Crisis of Faith (in writing)

Greetings, peeperas y peeperos!

I hope this past weekend was awesome for you.

Me, I’ve been having deep thoughts all over the place, like these over at Women and Words.

And the ones I’ll be revealing here. Don’t freak out when you start reading. Read the whole thing. There’s an HEA.

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Powers of Observation

Well, hello there, peeps!

I hope your holidays were wonderful and that you had some fun and got some rest. As you know, I was outta control over at Women and Words with our giant 12-day giveaway we call the Hootenanny. And things get CRAY CRAY over there. This year we also did a concurrent Rafflecopter giveaway that included a couple of Kindle Fires and…well, it was insane and fun but kind of exhausting.

At any rate, let’s get back to work!

Today I wanted to talk about observation. I bring this up because a huge part of writing is (or should be) observation. Think about it. How your characters speak and act. The quirks they have. Their surroundings. The settings of your stories. And, going a bit meta, the things your characters actually observe during the course of your plot, how they filter it, how they relate it to others.

So let’s chat further about this.

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Andi’s 10 reasons you should totally go to writing conferences

Hi, all!

Holy outta control calendars, Batman! It’s been a crazy two weeks but here I am with some MOAR TIPS!

As some of you know, I attended the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) conference in New Orleans toward the end of July. I try to go every year (though I have missed a couple since I started publishing) because literary/writing conferences provide invaluable opportunities for both writers and readers.

For those of you who are writers just starting out, make the time and save the money to attend at least one conference a year. Gatherings like that are invaluable aspects of your writing career. For those of you who have been at this a while, you might already know that you need to attend writing conferences. If you didn’t know that, well, here’s why:

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On writing (or not) religion

Hi, peeps!

I heard that George Michael song the other day during a throwback radio show. You know the one. “Faith.”

And I got to thinking about that. There are many kinds of “faith.” Faith in yourself. Faith in your friends. Faith in your family. Faith that you’ll get that big promotion. Faith that things will work out. And, of course, the kind of faith that too often gets grafted onto religion.

I say this because a few days back, someone asked me if I go to church. I immediately froze, because I’m not comfortable with questions like that. The person proceeded to tell me that I’d probably feel better if I prayed. Which only made me even more uncomfortable.

Why? Because it’s presumptuous to think that everybody thinks like you do. And it’s presumptuous to think that your way of coping with something (i.e. religion) is for everybody. I try to be mellow about statements like this, because I’m sure the statements come from good intent. But nonetheless, it comes off as patronizing and, honestly, proselytizing. And yes, I have an uneasy relationship with organized religion, given my current go ’round on this planet as a woman and as someone who identifies as not straight.

And before you ask, I’m one of THOSE people who tends not to discuss religion publicly. I will occasionally discuss politics, but when it comes to religion, I just don’t go there. Why? Well, because I consider religious and spiritual beliefs to be a personal matter, so I don’t ever ask people what theirs are nor do I offer anything about mine. If someone asks, we can discuss it privately. Otherwise, it’s not something I address and it’s never something I ask people.

Why am I thinking about this?

Go see!

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Happy holidays…wait, what? Get your short stories ready!

Hi, peeps!

Hope everything and everybody are treating you well. April has been a whirlwind of crazy bizzy, but it’s all good.

Anyway, I bring up the holidays, friends, because there are usually many opportunities to submit short stories to holiday anthologies at many different publishers. Now, I’m not going to delve into whether or not said anthologies make money, but they remain pretty dang popular every year. And some publishers turn them into really cool fundraising opportunities for good causes, like Ylva did last year with their anthology, Unwrap These Presents. ALL profits go to organizations that help homeless LGBTQ youth. (full disclosure — I have a story published in this anthology)

At any rate, so what, Andi? It’s NOT EVEN FREAKING MAY AND HERE YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT DECEMBER HOLIDAY CRAZY.

Indeed. But I do this because if you want to get your stories in said anthologies, you need to start writing NOW. That’s one of the issues with holiday anthologies. You have to start thinking about it at least 6-7 months in advance and get that story hammered out and submitted. I personally enjoy writing for holiday anthologies because of a bit of personal baggage.

That is, I am so not a fan of the November-December holidays. Christmas is a particular drag for me, but I realized some years back that I get to decide my holiday fate, so I make it a point not to get involved in the absolute nuttiness and rampant commercialism of the season. My friends and family all agreed that instead of doing that, we’d engage in good works and fun and relaxed party things and we all discovered that we are way happier and less stressed at that time of year than in the past.

So I’ve decided that part of my holiday therapy, if you will, is to make it a regular thing to write a story or novella or something comparable that deals with some aspect of the November-December holidays and either get it published or post it somewhere. I particularly like romance/romantic comedies that time of year, so that’s probably going to be a recurring theme.

Having said that, I actually just started writing a holiday novella a couple of nights ago. The idea hit me the day I started writing it. I went home after work and BOOM. Writing crazy. Most likely it’ll be done toward the end of May and then all my critique peeps will rip it apart and I’ll rewrite is 32 times and then see what kind of publishing venue is out there for it. If nobody wants it, I may make it available on Kindle. We’ll see…

So for now, friends, start thinking about holiday anthologies as possible venues for your work. Ylva loves holiday anthologies, and they’re doing one this year, too. F/F romance and/or erotica.

CHECK IT. Deadline is July 15. Get crackin’.

Or perhaps you feel more comfie writing creepy Halloween stories this time of year. GREAT. Ylva loves Halloween anthologies, too.

CLICK. Deadline is May 31. Get creepin’.

Or, if you totally don’t want to do holidays in that vein at all, consider submitting to me and my co-editor R.G. Emanuelle for a second round of F/F FOOD and ROMANCE/EROTICA. FOR REALS! We’d love to consider your work.

CLICK RIGHT HERE BECAUSE OMG YOU SO WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR FORTHCOMING ORDER UP ANTHOLOGY OMG I KNOW YOU DO.

Anyway, if you know of any other holiday anthologies, please feel free to share in the comments. Other readers will totally appreciate that. And for now, start thinking about getting stories ready. After all, you don’t need snow to feel festive.

Happy writing, happy Thursday!

“It was a dark and stormy night”: on openers

Howdy, peeps!

So a couple of folks expressed interest in how to write an effective opener for a novel.

To which I say, “good luck.”

Heh.

And then I supply links LIKE THIS, which have the alleged “100 best first lines from novels”, posted by the American Book Review site. I must say, Iain M. Banks’ line from The Crow Road is a grabber: “It was the day my grandmother exploded.”

Hit that link at Amazon and you’ll be able to read the first few pages to determine what that’s about.

At any rate, what makes a great opening line? Well, I’d say that’s a topic up for debate, depending on a reader’s taste. But overall, let’s try to dissect what makes a great first line in terms of writing craft. Here are five things to think about.

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Things that are kind of awesome when you’re not writing

Howdy, peeps!

As some of you know if you follow this here bloggie thingie, I’m in the middle of a bit of a writing burnout and I’m actually not currently writing (stories/novels/novellas), which, though a relief in some ways, comes with its own set of issues (OH NOES I AM SLIPPING INTO WRITING OBSCURITY AND NO ONE WILL EVER CARE THAT I WAS ONCE HERE WRITING *gnashes teeth tears hair reaches for glass of bourbon*).

Regardless, I had to take a break because it just got way too scary trying to balance everything and not take any time to simply live and I started worrying about things like emotional health. And I’ve found some awesome things since I went on writing vay-kay. Here they are, in no particular order:

YOU MUST CLICK TO SEE! MUAH HA HA!

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