Monthly Archives: January 2013

Musa Author Interview: Liz DeJesus

firstfrost-500
Today’s author is yet another wonderful lady I met through Musa, Liz Dejesus. Please give her a warm welcome.

* * * *

1. Can you tell us a bit about your book?

To make things a little easier I’ll just post the official blurb for the story.

For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.”

Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.

She’s about to find out how wrong she is.

2. When did you decide you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?

Part of me wanted to be like my mom, because she is a writer as well. I’ve always written stories and in my journal (what else is a shy, nerdy girl supposed to do all day?).

But I think the absolute defining moment in my life came when I was 16 years old and one of my teachers read some of the poetry I had written. I remember the look on his face when I came to his classroom the next day. He looked both awestruck and impressed.

“You are a diamond in the rough,” he said. I couldn’t believe he had actually said those words in reference to me. I kept looking behind me to see if he was talking to someone else.

I still remember those words after all these years.

Anyway after that I made it my business to learn everything I could about writing and become a published author.

3. What attracted you to the fantasy genre?

I’ve always loved books about magic and witches. Particularly fairy tales. If it’s a rewritten fairy tale I’m definitely there. I think it has a lot to do with wanting something more out of life. To expect the unexpected.

4. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you and how do you make it easier for yourself?

Finding time to write is always the greatest challenge for me. I have two very active little boys here at home (I’m a stay at home mom) so I steal time here and there whenever I can do get my work done.

5. You’ve worked with several publishers. What made you decide to seek different publishers for your different works?

I’ve always been very curious by nature. And my curiosity makes me do research on different companies because I want to find out more about the ins and outs of the publishing industry.

6. How do you make your submission packages shine?

I pay attention to the submission guidelines. Always, always read the guidelines thoroughly before you send anything in. That’s always the first test.

7. What are your preferred marketing methods?

Business cards. I go to moo.com and get these really nice business cards and mini cards made through them. They have a really great quality to them and I’ve sort of become addicted to the site. I also enjoy scheduling blog tours, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of great bloggers and reviewers that way.

8. What is one thing you wish you’d done sooner/differently in your writing career?

Paid closer attention to the contracts before signing them. As a new writer you get excited over the fact that someone is interested in your work and you don’t read the contracts. You just sign on the dotted line and figure that they will have your best interest at heart. And some people that I’ve dealt with in the past didn’t. I’ve lost novels and some I fought really hard to get back. And others…unfortunately have stayed lost and I’m unable to get the rights back to one of my books. So that was a lesson I had to learn the hard way.

9. If you could give an aspiring writer any one piece of advice, what would it be?

Follow your heart when you’re writing. Listen to your editor. They’re there to help you, to make your manuscript shine. So don’t take it personally, they’re there to help you catch all of the mistakes and plot holes before it goes into print. And read your contract. Sometimes authors forget that publishing is a business. Once contracts, royalties and money are involved it’s all business. Learn as much as you can.

10. What are you working on that readers can look forward to next?

I’m finishing up the edits for Glass Frost (the sequel to First Frost). I’m also working on the third book in the series (tentatively titled Shattered Frost), a new novel, and a few short stories. I also have a few ideas for a steampunk novel.

Bio: Liz DeJesus was born on the tiny island of Puerto Rico. She is a novelist and a poet. She has been writing for as long as she was capable of holding a pen. She is the author of the novel Nina (Blu Phi’er Publishing, October 2007), The Jackets (Arte Publico Press, March 31st 2011), First Frost (Musa Publishing, June 22nd 2012) and Glass Frost (Musa Publishing, Summer 2013). She is also a member of The Written Remains Writers Guild http://www.writtenremains.org/. Liz is currently working on a new novel.

You can purchase First Frost here.

Advertisements

Musa Author Interview: J.F. Posthumous

headshot(1)

Today’s guest is a debut novelist whose last name is totally real, and one of the most awesome for someone who writes about creatures from hell. Please give a warm welcome to J.F. Posthumous.

* * * *

1. Can you tell us a bit about your book, Deals with the Devil?

Deals is the first story about Faith (Fi) Wells, a woman who spends her workdays as a computer tech at a shipping company. One Monday, she returns from a short vacation to discover her boss has been fired and replaced by a demon, literally. This doesn’t bother Fi so much, since her father is the right-hand of Satan, and she knows that computers, and especially printers, are from Hell. Finding her old boss murdered and stuffed into a shipping crate does make her life more complicated, though. When the detective assigned to the case turns out to be a devastatingly handsome angel, her world gets a little bit crazier. Fi also takes it on herself to investigate, which brings her to the unwanted attention of the person who killed her old boss.

2. How did you come up with the concept for Deals with the Devil?

Like most people, I complain to my spouse about my day job! One day he asked me “Why don’t you just write a story about all the things that bother you, that way you can figuratively eliminate them?” I replied with “Well, printers are from Hell…” and he laughed, encouraging me to pursue that line of imaginative thinking, and off we went!

3. When did you realize you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?

I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a little girl. My husband was already a writer in his own way. He was injured at his last job, and unable to work. We started seriously writing with the intent of getting published, looking to make something from all the time we spent talking about ideas and books we’d like to see. Also, it’s something we do together, and I love doing anything with him that I can.

4. How did you get Deals with the Devil from a raw idea to a publishable manuscript?

Lots and lots of rewrites and analyzing our work. Mark (my husband) and I are always looking to improve our skills as writers. There’s a big stretch between a story a person writes for fun and a manuscript that other people want to read. You have to polish and study what works, learn from mistakes.

5. You actually co-write with your husband. How did you first start writing together?

Mark had already written a full-length manuscript for an adventure fantasy called “Darkflower’s Prize” and I loved it. I wanted to write a similar book, and also wanted an excuse to spend more time with him (we weren’t together at the time). I asked him to help me, he wound up co-writing the work. We just kept developing our writing and personal relationship. Now we’re married and published! *laughs*

6. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced that are specific to co-writing?

We work at different paces and have different strengths. I want to write all the time. Mark prefers to pace it out, because he doesn’t want to get burned out and end up writing useless material. Also, he’s the house hubby, so while I’m on my lunch break at work or wanting to destress from work, he’s sometimes busy keeping our apartment in order and handling the kids, along with cooking, etc. I’m raring to go, and he’s telling me things like “I’ve got to put the groceries away!” or “Our daughter just kicked our youngest son in the crotch for cheating on a Wii game!” So we clash in that way sometimes. Another problem is although we communicate really well, we don’t always have the same ideas, or make each other understand where we’re going on a project. There are, shall we say, heated debates when that happens. But we always wind up in the same place, eventually.

7. How did you find/choose Musa Publishing?

Querytracker.com. It’s a great place to find publishers and agents. I also double-checked them with Absolute Write Water Cooler, a forum for writers both published and unpublished. Musa sounded like a great company to be with, so I sent them a query and crossed my fingers. Like any aspiring author, I sent queries to a lot of publishers. The trick, once you’ve got a good manuscript, is to hit a publisher when they are looking for material like yours. There’s no easy way for it. You keep at it until the timing lines up and someone you’ve queried is looking for what you’re presenting. We were very fortunate that Musa was looking.

8. What are some of the ways you’ve been marketing Deals with the Devil?

We’re setting up a website, but we’re already developing a following on Facebook. We’ve also participated in a blog hop for our publisher and have blogs posts set up to be posted onto Musa’s website. We tell our friends about the book, especially when we’re working with them on indie movie projects, music, parties, getting them interested so they’ll talk to others about Deals. We’ve already gotten our local libraries excited about buying copies to have available to their customers. They love the idea of having something from local authors who’ve gotten published.

9. If you could give an aspiring writer just one piece of advice, what would it be?

Research! That means live life, read a lot of books, ask questions about everything. The more informed you are about what you’re writing, the better your work will be. Also, remember that your work is read by others–there are going to be some ideas that sound great to you, but most other people just won’t be interested in.

10. What are you working on next that readers can look forward to?

We are working on the second Fi Wells book, tentatively titled “The Devil on Set.” Fi once again stumbles across a body, but this time it’s while she’s on the movie set for an Indie remake of the horror classic “White Zombie.” The lead actor is actually a ghoul (re:zombie) and of course, most people who know this fact think that she’s guilty just because of that. Fi doesn’t agree, and her snooping around gets that gorgeous angel detective in danger. So she’s got to solve the case, bring the killer to justice, and save her white knight! Beyond that, we also just finished a trilogy of manuscripts centered on another strong female lead, who’s a combination of Wonder Woman, Elektra, and the Shadow. We’re hoping to polish that series and get it published as well.

Bio:

On Overwriting

I don’t often discuss the technical side of writing in depth, but after reading the self-published works that inspired last Monday’s post, I’ve decided to discuss the biggest problem I’ve seen in these novels: overwriting.

What is overwriting? There are two ways authors overwrite: with excessive details, and with particularly wordy phrasing. Even a perfectly spelled piece with flawless grammar can be made frustrating if the author overwrites them. It makes a book frustrating to read and in today’s fast paced society, most readers will walk away. I’m particularly forgiving of this if the story captivates me, but enough of it will make even me gash my teeth.

So today I’d like to discuss some of the things that can–and should–be cut from your writing whenever possible to make it easy reading.

Let’s start with the details:

1. Characters brushing their teeth. Or combing their hair, or getting dressed in the morning. These things should only be included if they’re used to add depth or move the story forward. For instance, if your character notices a giant bruise developing on their face while they’re brushing their teeth in the morning, that’s a good use of the scene. In fantasy settings, often the nobles have servants to dress them, and these scenes can be used for gossip with the servants to great effect. George R. R. Martin uses this technique often to pass information between characters.

2. Details of your setting that don’t matter to the plot. Festivals, events, street names and other details of your setting should only be mentioned if they’re important to your story. If you’ve spent hours creating your location or done months of research it can be tempting to include all the details, but that will bog the story down. Include only what is necessary to the plot. People don’t pick up a novel expecting a detailed tour of the city or town in question. They want a story, not a tourist guide. Some detail helps them enjoy the story. Too much irritates even the most patient reader.

3. Most flashbacks. There’s often a more efficient way to mention past events, and flashbacks should only be used when absolutely necessary. Unless you’re doing a story intentionally that starts at the end and shows you how the character got there, the best way to give readers a feel for the important parts of your character’s past is to mention them briefly and then expand on them bit by bit later. Make it a gradual thing rather than a flashback or a long winded explanation, and you’ll keep the reader’s interest more easily.

And some words that can almost always be left out:

1. Just. It seems like an innocent word, but while it doesn’t ruin your grammar, it’s often redundant. Think about these sentences:

He was just a little bit taller than me.
She lived just around the corner from the scene of the crime.

In both sentences just is grammatically correct, but does it need to be there? Consider these sentences:

He was a little bit taller than me.
She lived around the corner from the scene of the crime.

The sentences are now a little bit stronger and shorter without having changed meaning. Getting rid of ‘just’ might not seem like a big deal, but once they’re gone, you’ll see a big difference.

2. Then. This is one I’ve been ripping mercilessly from my manuscripts. Sure, there are occasions where it’s essential, but often it’s unnecessary, particularly when used after the word ‘and’. Consider these sentences:

And then she kicked the door.
She grabbed the hammer and then held it in front of her defensively.

Now look at these:

She kicked the door.
She grabbed the hammer and held it in front of her defensively.

Which sentences do you think are stronger? In the end, ‘then’ is just another word bogging down your work. Cut it whenever you can, especially when you see it after ‘and’.

3. Very. This is another unnecessary word. Take a look at these sentences:

The mansion was very big.
She was very angry.

Now consider these:

The mansion was massive.
She was furious.

By eliminating very and using stronger words, I’ve made these sentences shorter and more visual. Look for this word in your work and delete it whenever possible. Be ruthless. There’s almost always a better way to emphasize something than using the word ‘very’.

Exercise: Pull out a story/project you haven’t looked at a while and a highlighter. Highlight every excessive detail and every instance of just or very that you see within the first three pages. Count them, and then find ways to get rid of them. Remember that overwriting doesn’t make you a bad writer–almost all of us do it in our first few drafts. Editing may be painful, but it gives your work the best chance possible for success.

Just for fun, post how many instances of overwriting you found in your first three pages. For each reader who does, I’ll look through one of my old projects and count the instances of overwriting. Let’s compare numbers!

Friday Picture Prompt

Rooftop5

From the Roof…

Please post the first sentence of your response in the comments.

Brianna Soloski on Becoming a Freelancer

Today’s guest is another Musaling, this time an editor and freelancer to bring you a totally new perspective. Please give Brianna Soloski a warm welcome.

* * * *

When I was little, I wanted to be a teacher or an author. I went to school for education, but ended up not going into that field. I was working at a preschool, but was laid off in 2008. I floundered for two years after that, moving a few times, not working, unsure what I wanted to do. Summer 2010 found me in Seattle working at a summer camp. It also led to a long chat with my cousin about what I really wanted to do with my life. She suggested I go back to writing, since I’d always enjoyed it and been relatively good at it. I turned that over in my head for a few weeks. When I got home, I began volunteering at the Jewish Community Center in Las Vegas. I also got wind of a local city lifestyle
magazine that was just starting up. I called the editor and asked if there were any volunteer/internship positions available. I got a volunteer gig putting together the print calendar – a tedious, time-consuming job nobody else wanted to do. As time went on, I got more responsibility. About a year and a half ago, the editor who had hired me quit and I moved into the (now paid) position of editorial assistant. I still do the calendar, but I also write and edit for the magazine.

From there, writing just became a natural habit. I participated in National Novel Writing Month in 2010 and had that novel published in October 2012. In 2012, I made the decision to freelance full-time. I run a freelance editing business that is thriving. I work for an award-winning magazine. I have as much time to write as I need. I can come and go as I please. I still work at the Jewish Community Center part-time, but I’m hoping to have enough business to phase that out by the summer.

How I came to Musa Publishing was kind of accidental. I had recently read Twin Sense by Lydia Sharp (amazing!) and sought out the website to see what other books they had to offer. There were a few freebies so I picked those up. I signed up for their newsletter. Just for kicks, I clicked on the employment page, just to see if anything was available. There was a head line editor position open, so I applied, even though I wasn’t sure I was completely qualified for the job. Turns out, I wasn’t, but I was offered a line editor position, which I accepted.

I’ve edited four books for them now and I absolutely love it. Line editing is the process of going through a work line by line to check for errors. I do not edit for content (although I do offer content editing through my personal business). The opportunity to read great books is wonderful. The experience is invaluable and will help me as I move through my career and take on other jobs.

The thing about Musa that really shines is their professionalism. In a little more than a year, they’ve published a remarkable number of books. Every title I’ve read from them has been excellent – well written, well edited, etc. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to an author looking for a home for their book. In fact, it’s highly likely I will submit my current work in progress to them for possible publication.

Bio: Brianna Soloski is an avid reader and writer. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Sierra Nevada College. She also obtained her teaching credentials from the college. Although she’s not currently teaching, she enjoys spending time with her friends’ kids. In her spare time, she loves to travel and would love to book
a world cruise – imagine the memoir that could come from an adventure like that! Girl Seeks Place is available for purchase on Amazon. She can be found blogging at http://www.girlseeksplace.wordpress.com. She can also be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brianna-Soloski-Writer.

The Dangers of Self Publishing

Self publishing is a growing phenomena with the rise of ebooks. Thanks to numerous self published authors whose books have made it big and already published authors successfully self publishing their back lists and new projects, self publishing has gained a new level of respect in the industry and the world at large. And there are numerous benefits to self publishing–you get total control over your project, you get to keep all the profits, and you don’t have to wait for gatekeepers to respond to you.

However, there are also several dangers inherent in self publishing. The gatekeepers of traditional publishing certainly aren’t perfect, but often if they reject your manuscript it means you need to do more work on the book. It doesn’t mean your book will never be publishable–but often rejection is a good sign that your book isn’t ready for publication yet.

With self publishing, the temptation is to do it all yourself. But everybody needs an editor, especially on a book length project. It’s easy to overlook small flaws in your own work, and every piece needs a second pair of eyes to examine it–sometimes several pairs of eyes. Many people self publish because they’re afraid of rejection, and this same fear leads them to choose to do all the editing themselves. This is a mistake. A badly edited book is worse for your reputation than no book at all, so if you’re going to self publish, make sure to get an editor. Good editors cost a lot of money, but it’s worth it–and you can always find somebody new to the field who’s happy to volunteer because they need more professional credits.

Not only that, but the desire to save money and get the book out sooner often leads to authors creating their own cover art and formatting the books themselves. This is fine if you’re already pretty good at these things–but bad formatting or a cover that falls flat will be deadly to your book, so if you’re not already a confident graphic designer or programmer, you might want to hire a professional.

Note that self publishing is not inherently bad. It’s the desire to rush a book out to market which is bad. Spending extra time or money on editing, formatting or cover art will not hurt your novel. Rushing it out before it’s ready will. You’ll get unpleasant reviews which stings both your ego and your sales, and once that first novel has fallen flat on its face the second won’t even be considered by most readers and reviewers. It will take a long time–possibly even a pseudonym–for people to forget about your poorly edited/formatted book. Flat cover art will mean that most people never even pick up your book.

So if you’re considering self publishing, heed my warning. As a reviewer, I’ve read self published books, and I’ve enjoyed most of them–but I’ve also noticed a higher percentage of basic errors in self published novels than in the traditionally published novels I’ve read. I love stories and I’m pretty forgiving of misspelled words and incorrect grammar if I’m given a wonderful story–but most people aren’t. Releasing your book while it’s still riddled with these basic errors–which all books have at some point–means you’re not giving it the best chance to thrive in today’s market. And you want your book to have the best chance of success that you can give it, right?

Also, if you’re an author who’s considering self publishing and who doesn’t have the money for a high end professional editor, look for those who are just beginning their career in editing. For example, I’m trying to break into the editing business as well as the writing business–and I’d be happy to offer a discount to a struggling author, maybe even free editing if I like the project enough. There are plenty of others in my position, so take a good look around the web and see what you can find. And if you’re interested in working out a deal with me personally, shoot me an email at diannalgunn@gmail.com.

Have you read any self published books? How well do you think they were edited?

Picture Prompt

I’m really loving having a camera… and here’s some proof! Let’s see what you can write about this:

100_2457
Box in the Sky

Please post the first sentence of your response

Musa Author Interview: Viki Lyn

VL_TheHunterWithin_coverlg

Today’s author is one of a different breed than we usually see around here. Her name is Viki Lyn, and she writes m/m romance. She’s written several books and worked with Musa Publishing for quite some time, but today she’ll be talking mostly about a novel published by Loose Id entitled The Hunter Within. Please give her a warm welcome.

1. Can you tell us a bit about your book, The Hunter Within?

The Hunter Within is a sequel to The Tiger Within – an m/m shape shifter romance set during the late 1940’s. Antoine, a shape shifter white tiger, has fallen in love with agent Jack Hunter. Both are agents with a shadow organization that fights other worldly creatures. Jack had been captured during the war and experimented on – becoming a super soldier of incredible strength.

Because of his new identity, Jack has to leave behind his wife and his past. Closeted, he is not comfortable with his homosexuality, but Antoine doesn’t give up on his soldier. In The Hunter Within, Jack must come to terms with his sexual nature, and his love for Antoine, and if he should tell his wife the truth, that he IS alive.

2. When did you first realize that you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?

When I sold my first story, I realized that I enjoyed having my book published. I also began to take writing seriously, knowing while it was a creative outlet, and I had a passion for writing, I also had to treat it as a business. Sometimes the business aspect of writing gets in the way, but I love my job!

3. You write gay romance. Do you find it difficult to write from the POV of someone who is a different gender than you?

My first books were m/f romances – seven published books before I switched to gay romance. I always enjoyed writing male characters. They were just more interesting to write.

4. What are some of the things you do to get into the POV of your characters?

I live with my characters in my head. Ideas about how they behave come to me at weird times – in the shower, driving, sipping coffee at the coffee house…I’m always on the alert. Sometime I play act the scene. A fellow writer taught me that trick, and it works.

5. Why–other than the hot boys, of course–did you choose to write m/m romance?

I love reading the genre, and therefore, love writing it. As I said before, I prefer writing the male POV, so it makes sense I’d love writing the POV’s of two male characters.

6. How much planning do you do before each novel?

It depends on the length of the novel, and if it’s a contemporary or paranormal. Paranormals take more world-building, therefore more research. Right now I’m writing an angel story. I have done plenty of research on Catholic angelology, Latin phrases, and Greek architecture…it goes on and on. And, I’m always changing my story line – although I already wrote the synopsis for it! I tend to write the first three or four chapters without an outline, and then I go back and plot out the story. So I’m a pantser and plotter.

7. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you and how do you make it easier for yourself?

Staying focused. I like having odd hours and I have another life besides writing. I love spending time with my friends and family – and they are my priority. I don’t work well having a set writing schedule. I probably would publish more books if I did, but I don’t work that way. I publish an average of three books per year.

8. Can you tell us a bit about the process of creating a submission package?

Sure. All publishing houses have their own submission process, so be sure to go to their website and see what they need. Usually I submit the first three chapters and a synopsis (think of a synopsis as an outline of the story, including the ending). The email contains my query – which tells the editor the genre, word count and a short blurb of what the story is about.

9. What do you think is the most important piece of advice for aspiring writers to remember?

To never give up – and keep writing. I have been publishing books since 2006. I still get rejections, and I learned to shut out bad reviews. I focus on writing, and improving my craft. My main goal is to write entertaining romantic stories for my readers. As long as they are happy with my work, then I’m happy.

10. What are you working on right now that readers can look forward to?

I wrote a short story – Lover’s Trill – about two musicians who reunite in Vienna, giving them a second chance at love. It’s included in More Love Notes anthology published by Musa Publishing.

I finished John’s Match, Book 3 of my Woodland Village series. It’s a contemporary romance set in Woodland Village – a fictional East coast town. The first book is Blue Skye, and the second book is Ryan’s Harbor. In John’s Match, the boys are back! Skye, Drew, Ryan and Martin and John Kramer, Ryan’s CFO and VP. He meets up with a temperamental writer, Scott Marwick. It will be released this April with Musa Publishing.

I want to write book 3 of my vampire series I have out with Loose Id (Last Chance and Fighting Chance). I’m toying with the idea of writing Victor’s story – Corbin’s Kresnik uncle. We’ll see how far I get with this. I have all sorts of ideas in my head, so we’ll see which character cries out the loudest!

Bio: Once I wrote my first gay romance, I was hooked. Now I write about two sexy men as my heroes instead of one.

What inspires me – the reality that romance between lovers is a hope more than a guarantee. My stories are an eclectic mix of contemporary and paranormal, but it is always romance that drives the story to its final happily-ever-after.

I drink a book a day for nourishment. Collect yaio and comics. I’m totally in lust with the Dark Night and his prodigal Robin aka Nightwing!

There’s nothing better than trying out a new restaurant with close friends, having dessert and coffee at my local coffeehouse or laughing hysterically with my sisters over silly things. Some of my favorite movies reveal the truth, that I’m a sentimental girl at heart: Something’s Gotta Give, Latter Days, Lord of the Rings, Sense and Sensibility and North and South (the BBC series).

You can purchase The Hunter Within here.

The Reality Blog Award

reality-blog-award1-e1357511854615

It would seem that my dear friend Matthew Kirshenblatt over at Mythic Bios has nominated me for the Reality award. I’d actually never heard about this award before, but it’s pretty cool. Here’s how it works:

1.) Visit the blog of the person who nominated you, thank them, and acknowledge them on *your* blog.

2.) Answer the five questions listed below and nominate up to 20 bloggers whom you feel deserve recognition. Visit their blog to let them know.

3.) Cut and paste the award to your wall.

If you could change one thing, what would you change?

If I could change one thing about the world, I would get rid of money and instead create a system where all the goods were distributed evenly and people were appreciated based on how hard they worked rather than how much they can earn for other people.

If I could change one thing about myself, I would make myself more of a routine animal. My spirit always bucks against routine, and when I try to create routines after school, I find they’ll often work out for a few days but on the third or fourth day I’ll be so exhausted when I get home from school that I just pass out and ruin it. This would be fine if I wasn’t trying to create a writing career for myself, but since I am, I’d like to find a way to make myself more accepting of routine.

If you could repeat an age, what would it be?

The age I’m at right now. I’d love to be nineteen forever. I really love my current school and I’d also love to stay in the program forever. I’m pretty healthy, I’m old enough that people respect me as an adult and have stopped treating me like a child, I’m doing pretty well in all my endeavors, and I don’t yet need to worry about paying rent. If I got to repeat the year, I’d be much better set up to support myself by the time I got out of high school.

Oh, and I shouldn’t forget that it’s nice to be able to legally buy cigarettes and alcohol–though I buy very little of the latter.

What one thing really scares you?

There are a few, though only a small few, but the one I’ll talk about today is the fear of being unable to pursue my passion. I have tendonitis in both wrists–at least, that’s what they *think* it is–and it’s pretty terrifying. I also know that it is possible–my grandmother dreamed of being a ballerina, but her feet were bad and she was short, so she would never have made it too far dancing in a company and she had to give up altogether one day because of the pain it caused her. Keeping her story in mind, I’m grateful to be a writer, because nobody will ever try to tell me I’m too short to pursue my passion.

But more so I am afraid. Afraid that someday I will lose the capacity to write, because writing is my life and without it I would be nothing. I would be useless. I would be really crazy really quickly, probably extremely suicidal. Writing has carried me through a lot of things, and my desire to make my voice heard has kept me from suicide on many occasions already. Without it, I’d be lost.

If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be?

That’s a good question. I think, though, rather than being somebody else, I’d like to just be me… except rich. I’m pretty happy with who I am and though I’d like to have 50 books published, I don’t think I’d like to be Terry Pratchett for a day all that much. And though I’d like to be a famous actress, I wouldn’t want to be Helena Bonham Carter for a day. But I’d love to be independently wealthy so I could focus on my craft and not have to worry about finding a job that, you know, pays the bills until I become a famous novelist.

And now for my own nominations:

Iamzion

Patricia Yager Delagrange

L.K. Mitchell–Pocketful of Dreams

Pub Rants

I hope that you’ll all take the time to check out these blogs and that the bloggers will be doing this exercise soon themselves. Oh, and I’d also like to throw out a big thank you to everyone who’s subscribed to Dianna’s Writing Den–I crossed the three hundred subscribers mark a few days ago and I’m ecstatic! I can’t make any promises, but I’m thinking up a contest for when I hit 350 already, so keep tuned.

Picture Prompts!

A handful of you might be aware that I’ve wanted a camera for a long, long time. I wanted the camera because photos make blog posts more attractive and articles about my city will more easily sell with photographs.

Last year for Christmas I was given the money for a camera. Unfortunately, it was in a check, and I managed to lose the check on my way to the bank to cash it. So I’ve spent the last year without the camera I was supposed to have, becoming increasingly irritated with my various friends and relatives who have been picking up new ones.

Then something amazing happened. I got a camera. It isn’t the best camera in the world. It’s only 10 megapixels and the shutter speed is nothing special. But it’s a camera, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to take pictures of all the beautiful things I see.

It wasn’t exactly a Christmas present, but it certainly felt like one. And it’s the best present I got this year.

So, in order to celebrate having a camera and to make sure I go out regularly and take pictures, I’ve decided to start doing weekly picture prompts. I’ve always enjoyed making use of picture prompts and I hope you’ll enjoy them as well.

Without further ado, here’s your first picture prompt of the year:

100_2445
Winter Wonderland

Please post the first sentence of your response in the comments.