Posts Tagged ‘book’

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The title above is sort of intended to be ironic, so please don’t assume that this is a pep talk for the masses. If there was some secret formula for encouraging motivation that worked every time then whoever figured it out would be a billionaire.
Self-help is a massive industry and many people who contribute to it don’t necessarily have professional credentials in the area that they address. Does that matter? Not always. There are people who have a genuine desire to help people and often experience is more valuable that book learning, as it were.
I’ve known people who were big advocates for self-help and I’ve been recommended several products in this area by people who have found it a really helpful tool.
The difficulty I have is that often by the time I’m in a place where these products might need to be called upon, I’m often so far gone that the cynic in me rules all of my thought processes.
I am neither complete pessimist or optimist. I try my best to remain in the latter mindset as often as possible, but sometimes I do slip into the former and for a person like myself that can be a very taxing experience.
Once my thoughts slide into the negative they can often remain there for days becoming increasingly obsessive until I’m ready to jack the whole lot in. I mean why the hell do we bother? What is the point in all of this? Why not take the easy route that seems to work so well for so many?
Those inbetween the two states are often seen as realists and this is always where I identify myself. Working hard is necessary because no one gets anything for nothing; there is always a price. Coasting along is easy, but on that route nothing truly incredible will ever happen and you will remain unremarkable.
So what is the point in all of this? The point is just this, whoever we are, at whatever given time it may be, you have to accept one thing: you are who you are and you control your own destiny. Often things don’t work out the way that we expect them to and if anyone can find an avenue of help to make their life easier then they should grasp that chance. But self-help, no matter how expensive it is, needs one valuable component. The most important central component has to be in place, and receptive, before it has any hope of succeeding: you.
If you have family and friends around you cheering then that’s great, congratulations. But none of them can achieve your dream for you. The work must be yours and you have to want it, breathe it, visualise it. See your goal, keep moving forward, and begin to consider your next goal.
Giving up is always an option, but it leaves you with a what if…? Winning and losing, failing and succeeding, it’s all a state of mind propelled by you. With every breath you take you are succeeding in living, but is that enough? Do you want to survive and nothing more, or do you want to strive for greatness?
Neither choice is right or wrong but it is just that, a choice and only you can make it for yourself.

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

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putting-puzzle-pieces-together

So it turns out that there’s an issue for indies that few people talk about. Here it is: there’s a difference between folks buying your book and actually reading it.
Obviously the fact that people buy your novel is a great compliment and that’s not something to be sniffed at. But we all have such busy lives and such long TBR lists that it’s impossible to imagine ever reaching the end of them, which means there’s a possibility that those readers will never read your book!
I too have a TBR list that makes my eyes water. When I look through my TBR list I get excited by all of the tales there ready, just waiting to be absorbed into my being. I know that I’ll love some of them and loathe others. I know some will inspire me in my own writing and others will inspire me on how not to write. But it’s thrilling to know that all of those stories and characters are there for me, waiting until I am ready… well the paperbacks anyway. I suppose Amazon can do what it likes with the Kindle reads :p
But how to choose, how to choose… deciding on what to read comes down to a number of factors for me. Though I’ve learned my factors often aren’t the same as others. I choose to read books that are unrelated (entirely) to anything I might be working on with my own writing at that moment. Sometimes that means a different genre or time period, other times it’s just a different location or setup. The worst thing about the TBR decision is the amount of time it takes to pick something to read. Think of all the words we could be experiencing in those minutes it takes us to make a decision.
Often when I’m trawling my TBR list I’ll go back to product pages to re-read descriptions or reviews, which can then lead me to other work by that author (or other authors) and often I’ll find myself increasing the length of my TBR list! Ahh!
I don’t take part in reading challenges because I face so many time challenges with my writing that I wouldn’t want to embroil myself in more. But I do admire those that do. It must be electrifying to have that goal and to be working towards completing a reading mission.
But, back to the original point… Indies spend an awful lot of time and energy writing books, we know this. They spend an awful lot of time and energy promoting books, we know this, too. But it turns out that there’s another hurdle we are completely powerless to overcome.
So how do we put the pieces together? How do we connect the reader to the novel? The answer is, we don’t. There’s such a thing as free will and we all have to accept that there comes a point where fate decides. You can’t force someone to do something which they do not want to do. You can try to make your work as interesting and enticing as you can and then after that, the Gods decide… or rather the reader does – haven’t I previously mentioned that you’re all-powerful? :p
A writer can do only one thing. Keep writing. Your book may languish for years in the e-reader of a potential five star reviewer, but there’s no way to know who that is. Push someone too hard and you’re more likely to find yourself at the one star end. Yes, it’s frustrating, and yes, it’s disheartening to know that your work is lying there unabsorbed. But when there are so many writing and publishing factors that you can influence this is not one to get stuck on.
Still, I make an appeal to all readers. Set a number, three or four, maybe ten or twelve, but pick a number of books to read on your TBR and vow to read that many at the start of each month before you buy any new books. Just think, your next favourite novel could have been on that TBR list all along waiting for you, it’s time to venture forth and discover it!

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

asexyb35b47d7476d9e6f44af103d117974a3
It’s out! Yes, that’s right, Explicit Detail is now officially available in all Amazon territories.
It turns out that release day is actually a bit of an anti-climax. With the introduction of pre-orders most people who wanted their copy early ordered ahead of time. Pre-order sales, as it turns out, don’t actually translate into a bump in Amazon rankings so from my POV everything is the same today as it was yesterday. There was no anxious waiting to see who would be interested in picking up their copy because I already had the pre-sales figures.
Hmm.
But pre-orders are a great thing. They mean that readers can ensure to get their copy of the novels that they want and they won’t forget or miss out. I’ve already set up the pre-order function for my next release and it’s currently working its way through Amazon’s system.
Getting a book out is always a relief. I don’t have to worry about walking out in front of a bus now, the book is out, no stopping it now. Well, I should say that I have to worry less about walking out in front of a bus, but should also note that I do still intend to look both ways before crossing the street.
The apprehension I feel this time is lessened by the fact that Explicit Instruction is already out there, so I hope that more people will be aware of Rushe’s ways. But that doesn’t ease the worry altogether. Rushe doesn’t become a different character over night and so he’s still abrupt and crude, and rough, and foul-mouthed… need I go on? Flick has her work cut out. But it’s the reaction of the readers that makes me nervous. If you’re not expecting Rushe then he can be quite a surprise. The sex is full-on and dirty, and pretty constant at the start so buckle up if you plan to read it :p
With the pre-order promotion done and the majority of initial sales now over, my work is sort of already done. All I can do now is hope that people will read and respond positively. I turn my faith over to the readers with the dream that you will enjoy Rushe and Flick and then tell your friends. It’s your word of mouth that we authors rely on. You are all-powerful as far as we’re concerned. So please read Explicit Detail, if you can, and spread the word. Tell your friends to tell their friends, and we can make sure that Rushe is experienced by any and all who enjoy a good dose of drama and passion. He believes himself so unloveable, maybe we can prove him wrong.

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

passionate-kiss-2

Sex for the sake of sex is great in real life. Why not go for it just because you can? It’s fun and man it feels good… if you’re doing it right :p
In novels, however, it’s important that sex scenes serve some kind of purpose. The trick is, of course, ensuring that the joining still feels spontaneous and is enjoyed by all parties without spelling out the specifics of what the reader will learn from this particular scene.
So what kind of purpose? I hear you ask. “Isn’t sex simple supposed to titillate?” Well yes, it is, it’s supposed to illicit a carnal reaction from the reader. You should feel yourself a little warmer inside, and maybe a little naughtier too. But sex scene after sex scene without there being a greater purpose will fail to advance the story, which is what a romantic fiction novel should be all about – the narrative.
There’s no single purpose for sex in books. It’s not only about showing the physical progression of the relationship between characters. Sometimes it’s as much about the emotional advancement of that relationship too. In Explicit Instruction the reader can map the development of the sexual relationship between Flick and Rushe and see how that parallels the movement of their emotional connection. The sex is different and each experience between them reveals something else.
We can see how Rushe tries so desperately to keep Flick at a distance in the initial stages of their affair. We can see his rough and ready approach, and how he tries to treat Flick as just any other woman. But subtle changes are seen in each of their encounters until their affinity is undeniable.
Now it’s not simply enough for the writer to say, “Rushe wants to keep Flick at a distance and that is why he is so harsh with her…” Then progress at the end to, “Rushe has given up the fight and now realises that this dynamic, refreshing woman has wormed her way into his affections.” The writer must give the reader enough hints, enough small pieces of evidence, to link so that they can put the pieces together for themselves.
The great thing about writing Explicit Detail was further exploring that development between our main couple. The dirty talk and rough sex still exists but it’s there for a different reason now. It’s no longer about Rushe trying to push Flick away, it’s about them optimising the  pleasure of their partner. Playing together, keeping the variety alive while reminding each other of that undiluted passion they still feel for each other.
Some readers will no doubt disagree about the use or purpose of sex, some may even disagree with Rushe’s methods. But the sex is crucial to both books. Trust builds between them, and because of the nature of the sex that they have, that trust is intensified.
Rushe insists on consent but can be brutish. Flick has to trust him, she has to know that if he approaches her boundaries he will desist. She does trust him, because he always will. Being savage in bed, especially when he is overcome with want for her, is extremely arousing for Flick. She sees through his attempts to keep her at a distance and that teaches her more about this man. Just as her refusal to be deterred shows Rushe how determined, and committed she is to being at his side, thus, how she cares for him.
Flick isn’t going anywhere no matter how he pushes and Rushe only falls deeper when he begins to understand that she is truly accepting of who he is, primitive ways and all, she doesn’t want him to change, but she does want him.
There are many other uses for sex in books, sometimes it’s about gathering or showing information of a more material kind. It can serve a practical purpose, or a procreative one. The uses are boundless, it can be manipulation, or motivation, greed, impulse. But we should always learn something about the story or about the characters during these scenes, the journey doesn’t stop because the characters are enjoying themselves, it should always keep on going.

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

ANZEMC_HandshakeElectric_1

What’s the most important part of any fiction novel? The genre? Location? Style? Maybe the premise? Not in my opinion. In my opinion, the most important part of every fiction novel is: the characters.
If we care about the characters, if we connect with them, then the other aspects merely compliment and enhance these people who we are on a journey with.
From an authors point of view, we have to be willing to spend an awful lot of time with these people, months, sometimes years, getting to know them. While we work with them, they are our best friends, our lovers, and our allies. They are our colleagues and they are our family. They are us and we are them.
So, let’s start with nothing. Try to recall how you feel before you open a book, when you’ve maybe read the blurb but really don’t know anything about who is in the book or what they’re going to go through, when you’re completely clueless. Then think about your last book hangover, when you really didn’t want to close the book because then you knew it was going to be over. When you didn’t want to put it down. When you cared so much about these characters that you couldn’t get them out of your head for days and lay awake at night thinking about them. Quite a transition, isn’t it?
We rarely fixate on the location or even the specific storyline of a book for too long. The characters are what linger with us. As humans, the psychic connection is crucial. In real life, there’s not always a physical reason for you to care for someone, but we still do care about them.
Developing this kind of connection between reader and character is very important in ensuring the most satisfying reading experience.
So, how do we create a character? For the most part physical attributes aren’t really very important, they are window dressing. Sometimes a vision of a character will be what first appears, but the look of a character isn’t what makes them complete. We don’t connect because we know someone is six foot tall and has blue eyes.
To write a character that readers can connect with you have to understand the essence of them. You have to be able to live in their head and understand their motivations, their actions, and their mannerisms etc. Why do they use certain words? What are their habits and ambitions? It’s not enough to keep a bio, to have a list of facts about upbringing and environment. We can’t simply list their CV, likes and dislikes, and think that a collection of facts will bring about a relationship between reader and character.
All of us are flawed and so characters have to be flawed too. They are not perfect. They are not (depending on the genre) omnipotent and can’t necessarily read the mind of a person who may be hurting, or be able to see danger coming from around the corner. Characters have to be thrown off-guard and out of their comfort zone, when we as readers understand that they are mentally or emotionally struggling but they battle on then we start to root for them.
But it starts with a link. The writer has to be linked to the character, we have to be able to live in their head and have them inhabit ours. Imagining how they would react in even the most mundane of circumstances helps with that, talking to them, writing scenes that will never make the book, all of these things help to develop a trust and understanding between character and reader, because it’s only when the author cares about the character that the reader will too.
This goes for the villains too. Care doesn’t have to be tender. You have to understand the motivations, and the history, of your antagonist as well as you do for the protagonist, it gives the relationship between those characters balance.
The writer, and the reader, should always remember that these characters are only given life when they are experienced and remembered. They can only feel if you feel. You are their heartbeat and their soul inhabits yours. Take a piece of your favourite characters with you wherever they go – they’ll appreciate the adventure.

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

ONEFLAME

Today I pose a question to you all, what makes a bestselling author?
Note, I’m not asking what makes a bestselling book. Obviously there are a lot of factors required of a novel to make it fit into that category. But the question is, what makes the author a “bestseller”? A lot of novels out there claim to be written by bestselling authors and I wonder – did the author dub themselves that? If so, what makes it true? We wouldn’t want to dupe our readers but there must be a barometer for this, surely?
Now, it may be enough to say that if your novels have sold in decent numbers then that makes you a bestseller. But what is a decent number?
Maybe it’s about sales ranking. I’ve had a novel stick at number one for a few weeks, great, right? Absolutely, I was overjoyed. But that same novel didn’t make it to number one in every territory. Several of my novels have reached single digit rankings in their genres, great! Again, that’s not in every territory. Is it enough to reach the top ten in the US? Does that mean you’ve made it everywhere? What about the UK? Does that count? Which country doesn’t? Yet, if I reached number one in a smaller country, could I still dub myself a “bestseller”?
The answer is that to be considered a bestselling author, by Amazon terms, you have to reach the top three hundred in overall sales on Amazon.com. Though I see books out there who have reached this marker whose authors do not claim to be bestsellers. I also see books that I know have not made this milestone who do claim to be bestsellers.
This would lead me to the next question, would stating “bestselling author” on the cover actually sell more books? What’s to stop us all doing it, I doubt every reader would go out and check your historical rankings but if they did and found out that you hadn’t reached number one in their country would they feel conned?
I suppose being a “bestselling author” isn’t necessarily the same thing as being a “number one bestselling author”, is it? But short of listing your highest sales ranking on covers, which would have to be individually designed for each territory, how can we ensure not to oversell ourselves?
Maybe stating on the cover that you were a “bestseller” would sell more. Alternatively, it could mean that your work is read with a more critical eye, that the reader will have higher expectations, thus if you don’t meet those you could disappoint your reader. That brings us back full circle to creating a bestselling book.
Is titling yourself as a “bestseller” an act of arrogance? Or are we merely giving readers more information?

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

thankyou

We all spend so much time thinking about what is not done, “You didn’t take out the trash,” “you forgot to buy milk…” etc. that we so often fail to notice the things that are done.
Taking things for granted in life is something we have all been guilty of. That’s why so often praise or gratitude is surprising, quite often if people show me gratitude for something I think it’s the start of a joke :p
Don’t for a second think that I’m going to start singing about appreciating the warmth of the sun on your face and the sweet, delicate melody of the birds chirpring in the trees. By all means appreciate those things, you should. But today I want to think about appreciating the other humans around us.
Now I know it’s easy to get mad at the kids, and at your husband when he didn’t “hear” you tell him about the neighbour’s dinner party. You should get mad, I’m sure they deserve your wrath 🙂 But we are nothing alone. Our family and our friends are what propel us forward. Our ambition determines how high we aim. But at the end of the day everyone needs help to achieve lofty goals.
So thank you. That’s really the aim and simplicity of this blog. Every single person who reads this is doing me a kindness. Every person who reads my books, love or loathe, review or not, you’re all doing something nice for me.
I have to show my gratitude to you all. If I could thank every person who bought my book, or read my comments on social media, then I would. But I think I would come off as a bit creepy if I started following all you guys around.
So I want to take this chance, on this platform, to thank you all for having faith enough to take a risk and read my work. All of you are valuable to me, and if I could show you my gratitude personally I would… in a completely non kinky way, promise, lol.
So often we hear about authors, of all varieties, and we hear of publishers, and of distributors, so often the reader is overlooked. There is no industry without you guys. Would it matter if half the writers out there stopped writing? Not as much as if half the readers suddenly stopped reading. You have to be respected by authors, all of you, by every part of the machine. Don’t underestimate your power. By sheer will alone you have the power to change the market. Pick a book you love and tell everyone you know, they tell everyone they know, and suddenly this little pile of words that spoke to you has taken the world by storm. That is the power you have.
Writers shouldn’t be revered, yes, they should be respected for the hard work and perseverance that it takes to produce the goods because it is a long journey. But that journey has no destination without the reading community. Yes, writers are readers, they have to be, there’s absolutely no equivocation on that, but we’re not the most important ones.
The most important person in a writer’s world is… you. Not the guy next to you, not the guy running the country, not even the distributors and publishers who are slugging it out. Let them have their war. This is about you. I have to connect to you. I have to work hard, for you. No one else. I don’t do it because I think I’m going to tempt a million readers. I want to connect with you. I want my words to affect your life, even if only for a few seconds. I want them to provoke a reaction. I want your heart to beat faster, or I want it to spasm with sorrow. I want you to laugh. I want you to cry. I want you to care.
My characters don’t belong to me. They are yours, they are what is in your heart, and in your head. They are what you want them to be. All I do is assemble thoughts and scenarios, the emotion is yours, it’s in you, you make the story what it is.
So thank you for taking a risk. Thank you for reading. Thank you for infusing my stories with sensation. Your wonderful mind processes the words I put together and causes that sentiment to your senses. You see it, you feel it. You are the story. It is for you. You have my eternal gratitude.

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

Awriterfunny1

It has been said that writers must have the tendency to doubt and the capacity to believe in equal measure. Perhaps that is why I find myself dwelling on this peculiar, I mean particular, issue.
I’ve been writing for years, right? Along the way I’ve learned a few dos and don’ts. I have masses of information about my writing process and style, I have great tips about editing too. But, tonight, I’m not here to brag. Actually, it’s the opposite.
I dwell on this issue when it comes about. When I see others asking for writing advice, or even discussing their own processes, I shy away. I would love to be able to share my journey as though I am some kind of authority on the issue. Problem is, I am not really an authority. To give advice we must first surely believe that what we are saying will help in some way. How am I to know if that is the case when I give out advice? I’d love to be able to talk about things that I’ve been through because I know what an uphill battle things can be at times. I know what it’s like to dream big and I know what it’s like to crash.
Maybe it’s a confidence issue, in fact it has to be a confidence issue, because I just don’t believe that what I have to say is helpful enough to pass on. I’m not a writing teacher. I only have my experience in this arena. Yes, that experience is vast, but we all work in different ways, don’t we?
It’s difficult because there are times I believe I have something to offer but then I will withdraw because I worry others will think less of me, maybe they’ll think I’m trying to brag or act like an authority when I have no right to.
Writers should seek solace in each other and they should be able to lean on each other. But our “success”, if we dub it that, is so subjective. Some of the biggest names in fiction have the loudest critics. Even those on hefty-advance contracts still have negative reviewers. But they’re obviously doing something right.
So when I think about this, and about how valuable what I have to say would be, I always come back to the same, single question – when has a writer “made it”?
I believe a writer is a writer whether they’ve sold a million books, or written their biography on the back of a napkin. If you can sit down, write with love in your heart, and get to the end of a project (whatever it is) then you’re a writer. So by that definition, yes, I am a writer. But until a writer has “made it” surely their advice is as useful as the guy’s who wrote his shopping list on his iPhone last week. Ok, that’s harsh, let me explain myself.
Most writers will have come across this when they tell people what they do (whether professionally or for fun), people want to share their story, or their ideas anyway. So you have to sit there while your Great-Aunt Whoever’s, next door neighbour’s, gardener’s uncle tells you about how they sat down to write their book. Chances are they never finished it, chances are this was thirty years ago, whatever, people have advice to give even without authority.
I can tell you how to write a book. I could write a book on how to write a book. But that would be one book I’d never let anyone read. I want to be helpful, I want to be a part of the writing community and offer words of support and guidance. Trouble is, what gives me the right? I’m no better than the gardener’s uncle, am I? Or if I am why is that? What gives us the right?
This is useless meandering again, I suppose, because there is no quantifiable answer. If one book is sold, is that enough? How about ten? Or a hundred? Why not make it a thousand?
If I’m asked a direct question I’ll always answer it. Otherwise I lean toward, your guess is as good as mine…

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

summer

I’ve been at the computer for almost fourteen hours now, the room is starting to ripple, and I haven’t eaten since… yesterday. Needless to say I’ll keep this brief.
Explicit Instruction stormed through the charts at Amazon.ca I don’t think there are words for my surprise. It’s a funny little cloud to be sitting on. I know the position won’t hold forever, so although it’s amazing I’m already preparing for the crash. Weird, isn’t it? Writing isn’t instant. I can’t just release a new book tomorrow. But as flattered and humbled as I am it’s like… it doesn’t feel real. I thought actually charting anywhere was the equivalent to winning an Oscar, you know, completely out of the realm of possibility for anyone mortal.
I’ve been a writer all of my life. But it’s different now. In these last few months, since I started to publish the beast has taken on a new form. It’s a form I like. It’s utterly exhausting and exhilarating, and for the first time today I started to realise that this is real. People have actually read my work, some people like it, some people don’t, but it’s out there now. There’s no taking it back… not that I would if I could. But it’s just little me, sitting behind my computer, writing the worlds that exist in my mind.
I wish I could reach more people, and I wish more people could reach me. There have been times I’ve been exhausted through to my bones, and times I’ve been so happy I’ve wanted to jump and scream.
I don’t know what this is. I don’t know what I’ve started. But I do know I’m not going anywhere.
People I’ve thought would be happy for me, ignore me. People who I thought would be disappointed, are proud. But still, it’s just little me, behind my computer screen, tapping away.
I do this for me. I do it because I would be doing it anyway, whether I published or not. But it’s just me, all alone, sharing my secret with you.
I’m about to digress into my existential mutterings so I’ll stop there. I suppose what I want to say is, thank you for having faith, for joining me on this journey. Sorry, if I disappoint you, if I fail to live up to the faith you’ve put in me, and… please, I want to ask you to come with me, to stay with me, I can’t do this alone. I am us, I am we, and without we and us, there is no I…
See, I told you, I think I’m tripping out! Here’s to tomorrow, and may there be many more to come.

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

ExplicitInstruction

Hello guys!
SPECIAL NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT: Explicit Instruction is available now! I’ve put the link below for you all to check it out when you can. It’s been a long journey and finally we’re here. I look forward to receiving your feedback about this novel, and I very much hope you enjoy embarking on another adventure with me!

Good luck on your adventures,
Scarlett

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LADEH0U

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LADEH0U

Blog: scarlettfinn.wordpress.com
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