Wednesday, May 4, 2022

IWSG May 2022, Best and Worst Writing Times, Notes from an Author Table, Invite to a Class

 

IWSG

The IWSG is a place to vent concerns and give encouragement! Started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this blog hop has grown to support writers all over the world with a website and social media pages. 
Many thanks to the co-hosts this month: Kim Elliott, Melissa Maygrove, Chemist Ken, Lee Lowery, and Nancy Gideon!

To join, go here: IWSG Sign Up

May 4 Optional Question - It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

Ah, I've had good times and bad times. I hope I've already had the worst of times, and I hope I haven't had the best of times yet. 

My writer highs come when I get some writing in, whether it's a line of poetry, a list of words, a paragraph, or 10,000 words. Each word counts. 

I also love seeing my work in print online, in paperback, or just about anywhere.

My writer lows come on the days when writing just seems too daunting to start, or when I feel overwhelmed by all the marketing stuff, or the business side of things - like knowing I need to fix all the links in all of my e-books. I'm not a big fan of rejection letters, but I know those are part of the business so sometimes they are part of my lows and sometimes they spur me on to work harder.

Speaking of working harder, life, as always, is pretty busy, but I had an Author Table last week and I have a writing class online this week. If you would like to sign up for the latter, there might be spaces still available. 

Notes from an Author Table

Last week, I spent a week at an author table at a BBQ restaurant in my home city. The owner has a rotating group of authors who take the table for a week at a time, all the time. He's super supportive of local authors and artists. The space is by the window, right next to the exit door so customers have to walk by it, and there is a chalkboard on the other side of the table, visible to most in the restaurant. Here is what I rediscovered from my second time at the table in the last six months:
  1. Being present in the world is the most important part of sitting at an author table. People get to see me and know that I seem mostly sane and friendly. This is key to actually getting sales, whether they are there at the table or later online.
  2. Being engaged at the author table is the second most important part. If I have something I am doing, so I am not just staring down anyone who wants to approach the table or smiling maniacally (I do this when I'm nervous), people actually come talk to me. The important key here is having the right thing to do, so I can greet people, but also not overwhelm or look distracted. Tasks that work for me: writing in a journal (not a laptop, which looks "closed for business" to most people), drawing, and origami. Things I've seen other authors do: play cards, knit, talk to other people around them (if at a multiple table venue). 
  3. I need to keep my gaze moving. I can't stare into space, stare at potential customers, read a book, or even look too long at any task I've given myself to look busy. 
  4. Changing activity levels always helps. I can stand up, rummage around my book table - really, how many ways can I fiddle with my display? - sit, change chairs, take a short walk in the general area, or do some performance art by writing a poem or hint fiction story on a large chalkboard (this was available to me at the restaurant so I used it). 
  5. Business cards are the best swag. I know they aren't really swag, but honestly, they are the thing that the second most interested customers pick up from my table. The top interested customers pick up a book. 
  6. The second-best swag for me: tiny stories and poems on small pieces of paper for potential customers to take for free. These are all stories and poems I've had previously published. 
  7. Remember, being present is the most important part. If I make live sales at the table, that's a bonus. If I hand out business cards, about half of the number that get picked up represent the number of sales I have online afterward. 
  8. Trust the customer to ask the questions. 
  9. Keep any "sale" talk to a minimum and keep it simple. "I write science fiction and fantasy with strong heroines and a touch of faith" is about enough. If people ask me about specific books or ask about a cover, then I can say more. If I say too much too quickly, sometimes they run.
  10. Long pauses while they look at my books are good. Dramatic effect does wonders for sales. Talking too much drives people away - at least for me. 
  11. Having an "interest" item on the table that's visible from ten feet away is good. I bring my fencing foil or saber with me. I don't let kids pick it up, so I have to keep an eye on it, but it definitely draws customers to come and talk to me about it, which leads me to talk about my books and writing fight scenes. 
  12. If someone won't take a book after they've paused and talked, try to get them to take a business card by offering it to them. 
  13. Take advantage of my surroundings. I used the chalkboard visible to most of the restaurant to display some of my poetry - each day I wrote a new (previously published) poem on the board. It gained some attention from customers and gave me way to engage with them. One regular customer of the BBQ restaurant offered to read my work out loud with theatric hand gestures in a booming voice. I let him have at it and it was great. 
  14. Thank the venue. . 

Invite to a Class

You are invited to: 

The Writer’s Workshop Series, Four-Sentence Exercises to Boost Creativity and Sensory Description 
Friday, May 6, 2022
7:00 PM  8:00 PM (PDT - Seattle/LA Time)

In this class, writers will engage in listening, discussion, writing, and sharing to learn how to:

·       Create a micro-fiction story.

·       Utilize short writing exercises to hone their writing craft.

·       Increase their sensory descriptions beyond visual description.

Please note all virtual gatherings are live streamed on Facebook to amplify accessibility. 

Zoom link will be sent just prior to the start of festivities. 



NEW LOGO

I have a new author logo from the excellent creators at Miblart!

I received the final artwork a few days ago, so I haven't put it in all the right places yet, but I'll be dedicating post to the process of getting this logo done next week!


And...



Wishing you all the best of writing times and life times! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Fiction Freebie for April, 4 Book Recommendations, and an Author Table


Freebie for April

I've decided to post a tiny bit of previously published writing each month on my blog here and my website Tyrean's Tales. 

"Guidance Counseling"

Previously published at The Drabble in November 2016. 

“A Guide to Succeed in 100 Worlds!”

The pamphlets strewn across the table in front of Ghent had a dizzying array of colors and languages that flashed across their surfaces in a blinding cascade.

Ghent closed his four eyes against them. They didn’t have a track for his chosen profession at this back-planet secondary school.

His counselor, a blue-haired Wispan, leaned over him, “Ghent?”

Ghent mesmerized her, bribed the principal with information he found in the school network, and sauntered out, re-assured of his purpose.

Perhaps even future villains needed a boost in the right direction after all.



4 Late April Book Recommendations:





1. Whale Day and Other Poems by Billy Collins - an excellent and fun poetry read that I'm currently reading (haven't finished it quite yet).



2. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik - a hilarious, slightly dark, and excellent older YA Fantasy. Think Harry Potter, but with snark and high stakes danger lurking in every chapter. 




3. Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron - a fun, middle-grade super-powered story. 



4. The Business of Writing Short Stories: Writing, Submitting, Publishing, and Marketing by Shannon Lawrence. See full review below:

This book is the definitive work on the business of writing short stories. It has everything you need, from non-nonsense tips on writing short stories, publishing short stories, and marketing short stories. It is jammed full of information, and I recommend it for anyone who wants to write short stories successfully.

I have been writing short stories for over three decades and I wish someone had given me this book back in college, or ten years ago. I highly recommend it as a book for any student of writing, any writer who wants to make a go of it, and anyone who needs a little help going in the right direction with the business side of writing short stories. 

*Truly an excellent book and a must for any writer's shelf. 5/5

Next month, I will be reviewing: Cassadark by Alex J. Cavanaugh, The Portal by Shana Dow, a non-fiction book, and a poetry book (TBA). I am trying to read about 50% non-fiction and poetry books this year.

An Author Table



This week, I am at BBQ2U in Gig Harbor, WA at the author table. The owner of the restaurant is a patron of local artists and authors, providing us with a place to sell our wares every week in a prominent spot by the front window. I had a shift at the author table last fall, and I'm back again this week. It's good for me, since I find author events to fill me with a bit of author-social anxiety, which is akin to going to an interview when someone comes up and I need to figure out how to talk about books without being too pushy, but yet with bold confidence in the books I've written. Sitting at the author table for seven days in a row usually takes me from nervous to comfortable because it's so daily. I'm thankful for the experience and thankful to be there. I hope I sell a few books, too, or at least garner enough interest for someone to pick up a business card and go search out my books online. 


Friday, April 22, 2022

An Interview with Alex J. Cavanaugh, Science Fiction Author and Ninja Captain


An Interview with Alex J. Cavanaugh, Science Fiction Author and Ninja Captain


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Connect with other writers. This is a lonely business, and we need the support of like-minded individuals who can encourage, support, and guide the way.


 From start to finish, how long does it take for you to complete a novel? Or What's your writing process like? Slow or fast? Are you a cheetah in the drafting process and a turtle in revision or vice versa? 

Depends on the novel. This one took two years as I was a bit rusty from a very long break. I’d say between six and ten months for drafting and revisions is average. And I am no cheetah when it comes to the first draft. Takes me forever. Revisions go much faster and smoother.


How did you come up with the idea for the unique world you’ve created? (Or, who/what inspires your writing?)

The whole universe was inspired by the likes of Battlestar Galactica and other movies and shows from the late seventies. The world within CassaDark—I guess I just have a thing for desert planets. Or just characters living in desert areas. There were also a couple movies that inspired the idea behind a garbage planet that serves as a prisoner hold as well. The setting just leant itself to a place where survival would be challenging and escape a distant pipedream.


If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?  

The honest answer? If everyone knew the love of God, this would be a much better place.


If you could choose who would direct the movie of your book, who would you choose and why?

James Cameron! I want a blockbuster, a great, big movie with outstanding special effects. Who else would I choose?


If you could choose who would act as the main character in your book in a movie production, who would you choose and why?

Tom Holland. He’s the right age and would bring just the right level of awkward dorkiness to the role.




Alex J. Cavanaugh works in web design and graphics, and he plays guitar in a Christian band. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is known as Ninja Captain Alex and he’s the founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

http://alexjcavanaugh.com 

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

https://twitter.com/AlexJCavanaugh


 


CassaDark By Alex J. Cavanaugh

His world is unraveling…

Bassan’s father is stepping down from command. His best friend almost dies when Bassan freezes. Now, he’s being sent across the galaxy to speak at an important conference. Despite saving the eleven races years ago, he’s paralyzed by fear and doubt. Could things get any worse?

Once there, new acquaintance Zendar convinces Bassan to visit his planet for a humanitarian mission. Bassan’s special connection to ancient technology is the key to saving Zendar’s people. One problem though—it’s a prisoner planet.

On Ugar, he discovers things aren’t so straightforward. As each secret reveals itself, the situation grows more desperate. If he can’t find the right answers, he might die along with Zendar’s people. Can Bassan summon the courage to be a hero again?


Release date – April 6, 2022

$16.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 226 pages

Science fiction - Adventure (FIC028010) / Space Opera (FIC028030) / Space Exploration (FIC028130)

Print ISBN 9781939844842 / EBook ISBN 9781939844859

$4.99 EBook available in all formats


Links:

iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1574189874

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0982FL3SH

Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940164947033

Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9781939844859

Scribed – https://www.scribd.com/search?query=9781939844859&language=0

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58461762-cassadark