Writer’s Block? Try Writer’s Berlin Wall.

Writer’s Block? Try Writer’s Berlin Wall.

(Note: I am frustrated and venting.)

I don’t like the term ‘writer’s block.’ It’s an icky term. It gives us this mental image of a blob of half dry concrete perched on that handy-dandy box of ideas that roosts inside the creative center of our brains. While this might feel accurate, it is in no way helpful. It makes it seem like this very easy process of removal. Just pick up a sledgehammer, or a local martial artist, and give it a good whack.

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(I feel like this could be a useful skill during the apocalypse)

I know, I know. There are a lot of websites out there that tell you that writer’s block is a lie. That it’s something your brain just made up and it doesn’t actually exist. All you have to do is keep writing and you’ll be fine. Or my favorite “If writer’s block is staring you in the face, write about it.”

Yeah…no.

Let’s put some things in perspective first.

Three weeks ago my book came out. (Go check it out)  So far it’s done better than I expected for a first time publication. It hit #3 on the mystery and thriller genre, and #5 on the shapeshifter/paranormal tag. Overall, on Amazon at least, it rests at #7435. I was pleasantly surprised, even though I found a typo or two when I went back and re-read it.

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(I hate commas.)

Yeah, that’s pretty accurate to how I feel since the work went through myself, a very talented editor, and several friends. I was fairly sure that it was free of errors. But hey, I can’t fix it now.

Then a very dear friend told me that I’ve been really hard to get a hold of lately. “You’ve been so focused on writing, I feel bad trying to get your attention.”

And then the spouse says, “Well, I can’t really ask you to do anything. You are always working.”

There was a hurricane. Flooding in the downstairs. And money demands from the IRS. My kitchen was a mess and my spouse kept trying to clean everything…which sounds great until I felt so guilty about not cleaning that I couldn’t concentrate on anything. This eventually turned into me getting into a snip fest with pretty much anything that walk into my line of sight.

Isn’t creativity grand?

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(I assume each of these actors tried writing a screenplay before filming these scenes)

So let’s look at the list we have here.

  • Feelings of creative inadequacy
  • Guilt for alienating friends and family
  • Anxiety over household chores
  • Hurricane over which I had no control but felt like I should
  • Money issues
  • Household tension

 

Wow, those all sound like anxiety inducing events. Maybe there is some kind of correlation between anxiety and disassociating from your creativity, which may or may not feel like the literary equivalent of hair in the drain. So the nay-sayers who don’t think that writer’s block is real can sniff decade old draino and stop telling me that what I, and thousands of others feel, isn’t real.

Black’s Book Review: Fortune’s Pawn

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Publishing Information: November 5th 2013 by Orbit
Page Count:  320
Genre: Military Science-Fiction, Romance, Action
Note: The first novel in the Paradox series

A few weeks ago I was sitting on my couch reading what is probably my thirtieth urban fantasy story this year. Somewhere around page fifty where the snarky female protagonist tells the uber sexy male romantic interest that she absolutely isn’t interested in him I just set the book aside. It just wasn’t doing it for me, which is sad because I absolutely love romance novels.

I flopped over and had an existential crisis about whether or not I had already read everything there was to read and if the written word was a slowing dying art form. Perhaps I ought to drown myself in a bottle…of bbq sauce.

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(it was a really bad thirty seconds)

Then I took a good long look at that bottle and got really honest with myself. I just wanted something different. I didn’t want another naturally slender twenty-something female with perfect everything and very little personality becoming the obsessive focus of a rich and semi-violent man of the paranormal persuasion. I wanted something with a little more…unf.

So I went looking. I found a few lists of books that sounded interesting, and after falling down the rabbit hole of science fiction I finally stumbled across Rachel Bach. An author that I had seen floating around on some best-of lists and hadn’t quite gotten around to reading because he novels were classified as military science fiction.

Not that there is anything wrong with MSF. Honor Harrington is a fully realized setting with interesting characters and a well thought out story. A Hymn Before Battle takes a really good look at the classic alien invasion story. And the Old Man’s War series remains one of my favorites. I have had to replace the first book to do over-reading.

However, they weren’t what I was looking for. On the one hand I am still doing my Women in Sci-Fi kick. On the other I still wanted to read a good romance. When I put those two genre’s together, it was Fortune’s Pawn that kept getting recommended to me. So I decided to pick it up. I was in NO way disappointed.

The main character is Devi Morris, a woman I am sure is going to get killed for her own ambition, but I am going to love her right up until the end. She is passionate, flawed, strong-willed, self aware, and just glorious. She doesn’t take shit from anyone.

She comes with a high tech battle armor suit that gets her a mercenaries place on a ship with a reputation for paying well and getting people killed. It does not disappoint. The ship has a mystery and Devi charges into it with all the grace and skill of the proverbial bull.

The romance in this story, however, is what really gets me. It is rich, full, and complicated. It doesn’t revolve around some overly aggressive guy who doesn’t understand the word no.

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(herc looks like he’s about to swoon)

The complications for Devi and her beau are more about the fact that he’s not being completely honest and she damn well knows it. Also, trying not to die, that’s a pretty big one.

All in all I give this story a 8.5/10. The only thing that drags this story down for me is a little leaning on tropes, but it certainly wont dissuade me from picking up the next few books.

 

 

 

You Want the Truth?

…you can’t handle the…okay, that’s cliche. My editor would be scowling at me right about now for even thinking this was funny. But I’m going to do it anyway because I’m a rebel. So there.

….anywho…

If you hear the distant sound of shrill screaming do not be alarmed. That’s just me flipping out.

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( Actual gif of me )

My incredibly amazing publisher, Juame Validrosa, has done an incredible job finding an artist and an editor to take my words and give them the best treatment possible. Then he went and put it all over the interwebs for the world to see and (hopefully) fall in love with.

 

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“The Foehammer Act has created an America where vampires, werewolves, elves, orcs, and other haunting creatures are now citizens of the United States, with all of the rights, protections, and privileges afforded the human. It’s a new world order, and it’s anything but orderly!

When FBI Agent Richard Donovan comes back from a near death experience, he doesn’t expect to get tossed into the deep end of things, but that is exactly what happens. After years of being a successful agent, he gets the promotion he never wanted as the lead investigator for a team of paranormal detectives who have to investigate all crimes done by and against America’s supernatural citizens.
Brand new to the paranormal FBI investigation game, Donovan has to travel to werewolf country, USA, to figure out why Lillian Lawson, a werewolf, killed her human family. It seems to be fairly cut and dry. Werewolves kill people all the time, right? It’s not that hard to picture one going lunar on her own family.
But when he gets to Bishop, New Hampshire, Donovan realizes the facts don’t add up, and Lillian, no matter how wolfish she can get, doesn’t come across as a killer. When Deputy Sharon Morris tells him that the ghost of Lillian’s husband doesn’t believe it either, he realizes that there is more to this werewolf mystery than meets the eye. “

That’s me…right there. In all my literary glory. I am elated that this is happening. I am excited, overwhelmed, and overjoyed that this is a thing and I did it. I want to think every single person who patently listened as I talked about this book or writing in general. You are truly incredible.

 

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( this one is me too. )

Ever since I did this people have been asking me some really interesting questions and making some even more interesting assumptions. “You must be so happy!”, “Are you excited!?”, “Can I get a free signed copy?” and a lot of other things.

So let’s clear some things up.

Am I happy/excited that my book is finished? Well…sure…ish? I honestly don’t know. I loved writing it, and I love the characters, but I never feel like the story is done. I have been writing this setting out for about six years. The book itself has been a project that has gone through three very different incarnations just to become what it is. I love that it exists but honestly? The first thing I felt was exhaustion.

Seriously. I typed ‘The End’ somewhere around 7:30 one mid October evening and then I went immediately to bed. Did not pass go, did not collect $200. I think I woke up at 11 the next morning and drank a gallon of water, ate some ramen, and then took a nap. It wasn’t what I would call an exciting day. I was just tired.

I enjoyed chatting with the other people who were involved with my books creation (Lynn, my editor, Juame, my publisher, and Sarah the artist) but I can’t say that I really felt anything that I would call ‘excitement’ until I got the links for all the places where the story had been published.

Even then, I think it would be more apt to say I was…gruntled (it’s a word, I swear it is. I’m bringing it back). I was content, pleased with myself, and ultimately satisfied. Which is a little weird when you realize that you are talking about writing a magical murder mystery. But I’m not going to judge myself here.

All I really wanted to do was get started on book two. Is that weird? I hope not. I just think I really like writing.

Anyway. Here are some links to all the places where you can purchase my book!

Amazon
Kobo
Smashwords