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Posts Tagged ‘Solstice Publishing’

Happy September everyone!

I’m someone who adores the fall. Yes, I’m drinking pumpkin spice coffee already. LOL. Give me days with crisp air, leaves on the ground, and cozy sweaters! I bought myself a sweater while in Scotland that I plan to practically live in for the next six months.

To celebrate the coming change, I have a guest today! Please welcome author and friend, Cyn Ley!

Hi KateMarie! Thank you for the opportunity of visiting with you today!

What genres do you write?

 I write multi-genre—short stories mainly, but am venturing into longer works. Paranormal, horror, social satire, humor, scifi light, general fiction, and stuff that’s rather odd. I’m currently working on the second installment of a new cozy mystery series, the first having debuted in PINK FLAMINGOS & OTHER FOLLIES (It’s A Mystery I: The Lost Boys). I also have several new short stories in the works.

Tell us about your books!

I’m delighted to say that I am a top-reviewed author on Amazon for all of my titles. Never saw that coming! LOL

There are currently three available in print and Kindle editions, and one short which is available on Kindle only. The first book, ENCOUNTERS TALES RECOUNTED AND REBORN has the best of the stories published between 2014 – 2016, and ranges all across my spectrum, including several written for other Solstice Publishing anthologies. There are 20 stories in all. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MUYCFBC

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The second, THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND AND OTHER TALES, has a special place in my heart. Published in 2017, I was living very close to the Veil, my Beloved Husband having brushed through it a few months earlier.  I wanted to explore the Afterlife as I’ve experienced it, seeing it from the Other Side as well as this one.  Consisting of four stories, the book has been described as “literary fiction,” and contains some of my best writing to date, I think. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071JMBPZM

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Next came PLOT TWIST, a weird and funny tale about what happens when a demon on assignment shows up at a science fiction convention.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078YC35LX

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After THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND, which is fairly intense reading, I felt I needed to lighten things up a bit as well as introduce something entirely new to me. PINK FLAMINGOS & OTHER FOLLIES (2018) is funny, quirky and engaging, consisting of five tales. One of these, “It’s A Mystery I: The Lost Boys,” is the first installment of a cozy mystery series. I hope to release the second installment later this year. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BR15J71

pink flamingos-001

Favorite part of writing? Least favorite?

They’re actually the same thing: when my Muse whacks me upside the head at 2am and orders me to write stuff down. LOL Be that as it may, she’s always right!

 What’s your process? Do you outline or just let the story unfold as you write?

I don’t have a process per se. A lot of times stories come to me in bits, then build on themselves. I have yet to use an outline. For me, writing is very organic—it will happen where and when it wants to. While I’ll have an idea of where I want a story to go, sometimes the story has other ideas! I usually end up writing all kinds of alternatives. The story will shake itself out. Even if I Have A Clue where it’s going, those alternates are still important to write down. I might be able to use them at another time, and if they’re not written down, they’ll be lost forever.

Most surreal moment since you were published was?

It still is! Reading reviews of your work is always a little surreal. I love hearing from my readers, both good comments and not so good comments. I think it’s essential for authors to keep an open mind and learn from the feedback they receive, whether or not they like what they’re hearing. This is not to say one has to concede to the reader–after all, they’re not living in your head–but they can draw your attention to areas where you may need to tweak how you communicate your story.

Name three places you’d like to visit so you could incorporate them into a story/book.

 For me, it’s not so much places as it is things I’d like to do. Go ziplining. Take a helicopter trip over Mt. St. Helens. Visit places where the residents may be dead but are not sleeping. See a Sasquatch, and remember to bring fresh fruit with me as a gift. Stuff like that. As the saying goes, “Life is a banquet!” Maybe I’ll sit down and share an apple with a Bigfoot.

Thanks for stopping by, Cyn!

Readers, if you want to connect with Cyn, you can find her via social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CynthiaLey2@cynthialey2

Blog: https://authorcjl.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cleyfiction4/

A top reviewed author on Amazon, Cyn takes much of her inspiration from the part of the beautiful Pacific Northwest she calls home, where fire (the active volcanoes) and water (the many rivers and the Pacific Ocean) actually do mix. Among her many interests are history, embroidery, folklore, and things that are generally rather strange.

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Hey everyone!

If you read my last post, you know I recently did something I can’t remember not wanting to do. I took a page from Bilbo Baggins and went on an adventure.

Today, I came home again at last. The plane ride happened last Friday. I’ve technically been home for almost a week. But I was still processing everything I saw and heard and experienced.

We’ve had sucky air quality around here, as it seems like half of the west coast is on fire. Today, though, the air has cleared to healthy levels. I was able to open the curtains and windows, inviting the outside in for the first time. And I started to clean the house.

Keep in mind, the air has had so much smoke and ash in it that they were advising against vacuuming or sweeping in your house, as it would kick up even more allergens/pollutants. The weeds in the yard are in dire need of decapitation, but they’ve got a short reprieve. Those will be mowed down tomorrow.

Anyway, I’m wandering off topic. I’m a writer. It happens. As I was cleaning, I started to put the last remnants of my trip away.

Jewelry came out of boxes (though those were saved) and put in my jewelry chest or where they needed to go. The Jacobite Rose pin went on the green merino wool sweater, which is where I plan on always wearing it. The compression bags were refolded and put in their box. The suitcases were put back together.

And two packages, with gifts for family or friends not nearby, were sent off.

Scotland’s never going to leave me. The experience of going, of daring to do something I’d always wanted to do, will forever live in me. Even now, wearing the necklace with a bit of moss from Culloden, the contentment I gained…the peace in my soul….is still there.

By putting things away, sending them to their new homes, I’ve finished the process of coming home again.

Isn’t that what going on an adventure is all about? Finding your way back home?

BBCastle MacDuff 2 8.14

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Hey everyone!

Yes, I know it’s been a while since I posted here. As per normal, life happened. This was a good thing, though.

I’ve touched on this before, how the last 2 -3 years of my life have been chaotic. Too many things to list, and most weren’t good. Death came to visit far more than anyone should have to deal with. There were other things, too, that drove me even deeper down the rabbit hole.

I’d climb out some, start to feel normal again, and have something else come up.

In mid June, my husband looked at me and told me I needed something to look forward to. Something that would be a boost to my soul. At his recommendation, the next day I booked airfare for a trip I’d wanted to take longer than I could remember.

I was going to Scotland.

The trip was last week. I just got home on Friday. I’m still readjusting to this time zone. LOL. But my soul found three separate places it called home. Three places where I made a profound, deep connection that stretched back hundreds of years. And I returned home with a sense of peace, of contentment, of wholeness, that I’ve never felt before in this turn of the Wheel.

‘Guarding William’, the 3rd book in The Waystation Guardians series, came out right as I left. I also took books with me, to leave in hotels and B&Bs as thank you gifts. The B&B host in Inverness now plans to put my photo on the wall in the room I had, along with the caption of ‘American Author KateMarie Collins slept here!’. A restaurant, Hootananny’s, suggested I put a version of their beef stew in a book. Which I fully intend on having characters eat, should the manager actually send me the recipe (yes, it was THAT good!). A restored 14th c castle B&B I spent one night in plans to leave them in the Great Room, for future guests to read.

I found myself. And I may have found a few readers along the way. In going home, I’ve rediscovered myself. I’ve made peace with the chaos, and am armed with a renewed sense of direction.

Watch out, world. You tried to push me back down, and almost succeeded. But I’ve reconnected with that stubborn Scottish streak in me. I will find my readers.

If you’re wondering about ‘Guarding William’, here’s the link: mybook.to/guardingwilliam

BB

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Hey everyone!

No, I haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth. Life has been, well, life.

One of the things I’ve found most interesting lately is the whole ‘cockygate’ situation. You know what it breaks down to? Someone who was so totally insecure about their own writing that they chose to not do the work necessary to reach the level they wanted and they decided to exert authority in a really bad way.

Authors are not privileged in that we own fonts. We don’t own words that have been around for centuries. And we don’t own readers.

Damn it all, PLAY NICE WITH YOUR FELLOW AUTHORS!!!!

Stop leaving bad reviews because you think someone ‘slighted’ another author you know. Don’t plagiarize other authors works. Don’t go full on diva and claim you know what it takes if you’re not willing to listen to the people who do.

In other words, check your privilege at the door.

This industry has a camaraderie to it that I’ve never found anywhere else. I’m not competing with any other author but myself. I only need to make the next story more interesting. I don’t have to hoard readers. I don’t want them to defend me by slandering other authors.

You want to write a book about Charon? Go for it! I DON’T OWN THE MYTHOLOGY!!!

What I own is my own behavior, the worlds and stories that I have created. I don’t own the words I used to create them.

There’s been lots of books about Charon. There’s been main characters named Kate and Amber and Grace. There’s been dragons and elves and orcs.

You could read 30 books with ‘Guarding’ in the title. You’d only think 2 of them were written by me, because I’m listed as author. The other 28 could be by other authors, who have a totally different voice than I do.

If you’re smart enough to read a book, then you’re smart enough to read who wrote it.

By the way….’Guarding Charon’ is at a lower price! Seriously, the series is a good one. I’m working on book 3. Honest!

myBook.to/guardingcharon

BB

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I know, it’s been a while. Not just for my blog, but writing in general. Life has a way of doing that.

On Friday night, the hubby and I headed to a baseball game. We’d planned to take our youngest, but he got sick. So, I offered the ticket to a friend of mine. She was super excited (and repaid us in bath bombs – thoroughly addicted to her stuff!), so off we went.

I was feeling happy by the time we got to our seats (first row, too!). I’d been able to walk from the train to the stadium, then down to our seats, without stopping. A year ago, that wouldn’t have happened. Amazing how much difference 60lbs can make.

Anyway, at some point my friend wanted to go get some food. Back up to the concourse we went. One of the things she got was fried grasshoppers to put on her tacos. We arrived back at our seats, and I agreed to try one.

Not high on my ‘need to eat this again’ list, so you know. More like ‘nope, never again’.

After I finished washing the taste out of my mouth with some hot cider, I said something in passing that a single grasshopper wasn’t nearly as scary as submitting my first book to a publisher. If can do that…if I can go through surgery and finally start get my weight going in the right direction…a single grasshopper is nothing.

That’s it, right there. The simple act of finishing writing a book takes dedication. Checking on the submission requirements, doing our homework, and having the courage to hit send on that email – not just once but dozens of times – is bravery.

When you get that contract, you’re not at the end of the work. There’s still the promoting and marketing. But we’re scared to get out there and make cold calls. Get disappointed when sales don’t meet our hopes. And we give up.

Thing is, you did the hardest part and wrote the book. You did the work to find it a home. Giving up now because you don’t want to put the time into promoting it is like that fried grasshopper.

You’ve come so far. This is the easy part.

BB

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Ten years ago, I wasn’t writing. I still listened to the voice in my head that said I would never do anything close to good enough for a publisher, so it wasn’t worth trying.

And so my muse stayed quiet, locked in her cage.

We’d been playing in a Dungeons and Dragons game for over 2 years. With no warning, the entire party was either killed or imprisoned. Saving rolls weren’t allowed, escape impossible. Characters that had been part of our lives once a week for over 130 weeks were suddenly no more.

It hurt. For all of us in the group, it was a shock. We mourned not just the game closing but not spending our Saturdays together any more. My husband, who did a smaller scale campaign, invited everyone over to our house. We used that second session as a way to take the bitterness of the night out of our mouths.

A few weeks later, he worked it so that my character was resurrected in his game. In the context of the day, we couldn’t really explain everything that went on. As we headed to bed, I said I’d write an email the next day to everyone so they were brought up to speed.

When I finished the email, I was terrified. What started as an explanation ended up being a short story. From that one short story, a career was born.

Last week, my 20th title went up for sale. “Guarding Amber” is out. My first book came out in March of 2012. My only regret over the last decade is listening to those who didn’t know what they were talking about.

We can’t go back and change the past. Even if that was possible, I wouldn’t. The past is what makes today possible. The things I experienced, good and bad, shape my writing today.

If you’re discouraged, keep trying. If sales suck, shrug it off. If your family or friends try to cut you down, find the strength you have inside. You have to find your faith in yourself, in your talent, to weather the storm of being an author. Having a way with words isn’t enough. You’re going to have years where you’re wondering why you started on this road. This is not a job for everyone. Because you’re not going to be paid enough to support yourself for close to a decade.

Over the last decade, I’ve come out of my shell. I’ve stopped listening to those who said no and found the way to say yes to myself. I’ve gone from someone who hid in the shadows to being able to talk to a room full of people who wanted to get where I was. I’ve been told I inspire people to keep trying.

I’ve learned so much since I found the key to unlock my muse from her cage. I think ‘Guarding Amber’ is an example of how much I’ve grown as an author. I hope you will as well.

myBook.to/guardingamber

Guarding amber v 10

BB

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Happy New Year! Took last week off for the holiday, head back to work tomorrow, but I’m more relaxed now.

Update for those of you who read my books! ‘Guarding Amber’ is done with editing! I hope to have it up for sale before mid-January. It’s my 20th title, which amazes me.

I want to talk about the business side of things. Most new authors sign a contract and don’t understand what it says. They only think that they’re with a traditional publisher and not a vanity press, so all should be good.

This is a business. Publishers invest money in your book, pay up front costs like making a cover, having it edited, and sending it past a proofreader. As such, they want your book to be successful because the only way they’re making back that investment is if it sells well. They take a risk on a new author, hoping that what they put into the book will be recouped once it’s up for sale.

Reputable publishers spell this out in the contract. It’s up to the author to read and understand it before they sign it. Percentages are spelled out, what each party is responsible for, etc.

Publishers don’t have to give you your books for free. They’re a business, looking to pay their operating costs and salaries. They do this by selling books. Screaming at someone that they’re ‘cheating’ or ‘stealing’ from you simply because they made money off your book shows your ignorance of the business. Your publisher making money is not an act of piracy. Any comparison along that line only shows that you’re a jackass.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like the idea of somebody else making money off of your book, then don’t sign with a traditional publisher. Self publish, or pay a vanity press, and go it alone. Signing a contract with a traditional publisher means they’re going to make money off of your book. Period.

For most first books, it won’t be much of a profit if any. The majority of first time authors won’t earn back what the publisher invested in the lifetime of the initial contract. An author who starts to complain about the publisher making even a dime off of them doesn’t get renewed.

Being a published author through a traditional house is a long term commitment for both parties. Authors have to keep promoting and writing if they want their sales to increase, and the publisher to renew their contracts. Publishers have to be up front and timely with both statements and payouts. It’s a system built on mutual trust.

Think of it this way. When you go to a bookstore, do you really think that the full amount goes to the author? Of course not, because the bookstore needs to make a profit or it wouldn’t be in business. So, they must buy the books at a discount. How can the publisher pay their editors or staff? They have to make a profit off of what they’re selling. Which is books.

This is a business, not a something for nothing scam. Sure, those exist. Friends of mine have been inundated with emails and such lately for them. Everything from ‘we’re starting up a library and want to feature your books – but I need your information and you don’t need mine’ to ‘enter our contest – there’s a modest $250 fee – please ignore that it’s brand new/no history of it online/no one’s ever won/the payout is exposure or $15’ emails.

Educate yourself before you sign that contract. Because, once you do, you’re bound to the terms. Even the ones you don’t like.

BB

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