Raw Literature: Writer Unplugged

So I’m forcing myself to get over my Guestapostophobia. Facing my fear. Writing guest posts.

I’m happy to have a post up at Carrot Ranch, a supportive community of flashers (erm…people who write flash), hosted by the ever-encouraging Charli Mills. Check out my post about how letting go and just writing can produce a powerful, genuine story.

Carrot Ranch Communications

Essay by Sarah Brentyn, a member of the Congress of Rough Writers.

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I’m in awe of “raw”.

This tiny three-letter word is like a super hero. I’m a word nerd and I love that this petite power house can describe so many items, objects, and states. We use it to talk about food (uncooked), the weather (cold and damp), skin (red and sore), emotions (intense and unrestrained), fabric (unfinished, unhemmed)…

My favorite definition, from the depths of Google’s dictionary, is of “a material or substance”: in its natural state; not yet processed or purified. It also provided some marvelous synonyms: unrefined, untreated, natural, unedited… That, to me, is raw literature.

And that is all I write.

I’ve been scribbling stories since I was nine years old. Probably younger, but that’s when I remember completing my first fictional tale. Have I moved beyond that? Of…

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Global Links: One Link to Rule Them All

 

 

Yesterday was Earth Day and today is World Book Day.

I’m thinking globally.

Most of you know of the “universal” or “global” link for books. I’ve seen some posts about it and a lot of indies using it. The link allows you to customize your book url so that it redirects interested readers to the correct country. (Amazon.com becomes Amazon.ca or Amazon.co.uk—you get the idea.)

So, yes, I do want this. And, sure, I’m willing to learn about different options. Which is why I’m here today.

The companies that change your link range from free to one-time fee to monthly subscription. So you can assume they range in services. (They do.) We’re going from cut-and-paste-your-link to tracking sales, customizing domains, and tons of other techie stuff I don’t understand.

Some give you a link that automatically redirects your Amazon customers. So your country’s Amazon store will become their country’s Amazon store. This allows readers to quickly and easily buy your book from the site where they have an account. This is Amazon only.

Others completely transform your link. They go global and create a link that works in every country, on every operating system (iOS, Android, Windows…), in every store (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks…) on every device (laptop, tablet, phone…) so you’re not only international, you’re, like, intergalactic.

Here are a few that I’ve seen. If you use any of these, please let me know in the comments. If you know of any I’ve missed, drop those in the comments, too. Inquiring minds want to know.

SmartURL

BookLinker

RelinksMe

Books2Read

Genius Link

 

My Sunday thoughts in (a bit over) 200 words.

 

ThoughtBubbleDo you use a universal link? Do you like it? Which company would you suggest and why (price, ease-of-use, accessibility for buyers)?

 

Happy Earth Day! 🌎

Happy World Book Day! 📚

 

Guest author: Sarah Brentyn – Where I Spin Self Doubt Into a Post

I’m over at Sue Vincent’s place chatting about how nerve-racking guest posts can be. Sue is a sweetheart with a great sense of humor (and a fabulous blog). She gave me scones and let me be my goofy self so that was fun. Please check out my piece: Where I Spin Self-Doubt Into a Post (then think about writing your own…)

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

I feel I should put my best foot forward here. Instead, I’m going to go ahead and say I’m having some sort of attack.

Panic?

Perhaps.

I can churn out posts with the best of them. But writing for someone else’s blog is just… It’s like cooking in someone else’s kitchen, you know? And worse yet, they’re going to serve whatever you make for dinner. To a party of twenty.

So, about now, you’re asking yourself “What’s all this?” And wondering what I’m going on about. Since I don’t really know, I’ll continue on, as usual, in my pantser style.

Sit. Have a cuppa with me, and let’s talk about guest posts.

What the hell? She’s writing a guest post about guest posts? I know, right? Bear with me.

It’s intimidating. You’re sharing your writing in a space that’s not yours.

Every blogger who interviews, hosts other writers, provides promos…

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Are You Dealing With Stress or Burnout? What’s the Difference?

 

 

I believe everyone has a certain amount of stress in his or her life. It could be a lot or a little. It could be brushed away or completely take us down. But it’s there. For everyone.

I found this amazing two-part series about stress and burnout. What is the difference? Why is it important to know the difference? What can you do about them?

It’s a must-read.

Whether you’re stressed/burned out or not, it’s a fascinating look at these two conditions. It’s eye-opening and informative. Really. Check it out, bookmark it, both, whatever…but do visit these pieces by Ruth Harris on Anne R. Allen’s blog:

 

 

ETA: I just found two posts on Sally Cronin’s blog about stress. I had to add these. They deal with similar issues in a very different way, focusing on health. Symptoms of acute vs chronic stress, how to manage stress with diet (vitamins, minerals, foods), and much more. Please check these out.

 

The link between stress and your heart

Strategies and foods to relieve stress

 

 

photo: Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso

 

My Candle Burns at Both Ends

 

 

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

I could dissect this poem, line by line, pondering its possible meanings with regard to Edna’s life and writing. But this is not a lit class, it’s a blog. So I won’t. Also, I don’t want to.

It’s here today because the words are speaking to me and I need to share them.

Right now, I choose to see this poem as a reminder.

To a person who is working too much, overwhelmed and exhausting herself, who knows she cannot keep this up much longer, who addresses those who support her as well as those who do not. In the end, regardless of this knowledge, she cannot help but say how lovely it all is.

I feel these words deeply.

Watch as I go down in flames and see how beautiful the fire is.

How goddamn beautiful.

Life is difficult and stressful and a strange beauty emerges in those moments. If we look. And when we find it, we need to share it. Shout it out to friends and foes.

There is beauty in the moments of madness.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Are you going through a difficult time? Have you taken on too much? Could you use a break? I’ve got nothing. Sorry. No tips. No fix. Just support, solidarity, and a little bit of poetry.

 

Who’s That Blogger? Sarah Brentyn

I’m over at Barbara Vitelli’s today with a fun interview for her awesome new series called “Who’s That Blogger”. I’m delighted to be back at her place for a cuppa and some laughs. Barbara (aka Book Club Mom) is a fab book blogger and lovely lady. Please check out the interview, leave a comment there, and peek around her blog. Cheers!

Book Club Mom

whos-that-blogger

Blogmaster:  Sarah Brentyn

Blog names:Lemon Shark and my fiction blog, Lemon Shark Reef

Type of blog: I suppose Lemon Shark is an eclectic blog focusing mostly on my thoughts about life and writing and surviving the aforementioned.

Where in the world?  Ooh! I know this one! “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” Score ten for the Shark.

Blogging since when? I don’t really keep track of these things. However, there’s a handy list on the side of my blog so, with just a peek, I can see I’ve been blogging at Lemon Shark since…2014.

What’s your story? What is my story? “It was a dark and stormy night…” Damn! Taken. My blogging story is odd. Why? Because, although I have a blog (two, actually, I have two and, yes, I know that’s not a “good idea” or whatever but I have a fiction blog called Lemon…

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Pants off to That!

 

 

I’m 110% pantser. Always have been.

I’ve published a book and am happy with it. I haven’t reached that point of cringing when I see it or think about it. I actually like it. Hope that lasts…

Anyway, yes. Pantser. Me. Pantsing. No outlines, no planning, none of that stuff.

Never. Ever. Nope. Not me.

I am pantsing my way through two novels at the moment. Which is quite different from my previous book of short fiction. I’m pleased to say it’s going well. It works for me.

Right?

It does, right? Yet… I have loads of books lounging on my laptop that have been there between two and twenty years. (You read that correctly. I’ve been writing a long time.)

 

Which brings me to my point. Finally.

Is my pantser approach what has kept those stories on my computer?

I truly do enjoy letting my characters lead the way but is it realistic to complete an entire novel without any planning?

As a grown-up person who has been on this planet a few decades or so, I know that “never say never” is not just an overused, annoying phrase. It’s true.

I’m pretty sure I’ll always be a pantser but who knows?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

ThoughtBubbleAre you a pantser or a plotter? If you’re a pantser, do you get to a point where you start planning? 

Do you believe self-proclaimed plotters can “wing it” or pantsers can plan, plot, and outline successfully?

 

 

Help Me Find Your Blog

 

gravatar-image

Your Gravatar

Your G (globally) R (recognized) Avatar (um…avatar)

 

I’m not saying you must have one of these or even should have one. It’s totally up to you, of course. But it’s possible you’ve heard something like this from me:

“Hello. 🙂 Just an FYI: Your Gravatar leads to your old blog.”

Or

“Hi there. 🙂 Your Gravatar is unclickable.”

You may already know this. You may not care. You may want it that way. But, just in case, it’s an easy fix.

Sometimes, when I’m rushing around or out and using my phone (which, if I’m honest, isn’t “sometimes”, it’s “most of the time”), I’ll click on your name (or image) to get to your blog. It’s quicker and easier than searching through social media for your handle or typing your name into Google then scrolling until I find you.

If you have a Gravatar, think of it as your avi, bio, blog, social media, and all that jazz rolled into one.

Update that bad boy for your bloggy friends so we can find you. Or don’t. But please don’t take offense if I comment about your GRA. Take it with some grains of salt (around the rim of your glass), a margarita, and a smile.

 

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you have a Gravatar? Does it link to your current blog/website/social media? Do you keep it up-to-date or have you forgotten about it until now?

FAQ and useful info: http://en.gravatar.com/support/

 

After talking to some tweeps, thought I’d add a quick how-to sort of thing:

Sign in to Gravatar.

Click on “MY PROFILE” at the top of the page.

On the right, you’ll see a list.

“WEBSITES” allows you to add, well, websites. (You can add all sorts of things here that you want to show up as a thumbnail image below your name – not just WordPress blogs, FYI.)

“VERIFIED SERVICES” gives you a drop-down menu letting you quickly and easily add social media by cutting and pasting the link to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger, YouTube, and more.

 

Is There a Cloudcuckoolander in Your Book?

 

 

I just read a post about lesser-known character archetypes on the Writers Helping Writers site. One of the types was a cloudcuckoolander. The example of Dory, the forgetful fish from Finding Nemo (say that three times fast), is a great one.

But, in reading the description of a cloudcuckoolander, the first character that leapt to mind was Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter.

Quirky, living in their own unrealistic world of rainbows and unicorns (Unikitty from Cloud Cuckoo Land ring any Lego Movie bells?), making absurd comments (often in the midst of a dire situation), providing unique perspectives (that no one else sees)… But not your average oddball. And not an airhead by any means.

No. A cloudcuckoolander is an all-around peculiar person who, frequently, rescues the other characters by means of an idea so outlandish that it takes everyone aback before they give it a thought and realize it’s actually going to work. “Thinking outside the box” doesn’t quite cut it for me here so I’ll say this type of character is “Living outside the box”.

It takes a special set of characters (like Harry, Hermione, and Ron, among others) to give the cloudcuckoolander his or her due. To accept, acknowledge, listen to, and recognize the potential of someone who is off in her own world while they are firmly set in theirs. It might, understandably, be difficult to tolerate someone talking about Nargles while you’re being attacked by DeathEaters.

Despite her wacky, kooky ways (I daresay because of them), Luna helped the Hogwarts trio numerous times throughout the seven-book series.

She is smart (she was in Ravenclaw, after all) but it was her belief in the strange and unusual that led her to an invisible, paralyzed, bloodied-up Harry on the Hogwarts Express. Remember that? (Though, being the geek that I am, I must mention Luna saved him in the film version, not the book. Point still stands.)

They’re those “funny” characters that have to say things like “That was a joke” because they’re always saying bizarre things with straight faces and the other characters have no frame of reference for the cloudcuckoolander’s sense of humor.

Yes, I’m a Potterhead (and in good company, I’m sure). But what I want to know is if you have used this particular archetype or think that, perhaps, you could add one to your WIP to improve the plot.

Personally, I don’t introduce characters to the plot, they introduce themselves to the me. But I’m thinking I actually have a cloudcuckoolander in one of the books I’m working on and I am having a great deal of fun with that.

 

Have you ever heard of the cloudcuckoolander? Do you have any of these characters in your story?

Do you know any cloudcuckoolanders from books/TV/movies?

 

Hi! I am Princess Unikitty, and I welcome you all to Cloud Cuckoo Land!

 

Please do check out the Lesser-Known Character Archetypes post on Writers Helping Writers site (from the brilliant Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi).

 

Since You Offered…

 

promoting-hinting-at-shadows-sig

 

Okay, I’ve published a book. I’ve chosen “accept” as my One Word for 2017.

1+1=2. I accept that I’ve got to promote my book.

There are quite a few bloggers offering to help authors promote. That is awesome. And I’m hearing this a lot: “Take advantage of this opportunity!”

I know these lovely, generous people are inviting authors to email, to introduce themselves, to promote their work. My painfully introverted nature aside, I do want to promote my writing but it’s awkward.

What is this I’m feeling? Shyness? Uncertainty? Self-consciousness? Or something else entirely? I need to think on it some more. Or you could leave your (PG-rated) suggestion in the comments. Bottom line is: I feel uncomfortable asking for help in this particular area.

Does anyone else feel this way? Is it just me?

And for these bloggers…is it awkward for them? Honestly, it’s like winning the lottery and suddenly getting calls from friends and family you haven’t spoken to in ten years (or ones you didn’t know you had).

This leaves me in a tough spot—a spot of my own making, I understand, but still. I’m not sure how to handle it.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

How do you handle promotional offers?

Authors: Do you only promote your book if you’re already actively following/commenting on the person’s blog or do you take advantage of the opportunity whether you’re blogging buddies or not?

Bloggers: Do you offer promotions on your blog for authors? How do you feel about people you don’t know (or don’t know well) emailing you to promote their book?