#IWSG August 2017: reading/writing/editing pet peeves & other #questions

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

Since I really don’t like editing, mainly because I’m no good at self-editing, it’s all one big pet peeve to me. I don’t mind offering feedback on other people’s work, but self-editing seems like an oxymoron to me. To me, if I write something, I know what it’s supposed to sound like and look like, so I can’t see those places where the ideas in my mind and what’s on the screen or paper don’t match. I really don’t like editing.

In terms of writing, my pet peeves are interruptions and inquisitions. It drives me crazy when people won’t let me write. It’s hard enough finding those magical moments when you are motivated to write and actually have the time only to be trapped by someone else’s need to chit-chat after ages of silence. I swear it happens every time. Then there are those times when you’re writing something and people want to talk to you about what you’re writing, or they want to watch you work and get inspired or any number of annoying things to show that they are all of a sudden interested in your writing when they’ve never cared before.

As far as reading goes, while most people will go on and on about style, voice, and p.o.v., the biggest pet peeve I have is when the author has treated the reader like a simpleton. It drives me crazy when authors explain things that don’t need to be explained. I think I do this myself sometimes and I make myself so mad when I do. Gotta work on that.

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Now on to the personal updates.

I’ve been sick, again. I’m always sick, but as long as I’m not in the hospital it really isn’t that bad. I’m used to it, but it does make keeping up with schedules and plans difficult. I’ve also been losing my battle with depression lately. At least I can say that now; I’m currently in a better place. It’s what I call the bounce back. It’s difficult to talk about depression with people who don’t suffer from it because it’s an entirely different thought process; it’s emotional and it’s messy. Most people avoid those who even mention depression, which is why I rarely talk about it. But since I’m doing better at the moment and will, prayerfully, stay that way, I figured it was important to put it out there in case someone is feeling all alone in their struggle.

On a lighter note, I’ve been keeping up with my YouTube channel pretty well, but I’ve realized that I won’t grow a large following with it. With my efforts split between this and other blogs and YouTube, there’s simply no way for me to put the time and interaction into it that would take for effective growth. At this point, it’s just something else I like to do whether others join me or not.

I’ve been writing quite a bit, though I don’t feel like I’m making much progress. Still, it feels good to be writing on a regular basis. I’ll talk more about it in my WIP update on Friday, where I’ll mention how my last public appearance, for a while, went the night before. I’ll be attending “Meet the Authors” at the Central Library in Virginia Beach. At least I’ll get to show off my new business cards.

If you have a moment, I’d love for you to visit my CURIOUS QUESTIONS page and offer your two cents on the question being asked. Thanks bunches.

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So, what are some of your read/write/edit pet peeves?
Any issues you want to talk about?
Any advice for my library appearance?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Christine Rains,
Dolarah @ Book Lover,
Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor,
Yvonne Ventresca, and
LG Keltner!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #61).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG July 2017: Indie Drama, Personal Drama, #IntlAuthorsDay, & #Giveaways

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?

If you can find a good critique group, cherish it. No author can make their story the best it can be all on their own. We all need someone else’s eyes and impressions at some point, even if we don’t like them. I’m constantly on the search for effective feedback that goes beyond “I liked it,” or “I don’t get it, or “Just add more showing and you’ll be fine.” Luckily, I have several resources at my disposal now, and it’s still a struggle sometimes, but it’s a struggle worth dealing with.

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Now for some personal and professional updates… There’s a lot of them.

1) I’ve been experiencing a great deal of family drama lately. If you are a praying person, please send your prayers my way. Otherwise, well wishes are also greatly welcomed.

2) There always seems to be some scandal or drama going on in the indie book industry, anything from vanity press scams, pirated ebooks, and, most commonly, the fight to find space on book store shelves. Recently there’s been an uproar about the new review policy at Amazon.com. Authors are heartbroken over finding that some, or many, of their reviews have been removed. This has many indie authors having to reconsider their partnership with the company and pursue other options.

For me personally, I never liked the idea of putting all my eggs in one basket, but that decision wasn’t an easy one to stick to. I’ve tried so many different promotional and distribution avenues, but the only one that ever paid off was Amazon. I think it’s important for every author to do what’s most beneficial for their royalty gains, and while many argue that they don’t pay the best royalty rate, I recognize that it’s difficult to earn royalties when your books aren’t selling.

There are indie authors out there who are able to build up sales and readers over many platforms and are in a position where they can remove their books from Amazon and still make a profit. To those authors, I say, “what a blessing”. Considering the time and maintenance required to manage multiple platforms and convincing readers to purchase from a different outlet, it just isn’t worth it for someone like me. I whole heartily support any author’s right to manage their business the best way they can and hope that others will understand why I choose to manage mine the way I do.

3) So, I thought that International Authors Day was July 18, but I was wrong. It’s July 14. I’ve created an event for anyone who wants to take part. It’s a come and go as you like Facebook event where anyone can talk about any indie authors they like. Just to be clear, INTERNATIONAL AUTHORS DAY is a celebration of ALL authors, whether traditional or indie. Even if you don’t join my event, please head to social media on July 14 and show an author you love some appreciation.

Oh, and I’m still accepting submissions for anyone wanting to try the blog swap.

4) I finally posted another YouTube video after a very long time.

5) Lastly, here are a two giveaways I’m helping to promote. Please check them out.

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If you’re going through some personal drama, let me know and I’ll pray for you or keep you in my thoughts.

Have you considered making a change to how you run your indie book business?

Gonna try any of the events or giveaways listed?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Tamara Narayan ,
Pat Hat ,
Patricia Lynne ,
Juneta Key , and
Doreen McGettigan !

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #64).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG June 2017: New Adventures, Counting Blessings, Blog Break, & Can’t Quit

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

I’ve never said I’d quit writing once I started and really understood what I was doing and how much it was a part of me. I have thought about saying “I quit” to blogging from time to time, but that’s usually due to me feeling like I never have enough time. Even if I decided at some point not to pursue publication anymore, I don’t think I would ever stop writing.

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Now for some personal and professional updates. 1) I’m taking a one month break from this blog to regroup my focus and put some work into another project. I need to get my head together so my posts will go back to being regular and consistent.

2) I recently shared a few blessings on social media that I’d like to share here now. Over the Memorial Day weekend, here in the US, I did not run any kind of a book promotion, but I still managed to get a spike in my Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel sales. A few days after I realized this nice blessing, I got a fan email from a woman who bought my romcom, It’s Like the Full Moon, at a local Con and loved it. It made my week.

3) New adventures abound for me. I’m working to develop a new blog community, but it’s not what I think other people think it is. I don’t want this blog to be competition for other book blogs and I don’t want to do this all by myself. My hope is to create a collaboration that helps bring indie books mainstream.

As blog admin for the Reading Indie blog, I want to:
-create a list of other book and author blogs to help readers find the kinds of books they are interested in.
-promote books even if they aren’t free or discounted and show readers that authors are people too.
-give authors an outlet to build up their SEO with guest posts, interviews, and creative link backs.
-create a gift box prize that intrigues readers into wanting to know more or experience more that indie has to offer.

4) My adventures don’t stop there. I’m attempting to plan two blog events for the Reading Indie blog:
-one for Indie Pride Day (July 1st I believe). Would you like to be featured in a book promo video?
-one for International Authors Day (July 14th). Would you like to do a blog swap promo?

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So, ever thought about saying, “I quit” to writing?
Thinking about taking a blogging break anytime soon?
Wish me luck for my Reading Indie adventures? :/

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
JH Moncrieff,
Madeline Mora-Summonte,
Jen Chandler,
Megan Morgan, and
Heather Gardner!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #64).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#HeroLost & the #IWSG minds behind it; a #fantasy anthology.

The last, but certainly not least, stop on the tour. Let’s do this!

Hero Lost
Mysteries of Death and Life
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group
Anthology
Can a lost hero find redemption?

What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay, Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero’s redemption!

 

 

So, today, dear readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, I have a special treat for you. I got a chance to ask some of the contributing authors some questions and even put them to a bit of a challenge. Please, enjoy!

1) What’s your name and a cool tag line?

Jen Chandler  – Artist, Author, Cat Herder (I really suck at tag lines…)

Ellen Jacobson – Purveyor of eccentric travel adventures on water and land.

Renee Cheung – a wanna be technomancer

Erika Beebe – a.k.a. “Cloud Nine Girl”

Sarah Foster Well, my blog says “The scribblings of a girl trying to become a real writer” (wait…am I a real writer now?)

Elizabeth Seckman – unrepentant daydreamer AKA writer

Olga Godim – My tagline would be “Fantasy and more”. That is what I write: fantasy and more.

Yvonne Ventresca – Because I primarily write young adult fiction, my tagline would be: Keeping teens turning the pages.

Tyrean Martinson – Writer, Daydreamer, Believer

I love these taglines. Each one gives a certain insight on the writer within the person.

2) What is the genre and title of your entry?

Jen: My story is a dark fantasy tale entitled, “The Mysteries of Death and Life”

Ellen: “The Silvering” is a fantasy story about a hero lost.

Renee: “Memoirs of a Forgotten Knight” – Fantasy, subgenre, technomancy

Erika: “The Wheat Witch.” Adult fantasy.

Sarah: “The Last Dragon” – a pretty straightforward fantasy, dragon skeletons and magic and such

Elizabeth: “Mind Body Soul” – Romantic Fantasy

Olga: “Captain Bulat” is a traditional fantasy story set in a quasi-medieval world.

Yvonne: “The Art of Remaining Bitter” (dystopian)

Tyrean: “Of Words and Swords” – high fantasy, humor, purposeful use of fantasy tropes

See now, I was worried that asking for the genre would be redundant considering it’s a fantasy anthology, but I’m glad I did it. I like discovering subgenres and important genre-blends within the overall genre. Thanks guys.

3) Without giving away your story, can you relay what Hero Lost means to you?

Jen: A Hero Lost is a lost soul, someone who, after a long time helping others, needs someone to come along, to be unafraid to confront them, and help them back to themselves.

Ellen: A Hero Lost initially struggles to do the right thing, but eventually finds the courage to stand up and fight for their principles.

Renee: For my entry, the theme of hero lost unfolds through the story someone who tried to do the right thing with unexpected and tragic consequences.

Erika: A “Hero Lost” is the lost soul mentality, the fall from your brightest and shiniest state in life, then something happens to knock you down to your knees.

Sarah: Someone who may have once been a hero, but for whatever reason has lost his way.

Elizabeth: Heroes make mistakes, too.

Olga: Exactly what the phrase says. A hero is lost. Nobody can find him. My protagonist is searching for him.

Yvonne: To me, “Hero Lost” means not having enough support and guidance to do the right thing.

Tyrean: A hero lost faces a dark night of the soul – a mid-life crisis or a world-changing expanse of horror.

Oh my, what a variety of responses; not one more fascinating than the other. I have a feeling this anthology will more than entertain people. It will help them in ways they didn’t know they needed.

4) Pick a song that represents or relates to the story you wrote?

Jen: Sarah McLaughlin’s “Building a Mystery” is the song that came to me when I started writing it and it stayed with me throughout the telling.

Ellen: Gorecki’s Symphony #3, also known as the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.

Renee: “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas (The theme that all things fade away resonates strongly with my story.)

Erika: “Fortunate Son” by Credence Clearwater Revival

Sarah: “Smoke and Mirrors” by Imagine Dragons (The band’s name had no influence on my choosing, I swear.)

Elizabeth: “Heroes” by David Bowie

Yvonne: “Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms

Tyrean: “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback ran through my head repeatedly and I used one line of the chorus in the story.

Man, you guys are good. Finding inspiration in such different songs, yet they all are impactful on their own, and you all used them to write “lost hero” stories. My mind is a little blown.

5) Assuming that you do, ‘cause why wouldn’t you, tell me why you love the IWSG?

Jen: It’s nice to know that once a month, I have a group of people stopping by to share in my insecurities or who may need a little encouragement.

Ellen: It’s the people that make the IWSG so awesome. Their support and encouragement is phenomenal.

Renee: The IWSG is an awesome community with great information. It  has become an invaluable resource for a newbie like me.

Erika: IWSG is truly about people and caring. I’ve connected with so many amazing talented people I would have never met.

Sarah: It’s such a supportive group (it’s right in the name!) and there are always new people to meet.

Elizabeth: It’s cheaper than therapy.

Olga: Ha! IWSG has an in-built community of readers for my blog.  

Yvonne: Because it’s such a welcoming community, and it provides support and opportunities for writers.

Tyrean: I love the encouragement! Plus, I love the inspiration, helpful tips, and thought-provoking posts that deepen my writing.

I agree with you all. IWSG is so many things and all of them are positive. I count myself blessed to have stumbled upon it and made it part of my home on the web.

6) Think you all could collaborate once more? Add one sentence to this story chain.

Leaves fluttered in the greying sky like birds suddenly robbed of their flight. A sound, not unlike a gunshot, careened through the empty streets, sending a shock wave through the man standing alone in the park. He turned toward the noise, the leaves crunching beneath his feet as he nervously shifted his weight back and forth. His eyes darted back and forth, seeking the source even as dread crept up his back. They had caught up to him, he knew, deep in his bones, but he would face them with all the dignity he could muster. Two black shadowy figures materialized next to an old withered tree. They whispered to each other, too faint to hear. A wind careened between them, carrying to the man a smell and a single word. “Silence.” The word swept over him with a salty brine smell and he struggled to call up his power with his mind. The peace in that silence opened his mind to power of the nether world channeling strength to his body and clarity to his mind. He turned towards them, bowed his head briefly and then pulled a small, wooden box out of the pocket of his robe. He opened the box, reached for the weapon he so desperately needed. His fingers grasped at the wooden walls of the box, and he lifted his eyes, breathing a heavy sigh. At last he found the answer he’d been seeking, it wasn’t what he expected, not at all.

Oh snap yall! You guys just made me turn back to my southern roots. That was sooo good… And did you see how I snuck my own two cents in there at the begining? Dream come true. I wrote a story with the authors of the Hero Lost anthology. Yay! 😀

7) So, now, what are your overall thoughts on anthologies?

Jen: It’s fun to know that your story is nestled in a book with so many other works and that you are buffered by so much talent!

Ellen: It’s a fun way to explore a particular genre and discover new authors.

Renee: Anthologies are a great way to sample different authors and their writing styles. I own quite a few myself.

Erika: It was an amazing opportunity and I’m so happy I chose to get up and write something different.

Sarah: As a writer, I think it’s a great opportunity to get your voice out there and team up with other writers.

Elizabeth: Excellent way to read when you’re busy. I’m loving anthologies as much as snacks between meals.

Olga: They give many writers a voice, especially new writers. Besides, multiple writers make promotion easier.

Yvonne: Writing can be a lonely endeavor, but an anthology offers an instant mini-network of writers with a common bond.

Tyrean: I love them!

Here here. I’m loving anthologies too. As a reader, they offer the most variety and bang for your buck and fit into a busy lifestyle quite well. As a writer, they are great for networking, exposure, and learning from peers and teamwork.

Well, that’s all I have for today. Since I plan on stalking… I mean, following all of you, what’s your favorite social media platform? 

Jen: Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jenchandlerwashere/

Ellen: Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheCynicalSailor/

Renee: Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/writerrenee

Erika: Twitter: https://twitter.com/cloudninegirl1

Sarah: Twitter https://twitter.com/Sarah_A_Foster

Elizabeth: I still enjoy my blog. www.eseckman.blogspot.com

Olga: Wattpad – https://www.wattpad.com/user/olga_godim

Yvonne: Twitter https://twitter.com/YvonneVentresca

Tyrean: Blog http://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/

This has been a

 Be sure to check out any stops you missed. They’re great!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG May 2017: Being Overwhelmed, Weird Research, & Another Con

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

At this point in my writing, I haven’t really had to research anything too weird yet. I guess I could at least mention a few cool things I’ve researched, like: scientific terms and effects of two moons for a story I haven’t started yet or how to create a language for a story I’ve been developing for about three years.

For now, I’d say the most interesting thing I’ve researched is angel lore. After I completed the first draft of my first book, before I even knew it was a book, I decided to look into the different worldviews of angels to see if anything interesting could be added to my story. I bought a book online that had high ratings and was recommended by several different sites. Can’t for the life of me remember the title now. I still have the book, but it’s in storage somewhere.

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So, the month of April was a bit crazy for me. I did a virtual convention, went on Spring Break, took a trip with my sister, did a live convention, and battled and assortment of illnesses- some still in progress. I’ve had a lot of low points in the past month, but the high points made it all bearable.

I only finished one book in the month of April and I still need to write a thorough review for it. I’m struggling to finished up the first installment of “We Are Jardin”. Who knows when that will be ready to publish. My YouTube channel will suffer a bit this month. I’m working on a RavenCon wrap up video and have no real Reading Challenge update to offer. Plus, I have two more author events coming up that I’ll have to work around my ongoing medical issues.

All in all, I guess I can’t complain too much. I’m busy in a good way and my health is always an issue. If I waited around to be healthy all the time, I’d never get anything done.

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What have you had to research for a book?
Read any good books last month?
Hope this post finds you in good health.

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Michelle Wallace,
Nancy Gideon,
Tamara Narayan, and
Liesbet!!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #66).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords