Posts Tagged ‘writing’

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So what in the world happened to me? How is Rea doing? Did Rea kill you and or run away?

These questions have been in boxed to me and it makes me feel loved. Thanks guys for noticing! I have had a rough spring. Between my back and my teeth it seems like every time I get my footing I get knocked down again. So blogging/writing has fallen to the bottom of the list. The good news is that April is nearly over and I’m beginning to see the light again. I’m doing better physically; I’ll be off antibiotics this week and am generally feeling better.

Yay.

So, where do I stand on Rea’s interview? Well, I’m working on part of it but stopped to post this. I know I know, get back to Rea. Well, I will but he’s had to wait as I’m due to write some book reviews and I also have another author interview coming up. Not that he minds, crafty Daithian that he is, I’m sure he’s using his unsupervised time to do all manner of things I’d rather he not do.

This summer (June through August 2014) I’m working on doing something I think that will be kind of cool and this is your invitation to come along on the journey. Each month, I’m going to post writing prompt along with MY version of it and then post it here. I’ll give you seven days to post your own version of the prompt (and these are going to be really short) and then the next week we’ll revise together, edit, and polish our projects.

The idea is to work on skills together. To encourage short projects that become DONE projects, and at the end of the summer hopefully we’ll all have grown, stretched, and be more comfortable sharing with one another.

During the summer I’m also going to be sharing some really cool writing tools I’ve found that are online and free, and also places to submit work.

All of this I’m working on RIGHT NOW, so that the posts will go up automatically, you know in case my face/life/back decide to explode again.

I’ve also got a special treat coming up for the Rea fans, and that should be ready to share this summer as well. So you have lots and lots of things to look forward to, aren’t you glad you stuck it out while the silence was screaming*?

Patience is a virtue.

* Early writer stretch to get you limbered up for the summer. How can silence scream? Tell me in the comments.

Best

And so it begins. While I still have a queue of books to get through that are Christian from Marcher Lord Press (The Restorer’s Son, Freeheads, Throne of Bones) after that, I am officially out of a reading pile for The Christian Manifesto. It’s a weird feeling, having nothing to review and at the same time, very liberating too. I talked with my editors, and they’ve decided to give me enough freedom to hang myself. I mean rope to play with. Something.

We  (The Christian Manifesto) want to do more secular market interviews and reviews. Unfortunately, we don’t have contacts for a lot of the secular publishing houses and that just stinks. Mainly because I’m bored and am tired of reading the tripe that is often handed out from the Christian* publishing companies. Now, there are a lot of hard-working people in those companies, but they’re still mass producing fiction tripe. And there’s only so much I can read before I start vomiting up plot points and sweating platitudes.  So it’s time to go to  the secular companies that also produce tripe, but at least a different flavor of it.

If you are a friend of mine on GoodReads, you have helped me pick out these books to try. If you aren’t a friend of mine on GoodReads, why not?! I’m constantly crowd sourcing for my next book to try. Find me and friend me.  You can do that by checking out the new widget over there on the side bar, and this ALSO lets you keep track with that I’m currently reading.

In fact, if you check back after I get ten or so answers from the  question I’m about to pose, you’ll SEE the results over there, in the book that I add to my shelf. Ready for that question? Of course you are!

Of the six books in the picture above (I’ll be nice and type them out too along with a link to their spot on Good Reads) which should I try after I finish my current queue? Or possibly interject into my queue?   Which of these titles peaks your  curiosity?

Tuesdays At the Castle by Jessica Day George
A Tale Dark and Grim by Adam Gidwitz
The Clockwork Three by Matthew J.Kirby
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz

Let me know what YOU would like me to read from the above list in the comments below. Or, if you have other suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them.

* Marcher Lord Press is  not one of those turning out the tripe. I don’t always like what they produce, but their work is   always solid in its structure, tone, and editing.

ouch

Today began like any other day; one where I’m surrounded by  things I ought to do on one side, and things I want to do on the other.  In the middle of my procrastination (actually I’m still procrastinating by typing this up but I wanted to share and I have most of the review done in my head) I was discussing Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart with Megan, and went to grab my copy. I was all set  to happily thumb through the story I  love while encouraging her to read it. To my horror, pages fell out of the book.

Okay, so I got my copy in an omnibus edition, so it’s over forty years old, so I only paid a dollar for it at a library book sale. It falling apart in my hands is not acceptable!  Thankfully, I know someone who knows about bookbinding.

My Dad worked in a book bindery as a young man.

The first thing he tells me, is that this is a perfect bound book, not a folio binding.  The good news for the book, is that we can fix it. Folio bindings are a little more complicated than perfect, they’re stronger and more expensive too.

Before I go any further in my adventure in book repair, let me say that this is an amateur fix on a book  with the sole goal  being that I can read the tome without it falling to pieces.

All right, onward for the step-by-step how to perform perfect bound spine surgery.

Step 1: Acquire the help of someone who has some experience in bookbinding

This is very important. Without the aid of someone who has some experience in this, you could wind up with a mess.  So as tempting as it is, don’t go this one alone.  If you don’t know anyone who has experience in bookbinding (and it’s becoming somewhat harder to find those with this skill) click here for some advice. He has a great video series on book binding, and this shows how perfect binding is done.  Also, don’t try this with any book you can’t throw away. Remember, I’ve only got $1 invested in my book.

Step 2.: Acquire tools.

It’s important to use the right kind of adhesive with a perfect bound book. It needs to be able to flex and hold at the same time.  Most of the book pages are still holding together with the original glue which make the work simpler for us.  I also dabble in folio hand book binding and have some adhesive in the basement.

glue

To apply the adhesive, we use a foam brush, the kind that most craft stores sell. I use these for mod pod too, and wait until the craft store puts them on sale for $0.10 each  then buy as many as I’m allowed to, usually there’s a 50 brush limit or something like that. A paper cup to put the glue into, a set of adjustable clamps, two pieces of scrap wood, and a vice are also needed to do this.

brushes

Step 3: Prep the book

Dad aligns the sections of the book that are still holding to the glue and cloth of the spine, then clamps the loose pieces to the top of the pile. This gives him a block of paper to work with that is stable.  It’s important to make certain all the pieces are even, because ones the glue sets its going to stay like this.

clamps

The pages here are clamped to the back of book, not to the workbench.  It takes several tries to get everything lined up as it should be and careful adjustments are made until he’s satisfied that the pages are right, not necessarily ramrod straight, but aligned. After all, I’m going to be opening this book and closing it quite a bit.

Step 4.) Apply the adhesive

adhesive

Dad applies the adhesive with the foam brush, carefully coating both the paper edges, and the membrane that has become disconnected from them. Originally, after the paper was treated and glued the cloth was rolled over the naked spine and allowed to dry. We could cut the paper spine away and do the same but then we’d have to re-attach it using the proper tapes and that’s more work that either of us are interested in doing for this book. Carefully, Dad matches up the upper portion of the book with the lower now-glued portion, and I stroke/press the spine through the cover, making several passes to make sure that the cloth and pages have met and any excess glue is squeezed out and wiped away.

Step 5.)  Position the book in the vice and allow the glue to dry for 24 hours

blocksvice
The end piece  that you see dangling here  is not really connected to the pages, it’s a different piece of cloth than what I smooth through the spine. See how our alignment isn’t perfect?  And also note the chunks of text that you can clearly see even now that it’s in the vice. It won’t win any book beauty pageants, but then again, that isn’t the goal.  The goal is to have a repaired, readable tome.  And that, I have.  I’ll update this tomorrow with the last picture and the book open to the repaired section so you can see how it turned out. Until then, if you have any questions, post them below and I’ll pester Dad with them.   Also, if YOU have any tips for repairing books, post them in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

This week there have been plenty of  posts on Nanowrimo (try saying that seven times fast without giggling like crazy); posts about how to make the most of it, posts on updates of those doing Nanowrimo,  posts by those violently opposed to the idea.

For those who don’t know what Nanowrimo is, it is  National Novel Writing Month and the links in the names up there will take you to the official site and official explanation which sums it up nicely.  So if you don’t know what it is, go take a peek and then come back here.

Back? Fantastic!

First, the confession: I’ve tried Nanowrimo once, and failed miserably.  I discovered  painfully, it’s  not something that I can do, and  this year I decided this year to skip it entirely.   The qualifier to this, is that I never publicly posted my stats, nor did I go through the website. I had a friend who was “nano”ing and kept badgering me to join her. She made it sound exciting, targeted, and easy.  So, I jumped in with both feet (or at least, a word processor).  It was probably the most traumatic and least fun I have ever had writing.   I still think it’s a good idea, but it’s definitely tweaked towards one type of writer.

That being said, the idea if Nanowrimo is an interesting one and I’ve noticed some interesting effects of it on the Scribes I know, both pro and con.  Here’s what I’ve observed:

The pace (50,000 words in 30 days) is not for the faint of heart.  Those used to writing at least 500 words a day are the ones that are drawn to this contest. They also tend to be  people who are  gregarious, outgoing, and aggressive.  There’s nothing wrong with that kind of writer, in fact I would not be surprised to find out that they are the ones who make a career of writing.  They aren’t the only  kind of writer however, and I think it’s interesting to note that the contemplative and introverted writers  among my friends are almost all avoiding Nanowrimo.

The reasoning is simple;  introverts tend to not want to share their writing and easily get lost in their own worlds. They don’t really care if any one else knows what’s going on them or not. It’s their world, and they’re not over eager to share.  The amount of interaction on the Nanowrimo boards and the posting of work to prove word count as a general rule, wouldn’t appeal to them.  They are more interested in working alone, than joining a group.

Nanowrimo has decisively divided my writer friends in another way as well.

Those who are participating are actively encouraging one another through social media; posting word counts, bantering with one another, and sharing their passion for story telling. Those who aren’t Nanoing, are no-so-quietly grumbling about those who are.  That surprised me a few days ago. Now, however,  I can see why. My status feeds are clogged with notifications that make me feel very much left out.

There is an ” us versus them”  mentality that has taken over, and while it shocked me how quickly it happened, I can’t be totally surprised by it.

What I’m  working on doing in my own little sphere, is pulling the two fractured mini-groups back into one cohesive ball of brilliance.

While Nanowrimo does a fantastic job at keeping those participating in it fired up and encouraged, it has become an irritant to those who aren’t. More on that later in the week as I share some of the techniques I’ve found that help bring the polarized groups closer to where they were before the beginning of November.

For now let me know if you are  or aren’t  participating in Nanowrimo.

If so, how is it going? If you aren’t, what is your biggest complaint about Nanowrimo?


H. A. Titus is the writer who had the most amazing idea, and WON the spot on Scarlet Inkwell to talk about writing, and share tips and tricks that they’ve discovered. Now, that’s not H.A. Titus there, but it’s fitting because she’s going to be talking about “Hanging out with your characters” and you know, more often than not mine are prone to do things like this!  So, without further ado, onto her thoughts!

SPENDING TIME WITH YOUR CHARACTERS

We all notice when a book’s characters stand out. They’re amazing and unique, and we just don’t want the book to end because we love them so very much.

I don’t know about you, but a few years ago, whenever I returned to my own writing after reading a book with amazing characters, I winced. My characters felt flat and boring, and they all had the exact same nervous tics, facial expressions, and speech patterns. They were like clones that I trotted out on command, as many as needed for the story.

Since then, one of the most important things I’ve learned with character development is to spend time with them. To authors who can corral their generally well-behaved characters, this might sound a little funny. To other authors, who struggle with just getting their character to do what they want for five seconds, it might sound like an exercise in despair. Nevertheless, spending time with your characters allows you to get to know them better, to understand their reactions and desires.

Work on a story generally begins a month or two ahead of when I actually start writing the story. That time is spent working out plot ideas and just spending time with the characters; asking them questions, writing snippets of scenes in their point of view, and generally treating them like I would treat a new friend whom I’d like to get to know better.

Here are some suggestions for spending time with your characters that I often use:

*The Four D’s: These originated from Brandilyn Collins’ (author of Dark Pursuits and Deceit) writing book Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets A Novelist Can Learn From Actors. They encompass a character’s Desire, what they want most out of anything else in the world; their Distancing, which pulls them away from achieving their Desire; the Denial, which is a circumstance that pushes them so far away from the Desire that achieving it seems impossible. The character can then either discover a new Desire, or the plot continues on to the Devastation, where the hope of achieving the Desire is completely ripped away. The four D’s seem like plot points, but knowing a character’s emotional state regarding their Desire in all stages of the story has a way of adding more tension into the story.

*Building on this, Susanne (C. S.) Lakin, author of The Wolf of Tebron, The Map Across Time, and other books in the Gates of Heaven series, writes a series of blog posts about how she begins building characters. She says she determines and thinks about these three points: the character’s core need, and what they would do if they couldn’t get that need met; the character’s greatest fear; and the incident(s) that wounded them early in lie that got them believing a lie. Knowing these things are essential to creating a realistic character.

*Asking a series of character-building questions. You can find these online (a good series I’ve found is here: http://www.squidoo.com/character-development-questions) or another series I absolutely love is in the back of Alan Watt’s book The 90-Day Novel. I especially recommend the ones in Watt’s book because some of them tell you to write for a set amount of time (usually five minutes or so) about a character’s opinion on a certain question.

*Writing a character voice journal. James Scott Bell talks about this in his book Revision and Self-Editing. Writing a character voice journal sounds a bit strange…basically, you just write in the voice of your character and let them ramble on as long as they want. Using a couple of the character-building questions as a starting point may be useful, but don’t hold your character to answering only those—they will probably begin to ramble, and I’ve found that rambling is a good way to learn truths about your character that are often obscured.

*If you’ve done some character stuff and feel you don’t have a good handle on the character still, don’t worry. Start writing the story. Sometimes even the most reclusive character will reveal something about himself as the story progresses. I sometimes do more character building in the second draft/rewrite of the story, as I feel that I understand the character more thoroughly after sending him/her through all sorts of difficult and nasty situations.

*If you find yourself portraying emotions in the same way for each character, a great resource is The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. This is a list of different emotions and people’s external/internal reactions, as well as progressions of that emotion. It’s a fabulous resource.

And remember this: study favorite authors in your genre. This is a great way to learn how to write a story and characters. Take apart favorite books and see if you can identify a character’s four D’s, the core need, the greatest fear, and the lie. Look for new ways to portray character emotion.

Practice and study. It sounds a lot like schoolwork, but it is effective. Utilizing even one of these methods will help your characters become richer, deeper people.

Let me know what works for you and what doesn’t—and if you have another way of digging into your character’s psyche, please share! I’m always eager to try new things in writing.


Thank you H.A. Titus!  Those are incredible tips, tricks, and idea for fleshing out paper tigers!

Want to keep up with H.A. Titus?

Of course you do!


You’ll find her blog here

And here, is her multi-author steampunk styled ongoing story blog. Check it out! 



No, I don’t want to appear on the reality game show The Apprentice, I would love a  real apprenticeship. Especially in writing. This has been something I have struggled with for several years. Writers, watercolor-ists, dancers, singers, sculptors, altered-art artists, and every other ‘ist you can name, all of us are in dire need of training.  There’s no shame in saying that; we lack knowledge. It’s what makes us  students.  The problem lies in how we are expected to go about obtaining the knowledge.

First, we are expected to pay between 100,000 and 500,000 dollars to get a piece of paper that says we are really good at receiving information and returning it to the one who gave it to us, ad nauseam.  Unfortunately, that’s what 90% of colleges do today. They don’t teach critical thinking, and they bind up those who have a genuine desire to impart knowledge (the good professors) with so many standards and rules that they can’t really spend the time on things like critical thinking and interpretation. We are also going to be studying a good many things that really have no practical day-to-day use in our chosen field. The Botanical/Anthropology class that I took was fascinating, but there’s really nothing that I learned from it that I use today. It was an eight-week class which cost three thousand dollars and all of my time (when I wasn’t working on the other three classes and their readings and assignments) which I could have used learning about writing and my craft and not why people settle where they do and what political implications come from dividing up land and resources.  Did I glean anything about writing from that class? Not really. I’m not a world-builder and even if I were, there wasn’t a whole lot to pull from other than a rough idea of why people develop certain kinds of cultures.

This is a waste. It’s a waste of my time, my money, and my talent. It’s also a waste of the professor’s time, money, and talent.  Why teach if the information is not going to be used? College is not set up in a way that’s practical for me, because it’s not (for the most part) set up for artists. If you want  to learn to teach, to edit, to work with the applied sciences then college is definitely necessary.  If you want to study history or sociology or  the sociology of art  then it is also needed. Any form of business or communications, or information services, then yes some form or type of college is something you need.

If you want to learn to sculpt, paint, draw, work in textile mediums, or write, it really isn’t.

Oh I can hear the screams. Shh. I’m not done yet.

Think about this with me: when is it that an art student actually learns what they will use the rest of their life? In the  higher  numbered classes where they are usually working on independent projects under the watchful eye of an art professor.

When is it that the writing student actually learns what they will use the rest of their life? In the higher  numbered classes where they are usually working on a short story or novella under the watchful eye of their professor with their grade dependent on acceptance and publication of their work.

Here’s the kicker, those higher level courses? The ones where artists are actually working in their chosen field, where writers are actually, writing? That’s what an apprenticeship would look like. Students actually engaging in the craft under the watchful eye of the master.

An  apprentice  in the old world way of teaching,  would   learn  things specific to their chosen vocation.  That’s what a brick maker learned, and a barrel maker, and a shoe maker.  They lived with their teacher, bought training by working for them without pay (today this is called an internship), and then graduated to Journeyman and finally Master of their  craft.

I want to return to this way of teaching! This makes sense, college for writers does not.

A writer’s apprenticeship today might look something like this:

They agree to work for the author who takes them for three years without pay. They handle the viral marketing of their author’s books or work (facebook, twitter, emails, blog visits, and the mechanics of all of those though the author provides the content) as well as contacting stores for book signings,  author reading events, and other miscellaneous promotions (like running to the post office to mail out winner’s books etc).  They function basically, as an assistant to the author and are unpaid for three years. The day-to-day grunt work taken away from the author (and their spouse or kids) would free  them up to write.

However, not all the time would be used to further their own career.  Part of that time would be paid to the apprentice in the form of teaching. 
The author would be expected to teach their apprentice writer the tricks of the trade; how to write a query letter, how to work with an agent, how to write a proposal, how to polish their work,  how to work with an editor, and  how to give and how to take critique.  The apprentice would also be learning more about viral marketing by doing it and absorbing better story telling by watching how their author. A lot can be learned by simple observation.

After the three-year period, the writer (hopefully published by now) might agree to stay on for an additional year as a Journeyman to the author who has taken on another writing apprentice. Now the Journeyman writer is still doing some, but not all the marketing( the apprentice has taken over quite a bit of it), and working on their own work as well. The Journeyman can teach the apprentice some of the basic things that they learned from the author, allowing the author to have more time to write. After a year  The Journeyman writer leaves,  a published author in their own right.  After several years on their own, when they feel that they have enough work to justify having a writing apprentice, they taken one.

And the cycle  would continue.

This is what I want. Sadly, it’s not available. The  best I can do is to teach myself (always risky), listen to others who have made it into the realm of authorship (also risky), and read every last book that a well-established author has published. In this way I can glean from their work the skills I need to follow where they have gone.

I’m starting to do that with a note-book I’m keeping for my reviews. So far I’ve learned from:

Kerry Nietz
Debbie Vigiue
Davis Bunn
Loraine McCourtney
Marissa Meyer
Timothy Zahn

What about you, scribes? How are you learning your craft? Tips? Tricks? Secrets? Don’t hoard them, share them!

I am in desperate need of some new music to listen to while I write! Instead of going to listmania or to some other source where you are pressured to BUY music, I’m coming to my super secret alliance of fantasticsause. *Cough* That would be YOU.  I listen to soundtracks when I write, I can’t have music with lyrics  in my ears because the words will end up in my story. Weird, but true. Currently I have these albums in my playlist and love each one:

A Series of Unfortunate Events
Greatest Hits of John Williams 1969-1999 (amazing collection from all over his career)
How To Train Your Dragon
Indiana Jones  & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
MirrorMask
Myst (Cyan company adventure game)
Princess Bride
Prince Caspian
Prince of Persia
Riven(Cyan company adventure game)
Serenity (Firefly)
Star Wars Episode 1
Star Wars Episode 2
Water Horse Legend of the Deep

So that’s what I have, and also what I recommend. Please scribes, help a writer out! Give me some recommendations to fill out my play list!


My first review is away!  Woot!

The second is Kiss of Night by Debbie Viguie.  It’s basically a Christian vampire story, which is intriguing as a premise. Dracula by Bram Stoker drew heavily on ideas of Christian doctrine.  In my opinion, that what made Dracula  such a rich and complex story line. Because  Stoker worked from Christianity being true,  and the vampire by default became an abnormality.   Using the if this then thatmethod of fleshing out a villain, he carved out one of the first popular pulp vampire stories. Think about it it.If Christ is the one to offer true resurrection of the dead, then Dracula’s resurrections are false resurrections.
The Bible says that “the life of the flesh is in the blood” and  vampires need blood to survive. They feed on the life of others.
Crosses are a horror to them not because of their shape but because they symbolize the true resurrection and their coming judgement. Holy Water is  painful to them because it is consecrated to the people who follow Christ.  Hallowed ground can not be broached by them because it is dedicated to Christ. It is His  power of Christ that they fear more than anything. They have chosen the lie over truth and judgement if delayed, is still coming.More modern vampires eliminate these elements as “folklore” and the cross, the church, and even holy water have been put by the wayside.  From Bram Stoker to Joss Whedon to Stephanie Meyer*, writers have put their own spin on the vampire tales, but I maintain that the ones which mix Christianity into the story are the ones that have the most cohesion in their mythology.  I’ll have to keep reading and let you know how  Kiss of Night stands up.

* Edward Cullen is not a vampire. There are OTHER people in the series who are. Just not any of the Cullens. The Cullens don’t attack humans and they sparkle. They are faeries, not vampires.

Today, at work, I nearly lost it. The store is so empty. I mean they broke down the wall shelves, the free standing ones are all spoken for, and the place is nearly empty. Ugh. I’ve spent years of my life here. Years.  At the same time I’m so ready to go. This long lingering kind of good-bye makes my bones ache. I love the customers I’ve met up in Eldersburg, but it is definitely time to go.  I’ll post some pictures later, kinda a before and after thing.

Yeah, I’m taking pictures.  It is so surreal. Kinda a slow-motion death in a way.  I thought I’d want picture of it later.  It’s like taking pictures of a burnt out building or your car after an accident. As hard of a thing as this has been, I don’t want to forget it, or how the Lord has carried me through it.

Oh, and marvelous discovery has volunteered to keep me accountable as I work on something Valentine/ Michaeli’ina related. It’s called  Finders Fee   and I hope to have it finished by the second week of July. Stay tuned. And you can always nudge my NUDGER.

What about the rest of you? Slogging through this week? Triumphing? Just keeping your head down? Let me know in the comments.

This morning I’ve started on my new adventure, reviewing books for the christian manifesto. First one up?  A Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz.  Remember back when I was talking about risk v. reward? Well this was the risk, and for me, it turned into a great blessing. I’m beyond delighted to be a contributor there, they’ve got a really well rounded bunch of readers and reviewers. Not only do they (or should I be saying, “we”?) tackle books, but also music and movies. If you want reviews that are professional and non-compensated, definitely check the site out. I’ll be posting my thoughts on what I read there so there’s no conflict of interest here.  I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to link to them permanently, I don’t think that  would be an issue. I’ll find out at work today, and if I do link, I’ll bang pots and pans together so you’ll be able to click-and-find my bio over there.  For today, I’ll link you in the name up top and you can poke about and see if there’s anything there you like.

What do I think about the book? Well, you’ll have to wait for the review.

I’ve taken some of my own advice this week, and risked.  There was a position open at a Christian review site, and I applied for a non-paid review slot.  While I don’t know the outcome of that particular risk, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the whole process.

When I first saw the opportunity, I was getting ready to pass it by and copy-paste the notice into the League, encouraging the young bloods in there to take a grab a the brass ring and not try at all myself.

However, I had just been to a prayer group, just had people pray for me to shake off that spirit of timidity and have more confidence.  I thought I know I could review well, I have to do this kind of thing off the cuff at work all day every day. While I’m suppose to be selling books at work, I can pick and choose which I’m going to promote. I don’t have to promote the ones I don’t like. So I’ve come up with a system where I don’t say anything about a book unless asked, and then if I say something negative about a book a customer has selected, I have a different title to offer in its place. So far, this system has worked really well.

Writing the sample reviews for the  site made me use muscles I hadn’t stretched in a while, and it’s also given me a case of the stomach-flutters.  Maybe it’s because of all the uncertainty going on in the rest of my life, maybe it’s because I really like the site and want the position, or maybe its the same feeling millions of writers have felt over thousands of years when they took the risk, launched their words into public view, and waited for the reaction.

Will my endeavor carry? Will I crash and burn?  I don’t know. I do know that while the stomach flutters aren’t exactly comfortable, one small act of risk has  given me more confidence.

I actually posted on the page of my most favorite author in all the wide worlds last night ( normally I wouldn’t do that for fear of looking a fool or  it not mattering)  and squealed like a fan girl when he replied not once, but twice to what I commented.

I know this, if I hadn’t tried for the position, I wouldn’t have risked on the page. There’s something freeing as well as frightening about risking things.

Even if I crash and burn, I know this, I’ll risk again.  What about you? Have you ever risked and miscarried?  Or risked and earned what your heart desired? Tell me in the comments below!