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Archive for August, 2012

Moving forward

Well, I survived my first signing/reading event.  It wasn’t a huge affair, and I’m fine with that.  It takes time to develop a following, cultivate a fan base where people will put you on the calendar as an event in their lives.

I met this wonderful gentleman by the name of Josh, who interviewed me for the store newsletter.  I’ll post a link when I have one.

I got a scrapbook and some paper on Sunday.  The last thing I wanted, whether this writing takes off or not, was to lose the articles that’ve come out in print thus far.  If I never get another book in print, I’ll at least be able to flip through this and remember my brief moment in the spotlight.

So, this week is incredibly busy with kid activities and such.  If any writing is to be accomplished, it’ll be in spurts.   An hour here, an hour there.  We’ll see where I get.

Oh!  Keep an eye out!  I’m going to run a promotion on FB for a week in September!  For every time I hit 100 likes on my author page (currently around 42), I’ll be giving away an ebook version of ‘Daughter of Hauk’.  If I can reach 500, I’ll also give out a paperback version.

Here’s the link to my FB page.  Yes, you can like it now and have a shot at the giveaway!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/KateMarie-Collins/217255151699492

I’ll let you know which week I do the promotion.  Won’t be until September 10th at the earliest!  

BB

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Well, it’s out.  My local paper had my face in it.  There’s a stack of them on our table, waiting to be handed out or mailed to friends and family.

Still not sure if I’m ready to have people recognize me in the stores, but too late for that now.  A writing friend, Tony, has advised me to carry a sharpie at all times.

How does one go from being a start struck admirer to the admiree?  Am I really any different now than I was yesterday, last month, last year?  In some ways, yes.  I have more confidence in myself now.  I’m not as afraid to let people know what I do for a living (or, what I’m trying to do – still haven’t broken 100 books sold).  I’ve learned enough about needing a public face to be able to slip into one at a moment’s notice if I need to.

Tomorrow’s my book signing.  The first of many, I hope.  The nerves are kicking in already.  I’m having a girl’s night in with some friends tonight.  Partially because I can, and partially because everyone coming knows how to boost my courage a little bit, in different ways.  Not inflate my ego to the point I’m unbearable, mind you.  Several of them are very good at deflating it if it’s out of hand.  More that they know how to keep me centered, grounded, and give me some of their strength to smile past the butterflies in my stomach.  A few, fellow writers, have admitted to living vicariously through me.  I’m doing what every writer wants to do, meet fans.  They just need a little more push in the right direction to get there with me.

By the way, here’s the link for those who want to read the article:  http://www.auburn-reporter.com/community/167129045.html

I’ll let you all know how the signing went!

BB

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Hello!

Well, we survived vacation.  Though I’m not sure I want to drive my van much this week.  I’ve sat in it enough lately!

The newspaper article hasn’t come out yet.  Newest update I had was this Friday (8/24).  I keep hoping!

It’s been an interesting week already, and I’m doing some deep breathing and centering so I don’t let my nerves run away with me.

Last night, I had a remarkable conversation with June Miyasaki.  Fourty five minutes on the phone with the woman producing the audiobook for ‘Daughter of Hauk’.  If I wasn’t excited about the project before then, I am now.  I feel very lucky in being paired with someone who enjoyed reading the book and wants to do it justice in the audio version.

Friday, the article’s supposed to come out.  I hope so, since the signing is on Saturday.  The reporter’ll have to edit that part out if it gets pushed back again.

I had a bit of a stuffy nose last night.  Summer colds are the worst!  I’m planning on lots of fluids, decongestants, and rest.  The last thing I need on Saturday is to be sniffling as I sign books!

Pictures will be posted of the event on Monday, I promise!  

My new computer is here, and has been great to work on.  I’m still adjusting the desktop and fiddling with settings. Writing will begin in earnest again tonight.  So many things still need to happen before my girls go back to school.  The last two and a half weeks of summer are on us, and it seems like we’re trying to do a lot in a little amount of time.

Time to carve out a few hours and get back to work.

BB

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I posted something the other day to my online writing group.  While some of the references are specific to the group, I had numerous people thank me for saying this.  So, I’m sharing with more of you.  Here’s hoping you take something good away as well.

Submitting any writing is a nerve wracking experience.  Whether it’s a poem for a school newspaper, a challenge here, or a story to a publisher, it’s one of the most difficult things to do.  
 
We all have different reasons why we write.  Some are content to write for themselves and never share their words, while others dream of being the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.  The thing that drives each of us varies as much as the personalities on this list.
 
Hitting that ‘send’ button is, especially at the start, one of the scariest things we’ve ever done.  We’re now asking strangers to read our work and draw a conclusion on it, for good or bad.  No one wants rejections, though it’s a part of the learning curve for those wanting to be published.  In all honesty, I was more terrified that a publisher would say yes than no.
 
I’ve found this group to be, 99.99% of the time, encouraging, positive, and incredibly helpful as far as learning where I screw up and when I get it right.  But I was still absolutely TERRIFIED of submitting anything to the group as a whole for about 3-4 months when I first started (about 4 years ago).  What if no one liked it?  What if it was so bad that people told me I should give up?  
 
What if they liked it?
 
You take a deep breath and hit send because you WANT the feedback, you WANT to improve, you WANT to get to the point where a publisher or agent says yes.  You hit send because you want to prove to yourself, your family, the doubters around you that you ARE good enough to get what you want.
 
Shortly after I got my contract, I was having a hard time accepting it.  There are so many talented people in this group, people who have been writing for a decade or more.  I didn’t understand why I had a contract 3 1/2 years after I started writing and my contemporaries remained on the outside looking in.  I was talking with Tony about it.  He told me something that I’ve repeated often.  The simple truth was this:
 
I. Hit. Send.
 
It wasn’t that I was better, or that my book was that amazing of a story.  It was that I finished it, got it polished up, and refused to take no for an answer.  I kept hitting send until someone saw the merits in my book.
 
Was I scared each time?  Gods, yes.  I know that my first thought when I saw the email that had the contract attached was, “Well, here we go.  Another rejection.  I’ll have to see who to submit to next once the power comes back on.”
 
The only thing stopping ANYONE from submitting a challenge story is their own fear.  We see each other on the list as our peers.  Some we respect a great deal, others become good friends, and some make my jaw drop and feel like a complete hack next to what they can do.  
 
But I guarantee you that each one of them is, or was, just as afraid as you are.
 
BB

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Good morning, everyone!  As promised, I have a guest blogger here for your entertainment.  Please welcome my fellow Solstice author and all-around great person, Andrea Buginsky!

Caught Talking to Myself…

Has this ever happened to you? You’re sitting in a room all by yourself having a conversation. Someone walks in, gives you a strange look and says, “Were you talking to me?” You innocently say, “No,” and return to the conversation.

If this has happened to you, you’re probably a writer. As writers, we often talk to ourselves. Only, we’re not actually talking to ourselves, we’re talking to our characters. Actually having one-on-one (or two-on-one, or three-on-one…) conversations. We can really get into a discussion with our characters as though they’re actually sitting right there in the room with us.

There have been times when I’ve been embarrassed to have had this happen. There I’ll be, talking to my characters when someone walks in the room. I’d get quiet and try to pretend nothing’s happening. After all, I didn’t want the person walking in on me to think I was a lunatic or something. But lately, I’ve learned I’m not alone in this trait. It’s a trait many writers have, and most of them relish in it. So, I’ve decided I’m going to learn not to be embarrassed by it, and just let it happen.

Many of your stories can come out of these great conversations with your characters. They can tell you a lot of things about themselves and their stories that you may not have known. Listen to what they have to say. Grab a notepad and pen, because you’re going to want to jot down what they say for later. Believe me, if you really get into a conversation with them only to forget about most of what was said when you’re sitting in front of your computer ready to write it all out in your book, you’re going to really hate yourself. And since these conversations can even take place in your sleep, or just as you awake in the morning or from a nap, you’ll want to keep a notepad and pen on your nightstand too. Oh, and one in your purse for when they start talking to you in public.  Now, that can be really interesting to have happen….

So the next time you find you having a chat with your characters don’t be embarrassed! Have a good time and see what they have to tell you. Curl up and get ready for story time!

Andrea Buginsky is a freelance writer and author. “The Chosen” was her first book, and was followed by “My Open Heart,” an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. “Nature’s Unbalance” is the second story in THE CHOSEN series. Andrea plans to write more in the series. She’s already done with the first draft of book 3 and has a concept for book 4. You can find Andrea on her website, Andi’s Realm. Her books are available at Amazon.

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No, it’s not a week where I’m in between projects.  Hope that it will be soon, but not yet!  It’s a week between trips.

Last weekend, we visited my parents on the other side of the state.  It’s very warm there in the summer, which I don’t miss.  Came home to even more warm here, which is a rarity.  I’m hoping for the promised cool down to come today.  I love my office.  It’s very ‘me’ in here, and the energy flow is wonderful.  But it just gets too HOT when a heat wave hits the area.

Keep in mind, a heat wave in the Seattle area is anything above 90.  Having had mild heat stroke when I was younger, that’s too hot for me.  My preferred temp is around 65-70.  I was watching the national weather forecast earlier this summer and shuddering.  Anything over 100 and I don’t even want to walk the few feet between our front door and my air conditioned van.  I’m a wimp when it comes to heat and admit it freely.

This coming weekend, we’re off on vacation.  There may or may not be a post by me on Monday!  I’ll have my netbook, in case there’s some downtime and I want to write.  Outside of a few ‘must do’ things, we keep vacation plans pretty loose.  Easier to be spontaneous that way.

Tomorrow, you’re all in for a real treat!  One of my fellow Solstice authors will be stopping by to guest blog with me!  Andrea’s a terrific person, and an amazing writer.  Be sure to say hello to her!

This past weekend was the start of a busy month for us as a family.  There was the visit, then vacation, volleyball tryouts for my oldest start, my book signing, Lego camp for the youngest, date day with my hubby at PAX, and then the kids are back in school.  

BB

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I promised you all an interview with another Solstice author this week, and here it is!  Everyone give a warm welcome to Justin Robinson!

How long have you been writing?

In one form or another, all my life.  I started taking it seriously about ten years ago.

Why’d you start writing?  What made you decide to try and get published?

A combination of hubris and shame.  I thought I had something to say, thought other people might like to hear it, and now am horribly self-conscious that they are.

What’s your favorite genre?  Why?

Horror.  It’s the purest of genres.  When people get together around a campfire, what do they tell?  Ghost stories. 

Is there a genre you want to try, or one you want to avoid?

If I ever wrote a teenage paranormal romance, I’m pretty sure my wife would divorce me.

What’s the biggest thing about being published that you wish you’d known beforehand?

The biggest shock was how welcoming everyone is.  People like yourself who are basically offering a forum to another writer for no reason than just to be nice.  It’s bizarre.  I wish I’d known about it so I could have sent flowers and puppies or something.

 What do you have coming out this year?

Three books and a graphic novel.  Undead On Arrival is first, from Solstice Publishing.  Then, later this month, my gothic horror novel The Dollmaker from Muse It Up Publishing.  In October, my comedy neo-noir Mr. Blank is coming out from Candlemark and Gleam.  Lastly, an original graphic novel from Arcana Studios, Butcher Street, which is about a man trying to deal with a horrible loss in a unique way.

Are your characters purely yours, or do you work off of people you know or have observed?

I don’t think any characters are truly totally invented.  We harvest things from various people or stories without even knowing it.  That said, though I might steal names or qualities from my friends, none of them have or will make an appearance as a character, because that’s not possible.  Even if I tried to faithfully recreate one of the maniacs I knew, I would fail, since they would be filtered through me.  It would be my version of a person rather than the actual person.

What do you hope the future holds for you as far as your writing?

A helper monkey.

Which would you prefer?  Stephen King size fame, or something more modest?

I hope to be famous enough to render my death deeply ironic in some way.  “He spent his days writing about monsters only to become the first casualty in the Monster Wars.”

Who are your biggest influences for writing?  Who do you like to read?

King, for starters.  I don’t think any horror writer can (or should) escape his influence.  The guy’s characterization is light years ahead of anything I’m able to do at present.  Lovecraft and Richard Matheson are other big ones.

Both Undead On Arrival and Mr. Blank are stylized neo-noir stories, and I love the masters.  Chandler, Hammett, and Ellroy are big influences .  Hammett especially does things with the genre that are just dazzling.

Bill Willingham also deserves mention for being the first writer to successfully put a crease into my brain that has yet to heal.

What has been the biggest surprise for you since being published?

How much work truly goes into promotion.  It’s a big world out there, and it’s tough to get

 

 

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