Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Fabulous Five Lessons I Learned at the School of Hard Knocks -- By Anna Simpson

Today, I'm privileged to be a part of Anna Simpson's White Light Blog Tour.  In today's post, Anna shares some of her more embarrassing mistakes as a writer -- mistakes I suspect we've all been guilty of at one time or another.

Take it away, Anna!
Ken, thanks for having me.
I had my fair share of struggles when I decided to put my writing out there. I thought sharing might help others avoid some bumps along the way. So here are the hardest lessons I faced in the beginning of my career.  
1.      Don’t offer up my work to be read until it is properly scrubbed of all errors. I was very unprofessional at first. I lost a lot of support by people that would have helped me a great deal, but after reading me once they never offered again. I look back at some of my earlier work and cringe. And cringe some more at what I put them through.
2.     Be kinder with my critiques. My enthusiasm was limitless and I thought my job was to point out every mistake. Guess what? Some people were looking for praise and I didn’t offer any. Needless to say many ran for the hills when I offered to help them out again. I don’t blame them. Now I use the critique sandwich method. Praise-Constructive Criticism-Praise.
3.     Netiquette. (somewhat the same as number 2, but slightly different) I knew nothing about netiquette and embarrassed myself more than once in forums. It took me awhile not to hear crickets every time I posted a comment. No one could see my face and I hadn’t mastered the emoticon. My sarcastic sense of humor brought chats to a screeching halt. I suggest caution and only wished someone had warned me.
4.     Acceptance doesn’t mean I’ve made it. After having several shorts accepted I was shocked when I received a rejection. I thought I was done. That sting put me in my place and I’ve been cautious to keep my feet on the ground ever since.
5.     Not so hard but very helpful. Reaching out, networking, and blogging were the best things I could have done. Sure I fell on my face and was forced to rebuild bridges. I’ve grown and become wiser. There are so many more people in my life now and I’m truly grateful.

So tell me: what have you discovered that was obvious to everyone else but you? Anything? Come on, don’t be shy. 

 Anna


White Light
by
Anna Simpson

Publisher:
Three Worlds Press


Emma never dreamed of being a super-sleuth. In her mind, she’s more Scooby Doo than Nancy Drew and when her nosy neighbor, Mrs. Perkins, drags her to an anniversary party to solve a mystery, she rolls her eyes, buys a box of chocolates and hops in the car.

What’s a party without an attack on its host—or more accurately on the host’s grandson, sparking an allergic reaction and moving the party to the hospital waiting room. Suddenly, everyone is a suspect. Emma and Mrs. Perkins, along with Great Aunt Alice (a spirit with boundary issues who keeps stepping into Emma’s body like a new dress and playing matchmaker), dive into an investigation that almost gets Emma killed along with the man they are trying to protect. With so many reasons to kill him and so much to be gained if he died, Emma and Mrs. Perkins must unravel the tenuous ties that point to every member of his family as potential killers.

Even if it means going back to the psych ward, Emma will protect her friend and this innocent man. What good is freedom if it’s haunted with guilt?

Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon
All Romance Books
Kobo




real face of emaginette

About the Author:

Anna Simpson lives near the Canadian-US border with her family. Even though she’s lived in several places in British Columbia, her free spirit wasn’t able to settle down until she moved back to her hometown.

She is easy to find though, if you know the magic word — emaginette. Do an internet search using it and you’ll see what I mean. :-)







Tuesday, December 22, 2015

White Light is Officially on Sale

Two weeks ago, Anna Simpson revealed the cover for her new book, White Light. As of today, it is now available for purchase.  If you're at all into cozy mysteries, then I suggest you check it out.  And don't forget to enter the Raftercopter giveaway at the end of the post.

Congratulations, Anna!

ChemistKen



Details:

White Light
by
Anna Simpson

Publisher:
Three Worlds Press


 

 

About The Book:

Emma never dreamed of being a super-sleuth. In her mind, she’s more Scooby Doo than Nancy Drew and when her nosy neighbor, Mrs. Perkins, drags her to an anniversary party to solve a mystery, she rolls her eyes, buys a box of chocolates and hops in the car.

What’s a party without an attack on its host—or more accurately on the host’s grandson, sparking an allergic reaction and moving the party to the hospital waiting room. Suddenly, everyone is a suspect. Emma and Mrs. Perkins, along with Great Aunt Alice (a spirit with boundary issues who keeps stepping into Emma’s body like a new dress and playing matchmaker), dive into an investigation that almost gets Emma killed along with the man they are trying to protect. With so many reasons to kill him and so much to be gained if he died, Emma and Mrs. Perkins must unravel the tenuous ties that point to every member of his family as potential killers.

Even if it means going back to the psych ward, Emma will protect her friend and this innocent man. What good is freedom if it’s haunted with guilt?

Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon
All Romance Books
Kobo


Excerpt:

To stay free, I perform a ritual every morning. It begins with stepping outside, where dawn streams through the leafy branches of my maple tree, landing, shifting, and dancing on the flowerbeds at my bare feet. A steaming cup of coffee warms my hands. The fragrant air fills my lungs. I sip, leaving the liquid on my tongue to capture a moment of rich goodness.

My name is Emma, and I need to stay grounded and calm. It’s important for my health, so I walk along the fence and let the cool blades of grass tickle my toes and dewdrops cling to my skin. For fun, I kick a ball of dandelion fluff. Little parachutes take flight catching the same breeze moving the leaves above my head. The seeds float up, and up, over the fence to land on Mrs. Perkins’ perfectly tended lawn. Not a dandelion or mat of moss to be seen.

In a half acre of green sits one flowerbed, brimming with Lily of the Valley. I remember the first time I saw them over fifteen years ago. The delicate white bells could only be fairy hats. Today, the round base of cemented river stone is still full of waxy green spear tips. I don’t see fairy hats anymore. No, now I enjoy the effects of nature—its simple perfection.

Mrs. Perkins does it best. In fact, everything around Mrs. Perkins is perfectly cared for—her home, her yard, her car—all perfect.

But not today. A dark line sits between the jamb and the edge of the door.

A few inches of shadow drives my calm away and prickles the long blonde hairs at the nape of my neck. Butterflies in my stomach tell, no scratch that, demand I find my phone and go next door.

Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not a snoop.

Mrs. Perkins, a wiry old bird, did everything herself. I’m not sure if it is because she’s the independent sort or if she has no one else to help her. Either way, when she suggested we watch out for one another, I agreed.

I’m also alone. It doesn’t bother me unless I catch the flu or something. Then I wonder if I will die and no one will notice. It’s a thought, or fear, I can’t shake. Mrs. Perkins’ house has my full attention, and within it sits the same worry. I’ll check on her because she would do the same for me.

I crash into my kitchen, slopping my coffee onto the counter as I slam the mug down. My phone could be anywhere. My gaze travels from the pine tabletop to the gray marble counter. It’s not here. I push through the swinging door to the living area, run my fingertips between the couch and chair cushions, scan the smoked-glass coffee table through my veil of long blonde hair, and sneak a peek under my overturned book on the throw rug. Desperate, I check around the bowl by the door where I toss my keys as I pass the spiral staircase to the loft. Still nothing.

Down the short hallway, I rush to my bedroom. I tug the midnight blue duvet off the bed and shake it. My pulse speeds up as something thuds on to the carpet. I pick up my smartphone and check the battery. Half power.

Excellent. I dash through my front door, across the lawn and unlatch Mrs. Perkins’ white picket gate. Her shiny yellow front door looks as solid as stone. I follow her path to the back wondering if danger lurks.

I gasp as I near the door. It’s like living a moment in a crime drama. I mimic what I have watched on television and bring up my phone to take a picture. Inching forward, heart pounding, I wonder if poor Mrs. Perkins is sprawled out on the bathroom floor, from a stroke, heart attack, or a butcher knife.

Don’t worry, Mrs. Perkins. I’m coming.

I pull my cotton sleeve over my hand and push the door wider. Her kitchen looks untouched as if it’s sterilized or newly installed. Tiles cool my bare feet with each step. Fear scratches at my nerves, “Mrs. Perkins? It’s Emma from next door. Are you okay?”

Silence.

I raise the phone to call for help.

A small sound carries from deeper in the house. I should stop, leave, and make the call.

Following the sound might be dangerous or, worse, plain stupid. And I’m scared. So scared, my breathing is all I hear over the pounding of my heart.

I’d look stupid if I’m wrong. Ravenglass Lake is so small-townsville, and Benny the bully is like no cop I’ve ever met. He would be no help. Worst of all, they’d call me crazy for sure. I slip the phone back into my denim pocket, quietly open her knife drawer, and pull out a meat cleaver. Armed, I creep forward.

Thank goodness Mrs. Perkins likes an open airy room. Evil housebreakers have nowhere to hide in the dining room.

A small thump like a cat landing on carpet makes me jump. But Mrs. Perkins doesn’t have a cat…or carpet—only allergies.

I tighten my grip on the cleaver as I stick my head into the living room. All is quiet and undisturbed. I enter the corridor to the front door. To my right are stairs to the upper floor. Farther ahead is a hall closet and nook where she keeps a desk and a small bookcase. Nothing seems touched.

I glance up at the glittery ceiling, swallow, and pull my phone from my pocket. The sensible thing is to dial 911. I sidestep for the front door, but in my mind’s eye Mrs. Perkins, wiry but frail, shakes her head. Her arm outstretched urging me not to leave.

Thump, I freeze. The noise is right beside me coming from the hall closet.
Without thinking, I open the door and find Mrs. Perkins tied up with duct tape across her lips. Her green eyes, round and unblinking, grow wide, and her usual perfect curls are mussed. I drop the cleaver. It clatters on the floor, and I pull the tape free.

About the Author:

Anna Simpson lives near the Canadian-US border with her family. Even though she’s lived in several places in British Columbia, her free spirit wasn’t able to settle down until she moved back to her hometown.

She is easy to find though, if you know the magic word — emaginette. Do an internet search using it and you’ll see what I mean. :-)






Friday, December 18, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 106

It turns out that today is my last day at work.  I have a new job all lined up, but I won't be starting it until January, which means I'll have a whole two weeks I can dedicate to writing.  Of course, if this vacation is anything like my other vacations, I'll be lucky if I manage to get more than a day or two of writing accomplished.  But I can still dream, can't I?

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!

ChemistKen


How to Know Your Book’s Cover Needs a Redesign

Cover Design on a Budget

Things to Know When Working With a Printer

Tick--Tick--Tension: Setting the Clock

How to Use Book Trailers for Successful Book Marketing

How I Wrote and RE-WROTE Cover Copy for My Novel

The Critical Importance of Crafting a Strong Opening

Friday, December 11, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 105

I don't know if it's because of the time of the year, but my writing progress has slowed to a crawl. And I have little hope  this weekend will be any better.  Frustrating, to say the least.

At least the weather is cooperating here in southern Michigan.  It's supposed to hit 53 today.  Can't complain about that.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links.

ChemistKen


5 Scams that Target New Writers and How to Spot Them

How to decide what to include in your synopsis

Show Me the Money: Royalties in Anthology Contracts

The Dreaded Synopsis, and How I Learned to Love It

Tips for Writing Your Author Acknowledgements

4 Ways to Use Subplots

Control and the Self-Published Writer

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why Movies Make Me A Better Writer -- Sometimes

My family and I saw the final Hunger Games movie this weekend, and I’ll admit I was rather underwhelmed. It didn’t flow well, everything that happened was fairly predictable, many of the “surprises” were telegraphed so far in advance there wasn’t much surprise left, and I won’t even discuss the logic flaws. Cinema Sins is going to have a field day with this one. I haven’t read the book, so I have no idea if this was the book’s fault or the director’s, but in the end it didn’t really matter. We stuffed ourselves with popcorn and Raisinettes, we drank a week’s supply of high fructose corn syrup, and we entertained ourselves on the drive home with a discussion of the movie’s problems. All was good.

The real point of this post, however, is that whenever I drive home from a movie, my mind is usually running about 100 miles per hour. I’m thinking about how the movie followed story structure. I’m recalling all the clever bits of dialogue and how the director got by with so little words. And most of all, I’m thinking how I can use the experience to make my own stories better.

Going to movies always gets my writing juices going.

For about a half hour after a movie, all I want to do is rush back home and work on my story. If my family would let me, I’d bring my laptop to the theater and begin working on my manuscript as soon as the lights came back on. It’s the same feeling I get after a writer’s group meeting or a writer’s conference. The subtleties of writing suddenly make sense to me.

That is, until I sit down in front of the computer and run head first into that brick wall again. What the hell? Everything made so much sense when I was watching the damn movie, why can’t I tap into that frame of mind now? Arg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do movies affect you in the same way?

ChemistKen


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

White Light Cover Reveal

Today I'm pleased to be a part of the cover reveal for White Light, a new book by Anna Simpson.  Be sure to stop by her blog and congratulate her on being a faster writer than I am.



       
White Light by Anna Simpson
Publisher: Three Worlds Press
Genre: Cozy
Release Date: December 22/2015
     

About The Book:

Emma never dreamed of being a super-sleuth. In her mind, she’s more Scooby Doo than Nancy Drew and when her nosy neighbor, Mrs. Perkins, drags her to an anniversary party to solve a mystery, she rolls her eyes, buys a box of chocolates and hops in the car. What’s a party without an attack on its host—or more accurately on the host’s grandson, sparking an allergic reaction and moving the party to the hospital waiting room. Suddenly, everyone is a suspect. Emma and Mrs. Perkins, along with Great Aunt Alice (a spirit with boundary issues who keeps stepping into Emma’s body like a new dress and playing matchmaker), dive into an investigation that almost gets Emma killed along with the man they are trying to protect. With so many reasons to kill him and so much to be gained if he died, Emma and Mrs. Perkins must unravel the tenuous ties that point to every member of his family as potential killers. Even if it means going back to the psych ward, Emma will protect her friend and this innocent man. What good is freedom if it's haunted with guilt?

Author Links:

About the Author:

Anna Simpson lives near the Canadian-US border with her family. Even though she's lived in several places in British Columbia, her free spirit wasn't able to settle down until she moved back to her hometown. She is easy to find though, if you know the magic word -- emaginette. Do an internet search using it and you'll see what I mean. :-)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- volume 104

NaNo is over.  December's IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) bloghop is finished.  And best of all, I managed to finish my latest scene for submission to my local writer's group.  So now I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend of sleeping late and stringing lights outside in the cold. What more can a writer ask for?

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links.

ChemistKen



Engaging Audiences through Twitter in 15 Minutes a Day

Some Thoughts on the International Market

When an Agent Asks for a Revision, Take Your Time!

You've Finished NaNoWriMo: Now What?

The Making of an Indie Audiobook: A How-To Guide

Actions vs Choices: Crafting Better Plots

Working with Public Libraries: A Guide for Authors

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Insecure Writer and the End of The Year



Today is December's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.


Why am I an Insecure Writer this month? 

Because  it’s December and it’s pretty obvious I’m not going to meet my goal of finishing my story by Christmas

It’s not even going to be close.

I’ll admit I had high hopes for this year. I learned so much about writing in 2014, I was positive that if I dedicated myself to the task there was no way I could fail to meet my goal. I concentrated on not letting myself veer off on writing-related tangents. I forced myself to submit something at (almost) every writer’s group meeting I attended this year. Just put my nose to the grindstone and write. Turns out that wasn’t enough.

Part of the problem had to do with structural issues within my story. As my storytelling skills developed, it became clear many of my chapters needed to be scrapped and/or rearranged to keep the pace going, and as is typical for me, that process took far more time than I would have liked. But ultimately it all came down to the simple fact that although I thought everything I’ve learned about writing would make me a faster writer, all it’s done is make me a better writer. I’m happier with my scenes and chapters than I’ve ever been, but it still takes just as long to write them. Sigh.

Oh well, I suppose quality is better than quantity.


At least I do have some good news to share.  The new book in M. Pax's Rifter series is now out.  If you want to help support another insecure writer, then pop on over to M. Pax's blog and pester congratulate her.






With the rift closed for the season and no more monsters to fight, Daelin Long gets bored as librarian in the podunk town of Settler, Oregon. A job interview and her brother’s arrival present a tempting opportunity to escape, until her brother and her best friend, a ghost, disappear.
While Daelin searches for them, more mysteries pile up: dead people coming back to life, portraits of the town founders replaced with strange white trees, and people on the other side of the rift returning. It’s impossible. The portal that allows monsters from other universes to come to Earth is sealed until next summer.
The Rifters, a secret group protecting our world, believe the troubles are nothing more than the tantrums of an offended ghost. Daelin disagrees. If she’s right, the evil hell-bent on destroying Earth has new technology making the rift more deadly.
Before the monster summons the next apocalypse, Daelin must find it and destroy it.

Amazon
AmazonUK / AUS / CA / DE / FR / ES / IT / NL / JP / BR / MX / IN
iBook / Nook / GooglePlay / Kobo / Smashwords / inktera / Scribd

Need to catch up? You can read books 1 & 2 in the Rifter series for free by becoming an M. Pax Reader.


M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide and has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock. Learn more at mpaxauthor.com.






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