NOTICE:

2/2020 NOTICE - To fight back against spam comments, I am closing comments to all older posts. Current blog posts will still have comments open. I apologize for this inconvenience.

Wednesday, December 4

The Fey Guide to Writer's Burnout / Linky Mashup


The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.

The Fey Guide to Writer's Burnout:


Speak - Part 1 – how speaking about my writer’s burnout was my first step to recovery.

Write YOU - Part 2 – writing about yourself can be the easiest form of writing.

Writer’s Meetings - Part 3 – how attending a writer’s meeting could be just the thing you need to feel connected.

Morning Pages - Part 4 – could writing pages every morning in a journal help you?

Free Your Mind with Walking - Part 5  the benefits of walking/exercising.

One Day at a Time - Part 6  the wisdom of focusing on the day you are in.

Don't Force Yourself - Part 7  the dangers of forcing yourself to write.

Alternative Hobby - Part 8  how an alternative hobby can inspire you.

Patience - Part 9  the importance of being patience with yourself.

No Stress - Part 10  none of these tips will help for long if you don't learn to eliminate stress.

How to Be a Writer when You Can't Write - 5 tips to help you feel like a writer (and do writerly things) when you are struggling to write.


QUESTION: Which one of these techniques have you tried? How did it work for you?



HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

I'll see you in the blogosphere in 2020!


Monday, November 25

Can a Book Be Successful without Social Media? / Vlog


Thank you for your interest in this vlog post on Write with Fey!

A writer once asked me if a book can be successful without social media. This is my answer.

Enjoy!


Can a Book Be Successful Without Social Media?

Length: 7:03



Feel free to comment on my blog and/or on the video on YouTube. To go to the video's YouTube page, click on the title located on the video.

QUESTION: What your your best marketing techniques offline?


Thanks for watching!


Friday, November 22

The Importance of Diversity in Fiction / Guest Post by Ronel Janse van Vuuren



Today I am hosting Ronel Janse van Vuuren. She is talking about a very important topic. Welcome, Ronel!

***

I read a meme a while back that said something in the line of: if you are going to walk in someone else’s shoes, better get far away before they notice the theft.

The conversation about diversity is easy: when someone talks about being marginalised for some reason, you simply switch topics by saying you are feeling uncomfortable. Like avoiding your discomfort is more important than acknowledging someone else’s Truth.

But even if you push past your comfort zone in reality and fiction, do you have true empathy? And what does that mean? Writing about uncomfortable truths? Having a diverse cast of characters in your novel?



And we should never get complacent. Especially in our writing. Or we might end up like Thoreau…

“Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”

– Walden, Thoreau

Sounds good, right? Sounds like it will change the world, right? Pft! True empathy doesn’t come from knowing exactly how something feels for someone else: it’s messy, painful, and hard.

“…autobiography is irresistible… Even in actual life egotism is not without its attractions.” 
– The Critic as Artist, Oscar Wilde

Walking in someone else’s shoes will lead to calluses, athlete’s foot, and criminal prosecution. Not to mention a mental breakdown. It’s the fine line between empathy and appropriation.

But stories…! When we read, we can understand in our unique, flawed ways the experience of another person. No two people get the same thing out of a story – everyone gets touched by a different aspect.

And when we write and share our stories, we help others grow. Empathy is messy, painful and hard. It’s uncomfortable. So, too, is sharing our Truth. But that is where the true miracle Thoreau was seeking lies: making the world a better, more empathic place one story at a time.

Writing Magic at Midnight wasn’t easy. Sure, I had loads of fun with most of it. But writing about Amy’s identity… I got pushed past my comfort zone. What do I know about being bisexual? I tried – and thankfully failed – to change the romance elements in the book. To get it right, I read. A lot. And came to understand Amy.
Stories CAN change your worldview.

Stories CAN make the world a better, kinder place for all.


BETRAYAL.

CONSPIRACIES.

MAGIC.

Amy has only known one life. Now she needs to put it all on the line to save what is precious to her. Can this simple farm girl survive court-life? Can she stop a war from burning down her world? And what of the mysterious princess of Hazel Wood and her covert glances…? Not to mention the prince of Acacia Wood who might or might not be involved with the prophecies ruling their kingdoms. With mysteries and secrets threatening the life she longs to return to, can she separate her feelings from the mission?

TO WHAT LENGTHS WILL SHE GO TO SAVE HER LOVED-ONES?



About the Author:

Award-winning author Ronel Janse van Vuuren mainly writes for teens and tweens, though she is known to write mythology-filled short stories for anthologies aimed at older readers. Her dark fantasy works, usually full of folklore, can be viewed on her website and on Goodreads.

Ronel can be found tweeting about writing and other things that interest her, arguing with her characters, researching folklore for her newest story or playing with her Rottweilers when she’s not actually writing.

All of her books are available for purchase from major online retailers.

Sign up to be notified of new releases, giveaways and pre-release specials – plus get a free eBook – when you join Ronel’s newsletter. https://mailchi.mp/020d96f05055/ronelthemythmakernewslettersignup

Connect with Ronel online

Ronel the Mythmaker, Website of Dark Fantasy Author Ronel Janse van Vuuren: http://www.ronelthemythmaker.com/ 


Please leave a comment for Ronel!


Monday, November 18

Editing Techniques PowerPoint Presentation / Vlog


Thanks for you interest in my vlog post about editing techniques!

This was a PowerPoint presentation that I did for a local writer's meeting. I decided to share it because writers have to self-edit/revise. It's just part of our jobs as writers. And in this post, I provide techniques to make reading your manuscript over and over again a bit more bearable.

I hope you find the information useful.

Enjoy!


Editing Techniques

Length: 10:08


QUESTION: What are your editing techniques?


Friday, November 15

Favorite Holiday Memory Blog Hop / Sleigh Ride by Elaine Kaye


Hi, everyone! Thanks for stopping by for this blog hop to celebrate my mom's newest picture book SLEIGH RIDE!


Blog Hop Question: What is your favorite holiday memory?

(This includes Hanukkah, Kwanza, Yule/Winter Solstice, Christmas, etc.)

MY MEMORY: I was obsessed with The Nutcracker ballet when I was little. Every day for a year I watched an old tape and fantasized I was Clara. I didn’t know how to dance ballet, but that didn’t stop me from showing off my moves…karate moves. I would jab my fists in the air and punch and kick as gracefully as I could.

Jab, jab, twirl.

Jab, jab, leap.

For Christmas Eve that year, my dad gave me the last present. 

I peeled the wrapping paper off slowly, wanting to savor the moment. When the colored paper fell away, I saw a handsome nutcracker nestled in a box. He grinned at me through the plastic cover. His coat, pants, and hat were painted a shiny black. His boots, belt, and trim were gold. Hand-painted red flowers lined the bottom of his coat and sleeves, and a bigger red flower was painted in the middle of his tall hat.


That night and for many nights after that, until the silky hair on the back of his head got matted, I slept with him in my bed.

I secretly thought of my nutcracker as my boyfriend. LOL

And when I played my old tape of The Nutcracker ballet, I finally had my own nutcracker to parade around with. I could lift it toward the ceiling and mimic Clara as she fought to get her beloved toy back from her mean brother. 

Every year after that, my dad gifted me with another nutcracker. Each one was lovely, but they paled in comparison to my first beloved nutcracker.

Although, my nutcracker never became human, he was so full of life for the happiness he brought me. I still have him today. He stands at guard in a corner of my curio cabinet, keeping an eye on all. He’s lost his little block feet, his triangle nose, and his beard that covered his mouth, but to me he is still as handsome as ever. He will always be my Nutcracker Prince, and I will always be Clara.



New Picture Book Release from Elaine Kaye:



BLURB: On Christmas Eve, Gregory and Sammy get a special visitor—Santa Claus! Santa brings them on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure around the world and to the North Pole. Bundle up and come along for the ride!

General Age Range - Kids 4-8 (Story Picture Book)

Book Links:



PLUS, A FREEBIE!


Get Pea Soup Disaster now!
Kindle / Nook / Kobo


About the Author:  

Elaine Kaye is the author of A Gregory Green Adventure series. She created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools. She currently lives in Florida, but has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home.



QUESTION: What is your favorite holiday memory?



Hop around to the other blogs participating:





Wednesday, November 6

Bactine for No-Show Events / IWSG


The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.


LOTS OF BIG NEWS!!!!!


FROZEN CRIMES: I submitted Frozen Crimes (Disaster Crimes Book 5) to my editor/publisher. Now I just have to wait 90 days or so before I hear back on whether or not they like it.

BAD FAIRY: My mom got a contract with The Wild Rose Press for her debut middle grade book BAD FAIRY!

KEEP WRITING WITH FEY: I signed the contract for the sequel to Write with Fey with Dancing Lemur Press. It's titled Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer's Block, Depression, and Burnout. It's MUCH MORE than what you've seen here. And very personal.

~*~

A couple of years ago I attempted to do my own book signing at a library, all by myself. It didn’t go so well. I had prepped a speech, had books, set up a table, even decorated the audience’s chairs with leis.

My mom was there.

And M.J. Fifield came. (Yup, mentioning you yet again. LOL)

That’s it.

I had an audience of two...two of my biggest supporters.

They encouraged me to do my speech, which I mostly read from paper. That’s how nervous I was.

The sad thing was, the library didn’t promote my signing. They didn’t post anything on their Facebook page or make an announcement over the intercom. Although they did have a paper announcement taped to the sliding doors and near the check-outs, the big two-sided sign for events taking place at the library didn’t mention my signing, only a computer class.

Unfortunately, we can’t control what the event venue will do for us. Even at a mall event I did with several authors last December, we couldn’t get the mall to do announcements about our author signing.

All you can do is…



1. Make the most of it.

We may have many no-show signings throughout our author careers, but that shouldn’t stop us from ever trying. If we do, we will miss out on those signings that have good or at least decent turn outs. Even if five people attend, those are five people you can turn into readers, five potential sales.

2. Grow

When you go through these difficult situations, they aren’t fun. They will always be disappointing, but you grow with each one. Your skin grows a little bit thicker, so you can handle them better, not be as letdown, and not get depressed over it. No-show signings are a right of passage. You’re not an author until you have one. ;)

3. Try Again

Not at the same place, and not right away, but down the road, when you’re ready.

Do a group event with one or two other local authors, allowing each of you a certain amount of time to introduce yourselves, talk about your book, read an excerpt, and take questions.

Attempt different promos to attract readers/writers to come. Contact your local newspaper, come an hour early and hand out fliers to the people in the venue to let them know about your event, post in groups where you know local writers/readers are, such as on Facebook.

Also, see if you can strong arm a few of your closest friends/family members to come in case no one else does. And if no one else does, you can spend that time having fun with your loved ones. If you brought snacks, enjoy the snacks with them. Throw a little impromptu dance party. (Just be civil and not too loud to get kicked out, especially if you’re at a venue like a library that is quiet.) Have fun, even if only you, your fellow authors doing the signing, and your immediate family/friends attend.

I had never done a signing myself at the time I did this no-show signing. I was a bit naive about it, but now, I know better. That’s what comes with experience. And that is invaluable.


QUESTION: Have you had a no-show event?




Before you go, consider signing up for my mom's holiday blog hop to celebrate the release of her next picture book SLEIGH RIDE.

Blog Hop Day: November 15, 2019

Blog Hop Question for participants to answer in their blog posts: 

What is your favorite holiday memory? (This includes Hanukkah, Kwanza, Yule/Winter Solstice, Christmas, etc.)

All posts will include the cover art, blurb, and buy links for SLEIGH RIDE. As well as her author info.

Sign up here:

Thursday, October 31

How to Plant Red Herrings in Crime Novels / Guest Post by Damyanti Biswas



Please help me to give Damyanti Biswas a BIG welcome. Her book YOU BENEATH YOUR SKIN has been making waves. I am honored to have her on my blog today.

Damyanti Biswas' Guest Post:

One of the joys of reading a mystery novel is trying to address a story question—who was the one who did it? I do not write traditional whodunits---my debut You Beneath Your Skin subverts the thriller genre—making of it a whydunnit. It helps though to have the structure of a page-turner, and that means red herrings.

Red herrings do not exist in nature, the term is an idiom—for a rather fragrant distraction (herrings are cured in brine and roasted to give them a red colour) that would take the detective off the scent of the real culprit. Red herrings are the author’s way of making everyone other than the real culprit a suspect. Each red herring would lead the detective or the reader down a different garden path, distracting them from the actual clues.

A few ways to plant red herrings:

1.    Make as many suspects out of other characters as possible: This of course is the prime way to create red herrings. Give other characters the motive, means and opportunity to commit the crime. Make these as strong as those of the suspect. The mistress of red herrings, Agatha Christie, actually decided who the culprit was more than halfway into writing her novel—by which time a range of characters could easily be the culprit.

2.    Let the red herring only confuse the investigators: Sometimes, it is fine to let the investigators take a wrong fork on the road, suspect the wrong person, but the reader can know better. This makes the detectives vulnerable and easy to root for.

3.    Double meanings to create confusion: Sometimes a single clue could be interpreted in many ways. If a detective gets it wrong pretty reasonably because of a genuine confusion, it makes the case more complex, and makes the reader believe a red herring to be a suspect.

4.    Double herrings: This is about introducing too obvious a clue, which the detective dismisses because of its very obviousness. They pick up on something else which is contrary to the first one, only to realise later that the first, obvious clue was the right one.

5.    Check how the red herrings affect characters: Sometimes it is not about a red herring making the reader suspect a wrong character, but instead about showing us an aspect of the character we haven’t seen before. Deepening of character affects plot, and the reader is further engaged in not just getting to know the character but in what happens to them.

6.    Seed them early, and follow through: For a red herring to be really convincing, it needs to be placed as organically and as early as possible. Follow through within the narrative to ensure that the character becomes a viable suspect.

7.    An unreliable narrator: The reader trusting an unreliable narrator can lead to the best twists and red herrings. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn works precisely because the reader comes to trust the narrator’s diary as an intimate portrayal of truth. Sometimes making the detective the main suspect can also help turn the story on its head, especially if the reader can’t decide if they are really clean or not.

Reading a mystery novel is mostly about finding who the culprit is. It is also about getting the reader to turn pages, and care about the characters. Red herrings, when judiciously placed and allowed to grow organically, can be used to spice up a story, add twists and deepen character.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

You Beneath Your Skin is a crime novel about the investigation of an acid attack on a woman from Delhi’s upper class, set against the backdrop of crimes against underprivileged women. They are assaulted, disfigured with acid, and murdered.

While the framework is that of a thriller, the novel threads together different narrative strands. The author tackles various social issues: crimes against women and why they occur, the nexus between political corruption, police and big money; the abuse of the underprivileged, be it adults or children.

Of these the issue of crimes against women is the strongest—why do men attack women? Why do they gang together? What happens when a woman tries to break the glass ceiling? Can toxic masculinity masquerade as benevolent patriarchy?

Parents would also find this novel fascinating: how do you bring up a good human being in today’s troubled times? How much do you know of your teenager’s life? If you’re the parent of a special child, what challenges do you face and what sort of support can you expect?

It is a whodunnit, but also a whydunnit, because violent crime unravels those affected: the people, the relationships, the very fabric of society, and we get a glimpse of what lies beneath. That’s why the title, You Beneath Your Skin.

The narrative of the book was researched and shaped during the author’s work with Project WHY, and some of the experiences generously shared by acid attack survivors from the non-profit Stop Acid Attacks. To return this debt of gratitude, all author proceeds from the book will go to these two non-profits.

BOOK LINKS:






ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Damyanti Biswas lives in Singapore, and works with Delhi's underprivileged children as part of Project Why, a charity that promotes education and social enhancement in underprivileged communities. Her short stories have been published in magazines in the US, UK, and Asia, and she helps edit the Forge Literary Magazine. You can find her on her blog and twitter.


All the author proceeds will go to Project WHY and Stop Acid Attacks.

Thank you, Damyanti, for your awesome tips and for sharing your book with us. More, for the good you are doing. You are AMAZING!

Please leave a comment for Damyanti. 


Monday, October 28

Actually, I'm a Witch / Vlog




I've published my first flash fiction piece on Wattpad! I figured I minus well should do something with these stories. First up is REAPER OF DEATH, perfect for this month. You can read it HERE. If you enjoy it, please vote for it. And follow me, too! I'm a bit lonely. <3



~*~

Hi, there! Thank you for stopping by for this edition of my vlog on Write with Fey!

I've got two videos for you dedicated to my short story, Witch of Death.

Enjoy!


Actually, I'm a Witch

Length: 6:21



Witch of Death Reading

Length: 4:34



Total Length for Both Videos: 10:55

Feel free to comment on my blog and/or on the videos on YouTube. To go each video's YouTube page, click on the title located on the video.

QUESTIONS: Do you enjoy reading witch stories? Who are your favorite witchy characters?


Thanks for watching!




Before you go, consider signing up for my mom's holiday blog hop to celebrate the release of her next picture book SLEIGH RIDE.

Blog Hop Day: November 15, 2019

Blog Hop Question for participants to answer in their blog posts: 

What is your favorite holiday memory? (This includes Hanukkah, Kwanza, Yule/Winter Solstice, Christmas, etc.)

All posts will include the cover art, blurb, and buy links for SLEIGH RIDE. As well as her author info.

Sign up here:


Monday, October 21

Bactine for Introverted Writers - Do's and Dont's


UPDATE: Had to change my comment settings again to stop spammers. Sorry! Right now, you have to have a Google account.


Introverts struggle in many public situations, especially those with crowds of strangers. We can usually fake it till we make it, and can also do a decent job of being social when the circumstances require it, but it takes a toll on us. In the moment, it can take a lot out of us to gain the courage to break out of our shells, even if no one else sees it.


My Story:

After an awkward exchange with three authors with personalities much bigger than my own, I had told them that I’m an introvert. The most vocal author, who practically glowed with extrovertism, gave another author a look that said, “Ha! Do you believe that?”

I noticed this exchange, which only overwhelmed me even more. At that instant, I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to be at that table. I wanted to be home, in my comfort zone, my safe place, far away from looks like that.

Instead, I wheeled in a bit more courage and didn’t allow myself to let that look go without addressing it, something I would’ve done when I was younger. I looked both of the authors in their eyes, letting them know I noticed their exchange, and said, “I fake it very well.” I didn’t owe them an explanation, though.

I had several awkward moments with this vocal author during an event the four of us were a part of together. For instance, for my first intro to readers, I shared my author tagline; I was the only one to do so. The next time around, though, the vocal author shared her author tagline, which sounded very similar to mine. In the moment, I couldn’t help but think she did it on purpose (because she went before me). There were a couple more awkward moments that I tried to play off with laughter and jokes aimed at myself, but it did not help how I felt.

This other author and myself just did not mesh well in this situation, which is funny because the two of us were the first ones at our table and we talked and got along fine. Then things changed when the other two authors joined us.

So…

How do you handle situations where your introvertism is butting up against someone else’s extrovertism?


DO:

1. Take a Deep Breath

Counting to three while inhaling and three while exhaling can calm our thoughts and help us to maintain our composure.

2. Smile

You know that saying, “Kill ‘em with kindness”? Well, being the bigger person really does work. So, smile like you mean it. Not only are you using your kindness to combat the awkward situation, but you’re also faking it till you make it, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

3. Play it Off

No matter how annoyed or overwhelmed you get, or how awkward things feel to you, play it off. I know I felt uncomfortable with this other author, but I used lighthearted jokes, even at my own expense, to get myself through those instances. And the readers had no clue, either.

4. Give the Other Person the Benefit of the Doubt

The extrovert may not know how they’re affecting you and may not be doing anything wrong in their eyes. Realize that this is how the person is in life and to everyone. Once you can accept that, you’ll be able to handle any situation with this person.

5. Give Yourself a Break

You may not be the only person in that situation whose introvertism is butting up against this person’s extrovertism. Others could be feeling the same way. More than anything, you’re doing great as an introvert, getting out there and doing what you need to do. No matter how you feel with someone you don’t mesh well with, give yourself a break. Pat yourself on the back for leaving your safe place.


DON’T:

1. Ignore the Extrovert

Ignoring someone will only make you seem cold, childish, or worse yet…rude. You don’t want people to think you’re any of those things. It’s better to acknowledge the other person by smiling (Do #2) or by playing it off (Do #3).

2. Show Your Feathers are Ruffled

The moment you show aggravation, you get painted as “the problem.” It’s better to take that deep breath (Do #1) and do something else that can allow you to discreetly pull yourself together and try not to show how fed up you may be.

When I needed to hide my annoyance, I signed all of my printed swag that I’d be handing out to the readers and pretended to not know what was going on around me.

Take a moment for yourself, too. Even if you have to politely excuse yourself to use the restroom. Do it! You’ll be all the better after a calm minute to yourself.

3. Snap

Saying something rude or snippety will only taint your image in the eyes of everyone else around, and whomever the recipient of your words tells. Instead, try one or all of the tactics mentioned above (breathe, seek a solitary minute, smile, play it off.)

4. Complain

While at a social event, you may have the urge to complain about that person to someone else, but I warn you not to do that. You never know who is friends with that person, and the last thing you want is for your complaints to get back to that person, who may not have intended what happened or could view it in a different way. Once again, this will turn you into “the problem,” and you could be dealing with consequences bigger than your own feelings.

5. Check Out

When we get overwhelmed, we can withdraw into ourselves. Don’t sit there with your arms crossed pouting, stewing in your anger, or on the verge of tears. Rather, interact with others around you. Anyone. This will show your good side to everyone else.

At the end of this interaction with a strong extrovert, or any social situation, your energy will be depleted. That’s the thing with being an introvert; these things can really take it out of us. We need time (this could be days) to replenish what we spent, so take as much time as you need. And for putting yourself out there and surviving that strong extrovert, I say, “Proud of you, Introvert, proud of you!


QUESTIONS: Are you an introvert? Have you ever had an awkward face-to-face exchange with someone more extroverted than yourself? How did you feel in that moment and how did you handle it?




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