Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG Reviews and Questions

It is the first Wednesday of December and the last Wednesday of 2016. Happy Holidays!
Time to share your thoughts, insecurities, frustrations, etc., etc. In other words it is time for the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. Started by Alex J. Cavanaugh. This baby has grown into an impressive community of writers and authors. If you would like to read what others have said go here.

UpDate: The review that I discuss below has been changed to read: I have to say I was underwhelmed by these stories. 

I do not like research. Of course as with any good writer, I do research. So what is the IWSG question of the week? I have trouble finding it every time even though my lovely friends have told me where to go. Ugh! I will add it to the bottom of this post. When I find it.

Reviews.

The bane of all authors. Or so it would seem. A review can be thrilling and send you into orbit. It can be constructive and give you a glimpse into what works with your book and what doesn't. A review can be so discouraging that you want to give up altogether. Is it really worth the aggravation?

All published authors know the importance of reviews. We try to encourage our readers to leave one. A book I read recently advised to request a short blurb from readers. Review or blurb, both are necessary.

So how do you view your reviews?

I get excited when I see there is a new review. I've been fortunate in that most of my reviews are positive, even better than I had hoped. Let's face it. That book is our baby. It contains a big part of our life and shelters our hearts.

I have not received a review with any information as to how to improve except for one that wanted me to add little pictures before each chapter. This person downloaded my book for free. I really wanted to tell her, I don't have enough money for little pictures. But I didn't.

Do you comment on your reviews.
OK. Admit it. You wanted to slaughter that nasty reviewer with your exceptional writerly skills. Me too. But the advice is not to.

So let's talk about nasty reviews. Trolls! Beware. They hide in wait to attack you.

I have received two nasty reviews to date. My very first review was one of these and it sent me into a dark place. The reviewer, a man, criticized my use of a unicorn to bring the gift of language to my heroine in my epic fantasy, The Treasures of Carmelidrium. He said picking up on a language was easy. Not for me it isn't, nor for my heroine. He didn't like how I handled the confrontation between the villain and heroine. And there were several other choice things. I was devastated. It took me about a week and then I looked him up. He is self published and every review he had received to date was critical in the worse possible way. He simply gave me the same treatment. Therefore, I ignored him. Nothing he said was helpful.

The second nasty review I received was for my new release. Halloween Collection 2. This is a collection of flash fiction stories. Anyone who has written flash fiction knows these stories are short, short, short. She basically said that the stories were boring, that my writing ruined the greatness of the story, and advised that I take writing lessons and join a critique group. There was more but that is enough to send an inexperienced author into a pit of gloom. She gave me three stars. I made the mistake of going to her blog, reading her post and commenting. I thanked her for buying my book and told her I'd been writing for 30 years and was a member of a critique group with other published authors. The next day she had changed the 3 stars to 2 stars.

So...neither negative review was helpful. They both left me with the impression that the reviewer was a frustrated writer who was disappointed by their lack of success and channeled their disappointment by attacking other writers.

I have read and heard writers give this simple advice. Be kind to others. When you are kind and thoughtful, it will come back to you. Karma. I practice this. When I leave a review, I always talk about what I enjoyed in the writing. We authors struggle to bring the reader something they will enjoy. I'm not after the Pulitzer Prize, I just love writing.

Have you gotten a nasty review? Or one that thrilled you?

The question for December's post is: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

I plan to finally break through the promotion barrier and be a best seller. I will achieve this by continuing to upload books and by following the advice from other authors and from books I've read.

Now! Just in case: Your thinking I might be a lousy writer and deserved that review. So here is another review for my epic fantasy.

The Treasures of Carmelidrium.
"This is the best book of the decade." Amazon reader.



To order from Amazon.com click here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What is your favorite character? IWSG


Time again for an insecure post. Created by Alex J. Cavangaugh this baby has grown into something amazing. To read what others have written go here.


The question of the month is...




What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?



Characters! 

I love my characters. I think most writers love their heroes but I love them all. From hero to minor character to villain. 

Of course it helps to know their backstory. I do even though most of that is never included in the story. I put my characters through the meat grinder. They are challenged, tested, abused until they cry out. Then they recover or overcome or both. And yes, sometimes they die. 

I have two favorite characters to date. Prince Healden and Missie from my first epic fantasy, The Treasures of Carmelidrium. Healden is pronounced Hel-din. Like Heather, you don't say heat-her. Healden is a real name. It is Teutonic and means 'protector.' If you've read the books you know he does exactly that. 

Missie is a nickname her father gave her. She is a modern American University student and gifted flutist. She is thrust through a portal into a medieval world where her music is the key to saving the world from the evil tyrant, Renwyck, Lord of the Symberveen.

Tall order. I have many favorite scenes but here's one that brings a smile to my lips. Missie's given name is Michelle. She's just found out that Healden is romantically interested in her. Frustrated by her circumstance she let's lose. 


Healden frowned and raised his hand, running his fingers through his thick hair. “I assure you, my Lady. My intentions are honorable.”
    “Honorable, what does that mean? I’ve known more than one charming, good looking guy. Besides, you’re a prince, and…I’m…a commoner.”
    “You are hardly common, my Lady.”
    She glared at him with emphasis. “To the point, your Highness, I will be no man’s mistress.” 
    To her aggravation, Healden’s mouth began to twitch at the corners. “I hope not.”
   “I am a commoner, Healden. Everyone knows royalty and commoners don’t mingle. A thousand years ago, nobility and royalty had arranged marriages for profit and land.”
    “A thousand years ago in your world. My Lady, much has happened, and I understand how difficult all this must be for you. Accept my apology and allow me to escort you to dinner.”  He held out his hand.

Ahhh...heart flutter.


Amazon link.

Who is your favorite character? Someone you created or someone from a favorite book?

Nancy

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Constellations or Spooky tale for Write, Edit, Publish blog-hop





In this post for the October Write, Edit, Publish blog-hop we are challenged to write about the Constellations or to scare you with a Spooky tale. Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee have really put on their witches hats to come up with such a challenge. We'll, I've done both. Alas I'm not alone, so I've added the link that will take you to the list of all the other writers and artist. To read go here.




Guess which constellation is in my story? You're right.









Orion

Half the student body was in the park tonight. At least it felt like half. Some were gathered around the huge bonfire in the pit the park provided. Most were smoking pot and drinking beer. I was using one of the telescopes Mr. Weaver had provided to study the stars along with my classmates.
            “Hey, Wigs,” Brian said, walking up to me along with his buddies, Jack and Paul.
            I glanced at them. “My name is Katie.” The students at my school had started calling me ‘wigs’ after I lost all my hair during chemo, two years ago when I wore a wig. All better now and my hair was back, short but real.
            Brian stopped in front of the telescope blocking my view. “It’s not fair that you were assigned Orion.”
            I stood up straight ready for a fight with the class bullies. “What’s it to you?”
            “We want Orion.” Brian shoved his hands into his pockets.
            “So?” I looked between the three.
            “We are all from Orion,” Paul said.
            “Huh?” Paul was tall and too thin.
            “It’s true,” Jack said. “Aliens came down and colonized this planet from the Orion system.”
            “You’re saying we are from the Orion system? That we are aliens?” This sounded a lot like that weird T.V. show.
            “Not exactly,” Brian said. “We mated with the inhabitants. Changed the DNA.”
            “So what exactly does this have to do with me?” I folded my arms.
            “When you do your report,” Brian said. “Add that in.”
            “You’re joking, right? You want me to humiliate myself by claiming that advanced aliens had sex with cave women? The answers no, boys.”
            “Look.” Jack grabbed my arm. I yanked it out of his fingers and backed up.
            “You three are just pissed because Mr. Weaver gave you the Big and Little Dipper. Maybe you should take it up with Orion, I hear he’s moved in down the street. Big guy, white hair, carries a sickle.” I approached the telescope. Brian picked it up.
            I put my hands on my hip. “Hey Dipper boy, put it down!”
            “You are just---” Jack seemed to have a hard time figuring out how to insult me.
“Hand over the assignment. You take the two Dippers and we take Orion.” Brian’s grin made me want to smack him.
            “Why don’t you go to the nearest cave and dance with the Neanderthals.”
            “Because you won’t be there, ‘Wigs.’” Paul stepped a little to near and I backed up.
            Mr. Weaver came over. “You alright Katherine?”
            “Yeah, just great.” I said. “These three want Orion instead of the Big and Little Dipper.”
            “The assignments stand. Get to work on your project boys and leave Katherine alone.”
            Brian, Paul and Jack walked away grumbling. Mr. Weaver adjusted the telescope and nodded at me. I finished my study of Orion and put my notes in my backpack and left.
            My parents had bought a house that skirted the park. I approached the back gate about fifteen minutes later. I was still mad at the dipper boys and took several steps over the brown grass in the backyard toward the rear of my house. The night had been cool, but a sudden blast of frigid air came on the wind and I was shoved to the ground. I grunted, lost my breath and turned over on my back. The fallen oak leaves rustled beneath me.
            Above me in a cloudless sky was the constellation Orion. Now I’ve never been good at connecting the stars the way the Ancient Greeks did, but as I watched a laser light spread between the stars to outline Orion. His sword sheathed at his side and a sickle raised in one hand.
            As I watched, Orion turned his head and his eyes came alive in shades of red. He leapt from the sky and landed near me. I gasped, my hair was tossed in the wind about my face and I wondered if someone had slipped me a hallucination pill in my coffee.
            “You dare to mock me, human?!” Orion’s deep voice rocked the bare branches of our oat near me. I opened my mouth but couldn’t speak.
            “Die!” Orion swept his sickle past my head. I scooted back like a desperate bug on my hands and feet, straddling the ground. Orion’s sickle slammed into the oak tree. It groaned and a dead branch fell slicing deep into my side. I gasped. Pain coursed through my body like ghostly fingers trying to freeze my soul. The imagine of Orion blurred. I felt the ground shake with his weight as he walked away and realized he had left.
            The wind still whisked through the bitter night. Oak leaves swirled around me. I held my side were the oak had injured me. Blood flowed warm between my fingers. My breath now came in short gasps. My last thought as I died was; The Dipper Boys would get Orion now.


Word Count: 825

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed my story.

Now available on Amazon for the low friendship price of 99 cents.


To purchase go here.

Also available:


To purchase go here.


N. R. Williams
Copyright 2016
All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Tribute to Pappy and IWSG

Tribute to Pappy

Last Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, my step-father passed away. He was born Richard (Dick) Monroe on Oct. 4, 1921. He would have been 95. His health and my mother’s had been failing for a number of years but it still came as a shock.

He was Pappy to my children and the only grandfather they knew. I can still see him with his fingers folded together and making his classic comment, “Yeah,” with a little chuckle.

My mother and Dick went to High School together in Rochester, Minnesota. I remember mother showing me a picture of a class play she was in along with several other students and Dick. Since mother never mentioned Dick other than the one time, I had no idea he was special to her.

After many years here in Colorado, mother returned to Rochester to be close to her own mother during her failing years. One day I stopped by mom’s house to learn that her High School was holding their 50th Class Reunion. Mother had never attended before but she went that year and met up with Dick.

Theirs’s was the classic love story. A best-selling book or tear jerking movie. Right after High School mom went into nursing school and Dick went into the Air Force. Pearl Harbor soon sent America into WWII. But even though mom and Dick were separated they still wrote each other.

After the war my mom met my father and married him a little too fast. They were happy at first but my dad was an alcoholic so mom always worked. Eventually they divorced when I was thirteen.

As it turned out, Dick had intended to ask my mom to marry him, but he waited too long. However, he did marry and have two children. His wife died of M.S. So, they met again and married thirty-six years ago this November. I have never seen my mother so happy.

Here’s to you pappy. You are loved and will be missed.

IWSG


As you probably know the Insecure Writer’s Support Group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh to encourage writers of all ages. To read other post go here.

Today’s question: When do you know your story is ready?

This is a subjective question. When writing my epic fantasies, I create a one or two sentence outline. I know where the story is going. I bring up questions throughout and I’m careful to answer them.

However, my flash fiction stories are written by the seat of my pants. So for me, either the outline helps to complete a story or as in the second case, it feels right. My critique group will let me know if it’s not.
How about you?
Nancy

The spook is on!
My Halloween Collection 1 is available for a low friendship price of 99 cents. This is a collection of 7 stories. The cover is wrong, it say’s five but it is seven flash fiction stories.




Soon my Halloween Collection 2 will be available.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Announcing the October Challenge; Write, Edit, Publish

It's time to polish your writing skills. October is almost here and you can sign up for the Write, Edit, Publish Challenge. This year you can pick to write about the constellations or to write a spooky horror tale. Or you can combine them. So put on your thinking caps and join the fun.

Nancy

Sign up here on Oct. 1, 2016