Announcements

November brings fall challenges

It’s been awhile since I posted anything. But wanted to let everyone know it’s been a challenge holding down a busy day job and working on two books.

As most of you know I’ve been working on two books for the past few months. The first is Kill Zombies, a novella I self-published back in 2013, and has since been signed on to Kensington Gore publishing. My new publisher wants it expanded into a full-blown novel, and it’s been taking up some of my time.

The second work is The Leopard Apocalypse. The third book in my Leopard King Saga series. A book I’ve been working on since 2012. It’s now swelled to 176K words and I still have 2 plus chapters to complete.

But I’d have to  say the biggest challenge is realizing that it may be time to move on from my day job and pursue a career that would enable me to write more. It’s been a difficult choice, but usually when we are faced with adversity, that’s when fundamental changes occur. And it’s usually for the better. I’ve kept a positive outlook throughout this entire ordeal, and believe me, I’m ready for whatever fate awaits me in my future pursuits.

What type of struggles have you faced? And how have they changed you? I’d really like to know. This blog exists for everyone’s benefit. Not just mine. As always, I’m looking forward to reading your comments!

 

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Announcements, Special Events

Exclusive Author interview with T.A. Uner, plus, career advice for new Writers

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Click HERE to read the interview, which includes helpful advice for writers.

Epic Fantasy, Philosophy

The truth about struggling

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I felt this story might serve to inspire some folks out there. Well a few days ago I noticed that a mouse had gotten into my home. Fall is here, so these critters tend to get inside homes now that summer is over.

Well I thought catching a mouse was pretty straightforward. How hard could it be? You set a trap, bait it and voila! Dead mouse. Not quite. Little did I know I was in for a surprise. A big surprise. From something quite small.

I set three traps and was surprised that none of them had caught the mouse. But wait, it gets weirder, the cheese bait had disappeared! The mouse had actually grabbed the bait and made off with the cheese.

I was surprised. Clearly I’d made a mistake.So I re-baited the traps and waited. Nothing. This time all three traps had been stripped of cheese, and still the mouse had evaded capture!

Clearly I was dealing with a craft creature here. But I refused to be bested by a creature who’s brain was smaller than the size of a raisin. I continued my struggle to capture the mouse, but, it kept getting away with the cheese.

Knowing I had to change my tactics, I went to purchase a glue trap. And finally, after three days of struggling to capture my quarry, low and behold the glue traps had captured not one, but two mice.

I’d be surprised if there isn’t a lesson in all of this. Clearly my struggle to catch these critters was an example of life. We struggle and we struggle, and even when victory is expected, it’s seldom delivered as we like it. But yet, if we persevere, we may yet end up with a favorable outcome. I was overjoyed to see my efforts in catching an additional mouse. I hadn’t climbed Mount Everest, but still, I found myself grateful for the struggle.

Writing Advice

The truth about “bad” reviews

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Some of the newer writers out there might get a little peeved at bad reviews. But seriously, what is a bad review? How does a review become bad?

Well, technically, it’s when a reader doesn’t like your book. Ok. Let’s take a look at this. So someone didn’t like it. Does that make the book bad?

Course not. Listen, unless most or all of the reviews are bad there’s really nothing to worry about. As a reader, I’d actually be suspicious if all the reviews for a book were glowing. Wouldn’t that look suspicious? There’s enough of those fishy reviews to go around anyways.

So here’s my take on “bad” reviews. They’re good. Why? Because they add legitimacy to your book.

So when you free yourself from the unrealistic fact that everyone will love your book, you’ll be more relaxed, and your writing will flow.

Self-Improvement

Distractions & Discipline

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This post is for anyone whose writing time has been butchered by the various distractions that abound in daily life.

I know this for a fact because my next Historical Fantasy novel, The Leopard Apocalypse, was affected by distractions.

For months on end I was focused on building up my social media platform. And my writing took a back seat. Perhaps my intentions were noble, as social media marketing is prominent in today’s crowded literary market. And us writers always seem to seize the chance for shameless promotion. Even if it does cut into precious writing time.

So I came to a crossroads a few weeks ago, I’d take a hiatus, and knock myself out of reverie. And take one I did. Then, my writing got back on course.

Now I implore anyone out there who’s got distractions dragging their writing time down, to make a choice. Which is more important. Your showmanship? Or your writing?

For a dedicated writer, the choice is easy.

Self-Improvement

Expectations and you

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Do you have expectations? Sure you do. We all do. Expectations exist as markers for out success. In the materialistic hierarchy that we live in it’s easy to start comparisons between yourself and the guy or gal down the street.

But what about unreal expectations, and chasing success so hard that it becomes a task to take pleasure in other things? What do we do about that?

Well I’m glad you asked. If you’re trying to hard, then I’ve got news for you, you’re burdening yourself with added pressure. And comparing yourself to another’s success is just going to get you down. Sure there are some people out there who get motivated by knowing that they’re at the bottom and want to work their way up, but obsession with success and unrealistic expectations is not the mindset to subscribe to.

Of course it’s important to measure your success, but instead of worrying about others, why not try competing with yourself? It will take the edge off and make your chosen task at hand more enjoyable.

Compete with your former self. Figure out what it did wrong, and work on fixing that. This way your focus is more inward and free of unnecessary distractions.

Besides, worrying about what your rivals are doing is not the key to improving yourself, instead work on improving more each day by analyzing your mistakes and seeking out the right information to get you going in the right direction.

Announcements

Social Media update

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I’ll be taking a break from social media starting September 1st to work on my upcoming novel. But I won’t disappear completely, there will be updates on what I’m doing here on the blog.

Writing Advice

The Author who is also a Book

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Ever wonder where I (or any writer for that matter) get my fiction ideas from? I’d say it is a combination of things. First life experience comes into play. The combined collection of memories accumulated from my day-to-day events. Both good and bad.

I have pain. We all do. That’s what makes us human. I take my pain and use it in my stories to give humanity to my characters. Look at Tullus or Celestra from my Leopard King Saga series. Or Liberty Rise from Mindcop Dossiers.  I’d be selling them short by making them omnipotent. Who wants to read about characters like that?

It’s cliche, but troubled characters work best when drawn-upon from personal experience. That doesn’t mean you put yourself in the story. In that case you’re better off writing non-fiction (Which I read a lot, by the way.)

Fiction is a compass that points towards life. No matter how make-believe a story is, or if its genre is pure fantasy. People read to learn more about human nature and find meaning in their lives and the world around them.

What do you think?

Writing Advice

The truth about editing

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If you’ve ever published a book, or have considered publishing a book. Then remember these five words: editing is an ongoing process.

You’re probably wondering what I mean by that. Well, it’s simple, don’t think for a moment when you’re published that the work is done. Let me explain.

When I first embarked on my independent writing career I knew nothing about producing the best book possible. I thought that writing the book itself was enough.

Sadly. I was wrong.

A lot of editing goes into a book. First you self-edit it when it’s done, then you turn it over to a skilled editor and he/she tackles it before you confirm or reject their edits.

Then the beta-reader stage begins. Trust me. You should have at least half a dozen beta-readers. The reason for this is the more eyes, the better their chances of catching manuscript errors. But trust me, it doesn’t end there. Then you give the beta-read manuscript another look before handing it back to your editor before it is published.

But wait. You’re still not done. After you’ve published your work, typos, grammatical errors and other unwelcome guests will pop up. Sometimes, you’ll spot em on your own, other times, readers will notify you.

It is your lifelong duty as an author to always update your books when errors are spotted. Books are like people, they’re constantly growing and needing corrections to be better.

Will your work ever be perfect? Never. But then again, who is?

Writing Advice

When is it time to quit?

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This post is for all those writers out there, or wannabe writers. Or anyone who is invested in the arts. So pretty much everyone artistically-inclined.

Quitting. It’s a disease that affects the best of us. And it can really hit you when you’re about to break.

There are many causes: Family issues, work, health degradation, etc. But let’s narrow it down a bit. It’s called Lack of Commercial Success in the Arts.

Trust me, it’s great how now anyone can become a writer. The gatekeepers no longer block hopeful writers who dream of publication.

But the onslaught of indie books has made the market more difficult to break into. Especially when you’re just starting out.

But what if you’ve been in the game and are still struggling to sell books?

Well you have two options. You can keep writing, or, you can quit.

If you decide to quit then that is your choice. Especially if other pressing matters take center stage in your life. However, if you keep writing, you should remember one thing. Do it for yourself. Don’t write for an audience, or fame, or a huge payout. If you do this I can almost guarantee you that the pressure to succeed will dissipate, and your love of writing will be the only thing that matters.

Take it from someone who has pondered quitting.