Knowing Your Genre

This is a pretty straight forward thing to understand, but it gets tricky when sub genres are brought into play. This was highlighted for me when I read the blog post Is Your Mystery Novel Having an Identity Crisis? by Alyssa Mackay. In it she emphasises how important it is know to know what type of mystery you are writing so that you can pitch it properly to publishers. This is an excellent point regardless of what genre you are writing and one I thought I had followed.

fantasy-books

I decided, after reading the post, to do some more thorough research on my chosen genre, fantasy. What a freaking eye opener that was. I thought because I read it all the time I knew what I was talking about, but I quickly found out that was not entirely accurate. So the following is a list of what I found, I have no doubt there are more sub genres out there but this will do for starters.

Bangsian – famous historical figures are interacted with

Comic fantasy – has a funny side to it (bit self explanatory)

Contemporary fantasy – real world setting but with magic or supernatural elements

Dark fantasy – elements of horror

Epic or High fantasy – has a plot or characters on an epic scale

Fairy tale fantasy – reworking of fairy tales

Heroic fantasy – focused on heroes

Historical fantasy – like historical fiction but with fantasy elements

Juvenile fantasy – for children

Low Fantasy – opposite to high or epic fantasy, few fantasy elements

Romantic fantasy- more focused on the romantic side of things than the fantasy

Sword and sorcery – more limited in scope than high fantasy

Urban fantasy – city setting

Before the more in depth research I was sure that my manuscript was historical fantasy, now it’s not. It is actually more along the lines of epic fantasy or sword and sorcery.

But the worst thing is, I’ve sent it off to a publisher claiming my manuscript is historical fantasy. At first my heart stopped and I cursed myself for being an idiot and not doing my research properly. But then I calmed down. It has happened and there isn’t much I can do about it now.  I am by no means the only one to have done this, but it really does pay to do your research properly first. I have resigned myself to not hearing back from these publishers, but will focus on different ones (sucks because the two I have sent my manuscript to are my favourites). So a bit of advice to those about to send their manuscripts to publishers, double check your genre first. Save yourself the heartbreak of getting it wrong and good luck.

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Networking: A Different Approach

In person, unless I know you, I can be on the shy side. Therefore I find it incredibly difficult to ‘network’ or interact face to face.  I’m more than happy to help any one else out if I can, but find it pretty difficult to ask for help myself. Case in point, I was having trouble with a blog post and asked my brother for help. His reply, “Why don’t you ask someone who actually reads? Like that group you belong to on Facebook.”

It wasn’t like I hadn’t thought about doing this, but I didn’t want to impose. Instead I chose to ask someone who, although supportive of me, really couldn’t have helped. So I plucked up the courage and did. I posted the link to my blog post and asked for feedback, the good and the bad so that I could improve. And the people were awesome and did it! I was stoked and then began to rethink my approach to networking.

helping-hands

Networking is helping each other

In this day and age technology is pretty awesome (can’t wait to see what it’s like in 20 years!) and allows you to connect with people all over the world quickly. But the benefit is that it does allow you a little time to think about your response, unlike real life. In real life my face gives me away long before I open my mouth. There is a reason I have never won a game of poker or chess. And unless I’m confident about the situation or the people I’m with, I’m very quiet. I’m getting better. I go to events on my own and things like that, I just don’t always make the best impression, fading into the background. And that’s not great for networking.

So after my success with my post I approached things a bit differently. I started encouraging other people on social media like I would if I knew them instead of being quiet like I would in a real life situation. I started networking. I share other people’s successes and commiserate when they have a set back. If they ask for help and I think I can give it I do or alternatively ask for help myself.

There is generally something happening somewhere within the creative community and you know what, I don’t really see it as networking. These people are people on a journey like myself and we really need to support one another and ultimately that is what networking is, helping one another. Celebrating another person’s success doesn’t stop your own and in fact makes it sweeter when you do succeed because they celebrate with you. And those same people are generally there when things don’t go your way, helping you to get back up. So thank you technology for giving this sometimes shy person a way to network.

 

The Art of Being Patient

This is something that has been coming up a lot for me recently so I thought I would devote an entire blog post to it. Patient. One of the most ridiculous words around. Oh not the actual word itself, but what it evokes when someone says it to you. You know that feeling you get when you are eagerly anticipating something and someone says to you to just be patient? I don’t know about anyone else, but that pretty much has the opposite effect on me. If the person saying it to me doesn’t shy away from my death glare then they are simply not looking at me.  In fact even writing about it is getting to me, but it is something that I need to learn.

kick back

I figured I was laid back and there for patient.

The trouble is you see, I thought I had learned this. I’ve always been good at going with the flow and generally am pretty happy to do so. My mistake was in thinking this was being patient. It wasn’t until 2 years ago that I began to see that I in fact don’t have much patience at all.

2 years ago was a life changing moment for me. Sounds dramatic but it is entirely true. I got sick and had to fight to live. Some of this I had no control over, some of it I did. After 10 days in hospital I was sent home to get better, unable to walk for more than 5 minutes without being exhausted and needing help to do things I had taken for granted. It was then I learnt I was not exactly very patient. At all. My family will happily tell you I wanted to get back to normal yesterday and made my life and their’s hell at times by not taking it as easy as  I should have. At other times I had no choice and lets just say I was not always happy about it.

But things got better and after only one biggish set back I am now fully recovered. I thought this had taught me that things take time and it will take as long as it takes, regardless of anything else. In other words, patience. WRONG!

A photo by Jeremy Thomas. unsplash.com/photos/rMmibFe4czY

My mind when I have to be patient.

It took me writing a complete novel and submitting it to publishers to realise this. You see, waiting to hear back, or not, from a publisher is the ultimate in learning patience. I have discipline, I couldn’t string together 90, 000+ words coherently without it. I can write decently, thanks to feedback and reading. But I have no idea if what I’ve written is good enough for the publishing gods and it is killing me!

Waiting is taking my level of patience to a new level and I have to be honest in saying that I handle it better when I am busy with other things. Give me nothing much to do and I start questioning everything I’ve ever done (I’m getting better at not doing this and enjoying the moment more). As someone commented to me the other day, you have to almost wipe your brain to forget you sent it off (thanks Sarah! That really resonated with me). So that is what I am attempting to do, stay so busy that my brain forgets that I have sent it off. Which will be hard because this is something I really want, but I also want to be happy and constantly fretting about it does not lead to happiness.

So the art of being patient, lets hope I learn it soon 😉

P.S. If you have any tips let me know, I can use help with this!

Roller coaster of Writing

My week has been pretty great in some aspects, I got to be a part of Tillie Cole’s cover reveal for A Veil of Vines (if you want to read more about that click here: Cover Reveal: A Veil of Vines) and that felt awesome. I was super excited as I’m a huge fan of Tillie’s, her books offer something different every time and she always draws me in instantly.

avov-cover

I became a part of that by following her on Instagram and filling out a form when she posted the opportunity. That simple. But I nearly didn’t do it. I figured I was a small time blogger, there was no way I’d be able to be a part of something like that. However a little voice in my head told me that I’d never know if I didn’t try, so I did. And I got the opportunity.

Which was freaking awesome timing because earlier that week I had been questioning myself and why the hell I am doing this. I recently lost a writing competition, haven’t heard back from publishers and I was in a funk. I understand that I didn’t win the competition because I strayed from my selected genre too much and I haven’t heard back from the publishers because there simply hasn’t been enough time, but still I was down about it all.

A photo by Alejandro Escamilla. unsplash.com/photos/y83Je1OC6Wc

Writing can be a solitary business

That’s the thing about this writing business, essentially you are on your own. You have to have something inside that won’t let you give up because it is all to easy to do so. Writing a first book is a mammoth task, there is no one standing over you cracking the whip to get it done. You honestly don’t know if the time you are dedicating to writing will ever pay off and that is a scary freaking prospect.

It’s a gamble and as someone who personally isn’t that fond of gambling it gets to me at times. But I love writing. I love creating new worlds and characters and seeing what they all get up to. I get sad if I don’t write and it really does make me easier to get along with, its almost like therapy in a way.

But I also want results and acknowledgment, I’m needy like that. And I wasn’t getting it.

So I took a step back after getting Tillie’s cover reveal email and actually thought about things instead of being emotional about it. I have made progress, I’ve written a book and sent it to publishers, I’ve got a blog and followers and I’ve made friends in the writing community. All things I didn’t have 10 months ago. Clearly I’ve made progress and am moving forward. I just needed to see it.

Sometimes it just takes a different perspective to see that. I was comparing myself to already well established authors and I’m not one of them. Yet. I’ll get there, I’m on this roller coaster ride with no intention of getting off. I just need to remember a roller coaster goes up and down, it’s the only way to get the thrills.

rollar-coaster

Cover Reveal: A Veil of Vines

I am so excited and proud to show you all the cover for Tillie Cole’s new book, A Veil of Vines!

I absolutely adore this author, right from the moment I first read her book Sweet Home. She manages to get right in there and make me feel everything (I cried so much when I read A Thousand Boy Kisses, fantastic book) so I was super excited when I got the opportunity to be part of the cover reveal for her latest story.

Read on to see the cover, official synopsis and release date for A Veil of Vines, as well as links to Tillie’s social media sites.

avov-cover

 

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

To most people, princes, princesses, counts and dukes are found only in the pages of the most famous of fairytales. Crowns, priceless jewels and gilded thrones belong only in childhood dreams.

But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth.

For some, they are real life.

On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection we share to our home country’s most important family of all.

I am Caresa Acardi, Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set.

I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But to the aristocrats of my home, the abolishment means nothing at all.

The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.

In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more.

And I am soon to become one of them.

I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…

… or at least I was, until I met him. And everything changed.

RELEASE DATE

29 November 2016

FOLLOW TILLIE

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Lessons In Mistakes

If any of you follow me on twitter (really not sure if you do), you’ll know that on Friday I attempted to give myself a heart attack while messing around with my blog site.  I deleted things by accident equaling an instant heart palpation that had me momentarily worried for my health. Relax, it worked out okay, both my heart and my blog.

broken-computer

Some of my initial reaction was to do this to my computer, luckily I didn’t.

First let me explain that I’m really not that tech savvy. I tend to fiddle around until I get it right, which was part of my problem on Friday. For awhile now I’ve  been unhappy with how my About page is also my home page. I couldn’t figure out how to make them separate (if you know how and it’s easy, awesome, but for me it wasn’t). So I thought I had figured out that I could just delete the About page, leaving the Home page by itself.

Well…. I hit delete and all the pages disappeared. For a nasty moment I thought I was going to have to start again and nearly cried (as well as have my heart fail). Then I noticed some things were still there so I thought I better check before getting all dramatic.

YES! I had simply deleted a useless menu and now things were all as they should be. After a quick happy dance and a cautious bit of fiddling, my site looked better than before and I was happier.  I’m sure I will continue to fiddle with it, but at the moment I’m content.

jump-for-joy

My reaction when I figured out everything was fine.

Sometimes a mistake/accident can be the best thing that can happen, but really the best thing I learnt out of this was to stay calm and focus on what was in front of me. Otherwise I really would have cried and missed that things had been made accidentally better.