Sunday, January 29, 2017

Online Classes, and Newsletters, and Peace... Oh My!

The last time I checked in with everyone on my blog, I was in the midst of partaking in an online Creative Writing class. While, I'm still trudging through the class, the process has been slow going with real-life commitments (i.e. gainful employment) taking priority. That being said, I'm still whizzing through the class, currently sitting on Lesson 12 of 13. My current lesson tackles writing effective dialogue, but the professor prefers me to write it in a screenplay style. I must confess, I haven't written a screenplay since my Script Frenzy days four or five years ago, so I need to tap into those days of yore to complete the assignment. Regardless, it's been a fun course, so far, and I hope to apply these skills into future writing projects.

Moving on, if you've noticed, this page looks a little different. That's because I've added a sign-up form for something new I'm starting up: a newsletter. When I attended my last book signing last November, a fellow author I was sharing a table with suggested to build my readership, I should establish a newsletter. After stalling for a couple months, I looked into a hosting website, and "The Howling Nanook" was born. It's first issue was released today (January 29, 2017), and can be found here. To subscribe to future monthly issues, just fill out the form on the upper right, confirm your email address when you receive the confirmation email, and you'll be good to go.

Finally, I have recently signed on for an exciting collaboration. While details are still being hammered out, myself, and 25 other authors will be working together to write an exciting new romance series. If you follow me on social media, you might see the occasional hashtag #PeaceSeries used. This is in reference to this series we're all working on, for a gradual roll out, starting in Fall/Autumn 2017. I am excited to be a part of this project, and I hope you will join me, and my fellow authors in taking a journey to find your #Peace.

That's all for now. I have to get back to plotting, learning, and writing.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Back to Basics

I will be one of the first people to admit I'm not a perfect writer. Then again, who is? As someone who attempts this craft, I have been apt to typing the wrong word (i.e. 'as' instead of 'at'), writing prose that might not make sense, and being redundant on more than one occasion. However, I still do the best job I can do, and continue to strive to be better. Alas, my many years removed from my community college English classes have finally caught up to me.

Recently, I had completed a draft version of the first book in a spin-off series from my "Gary Celdom Case Journals" set of detective fiction stories, and after some tinkering and much urging of my proofreader, I sent it off to a beta reader. For those who don't know what that is, it's like someone who looks over a computer program and makes suggestions on what could be improved upon. The only difference is, the person is doing so for a book instead of an app under construction for your smartphone. I received the feedback from the beta reader, and she pointed out some areas I needed to further modify before the story could be sent out to the masses. Naturally, it was a bruise to my creative ego, but one thing one has to learn when being an author is to develop a thick skin. I think I'm still in the process of establishing that added layer of epidermis.

Regardless, after some discussions with (read: prodding by) my wife, I decided to enroll in an online creative writing course. Most of the ones you see charge a decent penny, but I was fortunate enough to find a free one through my local library. So far, the lessons have been based on things I already know; however, as I progress through the program, I'm picking up things I had not considered, like adapting a style of a favorite author, and working on creating dialogue for my characters that are unique to one another. (A complaint by my proofreader was the characters all sounded the same, and didn't have unique voices.) These are part of the lessons I've yet to complete, but I am looking forward to learning from them.

As a result, the first book in the Phil Bennett series is being sent to the editing desk. Also, it's making me consider rewriting the long overdue second Prairie Fire book. The start and ending of it I think are sound, but I need to clear out some of the padding, and retool some certain aspects of the story. So, I might be lucky if that comes out by 2018. (Damn my muse and inner editor clashing!)

My only hope is that my future books will be better than some of my previous works, but like they always say in the arts, "It's an ongoing process."