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Okay, so last week was a strange one and I couldn’t read a calendar. LOL. Everyone welcome author Ray Chilensky!

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

My short story ‘The Engineer’ appears in ‘Project 9’: a science Fiction anthology that is now available for pre-order, and will be available from Solstice Publishing on December 23. I’m in the final editing stages with my dystopian science fiction novel The Fate of Nations: FIRE Team Alpha Book One; which should be available from Solstice soon.

Project-9 http://www.amazon.com/Project-9-Chris-Hayesebook/dp/B01925DSMU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449596029&sr=11&keywords=project+9+Solstice

FIRE Team Alpha https://www.facebook.com/The-FIRE-Team-Alpha-Series-196483540684605/

2. Why do you like writing in this genre?

Science fiction is unlimited. Even though good science fiction is rooted in science that is actually possible, a writer isn’t confined by what is actually possible today. Since you’re speculating about the future, there’s a kind of mental cushion that allows you to and your readers to think about social and political issues in new ways that our upbringing and cultural taboos might otherwise make us uncomfortable with.

3. What do you like to read?

I’m a historian by training, so I read a lot of history. I read a lot of classic science fiction authors. Robert Heinlein is my all time favorite. Ray Bradbury is a close second. I’m also a fan spy novels like those of Alistair MacLean and David Morrell.

4. Favorite movie?

Favorite move? Just one? That’s impossible, I think. I really love the 1975 version of ‘Rollerball’. That film and films like ‘The Guns of Navarone’ and ‘Where Eagles Dare’ are also favorites. All three of those movies have heavily influenced my writing. I’m eclectic in terms of genre’, but most of the movies I like are more than twenty years old.

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

I like to listen to music when I write, but I like silence when I edit. I try to keep to a daily regimen and write at least 1000 words a day. Of course, those 1000 words come more easily on some days than on others. There are rare, miraculous days that I written several thousand words in a day and they were golden. There are also days when I’ve done 1000 words and got rid of them as garbage then next day. If I have a few days like that in a row and I take time to do some drawing or extra reading to shake off the bad ‘mojo’.

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

Most surreal moment? I won 3rd place in a writing contest a few years ago. That was the first time I had actually shown my writing to anyone except family and friends. It was when I cashed the prize check for that contest that I thought ‘hey, I might actually be good at this writing thing.’ It was surreal because I was 43 years old at that time and had been writing stories for myself since childhood. That anyone but my friends and family might want to read my work was a strange idea for me until then.

7. How can readers find you?

I have a Face Book pages for me, personally, and for The FIRE Team Alpha series. I’m also on Google Plus and Twitter. There is a FIRE Team Alpha web site and you can find my artwork on the Deviantart website (it’s sort of Face Book for artists).

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

I’m new to being a published author so I’m not the best source of publishing wisdom. My one piece of advice for writers looking to be published is that you must write and you must submit your work to potential publishers. That sounds basic and even silly, but it isn’t. It took me half my life before I took my writing seriously, and began trying to sell it. I’ve talked to many people that write stories and poems and never show them to anyone but their own social group. They might want to get published but for whatever reasons they never submit their work to publishers. You have to get over the fear of being rejected and be willing to roll the proverbial dice when you put ‘the end’ at the end of a piece of writing.

9. Favorite snack/drink while writing?

I keep a pitcher of iced tea by my desk at all times when writing.

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

That’s easy. When I write, I’m surrounding by some of the books that I collected over the years. There are dozens of them all around me. There are also reference books like dictionaries and world atlases that I actually refer to as I write.

Thanks for stopping by, Ray! Good luck with the books!

BB

Hey! It’s Monday! And, like most, there’s been a glitch or two. Hoping the ISP tech being dispatched tomorrow can figure out why we’re not getting the speed we’re paying for or why it’s been intermittently dropping. And not just the wifi. My desktop was disconnected for about 20 minutes this morning, even though the router/modem said all was good.

What’s the point of sharing all of that? It reminds us we’re not all perfect. While we hope that things proceed according to our plan, sometimes they don’t. Because characters choose to do different things, react in strange ways.

No first draft is perfect. We all have to go back through our work, do some editing. Rewrite entire pages. Add some detail here, move it from there so it doesn’t become redundant. Sometimes even rearrange the order of paragraphs. Why? Because it has to happen.

One of the biggest things that can kill your novel faster than anything is failing to recognize that you have to do rewrites. That edits, from an objective third party (aka not your best friend who will never tell you anything besides ‘it’s amazing!’), are a necessary step. They’re not evil. Changing a single word will not make or break your manuscript.  But refusing to believe that your story isn’t perfect from day one WILL.

Glitches happen in life. Whether it’s internet not connecting, a busted phone, or cracked tooth. We learn to roll with it, accept that some things are out of our control, and get them fixed. Your book should be no different. I approach a rewrite and editing feedback as an opportunity to fix those things that I’ve missed. Add that level of polish that a first draft doesn’t always have.

Believing in your work is fine. And, at some point, you have to let it out into the world. But skipping rewrites or fighting your editor? That’s your pride and ego. Authors are too busy to let their ego dictate their future.

By the way, the first draft of ‘Wielder of Tiren: Book 3 of The Raven Chronicles’ is officially done. Rewrites started on Saturday! Yes, they give me headaches. But the book is that much closer to being ready for my publisher now. And I’d rather do the rewrites now and make the job easier on the editor than make her curse my name.

BB

Morning, everyone! I know, it’s Tuesday. I didn’t post yesterday. There was a reason. Any post I would’ve made would’ve been whiny, petulant, and a pity party. You see, for all my preaching about staying upbeat in the face of bad sales, etc, even I fall off the wagon and have a bad day. Yesterday was one of them.

I write good books, worth the money it takes to purchase them. Most are $0.99. The most expensive ebook, Daughter of Hauk, is $4.99.

You try to tell yourself not to take a bad sales day/month personally, but it’s hard not to. Authors pour our souls into these creations for the enjoyment of readers. Most books take months to write. Add into that editing, proofreading, etc. If you don’t have a publisher or aren’t self-publishing, you’re adding onto that time searching for the right home for your book. It’s almost impossible for an author to sit down for a couple hours at night, finish the first draft, and start revisions in a single day. A short story, under 10k words, maybe. A 60+ k word novel? No way.

I’m back on track today. For a variety of reasons. One being I may well be making an appearance at Book Expo America in May now. Should that happen, I want to have The Raven Chronicles trilogy done and up for sale. And I won’t get there by sitting on the couch with a pint of ice cream letting bad sales determine the worth of my writing.

Now that I’m off the pity train, I have questions for every single one of you that follows my blog. What makes you buy a book? If you’re following this and haven’t bought one of my titles, why not? I’m not looking for you to rush out and buy one, but honest feedback. Most authors never hear what doesn’t work. They just see zeros on a royalty statement. Here’s your chance to help me grow my marketing focus. I can’t know what’s not working if I don’t know why my books aren’t selling. So, tell me. LOL. What’s kept you from taking the step from following my blog to buying even one of my titles?

BB

Hello.

I can’t really say good morning, because it’s not. I learned of David Bowie’s passing when I woke up this morning. The world has lost a creative genius, and the afterlife’s ongoing party just had someone new grab the karaoke mic.

I did not ever have the pleasure of meeting him. Nor did I see him in concert. My exposure was solely through his music and acting. ‘Labyrinth’ came out the year I graduated from high school. His music was the soundtrack of my teenage years. Even though we never met, we have one thing in common now.

We’re both immortal.

All creative souls are. It doesn’t matter if you sing, compose, paint, act, or write. It’s not dependent on sales or awards. The moment you make something and share it with someone else, anyone else, you become immortal.

Those words may well be read by someone decades after you pass away. The song could be played at weddings for generations to come. The really low budget indie film that you helped your friend make in college? Even if it was never shown at Sundance, it exists.

Creative souls aren’t always recognized for their craft during their lifetime. Mr. Bowie was fortunate to have been. I for one am glad I walked the earth at the same time he did. Along with many other great artists, both musical and literary.

One measure of an artist’s success doesn’t get measured until they pass into the next realm. It’s how the world mourns them. They tributes, how they’re remembered.

So, before you rant about sales being slow or your genius not being recognized, think on that. Would you like to be remembered fondly? Or as the jackass who was never satisfied? Because the latter won’t get invited to join the party.

And I’d rather sing with The Goblin King and Freddie Mercury.

BB

Good afternoon! Hope everyone had a great holiday!

2016 is on us, like it or not. Typically, it’s a time to reflect on accomplishments, set goals for the year ahead of us. This is important for authors in a few ways.

We constantly have to evaluate how we present ourselves to our readers, our publisher. If you truly feel your publisher is hiding royalties/sales from you, then you need to find a way to gracefully get out of your contract without burning bridges.

Most publishers are not in the business to cheat authors. A few are, yes. And those bad apples are why you need to read your contract and research a house before you sign.

If you’re with a traditional publisher, don’t get bent out of shape if they choose to list your book on a site you didn’t approve of. Why? Because most contracts state that sales venues are under the publisher’s control. Not the authors. Oh, did you forget to read that part of your contract? What about the one where they get final say on your cover art?

Glossing over your contract before you sign it is NOT an excuse. You haven’t earned the right to complain six months after your book goes up for sale that you expected it to be on WXT.com and demand it get put up immediately.

Publishing has changed. It’s no longer old school editor and agent lunches or drinks. There is no guarantee you’ll be retiring to the Bahamas in three months. You can’t sit back and expect the world to discover your book if you can’t even bother to spend five minutes on FB telling anyone you have one up for sale!

The stark reality is that there’s no magic formula for sales. It takes time. It takes dedication. It takes patience. It takes reviews (Amazon, as I understand it, won’t help promote books by putting them in email recommendations, etc, unless they have at least 25 reviews. Shameless plug to please go review a title or three of mine if you’ve read it, because I need those reviews badly!).

It takes not whining in public, to readers, your publisher, fellow authors, about how bad your sales are. Readers don’t care if you only sold 2 copies last month. Your publisher will remember your attitude when your book is up for renewal. And inevitably there’s another author who would DIE to get half of what you got in sales that month.

So, suck it up buttercup. You don’t deserve to complain if you didn’t bother to check the rules out before you started the game. You don’t deserve to be treated like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling with your first book. And it’s not necessarily your publisher’s fault.

If that was your attitude in 2015, I hope you rethink it. Or you’ll be just as disappointed with 2016.

BB

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you had a wonderful visit with friends and family!

I think I took a month off from this, but it’s back now! Everyone give a warm welcome to Ana Prundaru!

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

Meet me in Your Dreams. http://www.amazon.com/Meet-Me-In-Your-Dreams-ebook/dp/B00RC1R1N4

2. Why do you like writing in this genre?

Ever since I learned how to write, I enjoyed coming up with stories which were out of this world – often to my teachers’ frustration. For example, I was once tasked to write about a normal day in my life during second grade. Instead of narrating my daily schedule, I ended up writing about a made-up monkey-friend, who would teach me to fly and transform spinach into chocolate. I suppose I always loved adding a magical element in order to embellish everyday which were out of this world – often to my teachers’ frustration.

3. What do you like to read?

Currently I’m reading lots of poetry books, but my taste is eclectic, ranging from nonfiction to epic fantasy books. What matters to me is the quality of writing and its ability to broaden my horizon.

 

4. Favorite movie?

Princess Bride

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

I set aside time periods during the week, when I work on current projects. I need total silence to work, otherwise my brain goes on a virtual vacation and I totally lose my train of thought. It’s a different story for editing though – I like editing texts to music – provided it is a calming, quiet music.

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

When my first short story was accepted for publication. I was so grateful and needed some time to process the fact that someone enjoyed reading my piece.

 

7. How can readers find you?

My author page on Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/anaprundaru.authorpage?ref=bookmarks

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

I used to picture publishers more like a faceless body and I realize now that I had much too high expectations as to response time and feed-back. But now I know that publishers are people too; they have obligations outside reading your manuscript and they might not be able to get back to you as fast as you’d like

9. Favorite snack/drink while writing?

I tend to drink lots of coffee and tea while I’m writing. No snacks or soda, because that didn’t end well with my last laptop.

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

My Japanese wishing doll is always on top of my table, keeping me company as I write.

Thanks for stopping by, Ana! Best of luck with the book!

BB

 

 

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone!

‘Wielder of Tiren’ is moving forward. I spent most of Friday working on it. Put down over 3,000 new words, added a plot twist or two, and am about halfway with the first draft.

It’s a good feeling to know the wheels are turning again, the ideas are flowing. I know I’m not alone in having times where I just don’t want to write. Or the ideas aren’t coming. The twists and turns escape me. I truly think this happens with every author.

All we can do is keep trying. Do whatever you need to do in order to get the wheel moving again. I see it a lot like an old water powered grain mill. You need that wheel moving in order to grind the grain. The water’s right there, ready to supply the power, but the wheel’s stuck. Sometimes it’s a simple fix, other times it’s going to require a lot more to get it free.

But it’s worth the effort. Because then the words flow as fast as the water.

BB

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