Feeds:
Posts
Comments

It’s that time, everyone! Please welcome author Casey Knight!

1. What’s the title of your latest release? Link?

Fang Shway L.A.  can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Fang-Shway-Casey-Knight-ebook/dp/B00L2IZ99Q/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1411997789&sr=8-1&keywords=fang+shway

My other novel, Dragon Down, can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Down-Casey-Knight-ebook/dp/B00M29WBO0/ref=la_B00MZM246E_1_2_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411997839&sr=1-2

2. Why do you like writing in this genre?

I love writing in this genre because it is an escape from my everyday life. In my books I can create people, places and situations that are exciting, challenging, tragic, and entertaining. My characters can grow, suffer and evolve and no one gets

hurt.

3. What do you like to read? 

I read a wide variety of books from non-fiction to poetry. I’ve read widely in my own genre to give me a better idea of what types of books readers are enjoying.

4. Favorite movie?

A Rumor of Angels.

5. What are your writing habits? Music or silence? Daily regimen or spurts of creativity?

I have four months off every summer so that is when I write. I usually write in the afternoons for two or three hours. I can listen to music with no lyrics and the music helps me block out the world. I’ve learned that I cannot “push my creativity”. If I’m stuck I put it out in the Universe and wait for direction. I usually get an enlightened moment or at least a direction within twenty-four hours or so.

6. What was the most surreal moment you’ve had as an author?

I think when I got my first rejection letter that was addressed to Dear Author. I realized that someone would publish my

books and I would become a published author.

7. How can readers find you?

On my author page at http://www.Casey-Knight.com

WordPress blog: [http://www.caseyknight.wordpress.com]

Email: [CaseyKnightwriter@gmail.com]

Facebook: [http://www.facebook.com/casey.knight.731]

Solstice publishing: [http://www.solsticepublishing.com]

8. What do you know now about being published that you wish you’d known before submitting?

That it is easier to write a book then it is to market one. Fortunately, the Solstice community shares knowledge with and mentors first time authors very well.

9. Favorite snack/drink while writing?

I don’t really eat or drink when I write. It would distract me.

10. Look at your writing area…what’s the item you keep to inspire you (piece of artwork, figurine)?

My computer screen has a big picture of my beach. It is my happy place. Also, I will purchase and place hard copy of each book on my desk.

Thanks for stopping by, Casey! Best of luck with the books!

BB

A Series of Moments

What drives an author? Is it the belief that publishing a book will lead to instant riches? Fame? Going from obscurity to being the person chatted about at parties? Hearing stories of your friends living vicariously through you?

Is it simply that there are stories inside us that must be told? The driving need to take something from our imagination and immortalize the creation in print?

Or could it be all of the above?

Most authors will tell you that they simply can’t not write. That it’s as necessary as a cup of coffee in the morning, breathing, or eating. That they dread the day a medical condition robs them of the ability to take a story from concept to print.

I’ve said it many times before. Becoming a published author is not an instant road to fame and fortune. It takes years of hard work, promotion, and focus. It’s working on the basics of your professional image, connecting to readers, and learning how to balance promotion with writing time. It’s being aware, on an hourly basis, of promotional opportunities. When you can talk about your books, and when you have to be a parent/spouse.

The rewards you get from being published come in a series of moments. This calling is not one where you’ll get instant gratification. It’s spread out over months, years. It’s being able to take the words of a teenager who’s giddy over meeting an author with grace and humility. Talking with people who read your books, answering their questions. Signing your name on the title page and handing it to someone who hugs the book with happiness on their face. Putting your name on a Wall of Fame at a bookstore known around the world.

Most people never see what happens behind the scenes. They don’t see the years of struggling to get a single sale in a month, or even finding a publisher willing to take a chance on you. They don’t see the balance of family time and writing time. Darting up at 3 am to get a scene out of your head because there’s a school event you have to attend that’ll make writing in the evening not happen.

If you’re of the belief that your book is going to make you millions within a few days/weeks/months of release…stop now. If you think you’re going to have a book signing event with people lining around the block within 2 weeks of release…stop now. There is a greater chance that you’ll be struck by lightning, win the lottery, and be nominated for a Pulitzer all in the same week.

This job takes hard work, dedication, and time. Lots and lots of time. You’re going to have months, even years, at the start where your royalties aren’t going to be enough to buy a latte. You’re going to have people ask what you really do for a living, because you’re going to have to keep that day job for several years. Most authors won’t ever be able to quit that job. Fame? You’ll have more people who think you owe them a free copy of your book than buy it. They’ll say they support you, but won’t open their wallet. And, should you actually start getting sales, they’ll be right there wanting to ride your coattails.

Why start, then? Why spend all the time polishing the story, submitting it, getting rejection after rejection? Because there is more to life, and being happy both within and without, than fame and fortune.

The series of moments you’ll experience over the years is worth more than you can imagine.

BB

Happy Monday!

At least, I hope it is. It’s technically Sunday right now, but this topic came up and wouldn’t let me go. So here I sit, on a Sunday evening, writing a post for Monday. I hope I haven’t lost anyone yet. This is very important.

As authors, we need to create a public persona. The face of us as authors we put out in the world. Something that is how we see ourselves as authors, but isn’t completely us. An image of a person who isn’t the sum of who we are, that doesn’t include every aspect of our non-writing lives.

Why?

Because the moment you published your book or signed a contract, you became a public figure. And everything that goes along with it. Like stalkers.

This happened to an author friend I know. She posted a bit too much about her personal life on her author page. Someone went overboard. Sent her emails with images from Google Earth with her house on it. Gave her step by step directions of how they knew where she lived.

Scary, huh? It’s one reason I say I live in Seattle Suburbia and not exactly where. I have kids and a husband, but I don’t share names, ages, or schools.

My husband and I had a discussion one night, within a few weeks of me getting my first contract. On how much of our lives we wanted to present to the world via me being an author. On what we would discuss about our kids, our home, our private lives. Because those things are private. I understand wanting to know more about your favorite authors. I’ve been a reader a LOT longer than an author. But I always kept a respectful distance. I treated them as i would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.

It’s one thing to ask them questions. It’s another to refuse to take ‘it’s personal’ as an answer. Whether you classify yourself as a reader or a fan, you need to respect that your favorite authors have a life beyond the books they wrote.

As authors, we need to remember that not everyone out there will read our books and respect our privacy. Some will pry. Others will out and out invade our lives if we let them. Be vigilant. Plan ahead. Watch what you say on FB and Twitter.

Of course, there are some who will dig no matter how much you think you’ve covered your tracks. They’ll find an article from a local newspaper from your initial release. Or do search after search for your name to see if anything will help them locate where you live. Let’s be totally honest here. Some people are going to be mentally unstable. They will fixate on you, identify with your characters, in unhealthy ways. It’s part of being a public figure.

To give you an idea of what I mean, here’s a short story I wrote years ago in response to a challenge from my old writing group. The topic for the week was meeting one of our characters in real life.

***

I stretched my neck. The hotel had a spa that offered massages. I just might have to splurge on one. I was on a pretty full schedule, though. It could end up waiting until we were back at O’Hare.

Sipping at my coffee, I checked the time on my cell phone for the third time since sitting down. My signing wasn’t for another hour, and then a panel after that. K2 still wasn’t sure why I wasn’t happy with the coffee available for free in the room. It would’ve made her job easier. Like many people knew who I was by sight. Sure, the book had taken off and I’d been invited to this event, but I still had a measure of anonymity. Todd was swinging by this afternoon, promising to take us out to lunch at the best pizza in town. It was going to be a welcome break before the party I *had* to attend.

I felt a chill as it crept down my spine. My senses, all of them, went on high alert. There was something Not Nice in the room. And it had me targeted.

Pray to every deity you want to that you never know the feeling of a blinking neon light saying “Blue Plate Special” directly over your head. It is NOT a nice feeling.

He sat two tables away, dark eyes locked on me. The attempt of a smile crossed his lips. It came across more like a tiger stalking its prey.

On the table, next to an untouched glass of water, sat a worn copy of “Daughter of Hauk”.

My spidey sense was screaming at me to get up and move. I grabbed my cell, twisting out of my chair and grasping my bag at the same time. He was within inches of me as I turned around.

His hand encircled my uppper arm in a vise-like grip. “Going somewhere, Arwenna?” I struggled to loosen his grip on me. “It’s just you and me now, Sister dear. No one here’s going to care if I take what’s mine!” His voice dripped sarcasm.

My eyes grew as it dawned on me. This psycho thought he was Bohrs, and I was Arwenna! I opened my mouth to scream.

The fist flew across his jaw first. He let go of my arm, turning to his assailant. A violent shove drove him into a table. A stiletto heeled boot pinned him to the ground before he could shake the stars from his vision.

All the bravado and swagger evaporated. His voice trembled as he looked up at the woman attached to the boot. “Who are you?” he stammered.

K2 glared at him. “I’m Y’Durkie, you son of a bitch.”

***

The point of the story is this: you never know who is going to read your books. You never know who is going to identify with the different characters. And you never know if one of those readers is going to take it too far. For your own safety, and that of those you care about, make a persona. Define what of your life your readers get a glimpse at and what’s private.

BB

I originally posted this to a closed group on FaceBook. Had a few people say I should share it here, so hope you agree!

I’ve heard from a couple of authors now, who have struggled with either marketing or presenting themselves out in the world. It’s interesting in that many authors are introverts at heart, but they have to put themselves out there on a daily basis even if they don’t want to. It’s something I had trouble with at first, too.

The biggest thing to realize is that your public face, you as an author, is a role you put on. Just like an actor or musician. It’s a persona that’s still part of you, but it’s not you as a whole.

The two best things I can tell you to do are these: if you can, take a beginning acting class at a local college. In this class, you’ll get the basics of how to create a persona, become the role you’ve been cast to play. It really can help.

The second, especially if you can’t or don’t want to take a class, is to write down how you see yourself as an author. Go into details about what you’re willing to let readers know about your personal life. Are you okay with them knowing the city you live in? Or do you want to classify it as an area (like my use of ‘Seattle Suburbia’)? Do you want them to know you’re married? Have kids? Should you include their names, or do you want to keep them sheltered from readers? Do you want to talk about your hobbies beyond writing? Or are some of them things you’d prefer to keep private? Go into great detail and build the foundation of your persona as much as possible. Get comfortable with the difference between Kate the person and KateMarie the author.

Once you begin to separate you as a person from you as a public figure, the promoting gets easier. Because it’s now a role you slip into and not you baring your soul to the world.

BB

Changing Gears

Hello!

It must be a time of change in my life. So many new and wonderful experiences! Ones I have only dreamed of or completely out of the blue.

For years, I was the fan girl. I was the one who would go all nuts over the idea of meeting my favorite authors. Respectful, yes, but still giddy with excitement and tongue tied should I ever cross their path. I knew I’d have butterflies in my stomach, and I’d relive our conversation over and over in my head.

As I got older, I tempered this reaction. A little. I’d be respectful still, but the excitement would be less superficial. I’d have a question or two in my head, ready for the asking. Things about the books I’d been wondering about for a long time.

Now, however, the shoe is on the other foot. I’m starting to get fan girls of my own.

It’s a shift in thinking, going from the admirer to the admiree. It gives me pause when I have someone giddy with excitement that I followed them on Twitter. That they would feel special because I took the time to follow them back, say welcome to them by name.

That someone whose writing they admired acknowledged they existed.

It does come down to that, the more I think on it. As authors, we hope to have legions of readers. Most of them will be nameless, faceless entities that we have no direct connection with. But they have a connection to us through the words we’ve chosen to put on paper. That we took time out from our day to say hello.

Social media is a game changer for authors. Finally, our readers can interact with us beyond a random letter in the mail sent to our publisher. They can follow our day to day postings, ask us how new books are coming along, find out where we’ll be and when.

And watch us fall flat on our faces.

Our readers, our fans, are watching us. As long as we stay true to the image they fell in love with, they’ll stay loyal. They’ll tell their friends, with a rush of excitement, that we followed them back or mentioned them by name. They’ll promote our books better than we ever could.

But if we betray that image, come across as spiteful/mean/ungrateful/whiny, they’ll turn on us. They’ll go from being ecstatic to questioning why we’d say that. And, if their friends come to them in awe about how we mentioned them as well, the one we turned off will tell them about our other side.

It’s a shift in mentality, really. To recognize you’ve gone to the other side. You’re now the one on the pedestal. How long you stay there is up to you.

BB

Happy Labor Day, everyone! I plan on working on ‘Wielder of Tiren’ later today. Just have to finish up one or two more things that, if I don’t work on them, will fester in my brain and interrupt the plot. The last thing I need to write is dialogue about unloading the dishwasher! LOL

This weekend was amazing, for a couple of reasons. One, two of my short stories released as single ebooks. “Permafrost” is on Amazon and B&N, whereas “The Rose Box” is a B&N exclusive. Both are part of the anthologies, yes. But “Permafrost” was only available via the print version (“Challenges Met”). And, the one that had “The Rose Box” was an Amazon exclusive. I really like that story, so wanted to share it with those who prefer a Nook.

New releases are exciting and all. Don’t get me wrong! But something happened yesterday, one of THOSE moments in time, that trumped it.

Our family took an impromptu trip to Portland. Among the stops we made was Powell’s Books. Now, if you’ve never been there, let me explain the experience. Powell’s is the world’s largest independent book store. The flagship store is huge! We’re talking multi-storied, taking up an entire city block, and their own parking garage. Anyone who loves to read will get lost for hours.

In their scifi/fantasy/horror section, there’s a support pillar. On this one amazing pillar, there are signatures of all the authors for these genres that have visited the store. Hundreds of names decorate it under protective plexiglass. Greats of the genres. 

Powell’s has been renovating the store, and the names were covered to protect them during construction. When we visited yesterday, it was uncovered at last. I chatted with an employee about my books (they’re available on the website, but not in store). Next thing I knew, he was handing a key to someone else and finding a good pen. I followed the associate over to the wall of Fame, watched with more than a little awe as he unlocked one side, and held it aloft. He told me to ‘Pick my spot’. With shaking hand, I added my name to the wall.

IMG_9709

My name, my name, is now among the amazing talent on that shrine. My name! It was the most amazing feeling. It’s like I suddenly went from a wanna be fantasy author to a legitimate name to be reckoned with. That, until that building is no more, I’m immortalized as someone whose work is worthy of notice, of being read.

That, my friends, is a moment worth remembering. Cherishing. And the feeling will keep me going when sales don’t back the honor of being part of the company on that pillar.

BB

Hello! Today, I’m happy to be hosting Matt Grawitch! Be sure to show him some love!

1. What’s the title of your latest release? Link?

The Box of Death, the 2nd Book in the Three Wizards Chronicles. 

http://www.amazon.com/Death-Three-Wizards-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00JR9YPO2/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408975814&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=the+box+of+death+by+matthew+grawitch

2. Why do you like writing in this genre?

Well, I’ve always been attracted to stories about magic, and when I was growing up, I was most enthralled with books in the Fantasy genre, like the Wheel of Time Series. Truthfully, though, this series grew out of a bunch of bedtime stories I used to tell my girls. After a while, it became a bit too complicated, and so I started writing the series. After about a year and a half, I wrote the entire series, which currently consists of seven books. Some of them need a bit of work to be ready for press, so we’ll see where we end up after the editing and reviewing process.

3. What do you like to read?

Growing up, I read a lot of fantasy novels – the Wheel of Time Series, Dungeons and Dragons, those sorts of books. I was always most interested in stories that stretched beyond one book. I was more likely to buy a series than a standalone title. I still enjoy Fantasy books. My oldest daughter and I read through the Ranger’s Apprentice series. And though this sounds like it might be coming out of left field, I have a deep appreciation for Ted Bell’s Alex Hawke character.

4. Favorite movie?

I don’t really have a favorite movie. The TV show 24 was hugely intriguing to me, probably because of the way the story progresses from one episode to another – though I had to wait for a season to end and watch it all at one time. I could not stand waiting from one week to the next.

5. What are your writing habits? Music or silence? Daily regimen or spurts of creativity?

I tend to write when it’s quiet. In Spring and Fall, I enjoy writing on my porch. When it comes to writing, I go through spurts. Right now, I’m spending most of my time reviewing and editing the Three Wizards series. I have another series I’m working on, called the Graymalkin Saga, but I’m only halfway through the second book.

6. What was the most surreal moment you’ve had as a author?

Honestly, it was probably seeing my book on Amazon the first time.

7. How can readers find you?

They can check out the Three Wizards website (http://three-wizards.com/). There, they can find links to the book, learn a bit more about the characters, download some free samples of the books. They can also find links to the Three Wizards blog and a way to connect with me personally.

8. What do you know now about being published that you wish you’d known before submitting?

I would say the issues involved in marketing your book. I’ve met so many people who have insights they are willing to share – from little tidbits of useful knowledge to vast experiences within the publishing and marketing industry. I try to learn a little bit from as many of them as I can. I wish I had been able to connect with some of these folks before I became published.

9. Favorite snack/drink while writing?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am seldom seen without some sort of Diet Soda – usually Diet Pepsi, Coke, or Dr. Pepper. I don’t usually snack when I write because it usually keeps me from getting into a rhythm. The crunching of chips breaks the silence…

10. Look at your writing area…what’s the item you keep to inspire you (piece of artwork, figurine)?

I would have to say that it’s my girls. My daughters inspired me to begin writing in the first place, and my significant other inspires me to get out there and make an impact.

 

Thanks for stopping by, Matt! Best of luck with the books!

BB

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 216 other followers