Saturday, February 28, 2015

LTUE—The Explosion

J Scott Savage, and his Steam Punk Dragon

By Keith N Fisher

I couldn’t be there until Thursday night, so I don’t know what I missed, but it was good. I learned some things, relearned others, got depressed, and hugged my friends.

At my first LDStorymakers conference, I looked at all the writers in wonder. I couldn’t believe there were so many people who want to write in the LDS market. A few years later, the numbers exploded.

LTUE has always been well attended. At least since I’ve been going, but most of the attendees were Trekies/Trekers, Whovians, and other groupies. They were followers of Tolkien, Lewis, and other fantasy/SCIFI authors. Now with classes, and panels about writing contemporary fiction, many other writers, like me, are attending.

When I watched the explosion at Storymakers, I wondered who would publish all those writers. Many of them got national contracts, however, many more, are now self-published. I couldn’t make it to Storymakers last year, but in years before, I could count on knowing a good portion of the writers. They are my friends, my peers, and my network.

Last year at LTUE, I knew many of the people who I saw. I met many more, and with the exception of the time during the keynote address and trying to get in and out of classes when a famous writer taught, I felt at home.

This year at LTUE I watched an explosion. Very few of my old friends were there. Maybe they avoided me? I sat in the lobby between panels and looked at the people with LTUE nametags. Who were those people? Most of them are younger than I. Are they just starting a career? Are they established authors?

Like at Storymakers, I wonder why so many people feel the need to write. Of course my mind turns to the competition angle, but most of them are writing fantasy and SCFI. It’s true. Judging by the email list we signed up for, in Tristi Pinkston’s class on critique, I’m the only writer of women’s fiction.

When I attended another class, one of my acquaintances made a comment, to which, I wish I’d paid more attention. I heard part of it and wondered if he was referring to me.
He ended his statement with “. . . then your writing will never be anything more than a hobby.”

I reared back, resembling the remark. I started writing many years ago, and success has eluded me. I’m a serious writer, but I haven’t been a serious promoter.

I could list all the reasons for my stagnation, but suffice it say I had some serious downturns in my personal life. From which, I’m still trying to recover. I’ve written about that before on this blog. Anyway, I left that class feeling like a fraud. I wandered around the venues for the better part of an hour. I finally came to rest in the lobby and bore part of my soul to a couple of my friends. I admit to fishing. I needed to hear that I am a good writer.

Later that day, I filled out submission papers for one of my books. It didn’t feel right. The last time I submitted to that publisher, it took eighteen months to get a rejection, but that’s not what didn’t feel right.

Two days after LTUE, I finally understood. My life has been on hold. I’ve been prolifically writing. Finishing books and starting new ones. I now have several in first draft. More that need editing, and the LDS market doesn’t feel right. Many of my books can be turned into national market with only a little tweaking. Some of them can’t be anything but LDS, but I think I’ve found my direction.

I know, I know, I’ve written this before. We humans need to feel like we are making goals, but we sometimes fall short of those goals. This time for me, I recognize a serious need to get on with my life.

Along with life decisions that will help me move forward, It’s time to finish what I started with my writing career. The parting shot comment I heard, might or might not have been directed at me, but it helped me to see what was wrong. Now if I can just incorporate the changes I need to make.

Good luck with your writing—See you next week.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Let's talk about POV

by C. Michelle Jefferies

POV is not the easiest thing to understand. Especially for the TV generation who watches TV shows with mostly omniscient POV perspective.

While omniscient point of view is great for sitcom and other television, it is a very hard POV to pull of in a book. This is why a lot of beginning writers fail with their first attempts at creating a story.

Point of view is basically who the story is being told by. Who sees the story and experiences it.

There are a few types of POV they are:

Omniscient - Which is a "fly on the wall" perspective. This perspective sees everything and can hop into anyone's head and hear anyone's thoughts. this is extremely hard to pull off and make it readable and relateable for the reader.

Exclusive - This is, honestly, my favorite POV. Exclusive is the story told from one persons POV through out the whole book. You need to present the entire story, the good, the bad, the fun, and the not so fun all from one persons perspective. There's no skipping to the bad guys perspective to tell the reader who did it, or why, or how. It is challenging, but I love the challenge.

Multiple - This is where you have more than one POV character to tell the story. This is easier because other characters can have experiences and see and hear things that the MC doesn't and they can fill in the blanks. The challenge with this POV modality is that you need to be careful that the other POV characters don't pull "duct tape moments" and save the MC when he should be saving himself.

My opinion is to try writing stories in both exclusive and multiple POV to get a handle on how to do them. Then when presented with a story idea, you can choose which POV works best for that story.

What is your favorite POV?

Have a fantastic writing day! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


You've been walking alone in the snow, but when you turn around, there are two sets of footprints…

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It Ain't For Better, But It's For Good

Never did the things I thought I would
Would'a left just didn't know I could
Things don't work out like they should
It ain't for better but it's for good

Main Street, In the life of Chris Gaines, Garth Brooks

One of my weakest points in writing is conflict.  I might as well admit that it's one of the weakest point in my entire life.  I would walk a mile to avoid a conflict if I could help it.  I'm a lot like my Dad in that.  I don't like to fight. I'd much rather live a comfortable, if a little boring, life where everything glides uneventfully along.

How does that translate into fiction? Not well.

Not well at all.

I am not good at digging up conflicts for my characters to go through, because it makes me uncomfortable.  Really, really uncomfortable.  So uncomfortable that there are some days I just can't do it. 

This is why I surround myself with fellow writers who are really good at conflict. I have one friend in particular (yes, you, Michelle!) who is fabulous at conflict. I envy her! Her conflicts usually end up with blood stains.

Conflicts don't always have to be that drastic, but we need them.  If we had no conflict in life, we wouldn't learn anything, and we'd grow up to be spoiled brats with no real understanding of this world we live in. They're never comfortable - we learn about gravity, the hard way, at a very young age. Like it or not, gravity gets more painful when you try to defy it as an adult - the last time I tried, it required surgery to fix.  There's a conflict you can always rely on!

A book with no conflict is a textbook at best, a dead snore at worst. We want to see conflict. The human nature in each of us longs to know we are not alone, and that there are others who are going through things that make our life seem easier than it might be.  We need fictional conflict, adventure in writing or suspense in print, to take us away from our own problems for a while.

So in a way, putting our fictional people through the wringer is a service to humanity at large.

It may not be better for them, but it is good for those who read.

I've often thought of covering a wall with squares, and in each square write a conflict ranging between losing a job to being attacked by a rabid coyote. Then when I reached a crossroads, I could just huck a dart at the wall and let luck decide what my character would go through next.  Somehow I doubt it would work as well as I hope, but it might be worth a try.

I would love to know what you do. How do you find the conflicts that keep your characters on their toes? Do you come up with your conflict first, or your characters? Do you borrow from the current news, or from history? Do you throw darts?  

Please share! I need all the help I can get!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Heather Justesen---Guest Blogger.

Hi, it’s been a long time since I’ve been a writer for this blog and Keith asked me if I’d just pop in and update everyone on what’s being going on for me over the years.

First, a very condensed history. I’ve been writing on and off for fifteen years now but I didn’t start submitting until about eleven years ago. I got a request for a rewrite, did that, received some feedback from critique partners and an editor, did more rewriting and got another rejection. A few years passed (during which I wrote on the Blogck for a while) and about the time I hit my one millionth word written, I got a contract from Cedar Fort. That was the fall of 2008. That book was released in 2009. I published a few books with them and began self-publishing.  In the next month or so I’ll have 20 books published, which is a mind-boggling number, or at least, it would have been six years ago when I was still waiting for the first book to be released.  My husband and I moved halfway across the country in 2013—the first time I’ve ever lived more than a couple hours from my parents. That change and our new involvement in our community has played havoc with my writing schedule, even though we absolutely love it here.

In addition to my self-publishing and first publisher, a few of my books were published with, and I have put my books in anthologies and collections as well. This has taught me a few things.

1)      Sometimes a book sells great. Sometimes it sells poorly. Sometimes what you do influences that, but sometimes no matter what you do, nothing makes much of an effect on sales. And other times you get great sales without doing much of anything. It’s weird, and a little frustrating.

2)      The market is ALWAYS changing. If you want to keep up, you need to pay attention. What worked for someone to promote the book/get the acceptance/wow readers a year ago may mean nothing now. Everything changes.

3)      Don’t box yourself in with one publishing plan. I’ve published traditionally, I’ve published with a less-traditional publisher, worked in concert with other authors, self-published, and have a plan for other stories where I’m coordination ideas with other authors as well as ones where I work alone. This is an exciting time in publishing—there are so many options and opportunities out there.

4)      Publishing is a business. If you want it to be more than a hobby, do your research, read up, and understand what you’re getting into.

Some things haven’t changed, though:

1) Publishing is hard. It has its ups and downs. You have to love it or it’s time to get out.

2) Publishers pay for all expenses when they put out a book. If they want you to kick in some of the costs (Author Solutions, anyone?) they’re scamming you. Run away.

3) Publishing contracts are not pretty, they’re getting worse over time. Chances are your agent is not an attorney. Hire someone who can break it down into real English so you understand what you’re signing.

4) Try new things, play with your art, study it and keep writing—there’s an element of luck to all success, but lots of hard work definitely increases the luck. Don’t give up!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Life Has Changed Without Me

By Keith N Fisher

This blog post will probably date me. It might sound like an old person wrote it. It’s just as well, I feel old. When did saying certain words and things become acceptable in our society?

Recently, on Facebook, a writer asked whether it was okay for her character to say a certain word. To be accurate, she asked how offensive the word is for her character to say. Her character is abrasive and she wanted to know if she was writing him right.

After reading the other comments, most of which, said the word was tame, I chimed in that it was not tame. I was quickly outnumbered in my opinion. Not that it matters, but many of those who disagreed with me, are writers in the LDS Market.

Yes, society is changing, and I’m not going to tell you what the word is, but unless we wanted to fight, when I was young, the word never came out of our mouths. The word, or combination of words, was almost taboo. It was a low class insult. Apparently it’s okay, now.

When did life change? I wonder what kinds of words and phrases will be acceptable in the future? Also, in the past few years I’ve noticed a big drop in correct word usage. It seems our language is going away. Will civility go next? Has it already passed?

In the recent LTUE symposium, I attended a panel called Common Grammatical Errors. The subject of the wrong word usage came up. The whole lie/lay/lye/laid thing resurfaced. I turned to my friend and told him about my current pet peeve.

More and more, especially in the news media, I hear people say may when they really mean might. If somebody may do something, it means they have permission. It doesn’t mean there is a possibility. Pay attention sometime, you might be surprised. (Notice I didn’t say may?) Then again I might be wrong and you may correct me if you want.

I’ve mentioned it before, but several years ago, an editor expressed her concerns to me. She felt society was losing the language. Writing styles were changing. And they were. Writing tends to reflect the changes in speech in our culture. Is that a good or bad thing? I’ll leave it for you to decide.

I remember an argument, not so many years ago. I took the position that writers need to write to their audience. If the reader has to consult a dictionary it takes them out of the story. My opponent claimed they had an obligation to educate. Big words were part of that. No matter what I said, my friend was immovable.

Recently, on a panel, I heard that same person take my side of the argument. I’m not going to name that person, because I believe everybody can change, but it proves my point about our language. Writers reflect life, and I still believe we should write to our audience. There is a line of stupidity, however, and we all cross that line. I just hope other, literary, writers will carry the torch. I hope they will keep our language pure, even if there is nobody around who understands.  

Good luck with your writing—See you next week.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Beauty of New Years

by C. Michelle Jefferies

XINNIAN QUAILE  New Year Happiness!!!

I love this week! It is the lunar new year.

Time for reflection, cleaning out things that slow your energy, lots of good food and time spent with family.

I don't set goals and resolutions on January 1st. It's too close to the insaneness of the holidays. Too busy, too party like in atmosphere.

This week and the days leading up to this week are time I like to spend in quiet contemplation. Time to look back at my life, remove things that no longer serve me and that keep me from attaining my goals. Time to reflect and journal thoughts and future plans. Time to focus on the year ahead especially my writing.

My books come with a very strong Asian leaning slant. We love the food, traditions and nuances of Asian life. My life and my writing reflect this love. Its become a central part of my life.

Do you journal and set writing goals? Do you adopt or adapt other cultures ceremonies and celebrations as your own? How do you look forward at the changing of the year? Whether it is the solar or lunar.

dumplings, oranges, red packets, and fireworks for everyone!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Your hero and your villain are locked in a room together. Write the scene with lots of dialog, starting with this line:

"What are you afraid of?"

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Feminine America/The Death of Chivalry?

By Keith N Fisher

I wasn't intending to post this for Valentines Day, but maybe its a good thing. Happy love day to all of you.

When I write about gentlemen in my novels, I make them real. I know that many women want to read about the hunky testosterone laden guy who sweeps the main character off her feet. He does all the right things and he’s a manly man.

In real life there are no manly men. Well, I guess it’s a matter of definition. I’ve met guys who think life and everyone in it, revolves around them. Why are women attracted to men who treat them badly? Recently, the picture above floated around Facebook. The fact that so many women shared it on their timelines fascinated me. I found it a little offensive, but read on, I’ll explain why.

As you can see, the message is clear. A woman can do anything, but a real man wouldn’t let her. Really? How many women do you know who would let a man take over? How many will actually wait for a man to open her car door, or expect to be helped at all?

I’ve written characters who were “bad boys” and the women in my critique group loved them, but I doubt they would marry them. Have you read Nights in Rodanthe, by Nicholas sparks? The main character was married to a man like that. He was a macho type, and he treated her badly.

At first, she probably loved the way he took charge. Then he cheated on her and the marriage ended. As the story progressed, she fell desperately in love with the doctor who was far from a macho type. He wasn't a manly man, by many definitions.

The point I’m trying to make is that men are men. Relationships with men like her husband often don’t work. As for the perception of a man who won’t let a woman do things for herself, I say:

Chivalry is NOT dead. It is, however, buried in the hearts of all men who were taught to be a gentleman.

Most boys in our culture were brought up to believe it was their duty to treat women right. They were taught to open doors for girls. They were taught to be considerate. They were taught that a man does the asking for a date, and he pays the check.

In the real world they were shot down with words like:

“I can open my own door thank you.”
“Get you hand off my back, I don’t need to be directed.”
“I’m perfectly capable of finding my own way home.”
“I’m going to have to break our date. You don’t mind do you? I’ve been waiting for another man, and he finally asked me out.” 

The days of men taking care of women are over. The concept fell victim to woman’s rights. Because of the schemes of certain lobbyists and right to work laws, there are many more women in the work force. Not necessarily, because they want to be, (although many do). Some don’t, but its impossible to make ends meet, without two incomes per household.

Yes, women are capable, but they always were. Don't hate me, but I think, many women have a secret desire to be dominated. At the same time, the fear of losing their independence makes them reject offers of assistance.

With the popularity of Pride and Prejudice, and other books that support my claim, consider this:

Women in those days had no autonomy. They were entirely dependent upon men to provide for them. It was written into the law.

As many more women rise, or are forced into professional prominence, we might see more of a drop in chivalry. Trust me, however, it’s not because gentlemen have ceased to exist. It’s a cultural thing.

True Gentlemen will always be there watching, waiting for openings to assist. Believe me they don’t offer to dominate, they offer, because of the woman who taught them years ago.

Writing tension, is one of the first lessons taught to beginning writers. The differences between the genders are perhaps the best way to do that. Also, some advice as a parting note: Keep your characters real. There are as many different gender traits as there are people in the world. Men are sometimes frail. Women are sometimes powerful. Learn who your character is and don’t force them to be people they are not.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I'm going to give it a try

by C. Michelle Jefferies

Note: I'll be at LTUE today. I'll be teaching my seven point structure class. Come by, introduce yourself.

I keep hearing about journaling. How good it is for you. How it enhances creativity. How it can help you be a better writer. Considering that alone, I need to try it.

Some of the things it is supposed to help.

Keep your mindset positive
Reconnect with your goals
Keep productivity high
Rewrite negative talk
Record gratitude
Record daily insight
Record daily affirmations
Release worrisome thoughts

As someone who makes and collects journals, I am really terrible at using them. Unless they are series bibles, then I use them daily.

So here we go. Starting this week I am going to try to keep a journal daily for all of these reasons.

Do you journal? If so, how do you do it? How Often? Do you write, draw or a combination of both?

Write on!  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

This Weeks Comments Award Winner Is:

Our winner for last week's comments drawing is:


Please email me the mailing address to which you would like your prize sent at westonelliott.wendword (at sign here) gmail (dot) com,

Keith will be sending you a one pound Hershey's Chocolate bar!  Congrats, and thanks for dropping by!


Describe yourself from the view of the fictional character that is falling in love with you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

One Word At A Time

I have a daily writing goal of 1,000 words. It doesn't sound like much when you're working toward and 80,000 word manuscript, does it?

Today, on Facebook (Yes, I guiltily acknowledge my favorite procrastination tool!) I read a friend's post lamenting that he was averaging about 500 words a day lately.  I commiserated. That doesn't sound like much.

But what those numbers sound like and what they do are two different things.  Word counts are only good to help you track what you have done. They're not meant to make you feel bad about what you have left to do.

My friend's 500 words a day, and my 1,000 words a day, get us that much closer to our respective goals. That's the fact all writers need to keep in mind where word counts are concerned.

A properly formatted, printed manuscript page, ready for submission, will average 250 words every time.  That means that my friend is getting two pages closer to "the end" every time he writes. That means I am four pages closer to "the end" every time I hit my daily goal.

There is no set guideline for how many words must be typed in a day to qualify you for writerlyness. Yes, I made that word up, I'm a fiction writer, I get to do that!

As long as you are moving toward your goal, and a finished manuscript, it doesn't matter if you only write one word a day!  Keep moving, no matter how slowly.

In the words of one of my favorite Disney Characters ever:

"Just keep swimming! 
Just keep swimming! 
Just keep swiii-iii-iiimmming!"

Monday, February 09, 2015

Old Dog on the Blogck Ready to Learn New Tricks by Darvell Hunt

By Darvell Hunt

In April of 2006, I proposed to a group of writers from Authors Incognito that we start a new writing blog and I suggested we call it LDS Writers Blogck. We described our blog as such: “There's a group of new LDS writers on the block. This blog details our struggle in our quest to become published in the LDS market.”

On April 21, we posted our first blogck entry and we were off! The rest is history.

A lot has changed in the nine years since, including new regular bloggers, new logos, and lots of guest bloggers. I started out as one of the regular bloggers, but now I return as a guest. Thanks so much to Keith for asking me back!

Lots of things have also changed in the LDS Market, the mainstream market, the media itself in which books are published, and changes in my own writing focus as well.

Our writing group was officially sponsored by and created at the First annual LDStorymakers Writing Conference.  This year, the conference is in its eleventh year and has become the biggest writing conference in Utah—and even perhaps the western states.

I’ve attended the LDStorymakers Conference every year since it’s inception and entered their First Chapter Contest most of those years. My experience with these writing contests has recently prompted me to again change the focus of my writing, which I feel has developed, morphed, and taken abrupt path changes since I started my first LDS novel in 1989.

I’ve placed in the First Chapter Contests three times so far, but never in a category in which I was trying to get published. This got me thinking—why am I seeking publication in areas in which I appear to not excel?

My contest wins have been once in Women’s Fiction and twice in Non-Fiction. So, starting this year, I’m concentrating my writing energy on two LDS non-fiction books that I’ve worked on in the past, both of which have placed in the First Chapter Contest.

This is a huge change of focus for me—one in which I’m very excited about. I’ve written in several different genres, including adult thrillers, women’s fiction, middle-grade, young adult, and LDS non-fiction. I also wrote for my local newspaper for two years and recently I’ve come to realize that I’ve neglected my skills as a non-fiction writer.

So this last week, I started a third LDS non-Fiction book, which I plan to enter in this years LDStorymakers First Chapter Contest. I don’t know if I’ll win or not for a third time in non-fiction, but I now have three non-fiction books to write, edit, and submit, and that excites me!

Those of us who established this blog had high hopes of writing great books and getting publishing contracts. With being invited back, I feel like now I’ve come full circle, with new book ideas, refreshed excitement, and some new things to try.

I may be the old dog on the blogck now, but I’m ready to learn new tricks and get back to work. I’m expecting this to be a great year for my writing career.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Shear Unadulterated Joy of Getting Comments

By Keith N Fisher

I’ve often said that comments on a blog post don’t really matter. I know people read the words on this blog, and that should be enough. Writing blog posts helps me practice the craft. Hopefully what I say won’t be too self-serving.

Some writers in the past wrote in journals for practice, and for the most part, the journals were never read. Mistakes were never noted. The writers just wrote to be writing and they got better in the process.

Hopefully that’s what I’ve done on the Blogck. Still, it’s nice to know people are out there. It’s nice to know people are reading, and that we are on the same page. I love it when somebody agrees with me. I’ve come to realize I like comments.

I used to say you need to comment to get comments. It’s the old I’ll do for you if you do for me, but I admit, I don’t comment very often. I read blogs, and just can’t think of anything clever to say. Or, I don’t have time, so I move on.

Recently, the subject of comments came up. The question was asked if we should think about retiring the Blogck. Over the past, almost, nine years, I often felt like I was writing in my journal, but there were other times when gracious words were left in comments, so I kept going.

I know we have readers here, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. What do you think? Has the blog medium gone by the wayside? I know its not one the most popular ways to promote a career.

I have a friend who uses a blog to generate business. Her blog is very popular and people leave comments. She knows other bloggers who do what she does, and they have turned off the comment feature on their blog.

Are comments a measure of success? Beyond gratification, what does it matter? Will this post generate comments even though it was written on the fly, and it rambles on?

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.


Friday, February 06, 2015

Eat Dessert First ~ Janice Sperry

Today's post courtesy of Janice Sperry, author of The Rebel Princess

I often run into the problem where the story in my head is ten times better than what I put on the screen. That sentence started off as amazing — shiny even. Then I turned it into words and sucked the life out of it. Sound familiar? Fortunately, I have found a way to extract most of the awesome from my brain and onto the page for fiction. So, since I love lists, here’s how to extract the awesome from your brain in 7 easy steps. (Okay, it’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.)

1. Eat dessert first. Stick to the stuff you love for your rough draft. I’m a dialogue girl. My characters start out as a bunch of talking heads in an empty room. It’s terrible and I don’t care. The rough draft is the hardest part for me and I am more likely to finish it if stick to the parts I enjoy. I add the internal dialogue, description, and action in later drafts.

2. Don’t try to get it all out in one sitting. It’s okay to leave some ideas in your head. You can get the rest of them out when you work on the second through fifteenth drafts.

3. Accept that your rough draft is going to be rough. I’ve always heard the rough draft was supposed to be terrible, but I didn’t understand how terrible until I participated in a NANOWRIMO. I wrote some awful prose, but the story isn’t bad. And getting the story out was the whole point. Prose can be fixed.

4. Set goals and finish the rough draft. You will be amazed at how much easier it is to get the details out of your head once your have something to work with.

5. Read your manuscript out loud after you’ve gone over it a few times. You’ll hear all sorts of things you didn’t mean to say.

6. Ask some people to read it for you, using the track changes tool in Word. You will see your story through a completely new perspective after reading their comments.

7. Have more people read it, do one more editing session and start submitting.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Our winner for last week's comments drawing is:

Crystal Gauthier

Please email me the mailing address to which you would like your prize sent at westonelliott (dot) wendword (at sign here),

Keith will sending you a one pound Hershey's Chocolate bar!  Congrats, and thanks for dropping by!


Write about stepping foot in a place no one has ever been.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Tools for the Mindset

I think of the weirdest things when I'm supposed to be writing. My mind has an unbelievable capacity for wandering. Some days I don't have much problem with it, if what I'm writing is that one scene I've been looking forward to writing. But let's face it, how often does that happen? Not often enough.

I have learned, though, some tricks to convince my mind that writing is exactly what it needs to be doing.

I have a writing place.  I have a specific seat in the house where I usually write. Actually, I have two now that I have a laptop again.  I get into my seat, knowing that as soon as I sit, the cat is going to jump up in my lap and make a general nuisance of himself till I lift the footrest, then he can curl up by my feet and go to sleep. I sit down with the specific idea of what I'm going to do at this time, in this place, which is write.

To add an odd note here: it is proven that rocking has a calming and stimulating effect on the brain. Ever think about writing in a rocking chair?

Before I sit, I bring a cold drink to the table. There's something about taking a swig of something cold that refreshes your mouth and your mind. Fruit juice or  Pepsi on ice comes is first on the preference list, but a tall glass of ice water will do if that's what's in the house.  At times what I'm writing will have an effect on the choice of drink. If I'm writing medieval or fantasy, it'll be in a goblet. If I need to get into a western mood, we've got a big beer-stein that comes to the table with me.

I've also been known to dress the part. Yes, I've been known to change my clothes, or get dressed for the day with a certain work in mind. I've dressed in a peasant blouse and gypsy skirt just to w
rite. You feel different in different outfits, and believe it or not, it can help. Are you writing the part of a high powered female attorney in jim-jams and bunny slippers? How's that workin' for you?  Try dressing the part in heels, hose and pencil skirt. You'll feel more powerful, I guarantee it.

Perhaps the most important quirk on my list of writing rituals is my music.  I'll play it on the computer, though if I'm alone and can plug in to a set of headphones, I prefer a mp3 player, so I can switch tracks without switching screens.  I have whole sections of my music collection that I only listen to when I write. There are instrumental pieces, there are certain songs for certain moods. I have playlists labeled "apocolypse", "romance", and "battle", and I use them regularly.  If I find a song that meets the mood I need for my scene, I will put it on forever repeat and let it play over and over till that scene is done.

There is a side effect to using music this way I must warn you about. I have a really great piece of music by Paul Winter*, and I used it to write an epic battle scene. It played constantly on repeat for six hours while I wrote.  To this day, the moment that song starts, my heart starts to race and I start to shake. Music has an innate power to make us feel things very deeply, which is the very reason it works so well as a background for writing.

I also own a 'Scentsy' wax-warmer. It currently holds the smell of worn leather. If I could just find a candle that smelled like the Pacific Ocean, I'd be in heaven!

They say "all's fair in love and war". Let's face it, writing is both.  Find the things that work for you. Borrow my quirks if you want, they're not patented. If the smell of roses makes you feel imaginative, light a rose-scented candle.  If music puts you on a battlefield, play it. If an outfit of clothes helps put you in the corner office in a character's skin, wear them.

My point is simply this; if there's a tool you can use to help yourself get into the mindset you need to be in to write, use it!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Hello Again! From Nichole Giles

It’s been ages since I wrote a blog for the Blogck! Four and a half years, from what my pal Keith tells me, and in that time so much has happened. As of today, my third YA fantasy novel (and fifth published book) Water So Deep, is officially out in the wild jungles of reader-dom. I’ve left mountainous Utah for coastal Texas, and then come back again to bigger and better things. In that four years, I have moved 4 ½ times, published three books, attended an uncounted number of conferences, conventions, and events, and cultivated lasting, enduring friendships with more people than I can list in a short blog post.

A lot can happen in four years. And to be honest, four years ago I would never have imagined being where I am today. If I had been able to see then where I am now, I wouldn’t be who I’ve become. I believe it is our experiences that shape us.

When I first started writing for the Blogck, it shaped me. I learned a lot about blogging, about editing (from my other blogging friends) and about writing in general. Blogging here helped me to form lasting, relationships with people who will forever hold a piece of my writer’s heart. And then, as I went on to gain a publishing contract and an agent and see my books published, my priorities had to change, and even though I could no longer keep up with blogging here, I continued to hold onto the experiences and relationships I had gained.

These days I’m crazy busy. Not just with writing (though, that is weighing heavily on me at the moment, as I now have two series’ to finish) but with life. I’ve come to realize that life will never slow down, and that’s okay. I like it that way. Because life is where I get my ideas for writing, and where I form great friendships, and where I get to do crazy awesome things like attending conventions and conferences as a special guest.

And I am always happy to pay a visit to my old stomping blogck (see what I did there?) to hang out with my friends!

Quick plug for my new book, which released in all e-formats today (hard cover forthcoming!):

Seventeen-year-old Emma Harris is drowning on dry land. 

No one knows what’s happening to her, and she’d like to keep her evolution from human to mermaid a secret, but the truth is getting harder and harder to hide. From her adoptive family, from her friends, and especially from the irresistible James Phelps. 

Her time in the ocean is spent dodging a possessive merman, while her time on land is split between caring for her special-needs brother and squeezing in every last possible moment of human life. She soon realizes falling for James is unavoidable when he constantly comes to Emma’s rescue and somehow manages to see through her carefully constructed icy facade to the vulnerability she lives with every day. Everything about James makes Emma yearn for a life on land she just can't have. 

When Emma’s brother disappears on her watch, James is the only person she trusts to help her save him. But even if they can save her brother, nothing can prevent her return to the sea. Whether she likes it or not, Emma is changing—unable to breathe without yielding to the tide—and it's only a matter of time before she's forced to surrender forever. 
Water So Deep is the first of two books, and my third YA romantic fantasy. The other series starts with Descendant, and then is followed by Birthright, and a third book to be released later this spring. You can find all my books on my Amazon author page, and keep up with news by signing up formy newsletter, and following me on Facebook and Twitter.

So, what have you been up to lately?

Author Bio:

Nichole Giles, the author of the Descendant trilogy, and Water So Deep, has lived in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Texas. She loves to spend time with her husband and four children, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.


Sunday, February 01, 2015

Welcome Back.

By Keith N Fisher

 In the late Nineteen-seventies, a sitcom used to play on television each week. It was called Welcome Back Kotter. A man came back to teach at the high school where he raised cane in the remedial program. In his day the kids in the program were called Sweat Hogs, and they still are. Now he is teaching the Sweat Hogs and the theme song played on:

Welcome back.
Your dreams were your ticket out.
Welcome back.
To that same old place that you laughed about.

Starting with Nichole Giles, we are about to welcome back the regulars as guest bloggers. The original bloggers on the Blogck left and their dreams were their ticket out. Now they have come back and we get to see what they've been doing since they left the blogck.

Welcome back, guys, and thanks for sharing your lives with us.