What is the Story with “American Dirt”?

Hello writers and today’s post is looking at the issues that we as a community are faced when it comes to publishers marketing such books as American Dirt. Let me preface this conversation with, there is a lot to cover with this one.

What we know so far?

American Dirt is a novel published this year by Flatiron Books and it is written by author Jeanine Cummins. This book is already the first of this year’s Oprah Winfrey’s book club choices.This book also categorized as thriller, suspense, domestic fiction, along with hispanic american literature.

With that being said, the author, identifies as white and Latina; although, she did have a grandmother, who is from Puerto Rico, which is a fact that the author brought up as it came closer to the final publication of her novel.

“You don’t get to bring out your Puerto Rican abuela when it’s convenient,” said Daisy Hernández, a Colombia American writer who teaches writing at Miami University of Ohio and wrote a 2014 memoir, “A Cup of Water Under My Bed.”

There is even more to the story in that Cummins went to Mexico to do research for her book. In 2018 the book was sold to Flatiron Books after a three-day bidding war with like nine other publishers, and after it was all said in done she earned a seven figure deal for the book.

Also there is a film adaptation of the book, starting in the works.

What is the book about?

In a nut shell, American Dirt is about a woman who lives in Mexico at the beginning of the book and flees to America with her young son after her husband is killed by a drug cartel.

What’s the issue?

There are several issues that go around this book. First off, and take this as you may, I am white same as a lot of authors and there are some in the Latino community that feel that a white person should not tell this story. I can agree with this to a certain extend, however, in the times that we live in with all the political correctness, a white person writing a book like this is not something that should even be conducted.

Granted, I understand that the author has said that she identifies as not only white but also as a Latina. But she came out and said that she was white first then some time later she came out and said that is now a Latina. That’s not who someone should identify themselves, based on a current moment in time. However, that being said this is one of the reasons that this books is burning in the fire.

Yes, I am a big opponent of write what you want and see where it takes you too. But if you are going to upset a lot of readers and others within the community, then you better take your book and get their input as far as the accuracy of what you are betraying in your book. Do your research, but don’t forget to get others opinions before you send off that manuscript.

The reason for this is that when a critic was in Mexico and took this book with her, she said that there were two sides to the setting. In that she was in Mexico, the real Mexico, and what she was reading was the fake Mexico. No, no, no. Anyone that has taken writing 101 will tell you that your settings should make your readers feel like they are there, in the story. But if someone is in the current location of your book and looking around them and seeing a huge difference, then you failed that part of the course, for you have not put them in the right location, for you could have put them somewhere else as far as setting.

This author has made some mistakes with this book. Yes, she did the research but even so she still got facts and still portrayed things in her book wrong. Granted, for the most part those of us that are looking at this situation from the outside, we don’t know what things the publisher or the editor added or changed from what she sent into them. But the biggest thing that has offended a lot of in the Latino Community is the stereotypical notions that had made their way into the book. But at the end of the day, it’s her name on the book like our names will be on any book that we publish, and who gets the judgement? Not the editor, that’s for sure. The publishing company, sure but most of it reflects back on the author.

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Other things that have been said about this particular book, is that for some readers who have picked up the book and started to read it. It made them feel guilty. Why? This goes back to a white person should not be writing this book, some white people have felt that this is not a book that was meant for them to read.

Now, when you make your reader feel guilty for the race that they are reading a book, you have, depending how you look at it, made either a really big impact on your reader, or you are starting to put a line in the sand that says this book is not for everyone to read, for it is only for some to read. This is where censorship comes into play.

Yes, somethings are censored for good reason. However, when the censorship barriers are put up then what is the point of writing a book and getting it published, so only some of the literary world can read your work? I don’t think so. You write it and publish it so that the whole world can read what you put your heart into. What you put every breath of you into. What you put your tears, sweat and blood into. You gave life sort of speak to a book. Yes, a book is an object but when you have written that book, it’s your baby. I don’t care what anyone else says that is your baby right there.

Furthermore, writing books that you are trying to make an impact with your readers, is first saying a have a message. Yes, I’m fiction as my median, but I have something to say. The author says that this was her intentions, but this truly not what is going on here. Yes, if anyone that has taken American Literature will tell you that you at some point during the time in that class, you are asked to read a book about slavery.

I’ll try not to go down the American History story line in this; however, never once did a teacher teaching the material tell the white students in his/her class that you are not allowed to read this. But you are instead told you are going to read this, and the reason is so that you understand what the time was like and what it was like to be a slave. Granted, I will put this up here, a book on slavery again should probably not be written by a white person, but in the past they were. Why? Granted, in this country we have had plenty of racism going on and sexism. Woman at one point could not publish books. Why?

Answer: Because the publishers thought that boys would not read books written by women. This is not the case today. Look at Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. Both series are written by women and both have been picked up by boys, who love to read them.

Now there is another sad fact, for some time people of color could not get published by the big publishing houses, so then they had to self-publish their work. Times have changed, which is a blessing. However, we still have a long way to go, for most of the people that work in the publishing industry is predominantly white.

How does it relate to the American Dirt?

Since many of the publishers are white, this has lead to a lot of exclusion from the Latino community to be published by the book publishing houses. So when a white woman writes a book such as American Dirt, then a message has been sent that only whites are allowed to tell the stories of there’s for they can get them published instead of you.

This again is an example of the gatekeepers letting people in and leaving others out in the cold. This is not right, for there are many writers out there that are gifted and not given the chance. This also leads to the subject of writing to trends. Not everyone wants to write to a trend. But if you do, that’s fine. But for others, like myself, I should not be dictated what I need to write in ordered to be published by them.

The publishers need to get past the thing of everyone that they publish needs to fit into a box. This is the same problem that we have in Hollywood right now. The box is already filled with stories that have been done before. People want new things and if they keep saying that writers need to fit into this box, or they won’t have a job then fine do what has already been done before. I can go self-publish or in terms of film, I can become an independent film maker.

Either way, this book has already lit a torch and that torch keeps getting bigger and bigger, and the burn scars are growing no thanks to the publishing houses or the praises that this book is getting either.

__________________

Another part of the discussion that came from this book being published, is why are some books picked up for publishing and others are not? I have talked about this on here before and the biggest reason is trends.

When it comes to American Dirt, there is not a lot of books being written on the topic of immigration from south of the border. However, there is a lot of discussion around the topic due to thousands of immigrants flee from Mexico and Central America to the United States every day. Yes, this is more of a political trend on the wave length than that of a writing trend. But who knows maybe this book has opened that flood gate for more stories like this to be written and published. Then the Latino Community will pass judgement on who will be able to write these sorts of stories, such as them.

I don’t have any problems with this. Since these are not the sort of stories that I am focused on telling, and that is fine for there are others out there that have more knowledge than I do on the subject and are better qualified than I to tell them. They can tell their stories and people are interested in those stories.

My message to them, is that they should tell their stories and fight for them to be published. If a woman that has never lived that life got her version of this topic published than others can too.

The Take Away?

I know that I have written a lot today on this subject. But let me tell you something, there is a lot that comes to this book to cover. Yes, there are lot of things that we as writers need to look at when it comes not only writing but publishing as well. It’s not just do the research and write, but also look at community that you are writing for in mind. Talk to them and get their perspective.

As for the book itself, it’s not a book that I would read. I’m not going to tell you whether or not you should read it for yourselves. But I know that some of the comments that I have seen from people that have ordered the book and received their copy yet, they will not be reading this book.

The publishing industry needs to change, like I’ve said before, and the gate keepers need to stop not letting people in, or by making rules that state that only those that follow what we want to write for us. I’m not talking about the rules of genre, which need to be followed, but rather the rules that they set forth like the trends that they know are being picked up.

We need to as a community to say enough, and to get the publishers to pay attention to us. Let’s face it without us they wouldn’t have their jobs. But a book like this is not going to help. However, a book like this might also help us if the publishers see the mistake that they have made in publishing a book like this.

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Sorry, if this was not a normal post for this blog or site, but I wanted to present you with information that is going on with recent events in our community.

Until next time I hope that you have a great writing day!

Using Pen Names and things to consider

There is a subject, or rather a decision that every writer goes through. Yes, even I am dealing with this decision as of late. The subject is that on using or not using a pen name. Pen names have long been used in the history of our industry. Back during the time of Little Women, female writers were discouraged from writing, for it was long held that it was a male industry. Well, women can write just as men. No, I am not attacking men but rather stating a fact that could also be considered an opinion.

If women wanted to write and be published they had to either take on a male name or would keep their writing to themselves and upon their death it would be later published. Even J.K. Rowling was told this with the Harry Potter series when it came time for her to leap into the world of publication.

Aside from J.K. Rowling, there was a long held belief that when it comes to children writers, that little boys would rather read books written by a man then by female. While this may be fact, and gender bias. On the other hand, it should be looked at who is teaching children, but I will save that rant for another day, for I will stick to the subject on pen names.

Besides gender bias and the history of women writers on their treatment, there is another side to using a pen name and that is based on genre writing. There is a long held belief that if you are going to write in other genres, then you need to use a pen name. There are some famous cases of this and there are some that have broken this as well.

One example of this from the traditionally published, is Stephen King. Yes, the thriller mastermind behind some of New York Times best sellers. He has written in other genres while still using his name. While Nora Roberts, who for the most part writes romance, has indulged into the world of mystery using the pen name, J.D. Robb as well as Jill March and Sarah Hardesty. Even the name Nora Roberts is also a pen name. Now on the self-publishing side, an author that I follow on YouTube, Mandi Lynn is also a pen name. A pen name that she has used in different genres that she has published.

While using a different or a same pen name for when it comes to writing and publishing genres may be up to the author to make. But I have been told that it is an industry wide practice to using pen names when writing or publishing in different genres. Granted, I made different imprints under Moonspinner3 Books, for this purpose, but should I also have to use a different name of this as well.

Granted, on the J.D. Robb titles, it does have the subheading or rather by line of Nora Roberts as J.D. Robb or something to that effect. I have thought about this matter quite a bit and while it maybe something to consider, but on the other hand from a business standpoint, does it make sense?

Hear me out on this, using a different pen name, whether you label that you are using a certain pen name or not can make branding hard. Let alone on Goodreads, you would have to have a separate author page for every pen name that you use.  This can be not only time consuming but probably also ridiculous in the long term as well.

Here is another reason, why I am talking about branding under this post as well, is that if you follow or do not follow but Mandi Lynn just re-published two of her books so that for one they got a face lift on the cover designs, but for another her author name on the covers looks the same. She states in one of her videos that is in part due to her brand that she is working on building. I can see her point on this as well.

Coming up with a pen name or even thinking about using a pen name for that matter is a decision that is not made lightly. Granted, I have given this much thought and for one I do not want to have ten or even twenty different pen names, for that could be quite cumber sum to say the least. But I want to use one name, so that my work can be judge based on one persona and not a thousand. This could also make for an author to have multiple identity disorder at which point, how does one sleep at night. I’m not making light of those that are inflicted by this, but we as authors due have to look at this and take it very seriously.

There is one more side to using a pen name, and that is to make a line in the sand between the personal and the business. I can agree with this as well, for one does need to have at times the separation between the two, and if it is the same then everything that you do in the future in your personal life is reflected on your business good or bad. Do you want it to have an impact in your business? On your writing? How your work is judged? We this all the time when it comes to known celebrities.

This is something that does need to have some consideration and all that I can say is that the decision is up to you. Granted when you are self-publishing or traditionally published depending on how big you are then you can make the decisions that are right for you and your business.

One my side, I am considering it just because I don’t want to have too many pen names, or having to making unnecessary social media pages to stay in contact with my readers. I also don’t want to have several signatures also when it comes to signing books. Yes, I may be sounding lazy but really who has time to do all of the lists above. Let’s here it: No one. I know that I do not. I’m currently working on deciding on which one that I want to use.

I hope that this post has given you some thoughts on the use of pen names. I hope that you have a great writing day! Happy creating until next time!

 

Some Final Thoughts on 2018

In a few short hours, 2018 will be nothing more than a memory, as we welcome in 2019. I would not go as far as a distant memory or even an ugly memory. Just a memory. While 2018 was not all good it was not all bad either. It will be a memorable year, just the same. I will say this about the past year, I learned a lot about writing, the craft and how to improve upon the craft of story telling. This learning is what is driving me forward to continue on to next year.

As much as I learned about writing and shared it with all you, there has also been some good things that came this past year, and there has been some heart ache this past year. Heart ache that was not necessarily that came into my view or rather dreams of writing, but on the personal side, which I am still trying to come to terms with. Let’s face it there are some heart aches that even we writers keep to ourselves and have to say at the end of the day there are no words to express the grief that we are feeling. That is how much this grief is personal for me.

But besides all this, in the past year we indie writers were seeing our community being torn apart by some ugly business. Frankly, in part just did not need to happen, but it did and in part it has cast a shade upon our community. Granted, in any community that we are part of there will be some sort of drama, but this drama goes beyond regular drama and was more like a war was brewing. Let’s hope in the coming year, there is less drama and we can manage to rebuild our community and put the pieces back together. This should a resolution for the community as a whole: put the community back to where it was before #cockygate.

Speaking of resolutions, if your goal next year is to write then I am happy to say that you are not alone. If you are not putting writing more as one of your resolutions then that is fine as well. But going back to the later, did you know there was a thing called Januwrimo? Well, if you have not, than you are not alone for I did know that this was a thing either. I guess it is similar to NaNoWriMo, but instead of November it’s done in January. I totally agree with this idea, if you have writing more as one of your new year’s resolutions. Just like NaNoWriMo, where I declared my project, I am going to declare my project there, and that is to work on Ravages of Time. Yes, I am picking the second draft of Ravages of Time as my Januwrimo project. Granted, I only heard about this like yesterday, but I was like sweet, I can work on Ravages of Time and work on my resolution at the same time. Killing two birds with one stone.

Oops guess that cannot be said anymore, sorry PETA, put it’s a figure of speech.

Simply put there is a lot being put on the young shoulders of 2019. There is a feeling of real optimism, which is great. Granted, we all feel this way when a new year starts, but this time it feels different. It feels as if the heaviness of 2018 is being taken off of us and a new page is turning. A page that holds promise and hope. It’s like we were drowning and now we can come up for that long awaited breath. It feels fantastic.

Of course, as writers we should be being this way, for a new year means that we have another year to hone in on our craft. Set the course to learn new things and to experiment. Yes, we should be experimenting what we can do with words that we have in our vocabulary to draw out images. Images that either have been done before and needs new life put into it, or images that we have worked on before that were not quite write. No matter where we are on our writing journey we should have one resolution in mind that is to improve on our craft.

Yes, even this is a goal of mine. In the past year as I look back, I feel that my ability in using words to tell a story has improved. But of course as I work on my writing journey, with each project that I take on, is a new step forward to creating something. Yes, I am working on past projects, and that’s okay. Every one of us, writers take on a different view, such as what you write in the past should be left behind and never looked at again. Where as I take the approach of what you wrote in the past should be accepted for it is and should be looked as a mile marker that shows how far you have come until now on your journey. It’s part of your journey and it should be accepted as such.

But aside from all of that, I have plans, dreams and goals for the next year. These include everything from what I want to accomplish as a writer, as a reader, and as a business person. I want to help others, which has always been a goal of mine on this site, which I have stated from the beginning and I continue to strive for every time that I post. Even if that post is just giving an update on what I have going on here at Faerie Rose Press.

As I have posted in the past month on here, there are things that I want to improve on, and there are things that I want to strive for in the new year. Some of which is to tell more stories about what inspires me as far as a story that I’m working on. I want to share knowledge that I have not yet shared before with all of you, but has been a work in progress for me. I hope that you will all stay tune to see what I am up to next year.

There is one more piece of business that I must include in my final post of 2018. Thank you to all of you that have come here to see what I am up to, what advice I have to give, and anything else that I have posted on writing. I could not do this with out all of the support that you give. I feel that all of you, my followers are part of my community, and if I have not said that before, I am sorry. But I want you all to know that you are apart of something, and it means the world to me to have your continued support.

I hope that you all have a happy new year, and I hope to see you in 2019. Happy writing, happy creating!

2018to2019

 

What to get Writer Friends this Holiday Season

Image result for Christmas FairyAs November draws to a close, and December opens its arms to the merriment of season greetings, the start of winter, Christmas, any other holiday that you might celebrate, it’s time to talk about what to get that writing friend that is on your list.

Yes, we writers like to have gifts that are essential to our writing goals or wishes. This is also how you prove that you are supporting their goals in life by giving something that will help them with their writing. So without further ado, here is this year’s Christmas list of what to get your writing friends. Let me also preface this as I did this same post last year, so if you need ideas you can also check out that post. Here is the link to last year: Need help shopping for the writer you know?

Let’s start with the kids that have an interest in writing. If the child that you know is interested in writing, give them a notebook or a journal along with a nice pen or pencils so that they can start using these tools to build their arsenal. Granted, this is the same suggestion as last year, but it’s always going to be a goto one at any rate. However, this year I’m also going to let you know who you can make it better. If there is a certain character that they like and they cannot find a notebook with that character plastered all over the front of the notebook, I would suggest check out Vista Print and make a personalized notebook with the said character on it. This way they have something unique that they will cherish and love. You can also do this same idea with Staples, or Office Max.

Now let’s talk teens and preteens that love the art of writing. Again I’m going to the notebook suggestion. You can never go wrong with a notebook or a set of really awesome pens or pencils. If they are into technology and already have a laptop, might I suggest that you purchase for them a licensed copy of Scrivener, or Microsoft Word that way they have a writing software at their lovely fingertips. The other gift that you can give them is a larger monitor with the capability to do HDMI, this way they can look at the bigger screen instead of depending on that tiny little screen. You are not only helping their writing but their eyes also. The other suggestion is a nice keyboard and mouse set so that way their fingers have more room to move than being confined to that keyboard.

Also on the licensing note, you can also give the gift of Adobe Photoshop. Yes, this gift can be helpful to the self-published author when it comes time to put together the book or if they are having someone else do it for them, then help with the deposit. But if they are like me and want to take full control of how that book looks and feels, Photoshop is not a bad investment for their writing career.

Now for the college-aged kids, same suggestions as above and you can never go wrong with Microsoft Word, for they are going to need it for writing those lovely papers. But let’s get into some other useful things that they can use. Planners are big. I mean really big, for there are whole sections now in craft stores just dedicated to the art of making a really awesome planner. If your college-age student is really into detail planning, you can not go wrong by giving them a planner and some of the different options for customizing that planner to suit their needs. Granted, the planner gift can also be a good one for those teens and preteens that are on your list.

Now let’s talk about writing guides as gifts. There are several that have come out this year and there a few that have been around that I have picked up this past year. However, I’m going to say one that every fiction writing is getting and it makes this year top ticket item for writers: Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need, by Jessica Brody. Save the Cat! books were originally written for screenwriters and someone has taken the formula and made it accessible for fiction writers. Granted, Save the Cat! has always been a go-to guide for any writer, but now we have one for just as fiction writers. Let me tell you, this is going to make a great Christmas gift, for it will come in handy.

Let’s get into the adult writers in your life, this list can be quite endless for anything is possible, and I mean anything. Notebooks, journals, technology, writing guides, and planners are going to be on the list for any writer. However, on my own personal take, think outside of the box. Really outside of the box. If your writer friend is a coffee drinker, while they write get them either a really nice mug or get a personalized mug from Vista Print, that has a quote about writing on it. Granted, you cannot go wrong with a candle or incense, for most writers like to write with a candle melting in the background. I would also suggest music that will help them relax when the writing can be a little bit too much.

Another handy gift, to give this season to your writing friends is a cork board, this way your writer friends can tack on their writing notes just above their writing area so that they can look up and find notes if they need it. Trust me, some writers can never have too much cork boards even if they have one.

Granted, if you really want to go out on a limb, a nice Tarot deck can be a good tool that writers can have in their arsenal. A deck and show images that can help inspire writers to unleash that creativity that they have built inside and is just waiting to come out. Granted there are so many decks out there and my suggestion would be to pick one that you believe speaks to them and not to you. Unless you want a deck for yourself and that is never a bad idea either.

On that note, I hope that you have a Happy Holidays and have fun shopping for that writer friend that is on your list! From all of us at Moonspinner3 Books, Faerie Rose Press, and Elderwood Publications, Happy Holidays!

Image result for Christmas wreath faerie

 

 

Spilling Hot Chocolate over the Latest Drama: AuthorTube

dragon and coffee
Amy Brown

It seems that if you go on YouTube and look at either BookTube or AuthorTube channels, most of them are spilling either tea or coffee over issues that some have with the writing community that is on YouTube. But let me preface this discussion with let’s go back to the evens of the summer, that we writers had to deal with. Granted, not every member of AuthorTube, put forth their say or opinion on #cockygate. I feel this alone has brought forth a divide in the community.

Also some of the issues that are being discussed or being shamed upon is other’s creative processes. This one I’m bringing out the red flag challenge on (big time). Let’s face it my creative process is probably not like everyone else’s and that is fine. I don’t want to take on everyone else’s creative process. While I have not fully stated my creative process on my platform, I feel that everyone, whether you are a writer, painter, knitter, singer, or whatever art you create, each person has their own creative process. Whatever that process is, no one, and I repeat: no one should be shamed for that. Yes, some have some out of the box methods and that is totally fine. I feel that this should not be an issue within the writing community.

Another issue that some have raised up with their voices is the difference between quantity versus quality. If there is one writing aspect that could be looked at for this is our beloved NaNoWriMo. No, I’m not throwing NaNoWriMo under the bus, but rather bringing up the mentality that some have in regards to NaNoWirMo in general. Let’s give an example, you plan out NaNoWriMo, you write your project, and then you spend the next several months editing, re-drafting and repeat the process until you have it completed as far as it can go. Then you either try to traditionally publish your work or you self-publish that work in the fall. That way by the time it’s published, it’s time for NaNoWriMo again. That is how you spent the whole year. Now, if your friend took part in NaNoWriMo and completed the first draft, but never touched that work through out the year, then in some cases your friend becomes shamed for not touching their project again.

I don’t like this at all. Let’s face it life happens, yes, we have goals that we have. But also there comes a time when you have to put it on the shelf again for a while. Over this past year, when I was at one of the conferences, someone said that if you wrote that first draft and are afraid of the second draft phase, then it’s fine to put it on the shelf for a while and move on to something else. There is nothing wrong with that. Lord knows I have done that a time or two, and it does help make it a stronger project, due to the fact that I’m reworking the project based on what I know now, versus what I knew then when I first wrote that initial draft. Part of being a writer is to grow, and if no one is going to allow you to grow as a writer, let alone an artist, then maybe it’s time to re-look at the messages that we get from the community.

I’m not saying dismiss the community, but rather view each messenger as a whole and decide if what they are saying is the best use of your time. Let’s all face it, everyone of the AuthorTubers have put out the same type of videos on tips and tricks. While listening to some of them, their message is just like or similar to another person in the community. Therefore, ask yourself do we need to see another video on YouTube on the “Top Five Mistakes that Show you are a new Writer?”

I have seen that video a lot pop up on my feed a time or two. I get it or rather we all get it, there are new writers out there, and part of being a new writer is making mistakes and learning from them. Sorry, no one wrote a perfect essay their first time out in school. Why? It’s because we all had to learn to write the freaking essay and what is involved in writing a freaking essay. It’s true. Sure some one got an ‘A’ on that first essay, but that ‘A’ was more encouragement then saying that essay was perfect.

Now here is where I must admit, sure I follow AuthorTubers, do I take what they say to heart? Not all the time, I would say more like some of the time. I mean over the course of the year, I somewhat lost my trust in AuthorTube due to the fact, that a big portion of them did not speak up about AuthorTube, or about the changes that are currently going on with KDP and Createspace. I mean if most of them can put out the same “Five Tips on Editing your Draft,” then surely they could have put out a video or two on the drama that some of us authors dealt with over the summer.

I hate to say it, but just like most of the United States is divided over politics, the AuthorTube Community is also dived. There I said it, and I feel that those that did not say anything during the cockygate trials are now finding their voice to talk about this subject. I’ll give them a hand in that, for it looks like the drama pot has been stirred up  once again. But the question, is did it need to be brought up before NaNoWriMo? I mean seriously? Did it?

Granted, I started this month by posting that in order to get ready for NaNoWriMo, we need to go down the path without any drama. Part of that drama came from the events of cockygate. I think that I said, but if I didn’t, NaNoWriMo was to be our time to put away the drama and to focus on what we like doing the best, writing. Could we have that? No freaking way! There’s a reason why there is a children’s table during the holidays. As well as sayings such as, “Can’t we all just get along?”

This year, has shown us one thing, and that is clearly the answer: NO! I mean it’s a real shame. It is a real shame! We are writers, and we say that we want to help others, but if those on YouTube can’t get it together and acknowledge issues within the community then what’s the point of having this community on YouTube or any other platform?

Am I giving up on this platform? No, I mean to say that live up to what I said that I would do, and that is to help writer’s achieve their writing goals. I don’t shame or dismiss any writer based on their status in the community, their creative process, or anything else that could get them shamed by others in the community. We are writers, all competing for the same job, which is to help our readers escape from the real world for a few chapters at a time from the front cover to the back cover. But if we cannot help or even recognize others in the community then we no longer become a sea of voices joining together, for we become sea of voices trying to over topple one another.

While this post was more about community then about writing. I hope that you have a great writing day, even if that means venting out frustrations.

 

 

 

 

Latest Updates from Faerie Rose Press

Today I wanted to give an update on all things Faerie Rose Press, Elderwood Publications, and Moonspinner3 Books. It’s been a while since I have written up one of these type of posts and while I’m in the middle of getting things ready for NaNoWriMo 2018, I thought that I would give updates on what things have been going on for Faerie Rose Press.

Let’s start with I’ve updated the look and feel of the site. Let’s start off with the header. Yes, the header is one that I designed myself, which encompasses Faerie Rose Press and Elderwood Publications on the outside and Moonspinner3 Books (the parent company in the middle) and below that my photo. I designed this header in mind so that it shows the world that I have created from the very beginning and to include over the past year. I have put this same header on the Faerie Rose Press (@FaerieRPress) twitter page, and the Facebook pages for Faerie Rose Press and Moonspinner3 Books, as well as my author page (Tiffany M Dew).

Granted, I have not made a page for Elderwood Publications and the reason for that is that I have not gotten around to it and I’m still deciding on that, but for now all updates for the most part are being put on the Facebook pages for Faerie Rose Press, Moonspinner3 Books and my author page.

The second and most noticeable change to the website is the look and the color scheme. Yes, it has a black background, with a hint of green. This does not meant that I’m getting away from my purple headings on some of the posts, it was just that I wanted to change up the look of the website. The number one reason why I made the change was due to I wanted something that could show that each day that I take on this adventure, the site is maturing a bit while the content is still the unusual looks at some of the topics.

Now one last update on the site that I want to give is that I also updated the Welcome to Faerie Rose post. I thought that since the site has been up for over a year and while I was sprucing things up, I felt that I would update the Welcome address for this page also. This update is a reflection of where this page has been over the course of the year and where it is going into the future.

Granted, now that I’m done talking about the site and the changes, lets get on to the most exciting part, the writing.

First off let me start my saying that I’m ready to go into what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo this year. I have a title, a draft covered designed and ideas. Oh the ideas are just pouring over me like water in a shower. I’m so happy and excited to take on this new project and to share some of what is going into this project.

Although, the title might be considered a working title, so far the title is (drum roll if you please)….The Bird that Sings!!!

Yes, it is called The Bird that Sings, and here is the cover that I have designed:

The Bird that Sings cover.docx-page-001

What I have so far for The Bird that Sings, is that it is set in the future. There is a war that took place and like there are results in every war there are results of this war as well. One of the biggest results is that the females are now known as “birds.” The boys are really non-existent in this word. Any ways, certain birds are deemed far more worthy than others, and one such bird is Sarah.

Sarah before the war had originally been given the name, Heather, but she is forced to ignore this name and forced to answer to Sarah. Sarah is worthy in that she is chosen to become the next high priestess. The role of high priestess means you get to rule over everything and every body. Also it means that you can never touch anything or anybody for that matter as well. If someone touches Sarah’s skin, that person even if it’s her handmaiden will be sentenced to death. Also Sarah has taken a forever vow of silence, which can only be broken upon her becoming the next high priestess.

So far I have in my notes that Sarah knows what she will become and there is nothing stopping it or at least she thinks. But further Sarah wants to be touched, for she wants to have that connection with someone, even though it is forbidden.

This is what I have so far for The Bird that Sings, and I can’t wait to get started writing it. Please, let me know what you think about the cover or the idea that I have for the story. Granted, right now I’m writing down this continuous list of ideas that are coming to me for this story.

As for the other stories, yes, unfortunately they have been put on the shelf due to NaNoWriMo and will get done at some point. But I will try to finish one book at a time and hopefully with the energy that I have for The Bird that Sings, it will be finished. First draft and taken through the hole process.

I fully know that I have a writing ADHD problem and it needs to be dealt with. But in someways I know that I can’t help it for ideas just come to me, and when ideas come to me, I just want to grab on, but I don’t seem to get them past the first draft. So I need to get there and I’m really, really going to try that with this project.

This is something that I must grow upon and mature so that I can put out some books.

Now granted I wanted to give one more update and that is in the last couple of weeks, this site has more than 100 followers, and as I said thank you then, I’m going to say thank you again. I mean your support means the world to me and I could not continue on without your support. I thank you a million times over for you finding this site and finding something on here that you enjoy and that you are finding helpful on your writing journey.

hand-lettering-thank-you-vector

This thank you, goes out to anyone and everyone that continues to find this site and I hope that you keep coming back for more. I’m not done giving out advice, suggestions or helping others along their writing journey. Whatever your reason for coming, thank you and that means the world to me. Also don’t forget as a gift that I have posted on here is my Prepotober Work Book.

This workbook is coming quite handy for my own prepwork for The Bird that Sings. I hope that you are also finding it handy as well.

Well that is all for the updates, I hope that you all have a fantastic writing day!

Welcome to Faerie Rose Press Part 2

d86be4ce65bf82512775609ba751b966--fairy-silhouette-free-silhouette-cameoHello and Welcome to the world of Faerie Rose Press! Last year, I started this website and this has been a love and a sincere joy to able to share what I know and what I am currently learning about the writing process. Each day I learn something new and with everything that I learn is give me more knowledge and insight on how writing is like creating magic.

I have always said that since day one, that this site would be changing through growth for nothing is set in stone. I have been flexible in what I have posted and the way that I have presented the information. Furthermore, I have presented the content on this site in a way that may not have been presented or addressed like no one else.

My goal has always been to be able to encourage others to go find and take on their own writer’s journey, and to make their journey their own. This even means making mistakes along the way and to acknowledging the weak stories that we may have written.

Granted, in the year that this site has been created, I have published four short stories and a poetry collection on Amazon, and I have been working on several novels. I know this is where I need to work on one novel at a time. But I still have the goal to finish one of my novels and to get it published. But I’m not only writing, I’m also creating book covers for what I have written.

Also in the same year, I have created a sister division of publishing, Elderwood Publications. The parent company for both Faerie Rose Press and Elderwood Publications has also been created, Moonspinner3 Books. Faerie Rose Press is for works of fiction written in the genre of fiction. Elderwood Publications is for works of fiction in other genres.

Through every step that I have taken through this year, I must say a huge thank you to s-l300 (2)all of you for your continued support. This is regardless if this is the first time that you visit this site, or the hundredth time. Thank you and I hope that you find something that helps you through out the days that you consider as your writing days. Just remember to create magic  through the use of imagination and to use that imagination to unleash your creativity. Further more take time to create, write, grow and to inspire.

Hello October or is it Preptober?

Hello and welcome to the month of October, or should I say Preptober. If you are asking yourself what is Preptober? I’m glad that you asked, for it is the start of getting ready for NaNoWriMo and planning on the project that you are going to focus on or work during NaNoWriMo.

However, before I get fully into Preptober and taking about all the things that should be thought of for that next writing project. I first want to talk about the Castle Rock Writer’s Conference. I learned a lot about writing during my time at the conference. The topics include voice, use of backstory, and how to write a great first page for your novel. So I thought I would start today’s writing tip with talking about voice.

When it comes to voice, we as writers should not only think about the voice of the character(s) but also the voice of the story. Voice is what hooks readers into the story and wanting to keep on reading. If the voice that use is not strong or starts to fall flat then you will lose the reader. Remember, we need to keep the reader engaged for the full length of the book. More so we should voice not only as a tool but as a writing convention that should be kept in mind and in check while we are writing. Furthermore, voice is defined as:

            Voice is the author’s style, the quality that makes his or her writing unique and which conveys the author’s attitude, personality, and character; or, voice is the characteristic speech and thought patterns of the narrator of a work of fiction.

or

It’s a little bit about what you say, but mostly it’s about how you say it.

When we use, voice we do need to go out on a limb and be a bit wild and crazy. Just not to crazy. Furthermore, when we are thinking about voice in terms of character, we need to think about the personality of the character and what sets them apart from everyone else in the book, such what is their special quirk that plays into their use of their voice.

Now granted, I will say when it comes to using voice, this more looked at when using first person pov, but you can almost do the same thing using third person pov, just don’t use that passive voice, and remember to be careful with the use of certain verbs.

Now as far as Preptober, today should be spent thinking about the genre that you want to write. Granted, most would not start with genre, for they would say that you should have a story idea before drilling down to genre. While, I could agree with them, I would say that genre is very essential to the story and if you have genre in mind when thinking about your story ideas, it will make it a lot easier. You don’t necessarily have to think about sub-genre unless you want to. But for the most part think about the genre that you want to write for your NaNoWriMo project. Right now, for the project that I have in mind I can drill it down as:

Fiction->Young Adult->Fantasy/Dystopian Fiction

So the way that I have drilled it down may different than the way that you might drill it down. But however you look the genre of your project, make sure that you can find other examples of it during your research phase. Remember that this month is also about research. Therefore, finding your genre is about research.

I hope that you all of a wonderful writing/planning day!

 

 

Thoughts over a cup of Coffee…But is there is something new about the site?

dragon and coffee
Amy Brown

This morning, I woke up to take my nephew to his first day of school. That’s right, school is back in session and for many of us, we take that as the start of a new year. Granted, we are still in August and we have a few more months until the actual start of the new calendar year. But I thought, that I would spruce up the sight. There is a new header on the site, and a new template design that has been given to the site. But I can assure you that the content of the site is still the same.

From the beginning, I have always that stated that Faerie Rose Press, will changing as I learn and grown, and that has been what this site has been about. Growing, learning, evolving, and above all enhancing others when they look at writing. Yes, I have done things and have taken things off and on this site, but I’ve never lost the focus or that drive to help others with achieving their writing goals or go about writing a novel.

While others may see this as something that has been done before on numerous other platforms, but there are always different ways to look at the world or what can be done to solve a problem to gain a solution. That is essentially is writing. There is a phrase that I have heard before, and that is well some one has already written that story before. That may be true, but the other part of the phrase is, it may have been written before but not by you.

Granted, this is where you might have to think about what I have just said, but it’s true no one is going to tell the story the way that you want it to be told unless you write it yourself. Now does this mean, that you should rewrite a story that has already been written before, ie like Harry Potter? No, it means take a story idea and add your flare to it. Be original, and see what you can add to the story or create with that single spark.

Here is another secret that others might not have thought or they have but there is a reason early on when your starting to write, they teach you to write fan fiction. The reason is so that you can understand the concept of taking something and making it grow. I remember being in the fourth grade and we read a book called, “The Chocolate Touch.” If you haven’t figured it out yet this is like “Midas with the Golden Touch”, but instead of gold you’re using chocolate. Well after reading the book, we had to write our own “Chocolate Touch,” story and use most of the elements of the story such as the chocolate touch. That was the first version of fan fiction that I ever wrote. But it stuck with me for years. Granted, do I remember the story that I wrote? I’ll be honest and say no, but I do remember writing it and that I still have a copy of it.

Yes, some may put down fan fiction as copying but I more like to think about it as an exercise in the creative processes of writing. One of the many that we go through over time. But here is another part of fan fiction, it can be start as fan fiction and can grow into something else. Case and point, Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, Fifty Shades of Grey is fan fiction of nothing other than the Twilight Saga. While it may be considered simple fan fiction, it has transformed the genre of erotica romance into where it is a buy able product in your local super market. Before Fifty Shades of Grey, forget it for you would have to go to a Borders or a Barnes and Nobel to purchase such a book and even then it had a disclaimer on it. That’s been deleted from the genre and the answer is pretty simple, the book became very popular and the disclaimer is no longer needed on any erotica romances.

That’s what one sample of what fan fiction has done and it has grown from there for that one genre. Does this mean that every story or novel written has to be fan fiction. Heck no! Trust me when I say, if everything is based on fan fiction nothing original would ever be looked or even considered by publishers or readers. Remember, when we write we need to keep our readers in mind and that is that our readers, just like movie goers want original content. This does not mean that we have re-create the same wheel over and over again. If we are looking to do that, then we might as well talk about formula writing.

I’ll say that some formula writers do really well over time, but after a while the writer’s fan base has an expectation of what is going to be in the pages between the covers, and the writer is stuck writing the same thing over and over again, and cannot do anything new or original. Why? Simple: the readers will be turned off what his or her next book will be and it is not what they are used to reading from that writer. It’s a shame when you think about it, but in the end it’s based on the decision that the writer started with their writing career with and continued to do so. Romance writers sometimes have this difficulty along with mystery and thriller writers too.

But let me describe what I mean by formula writer, we know that there are certain expectations from genres of what needs to be in the story but with formula writers they go one more step above this. It goes like this, writer usually has a female character that has to a problem and is running away from said problem and meets the male character. They fall in love, they get to close, and the female character pushes said male character away and the male character figures out to help female character so that they can have a happily ever after, which may not be the case due to dare I say it a death of a character. One of the great writers, or at least to his fans, even if they do not realize it when they are reading one his novels or watching one of the film adaptation of his novels, is all based on a formula.

The author that I’m talking about is Nicholas Sparks. Yes, he is one of the great formula writers in our time and granted, he is doing it so well that he is make money and the reason is that romance sells. I found a blog post, Hello Giggles, that lists 7 Things that Happen in Every Nicholas Sparks Movie.  Even in another blog called, “Thoroughly Modern,” she even posts about the formula that has been used time and again by Nicholas Sparks. I’m not putting Nicholas under the bus, but I’m just saying that if he wanted to reach out and do something else away from his formula, he may be unable to do so due to the loyal readership of his fans.

While I would never try to persuade a writer not to write what he or she wants, there are just some careful considerations that need to be looked at besides how to publish, genre, and any other topic that goes under the generic umbrella that is about writing, but rather things that need to be thought about is formula, trends, and originality versus fan fiction. There is a reason why there is a category at the Academy Awards for “Best Original Screenplay” versus “Best Adaptive Screenplay.” This is just the many things that we as writers need to think about as we work on our works of fiction.

Well, I’m almost out of coffee and I hope that you have found this post to be an enjoyable read, and I’ve had fun writing it. I hope that you have a great writing day until next time!

 

 

 Movie Review: Christopher Robin

christopherrobinThe first movie that I want to discuss is Disney’s Christopher Robin. There are several things about this movie that I want to share with all of you. While we all know the character of Christoper Robin from the Winnie the Pooh series of films, books and shorts. If you haven’t seen this film yet, then this post will contain spoilers. 

The film picks up where the original Winnie the Pooh adventures ends, when Christopher has to leave the Hundred Acre woods and he is talking to Pooh about doing nothing. It’s a sweet moment in the film, in that this is the start of film. The film then goes from flashing to Christopher dealing with being school while missing about Pooh. Then we are flashed to the Hundred Acre wood, where Pooh is much like a lost child trying to understand why Christopher Robin is not there. Then we are shown this through several moments in Christopher’s life, such as when his father dies, when he meets his wife and then World War II. Then lastly when he starts his career.

This is when we really see that Christopher is all about all work and no play. This in effect makes him as a parent pass on the same thing. No more playing and enjoying times in the Hundred Acre Woods with Pooh. That is until Pooh shows up and insists that Christopher Robin has not changed, even though the language that he uses has changed but it has not phased Pooh at all for he knows deep down that the same boy that he used to play with is deep inside.

Then Christopher Robin is thrust back into the Hundred Acre Woods when he has to take Pooh back there for he does not belong in London. Along the way, Christopher is questioned by Pooh on how what is important to Christopher and if his daughter is happy. Christopher answers with only guesses for he does not know what his daughter really wants in life. This realization is shown a couple of times, such as when his daughter finds his boyhood things and writes him a letter along with a sample of his drawings with Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and the others from the Hundred Acre Woods. The letter simply says, “I never knew that you could draw so well.”

This also switches when Christopher’s daughter is talking to Pooh and Pooh throws out some clever things, and when she asks, “who said that?” Pooh would reply, “Christopher Robin.” The daughter goes back to the usual response, “That couldn’t be for that is not the Christopher Robin that I know.”

The film ends with Christopher finding his way to find the balance that he needed in his life between work and play.

This will was very well done, but while it is marketed as a children’s film, I would say that this is more of an adult film. Themes in the movie and some of the dialog go often times over a child’s head. Granted, the animation for Pooh and the other characters get the children’s attentions very quickly but for everything else this film is more adult than child.

I enjoyed this film for it was nice change of pace from other films that have been put out lately this summer. Now granted while I was watching this film, my mind was quickly thrown to Charles Dickens’s book Hard Times. Yes, the book was boring but if it was paired with this movie it wouldn’t be such a snooze fest. If you have yet to read it, I would suggest that you read it for it very much paints the world as there are those that been given the chance to use their imagination and those that have not. I would say that this book should be read as a follow-up to watching the film.

I’m giving this movie five honey pots out of five. This film will be a classic for years to come.