Tag Archives: author

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

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From Nanowrimo, to fountain pens, and general writing tips, this week’s article links are sure to help you get ready for National Novel Writing Month.  This year I’m writing a science fiction novel set on the planet Mars.  What are you working on?  Enjoy the articles!

NANOWRIMO 2017 – IT’S #PREPTOBER!

What Shapes Do Fountain Pens Come In?

CRAFT ESSAY: THE FIRST-PERSON PLURAL

How to Injure or Kill Horses in Fiction

6 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Protect Creativity

How to Improve Your Writing: My Top 7 Fast-Acting Methods

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo

When the Pieces Don’t Seem to Fit

When Writing, It’s the Journey That Matters

Preparing for a Writers’ Conference

The Libraries of Famous Men: Louis L’Amour

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

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Here we are on another fine Monday.  This week’s links have a little bit of everything from podcasting, websites, bullet journaling, and workshop etiquette.  Pour yourself a cup of joe or brew your favorite tea.  There might be a few articles to tempt you here.

Do You Use ‘Text to Speech’ to Read Your Work Back to Yourself? – #Editing Tips

9 Ways to Reduce Reader Confusion

A WEBSITE IS A WONDERFUL THING

Why I Love Broadcasting My Podcast Recordings Live

7 Common Newsletter Problems Solved

5 Ways that Journaling Can Make You Happier at Work

YOU DID WHAT? THE DOS AND DON’TS OF WORKSHOP ETIQUETTE

The Sitting / Standing Desk Combo That Eases My Back and Neck Pain

How to Cure A Pandemic in Fiction

4 Ways to Amplify Your Characters’ Subtext

Cream of the Crap by Jeffery J Micheals

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The following is an expression of opinions based on observations regarding the writing trade. They may be crappy opinions. They are my opinions and frankly, I may not even believe them completely myself. I try not to force my opinions on anyone.

There is a generally held belief that, in writing, or any creative endeavor, the cream of the crop rises to the top. It doesn’t matter that there is a plethora of content available to the buying public. It is commonly believed that things that are crap will sink.

As aspiring or even published authors, many creatives take comfort in this concept and work hard to perfect their craft, seeking to become known for their genius level skill set and integrity to the high road of ART. Many aspiring or even published authors are also working a day job whilst their less than artistically pure colleagues seem to be succeeding in spite of producing derivative garbage.

Surely the public wants higher forms of ART and they are merely unaware of your BRILLIANCE.

Perhaps not.

As a creative, you may have an entirely different, specific set of parameters by which you measure yourself. Different from whom? The paying public of course. And here is where we creatives get challenged in our perceptions. We think ART, but others think entertainment. The successful ones think, “Business savvy” and we keepers of the flame of integrity are sometimes left in the literary society dust.

In the writing game, the important thing to remember is that your perspective is not the one that matters. The masses chose the definition of “cream.” For example, Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight, Sharknado, and Snakes on a Plane rose to the top. Arguably crap in terms of artistic merit, but in terms of the more valuable entertainment rating, they rock the world of the masses, those with disposable income. Perhaps those starving artist souls reading this might feel “flushable income” is the better term. But I bet most of you have read one of those books or seen at least one of those movies. You do not have to admit it out loud. I’ll join you in not admitting.

Understand that at the time of this writing Sharknado FIVE is released, for better or worse. Why? Money, of course.

Another way of describing this “cream of the crop” belief is to say, “If you build it, they will come.” Crap. If you believe this then the fickle public will certainly tread all over you in the rush to get access to whatever the newest highly promoted trend is that week. Now, I want to point out that this is one of those cynical moments where I make a statement that is harsh and dogmatic and later on try to retract or modify.

The fact is that sometimes, SOMETIMES, there is a moment when against all odds something gains momentum all of its own accord and proves to be an amazing artistic triumph that advances the causes of social liberty and human rights, motivating millions to take a new and unique action in their lives and adjust the world’s global karma. However, more often than not, it is something on the level of Angry Birds or Pokemon that attracts the audience.

In the not too distant past an author would sell their manuscript, receive a contract and soon an ad campaign director and a publisher would place a budget on a project, employ artists and copywriters to create a unique image or series of images to place in newspapers, magazines, on the side of buses, and often even billboards, alerting the public to the importance of your book. Well placed editorials and strategic marketing plans would create a place on Bestseller Lists or in “trending author” articles and you, the more-famous-by-the-moment-author and recipient of such attention, would get booked on PBS talking head shows, or perhaps if you were photogenic enough a spot on daytime talk shows like Dinah Shore or Merv Griffin. If you were witty and personable, Johnny Carson might even bring you on the Tonight Show (Yes, I am that old).

These days success is called Going Viral and relies heavily on algorithms called Bubble Sort and other interesting sounding titles (but really they are just counting hits) and placement of your brand and platform on the internet. It is all done by YOU unless you have a fair amount of money you wish to throw at this effort and can hire someone to do the work for you, results NOT guaranteed. It can all be exhausting. It can detract, discourage, and debilitate you into the status of permanent writer’s block. You can become sidetracked into this morass of externals and somehow never actually finish your books.

I know of at least two writer friends who excel at marketing. They have shiny websites that have won awards. They produce excellent blogs followed by thousands and display excellently reviewed sample chapters from their soon-to-come books. They garner rave comments from those who visit their website and read their blogs…but in over five years neither of them have moved a new word into their manuscript. Have they lost interest or just lost their creative way? Yet they have the appearance of success. They are keynote speakers at conferences, presenting their skills at marketing, social media, internet savviness, viralishness, and platform awareness stuff. They look real good, but there is no substance. At least to my perception.

To my way of thinking, if you wish to be called an author, you need to have written a book. All of the marketing gets to be important at some point, but…here is my opinion and it may be crap.

What you, as an author, need to focus on is creating the best product YOU can produce. Once you have that in hand, polished and finished, professionally edited and with a well-designed cover, then and only then is it time to focus upon making people aware of your best product. For the artistic individual, a person who is more than likely to be rather undisciplined or introverted, this gets tricky. You find yourself shifting from creativity to business acumen and often the two are polar opposites in terms of skill set.

The path to being a successful author is not one that can be completely defined and success can be a relative term. But there are two stages and it is important that creative souls face the reality early on that at some point they will find it necessary to get their work out there and sell their art. It is easier if the book, film, or any other creative endeavor fits an existing and recognizable-to-the-public genre. Selling a mystery series is easier than selling literary fiction, no matter how elegant your prose. People like mysteries (because good triumphs) and they like the same thing but different. Or maybe not so different. But they do like a well written, well-crafted mystery or romance or horror novel. And in that case, the cream really does rise to the top.

I sometimes think I am a snob when I look at the state of the creative business today. But at heart, I still recall the pure enjoyment of reading the old pulp novels from the thirties and forties (Reprints. I am not that old!). I admit, I have seen Sharknado (In my defense it was the Riff Trax version) and enjoyed the crude silliness of the dumb, stupid movie. But I have also seen My Dinner with Andre and Citizen Kane multiple times and even own the BluRay versions of each. I will watch those again and may even see another Sharknado film. I read higher quality these days than in my youth. Why? Am I such a better person for it? No. What I am is more experienced and less able to tolerate what is now, to me, predictable storylines. I want more from a book or movie. Most of the time anyway.

And when I write, I refuse to write downward.

I believe that a writer or creative of any kind can and should seek to show the audience the world in a better light or at least show that there is a path out of dark days of fear and the daily crap that occurs. And sometimes, at the end of the day, when the world is just heavy and the news is perpetually about confrontation and loss, I believe that a writer should entertain and brighten the audiences’ lives. A little well-written nonsense may be just the thing. And if you can make a buck or two while helping others rise out of the crap? Well, maybe I should just get off my high horse and keep my opinions to myself! I do have an idea for a funny zombie story…

jeffreyjmichaels4wendy2Jeffrey J. Michaels is a Gemini. As such he is deeply involved in whatever interests him at the moment. He describes his book “A Day at the Beach and Other Brief Diversions” as “metaphyictional,” combining fantasy and humor with metaphysical elements.

He is currently polishing a sweeping fantasy series of interconnected tales collectively known as “The Mystical Histories.” It is varied enough that he says he may even finish most of the stories.

In his real life he is a well-respected creative and spiritual consultant.
He does not like to talk about his award-winning horror story.

a-day-at-the-beach-book-cover“A Day At the Beach and Other Brief Diversions”

What if… …your perfect day never ended? …your life were to pass before your eyes, one person at a time? …the genie in the lamp had a wish? …you heard the perfect last words? Versatile author Jeffrey J. Michaels invites you to explore new ways of looking at your world and worlds beyond in this selection of metaphyictional short stories.

Author Interview: Karen Michelle Nutt

No matter the genre her tales fall under, Author Karen Michelle Nutt tries to capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most mysterious and fabulous human phenomena of falling in love. I’m pleased to welcome her on No Wasted Ink.

author karen michelle nuttMy name is Karen Michelle Nutt. As a multi-published author, I spin tales for The Wild Rose Press, Highland Press, Victory Tales Press, and Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery. I have also ventured into self-publishing.

I reside in California with my husband. We’ve been married for thirty-two years and have three fascinating children, who are grown now and have started their own adventures in life. We still have a houseful of demanding pets. Jack, my Chorkie, is my writing buddy and sits long hours with me at the computer.

When I’m not time traveling, fighting outlaws or otherworldly creatures, I create pre-made book covers with my daughter Katrina Gillian at: Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover”.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing down my stories when I was about nine or ten because I thought it was fun. I wrote plays at first. My fifth-grade teacher let my friends and I perform one of them too. It was very exciting for a ten-year-old.

Later, I jotted down stories in notebooks. I still have those early writings. They were written in ink, not on a computer. So ‘spell check’ wasn’t available. I couldn’t erase or add words if they were needed. Definitely, a rough draft. My daughters, when they were young, loved those stories and read them over and over again.

However, after I was married and had three children, life seemed to be too busy to pick up a pen and write. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine asked me why I didn’t write anymore that I realized how long it had been. That week I sat down and started my first novel and haven’t stopped writing since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I suppose I’ve always been a writer in my heart, but when I held my first book in print that my publisher had sent me, I truly believed it.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Evie Reid on a whim agrees to travel back in time to 1997 to change bad boy/rock star Bellamy Lovel’s path. She’s smart with a college degree, but she is still fan-girl crazy for the rock band, Civilized Heathens. Evie knows despite all Bellamy’s smiles and enthusiasm on the stage, he’s destined to end it all on one lonely night in a hotel room unless she can change his path.

Bellamy isn’t keen on having Evie as his personal assistant, hired by his bandmates to watch over him, and keep him on schedule. However, there is something about the woman that sparks his interest, despite his best to ignore her. When darkness threatens to consume him he realizes she may be the only light that will chase the shadows away.

What inspired you to write this book?

My daughter and I watched ‘INXS, Live at Wembley’ on DVD. We were sad to think the lead singer had died so tragically and there would never be another song written or performed by him. The time travel tale about Bellamy Lovel took root, but I wanted a happier ending for my rock star and sent Evie back in time to try and save him.

Do you have a specific writing style?

No matter how dark the story may be, I try to also keep some levity in the tale. Life is about ups and downs and everything in between. I strive to keep the characters real no matter if their human, a vampire or shapeshifter. I want them to have genuine emotions and flaws because no one is perfect. I want them to fall in love and by the end of the story, I want the characters to find their happily ever after even if its only for now.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

It was inspired by an INXS song. It wasn’t the title or the theme but three words within the song that inspired the title. Two Worlds Collided became the title for two reasons. My heroine is from the future and my hero is from the past, but their worlds collide. Also, my heroine’s essence is what travels back in time to merge with her younger self in 1997. In a sense, her worlds collide so she can be with the hero and hopefully change his tragic past.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

First and foremost, I hope the story is heartwarming, fun and simply entertaining.

Though Two Worlds Collided is a time travel romance with plenty of humor and steamy romantic moments, my fictional character, Bellamy struggles with addiction, depression, and suicide. They are all serious emotions that should never be overlooked.

Of course, thoughts of suicide are not necessarily something people announce to the world and this means loved ones often have no idea that their friend or family member is even contemplating such an act. However, there may be signs and risk factors, and while you might think you can’t make a difference by yourself, you’re wrong. Sometimes all it takes is one person to say something or do something that will change their decision. One smile, one comment, a conversation or even a gesture toward someone who is considering suicide could make all the difference in the world. It could instill hope and with hope they may seek help.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

Though I’ve known people who have suffered from addiction and depression, Two Worlds Collided was inspired by the tragic story of a true-life rock star.

If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?

Not really a mentor, but I do have someone I can bounce ideas off and discuss story plots. This is my daughter Katrina, who is not only a talented cover book artist but also an author as well. We’ll sit down and brainstorm about where I should send my characters next.

I also have a very good friend who edits my work and she’s not shy about telling me if something isn’t working for her in the story. This is vital in penning a good tale. I value her honest opinions. Thanks, Cathy.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I’m blessed with knowing many author friends that I’ve met online who have shared their experiences on what works and what doesn’t work in the storytelling world. Both are important in striving to be a successful writer.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover” is the name of my book cover store that I co-own with my daughter, Katrina Gillian. I created the cover for Two Worlds Collided. There were a few covers created before the one you see now was finally chosen.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Be true to yourself. Write every day even if you don’t feel inspired. Sometimes your quick thoughts can blossom into something more.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Readers are what writers can never live without. The novel doesn’t only belong to the writer; it also belongs to the reader as well. Without the reader, the story is just ink on a paper and nothing more. Opening the book, reading those first words, this is where the true magic begins. I love readers! Thank you so much for loving books.

book cover two worlds collidedKaren Michelle NuttKaren Michelle Nutt
Huntington Beach, CA

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Two Worlds Collided

Cover Artist: Gillian’s Book Covers
Publisher: Twin Star Books

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Author Interview: Mirren Hogan

When I asked Author Mirren Hogan what she likes best around writing, she replied,  “What can I say, writing keeps me sane!”  Now that is a sentence most writers can relate to!  Please welcome her here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Mirren HoganMy name is Mirren Hogan. I live on the NSW south coast, Australia. I have a dog, cat, rabbits, chickens and too many parrots to count. For relaxation, I walk the dog in the forest behind our house.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing ever since primary school. At first it was just in my head, usually at night, but eventually, I started to put things down on paper. The invention of the word processor and computer helped push things along a little bit too.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t consider myself a writer. I didn’t consider myself an author until my first book came out last October, in spite of several short stories having been published before that.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

There are so many current books, but I’ll focus on the first one, Crimson Fire. It’s a fantasy set in a world based on Africa. The main character is a young woman named Tabia who is sold into slavery to pay her father’s debts. She discovers that she has the innate ability to use magic, and her new mistress lets her train to use it correctly because it’ll increase her value and usefulness. Tabia is caught up in a savage coup and sent far from her home country. She struggles to find safety, security, and freedom.

What inspired you to write this book?

Initially, it was the glut of euro-centric fantasy in the market at the time. I love that kind of fantasy, but there’s a world of unique cultures (literally) out there which would make interesting settings or inspiration. I like to look at what others have done and do something different.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I think most readers who describe is as loose and easy to read. I’m not out to write literary classics, I’ll leave those to other writers. I prefer to write work which is more inclusive and available to readers of all levels, which can be enjoyed in a relaxed way.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The book had several titles during the writing and editing process, but I wasn’t happy with any of them. I scanned the text for something eye catching literally as I was preparing the submission for the publisher, knowing they’d change it if they didn’t like it. It stuck.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I can’t say that I deliberately put in a message, but the main character is lesbian, and has dark skin. The book isn’t ABOUT either of these things, those are just aspects of Tabia. I’d like readers to see HER first and the rest afterward, because that’s how I believe all people should be viewed.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

There are aspects of Tabia’s insecurities which certainly come from me. Also, her desire to read, read, read, and learn are from me!

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Jennifer Fallon and Anne McCaffrey mostly. They have female characters who kick ass, but their work is unique. I love unique. Being different has always been something I strive for. If something was trendy, I never wanted it. Life is too short to be a clone!

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Every writer is a mentor. Every book I’ve ever read or didn’t finish reading gave me insight into how to be a better writer and storyteller. What not to do is just as important as what to do.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

The amazing Druscilla Morgan. She designed the cover for an anthology I edited for Plan Australia, called Like a Girl. Her work is phenomenal.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read. Read, read, read. Think about what you liked or didn’t like about a story, it’ll tell you a lot about your strengths as a writer and the direction you’d like to go. Also, don’t be stuck worrying about genre. Write the story, figure the rest out later, and make your characters interested and flawed. Flaws are your friend.

Crimson Fire Book CoverMirren Hogan
Batemans Bay NSW, Australia

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Crimson Fire

Cover Artist: Druscilla Morgan

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