Writers Should Know Better

During a conversation with other writers yesterday, I became shocked, SHOCKED, at how many think that they are so good that they don’t need further study or guided practice. At how many choose beta readers for a pat on a back instead of real feedback. At writers that don’t revise. At writers that think that BOOK REVIEWERS don’t have useful critiques and are only good for marketing and promotion (I always take reviews to heart. Someone went through the trouble of pointing out strengths and weaknesses. I won’t disrespect them by ignoring it). At writers that don’t read. At the pure arrogance of thinking that you are at the height of your powers and don’t need to grow anymore. It’s the height of elitism.

Could you imagine a professional musician that doesn’t practice for hours a day? Can you imagine a doctor that doesn’t follow new breakthroughs in medicine. Can you imagine an athlete than doesn’t practice or go to the gym? Can you imagine any job where you don’t try to improve on it?

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Indie Authors’ Day Workshop

On Saturday I gave a lecture and workshop at Pine Plains Library, in upstate New York. This was my second straight year presenting for IAD. Instead of most presenters that I’ve seen, who give lectures on publishing and marketing, I focused on the actual craft. It doesn’t matter how great a writer you are, you can always be better (myself included), something so many writers forget. Being an author is a combination of narcissism and humility, and the second part is what helps you grow.

A general version of the lecture “The Hero’s Journey: It’s No Myth” is available on my website, but I was a teacher, and I’m best when I work out loud. I make jokes and obscure references. I bring props (usually toys). In this case, I brought tissue paper “plot points” and threw them back and forth with the crowd. I used a Snoopy Snow Cone Machine as a brainstorming prompt.

I miss teaching.

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Embracing the Dark Side

(A kinda funny, but mostly serious post…because they can’t all be doggos.)

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Ok, one doggo.

It’s very hard to admit this. I try to deny it, to rise above it or work around it, but I’m done lying to myself. I’m done lying to you.

I have succumbed to the Dark Side.

I am only productive when I am angry at something. I need something to focus my loathing, or some other negative trait, on something in order to get anything done. I wrote my first novel because I was pissed at the crap that was getting published by the major companies. I lost 140 pounds because someone said that I couldn’t. I succeed to prove others wrong.

I can’t write out of joy. I have to write out of hate. Only when my heart is full of grit and worms and hot garbage that smells like Manhattan in the middle of a mid-80’s summer can I create anything worthwhile. Otherwise I sit around and do nothing, or worse, have writer’s block.

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And I hate it.

And ironically (or fortunately) that hate of my process, or just regular self-loathing, is what keeps me going. I am never be calm, because writing makes me calm, but I have to be pissed to write. It’s a cycle or hate, satisfaction, and more hate.

But maybe if I embrace it instead of fighting it, maybe that will give me the control to turn it on and off. Instead of falling into the Dark Side, I can control it (oh, and if that isn’t a recipe for disaster cake). Maybe it’s like a football player putting on their game face. I can focus all of my rage into a hat, or maybe a jaunty scarf, and put it on when I need to.

Craig at MNF

(Yes, that is actually me. I’m a Jets fan. No wonder I’m so full of rage.)

A jaunty scarf would be nice.

So I find things and people to be mad at and about. I harp on my own weaknesses and frailties (of which I have many, though I’m apparently very good at hiding them because no one believes me when I say that I’m awful) to fire myself up. I bleed all over the keyboard.

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And I’m sure that I’m not the only one. No wonder so many artists are miserable.

There’s a quote that’s often attributed to Hemingway, Dylan Thomas, Mark Twain, or whoever made the meme feels like giving it to. It goes “write drunk, edit sober.”

I don’t write drunk, I write angry. As for editing, I’m usually calm when I start editing and ready to shoot myself afterwards. Or Force Choke myself.

Ah, the power of the Dark Side.

Wanna see the results of my self-loathing and rage? Check out The Watchmage of Old New York or Song of Simon, not to mention one of the many short stories anthologies or journals you’ll find me in (or old articles from back when I used to write non-fiction). But mostly, the books. Read the damn books. Or don’t, it’s okay. I know that you’re busy, and there’s a lot of great stuff on Netflix.

Look! I even made cute little ads:

The Watchmage Is Coming

SoS Practice Ad 1

 

Did I Make Amazon Mad?

I have no clue what I did, but over the past two weeks Amazon has removed several of the reviews for The Watchmage of Old New York, and blocked at least five (people have told me that their reviews were blocked). I’m now down to 18 reviews, and who knows how far it will fall.

I don’t understand what I did wrong. I’ve never broken the terms and conditions or tried anything shady. Hell, I don’t even let my family leave reviews for fear of breaking terms. I guess i’m just unlucky.

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They also removed several reviews that I’ve left on products and books. I think that this is kinda funny, but funny sad. They send me emails asking for reviews on this and that product, but it’s those reviews that get removed.

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Update Update Update…Update

If you couldn’t tell from the title, this is an update. A bunch of cool writing stuff happened in the past few days.

My short story “Skully” is now in the anthology Twisted Tales: 15 Literary Lies and Epic Yarns, published by Readers Circle of Avenue Park I’m in very talented and established company here, and I’m tickled magenta…which is even more tickled than pink.

You can buy it on Amazon for $2.99, or you can get it for FREE by joining their mailing list here

.twisted tales

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THE MOST EXCELLENT WORLDWIDE BOOK TOUR #3: Welcome author JASON GREENSIDES

Author: Jason Greensides

Book Title: The Distant Sound of Violence

Genre and Sub-Genre: Literary/Contemporary/Coming-of-age/Mystery

Book Content Rating: Adult (18+) Based on language, violence, sexual content.

Special Book Promotion:

Author Bio

Jason Greensides has a degree in Video Production and Film Studies and has made several short films, two of which have been broadcast on television – but writing fiction is his real passion.

He’s interested in ‘outsider’ types, people operating on the edge of society. This inspired him to write his first novel, The Distant Sound of Violence. It’s about a group of kids, one in particular, Nathan Dawes, whose philosophical obsessions and criminal connections have made him an outcast at school.

Jason is now working on his second novel, another coming-of-age mystery, but on coffee breaks he blogs and tweets about writing, and throws in the occasional book review.

Book Blurb:

Do we ever escape the decisions we make when we’re fifteen?

Nathan Dawes, the loser from school, an outsider, street philosopher and member of The Grove Runners gang, needs Ryan’s help to get Stephanie to fall for him. When Ryan’s lawnmower is stolen, Nathan sees this as his chance to enlist Ryan in his plan.

Although Ryan knows becoming friends with Nathan could lead to trouble, he reluctantly agrees to help. Stephanie wants nothing to do with either of them. Besides, she’s more interested in the one guy in the world she really shouldn’t be.

As Nathan continues his pursuit of Stephanie, and Ryan gets mixed up with The Grove Runners, soon events overtake them all, haunting their lives for years to come.

This intelligent and compelling debut is a heart-breaking tale of bad decisions and love gone wrong. It’s about choices that lead to violence, loss and tragedy.

Reviews:

“This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It is smart, gripping and even weaves an intriguing mystery into the mix. I cannot praise it highly enough. A masterpiece.” – D.M. Cain, author of The Phoenix Project and A Chronicle of Chaos

“This reviewer seems to recall something that was said of Dostoevsky and how, to be successful, a novel requires an overarching philosophy. It is especially in this respect that Greensides’s work merits ultimate recognition.” – The Literary Reader

“Every once in a while, I finish a book, don’t do anything for a while except sit and think about it. This is one of those… It’s rough and violent, but compassionate towards every character. This is one I’m definitely going to thrust upon my friends and family.” – Sunshine Somerville, author of The Kota series

“A powerful sense of place and a sharp, nostalgic feel pervade the novel, and the supporting characters are richly drawn…an engaging, exciting and thought-provoking read that I’d strongly recommend.” – Nathan Jones

“There are twists and turns, light and shade in every page and in summation the book was a joy to read… It is without doubt a skilled debut from Jason Greensides.” – Boopy

Amazon: The Distant Sound of Violence http://mybook.to/TDSOV

On sale $0.99 Amazon Kindle Countdown Deal, Tuesday 29th September – Sunday 4th October

Author Links

Author Website http://jasongreensides.com/

Facebook http://facebook.com/jasongreensidesauthor

Twitter https://twitter.com/jasongreensides

Google Plus https://plus.google.com/+JasonGreensides/posts

Pinterest http://pinterest.com/jasongreensides

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10222503.Jason_Greensides

THE MOST EXCELLENT WORLDWIDE BOOK BLOG TOUR: Trip#1 with SUZI ALBRACHT

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Author Name: Suzi Albracht

Book Title: Death Most Wicked

Genre and Sub-Genre: Horror, Thriller

Book Content Rating: Adult (18+) Language and Violence

Author Bio: I love to write horror thrillers with intense personal relationships between characters. I started reading earlier in life than most of my friends and spent many hours hidden in closets and under beds, sneaking in just another ten minutes of whatever book I was reading. As soon as I was old enough, my mother would send me to the library to pick up books for her. This delighted me because it opened up a whole new world of books not available in school.  I read everything I could get my hands on but was drawn to sci-fi, horror and thrillers. As I matured, I would say my main influences became Stephen King, Dean Koontz and William Faulkner. My writing definitely reflects those influences.  I can honestly say my twitter bio describes me to a T – Write, scare myself, turn all the lights on, write some more. Take a break, play pool, kick butt/get butt kicked, go write more horror, double lock door.  To reach me regarding my book (s) or to just say hello (please, no spam), email me at SuziAlbracht@aol.com or tweet me on Twitter: @SuziAlbracht. Send me an email if you want to be alerted of new book releases.

suzi death most

 

Book Blurb: The thing Evil craves most is innocence. When small children disappear, you can be assured that Evil has crawled out of its dirty corner. And when those children turn up dead, Evil has clawed its mark on humanity.

What if you were a homicide detective and little girls were suddenly being kidnapped and murdered by a devious pedophile? And what if that pedophile left no evidence behind except for the broken bodies? What would you sacrifice to save just one innocent child? Would any sacrifice be too great? What if it cost you someone you loved? What if, by saving that child, you unleash a horrific monster into your own life?

Mikael Ruskoff was living his dream. He was a highly successful, homicide detective working a career he loved. He had a mother who adored him, a son he took skateboarding, and a wife he loved more than words could express. He played a mean drum set every Thursday night with his best friend on guitar. His life was comfortable and pleasurable. Then he caught a case that would change his life forever.

Review(s):

Death Most Wicked

Wow!

By B. Martin on September 7, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

This is one creepy novel. First you have a man who wants a little sister so desperately he’s willing to kidnap children, only to kill them when they refuse to live inside his shed. Then you have this hellish substance that turns victims into puddles of bloody liquid. And in the middle of all this is Mikael Ruskoff, a homicide detective who’s charged with solving a seemingly never ending string of murders. Suzi Albracht has a fantastic imagination, and she does a wonderful job bringing this disturbing tale to life. Twists abound. Characters are connected in ways you least expect. And it’s all presented in a way that will leave you on the edge of your seat. (or in my case, my bed) Definitely a novel horror fans will want to check out.

 

The Devil’s Lieutenant

An Excellent Tale of Horror

By Glen Barrera on March 18, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

After reading and enjoying Albracht’s Scorn Kills, I knew what was in store when I began reading this novel. I wasn’t let down. In fact, after the first few pages I was convinced the author had taken this tale of horror to an even greater level. Like any good novel, horror or not, it’s the well written characters that drive the story. In this department, Albracht didn’t skimp: Jake Holyfield and his pregnant wife, Caroline; his brother Bobby and friend Max – the good guys – pitted against evil in the form of Carl and Dimitry Ivanovich. Quite simply, the bad guys want the good guys on their team, by whatever means. And they do have interesting means. But this story is also about the frailty of the human condition. What moral price would someone pay for unlimited money, youth, or the woman of their dreams? This is a fast paced read, with unexpected twists and turns, leading to a well-done ending. I definitely want to read Albracht’s next book.

Scorn Kills

Great read!

By Teresa Cikovic on July 1, 2015

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

Someone certainly learned the hard way what happens when he scorns the woman he married! I couldn’t put this down and look forward to reading other books by Ms. Albracht.

Book Trailers: The Devil’s Lieutenanthttps://youtu.be/IPGepsZrm70

Scorn Kills, Death Most Wicked, and The Devil’s Lieutenant: are all part of The Devil’s Due Collection

Book Links: myBook.to/DeathMostWicked getBook.at/SCORN_KILLS myBook.to/The_Devils_Lieutenant

Author Links: Author.to/SuziAlbracht

Under Deconstruction

With The Watchmage of Old New York (the novel, not the serial) coming out soon, it looks like I have to do another revamp of my webpage. I would like to add additional source material for my novels. The hard part is motivating myself to do it.

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Because both novels are fantasy, there’s so much to add. So far I’ve been doing it obliquely with my articles on Music History and NYC History. That’s great, but it’s not enough.

So what would you like to see as far as source history goes? For Watchmage, I can do stuff about the Dweller races and magic in general, but a lot of it also crosses into my NYC History articles. Do I get more specific about some things? I know that my piece on mid-century slang is a must.

For Song of Simon, I should probably do a character appendix. It’s an expansive book, and sometimes it’s hard for the reader to remember all the characters. I can also do stuff about specific regions, the gods, and the elemental races (Grugach, Ghillie Dhu, etc).

But for today, I’ll blog and rearrange some stuff. Maybe I’ll put up a new Music History article…maybe.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, 2014, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!