this week. That is one the low end of my weekly goal, but I hope to do better this coming week when I can dedicate more time to writing. And for those of you who has been bugging me to have Rowan in a relationship, there may or may not have been a first kiss. You’ll just have to wait for book two to find out with whom.
In geeky gaming terms, my writing did gain a new feat this week. My husband reads some of my work when I torture him with it, I mean, ask him to. Now, you have to know something about my husband. He does not feel or show emotion for anything. Everything that makes everyone on the face of this planet have feels, he simply goes “eh”. I have teased him about this for over eleven years. Last night I gave him just a couple of paragraphs to read. The feels nearly killed him. This accomplishment I feel needs to go down in the chronicles of my writing. I’m not sure it will ever happen again.
So, there was my week. For next week I want to up my word count to at least 15k. I also want to fill out the author interviews I have been asked to do and schedule my author photos. I hate all photos, and I’m scared of these most of all, but they have to be done. So that’s my plan.
Now, go check out my fellow writers’ updates as well. The list of those on this Writing Wednesdays Blog Hop are below.
These last few months I have been a part of a talented group of writers who all have books coming out in 2016. These people are as amazing as their upcoming books. Together we are pushing each other to be greater and get more done by blog hopping once a week. Basically every Wednesday, we’ll post what we’ve been doing writing or publishing-wise during the week, anything we’ve learned, and what we hope to get done in the next week. It’s just a fun way to keep on track with writing goals week-to-week and push for more.
This week has been amazingly productive and busy.
1st– For the last few weeks the publisher and I have been working like crazy artistic bees on cover ideas for Book One of The American Scion series, OF SCIONS AND MEN. We’ve decided to push the envelope and not do a traditional style cover. As of the end of last week, we have settled on concept art, and it’s off in the hands of an exceptionally talented artist. I now know who the artist is. I cannot wait to share this amazing idea and work with the rest of you.
2nd– I am hard at work on Book Two of The American Scion series, THE SCIONS OF WRATH. So far I’ve written about 10k words this week. So, it’s going well and my structure is shaping up well. I was having some trouble with chaptering my inciting event chapters. But I lucked out and this week was my critique group’s meeting. Not only did I get some great suggestions, I also seem to have made some fellow writers white-knuckle as they read the events of this chapter. So, yay!
I’ve gotten a lot done, but I’ve got to push for more. Time to crack the whip, and I’ll hope you’ll all join in.
From now to next Wednesday, I want to get another 10-15k written. Also, I want to get some more marketing ideas under my belt and set up. This is the part I need to learn the most about. It’s a strange new world, and I need to jump in educated but with both feet.
Today is an exciting day… it is time to share a cover reveal for one of my book siblings, who also happens to be my editor mama, Vicki Leigh. This cover is amazing and is the twisted work of one of my favorite horror genre cover artists: Conzpiracy Digital Arts. Dean has knocked this one out the park, and Vicki has written a book that is equally amazing.
The second book of Vicki Leigh’s Dreamcatcher series is coming out October 23rd. So without further aggrandizement, here is this masterpiece:
Now that you’ve seen this, I know you want to know more about this book. How does this dark figure fit into the picture. Well, I can’t give away state secrets or Vicki would have to hunt me down but I’ll give you what I can.
They may have won the first battle, but the Apocalypse has just begun.
Five weeks have passed since the battle that left Rome and Columbus in ruins. Sheltered in the hidden city of Caelum, Daniel and Kayla train alongside over one hundred Magus and Protectors, hoping that their unified ranks will be enough to take down their greatest threat yet: Richard, his followers, and his horde of Nightmares. Then a fallen comrade is returned to Caelum with a message carved into his chest and a note referencing the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and Daniel knows their time for training is over.
Finally understanding Richard’s plans for Kayla and the three other Magus born on Halloween, Daniel and the rest of Caelum’s volunteers scout the U.S. in a desperate attempt to stop their enemy before he can unleash his first Horseman. But when massive attacks claim thousands of lives, people all over the world begin to fall ill—including those Daniel and Kayla care about the most.
With the Horseman of Pestilence released, Daniel knows it’s time to step aside and let Kayla take the lead. Only she has the power to rival her father’s. But when Richard’s plot turns out to be darker than they imagined, their fight is met with more death and destruction—and an enemy who might be unbeatable, after all.
And if all that’s not enough for you, Vicki has more for you, because she is that awesome. Go visit her Tumblr page for more info and free stuff. You heard me right, free stuff. (vickileighauthor.tumblr.com). There’s an awesome 22 BOOK giveaway going on over there, too!
- 20 copies of CATCH ME WHEN I FALL (Book One of the Dreamcatcher Series)
- a signed copy of CITY LOVE by Susane Colasanti
- a The Vampire Diaries wall poster of Damon Salvatore
- a copy of SHADOW STUDY by Maria V. Snyder
- 5 handmade dream catchers
- a poster of the SORCERER HEIR series, signed by Cinda Chima
- 2 posters of the cover of DOON, signed by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon.
- a poster of the cover of DAMSEL DISTRESSED, signed by Kelsey Macke
- a poster of Melissa Lander’s ALIENATED cover
And one last taste of that cover in full.
Teenagers of the world, Dear Teen Me is for you.
For everyone who wishes they were on the football team. For everyone who would rather be in the glee club than ever run another lap. For the teens who dream of being far, far away from the small town or big city where they go to school. The prom queens, the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the good girls, the loners, the stoners, the class presidents, the juvenile delinquents, the jocks and the nerds.
The teens who have good days and bad days and sometimes really really really bad days.
This is for you.
A group of authors. some famous – some up-and-comers, who care about you.
Yesterday my letter to “Dear Teen Me” went live. A lot of connecting and truth mixed with a bit of sass (yeah, that’s didn’t lessen with age) and eye rolling to create something real.
Oh and one great picture of teen me on one of my favorite and most ornery horses. Seriously, during training this horse rolled on me, put me into a tree face first, and tried to dump me in the creek, but I loved Goldie and got him to accept most riders. Just to wet your whistle, here’s that pic for you now.
So, go over and read my letter. Let me know what you think. Tell others. Then click around and hear from other amazing authors as they communicate with their teen selves.
What are you still doing here? Click click.
Dear Mr &/or Mrs who want to publish the next AWESOME book,
I know you want to make millions. We all want to make millions. I can make this easy for you. My book is the next Fifty shades of gray meet Twilite. You need to jump on board this express train to awesomeness cause there’s going to be hundreds of agents buying it soon.
I’m not kidding. I’m really good at writing and have spent the last month punching out this bad boy. I’ve shown it to my 3 best friends who also write good and they have told me over and over and over that it is the most awesome thing they’ve ever read. My mother said the same thing when I told her I’d written a book. She said she always new that I would be a New York Author 1 day. Even when I was like 3 she knew it. I even have like 12 followers on fanfiction.net so you know that marketing for me is already like totally taken care of. All you got to do is buy this and then we will both be so rich no one will believe it.
So here’s the awesome pitch. Be ready to have your sock blown off.
My story is about this guy, Bromere, who is really tough and super awesome at everything. I mean everything. He can fight bears and sing and fix things and is totally awesome with the ladies. And there’s this other guy, Lousarius, who is super jealous of him and tries all these things to take his treasure and his girl. Oh yeah, they are pirates, you need to know that for the treasure to make sense. Well, No matter what this other dude does, my dude beats him and gets the girl and is awesome at everything. Oh and there’s Bromeres friends, Dudeacleese and Testacleese, who are there trying to do the stuff Bromere does, but they never can be as awesome as him. And there’s also stuff about explosions and aliens, but I couldn’t quite make that go anywhere, but it’s fun anyway. And in the end, Bromere saves the President from 2012 fires and acid rain, so there’s this whole environmental story in there as well.
So, yeah, that’s the story. Oh, it’s called Bromere of Flame and it’s a complete novel ready for you, with just an little bit more work needed (seriously just like a chapter or two more, I think I need to do something more with this aliens, at 29,366 words!!! This awesomeness’s genre is a greek, western, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, pirate, erotica, political thriller. I know that my pitch is over 35 words but it was too mind-blowing to put in only 35 words. I knew once you read it you wouldn’t mind. So send me back the contract and let’s get this money train rolling.
This is a Blog Hop! So read everyone’s bad query’s and then go to http://www.sharonbayliss.com between 6/2 and 6/5 to vote for your favorite.
And I’m all out of bubblegum.
We’ve all been there. In fact we’ve done it all our lives. “No, mom, I can’t do my homework until I clean my room.” “Honey, there’s no way I can do the taxes until all these dishes are done.” “There is no way I can go out and save Gotham with this spot on my cape.” We’ve all be there.
That point where the mess we’ve been living in, no matter how small or great, suddenly become unbearable and we must remedy this situation NOW. Usually at that exact moment when something even more important comes along.
This phenomenon of distracted productivity has led to some of the best and most effective outcomes of my life. That guilty pleasure of breaking the rules of what I should be doing now with the rationalized justification of “but I’m doing something that just HAS to be done” mixes together to create a beautiful synergy. Without which we would never have the clean rooms our mothers loved so much.
Or the clean manuscripts. Yep you knew I was going to make this about writing somehow. In writing people are always setting up great lists of how to write and create the perfect manuscript. I read these and try to take the great advice to heart. One of the biggest and most often quoted of these tips of writing is don’t break your momentum. Save your editing and revising for where it belongs, after your first draft is completed. The concept is that the more we put on the brakes to read and re-read what we’ve already written in an attempt to make it perfect the first time around, the less likely we are to finish it. We get bogged down in the first fifty pages doing them over and over and thus lose motivation and momentum to ever finish the last fifty. Every stop, every backtrack makes every restart that much slower and harder to accomplish.
And I believe in this tip. I use it and even teach it to my students in class. I put up a big picture of the Nike swoop and tell them “Just do it.” Just write and get the draft out without censorship or revising. Don’t break the momentum and writing become a lot easier.
Then we come to the rule breaking part. This last month I’ve been working on book 2, The Scions of Wrath, of the American Scion series. I have my beautiful research and outline to work from. I’m set and ready to just push through this manuscript. I’m even really excited because there’s so much happening in this book the readers can really sink their teeth into. But the first thirty pages were really bugging me. They came out far longer than I intended. They were pushing the inciting event way too late in the book. And as I kept sitting down to write the inciting event scene, one of the most important in any book, I would stare at the screen and worry and fret over those overly long first thirty pages. It was distracting to the point of debilitating.
And then I remembered cleaning my room before doing homework. It was a sneaky little trick to put off the inevitable, but it worked and in the end I had a clean room and completed homework. So yesterday I sat down and revised the first thirty pages making them much more concise and punchy. And it worked. I not only feel better about where they are but also feel great about writing the next scene and getting this bad boy rolling into hell, for my characters at least.
So there it is. I’m a teacher of rules and methods, and I’ve gone a broke a big one. And it felt great. As writers we need to listen to the rules and tips and trick to know not only when to follow them to make a great book, but also when to break them to make it all come together.
Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Yep, I’m all three. On a good day, the three meld into this gorgeous dance of inspiration and productivity. On a bad day, they crash into a glass of wine.
Many friends and colleagues have asked me how I manage all three, and I wish there was some great sage wisdom I could impart to enlighten the masses and stamp on a tee-shirt. So far, the best I’ve got is “Hold on, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.” I make it work by sheer force of will and an unhealthy dose of insomnia. But that doesn’t get things done. To get things done, I’ve had to utilize some very unsexy skills like extreme time management and using my wait time. These two plans have given me far more writing time than I could otherwise get. Adding the fact that my husband J.P. Sloan is also a worker by day and writer by night, we have double trouble with time management allowing us time to write. We both have to schedule time to write, usually right after our 7 year old goes to bed around 8-8:30. It is even how I’m writing this blog post right now. Scheduling a “working writing time” not only makes sure we can get it done without trying to hit the “I’m too tired button” in our lives, but also helps train our brains that during this time our writing brain needs to be active. I’d heard that from authors before, but didn’t really believe it until I started using it. Our brains feel like they actively switch to a different mode and the words flow much easier. But that only gives an hour or so a day; far from the time needed to be a real writer on a large scale.
So in my busy wife, mother, teacher life, my writing time also has to use that under-utilized section of everyone’s schedule called “wait time”. Wait times are those points in our day when we know we can’t travel to do anything else and we know we are just going to have to sit there and do nothing. This could be in-between two meetings or classes. Or my personal favorite, the doctor/dentist office. As we all know, when we go to the doctor they always see us immediately. NOT. We have to wait and wait, often for much longer than we would like. Usually the only options during this wait time is to watch their interoffice TV, stare at the cracks in the wall or read three year old magazines, again. But we know this time is coming. If we plan for it we can use it to get stuff done and thus free up time for later. So, when I look at my schedule and realize there’s some wait time in my day, I make sure my book stuff is with me and bang out a word count. Now I’m less frustrated with the wait and have time to spend with my family later and not feel guilty.
But guilt and family time are two big obstacles in the busy writing momma’s life. I need to make sure my son is feeling loved and supported. I need to be there for his events and celebrate and grow with him. I am not willing to sacrifice my son and family to my writing, not very PC and Woman’s lib, but there it is. But I’m also finding a balance and a pride from my writing as well. Especially as I watch my son. My guilt has eased as I watch him take more and more interest in writing and writing well from watching his father and I work. He is only in second grade but has already won two writing contests for his age group and school. For his martial arts belt tests he has to write an essay at each level and each time his is singled out for praise. He sees our dedication and love of writing, and instead of resenting it, he wants to work on his writing as well. He is already hoping to be published one day and working to that end.
And that came from balancing being a wife, mother and writer. It is not only my manuscripts that benefit from my dedication, but my son as well. Keeping this going takes a lot of effort, but each smile and success keeps me going and keeps the fight worth it.
So no great sage advice here. Just a reminder that we influence those little ones. It is not just about giving or taking time, but also showing them when actions are worth more. For them we walk the tight rope every day. If we show them cord, they may just decide to walk it with us.
If you want to read from other authors on balancing parenthood and writing, find them on Sharon Bayliss’s Blog Hop below.