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Draven präsentiert Geschichten aus der Gruft mit allerlei Geheimnisvollem aus den unheimlichen Tiefen des Netzes und aus jeder Ecke der Welt.

Denn glaube mir, nichts ist trivial. Freunde, die Gruft präsentiert: Dravens Radio from the Crypt! Natürlich immer noch ein Stückchen lauter und besser! Dass das Betreiben von dravenstales. Damit Kosten und vielleicht noch ein, zwei Freigetränke gedeckt sind, könnte ich den ganzen Laden hier mit Werbung vollkleistern.

Ich mag aber meine Leser, weshalb ich ihnen ein weitgehend werbefreies Leseerlebnis bieten möchte. Klicke dazu oben einfach auf Spenden. Über mich Kontakt Unterstützen: Water Slide Guy oder wie man perfekt die Wasserrutsche runter kommt.

Devil's Day - Ross The Boss. Mr Blue Footed Booby. Müsli-Schüssel und Bong in einem. Respekt vor dem Original: Jason Momoa verlässt "The Crow"-Remake.

Wie es aussieht, wenn New York City unter Wasser steht. Tödlicher Fluch - Trailer. Mit der kleinsten Kameradrohne der Welt über den Muscle Beach geflogen. Clever - Ice Age. Niemals nie wieder den Sandwich-Maker putzen.

Grand Canyon-Timelapse mit wunderschönem Wolkenspiel. Marvel's Luke Cage - Trailer zur 2. Water Slide Guy oder wie man perfekt die Wasserrutsche runter kom Nennen wir ihn den Usain Bolt der Wasserparks, ein Kerl in Jamaika zeigt uns, wie man perfekt die Wasserrutsche runter kommt und das sieht Der Song stammt aus dem aktuellen Müsli-Schüssel und Bong in einem Wer sich schon beim morgendlichen Müsli wegballern möchte, kann mit der Breakfast Bowl jetzt beides gleichzeitig erledigen.

Ich mag Momoa in fast allem, was er tut und ich bin froh zu lesen, dass er nicht mehr beim Ich gehe aber davon aus, dass die Stromversorgung in einem solchen Fall nicht problemlos Die Schweiz erlebt derzeit den viertwärmsten Frühling seit Messbeginn im Jahr Unsere Stimme verrät viel über uns — das zieht für Psychotherapie und Marketing ebenso nützliche wie erschreckende Anwendungen nach sich.

Bargeldloses Zahlen verbreitet sich immer weiter. Vampyr — Trailer Das Rollenspiel "Vampyr" lässt uns ab dem 5. Delirium — Trailer In "Delirium" wird ein Mann frisch aus einer Nervenheilanstalt entlassen und bezieht die von seinen verstorbenen Eltern geerbte Villa. Matematica Master of Numbers! Mit der kleinsten Kameradrohne der Welt über den Muscle Beach gef Niemals nie wieder den Sandwich-Maker putzen Wer bereits schon den Sandwichmaker angeschmissen hat, hat sich bestimmt auch jedes Mal genervt, das Ding nach dem Gebrauch wieder sauber zu machen.

Grand Canyon-Timelapse mit wunderschönem Wolkenspiel Harun Mehmedinovic hat einige sehr schöne Inversionswolken-Passagen im Grand Canyon für seine "Skyglow"-Reihe gefilmt, von welcher wir auch schon Aufnahmen hier hatten For Ever In Love: Wer braucht schon eine Klobürste?

The Hot One via Formal Sweatpants Eine Hand voll mit Baby Chamäleons Sieht ja irgendwie süss aus, so eine ganze Hand voll mit solch kleinen Tieren, die ihre Farbe wechseln können Atlas, der humanoide Roboter von Boston Dynamics, kann jetzt renn Animierte Typographie-Spielereien Typographie ist ja auch so eine Wissenschaft für sich, die man wahrscheinlich auch nur wirklich verstehen kann, wenn man sie mit der Muttermilch aufgesogen Sorry Mom Tattoo "Welches Tattoo möchtest du?

Alike Viel zu oft kommt durch den Alltag im Leben eine gewisse Monotonie auf. Aktuelle Album Reviews 9. Machine Head — Catharsis 8. This is a trait I think most writers must draw upon whenever they start a new novel—just take the art of plotting as an example.

I, for one, happen to be a loose plotter. But, even with its assistance in the basic plotting of my story, I still have to face a trillion decisions yet to come. Decisions about the backstory and motivations of my characters. Or about plot twists that I may not have planned out in advance. I can assure you that everyone who successfully writes a book that way has a gift of tolerating ambiguity in large measure! Furthermore, for all of us, there is a strong link between creativity and the ability to take emotional risks.

Why We Take Risks. So, in my opinion, although industry-wide change can be frightening, as authors we have very little to fear. Our creativity—our risk taking, our adaptability, our willingness to think divergently, our capacity to collaborate with each other, etc.

Figure out which creative traits are your greatest assets and explore them. Play to your strengths. Learn from those authors who have skills in different areas and share in return.

Use your talents to pave the path you most want to follow and join together with authors you respect to reach your goals. Some years back, I was talking with my brother-in-law about martial arts. He has a black belt in jujitsu and has competed many times, including once in Taiwan. One that also proved rather useful in his line of work! Knowing what it really means to EXCEL in one subject or at one particular skill keeps me from being fooled or, more likely, fooling myself into thinking a mediocre performance is an excellent one.

Someone who strives and attains excellence with French, for instance, or with the flute knows the time, work, effort, practice, commitment, etc. I may still have a lot to learn about writing, but I know enough to recognize when an essay or a novel is in essentially publishable condition…and, likewise, this hard-earned knowledge helps me to recognize with sadness but certainty, LOL that my artwork and my piano playing are NOT at a comparably high performance level.

No one just jumps into mastery with one or two easy leaps. We still need to take risks. Or, to quote Mario again: What projects are you working on right now? Essentially, so those we interact with will strive to be honest with themselves, open to experience, and willing to face challenges worthy of their time and talents. As writers, though, I think we live this without reminders.

So, in my opinion, the passion to write is fueled by something much more primal than mere aptitude. I believe the passion necessary to write a book comes from great love… and great fear. We need to understand the sources of our personal passions so we can harness them and channel their power into something we feel is beautiful and meaningful. From both love and fear. I pursued it with a relentless commitment for nearly eight years until I got my first book contract.

I then entered this hallowed world of big dreams and frequently small advances and got a front-row seat for one of the most significant industry shifts since the invention of the printing press…. And it was a fascinating experience—sometimes frustrating, sometimes gratifying, but never boring and, likewise, never constant. As the sands shifted under our feet, ebooks gained momentum, print runs for midlist authors like me got halved, and I realized that my passions were changing…not only when it came to what I longed to write about but, also, what I worried about the most in regards to my career and my future as a novelist.

I suspect one of the reasons arguments between traditional vs. Or that we might start to pursue that new avenue, only to have it change again a few years later. Back in , just before I got that first contract, my greatest desire was to hold a print copy of my book in my hands, see it sitting on a library or bookstore shelf, and get invited to local book clubs to chat with readers face to face about a story.

And my greatest fear was that an editor at a NY publishing house might never consider a manuscript of mine strong enough to publish. Nor should I have. They involve the distribution of my work. In this age of one-click purchasing, I wonder…are my books reaching their intended audience? Getting into the hands of their right readers? Am I doing enough to help make that connection happen, especially since I write across genres? I worry about this all the time.

My passion for what, specifically, I wanted to write about is changing, too. To write much more out of the box than I ever have. And this freedom has meant a lot to me. It is, without question, where my passions have led me for now—to the crazy joy of writing stories that cannot be easily stamped with a genre label. And, of course, your passions, may lead you to a very different place. But I think the important thing for all of us to remember is that we need to stay true to those things we love, try to see with our clearest vision those things we fear, and fully accept all the facets of our passion and its changeable nature.

With a nod to Henry David Thoreau, we can only step to the music we hear—however measured or far away—and trust in that. Some inspiring and encouraging, even while being instructive in regards to narrative flaws. It was a huge honor for me understatement!! It was during the only undergraduate composition class I ever took, which also happened to be the first time I remember making a conscious decision about whether or not to follow my sort of secret writing dream.

Loved both of these! As an education major, I was surprised and a little disappointed when I discovered I only had to take ONE writing course to get my degree. Nothing about the sound of this puny college English requirement scared me one bit. Told he was a real nutcase, a tough grader and someone to avoid like a bad virus, if at all possible?

His class was the only one that fit well enough into my schedule that spring, so I took it. At first acquaintance, Dr. I was simultaneously mesmerized and horrified by his lecture, and I kept exchanging sideways glances with a guy friend who was in the room with me.

We agreed afterward that, indeed, we should have held out for a professor who was a little more sane. Not just one weird little punctuation mark. But I was in for a surprise that semester. In fact, he started to scare me for another reason entirely: Furthermore, one option we had as students in his class was an open invitation to go to his office to discuss our writing during a short, individual conference — particularly if we were concerned about our grades, and I was starting to be.

My curiosity was at war with my resentment over this — I was sure it was going to be a soul-crushing experience — but curiosity eventually won out and I made an appointment to see him. The man possessed an amazing gift — both as a writer himself and as a professor. He was incredibly clear-minded, but he was also fair and kind. He was the first person in years to hold me accountable for what I wrote, to not let me get away with lazy thinking and to make sure I really conveyed on paper what I was trying to express.

He demanded honesty and clarity. Most amazingly, he inspired in me a powerful desire to prove to him that I was not illogical, unoriginal or remotely lazy. That his faith in my ability to live up to his expectations was somehow justified. He was a poet who loved Shakespeare, and one day when I popped by his office to say hello, he shared with me a poem he was working on. It was way over my head and I knew it — far too clever and full of literary allusions for me to even pretend to understand it — but I loved that he read it to me and explained that it was still a work in progress.

It was so emotionally honest of him. Certainly not at 19 or Not at 25 either. Or, for that matter, at And when, inevitably, I encountered a critiquing situation where there was derision and a lack of constructive feedback, I had a better model to emulate. To hold out for critique partners who were closer to Dr. That it should inspire us to want to work harder. To revise with intent and hopefulness. To reach deeper and consider the significance of every phrase, every punctuation mark.

Do you have a favorite teacher? One who inspired you and made you strive to work harder at something? There are dozens of reasons why I love to travel. Of simply moving from one place to another. Meeting people with backgrounds quite different from mine.

The thrill of forging connections between prior experiences and new ones. The pure adrenaline rush of novelty. And I love all kinds of journeys, too: Flights to foreign lands, cross-country road trips, train rides through mountain passes and even the occasional river ferry.

I had a chance to observe this firsthand and somewhat dramatically when we took our son, who was 13 at the time, to England and Wales for a short visit last spring. It was his first trip abroad. His first time buying anything with a foreign currency. As an avid coin collector, this made a huge impression on him. There were a lot of firsts. That, no matter how well we might be able to navigate our way through the American Midwest in our Honda, we were just lost tourists wandering on the cobbled streets of his English hometown.

Above all, our short, pleasant conversation with that lovely man became a tangible event that I could point to when I later spoke with my son about expanding his worldview beyond the confines of his junior-high environment.

That we need to strive to keep this in mind when we interact with everyone. No parental lecture on the subject ever worked as well as that 5-minute live demonstration, though. But the experience underscored something so important to me as both a mom and a writer: That being masters of viewpoint is at the heart of our job.

To help our children see the world just a touch more perceptively. I have this daily quote calendar on my desk, and the saying that popped up a few days ago was this: I agree with that to a certain degree.

As tough as writing a novel or a poem or a short story or even a blog post… can be some days, I rarely wish I were doing something else. But, for the most part, I love writing. The whole messy process of it. The crazy puzzle that we need to solve in order to create a story, draft it, edit it repeatedly!

I get a strange energy from it and — as an introvert — anything that gives me energy, rather than drains me of it, is always a good thing. My plan was to find jobs that would not only bring in an income but would also build my writing skills and understanding of stories. When our son started elementary school, though, I wanted to contribute more directly and, yet, still be able to be home when our son got back from his classes. I got regular assignments from a handful of publications, some regional, some national, and I also became a part-time book reviewer for a large-circulation magazine.

And, let me tell you, that was a BIG deal for me then! My pre-motherhood profession would have required me to be away from home too much, so I thought about what I could do within the realm of literature that might pay a bit more and still be as interesting to me as writing. It always will be. But promo and social media have their gifts, too. And oh, yes, I am definitely mocking my sensitive, lyric-writing, junior-high self. I had acute stagefright and actually hated performing musically in front of anyone.

I was too anxious and too unwilling to take the steps needed to improve 1 or manage 2. You know, I just really liked the fantasy….

So, I did not study much music in college, despite my deep love of the subject, until it turned up as a requirement for my major.

Guitar was a brand new instrument for me, and the first time I tried to tune it, I broke two strings. Give it my full effort. Besides, I had no choice. The results were pretty gratifying. I picked up the basics of the instrument in just a few weeks. Delighted in the calluses on my fingertips, much as it hurt to develop them at first.

Sped through learning the required songs and had the assistant professor listen to me play so I could get them checked off the list. Not as a future rock star, of course, but as someone who could, in fact, play and sing in public. At least when necessary.

My final performance piece — in front of the professor, the assistant, and a bunch of classmates — rocked. And I even got a part. I thought about that whole experience a lot during my years as an aspiring writer. The reward is the confidence and courage that come from meeting an unforeseen challenge…and the knowledge that in some new, similarly unexpected circumstance, we could probably do it again. First of all, many thanks for inviting me to visit WITS!

Something that wedged itself into my memory well over a decade ago and never left. As inexperienced as I was in the fiction world back then, I understood what she meant, and I still think about her wise words all the time. Early on in her career, back when she was hoping to just get a magazine byline, she told herself that all she wanted was to get published once. When I first started, the thing I thought I wanted was just to know for sure that I could write, as determined by some semi-objective measure.

I longed for proof of it, and I figured that this proof would best come in the form of a national publication of some kind with a byline and a check. The size of the byline and amount of the check were immaterial, although I daydreamed about both being fairly large, LOL. I knew there would be dues to pay, and I was willing to be patient and pay them with my time and my energy because I needed the clips and the exposure.

The opportunity to forge a pure connection with readers. And the networking and introductions to people who might want more of the articles or essays that I could write. Having talked to many authors, I suspect most writers and artists and musicians are this way. And we need to be to bring our stories to an audience. We need to be in order to persevere long enough to write our stories down in the first place.

But whatever my goal du jour was—winning a contest or getting agent requests or having a poem accepted for publication—I quickly learned it was NOT going to be all I wanted. I had a sense of ambition that seemed insatiable. For years I deluded myself into thinking that a multi-book contract from a New York publisher might actually satisfy me. THAT was the big kahuna, after all! I suspected it would be impossible for me to break this pattern.

This profession is packed full of exciting challenges—the high can be as addictive as creamy European milk chocolate—but it can also swamp you.

Run you completely ragged. To my earliest writing desires, and the origins of whatever sparked this passion for fiction in the first place—the opportunity to forge a pure connection with readers. The need to challenge myself with something new—both inside the narrative itself and within the writing world. That was what led me to explore some of the multiple publishing options available today, particularly within the realm of indie publishing.

The print lines that used to feature short romantic comedies no longer existed. I know this next year will be even more so. That said, writing and publishing are unpredictable professions understatement alert! I have a couple of projects that I think lend themselves best to indie publishing, but I also have others that might find an audience more readily through a traditional house.

And I wish each of you the thrill of adventure on your journey, no matter what twists it takes. It has been great fun following her career since then. What are some pros and cons of each that authors should consider?

First of all, thank you so much for inviting me here today, Anita! I love your new blog and am thrilled to be one of your guests: The pros offered by traditional publishing include things like professional editing, an expert cover designer assigned to create the image for your novel, a marketing department working to get your book distributed across the country or the world , publicists who get your novel out to reviewers in a timely manner, and a team of people who take care of the formatting of your manuscript—uploading it to digital sites or having it printed, stored and shipped to retailers.

Self-publishing takes a lot of work! On the other hand, self-publishing offers quite a bit of freedom in exchange for all of the responsibility.

The authors choose their own release dates—something else that most writers would have almost no control over in a traditional publishing setting. In some cases, authors might also choose to work with their agents to get formatting and marketing help. Unless an author is a bestseller at his or her publishing house, getting these activities lined up and paying for the ads will still generally fall to the author.

So, in that area, both traditional and self-publishing have a great deal in common. You have a long-standing love of Jane Austen.

Just kidding…well, not entirely! There is definitely a readership out there that loves Austen as much as I do! To my eye, she was a genius at depicting human behavior, and she created several flawed but very lovable protagonists, as well as some of the most memorable villains in literature.

You and I have talked about the value of critique groups for writers at all stages of their careers. What are the main benefits you have gained from being in a critique group, and what should writers look for when they decide to join one? As for what writers should look for in a critique group, I think it depends on what your own strengths are as a writer.

There are definitely times when helping a less experienced writer is rewarding or getting a detailed critique from a master-level author is truly enlightening but, day to day, for a close-knit critique group, I feel the strongest, longest-lasting partnerships come when we grow, share and learn with others who are at a similar place to us in our writing journeys. It also helps being around people we can have fun with, genuinely like talking to and really trust!

Thank you for your wonderful insight! One is finished and will hopefully find a perfect home soon. The other is plotted and almost half written. Marilyn, thank you once again for sharing your amazing in-depth advice and experience with me and readers. Best wishes for those current and future projects! Publishing seems to inspire such moments more frequently than, say, almost any other less crazy-making occupation.

I can now see countless flaws in it…but, back then, I thought it was a work of utter depth, brilliant pacing and staggeringly beautiful prose. This did not in any way stop me from desperately wanting a publishing contract with a NY house for that book. Turned out, I needed to dig a little deeper into that desire. In one instance, at least, that was true for me, too.

It had gotten so close! Honestly, though, that was the BEST thing that ever could have happened to that book! Not selling this story too soon was, in fact, exactly what I needed…and, surprisingly, what I wanted as well.

Stories that influenced the very worldview of that writer-to-be by stamping it with an indelible impression of skillfully paced plots, believable motivations, insightful characterizations, clever subtexts, and compelling themes.

We all have our own private shelves—literally or figuratively—that feature these memorable examples of storytelling.

Forevermore, we hold up their masterful narration as our personal standard of excellence. The one we hope to rise closer to… someday. If we practice really hard. And if the writing gods smile upon us, even slightly. This story is a contemporary romance about an ER doctor and a single mom who cross paths on an Internet dating site. We all know, though, that the course of true love or carefully plotted fiction will never run that smoothly….

Bennet, a Regency-era mother to five single daughters Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia, in order of age , is yammering on and on to her husband about how a new eligible and wealthy bachelor just moved into the neighborhood.

We then encounter the object of Mrs. Charles Bingley, who is in attendance with his snobbish sister Caroline, his other snobbish sister and her husband and, most interestingly of all, his best friend. Enter the even wealthier and handsomer—albeit, significantly prouder and more arrogant—Mr. Darcy scoffs at the idea of dancing with Elizabeth, no matter how fervently his good-natured buddy implores him to do so.

Elizabeth overhears this conversation, and you can imagine how well that goes over with her. Her true character, though intelligent and, at heart, quite loving, is one of a woman with a LONG and exacting memory. Bennet wanting to marry off her daughters and the debate here is a series of discussions from the perspectives of multiple characters regarding the nature of courtship and marriage. Elizabeth requires something more in a spouse—intellectual respect—while Bingley and Darcy debate the qualities they admire: Everyone argues their positions.

In spite of himself, this is where Darcy really starts to like Elizabeth—particularly her fine eyes and her liveliness of mind. Collins proposes to Elizabeth. She refuses, so he proposes to her friend Charlotte, who impulsively accepts. Darcy and the Bingley sisters persuade Mr. Bingley to leave town, and Jane, in hopes of crossing paths with him again, leaves as well to stay with relatives in London. Elizabeth, who has already met the cunning but charming officer Mr. She readily believes them.

Elizabeth takes a trip to visit her friend Charlotte, now married to the foolish Mr. Collins, and encounters the formidable and frequently rude Lady Catherine.

It is, however, a shock to all of us when Darcy unexpectedly proposes to Elizabeth badly. He storms off and writes a long letter to Elizabeth, explaining that Wickham is a really bad guy. Both Elizabeth and Darcy have been prideful and prejudiced in a number of ways, and the state of both of their love lives seems pretty pathetic right about now.

Bad Guys Close In: This is where the plot thickens. The officers of the regiment, including Mr. Wickham, leave the area for another town. Elizabeth, meanwhile, gets to take a new trip—this one with her sensible aunt and uncle from London. They talk and are on the verge of something very courtship like when disaster strikes. Jane writes a letter saying that Lydia has run away with Wickham and the two cannot be found.

Dark Night of the Soul: Because of his earlier warnings about Wickham, she confesses to him what has happened with her youngest sister and, basically, says goodbye to him. She knows any further relationship between them is hopeless. Bennet is ecstatic to finally have one daughter married, even under these circumstances. Wickham and Lydia visit the Bennets as a married couple. Elizabeth is wiser now and distances herself from Wickham and his Darcy-bashing speeches.

Lydia lets a secret slip—Darcy was with them in London—which makes Elizabeth crazy with curiosity. She begins to investigate. Meanwhile, Bingley suddenly returns, seeks out Jane and, eventually, proposes. Lady Catherine surprises Elizabeth with a visit, demanding that she stop pursuing Darcy. Elizabeth is seriously confused. Nevertheless, she tells off his aunt with her best Regency-era insults, and is further stunned when Darcy himself shows up soon afterward.

Elizabeth has learned that HE was the one who found Lydia and paid Wickham off to marry her. When Darcy proposes a second time, Elizabeth accepts with pleasure. With three out of the five young ladies now married, Mrs. Bennet is beside herself with delight. Would you change anything? And, for everyone, what are some of the books or films from your youth that most influenced your writing?

While it had its entertaining moments, I doubt the primary appeal of this story was the prose itself. To me, the allure seems to stem from a combination of factors: In this case, they also have lots of sex on lots of surfaces.

The curiosity alone can be quite a compelling inducement to read it. It was for me. What do you think? I love to explore characters in my stories whose perspectives may be wildly different from mine. But, sometimes, equally as much, I love seeing snippets of my real, often humdrum suburban life reflected in the fiction I read and write.

Sometimes I want the traits that make these characters unique to be their emotional courage, their honesty, their strength of spirit. In my opinion, familiar situations and commonplace problems in a story are valuable to readers, too.

After all, there were no red rooms of pain or year-old billionaires in them… But, for me, those stories were lifesavers.

Someone whose work strikes an authentic, recognizable chord in your own life. If so, please share. And to all of you in the midst of NaNo, keep at it! More noticeable in spice than the Mild. Not nearly as tongue-burning as the Hot. But change can be cumulative. And, as with salsa, even medium levels can get to you after a while. Sense them starting to heat everything up.

Getting that first traditional NY contract and all of the crazy hours of work that went into preparing for a debut release…that was a year of greater stress than I ever would have imagined. Over the next few months, there will be some additions to my author bookshelf. I can recognize my peers and wave to them. The second step is to figure out what, exactly, must change…and why.

My author friend and I were aspiring writers together a decade ago, and we still help each other remember that long, arduous climb toward getting any kind of professional feedback, agent interest, editor requests and — eventually — publishing contracts. Or the winner of a big literary award. Or the 1 placeholder on some kind of coveted list. None can be purchased, lost or stolen. Persistence Yes, rejection sucks.

It sucks for everybody. You can pout for a day or two want some Belgian chocolate? Well, IMO, until you get the answer you want to hear. A Killer Work Ethic Be responsible. Or, to quote the wisdom of one of my favorite fortune cookies: Unless a family or health crisis prevents you — because, on rare occasion, there ARE legitimate reasons for not finishing a project on time — show how incredible you are by not being a slacker.

Show us your unique vision in some way. Optimism Yes, rejection sucks. Do you hear an echo? Though, if at all possible, try to avoid tactless ranting on social-media sites, okay? Curiosity What do you care about? What are your passions?

What makes life worth living, in your opinion? Go out into the world and experience some of life until you DO know. And above all, Aspiring Writer, hang in there. What qualities would YOU give to other writers? Those Brits, they have everything.

So often, a sign of maturity is our ability to own up to our weaknesses. My high-school years were marked by two such assertions: In moments where I was quiet enough to listen to the inner voices and be honest about my actual gifts and flaws, I knew I was wrong to fight so hard against both of these.

To keep claiming again and again that I was exactly who I said I was. Someone who hated gym. But I know now why I did it. Because to own up to having some natural abilities — to really embrace them as strengths — would require my having to take full responsibility for developing them.

If I tried but failed in some way i. I could pat myself on the back for overcoming great obstacles and doing something not remotely innate. If I succeeded, then it was only as a result of my work ethic. Better to think of myself as an overachiever than to suspect the reverse: That for too many years I may have actually been underachieving. That my greatest weakness had nothing to do with either athletics or storytelling, but being too afraid to tell myself the truth about what I could really do well and what was genuinely out of my grasp.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Perhaps not every person who reads this will have experienced something similar.

Having an aptitude for poetry, math, tennis or jewelry design. Possessing more musical talent or more computer knowledge than you ever use. So take that first frightening step…whisper it aloud. I have friends whose offices are a study in well-organized shelves, neat piles and dust-free cabinets.

What you think, you become. You take the action, and the insight follows: But I like that. Readers that make us want to keep going, keep on creating stories despite all the challenges…. Some writers have the strength to stay away from reviews altogether — good or bad. There are different literary tastes in the world, are there not? The style is clumsy though the author strives to impress with an aristocratic pompousness so typical of social climbers of her day. The characters are cold, their development dull and boring… I would rather endure a daily root canal than read this book again.

It was almost as inspirational as witnessing a mountain top removal to mine coal. Perhaps zero of five stars would be more accurate…. The only thing that kept me going was the hope that there would be some little twist… Unfortunately not. Each of the female characters are shallow, self-centred…and vacuous. It is not romantic or charming in the least bit. The main character comes through as arrogant and at times even stupid.

It is a completely forgetable book, and I have no clue as to why so many people find it romantic. I have never read such a novel that is completly incompetant, complete nonsence, the smallest talks of all the small talks in the world, it is about nothingness, and how several nothings trying and wanting to get married to other nothings for all the wrong reasons in the world. It is about people pretending to be inteligent and pretending to be civilized. It is a book where they compliment women as being handsome and men as being well…also handsome.

It is quite contageous I might add because I find myself helplessly imatitating the language that it was written in. I am offended by every paragraph that I read. I have never felt such contemt for any work that I read.

I pasionately despise this novel and I could write an entire paper on why. Marilyn is compelled to add: You may not realize the preciousness of your gift, but we novelists surely do. Some of you have given that gift to me, and my gratitude cannot be measured. Writing a novel is such an emotionally intense and mentally involving task that, much of the time, we writers are so caught up in juggling the details of story structure and craft that we lose focus on the ultimate big picture: Why are we writing this book in the first place?

Does it make sense? Is it as interesting as I hope it is? Why does this story matter? In my opinion, there is a long and a short answer to that for each of us as we face our various projects. The long answer is undoubtedly a complicated equation involving an analysis of our writing goals, our resources, our ability to reach readers, our desire for some of the fantasies that typically come with the writing life regardless of whether or not we end up achieving them , like being seen as famous, earning our idea of a good fortune, winning honors and awards, battling Death in our ever-present fight against our mortality, or feeling the rush we get by challenging on paper a personal fear.

Essentially, by some semi-objective means, we try to determine how capable, connected, valuable and relevant our stories are in the eyes of our target audience. How meaningful our work is, at least as deemed by the society in which we live.

That, ultimately, we have to come to terms with our own lack of absolute certainty in regards to what we hope is our Love of a Lifetime. Somewhere inside of each of us, we know why. As much of an individual stamp as our writing voice.

And as unique and hard-to-define as we are. And, yet, despite the confusion that tends to come with change, I believe every transition holds an extra-special gift in its hands and that these sweeping changes surrounding us are no exception.

Perception, Interaction, Opposition and Marginality. Lotsa laughs in it, I tell you. It is at this point, though, where my research from long ago greets the current changes in the industry with a smile. See, if someone were to distill the findings of my laboriously written thesis, it would be this: That creativity is most likely to occur at the margins of a society, and that people on the edge of two cultures whatever those two cultures might be have the ability to peek into both worlds and make connections that those people fully immersed in either one side or the other cannot necessarily see.

Programmers are unleashing new technology on us with the rapid fire of an automated weapon, but we continue to learn it, adapt to it and, maybe, even come to love it… all without ever having forgotten what it was like to dab whiteout on a mistake when we mistyped something or what it felt like to get blue ink on our fingers from the carbon copy paper we once used.

Just think of the possibilities. For some it might be a technological demon sent from the future. So many times in the past, advances in technology were seen as magical. That could be the basis for a new tale, or it could be the reverse. Do you find yourself using your knowledge of life before cell phones or MP3 players to enhance your stories in some way or develop a more complex range of characters? Has technology—or the lack of it—played a key role in any of your manuscripts?

Are you tapping in to the creativity that an awareness of more than one worldview can inspire? Now, you have to understand insert critical backstory here , my addiction to Nutella goes WAY back, about 25 years, when I first tasted it in Europe. With a little help from my son, we mixed everything together, kneaded the dough, flattened the biscuits and cut them into fall-leaf shapes before baking. I was, however, very motivated to give these biscuits a try, and they were well worth it!

One thing I learned right away: The puzzle-loving side of my brain kept watching the symbols spin by, trying to figure out a pattern.

I suspect the tall strawberry margarita you see sitting beside the machine assisted a little in this endeavor, too. Tequila helps you find connections everywhere, LOL. He talked about what made a dish good.

He said there were really only three things a person needed in order to cook well: For a novel you need: Thanks for the cooking lesson, Fabio! I totally wanted to blog about something light and fun and uncomplicated enough to have fairly clear-cut answers, like the best birthday cake you ever had or your favorite kind of appetizer do I talk about food too much?! I figured if I had it on my mind, a few other people here might be thinking about it, too… So, let me just state the obvious: This is a pretty unsettling time in the publishing industry.

There is some very real excitement out there, too, by the way. New opportunities are emerging almost hourly, and many entrepreneurial souls have been quick to hop aboard the digital train in hopes of striking gold. Some have found it in the literary realm and are shouting their gratitude and their Amazon rankings from the rooftops.

Others are still striving and hopeful and secretly trying to crack the logarithm for ebook bestsellerdom. And yet others are capitalizing on the author accessories needed for a successful digital experience — the creation of book covers, the proofreading skills, the uploading and conversion know-how.

I may not utilize every service available to me out there, but I love having options. And for every public comment that unabashedly praises the Digital Revolution, there are at least five more — ranging from whispered concerns to infuriated accusations — that express in some way a powerful and pervasive sense of fear.

For me, trying to uncover the source of that fear has been occupying a lot of my mental energy this summer. Where is our industry going? Will readers abandon paper books in order to make the digital leap? And, even if we fully embrace the lightning-like changes that have struck publishing hard in recent years, will we be able to roll with whatever comes next in an industry that has transformed so rapidly in such a short period of time?

Just about everyone I know is asking themselves some version of these questions. Publishers are wondering if they need to add a digital branch to their company or expand the one they already have. Literary agents are fielding a slew of queries from their clients about rights reversion or assistance in the self-publishing of backlists.

Whose downloads are higher? Or between publishing professionals. Whose services or distribution methods are better? That part will always be relevant. I think we need to hang tight to this truth until the dust settles, even as we learn new skills and face the challenges that come with navigating our careers in this ever-shifting publishing environment and this not-exactly-stable global economy. How stories will be packaged, sold and delivered in five years or ten is still a point of some debate, and I suspect many of us are going to have to adjust far more than we may feel comfortable doing sigh , but the craving for stories will live on.

No revolution — digital or otherwise — will change that. I wander out into the world and they exist. Like stepping onto a patio in summer and being surrounded by sunshine, oxygen and the occasional swarm of mosquitoes. How could I explain the existence of story ideas any more than the presence of air molecules or insects? In my admittedly, heavily food-obsessed mental world, I think of the ideas as sitting in wait for me, like an infinite variety of ingredients listed inside the cookbooks next to my stove.

My real-life cookbook collection contains recipes with an ethnic flavor, vegetarian meals, lite dishes, grilling guides, more dessert creations than one person should be allowed and scrap sheets of paper with special family favorites scribbled on them.

All of these clamor for my attention at meal time, and I must choose between them. For me, selecting menus — or novel plots — are strikingly similar tasks. A stew in the crockpot, for instance, or a casserole in the oven. Most of the time, I have a few different things on the burners and one thing heating in the microwave and another that needs to be tossed together on the counter. My story ideas are like that, too. A couple of items on the stove top: What about all of you?

What about reading — do you read one book completely before picking up another, or do you have several books in progress at once? Each stage, I figured, was another stride on the long climb up the publishing mountain. Every new stage — each circuit around those bends in the mountain, up to a slightly higher elevation — is like being a newbie all over again. Novels may have distinct beginnings, middles and endings, but I think writers just a have long string of often terrifying beginnings.

That is, gaining enough experience writing, studying craft and building the skills to recognize when the story was working or not. Knowing when I was being true to my voice, when I should accept or ignore feedback, when the elements of structure and characterization were coming together vs. To put it in courtship terms, I was flirting, dating, falling in love with writing fiction as I walked along that part of the path — coming to appreciate it for what it was, and for who I was when I was with it.

But, then, this stage merged into another. One that required a brand new skill set. Committing to it with the exclusively of a soulmate, and attempting to understand what made the publishing industry surrounding it tick. The release day would be akin to a royal wedding and then, of course, there would be the happily ever after. Weddings — royal or otherwise — are lovely, but then the marriage starts…and, as many of us know, it marks a whole new stage in the relationship.

Likewise, despite all of my attempts at being prepared for publication, I was, again, left breathless by this new level in my career when it finally came. But, I have to be honest with you. I never would have become a writer if revisions and tweaks were all I did. Despite how frightening and perplexing those beginning stages are, despite the self-doubt that arises during them, I also know they can be the most thrilling of the whole book.

It is, after all, in the beginning where the magic of the story is born. Where the drive to journey forward originates. And where we get the inspiration and the courage to take that very first step. I was sort of into it at one time, though. For about a year, I actually ran for 3 — 5 miles a few times per week. Even got up to 7 miles on a handful of occasions. I loved the mental image of it. Even so, in his first year, he came in th place out of 31, finishers and about 45, total runners — so in the top 1.

I had, right before my eyes and in my very own family, a model for real running success. Furthermore, my brother is an incredibly cool dude, and he openly, enthusiastically told me all the things he did to train and prepare for the big race. And THAT — my friends — put a dramatic end to my marathoning fantasies!


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Tödlicher Fluch — Trailer "Pyewacket: Juni durch das von der Spanischen Grippe geplagte London von Neben einem umfangreichen Story-Modus beinhaltet Agony ein offenes Herausforderungssystem, das Spieler Weiterlesen … Delirium — Trailer In "Delirium" wird ein Mann frisch aus einer Nervenheilanstalt entlassen und bezieht die von seinen verstorbenen Eltern geerbte Villa. Das Vermächtnis" kündet sich der nächste Geheimtipp an, der uns ähnlich wie "The Witch" vor drei Jahren mit Weiterlesen … Serial Cleaner: In diesem Game muss man Leichen verschw Bei "Serial Cleaner" geht es actionlastig her, doch muss man sich nicht die Finger schmutzig machen, denn Morde und Einbrüche Sie ist der Dreh- und Wie klein das fliegende Ding wirklich ist, Cooles Tool für alle Worldbuilder und George R.

Martin Wannabes, der "Medieval Fantasy City Generator" besitzt einen Algorithmus, der mittelalterliche Stadtpläne in vier verschiedenen Drin trifft heftiger Rock'n'Roll auf Metal-Inspiration In dem Filmchen geht es um ein von Menschen geschaffenes Der Track stammt vom aktuellen Album Der Song stammt aus dem kürzlich veröffentlichten Album "The Staffel Im Trailer zur 2.

Staffel der Marvel-Serie "Luke Cage" muss der scheinbar unbesiegbare Held auf einmal selbst schwer einstecken, während er in Harlem für Unterlegt mit sanfter Orchestermusik, besuchen Denn dafür gibt es doch schon seit längerem Klo-Papier! A Star Wars Story" veröffentlicht. Anstelle echter Schauspieler sehen wir in dem Respekt für Jason Mamoa! Ich mag Momoa in fast allem, was er tut und ich bin froh zu lesen, dass Staffel der Marvel-Serie "Luke Cage" muss der scheinbar unbesiegbare Held auf einmal selbst schwer einstecken, während Weiterlesen … Dolly Zoom: Weiterlesen … Movies Numbers Seconds einzigartige Filme, Nummern, die in Sekunden von auf 0 runtergezählt werden.

Und ich mag die Tatsache, Weiterlesen … Atlas, der humanoide Roboter von Boston Dynamics, kann jetzt renn Der Roboter von Boston Dynamics ist nicht mehr an ebenen Böden gebunden, nun bezwingt er anscheinend jegliches Terrain.

In folgendem Video sehen wir den Juni durch das von der Spanischen Grippe geplagte London von streifen. Doch das Leben besteht nicht nur aus Arbeit. Beim Konzert vom Mai im Sands Casino Nein, ist nichts für Draven präsentiert Geschichten aus der Gruft mit allerlei Geheimnisvollem aus den unheimlichen Tiefen des Netzes und aus jeder Ecke der Welt. Denn glaube mir, nichts ist trivial. Freunde, die Gruft präsentiert: Dravens Radio from the Crypt!

Natürlich immer noch ein Stückchen lauter und besser! Dass das Betreiben von dravenstales. Damit Kosten und vielleicht noch ein, zwei Freigetränke gedeckt sind, könnte ich den ganzen Laden hier mit Werbung vollkleistern. Ich mag aber meine Leser, weshalb ich ihnen ein weitgehend werbefreies Leseerlebnis bieten möchte. Klicke dazu oben einfach auf Spenden. Über mich Kontakt Unterstützen: Water Slide Guy oder wie man perfekt die Wasserrutsche runter kommt.

Devil's Day - Ross The Boss. It thrives in those places where our knowledge of one world overlaps with another world. All of us who are writing and publishing today are the living definition of cultural marginality, at least in relation to our field. We have a front-row view of the two intersecting worlds of publishing, i. These changes are so real to us and so visible that we have the singular ability to hold the vision of both worlds in our minds simultaneously.

And, while the downside is that it likely feels to you as it does to me—daily! I truly believe this. The spirit of innovation, the greater openness to trial and error, the generous sharing of information, and the rich peer collaboration have been beyond what many of us could have ever imagined during our earlier publishing days.

Quite a number of unusual marketing ideas, multi-author projects, new regional reader events, and clever promotional strategies have originated or been expanded upon thanks to the out-of-the-box thinking of some indie authors. However, our current climate sparks an appreciation for the gifts that this industry-wide upheaval has brought to all of us and a desire to contribute to the sharing of knowledge that has revolutionized the way we approach the writing, publishing, promotion, and distribution of our novels.

It all starts, though, by knowing which talents we bring to the table. Perhaps one of the trickiest lessons we each have to learn as writers is the art of playing to our strengths.

Even as we work to improve upon whatever areas are more difficult or daunting for us as individuals, we still need to take the time to recognize those traits that make us unique—those particular aspects of creativity that fuel our storytelling and our imaginations—and to honor them.

As novelists, whether published or aspiring, we are a collective of highly creative individuals. Just think about what we do every day: These are uncommon pastimes for most adults…unless, of course, they happen to be novelists.

Below are some of the most frequently cited characteristics of creative people. Many are complementary traits while others may be in opposition. The creative individual is aware of such boundaries but enjoys finding ways to subvert or transcend them. It might be as simple as using an unusual but apt metaphor in writing a scene or as extensive as utilizing a deep grasp of another vocation to slingshot book promotion to a new but receptive audience.

It is possessing the mental flexibility to accept the internal conflict and tension that result from polarities, inconsistencies, and contradictions. This is a trait I think most writers must draw upon whenever they start a new novel—just take the art of plotting as an example.

I, for one, happen to be a loose plotter. But, even with its assistance in the basic plotting of my story, I still have to face a trillion decisions yet to come. Decisions about the backstory and motivations of my characters. Or about plot twists that I may not have planned out in advance. I can assure you that everyone who successfully writes a book that way has a gift of tolerating ambiguity in large measure!

Furthermore, for all of us, there is a strong link between creativity and the ability to take emotional risks. Why We Take Risks. So, in my opinion, although industry-wide change can be frightening, as authors we have very little to fear. Our creativity—our risk taking, our adaptability, our willingness to think divergently, our capacity to collaborate with each other, etc. Figure out which creative traits are your greatest assets and explore them. Play to your strengths.

Learn from those authors who have skills in different areas and share in return. Use your talents to pave the path you most want to follow and join together with authors you respect to reach your goals. Some years back, I was talking with my brother-in-law about martial arts. He has a black belt in jujitsu and has competed many times, including once in Taiwan. One that also proved rather useful in his line of work!

Knowing what it really means to EXCEL in one subject or at one particular skill keeps me from being fooled or, more likely, fooling myself into thinking a mediocre performance is an excellent one.

Someone who strives and attains excellence with French, for instance, or with the flute knows the time, work, effort, practice, commitment, etc. I may still have a lot to learn about writing, but I know enough to recognize when an essay or a novel is in essentially publishable condition…and, likewise, this hard-earned knowledge helps me to recognize with sadness but certainty, LOL that my artwork and my piano playing are NOT at a comparably high performance level.

No one just jumps into mastery with one or two easy leaps. We still need to take risks. Or, to quote Mario again: What projects are you working on right now? Essentially, so those we interact with will strive to be honest with themselves, open to experience, and willing to face challenges worthy of their time and talents. As writers, though, I think we live this without reminders.

So, in my opinion, the passion to write is fueled by something much more primal than mere aptitude. I believe the passion necessary to write a book comes from great love… and great fear. We need to understand the sources of our personal passions so we can harness them and channel their power into something we feel is beautiful and meaningful.

From both love and fear. I pursued it with a relentless commitment for nearly eight years until I got my first book contract. I then entered this hallowed world of big dreams and frequently small advances and got a front-row seat for one of the most significant industry shifts since the invention of the printing press….

And it was a fascinating experience—sometimes frustrating, sometimes gratifying, but never boring and, likewise, never constant. As the sands shifted under our feet, ebooks gained momentum, print runs for midlist authors like me got halved, and I realized that my passions were changing…not only when it came to what I longed to write about but, also, what I worried about the most in regards to my career and my future as a novelist.

I suspect one of the reasons arguments between traditional vs. Or that we might start to pursue that new avenue, only to have it change again a few years later. Back in , just before I got that first contract, my greatest desire was to hold a print copy of my book in my hands, see it sitting on a library or bookstore shelf, and get invited to local book clubs to chat with readers face to face about a story.

And my greatest fear was that an editor at a NY publishing house might never consider a manuscript of mine strong enough to publish.

Nor should I have. They involve the distribution of my work. In this age of one-click purchasing, I wonder…are my books reaching their intended audience? Getting into the hands of their right readers?

Am I doing enough to help make that connection happen, especially since I write across genres? I worry about this all the time. My passion for what, specifically, I wanted to write about is changing, too. To write much more out of the box than I ever have. And this freedom has meant a lot to me. It is, without question, where my passions have led me for now—to the crazy joy of writing stories that cannot be easily stamped with a genre label.

And, of course, your passions, may lead you to a very different place. But I think the important thing for all of us to remember is that we need to stay true to those things we love, try to see with our clearest vision those things we fear, and fully accept all the facets of our passion and its changeable nature.

With a nod to Henry David Thoreau, we can only step to the music we hear—however measured or far away—and trust in that. Some inspiring and encouraging, even while being instructive in regards to narrative flaws. It was a huge honor for me understatement!! It was during the only undergraduate composition class I ever took, which also happened to be the first time I remember making a conscious decision about whether or not to follow my sort of secret writing dream.

Loved both of these! As an education major, I was surprised and a little disappointed when I discovered I only had to take ONE writing course to get my degree. Nothing about the sound of this puny college English requirement scared me one bit.

Told he was a real nutcase, a tough grader and someone to avoid like a bad virus, if at all possible? His class was the only one that fit well enough into my schedule that spring, so I took it. At first acquaintance, Dr.

I was simultaneously mesmerized and horrified by his lecture, and I kept exchanging sideways glances with a guy friend who was in the room with me. We agreed afterward that, indeed, we should have held out for a professor who was a little more sane. Not just one weird little punctuation mark. But I was in for a surprise that semester.

In fact, he started to scare me for another reason entirely: Furthermore, one option we had as students in his class was an open invitation to go to his office to discuss our writing during a short, individual conference — particularly if we were concerned about our grades, and I was starting to be.

My curiosity was at war with my resentment over this — I was sure it was going to be a soul-crushing experience — but curiosity eventually won out and I made an appointment to see him. The man possessed an amazing gift — both as a writer himself and as a professor. He was incredibly clear-minded, but he was also fair and kind. He was the first person in years to hold me accountable for what I wrote, to not let me get away with lazy thinking and to make sure I really conveyed on paper what I was trying to express.

He demanded honesty and clarity. Most amazingly, he inspired in me a powerful desire to prove to him that I was not illogical, unoriginal or remotely lazy. That his faith in my ability to live up to his expectations was somehow justified. He was a poet who loved Shakespeare, and one day when I popped by his office to say hello, he shared with me a poem he was working on.

It was way over my head and I knew it — far too clever and full of literary allusions for me to even pretend to understand it — but I loved that he read it to me and explained that it was still a work in progress. It was so emotionally honest of him. Certainly not at 19 or Not at 25 either. Or, for that matter, at And when, inevitably, I encountered a critiquing situation where there was derision and a lack of constructive feedback, I had a better model to emulate.

To hold out for critique partners who were closer to Dr. That it should inspire us to want to work harder. To revise with intent and hopefulness. To reach deeper and consider the significance of every phrase, every punctuation mark.

Do you have a favorite teacher? One who inspired you and made you strive to work harder at something? There are dozens of reasons why I love to travel.

Of simply moving from one place to another. Meeting people with backgrounds quite different from mine. The thrill of forging connections between prior experiences and new ones. The pure adrenaline rush of novelty. And I love all kinds of journeys, too: Flights to foreign lands, cross-country road trips, train rides through mountain passes and even the occasional river ferry.

I had a chance to observe this firsthand and somewhat dramatically when we took our son, who was 13 at the time, to England and Wales for a short visit last spring.

It was his first trip abroad. His first time buying anything with a foreign currency. As an avid coin collector, this made a huge impression on him. There were a lot of firsts. That, no matter how well we might be able to navigate our way through the American Midwest in our Honda, we were just lost tourists wandering on the cobbled streets of his English hometown. Above all, our short, pleasant conversation with that lovely man became a tangible event that I could point to when I later spoke with my son about expanding his worldview beyond the confines of his junior-high environment.

That we need to strive to keep this in mind when we interact with everyone. No parental lecture on the subject ever worked as well as that 5-minute live demonstration, though. But the experience underscored something so important to me as both a mom and a writer: That being masters of viewpoint is at the heart of our job. To help our children see the world just a touch more perceptively.

I have this daily quote calendar on my desk, and the saying that popped up a few days ago was this: I agree with that to a certain degree. As tough as writing a novel or a poem or a short story or even a blog post… can be some days, I rarely wish I were doing something else. But, for the most part, I love writing. The whole messy process of it. The crazy puzzle that we need to solve in order to create a story, draft it, edit it repeatedly!

I get a strange energy from it and — as an introvert — anything that gives me energy, rather than drains me of it, is always a good thing. My plan was to find jobs that would not only bring in an income but would also build my writing skills and understanding of stories.

When our son started elementary school, though, I wanted to contribute more directly and, yet, still be able to be home when our son got back from his classes. I got regular assignments from a handful of publications, some regional, some national, and I also became a part-time book reviewer for a large-circulation magazine.

And, let me tell you, that was a BIG deal for me then! My pre-motherhood profession would have required me to be away from home too much, so I thought about what I could do within the realm of literature that might pay a bit more and still be as interesting to me as writing. It always will be. But promo and social media have their gifts, too. And oh, yes, I am definitely mocking my sensitive, lyric-writing, junior-high self.

I had acute stagefright and actually hated performing musically in front of anyone. I was too anxious and too unwilling to take the steps needed to improve 1 or manage 2. You know, I just really liked the fantasy….

So, I did not study much music in college, despite my deep love of the subject, until it turned up as a requirement for my major. Guitar was a brand new instrument for me, and the first time I tried to tune it, I broke two strings. Give it my full effort. Besides, I had no choice. The results were pretty gratifying. I picked up the basics of the instrument in just a few weeks. Delighted in the calluses on my fingertips, much as it hurt to develop them at first.

Sped through learning the required songs and had the assistant professor listen to me play so I could get them checked off the list. Not as a future rock star, of course, but as someone who could, in fact, play and sing in public.

At least when necessary. My final performance piece — in front of the professor, the assistant, and a bunch of classmates — rocked. And I even got a part. I thought about that whole experience a lot during my years as an aspiring writer. The reward is the confidence and courage that come from meeting an unforeseen challenge…and the knowledge that in some new, similarly unexpected circumstance, we could probably do it again. First of all, many thanks for inviting me to visit WITS!

Something that wedged itself into my memory well over a decade ago and never left. As inexperienced as I was in the fiction world back then, I understood what she meant, and I still think about her wise words all the time. Early on in her career, back when she was hoping to just get a magazine byline, she told herself that all she wanted was to get published once. When I first started, the thing I thought I wanted was just to know for sure that I could write, as determined by some semi-objective measure.

I longed for proof of it, and I figured that this proof would best come in the form of a national publication of some kind with a byline and a check. The size of the byline and amount of the check were immaterial, although I daydreamed about both being fairly large, LOL. I knew there would be dues to pay, and I was willing to be patient and pay them with my time and my energy because I needed the clips and the exposure. The opportunity to forge a pure connection with readers.

And the networking and introductions to people who might want more of the articles or essays that I could write. Having talked to many authors, I suspect most writers and artists and musicians are this way. And we need to be to bring our stories to an audience.

We need to be in order to persevere long enough to write our stories down in the first place. But whatever my goal du jour was—winning a contest or getting agent requests or having a poem accepted for publication—I quickly learned it was NOT going to be all I wanted.

I had a sense of ambition that seemed insatiable. For years I deluded myself into thinking that a multi-book contract from a New York publisher might actually satisfy me. THAT was the big kahuna, after all!

I suspected it would be impossible for me to break this pattern. This profession is packed full of exciting challenges—the high can be as addictive as creamy European milk chocolate—but it can also swamp you. Run you completely ragged. To my earliest writing desires, and the origins of whatever sparked this passion for fiction in the first place—the opportunity to forge a pure connection with readers.

The need to challenge myself with something new—both inside the narrative itself and within the writing world. That was what led me to explore some of the multiple publishing options available today, particularly within the realm of indie publishing.

The print lines that used to feature short romantic comedies no longer existed. I know this next year will be even more so. That said, writing and publishing are unpredictable professions understatement alert! I have a couple of projects that I think lend themselves best to indie publishing, but I also have others that might find an audience more readily through a traditional house. And I wish each of you the thrill of adventure on your journey, no matter what twists it takes. It has been great fun following her career since then.

What are some pros and cons of each that authors should consider? First of all, thank you so much for inviting me here today, Anita!

I love your new blog and am thrilled to be one of your guests: The pros offered by traditional publishing include things like professional editing, an expert cover designer assigned to create the image for your novel, a marketing department working to get your book distributed across the country or the world , publicists who get your novel out to reviewers in a timely manner, and a team of people who take care of the formatting of your manuscript—uploading it to digital sites or having it printed, stored and shipped to retailers.

Self-publishing takes a lot of work! On the other hand, self-publishing offers quite a bit of freedom in exchange for all of the responsibility.

The authors choose their own release dates—something else that most writers would have almost no control over in a traditional publishing setting. In some cases, authors might also choose to work with their agents to get formatting and marketing help.

Unless an author is a bestseller at his or her publishing house, getting these activities lined up and paying for the ads will still generally fall to the author. So, in that area, both traditional and self-publishing have a great deal in common. You have a long-standing love of Jane Austen. Just kidding…well, not entirely! There is definitely a readership out there that loves Austen as much as I do! To my eye, she was a genius at depicting human behavior, and she created several flawed but very lovable protagonists, as well as some of the most memorable villains in literature.

You and I have talked about the value of critique groups for writers at all stages of their careers. What are the main benefits you have gained from being in a critique group, and what should writers look for when they decide to join one? As for what writers should look for in a critique group, I think it depends on what your own strengths are as a writer.

There are definitely times when helping a less experienced writer is rewarding or getting a detailed critique from a master-level author is truly enlightening but, day to day, for a close-knit critique group, I feel the strongest, longest-lasting partnerships come when we grow, share and learn with others who are at a similar place to us in our writing journeys. It also helps being around people we can have fun with, genuinely like talking to and really trust!

Thank you for your wonderful insight! One is finished and will hopefully find a perfect home soon. The other is plotted and almost half written. Marilyn, thank you once again for sharing your amazing in-depth advice and experience with me and readers. Best wishes for those current and future projects! Publishing seems to inspire such moments more frequently than, say, almost any other less crazy-making occupation.

I can now see countless flaws in it…but, back then, I thought it was a work of utter depth, brilliant pacing and staggeringly beautiful prose. This did not in any way stop me from desperately wanting a publishing contract with a NY house for that book. Turned out, I needed to dig a little deeper into that desire. In one instance, at least, that was true for me, too. It had gotten so close! Honestly, though, that was the BEST thing that ever could have happened to that book!

Not selling this story too soon was, in fact, exactly what I needed…and, surprisingly, what I wanted as well. Stories that influenced the very worldview of that writer-to-be by stamping it with an indelible impression of skillfully paced plots, believable motivations, insightful characterizations, clever subtexts, and compelling themes.

We all have our own private shelves—literally or figuratively—that feature these memorable examples of storytelling. Forevermore, we hold up their masterful narration as our personal standard of excellence. The one we hope to rise closer to… someday. If we practice really hard. And if the writing gods smile upon us, even slightly. This story is a contemporary romance about an ER doctor and a single mom who cross paths on an Internet dating site. We all know, though, that the course of true love or carefully plotted fiction will never run that smoothly….

Bennet, a Regency-era mother to five single daughters Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia, in order of age , is yammering on and on to her husband about how a new eligible and wealthy bachelor just moved into the neighborhood.

We then encounter the object of Mrs. Charles Bingley, who is in attendance with his snobbish sister Caroline, his other snobbish sister and her husband and, most interestingly of all, his best friend. Enter the even wealthier and handsomer—albeit, significantly prouder and more arrogant—Mr. Darcy scoffs at the idea of dancing with Elizabeth, no matter how fervently his good-natured buddy implores him to do so.

Elizabeth overhears this conversation, and you can imagine how well that goes over with her. Her true character, though intelligent and, at heart, quite loving, is one of a woman with a LONG and exacting memory. Bennet wanting to marry off her daughters and the debate here is a series of discussions from the perspectives of multiple characters regarding the nature of courtship and marriage.

Elizabeth requires something more in a spouse—intellectual respect—while Bingley and Darcy debate the qualities they admire: Everyone argues their positions. In spite of himself, this is where Darcy really starts to like Elizabeth—particularly her fine eyes and her liveliness of mind. Collins proposes to Elizabeth. She refuses, so he proposes to her friend Charlotte, who impulsively accepts.

Darcy and the Bingley sisters persuade Mr. Bingley to leave town, and Jane, in hopes of crossing paths with him again, leaves as well to stay with relatives in London. Elizabeth, who has already met the cunning but charming officer Mr.

She readily believes them. Elizabeth takes a trip to visit her friend Charlotte, now married to the foolish Mr. Collins, and encounters the formidable and frequently rude Lady Catherine. It is, however, a shock to all of us when Darcy unexpectedly proposes to Elizabeth badly. He storms off and writes a long letter to Elizabeth, explaining that Wickham is a really bad guy. Both Elizabeth and Darcy have been prideful and prejudiced in a number of ways, and the state of both of their love lives seems pretty pathetic right about now.

Bad Guys Close In: This is where the plot thickens. The officers of the regiment, including Mr. Wickham, leave the area for another town. Elizabeth, meanwhile, gets to take a new trip—this one with her sensible aunt and uncle from London. They talk and are on the verge of something very courtship like when disaster strikes. Jane writes a letter saying that Lydia has run away with Wickham and the two cannot be found.

Dark Night of the Soul: Because of his earlier warnings about Wickham, she confesses to him what has happened with her youngest sister and, basically, says goodbye to him. She knows any further relationship between them is hopeless. Bennet is ecstatic to finally have one daughter married, even under these circumstances. Wickham and Lydia visit the Bennets as a married couple.

Elizabeth is wiser now and distances herself from Wickham and his Darcy-bashing speeches. Lydia lets a secret slip—Darcy was with them in London—which makes Elizabeth crazy with curiosity. She begins to investigate. Meanwhile, Bingley suddenly returns, seeks out Jane and, eventually, proposes. Lady Catherine surprises Elizabeth with a visit, demanding that she stop pursuing Darcy. Elizabeth is seriously confused. Nevertheless, she tells off his aunt with her best Regency-era insults, and is further stunned when Darcy himself shows up soon afterward.

Elizabeth has learned that HE was the one who found Lydia and paid Wickham off to marry her. When Darcy proposes a second time, Elizabeth accepts with pleasure. With three out of the five young ladies now married, Mrs. Bennet is beside herself with delight.

Would you change anything? And, for everyone, what are some of the books or films from your youth that most influenced your writing? While it had its entertaining moments, I doubt the primary appeal of this story was the prose itself.

To me, the allure seems to stem from a combination of factors: In this case, they also have lots of sex on lots of surfaces. The curiosity alone can be quite a compelling inducement to read it. It was for me. What do you think? I love to explore characters in my stories whose perspectives may be wildly different from mine. But, sometimes, equally as much, I love seeing snippets of my real, often humdrum suburban life reflected in the fiction I read and write. Sometimes I want the traits that make these characters unique to be their emotional courage, their honesty, their strength of spirit.

In my opinion, familiar situations and commonplace problems in a story are valuable to readers, too. After all, there were no red rooms of pain or year-old billionaires in them… But, for me, those stories were lifesavers. Someone whose work strikes an authentic, recognizable chord in your own life. If so, please share. And to all of you in the midst of NaNo, keep at it! More noticeable in spice than the Mild. Not nearly as tongue-burning as the Hot.

But change can be cumulative. And, as with salsa, even medium levels can get to you after a while. Sense them starting to heat everything up.

Getting that first traditional NY contract and all of the crazy hours of work that went into preparing for a debut release…that was a year of greater stress than I ever would have imagined. Over the next few months, there will be some additions to my author bookshelf. I can recognize my peers and wave to them. The second step is to figure out what, exactly, must change…and why.

My author friend and I were aspiring writers together a decade ago, and we still help each other remember that long, arduous climb toward getting any kind of professional feedback, agent interest, editor requests and — eventually — publishing contracts. Or the winner of a big literary award.

Or the 1 placeholder on some kind of coveted list. None can be purchased, lost or stolen. Persistence Yes, rejection sucks. It sucks for everybody. You can pout for a day or two want some Belgian chocolate? Well, IMO, until you get the answer you want to hear.

A Killer Work Ethic Be responsible. Or, to quote the wisdom of one of my favorite fortune cookies: Unless a family or health crisis prevents you — because, on rare occasion, there ARE legitimate reasons for not finishing a project on time — show how incredible you are by not being a slacker.

Show us your unique vision in some way. Optimism Yes, rejection sucks. Do you hear an echo? Though, if at all possible, try to avoid tactless ranting on social-media sites, okay?

Curiosity What do you care about? What are your passions? What makes life worth living, in your opinion? Go out into the world and experience some of life until you DO know. And above all, Aspiring Writer, hang in there. What qualities would YOU give to other writers? Those Brits, they have everything. So often, a sign of maturity is our ability to own up to our weaknesses. My high-school years were marked by two such assertions: In moments where I was quiet enough to listen to the inner voices and be honest about my actual gifts and flaws, I knew I was wrong to fight so hard against both of these.

To keep claiming again and again that I was exactly who I said I was. Someone who hated gym. But I know now why I did it. Because to own up to having some natural abilities — to really embrace them as strengths — would require my having to take full responsibility for developing them. If I tried but failed in some way i. I could pat myself on the back for overcoming great obstacles and doing something not remotely innate. If I succeeded, then it was only as a result of my work ethic.

Better to think of myself as an overachiever than to suspect the reverse: That for too many years I may have actually been underachieving. That my greatest weakness had nothing to do with either athletics or storytelling, but being too afraid to tell myself the truth about what I could really do well and what was genuinely out of my grasp.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? Perhaps not every person who reads this will have experienced something similar. Having an aptitude for poetry, math, tennis or jewelry design. Possessing more musical talent or more computer knowledge than you ever use. So take that first frightening step…whisper it aloud. I have friends whose offices are a study in well-organized shelves, neat piles and dust-free cabinets. What you think, you become. You take the action, and the insight follows: But I like that.

Readers that make us want to keep going, keep on creating stories despite all the challenges…. Some writers have the strength to stay away from reviews altogether — good or bad. There are different literary tastes in the world, are there not? The style is clumsy though the author strives to impress with an aristocratic pompousness so typical of social climbers of her day. The characters are cold, their development dull and boring… I would rather endure a daily root canal than read this book again.

It was almost as inspirational as witnessing a mountain top removal to mine coal. Perhaps zero of five stars would be more accurate…. The only thing that kept me going was the hope that there would be some little twist… Unfortunately not.

Each of the female characters are shallow, self-centred…and vacuous. It is not romantic or charming in the least bit. The main character comes through as arrogant and at times even stupid. It is a completely forgetable book, and I have no clue as to why so many people find it romantic. I have never read such a novel that is completly incompetant, complete nonsence, the smallest talks of all the small talks in the world, it is about nothingness, and how several nothings trying and wanting to get married to other nothings for all the wrong reasons in the world.

It is about people pretending to be inteligent and pretending to be civilized. It is a book where they compliment women as being handsome and men as being well…also handsome. It is quite contageous I might add because I find myself helplessly imatitating the language that it was written in. I am offended by every paragraph that I read. I have never felt such contemt for any work that I read. I pasionately despise this novel and I could write an entire paper on why.

Marilyn is compelled to add: You may not realize the preciousness of your gift, but we novelists surely do. Some of you have given that gift to me, and my gratitude cannot be measured.

Writing a novel is such an emotionally intense and mentally involving task that, much of the time, we writers are so caught up in juggling the details of story structure and craft that we lose focus on the ultimate big picture: Why are we writing this book in the first place? Does it make sense?

Is it as interesting as I hope it is? Why does this story matter? In my opinion, there is a long and a short answer to that for each of us as we face our various projects. The long answer is undoubtedly a complicated equation involving an analysis of our writing goals, our resources, our ability to reach readers, our desire for some of the fantasies that typically come with the writing life regardless of whether or not we end up achieving them , like being seen as famous, earning our idea of a good fortune, winning honors and awards, battling Death in our ever-present fight against our mortality, or feeling the rush we get by challenging on paper a personal fear.

Essentially, by some semi-objective means, we try to determine how capable, connected, valuable and relevant our stories are in the eyes of our target audience. How meaningful our work is, at least as deemed by the society in which we live. That, ultimately, we have to come to terms with our own lack of absolute certainty in regards to what we hope is our Love of a Lifetime. Somewhere inside of each of us, we know why. As much of an individual stamp as our writing voice. And as unique and hard-to-define as we are.

And, yet, despite the confusion that tends to come with change, I believe every transition holds an extra-special gift in its hands and that these sweeping changes surrounding us are no exception. Perception, Interaction, Opposition and Marginality. Lotsa laughs in it, I tell you. It is at this point, though, where my research from long ago greets the current changes in the industry with a smile. See, if someone were to distill the findings of my laboriously written thesis, it would be this: That creativity is most likely to occur at the margins of a society, and that people on the edge of two cultures whatever those two cultures might be have the ability to peek into both worlds and make connections that those people fully immersed in either one side or the other cannot necessarily see.

Programmers are unleashing new technology on us with the rapid fire of an automated weapon, but we continue to learn it, adapt to it and, maybe, even come to love it… all without ever having forgotten what it was like to dab whiteout on a mistake when we mistyped something or what it felt like to get blue ink on our fingers from the carbon copy paper we once used. Just think of the possibilities. For some it might be a technological demon sent from the future. So many times in the past, advances in technology were seen as magical.

That could be the basis for a new tale, or it could be the reverse. Do you find yourself using your knowledge of life before cell phones or MP3 players to enhance your stories in some way or develop a more complex range of characters?

Has technology—or the lack of it—played a key role in any of your manuscripts? Are you tapping in to the creativity that an awareness of more than one worldview can inspire? Now, you have to understand insert critical backstory here , my addiction to Nutella goes WAY back, about 25 years, when I first tasted it in Europe.

With a little help from my son, we mixed everything together, kneaded the dough, flattened the biscuits and cut them into fall-leaf shapes before baking. I was, however, very motivated to give these biscuits a try, and they were well worth it!

One thing I learned right away: The puzzle-loving side of my brain kept watching the symbols spin by, trying to figure out a pattern. I suspect the tall strawberry margarita you see sitting beside the machine assisted a little in this endeavor, too.

Tequila helps you find connections everywhere, LOL. He talked about what made a dish good. He said there were really only three things a person needed in order to cook well: For a novel you need: Thanks for the cooking lesson, Fabio!

I totally wanted to blog about something light and fun and uncomplicated enough to have fairly clear-cut answers, like the best birthday cake you ever had or your favorite kind of appetizer do I talk about food too much?! I figured if I had it on my mind, a few other people here might be thinking about it, too… So, let me just state the obvious: This is a pretty unsettling time in the publishing industry.

There is some very real excitement out there, too, by the way. New opportunities are emerging almost hourly, and many entrepreneurial souls have been quick to hop aboard the digital train in hopes of striking gold. Some have found it in the literary realm and are shouting their gratitude and their Amazon rankings from the rooftops.

Others are still striving and hopeful and secretly trying to crack the logarithm for ebook bestsellerdom. And yet others are capitalizing on the author accessories needed for a successful digital experience — the creation of book covers, the proofreading skills, the uploading and conversion know-how. I may not utilize every service available to me out there, but I love having options. And for every public comment that unabashedly praises the Digital Revolution, there are at least five more — ranging from whispered concerns to infuriated accusations — that express in some way a powerful and pervasive sense of fear.

For me, trying to uncover the source of that fear has been occupying a lot of my mental energy this summer. Where is our industry going? Will readers abandon paper books in order to make the digital leap? And, even if we fully embrace the lightning-like changes that have struck publishing hard in recent years, will we be able to roll with whatever comes next in an industry that has transformed so rapidly in such a short period of time?

Just about everyone I know is asking themselves some version of these questions. Publishers are wondering if they need to add a digital branch to their company or expand the one they already have. Literary agents are fielding a slew of queries from their clients about rights reversion or assistance in the self-publishing of backlists. Whose downloads are higher?

Or between publishing professionals. Whose services or distribution methods are better? That part will always be relevant. I think we need to hang tight to this truth until the dust settles, even as we learn new skills and face the challenges that come with navigating our careers in this ever-shifting publishing environment and this not-exactly-stable global economy. How stories will be packaged, sold and delivered in five years or ten is still a point of some debate, and I suspect many of us are going to have to adjust far more than we may feel comfortable doing sigh , but the craving for stories will live on.

No revolution — digital or otherwise — will change that. I wander out into the world and they exist. Like stepping onto a patio in summer and being surrounded by sunshine, oxygen and the occasional swarm of mosquitoes. How could I explain the existence of story ideas any more than the presence of air molecules or insects? In my admittedly, heavily food-obsessed mental world, I think of the ideas as sitting in wait for me, like an infinite variety of ingredients listed inside the cookbooks next to my stove.

My real-life cookbook collection contains recipes with an ethnic flavor, vegetarian meals, lite dishes, grilling guides, more dessert creations than one person should be allowed and scrap sheets of paper with special family favorites scribbled on them.

All of these clamor for my attention at meal time, and I must choose between them. For me, selecting menus — or novel plots — are strikingly similar tasks. A stew in the crockpot, for instance, or a casserole in the oven.

Most of the time, I have a few different things on the burners and one thing heating in the microwave and another that needs to be tossed together on the counter. My story ideas are like that, too. A couple of items on the stove top: What about all of you?

What about reading — do you read one book completely before picking up another, or do you have several books in progress at once?

Each stage, I figured, was another stride on the long climb up the publishing mountain. Every new stage — each circuit around those bends in the mountain, up to a slightly higher elevation — is like being a newbie all over again. Novels may have distinct beginnings, middles and endings, but I think writers just a have long string of often terrifying beginnings.

That is, gaining enough experience writing, studying craft and building the skills to recognize when the story was working or not. Knowing when I was being true to my voice, when I should accept or ignore feedback, when the elements of structure and characterization were coming together vs.

To put it in courtship terms, I was flirting, dating, falling in love with writing fiction as I walked along that part of the path — coming to appreciate it for what it was, and for who I was when I was with it.


Denn dafür gibt es doch schon seit längerem Klo-Papier! A Star Wars Story" veröffentlicht. Anstelle echter Schauspieler sehen wir in dem Respekt für Jason Mamoa! Ich mag Momoa in fast allem, was er tut und ich bin froh zu lesen, dass Staffel der Marvel-Serie "Luke Cage" muss der scheinbar unbesiegbare Held auf einmal selbst schwer einstecken, während Weiterlesen … Dolly Zoom: Weiterlesen … Movies Numbers Seconds einzigartige Filme, Nummern, die in Sekunden von auf 0 runtergezählt werden.

Und ich mag die Tatsache, Weiterlesen … Atlas, der humanoide Roboter von Boston Dynamics, kann jetzt renn Der Roboter von Boston Dynamics ist nicht mehr an ebenen Böden gebunden, nun bezwingt er anscheinend jegliches Terrain.

In folgendem Video sehen wir den Juni durch das von der Spanischen Grippe geplagte London von streifen. Doch das Leben besteht nicht nur aus Arbeit. Beim Konzert vom Mai im Sands Casino Nein, ist nichts für Draven präsentiert Geschichten aus der Gruft mit allerlei Geheimnisvollem aus den unheimlichen Tiefen des Netzes und aus jeder Ecke der Welt. Denn glaube mir, nichts ist trivial.

Freunde, die Gruft präsentiert: Dravens Radio from the Crypt! Natürlich immer noch ein Stückchen lauter und besser! Dass das Betreiben von dravenstales. Damit Kosten und vielleicht noch ein, zwei Freigetränke gedeckt sind, könnte ich den ganzen Laden hier mit Werbung vollkleistern. Ich mag aber meine Leser, weshalb ich ihnen ein weitgehend werbefreies Leseerlebnis bieten möchte.

Klicke dazu oben einfach auf Spenden. Über mich Kontakt Unterstützen: Water Slide Guy oder wie man perfekt die Wasserrutsche runter kommt. Devil's Day - Ross The Boss. Mr Blue Footed Booby. Müsli-Schüssel und Bong in einem. Respekt vor dem Original: Jason Momoa verlässt "The Crow"-Remake. Wie es aussieht, wenn New York City unter Wasser steht. Tödlicher Fluch - Trailer.

Mit der kleinsten Kameradrohne der Welt über den Muscle Beach geflogen. Clever - Ice Age. Niemals nie wieder den Sandwich-Maker putzen. Grand Canyon-Timelapse mit wunderschönem Wolkenspiel. Marvel's Luke Cage - Trailer zur 2. Water Slide Guy oder wie man perfekt die Wasserrutsche runter kom Nennen wir ihn den Usain Bolt der Wasserparks, ein Kerl in Jamaika zeigt uns, wie man perfekt die Wasserrutsche runter kommt und das sieht Der Song stammt aus dem aktuellen Müsli-Schüssel und Bong in einem Wer sich schon beim morgendlichen Müsli wegballern möchte, kann mit der Breakfast Bowl jetzt beides gleichzeitig erledigen.

Ich mag Momoa in fast allem, was er tut und ich bin froh zu lesen, dass er nicht mehr beim Ich gehe aber davon aus, dass die Stromversorgung in einem solchen Fall nicht problemlos Die Schweiz erlebt derzeit den viertwärmsten Frühling seit Messbeginn im Jahr Unsere Stimme verrät viel über uns — das zieht für Psychotherapie und Marketing ebenso nützliche wie erschreckende Anwendungen nach sich.

Flights to foreign lands, cross-country road trips, train rides through mountain passes and even the occasional river ferry. I had a chance to observe this firsthand and somewhat dramatically when we took our son, who was 13 at the time, to England and Wales for a short visit last spring.

It was his first trip abroad. His first time buying anything with a foreign currency. As an avid coin collector, this made a huge impression on him.

There were a lot of firsts. That, no matter how well we might be able to navigate our way through the American Midwest in our Honda, we were just lost tourists wandering on the cobbled streets of his English hometown. Above all, our short, pleasant conversation with that lovely man became a tangible event that I could point to when I later spoke with my son about expanding his worldview beyond the confines of his junior-high environment.

That we need to strive to keep this in mind when we interact with everyone. No parental lecture on the subject ever worked as well as that 5-minute live demonstration, though. But the experience underscored something so important to me as both a mom and a writer: That being masters of viewpoint is at the heart of our job.

To help our children see the world just a touch more perceptively. I have this daily quote calendar on my desk, and the saying that popped up a few days ago was this: I agree with that to a certain degree. As tough as writing a novel or a poem or a short story or even a blog post… can be some days, I rarely wish I were doing something else.

But, for the most part, I love writing. The whole messy process of it. The crazy puzzle that we need to solve in order to create a story, draft it, edit it repeatedly! I get a strange energy from it and — as an introvert — anything that gives me energy, rather than drains me of it, is always a good thing.

My plan was to find jobs that would not only bring in an income but would also build my writing skills and understanding of stories. When our son started elementary school, though, I wanted to contribute more directly and, yet, still be able to be home when our son got back from his classes.

I got regular assignments from a handful of publications, some regional, some national, and I also became a part-time book reviewer for a large-circulation magazine. And, let me tell you, that was a BIG deal for me then! My pre-motherhood profession would have required me to be away from home too much, so I thought about what I could do within the realm of literature that might pay a bit more and still be as interesting to me as writing. It always will be. But promo and social media have their gifts, too.

And oh, yes, I am definitely mocking my sensitive, lyric-writing, junior-high self. I had acute stagefright and actually hated performing musically in front of anyone.

I was too anxious and too unwilling to take the steps needed to improve 1 or manage 2. You know, I just really liked the fantasy…. So, I did not study much music in college, despite my deep love of the subject, until it turned up as a requirement for my major.

Guitar was a brand new instrument for me, and the first time I tried to tune it, I broke two strings. Give it my full effort. Besides, I had no choice. The results were pretty gratifying. I picked up the basics of the instrument in just a few weeks.

Delighted in the calluses on my fingertips, much as it hurt to develop them at first. Sped through learning the required songs and had the assistant professor listen to me play so I could get them checked off the list.

Not as a future rock star, of course, but as someone who could, in fact, play and sing in public. At least when necessary. My final performance piece — in front of the professor, the assistant, and a bunch of classmates — rocked.

And I even got a part. I thought about that whole experience a lot during my years as an aspiring writer. The reward is the confidence and courage that come from meeting an unforeseen challenge…and the knowledge that in some new, similarly unexpected circumstance, we could probably do it again. First of all, many thanks for inviting me to visit WITS! Something that wedged itself into my memory well over a decade ago and never left.

As inexperienced as I was in the fiction world back then, I understood what she meant, and I still think about her wise words all the time. Early on in her career, back when she was hoping to just get a magazine byline, she told herself that all she wanted was to get published once.

When I first started, the thing I thought I wanted was just to know for sure that I could write, as determined by some semi-objective measure. I longed for proof of it, and I figured that this proof would best come in the form of a national publication of some kind with a byline and a check. The size of the byline and amount of the check were immaterial, although I daydreamed about both being fairly large, LOL. I knew there would be dues to pay, and I was willing to be patient and pay them with my time and my energy because I needed the clips and the exposure.

The opportunity to forge a pure connection with readers. And the networking and introductions to people who might want more of the articles or essays that I could write.

Having talked to many authors, I suspect most writers and artists and musicians are this way. And we need to be to bring our stories to an audience. We need to be in order to persevere long enough to write our stories down in the first place. But whatever my goal du jour was—winning a contest or getting agent requests or having a poem accepted for publication—I quickly learned it was NOT going to be all I wanted.

I had a sense of ambition that seemed insatiable. For years I deluded myself into thinking that a multi-book contract from a New York publisher might actually satisfy me.

THAT was the big kahuna, after all! I suspected it would be impossible for me to break this pattern. This profession is packed full of exciting challenges—the high can be as addictive as creamy European milk chocolate—but it can also swamp you.

Run you completely ragged. To my earliest writing desires, and the origins of whatever sparked this passion for fiction in the first place—the opportunity to forge a pure connection with readers. The need to challenge myself with something new—both inside the narrative itself and within the writing world. That was what led me to explore some of the multiple publishing options available today, particularly within the realm of indie publishing. The print lines that used to feature short romantic comedies no longer existed.

I know this next year will be even more so. That said, writing and publishing are unpredictable professions understatement alert! I have a couple of projects that I think lend themselves best to indie publishing, but I also have others that might find an audience more readily through a traditional house.

And I wish each of you the thrill of adventure on your journey, no matter what twists it takes. It has been great fun following her career since then. What are some pros and cons of each that authors should consider? First of all, thank you so much for inviting me here today, Anita!

I love your new blog and am thrilled to be one of your guests: The pros offered by traditional publishing include things like professional editing, an expert cover designer assigned to create the image for your novel, a marketing department working to get your book distributed across the country or the world , publicists who get your novel out to reviewers in a timely manner, and a team of people who take care of the formatting of your manuscript—uploading it to digital sites or having it printed, stored and shipped to retailers.

Self-publishing takes a lot of work! On the other hand, self-publishing offers quite a bit of freedom in exchange for all of the responsibility.

The authors choose their own release dates—something else that most writers would have almost no control over in a traditional publishing setting. In some cases, authors might also choose to work with their agents to get formatting and marketing help. Unless an author is a bestseller at his or her publishing house, getting these activities lined up and paying for the ads will still generally fall to the author.

So, in that area, both traditional and self-publishing have a great deal in common. You have a long-standing love of Jane Austen. Just kidding…well, not entirely! There is definitely a readership out there that loves Austen as much as I do!

To my eye, she was a genius at depicting human behavior, and she created several flawed but very lovable protagonists, as well as some of the most memorable villains in literature.

You and I have talked about the value of critique groups for writers at all stages of their careers. What are the main benefits you have gained from being in a critique group, and what should writers look for when they decide to join one? As for what writers should look for in a critique group, I think it depends on what your own strengths are as a writer. There are definitely times when helping a less experienced writer is rewarding or getting a detailed critique from a master-level author is truly enlightening but, day to day, for a close-knit critique group, I feel the strongest, longest-lasting partnerships come when we grow, share and learn with others who are at a similar place to us in our writing journeys.

It also helps being around people we can have fun with, genuinely like talking to and really trust! Thank you for your wonderful insight! One is finished and will hopefully find a perfect home soon. The other is plotted and almost half written. Marilyn, thank you once again for sharing your amazing in-depth advice and experience with me and readers.

Best wishes for those current and future projects! Publishing seems to inspire such moments more frequently than, say, almost any other less crazy-making occupation. I can now see countless flaws in it…but, back then, I thought it was a work of utter depth, brilliant pacing and staggeringly beautiful prose. This did not in any way stop me from desperately wanting a publishing contract with a NY house for that book.

Turned out, I needed to dig a little deeper into that desire. In one instance, at least, that was true for me, too. It had gotten so close! Honestly, though, that was the BEST thing that ever could have happened to that book! Not selling this story too soon was, in fact, exactly what I needed…and, surprisingly, what I wanted as well.

Stories that influenced the very worldview of that writer-to-be by stamping it with an indelible impression of skillfully paced plots, believable motivations, insightful characterizations, clever subtexts, and compelling themes. We all have our own private shelves—literally or figuratively—that feature these memorable examples of storytelling.

Forevermore, we hold up their masterful narration as our personal standard of excellence. The one we hope to rise closer to… someday.

If we practice really hard. And if the writing gods smile upon us, even slightly. This story is a contemporary romance about an ER doctor and a single mom who cross paths on an Internet dating site. We all know, though, that the course of true love or carefully plotted fiction will never run that smoothly….

Bennet, a Regency-era mother to five single daughters Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia, in order of age , is yammering on and on to her husband about how a new eligible and wealthy bachelor just moved into the neighborhood. We then encounter the object of Mrs. Charles Bingley, who is in attendance with his snobbish sister Caroline, his other snobbish sister and her husband and, most interestingly of all, his best friend.

Enter the even wealthier and handsomer—albeit, significantly prouder and more arrogant—Mr. Darcy scoffs at the idea of dancing with Elizabeth, no matter how fervently his good-natured buddy implores him to do so. Elizabeth overhears this conversation, and you can imagine how well that goes over with her. Her true character, though intelligent and, at heart, quite loving, is one of a woman with a LONG and exacting memory.

Bennet wanting to marry off her daughters and the debate here is a series of discussions from the perspectives of multiple characters regarding the nature of courtship and marriage. Elizabeth requires something more in a spouse—intellectual respect—while Bingley and Darcy debate the qualities they admire: Everyone argues their positions. In spite of himself, this is where Darcy really starts to like Elizabeth—particularly her fine eyes and her liveliness of mind. Collins proposes to Elizabeth.

She refuses, so he proposes to her friend Charlotte, who impulsively accepts. Darcy and the Bingley sisters persuade Mr.

Bingley to leave town, and Jane, in hopes of crossing paths with him again, leaves as well to stay with relatives in London. Elizabeth, who has already met the cunning but charming officer Mr. She readily believes them. Elizabeth takes a trip to visit her friend Charlotte, now married to the foolish Mr. Collins, and encounters the formidable and frequently rude Lady Catherine.

It is, however, a shock to all of us when Darcy unexpectedly proposes to Elizabeth badly. He storms off and writes a long letter to Elizabeth, explaining that Wickham is a really bad guy. Both Elizabeth and Darcy have been prideful and prejudiced in a number of ways, and the state of both of their love lives seems pretty pathetic right about now.

Bad Guys Close In: This is where the plot thickens. The officers of the regiment, including Mr. Wickham, leave the area for another town. Elizabeth, meanwhile, gets to take a new trip—this one with her sensible aunt and uncle from London.

They talk and are on the verge of something very courtship like when disaster strikes. Jane writes a letter saying that Lydia has run away with Wickham and the two cannot be found.

Dark Night of the Soul: Because of his earlier warnings about Wickham, she confesses to him what has happened with her youngest sister and, basically, says goodbye to him. She knows any further relationship between them is hopeless. Bennet is ecstatic to finally have one daughter married, even under these circumstances. Wickham and Lydia visit the Bennets as a married couple. Elizabeth is wiser now and distances herself from Wickham and his Darcy-bashing speeches.

Lydia lets a secret slip—Darcy was with them in London—which makes Elizabeth crazy with curiosity. She begins to investigate. Meanwhile, Bingley suddenly returns, seeks out Jane and, eventually, proposes. Lady Catherine surprises Elizabeth with a visit, demanding that she stop pursuing Darcy. Elizabeth is seriously confused. Nevertheless, she tells off his aunt with her best Regency-era insults, and is further stunned when Darcy himself shows up soon afterward.

Elizabeth has learned that HE was the one who found Lydia and paid Wickham off to marry her. When Darcy proposes a second time, Elizabeth accepts with pleasure. With three out of the five young ladies now married, Mrs.

Bennet is beside herself with delight. Would you change anything? And, for everyone, what are some of the books or films from your youth that most influenced your writing? While it had its entertaining moments, I doubt the primary appeal of this story was the prose itself.

To me, the allure seems to stem from a combination of factors: In this case, they also have lots of sex on lots of surfaces.

The curiosity alone can be quite a compelling inducement to read it. It was for me. What do you think? I love to explore characters in my stories whose perspectives may be wildly different from mine. But, sometimes, equally as much, I love seeing snippets of my real, often humdrum suburban life reflected in the fiction I read and write.

Sometimes I want the traits that make these characters unique to be their emotional courage, their honesty, their strength of spirit. In my opinion, familiar situations and commonplace problems in a story are valuable to readers, too.

After all, there were no red rooms of pain or year-old billionaires in them… But, for me, those stories were lifesavers. Someone whose work strikes an authentic, recognizable chord in your own life. If so, please share. And to all of you in the midst of NaNo, keep at it! More noticeable in spice than the Mild.

Not nearly as tongue-burning as the Hot. But change can be cumulative. And, as with salsa, even medium levels can get to you after a while.

Sense them starting to heat everything up. Getting that first traditional NY contract and all of the crazy hours of work that went into preparing for a debut release…that was a year of greater stress than I ever would have imagined. Over the next few months, there will be some additions to my author bookshelf.

I can recognize my peers and wave to them. The second step is to figure out what, exactly, must change…and why. My author friend and I were aspiring writers together a decade ago, and we still help each other remember that long, arduous climb toward getting any kind of professional feedback, agent interest, editor requests and — eventually — publishing contracts.

Or the winner of a big literary award. Or the 1 placeholder on some kind of coveted list. None can be purchased, lost or stolen. Persistence Yes, rejection sucks.

It sucks for everybody. You can pout for a day or two want some Belgian chocolate? Well, IMO, until you get the answer you want to hear. A Killer Work Ethic Be responsible. Or, to quote the wisdom of one of my favorite fortune cookies: Unless a family or health crisis prevents you — because, on rare occasion, there ARE legitimate reasons for not finishing a project on time — show how incredible you are by not being a slacker.

Show us your unique vision in some way. Optimism Yes, rejection sucks. Do you hear an echo? Though, if at all possible, try to avoid tactless ranting on social-media sites, okay? Curiosity What do you care about? What are your passions? What makes life worth living, in your opinion? Go out into the world and experience some of life until you DO know.

And above all, Aspiring Writer, hang in there. What qualities would YOU give to other writers? Those Brits, they have everything. So often, a sign of maturity is our ability to own up to our weaknesses. My high-school years were marked by two such assertions: In moments where I was quiet enough to listen to the inner voices and be honest about my actual gifts and flaws, I knew I was wrong to fight so hard against both of these.

To keep claiming again and again that I was exactly who I said I was. Someone who hated gym. But I know now why I did it. Because to own up to having some natural abilities — to really embrace them as strengths — would require my having to take full responsibility for developing them.

If I tried but failed in some way i. I could pat myself on the back for overcoming great obstacles and doing something not remotely innate. If I succeeded, then it was only as a result of my work ethic.

Better to think of myself as an overachiever than to suspect the reverse: That for too many years I may have actually been underachieving. That my greatest weakness had nothing to do with either athletics or storytelling, but being too afraid to tell myself the truth about what I could really do well and what was genuinely out of my grasp. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? Perhaps not every person who reads this will have experienced something similar. Having an aptitude for poetry, math, tennis or jewelry design.

Possessing more musical talent or more computer knowledge than you ever use. So take that first frightening step…whisper it aloud.

I have friends whose offices are a study in well-organized shelves, neat piles and dust-free cabinets. What you think, you become. You take the action, and the insight follows: But I like that. Readers that make us want to keep going, keep on creating stories despite all the challenges…. Some writers have the strength to stay away from reviews altogether — good or bad.

There are different literary tastes in the world, are there not? The style is clumsy though the author strives to impress with an aristocratic pompousness so typical of social climbers of her day. The characters are cold, their development dull and boring… I would rather endure a daily root canal than read this book again. It was almost as inspirational as witnessing a mountain top removal to mine coal.

Perhaps zero of five stars would be more accurate…. The only thing that kept me going was the hope that there would be some little twist… Unfortunately not. Each of the female characters are shallow, self-centred…and vacuous. It is not romantic or charming in the least bit. The main character comes through as arrogant and at times even stupid. It is a completely forgetable book, and I have no clue as to why so many people find it romantic.

I have never read such a novel that is completly incompetant, complete nonsence, the smallest talks of all the small talks in the world, it is about nothingness, and how several nothings trying and wanting to get married to other nothings for all the wrong reasons in the world. It is about people pretending to be inteligent and pretending to be civilized.

It is a book where they compliment women as being handsome and men as being well…also handsome. It is quite contageous I might add because I find myself helplessly imatitating the language that it was written in.

I am offended by every paragraph that I read. I have never felt such contemt for any work that I read. I pasionately despise this novel and I could write an entire paper on why. Marilyn is compelled to add: You may not realize the preciousness of your gift, but we novelists surely do.

Some of you have given that gift to me, and my gratitude cannot be measured. Writing a novel is such an emotionally intense and mentally involving task that, much of the time, we writers are so caught up in juggling the details of story structure and craft that we lose focus on the ultimate big picture: Why are we writing this book in the first place? Does it make sense? Is it as interesting as I hope it is?

Why does this story matter? In my opinion, there is a long and a short answer to that for each of us as we face our various projects. The long answer is undoubtedly a complicated equation involving an analysis of our writing goals, our resources, our ability to reach readers, our desire for some of the fantasies that typically come with the writing life regardless of whether or not we end up achieving them , like being seen as famous, earning our idea of a good fortune, winning honors and awards, battling Death in our ever-present fight against our mortality, or feeling the rush we get by challenging on paper a personal fear.

Essentially, by some semi-objective means, we try to determine how capable, connected, valuable and relevant our stories are in the eyes of our target audience. How meaningful our work is, at least as deemed by the society in which we live.

That, ultimately, we have to come to terms with our own lack of absolute certainty in regards to what we hope is our Love of a Lifetime. Somewhere inside of each of us, we know why. As much of an individual stamp as our writing voice. And as unique and hard-to-define as we are. And, yet, despite the confusion that tends to come with change, I believe every transition holds an extra-special gift in its hands and that these sweeping changes surrounding us are no exception.

Perception, Interaction, Opposition and Marginality. Lotsa laughs in it, I tell you. It is at this point, though, where my research from long ago greets the current changes in the industry with a smile. See, if someone were to distill the findings of my laboriously written thesis, it would be this: That creativity is most likely to occur at the margins of a society, and that people on the edge of two cultures whatever those two cultures might be have the ability to peek into both worlds and make connections that those people fully immersed in either one side or the other cannot necessarily see.

Programmers are unleashing new technology on us with the rapid fire of an automated weapon, but we continue to learn it, adapt to it and, maybe, even come to love it… all without ever having forgotten what it was like to dab whiteout on a mistake when we mistyped something or what it felt like to get blue ink on our fingers from the carbon copy paper we once used. Just think of the possibilities. For some it might be a technological demon sent from the future.

So many times in the past, advances in technology were seen as magical. That could be the basis for a new tale, or it could be the reverse. Do you find yourself using your knowledge of life before cell phones or MP3 players to enhance your stories in some way or develop a more complex range of characters? Has technology—or the lack of it—played a key role in any of your manuscripts?

Are you tapping in to the creativity that an awareness of more than one worldview can inspire? Now, you have to understand insert critical backstory here , my addiction to Nutella goes WAY back, about 25 years, when I first tasted it in Europe.

With a little help from my son, we mixed everything together, kneaded the dough, flattened the biscuits and cut them into fall-leaf shapes before baking. I was, however, very motivated to give these biscuits a try, and they were well worth it! One thing I learned right away: The puzzle-loving side of my brain kept watching the symbols spin by, trying to figure out a pattern.

I suspect the tall strawberry margarita you see sitting beside the machine assisted a little in this endeavor, too. Tequila helps you find connections everywhere, LOL. He talked about what made a dish good. He said there were really only three things a person needed in order to cook well: For a novel you need: Thanks for the cooking lesson, Fabio!

I totally wanted to blog about something light and fun and uncomplicated enough to have fairly clear-cut answers, like the best birthday cake you ever had or your favorite kind of appetizer do I talk about food too much?! I figured if I had it on my mind, a few other people here might be thinking about it, too… So, let me just state the obvious: This is a pretty unsettling time in the publishing industry.

There is some very real excitement out there, too, by the way. New opportunities are emerging almost hourly, and many entrepreneurial souls have been quick to hop aboard the digital train in hopes of striking gold.

Some have found it in the literary realm and are shouting their gratitude and their Amazon rankings from the rooftops. Others are still striving and hopeful and secretly trying to crack the logarithm for ebook bestsellerdom.

And yet others are capitalizing on the author accessories needed for a successful digital experience — the creation of book covers, the proofreading skills, the uploading and conversion know-how. I may not utilize every service available to me out there, but I love having options. And for every public comment that unabashedly praises the Digital Revolution, there are at least five more — ranging from whispered concerns to infuriated accusations — that express in some way a powerful and pervasive sense of fear.

For me, trying to uncover the source of that fear has been occupying a lot of my mental energy this summer. Where is our industry going? Will readers abandon paper books in order to make the digital leap? And, even if we fully embrace the lightning-like changes that have struck publishing hard in recent years, will we be able to roll with whatever comes next in an industry that has transformed so rapidly in such a short period of time?

Just about everyone I know is asking themselves some version of these questions. Publishers are wondering if they need to add a digital branch to their company or expand the one they already have. Literary agents are fielding a slew of queries from their clients about rights reversion or assistance in the self-publishing of backlists. Whose downloads are higher? Or between publishing professionals. Whose services or distribution methods are better? That part will always be relevant. I think we need to hang tight to this truth until the dust settles, even as we learn new skills and face the challenges that come with navigating our careers in this ever-shifting publishing environment and this not-exactly-stable global economy.

How stories will be packaged, sold and delivered in five years or ten is still a point of some debate, and I suspect many of us are going to have to adjust far more than we may feel comfortable doing sigh , but the craving for stories will live on. No revolution — digital or otherwise — will change that. I wander out into the world and they exist. Like stepping onto a patio in summer and being surrounded by sunshine, oxygen and the occasional swarm of mosquitoes.

How could I explain the existence of story ideas any more than the presence of air molecules or insects?

In my admittedly, heavily food-obsessed mental world, I think of the ideas as sitting in wait for me, like an infinite variety of ingredients listed inside the cookbooks next to my stove.

My real-life cookbook collection contains recipes with an ethnic flavor, vegetarian meals, lite dishes, grilling guides, more dessert creations than one person should be allowed and scrap sheets of paper with special family favorites scribbled on them. All of these clamor for my attention at meal time, and I must choose between them. For me, selecting menus — or novel plots — are strikingly similar tasks. A stew in the crockpot, for instance, or a casserole in the oven.

Most of the time, I have a few different things on the burners and one thing heating in the microwave and another that needs to be tossed together on the counter. My story ideas are like that, too. A couple of items on the stove top: What about all of you? What about reading — do you read one book completely before picking up another, or do you have several books in progress at once? Each stage, I figured, was another stride on the long climb up the publishing mountain.

Every new stage — each circuit around those bends in the mountain, up to a slightly higher elevation — is like being a newbie all over again. Novels may have distinct beginnings, middles and endings, but I think writers just a have long string of often terrifying beginnings. That is, gaining enough experience writing, studying craft and building the skills to recognize when the story was working or not. Knowing when I was being true to my voice, when I should accept or ignore feedback, when the elements of structure and characterization were coming together vs.

To put it in courtship terms, I was flirting, dating, falling in love with writing fiction as I walked along that part of the path — coming to appreciate it for what it was, and for who I was when I was with it. But, then, this stage merged into another.

One that required a brand new skill set. Committing to it with the exclusively of a soulmate, and attempting to understand what made the publishing industry surrounding it tick. The release day would be akin to a royal wedding and then, of course, there would be the happily ever after. Weddings — royal or otherwise — are lovely, but then the marriage starts…and, as many of us know, it marks a whole new stage in the relationship.

Likewise, despite all of my attempts at being prepared for publication, I was, again, left breathless by this new level in my career when it finally came. But, I have to be honest with you. I never would have become a writer if revisions and tweaks were all I did. Despite how frightening and perplexing those beginning stages are, despite the self-doubt that arises during them, I also know they can be the most thrilling of the whole book.

It is, after all, in the beginning where the magic of the story is born. Where the drive to journey forward originates. And where we get the inspiration and the courage to take that very first step. I was sort of into it at one time, though. For about a year, I actually ran for 3 — 5 miles a few times per week. Even got up to 7 miles on a handful of occasions.

I loved the mental image of it. Even so, in his first year, he came in th place out of 31, finishers and about 45, total runners — so in the top 1. I had, right before my eyes and in my very own family, a model for real running success. Furthermore, my brother is an incredibly cool dude, and he openly, enthusiastically told me all the things he did to train and prepare for the big race.

And THAT — my friends — put a dramatic end to my marathoning fantasies! I wanted the end game only — the podium, the handshakes, even the Gatorade. I wanted to run for fun — short distances and at a leisurely pace, amusing myself with daydreams about first-place ribbons and Olympic gold.

Any of you ever have a fantasy like that? Writing a novel, however, was — quite literally — a different story. So, for example, when somebody strolls into a bookstore, scans the shelves and dreamily says to the person next to them i. Would you rearrange your hobbies, your work hours, your free time, or whatever you need to do, to accommodate the writing whenever possible?

Do you enjoy studying the necessary aspects of the writing craft, the publishing industry and the market to improve your skills and understanding as a novelist? And are you already doing this — if not every single day — on most days, whether or not you have any guarantee of success or fame or fortune in the end?

Self knowledge is power! I still love that song! Music is my poetry. I remember that song well when it first came out.

I was a senior in high school and had no real idea what I was going to do with my life. This month, another song has been spinning on the LP turntable inside my brain, and it speaks to my writing resolution for the year—one of our current Girlfriend topics. It has to do with the world outside of the stories in my head. Being naturally Type A, my fantasy is to achieve that elusive sense of peace and balance, so I can participate fully in this writing life, but not cross the line into the realm of unhealthy obsession.

Not let the characteristic chaos of the industry consume me, create an unending loop of self doubt or throw off my internal compass. It took a long time to find my writing voice, but it seems to be taking even longer to find my unshakable author center.

And, sadly, I suck at that whole Zen thing. We work our tails off to follow up on a requested submission or a great writing opportunity and, then, are stuck in limbo while the person with acquisition power tries to juggle everything on his or her desk so they can eventually get back to us. And while we wait, we worry and wonder: Did I do enough? Will they like it? How long will it take before I know?

Any aspiring or published writer knows just how tough it is to both break in and stay in. One wonderful NYT-bestselling author, who sold her first novel almost 30 years ago and is still actively publishing today, told me she just removes herself from as many stressors as possible. Refuses to read reviews—ever. Follows her own writing process and ignores anyone who tries to tell her that she should try to tailor her style to anything other than what works best for her.

And she reminds herself of this inherent irony in publishing: Realizing I did the best I could with whatever resources, skills and time I had available to me. And just focusing on what I can do right now to make tomorrow a bit better. An era of music or a particular musical genre that speaks to you most? The husbands of two of my best friends play for fun in a band called The Mojo Daddies and their group is opening for him this weekend at a college just outside of Chicago.

Hardly unusual for me. But I noticed there was something different about this particular melody. Every time I thought about writing this post for our RWA-WF chapter blog, it was as if someone turned up the volume on the song in my head.

I kept trying to figure out what it was, exactly, that made me think of it so often. If they were lucky, they might have family, friends, lovers, husbands or a community to lean on but, still, these heroines needed to tap into what was most unique about themselves and find the strength to fight whatever battle they had to face.

There are no shortcuts to this publishing game. Until we know ourselves. We know our voice. And, to get to that point, we need to do a lot of work that no one else can do for us. Like our story heroines, bravery is unfortunately required of us, along with a list of other traits that frequently make me want to race back to bed, pull the covers up over my head and hide. We also need to have a passion for learning writing craft, accept that patience will be required of us daily, develop the skill of flexibility, understand the certainty of change and deal with the fear of the unknown, the reality of failure and the surprising panic of success.

But, unlike our daring protagonists, we get to go one step further: We have the privilege of continuing our journey long after our characters have ended theirs. I was supposed to be a scientist. That was the occupation my parents and extended family members had agreed upon for me from about 3rd grade on. Thankfully, they were somewhat flexible on this.

When I turned out to be squeamish about things like blood…and needles…and medical procedures of all varieties, they were just fine with me channeling my academic efforts toward the bloodless sciences of geology, physics, astronomy or botany. There were tons of possibilities, almost all of which would have made my parents happy.

Although I really liked and respected the sciences, I loved the arts. Passionately and with my whole geeky heart. I dreamed of becoming Pat Benatar. I wanted to sing, write poetry and lyrics, play my electronic piano, be in a stage play or two, paint huge canvases with watercolors and oils, and dance, dance, dance — tap numbers and jitterbug and the occasional samba.

More than anything, I wanted to do something artsy and creative every single day. Something that had meaning for me.

Something where I could try to make sense of this crazy little thing called life. Part way through college, I changed majors from biochemistry to teaching — working with 2nd and 3rd graders would be both creative and meaningful, IMO — but I knew there was still an important element missing for me. After eight years, when I was expecting my son, I took a leave of absence from the school district. But a very strange thing happened during my time away. The courage that had elluded me for decades on my own was present in full force — possibly doubled, even tripled — when I held this new little being.

I felt overpoweringly protective of him. Conscious of my need to do for him what I never would have done just for myself: To be the daily example of someone who put aside her fears long enough to follow her true passions. I knew how easy it was for parents to get caught up in having their children fulfill their dreams for them.

So, I started by writing poetry, articles and essays and sending them in to magazines. Some of them — to my shock and delight — even got accepted and published.

Friday Mornings at Nine , just came out three months ago and was chosen as a Doubleday Book Club and Book-of-the-Month Club featured alternate selection. He swears his video-game playing is educational — LOL. It was very hard won. Because, yes, I think it is. What was true for me 12 months ago is still true for me now. Letting go is rarely easy and that was certainly true in these cases. This year was, for me, a reevaluation year, and while there were a couple of losses, there were quite a few more gains.

I met some awe-inspiring people and had the pleasure of getting to know better or reconnect with some wonderful friends — online and off. This year made me even more appreciative of the insightful, compassionate, secure and genuine travel companions who are sharing the journey with me…and I thank you all for that.

Now, as approaches, my thoughts have turned to a different but marginally related theme: I had an interesting, somewhat unexpected experience with it in recent months. I was taking part in a multi-author booksigning event and a reader came up to all of us to ask about our novels.

It was a noticeable interruption, but I liked the writer and attributed her behavior to a combination of over-eagerness and the simple desire to make a sale. The reader, however, raised her eyebrows, took a step back and laughed uneasily. Are you guys in competition or something? Reading one of our books makes readers want to find others that are similar.

The issue is complex. It has logical and emotional components, real-world battles pitted against internal, intensely personal ones — and rarely are all of these addressed.

I won when I decided to pursue a passion rather than do something I hated. This much I can tell you about it, though: Or by the number of GoodReads raves or bashes. Those are irrelevant in the heat of such combat. That have lost their fortunes, their families, their sobriety or their sanity? So, a focus on comparing sales figures as a measure of success — while not a wholly worthless endeavor — is limited in scope when placed alongside all of the truly significant conflicts fought within.








Frauen in nylons dick spanking


Respekt für Jason Mamoa! Ich mag Momoa in fast allem, was er tut und ich bin froh zu lesen, dass Staffel der Marvel-Serie "Luke Cage" muss der scheinbar unbesiegbare Held auf einmal selbst schwer einstecken, während Weiterlesen … Dolly Zoom: Weiterlesen … Movies Numbers Seconds einzigartige Filme, Nummern, die in Sekunden von auf 0 runtergezählt werden.

Und ich mag die Tatsache, Weiterlesen … Atlas, der humanoide Roboter von Boston Dynamics, kann jetzt renn Der Roboter von Boston Dynamics ist nicht mehr an ebenen Böden gebunden, nun bezwingt er anscheinend jegliches Terrain.

In folgendem Video sehen wir den Juni durch das von der Spanischen Grippe geplagte London von streifen. Doch das Leben besteht nicht nur aus Arbeit. Beim Konzert vom Mai im Sands Casino Nein, ist nichts für Draven präsentiert Geschichten aus der Gruft mit allerlei Geheimnisvollem aus den unheimlichen Tiefen des Netzes und aus jeder Ecke der Welt.

Denn glaube mir, nichts ist trivial. Freunde, die Gruft präsentiert: Dravens Radio from the Crypt! Natürlich immer noch ein Stückchen lauter und besser! Dass das Betreiben von dravenstales. Damit Kosten und vielleicht noch ein, zwei Freigetränke gedeckt sind, könnte ich den ganzen Laden hier mit Werbung vollkleistern. Ich mag aber meine Leser, weshalb ich ihnen ein weitgehend werbefreies Leseerlebnis bieten möchte.

Klicke dazu oben einfach auf Spenden. Über mich Kontakt Unterstützen: Water Slide Guy oder wie man perfekt die Wasserrutsche runter kommt.

Devil's Day - Ross The Boss. Mr Blue Footed Booby. Müsli-Schüssel und Bong in einem. Respekt vor dem Original: Jason Momoa verlässt "The Crow"-Remake. Wie es aussieht, wenn New York City unter Wasser steht. Tödlicher Fluch - Trailer. Mit der kleinsten Kameradrohne der Welt über den Muscle Beach geflogen. Clever - Ice Age. Niemals nie wieder den Sandwich-Maker putzen.

Grand Canyon-Timelapse mit wunderschönem Wolkenspiel. Marvel's Luke Cage - Trailer zur 2. Water Slide Guy oder wie man perfekt die Wasserrutsche runter kom Nennen wir ihn den Usain Bolt der Wasserparks, ein Kerl in Jamaika zeigt uns, wie man perfekt die Wasserrutsche runter kommt und das sieht Der Song stammt aus dem aktuellen Müsli-Schüssel und Bong in einem Wer sich schon beim morgendlichen Müsli wegballern möchte, kann mit der Breakfast Bowl jetzt beides gleichzeitig erledigen.

Ich mag Momoa in fast allem, was er tut und ich bin froh zu lesen, dass er nicht mehr beim Ich gehe aber davon aus, dass die Stromversorgung in einem solchen Fall nicht problemlos Die Schweiz erlebt derzeit den viertwärmsten Frühling seit Messbeginn im Jahr Unsere Stimme verrät viel über uns — das zieht für Psychotherapie und Marketing ebenso nützliche wie erschreckende Anwendungen nach sich. Bargeldloses Zahlen verbreitet sich immer weiter. Vampyr — Trailer Das Rollenspiel "Vampyr" lässt uns ab dem 5.

Delirium — Trailer In "Delirium" wird ein Mann frisch aus einer Nervenheilanstalt entlassen und bezieht die von seinen verstorbenen Eltern geerbte Villa. I spent a couple of years just information gathering—reading studies on creative individuals, compiling lists of specific traits that seemed to predict a potential for creative behavior, identifying cultural patterns and situations that made for a fertile creative environment, and so on.

Then I detailed the results in a document packed with quotes, not only from social scientists, but also from my favorite authors, film directors, musicians, and artists. Even so, I still feel I barely scratched the surface. But if I were to distill my hundreds of pages of notes and years of research into one concept, it would be this: I found that creativity most frequently occurs at the margins of our cultural experiences.

It thrives in those places where our knowledge of one world overlaps with another world. All of us who are writing and publishing today are the living definition of cultural marginality, at least in relation to our field. We have a front-row view of the two intersecting worlds of publishing, i. These changes are so real to us and so visible that we have the singular ability to hold the vision of both worlds in our minds simultaneously.

And, while the downside is that it likely feels to you as it does to me—daily! I truly believe this. The spirit of innovation, the greater openness to trial and error, the generous sharing of information, and the rich peer collaboration have been beyond what many of us could have ever imagined during our earlier publishing days.

Quite a number of unusual marketing ideas, multi-author projects, new regional reader events, and clever promotional strategies have originated or been expanded upon thanks to the out-of-the-box thinking of some indie authors.

However, our current climate sparks an appreciation for the gifts that this industry-wide upheaval has brought to all of us and a desire to contribute to the sharing of knowledge that has revolutionized the way we approach the writing, publishing, promotion, and distribution of our novels.

It all starts, though, by knowing which talents we bring to the table. Perhaps one of the trickiest lessons we each have to learn as writers is the art of playing to our strengths.

Even as we work to improve upon whatever areas are more difficult or daunting for us as individuals, we still need to take the time to recognize those traits that make us unique—those particular aspects of creativity that fuel our storytelling and our imaginations—and to honor them.

As novelists, whether published or aspiring, we are a collective of highly creative individuals. Just think about what we do every day: These are uncommon pastimes for most adults…unless, of course, they happen to be novelists. Below are some of the most frequently cited characteristics of creative people. Many are complementary traits while others may be in opposition. The creative individual is aware of such boundaries but enjoys finding ways to subvert or transcend them.

It might be as simple as using an unusual but apt metaphor in writing a scene or as extensive as utilizing a deep grasp of another vocation to slingshot book promotion to a new but receptive audience. It is possessing the mental flexibility to accept the internal conflict and tension that result from polarities, inconsistencies, and contradictions. This is a trait I think most writers must draw upon whenever they start a new novel—just take the art of plotting as an example.

I, for one, happen to be a loose plotter. But, even with its assistance in the basic plotting of my story, I still have to face a trillion decisions yet to come. Decisions about the backstory and motivations of my characters. Or about plot twists that I may not have planned out in advance. I can assure you that everyone who successfully writes a book that way has a gift of tolerating ambiguity in large measure!

Furthermore, for all of us, there is a strong link between creativity and the ability to take emotional risks. Why We Take Risks. So, in my opinion, although industry-wide change can be frightening, as authors we have very little to fear.

Our creativity—our risk taking, our adaptability, our willingness to think divergently, our capacity to collaborate with each other, etc.

Figure out which creative traits are your greatest assets and explore them. Play to your strengths. Learn from those authors who have skills in different areas and share in return. Use your talents to pave the path you most want to follow and join together with authors you respect to reach your goals. Some years back, I was talking with my brother-in-law about martial arts.

He has a black belt in jujitsu and has competed many times, including once in Taiwan. One that also proved rather useful in his line of work! Knowing what it really means to EXCEL in one subject or at one particular skill keeps me from being fooled or, more likely, fooling myself into thinking a mediocre performance is an excellent one.

Someone who strives and attains excellence with French, for instance, or with the flute knows the time, work, effort, practice, commitment, etc. I may still have a lot to learn about writing, but I know enough to recognize when an essay or a novel is in essentially publishable condition…and, likewise, this hard-earned knowledge helps me to recognize with sadness but certainty, LOL that my artwork and my piano playing are NOT at a comparably high performance level.

No one just jumps into mastery with one or two easy leaps. We still need to take risks. Or, to quote Mario again: What projects are you working on right now? Essentially, so those we interact with will strive to be honest with themselves, open to experience, and willing to face challenges worthy of their time and talents. As writers, though, I think we live this without reminders. So, in my opinion, the passion to write is fueled by something much more primal than mere aptitude.

I believe the passion necessary to write a book comes from great love… and great fear. We need to understand the sources of our personal passions so we can harness them and channel their power into something we feel is beautiful and meaningful.

From both love and fear. I pursued it with a relentless commitment for nearly eight years until I got my first book contract. I then entered this hallowed world of big dreams and frequently small advances and got a front-row seat for one of the most significant industry shifts since the invention of the printing press….

And it was a fascinating experience—sometimes frustrating, sometimes gratifying, but never boring and, likewise, never constant. As the sands shifted under our feet, ebooks gained momentum, print runs for midlist authors like me got halved, and I realized that my passions were changing…not only when it came to what I longed to write about but, also, what I worried about the most in regards to my career and my future as a novelist.

I suspect one of the reasons arguments between traditional vs. Or that we might start to pursue that new avenue, only to have it change again a few years later. Back in , just before I got that first contract, my greatest desire was to hold a print copy of my book in my hands, see it sitting on a library or bookstore shelf, and get invited to local book clubs to chat with readers face to face about a story. And my greatest fear was that an editor at a NY publishing house might never consider a manuscript of mine strong enough to publish.

Nor should I have. They involve the distribution of my work. In this age of one-click purchasing, I wonder…are my books reaching their intended audience? Getting into the hands of their right readers? Am I doing enough to help make that connection happen, especially since I write across genres? I worry about this all the time. My passion for what, specifically, I wanted to write about is changing, too. To write much more out of the box than I ever have.

And this freedom has meant a lot to me. It is, without question, where my passions have led me for now—to the crazy joy of writing stories that cannot be easily stamped with a genre label. And, of course, your passions, may lead you to a very different place. But I think the important thing for all of us to remember is that we need to stay true to those things we love, try to see with our clearest vision those things we fear, and fully accept all the facets of our passion and its changeable nature.

With a nod to Henry David Thoreau, we can only step to the music we hear—however measured or far away—and trust in that. Some inspiring and encouraging, even while being instructive in regards to narrative flaws.

It was a huge honor for me understatement!! It was during the only undergraduate composition class I ever took, which also happened to be the first time I remember making a conscious decision about whether or not to follow my sort of secret writing dream.

Loved both of these! As an education major, I was surprised and a little disappointed when I discovered I only had to take ONE writing course to get my degree. Nothing about the sound of this puny college English requirement scared me one bit.

Told he was a real nutcase, a tough grader and someone to avoid like a bad virus, if at all possible? His class was the only one that fit well enough into my schedule that spring, so I took it. At first acquaintance, Dr. I was simultaneously mesmerized and horrified by his lecture, and I kept exchanging sideways glances with a guy friend who was in the room with me.

We agreed afterward that, indeed, we should have held out for a professor who was a little more sane. Not just one weird little punctuation mark. But I was in for a surprise that semester. In fact, he started to scare me for another reason entirely: Furthermore, one option we had as students in his class was an open invitation to go to his office to discuss our writing during a short, individual conference — particularly if we were concerned about our grades, and I was starting to be.

My curiosity was at war with my resentment over this — I was sure it was going to be a soul-crushing experience — but curiosity eventually won out and I made an appointment to see him.

The man possessed an amazing gift — both as a writer himself and as a professor. He was incredibly clear-minded, but he was also fair and kind.

He was the first person in years to hold me accountable for what I wrote, to not let me get away with lazy thinking and to make sure I really conveyed on paper what I was trying to express. He demanded honesty and clarity. Most amazingly, he inspired in me a powerful desire to prove to him that I was not illogical, unoriginal or remotely lazy. That his faith in my ability to live up to his expectations was somehow justified. He was a poet who loved Shakespeare, and one day when I popped by his office to say hello, he shared with me a poem he was working on.

It was way over my head and I knew it — far too clever and full of literary allusions for me to even pretend to understand it — but I loved that he read it to me and explained that it was still a work in progress. It was so emotionally honest of him. Certainly not at 19 or Not at 25 either. Or, for that matter, at And when, inevitably, I encountered a critiquing situation where there was derision and a lack of constructive feedback, I had a better model to emulate.

To hold out for critique partners who were closer to Dr. That it should inspire us to want to work harder. To revise with intent and hopefulness. To reach deeper and consider the significance of every phrase, every punctuation mark. Do you have a favorite teacher? One who inspired you and made you strive to work harder at something? There are dozens of reasons why I love to travel. Of simply moving from one place to another.

Meeting people with backgrounds quite different from mine. The thrill of forging connections between prior experiences and new ones.

The pure adrenaline rush of novelty. And I love all kinds of journeys, too: Flights to foreign lands, cross-country road trips, train rides through mountain passes and even the occasional river ferry.

I had a chance to observe this firsthand and somewhat dramatically when we took our son, who was 13 at the time, to England and Wales for a short visit last spring. It was his first trip abroad. His first time buying anything with a foreign currency. As an avid coin collector, this made a huge impression on him. There were a lot of firsts. That, no matter how well we might be able to navigate our way through the American Midwest in our Honda, we were just lost tourists wandering on the cobbled streets of his English hometown.

Above all, our short, pleasant conversation with that lovely man became a tangible event that I could point to when I later spoke with my son about expanding his worldview beyond the confines of his junior-high environment. That we need to strive to keep this in mind when we interact with everyone. No parental lecture on the subject ever worked as well as that 5-minute live demonstration, though.

But the experience underscored something so important to me as both a mom and a writer: That being masters of viewpoint is at the heart of our job. To help our children see the world just a touch more perceptively. I have this daily quote calendar on my desk, and the saying that popped up a few days ago was this: I agree with that to a certain degree. As tough as writing a novel or a poem or a short story or even a blog post… can be some days, I rarely wish I were doing something else.

But, for the most part, I love writing. The whole messy process of it. The crazy puzzle that we need to solve in order to create a story, draft it, edit it repeatedly! I get a strange energy from it and — as an introvert — anything that gives me energy, rather than drains me of it, is always a good thing. My plan was to find jobs that would not only bring in an income but would also build my writing skills and understanding of stories.

When our son started elementary school, though, I wanted to contribute more directly and, yet, still be able to be home when our son got back from his classes. I got regular assignments from a handful of publications, some regional, some national, and I also became a part-time book reviewer for a large-circulation magazine.

And, let me tell you, that was a BIG deal for me then! My pre-motherhood profession would have required me to be away from home too much, so I thought about what I could do within the realm of literature that might pay a bit more and still be as interesting to me as writing. It always will be. But promo and social media have their gifts, too. And oh, yes, I am definitely mocking my sensitive, lyric-writing, junior-high self. I had acute stagefright and actually hated performing musically in front of anyone.

I was too anxious and too unwilling to take the steps needed to improve 1 or manage 2. You know, I just really liked the fantasy…. So, I did not study much music in college, despite my deep love of the subject, until it turned up as a requirement for my major.

Guitar was a brand new instrument for me, and the first time I tried to tune it, I broke two strings. Give it my full effort. Besides, I had no choice. The results were pretty gratifying. I picked up the basics of the instrument in just a few weeks. Delighted in the calluses on my fingertips, much as it hurt to develop them at first. Sped through learning the required songs and had the assistant professor listen to me play so I could get them checked off the list.

Not as a future rock star, of course, but as someone who could, in fact, play and sing in public. At least when necessary. My final performance piece — in front of the professor, the assistant, and a bunch of classmates — rocked. And I even got a part. I thought about that whole experience a lot during my years as an aspiring writer.

The reward is the confidence and courage that come from meeting an unforeseen challenge…and the knowledge that in some new, similarly unexpected circumstance, we could probably do it again. First of all, many thanks for inviting me to visit WITS! Something that wedged itself into my memory well over a decade ago and never left. As inexperienced as I was in the fiction world back then, I understood what she meant, and I still think about her wise words all the time.

Early on in her career, back when she was hoping to just get a magazine byline, she told herself that all she wanted was to get published once. When I first started, the thing I thought I wanted was just to know for sure that I could write, as determined by some semi-objective measure. I longed for proof of it, and I figured that this proof would best come in the form of a national publication of some kind with a byline and a check. The size of the byline and amount of the check were immaterial, although I daydreamed about both being fairly large, LOL.

I knew there would be dues to pay, and I was willing to be patient and pay them with my time and my energy because I needed the clips and the exposure. The opportunity to forge a pure connection with readers. And the networking and introductions to people who might want more of the articles or essays that I could write. Having talked to many authors, I suspect most writers and artists and musicians are this way.

And we need to be to bring our stories to an audience. We need to be in order to persevere long enough to write our stories down in the first place. But whatever my goal du jour was—winning a contest or getting agent requests or having a poem accepted for publication—I quickly learned it was NOT going to be all I wanted. I had a sense of ambition that seemed insatiable. For years I deluded myself into thinking that a multi-book contract from a New York publisher might actually satisfy me.

THAT was the big kahuna, after all! I suspected it would be impossible for me to break this pattern. This profession is packed full of exciting challenges—the high can be as addictive as creamy European milk chocolate—but it can also swamp you. Run you completely ragged. To my earliest writing desires, and the origins of whatever sparked this passion for fiction in the first place—the opportunity to forge a pure connection with readers.

The need to challenge myself with something new—both inside the narrative itself and within the writing world. That was what led me to explore some of the multiple publishing options available today, particularly within the realm of indie publishing.

The print lines that used to feature short romantic comedies no longer existed. I know this next year will be even more so. That said, writing and publishing are unpredictable professions understatement alert! I have a couple of projects that I think lend themselves best to indie publishing, but I also have others that might find an audience more readily through a traditional house. And I wish each of you the thrill of adventure on your journey, no matter what twists it takes.

It has been great fun following her career since then. What are some pros and cons of each that authors should consider? First of all, thank you so much for inviting me here today, Anita! I love your new blog and am thrilled to be one of your guests: The pros offered by traditional publishing include things like professional editing, an expert cover designer assigned to create the image for your novel, a marketing department working to get your book distributed across the country or the world , publicists who get your novel out to reviewers in a timely manner, and a team of people who take care of the formatting of your manuscript—uploading it to digital sites or having it printed, stored and shipped to retailers.

Self-publishing takes a lot of work! On the other hand, self-publishing offers quite a bit of freedom in exchange for all of the responsibility. The authors choose their own release dates—something else that most writers would have almost no control over in a traditional publishing setting. In some cases, authors might also choose to work with their agents to get formatting and marketing help.

Unless an author is a bestseller at his or her publishing house, getting these activities lined up and paying for the ads will still generally fall to the author. So, in that area, both traditional and self-publishing have a great deal in common. You have a long-standing love of Jane Austen. Just kidding…well, not entirely! There is definitely a readership out there that loves Austen as much as I do! To my eye, she was a genius at depicting human behavior, and she created several flawed but very lovable protagonists, as well as some of the most memorable villains in literature.

You and I have talked about the value of critique groups for writers at all stages of their careers. What are the main benefits you have gained from being in a critique group, and what should writers look for when they decide to join one?

As for what writers should look for in a critique group, I think it depends on what your own strengths are as a writer. There are definitely times when helping a less experienced writer is rewarding or getting a detailed critique from a master-level author is truly enlightening but, day to day, for a close-knit critique group, I feel the strongest, longest-lasting partnerships come when we grow, share and learn with others who are at a similar place to us in our writing journeys.

It also helps being around people we can have fun with, genuinely like talking to and really trust! Thank you for your wonderful insight! One is finished and will hopefully find a perfect home soon. The other is plotted and almost half written. Marilyn, thank you once again for sharing your amazing in-depth advice and experience with me and readers. Best wishes for those current and future projects!

Publishing seems to inspire such moments more frequently than, say, almost any other less crazy-making occupation. I can now see countless flaws in it…but, back then, I thought it was a work of utter depth, brilliant pacing and staggeringly beautiful prose. This did not in any way stop me from desperately wanting a publishing contract with a NY house for that book.

Turned out, I needed to dig a little deeper into that desire. In one instance, at least, that was true for me, too. It had gotten so close! Honestly, though, that was the BEST thing that ever could have happened to that book!

Not selling this story too soon was, in fact, exactly what I needed…and, surprisingly, what I wanted as well. Stories that influenced the very worldview of that writer-to-be by stamping it with an indelible impression of skillfully paced plots, believable motivations, insightful characterizations, clever subtexts, and compelling themes. We all have our own private shelves—literally or figuratively—that feature these memorable examples of storytelling. Forevermore, we hold up their masterful narration as our personal standard of excellence.

The one we hope to rise closer to… someday. If we practice really hard. And if the writing gods smile upon us, even slightly. This story is a contemporary romance about an ER doctor and a single mom who cross paths on an Internet dating site. We all know, though, that the course of true love or carefully plotted fiction will never run that smoothly…. Bennet, a Regency-era mother to five single daughters Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia, in order of age , is yammering on and on to her husband about how a new eligible and wealthy bachelor just moved into the neighborhood.

We then encounter the object of Mrs. Charles Bingley, who is in attendance with his snobbish sister Caroline, his other snobbish sister and her husband and, most interestingly of all, his best friend.

Enter the even wealthier and handsomer—albeit, significantly prouder and more arrogant—Mr. Darcy scoffs at the idea of dancing with Elizabeth, no matter how fervently his good-natured buddy implores him to do so. Elizabeth overhears this conversation, and you can imagine how well that goes over with her.

Her true character, though intelligent and, at heart, quite loving, is one of a woman with a LONG and exacting memory. Bennet wanting to marry off her daughters and the debate here is a series of discussions from the perspectives of multiple characters regarding the nature of courtship and marriage. Elizabeth requires something more in a spouse—intellectual respect—while Bingley and Darcy debate the qualities they admire: Everyone argues their positions.

In spite of himself, this is where Darcy really starts to like Elizabeth—particularly her fine eyes and her liveliness of mind. Collins proposes to Elizabeth. She refuses, so he proposes to her friend Charlotte, who impulsively accepts. Darcy and the Bingley sisters persuade Mr. Bingley to leave town, and Jane, in hopes of crossing paths with him again, leaves as well to stay with relatives in London. Elizabeth, who has already met the cunning but charming officer Mr. She readily believes them.

Elizabeth takes a trip to visit her friend Charlotte, now married to the foolish Mr. Collins, and encounters the formidable and frequently rude Lady Catherine. It is, however, a shock to all of us when Darcy unexpectedly proposes to Elizabeth badly. He storms off and writes a long letter to Elizabeth, explaining that Wickham is a really bad guy. Both Elizabeth and Darcy have been prideful and prejudiced in a number of ways, and the state of both of their love lives seems pretty pathetic right about now.

Bad Guys Close In: This is where the plot thickens. The officers of the regiment, including Mr. Wickham, leave the area for another town. Elizabeth, meanwhile, gets to take a new trip—this one with her sensible aunt and uncle from London.

They talk and are on the verge of something very courtship like when disaster strikes. Jane writes a letter saying that Lydia has run away with Wickham and the two cannot be found.

Dark Night of the Soul: Because of his earlier warnings about Wickham, she confesses to him what has happened with her youngest sister and, basically, says goodbye to him. She knows any further relationship between them is hopeless. Bennet is ecstatic to finally have one daughter married, even under these circumstances.

Wickham and Lydia visit the Bennets as a married couple. Elizabeth is wiser now and distances herself from Wickham and his Darcy-bashing speeches. Lydia lets a secret slip—Darcy was with them in London—which makes Elizabeth crazy with curiosity. She begins to investigate. Meanwhile, Bingley suddenly returns, seeks out Jane and, eventually, proposes.

Lady Catherine surprises Elizabeth with a visit, demanding that she stop pursuing Darcy. Elizabeth is seriously confused. Nevertheless, she tells off his aunt with her best Regency-era insults, and is further stunned when Darcy himself shows up soon afterward. Elizabeth has learned that HE was the one who found Lydia and paid Wickham off to marry her. When Darcy proposes a second time, Elizabeth accepts with pleasure. With three out of the five young ladies now married, Mrs.

Bennet is beside herself with delight. Would you change anything? And, for everyone, what are some of the books or films from your youth that most influenced your writing? While it had its entertaining moments, I doubt the primary appeal of this story was the prose itself.

To me, the allure seems to stem from a combination of factors: In this case, they also have lots of sex on lots of surfaces. The curiosity alone can be quite a compelling inducement to read it. It was for me. What do you think? I love to explore characters in my stories whose perspectives may be wildly different from mine. But, sometimes, equally as much, I love seeing snippets of my real, often humdrum suburban life reflected in the fiction I read and write.

Sometimes I want the traits that make these characters unique to be their emotional courage, their honesty, their strength of spirit. In my opinion, familiar situations and commonplace problems in a story are valuable to readers, too. After all, there were no red rooms of pain or year-old billionaires in them… But, for me, those stories were lifesavers.

Someone whose work strikes an authentic, recognizable chord in your own life. If so, please share. And to all of you in the midst of NaNo, keep at it! More noticeable in spice than the Mild. Not nearly as tongue-burning as the Hot. But change can be cumulative. And, as with salsa, even medium levels can get to you after a while. Sense them starting to heat everything up. Getting that first traditional NY contract and all of the crazy hours of work that went into preparing for a debut release…that was a year of greater stress than I ever would have imagined.

Over the next few months, there will be some additions to my author bookshelf. I can recognize my peers and wave to them. The second step is to figure out what, exactly, must change…and why. My author friend and I were aspiring writers together a decade ago, and we still help each other remember that long, arduous climb toward getting any kind of professional feedback, agent interest, editor requests and — eventually — publishing contracts.

Or the winner of a big literary award. Or the 1 placeholder on some kind of coveted list. None can be purchased, lost or stolen. Persistence Yes, rejection sucks.

It sucks for everybody. You can pout for a day or two want some Belgian chocolate? Well, IMO, until you get the answer you want to hear. A Killer Work Ethic Be responsible. Or, to quote the wisdom of one of my favorite fortune cookies: Unless a family or health crisis prevents you — because, on rare occasion, there ARE legitimate reasons for not finishing a project on time — show how incredible you are by not being a slacker.

Show us your unique vision in some way. Optimism Yes, rejection sucks. Do you hear an echo? Though, if at all possible, try to avoid tactless ranting on social-media sites, okay? Curiosity What do you care about?

What are your passions? What makes life worth living, in your opinion? Go out into the world and experience some of life until you DO know. And above all, Aspiring Writer, hang in there.

What qualities would YOU give to other writers? Those Brits, they have everything. So often, a sign of maturity is our ability to own up to our weaknesses. My high-school years were marked by two such assertions: In moments where I was quiet enough to listen to the inner voices and be honest about my actual gifts and flaws, I knew I was wrong to fight so hard against both of these.

To keep claiming again and again that I was exactly who I said I was. Someone who hated gym. But I know now why I did it. Because to own up to having some natural abilities — to really embrace them as strengths — would require my having to take full responsibility for developing them. If I tried but failed in some way i.

I could pat myself on the back for overcoming great obstacles and doing something not remotely innate.

If I succeeded, then it was only as a result of my work ethic. Better to think of myself as an overachiever than to suspect the reverse: That for too many years I may have actually been underachieving. That my greatest weakness had nothing to do with either athletics or storytelling, but being too afraid to tell myself the truth about what I could really do well and what was genuinely out of my grasp. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Perhaps not every person who reads this will have experienced something similar.

Having an aptitude for poetry, math, tennis or jewelry design. Possessing more musical talent or more computer knowledge than you ever use. So take that first frightening step…whisper it aloud.

I have friends whose offices are a study in well-organized shelves, neat piles and dust-free cabinets. What you think, you become. You take the action, and the insight follows: But I like that. Readers that make us want to keep going, keep on creating stories despite all the challenges….

Some writers have the strength to stay away from reviews altogether — good or bad. There are different literary tastes in the world, are there not? The style is clumsy though the author strives to impress with an aristocratic pompousness so typical of social climbers of her day. The characters are cold, their development dull and boring… I would rather endure a daily root canal than read this book again. It was almost as inspirational as witnessing a mountain top removal to mine coal.

Perhaps zero of five stars would be more accurate…. The only thing that kept me going was the hope that there would be some little twist… Unfortunately not. Each of the female characters are shallow, self-centred…and vacuous. It is not romantic or charming in the least bit. The main character comes through as arrogant and at times even stupid. It is a completely forgetable book, and I have no clue as to why so many people find it romantic. I have never read such a novel that is completly incompetant, complete nonsence, the smallest talks of all the small talks in the world, it is about nothingness, and how several nothings trying and wanting to get married to other nothings for all the wrong reasons in the world.

It is about people pretending to be inteligent and pretending to be civilized. It is a book where they compliment women as being handsome and men as being well…also handsome. It is quite contageous I might add because I find myself helplessly imatitating the language that it was written in. I am offended by every paragraph that I read. I have never felt such contemt for any work that I read.

I pasionately despise this novel and I could write an entire paper on why. Marilyn is compelled to add: You may not realize the preciousness of your gift, but we novelists surely do. Some of you have given that gift to me, and my gratitude cannot be measured.

Writing a novel is such an emotionally intense and mentally involving task that, much of the time, we writers are so caught up in juggling the details of story structure and craft that we lose focus on the ultimate big picture: Why are we writing this book in the first place? Does it make sense? Is it as interesting as I hope it is? Why does this story matter? In my opinion, there is a long and a short answer to that for each of us as we face our various projects. The long answer is undoubtedly a complicated equation involving an analysis of our writing goals, our resources, our ability to reach readers, our desire for some of the fantasies that typically come with the writing life regardless of whether or not we end up achieving them , like being seen as famous, earning our idea of a good fortune, winning honors and awards, battling Death in our ever-present fight against our mortality, or feeling the rush we get by challenging on paper a personal fear.

Essentially, by some semi-objective means, we try to determine how capable, connected, valuable and relevant our stories are in the eyes of our target audience. How meaningful our work is, at least as deemed by the society in which we live. That, ultimately, we have to come to terms with our own lack of absolute certainty in regards to what we hope is our Love of a Lifetime.

Somewhere inside of each of us, we know why. As much of an individual stamp as our writing voice. And as unique and hard-to-define as we are. And, yet, despite the confusion that tends to come with change, I believe every transition holds an extra-special gift in its hands and that these sweeping changes surrounding us are no exception. Perception, Interaction, Opposition and Marginality.

Lotsa laughs in it, I tell you. It is at this point, though, where my research from long ago greets the current changes in the industry with a smile. See, if someone were to distill the findings of my laboriously written thesis, it would be this: That creativity is most likely to occur at the margins of a society, and that people on the edge of two cultures whatever those two cultures might be have the ability to peek into both worlds and make connections that those people fully immersed in either one side or the other cannot necessarily see.

Programmers are unleashing new technology on us with the rapid fire of an automated weapon, but we continue to learn it, adapt to it and, maybe, even come to love it… all without ever having forgotten what it was like to dab whiteout on a mistake when we mistyped something or what it felt like to get blue ink on our fingers from the carbon copy paper we once used. Just think of the possibilities. For some it might be a technological demon sent from the future.

So many times in the past, advances in technology were seen as magical. That could be the basis for a new tale, or it could be the reverse.

Do you find yourself using your knowledge of life before cell phones or MP3 players to enhance your stories in some way or develop a more complex range of characters? Has technology—or the lack of it—played a key role in any of your manuscripts? Are you tapping in to the creativity that an awareness of more than one worldview can inspire? Now, you have to understand insert critical backstory here , my addiction to Nutella goes WAY back, about 25 years, when I first tasted it in Europe. With a little help from my son, we mixed everything together, kneaded the dough, flattened the biscuits and cut them into fall-leaf shapes before baking.

I was, however, very motivated to give these biscuits a try, and they were well worth it! One thing I learned right away: The puzzle-loving side of my brain kept watching the symbols spin by, trying to figure out a pattern. I suspect the tall strawberry margarita you see sitting beside the machine assisted a little in this endeavor, too.

Tequila helps you find connections everywhere, LOL. He talked about what made a dish good. He said there were really only three things a person needed in order to cook well: For a novel you need: Thanks for the cooking lesson, Fabio! I totally wanted to blog about something light and fun and uncomplicated enough to have fairly clear-cut answers, like the best birthday cake you ever had or your favorite kind of appetizer do I talk about food too much?!

I figured if I had it on my mind, a few other people here might be thinking about it, too… So, let me just state the obvious: This is a pretty unsettling time in the publishing industry. There is some very real excitement out there, too, by the way. New opportunities are emerging almost hourly, and many entrepreneurial souls have been quick to hop aboard the digital train in hopes of striking gold.

Some have found it in the literary realm and are shouting their gratitude and their Amazon rankings from the rooftops. Others are still striving and hopeful and secretly trying to crack the logarithm for ebook bestsellerdom. And yet others are capitalizing on the author accessories needed for a successful digital experience — the creation of book covers, the proofreading skills, the uploading and conversion know-how.

I may not utilize every service available to me out there, but I love having options. And for every public comment that unabashedly praises the Digital Revolution, there are at least five more — ranging from whispered concerns to infuriated accusations — that express in some way a powerful and pervasive sense of fear.

For me, trying to uncover the source of that fear has been occupying a lot of my mental energy this summer. Where is our industry going? Will readers abandon paper books in order to make the digital leap? And, even if we fully embrace the lightning-like changes that have struck publishing hard in recent years, will we be able to roll with whatever comes next in an industry that has transformed so rapidly in such a short period of time?

Just about everyone I know is asking themselves some version of these questions. Publishers are wondering if they need to add a digital branch to their company or expand the one they already have. Literary agents are fielding a slew of queries from their clients about rights reversion or assistance in the self-publishing of backlists.

Whose downloads are higher? Or between publishing professionals. Whose services or distribution methods are better? That part will always be relevant. I think we need to hang tight to this truth until the dust settles, even as we learn new skills and face the challenges that come with navigating our careers in this ever-shifting publishing environment and this not-exactly-stable global economy.

How stories will be packaged, sold and delivered in five years or ten is still a point of some debate, and I suspect many of us are going to have to adjust far more than we may feel comfortable doing sigh , but the craving for stories will live on.

No revolution — digital or otherwise — will change that. I wander out into the world and they exist. Like stepping onto a patio in summer and being surrounded by sunshine, oxygen and the occasional swarm of mosquitoes. How could I explain the existence of story ideas any more than the presence of air molecules or insects? In my admittedly, heavily food-obsessed mental world, I think of the ideas as sitting in wait for me, like an infinite variety of ingredients listed inside the cookbooks next to my stove.

My real-life cookbook collection contains recipes with an ethnic flavor, vegetarian meals, lite dishes, grilling guides, more dessert creations than one person should be allowed and scrap sheets of paper with special family favorites scribbled on them.

All of these clamor for my attention at meal time, and I must choose between them. For me, selecting menus — or novel plots — are strikingly similar tasks. A stew in the crockpot, for instance, or a casserole in the oven. Most of the time, I have a few different things on the burners and one thing heating in the microwave and another that needs to be tossed together on the counter.

My story ideas are like that, too. A couple of items on the stove top: What about all of you? What about reading — do you read one book completely before picking up another, or do you have several books in progress at once? Each stage, I figured, was another stride on the long climb up the publishing mountain.

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