Ask the Authors 2022 is featured in KJA’s Writing Tools Bundle

Ask the Authors 2022

Where can you find publishing industry experts willing to share their secrets? 

Ask the Authors 2022 is the ultimate writer’s reference, with tips and advice on craft, publishing and marketing. Eleven experienced and successful authors share what works for them and offer their keys to success in traditional publishing, hybrid, and indie. You’ll learn industry wisdom from Mark Leslie Lefebvre, Kevin Killiany, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Bobby Nash, Paul Kane, Nancy Oswald, Chris Barili, Jeff Bowles, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Mario Acevedo and Kaye Lynne Booth.

This book offers up-to-date and tried-and-true ways to improve your craft, explores current publishing and book marketing worlds. Take a peek inside and find out what works for you.

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Every year, Kevin J. Anderson curates a Writer’s Career Toolkit Bundle in coincidence with NaNoWriMo, because we all know that those crazy writers who knock themselves out at this time of year to produce 50,000 words in 30 days, need all the help they can get.

This year, Ask the Authors 2022 is one of those books to be included in this useful bundle of books for writers! We are in great company. L. Jagi Lamplighter has a book of her own in the bundle, The Art and Craft of Writing and Mark Leslie Lefebrve has a book co-authored with D.F. Hart, MBA, Accounting for Authors. Also included are books by big name authors such as Joshua Essoe, Joanna Penn, Kevin J. Anderson, and David Farland. There’s even a book by one of my cohorts, Aisley Oliphant, Booked to the Gills, which is aimed at writers of 30 day writing challenges, and will be helpful to those preparing to participate in NaNoWriMo. (You can see my “Review in Practice” for Booked to the Gills, here.)

The Writer’s Career Toolkit Bundle

The Writer’s Career Toolkit Bundle  – Curated by Kevin J. Anderson


This is the time of year when a lot of people turn their thoughts to writing. Challenges such as the National Novel Writing Month (November) and other writing groups and workshops encourage you to push your craft and productivity. So, each year I put together a big writing StoryBundle packed with insightful books on a wide range of topics relevant to writers, both newbies and old pros. I include craft books, basic advice, time management and productivity, careers planning, publishing, and marketing—the complete bag of tricks!


This year we have fifteen titles, enough to keep you busy planning your next project and your entire writing career.


For basics, I’ve included Kaye Lynne Booth’s comprehensive Ask the Authors 2022, the ultimate writing reference anthology, with writing tips and advice from eleven different authors on everything from pre-writing rituals, to character development and world building, editing and revision, publishing, book marketing and more.

L. Jagi Lamplighter’s sharply insightful The Art and Craft of Writing delves into the nature of storytelling itself to discover simple and practical steps that can bring our writing to the next level.

And if today’s most successful publishers, editors, and writers wanted to share the lessons they’ve learned, would you listen? Here’s your chance in Titans Rising: The Business of Writing Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror in the 21st Century by William Alan Webb and Chris Kennedy.

Next, if you’re ready to write that novel, Joanna Penn will get you started with How to Write a Novel, everything you need to write your book from idea to finished final draft.

David Farland’s Million Dollar Outlines is the seminal writing manual on outlining and structuring a book to make it reach the largest audience, written by well-known master and teacher.

And Kevin Ikenberry’s Mercenary Guide to Story Structure gives a great overview of your story: All stories have structure—learn the ins and outs of the most common modern structures and how they enhance your characters and thestories they inhabit.

And you can’t get anything done unless you learn how to find and organize your writing time. Booked to the Gills: How to Crush Thirty-Day Writing Challenges for Busy People teaches time management, workload distribution, and other skills for writers who feel they have no time to participate in writing challenges such as National Novel Writing Month. Now to more specific skills, depending on what you’re writing.

Joshua Essoe continues his series of Guides with Worldbuilding, written by an editor from the perspective of tackling all the most-common issues writers struggle with when creating worlds. 

On Writing (and Reading!) Short by Ron Collins is a celebration of writing, reading, and living short fiction.

Interested in writing scripts? My own book of Clockwork Angels: The Comic Scripts contains nitty-gritty inside examples of how to write a comic script, all six complete scripts for the BOOM! Studios comic series from bestelling author and award-winning comic writer.

In The Non-User-Friendly Guide for Aspiring TV Writers by Steven L. Sears, a veteran successful TV writer shares tips and inside knowledge on how to break in to writing for TV.

Once you have your masterpiece completed, you need to turn your mind to the business. If you decide to go the indie publishing route, a vital guidebook is Chris Kennedy’s Indie Publishing for Profit: How to Get Your Book Out of Your Head and Into the Stores, which teaches both the craftand business of writing.

Sarah Painter’s Stop Worrying; Start Selling:The Introvert Author’s Guide to Marketing shows you how to take control of your success as an author and build your readership through authentic, low-stress marketing.

Christopher D. Schmitz sells thousands of paperbacks every year by identifying his fanbase and targeting where those folks go… and he shows you how to replicate his success in Sell More Books at Live Events.

And finally, you can’t forget about the numbers. Read Accounting for Authors by D.F. Hart and Mark Leslie Lefebvre. Regardless of how you are publishing, having a solid understanding of basic accounting principles allows you to make the most out of your author earnings and calculate your
pathways to success. With this StoryBundle, you’ll be well equipped for your writing and
publishing journey. – Kevin J. Anderson


For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of five books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.


On Writing (and Reading!) Short by Ron Collins
The Art and Craft of Writing by L. Jagi Lamplighter
Essoe’s Guides to Writing: Worldbuilding by Joshua Essoe
Indie Publishing for Profit by Chris Kennedy
Booked to the Gills by Aisley Oliphant


If you pay at least the bonus price of just $20, you get all five of the regular books, plus ten more books for a total of 15!


Million Dollar Outlines by David Farland
Clockwork Angels – The Comic Scripts by Kevin J. Anderson
The Non-User-Friendly Guide for Aspiring TV Writers by Steven L. Sears
Stop Worrying; Start Selling by Sarah Painter
Accounting for Authors by D.F. Hart, MBA and Mark Leslie Lefebvre
The Mercenary Guide to Story Structure by Kevin Ikenberry
Ask the Authors 2022 edited by Kaye Lynne Booth
How to Write a Novel – From Idea to Book by Joanna Penn
Sell More Books at Live Events by Christopher D. Schmitz
Titans Rising edited by William Alan Webb and Chris Kennedy

This bundle is available only for a limited time via  http://www.storybundle.com .

It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file
transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub, .mobi) for all books! It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.


Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.


• Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.

• Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
• Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting
authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
• Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to the Challenger Center for Space Education!
• Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.


For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, tweet us
at  @storybundle  and like us on  Facebook . For press inquiries, please
email  press@storybundle.com .

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The 2022 Writer’s Career Toolkit Bundle launched on September 29th and will be available thorugh the end of November. So, before you sharpen your pencils and limber up your fingers for the upcoming writing challenge, grab you bundle and warm up your brain cells to do your best writing ever!

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In celebration of this momentus event, eight of the contributing authors to Ask the Authors 2022 are getting together to tell us more about this great bundle and offer more writing tips and advice. Contributing author Mark Leslie LeFebrve will host myself, Bobby Nash, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Kevin Killiany, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Nancy Oswald, and Mario Acevedo, on his Stark Reflections podcast. I’ll keep you posted as to when that podcast session will air.


Graduation

Left to Right: Kevin J. Anderson, Kaye Lynne Booth, & Mark Leslie Lefebvre

Yep. That’s me in the picture above with Kevin J. Anderson and Mark Leslie Lefebvre after my graduation ceremony. Obviously, I survived all the craziness of summer residency and graduated with an M.A. in publishing, but there were moments. Western’s summer residencies are always pretty intensive and this one was no exception. The whole week was a bit of a whirlwind. Classes began on Monday at Western State University, and I arrived on campus just in time for the first class at 9 a.m.

We each got publishing cohort tee shirts, which made us all the coolest cohort on campus. On the back it says, “A Rising Publisher Lifts All Books” with the image of a hot air balloon with the Western insignia on it. During the lunch break, I went and checked into my motel, before returning for the afternoon sessions, and it seemed like it was nonstop from there.

Gilded Glass & Weird Tales: Best of the Early Years 1926-27

Wednesday evening, we held our big in person book launch at the Gunnison Arts Center. It encompassed all of my cohort’s solo projects, plus the launch of the group produced anthology, Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths & Shattered Fairy Tales, which includes stories by big name authors such as Michaelbrent Collins, Jonathan Maberry, Kristine Katheryn Rusch, Allen Dean Foster, and Sherrilynn Kenyon, along with many talented new authors, for an exceptional science fiction and fantasy anthology. It was also announced that the Weird Tales: Best of the Early Years volumes that Justin Craido and I put out with Jonathan Maberry will be republished through Weird Tales and Blackstone Publishing, which makes the volumes featured for the book signing limited editions which will only be available for a short time through WordFire Press. You can still get these books or any of the books of my cohort here: https://wordfirepress.com/gpcw/ . The signing did quite well, and we sold out all of the books we brought to the event, with sales which I consider to be phenomenal, $25,000. The proceeds go to the University to fund future publishing cohorts, which is very cool.

This was exciting for me, as it was my first book signing. I did do a poetry signing once at a all local writing fair, but it was nothing along the scale of this event. I was amazed when people came up to me, wanting my autograph on the books which I created. Wow!

Afterward, we celebrated at the Old Miner Steak House. We had the whole top floor reserved, but their grill broke, so they couldn’t cook any meals. So instead, we had the whole restaurant to ourselves. The staff did a bang up job of putting together a menu of salads and sandwiches for us, and I thoroughly enjoyed a delicious French dip.

I was almost totally brain dead by the time Friday rolled around, it was time for the commencement ceremony and time to say goodbye to my fellow authors and publishers. It was emotional as my instructor and mentor, Kevin J. Anderson, offered each of my cohort a special edition, embossed copy of his Clockwork Angels story collection, which he wrote with Neal Peart of Rush. He describes these stories as steampunk Canterbury Tales, and I can’t wait to read them, although I’m almost scared to open it, because it’s so beautiful.

Kaye Ready to Graduate (or fall asleep?)

I managed to make it through the graduation despite the heat sitting in cap and gown and mask. Of course, I was my usual, graceful self, bumbling awkwardly through my commencement. When I was announced by the program director, I started across the stage, but he added in my first M.F.A., which made me hesitate and stop in my tracks. As I was the only one to have such added information delivered, I felt I should allow him to finish before going into motion. That delayed start flustered me, so when I got over to Kevin to be hooded, I forgot to bend down, but he managed to get it over my head anyway. Realizing I had messed up flustered me even more and Kevin had to tell me to come back for a hug. But I made it through to the final photos without any more blunders.

Saturday, I arrived home to find that there were monsoon rains everyday while I was gone, and my yard and garden had exploded with greenery and other bright colors, including one monster cherry tomato plant, which grows in a large pot on my porch and a single gigantic mullein plant that I let grow in the front yard. Oh yes, and while I was gone, the bear which has frequented my neighborhood for as long as I can remember paid me a visit and scattered my garbage across my property. He’s a big brown bear and he pulled my garbage can over my wire fence, demolishing it. So, after unloading everything, I got to drag myself out and pick up trash before finally collapsing, exhausted. It had been a long and exciting week, but it was good to be home.

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Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a M.A. in Publishing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you.

She has short stories featured in the following anthologies: The Collapsar Directive (“If You’re Happy and You Know It”); Relationship Add Vice (“The Devil Made Her Do It”); Nightmareland (“The Haunting in Carol’s Woods”); Whispers of the Past (“The Woman in the Water”); Spirits of the West (“Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”); and Where Spirits Linger (“The People Upstairs”). Her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets, and her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, are both available in both digital and print editions at most of your favorite book distributors.

In addition, she keeps up her authors’ blog, Writing to be Read, where she posts reflections on her own writing, author interviews and book reviews, along with writing tips and inspirational posts from fellow writers. Kaye Lynne has also created her own very small publishing house in WordCrafter Press, and WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services, where she offers quality author services, such as publishing, editing, and book blog tours. She has served as a judge for the Western Writers of America and sitting on the editorial team for Western State Colorado University and WordFire Press for the Gilded Glass anthology and editing Weird Tales: The Best of the Early Years 1926-27, under Kevin J. Anderson & Jonathan Maberry.

In her spare time, she is bird watching, or gardening, or just soaking up some of that Colorado sunshine.

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.


Book Reviews: Double Booked & Bump in the Night

I recently supported a Kickstarter for Kevin J. Anderson and his latest Dan Shamble Zombie P.I. novel, Double Booked. (You can find out more about the Kickstarter campaign here.) As a bonus, I also received a new short story from same series, Bump in the Night. How cool is that?

I’ll be honest. I knew I was going to love Double Booked before I ever started reading it. That’s why I supported the Kickstarter to get it. I’ve read several, if not all of the Dan Shamble Zombie P.I. series, and I have reviewed them here on Writing to be Read. (You can find my previous review of the Dan Shamble Zomnibus: Death Warmed Over & Working Stiff here.)

I was not disappointed. Double Booked is filled with Dan Shamble’s ghoulish zombie humor and all the loveable characters we’ve grown to love from this series. Once again, Dan, his ghostly girlfriend, Sheyenne, his human lawyer partner, Robin, and his vampire half-daughter, Alvina, are trying to save the unnatural quarter of the world after The Big Uneasy brought all manner of monsters to life. Dan Shamble is charged with the protection of the retired eccentric librarian who some say is responsible for bringing about The Big Uneasy, but when whole neighborhoods begin disappearing and the book behind it all is stolen, Dan Shamble has more than enough to keep him shambling through the Unnatural Quarter trying to solve this double mystery.

Likewise, with the short story bonus book, “Bump in the Night”, was equally entertaining as Dan Shamble and company try to save the Boogeyman from his overbearing aunties. Even though it is a brief tale, it’s an entertaining read.

Honestly, you know any of the books in the Dan Shamble Zombie P.I. series, by Kevin J. Anderson, are going to be an entertaining read, so Double Booked was no surprise, as it kept things rolling so readers won’t want to put it down. The bonus short story, “Bump in the Night”, was a pleasant surprise-not because it was an enjoyable read, but because it was an unexpected bonus. I can’t find it on Amazon or on the WordFire Press site, to offer my review there, but I give both books five quills.

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Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


Writer’s Corner – Five Podcasts Serious Indie Authors Won’t Want to Miss

In my publishing courses at Western State Colorado University, my instructors and mentors, Kevin J. Anderson and Allyson Longuiera have introduced us to several useful podcasts for independent authors and/or publishers and I’d like to share them with you here.

Writing Excuses : https://writingexcuses.com/2021/03/07/16-10-paying-it-forward-with-kevin-j-anderson/

Hosts Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Peng Shepard, and Howard Taylor offer up tips and writing advice, mainly on craft. This podcast provides short sessions, they claim 15 minutes, but the session for the link above is closer to 30. It’s an interview with Kevin J. Anderson about paying it forward, and it’s really good, so I tought you all might enjoy it. Kevin started out with traditional publishing way back when, but has now established his own independent press in WordFire Press, so he speaks to both sides of the industry, and this interview is proof that whether published traditionally or independently, authors are a good bunch. I’m proud to be counted amoung this tribe.

But the episodes really are brief, so take a little time and explore the site. They have many interesting topics of value to authors at all stages of their career. Here’s the main page link: https://writingexcuses.com/

Six Figure Authors: https://6figureauthors.com/

With hosts Lindsay Baroker, Joe Lallo and Andrea Pearson, this podcast offers publishing and marketing tips, more than craft advice, but as six figure authors, they are crushing it and they are willing to share their advice with their listeners. I enjoy binging back episodes on my lengthy commute to and from my day job. They have a Facebook group which listeners can join, where they can pose questions to the hosts or their guests to be answered on the podcast. Lots of valuable information for authors here, whether just starting out or if you’ve been at it for a while.

The Creative Penn: https://www.thecreativepenn.com/podcasts/

I love this podcast! Host Joanna Penn (with a double N), is an author/enterprenuer and a futurist. Her podcast is filled with interviews and discussion about industry trends and where things might be headed. She’s got a killer accent which makes her fun to listen to, too.

The Self Publishing Formula: https://selfpublishingformula.com/spf-podcast/

Host Mark Dawson is a best selling independent author provides interviews and master classes on self-publishing. He and his co-host, James Blatch both have accents that are heavier and more difficult for me to understand, but they do offer up some valuable information on the independent publishing world.

Quick and Dirty Tips: https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl

This is every writers go-to podcast for all of your grammer questions, with Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, who discusses proper grammar and common grammar mistakes. A quick reference for all grammar questions you are unsure of during writing and editing processes.

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Like this post? Let me know in the comments. You can be sure not to miss any of Writing to be Read’s great content by subscribing to e-mail or following on WordPress. If you found this content helpful or entertaining, please share.


Review in Practice – Slushpile Memories: How Not to Get Rejected

Slush Pile Memories: How Not to Get Rejected

Introducing a new blog series

For those of you that don’t know, I am currently embarked on a journey to earn my masters degree in publishing at Western State Colorado University. Some of you may know this because I mentioned it when I posted the submission guidelines for the Mirror, Mirror anthology that we are putting together for our class thesis project. I was really excited about sharing this paid writing opportunity with all of you and I hope many of you will craft out a story that fits the guidelines and submit it. I was recently reminded that the submission deadline is just two weeks away, so get those stories in.

With work and school and trying to write, I’ve been struggling just to get my Monday blog post out. I’ve been blogging here on Writing to be Read since 2010 and it is important to me and hopefully to my readers, so I can justify feeling a need not to drop the ball here even though I’m extremely busy. My solution, which I thought was rather smart, was to create a new blog series, “Review in Practice”, where you can join me through book reviews that reflect lessons taken from books I read as I work to improve my craft and learn the publishing industry. In this way, the books I need to read in order to learn and improve will do double duty as I share them with you here. These reviews will offer my opinion of the book, and also tell you about my experience with it and share what I have learned. I do hope you will join me.

My Review

Reading Slush Pile Memories: How Not to Get Rejected, by New York Times Bestselling author, Kevin J. Anderson helped to prepare me for the onslaught that is already flooding the submissions box, because it offered me a better idea of what lay ahead. But, this book was written for authors, to give them an idea of what editors are looking for and improve the chances that your submission will read and accepted. It is a brief book, which doesn’t take long to read and the lessons contained within could prove invaluable. As I have begun working my own way through this year’s slush pile, I’ve already learned that the experiences contained within Slush Pile Memories: How Not to Get Rejected is spot on.

Of course there’s never any guarantees of acceptance, but there are ways to increase the odds. Kevin J. Anderson relates his own experiences from the last two anthologies the graduate publishing program at Western put together. (Yes, he is really my professor. How cool is that?) If you are thinking of submitting a story to Mirror, Mirror or any other anthology, Slush Pile Memories: How Not to Get Rejected is a must read. I give it five quills.

Like this post? Let me know in the comments. You can be sure not to miss any of Writing to be Read’s great content by subscribing to e-mail or following on WordPress. If you found this content helpful or entertaining, please share.


“Unmasked”: An appropriate short fiction collection for a pandemic era.

Unmasked: Stories of Risk and Revelation

This pandemic has changed a lot of things for everyone, including what we wear and how we interact with others. Who hasn’t walked away from an encounter with someone, who we know, but didn’t recognize under their mask? Who hasn’t struggled to understand a situation properly due to the fact that we are unable to read someone’s facial expressions beneath their mask? (I have often wondered over the past year how the deaf have adapted since they cannot see any lips to read.) The necessity of wearing masks has made simple social interactions more difficult in many ways, and added an element of mystery to everyday interactions, when we are fortunate enough to be able to interact under government restrictions.

Masks may hide a lot of things, but they can also be revealing in some ways, as you’ll see if you read the new WordFire Press short fiction anthology, appropriately titled Unmasked: Stories of Risk and Revelation. Edited by Kevin J. Anderson, this collection of short stories offers many different ways to look at masks and some surprising revelations about what may be hidden beneath the mask. There are many reasons to wear masks. Sometimes they are the key to awakening super powers that we never knew we had, as in the first story by Seanan Maguire, “Pygmalion”, or perhaps the mask grants the ability to hide in plain sight, as is the case in “I Have No Name”, by Andi Christopher, or perhaps a mask holds a savior in disguise, as in “The Green Gas”, by Liam Hogan or “The Fog of War”, by Edward J. Knight. In “The Faces of Death”, by Ed Burkley, masks hold the past, or perhaps predict the future.

Masks are a form of disguise, camoflauge for what truly lies beneath, an illusion which covers what is real, as in “Framing Marta”, James Romag or “Death by Misadventure” by John M. Olsen. A mask may take the form of the shadow of a soul searcher, as in “The Quota”, by Tom Howard, or that of a self-aware sex-bot, as in “Qualia”, by Russell Davis, or a shadow creature, as in “Shot in the Dark”, Brennen Hankins. Masks can hide the true identity, as in “Pagliacci’s Joke”, by Travis Heerman, or perhaps enhance the strengths of the persona underneath, as in “La Marionnette, by Alicia Cay or “A New Purpose”, by Rebecca M. Senese. The parallel post-pandemic world of “Speakeasy”, by Keltie Zubko, hits close to home and removing the mask may not be worth the risk after all.

My favorite story from this collection has to be “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast”, by Eugie Foster. A tale which takes place in a world where masks are the norm, with individual personas that are imprinted on the wearer so that they may live a different life each day.

In Unmasked: Tales of Risk and Revelation, each story stays true to theme and they are filled with surprises. I found this anthology quite entertaining and enjoyable. I give it five quills.

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Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


Chatting with the Pros: Interview with best selling author Kevin J. Anderson

Chatting with the Pros

I am so pleased to welcome my author guest this month on “Chatting with the Pros”. He is the most prolific writer I know and he’s written numerous books that have made international bestsellers lists. He’s best known for his science fiction and fantasy stories, but he’s done a good amount of writing for hire and lives by the motto of, “I can do that”. I’ve asked him to join me here today as we celebrate superheroes and supervillains, because of one single book that he wrote, Enemies and Allies, which delves into the universe of superheroes, in hopes that he will share with us his unique perspective on this often overlooked genre. Please help me welcome Kevin J. Anderson.


KJA

Kaye: When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Kevin: When I was five, even before I could write. I knew I wanted to tell stories.

Kaye: You’ve been on bestseller lists, won multiple-awards for your writing, had your books made into screenplays, published both short fiction and novel length works, collaborated with some big name authors, and started your own independent press. In your own eyes, what has been your greatest writing accomplishment to date?

Kevin: I think the greatest thing is being able to do what I love and actually make a living at it—not getting one thing published, not winning an award, not seeing a movie option on one of your stories, but by being able to do this not as a hobby, but as the thing by which I pay the bills. I’ve been full time for 25 years now. I’m probably unemployable otherwise.

Kaye: Do you remember the first book you ever read?

Kevin: THE TIME MACHINE by HG Wells

Kaye: In Enemies & Allies, who was the most difficult character to write? Why?

Kevin: Superman/Kal-el/Clark. Sometimes he comes off as a simplistic boy scout, but I really think I got to the core of why he’s a superhero, and why he’s very human at the same time.

Kaye: How does writing a superhero or a super villain differ from writing plain old heroes and villains? What makes super heroes so special?

Kevin: They can do bigger, more epic things, which is great fun as a writer, but you also have to give them greater weaknesses. The things they do MATTER to the future of the world and the human race, not just “Gee, who’s going to ask me to prom?”

Enemies and Allies

Kaye: In Enemies & Allies, which superhero did you favor, Batman or Superman?

Kevin: I found Batman much easier to write and understand, a gritty lost soul, and so I worked a lot harder to get just as deep into Superman, to flesh him out more, and I think I succeeded in finding a very good balance between the two extremes while keeping them both heroes.

Kaye: What is the hardest part to writing a super villain?

Kevin: Supervillains are fun. You can be as twisted as you want and you can dive into their motivations. Why are they the bad guy?

Kaye: Which would you rather write, a superhero or a super villain? Why?

Kevin: Supervillains. But in most of my writing I try to make it a matter of perspective as to who is the villain and who is the hero. Depends on what side you’re on.

Kaye: Do you see superhero/supervillain qualities coming out through the characters in your other stories? Which stories do you see this in most?

Kevin: I still consider them all as characters, with good sides and bad sides, each with powers or skills. I have only done two superhero books out of my 165 titles, so actually approached it the other way around, bringing all my other writing skills to bear in a novel featuring superheroes.

Kaye: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Kevin: Wait, another apocalypse???  Hmmm, if I couldn’t write, I would be a publisher or a public speaker or a teacher…but I’m already doing those things.  In these times, you can’t just be ONE thing.  If I had to scrap everything related to the industry, I suppose I would be a forest ranger, because I love the outdoors.

Kaye: Is there anything unique or unusual about your writing process?

Kevin: I get a lot of attention because I do all my writing by dictation, talking into a digital recorder while I hike. But I have been doing it for thirty years, so I don’t consider it unusual at all.

Kaye: Which is your favorite type of writing? Short fiction? Novels? Comic Books? Screenplays? Poetry? Graphic Novels? Why?

Kevin: Novels. I like the big scope, a project I can sink my teeth into and spend lots of time developing it.

Kaye: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Kevin: Don’t quit your day job. Keep writing and refining and getting better, and never stop.

Kaye: What do you think is the single most important element in a story?

Kevin: It’s not a single-element thing. It’s like saying which is the most important wheel on your car. You have to get the plot, the characters, the prose, the worldbuilding, the idea, everything.

Kaye: What is the one thing in your writing career that is the most unusual or unique thing you’ve done so far?

Kevin: Probably working with legendary Rush drummer Neil Peart to convert the last Rush album, Clockwork Angels, into a bestselling novel. One of my proudest accomplishments.


I want to thank Kevin for joining me today and sharing his insight into the making of a superhero or supervillain, and his thoughts on writing. Kevin is currently working in the fantasy realm, with his newest thoughts on Gods and Dragons. You can learn more about Kevin and his books at WordFire Press or on his Amazon author page.

Also, Kevin’s convention bookstore is no longer traveling, so there are a lot of signed copies of his books in inventory right now, as well as some obscure and hard to find books. Some sets discounted to half-price or even more, including all six original Dune books for $30. You can check out the selection at http://www.wordfireshop.com.

Join me next month, when we will be delving into speculative fiction, and my “Chatting with the Pros” author guest will be Dave Wolverton.


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May: Superheroes & Supervillains

Superheros.Supervillains

In May, on Writing to be Read, our theme is Superheroes & Supervillains in celebration of comic books and comic universes, and all that it has evolved into over the years. Comic books aren’t really in my wheelhouse. I’m more of a Saturday morning cartoon type of gal, with Underdog and Mighty Mouse as my favorite heroes, and I still watch reruns of the original Batman series with Adam West and Burt Ward on ME TV.  But I wanted to run this theme because I think there is a little bit of superhero in every protagonist we write, and a little bit of supervillain in every adversary.

Because I’m not versed in the comic universes, I’m turning to others, who know comics and superheroes much better than I. Jeff Bowels is much younger and wiser in this area, and he will be offering us his expertise and insight on the evolution of the comic and its characters this month, as well as a look at the similarities and differences between the characters of the Marvel and DC universes. In addition, my “Chatting with the Pros” author guest this month is international bestselling author, Kevin J. Anderson, who also authored the book, Enemies and Allies. My supporting interview will be with comic author and novelist, Jason Henderson, who most recently authored Young Captain Nemo. Both of these authors appeared at the recent WordCrafter 2020 Stay in Place Virtual Writing Conference and they know what it takes to create superheroes and supervillains in their own science fiction and fantasy writing. My review for The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows, by David Perlmutter posted last Friday, and I will also be reviewing Echo One: Tales From the Secret Chronicles anthology from WordFire Press. And don’t miss “Mind Fields” this month, where Art Rosch will give us a piece on the character development of villains.

Comics are based on serialized art, and Famous Funnies is considered by many to be the first comic book, coming out in 1933 and publishing until 1955. DC‘s Superman got his start in a comic strip, and he was the first character to wear a cape, setting the image for many of the superheroes that have followed. He made his debut in his own comic book in 1939, the same year that Marvel launched Timely Comics. Not long after, DC came out with Batman in Detective Comics #27, the most sought after comic among collectors and fans alike, and he and Superman both celebrated their 80th birthdays last year.

Other superhero characters followed, including Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Cyborg and Aquaman, who along with Batman and and Superman, came to be known as the Big Seven of DC’s Justice League, and Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four: Mister Fantastic, Invisible Girl (now Invisible Woman), Thing and Human Torch, and Marvel’s X-Men: Professor X, Cyclops, Iceman, Angel (later known as Archangel), Beast and Marvel Girl (a.k.a. Pheonix/Dark Pheonix). And let’s not forget Marvel’s Hulk, Spiderman, and Ironman, Wolverine, and DC’s Swamp Thing.

It’s interesting to see how the characters, and comics have evolved into other forms of media. While comic books remain popular, as the turnout for any Comicon can demonstrate, today we see comics and comic book characters in the form of graphic novels, and they’ve made the jump to visual media, first in television, and then in film. We’ve also seen the rise of the anti-hero, giving us characters such as Dead Pool, who are the epitome of the reluctant hero in every hero’s journey. (See my review of Dead Pool (2016) here.) Although superhero, (and anti-hero), movies had a lull in popularity during the 1980s and 90s, they’ve seen a rise during the 21st century and are big money at the box office today. Statista claims that the superhero movies of 2019 grossed 3.2 billion dollars in combined domestic revenue.

However, we can only weigh the strength and goodness of the superhero by the evilness and capabilities of the villains they face. DC wove the history behind how Batman’s first adversary came to become a supervillain, the notorious Joker. Just as superheroes evolve and change, so do supervillains, and the Joker is no exception. He has changed and evolved over the years, but not always on the same evolutionary time table as superheroes. (See Jeff Bowels’ review of  Joker from 2019.) But even with a supervillain, who is super-evil, there must always be a grain of humanity that makes them vulnerable. They weren’t just born evil. They have tragic histories that have twisted them into the super-evil, hard hearted villains that they are, and that makes them relatable on some level, even if we can’t bring ourselves to root for them and breath a sigh of relief when they meet their demise.

The heroes and villains in genre fiction may not have super powers or be invincible, but they do share certain qualities with the superheroes and supervillains of the comic book world, like altruism (for heroes), and selfishness and greed (for villains), and basic humanity (for all). They have a lot to teach us about making relatable heroes and villains we can love to hate. Please join us this month as we explore the world of comics, superheroes and supervillains, on Writing to be Read.

I shared above that my favorite comic superheroes as a kid were Mighty Mouse, Underdog and Batman. Let me know in the comments who your favorite superheroes or supervillains are, and why they are your favorite in the comments. Let’s talk superheroes and supervillains.


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Announcing the WordCrafter 2020 Stay in Place Virtual Writing Conference

SiP Header

We’re all tired of staying at home during this recent crisis. It seems like everyone has been affected in different ways, but no one has gone unscathed. Our world has changed in recent times. We, as authors and lovers of the written word had many of our in-person writing events – conferences, conventions, and book fairs – cancelled due to the appearance of COVID 19. To to emulate all those events we look forward to each year and are missing out on now, and to chase away some of the boredom of social distancing and isolation, WordCrafter presents the 2020 Stay in Place Virtual Writing Conference on Tuesday, April 28 from 8 am to 8 pm.

This is a unique event, the first of its kind, and one you won’t want to miss. Free presentations and author takeovers will be occurring on the Facebook event page, and interactive workshops and panel discussions will be offered for a minimal fee on the Zoom platform. Interactive panel discussions and workshop session can be accessed individually for $5, or an all access pass to all interactive sessions can be purchased for $50. Tickets can be purchased on the Facebook event page. Watch for your Facebook event invite from me or one of the many wonderful authors involved with this conference. Send me a message through my WordCrafter page or through the event page if you have further questions, or if you would like a half an hour author takeover spot to promote your own work.

This has been a huge undertaking to organize and set up an event such as this one, but I haven’t done it alone. Without my 22 talented presenters, this event couldn’t happen. We have a great line-up, with international bestselling science fiction and fantasy author Kevin J. Anderson presenting the keynote on the interactive platform.

Kevin J. Anderson

And that’s just the beginning. Take a look at the talent that has lined up for presentations, workshops and panel discussions.

Mario Acevedo

Award winning and national bestselling speculative fiction author Mario Acevedo will be offering a presentation – “The Power of Motivation: What Your Characters Do and Why”

Alatorre Bio

USA Today bestselling multi-genre author Dan Alatorre will be a member of the interactive book marketing panel discussion.

Chris Barili - B.T. Clearwater

Multi-genre author Chris Barili will be presenting “Writing in the Face of Adversity” and giving an interactive workshop on “Writing Across Genres”.

 

L.D. Colter - L. Deni Colter

Award winning fantasy author L.D. Colter will be offering a presentation on “Short Fiction”.

Candido Bio

World builder and speculative fiction author Kieth R.A. DeCandido will be offering an interactive workshop on “The Business of Writing” and he is the moderator for the media tie-in interactive panel discussion.

DeMarco Bio

Award winning novelist Guy Anthony De Marco will be a member on both the short fiction and world building interactive panel discussions.

Anthony Dobranski

Fantasy and science fiction author Anthony Dobranski will offer two presentaions, “How to Swim Upstream: Not being in the mainstream of your market/genre” and “Working with Others: How to direct others in a project”. In addition, he will offer two interactive workshops. “Business Class Tarot” and “The Savage Horror of Writing Back Cover Copy”.

Jason Henderson

Author for young readers, Jason Henderson will be presenting “Story Ideas and the Choices You Make” and moderating the interactive book marketing panel discussion.

Kevin Killiany

Media tie-in author Kevin Killiany will be a member on the interactive world building, media tie-in, and short fiction panel discussions.

L. Jagi Lamplighter

Award winning young adult fantasy author L. Jagi Lamplighter will be on the interactive panel on world building, and moderate the interactive short fiction interactive panel discussion.

Lawless Bio

Award-winning science fiction author J.R.H. Lawless will be a member of the book marketing interactive panel discussion.

Jonathan Maberry

Award winning and New York Times bestselling multi-genre author Jonathan Maberry will be a member on three interactive panel discussions: short fiction, world building and media tie-ins.

Bobby Nash

Award winning multi-genre author Bobby Nash will deliver a presentation on “The Importance of Promotion”, as well as being a member of both the media tie-in and book promotion panel discussions.

Nye Bio

Science fiction and fantasy author Jody Lynn Nye will offer a presentation on using humor in science fiction and fantasy writing, “Bringing the Funny: how to apply humor to your writing” and she will be a member of the world building interactive panel discussion.

Ellie Raine

Award winning fantasy author Ellie Raine will sit on both the short fiction and world building interactive panel discussions.

Art Rosch

Award winning multi-genre author Art Rosch will offer a presentation on “Creating Villains We Love to Hate”.

Sean Taylor

Award winning multi-genre author Sean Taylor will offer a presentation on “Visceral Story Beginnings”.

Vandenberg Bio

Science fiction author and marketing expert Alexi Vandenberg will be joining the book marketing panel.

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Award winning poet and author Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer offers a livestream presentation “The Gateway to the Unknown: A Poetry Thought Shop”.

Rick Wilber

Author and educator Rick Wilber will be a member of the short fiction interactive panel discussion.

Dave Wolverton - David Farland

Award winning and New York Times bestselling science fiction and fantasy author Dave Wolverton/David Farland offers a”Promoting Your Book BIG” and he is a member of the interactive book marketing panel discussion.

You can find a full schedule here. I do hope all of you will join us for this unique writing event. It’s the first of its kind and we could be making history. You can be a part of it, too. Join us.


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“On Being a Dictator”: Writing help for busy authors

 

Tips for busy authors

Writing Resource

Most writers are busy people. I know I am. Most of my 2019 writing goals are still sitting on a back burner, simmering, because I was way to busy with work, school and this blog, as well as launching WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press, to stir up my own stories and bring them to a boil. So, I’ve been looking into different ways to manage my time better. As I get older, skipping sleep in order to write seems to be getting less and less feasible.

On Being a Dictator, by Kevin J. Anderson and Martin L. Shoemaker is a author’s resource about how writers can use idle times in your day to spark creativity and increase productivity through dictation. It is a part of the Million Dollar Writing series, designed to help aspiring authors along the way.

I was blessed, back in 2012, to hear Kevin J. Anderson speak during the Writing the Rockies Conference at Western State Colorado University, (then, just plain old Western State College), where he talked about using dictation in his writing. While the rest of us had all been indulging in Western’s wonderful cuisine, Kevin had written roughly two chapters of his latest novel while hiking a pristine trail in the beautiful Gunnison Valley, in beautiful Colorado.

I was impressed with the idea at the time, and soon went out and bought myself a digital recorder, much like the one featured on the book cover. Although, it did help me to preserve my writing ideas on the spot, it required me to be embarked in activities where I could stop frequently to turn on and off the recorder. Then when I went back to access these ideas and get them down in print, I had to skip around to find the ideas or perfect sentences I was looking for and then type them out myself, which took up just as much time, if not more, so it didn’t take me long to give up this idea and go back to pecking out my story, one word at a time, as I had always done.

Upon reading On Being a Dictator, my thoughts on the matter have changed a bit. Anderson and Shoemaker begin by emphasizing the point that, like everything else in life, dictation takes time and practice, making me realize how foolish it was for me to expect to go buy a digital recorder and immediately start cranking out novels.

This resource is also valuable because the two co-authors each have different approaches to dictation which fit best into their individual lifestyles, proving that there is no one ‘right way’ to use this method and technology. This made me realize that I really didn’t give dictation a chance. I didn’t play with it enough to discover the different ways it might be useful to me with practice.

The book also includes descriptive lists of the different types of equipment and transcription software available and the advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as transcription services. Since technology is changing very rapidly, there are devices and software available now, which were not even thought of back in 2012, and likely next year, there will be even better technology available that wasn’t mentioned here. But their efforts gave me a good idea of what is available now, and got me thinking about how it might be of use to me.

Once again, I am impressed with this idea of turning otherwise idle activities, creativity-wise into productive writing time. On Being a Dictator has convinced me I should give writing by dictation another go. Maybe you should, too. I give it four quills.

Four Quills

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Being-Dictator-Dictation-Million-Writing-ebook/dp/B07TYJLJNS/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=On+Being+a+Dictator&qid=1578591530&sr=8-1


Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.