Friday, August 22, 2014

Celebrating the Past Few Weeks & 10 Things Every Serious Writer Has

Err . . . hi?

So I thought I'd hit you up with some past celebrations, and I'll even go visit you. How nice of me, no? o_0

*Having a blast with the kiddos this summer. So much better when they're a bit older and more independent to run around on their own. Woot!

*I saw Christina Perri in person a couple weeks ago on a date night (which was also nice). For FREE. She was singing at a park ten minutes from home for a radio event. It was cool 'cause I write to some of her songs for both Kinetic and Static, and the third. And two other books. Umm, yeah I like her music, apparently.

*My workouts had gone on vacation for the summer, but I resumed those suckers. Yet again. One thought: Ouch, ouch, ouch. Why can't I commit and stick with it? If only to avoid the initial soreness each time I restart my routine. Sigh.

*I had a FUN time with our very own C. Lee McKenzie last week. I invited her to Coffee Chat to discuss middle age women and young boys, AND to scare the "ahem" out of Lynda. Come check it out! 

*Because this is true, and because #10 was one of my genius thoughts (which doesn't say much about me, but that's not the point):

Click on image for original source (and follow Raymond Esposito!)

This post is part of Celebrate the Small Things hop. It comes with easy instructions: sign up, post something to celebrate, hop around, cheer on others, and bask in warm glow. Full instructions and badge *here.*

What are you celebrating?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Celebrating Writers Encouraging Writers: A Guest Post by Broken Branch Falls Author Tara Tyler

Hi guys,

Today I have the lovely supah-dupah encourager herself, Tara Tyler, on the blog. You'll want to pay attention because she's here to talk about ways we can encourage each other. How awesomely positive is that? Yup, I thought so!

Before you scroll to the good stuff, you can also find me over at The Writer Diaries today. I'm talking about my condition: CRD (Chronic Rewriting Disease), come check it out! You know, if you want. 
Thank you, Tara :)
Take it over! 
 * * *

Shannon! S.K.! Ski! Ms. Anthony! Shay-Shay!
I'm so excited to be visiting here today =) Thanks for wanting to be a part of my summer Broken Branch Falls blog tour! Since Shannon volunteered and gave me a boost, she inspired me to write about...

Writers Encouraging Writers

Blogging has introduced so many of us to each other. It's made the world, and especially the writing community, so much closer. Now we don't all have to move to New York!

I talked about a few things we can do to elicit support from our more than willing writer friends in my IWSG post Wednesday. But here, I wanted to share some regular events hosted by bloggers that encourage us to express ourselves, set goals, and share concerns or accomplishments:

  • IWSG - I already mentioned it, but it's the biggest thing out there I know of. The Insecure Writers Support Group meets the first Wednesday of each month, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, rockstar ninja captain esquire.

  • Celebrate the small things - a special way to say, YES! I got some stuff accomplished this week! No celebration is too small! Vikki Biram started this weekly pat on the back for folks to post every Friday.

  • What's Up Wednesday - hosted by Erin L. Funk and Jaime Morrow - fun prompts for you to share where you are in your busy writing life!

  • Write...Edit...Publish - a monthly writerly challenge with feedback to support writers looking for advice, comments, or a break from their WIP! I found it through fellow writer, Donna Hole.

I'm sure there are more - share any you know of in the comments! And wouldn't it be nice to have a blog-friend IRL gathering? A real writers' retreat? Alex, want to get on that? He is our omniscient blog leader, after all!

Thank you again, S.K. for having me! It was two tons of fun! (know the movie ref?)
NEW! Try this BEASTLY QUIZ and find out which beast you are!
(And don't forget to enter the August giveaway below!)

by Tara Tyler
Release Date: June 24, 2014 (NOW!)
Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Gabe is an average fifteen-year-old goblin. He’s in the marching band, breezes through calculus, and gets picked on daily by the other kids at school, especially the ogres. But Gabe wants to break out of his nerdy stereotype and try other things. He has his eye on the new ogress at school. Though it’s against all beastly rules, there’s just something about her.

Gabe starts a fad of mingling with other species, forcing the High Council to step in and ruin things by threatening to destroy the school and split up Broken Branch Falls. With help from other outcast friends, Gabe sets out on a quest to save his town. They'll show 'em what different friends can do together!

Available at
B&N ~~~ Amazon
Add it to your GOODREADS list!

Tara Tyler has had a hand at everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After living up and down the Eastern US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. Currently, she has two series, The Cooper Chronicles (techno-thriller detective capers) and Beast World (MG fantasy) She's an adventure writer who believes every good story should have action, a moral, and a few laughs!

Also by Tara Tyler, techno-thriller detective series,
The Cooper Chronicles, Book One: POP TRAVEL

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is part of Celebrate the Small Things hop. It comes with easy instructions: sign up, post something to celebrate, hop around, cheer on others, and bask in warm glow. Full instructions and badge *here.*
What are you celebrating?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Doubt- IWSG (13)

You know that ol' feeling of doubt that likes to attach itself to your head like a claw? And the more you fight it, the deeper it digs? That's what I've been struggling with lately. 

My feelings on being a writer is in constant yo-yo mode. One minute I remind myself it is okay not to rush and to stop and enjoy life, the next I think I'm being a slacker. One day I think I made fantastic improvement with my books, the next day I think the work done is nothing but a joke. One week I feel I finally cracked the final details that have been holding me back in my story lines, the next week I hate it all.

Why? Because I can't stop doubting myself.

Writer's doubt is far worse than that which we call writer's block, if you ask me. At which point do we know we're not just letting it ruin the hard work and pass up on good ideas because of it? With the "block"—if it really exists—we'll eventually find inspiration and go at it. But with "doubt" we work and work, and see no improvement because we're sinking in darkness. 

believe I have great story ideas, but I doubt the words I put on paper truly convey them. Can I really write? Am I just deluding myself thinking I can? Sigh. When it comes down to it, I can't see myself stopping. I do love it, after all, and I do it mainly for me . . . but goodness am I hard to please! I know I can make myself better if I don't give up, and I don't plan on letting doubt win. Now I wonder if this post is stupid . . . should I post it, or . . . I kid, I kid. 

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hop.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!  Posting is first Wednesday of every month. Click here for more info.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Re-blog Series: Coffee Chat 1.0—Stephen King is My Homeboy!

***Editor Lynda Dietz and I have a Coffee Chat series running on her blog Easy Reader. I'll be posting them here on Mondays to share the madness with the rest of my friends. Why? Because I can, that's why (also summer makes me lazy keeps me busy). Go ahead and judge us, it's okay ;)

Originally posted on December 12th, 2013. Find it *here*

Coffee Chat 1.0—Interview of Easy Reader interviewing me 
. . . wait what? Read on!

Re-poured on Mondays o_0
ER: Today's interview is with author S.K. Anthony, whose debut novel, Kinetic (The Luminaries) hit the shelves a few months ago. Our mutual love of coffee drew us together, and my life hasn't been the same since our first online chat.

I have many burning questions for her, so this particular interview may end up being a series of events. We'll have to see how much she can handle before she changes her email address, adopts a fake name, and unfriends me on Facebook.

SK: As long as you keep the coffee coming, I'll keep showing up. Otherwise, prepare to be ignored.

ER: While I'm on the topic of fake names, let's talk about yours. I understand you write under a pseudonym, but don't you think using the name "Stephen King" will be confusing to readers? Some might see it as a shameless way to get instant book sales.

SK: Congratulations. You are the first clever person to realize my scheme. Luckily, I had an answer prepared in case anyone questioned my motives: I'm doing it for Stephen King's fans. You see, Stephen and I are pretty much the same—but just the opposite—so if they wanted to read more of his work . . . in a much different light . . . they can buy my book.

Speaking of my book, Kinetic is now available on Amazon! Look it up: Stephen King Anthony . . . "S.K. Anthony" for short.

ER: S.K. Anthony sure beats when you were considering using the name Mildred Loudermilk. I'm glad someone talked you down from that ledge. Not that there's anything wrong with the Mildred Loudermilks of this world . . .

SK: Well, this is awkward . . . I only considered using Mildred Loudermilk because it's one of my real names. I do suppose it's a good thing I didn't go for it; now I can keep my anonymity intact. I will say, though, that I stand by it. I think it's a very strong name that demands attention, and I might consider using it for my future band. How does The Loudermilks sound?

ER: What inspired the first stirrings of ideas for Kinetic? And did I really give you all your best ideas, or did you come up with any on your own?

SK: The first stirrings of Kinetic? Probably a coffee stirrer. On coffee, anyone can save the world . . . and by "anyone," I mean Annie Fox. Also, of course you gave me the best ideas, but I was smart about it. I wanted to make sure you didn't sue me for copyrights and such, so I wrote it directly from your mind before we met. Whatcha think about the Mildred Loudermilks of the world now, huh? We kan be zmarts!

So let me flip this around . . .

How did you come up with all your magnificent ideas for Kinetic? You know, before I stole them.

ER: I was toying with the idea of writing my autobiography, but I didn't think anyone would believe me—especially people who knew me personally. So I wrote out a rough outline and read it silently every night for weeks, hoping that someone, somewhere would "catch" my brain waves.

SK: I had my wave net waiting . . .

ER: Exactly. And the first words you wrote were . . .?

SK: "If I gave myself some time, I know I wouldn't have been able to control myself."

ER: Not so coincidentally, the very words I would have written.

I want to know how many rewrites you estimate you went through before you showed it to a critique partner.

SK: Seven or eight, I think.

ER: Did he/she like it?

SK: She said she liked it and gave me a bunch of notes. 

ER: Were you prepared to tell her she was full of it if she said anything negative?

SK: I'd begged her to read it and break my heart. I told her I didn't want praises because that wouldn't help me fix issues; I gave her full permission to rip it apart.

ER: Did you feel broken enough by the time she was done, or did you still feel good, and therefore tell her she needed to re-read it?

SK: Nah, funny enough, I never felt offended or that she was wrong. Even with the things she misunderstood, it clearly showed that I hadn't explained them enough. The things she did point out? If I agreed with it, I changed it; if I didn't agree, I made sure I fixed the details so they could showcase what I meant.

ER: In Kinetic, the characters have some pretty amazing powers. [Note: accurate to my biographical details so far . . .] Other than the superpower stuff, do your characters say or do things you'd never do in real life?

SK: Yes, I'm a chicken. I wouldn't be running into the line of fire like they do.

ER: When you're writing controversial scenes, do you have a voice in the back of your mind that says, "Remember, your boss/neighbor/friend/pastor is going to see this and think you're a drug addict/pervert/big meanie"?

SK: Yes! Kinetic was darker, actually. I deleted a lot of things, and in the end, I'm happy I did. Looking back now they were stupid. 

ER: How do you make that voice shut up?

SK: I give it wine.

ER: Is it hard to get rid of things you've written? Put another way, have you ever had to sacrifice something cool for the sake of the story?

SK: It's so odd . . . I find it difficult to sacrifice things I like but I have no problem hitting that "delete" button. I have a matter-of-fact way of looking at it: if it doesn't help or work, it has to go. I should say I copy/paste and hope I can use the ideas in the future, but I've also just deleted a lot. 

ER: Besides, it's not like I'm—I mean, you're—going to write only one book.

SK: Exactly! I had already started Kevin's (book 2) last year, but I made changes to Kinetic that would come across here, so I had to delete stuff. Then I got close to 40k words and I got another idea—and out of that, I barely kept 7k. The rest is all new.

ER: Does it even resemble the original idea at all?

SK: [Laughs] Barely. I tell you, I like to delete. Ahem, YOU like to delete. By the way, take it easy on the deletions. My brain can hardly keep up with your changes, Lynda.

ER: You're so obedient to my brain wavy-ness. How about if I allow you to choose the title? After all, your name . . . one of your names . . . is going to be on the front.

SK: Oh, can I? Can I?

ER: Unless you want me to call it Telepathic: Mildred Speaks. 

SK: Hang on, I think I feel the brain waves doing something to me; it's almost electrifying and white-noise-ish. I am at a standstill . . . hold on . . .

I think: STATIC.

ER: That was my second choice, I swear!

SK: I'll bet! So, dear Annie Fox . . . I mean, Lynda...does Static (The Luminaries #2) work for you?

ER: Yes, indeed, it does.

You can find Lynda Dietz in a number of places. She's on Twitter @LyndaDietz4, her website is, her Facebook page is Easy Reader Editing, and on occasional occasions, she'll be right here with me, drinking coffee and laughing it up over our latest plans and schemes. And possibly even talking about books and writing. *Reworded to include Lynda's info instead of my own.*

Monday Re-blog Series: Coffee Chat 2.0—Revisions!

***Editor Lynda Dietz and I have a Coffee Chat series running on her blog Easy Reader. I'll be posting them here on Mondays to share the madness with the rest of my friends. Why? Because I can, that's why (also summer makes me lazy keeps me busy). Go ahead and judge us, it's okay ;)

Originally posted on December 20th, 2013. Find it *here*

Coffee Chat 2.0 with Editor Lynda Dietz—Revisions

Re-poured on Mondays o_0
If you haven't gotten around to reading the first Coffee Chat with S.K. Anthony, I'd suggest you take a moment to do so before even attempting to follow the conversation in this one. It's not easy to keep up with us on a good day; no sense starting off behind the curve.

I'm so thankful to have Stephen King back with me again today. We'll just refer to her as S.K. for ease and clarity, just in case the "other" Stephen King decides to show up. For the record, I did ask him, but he doesn't have a special coffee cup to match ours, and frankly, I think he was a little intimidated at the idea of trying to keep up with two overly-caffeinated women. Either way, S.K. is here and I'm glad she's still willing to talk to me.

ER: So what's been happening since our last interview? I'm asking this as if I don't know, because you and I both know we talk to each other almost every day . . . but for the purposes of Coffee Chat, we can pretend we only talk here on Easy Reader. We'll have to keep that a secret, though, so remind me not to type it in later.

SK: Okay, if I don't forget to remember, I will remind you to take that bit out. Since the last time we talked . . . let's see, I drank more coffee, I tickled the kids, and I worked on some revisions. I'm so glad no one gets to see my first drafts. Goodness me . . . I'm so talented at making lots of mistakes the first time around that I'm even in awe of myself. What can I say? I'm that good at being bad. What have you been up to? And surprise me; tell me something I don't already know . . . GO!

ER: No pressure, no pressure. I think you already know I drank more coffee, so I can't use that one. My eighteen-year-old son (Mr. Green Eggs and Ham himself) is the only kid within reach, so I'm not going to risk tickling him. I did some edits this week for a horror story and scared myself. I now have an occasional facial tic and keep seeing odd movements out of my peripheral vision. I can't imagine how much more scared I would have been, had I been reading it straight up and not for edits.

SK: I think it would be a fun experiment for you to tickle Mr. Green Eggs and Ham (great post, that one!). [laughing] A facial tic . . . scary books would do that to me, also, but then I would have wine and probably forget all about it. Speaking of, imagine if we had "Wine Chats." I'll bet it would like Coffee Chats but on steroids. Oh, my.

ER: I also received a really cool prologue for a new book and edited it by mistake. (Sorry, Stephen. Not my fault. It looked ready.) So I suppose I could use the excuse that I was trying out the Wine Chat all on my own.

SK: Skipping ahead and having all the fun on your own with the wine. I'm not sure how I feel about this.

ER: [Applying diversionary tactics] So let's get down to business! Because I'm fairly sure that was our original intent . . . 

How's the new book coming? Do you have Static on the brain these days?

SK: Okay, so the book. Yes, my hair is very Einstein-like. Not because of intelligence, contrary to my kids' popular belief, but thanks to all the Static-ness going on. The first draft has been read through by Mildred Loudermilk and she left a lot of notes for me. Now the real fun begins!

ER: Well, I already started having fun, so you have some catching up to do.

What's your first step after finishing the first draft? Obviously, you read through it, but do you look for certain things during that first time through, or do you just read it to see if it flows?

SK: After finishing my first draft, I do a happy dance and I smile. Then I sit and cringe because that's when the real work starts for me. I like to revise a lot, so I focus on different aspects each time. The first time I'm writing I go for the general idea and the characters' journeys. Second time, I focus on the big plot, more detailed descriptions, and character voices. The third time, I try to make sure I have things explained well, and that I have the humor splashed around along with the emotional moments.

I check on facts (dates/timeline/repetition), and from there on, I fix and delete, fix and delete, and fix . . . as much as I can until my wine runs out. Then I send it off to one CP (critique partner) and revise again while hubby gets me more wine—

ER: Good man you've got there.

SK: —and then I send it to my other CP & revise again while I chat with you. Then it goes to one or two betas and I revise again.

[ER runs off to refill coffee, exhausted from hearing all about the labor of others.]

SK: Then I have a CP give it another go before I kill myself, and then if I can't do anything else to it, I send it to you so you can do your thing. [Breathes for just a moment.] Yeah . . . that's what I do.

ER: And you know I have to ask: If you read it out loud, do you read each character's dialogue in a different voice? 'Cause I would.

SK: [Laughing again] I "hear" the voices and make up my face according to who is talking and what is being said when I write it. When I'm reading out loud toward the end of the revisions, I actually try (really hard) not to make different voices, because I want to make sure the words themselves work to imply the tone I mean to imply. I'm not sure how to explain that, but I think you'll understand.

ER: I do. If you're able to use the right words, you can eliminate a lot of dialogue tags or adverbs. When McCoy from Star Trek delivers his, "I'm a doctor, not a magician/juggler/garbageman!" line, if it were written in a book, we don't need "he shouted" added to the end. Nor would we need to add any adverbs to clarify. The words themselves show the frustration.

SK: Every reader has their way of approaching a book and the way the characters sound to them. If I talk to myself as if I'm them (the characters), of course I would think it sounds right, but if I try to speak straight up, I'm more aware of anything that sounds "off."

ER: So let's focus on the revisions for a moment. Unless you want me to do some of my character voices for you, of course. [Begins singing like Mary Poppins, since that's the only accent that works easily. Stops abruptly upon realizing people are home.]

You get asked to read a lot of books/manuscripts for review/advice, it seems. Of the books you find . . . um . . . let's say "lacking" in some way, can you point your finger to a lack of revisions as a running theme? What jumps out at you?

SK: At the moment, "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" jumps out at me . . . you mentioned Mary Poppins . . . so anyway . . . 

Yes, I do beta read a fair amount of manuscripts, but that's before they're published, so revisions would, of course, be lacking. In regards to published books that are also lacking something . . . it's hard to say. I feel like the problem might be revisions, but that's probably because that's my process. For the author, that might just be how they want their stories told, and I'm the one who just didn't connect. Since I can't outline for the life of me—I know how, but I just don't feel free enough to keep writing with a detailed outline; I rather pants around—but if they [other authors] outline and this is their story, I can't say they're wrong. Just that it wasn't for me.

ER: I almost followed that. I do get it, though: you're making allowances for personal writing styles. But what brings the extra "polish," so to speak?

SKA: The biggest mistake I think we can all make is to rush. Yes, we have a deadline. But you know what? At the end of the day, it's better to push back the dates and make sure everything's as good as you can get it, rather than to screw yourself over. Letting your manuscript sit for awhile and then going back to it with a fresh mind helps a lot as well. And I'm not saying I know much about this—I'm still learning—but it's what works for me. 

ER: I think you know more than you realize. When I first read Kinetic, my first thought was that it didn't have the feel of a first-time author. All those revisions pay off. It shouldn't take twenty years to produce a novel, but it shouldn't only take twenty days, either. The reader will notice.

SKA: I know that to the best of my current ability, I gave Kinetic my all, and I'm proud of what I wrote. My sixth-grade teacher once told our class to make sure we were proud of anything that carries our name, and that advice has always stayed with me (I'm sure Stephen King would appreciate that). Maybe I'll look back at it a few years down the road and want to shoot myself, but I will always be able to say confidently that I gave it everything I had. And at the end of the day that's what readers deserve. 

ER: Well, we're out of coffee, so the rest will have to wait until after the holidays. We'll be seeing you in a couple weeks!

You can find Lynda Dietz in a number of places. She's on Twitter @LyndaDietz4, her website is, her Facebook page is Easy Reader Editing, and on occasional occasions, she'll be right here with me, drinking coffee and laughing it up over our latest plans and schemes. And possibly even talking about books and writing. *Reworded to include Lynda's info instead of my own.*