How do you grow as a writer? Work hard on the basics by collaborating with others.

In today’s installment of “Amanda isn’t an island” or “Amanda can’t create an award-winning epic in a vacuum,” I’m focusing on identifying weaknesses (some of us have more than others), creating a professional product (something to be proud of), and learning to collaborate with others to help a whole team move forward.

Working with other writers, especially those from a different background than yourself, is so vital to maturing as a writer. We must create a trusting team who will tell us the ugly truth and kick us in the hind-parts when we really need it.

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An interview with Future Book founder Sam Missingham — Catch The Moon, Mary

Sharing this interview of the wonderful Sam  Missingham….

Originally posted on Words Are My Craft: Anyone who knows anything about the publishing world know that an interview with Sam Missingham is a Big Deal. Having worked for publishing giants such as the Bookseller, FutureBook and HarperCollins, she has forged an immensely successful and influential career in publishing and marketing within the books industry.…

via An interview with FutureBook founder Sam Missingham — Catch The Moon, Mary

The Vinyl Detective by Andrew Cartmel

The first edition print of this book is selling out fast. The Vinyl Detective Mysteries – Written in Dead Wax, written by Andrew Cartmel is a fantastic mystery. If you haven’t ordered yours yet, right now is the time.

(Also, if you have already read it, or any other books, please leave a review. It’s one more nice thing you can do as a fan to support your favorite authors).

“My Vinyl Detective novel has sold out in the UK and is going into its 2nd printing… Anybody who wants a first edition should grab one now!” Andrew Cartmel (Twitter)

I’m sure he would love to hear from old and new fans.

Feel free to hop over to Twitter @andrewcartmel and tell him congrats on a job well done!

Grits, Hugs, and Sweet Tea

Remember to order your copy of The Vinyl Detective Mysteries – Written in Dead Wax, written by Andrew Cartmel. (Yes, that Andrew Cartmel).

The Vinyl DetectiveThose who are familiar with Doctor Who, will immediately recognize his name as the creator of The Cartmel Masterplan. This isn’t the first time Mr. Cartmel has delved into great stories outside the Doctor Who universe while following his passions, hobbies, and interests.

His experiences reach many corners of the writing world. Besides his extensive list of writing and overseeing Doctor Who scripts, he was also the Script Editor for other television series’ (such as BBC’s popular medical drama series Casualty), he wrote many comic book stories (including Judge Dredd: Swine Fever), and worked as a magazine editor and a lecturer. This is only a glimpse into his accomplishments. 

Most recently he co-wrote, with Ben Aaronovitch (another Doctor Who alumni) the highly successful comic book series, Rivers of London:…

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The Vinyl Detective by Andrew Cartmel

Remember to order your copy of The Vinyl Detective Mysteries – Written in Dead Wax, written by Andrew Cartmel. (Yes, that Andrew Cartmel).

The Vinyl Detective

Those who are familiar with Doctor Who, will immediately recognize his name as the creator of The Cartmel Masterplan. This isn’t the first time Mr. Cartmel has delved into great stories outside the Doctor Who universe while following his passions, hobbies, and interests.

His experiences reach many corners of the writing world. Besides his extensive list of writing and overseeing Doctor Who scripts, he was also the Script Editor for other television series’ (such as BBC’s popular medical drama series Casualty), he wrote many comic book stories (including Judge Dredd: Swine Fever), and worked as a magazine editor and a lecturer. This is only a glimpse into his accomplishments. 

Most recently he co-wrote, with Ben Aaronovitch (another Doctor Who alumni) the highly successful comic book series, Rivers of London: Body Work (Volumes 1-5).

Any fan of Mr. Cartmel knows he loves his cats, he collects vinyl records from around the world, and his long writing career proves he’s a master of many genres.

Andrew Cartmel

Andrew Cartmel and his cat Molly. Photo credit Andrew Cartmel. 

Mr. Cartmel is not afraid to write outside his comfort zone to provide quality material for fans.

He’s always looking for more ways to stretch his creative muscles.

The Vinyl Detective series is one more fantastic example of his writing prowess and creative range.

Written in Dead Wax is the first mystery in this series. Weaving a web of suspense, danger, and the ever diminishing number of cat biscuits, I hope The Vinyl Detective continues to keep us entertained for many years to come.

On top of everything, Mr. Cartmel’s amazing career also includes a tour as a stand-up comedian. His funny side makes an appearance in all of his scripts, so I hope to see more of this tongue-in-cheek British humor in this upcoming series.

Available both in print and on Kindle, it’s available now in many fine book retailers and on Amazon at; 

http://www.amazon.com/Vinyl-Detective-Mysteries-Written-Mystery/dp/1783297670/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463124058&sr=8-1&keywords=the+vinyl+detective

I’m sure he would enjoy hearing from more of his fans, so another way to follow Mr. Cartmel’s work is to read about his day on Twitter @andrewcartmel .  

Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.

Writer’s Wednesday: Author of Catch the Moon, Mary, Wendy Waters

Wendy Waters - Personal Pic 2

 

This week, as promised, Writer’s Wednesday explores the careers and writing paths of two different Australian author’s. 

Wendy Waters, author of Catch the Moon, Mary, is not only a writer, she is also an award winning composer, lyricist, and librettist. Her latest work wonderfully combines both her love of music and writing.

AB:  Thank you Ms. Waters for allowing us to interview you for this week’s segment of Writer’s Wednesday.I see that you have a vast musical background and you’ve spent time volunteering with musically gifted children. Did these experiences have an influence on your story? What other life experiences have led to the stories you write and/or enjoy reading?

WW:  Thank you for acknowledging the music! Music is probably my religion and certainly my drug of choice. That a good bottle of red! Whenever I’ve needed calm and reassurance, a song or piece of music has had the power to transcend my temporary loss of faith and realign my soul to that vast Otherness where perspective and hope find balance.

Music is a universal language requiring no translation, validating a unique interpretation. It is the one language that unites us all in response. An important message reaches into the soul and heart through the medium of music more readily than a verbal or even written delivery. Music demands emotional involvement from the listener and can unlock long-held hurt and pain, things we can only face under the hypnotic influence of music’s regenerative vibration.

I did volunteer with Oasis and had the joy of supporting many homeless young people whose musical gifts were their only pathway to healing. Many of them had been sexually and emotionally abused. In that situation the focus is the future because the past has nothing but pain to offer. If they wanted to talk about the past I would certainly listen, pain and anger must be acknowledged but I never let them leave the Center without challenging them musically. By that I mean, if the person was a brilliant pianist I challenged them to compose a piece of music on the spot. If the person was a singer I made them sing something outside of their comfort zone. The healing implicit in challenge can never be under-estimated. When they faced their challenge head-on and gave it a shot I noticed a change in their demeanor. Their eyes brightened, they smiled and our conversation became more positive.

Having accomplished something inspired feelings of self-worth that gave rise to seeds of ambition, hope, purpose and sometimes we were able to work on a game-plan for a very different future. My own challenge then was keeping those goals in place. People who have to struggle through life without families to fall back on or friends they can trust find their strength within and it’s very important when your paths cross that you become inflexibly positive about their ability to construct a more rewarding life all alone. People who can trust no-one must learn to trust themselves and the fastest way to do that is to find out that you can meet a challenge.

Too many people create victims by drowning them in sympathy and sentimentality. To say to someone who has lost everything “I believe in you and I know you can do this” is the most powerful affirmation you can offer. To say “Oh you poor darling, how you have suffered” is to keep them stuck in despair.

AB: This is incredible work. Your passion for your music and for the children are very apparent. This passion really crosses over to your writing. Of your published work, which book or written pieces have proved to be most successful?

WW:  My short story Fields of Grace, which won the WW/Penguin Short Story Contest in 2007 was probably the most universally popular thing I’ve written. Nearly everybody found something in it that resonated.

The other published piece was a humorous poem I wrote called The Wife of Lance Allot, a parody of The Lady of ShallotIt came second the Wergle Flomp Humorous Poetry Contest 2010 run by Winning Writers https://winningwriters.com  and loads of people thought it was hilarious. Some didn’t get it all!

A short story called Zabadiah published by Foliate Oak Literary Magazine 2010 www.foliateoak.com  also had lots of positive feedback and then of course we come to Catch The Moon, Mary, published by Linen Press UK https://www.linen-press.com  in 2015. It’s had a very mixed response. Some people find it very challenging and difficult to get through, others have raved about it.

Catch the moon, Mary

AB: You are a very busy person. You are musically talented, you volunteer, and you’re a published author. These are some remarkable achievements. Many new writers have careers, families, and are trying to publish their own stories. For new authors, what are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus using a publisher?

WW:  No matter which way you go never settle for second best. Writing is a calling. It’s hard work, often thankless and demanding, it brings out your best and your worst, it requires/demands years of dedication and incessant rejection and the right WORD is elusive at best, a trickster at worst. It tests your character and your spirit and when finally after multiple drafts your story still doesn’t quite hang together you feel cheated out of the life you might have enjoyed had you not been stuck behind your desk writing! And yet, if you’ve got the right stuff you’ll go back to the page and redraft until the story begins to cohere. At that point you may consider testing the publishing waters by submitting to houses open to unsolicited mss (manuscripts). Please DON’T.

Please get a professional assessment and take notice of her/his advice. Polish your ms (manuscript) again and then ask some readers to give you their honest opinion. Then carefully consider their feedback and polish your ms AGAIN. Then and only then are you ready to submit to publishers. It’s called respect. Respect for your work and respect for yourself. You’ve done the hard yards. You’ve offered only your very best work and you’ve risked the purely subjective opinions of publishers who will almost certainly reject your ms. Famous writers have tales of myriad rejections, enough to paper bathroom walls. You will also start to hear opinions about your writing and at that point you need to be solid enough about your voice to either take them on board or dismiss them.

Again many famous authors have been told they had no talent and many appallingly bad authors have been assured of their genius. Time and readers are ultimately the only measure of either. I pitched my book Catch the Moon, Mary for seven years before I found a publisher. I chose not to self-publish because I wanted the gate-keeper editor who would further knock my story into shape. I was lucky in Lynn Michell as she is one of the world’s best editors and mine is a very unusual story in need of a sympathetic editor.

My MS was in very good shape when Lynn got it but she improved it dramatically. For me, that was worth the seven year wait. Having said that many authors are self-publishing with great results and finding a loyal readership. All I would say is make sure you offer the world your very best work whichever route you choose.

AB:  That is very solid advice. I personally agree with your statement referring to, “Respect for your work and respect for yourself.”  In your own opinion, when using a publisher, do new authors need an agent?

WW: Agents have a role to play. But sometimes getting an agent is as difficult as getting a publisher. I’ve had very bad luck with agents and very good luck with publishers. If you have your work assessed and you received a Letter of Recommendation from the assessor as I did you can use it to approach mainstream publishers yourself. I was lucky in that Ali Watts, senior publisher at Penguin/Random House was one of the judges in WW/Penguin Comp and I have her direct email.

She tried very hard to publish another ms of mine Fields of Grace based on the short story in 2009 but the climate in publishing was so bad they weren’t taking any risks on unknown authors. It was Ali’s suggestion I try the UK publishers with both Fields of Grace and Catch The Moon, Mary. Writers can approach publishers directly these days. So strictly speaking you don’t need an agent but if you find a good one, they can be a buffer between you and rejections.

AB:   For any book you self-published, where did you find your art? Did you use an artist you located yourself or did you purchase cover art available to authors?

WW: I didn’t self-publish but I was given license to find the cover for my book. I scoured the internet for pictures of angels and finally stumbled upon Des Cannon’s @Anima Fotografie brilliant photograph of an angel statue in a Dublin cemetery. I just loved the play of light and shadow on the serenely beautiful face and I knew I had to have it. Fortunately Lynn agreed. And fortunately Des Cannon was generous enough to allow us to use his exquisite image on the cover of my book.

AB:  You were very patient when publishing you work, which I found admirable.   Did you use an outside editor for your books? If you did use an editor, did you use more than one? Would you like to give your editing service a shout out for their great services?

WW: I used two assessors, Katherine Hammond and Lainie Jones before I sent the opening chapters to Linen Press and then Lynn Michell did a further edit.

AB:       Where did you find trusted, experienced, beta readers, who would give you honest feedback on your book?

WW: I didn’t! I relied on friends and family.

AB:     In running, many runners face a wall, where they wish to give up and quit. They have to dig deep and push through the wall. Writers can face some of the same hurdles. To open themselves up completely and reach readers, an author can become emotionally and physically exhausted. Each writer develops a strategy to either keep going or quit. While writing your book, you mention the struggles you faced. 

Were there times when you wanted to scrap the entire thing and start over, or not publish the book at all? For new writers, who may also face this wall, what advice do you have for them to push past these feelings?

WW:  When you give up on a project you’re giving up on yourself. Bad plan! We all have bad days, bad months, bad years. I think it’s important to release the expectations around your work and write for its own sake. It’s the same in a personal relationship. Too often our happiness depends on the object of our desire, be it a person or a vocation. It’s an unwieldy burden to place on another human being or a project.

If you can separate the feelings of despair and self-loathing from the object of desire and own them it can be a lot easier to leave them at the door when you go to your writing desk to work. I write daily…and without expectations of inspiration or transcendence. I treat my writing as a job for which I show up daily. I work in very disciplined fashion. The ms gets my full attention, regardless of how shitty I feel. I know it’s very hard but do try not to take out your frustrations on your book!

AB:  Everyone has something they wish they knew when they started in a new field. If you could share one lesson you learned to avoid or one experience you wish you could re-do to make your writing experience better, what would it be? Feel free to share the experience leading up to the lesson and what made you choose the path you took.

WW: I wish I’d started earlier. I have a great work ethic so there’s nothing I’d change there. All I would say to any newbie is write daily. Doesn’t matter what you write just write.

AB:     What work, besides your own, are you reading right now or have you read recently?

WW: I always return to Jeanette Winterson and Paul Gallico. Right now I’m re-reading Winterson’s Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. Last night I consumed The Snow Goose,  Gallico’s consummate anti-war book.

AB:  If you were on a desert island and only allowed one book or other written word, what written word would it be and why?

WW: The complete works of Oscar Wilde because let’s face it Oscar said it ALL!

 AB:   It’s time to give yourself a shout-out. What would you like your fans to know about you? How can they support you? What would you like your fans to look for on shelves now? Where can they find your work? Is there anything else you would like your fans to know about you?
WW: Well, to both my fans – Dani McFetridge and Susan Pola – just kidding there’s my Mum as well and my daughter…no, seriously the best thing anyone can do for a new author is give them a review on Amazon and tell other people about the book. Also pass the book on if you love it.

Word-of-mouth is still the most effective, sincere and lasting form of marketing. I would like people to know that I also write lyrics and the musical I am currently working on is called The Last Tale, the story of Scheherazade ten years after she told the last of her 1001 Arabian Nights Tales. The brilliant composer on this project is Shanon Whitelock and his interview about our musical is on www.stagewhispers.com.au/reviews/home-grown.

For more info about me I can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wawaters and Twitter Wendy Waters (@wa_waters) | Twitter

More about my work and my professional musical background can be found at; 

Aboutme  wendy waters – author, lyricist, librettist | about.me , Linked-In https://au.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Wendy/Waters , and my blog  https://catchthemoonmary.wordpress.com/

Lastly, Catch the Moon, Mary has her own page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CatchTheMoonMary

and is available on Amazon US:http://amzn.to/1RL8933  UK:http://amzn.to/1M4fIW2 

Wendy Waters - Personal Pic 3

 

WW: Thank you so much for the opportunity to raise awareness about my book!

AB: And thank you, Wendy Waters, for your valuable time and allowing us the opportunity to highlight your work today.

To our readers, thank you for your time and support. Please take the time to support the authors who support you. Take time to read their books, follow them on social media, and of course, share their pages.

As always…be safe, be kind, and always be happy!

 

 

Writer’s Wednesday: Murder in Absentia, Assaph Mehr

.     Assaph Mehr

This week, as promised, Writer’s Wednesday explores the careers and writing paths of two different Australian authors.

Assaph Mehr, author of Murder in Absentia, lives in Australia with his wife and family, and, of course, his cat Felix. His love of Roman history contributes to this murder mystery based in a fantasy world full of exciting battles and intrigue. We can only hope Mr. Mehr will be writing more stories with Felix the Fox (Hint: Read to the end to find out where you can find more stories with Felix). Continue reading

Writer’s Wednesday Preview – Catch The Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters

A two-for-one Wednesday! The second author we will present today is Wendy Waters. Ms. Waters is the creative writer behind Catch The Moon, Mary.

Catch the moon, Mary

This tale of abuse, love, lost dreams, and redemption, will have the reader questioning the very values they hold so dear. Many people say they love others enough to kill for them, but is that really love or obsession?

Be ready for the roller coaster of emotions as you become invested in Mary’s future.

“Award winning author, singer and lyricist, Wendy Waters writes prose that soars with breath-taking beauty.

A magical story about a gifted, vulnerable girl who is both saved and damned by an angel who falls in love with her music and claims it in a devilish pact. With Mary in his thrall, he ruthlessly kills all those who threaten his grand plan to bring Mary to Carnegie Hall where her talent will be hailed as supreme.

Ghost story, horror story, thriller, fantasy, fairy tale noir. Catch The Moon, Mary defies classification in its originality and exuberance.”

The reviews speak to the beauty of the story.

“Mesmerizing. Vast and rarely visited themes, not just of love, but of purpose and the choices we make. Beautifully written and crafted.”  – Nina Writes Romance

“The blend of ambition and lyrically in this truly engaging tale explains why so many readers fall in love with this beautifully crafted story, which just screams out to be dramatized… Wendy Waters is a brave writer, with artistic integrity.” – Scott Hastie

“This is a great novel. Amazing imagery and an original story. I’m glad that I pre-ordered. It would be tricky to make a good movie of it but Hollywood will come knocking.” – Sabina

Life is never black or white. You can find all the happiness and heartbreak in paperback or downloaded to your Kindle. Be sure to get your copy here…

http://www.amazon.com/Catch-Moon-Mary-Wendy-Waters-ebook/dp/B015SVE6WS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461141899&sr=8-1&keywords=catch+the+moon+mary

Don’t forget to catch up with Ms. Waters and Mary later today for the latest installment of Writer’s Wednesday!

Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.

Writer’s Wednesday – We’re Headed Down Under!

This Wednesday, April 20th, I have the honor of interviewing two published authors from Australia.

Assaph Mehr, author of Murder In Absentia and Wendy Waters, author of Catch the Moon, Mary. Both authors have graciously offered their valuable time and experience answering a few questions about their path to creative writing and ultimately publishing their stories.

Each journey in writing is as different as the sands on the beach, yet many new writers never start because they fear their personal stories aren’t as perfect as the famous writers they know by heart. They fear they aren’t good enough, they aren’t interesting enough, they aren’t smart enough, rich enough, and so on. These fears paralyze their creative minds and they never publish one word. All the stories are locked away forever, never allowing anyone to see these new worlds and adventures.

My goal is not only to introduce wonderful authors to new fans, but I also hope new writers will understand they have the tools to began their own writing journey right now.

I hope those who lock their stories away behind fear and self doubt will read the interviews and be inspired to tell your stories to the world. Every author’s journey to publishing is completely different. There is no perfect setting, no perfect story, no perfect person, and no perfect time. For new writers, the time is now.

As I spend more time with Assaph and Wendy and explore the trials, tribulations, and the path of success paved by different authors, it becomes clearly obvious, “all roads do indeed lead to Rome.”

Leading up to the interviews, please see for yourself the wonderful worlds created when words are allowed to flow.

First up is Murder in Absentiaa story of Togas, Daggers and Magic – it will appeal to lovers of murder mysteries, ancient Rome and fantasy.

You can find this intriguing murder mystery set in a fantasy world on Amazon,  

Murder in Absentia

Next up is Catch the Moon, Mary, a story of a deeply troubled family, difficult decisions, and living your life for your own dreams.

This passionate story can be found on Amazon,

Catch the moon, Mary

Don’t forget to read both individual interviews next week in Writer’s Wednesday!

Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.

 

Writer’s Wednesday: Author of Sin Eater, Jessica West

 

Jessica West 2

Jessica West, Independent Author & Freelance Editor

Today we feature Jessica West in Writer’s Wednesday. She’s talented and witty, and she has provided a wealth of information for new authors.

AB: Thank you Mrs. West for allowing us to interview you for this week’s segment of Writer’s Wednesday.

JW:  Thanks for featuring me at your blog today. I’m happy to offer my perspective to people who are considering a career in self-publishing. I’m just getting started myself, so still very much in the learning phase. But I’ll share what I’ve learned so far

AB:    Which book or written work has proved to be most successful?

JW:     So far, my most successful work has been Sin Eater, an Urban (Paranormal) Fantasy serial I co-wrote with author P.K. Tyler. Marketing Sin Eater was my first real experience with advertising sites. Previously, I’d only used Goodreads ads and boosted Facebook ads. The conversion rates were dismal, but I think that was mostly because of poor timing on my part. When you have a new release coming out, you “blitz” a bunch of ads, lining them up so they work together to boost visibility. I’ve learned from personal experience that the hardest part of marketing is believing in your product (your book). I absolutely adore my co-author, and love everything I’ve read from her. Our editor was amazeballs. (Naomi Leadbeater. Y’all be sure to check her out.) And so I have the utmost confidence in Sin Eater. That, in and of itself, makes marketing it so much easier; I’m certain that what I’m advertising is a quality product. So the best thing authors can do to ensure their own personal success is to produce quality work. The rest will follow.

Jessica West 3

Sin Eater by P.K. Tyler and Jessica West – available now on Amazon

AB:      For new authors, what are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus using a publisher?

JW:     I’ve never worked with a traditional publisher, so I can’t speak to that experience. But I have worked with Booktrope as an editor. For authors, the biggest benefit of publishing with them is that you don’t have to pay any upfront costs. The down side is that you have to build your team of freelancers. I say that’s a down side, but really it doesn’t have to be. It all depends on how good you are at project management. They do have project managers, but it’s still up to the author to obtain the services of one and build the rest of their team. But here’s the thing about self-publishing: you are a project manager. You will either fill several roles, or you’ll hire someone to do the work. And if you can afford it, I would definitely recommend hiring a team of professionals to help you. Publishing isn’t just about the writing.

AB:     In your own opinion, when using a publisher, do new authors need an agent?

JW:     I have no experience with traditional publishers, but I do know that some traditional publishers will not accept queries from authors. For those publishers, you have to have a literary agent submit your work. My advice to authors who want to publish traditionally is to research the publishers you hope to submit to. Search for their submissions guidelines pages and read them closely and carefully. That will give you a good idea of what each publisher expects, and what you’ll have to do to meet those expectations.

AB:      For any book you self-published, where did you find your art? Did you use an artist you located yourself or did you purchase cover art available to authors?

JW:     I like DeviantArt. Sometimes you can find copyright-free works there. But do include a line on your copyright page with a link to the artist’s work. It’s just a nice thing to do. Pixabay also has a great deal of free art. These are typically okay for eBooks. But for print copies, you’ll need a photo that’s at least 300 dpi, and those free ones are usually 70 dpi. If you try to print those as covers, they’ll just look bad. So look for either high quality (at least 300 dpi) photos or commission a work. There are some surprisingly affordable options. Patreon is a good place to find artists. Nothing will ever be as good as something that’s custom made for you. But if money is tight and your budget only allows for $200 or less for the cover, consider some pre-made options. I like Rebecca Poole’s Dreams2Media covers. Mallory Rocks has some great options too, but hers tend to run a bit high.

AB:     Did you use an outside editor for your books? If you did use an editor, did you use more than one? Would you like to give your editing service a shout out for their great services?

JW:     My published works typically go through either a critique workshop or several beta readers before I get into the editing phase. So while it’s still in development (after the first draft is done but before “real” editing begins), I try to get as much feedback as possible. Then I go to editing. I recommend Pavarti K. Tyler for developmental edits and Naomi Leadbeater for content and copy edits. I like Elizabeth Darkley, I’ve had my eye on her for a while, but haven’t had a chance to use her services yet. (Would it surprise you to learn I haven’t even written my first novel, yet? 😉 ) I’ve worked with Ally Bishop, she’s good. I’ve heard good things from people I trust about Robb Grindstaff and Phillip Lee, so I’m confident in recommending them as well. Susan Kaye Quinn, who I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with, recommends Bryon Quertermous. I’ve researched him and would definitely consider working with him. I’ve heard good things about Crystal Wattanabe too, but I haven’t worked with her personally. There are a lot of good professionals out there, it’s just a matter of finding someone who offers the services you need at prices that fit your budget.

AB:       Where did you find trusted, experienced, beta readers, who would give you honest feedback on your book?

JW:     Yes! Absolutely. For beta readers, I’d suggest asking people you trust. I would not recommend searching for beta reading services. Now, you can find editors who also beta read for a fee. I think Crystal does this, in fact. So that’s always an option. Finding a critique group is ideal, but that’s really hard to do. A critique partner is a blessing, truly, but people are busy. So it’s not always easy to find someone you can “trade services” with. But be open to trading beta reads with author friends.

Important note: Understand that your author friends aren’t the people you’re selling your book to. And remember that the people you are selling your book to probably don’t want to read the early drafts. Just be aware of what kind of relationship you have with a person before you ask them to beta read for you.

AB:     In running, many runners face a wall, where they wish to give up and quit. They have to dig deep and push through the wall. Writers sometimes face the same hurdles. While writing your book, were there times when you wanted to scrap the entire thing and start over, or not publish the book at all? For new writers, who may also face this wall, what advice do you have for them to push past these feelings?

JW:     More often than giving up on a specific work, I hear about writers who want to give up on writing period. How to get past that is different for every writer. Our struggles are intensely personal, almost like our own customized hells on Earth. We face our own demons. And we find our own paths. If there’s one thing we can all benefit from knowing and remembering, it’s that this whole creative business is a cycle. Sometimes, you’re up. And when you’re up, everything just seems to fall into place. Sometimes, you’re down. That’s when the doubt comes. You just have to remember that the “up” is coming around soon. It always does. So keep writing. Or take a break. Do whatever it is you need to do until you cycle back around to a good place. And in the meantime, be kind to yourself.

AB:     Everyone has something they wish they knew when they started in a new field. If you could share one lesson you learned to avoid or one experience you wish you could re-do to make your writing experience better, what would it be? Feel free to share the experience leading up to the lesson and what made you choose the path you took.

JW:     I think the one piece of advice I wish I hadn’t taken is something that’s unique to me, really. I hear “write it down” often. It’s good advice for pretty much everyone, it seems. But it’s not good advice for me. If I pursue every idea I get, write down everything so I don’t forget any of it, I’ll never get anything done. Last year, I took what was for me a bold step and decided NOT to write down any ideas. To simply let them drift by while I focused on one project. And I learned an invaluable lesson for me: I can get shit done by focusing on what’s in front of me. And those ideas that seemed brilliant at the time? Some of them stuck with me. They’re still with me, even though I didn’t write them down. They’re a part of me, and they won’t go away simply because I didn’t acknowledge them. So that’s one thing I wish I knew from the start. To pursue only those ideas that really stuck with me. And to focus on one project until it was completed. That’s the hardest part for many authors, finishing what they start. But necessary for growth.

AB:     What work, besides your own, are you reading right now or have you read recently?

JW:     I’m editing a few anthologies and a couple novels right now. There’s Mosaics 2, UnCommon Origins, a Clones anthology, and a Hotel anthology. I’m editing Cairn Rodriguez’ Solstice series, the first of which is The Last Prospector, and The Potter’s Daughter by Daniel Smith. I’m looking forward to projects with Meg Collett and Ken Mooney, both of whom I read whether I’m editing them or not. I’m always up for reading anything by Pavarti K. Tyler or Alex Nader. I recently started reading Susan Kaye Quinn too. I read The Third Daughter and loved it. Which reminds me, I need to write a review. So many good authors to read, so little time.

AB:     If you were on a desert island and only allowed one book or other written word, what written word would it be and why?

JW:     A “how to” survival guide!

AB:     It’s time to give yourself a shout out. It’s time to dig deep and show your fans what you have. What would you like your fans to look for on shelves now? Where can they find your work? Is there anything else you would like your fans to know?

JW:     Thanks for asking! The box set of Sin Eater is available now at Amazon, along with other works I’ve written and edited. Check out my Amazon Author Page for details. Readers who are fond of dark (and sometimes sexy) fantasy can follow my blog at west1jess.com for updates on my new releases and occasional freebies. Authors can follow my blog at west1jessedits.com to keep in touch and schedule consultations. I also write a monthly blog at Kate Tilton’s Connecting Authors and Readers. You can find my posts at her blog here. The easiest way to keep up to date with all my comings and goings is to follow me at Twitter or Facebook as West1Jess. Fair warning, I’m not a PG-13 type of person, and my online persona reflects that. Proceed with caution. 😉

Thanks again for hosting me on your blog today!

AB: And thank you, Jessica West, for allowing us the opportunity to highlight your work today.

I’m sure our readers have learned so much from you, about your work, and how to start writing for themselves.

To our readers, and especially new writers, please take the time to support the authors who support you. Take time to read their books, follow them on social media, and of course, share their pages.

Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy!