Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Wild & Crazy: Publishing Updates

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Howdy all! It’s been a long time since I posted to this blog. Primarily because I’ve become so busy with multiple projects it’s a bit scattered. Not complaining at all. Much of my busy is a good thing.

Publishing, if you’ve been in this business long enough, throws punches. Last year I had two publishers close and early this year another closed. I’ll have books at Liquid Silver Publishing, and I plan to self-publish as much as possible. What this means is I have a lot of books waiting in the queue to be released again. Here’s my loose plan.

  1. Publish A Little Bag of Horrors, Volume 1 (Horror Anthology) probably sometime in March.
  2. Publish the Hot Zone series again. Some of the series has been in limbo for almost a year. Not sure of the time line on that, but I’m thinking before summer. I have covers, I need to format the books and they’ll be ready to go.
  3. Publish Wait For Me, a short romance/suspense novelette. I hope to do that before this summer. It’s a new story.
  4. Publish a collection of three short stories that are romance/suspense oriented. The titles have been changed, but these stories were out before. I haven’t done a cover or covers yet. I’m thinking because they’re so short they need to be in one volume.
  5. Publish my Dead Days series. These four novels are set during a zombie apocalypse. They’re told from the first person point of view of the heroine in each story. They’re definitely romances set in an apocalyptic setting.
  6. Publish (again) Dark Deadly Love, For A Roman’s Heart, and Before The Dawn. The great news is that Samhain Publishing is giving me the covers. I’m hoping to publish them by April or May at the latest. These are three huge favorites of mine, so I can’t wait to get them back out there!

I am also working with Happy Catastrophe Productions on more than one television series, and for the first time ever I’m writing a screenplay for a horror movie. It’s also possible it will be a book one day. Wish me luck!

Last but not least I would love to finish my Krakatoa story which I think I started way, way back in 2014 and never finished. GASP! I know. It’s rare for me not to finish a story, but it does happen. Since I love writing historicals, I really want to finish the as-yet-untitled story.

That is all I can think of at the moment, though I feel like I’m forgetting something. No worries! Talk with you again soon!

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Intuition & Live & Let Live

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

A recent conversation prompted me to think about intuition, passion and how we can create and live from the heart. Creativity can relate to anything, not just words put down on paper, a painting or perhaps an actor on the stage. Deciding to run our lives based on intuition of what is right for us can influence our entire lives, including the quality of that life.

So I’m going to get down and dirty here. When I was a kid I was bullied extensively. I’m not revealing that to elicit sympathy. No, not at all. I’m no different in that respect than many people. It took me a long time to understand how I made it easy for people to bully me. You see, I spent considerable time negating and ignoring my intuition even when it proved extremely accurate. Intuition, if I’d listened to it, would always tell me what was right for me whether it was choosing what book to write, what to wear, what to say…you name it. When I allowed others to influence what I was going to write, wear and say, I wasn’t being true to myself and sometimes the misery that resulted proved acute.

When I create passionately I’m coming from the gut. That part that says, “This feels right.” Back in the day I heard people refer to creating a book this way as, “Writing the book of your heart.” The controversy comes when some writers think this is bunk and say creating with your heart is dumb. Yes, I’ve heard some writers say this…really.

How does it relate to everyday life?

People seem to have a heck of a time with the concept of live and let live. Group think, whether it be creativity, politics, religion, trends…well…it can influence many of us to pretend to be something we’re not. Of course, this creates all sorts of problems within us, a lack of authenticity that eventually bites us in the ass. Being inauthentic always, always catches up with us. I’ve seen this happen to authors and I’ve seen it happen in so many other avenues of people’s lives.

So this holiday season, think of ways you can be authentic. Think of ways you can be who you are without demanding others be the same.

All The Things: Movies, TV Series & Horror Best Seller

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

Hello everyone. My writing world runneth over. Just a few little updates! To find details on the books mentioned, stop by here.

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NIGHTMARES & ECHOES III CHARITY ANTHOLOGY #2 BEST SELLER!

Gorillas With Scissors Press introduces a yearly horror anthology with 50% of the proceeds going toward a charity every year. This year the contributions go to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I’m happy to say that I’m included in this year’s anthology with my spooky story Comeuppance. Just recently I learned the anthology has zipped to #2 on the Horror Anthology bestseller list at Amazon. How amazing is that?

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MOVIES/TV SERIES NEWS

In other quick catch up news, my story Blackout is still in development for television, and recently I started working on another TV series with producer/writer Marie D. Jones (Where’s Lucy Productions) and producer/writer Brian Keith Ellis. Exciting writing times. When I can reveal more on these projects I’ll be sure to let you know.

ZOMBIES AND HORROR

I finished writing my zombie series of books and I’m slowly working through revisions in between participating in NANOWRIMO in November. Although I won’t finish NANOWRIMO this year, I’m perfectly okay with that. I still achieved a lot of writing. I think December might be a good time to take a chill pill and relax a little before the new year starts.

Until next time, live, love and dream.

 

Publishing: Adapting & Surviving

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Gratitude is sometimes hard to cultivate, especially if you’re rolling with the punches, whatever those punches might be. I’ve been busy, busy the last few weeks, but it’s all pretty much been good stuff. Even though I have a million things to be grateful for, I’m like everyone else. Sometimes need to remind myself to do a check in and say, “Hey idiot, look at the amazing things you’ve got in your life!” Having an incredible writing career is very much one of the top spots in that gratitude list.

Like every writer at some point in time, I’ve had to jump through hoops and adapt. One of my more recent adaptations is creating more straight horror stories whether they are short stories or full-fledged novels. I’ve always enjoyed writing paranormal romance, but I realized that horror writing had grabbed me by the throat (pun intended) and was begging me to get more involved. (I recently joined Horror Writers Association as an example). Rather than strangling that desire, I am jumping in with both feet. I can tell that my creativity needs it.

So where am I going with this?

A writer, in order to survive the publishing world, has to be willing to adapt.

Over the last several months I’ve seen many authors say they’re quitting writing. Everyone has different reasons. For some it’s been as simple as transitioning into a new career they prefer or feel drawn to at this point in time. They may have been writing thirty years or twenty years and they feel there are other things they’d rather do now. If they can leave the writing career with absolutely no regrets, with a sense of “this is right” in their gut, I say more power to them. Some, though, aren’t feeling it is right in their guts. They aren’t relieved, calmed or settled. They’re profoundly sad and torn up.

Some are quitting because they are discouraged. They might be burned out and blocked. For those individuals they may need some time away from writing to recharge, reassess, and discover through self-analysis what is required to reboot their creativity. These people often come back to writing with a whole new energy, even if it is months later. Many have worked with me in my capacity as a creativity coach. I love helping them discover their way back to writing.

Then there are people who have stopped writing because at the end of the day, if they can’t get accolades, money, and significant recognition for their writing…well that’s the end game. They’re unhappy because they’ve been writing five years or ten years or even twenty and they haven’t become a NY Times best seller and they aren’t making much money. Or maybe they were a NY Times bestseller and they used to make money hand over fist. Just like anyone who used to make money in a career and no longer is, it is understandable they might feel disappointed and discouraged. Some of these writers will stop writing for a while and realize at some point they really were writing for more than money. But if you truly can’t and don’t want to write unless the bucks are rolling in, there is no shame in quitting.

I’d encourage you, though, to consider the fact that making a lot of cash in the writing world has never been guaranteed and has never been particularly easy. Learning to deal with that reality so that you can either move on to another career or to find a brand new way to keep writing in your life…that is paramount. Keep asking yourself why you started writing in the first place. If it was purely for fame and fortune so be it. If it is for the amazing love and satisfaction that can come from creating, and if that creation brings you a high, then maybe money isn’t your honest reason for doing this writing thing. Maybe it’s time to explore adaptation and discovering how to reboot that creativity and keep writing in your life.

Think about that.

Writing Myths Exposed

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

I’ve been writing since I was fourteen but didn’t start seriously considering writing for publication until about 1991. Over that time I’ve formed a lot of opinions about the writing world and publishing in general. Too many to express in one blog. The other day I looked over some old blogs and saw one from several years back I felt needs resurrection. In that blog I talked about myths I see perpetuated in the writing world over and over. I still believe these myths hold true to this day. They haven’t gone out of style. See what you think.

Writing Myths Exposed

Is there one right way to create fiction? Many people would have you believe there is. Or that there is a secret to being published. The answer is that despite everything people will tell you about how to write a book, or how not to write a book, you will find dozens of famous books that didn’t follow the rules. Rules, in the end, rarely seem to have anything to do with whether a book gets published. At the beginning of a writer’s career we’re told the rules make a difference. Do they? Sometimes. Sometimes not.

What are some of the rules that are tossed out to newbie romance writers? Well, here ya go. True or false?

You must plot every move in your fiction.

You must plot a book and know everything there is to know about the characters, their motivations, and their vulnerabilities before you start a book. After all, you can’t start a book free form and have it end up well.

False. If I can write a book without knowing all of this from the start, you might be able to as well. It depends on whether you are a pantser writer or not. If you’re a plotter at heart you probably feel more comfortable with plotting out a good chunk of what you want to have happen in the story before you start to write. If you’re a pantser you’re more comfortable with not having all this knowledge up front. In the end, many of us are a combination of pantser and plotter. Neither one is better than the other. As long as you’re writing and you’re staying creative that’s the only thing that matters. In other words…don’t worry about which one you are. If it works for you, it’s all good. Just write.

Alpha heroes never have any flaws or they have so many they might be a serial killer.

An alpha hero, or any hero for that matter, shouldn’t have any flaws. Or he can be what I call (yeah I’m going to curse), a total dominating asshole. Those are the two types of heroes the heroine must put up with and that most readers like.

False. As far as I’m concerned this is false, but some may disagree. I think a great alpha hero has flaws, but at the core he is not what I call an ass alpha. In other words, a man who treats the heroine like crap and she loves him for it. There is a balancing act between mean alpha and an alpha man who is softened by his code of honor, his belief in protecting women and children, and the simple fact that he’s not an ass when comes to dealing with the heroine. He’s still a good guy and not someone who enjoys inflicting emotional and physical abuse on women or children.

Heroines have so many flaws it ain’t funny or she has to be an alpha kick ass able to hang from trees like a monkey.

The heroine should be either totally vulnerable and act like a ninny and do stupid things, or be as invulnerable and impossible to relate to as Laura Croft.

False. Either direction is kinda overboard in my opinion. The heroine needs flaws and vulnerabilities as well. Just like the hero, she needs personality traits we can relate to. If she’s perfect I don’t want to read about her any more than I want to read about a hero who is perfect.

There’s a secret to being a best seller.

You should write exactly like NY Times best sellers because if you do, you’ll get published. False on the whole. Writing like anybody else, best seller or not, ends up making you sound like everyone else. I won’t lie to you. Homogenized writing sometimes rises to the top. It can also fail miserably. Plus, many writers discover their creativity drying up and blowing away after years of either writing a series that never ends or discovering they aren’t writing the stories they really want to write. Wouldn’t you rather write what you want to write now?

The real secret is…

So what’s the secret? There isn’t one. Publishing is a wild and crazy business with twists and turns big enough for any plot. My belief is that sticking to writing what you truly enjoy is going to keep you creative much longer than following a lot of “should” rules. Listen to your heart, keep your integrity, honor your creativity. What’s going to keep you creating for life?

Oh, and if you’re having trouble figuring that out, I might be able to help. You can find me at Creative Pen Coaching.

 

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Eight Reasons Why Some Authors Really Quit Writing

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

As a certified creativity coach and as a writer I run into creative people every day on the verge of giving up, giving in and losing the joy that writing can bring. If you’re a writer who would stop writing if you couldn’t make money at a writing career…that’s your choice. No sweat. This isn’t directed at you. If you hurt when you can’t write, you long to write, and you feel empty if you don’t write…read on.

You stop writing because:

You used to make money at this writing thing (and sometimes a lot of it), or you never did make any in the first place.

You become disgruntled because you see books you consider crap making a ton of money. (Green-eyed monster run rampant).

You pay too much attention to other people’s careers instead of minding your own situation and just doing what you want to do and damn the torpedoes.

You follow herds because it is a group think situation, and you believe that if you only follow the herd you’ll have the same results. Maybe you will and maybe you won’t. When you don’t you throw up your hands and ask, “What’s the point?”

You sometimes follow the herd because you don’t understand or believe that you don’t have to follow it.

You don’t allow your own instincts to tell you which way to create a writing career and rely too much on the previously mentioned herd.

These are some really BIG reasons why people jump ship. They certainly aren’t the only ones. Every single writer/creative person is different.

What’s first and foremost among all of the reasons many stop writing?

YOU FORGET WHY YOU STARTED WRITING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Return to your original reason for writing. Ask yourself what it was and use it as an anchor point when the going gets tough. Keep it in the back of your mind when you’re having that rotten day where you feel like throwing your hands up. Now, get back to work and create!

Creativity Books You’ll Love: Breaking Those Blocks

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Ever feel like you need some creativity help? You might not realize how many resources are out there for you in the battle against creativity blocks. In my video, Creativity Books Worth Reading, I give some recommendations on books I’ve found helpful in my writing/creativity journey. Enjoy!


Writing: Keeping The Daydream Alive

Friday, May 1st, 2015

 

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Pardon me if I’ve posted this blog before! I just emerged from several hours of writing. I’m still in that fog, that ecstasy stage when I’ve written a scene I’m very pleased with. I’m planning on jumping straight into writing more this afternoon. Strike while the iron is hot. Lately I’ve been compelled to talk more about writing and what a writer needs to keep that iron hot. Writers listen to far too many shoulds I think. There’s a lot to be said for doing things your own way and to use another tried and true saying…damn the torpedoes.

Don’t daydream. Don’t be unrealistic. Don’t have fun.

As children we are sometimes lectured to rein in our creativity, and as adults the admonitions are often equally as powerful. Adults often forget or perhaps we’ve never known, that in order to create we must daydream and we must open ourselves to possibilities. And by gosh we’ve gotta have fun.

Whether we’re painting, dancing, sculpting, drawing or writing, we have limited ability to create satisfying art if we don’t daydream. As children we did it naturally. As adults we often need to relearn how to discover the beauty of daydreaming and the benefits it can have for our creative practice.

Rediscovering daydreaming can be as easy as taking the time to remember our childhoods. As a creative people we can usually recall those blissful moments of staring outside and being fascinated with the world. Play was the ultimate in creativity.

Few things are more exciting than finding that much talked about inner child. Because without that innocence, that piece of us that says it’s all right to play, creativity can escape us.

How do we recapture that bliss? It could be as simple as trying this one simple idea:

Take a pad of paper outside wherever you won’t be disturbed. It could be a park, your backyard or even your front porch. Breathe deeply and absorb what you’re hearing and seeing. Reconnect with the part of you that wants to return to basics. Scribble. Sketch even if you aren’t a painter or into drawing. Brainstorm a story idea based on what you see around you even if you aren’t a storyteller. Color outside of the lines. No idea is too strange. No picture is too ugly. This is your recess. Children don’t know they “can’t” do something until they’re told they can’t. Remember what it was like before someone told you “no.”

Try this whenever you’re feeling creatively stifled and discover how much easier it is to access the beauty of daydreaming.

Denise A. Agnew is the author of over 60 novels. Denise is also a paranormal investigator, Reiki Master and Certified Creativity Coach.  Visit Denise’s websites at www.creativepencoaching.com and www.deniseagnew.com.

 

Just Say Yes To Creativity

Monday, April 27th, 2015

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It’s entirely possible that I said ALL of this in another blog not that long ago. My brain is a bit pickled from traveling. Got back from being out of town last week. 🙂

In my other hat as a creativity coach, I see the many slings and arrows (stealing from Shakespeare here) that creative people endure on a daily basis. Steven Pressfield, in his great book The War of Art, calls it resistance. A resistance formed by the mind that says, “Hey I can do the dishes and bow down to other outside influences before I write.” But there’s another way authors can make themselves nuts. Okay there are A LOT of other ways authors can make themselves nuts. One in particular is refusing to create what you want most to create.

Creativity. It asks you to perform, to write, to paint, to dance. It asks you to do something so few will ever do, because most people are afraid. Most people are slotted into a box early on, even if they once ventured, as a child, toward creativity.

I don’t know about you, but I think it is counterproductive to creativity to tell your muse to shut up. Yet writers do it every day. I so often see writers, who burn to create, sitting inside a box. The box that says, “This is the thing to write, because everyone else is writing it.” I also hear writers say, “I can’t wait to finish writing this book so I can start the book I really want to write.” Does this seem counter to creativity to you? To write something you don’t want to write? Perhaps there are writers who are happiest in a box. And this cool. They should stay and do what they want if most of the time they are happy. But there are far more writers who long to create that weird story. The one that nags at them in the middle of the night. If they’ve always been a romance author and this idea they have is for a mainstream book or a horror novel or some genre they’ve never tried before, they’ll shut themselves down. Or they’ll allow someone else to shut them down. It’s not practical to write that crazy idea. What will people think? It doesn’t matter what they think. Or what I think. It’s your creativity asking you to have the adventure. So have it and be joyful.

Many writers I know (including myself), will get wild ideas for a novel. Do I say, “Damn that sounds like a super complex story and it will be a lot of work and it’s way outside of what I’ve done before.” Yes, I say all of that. Then I notice how I feel about the book ideas. I get, really excited. I also get scared. Yet I know the complex ideas, the exciting and scary are usually amazingly fulfilling, the most gratifying stories I’ll ever write. So I write down the ideas and keep them in a future book file. Because my current work in progress is one of those wild ideas I had a long time ago. You know what? That’s exciting. That’s creativity working in me.

Keep your mind open to the possibilities and allow your creativity to say yes to things instead of no. It’s amazing how much happiness and joy there is to be found in just saying yes.

Writers: You Always Have A Choice

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Choice. Many artistic people, whether they are writers or in another creative field, are prone to thinking that is destined to cause them significant grief. It is the same thinking even those outside of creative career fields are prone to believing. The belief that they have no choice.

Recently I read a post on social media that prompted me to write this blog because as an author and creativity coach, I don’t want anyone to lose their creative drive. The social media post hit a nerve with me, I’ll admit. It was one of those posts where one author tells other authors what they should be doing with their career, which publishers to submit to, etc. Advice is fine, and everyone gives advice to other people sometimes. I’ve given advice to other authors in blogs and in person. What worries me is when anyone insinuates that there is one right way to approach a career or a creative endeavor. “You should” was stated in this social media post over and over.

All of these shoulds give the impression there is only one way to have a writing career. Numerous articles, magazines, conference workshops and various other situations give authors continuous advice on the ins and outs of a publishing career.

If shoulds destroy creativity, what do you do? You have a choice. Always. Define for yourself what maintains your creativity. If you don’t have your ability to create, if you allow other people (no matter who they are) to define what you want to happen in your writing life, you’ll never be satisfied with your writing life. You’ll constantly be following trends, chasing someone else’s dream because you believe it “should” be your dream. You’ll stop writing because something bad happens in your career. You’ll throw your hands up and give up. Maintain your creativity. Fiercely defend it agains the shoulds.

You always have a choice.