Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Interview with Public Relations Counselor Nicole Singer from Write Me a World

Today I'm interviewing Nicole Singer from Write Me a World regarding her job as a public relations counselor. This is an rewarding and creative field for those who are interested in jobs for English Majors and Writers.

Wow! Nicole is currently offering her ebook of short stories for FREE through the middle of next week (Nov. 7 2012 to be exact). Thanks Nicole. See her blog for details.

Thank you for the chance to interview you, Nicole. I'm interested in learning more about what you do. Can you tell me what is your job title? I'm a public relations counselor for a small public relations agency.

What are your job duties?
One of the nice things about being a small agency is that I get to work in a lot of different areas. The vast, vast majority of what I do is writing (of all kinds). I also do media relations, crisis communications, help design brochures, websites, etc., and act as a project manager for our clients.

In what ways are you using your writing and creative skills? SO many awesome ways! One of the most creative projects we did was a year-long comic strip for a hospital system. We wrote each episode and worked with the illustrator to design the characters and how they interact. We also just wrapped up an animated video, which we wrote the script for.

We’ve done quite a few brochures as well, which are always fun to develop. My favorite was a brochure we did for a local school – the writing and photos worked so well together. That’s part of what I like most about my job. I get to take someone’s ideas, put it into words and then see it come to life.

Some of the coolest stories I’ve written have been for our client newsletters and magazines. The people I interview are so amazing. They’re average folks who have overcome some incredible challenges, and those are the days I really, really love my job. These people are so grateful that someone is willing to tell their story!

Creativity is key because 1) we work so closely with designers and have to make sure our words match their vision and vice versa, and 2) we write for so many different audiences, we have to be masters of all styles.

Do you have an English degree, and if so, what ways has it helped your job/career? Technically, no, I have a Public Relations degree, but English and writing were a huge part of it! I’ve also been able to use my interest in writing and publishing on behalf of my clients on more than one occasion – whether I’m helping them launch their own books, or steering someone away from a pesky vanity publisher (I swapped emails with Victoria Strauss on this one – very cool!).

What do you love about your job?
I love the variety and the fact that I play a role in all different aspects of a project. Writing, strategy and creative. I also truly love telling people’s stories. Every individual or company comes to PR with a story to tell, and they’re not quite sure how. I get to help them tell it!

That sounds great. So, what would you say are the challenges of the job?
Edits. Haha! I never worry about getting critiqued on my own writing, because I’ve built up such a buffer working in PR. Our client teams often include multiple people, and they usually have multiple opinions about what’s important and how something should be written. Without fail, everything we write gets changed multiple times before we send it out.

Working in PR provides a great perspective, because it teaches you to listen to the client edits and then balance that with what you know the client is actually trying to accomplish through the writing.

PR can also be quite intense. We pretty much live on deadlines.

Would you say it is difficult to get into?
Not necessarily, but it does take a lot of commitment to move up. The industry is always looking for great writers.

Do you have any tips for those who are interested in working in public relations?
Learn to use commas. Seriously. I review the resumes for our job and internship applicants, and this is the biggest gap we see. I’d also say learn to be invisible when you write. If you do PR correctly, you don’t get any credit – your client does. It’s also important to try out different writing styles for different audiences.

Is there anything else you would like add?
PR is a great industry! I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I knew I wanted a “day job” that let me do that, too. I tell stories every day at work, I get to partner with some really amazing creative people, and it’s something new all the time. I love how it stretches me, and I think it’s a great complement to my own personal writing pursuits.

This is great information. Thank you for your time, Nicole!
Thanks so much for having me, Andrea! These are great questions.

You can find Nicole Singer and her work, Running in the Dark at the links below:
Running in the Dark-Available on Kindle
Running in the Dark-Available at Smashwords

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Resurrection Blogfest!

Mina Lobo from Some Dark Romantic is hosting the Resurrection Blogfest on November 7th.

In this blogfest you will re-post a piece from your first year of blogging (one which didn't get enough TLC or that you think deserves a second look).

There will be prizes for1st, 2nd, and 3rd place!

Click here to learn more and sign up.

Congratulations to Mina in celebration of her first year of blogging!

Monday, October 15, 2012

What Can You Do With An English Degree Pt 2

Welcome to part two of the series on what you can do with an English degree. You can read part one here:

Reporting
Are you unafraid to ask questions and be bold? Reporters are naturally curious, active listeners and good at telling stories. As a reporter it is important to give the correct information which may require some research.
What they don't tell you:
Newspapers run 24 hours a day, chances are that you'll start out working a graveyard shift.
How you can stand out from the crowd:
Get experience through your school's newspaper, or through a local small newspaper.  Learn the business, diversify your topics - if you enjoy writing food columns, try sports as well. Also work on improving your editing skills.

You can also try Magazines. Start small by submitting to a niche or trade magazines. Have a scrap-booking hobby, love snowboarding, or cooking? Try writing about those. There is a magazine for everything.

Technical Writing
Can you take something that is technical or complex and rewrite it to make it easier to understand? Technical Writers are highly sought after for software, pharmacy, robotics manufacturing, medicine, science and other fields. Plus they make a nice salary.
What they don't tell you:
You will need to be more than just a good writer, most employers want you to show your expertise in the field as well. You will be constantly learning all of the new developments in the field you work in (which may be a good thing if you are interested in the field.)
How you can stand out from the crowd:
Get a minor in a computer science, science, or other field depending on which one you want to write for. Even taking  a few classes in the field, and a technical writing class will help. See if you can volunteer to write some technical or training documents at your current job to get experience.

Freelance Writer
As a freelance writer you can be your own boss, which means working by your own schedule and writing in your pajamas, woo hoo.
What they don't tell you:
You can quickly get cabin fever, income doesn't come in nice stable intervals so it can be very feast or famine. You are also on your own as far as health insurance.
How you can stand out from the crowd:
Build up your reputation first. Network with other freelancers who might be able to recommend you to an employer when they are overloaded with work. Also, make sure that you go through the right channels when asking for work.

Do you know of any other career fields for English majors and writers? What are your thoughts?

Monday, October 8, 2012

What You Can Do With An English Degree Pt 1

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I discovered a passion for writing I decided to major in English - Creative Writing. But what can a person do with such a degree that could put food on the table? I researched what kind of jobs want you to have an English degree and discovered that you can actually do a lot! In fact, even if you don't have a degree in English there are a lot of marketable skills that a writer could showcase to a potential employer.

First things first. There are websites and books out there that will tell you that you can be this or be that with an English degree. But, they don't tell you the downsides to those jobs. Some can be very highly competitive to get into, may require a lot more training or experience than just a bachelor's degree, or are demanding, time-consuming jobs. My bubble burst when I researched my dream job of becoming a college professor. However, there was a lot of positive things I found out as well.  I think being aware of the difficulties of a career early on is better than finding out later when your dreams are smashed into little bits, plus it can give you a better chance of being successful in getting into the field if you already know what is expected.

I will try to give you the inside scoop on the jobs I researched for an English major, I'm sure I haven't even covered the tip of the iceburg so if you know of any other jobs, please feel free to share. In the end there is only one way to find out if a job is truly right for you - do it! And if you really do want to become an novelist, a college professor, or a librarian don't let anyone or anything stop you.

College Teaching
I think this would be an awesome job, you get to teach what you love to college students.
Requirements:
MA or MFA, and a PHD to teach upper level classes and be eligible for tenure track positions.
What they don't tell you:
This is a difficult position it get into. It is not uncommon for hundreds of applicants to apply for one tenure track or full-time teaching position. There are many people out there who are teaching as an adjunct at serveral schools at once, making barely enough money to survive. Teaching at the college level means research, publishing, and other requirements to stay ahead in the field. There will also be a lot of English 101 classes to teach in which students are only there because it's required. 
How to stand out from the crowd:
Publish, publish, publish, the more the better. Try to gain as much experience teaching as you can, espeically before you graduate.

High School Teaching
Many of us have had a special teacher that has really made a difference in our lives. You could be that special teacher.
Requirements: Usually a teaching certificate and a bachelor's degree.
What they don't tell you: A lot of teachers quit in the first 3 years. There is usually a very high student to teacher ratio, big classes can be hard to manage, and difficult to teach considering the different learning levels of the students. It is hard work, you are usually coming in early, staying late, grading papers, and you will need to continue your education to keep your certification up. Teachers do more than teach, they supervise lunch rooms, become hall monitors, and coaches when needed.
How you can stand out from the crowd: It's a good idea to gain teaching experience by substitute teaching, tutoring, or becoming a paraprofessional. Being knowledgable in your topic helps, but having a real passion for helping students is what it is all about.

Higher Education Jobs
I love the more relaxed environment of working for non-profit, there seems to be more camaraderie and less stress. Colleges and other non-profit organizations need writers for their publications, media relations, marketing, grant writing, and alumni associations.Colleges also need people to handle the administrative side of things such as processing, advising, and managing their writing center.
Requirements: Usually a bachelor's degree, although some processing and administrative assistant jobs don't require one.
What they don't tell you:
In higher education the bigger the degree the better, but that doesn't always mean you'll get a promotion. They still want you to have experience as well. Also, the pay for these kind of jobs will be less, sometimes a lot less than the for-profit sector.
How you can stand out from the crowd:
Apply for organizations that are in tune with your beliefs and what you care about. Working in higher education means helping students. Once you get your foot in the door, volunteer to take on more responsibilities and work you want to do. Showing initiative will get you noticed, and give you experience.

Novelist
Ahh, my ultimate dream job. So dreamy I dare not even dream it. Could you imagine making a living through your writing?!
Requirements: Talent, and productivity. I'm not sure if having a degree would help that much.
What they don't tell you:
 It can be very difficult to get published as most people are aware. But even once you are published it  doesn't mean you will be making a lot of money. Also, publishing one book doesn't automatically mean it will be easier to publish the next. You are effectively working for yourself which has it's upsides (like working in your pajamas), and it's downsides (like income fluctuation and no health benefits). 
How you can stand out from the crowd:
Be an easy person to work with, listen to constructive criticism, turn in polished work, and finish your work by the deadline. And no matter what, keep writing.

Other Careers:
Pt 2: News, Technical Writing, Freelance Writer


Do you work in any of these fields, or have an interest in them? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Inner Journey


So it looks like my break from blogging has turned into more than that, it has become a spiritual journey of sorts. I’ve done a lot of thinking and I’ve decided to focus on finishing my bachelor’s degree in English – Creative Writing. Woo hoo! I know my major must be a real shocker for you ;)
 
I realized that what I really want to do is become a teacher. The funny thing is that I’ve known this for a while now but told myself that I couldn’t, that it would take too much work, it was too competitive, etc.  But then I realised that there will always be a need for someone to help others with writing and literature, so I am following my heart. I was able to work past my fears and I’m going full speed ahead (ok, maybe 55 mph..but still it’s something). 

Because of school I don’t know when I will be back into the full swing of blogging again, I will make more posts but I don't know how often that will be. In the meantime please feel free to email me. I also wanted to thank all of the wonderful people I’ve met through this blogging experience; you have helped, encouraged, and inspired me so much. This is such an amazing community of writers. You guys are awesome.
 
Take care and happy writing!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Writing Blues

There's a time when your bones ache and your fingers just won't move
The pen sits there on the paper and you just don't know what to do
The keyboard is collecting dust for days on end
That's how you know you've got it bad my friend
You've got the writing blues, the writing blues, when you've lost the muse, you've got the writing blues...

The writing spirit has been so fickle lately, every now and then I get inspired and scribble some things down and then its gone again. Ahh well. There is nothing wrong with having a break (as long as I don't give up!). It's time to fill the creative well, and there is nothing wrong with that. "Sometimes the arrow has to draw back to fly ahead." I'll be reading over Falcon Prince this month and try to get into editing mode, and I'll be posting some fun writing exercises to try. Yeah!

I know the muse will come again someday, and my writing blues will go away.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

New Design

Hey Guys,

It's good to be back and with a new web design too!

I needed a break after writing a book in a month and some time to try to figure out a few things, like what should I do with my life? When and how should I go back to school? Etc. Still working on those but at least I'm making progress.

I have decided to take more classes, and try to work on bettering myself inside and out. I realize that I can't spend as much time blogging so I have been thinking about the direction I want take this blog. I still want it to be about writing inspiration and ideas, but maybe focus on a some things more than others? I would love some feedback from you if you have a moment.


As a reader what kinds of things do you enjoy most, find the most helpful, or want more of?
  • writing exercises
  • inspiration
  • amusing ideas
  • book reviews
  • humor
  • step-by-step guides
  • personal accounts
  • quotes
  • writing prompts
  • humor
  • current blog and writing events
  • others?

Thanks for your help!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Under Construction

Hi Everyone,

The Enchanted Writer is now under construction with Lori Lawson from Imagination Designs. Soon this website will rise from its cocoon and flutter into the air like a beautiful butterfly.

Since I am taking on a heavy load with work, school, and finishing my A+ certification things will probably be a little more low-key at The Enchanted Writer. I am hoping to keep a schedule of 1-2 posts per week.

I am looking forward to catching up with everyone's blogs and revealing my new blog soon.

Take care!

Andrea

Sunday, July 1, 2012

200 Followers, Thanks Everyone!



Ink in the Book is my 200th follower, and she is throwing a party. I am so thrilled! Check it out here.

Thanks to Lauren for giving me the Book-in-a-Month Award

L.G. Keltner for awarding me the Versatile Blogger Award

Jeff Hargett for honoring me with the Booker Award. 

Michael Pierce for passing on the 7x7 Award

and Alyssa for giving me the Stylish Blogger Award.

I appreciate all of the wonderful support. Thank you so much. I will try to pass them on.

 I also want to thank everyone for following. I didn't know what would happen a few months ago when I started this blog, I never expected to have 200 followers. I am eternally grateful to the community of writers in the blogosphere, and to all of the new friends I have met. You guys are awesome!



Saturday, June 30, 2012

How We Met Bloghop


Melinda Dozier is hosting the How We Met Blog Hop today. Melinda would like us to share a story of how you met your significant other, be it your husband, boyfriend or partner, in 150 words or less and post a picture that was taken around the time you met (sorry I don't have any). Stop by her site to read the other entries, or to sign up and add your own. 

Happy Anniversary, Melinda!

    - How We Met -

It was a moonlit night and an intrepid group of adventurers were seeking a champion to help them assault the zealots of The Scarlet Monastery. A powerful warrior named Siegfried offered his aid. He was a broad-shouldered Tauren with hair that covered him like a lion’s mane. Keena, a Tauren druidess was curious why such a powerful warrior would offer his help when he would clearly gain no benefit, could such a chivalrous hero really exist? Siegfried was equally curious about her as she was of him. Something about her voice enchanted him. They began to talk to each as they slaughtered the enemies of the monastery. Corpses piled as they joked and got to know each other. After the zealots were vanquished, Siegfried asked her out on a quest, just the two of them, and she accepted.

That is how I met my wonderful husband on World of Warcraft. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book in a Month Pt 20: BIAM Recap

Thanks to all of my new blogging friends, this has been an amazing journey. I never cease to feel so much awe at how encouraging everyone has been. I have really enjoyed getting to know other writers, it is so awesome considering 6 months ago I only showed my writing to a couple of people. Thank you so much. I couldn't have done this without you.

I want to thank all of those who have been with me through the whole Book in a Month challenge. There are too many people to list. Special thanks to the peeps who have personally reached out to cheer me on. Triple rainbows to you, my friends!

I made a page for the BIAM Recap here.

The Book in a Month Dare:
Now it's your turn. I propose a dare, for anyone out there who is brave and willing. Would you try writing a Book in a Month? If you have done this, in the process of it, or are thinking about it, let me know!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book in a Month Pt 19: Finishing a Book in a Month


"Celebrate every writing success and never lose your sense of wonder about each opportunity."


Wishing on Daisies is finished!! (the rough draft anyways)

Yeah! Woo Hoo! Alright. 20,000 words in 30 days.

My hope for writing a book in a month was to see if I could actually do it, and yayzers I did!

The weirdest thing about writing the ending is that I realized the story doesn't need a mermaid in it at all. It has plenty of emotional impact without it. I even found a few ways to include some daisies at the beginning and the end to tie-in with the title. Ahh, what stories can put you through!

Even though this month was the busiest for me in a long time I was able to write as much as I have ever written before. I wrote on my lunch breaks at work, on weeknights (the hardest), and on weekends. I think making it happen, making it a priority helps. Accountability is key. Saying I was going to do this on my blog put the fire under my butt, and having friends who were supportive really helped too. Special thanks to Laura from Stranger than Writing for always checking in on me.

So, there you have it. A book in a month. I hope that this project has been inspirational, if you are thinking of trying to write a Book in a Month I'd say go for it. Try it!

Where do I go from here? I made a few notes, and got my manuscript in good enough shape for the next stage. The Rewrite.. dun dun dun...for now, though I'm shelving it.

Thanks to everyone for your support! Stay Tuned for the Recap.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Book in a Month Pt 18: Writing Dialogue


"Hey, there is one subject you haven't talked about yet."
"Which one is th-"
"The one you've been avoiding!"
 "You're right," I whisper, unable to meet the piercing gaze of my accuser.

As you can see from my attempt at dialogue, why I have been avoiding the subject. Nevertheless, dialogue is vitally important to creating a story. I've done a little research, and here is what I've found. 

Dialogue should be used for two things:
1. Revealing more about a character.
2. Moving the plot forward.
Ideally it will do both of these things!

Great dialogue mimics real life conversation but with all of the boring parts taken out. 

Include descriptions:
  • The character's voice.
  • Mannerisms.
  • Nonverbal communication.
  • What the character is doing while they are talking.
  • What is going on in the setting around them.

 Reveal character through dialogue:
  • What does the character's voice sound like, what is their vocabulary?
  • Do they speak in short sentences, are they normally quiet or talkative?
  • Do they use slang? 
  • Are they a stickler for correct grammar?
  • How do they show their emotions?
  • What is their posture?
  • What is their facial expression?
  • How are they responding physically?
  • Do they use their hands to gesture when they talk?

Does each character sound different? Could you tell who spoke the words even if you didn't see the name?

A few more tips:
Include conflict/tension in dialogue as much as possible, or something that will lead up to conflict.
Read books with great dialogue and study them.
Avoid, the "floating heads in space." 
"Recite your dialogue out loud. It sounds different than in your head." - Michael Pierce



Links:
Holly Lisle: Dialogue Workshop
Writing World: Punctuating Dialogue
Creative Writing Now: How to Write Dialogue that Works
The Write Blog: The Secrets of Writing Great Dialogue

Wishing on Daisies Progress: Rough Draft is Finished!
Finished Status: 20,139 words
Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Complete. 
More posts on this to follow! I have been slow to get back with everyone and post awards, but this should start to get better in about a week.

Do you have any tips for dialogue? Your thoughts are most appreciated.
  If you have a post about dialogue I would love to read and share it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My So Called Teenage Life Blog Hop

Thank you to Amy Sonnichsen and Christa Desir for hosting the My So Called Teenage Life Blog Hop. In this blog hop we are supposed to post our journal entries or bad poetry from our teenage years. BTW, I love the TV series, My So Called Life :)

Below is an excerpt taken from my diary: I will keep the names anonymous but everything else is the same. It is from my sophmore year of high school when I first fell in love. I lived in duplex with my grandfather, and my aunt and cousins Nathan and Steve lived in the other side. Ryan - the guy I had a major crush on was a friend with Nathan and lived in the same neighborhood. I also joined the swim team. That year has been a major inpsiration for my current WiP, Wishing on Daisies.

Sep 7
School started last week. I really feel like I have no friends, but it's getting better. The more I talk to people the better things become. I can think of almost all my classes were I can talk to someone. I now sit with Nathan's friends at lunch (they just play dungeons and dragons and stuff).

Oh, one guy I used to know from 6th grade has excel home room and lunch with me. Since I talked with him he follows me to class and kind of acts real interested. I would like him as a friend but I don't want him to try anything. I kind of have my heart set on Ryan. I've been doing a lot of thinking about him lately. Even though I still don't feel good enough for him I can't keep being impervious to the cute things he does. Like last year he followed me to the mail box, and lately he's been always compliementing me, walking with me to the car and stuff. He opens the door for me. How can I be so indifferent? It's driving me nuts. I think (I know) I have a crush. I don't know what to do. Should I jump? Should I still remain indifferent? I must let him know somehow but I dont want to be let down or teased by other people. Why does he llike me? I hate having a crush because I long for him to stop by and visit. I even leave the window open all the time to hear if he's coming. I look for his bike or car at our house, and I walk by his house sometimes to see if he's there.

Once he came up stairs to say, "hi." I loved that (though I still acted as a friend). Now the next time I'm going to react with the same interest as he does to me. I talk to him a lot and show him subtle signs but now I'm going to be more prominent. Let's hope I don't act giddy, or stupid.

Did you have a high school crush?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interview with Michael Pierce, Author of Provex City


Today I get to interview Michael Pierce, who recently published  the young adult fantasy novel, Provex City. 

A little about Provex City:
"Fifteen-year-old Oliver Grain begins his school year fighting off bullies, learning about the boy who committed suicide in his room, and trying to understand why his history teacher, Mr. Gordon, has taken such a personal interest in him.

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe you can make bullies simply disappear? Do you believe you can walk through walls?

Mr. Gordon tells Oliver: "When you truly believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls." And one of those doors leads Oliver to Provex City, which puts him in far greater danger than he can possibly fathom." 

The Interview:

Could you tell us more about Provex City?
Provex City went through several large revisions before it became what’s available now. It started off as a story called Patrick’s Ghost. I wrote a few chapters, outlined the book, and then scrapped it all. Patrick become Oliver. Mr. Gordon stayed the same, but he was originally a dual character, the mentor and the villain. In this new version, it was titled Shroud Lifted before it became Provex City. I like the title now, but I originally changed titles so I could submit to the same agents again, hoping they wouldn’t notice that it was the same book. Haha.

It is a wild ride of a hero's journey for Oliver, involving different planes of existence and developing  his powers. What were your inspirations for the story?
I was inspired by Harry Potter and a number of self-help books, which helped me find direction in my life.

A lot of characters have secrets, or are more than what they appear. Can you tell us more about how your characters developed? 
Provex City is all about Oliver finding himself, and the rest of the series is about him fulfilling his destiny. I tried to create characters with different insecurities and flaws, and have them act true to themselves—but allowing the readers to be privileged to the “whys” one at a time (some reveals in this book and others saved for further into the series). I want as many of my characters as possible to be significant and have some role to play in the big picture.

The book contains a lot of philosophy which Mr. Gordon teaches Oliver. Positive messages such believing anything is possible, focusing on what you want, and overcoming doubt. What was the inspiration for these positive messages? 
I’m a big fan of Anthony Robbins and Wayne Dyer. They’ve given me so much inspiration and motivation over the past few years. These are messages I think are important to share and important for myself. I thought this positive thinking and possible human potential would make for an interesting “seemingly” magical system. Though Mr. Gordon will say that it is not magic.

Can you tell us a little more about yourself, and your other hobbies/interests? 
I am a coffee addict, a newbie to the glazing industry, a very amateur musician, an unworthy husband to my soul mate, and lucky father of an amazing five month old. Most of my spare time disappeared with the birth of my daughter. Now, when I’m not enjoying my brief daily family time and not in the office, I’m writing and blogging. I love my family and I love my writing, so I can’t complain.

What is the biggest challenge you faced when writing Provex City and how did you overcome it? Every next challenge was the biggest challenge. When I set out to write Provex City, I had never attempted a novel before. And I hadn’t written a short story in about five years. So I had a lot of warming up and catching up to do. I learned so much in the process of writing and editing. I cut over 20,000 words of Provex City. Then came the challenge of submitting to agents, writing queries, and perfecting a synopsis. And when I decided to self-publish instead of waiting for an agent, a whole new adventure began.

How long did it take you to write and finish? 
I go through spurts of being really productive and then slow periods. Provex City took me about a year to write. I edited for a couple of months before starting to submit to agents. But while I was submitting, I continued to edit. I didn’t arrive to a draft similar to what’s available now for about another year.

Do you have any tips for writing in the YA genre? Specifically creating an authentic YA voice?
I worked in coffee shops for about twelve years, spending a lot of time with high school and college students. I would advise being careful with slang unless you’re specifically trying to create authenticity for a specific time or region. Different regions of the US have different slang. It can get distracting and take away from the storytelling. And speaking of voice, recite your dialogue out loud. It sounds different than in your head.

Provex City was riveting, do you have any tips for creating page turners? 
I kept what interested me and cut parts that I found myself skimming through to get to more exciting scenes. I like cliffhanger chapter endings, which caught my attention in the Harry Potter books. I don’t want a chapter to be nicely resolved so you have a clean place to stop. I want my readers to get to the end of a chapter and be like “Crap! Now what’s gonna happen?”

Why did you decide to self-publish? 
I got tired of waiting for my perfect agent. I figured there was more than one way to get a desired result. I have multiple role models with publishing success stemming from self-publishing.

Do you have any advice for people considering self publishing? 
Don’t take any sale for granted. You have to appreciate each “one” before you can appreciate each “million.” It starts with one.

On your blog you said, "Provex City is as much my journey as it is Oliver’s." Can you explain? Oliver is searching for his destiny, and so am I. Oliver is tested and learns what he can handle and what he’s capable of. I feel the same way, from writing my first novel to taking it to the marketplace myself, I’m discovering what I’m made of. Oliver can’t quit (I won’t let him) and neither can I.

So many writers struggle between pursuing practical careers vs. pursuing their writing dreams, do you have any advice? 
Since I’m still in a practical career to support myself and help support my family, no, I don’t really have any advice. All I can say, and what I’m trying to live by every day is: Don’t give up on your passion! There are so many people living practical, without passion, just waiting for the next weekend. I want to look forward to every day, not just two days out of the week. 

Do you have any other tips for emerging writers? 
 If you love it, then do it! If not, then don’t. Because it’s not easy, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to be something you love doing no matter what. Don’t be the next “someone else;” be the first you. Write something you’d like to read (it doesn’t matter if it’s something you know about or not…you can learn). If you really want to write, then write. Don’t quit. If you don’t quit, then it’s impossible to fail. 

You can find Provex City on Amazon by clicking on the link below.

Links:
Provex City (Kindle Version) on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Provex-Lorne-Family-Series-ebook/dp/B007HHO0K0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1339127842&sr=8-2
Provex City (Print Version) on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Provex-City-Lorne-Family-Series/dp/1470121204/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1340198876&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=provex+city

Michael Pierce's Blog: http://www.michaelpiercebooks.blogspot.com/
Michael Pierce's Website: http://www.michaelpiercebooks.com/ 
Michael on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/michaelpiercebooks 
Michael on Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/MrPierceBooks


Monday, June 18, 2012

Fabulous Blog Ribbon Award

L.G  Keltner from Writing Off The Edge has passed on this fabulous award. Thanks L.G!! Check out her awesome blog when you get a chance.

1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Name five of your most fabulous moments, either in real life or in the blogosphere.
3. Name five things you love.
4. Name five things you hate.
5. Pass the ribbon on to five other bloggers. (Leave them a comment to notify them of their win.)
 
Okay.  Here we go!
 
5 Most Fabulous Moments
1.         Marrying my husband.
2.         Anytime a group of people have sung happy birthday to me.
3.         Watching a meteor shower.
4.         Finishing my first novel (rough draft) before my 30th birthday.
5.         The first time I had flour-less chocolate cake.

5 Things I Love
1.        Eating a Wendy's Vanilla Frosty.
2.        Robot dancing.
3.        My friends.
4.        Making up songs and singing them.
5.        Books that are so good I can't put them down.

5 Things I Hate
1.         Mean People.
2.         Scratched CDs.
3.         Anyone who gets on their cell phone in the movie theater.
4.         Being too hot in the summertime.
5.         When animals are abandoned or mistreated.

Now to pass this award on...
1. Heather @ Random Interruptions
2. James Anderson @ James Anderson's Blog
3. Kyra Lennon @ Write Here, Write Now
4. Lauren @ Eclectic


Wishing on Daisies Progress: 8 days left
Current Progress: 17083 words
Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 - Complete. 
Chapter 10- Still in Progress
Only 2 chapters left to go. Yeah!

A big thanks to Jackie at Bouquet of Books  and Dani at Entertaining Interests for hosting the First Fight/First Kiss blogfest. Jackie honored me with a First Kiss Scene Honorable Mention badge. Woot!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Book in a Month Pt 17: Getting Through The Muddy Middle




For those of you who are working away on a novel and hit a big wall (like me), I just want to say that it is normal and you can get through it. Just keep writing, you can always go back and fix things later. Keep going. You can do it!

Muddy Middles
Even though novels have a beginning, middle and end, most of the novel is going to be the middle. I wonder why it is always the most difficult? The place where I get stuck?  Jim Butcher calls it The Big Swampy Middle, but I like to call it The Blubbery Fat Roll between the beginning and the ending.

If the appetizer gets our mouths watering, and the dessert is the sweet and satisfying finish to look forward to, how can I turn the main course into something special?

Let's take a look at the 3 Act structure of stories.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book in a Month Pt 16: Breaking Through Writer's Block



For the last 3 days I haven't written. But that is about to change.

I'm calling this block, The Great Wall. Not the one in China, the one in my brain. This tends to happen when things pile up and I feel overwhelmed. All of the little writing blocks build up in my mind and create a giant flaming wall of doom.

Building Bricks of The Great Wall:
  • I'm too tired.
  • I've gotten pretty far already, I can take a break.
  • I'm not sure about some major aspects of my story.
  • I'm not sure if I even like my story, do I?
  • My story has changed a lot from the plot line, I don't know what to do.
  • Finishing a book in a month is crazy.
  • My writing is really awful, I should stop.
So, here is the thing. I've got to find a way to climb over this wall and make it to the finish line. The only sure way to get over a writing block is to bust through it by writing (even if you don't feel like it). Here is what I am going to do:

Write. Now.

I'm not going to go back and look at anything, I am going to look forward and keep writing. I am going to write today and tomorrow Laura from Stranger than Writing is going to do word wars with me.

Have Fun with Word Wars
When 2 or more people write at the same time for a certain amount of time (like 20 minutes) and at the end they see who has written the most. I will be doing this tomorrow, yeah!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The First Fight/First Kiss Blogfest Pt 2


The First Fight/First Kiss Blogfest Pt 2

The First Fight/First Kiss Blogfest is hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books. Feel free to check out her website to join in and read the other entries!

Post 1 will be on Tuesday, June 12 - Share your 1st FIGHT scene on your blog... lovers spat, a banter back and forth, a battle scene, a classic fist fight, etc. It can be physical or verbal, fists or magic. Whatever you want.

Post 2 will be on Thursday, June 14 - Share your 1st KISS scene on your blog. It can be a peck on the cheek or a full fledge kissing session. Whatever you want to share.

From The Falcon Prince
This is one of my favorite scenes, explaining Arman and Kaitlyn's connection. Not the first kiss, but close to it. I hope you enjoy it!

He looked down at Kaitlyn who was now asleep in his arms. It had been nearly a decade since he last saw her. Memories of that night flooded into his mind.
He had fallen from the sky, snapping branches as he went. When he collided with the ground he felt his bones break with the impact. Blood spurted from of his wounds. Cyrus was out of his grasp now, and the pain of regret filled him. He would die before he could revenge his sister’s death.
Arman’s breath came in gasps; he tried to will himself up but couldn’t move. He only hoped he would die soon, before a wandering animal made him into their next meal. His eyes gazed up at the sky and he saw the moon, full and high above the trees. He had never thought much about the moon before, now it would be the last thing he saw before leaving this earth.
A moon-lit angel appeared above him, with long hair and sparkling eyes. She was his namisad, his soul-mate, he knew with every fiber of his being. There were stories told that if one did not meet their soul-mate in their life, they would wait for them on the other side and return to guide them to the celestial realm. His soul-mate bent down and gently touched his broken wings. She caressed his bloody chest. He no longer felt any pain, only incredible peace. Arman closed his eyes and let the feeling wash over him. He didn’t have to fight anymore; he was going with his soul-mate to the afterlife. A surge of lightning made his body quake, and he felt as light as air. It was the merge, when his soul-wind bound with hers. Soon they would be going together. Soon he would be free.
She screamed.
A tidal wave of pain rocked his body.  Instinctively he lashed out.  His body felt heavy again. In confusion he opened his eyes. She was standing away from him, holding her hand against her chest. Blood trickled down her arm.  She was no angel. She was a young woman, a human woman.
He knew that he was healed now. But everything was wrong. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. He let out a piercing screech and flew away from her.
How did she? What had she done? A soul-joining could not do that.
He flew up high above her and she started to run, taking off past the trees. From a distance, he followed her back to a campsite. He had to know who she was and why she did this. He watched her from the upper branches of pine. She was just an ordinary teenage girl, probably eighteen or so, a little younger than he was. She sat at the campfire next to her father. Trembling, her frightened eyes would look up from the fire to scan the woods at every sound. She must have been as shaken as he was. The back of her hand had a long scratch that she mindlessly rubbed with her fingers. He regretted that he hurt her. For hours he tried to figure out how she was able to heal him, and how she was able to become his namisad. But no answers came.
Sky People were forbidden to soul-merge with humans. And while he never cared much for conventions, his life would be far too dangerous for her. For whatever reason he had been given a second chance, and he would use it to see the fall of Cyrus. He couldn’t bring a young human woman into this, even if she was his namisad. She would live a better life with her kind. It was best if he flew away and the farther from her the better. He left then, taking off into the moonlight to begin his new life. He vowed to never see her again, a vow that he has broken many times over the years. Whenever he flew near the city, he always checked on her from a distance.
Now he was carrying her to his home.
She was no longer a young woman with wide eyes and a thin body. She had the lush, full figured body of a woman. Thick, strong hips and delicious thighs. Her beauty ignited a desire in him that he hadn’t felt in years. Strands of light hair broke free from her ponytail and chaotically framed her face. He imagined kissing her lips, her throat, her collarbone. He wanted to untie her pony tail, running his fingers through her hair and watch it cascade over silken skin. He wanted to kiss her deeply, passionately. Desire burned within him. No, she definitely wasn’t a young woman anymore. 
Arman pushed back his longing with a stern grimace. He could not give into temptation. Not now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

First Fight/First Kiss Blogfest Pt 1


The First Fight/First Kiss Blogfest

The First Fight/First Kiss Blogfest is hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books. Feel free to check out her website to join in and read the other entries!

Post 1 will be on Tuesday, June 12 - Share your 1st FIGHT scene on your blog... lovers spat, a banter back and forth, a battle scene, a classic fist fight, etc. It can be physical or verbal, fists or magic. Whatever you want.

Post 2 will be on Thursday, June 14 - Share your 1st KISS scene on your blog. It can be a peck on the cheek or a full fledge kissing session. Whatever you want to share.

Arman and Kaitlyn's First Fight
From The Falcon Prince

She struggled to free herself from his arms but he held on. Kaitlyn grunted in frustration. “Let go of me!”

Arman’s face became cold ice.  He was angry at his own lack of self-control, at almost kissing her. Impervious to her thrashing and wriggling he pressed her closer to his chest.

“Not until I get you safe.” Arman commanded. He had a way of intimidating others with his presence. Most would not dare to argue with him.

 She started punching his shoulders with her fists. Her cheeks turned red.  “If you had just let me go earlier, I’d be safe at home right now.”

Arman raised a quizzical eyebrow. “You mean violated by those grackles and then taken to be a slave for Cyrus.”

            “Yes. I mean no. Let me down!”

 Kaitlyn was a fighter and this charmed and delighted him. Arman’s face relaxed from its stony expression. A slight smile pulled at the edges of his mouth. “When I know for certain that you are safe I’ll take you back home.”

She was gasping for breath from her struggle. “Promise me,” she said while her silver-blue eyes searched his. They reminded him of a deep river on a cloudy day, and glimmered with spirit and intelligence. No doubt she was trying to figure out a way to escape, but whatever she tried he would outwit and protect her.

“I guarantee it.”

Monday, June 11, 2012

Liebster Award


James Anderson has honored me with the Leibster Blog Award. He is a great guy, techie and  writer. Check out his awesome blog. 

The 'rules' of the award are the following: 
  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
  3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
  4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less.     (I went overboard)
  5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.
    I am passing this award on to these awesome bloggers: 
    Kaye Draper from Write Me is great blogger and aspiring author, if you love the quirky and fantastic, then you would love her blog.
    Rena from Doctor Faerie Godmother is a mad scientist writer that will not only have you laughing but also inspire you to write.

    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    Book in a Month Pt 15: Creating a Setting



    When choosing a setting for my novel I usually pick a place I have lived before (So I won't have to do as much research) hehe. But I have always been fond of places that I would love to write about someday, like New Orleans. There is so much to think about when writing fiction, plot, characters, etc. that setting seems to take a back seat for me. But I am beginning to realize just how important it is.

    The setting makes the story world feel real to a reader, it engages their imagination and enhances the mood of the story.

    Location, Location, Location
    Here are the basics for creating a setting:
    • Where is the setting?
    • What year is it?
    • What time of year is it? 
    • What time of day is it?
    • What is the weather like?
    • What is the architecture and/or the geography?

    Saturday, June 9, 2012

    Book in a Month Pt 14: Choosing a POV


    Choosing POV or "Point of View"

    POV Struggles
    Wishing on Daisies is written in 1st person, but now I am wondering if it should be 3rd person limited. At some point during the writing process I always seem to have a struggle with POV. Did I choose the correct one? Should I change it? I have heard other writers struggle with the same issues. Dealing with this uncertainty can create frustration that sucks up valuable writing time. Here is the information I have gathered on the most popular POVs to help you decide which one would be best for your story.

    Why so Tense?
    • Present tense has more immediacy but can be prone to drawing the reader out of the story if something doesn't sound right. 
    • Past tense is more common but lacks the sense of immediate "in the moment" feeling of action.

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Book in a Month Pt 13: Finding Time to Write

    Make Notes:
    While I am writing a rough draft, things always seem come up that I never planned on. Usually new ideas, inconsistences, or changes that pop up in the middle of writing. When this happens, I’ve been making a quick note of the change in a notes section that I keep with a copy of my outline. I’ve found that this saves a lot of time. It is much easier for me to go forward with a change than to have to go back to make it retroactive.

    Carving Time:
    Another thing which has been a challenge is finding the time to write. There is only so much time in the day so I have had to make some sacrifices. I spend less time checking out other blogs, emailing and internet surfing. Poo! I also spend less time watching shows, and I have been making quick meals at home. Also, my dirty dishes have been pileing up lately…I better get to those soon before my room mates get angry! Hehe.

    Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    Book in a Month Pt 12: Inspiration to Write!


    The Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh was created to encourage one another and share things that we're dealing with in our writing ventures. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! To join, click on the IWSG pic on the right side of my blog and post the first Wednesday of every month.

    Stop by Beautiful Chaos  TODAY to get a free (hard copy or ebook copy) of Eldala. There are 19 books available, so don't miss out!

    It's 9:30 at night, I'm exhausted. I just spent a half hour browsing the internet.. but golly freakin' gee wilikers Batman. I'm gonna write!!

    So, get yer inspiration here, get pumped up, and write something! Let's do it!

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Book in a Month Pt 11: Tired? Keep Going


     

    I just came home from working late and having to run errands. I'm grumpy. I'm tired, and now I have to write. Well, I don't have to write. But, I want to.. especially with this whole book in a month thing and all.

    So, here we go..

    The Booker Award

     

    Thanks to the luminous Christine Raines for this award. 
    Be sure to check out her amazing blog!

    The rules for this award:
    This award is for book bloggers only. To receive this award the blog must be at least 50% about books (reading or writing is okay)
    Along with receiving this award, you must also share your top five favorite books you have ever read. (More than five is okay) You must give this award to 5-10 other lucky book blogs you adore.
     Here are my favorite books:
    2) Seal Child By Sylvia Peck.
    3) Skellig by David Almond
    4) The Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs
    5) Star Wars Legacy Series by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema
    6) Dark Prince by Christine Feehan
    7) The Lessons of Saint Francis by John Michael Talbot
    8) A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
    9) Moonglow by Assorted Authors
    10) The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
    11) Golden Apples of the Sun by Ray Bradbury
    12) The Dragon Lance Trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracky Hickman
    13) Poemcrazy by Susan Wooldridge
    15) Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Waterson

    I'm passing on this award to these 15 fabulous people:
    (15 people for 15 books, I'm neurotic that way, hehe)

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