That’s the question I attempt to answer today on Michael Brookes’ blog. Michael has been kind enough to host me as a guest, and I hope that you will stop by and say, “Hi.” While you’re there, check out some of his other great posts!
All posts tagged Writing
Shaun Allan, author of Sin is here to share his thoughts with us! Let’s give him a warm welcome!
The Mortality of a Writer
I wonder if one of the reasons I wanted to write a novel – and all the stories and poems I’ve produced along the way – was because I longed to be immortal.
I realise that medical science hasn’t quite advanced to the stage where I can live forever, or at least until the end of an episode of Emmerdale (which feels equally as long), so perhaps my novel is my attempt at achieving that in other ways.
One of my favourite films is Highlander. Immortals that live forever, unless they are beheaded by another. Luckily, writers are not so blood-thirsty, especially as we’re told the pen is mightier than the sword. With no Fountain of Youth spewing forth from my kitchen tap or mystical painting hidden away in my attic, I must succumb to the will of Time and all her minions.
And she is a hard task-mistress.
So. I have written for as long as I can remember. Since I could hold a pen, I’m told. I remember, in school, trying to write my first book. And failing. But the stories were there. English was my favourite subject and I did well at it. Words have been my friend and kindred spirit almost all my life.
And then there’s the computer. It is so much a part of life, today, that I’m surprised even a bacon sandwich doesn’t have a built in micro-chip to tell you the fat content, calorie intake and hyperlinks to where you can by the ketchup to go with it. I have been using computers for only around 8 years less than I have been writing. My class at school was one of the first to get computers back then, a good 30+ years ago. You had to take an IQ test to get in – and, yes, they still let me play.
Since then, it’s a rare day when I’m not at a PC. My full time job is heavily computer based. My smartphone is almost surgically attached to my hand.
My eyes take a battering. Staring at a screen all day – and, as much as I tell those I work with about taking breaks, I don’t myself – isn’t a good idea but it can’t be helped. Add to that the time I spend on my phone. Plus the fact that I like to relax on an evening, usually later on when I’ve done everything I need to do, and watch a bit of TV. And I write.
I suppose there’s no wonder that I now need glasses. Not for close up work, which surprised me as my world is mostly in-my-face, but for distance. I notice I can’t so easily make out the details on the on-screen Sky guide. At a concert, the singers and band are a little less distinct. It was a subtle change. I didn’t notice I was missing tings. I put it down to tired eyes after a long day. It’s not though.
It’s time. And age (though I’m loathe to admit it). At 45 years of abuse, my eyes are telling me I need to calm down. Of course I can’t. Of course I still need to work and I still HAVE to write. My eyes must be, I suppose, casualties of war.
I’m not blind, nor am I close to being so. The thing is, if I couldn’t do my job, well, fair enough. If I couldn’t write…
So. Given that Time and Age, two sides of a certain two-pence coin, play roulette with my body and my life, I wonder if I write to stick two fingers at the haughty pair. I wonder if, by producing a book (especially one so well liked as Sin), I have joined Connor Macleod of the clan Macleod in achieving immortality of a sort.
I might lose my eyesight over it, but at least I won’t lose my head.
Sin is available at: http://www.amazon.com/Sin-ebook/dp/B00883KV3C/
Also be sure to check out the interview Katelina did last weekend with the main character of Sin, Sin himself!
Posted by Joleene Naylor on September 6, 2012
Had no net over the weekend (yay! <– sarcasm) so I got a few things rough drafted, like the cover to book 4… (the tag line is the same as last book’s because I can’t change it until I have a title.)
That is Malick, by the way.
And I also have my possible names whittled down:
- Shadows of Wrath
- Ashes of War
- Casualties of War
- Web of Illusion
- Web of Shadows
- War of Ashes
- War of Wrath
I wish I could say I have a rough synopsis, but I only have this:
(yes, it is a blank line – as in I got nuthin’ Hee-hee!)
And now that I have net I need to get to work!
Posted by Joleene Naylor on March 26, 2012
I got these questions from Barb’s blog, who got them from – well, go check her blog and see where she got them from *
10. Why is it so much easier to write about writing than to actually write?
I don’t really write about writing. Well, I mean I like to chat about things I am going to write or have written, but I’m not into the “you should do this or that” kind of posts. I’m afraid I don’t consider myself expert enough to tell anyone else what they should or should not do. However, when I am supposed to be writing, anything is easier than writing simply because it’s that old “I don’t want to do what I am supposed to do” mentality.
*(okay, okay, it was from The Blood-Red Pencil)
Posted by Joleene Naylor on November 21, 2011
on my blurb. Yeah, I know, exciting stuff, huh?
Anyway, here it is:
With Kateesha dead, there’s no one to hunt Katelina and Jorick. That means it’s time to face the consequences – in both worlds.
When Katelina accepted her new life of night and vampires, she left behind a worried mother and an abandoned apartment. However, instead of wrapping things up, a trip home starts a chain reaction. First, they meet Verchiel, a strange vampire who seems too eager to befriend them. Then the police arrest Jorick for kidnapping. Even worse, the vampire’s government may want to question Katelina concerning Kateesha’s death.
And they do. Despite Jorick’s best efforts, he and Katelina go from being prisoners of one world to prisoners of another and must go before Malick, the oldest of the vampires and head of The Guild. Does Malick want to punish Katelina for killing Kateesha, or is he after something else? And why does Verchiel keep popping up? What is he up to, and why can’t Jorick read his mind?
In the third installment of the Amaranthine series, events are set into motion that could change both Jorick and Katelina’s lives, if not the world.
That’s the longer version for the back of the book. I’ll have to tighten it up into 80 words or so for other places.
If you’re an Indy author with your first book there’s a tip: always have different length blurbs – have your long one, one that’s around 100 – 80, and one that’s around 50 or so because different people and sites want different things. The more you have ready, the faster you can advertise. I learned the hard way with my first book.
Posted by Joleene Naylor on July 17, 2011
My 101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire is still free on Amazon. I’ve given away over 11,000 copies of it and though I know those numbers probably aren’t much in the scheme of “real” authors, it’s mind boggling to me. Up to now I’ve only ever managed to give away and/or sell 437 through Smashwords and all of its markets (Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc). I guess this shows the importance of being on Amazon, too. That’s not to say that I don’t think Smashwords will catch up to those kind of numbers or that people can’t do fantastically well there, I just think that if you do minimum advertising (like I do) it makes sense to have the book in as many places as possible so more people are likely to stumble on it.
Of course, with free has come the bad reviews, but they’re mixed with good ones, so not too big of a deal. The bad ones mainly seem to be from people who expected different genres (One lady has reviewed only romance novels besides that book) or else expected it to be longer, despite the fact that the description says it is exactly what the title implies. No fault to them, though. They just didn’t like it. Not everyone can. But then, I’m not really writing for everyone, anyway.
Which leads me to a point – not “my point”. “My point” is right on top of my head, which makes wearing stocking caps hard – hahahahaha! Get it? See, now not everyone thought that was funny. But, I digress. The point is that I’m not writing for everyone, I’m writing for “my audience” and, as Ruth pointed out in a post on SPAL earlier this month, that’s the most important thing. I guess I’m just lucky in the fact that “my audience” is probably
ten eleven people. So long as they like it, then I’m happy because they’re the ones I have in mind as I’m writing or editing.
Does that make me short sighted?
And who exactly is this audience of
ten eleven people?
Without naming names, I will say that most (though not all) of them like anime. They also generally find my jokes funny, or at least pretend to. And the female portion of said audience seems to like pretty boys. They also tend to like the alpha-get -your-hands-dirty-in-the-blood-of-your-enemies kinda guys. It’s even better if they can be that AND pretty at the same time. Oh, and men who take care of their women (much to the chagrin of some of the more radical women’s rights kind of readers). I firmly believe that women can do anything they want to and are capable of the same things as men, but frankly, why should they spend their time doing it all if they don’t have to? If the guy wants to take out the trash – or protect the damsel in distress from a horde of blood thirsty killers – I don’t see how that diminishes her as a person. Let him handle some of it. We don’t have to do it all just because we can. It’s not a contest.
Also, my target audience of
ten eleven people like some gore or violence in between their romantic moments, seem to enjoy stretches of conversation as well as the odd overly dramatic setting (the old warehouse I compared to a bloody eyed monster in book 1 springs instantly to mind) and they like vampires that don’t sparkle.
Frankly, they sound like a fun group. No wonder I’m writing for them!
So here’s a big thank you to my audience, I believe you all know who you are. And also a thank you to those of you who are in my audience without my realizing it. After all, if you’d asked me last year I’d have told you my audience was only about five people, so there’s plenty of room for growth. Heck, I’ll even say thanks to those people who aren’t in my audience at all and left scathing reviews on Amazon. Some of those reviews are so bad they’re good. And isn’t that what we’re all striving for?
(edited per the comments below – thanks Juli!)
Posted by Joleene Naylor on May 30, 2011
Like polls? Yeah, I do, too. There’s something about voicing my opinion that just makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. If you like it too, then read on, as there are not one but three chances for you to chime in!
I’ve been trying to decide whether to publish my short Vampire Morsels on Amazon or not. So, I thought I’d get the opinion of the world at large about short stories and prices in general!
Posted by Joleene Naylor on May 16, 2011
Hello! My name is Katelina, and welcome to Character Interviews. I spend a lot of time in the Amaranthine series quizzing vampires on what they’re doing, where they’re going and why, so Jo thought I would be the perfect interviewer.
The first victim – erm – interviewee is none other than my very own Jorick! If you’ve never met him I can sum him up for you in a few words: Dark, sexy and crabby. Oh, and he’s one of those vampires I mentioned earlier. You can find him in Both Shades of Gray and Legacy of Ghosts, as well as the upcoming Ties of Blood.
Katelina: So, hello Jorick! Welcome to the first Character Interview!
K: Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself?
J: I believe you already know everything important.
K: I doubt it. Besides, the people reading this don’t. *jabs Jorick in the ribs*.
J: *sighs* fine. I’m Jorick.
K: Well that was informative. Okay, moving right along, would you say the book series you’re in should be classified as romance or thriller?
J: I think you modern people are far too concerned with classification. It has romance. It has vampires ripping one another to shreds. It simply is. Accept it, and move on.
K: That sounded surly. What’s the deal? Do you object to being the hero in a romance? If I didn’t know better, I’d think you objected to romance in general. *pauses* But of course, you’re the one who went to the trouble of finding me, not to mention all those old mementoes you saved of you-know-who-
J: *glares* What’s your point?
K: Only that you must be a romantic. But, you have a pretty violent streak, too, don’t you? I mean, you’re always fighting someone. There was Claudius, and then there was Kateesha and now Oren wants to fight The Guild (the vampire government).
J: If you haven’t noticed, there’s a common denominator behind all of those, and it starts with an “O”. Though, I’ve already told both of you I’m not fighting The Guild with him. If he would use his brain he wouldn’t, either.
K: You said that last time, too, remember? You’re always making absolute statements and then retracting them.
J: No, I don’t. Occasionally I change my mind given the circumstances. For example, I had every intention of ignoring Kateesha until her pathetic goons hurt you. After that I owed her.
K *giggles* That’s kind of romantic, you know. And since we’re on the subject, would you say I’m your girlfriend?
J: *clears throat* I’d say you’re ridiculously obsessed with labels. (Katelina narrows her eyes). For crying out loud, Katelina! I’ve rescued you, held you while you cried, risked life and limb, bled, and killed for you, and I’m even going to go meet your mother! What more can a woman want?
K: All right. I’ll take that. My mother’s really not that bad, you know. Where would you rather go?
J: Go? Nowhere! Why in heaven’s name must we always be “going” somewhere? Can’t we just stay home and have some peace and quiet once in a while? Is it really that boring?
K: You don’t even own a TV. You really need to catch up with the rest of the world. Sometimes, you’re like hanging around my great-grandfather and that’s kind of creepy.
J: *sarcastic* Thanks a lot. You know, sometimes you’re like spending time with a spoiled child, but I don’t point it out to you. If you think trying to adjust to having someone around the house after a hundred plus years isn’t difficult, the you’re much mistaken. Especially someone who is as fond of noise as you are.
K: Are you saying I’m noisy?
J: is that an official interview question? The answer is yes, by the way. *mumbles* like your great-grandfather…
K: Fine, I’m sorry. I retract that statement. But, you are, erm, crotchety. Why is that?
J: I’m not crotchety! I just have no patience for stupidity. It was always annoying, but after a few hundred years, I find it tedious and infuriating. You’d think people would learn but, no, they’re exactly the same now as they were four hundred years ago! They still do the same stupid things, make the same stupid mistakes and spend all their time either trying to get more or else trying to escape the fact they don’t have enough!
K: When will the third book, Ties of Blood, be out, and do you think it’s better than the previous ones?
J: Hopefully this summer. I believe our… lovely… author is waiting on editing at the moment, or at least that’s her excuse. As for being better, who can say? There’s less violence than Shades of Gray, and there’s less romance than Legacy of Ghosts. I’d venture to say that there is more world building in this one, especially since readers will get to see The Guild’s Citadel and meet some characters that have only been mentioned before, like Malick, as well as some new characters . As far as what it’s about, some… beautiful, but insane little human decides we should go visit her mother. I am dragged against my will and, just as I predict, it is a disaster that ends at the police station. If that isn’t bad enough, there’s a red headed idiot that shows up and won’t go away! That clown is like a bad penny! Everywhere I look, there he is!
K: Yeah, yeah, Verchiel. Move on.
J: And then we go see Malick. *shrugs*. Seems pretty straightforward to me.
K: You didn’t mention Oren and his plans for the stupid war, or about that Traven guy who shows up. I know he’s up to something. And what about Senya? She’s still as evil as it gets! And-
J: Why don’t you just post an outline? Wouldn’t that be faster? You’re supposed to make it sound mysterious.
K: Like you did a good job of that! “And then we go see Malick”! What is that? Something like, “And then we are summoned by Malick, the most powerful vampire alive-“
J: he’s not, though. He’s just the most powerful one in the Americas.
K: Fine! “And then we are summoned by the most powerful vampire on the continent and taken to The Guild’s Citadel against our wills. Will we ever discover what the ancient master truly wants, or will his insidious scheme remain veiled in shadows until the next book?”
J: A little melodramatic, but it’s better than anything our author has bothered to come up with. I don’t think she’s even started to write up a blurb.
K: And with that we are out of time! Thanks so much for being my first unwilling victim, Jorick. As I mentioned before, you can find both Jorick and myself in Shades of Gray and Legacy of Ghosts, available as an ebook from Amazon, Smashworda, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and many other places, or as a paperback through Amazon.com.
If you’re an author and would like your character(s) to be interviewed by me, then check out this very cool page that has all the details:
And now, as a special treat, here is a (tiny) extract from Ties of Blood chosen by Jo’s brother:
“No!” Jorick shouted. “If it weren’t for you and your wife and your sister! We’re here because of your war with Claudius! Your sister started that war, if you’ll remember, because she couldn’t keep her hands to herself! And when the Executioners came, they killed your wife because of the Laws she broke! She trapped your son into eternal childhood and the youngest as a baby for eternity, Oren! A baby! How many hundreds of years would you want to live, trapped like that? It was Jesslynn and Torina’s self centeredness that’s landed us all here! I’ve stood by you because no one else would, but by God, Oren, I’ve had it with your inability to see your own faults! You’re so quick to blame someone else when the person you should be angry at is the one who looks back at you in the mirror! You allowed Torina to be out of control! You allowed Jesslynn to turn the children! You let the war drag on and on, and when Torina derailed your second war to fight Kateesha, because of a feud over yet another of her bedmates, you went along! It was your choices, and your choices alone that have landed you here and I suggest you use the time until we’re released to come to terms with that!”
Katelina stared at the wooden door, her eyes wide and her mouth open in shock. As if her hand acted of its own accord, she opened the door wide enough to see the pair. Jorick stood over the couch, his dark eyes flashing fire, his hands on his hips. Oren was still seated, his face white, his jaw clenched and his fists shaking at his sides. His earlier anger was nothing compared to what she saw on his face now.
Posted by Joleene Naylor on May 7, 2011
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An independent author, freelance artist and photographer for fun who loves anime, music and writing. Check out my vampire series Amaranthine at http://JoleeneNaylor.com or drop me a line at Joleene@JoleeneNaylor.com
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- Joleene Naylor's books on Goodreads101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire
ratings: 180 (avg rating 2.88)
Shades of Gray (Amaranthine, #1)
ratings: 49 (avg rating 4.00)
Legacy of Ghosts (Amaranthine, #2)
ratings: 27 (avg rating 4.37)
Adam (Vampire Morsels)
ratings: 30 (avg rating 3.70)
Alexander (Vampire Morsels)
ratings: 23 (avg rating 4.00)
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