Guest Post: Beating the Thriller by Michael Seeley

Today we have a guest post from Michael Seeley, something I’ve been meaning to post for… FAR too long. Sorry Michael! Anyway, let’s find out how Michael suggests how historical fiction authors can balance the market away from thrillers and modern romance.

Michael SeeleyWe all know that thrillers and modern romances are the biggest sellers. They dominate the markets, and it seems to be what all our friends are reading. But what if you’re not into the newest spy-chase novel and the modern romance isn’t your thing? For me, the draw of historical fiction has always been stronger than the idea of writing-for-profit in a genre that will probably sell better. But, that leaves historical fiction writers at a disadvantage.

Or does it? What can we as author of historical fiction do to balance the market for us?

Write for the Public

First off, you must try to use what’s currently popular. What do you see in movies/other popular books/popular culture? For me, a military historian, a prime example of this is works on Rome and ancient Greece. The ancient world is hot right now. It’s sexy. Films like Gladiator, 300, Alexander, Centurion, The Eagle, and many more capitalize on that. They may not be exactly factual (but neither, strictly speaking, is historical fiction), but they do increase the public’s care and concern for history. For me, that means that works on Rome and ancient Greece will sell better. In fact, I’m in the process of planning a novel set in that age.

This works for other subgenres, like historical romance as well. Look at Downton Abbey and the like. Romance itself is timeless; make money from that. If you see that the Middle Ages is catching the public’s eye, use that to your advantage. Right now, Victorianism is ripe for writing. With Steampunk (a fantastic genre that is easily mixed with historical fiction), Sherlock Holmes, and others making a dent in pop culture, take advantage of it. Tailor your work for the public.

 Use Historical Fiction to Change Your World

Although the money is fun, all authors also long to be remembered in their works. They want to have a lasting impact on their world. Don’t you? I’m just finishing Mary Renault’s masterpiece, The Last of the Wine. It’s set in Athens during the Peloponnesian War and follows a young soldier and student of Socrates. The protagonist, Alexias, falls in love with an older student and another philosopher, Lysis. The book tells the story of these men’s love, their lives, and the tragedy that is war. But what’s more is that it was written in the 1950s. At that time, being a homosexual was not only unpopular, it could be ruinous to one’s career, to one’s very life. Renault wrote the work in part to paint a larger picture of the issue.

She wrote the book because, as a homosexual, she was tired of the backlash. She wanted to show that, throughout time, homosexuals were just as capable of doing great deeds, of being human. Her works all touch on this and other social issues.

So can yours.

Do you care about the environment? Look at Victorian England and the damages just beginning by the Industrial Movement. How about immigration — do you find immigration policy today unfair? Look at Ellis Island. Use your genre to shed new light on an issue you’re passionate about. The beautiful thing about the past — the thing which let Renault get away with such commentary in an age of repression — is that everything is in a different context. In the age of kings and revolutions, actions are different than today. Looking into the past gives us the freedom to be critical, to be un-shaking in our critique or our praise for once was and is now lost. Your readers will make the connection. Your book can truly change your world.

 Tell a New Story

How often have you read a story that sounds just like all the others? I can’t tell you the number of times. It seems like people are becoming more and more unoriginal. But you, as an author of historical fiction, have access to thousands of years and millions of stories waiting to be told. As authors in this genre, we have the license to find the gems in the past that get lost.

Recently, I was researching a famous general from the Napoleonic Age, but he almost never made it to manhood; as a child, he almost suffocated to death by pretending to be a dog. He got stuck in his family’s doggy-door, and because he was pretending, he refused to use his voice. All he did was bark. And his parents laughed at their funny son. Until he passed out. And turned blue. Obviously, he lived, but anecdotes like this are beautiful. You simply can’t make some of these things up!

Now, I’m not telling you to steal your stories. But, unlike those spy thrillers that sound the same, we have millions of people’s tales waiting to be redone. Research. Add your own voice. Change things. But draw from that amazing well that history gives us. You can then write a new story that will capture and inspire.

So, if you’re sick of people complaining of the power popular genres, use your tools. Write to fit what’s popular, use your historical lens to change the world, and bring amazing stories from the past to life.

Then see those run-of-the-mill thrillers compete.

At an early age, Michael Seeley found himself devouring books about the past. Then he started writing his own. His first novel, The Faith, is the opening to a trilogy about revolution and regicide. His second novel, Duty, asks what might have happened if Napoleon had won the Battle of Waterloo. His collected short fiction, Men of Eagles, offers new perspectives on the wars of the Napoleonic Age. Michael has found inspiration from the winding alleyways of Paris, the tall forests of Norway, and the impressive Acropolis of Athens, but he currently resides in the Midwest with his beautiful wife, listening to the winds whisper across the prairie. Find more about his work at http://www.seeleywrites.com and http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Seeley/e/B004M6J5PO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 .

Interviewing Linda McCabe

Dear Reader,

Today I’m interviewing Linda C McCabe, author of Quest of the Warrior Maid. As a bit of housekeeping, don’t forget that I have a giveaway from December 2 – 6 where Haunting Miss Trentwood is 50% off! All right, onto the interview…

 1. Learn more about Linda…

I have been a bookworm since I was a small child. I obsess over small details in drama and I hate continuity errors.  If I spot an historical anachronism I want the author to mention it in an endnote so I understand this was a conscious choice for dramatic purposes and not due to ignorance or laziness.  I am one of those information crazed addicts who reads footnotes, endnotes and listen to the director commentaries on DVDs to get the behind-the-scenes information I wouldn’t know otherwise.

Yup, I am a nerd and proud of it.

My debut novel Quest of the Warrior Maid is due to my involvement with the online debates in the Harry Potter fandom.  No really.  I spent far too much time and energy engaged in online debates about where the series was headed during the time before and after Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was published.  There were wildly inventive theories spun about possible plot twists and underlying meanings buried in the text.  Some fandomers argued that hippogriffs were a symbol of love and that Harry and Hermione riding on the back of a hippogriff indicated a later romantic relationship between the two characters.  In following that lead, I read the epic poem Orlando furioso since it was the first time in literature a hippogriff was used as a character.

While reading Orlando furioso, I discovered an amazing love story between the kick-ass heroine Bradamante and the virtuous warrior Ruggiero.  I felt that this literary couple deserved to be as well known as Tristan and Isolde or Arthur and Guinevere.  Later I disengaged from the HP fandom and set about adapting this classic work for modern audiences.  That was the genesis for Quest of the Warrior Maid.

 2. How do you transform your passion into focused research?

After deciding to adapt these poems, I sat down and looked carefully at the source material to decide what to keep and what to ruthlessly prune. I began studying maps of France to determine where the events took place.  That was when I discovered how terrible the poets were with geography. I had to give myself the freedom to alter the settings to fit my dramatic necessities and forgo strict adherence or fidelity to what Boiardo and Ariosto wrote.

Once I had a broad understanding of where I was going with my story, I knew the questions I had about this time period and what I needed to learn.  I began reading extensively on the Middle Ages checking out over a dozen books from the library at a time. The books that were extraordinarily helpful, I purchased for my personal bookshelf so I can use them as a handy reference tool.

Documentaries are also a good source of information as well.  Travel DVDs and travel guides often give historical summaries of towns and regions. To further my research, I traveled to France in 2007 to see the settings of my story and discovered real life magic in the Midi Pyrenees region. I scoured many museums while on my trip and saw artifacts with my own eyes and was open to discovery of items I had not read or heard about before. My novel became infused with detail that I could only learn from being there in person.

 3.  How do you transform your research into an entertaining narrative?

I avoid data dumps as much as possible. I recognize early drafts will be rife with clunky dialogue and paragraphs of detail that will cause pacing to come to a grinding halt.  It is important that I allow myself to turn off my inner editor, and get my story down in tangible form so that a first draft is created.

Once the editing phase begins, I edit for pacing and readability.  I think it is important to add historical detail on the fly as much as possible.  This is similar to revealing character by demonstrating through action or dialogue and not in boring narrative summary paragraphs.

I also balance adherence to historical accuracy with its impact on the drama of the storyline.  If those two principles came into conflict, I will side with drama every time.  I have extensive author’s notes explaining my historical anachronisms and my rationale for them. I would rather entertain someone with a story including some historical inaccuracies over boring someone with a lame dramatic structure but containing historically correct details.  After all, my story features a holy war that never occurred, starring fictional characters who never lived, and includes magic that doesn’t exist.  My goal is to retell these classic legends for a new generation, hope they are entertained and may be inspired to learn more about Charlemagne, the Medieval period as well as Renaissance Italy, the famed poets and the classic poems.

4. How do you sneak underlying messages into your narrative?

I smuggle deeper meaning by using symbolism and archetypes.

I admire the writing of Katherine Neville in her novel The Eight and the symbolism she used throughout.  I also adore the symbolism used in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.  The more I scratched the surface of either author’s work, the more I understood the underlying meaning of their narrative.

I deliberately include hidden meaning by the naming of characters.  One character is the hermit who treated Bradamante’s wounds.  He appeared in the original poem, but was unnamed.  In researching online I found a treasure trove online of over 500 names of hermit saints and their mini-biographies.  I discovered Saint Namphaise, who according to legend was a soldier of Charlemagne. I hope to rescue this saint from obscurity with my story.

I want to extend an offer to join your readers who are in book clubs to join their discussions either by speakerphone or Skype.  My website is www.LindaCMcCabe.com where you can find my copious author endnotes, a sample set of reader questions, and more information about the legends of Charlemagne.  You can also visit my blog at lcmccabe.blogspot.com to see pictures from my trips to France and a recent trip to Italy.

Quest of the Warrior Maid is available as a trade paperback and an ebook on many online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Sony. It is globally distributed, so those outside the U.S. should be able to get an electronic or physical copy.

Goodies Galore

Dear Reader,

Man, that illness took me out last week! I’m still sleeping an inordinate amount of time, so I’m keeping this blog post short.

I had a guest post at Indie Horror last week where I talked about how Mr. Trentwood, my ghostly father in Haunting Miss Trentwood surprised me time and again… even though I created him! Check it out, it was fun talking about how my character got away from me in the best way possible.

Happy eBook week! Starting March 6, get a 50% discount for Catching the Rose and Haunting Miss Trentwood with coupon code RAE50; and 100% off Mad Maxine with coupon code RE100 at Smashwords!

Also, Stacey Wallace Benefiel is discounting her books, so you should scoop those up as well. She’s tons of fun to read, and I know, because I read her Day of Sacrifice short and really enjoyed it.

That’s really all the writing I had energy for… my apologies. Enjoy your discounted books!

Best,

Belinda

Guest Post and Giveaway

Dear Reader,

I’m doing my best to catch up with everything after my conference last week, and feel like I’m failing miserably. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer my tardiness! Check out my guest post at Word Nerd and leave a comment there to win a signed print copy of Haunting Miss Trentwood plus the coffin-shaped soap that goes with it!

Best,

Belinda

Interviewing Susan Spann

Dear Reader,

We indie authors need to stick together, and most especially us  indie historical fiction authors. We seem to be a rare breed.

Today my guest is Susan Spann, a fellow indie historical fiction author who was kind enough to answer some tough questions for me.

Learn more about Susan

Susan lives in Northern California with her husband, teenage son and three cats (one of which is large enough to count as two). She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Association, and enjoys horseback riding, archery, rock climbing and books about adventures (both fictional and non-fiction).

When not running amok or too far in the weeds, Susan writes historical fiction. Her work takes legendary (or semi-legendary) historical figures and tells their stories as though they had really lived. She loves research as much as writing, and particularly enjoys finding a kernel of fact that can grow into an interesting story. You can find her on Twitter as @SusanSpann.

How do you transform your passion into focused research?

I approach research like a category 5 hurricane goes after a coastal fishing village – hit hard, cover as much ground as possible and leave no stone unturned.

When I’m starting a new novel (as I am now) I pick the legend or person whose story I want to tell and then scour the Internet, bookstores, and the library for information. Sometimes I also contact museums or researchers in the location where the events took place. I read as much as I can about the era in which the story is set and the people and places involved. I look at history, geography (including photographs when possible), culture, literature, and especially personal narratives. Only after I stuff myself full of facts and images do I try to let a focused story flow.

How do you translate your research into an entertaining narrative?

Starting from legends gives me an advantage. Someone already took a life and turned it into a song or story that people want to hear. After researching the historical “soil” in which the legend grew, I try to cultivate the story as it might have really happened, generally in a first-person narrative voice, without losing the vital elements of the legend itself. I’m looking for a blend of fact and fiction that does justice to both.

It also helps to work with children and animals. W.C. Fields discouraged it, but I include them in every novel and I never want for entertainment – some of it more scatological than I expected.

How do you sneak an underlying message into your entertaining narrative?

If you put all the white spaces between the words together, they make a picture of a horse in a snowstorm.

The honest answer is, I cheat: legends carry their own messages, which amplify on their own when the story goes from short-form to novel length. I find characters I admire and work on telling their stories in a compelling way. When the protagonist is admirable and surrounded by a supporting cast of realistic characters and challenges, the messages seem to take care of themselves.

Thank you to Susan for providing great answers to some tough questions! Make sure you check out her website and follow her on Twitter.

Interested in being interviewed?

I’d love to profile you on Worderella Writes, especially if you are an indie author, and most especially if you are an indie historical fiction author. I look forward to learning more about you and your upcoming projects!

Interviewing Stacey Cochran

Dear Reader,

I’d like to introduce you to Stacey Cochran, my guest from the West today at Worderella Writes.

He was kind enough to answer my three questions with some excellent answers, so don’t let me keep you. Read on!

Learn more about Stacey

Stacey Cochran was born in the Carolinas, where his family traces its roots to the mid 1800s. In 1998 he was selected as a finalist in the Dell Magazines undergraduate fiction competition, and he made his first professional short story sale to CutBank in 2001. In 2004, he was selected as a finalist in the St. Martin’s Press/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Contest. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife Dr. Susan K. Miller-Cochran and their son Sam, and he teaches writing at North Carolina State University. His books include The Colorado Sequence, Amber Page, CLAWS, and CLAWS 2.

How do you transform your passion into focused research?

Thanks so much for hosting me today.

To answer your question, it really just takes a ton of persistence. I suppose that deep down a writer must believe that what he/she has to say matters. We probably all start from that premise. In the case of the CLAWS books, it started with that belief and a curiosity about the area in which I lived.

See I moved to Arizona in 2001 from North Carolina, and the landscape out West was so different from what I’d known before that I immersed myself in it. Around 2003 and 2004, a number of mountain lion stalkings began popping up in the news in Tucson, and I thought that it would make for an interesting topic for a novel.

How do you translate your research into an entertaining narrative?

Well, it all starts with character. First I had to imagine who would be my guide through the novel… a novel about mountain lions. The logical answer was a wildlife biologist. I settled on Dr. Angie Rippard because “Rippard” was the name of my favorite high school English teacher, and it seemed to fit the story.

I followed the story template — the plot structure, if you will — of Jaws. But instead of an ocean-going adventure, CLAWS was set in the desert high country of Arizona.

How do you sneak an underlying message into your entertaining narrative?

The message in CLAWS is pretty direct. Unregulated and uncontrolled real estate development into wilderness lands in the American West is harmful to the environment. I didn’t hide the message at all. The villain of the story is not the mountain lion; the villain is the ruthless real estate developer who builds golf course communities on the sides of previously virgin mountains.

The tragedy is that this is what has happened all over Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, and that there’s been little progress to stop it.

Whether nature will fight back as it does in CLAWS and CLAWS 2 remains to be seen. What’s more likely to occur is that we will keep poisoning our atmosphere with CO2 and our oceans with mercury, and that our physical health (and our children’s health) will continue to deteriorate. Overpopulation of our planet is a real and serious stress on our environment, and our environment will continue to respond to that stress in ways that affect our health unless we make massive, lasting policy changes.

The CLAWS books are meant to stir that conversation into being.

Thank you to Stacey for providing great answers to some tough questions! Make sure you check out his CLAWS books, as well as other books published by the Stacey Cochran publishing arm.

Interested in being interviewed?

I’d love to profile you on Worderella Writes, especially if you are a self-publishing author in need of some marketing help. All I ask is that you email answers to the following three questions, along with a requested posting date. I look forward to learning more about you and your upcoming projects!

Worderella Interviews James M Turner

Dear Reader,

I’d like to introduce you to James M Turner, my guest from across the pond today at Worderella Writes.

Turner is an author, composer, musician and screenwriter. Having had a successful career as a highly paid professional musician, he now works in the film industry. His first television series screenplay ‘The Taker’ is currently in development and will hopefully move into production later in 2010.

About ‘Beyond the Comfort Zone’

According to James, his newly released work Beyond the Comfort Zone is a memoir of a short period in the life of James M Turner. Having enjoyed a career as a professional musician for the rich and famous, in 2002 he moved to south east Asia where he eventually came into contact with the child trafficking trade.

Together with an acquaintance and the help of a US organization they attempt to gain the confidence of the traffickers and bring them to justice – saving the cargo in the process.

There is a little bit in there about James’ hedonistic days of travelling the world as a high paid musician, but this is really just a foil to throw into stark contrast the subsequent adventure in Asia.

It’s a tale that follows two young men trying to do the right thing and in the process nearly losing themselves as they spiral downwards into a shadowy world where human lives, at least their lives, are worth nothing. There is danger, intrigue, high emotion and a fragile love story woven together in what one reviewer called an exceptional journey …the making of a Hollywood blockbuster, in short a Shantaram for South East Asia.’

I’m very pleased to have James here to interview. So let’s get on with the questions!

How do you transform your passion into focused research?

Well, in the case of Beyond the Comfort Zone as it was a memoir there was very little research to be done, it was more a ‘method’ writing piece. I did a little historical research in the areas where I thought that people needed contextual help to understand the jeopardy, but again I was already fairly well read in that subject and it really was minimal internet verification.

However, when I was writing ‘The Taker’ my main research consisted of putting myself in the environment. I had a rough plot arc, stepping stones as I like to call them, but I wanted to feel the atmosphere.

This consisted of me sitting in downtown L.A. and soaking up the sights and sounds, making notes as I went. Also, as there is a technology component to the story, I researched cutting edge technology and then imagined how I could push it a bit farther.

Probably the longest gestation period in the development process in ‘The Taker’ was with the characters. I think I had between ten to twenty thousand words of back-story before they even set foot on page one of the script. That made for a fairly quick writing process as I had a very good idea how these people would react in certain situations.

How do you translate your research into an entertaining narrative?

As Beyond the Comfort Zone is a true story, the entertaining narrative really took care of itself. These were real people, very complex individuals. I had a location which was exotic (Thailand). Then the story itself was as dramatic as any fictional thriller.

I tried to make the writing as concise as I could which meant that if I didn’t feel that something was moving the story along or there was some part that needed to be told in a more succinct manner – then out it would go.

One of the things that people have picked up on is the ‘page-turner’ aspect of Beyond the Comfort Zone most people tell me they have read it in 24-36 hrs. I think that is something that my cut throat editing approach has enhanced. If it isn’t contributing to moving the story forward, then it has to go.

How do you sneak an underlying message into your entertaining narrative?

Well, there’s an old quote from Don Maclean who wrote the song ‘American Pie’. When they asked him what the lyrics and the song meant to him he replied ‘It means I don’t have to work again!’ But, to be serious, I’m not sure sneak is the right word. I have however been amazed at how people take away all sorts of ‘hidden’ meanings and sub-plots from Beyond the Comfort Zone. Actually I’m quite happy for them to do that and very glad that the book lives on with people for quite some time after they have read it.

For ‘The Taker’ however hidden meanings are very much an integral part of the plot structure. I had a rough idea of interconnections between events and people, but just wrote the story down without expanding too much on any of those. Then, when the story was complete, I went back to those moments I had identified and dropped in little nuggets that at the time don’t attract too much attention. By the end when the revelations appear there is a clear though (hopefully) surprising link.

However, as I said before, I am constantly surprised by the conclusions drawn by others as to what is sub-text and hidden meaning. Of course I’ll take credit for that…even when it wasn’t deliberate.

Thanks for joining us today! For more information about James, visit his website James M Turner.com and read reviews on Amazon (UK).

All the best,

Belinda

Featured Author: Zoe Winters

Happy new year, everyone! I’m starting this year with high hopes; I’ve completed the surface edits of Trentwood’s Orphan and am ready to send it out for impressions/critiques. This is the second draft, so whatever comments I get will hopefully make the third draft ready for publication.

In other news, my blogging friend Erica Ridley has made a sale of her book, Touched!

Today we’re talking with Zoe Winters, another of my author friends, who has answered questions about Kept, now available as an ebook and on the Kindle. According to Zoe, Kept is about…

Greta is a werecat whose tribe plans to sacrifice her during the next full moon. Her only hope for survival is Dayne, a sorcerer who once massacred most of the tribe. What’s that thing they say about the enemy of your enemy?

What are the main points about you and/or the book that should be emphasized to the audience?

This is  paranormal romance novella, available as a free ebook and available on the Kindle reader.

Who do you think will buy your book (i.e., your market)?

My market is romance readers, as well as Buffy fans.  People who like Buffy would probably like my writing style and subject matter, though it is NOT a Buffy knock-off.  It’s just geared toward that type of reader base.  Interestingly, I’ve picked up a few male readers.  Not sure if they know they’re reading romance or not, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

If you could construct an interview for yourself, what questions would you want to be asked?

As for what questions I’d want to be asked, I don’t really have any specific preferences there.  Though I do find it very interesting how romance as a genre is ghettoized, when romance and love and sex are a part of the human condition and as worthy as any other subject matter to be written about.

Is there any competition for your book? How are the other books alike? How are they dissimilar?

Hellboy, in my opinion, was a paranormal romance movie, it just wasn’t marketed that way.  But everything ultimately revolved around Hellboy getting together with the fire chick.  And yet it was geared to a largely male audience.  The Hulk movie was another romance.  Almost everything revolves around Bruce’s love for Betty and hers for him.  Yet, another movie that was marketed more to men than women (lots of sarcasm, lots of explosions), but it’s STILL romance.

Yet, when we get to books, a strong romantic plot gets ghettoized as “not a real book.”  If this is true, it is only because of the ill-advised behavior of romance publishers marketing departments with clinch covers, shallow plots, and cheesy expository titles, because it surely isn’t the subject matter.

What was your inspiration for the book? Tell us anything about you as a working writer that you think might be interesting or unusual.

Originally I wrote the novella to submit to a special Samhain novella anthology.  But I didn’t make the deadline for their open submissions.  I could have made it but the story wouldn’t have been as good so I chose not to enter it.  Later I submitted it elsewhere, but in the end decided to self publish it as a free ebook, as an introduction to a much larger universe I’ve created.

For more information about Zoe and Kept, visit http://zoewinters.wordpress.com/.

Are you interested in being a featured author on Worderella Writes? E-mail answers to the following questions and I’ll post them as soon as possible.

  • What are the main points about you and/or the book that should be emphasized to the audience?
  • Who do you think will buy your book (i.e., your market)?
  • If you could construct an interview for yourself, what questions would you want to be asked?
  • Is there any competition for your book? How are the other books alike? How are they dissimilar?
  • What was your inspiration for the book?
  • Tell us anything about you as a working writer that you think might be interesting or unusual.
  • What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading your book?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to add?

“Going to” not “Want to”

A guest post from a new writing accomplice, Zoe Winters. She writes to encourage you to find your dream and follow through, using the television show The Biggest Loser as a classic example. So read on, and tell us your dreams!

One of my heroes is Ali Vincent.  If you don’t know who this is, she was the winner of the last season of “The Biggest Loser,” a weight loss reality show.  Midway through the season she was eliminated, though the show planned to bring back a couple of contestants from home who earned it.

In the elimination room right after she was eliminated she said: “I am going to be the next biggest loser.”  And she said it with such conviction, that though most of us thought she was loopy, we believed her a little bit.  She became the underdog.  When she was brought back on the show, she became a favorite for the win.

As it got down to the wire, both she and Kelly desperately wanted to be the first girl biggest loser.  Kelly talked daily about how badly she wanted to be the first girl to win and how cool it would be.  But she never said any more than that she wanted it.  No one doubted that she wanted it.  And she worked hard for it.  But she didn’t get it.  Ali did.

Between the two, I can only find one difference.  Ali kept saying “I am going to be the next biggest loser.”  Going to.  Not Want to.  It stopped being a dream and started being a goal.  Of course saying you are going to do something, doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen.

If Ali had failed she would have had “I’m going to be the next biggest loser,” hanging over her head forever, because she said it repeatedly on national television.  Some people thought she was “too cocky,” but I don’t see it that way.  She was single-minded.  This was her goal and it was happening one way or another and if it didn’t happen she would go down fighting.

If she had failed she would have picked herself up off the ground and kept going.  “The Biggest Loser” was a one time opportunity, but she would have found something else impossible to do and would have done it.  Because that’s who she is.  We need more Ali Vincents in the world.

When approaching your writing, what are your goals?  Do you see them as just dreams?  Things you “wish” would or could happen?  Things that would be really cool if they happened?

Do yourself a favor, decide what you’re “going” to do.  Take your dream and own it.  There are no guarantees that this will get you where you want to go, but when you take control and subtly shift a dream to a goal, it shores up your belief in your ability to reach that goal.  And with strong belief comes creative ways to start moving toward the prize.

Zoe Winters writes paranormal romance.  She can be found at http://zoewinters.wordpress.com  Her novella, Kept, will be released as a free e-book from her website in October.  Her novel, Save My Soul, will be released serially as a free podcast, release date to be announced.

Another one off the schedule

Man, I’ve been jumping all over my blog posting schedule this week.

I’ve written a guest column at Graham Carter’s blog, just a little tongue-in-cheek reflection on the English accent. To read it yourself, check out the May 29 post at grahamcarter.net to read Graham’s introduction, or head straight to my post at the words subsection. (His icon for the post has me giggling, I think it’s awesome he put my logo above the American stars.)

As always, Graham is exceedingly complimentary. Please read his other posts; they’re a collection personal reflections from the British perspective, both enlightening and funny, though tempered with real life predicaments.

(Make sure to read the post on the growing trend of the American prom in England. At first, it didn’t occur to me that other countries don’t have prom, which had me shaking my head at myself. Then, I found it sad that American traditions are spreading like this. If I go to another country, I want to see their traditions, not mine with under a different accent. Plus, American proms are totally out of control, so why other countries would pick up the habit is beyond me…)