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Sharing Time: What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

I’m speaking tonight at my local writers guild. This is both wonderful and terrifying news. It’s wonderful because I need to practice speaking to groups. Someday when my books are out, I’d like to do readings and visit with readers. I’d like to do that without embarrassing myself, which is another fear of mine. I mean, no one likes to be embarrassed. It’s just so embarrassing. I’m freaked out.

My well-meaning family and friends keep saying the same thing when I tell them why I’m huddled in a corner quivering. They say, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” As if I’ll shrug and nod. “Oh, #headslap, you’re so right. What was I thinking? There’s no reason to worry at all. Thanks!”

To make my point, I’ve compiled a list of some very possible things that could happen. Each point has been considered at length. They are in no particular order.

What’s the worst thing that could happen?

1. I could begin to ramble completely random thoughts unrelated to writing or any comprehensible topic, freak out, burst into tears and flee. If I do this, I am unlikely to return to the guild due to embarrassment.

2. I could become gassy. You know they say people do get all gassy when they’re nervous. I’m sorry but that’s horrible. I would die.

3. I could forget to breathe. The room could tip and I could faceplant into a table, smashing my head into unconsciousness, requiring an ambulance ride, stitches, an enormous hospital bill and receive a lifelong facial scar as a reminder of why public speaking is not a good choice for me.

4. I could vomit. I could. I could spew chunks all over myself, the table, chair ,carpet. Then, I couldn’t run off because who would clean that up? My guild loves me but not enough to clean my puke. So, I’d crawl on hands and knees with paper towels -because they don’t have proper barf removal products on hand- sobbing from utter humiliation while the guild looks on.

5. A heckler could show up tonight and badger me, questioning details and arguing my points until I throw my pen at his/her head, causing an injury which will result in a lawsuit I can’t afford, and a black mark on my reputation from which my career will never recover.

I planned to write a list of ten possibilities, but my chest is compressing itself and hives have formed on my hands and face. Five point will have to do. Facing fears is not my thing. I am a smile-and-run kinda gal. This day will drag on for 100 hours delaying the scary torture that awaits me. Public speaking is bad. I’m now considering a run for Mexico where no one will ask me to speak because I couldn’t.

I like tacos.

Writer Wednesday Welcomes: Krissy Clowe!

Katie Ling by Krissy Clowe

Katie Ling is a delightful new children’s book just published by AwareNow Publishing. It is written by Amberly Kristen Clowe who is an elementary school teacher currently residing in Texas. She lives with her husband, son, two dogs and six fish. This book is wonderfully written and illustrated. It highlights the passion for fashion that Katie Ling has in a compelling way. This book is ideal for girls, ages 4 – 8.

The author of this fabulousness is Krissy Clowe, a fellow writer with my lit agency and I have had the absolute best time getting to know her. She’s wonderful and you’re going to love her. The cover art for this book was too cute not to lead with it, but now Let’s talk to Krissy so you all can see how lovely and talented she really truly is. Hugs & luv to Miss Krissy!


Meet Krissy

Krissy Clowe has been writing stories since she was a little girl. She studied cihldren’s literature in college and graduated with a degree in early childhood education. After college, Krissy taught second grade for several years. Her students inspired her to revisit her passion for writing children’s literature. Krissy’s debut picture book “Katie Ling Fashion Queen” is currently available with AwareNow Publishing. Now, her ten-month-old son and writing projects keep her very busy. She lives in Kingwood with her husband, son, two dogs, and six fish.

Some Frequently asked questions for Krissy:

How can you compete with other children’s authors?
I can look at everyday situations quite refreshingly. I think that’s a really important aspect of children’s writing. You have to look at an usually boring daily task, like eating dinner, as an exciting adventure. Once I have the idea, then I can try to perfect my writing skills with practice and reading, reading, and more reading!

Would you ever consider writing books for adults?
That’s just not how I think. Besides, I enjoy the idea of a kid learning to read, using a book I wrote, far too much.

How was teaching beneficial to your writing endeavors?
Teaching was the best profession for me. After several years, the gaps between the curriculum and literature were incredibly evident. Now, I have a better understanding of what needs to be written. Also, kids’ imaginations are truly limitless. Luckily, that really rubbed off on me.

Was there anyone who didn’t believe you would become a published author?
No one came right out and said “fat chance” or anything like that, but I could feel that some people didn’t really think it was attainable. I think some people have this idea of who an author should be, someone in all black, sipping hot tea, whispering into an open mic. I’m not that at all. If that’s what they thought, I can see why my writing aspirations were so shocking.

Would you recommend securing an agent to other writers?
Yes, I do. Most major publishing houses only accept submissions through an agent. Basically, if you don’t have an agent, you’re really limiting who you can submit to and you will also spend way more time submitting and constantly researching which publisher is wanting what at the moment, instead of doing what you’re really passionate about, writing.

Have you ever experienced writer’s block?
Sometimes I get so frustrated with the time it takes to edit that I switch to another project. That just keeps me from throwing in the towel.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer or really anyone who has a dream?
If you experience a wall, don’t give up. Figure out what you need to do to bust through. If it’s a writing technique, learn it. If it’s a business skill, do your research. Don’t sabotage yourself by believing your insecurities. Gain the knowledge you need to achieve your dreams.

Find Krissy online!

www.amberlykclowe.yolasite.com
http://amberlykclowe.blogspot.com/
AwareNowPublishing

Big thanks to Krissy for stopping by with her lovely book. It’s amazing and I am so getting one for my daughter!!! Thanks Krissy!

Writers Block: Fact or Fiction

We hear the words “writers block” thrown around on television and in movies, but is it for real? My mind immediately conjures up images of Jack Nicholson behind a typewriter in The Shining. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, or Chevy Chase in Funny Farm, seated in his new country home ripping pages from the desk with little more than his name on top.

But how realistic is this?

I think not.

Hear come the hate mails. LOL.

I think writing is like any other job – aside from being forced to go to our regular jobs and having to steal away moments to write. The similarity though is it’s a job. We MUST think of it as a job regardless of how far we are from a paycheck. Treat it like a job or it will never become one. No one says you can’t love your job. So, what do you do when you have a moment to write and nothing comes to mind? I mean, isn’t that writer’s block?

No. That’s life. Creativity must be cultivated. When you can think of nothing to write, write something. Anything. The best way to get those story juices going is to tell a story. As a writer your cookoo insanity will kick in soon enough. Doesn’t it always? LOL. So get started. Brainstorm the way you would to solve any problem and record your ideas, then put it all together.

Time is too precious to waste and every word counts. Every sentence is practice, cultivation of your craft and inspiration. Writer’s block is a state of mind, an excuse, only a stumbling block, a tiny insignificant easily overcome problem. Don’t let it be anything more. Still no ideas? Who cares. Write down something  you saw, heard or did this week, then twist some aspects until your mind finds its happy place.If you’re truly a writer, you will write. We can’t help it, so get back to work.

 

Do You Write Across Genres?

I’ve been writing for two years now. I spent the first year writing and reading agent, editor, writer blogs like a maniac. I wanted so desperately to understand this industry, how to fit in, get noticed, write better. It was exhausting and I was lucky. About a year ago I read for the 400th time how writers needed a web presence. This shocked me because we’re told by the media to protect our identities with our lives, but the media is there to scare us not to help us start a writing career. (Dear media- you know that’s what you do).

For the past year I’ve read very few blogs and spent my time instead connecting with the people in the industry. I joined a critique group, met beta readers, attended conferences, and dove into social media. This, let me tell ya, is WAY more fun than blog stalking 8 hours a day. One of the reasons that’s true is my exhaustion by the same topics being discussed by big deals in the biz over and over and they had opposing opinions. That can leave a new girl pretty confused.

One topic I cringed at over and over was “Do You Write Across Genres?” I hated reading these types of articles because everyone seemed to agree on the answer – if you do then you are an amateur. I hated it because I wrote across lots of genres. Lots. And lots. Inevitably someone would mention a famous author like Meg Cabot and be shot down with a simple “Uh, she’s MEG CABOT. She can do what she wants.”

I am no Meg Cabot.

Since I began writing two years ago I’ve penned a load of novels. I’ve written three complete YAs, 2 paranormal romance, 1 humorous women’s fiction, two sweet romances and started several others, 1 mystery, 1 action/suspense…lots. And every time I read “it’s amateurish,” I died a little. Sure, I had no degree, experience, or clue, but no one wants called a baby. Even my 2 year old pitches a fit about that.

Here’s the thing. If you’re unpublished and you write across genres, maybe it is amateurish. I mean if we define amateur as “haven’t been published.” I think writing across genres is like going to college for new writers. We HAVE to express ourselves and test our chops. We need to entertain those diverse ideas in order to see where our strengths lay. What’s the most fun for us? Where do we truly want to grow roots?

I floundered around writing everything until a couple months ago. I read YA like a fiend, but shied away from writing it exclusively. Then, I wrote a short sweet romance which has been picked up by Turquoise Morning press and a little light bulb blinked. As it turns out, what I love the most about YA is the tension between MCs as they discover a fierce love for one another. I love the abandon with which they dive into the relationship and will protect it at all costs. When I wrote the sweet romance I realized it was just like the YA. It was about the love story.

If I hadn’t been writing across genres 1). I wouldn’t have gotten that contract 2). I wouldn’t understand what draws me to YA and what I really really want to write.

Now I know. Anything I write from here on out will have love, tension, will he won’t he? does she doesn’t she, sweaty palms and shivers all over it because that is what gets me excited.

So, if you’re writing across genres, I say Good for you! Maybe you are just fabulous and will land contracts all over the industry. Why not? I think all things are possible, and even if you don’t, you might happen across that one story that gets you lit up and thirsty for me. How will you know if you don’t try?

Again, to quote Nike: Just do it!

Thoughts?

Legacy by Cayla Kluver – Review

Legacy by Cayla Kluver

In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father’s choice of suitor fills her with despair.

When the palace guard captures an intruder—a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom’s greatest enemy—Alera is alarmed…and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.

In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won’t be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom.

 

Review

I had the pleasure of reading Legacy by Cayla Kluver, my first YA set in a historical world.  Thanks to the amazing deliciousness that is Net Galley and the gracious ARC sharing of Harlequin Teen, I got my greedy hands on Legacy and didn’t put it down until I finished.

Legacy is a tale of intrigue that kept me turning pages late into the night. Kluver’s characters are magnificent and her portrayal of the relationships between men and women, authority and obedience had me steaming. I immediately made Princess Alera my best friend when I realized the injustice of being forced into a marriage, then bristled some more at the reasoning behind it. I would’ve picked up a sword and battled for her if she asked. Her relationships are complex and endearing.

Life is troubled and then it gets messy.

Narnian appears under sketchy circumstances and the mutual attractions electrifies. Too bad for her he’s not the one she must marry, oh and also that he might or might not be the embodiment of something terrible to come. Right. My head swam with every new detail of their emotion, the complication with her betrothed, and Alera’s complete inability to control her life beyond flat out deception.

The world building is vivid and the stakes are high. As I closed the book, my mind wandered into what might be to come. The final scenes played long in my mind and I knew I was hooked. I’ll be waiting impatiently to see where Kluver takes us next.

Thanks Harlequin Teen & Net Galley!

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