Monday, November 26, 2012

What motivates a writer?

Everybody has different motivations that make them do what they do.  Some people write because it was a childhood dream.  Others write to try and supplement their income.  Me I write because I genuinely love it.  Creating other lives, solving problems, it's a bit of a power trip where you control the world you create.  Michael Meyer, author of the thriller Covert Dreams, shares what motivates him as a writer.
Writing is a lonely avocation, just my trusty computer at my side, as I work hard to create people, places, and plots that other people might enjoy reading. Marketing one’s own writing is an extremely lonely business. Unlike having a traditional publisher and all of its clout behind me, I have only myself, and I am a writer, not a salesperson. I find it difficult to toot my own horn, though I know that it is essential in order to get word of the very existence of my work out to the reading public. So what keeps me going? The writing, of course, gives me a lot of enjoyment. I am actually like a reader as I write. I never quite know how things will turn out in the end, not only of the book itself, but also in specific scenes. I thoroughly enjoy working with words, stringing them together in a creative way. Language has always fascinated me. Can you goose a goose? Does a house burn up or burn down? If you are going to come visit me, are you coming or going? Why would you want to swipe your card at a cash register if you already own the card? There is a huge difference between snap to and snap at. The list can go on and on. I love to play with words as I write, and this can be seen in COVERT DREAMS.
            Marketing my own work, however, is a completely different ballgame. I am a good writer, but I lack a lot in the area of salesmanship. I do seek out as many reviewers, interviewers, and bloggers as I can, and I am very thankful for all of these people, but every hour I spend tooting my own horn could be spent creating, my real forte. So what keeps me plugging away at telling others about my work, you might ask? The answer is found in the wonderful reactions that readers have to my work. Their excitement serves to push me forward. I like people, and it makes me happy to see that they, in turn, like what I have created. Here are a few random lines from posted reviews of COVERT DREAMS on my Amazon author’s site as examples of what I mean:
            This story will not disappoint as it sucks you right into these lives from page one and doesn't let go until the last page is turned.”
            If you enjoy psychological thrillers and exotic locales, this is the book for you.”
            “This is the best book, bar none, that I've read in an eon. It grabbed me by the collar and wouldn't let me go…. I felt I was in the hands of a master.” 
            [COVERT DREAMS] was like I was reading Robert Ludlum and the Bourne series.”
            “I'm looking forward to reading more from this wordsmith! Michael Meyer is a born storyteller!”
            “Covert Dreams is ‘I got captured’-reading, as opposed to ‘escape’-reading.”
            I think you can see what I mean. It is pretty heady stuff, the type of thing that helps me keep the faith. Michael Meyer.
Michael Meyer Author Bio
I have resided in and have visited many places in the world, all of which have contributed in some way to my own published writing. I have literally traveled throughout the world, on numerous occasions. I have lived in Finland, Germany, Thailand, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Saudi Arabia, where COVERT DREAMS is set. I gained the wanderlust to see the world, to experience other cultures, at an early age, and this desire has never left me. If anything, it has only gained in intensity as I have aged. I try to travel internationally at least once a year. In the interim, I spend lots of time traveling around both my home state of California and other nearby states.
            I spent my early years in the small town of Lone Pine, California, the home of almost every western movie, in addition to a wide variety of other genres, made in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. In fact, Hollywood still films parts of big-time movies there today. My dad, the town’s lifeguard at the time, personally knew John Wayne, Lloyd Bridges, and Lee Marvin, all of whom came to the town’s pool, the Memorial Plunge, at times to cool off after a hectic day of working in the sun. I was even an extra in a movie filmed there in 1957, MONOLITH MONSTERS, a B-cult favorite even today. I was ten years old at the time. Even though I resided in a small town hours from the big city, I was exposed to the excitement of action and heroes at a formative age, and, thus, my interest in writing novels of suspense such as COVERT DREAMS was born.
            As a recent retiree from a forty-year career as a professor of writing, I now live in Southern California wine country with my wife, Kitty, and our two other cats. 


Monday, November 12, 2012

Benefactor Needed: Apply within

There are days when you wish you were somebody else.  When the thought of working is enough to make you crawl under the rose bushes and hide.  The years of earning a salary and still having nothing to show for it are wearying.  I’ve worked in education for 26 years, my friend for 33 years.  That’s a couple of lifetimes.  The paperwork we’ve had to complete over those combined years would probably be enough to fill a few rooms.  We reckon we have done our time.
So joking around (as you do when you are wading through paperwork) we decided that what we really want in life is to stop working.  Unfortunately there is that little phrase  ‘no work no pay = no play’  that comes to mind.  Therein lies the rub.  We still want the same salaries.  Both being over fifty we are too old to move in to the playboy mansion.  We are still realistic.  Our marbles are still rattling in our skulls, we haven’t quite lost them yet.  The idea of starting a new career is too daunting.  We need a job where we can relax on a beach.

Therefore we decided that what we actually need is a rich benefactor.  It can be a man or a woman, we are not too fussy.  It would be preferable if we never have to see them or meet them, but they just top up our bank accounts each month.  Think of us as a car needing its petrol tank filled.  Obviously people just don’t hand out money for nothing.  You have to do something to earn it.  After serious discussion and deliberation we have agreed that we would be prepared to keep a photo of our benefactor in the drawer of the bedside cabinet.  That should be worth a few thousand dollars a month.
If you are interested in financing our lifestyles then please apply within.  You will not be required to attend any meetings, make any phone calls or complete any paperwork.

Cindy Vine is the author of Not Telling, The Case of Billy B, Defective and C U @ 8. You can buy her books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Apple iStore.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's all about Head Space!

It's difficult to get anything done when you are not in the right frame of mind to do it.  Until you get into the right head space you will be hit by every possible distraction, distractions you would normally brush aside.  I reckon if I knew how to develop the right head space then I would make millions.  Unfortunately for me it's just something that is either there or it isn't.
Like now I should be working on my NaNoWriMo novel Hush Baby.  But besides writing a blog post, I am debating inside my head what I should make myself for breakfast.  Possible breakfasts are dominating my thoughts making even writing a simple blog post a challenge.  Then there is the new John Grisham novel I just started.  I keep wondering if I should read a bit before sitting at my laptop writing again.  It was very stupid to start reading a potentially gripping book when I am supposed to be trying to write one.
Writing during the week when you work full time is virtually impossible.  You have too many work-related issues zooming through your head that you can't even find an empty head space compartment.
But really it is all about discipline.  Making sure you set some quiet time aside where you can focus on nothing more than the story you are trying to write.  Those living with you need to know not to disturb you.  Of course this will be very difficult for them if you are viewed as the oracle, the person who has all the answers.
My best time to write is early in the morning over the weekend.  The neighbour's dogs are relatively quiet, probably exhausted from all the barking, yapping and howling they do all night long when you try to sleep.  And my 17 year old daughter likes to sleep in which is a bonus.  The minute she wakes up I save my work and shut my laptop.  There are some battles I choose not to fight.
But now all is quiet, there is a rooster crowing but that I can almost blot out, my head space should be good, I should be in the writing zone...But all I can think about is breakfast.  Guess I should make myself some.
Cindy Vine is the author of Not Telling, The Case of Billy B, Defective and C U @ 8.  You can buy her books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Apple iStore.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Writing for Teenagers

When you first decide you are going to be a writer, it can be a little like a kid in a candy store.  There are so many genres to choose from.  You can write children's books, young adult, thrillers, self-help, just to name a few.  The best thing though is to follow your passion.  It's hard to write a book when you don't feel strongly for that particular genre.  Naomi Rabinowitz, author of Revenge of a Band Geek Gone Bad,  followed her passion when she became a writer.  She shares what made her choose to write young adult fiction.

When I decided to write a novel, there was no question in my mind that it would be a YA story. I've been fascinated with young adult literature from before I was even a teen myself.
 As a kid, I devoured books by Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott and a lesser-known, but still great YA author named Frieda Friedman. All wrote about teens from different time periods (Friedman's books take place in the 1940s and '50s), but as a child of the '80s, that didn't matter to me. I was still sucked into the characters' stories and could relate to their emotions, if not always their living conditions (though some of the stuff that Laura got to do on the prairie was really cool!). I would be a teen myself in a few years and looked forward to those glamorous days ahead when I'd begin dating, driving and would gain some independence. The characters seemed to have it all and I wanted to be like them.

Once I actually became a teen, I quickly discovered that it wasn't as much fun as I thought it would be. In fact, there were often days when being 15 sucked. I didn't have a boyfriend. I wasn't popular in high school. I was just a band geek who felt as if she were invisible. But during those lonely times, my YA books kept me company. Fluffy YA stories like the Sweet Valley High series took me to another world and lifted my spirits when I was having a bad day. Meanwhile, I could relate to lost soul teen protagonists like Catcher In The Rye's Holden Caulfied. In other words, by reading YA stories, I didn't feel quite as alone.

Now that I'm an adult, I still love the genre. Teens are fascinating because they're between worlds. In some ways, they're very adult and often face mature challenges. Some get jobs, others have to care for younger siblings, some are involved in their first serious relationships. Some even go off to war. On the other hand, teens aren't yet considered to be adults -- at least not in our culture -- and still have to deal with many restrictions. They may have a serious boyfriend or girlfriend, but will have to obey a cerfew. They may have some strong political opinions, but aren't old enough to vote. The teenage years are a tumultuous time filled with changing bodies, new experiences and many firsts. Being a teen isn't always fun -- but writing about that age is very exciting and offers a lot of possibilities.

I hope that REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD can help some teens deal with their high school years the same way that Blume and other authors helped me cope with mine. I wouldn't want to revisit those years, but I'm grateful that they gave me something to write about.

Naomi Rabinowitz has always loved being creative. Raised in Nesconset, NY -- a suburb on Long Island -- she was introduced to the arts at an early age. Her mother, Joyce, is a pianist; her father, Melvin, plays piano and guitar; her grandmother, Esther, was a talented knitter; her late grandfather, Morris, was a violinist; her late great uncle, Sid Robin, was a well-known jazz musician, who penned the lyrics to the popular big band hit, "Undecided."

Naomi's parents, who were both teachers, frequently took her to museums and concerts. During their summers off, her family traveled. By the time she was 15, Naomi had been to several European countries, as well as China, Japan, Israel, Egypt, Russia and Mexico.
Naomi's love for writing emerged when she was in the second grade and her poem, "The Four Seasons," won first prize in a local literary competition. She became interested in journalism in junior high when her English class was selected to write for Newsday's "Kidsday" column.
She had as much passion for music. Though she began playing piano when she was three, she switched to her "true" instrument, the flute, when she was nine and eventually added tenor sax and clarinet to her list so that she could play in jazz band. She performed in almost every musical group from wind ensemble to orchestra (but never marching band!). In 2008, she released her jazz album FLUTE PATH.
Naomi received a B.A. in English from Binghamton University and an M.A. in magazine journalism from Syracuse University. From 1998-2012, she worked as a reporter/editor for national TV magazine Soap Opera Digest.
These days, Naomi writes, plays jazz flute and designs jewelry for her businesses Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations. She lives in Queens, NY with her husband, Jonathan, and their cat, Maya.
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