Tag Archives: writer

New Years Resolutions for Writers

Making ResolutionsThis is the year I want to focus on being a productive writer and reach my goal of publishing my first novel by the end of 2013. I’ve made my living as an artisan jeweler and gemologist for the past two decades. I am well used to the lifestyle of traveling to venues to sell my work alternated with creating my product in my home studio. I want to transition into making my income with my writing instead of via my jewelry this year. If there is one thing that I’ve learned from starting a small business, it is that you need to not only have a main goal to work toward, but you also need to think about the steps you need to do in order to reach that goal.

Below are the following habits that I’m going to work on for 2013, call them my New Year Resolutions. I’m sure that other writers have similar goals depending on where they are in their careers.

  1. I will set aside three days a week where I focus on my novel and write at least 2000 words each writing session. I will make a point to take my Alphasmart Neo or laptop and go out of my studio to write. This will develop the habit of knowing that when I leave my studio, it is to work on my novel. The local library, coffeehouses, or the park are all on the list as alternate writing locations. I also have a group of writers that I join occasionally to write with.
  2. I will write everyday. In the age of the Internet, we all tend to write something each day even if it is simply posts to our Facebook pages. One of the reasons that I started No Wasted Ink last year was to push myself into writing stories and articles every day. A habit of action that will sharpen my skills as a writer and help me develop a backlog of work for my portfolio. I used to track my word count for the day in my writing filofax, but I’ve since dropped that habit once I realized that I was putting in well over 1000 words a day on all the various projects that I maintain. My writing everyday habit is established and it is one that intend to continue in 2013.
  3. I will begin an art journal to sharpen my drawing and handwriting skills. One of the goals I have for my trilogy is to produce my own book covers and possibly to create an illustrated version as a special edition. While I am not certain if my artwork will be up to my standards of quality, I find that if one doesn’t practice art, you do not improve. I purchased a Strathmore watercolor journal toward this goal. While I don’t believe I will sketch everyday, I hope to relax with drawing at least a few times a week and see where it progresses.
  4. I will make an effort to read at least one book a week. I tend to read classics, science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. One of the reasons that I decided to write book reviews of classic literature was to learn more about these famous authors and what made them tick. I’ve been pleased to discover that what drove them to write is similar to what drives us as modern age authors. For a long time, I had given up reading books due to font size in printed books, but with the advent of the ereader and the ability to make the font of any novel a size I can see comfortably, I am rediscovering my love of books. Reading fuels my desire to write.
  5. I will submit at least 4 short stories for publication during 2013, aiming to publish at least one per quarter. I also want to use one short story to open up my author pages on various sites such as Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble. This short story or novella will allow me to have all my publishing sites open and in place so that I do not have to scramble to do it along with publishing my first novel. If it earns a little income, that would be a plus.
  6. I will limit my use of social media and/or non-essential Internet. This includes games, reading forums and blogs. I tend to do this more than I should and much of it is not related to the online marketing that I do for my jewelry and writing. I need to continue the online marketing, but I am hoping to limit my playing on the Internet. Combining this goal with the alternative writing locations that are Internet free should help me with this problem.
  7. I will improve my home studio to make it a better writing space. In 2012, I purchased a new desk with a return and am in the process of reorganizing my writing space to make it more productive. I am looking into new drawers and boxes to hold office supplies, putting my jewelry supplies out of sight, decorating with a new color scheme, and keeping my desk more tidy. I find that I am more creative when I am not surrounded by clutter. Therefore, the clutter and unnecessary items need to go.
  8. I will take at least one writing course during 2013. Most of the time, I enjoy taking online classes since they are convenient to my schedule, however I feel that taking one at the local community college is also beneficial. It would allow meeting like minded people and keep me more accountable with my writing. The classes I’ve taken in the past two years have been a refresher grammar class, a refresher class about punctuation, and a class that helped with navigating through the process of Nanowrimo. This coming year I have my eye on a second punctuation class and I might consider a creative writing course at the local community college via their adult education program.
  9. I will have chapters and short stories to submit to a writing critique group. I am in the process of forming up a writer’s critique group with GLAWS, The Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society. We will meet either monthly or bi-weekly. I intend to start putting my writing through the critique process before submitting it to be published. I have been avoiding this part of the writing process for quite some time, but I am seeing that it would be of benefit to me to get more involved with my fellow writers in my local area.
  10. I will make a point to exercise on a regular basis. As an artisan jeweler, I found that my work was physical enough to have health benefits. It is an unfortunate fact of life that a writer generally sits in a chair all day as they work. I want to start to counterbalance this sedentary lifestyle with more movement. I am considering starting a fitness journal to track my weight and exercise progress and plan on adding walking and cycling on a more regular basis to my general lifestyle. Walking is a great way to work out story plot holes as you take in fresh air and get your heart working.

These are my New Year’s Resolutions. What are yours?

Author Interview: Patrick C. Greene

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and was seeped in the legends of Bigfoot, or the Sasquatch as the Native Americans in the area call them. Naturally, I found myself interested in a fictional story based around these old legends. I want to welcome Patrick C. Greene and his novel Progeny to No Wasted Ink.

Author Patrick C GreeneI’m Patrick C. Greene; actor, martial artist, horror geek, comicbook nerd, metalhead, cineaste, father, husband, philosopher and…oh yeah; author.

When and why did you begin writing?

My father was a journalist and novelist so I had a good bit of exposure to the business as a child. I was writing, in a sense, before I knew how via drawings and telling nonsensical stories, even if nobody was around.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In about the seventh grade, I decided I would be a writer. I was small for my age, and easy target for bullies, and of course the “weird kid”, so at some point, I decided to learn how to defend myself and quickly became obsessed with martial arts, setting my interest in writing aside to train and learn all I could about fighting. I didn’t start writing again seriously until right after high school, when I was pursuing a career as an actor and decided to write my own screenplay to star in, as Stallone did with Rocky. I started knocking out short stories as well, just for fun. Ultimately, coming to a place of calling myself a writer was a gradual process that took many years.

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

In PROGENY, Owen Sterling is a successful author who has just bought a large tract of forest land from a Native tribe. Soon after moving into his new house, he experiences a series of strange events that lead him to believe a family of sasquatches lives close by, and further, that they are potentially quite dangerous. He refuses to let local hunters come anywhere near the property, coming off like an aloof, wealthy outsider. Zane Carver, the alpha male of the locals, decides to ignore Owen’s directive, and takes a group of hunters, including his increasingly rebellious fifteen-year-old son Byron along. Pretty soon, the inevitable happens-hunters and monsters cross paths in a tragic manner, and the result is a game of cat-and-mouse that favors the creatures, forcing Zane and company to seek shelter with their old nemesis Owen.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always been intrigued by Bigfoot, and I was always trying to come up with a way to write something about the phenomenon, without resorting to the usual band of teens being offed with Bigfoot as a stand-in for a slasher figure. The idea of a three-way struggle appealed to me, as it blurs the lines between “good” and “bad” and makes potential outcome less predictable.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m tempted to say “neo-splatterpunk” because I read a lot of stuff from that era. I’m not one of those writers that finds no value in gore (though it can be overdone). I think literal viscera can be used to underscore figurative viscera, and a visceral experience is definitely what I hope to achieve. I am an emotional guy so I write about people in highly emotional states. I believe readers want to care about their protagonists, beyond even whether they will come out all right by the end, but also what it would mean if they didn’t–what that protagonist might potentially leave behind.

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

PROGENY relates to the three father/son relationships that are highlighted in the story, especially Owen and Zane. Owen, the writer and Zane the hunter both have boys with whom their relationships are not ideal. Both are struggling, in different ways, to bridge that gap, to build some foundation for a long-term relationship as the boys grow, and the night of the siege is the crucible for that.

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

As a father, it was important to me to address for myself what that means. It’s dedicated to my oldest son Deklan, an exceptional writer in his own right. His mother and I broke up when he was still very young so I haven’t had as much time with him over the years as I would like. The message, I suppose, would be to treasure every moment with your child.

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

Not so much the horror elements, but some of the clumsy efforts by Owen and Zane to maintain good relationships with their own sons are very much influenced by my own experiences, not just as a father but also as a son. All the characters have pieces of people I know.

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

I think Poe suffered from depression, as I have from time to time, so the way he used it and created from it is inspiring.

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

Definitely Vincent Hobbes, because he has bent over backwards to make sure PROGENY and the short stories I’ve submitted for THE ENDLANDS have been top notch. He always has time to help other authors and offer encouragement and I’m very grateful.

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

Jordan Benoit is the cover artist, and I couldn’t be happier! His work on this and THE ENDLANDS is intriguing, mysterious and captivating. I wish I could take credit for choosing him but he was hired through PROGENY’S publishers, Hobbes End.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes, and it’s nothing you haven’t heard before: if you’re driven to write, you should be doing it. If the ideas are pounding at your brain seeking release, then release them, dammit! If you love your man or woman then write about it. If you’re afraid that the words just won’t come when you try to write, then write about that. The more you write, the better you’ll be at it, and the more you’ll want to write. So go! NOW! Do it!

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

I want to hear from you guys! Love my work or hate it, or find it pointless-let me know. And thanks for the time you set aside to read PROGENY or my short stories or even just this interview. I love having the opportunity to tell you a story!

Progeny Book CoverPatrick C. Greene
Asheville, North Carolina

FACEBOOK
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
AMAZON KINDLE

Progeny was published by Hobbes End Publishing, LLC

Author Interview: Christopher and Heather Dunbar

As an artisan jeweler, I often attend Renaissance Fairs and Highland Games to sell my wares. When I met Chris and Heather Dunbar via an online Writer’s Cabal, I was delighted to find two kindred souls that enjoy these venues much as I do. They’re genre is historical fantasy and their participation on the RenFaire circuit certainly helps them get into the spirit. I am delighted to feature them both here on No Wasted Ink.

Authors Heather and Chris DunbarI am Christopher Dunbar, and along with my wife Heather Poinsett Dunbar, I write the historical fantasy novels and other works of the Morrigan’s Brood Series. I also dabble in leatherwork and the playing of ancient musical instruments, such as the didgeridoo and the Djembe (from Ghana); lately, I have even taken up street performing during lunch outside of the building where I work in Downtown Houston.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing creatively, outside of school, after I met my wife-to-be. I wrote with her on a few projects, but she really drew me in when she needed help with her first book manuscript. I helped her revamp the plot, spice up the characters, and provide a masculine perspective for the men in the story. The funny thing is that the writing started before we got married, and we still write together. She really helped bring out lots of creativity in me that I did not know existed. Just look at my bio blurb…

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I don’t consider myself a writer. Rather, I am a storyteller. Some the stories I tell are expressed through the written word… or sometimes with the spoken or the sung word, sometimes with music (although this is my weakest medium thus far, but I work at it), and of course sometimes through the Celtic knotwork in my leatherwork. Heather, however, I consider to be a writer. I think I first considered myself a storyteller when I could first string together elaborate fibs, that were obviously made up lies, to my parents, but they apparently found them entertaining.

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

The most current release from our series is Dark Alliance: Morrigan’s Brood Book III, although it is really the fourth book, counting the novella between books 2 and 3. Book 3 takes place in 801 CE, the year after Pope Leo III crowns Karl der Große Imperator Romanorum. Heather and I felt that the era of Charlemagne would be an excellent backdrop for our historical fantasy series… in fact, novels 3 through 8 take place during Charlemagne’s lifetime and even include him and Pope Leo III as characters. An eruption of heinous murders all across the empire cause ripples in the delicate balance between emperor and pope, bringing each closer to their doom, but only through the intervention of beneficent races of blood-drinkers will they have any hope of saving themselves.

What inspired you to write this book?

Heather and I felt that history glosses over Charlemagne the man… What kind of man was he? What kind of leader was he? What drove him to conquer? Who did he love? We wanted to delve into him and into his world. He is such a dynamic person that six of our novels will occur during his reign.

Do you have a specific writing style?

From a construction perspective, Heather and I have developed a style that creates one voice, rather than two. We both work together on the first pass of the manuscript, without editing, until we get to the end of the story, and then we rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. From a content perspective, our stories are journeys that enable the reader to explore other times and places as well as characters we hope people find dynamic… not just one- or two-dimensional. We also strive for a level of historical plausibility, if not accuracy.

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

I think Heather came up with this one… In the story, two lines of blood-drinkers that were at war with one another in the previous two books find themselves with a common enemy. With that in mind, and considering that our blood-drinkers cannot come out at night, “Dark Alliance” seemed like a good title, especially considering the various meanings of ‘dark’, given the right context.

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

I am sure the novel contains several messages, both hidden and obvious… some intentional and some accidental. The fun is finding them, so I do not wish to cheat our readers out of their fun.

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

The premise of the series is that these ancient lines of blood-drinkers have formed secret societies that are the powers behind kings, emperors, and popes, but that these lines are also in conflict with one another… so to are their mortal pawns. One has to wonder, given our current (and previous) political strife whether blood-drinkers are the puppet masters behind the scenes today… one wonders.

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

I wouldn’t say that authors have influenced my life… perhaps my writing style or storytelling, but not my life. Some of my influences for storytelling include skits at the various powwows when I was in Indian Guides and reading about old Irish legends and tales. Influential authors include Jack London, Edgar Allen Poe, and H.G. Wells. I liked Wells. because he was far ahead of his time and could imagine worlds few others could fathom. Poe, I feel, can horrify with sweet words. I like London because he invented himself… he deliberately lived a tough life and wrote about it, I thought he wrote great adventure stories.

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

R.A. Salvatore. I met him at a book signing recently. He said to me that he started writing fantasy because he had read everything ‘fantasy’ out there and he wanted more. I told him I wrote historical fantasy because I don’t see a lot of good works from our ancient history out there. Some of our readers have compared our writing to his… I just smile. I have read most of his Forgotten Realms books, which I started reading in college, and I even got him to sign his first… my first of his. I think he would be a cool author to consider as a mentor.

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

Khanada Taylor is the brilliant artist behind the cover art for all of our books thus far and to come. She has a keen ability to gleam the physical realities of form, color, and texture from the written word and depict them in a manner that conveys meanings both shallow and deep. Just a few observations off the top of my head from book three’s cover… a man, Mandubratius, is sitting casually in Charlemagne’s throne, dangling the Emperor’s crown on his toe, hefting the Emperor’s sword in his left hand, and with his right he dangles marionettes of Charlemagne and Pope Leo III… oh, and there is a mysterious black cat. In the background is the triskel of Morrigan’s Brood, which I helped draw. The cover contains lots of symbolism, if you know where to look. Khanada is also an activist for many good causes, as well as a dear friend.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Work… hone your craft… learn, practice, do… and keep doing it. If you need something else to do for a bit, do something creative.

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

Thank you for delving into the universe Heather and I have created, and we hope you enjoy your visit.

MBDA-Front-CoverHeather Poinsett Dunbar and Christopher Dunbar
Houston, Texas

She, the librarian-author, who once sauntered through the picturesque Epping Forest, danced around the awe-inspiring standing stones of Avebury, and traipsed through the misty moors and vales of Scotland, not knowing that her experiences in those mystical places would spark creative passions within. He, the often kilt-clad disaster prognosticator, leather smith, author, and pseudo-musician who never thought he possessed a creative bone within him, yet one woman encouraged his creativity to flourish. Together, they write.

Dark Alliance: Morrigan’s Brood Book III (paperback: 978-1-937341-20-6, Kindle: 978-1-937341-21-3, Nook: 978-1-937341-22-0)
Triscelle Publishing

Khanada Taylor: Cover Artist

Free ePub of Morrigan’s Brood Book I on Goodreads

AMAZON for Dark Alliance: Morrigan’s Brood Book III

BARNES & NOBLE for Dark Alliance: Morrigan’s Brood Book III

Author Interview – Greg Stacey

Sometimes in life we all need a little adventure to get our blood moving. When that moment comes, I like to turn to a good action, adventure thriller. I met Greg Stacey online, as I do many of the authors that I interview here on No Wasted Ink, and I found his history and background to be well grounded for a thriller writer. I hope you’ll enjoy his interview!

Author Greg StaceyI was brought up in Wiltshire, England and have lived there for most of my life. I am very happily married and have three great kids. For most of my adult life, I worked as a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist in the National Health Service. I am a keen guitarist and have played in a number of blues and rock bands over the years, performing material written by myself and in collaboration with a long term friend and fellow musician. I have always enjoyed a good read and have very eclectic tastes, from classical to modern, fact to fiction. Currently I am writing full time, as I retired from the NHS last year.

When and why did you begin writing?

When I was in my teens, I wrote short stories and essays, several of which won prizes, so my writing aspirations go back a long way. As my professional career developed and family life became hectic, my writing took a back seat, but I continued to write articles, short stories for family and friends and develop ideas for future projects.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

A difficult one to answer, but I guess when I was quite young, maybe early twenties, but other things took over. At the beginning of 2012, I really thought it was time to put pen to paper so to speak, and fulfil the ambition. I now consider it my primary occupation.

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

The Agnatum is an action, adventure thriller, set in the present day, but originating in World War Two, with the development of a ‘superweapon’ in the German Wunderwaffe programme, when Germany became increasingly frantic to devise new, powerful, and sometimes bizarre weapons that could turn the tide of the war in its favour. Germany’s desperation to create and develop new technologies pushed 1940’s science to the limit.

The Agnatum is the story of the development of such a weapon. Unable to complete their work before the conflict ends and the war is lost, a powerful group of Germans, the Agnatum, who planned a counter regime to the Nazi dictatorship in the final stages of the war, leave a legacy to their descendants to continue their work, in order to restore Germany’s former glory and supremacy. The eventual successful development of the superweapon ultimately threatens world stability by potentially forcing governments to capitulate to the demands of the merciless and cruel underground group.

The menace and danger that the Agnatum’s superweapon poses has to be countered. An international intelligence organisation, Strategic Intelligence and Defence ©, SIAD for short, is charged with the task, under the leadership of the charismatic central character, Nathan Stone. Stone, aided by a trusted and dependable colleague, Spencer White, and a former lover, Dr Georgie Manston, heads up an experienced team of skilled professionals to track down those behind the plot and thwart their ambitions, taking them across Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

What inspired you to write this book? Do you have a specific writing style?

I had been trying to write a science fiction novel for several years, but for whatever reason it never came to life on paper, so I started afresh. The Agnatum came out of a conversation I was having with my son after watching a television programme about the weapons Germany worked on towards the end of WW2. I think he said something like ‘what would have happened if they had got them to work?’ – That was enough to spark an idea that then became the story of the Agnatum.

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

The original title was very different. Once I was about a third of the way through and the plot began to evolve, I needed a name for the organisation developing the superweapon. They were Germans, but not Nazis, so they had to be some sort of offshoot from the established Nazi regime in World War 2. I looked up various translations for offshoot and eventually came up with the Latin – Agnatum – and it sounded pretty cool.

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

Again, a difficult question – I suppose I wanted people to think in a ‘what if?’ way. What if they had completed the weapon during the war? What if they had succeeded in the present day? If there is a message or a warning, it’s from the past, but unfortunately it’s a message that we either haven’t received yet or taken heed of – not to allow prejudices, fears and greed to influence our decisions or the paths we take.

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

In all honesty, I would have to say no. this is a pure adventure thriller, designed to take one out of oneself on a fictitious journey – pure escapism – apart from perhaps the message above!

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

Graham Greene, Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, Shakespeare, Bob Dylan, Ernest Hemingway, Kathy Reichs, F Scott Fitzgerald, Ian Fleming – the list could go on forever. I like reading – pretty much everything, although, as you can probably tell, I am very partial to adventure tales. What do I find in them that’s inspiring? Wit, intelligence, integrity, honesty, humour and a determination to tell a good story.

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

If talking about the action adventure genre, I would have to say Clive Cussler. Cussler is always a great read and has an ability to keep coming up with good adventure books, even if they are themed. He may not be Shakespeare, but he is, in my humble opinion, an excellent storyteller.

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

I have to take the credit for the cover. Besides writing, I am a very keen amateur photographer. The cover is a composite, created using photographic software and themed around the story.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I am not sure that I would want to give another writer advice at this stage in my writing career, but what I would say is that if you have a story to tell, or passion for writing, then go for it. There is nothing to lose in trying. Writing is a skill that has to be mastered. I feel I am still at the beginning of that road and have a lot to learn, but it is immensely rewarding personally and well worth the blood, sweat and tears in trying to produce something you can be proud of yourself and that others will hopefully enjoy.

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

Only that I sincerely hope you enjoy The Agnatum, for what it is, a story. There may be messages within it, for others better than me to identify perhaps, but what I wanted to produce was a good old fashioned adventure tale that someone can’t put down until they have read the last page.

Book Cover The AgnatumGreg Stacey
Wiltshire, England.

I enjoy writing action, adventure thrillers. I am an admirer of Ian Fleming’s books – descriptive, but without being overly so, leaving something to the reader’s imagination. I love a good story, in perhaps a more old fashioned way, not too high tec, so that everything remains believable, or nearly so.

The Agnatum – available on Kindle
Cover Art: Greg Stacey

Writing Apps For Your Tablet

November is Nanowrimo month and like many writers, I’m busy plugging away at my great American novel. My machine of choice on the go is the Alphasmart Neo combined with a Logitech rubber lap board and a Mighty Bright dual lamp light. The only drawback to the Neo is that it does not have a means to download text onto the cloud since it was originally designed before such systems existed. Pen and paper is still a common choice for writers as well, but I’ve noticed that a growing number of participants have been turning to tablets combined with blu-tooth keyboards to write their novels. Whether you choose an iPad or an Android based tablet, writing with apps that are geared more for the writer instead of the casual phone user is to be preferred. The following are a few writing apps that I’ve seen other writers use at coffeehouse write-ins.

Werdsmith
Free or upgrade to Pro for $2.99

This is an app that purports to “turn your iPhone or iPad into a portable writing studio”. It does have a word count feature and is a good basic writing app. It has none of the frills you would find on a true computer, but for writing a rough draft on the go, you don’t always need that.

Daedalus Touch
$4.99

If you are looking for a text editor that is simple to read and has a visual organization, Daedalus Touch might be for you. This is an iPad app which features distraction free writing, huge import/export options including epub, textExpander and Markdown support, and best of all it includes dropbox sync.

Write
$2.99

One of the more recommended writing apps by my friends that use android tablets is Write. It has a minimalist text editor interface which makes it great for taking notes, writing chapters and it imports/exports to Dropbox and Evernote among others. It has a word count feature which is necessary for Nanowrimo, and a search function for your notes. CNET calls it the “best android notepad apps for students”.

Nanoprogress
Free

One of the features of Nanowrimo is the word count graph on the website that helps to motivate you to reach your goals. However, what if you wanted to work on Camp Nanowrimo in June or August or simply have a similar graph to motivate you at other times of the year. This is the app that will do it for you. It is a simple, free app for your Android tablet that will help you keep on track at any time of the year.

These writing apps are only to get your started. There are a huge number of apps for your iPad or Android out there to help you write novels, blog posts, and journal entries. Look for apps that feature a word count, easy import and export of your text to your desktop, laptop, or the cloud of your choice, and have an interface that is as distraction free as possible. With these apps in your toolbox, you can win Nanowrimo!