Sunday, July 24, 2016

Critiquing Woes

I know it has been a while since I've touched on any of the creative writing skills, but it's been a busy, not to mention, wild summer.

Between moving, and now trying to put our new home together which includes painting, and errands, I've had really little time to just hang out in my office and get things done. I might get caught up at some point, we shall see.

But in the mean time, I have been reading at night before bed. I've read two of my friend's books. One was a fantasy fiction/romance and the other is fantasy/sci-fi. Both are great stories and both have strong character building. And although they have great attributes, they both have to work on certain creative writing skills. 

The first had a few mistakes, nothing major, but the author head hopped here and there. Not a whole lot, but enough so that it was noticeable. 

The other, head hopping all over the place, confusing scenes and a few grammar and spelling mistakes. Strong characters though.

I think both could have been great if only the author's had strong critique partners, and maybe listened to their editors. (I'm assuming their editors said something about these mistakes).

Now, not to say my book, Lore, doesn't have mistakes. I reread the entire novel and found plenty that I plan to go in and fix, but at least I will do that. For some reason you don't see all the mistakes until you're reading your book in Kindle format. I don't know why that is?! But it doesn't change the fact that they are there and I will be working on those and re-downloading in the near future.

I do keep hoping, however, that my message gets across to new authors - no head hopping. It can confuse the reader and makes it look as though you're lazy. 

On a lighter note, Tale, is coming along great! I've written 10 chapters so far and have just sent chapter 4 to my critique partner. Once my life settles down, which should be by Fall, I will be able to go more gung-ho on the book. I'm sure it won't take as long as the last books.

I will post an excerpt from the book soon for those who are interested. Until then, keep on writing, and don't forget to get your copy of Lore!

Love, Lisa

Saturday, July 16, 2016

On A Lighter Note

Trying to figure out what subject to write about in your blog post every week can become cumbersome. So I thought since I've covered most creative writing skills, social media marketing and other off the cuff stuff, that maybe today I would keep it real.

With all the stressful issues we are facing in the world today, one way to get away from it all is a good book. 

Those who have found solace in picking up a great mystery, fantasy, or science fiction know the value of escaping to another world, another life. There's nothing better than to take a trip to your favorite "other world" and enjoy a vacation in your mind. I mean, after all, isn't that where it counts?

To only pay a few dollars and be taken away is worth every penny. Whether you're looking for that perfect man with a romance novel, or a new realm to traverse in an epic fantasy, you can go to new places and a new life, if only for a while.

The good news is, when you're finished reading a book, you can always start a new one. 

We are always looking for a place to escape to. We spend thousands to go to the ocean, or mountains. And although they are lovely places, they're short lived too. Not to mention, probably 80% of you take along a favorite novel to immerse yourself in. 

So for those temporary getaways, buy a novel, or download one from the library. You'll be glad you did. In fact, you'll find yourself wanting to get back to the book as soon as all your errands, work hours, and other extraneous chores are finished.

Reading is not only an escape, but it builds intelligence. In other words, it's good for you. So jump on Amazon and download a book today, or go to your local book store if you like the feel of a physical book in your hands. 

Take my word for it, you won't regret it!

And if you like fantasy, you can start with a free book Free Fable Download!
What's it going to hurt to read a free book?! Try it, you might like it!

 Until next week, have a great weekend everyone and don't forget to relax and enjoy your new novel.

Love, Lisa

Friday, July 8, 2016

Back In The Swing Of Things

As a writer you hear the advice - write every day - easier said than done. With that said - I'm glad to be back in the swing of things. It's been a long couple of weeks and I missed having the time to just sit and work on my next book, Tale.

With the move behind us now, and my computer set up, I can get back to the exciting ideas I have for the next in the series of,The Lorn Prophecy. Stevie will be on a new quest to save Djenrye and the other side of the portal as well. There will be new challenges, new races (that the Djen didn't even know about) and new dangers facing this brave, young teenager.

Well, I guess she is no longer considered a teen, but a young woman coming into her own. Stevie will learn what it's like to be a leader of her people and deal with the conflicts facing her. I'm so stoked! Can't wait to see what happens!

I guess I better sit down and do some more outlining of the book though. When writing a series, you can't write by the seat of your pants (A panster), you have to plan it out (A Plotter). This is especially important for character development and story. 

Your characters will learn and grow as people so you must show the progression. Some will digress since they're the antagonist(s). Using an outline really does help in all phases of your book. From character development, story, plots and sub-plots. It will help you not to write yourself into a corner, not knowing how to get out without doing the ultimate no-no - suddenly making up a new power that was never mentioned throughout the entire book. This won't ring true and will turn off your readers.

So if you decide to write a series I strongly suggest you outlining your story as you go. It will help you in the long run and keep you from having to rewrite your entire book.

Are you a panster or a plotter? I'm interested to find out. 

Until next Friday, have a wonderful weekend and stay cool!

Love, Lisa

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Hint For Marketing Your Books

So the plan is, this will be a good weekend. We finally are moving out of this cold, drafty, ugly rock cabin. Can't wait! 

I've endured this place for nine months, and in my opinion, it was nine months too long. I know some of you are saying, well at least you have a roof over your head, and that's true. I am grateful for that. But this place, as my friend Janet said, is one step up from tent camping. Try sleeping in a tent at 8200 ft through the freezing winter of the Rocky Mountains?!

Anyway, there is light at the end of the tunnel. This move is also the beginning of much needed changes. It will be the start of a new life for us. One that only positive changes will happen. I am bound and determined to turn things around for the better.

Now, it won't be easy, and there will be times where I will want to sink back into the abyss, but my attitude is one of good mojo and is only allowed in this household. What are the major changes? Losing weight, saving money for my hubby's much needed knee replacements, and marketing the books to a point of profit. Oh, and of course, writing my next book, Tale!

What is the abyss? Spending money where it's not needed. Wanting something I don't need. And needlessly spending too much on marketing. Trust me, It can add up quick. 

I know marketing through Facebook can add up quickly, but if you figure out what's affordable for you each month, I believe it will be worth it. A good ad, a great description and a well thought out image make all the difference. If you try three different ads, with three different images, then compare the clicks, you will discover what works and what doesn't. 

Plus a good marketing class doesn't hurt either. Support is critical from friends and colleagues, and writing more books is key to a successful writing career. But make sure your covers and the story are excellent too. Without a good story to captivate and a cover that grabs them, all you hard work will be for not.

So, that's my take on it. I hope those of you who plan to write the next best novel of our time, realize how important a good marketing strategy is. If you would like to know more about the class I'm taking feel free to ask. I will be more than happy to talk to you about it.  

What do you do to market your books? Is it working for you?

Until next weekend, and from my new house,(very excited)have a great one and happy fourth of July! May it be a safe and fun outing for you and your family!

Love, Lisa

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Pics From ComicCon And Free Book!

Another ComicCon gone by. Another successful conference and more of my books out into the world. I'm satisfied. We sold the same amount of books as we did last year at the Con. 

The Con was fun, exhilarating, and exhausting - but worth every hour. I love ComicCon! I would love to do others. I might do the new on in Colorado Springs next year. 

I also plan to do Starfest next year and see what else is out there. We shall see. But in the mean time, we are moving back to Denver. I'm so happy!! Finding a new place was cutting it close, but we did - Thank God!

Lot's been going on, and on top of packing, hunting for a place, ComicCon and trying to keep up with my marketing, I've been working on building ads for Facebook. In fact, I've been working on them for a few weeks, but I think we got the ad part down, now the landing page. 

Marketing is a constant learning curve. In frustration I'm surprised I still have hair on my head. It can also become expensive, and of course, we're strapped right now. Story of my life.

But that's all going to change - I can feel it! I think the more people that read my books, the more popular the series will become. I have faith!

Everyone who has read Fable has loved it, at least that's what they've told me. So if you haven't read Fable here's your chance to read it for FREE! Free Fable

Give it a read, it's free, so you can't lose! And if you do, let me know if you liked it! A review would be bonus too! 

I think if you like to read fiction, I think you'll like my book. And in the meantime, I'll see you at the fantasy conferences in Denver, or on Facebook. I mean after all, it's all about getting my series out there to the public!

Enjoy the pics of ComicCon and have a great weekend!

Love, Lisa


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It's finally here - ComicCon week! A busy, busy week for me getting ready for a fun weekend filled with awesome fantasy costumes, exciting exhibits, famous sci-fi/fantasy actors, comic books and fantasy books - lots of books!

Rick and I had a blast last year and have been looking forward to this year. We have banners for behind our table and a new book to show off - very stoked!

In fact if I could I would love to do some other ComicCon's around the country. Maybe someday. But for now we have the Denver one and we look forward to getting more books out there for people to enjoy and hopefully become fans. 

I hope some of you that are in the Denver area are going to be there and if so please drop by our table. Our number is AA35 in author alley. If I've never met you make sure to tell me who you are. 

So I won't be around much, but I will check in with posting pics on Facebook and giving updates. I hope everyone has a great weekend whether you are going to the Con, or enjoying the Gay Pride parade on Sunday. Or maybe you're going camping or a road trip to get away from the heat and celebrate Father's day. Whatever it is I hope it's a blast!

I'll be checking in so look for me on Facebook!

Love, Lisa

PS. Happy Father's day for all my dad friends and family!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Sometimes You Need To Give Yourself A Kick In The Butt

Getting back to writing has been tough. After all the issues we've been dealt the last few months, I'm still not in calm, breathable mode. But I decided that needs to change. 

About ten days ago I went to my first chapter, the prologue in my WIP, Tale, and scanned it. Sure it needs a lot of work, but no time like the present. I changed a few things, and scanned it again hoping I would find my inner creative person. No such luck.

So I decided I'm going to send this to my critique partner and let her, with her fresh eyes, scan it too. She did. Not long after I received the chapter back with marks. It wasn't so bad. Not great, but not bad. So I fixed the critiques, took a few mental notes, and sent it back to her with questions and thoughts. Still waiting to hear, but I took the first step.

Sometimes when life seems to be upside down, you have to give it a nudge to turn it around. When you're a writer I'm sure you've realized you tend to be a little more sensitive to life's hurdles. It can make it hard to focus and get back where you need to be. If you have found yourself in this predicament maybe my few tips can help you through it.

1. Don't give in: As a writer your life's dream is to have a lot of novels written and published with great sales and lots of fans. Don't give up on your dream just because life handed you lemons. Get back at it as soon as you can.

2. Know you have friends that have your back: We are all here to help each other, that includes your critique partner, who is probably a good friend. I knew if I sent Robin the chapter she would look at it with a critical eye knowing me and my writing. There are those you can depend on to help you out of your slump. All you need do is ask.

3. Take it slow if you need to: No one is expecting you to bounce back and be that awesome writer overnight. Between sickness, stress, and life's other challenges, we all can be faced with the task of getting back in the game. It's okay, go at your own pace, just make sure to keep moving forward.

4. Don't be so hard on yourself: Take time out to breathe. Know it will happen, but you need to take those baby steps. It's okay. Remember, we are our hardest critiques, but in a way, that can push you back to where you need to be.

5. Don't force it: Writing isn't a craft that you can sit down to no matter what. We tend to be stress balls. Try to breathe, maybe yoga or meditation, and when you sit down to write, just let it happen. You can always delete what was gibberish and move on when your head is clearer.

6. And finally, relax: Life's too short to let it get in the way of what you love. Hang in there, the words will flow again and the story will come to life. All you need give it, and yourself, is patience.

I hope these help. They are a reminder to me also. It's time for me to take those lemons and make some awesome lemonade!

Next week I will post to this blog earlier. I will be at Denver ComicCon for the weekend selling my fabulous books! I hope, if your going, you stop by my booth! I would love to see you!

Take care and have a wonderful weekend!

Love, Lisa