What’s It Like To Be An Author?

I recently accepted an invitation to the blog of fellow author Connie Lacy for an enjoyable Q & A. Connie’s latest book is A Daffodil For Angie, a historical coming-of-age novel set in the sixties. I loved it and I highly recommend it.

What’s It Like To Be An Author?
Taking a Peek Behind the Curtain
with Jennifer Kelland Perry

Connie:  One of the unexpected pleasures of being an indie author is making author friends around the world. Not that I’m flying off to far-flung places. I’ve made friends through online writer groups, including Jennifer Kelland Perry … read the rest here.

Jennifer Kelland Perry, YA Author

The Marathon of Novel-Writing

I’m guest-posting on A Writer’s Path today, sharing my experiences as a novelist.

Come on over for a visit and check it out!

The Marathon of Novel-Writing

Invitation to Lewisporte

Along with another local author, I was invited to do a reading at the Memorial Public Library in Lewisporte Wednesday night. It was my first time in this Newfoundland community and I had hoped to take some scenery pics there, but the weather was dull, grey and snowy so I didn’t get the opportunity.

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Snow-covered road to Lewisporte after we left Gander
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Introduction before Reading

Introduction before Reading

Answering questions and sharing a laugh
Answering questions and sharing a laugh
YA Fantasy author Kate Sparkes
YA Fantasy author Kate Sparkes
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Buddy!

I have fellow WordPress blogger, Brenda, to thank for the invitation. Brenda lives in Lewisporte, and we connected a while back through her cat blog featuring Buddy. After she read Calmer Girls, she suggested the reading idea to her library, and voila!

I am so grateful for the many likeminded connections and new friends I’ve made through blogging and writing. Brenda also invited Paul and me to dinner and an overnight stay in her home. Aren’t people wonderful?

Something that struck me recently is how many wonderful women are behind the promotion of libraries, book clubs, and our community of writers and readers. Making connections with these women have enriched my life, which is another reason I’m glad I got involved in writing – and blogging too!

Does your local library host author events?
What does your community do to promote all things literary?

FYI:

  1. This is the last day to enter the Goodreads Giveaway of 5 signed paperbacks of Calmer Girls. Click here to enter.
  2. If you sign up to my email list before the February newsletter is issued, you will receive a 4-page sneak peek of the Calmer Girls sequel, Calmer Secrets, being released March 21. Add yourself here.

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Plot Twists and Other Stuff

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Hello, everyone!

I have some news, my peeps: I will be changing publishers.

My publisher for Calmer Girls, a small press in the U.S. which has been in business for five years, is closing its doors at the end of August. It was sudden news that leaves me (and all of its other authors) facing new decisions, transitions, and a fresh start.

But it’s okay! This sort of thing is not uncommon these days because of continuing changes in the publishing industry. This even includes the big presses. Who knows, it may turn out to be – dare I say it? – a blessing in disguise for some. With all rights, files and cover art, etc. now reverted back to me, I may even decide to self-publish. Why should hubs be the only one who runs a business in this house?

That said, I’m currently weighing all options while my third reader is plowing through the sequel to Calmer Girls, Calmer Secrets. Don’t you worry, dear Calmer readers, because one way or another you will soon be reading that sequel too!

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As for those who want to but haven’t had a chance to read the first book of the two-title series, there will be a short delay before it becomes available again for purchase on Amazon and Indigo. In the meantime, I still have a small supply on hand which includes those already ordered directly from me, and Norton’s Cove Studio is carrying them as well.

Many thanks to all of you for your support, readership, and for everything you’ve done so far. I hope you will continue to support me and my work as it is incredibly important to me. I will post updates, and the moment I have more info on my novels, I will make it available here and on my Facebook Author page.

Plot twist and move on!

Author Interview with Lisa Montanino

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Hello, Lisa! So happy to have this opportunity to interview you.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Born and raised on Long Island, NY to two extraordinary parents. The rest is your typical… boring history.

Were you good at English?
I was a great English student, honors classes and even minored in English Literature at University.

Which writers inspire you?
I could shoot off some of the great novelists of our time but lately I’m super impressed with English and American opinion journalists that can make me laugh and I can agree with, like The Independent’s Grace Dent, Evening Standard’s Faye Maschler, Time Out NY’s Jillian Anthony, and Robert Levin of AM NY to name some.

Give us a blurb for your latest book.
Feedback, a novel by Lisa Montanino, takes you on a yearlong journey in the life of Claire Convenzionale—a prominent radio deejay in New York City who breaks off an engagement with her fiancé and feels like her world has fallen apart. Little do her fans know of the turmoil behind Claire’s voice as she bravely broadcasts Monday through Friday. With the arrival of two interns—Shane Salinger and Jared Parker, Claire finds that they are surprisingly funny and inspiring forces that will help her regain her optimist spirit. As time goes on, Claire faces serious issues, requiring her to make difficult choices. All these trials help her build the self-awareness and the courage she will need to silence the sabotaging Feedback she hears in her head.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special? Despite all her sub-conscience and conscience faults, she’s got a lot of heart and she is excellent at her job despite the hell she’s under.

What are you working on at the moment?
Oh, let me think about this. 1. keeping up with my blog. 2. writing a novella and sequel to my first novel, Feedback (this technically counts as 2, right?). 3. working hard at my day job and 4. contributing as a writer for The Revew Review Magazine. And 5. trying to have fun with life as well. Safe to say the books will be out no time soon and there just isn’t enough time in a day!

Which actress would you like to see playing the lead character from Feedback?
Two actresses come to mind, either Michelle Pfeiffer in her heyday – she’d play Claire brilliantly or second choice, Scarlett Johansson though Claire is way taller than this petite chick.

Ooh, I love Scarlett Johansson!
How much research do you do?
Oh loads, I love researching. Guess you could call it an occupational hazard.

Do you write full-time or part-time?
Currently part-time but planning on being a full-time writer when I retire from my day gig.

What is the hardest thing about writing?
I wish I could say anything other than editing.

Do you read much, and if so, who are your favourite authors?
I do, especially daily periodicals like the New York Times, Time Out NY, and countless others. I also love reading anything nutritional or medical as well (I studied these subjects at University). As far as prose writers go, I’m always impressed reading noteworthy ones like John Irving, Chuck Klosterman, Stephen King, Harper Lee, J.D. Salinger, and Agatha Christie.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I like them both, but I’m more partial to a paperback or hardcover book because no matter how savvy we are in this tech age, nothing beats old school tangibility.

I fully agree!
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
Wish I had done that, but no… I was on a tough time crunch to release it so everyday editing agony for roughly a year.

Which social network worked best for you?
As for marketing and book exposure, definitely Twitter and Facebook. Anything related to writing on the internet can help fellow writers as well.

How do you relax?
When weather permits, one of my ideal ways of chilling out is in front of a fire pit filled with music and laughs with loved ones.

What is your favourite quote?
One of my favorites… “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” J.D. Salinger

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Great question, Jennifer. A few things. 1. Love yourself more. 2. You should’ve believed that rockin’ friend of yours was being sincere when he asked you out to date. 3. Savor today instead of wishing for tomorrow. 4. You’ll thank your younger self for taking care of your health and wearing sunscreen – and I do!

Special thanks to Jennifer for interviewing me, she’s an amazing talent and I’m very grateful.
You are more than welcome, Lisa! It was a pleasure; thanks again.

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Check out this charming and talented writer through the links below:

Blog: https://ldmountain.wordpress.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Feedback-Lisa-Montanino/dp/0615972500/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466096867&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+montanino

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lilmountain

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LDMontanino

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8081517.Lisa_Montanino

A Title For My Sequel

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My Young Adult novel is working through the various steps to reach the Release Date finish line.

The main edits are completed. The cover art is done and approved. My manuscript is now in the hands of Managing Editorial for copy-editing, layout, and proofing. After that it will head to typesetting. So much goes into the creation of a book!

In between the days I watch and wait for these steps and the days I work on edits to my second book of the series, I’ve been racking my brain, trying to come up with a title for the second book.

No, Calmer Girls Two does not appeal. Either does Calmer Girls – the Sequel. I like a book title that has a double meaning – like Calmer Girls – or a title that borrows a phrase or a line from another work. That could even include inspiration from a line in a song, a poem, or a nursery rhyme. Think: Along Came a Spider, or Norwegian Wood. I also like titles that are taken from a line or quote inside the book, as many authors have done. Think: To Kill A Mockingbird, or The Silence of the Lambs.

There is advice out there now that suggests you should name your book while keeping in mind keywords, SEO, categories and literary genres, all a part of improving its visibility in the digital marketplace.

As much as I still prefer reading Print books as opposed to eBooks, I know I am writing for a largely younger group of readers who love their eReaders and almost exclusively read all their books that way. Keeping that in mind will be beneficial for the upcoming marketing stage as well.
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In my research surfing, I happened upon a wonderful post by author Anne R. Allen that may help me find a title. If you’re a writer, you may find it helpful as well. Check it out below:

10 Tips for Choosing the Right Book Title in the E-Age
by Anne R. Allen

For Writers:  How do you title your books? Any tricks of the trade to share? 

For Readers:  What are some of your favourite book titles?
Have you ever bought a book because you loved its title?

Please share in the comments section below!

Friday Bouquet #16

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One Wild Word is an excellent blog and a trove of information for developing wordsmiths and published authors alike. Cousins Carol Despeaux and Carly Sandifer both have MFA degrees and writing careers, yet still find time to offer tips covering all things literary. Their advice is proving helpful to my writing applications, and could do the same for you. In their own words:

About Us
Are you looking for a jolt of inspiration, a new way of approaching your writing practice? Maybe you’re stuck on a scene or looking for a way to describe the nuance of a character. Sometimes all it takes is one wild word to make a poem sing or a sentence fly. In that spirit, we’ve created this blog in hopes you’ll find a dose of wild writing mojo to fuel your next sentence.

I’ve chosen the post below, as it is one of my favourites:

Freshen Up Your Manuscript With This Exercise

Comments are disabled here in hopes you will comment on the writers’ blog.

Have an inspired weekend, everyone.

Writing, writing, and more writing? Write on!

 

Hi, everyone. I thought I’d pass along a quick update today about my novel and what has happened lately in my life as an author.

I am encouraged by the reception Calmer Girls has gotten in the publishing world. In particular, I am now patiently waiting on those who have expressed interest in my query, synopsis and sample chapters, and who subsequently requested the full manuscript for review. (Yay!)

Of course, my optimism is tempered with caution and awareness of the reality that these are only first steps. The road to getting traditionally published is a long, slow and arduous one for many new authors, and I am no exception. I read yesterday of a successful novelist who endured TWENTY-NINE rejections before his first book was picked up. And it ultimately made it to the New York Times best-seller list!

So now while my manuscript is out of my hands, I continue on with the sequel. In that area I have made progress, but not as much as I would like due to life getting in the way (Funny how that always seems to happen!).

designed by Elizabeth Doyle
designed by Elizabeth Doyle

For this reason, I am considering taking part in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it is called. This is a yearly internet event that takes place in November, not only nationally but all over the world. The object is to write 50,000 words of a first draft in 30 days, which means participants write an average of 1667 words a day.

Awesome? Terrifying? Doable? Impossible? You tell me.

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Will this be you?
never
…or this?

If I do indeed sign up, some of my activities will no doubt have to be curtailed or relegated to the back burner. My Friday Bouquet will be suspended for the time being, and my other blog posts will be brief. I won’t be able to read others’ blogs as much as I am used to. But I shall return, my lovelies!

What do you think of such a project? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? If you are, tell me all about it below. We can give each other moral support. 🙂

Explore Further:
One Wild Word: Get ready for NaNoWriMo by choosing your novel’s story question

Kristen Lamb’s Blog: 8 Elements to NAILING Your Plot and Owning NaNo

 

One Thing These Famous Novels Have in Common

As I await responses from various publishers on my novel queries, I’ve been reading reams of info on the publishing world. Learning what to expect in terms of selling your work can make you wonder if it’s worth it at times, when you think of all the love and effort you put into your project.

If there is one tidbit of advice I keep reading, it’s that you better be in it for the enjoyment and satisfaction of writing, and not for making a ton of money, or even a living. But that’s a topic for a future post.

I wanted to share this book list with you. It may give you more incentive to keep striving for that goal, to get your own work in print.

  • Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
  • Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees
  • Harper Lee’s only novel To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Margaret Mitchell’s only novel Gone with the Wind
  • Boris Pasternak’s only novel Dr. Zhivago
  • Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones
  • Nicholas Sparks’s The Notebook
  • Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants
  • Daniel Dafoe’s The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
  • Kim Edwards’ The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

All of these ten wonderful works of fiction, are, of course, bestsellers. Some of them even won the Nobel and/or the Pulitzer Prize. 

But what is most interesting and inspirational to me about this list is this: they were all first novels. Yes, that’s right, these were debut novels that were wildly successful, and in fact there are many more ( I shortened the list). The older classics are known to still sell thousands of copies a year.

And many of them were rejected by numerous publishers before ultimately being signed.

As an example, Kim Edwards found great success with her first novel The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, the last one on my list, and the second to most recent I’ve read on the list. Published in 2005, it made it to #1 on USA Today’s list of bestselling books. As a result, in 2006 USA Today chose her novel as the Book of the Year. As they put it:

Book clubs and word of mouth helped send The Memory Keeper’s Daughter to Kite Runner heights, and once you’ve read this heart wrenching story, it’s easy to understand why it has connected with millions of readers.

On a stormy winter’s night in the 1960s, a doctor delivers his own twins. One is a perfect son; the other is a daughter with Down syndrome. He tells his wife the little girl died, and his lie reverberates across the years and affects every character.

Prepare for tear-blotched pages and a redemptive, hopeful ending that makes the tears easier to bear.”

I loved that book and loved finding out it was a first novel. So take heart, burgeoning writers. Perhaps your debut novel will make money. And if the stars align, perhaps it could be added to this list before long. Wouldn’t that be a dream realized? Stories like these are what keep me hopeful in selling and promoting my work.

You miss 100% of the shots you didn’t take. ~ Wayne Gretzky

What keeps you optimistic in your writing life?

A Virtual Writing Tour

 

How and why a writer writes has always been of great interest to me. That is why I accepted an invitation to take part in the #mywritingprocess tour, an exercise in which writers share insight into their writing process. J-Bo over at J-Bo.net is the blogger that nominated me. She is a therapist with a fun writing personality, has been freshly pressed, and she hopes to publish a humorous memoir on her life up to the age of eighteen.

Okay, back to me!

What am I working on?

A number of things are currently keeping me busy. First and foremost, I am putting my focus on trying to get my novel, Calmer Girls published. This involves writing, rewriting, and sending query letters to literary agents, in hopes of snagging one that will shop my book around to publishers.

The thing about this process is that it takes patience waiting for replies, and guts to face the rejections. Most agents only want to know what your novel is about, and may or may not request manuscript pages, so you have to make that query letter pretty darn inviting. This, the business side of things, is my least favourite part of being a writer. I would much rather focus on the actual writing of my other projects. For those of you who haven’t reached this stage yet, enjoy your writing and revising while it lasts!

In addition, I am outlining a sequel to Calmer Girls. This, like the first one, will be able to stand on its own, so readers will not feel they’ve missed anything if they don’t read the other one. But I am hoping and counting on them liking the characters and story so much, they will want to read more. 😉

In between, I like writing poetry, musings, and playing with photography to update my blog. Getting feedback on WordPress and connecting with other bloggers and writers is consistently rewarding and a valuable supplement to my writerly life.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The setting of my novel(s) is here in Newfoundland, Canada, the first one taking place in 1993, so there are no cellphones and computers to get in the way of daily life and my characters’ interactions. The main character is dealing with several socio-economic problems of that period as well as conflicts and events of a personal nature, to which many sixteen-year-olds can relate.

Why do I write what I do?

I like writing about what I know and within genres I like to read. Young Adult and Coming-of-Age are of high interest to me, and I will continue in that vein for the time being. Realistic, relationship-based fiction has always been my favourite. I wrote my first novel about a teenager when I was fifteen, but never sought to publish it.

How does my writing process work?

In writing Calmer Girls, the first thing I did was settle on a beginning and an end. From this I created my characters and a rough outline. After that a lot of brainstorming goes in, and during the process of writing I allow the flow of new ideas and inspiration to come to me. So I suppose you could say I’m a “planner” and a “pantser” (For those who don’t know, a pantser is someone who likes to fly by the seat of their pants when writing a novel).

It took me about sixteen months to write it, including revisions and the final draft, but this included several interruptions that sometimes took me away from writing for weeks at a time. I found the tweaking at the end the most time-consuming, but I also loved that stage the most. In writing the first draft, I only wrote in the mornings, but the final draft was done all hours of the day.

Next up on the #mywritingprocess tour are Kath, Wendy, and lionaroundwriting, three bloggers who have graciously agreed to take part:

Kath Unsworth from Minuscule Moments of Inspiration lives on the south coast of Australia with her family. Her dream is “to create, illustrate and write happy hopeful stories for children”.

Wendy from greenlightlady lives in Canada like me, and is all “about inspiration for you, your life, and your relationships”. Nature, poetry and photography is highlighted in her blog.

Lionaroundwriting is a young man from Scotland who has written a number of short stories and is now trying to get published like the rest of us. He likes to write about all sorts of things, “drawing… inspiration from real life events, comedy, philosophy, psychology, futuristic musings and the dark recess of (his) mind”.

I hope you bookmark and/or follow these bloggers next week when they present their own personal takes on the #mywritingprocess tour.

Want to read more about my process? Check out these posts:

“…Then You Must Write It”

The Creation of a Novel – A Progress Report

Completing My First Draft: Three Things I’ve Learned

Letting my Baby Go – Tougher than I Thought