Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Voices of Fiction - Traditional or Self-Publication - Part Two

Welcome to Voices of Fiction.

We continue our discussion on publication choice, traditional or self-publication.

Please welcome our authors.

Karen Cioffi is a multi-award-winning author, freelance/ghostwriter, editor, and online marketer, as well as the founder and manager of Writers on the Move. - Website, Website, Website

Jade Varden is the author of the Deck of Lies series, a collection of YA mystery books that show what happens when dark family secrets are exposed. Jade also provides professional writing tips to other indie authors on her blog. - Twitter, Blog, Amazon

Thea Landen writes erotic literature, frequently in a sci-fi/fantasy setting. When she's not writing, or thinking about writing, her hands and mind are occupied by either yarn crafts or role-playing games. Blog, Amazon, AllRomanceBooks

Author and editor, Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, six e books, a chapbook, one MG novel, a short story collection, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. She edits for two small traditional publishers. Website, Blog, MuseItUp

Welcome Authors! It's wonderful to have you back.

What is your publishing method choice: Traditional or Self-Publication? Why?

Karen Cioffi - I prefer traditional publishing, but like and use self-publishing also. The reason I prefer traditional publishing is the advantages it offers: a team and a bit more clout for some other avenues. Self-publishing on the other hand offers speed.

Jade Varden - My experiences with self-publishing have been more positive than what I’ve had with more traditional publishing. Both have merits, both have drawbacks, and the two are remarkably similar for the majority of authors. But with self-publishing, at least you know what you’re getting and you know how you’re doing.

Thea Landen - I'm somewhere in the middle, as my books are published by an e-publisher. Not having to worry about formatting, cover design, and distribution is a HUGE relief to me - those are probably the biggest reasons I don't think I'd ever self-publish.

Penny Ehrenkranz - I have never tried self-publishing. My first published pieces were all short stories and non-fiction articles. I now have three novelettes published by MuseItUp Publishing: Love Delivery (contemporary romance), Lady in Waiting (historical romance), and Mirror, Mirror (time travel romance). I have a collection of short stories published by Sam’s Dot Pubishing, A Past and A Future. 4RV Publishing has contracted with me to publish my two middle grade novels, Ghost for Rent (a newly edited version of a previously released book) and Ghost for Lunch (the sequel). I am also under contract with 4RV to publish two picture books, Boo’s Bad Day and Many Colored Coats.

While MuseItUp, Sam’s Dot, and 4RV are not big houses, they are all traditional. There are no fees to the author, nor do I as author have to purchase the books to sell to others.

While I still need to do my own marketing with a small publisher, there is a lot of guidance, helpful tips, and encouragement, not to mention excellent editors.

Thank you all for joining us today.

Readers and Authors, feel free to ask questions and leave comments concerning this topic in the comment section below. You may also send questions to chergreen@chergreen.com

(Disclaimer - Bios and photos submitted by authors.)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Voices of Fiction - Traditional or Self-Publication - Part One

Welcome back to Voices of Fiction.

The world of publishing changes with each passing day. Self-Publication has become easier than it was in the past. And many authors are jumping on board for this new direction, while many steer toward the traditional route.

Which direction will you choose? Join us over the next few weeks as our group of authors discusses their preferred method and reasons for their choice.

Please welcome this week's group.

Reno Charlton works from home as a full-time copywriter, providing clients around the world with content for websites, magazines and other media. She’s also the author of three children’s fantasy novels. Under the pen name, Emily Ho, she’s published two short stories, winning the Curtis Brown Short Story Competition with ‘The Journey Home.’ - Amazon UK, Amazon, Goodreads

Catrina Barton is a licensed Kung Fu Instructor of the Black Dragon style and draws on that experience to make her fight scenes both realistic and action packed. She enjoys being surrounded by the stark beauty of mother nature, such as a moon lit starry sky, or a picnic by a peaceful waterfall cascading from the mountain side. - Amazon, Blog

Karina Kantas is the author of six titles, In Times of Violence, Lawless Justice, Road Rage and Huntress (which is published by MMP.) She's also the author of Stone Cold a YA supernatural thriller and Heads & Tales, a short story collection. Karina originates from the UK but now lives in Greece with her husband and two beautiful daughters. - Amazon, Barnes/Noble, Website

Cherie Reich is a writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. - Website, Blog

Welcome Authors! It's wonderful to have you back.

What is your publishing method choice: Traditional or Self-Publication? Why?

Reno Charlton - Although I would love to get the advance that sometimes comes with traditional as well as the publicity, self-pub means that you have greater control and do not have to cope with huge amounts of rejections. There are pros and cons to both in my opinion.

Catrina Barton - Self-publication. I love a good challenge, always have. Plus, after putting so much blood, sweat, and tears into my novels, I'm not about to have someone else tell me my best scenes have to be cut out because of word counts.

Karina Kantas - I work with both, but I've started a new scheme where readers can pay me direct. I'm making more money this way than I ever did with my publisher.

Cherie Reich - Right now, it is self-publishing. So far, I have novelettes and novellas published as well as a flash fiction collection and a short story collection. Some small publishers accept that length, but the bigger publishers don't, unless you're an established writer. I work as a freelance editor, so I do feel with my ability to edit and having some of the best critique partners around that I can edit a story as well as most publishers. Formatting wasn't too hard to figure out (Smashwords Style Guide is wonderful!), and one of my critique partners has a good eye for designing covers for me. So right now, self-publishing works best. But I'm not against trying more traditional publishers when I get ready to submit my novel-length works for the fact that they have a better ability to gather reviews and could help me contact book bloggers that don't accept self-published novels.

Thank you all for joining us today.

Readers and Authors, feel free to ask questions and leave comments concerning this topic in the comment section below. You may also send questions to chergreen@chergreen.com

(Disclaimer - Bios and photos submitted by authors.)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Voices of Fiction - Can Creativity Be Taught - Wrap Up

Welcome to another edition of Voices of Fiction.

Over the last few weeks, we've heard the opinion of numerous writers on whether creativity can be taught or not. The overwhelming majority answered this question with a 'no', while further explaining their positions on the matter.

Many believe everyone is creative in some way, and the ability only needs to be nurtured and developed for the individual to reach his/her creative potential.

Can creativity be taught?

I agree with the authors who pointed out the trickiness of this question. The answer can vary quite widely based on the person's perception of the meanings of the two main words - creativity and teach.

In my mind, creativity is the ability to create. If you think about this, most of us create something every single day - whether it be dinner, a written-letter, a journal entry, a paper plane, a crochet sock, etc. This list could go on forever.

My personal thoughts, on teaching, are that it is the act of sharing with someone the knowledge of or instructions on how to accomplish a task.

So, by changing the question slightly to, can someone be taught to create? Most of our guests would have probably answered with a 'yes.'

Most of our authors probably went with the most logical, impulsive meaning of creativity, which for me, would be imagination. Can imagination be taught?

Absolutely not! But as most of the authors pointed out in their answers, this is an area where everyone can get on the playing field. It is also a gift which can be squashed easily during one's childhood. We are all born with an imagination, but if it's not allowed to be nurtured, it can go away. *smile* - Think of all the movies which point this little aspect out - Peter Pan, The NeverEnding Story, Toy Story. There are many more to go with those three.

I don't believe you ever lose your imagination, but once you've pushed it away for so long, you would have to learn to get it back. And this loops us back to teaching - I believe you can be taught to reconnect with your imagination through meditation, visualizations, and such.

If you find yourself saying, "I can never do that, I don't have the imagination," think again. It's there.

Now that's not to say you would be able to write a book or even prepare a gourmet meal strictly from your mind's thoughts. Imaginations differ from one person to another, and creative talents vary. Ask yourself - did you play cops and robbers as a child, did you make mud patties, did you doodle on the bedroom walls, did you create? I believe the majority would answer such questions with a 'yes.' If so, this is proof of the existence of your imagination.

On writing: While writing lessons can improve your skills for presenting your imagined story, it is your imagination which will create your story.

My final answer to the presented question - Can creativity be taught? No. We are all creative in our own ways. The imagination isn't something that can be taught into an individual. But, one can be taught to harness this wonderful gift and to present it in the best possible form.

Thank you all for joining us as we explored 'can creativity be taught.' Next week we'll be exploring another topic on "Voices of Fiction." Feel free to join us.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blogging - What's it all about?

My blogging journey began in August of 2009. My purpose was to chart my way as a writer, from aspiring to publishing. As I moved through this journey, I’ve shared disappointments and accomplishments, reached out with writing advice, interviewed wonderful writers and reviewed their works, and have made it to publication.

But above all, I’ve met people I would not have otherwise. It’s been an amazing journey, and continues forward. I’m grateful and excited to have you all share this life and my journey with me.

found this on a few blogs, not sure who to give credit, for now - Ghost Stories and Haunted Places

As we move from day to day, our steps take us in many directions. I’m finding myself at a point of decision. Overwhelmed by my day job, I find it hard to get in my writing and keep up with all of my external duties. Over the years, I’ve whittled my blogging down a little at a time, from daily to weekly. A new change is upon us, as I carve a slice from around the edges once more.

As most of you know, I also run a tarot blog – Tarot Guidance, and a monthly article as the National Tarot Examiner. This part of my journey is just as important to me as my career as a fiction author. It pains me to pull away from any of my endeavors, but there are only so many hours in the day and so much energy to give.

Therefore, I’m cutting the Footsteps of a Writer postings down to twice a month. You will not see much of a change here for a while, for the Voices of Fiction series will continue on Tuesdays, for a few more months. Announcements of publications and such will continue to be posted as they come about.

For those of you who follow Tarot Guidance, it will also be cut back to twice a month. There will be many changes in this area, as I move forward. Many ideas for furthering my tarot journey sprout daily, including tarot-based fiction. So, some of this cutting back is not only to allow for more writing time, but also to allow my creativity more room to grow.

As I move into a new phase of this great journey of life, I thank you, my followers, friends, readers, and supporters, for sticking with me over the years and continuing to stand at my side.

Opportunities appear daily, but only the few paying attention will grab them. Have the time and courage to reach out and claim yours.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Escape to Love - Out in Print!

Sweethearts in Bloom: An Anthology of Sweet Historical Romances is now available in print, at eTreasures and Amazon.

The anthology includes my novella, Escape to Love, plus three novellas by fellow eTreasures Authors - Georgina Sellwood, Joy Brooks, and Miranda Heart.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Interview with Najeev Raj Nadarajah

I'd like to present to you Najeev Raj Nadarajah, author of the Dream Cycle series. Last week, I posted a review of the first book in the series, Dream Caster. Now, we have the author himself.

Please welcome our guest.

Najeev Raj Nadarajah was born in Sri Lanka in 1985. By the late ‘80s, his family fled the war-torn country and settled in Toronto, Canada where they would begin a new life far from the turmoil of the world they had left behind.

By the age of four, Nadarajah had taught himself to read, and within a few short years, he began tackling J.R.R. Tolkien’s, The Hobbit.

It was while plowing through the pages of The Hobbit that his love for reading and writing began and blossomed into, what is now, an unwavering passion for the fantasy genre.

Dream Caster, being the first part of the Dream Cycle, is his debut novel

Nadarajah can be found on http://www.nrnadarajah.com and on http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6552431.Najeev_Raj_Nadarajah


Najeev Raj, It's wonderful to have you here today. You seem to have entered the publishing world out of nowhere, debuting with your first book in the Dream Cycle, Dream Caster. Would you like to tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey so far? 

Thank you, Cher. It’s a pleasure to be here today.

What can I say about my writing journey so far? Imagine climbing onto one of those kiddie roller coaster rides and then looking ahead only to find that you’re sitting atop a hundred foot drop. That’s kind of where my analogy ends. I began writing an epic fantasy novel when I was nineteen years of age. At the time, I was cruising along, writing a page a day or a chapter a month. It took me nearly four years to write that first manuscript. In the end, that door-stopper was tossed onto my shelf and forgotten. That was the beginning of my journey.

Fast forward three years. The idea for the Dream Cycle popped into my mind. I kept trying to tell myself that this was just another crazy idea that’d probably never materialize into anything. I tried to jot down a few points here and there in case I wanted to come back and work on this idea later on down the road. I wasn't all too sure if I was ready to commit myself to another large project like this. However, once I began jotting down a few words, I had no idea that those ideas would turn into two completed novels in less than a year, as well as breakdowns for two more.

That little roller coaster that I thought I was hopping onto wasn't all that little after all. So I guess for now, I’ll just take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

Impressive. I’d describe my own journey more like climbing a mountain, one ledge at a time. The top seems so far away, but I continue to take one small step at a time.

I do love the focus of dreams, dream catchers and dream casting within your story. The characters are very vivid and your setting detailed. It’s always interesting to hear where a story sprouted from. I must ask. Where did Dream Caster begin? What was the first step in your story - a character, the world, or maybe the image of a dream catcher? 

When I was a kid, I was plagued by constant déjà vu. This naturally led to me having disturbing dreams that would often just turn into reality. I guess not much has changed since.

One night, during the summer of 2011, I snapped awake from one of my dreams. A single funneled cloud swooped down upon the CN Tower. People stood and watched, confused. Was it a tornado or just an ominously disfigured cloud? No one knew for sure. And then the funnel touched down. Thunder without sound rippled through the world, toppling buildings and upturning large plates of land. There was chaos everywhere. Screams of horror. Then utter blackness. That's all I'll tell you about that dream.

A week later, I began working at the University of Toronto and was struck by a series of déjà-vu. I was on duty, walking from one building to the next, when I looked up and saw the CN Tower looming high against the afternoon sun. I thought about the funneled cloud and the dream I'd had. Right then and there, the Dream Eater, the villain in the Dream Cycle, popped into my head. Before I'd reached my destination, I'd brought the Dream Eater's character to life. And then came the creation of the post-apocalyptic world, followed by my main characters. All in about 10 minutes, I'd created everything I needed to tell my story.

Now, as I said before, I wasn't sure if I could turn that idea into a story. So, I put it all away by jotting down these ideas, telling myself I might consider working on it sometime in the future. As you can tell, I didn't listen to my own advice, and boy, am I glad I didn't.

Thank you for sharing that story. I believe, as I’m sure many authors do, we have a special connection with our higher-self, and for some this bleeds into our creations, as with your dream, our inner voice and other sources of communications. 

I don’t want to introduce any spoilers here, but I have to ask – is there more to Abanel than revealed in Dream Caster? Will we discover more details of her story in the next book, Dream Weaver? She just seemed so mysterious, to a point where I kept waiting for her secrets to be revealed. I really hope to learn more about her in the series. 

There's more to her. She plays a vital role in the story, and it'll continue throughout all four books that I've got planned. But I can't say any more about her, because she along with one or two other characters, are filled with spoilers.

I can’t wait. 

You chose to self-publish. Could you share some of your reasons for taking this road? Did you consider traditional publishing? Any information you want to share with other writers considering the Indie avenue? 

To save everyone the trouble of having to read a long rant, I’ll say this in as few words as possible. I got tired of waiting.

Within a week of completing the final edit of Dream Caster, I sent out nearly fifty different proposal packages to fifty different agents with hopes of hearing back from at least one or two with some good news. That was nearly a year ago. I’ve yet to hear back from exactly forty-two of them. The ones I did hear back from all provided the same answer: I’m not the right representative, this not for me, we are currently not taking any submissions (despite their website stating otherwise).

At this point, I began looking into alternative solutions.

I had a background in English, a post-grad in Book and Magazine Publishing, basic knowledge of graphic design, and I’d spent a few years working sales.

My father’s always taught me and ingrained the thought into my head, that if I wanted something, I’ve got to go out and get it myself. I can’t just sit there and wait for others to get it for me. Two months into sending out my proposal packages, I threw aside that venture and began working on bringing Dream Caster to life.

Here’s my advice to all those who want to choose the Indie avenue. It’s worth it. You might not get the sales you dreamed of, but you’ll gain a lot of valuable experience, you’ll have fun and learn new things every step of the way, and when you finally start seeing reviews and selling copies of your novel, it’ll feel that much better because you’ll know this all came to be due to your hard work. You were the master of your own destiny. And if you keep working hard enough and gain enough exposure, you too could be the next E.L James, or Amanda Hocking.

Very inspiring words, I can’t think of a better way to end this interview. I look forward to reading Dream Weaver, and the rest of this gang’s story. I wouldn’t be surprised to see you hit the top of the charts with this series. Be sure to let us know if you grab a movie deal. I can totally see this on the big screen. Would you like to share anything else with the readers before we part? 

Although I know that this is something that I really won't have to tell those who're reading this. The only thing I'd like to say before we part is: No matter what happens in your lives. No matter how busy you may get, or how old you might one day be. Don't ever stop reading.

Thank you, so much, for stopping by and sharing a little of yourself with us. Good luck with your writing. We'll be reading you.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Interview at Clarbojahn's Blog

Clarbojahn invited me to be interviewed on her blog a while back. The interview went live today. Stop by and get the first glimpse of the book cover to my upcoming release - a Children's Picture Book - The Sacrifice, yep you heard correctly. I stepped over the line into kiddy literature with one of my short stories produced into a picture book. Who would have thought!

Voices of Fiction - Can Creativity Be Taught - Part Six

Welcome to Voices of Fiction.

We continue our discussion on creativity.

Please welcome our authors.

Born in France, award-winning author Vijaya Schartz never conformed to anything and could never refuse a challenge. She likes action and exotic settings, in life and on the page. She traveled the world and writes with the same ease about the future and the far away past. Her novels collected many five star reviews and literary awards. - Website, Amazon, Barnes/Noble

Cindy Cromer's first published novel earned her the title of award winning author. Desperate Measures, won the highly competitive mystery/suspense/thriller category in The Smart Writ Book Awards and was named a winner in The Authors Show contest, 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading. Website, Books/Books, Vero Beach Book Center

Nicole Zoltack loves to write whatever strikes her fancy. When she’s not writing about knights, talking unicorns, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her wonderful family. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. Blog, Website, Amazon

Welcome Authors! It's wonderful to have you back.

Can creativity be taught?

Vijaya Schartz: There are many techniques one can use to open the channels of their creative mind. Meditation, visualization, etc. But ultimately, some people have a more logical and scientific mind, others a more artistic and creative mind. Once in a while you’ll find a person who has both in perfect balance. Not me. I’m and intuitive, creative, artistic person. Never was good at math but always brilliant in the literature department, music, painting…

Cindy Cromer: In my opinion creativity and writing are an inborn talent such as what an athlete, artist, or singer possesses. Sure there are some classes, techniques, coaching, etc. that can fine tune and develop that talent to its fullest potential. Remember, this is just my opinion so don’t shoot me. LOL!!

Nicole Zoltack: I think everyone has some level of creativity within them that can be nurtured and developed.

Thank you all for joining us today.

Readers feel free to ask questions concerning this topic in the comments. Also feel free to send questions to chergreen@chergreen.com Subject: Voices of Fiction Question, and have them answered by the participating authors in later editions.

There’s also room for more authors to participate. Drop me an email, Subject: Voices of Fiction.

(Disclaimer - Bios and photos submitted by authors.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dream Caster by Najeev Raj Nadarajah

When Najeev Raj Nadarajah first emailed me with the offer of a free copy of Dream Caster, I hesitated. I normally don't read young adult fantasy and after all, this was a self-published debut. I was slightly uninterested, that is until I started reading reviews.

Many praised it, while some did not think it was very good. I'm not sure what those in the second category read, but it wasn't this book. :) Anyways, I read an excerpt and became intrigued. It didn't hurt that the story revolved around Dream Casting!

I'm glad I took the chance and read Dream Caster. It's a wonderful adventure, with great visuals and an intriguing plot.

Dream Caster is the first book of a series called The Dream Cycle.

Here's my review:

Dream Caster, Book One of the Dream Cycle, is a young adult fantasy. Although it starts a little slow, once this story gets going, it grabs you carries you along for a wonderful journey.

Weaver, orphaned and under the care of a selfish man named Ruben, has only one goal, to become a guard in the small village he’s grown up in. In one night, he obtains this position and in the matter of hours loses everything, his home, family and friends.

Forced to move on as the only survival of a devastating attack of fire hounds, he soon finds a companion who travels with him to a new home. He soon discovers his true role in life, which is much bigger than he would have ever imagined.

This well-written, intriguing story is the debut of Najeev Raj Nadarajah’s journey into the writing world. With the promise of more to this series, I predict this story teller has many more adventures to share.

I recommend Dream Caster to anyone who enjoys fantasy, both young and mature adults.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Voices of Fiction - Can Creativity Be Taught - Part Five

Welcome to Voices of Fiction.

We continue our discussion on creativity.

Please welcome our authors.

Ellen Spain is a retired Federal Investigator, now turned author, editor, and educator. She is active with EPIC, PennWriters, RWA, SCBWI, and the Pittsburgh East Writers. - Website

Joylene Butler is the author of Dead Witness and Broken But Not Dead. - Website, Blog

Joy Brooks is a Southern lady in love with the mystery and adventure associated with medieval warriors and royalty. She fills her spare time with reading, writing, cross-stitching, and playing with her seven cats. She enjoys the quiet life in a quaint, historic Georgia town. - Website, Blog

Bobbi Carducci’s book, Storee Wryter Gets a Dog, earned a GOLD Mom’s Choice Award for excellence and was named A Best Dog Book for Young Readers by Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer. She is an award winning short story writer, columnist and professional book reviewer. Bobbi will be the luncheon keynote speaker at the 26th Annual Pennwriters Conference in May 2013. - Blog, Website, Website

Welcome Authors! It's wonderful to have you back.

Can creativity be taught?

Ellen Spain: The right and left parts of our brains are very unique to each individual. Throughout the first forty years of our emotional maturing and learning processes, our behavior and attitude are greatly influenced by our culture, by the immediate surroundings and peer programming. Assuming we have no medical conditions that create a challenge to normal development, latent creativity nurtures when we reduce our stress factors and learn relaxation-meditation and focusing techniques. Hypnosis is another method to change one's behavior. Changing our behavior through confidence building and learning techniques, eventually changes our attitudes and opens the right brain to creativity. Once the individual tastes his/her creativity, I believe that individual will desire to experience more creativeness. The individual will change their behavior and surroundings to find the natural stimulation of creativity. I am not really an expert in creativity, however, my Doctorate in Psychology is based on cognitive methods and neuroscience. More about creativity and hypnosis at EllenSpain.com. I strongly believe that achieving happiness, confidence, creativity, and success through TM is well documented. Writers need ideas for their stories. However, creativity is only the beginning step to become a professional novelist.

Joylene Butler: Yes. If the desire is there, any writer can learn to create beautiful and compelling prose. Because to yearn to improve one's craft is a derivity of a love for writing that knows no bounds. To improve as a writer is every writer's obligation.

Joy Brooks: To be creative you have to love what you do. If you don't have passion for what you are doing, it's going to be hard to be creative. I think it can be taught on a basic level, but it will soon fade if not lovingly nurtured.

Bobbi Carducci: That’s a tough one. It can certainly be inspired. Some people are far more creative than they realize. Somewhere along the way they received the message that their ideas don’t have merit, or aren’t original. Bull feathers, as my mother used to say. I encourage these writers to take an old idea and spin it. Once you show them that by doing something as simple as having the characters change gender or move to another part of the world, the story can be transformed the ideas start popping. I believe we all possess the ability to be creative. I love to help people rediscover it in themselves.

Thank you all for joining us today.

Readers feel free to ask questions concerning this topic in the comments. Also feel free to send questions to chergreen@chergreen.com Subject: Voices of Fiction Question, and have them answered by the participating authors in later editions.

There’s also room for more authors to participate. Drop me an email, Subject: Voices of Fiction.

(Disclaimer - Bios and photos submitted by authors.)

Blog Directory