Book Trailers – Are They Worth It?

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Marketing can be a tricky thing to navigate for self-published authors. You try all the gimmicks that your predecessors have encouraged you on. You stay away from the things that seem to be labeled as cardinal sins of marketing. You’re plagued with questions about if you’re posting too often, if you’re being overzealous with marketing, if you’re tagging your posts correctly, etc.

You may spend countless hours scouring the interwebs for helpful tips from other authors, trying to find the special formula that will launch you into some much needed publicity. So, being about to publish my third novel, you would think I would be a pro at this. Sadly, I am not.

I am just as lost as you are.

I’ve carefully watched my stats on my website, done a myriad of trials on posting trends and topics, to no avail. The only thing that has helped boost views on my website has been consistency. That garners more traffic if I’m posting regularly. However, that traffic does not equal an increase in sales/downloads.

So back to the drawing board we go.

I’ve never done the big release build-ups for my books, doing release blog tours or anything like that, but I’m considering it for my third novel.

Another recommendation has been to do a book trailer.

Here is where I’m torn…

Take Divergent, the hit novel (now motion picture) from Veronica Roth. HarperCollins published her novels, and before the release of Divergent, their Youtube channel for their Teen books “HarperTeen” posted this book trailer:

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved the story… but this book trailer is dull. It’s not something I would want to watch to learn more about the story. Maybe it was due to my fan-fiction roots, but I find what YouTube labels as “Fanvids” to be way more fun.

If I was going to do a book trailer for my upcoming novel, I wouldn’t want some fancy graphics and text… I would want clips from actors in other movies and such… that could very well tell the visual tease of my novel.

For example… fans of the shows The Vampire Diaries and Supernatural will know that there is a wealth of crossover fan-fiction to read about the characters. One video in particular tells a story of Caroline Forbes (TVD) being in a relationship with Dean Winchester (Supernatural):

You tell me which would entice you to buy the book… the first video or the second, assuming it was telling you about a book?

I have a hard time forking over money for a book trailer that will be nothing more than some pictures and fancy text which does nothing to draw me in to reading the book. Perhaps that is just me, that’s why I’m posting it here.

How many of you have used book trailers? Have they helped increase your sales?

And, if you haven’t, what has been your reasoning for not using book trailers for the release of your novel?

The Dirty Dozen Interviews – Craig Stumpf

If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know that every Friday for a (hopefully) series of twelve weeks, I’m doing interviews with fellow members of the writing world. This week we have Craig Stumpf with us!

 

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Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: 3 years ago, someone suggested I start a blog. I didn’t think I could write a thing, but as I started, it developed into a real joy and great release of ideas. It’s a blast to share with folks and help others.

Q: Did you share this dream with anyone, if so what was their reaction?
A: I only shared it with a few, but I had a mixed reaction. Some chuckled, and thought it was ridiculous, while a few really supported it.

Q: Who has been your biggest supporter and your biggest critic?
A: Biggest supporters have been a few men in business that regularly comment on my writing and share what I wrote. I have had only a few people really criticize me, but it’s been for grammar errors and typos more than anything.

Q: Ah, the dreaded Grammar Nazis! I have a colleague that gets on my for my excessive use of commas, so I know the feeling. How do you handle when someone gives you an opinion on your writing? Meaning, do you tend to believe strangers over people you’re close to, or vice versa?
A: I try to take any criticisms to heart. I think I can learn from anyone. If someone is truly rude, I tend to ignore those.

Q: Have you lost friends/families because of your writing?
A: No. Only gained. That’s been amazing to me.

Q: What is the thing you struggle with most about writing?
A: It can be challenging to be creative, and come up with a new idea, but because I write articles and blog posts, it’s more simple to have a one or two page flow than with a book.

Q: Have there been moments where you have wanted to give up on this dream? If yes, what has made you stick with it?
A: I stopped blogging for a year, at one point, because I couldn’t keep up, then I reminded myself of why I write – to help others and started again.

Q: What is one thing that you wish you knew from the beginning of your writing career?
A: How to appropriately share my posts with others without being a pest.

Q: [laughs] I still don’t think I’ve successfully figured that out yet. Do you have things/people you turn to for inspiration or can you sit down and just write?
A: I do both. Sometimes it’s a simple thought that comes to mind, but other times, it’s a picture that I took, or something I saw.

Q: What achievement in writing are you most proud of?
A: My LinkedIn articles. I’m not a top writer there, but have had several articles featured, and some have truly helped some folks that were in very tough situations.

Q: What has been your biggest lesson learned in writing?
A: My biggest lesson would be that I need to write to help others, and not to bolster myself, or build a crowd. When I help others, that’s what gives the most satisfaction.

Q: If you could only pick one, would you rather be well known (NY Times Bestseller etc) for one piece of writing, only to be broke after a quick fifteen minutes of fame, or would you rather be semi-unknown, only making just enough sales to live modestly, as long as you were able to keep writing?
A: Living in the limelight would likely be a challenge, so I think that doing some writing a few days per week, to help folks would be best.

 

I would like to thank Craig for stopping by with us today. I did ask him a follow-up question recently, about his response on sharing his posts and not being a pest about it. I asked if he’d found the secret. His answer: “Unfortunately not really, other than when I share, I always ask a question as part of the share. It seems to soften the push…”

I will say this surprised me to hear him say that. Mainly because asking questions is advice that I have tried to stick to, at least at the end of most posts, because I was told early on in my blogging career that it helps engage an audience.

Thanks again to Craig, for letting me pick his brain and do this interview. I enjoyed it as I hope all of you have too! If you would like to get in contact with Craig, he can be reached through the links below!

 

LinkedIn articles – https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/158230243

Blog – http://i-never-fail.blogspot.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/CraigStumpf

 

 

2014 Fall TV Premieres!

 

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Earlier this week, I did a post recapping all the shows that I’d started watching last season, or over the summer. Now today we’ll touch on the Fall Season for 2014.

As I’ve stated, I have never been much of a TV person. Thanks to my sisters teaching me how to crochet and giving me something else to do whilst I procrastinate on writing another novel, TV works well as an added bonus. I can say that I’m crocheting, when in all reality, it’s because I’ve found a new show to obsess over.

This fall looks to be no different in the way of busy evenings!

Below is a list of the stuff I’m anxiously looking forward to, and my thoughts on each.

 

MONDAYS

Gotham (8/7 Central) – FOX – NEW SHOW

I am a total sucker for all things Batman… even if I was a little upset by Hollywood’s recent casting of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne. So imagine a world where you get a weekly dose of all the dark things inside Gotham? The show tells the story of Jim Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie. Now anyone that follows me knows that he will forever hold a place in my heart because of my books, and who I originally started writing the character Liam Taylor as. This stage is set as he starts investigating the murder of young Bruce Wayne’s parents. Producers and critics have listed this as a must-see new show, and I’m hopeful it will be great!

My Opinion: I’m hoping it stays with the dark side of Gotham and less with the cheesy/cartoon-ish way that some of the older movies were done.

Reasons I may not keep watching: I’m not a fan of Jada Pinkett-Smith who plays Catwoman and it’s on at the same time as The Voice and The Originals

The Voice (8/7 Central) – NBC – RETURNING SHOW

I’m a sucker for Adam Levine. The man is amazing, and the bromance between him and Blake Shelton on this show typically gets me to at least watch the blind auditions. While Shakira and Usher are my other favorite judges, and I rarely watch it when Cee-Lo “I-Think-Rape-Is-Okay” Green and Christina Aguilera are judges, this season promises to have new dynamics with the joining of Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams.

My Opinion: I will at least watch the Blind Auditions

Reasons I may not keep watching: The new judges and if none of my favorites move on to the live shows. The biggest reason I may not watch though is because of Gotham and The Originals being on at the same time.

The Originals (8/7 Central) – CW – RETURNING SHOW

So season 2 is set to kick off this year, on a new night I might add. I am a Klaus girl, and with the rumor mill flying recently, and then confirmed by the exec’s that there will be a TVD cross-over episode, I’m so excited to see what our lovely Mikaelson clan has in store for us. Last season left us with the hint that Mama Mikaelson had returned with Finn, and we already know that Papa Mikaelson is up to no good.

My Opinion: I honestly don’t think this show could do anything, minus removing Joseph Morgan from it that would make me not want to watch it. I really hope they keep the darker tones in this series, something that they’ve lost with The Vampire Diaries.

Reasons I may not keep watching: None in the foreseeable future.

The Blacklist – (10/9 Central) – NBC – RETURNING SHOW

Who the !@#$ is Tom Keen?! Seriously. This show was such an instant success that I was hooked within fifteen minutes into the Pilot episode. I re-watched that episode 3 times the week it aired, just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. Sure, Meghan Boone’s wigs leave something to be desired, and some of the acting was a bit overdone in the first few episodes, but by the fourth or fifth episode in, they seemed to have found their footing and made it a must-watch show.

My Opinion: So many questions, things they teased answers to in the finale of season one, I’m really looking forward to September 22nd when this show returns.

Reasons I may not keep watching: None in the foreseeable future.

 

TUESDAYS

Supernatural – (9/8 Central) – CW – RETURNING SHOW

This is a tough one for me. Supernatural kicks off its tenth season this year, and while I’m extremely happy for the success they’ve had, I’m one of the fans that firmly believes that a lot of its appeal died when Eric Kripke left the show. Sure he still fills in as creative consultant, and he will forever be my arch nemesis as I have stated in previous posts, but I really think after last season I’m done. I am torn on continuing on because of my long love for the show and my borderline boredom in most episodes.

My Opinion: Having recently heard that they’ve been signed for an 11th season as well, I am on the fence. I think they have crossed over from having really great, cutting-edge episodes, to now just making fun of themselves. It’s hit a point of predictability for me.

Reasons I may not keep watching: Having been able to tell most of what the finale of season 9 would consist of and hoping like hell the writers would prove me wrong, only to be let down when they have taken pages from internet fan-fiction kind of left a bad taste in my mouth about this show. I think it’s time to park the Metallicar and say that you’ve had a good run.

 

THURSDAYS

The Vampire Diaries (8/7 Central) – CW – RETURNING SHOW

Season five left us with Bonnie and Damon being trapped on the other side which was about to implode upon itself and become no more. It gave us hints of how much Elena truly loved Damon, as well as Caroline’s growing love for Stefan.  Interviews with the cast and writers have already told us that a “Steroline” romance is unlikely. I believe it was Paul Wesley that stated that his character, Stefan, wasn’t going to be in a place to have a relationship this season. What’s worse is Ian Somerhalder has hinted that season six could be Damon’s last season.

Here’s the biggest problem I have with this show… the writers have done an amazing job at sucking in people who feel very passionately about these characters, but unless you are a fan of Stefan and Elena being together, there has been very little pay off. For those of us that are “Delena” fans, we get glimpses, little teases, and then we get our hearts ripped out. I’m really hoping that it isn’t the case with this season.

My Opinion: I will watch at least this season, but it could very well be my last.

Reasons I may not keep watching: I’ve had about all I can take of the back and forth with the Stefan-Elena-Damon triangle. We’ve had three seasons of her being all about Stefan, and we Damon/Elena fans only got a half-assed attempt at a few episodes.

 

FRIDAYS

Constantine (10/9 Central) – NBC – NEW SHOW

I hated the movie. Even though I tend to genuinely like Keanu Reeves, the original movie of Constantine was a snoozefest for me. I tried three times to watch it and fell asleep every time. However, the promo trailers for NBC’s show sucked me right back in to the story that I have loved for a long time. No, I’m not a comic book buff, but I’ve read enough about Constantine in the past to genuinely love the story. This ranks up there with Gotham for me, and I’m hoping they do not drop the ball.

My Opinion: It looks like the perfect mix of dark and gritty, two things I adore in shows I watch.

Reasons I may not keep watching: I think with anything like this, you have a very fine line on what works. It’s more a gut feeling, but I have a feeling that with the show being on NBC, they may tone down a lot of the elements that could make this a big hit. If that’s the case, I won’t keep up with it.

 

 

Honorable Mentions

 

State of Affairs – NBC – NEW SHOW

This show is set to air its pilot episode in November, on Monday during The Blacklist’s regular timeslot. I’m sure they’re doing this to try and garner viewers for it because I do not feel that Katherine Heigl’s publicity itself is enough to warrant watching this show. It’s from the creators of The Blacklist, and it’s another CIA/Government thriller, but aside from that, I’m not sure if it really has enough to stand on its own. I will at least watch the pilot and see if NBC can strike gold for a second year in a row.

Stalker – CBS – NEW SHOW

So I really, really want to love Dylan McDermott. He has played some really great roles and I don’t know if it’s just him or something about the characters he’s usually cast in, I normally don’t care for most of the things he’s in. However, this show looks interesting. It’s about a cop played by Maggie Q, whom you may know from CW’s Nikita, who leads the division that investigates stalking crimes. McDermott plays a cop that has come in from New York and is the newbie on the team. It was created by Kevin Williamson, whom I love because of The Following and The Vampire Diaries, but I am still not sure it will be enough to keep me entertained. It has a feel much like The Following, and per my previous post, you know how well that ended. Just like with State of Affairs, I will at least check out the pilot and see if it’s enough to keep me hooked.

 

So there are my picks for the fall season. Do you have any shows you’re excited for?

TV Recaps – Last Season

TV Remote Isolated on White.

 

It’s that time of year again folks! Time for all of us to anxiously await the return of our favorite TV shows, and perhaps even add some more in.

A year ago, I wasn’t much of a TV fan, I’ll admit it. I watched three shows religiously, The Vampire Diaries, Inkmaster, and Supernatural. That was it… well, that and Football, but still.

Sure I had followed Grey’s Anatomy off and on, I had watched Burn Notice, but both of those were mainly watched once they were available on Netflix.

Last season saw the start of a very busy Fall line-up, one I was excited for, but one that sadly disappointed.

Outside of my two favorites, I started watching NBC’s Believe, FOX’s Sleepy Hollow and ABC’s Resurrection. I only lasted two episodes on Sleepy Hollow before The Voice won out and it ended up just taking up space on my DVR, sadly.

Sleepy Hollow had some great promise, and I know several people that still watched it and are looking forward to its return this fall… it just didn’t do it for me. It felt like a stiffer version of Supernatural to me.

Resurrection was another that showed great promise, but due to it airing at the same time as NBC’s Believe, we would record it and watch Believe. I really enjoyed Believe but stopped watching when it was announced that it was not being renewed, and never went back to catch up on Resurrection.

Last fall I also started watched NBC’s Dracula. I happened to really enjoy it, even if Jonathan Rhys-Meyer’s accent was a bit off for me. I think it showed a lot of promise, but am finding that most period-piece type shows fail on main networks. It takes the un-censored channels like HBO, Showtime, or Starz to really let those kinds of shows shine.

The Blacklist, as stated in a post at the end of summer last year, was going to be my backup show. I didn’t see it being a show that would hold my interest at all, and figured I would end up keeping it on the DVR and watching as I got time.

That was the big surprise… The Blacklist was my favorite of all the shows I watched last season. So much so in fact, my daughter and I just recently re-watched all of season one which I had saved on my DVR.

So here are some highlights from last season from some of the new shows I started watching.

The Blacklist – as I’ve stated, what a great hour. Mondays just got a whole lot better to me, simply because James Spader is an acting genius. I love him. Ryan Eggold was the surprise for me though in this. I started off thinking of him as just an okay addition to the side cast, only to be catapulted into LOVING the Tom Keen character and the dynamic he brings to the show.

The Following – I watched the first season on Netflix by accident. After a deal with my sister, I was supposed to be watching The Killing, and ended up watching the pilot of The Following. Can I just say, I love Joe Carroll? I know, touche to be enamored with the villain, but I really don’t care. After watching the whole first season within a week’s time, I started second season when it aired on FOX. Most of it was enough to keep me hooked, but the ending was just dumb for me. It’s like after two seasons, we’re starting right back over at the beginning of season one again. I wasn’t impressed.

The Killing – Yes, I know… it’s over. The 4th season was only available on Netflix and I watched it within two days of the release. If you have Netflix, I highly recommend you watch it, you will not be disappointed until the very last episode of the series, as much of the fans were.

Nurse Jackie – What started as background noise at my sister’s house while we were crocheting baby blankets for some friends turned into a new obsession. I do not typically have premium channels on my cable, so I would go to her house and catch up on episodes that she had saved on her DVR. You will laugh, you may cry, you will get mad, and you will have some happy moments as well. Overall, even if I’ve never really been a fan of Edie Falco before, I definitely am now.

Ray Donovan – Well, after we were all caught up on Nurse Jackie, my sister put on the pilot episode of Ray Donovan, a breakout show on Showtime. She had already seen first season, and was trying to get me to watch Masters of Sex, but I had declined. So she put on Ray Donovan. Liev Shreiber… need I say more? I promptly called and ordered Showtime on my way home from her house and watched the first season over the weekend. Now we are on to Season 2, and it just keeps getting better. It has been a nice filler in between the fall shows that will take up my week.

Masters of Sex – So I fell into the trap of this show and all its taboo-ness. It’s tells the story Dr. Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson, pioneers in the field of sexual function research. Now,  I will say, this is not typically the kind of show that I would go for, for one, it’s set in the late 50’s/early 60’s, and there are parts of it that feel very much like you’re watching the behind-the-scenes footage of porn. What I didn’t expect was to really become invested in the characters at the heart of the story, Bill Masters, who is loyal to a wife he’s not in love with, and Virginia Johnson who is the only one who he wants, but can’t really have. Each week is another reason to fall in love with this show.

So yet again, as Fall approaches, we’ve got new shows, returning shows, and a bunch of stuff that I know time will never allow me to watch all of. I think it’s time I call my cable provider and order another DVR, what do you think?

What were your favorite shows of last season? Were there any that you were disappointed in?

The Dirty Dozen Interviews – Mitty Walters

 

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Today we have Mitty Walters with us, author of Breaking Gravity. He was kind enough to let me pick his brain and is this week’s Dirty Dozen Interview!

 

Q. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

A. I can’t remember a time when I did *not* want to be a writer.

I grew up poor and we had no television. So as a child, I became a voracious reader. There was a huge used book store near my home called the Book Nook and once a month I would bring in an old cardboard box filled with books. I’d turn them in for store credit, fill my box up again, and then use my allowance to cover the difference.

I loved reading. And writing was the natural evolution.

Q. Did you share this dream with anyone, if so what was their reaction?

A. I loved reading. And writing was the natural evolution. But story-telling came first.

Growing up, I had a really tight group of friends. Pretty much every weekend (I was like 9 or 10), four or five of us would spend the night together at somebody’s house. After the lights went out, I’d end up making up wild adventures that starred everybody in the room. Usually, we’d end up fighting ninjas or stumbling across bank robbers hiding out in the woods or some other silliness. Of course, we’d vanquish the bad guys and everybody in the room––Timmy, Steve, Greg, Sam, Phil, whoever––would have a moment in the sun doing something awesome. Good times. :)

Sadly, when my story-telling evolved into writing, there was less enthusiasm from my buds. I remember reading them one of the first stories I wrote in like the second or third grade… talk about some tough reviews! To this day, some thirty years later, they still tease me about my “witerature” on the rare occasion it comes up.

I kept writing, just never shared it with friends again.

Q. Who has been your biggest supporter?

A. My wife, without question! The irony is that she has never really read any of my writing, haha.

Q. See, I must be one of the few who wants the person I’m in a relationship with to be reading every word. I’ve heard from a lot of other writers who will bounce ideas off their spouses/S.O. but they don’t actively read any of their finished work. In contrast to that though, who has been your biggest critic?

A. My mother, unfortunately. I say “unfortunately” because… well, it’s hard to think of anything more crushing for a kid. As far as I’m aware, she never read anything I wrote. Rather, her objection was to me writing in general. She was… is very religious. She has always viewed writing as an exercise in vanity, a “worldly” endeavor, something outside of God’s true Plan for my life.

Q. Have you lost friends/families because of your writing?

A. Naaa. That’s why God invented pseudonyms!

Q. What is the thing you struggle with most about writing?

A. Two things that are kind of interrelated: need for approval and finishing a work in progress.

Until recently, I have been a closet writer. If you read my answers to questions #2 and #4, you can get a sense of why.

The problem with being in the closet is that you have nowhere to turn to find out if the writing sucks. And I have this deep need to know what others think. After all, the ultimate goal is to create a story that others enjoy reading. Not having an answer to that basic question (“Is this story any good?”) is extremely tough to deal with in a vacuum. For me, anyway.

That leads to my second problem: inability to finish what I start.

When I first start writing, I’m fired up and the words flow. For instance, I wrote the first half of Breaking Gravity in about a week. Then self-doubt kicked in and I spent three years rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. Because I kept finding flaws (real or imagined), I was stuck with a vicious case of writer’s block… unable to finish.

Breaking Gravity––which is the only novel I have ever actually finished––came very close to ending up on a dusty stack with dozens of other unfinished novels.

Q. I think everyone in some capacity has an issue with finishing a project, heaven knows I do. If it wasn’t for people hounding me for the next installments, I don’t think I would have finished my books. Have there been moments where you have wanted to give up on this dream? If yes, what has made you stick with it?

A. Absolutely. I’ve gone years without writing, mostly because of childhood experiences. Clearly, writing was not a “cool” thing. Nor was it a part of “God’s Plan” for my life.

So I pinned up my writing. As a teenager, I maintained a notebook full of angry poems. I wrote a bunch of angst filled stories that I never showed anyone. Then my life got moving and I rarely wrote for years.

But I had a huge wakeup call a couple years ago that got me to thinking about the things that really matter to me. Suddenly I found myself writing again.

They say, “Don’t write if you have a choice.”

Well, I don’t have a choice anymore. I’m a writer. It’s an obsession.

Q. What is one thing that you wish you knew from the beginning of your writing career?

A. Three simple words: finish, finish, finish.

Self-doubt. Need for approval. <– Just crap.

If you have not finished your story, then what you have is not worthy of review. Quit hemming-and-hawing, just get off your ass and finish. Don’t waste your time bugging friends/family to read.

Just write. Until you finish. The end.

Q. Do you have things/people you turn to for inspiration or can you sit down and just write?

A. Other people’s creativity inspires me. Not the creativity of strangers, but the creativity of friends. I have friends that are musicians and sometimes when I listen to something they’ve done, I’ll find myself all fired up.

Instrumental to my finishing Breaking Gravity was going to watch a buddy of mine do a spoken word show. It was a one-man play. Dude just stood up there by himself for an hour and told a beautiful story. I got home around midnight and couldn’t sleep because I was so inspired by his creativity. I ended up writing all night.

Q. What achievement in writing are you most proud of?

A. One time I took Runner Up in a writing contest. I feel silly even mentioning it, but I was secretly very proud of it.

My background, when it comes to education, was pretty rough. I am a high school dropout, caught the boot my senior year. But in my defense, I was homeless at the time and had managed to stay in school for over a year, despite the obstacles. I was in several AP classes and was passing everything when they kicked me out.

Not to worry, eventually I turned my life around. I picked up my GED, went back to school, and now have an AS in Business Admin, BS in Finance, BS in Business Management.

Anyway, right after I got back in school, I took a creative writing elective. The prof announced to the class that a big writers’ group in Atlanta was sponsoring a contest that was open to the public and also being promoted on college campuses. Twice he went out of his way to bug me personally about it. The night before entries were due, I decided to write one.

And it took second place for the Short Story category. Big deal, right? I know. But it beat out some 500 other entries to get the spot. And they had me come to big award ceremony and do a reading in front of a bunch of people. They said all the first and second place winners were going to be published in some collection, but I never saw it.

Q. What has been your biggest lesson in writing?

A. Never marry your words.

I think a lot of writers (me especially) tend to fall in love with their own voice. But if your words do nothing to move your story forward, then––at best––it’s just white noise. At worst, it’s distracting and boring.

Writing up an explicitly vivid description of a setting may help you to see the room that your character is now standing in, but is that of interest to the reader? Was three paragraphs describing woodworking really necessary? And when you finish the exquisitely detailed description of this room, you may feel like your words have spun poetic gold. And it may indeed be beautiful, but you have to be open to reality. If the reader falls asleep, what was the point?

Be it paragraphs or whole chapters, if it ain’t moving the story forward then it has to go.

It’s tough hearing that from beta readers. It’s even more brutal when an objective editor starts hacking away. There are still blood stains on my monitor and keyboard from the day I got my Breaking Gravity manuscript back from David Gatewood (my editor). Seriously, I’m pretty sure I swelled up and burst into chunks of meat. It was the worst experience of my life. It took me two days before I could look at the file again.

But then it became one of the best experiences of my life. When I set emotion aside, I discovered he was right about 99.8% of everything he said. It was weird, like watching someone else have sex with your wife while giving you friendly pointers about what she likes. You feel violated and deeply offended, but your wife is moaning and Speaking in Tongues, so you know deep down that he’s right.

Yeah, it hurts to see your baby violated. But be open to the possibility that not every single word that drips from your pen is divine.

Never marry your words.

Q. I’ve never heard it referred to like that but that brings it into perfect view of what it feels like to be edited and critiqued. Good analogy. Moving on to the final question… If you could only pick one, would you rather be well known (NY Times Bestseller etc) for one piece of writing, only to be broke after a quick fifteen minutes of fame, or would you rather be semi-unknown, only making just enough sales to live modestly, as long as you were able to keep writing?

A. Sign me up for the fifteen minutes, please.

Shallow, right? I don’t care. Sorry, that’s just how it is.

If I could write one great story––one work that moves people, that causes huge masses of people to show up late and sleepy at work because they were unable to put my book down and ended up spending all night reading––then I could die a happy man.

Over the years there have been many, many books that did that for me (maybe two a year). Once I picked it up, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down. The joy of reading a story well told like that is spectacular.

I just want to write *one* of those, that’s all. Just one.

I don’t care about fame––hell, I write under a pen name. And I couldn’t care less about money. Give me one great story and I will happily live out the rest of my life in anonymity, flipping burgers at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere.

 

Big thanks to Mitty for stopping by today. If you would like to learn more about him or his book Breaking Gravity you can reach out to him through his Goodreads page.

 https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8331878.Mitty_Walters

Silent Pain

blog 2

 

When I heard that Robin Williams had committed suicide, I was stunned. I think we all were. I’ve followed this man’s career my whole life, loved him and his many roles dearly. Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, his Live on Broadway special, and his Inside the Actor’s Studio interviews are my Go-To’s when I’m needing to laugh.

As details began to surface about his possible final moments, my heart broke. It broke because I know that kind of pain, that desperation that you have reached your lowest and suicide is the only way out.

It’s not necessarily because you can’t be an optimist, and realize that clouds roll through your skies and then pass. It’s not because you feel you will never have another happy moment in your life. For me, it was simply because of exhaustion.

Here is the brutal truth, I have attempted suicide three times in my life.

I didn’t leave letters, didn’t leave clues, didn’t talk about it with anyone. I made up my mind and I went after it. It wasn’t because I had lost everything, it wasn’t because I was in a hole of self-pity, it was all because of pain, a type of pain that cannot be explained. When you’re in those moments, you don’t see anything but that pain.

For me, I am a logical-based thinker. Emotional reactions (aside from anger) normally confuse me. When I have an emotional reaction to something, grief, sadness etc., it’s hard for me to cope with that because there are no logical fixes for them. Being a “fixer”, when you experience grief over something, you cannot just fix it. It takes time and emotional healing, and patience isn’t something I’m good with.

Now’s the part where I tell you how lucky I am.

One, for the people I have in my life that really know me. They are very much attuned to my reactions to things, to subtleties that I don’t even realize I’ve shown. I call it their sixth sense when it comes to me.

Secondly – writing saved my life.

For someone that doesn’t like dealing with emotional issues at all, who doesn’t like the vulnerability that it takes to address those things, it has been very easy to give my voice to a character and start the healing process through a story. Yes, I hide behind those stories sometimes, but they have helped heal things in me that I didn’t even know were broken.

Others aren’t so lucky, and I know that I am blessed to have been given the ability to write.

The thing to take away from this though is that you can get help. There is a huge network available to anyone struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or check with your local hospitals for services or programs they provide.

 

Being Alone Doesn’t Mean You’re Lonely

 

pralinsky

 

People that enjoy alone time have been called everything from loners to introverts and everything in between. I’ve been called anti-social, a hermit, stuck up, you name it. I’ve done a day in the life post here before and yes, that’s true to form for how a day is for me.

Introverts are often described as persons that feel drained at social interaction. Introvert is a buzz word right now because it’s a common trait for introverts to be “thinkers” so everyone has jumped on the bandwagon of being an introvert and started shaming extroverts as being shallow to an extent.

I don’t like either label, as I tend to hate labels of any kind.

I’m adaptable. I can thrive in social settings just fine. I can give speeches in front of large groups without stumbling over my words. Thanks to a colleague I have mastered the art of rarely using the filler “Um” while partaking in public speaking.

Does this mean I like those things? Not at all.

I generally enjoy being alone.

I had a conversation with an ex of mine once where he felt that it was important for me to be happy and cheery all the time. The many conversations we had led me to believe that he felt if I was fulfilled in our relationship then I should be floating on clouds all the time. This led me to rationalize that he really didn’t know me at all and had no intention of getting to know me outside of how he’d assumed I was.

I posed this question to him…

“If you had to go 24 hours without ANY human interaction, could you? No texting, no social media, no phone calls, no face-to-face interactions, nothing.”

His answer was that yes, if he HAD to, he thought he could.

Okay then, let’s rephrase that…

“Would you want to?”

I was met with disbelief that anyone would ever WANT to be alone. The truth however, is that I would say about 60% of my time, I want to be alone.

What followed was a myriad of slams on me, the typical phrases such as fear of interaction, affection, love even, all played a role in my wanting time alone.

Never once was it accepted that some people are not shiny and happy all the time. I am a person that happened to have taken a great deal of time coming to terms with not being what society calls normal. Does that make me wrong somehow, because I enjoy solitude to trying to fit in?

I have thought for a while that this was due to my childhood, perhaps my early adult life, or things that have happened in my life. Truth is, it’s how I was made… simple as that. I don’t need your acceptance, I don’t need you to fix me. I like the dark and twisty places in my mind, I thrive there.

So people, please stop trying to fit everyone into nice, little boxes with cute little labels. Accept differences… learn from them.

 

 

Image found on http://www.pralinsky.com

Just a girl and her dreams…

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