Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Now, Scott is part of a book giveaway. If you're looking for new books, check this out. It's FREE. Here's their official announcement:
From September 1 to 3, independent Authors international (iAi) is holding its first free book giveaway: seven great books from seven free-thinking, independent and original authors.
iAi is a cooperative publishing organization of independent authors from around the world, whose aim is to support and legitimize the independent author movement, and bring new voices to readers throughout the world.
To promote the organization and its authors, seven iAi members are making their books available for free downloads for the Labor Day long weekend through Amazon.com
7 independent writers
7 great books
The Five Fortunes of Fulano by Benjamin X. Wretlind — contemporary literary fiction
LOST by R.S. Guthrie — mystery-thriller/contemporary horror
American Goddesses by Gary Henry — contemporary urban fantasy
Gray Justice by Alan McDermott — action/adventure thriller
Cassidy Jones and Vulcan's Gift — MG/YA superhero adventure
At Road's End by Zoe Saadia — historical adventure fiction
The Bones of the Earth by Scott Bury — epic fantasy/magic realism
For full information on all the titles available for the first iAi Labor Day Free Reads, visit http://robonwriting.com/iai-labor-day-free-reads-2/ or iauthorsi.org.
Enjoy, and let me know if you like the books!
~The Chipper Muse~
Friday, August 24, 2012
|Blogging and candy going together?|
That's what I call sweet!
To take advantage of being a local blogger, you've got to let people know you're out there.
For me, this happened when another local blogger, Tasha, scheduled a Meet Up for bloggers in our area to meet and greet each other. She arranged with a local restaurant to host us, and the restaurant provided light snacks while we paid for our own drinks. (Let's face it: alcohol is a major money-maker for restaurants, so this was a win-win situation for everyone.)
I went to the Meet Up, even though I tend to be a little shy in crowds of people, especially when I don't know anyone. It stretched me out of my comfort zone. I chatted with a few people, most of whom I admit I haven't stayed in touch with. (I made a friend, though, Marty aka the Napkin Dad. I keep in touch with him on Facebook. Check his work out here.)
Now, this event happened two years ago. But my name went on a list of local bloggers, and lo and behold, I got invited this week to stop by the grand opening of See's Candies in our area. Because my name was on the list. Cool, eh? Here are pictures of the store. And all the lovely candy!
Talk about fun! We got to go behind the counter and attempt to box candy, like the classic I Love Lucy episode, which as it turns out, was filmed at the See's Candies factory in Los Angeles. We watched video of the 7,000-pound, Guinness Book of World Records chocolate lollipop that See's made and displayed in California. We sampled chocolates. We took candy home. My sweet tooth is quite content today.
And the opportunity came about because I'm a local writer. How cool is that!
So, how do you take advantage of being a local blogger?
1. Do a Google search to see who is blogging in your local area. Or use Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter to ask around for contacts in your area. When you final local authors and bloggers, connect with them and see what happens. This is how I connected with a local food blog that I plan to write for.
2. Keep an eye and ear out for media pieces on TV, radio, and in the local newspapers. Often, local bloggers are local freelance writers looking for opportunities. Tasha, my initial contact, used to do a radio segment on things to do locally on the weekends. I connected with her on Facebook because of it, and that's how I found out about the Meet Up she was arranging. Which leads me to...
3. Check Meet Up (meetup.com) to see if there are already writers and bloggers groups in your area. If there are, join the group! If not, consider starting one. Most writers know the value of networking. Not all of them will be good at it. But some are. And it'll be fun to meet them, so do what you can to get out there.
4. Tell people you're a blogger. Word of mouth is a great way to network. Often it happens indirectly. You know the whole Kevin Bacon thing. Six degrees. But you can often do it in less than that. Friends of friends may be blogging. Friends of coworkers may be freelance writers. The nurse at your doctor's office may be working on a novel of her own. (That's a true story, by the way.) This is a good way to connect because it's informal, but these people know you and know their friend, and they may be able to hook you up so you can help each other.
Now, you share: How do you make local writing connections? If you have ideas I haven't mentioned, I'd love to hear them. Do you find it easy or hard to network locally? Have you had successes because of your local connections? Tell me all about it. Inquiring minds want to know!
Copyright (c) 2012 by M.A. Chiappetta. All rights reserved.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Keep this story in mind, because it's going to mean something for your writing and reading in a moment, if you'll bear with me.
For the past few weeks, we've taken a look at different aspects of how to use (and how not to use) our personal religious and spiritual beliefs, doubts, and past experiences in our writing, as well as ways we might incorporate religion as a pillar of the worlds we create for our fantasy and science fiction stories. Thanks to guest bloggers Scott Roche, M.E. Anders, and Bryan Thomas Schmidt for being brave enough to share their thoughts on this hot-potato topic.
Now, I'm going to weigh in with some thoughts of my own. And I hope what I share here, along with what my guest bloggers had to say, will spark you to give some thought to how this area of your life may impact your writing.
First of all, some disclosure: Although I'm a Christian, I'm not tackling this topic out of my own concerns about fitting religion and spirituality into what I write. I'm tackling it because of what other people at church often say when I admit (like a confessing sinner) that I'm writing a fantasy novel. They ask immediately, "What audience are you writing for? Is this for the Christian shelves?" It is literally the first question on so many people's lips that I've come to realize this is a major issue for a lot of people.
As you can guess, the question they're asking makes me immediately defensive. I want to say, "And what if I want to put my book on the non-Christian, secular shelves where all kinds of people...like Buddhists and atheists and scientologists and UFO fanatics and vegetarians...might come across it and enjoy it? Because odds are, they're not stopping by the Christian section, because your us-versus-them mentality is already scaring them off. And who can blame them?"
Now, it's not a bad question in general to ask ourselves who our ideal reader is. As writers, when we know our ideal reader, we can market our books more effectively. And we can write more appropriately. (I mean, I suppose you could write a sex scene into a book for ten-year-olds, but what self-respecting publisher is going to print it, and what self-respecting parent is going to buy it? That's the stuff for adults, not kids. And so on. And so on.)
But the obsessive nature with which some Christians feel a need to define where my book is going to be shelved is maddening. Is there some secret judgment going on? (She's not writing a "Christian" book? How evil!) Or perhaps these people are trying to decide whether they can read my book without knowing anything about it. (Well, if it's not officially "Christian," then it could be dangerous to read it.)
Is it bad to admit that I hope it is dangerous for fellow Christians to read what I write? That I hope to provoke them, to make them uncomfortable enough to perhaps grow beyond where they are?
Well, that's my issue. But this blog isn't just for me. It's for fellow writers, and to you I say that my attitude toward incorporating spirituality, religion, or any other beliefs and values into your writing is simply this:
It's going to happen, whether you like it or not. You won't be able to help putting what you believe and value into what you write.
So, you better be aware of what you believe and value. And if you're smart, you'll harness it like a team of oxen and make it plow ground for you to grow something that'll feed you and others.
I'm convinced that who we are and how we think is destined to end up in our creative works, because creativity is born out of our deep selves to begin with, and for writing in particular, we end up writing what we know. You've probably heard of that piece of well-worn advice by now anyway: Write what you know. And I've never thought that meant writing only what you've directly experienced, or there'd be no fantasy, no science fiction.
No, writing what you know means, to me, writing what's in your heart, what you know is true, what you feel is important, what you believe deep down is the way to live and to evaluate the world. If we believe in some form of God, we somehow write that into our stories in the form of hope, forgiveness, and what is right and wrong, much like we see in The Lord of the Rings. If we believe in the power of honesty, then it should be no surprise if our characters are noticeably honest or dishonest, and if the power of words and truth is a major part of our story, which we see in The Sword of Shannara. If we know that love and intimacy and perseverance in the face of brutal difficulties can bring about redemption, then we end up with a beautiful story like the manga Fruits Basket.
In other words, it's not going to matter where my novel ends up on the shelves, because ultimately when someone reads it, it's going to have the things I believe in it. And it'll address the things I'm concerned with. Things like... what it means to be a hero, the importance of refusing to give up, the gift of finding humor even in hard circumstances, love's power to redeem people and situations, and the absolute necessity of hope, without which there's no point in living, it seems to me. A life without hope is no life at all. Oh, and yes, there will always be issues of right and wrong in my fiction, and the value of choosing right no matter the price. Because that matters to me. So I can't help writing about it. In fact, why would I want to do otherwise? If I don't write about the things that I'm passionate about, then what's the point?
These things I've mentioned above are important to me partly because I'm a Christian, but also because I've been a fantasy reader since childhood, long before I practiced any religion with deliberation. And most fantasy novels talk about these themes, and they resonate with me. I personally believe that by knowing this about myself and mastering it, I can make my writing work for my readers better than I could if I pretend I'm going to be objective. I'm not. I have a subjective view of the world, just like every other human being does. But my passionate beliefs can have an outlet in my fiction and be worth it to others, even those who may differ in their beliefs and values, if I honor and respect that not everyone thinks like me and so I write accordingly.
For that reason, I feel it's imperative not to write just for the Christian shelves, any more than I want the Buddhists and atheists and scientologists and UFO fanatics and vegetarians to write for only their shelves and not include me. We have to talk with each other, share with each other, and challenge each other to see the parts of the elephant that we're not normally seeing from our point of view. To do otherwise diminishes our art in some ways. Or at least narrows it to speaking only to those who want to agree with us. I'll never stop you from doing that if you want to, but I hope you'll be aware of the choice you're making. Make it a conscious choice, at least.
That's what I'm doing. I'm making a conscious choice not to fit only among Christians. I'd rather be able to talk to a larger group, and let the chips fall where they may. There's a big, wide world out there, and I kind of like it. I kind of like that people think differently than I do. It makes me more conscious of why I choose to place value where I choose to place it. And maybe my stories can help others consider their whys too. Call me an idealist if you want, a romantic, a Pollyanna. But I prefer to call myself a writer. A fantasy writer. And I'll leave the Christian label for other places.
What about you? Where would you prefer to shelve your books, and why? What do you think of the whole topic of spirituality, beliefs, and fiction?
For other entries in this series:
Use with Care: Religion in Worldbuilding by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
How to Fuel Compelling Plots from Past Religious Experiences by M.E. Anders
Shoehorning God by Scott Roche
Copyright (c) 2012 by M.A. Chiappetta. All rights reserved.
Friday, August 10, 2012
A while back, I interviewed this week's guest, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, about his book The Worker Prince, which combines a science fiction setting with political and religious conflict to create an exciting story. (You can read that interview here.) This time around, I've asked him to talk a little about how he incorporated religion into his worldbuilding and plotting for the novel, and his thoughts on how to include spirituality into your writing without being preachy. Here's what he had to share.
|Book 2 in the Davi Rhiiuniverse is now available.|
|Borali crest from|
The Saga of Davi Rhii
Friday, August 3, 2012
|Butterflies equal transformation|
(at least to the Chipper Muse)