“Patience is its own reward,” and “Work hard, and you will realize your dreams”. These are two quotes that we hear over and over throughout our lives. This leads me to say that patience and hard work are my constant companions.
And, it’s true. However, if you’re going to be an author, you’d better be totally prepared to be realistic, patient, and work hard without pause. Why? Because you are competing with hundreds of thousands of authors all over the world. That’s even double, triple, or even quadruple the authors, because many have far more than one book out there.
Working hard is just a first step, and it does not guarantee a darned thing. If you’ll notice, most books and authors that are recognized are on the “Best Seller Lists” – and they stay there. It’s not often a new author is on it. A handful of new authors make it big, but the majority don’t.
Is it a mistake for those who make Best Seller Lists to ignore new authors? Absolutely. So many of my followers are authors – all, like me, trying to just get their work out to the public. And, they are really great writers, too!
Before I ever began to write, I was (and still am) an avid reader for years. Books were my getaway from reality. Going to a bookstore was so overwhelming, because I like so many genres, just trying to choose was a headache! But, today? Well, it’s e-books. Just go to one of the big book sellers online, and see how many books there are for you to choose. It’s almost impossible to choose! My problem was, and still is, how to choose a book in the first place!
Well, since I became an author, there are so many amazing authors that are following me on Twitter, that helped narrow choices down for the moment. So, I have opted to choose my followers’ books. I just hope I can live long enough to read them! ROFL! I am wholly impressed by these authors.
Of course, I think the difference between a good book and a great one is editing. Now, I’m not talking about editing to the point that the book bares no resemblance whatsoever to the book that the author wrote, but one that has had collaboration between both editor and author to keep the author’s vision of their book intact while making it read better with the correct grammar, punctuation, and other things. That is not to say that rules cannot be broken. They can. After all, it’s imagination that drives all of us as authors. But, in general, grammar, spelling, and punctuation are the most common complaints among reviewers and readers. Unfortunately, most authors do not have the money to buy an editor. I think this is a sad thing. Being not only an author, but an editor, I can attest to this.
But, back to the main point of my blog. Patience. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll be picked up by a large publishing house whether or not you are self-publishing or with a small, independent publishing house such as the one I chose. But, let’s face it. Most of us will never be picked up, but some of us may make it enough to make a decent living, or even as a supplemental living.
I honestly don’t know if all the work, and PR in the world will accomplish this for any of us, but if any of us quits? Well, that’s where failure starts.
I am going to admit something to everyone. I have failed at so many things in my life. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the 5 star reviews, which my books have been receiving – and they are REAL book reviews, I never buy them – I have decided, for the very first time in my entire life, that I won’t quit. Not this time. I believe in my story trilogy. It was fun to write them for the adult women who dreamed of the same things to read that I did. And, even those who know me who have read them, never had a clue that I could write!
I kept my books a complete secret from everyone until I had the entire trilogy finished. Once I did, an old friend of mine I’ve known since Junior High School, and is an educator, flat out told me that I had missed my calling. She could not believe that I could write like this! In fact, it stunned her so much, she told me she couldn’t wait for the rest of them, and I’d better not disappoint! Well, that put me on the hook. I had a couple of others read the first book before I ever published them, and they were so thrilled, they, too, said the same thing.
Now, for me? That was the most flattering thing ANYONE has ever said to me! With these, along with the reviews that are being posted on Amazon, I realized that I would fail THEM if I quit – especially, when so many people I knew, and did not know, believe in my ability to write?
So. I won’t quit. I have made so many friends on Twitter, and other social networks, that if I decided to stop, I would not only fail them, but I would fail myself.
I will not stop, because of all these wonderful people who have so much faith in me. So much so, that I have begun my second series, and am almost finished with my first book in this new series. Once it is edited, I’ll have it ready for you.
And, still, I have learned a great deal of patience over the past year and a half. I have built my Twitter followers from only 18 followers to almost 10K – every single one of them real, and I never bought any! I won’t buy them simply because I believe in my own books. I also love tweeting about others books, because I think it’s fun! I expect to reach the 10K mark within then next month. Watch for the 1 follower, 3 books coming up!
It is fitting that my first #book #interview call-in should be a great TV show like Deadgar’s Dark Coffin Classics with hosts Deadgar Winter, Victoria Bathory, and Celeste.
I had never done anything like this before. Oh, I’ve been on TV, but not like this. Not for anything personal. I had the best time ever with these group of people! It was fun, and they had me laughing at every turn from the moment of the “mic” check to the call after the show. They cracked me up during that as well, and yet were so professional, I was amazed!
The show is hilarious, and they host old television horror flicks – something I absolutely love! Deadgar asked me a while back what my favorite horror movie was. I couldn’t believe that the very first thing out of my mouth was “The Raven” in 1963 with none other than horror greats Vincent Price, Boris Karlov, Peter Lorre, and our own, contemporary Jack Nicholson.
When you have that many greats, you know there’s bound to be some hilarious exploits, and the movie delivered! So, he put “The Raven” on for me a few months ago. He had already invited me to come on the show, but my work schedule was the pits, and I had to find a time when I’d be off so I could devote my time without rush. I mean, I didn’t want to embarrass him, or myself. I do so much better with the written word!
But, Thursday, March 12, 2015 was the perfect day! I sort of knew how things worked due to my own daughter who had been in TV for several years as a producer, but the statistics eluded me. After the mic test, I waited for about 20 minutes until I was on the show.
It was so strange for me to talk to them knowing someone was taping it! But, they put me at ease, and had me laughing. I had to think on my feet. I was prepared for the questions about my book, but not for the off-the-cuff things. However, it was hard not to be able to work with them on the spur of the moment answers.
I highly recommend this show! Wisconsin is so darned lucky to have these amazing vampire characters who have all kinds of comical friends join them on occasion. Quite frankly, I wish I could have been on the set, because they are so much fun! He has been on Channel 14 for the last 2 years, and the show has received numerous rewards. In addition, these wonderful people are extremely active within their community, and have all kinds of fun with their fans!
So, I had the best time, and it went so fast, it was over before I knew it! It was awesome, and I loved every second of it! Thank you, guys, for having me on your show. I can’t thank you all enough!
A Sidenote: I don’t wear garlic around my neck, because this Werewolf LOVES Vampires!
~~~ LK Kelley, author of the White Wolf Prophecy Trilogy ~~~
Yoda said it best. “Do or do not. There is no try.”
I hear many who think they should get services free without paying, thinking that once their book starts to sell, then they can pay the publisher. There are hundreds of thousands of authors a day competing. Whether you go with a publisher or self, you are going to need to spend money. You can’t buy ISBN’s without it or copyright or printing or editors or marketing. If you don’t have money, then learn to market & promote yourself. I spend hours a day doing this. I happen to love it but most don’t.
Would you not pay your doctor or lawyer to help you? These are services. How about a lawn service? Tree service? Automotive service? Hearing aid service? PR Service? Or a LITERARY AGENT? None of these are free! So what is the common thread in this? The word – SERVICE. Just because one cannot see & hold something in their hands does not mean a service isn’t working for you. Would YOU WORK FOR FREE? No.
If you can’t afford it, work hard till you can! But know it may never happen, even if you hire someone. You gain nothing when you don’t pay something. You are gambling your entire writing on making it big. It is a gamble. Think lottery. That’s what all authors are up against. It costs money to do these things.
Stop trying and just do it. I built my Twitter following for my books from 18 followers over 4 years to 34.2K. It wasn’t easy at all. I spent hours a day promoting my own books. I have the best followers on Twitter, and we all share each other’s works. In the last 6 months, I have had several small publishers follow me. Until that time, I had 1 or 2.
Is it hard work? Absolutely it is! But I do it, because I have faith in my writing skills. I also am a professional book editor, but again, it is a service, and I do not work for free. Get out there. Work your butt off. Use whoever else if you can afford them. But don’t complain if you can’t afford a service. No one works for free.
If you enjoy my posts, I hope you’ll join me on Twitter!
Friday, I lumbered into my Doctor’s office, well before my appointment time @ 10:30 was scheduled, I might add, because I believe in being before an appointment. After checking in, having to fill out yet another dumb form required by BCBS, and paying my $35 co-pay, I was summoned into the depths of the Doctor’s office by the nurse calling my name. (I mean…who wants to hear their name yelled to one and all? Everyone’s eyes dart to you, glaring as if you are the most evil person on Earth for daring to be seen before them!)
The room wasn’t ready, but in fact, a patient was still in it! I was weighed, and waited for 5 minutes. Rarely do we spend more than 45 minutes, total, between the waiting room and the exam room. I might also mention that there are only 5 exam rooms, and the clinic is in a school. The nurse lead me into the room, and seemed extremely flustered. The bed had no paper on it, so after she told me to sit in the chair, she rushed out to find some, only to come back a few minutes later, her arms laden down with 4 rolls of exam paper. She threw 3 of them under the counter, and quickly put one onto the bed. She ran right back out of the room, again. She didn’t return for about 10 minutes, then proceeded to ask me the same questions that I had been asked last time I was there. I kinda took exception to the mental health questions, which are subtly buried in your regular health questions, but…I answered them all truthfully. Then, she said,
“The Doctor will be here in a minute!” yelling cheerfully, as she ran out the door.
All of this took, maybe 15-20 minutes – still abnormally long. I pulled out my iPhone, and began to read the book I’d started the day before. I was so engrossed, I didn’t really pay attention to the time, until about 30 minutes later, I happened to look at the clock, and no one had come in to see me. About that time,the nurse stuck her head into the room to see if it was empty, so she could get it ready for the after lunch rush. She started to leave, when she saw me in the corner. Surprise was on her face.
“Are you still waiting???” Her voice kept rising into the treble clef.
“Yes. I’m still waiting,” I answered.
“I have no idea what happened! I’ll get someone in here!” And, she left.
I heard one of the Drs. Speaking to a patient in the next room. I realized that it was the woman who had come into the office 10 minutes after I had. Now, it is possible that her appointment was earlier than mine, but if so, she was horribly late. Finally, I heard the Dr. leave, and I thought for sure, he’d be in my room next. So, I began to read again. After another 15 minutes, I really needed to go. Her face was even MORE shocked that I was still in the room.
“I am so, so sorry! I have no idea what happened! He’ll be with you in a minute!”
So, I used the facilities, and shuffled back to the room – only to wait another 10 minutes, before he finally showed his face. Just before he did show up, I had decided I had to leave to get to work. I was losing my time and money attached to that time! So, I was going to go to the receptionist, tell her that I needed to reschedule, but that I had already paid my $35, and had been sitting in the room for 1 1/2 hours, and they could just use that co-pay for the reschedule. (Yeah. Right. We ALL know that would happen!)
While he didn’t apologize, he was the most subdued I have ever seen. My Doctor talks up a storm! Loves to shoot the bull! I needed to get back to work.
So, how valuable was my time? About less than 9 minutes worth, because that’s all the time the At Dr. was with me. I had sat for 1 1/2 hours – mostly in the exam room, in a Dr’s. Office with only 5 exam rooms, forgotten, and then, no apology? I guess he thought the nurse apologized, so that was enough.
After I grabbed a quickie lunch, I drove to the office, luckily not speeding. Oh, but I wanted to speed! I was stewing over the fact I had not only sat and waited and been forgotten at the office, but no apology by the Dr.
So, over the weekend, I began wondering…Just WHOSE time was more valuable? Is it the person who keeps their appointment on time? Or is the doctor’s more important, because he has a title after his name? What about the person who keeps their appointments on time in any venue, but because the person they may be seeing has a title after their name, they feel it entitles them to keep you waiting as long as they want just because of that title?
What is the answer? The correct answer is: It depends on who is the person and who is the professional. Which one is the late one? If the person is late, then it is the professional’s time. If the Professional makes so many appointments, they cannot get to the person’s appointment on time, it is the person’s time. Being a professional with some kind of title behind, or in front, of your name, does not mean you are entitled to do whatever you want to whoever is your appointment. It does not entitle you to make the person “wait” just because of “who I am”. Likewise, the person is not entitled to be late to an appointment, only to demand to be seen on time.
The old argument that “well, the professional went to school for years to learn his business” does not fly in the face of R U D E. If the person cannot get there on time, then either leave early, or reschedule.
If the professional cannot get to the appointment on time, then do not keep the person waiting forever! That person may be an hourly employee, and is losing THEIR money and THEIR time!
And, for goodness sakes! If an employee of yours goofs up, just admit it and apologize!
So, on Friday, I figured up my loss against the Doctor’s gain.
Doctor made $35 = 9 minutes of work after forgetting I was there
LK LOST $55 = 3 1/2 hours of work I missed because I was forgotten
Apology is all that is needed, but if you are so high up on your own self-pedastal that you cannot show simple common courtesy and respect just because someone doesn’t make as much money as you do, then you shouldn’t be in business at all.
So, back to the time…my time is no less valuable than my Doctor’s time. When I am at work, my patient’s times is no less valuable than my own time. Lesson over.
I am privileged to present to my readers a really terrific book blogger in her own right as well as Author. Val Penny has shared with me information about her exciting new book! OK, gang! I really excited about it, too! I am also please to present a synopsis of the book at the end of the article! Enjoy ~ LK Kelley
AUTHOR VAL PENNY
Thank you for inviting me to your blog today. I am very excited, because Publisher, will be published by Crooked Cats Books, has released my debut, crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’.
The story is set in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. I think setting is very important to a novel. I considered creating an imaginary town for my main protagonist, Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson. However, I know the city of Edinburgh well, as I lived there for many years, and it has everything a writer could need. It is a diverse city with all different kinds of buildings and people. It is small enough, that characters can move around quickly, and is large enough for anything I want to happen there, could happen.
Edinburgh is also a beautiful city with a castle, a palace and a cathedral, wealthy homes, horrible slums, fine restaurants, fast food outlets and idiosyncratic pubs. It is home to an Olympic size pool, the National Rugby Team and two famous football teams. It is also home to The Edinburgh International Festivals, so what more could either my characters or I want?
I chose Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, as the setting for my novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’. It is a beautiful city, and there is a population of around half a million people. The location of the city is on the south banks of the Firth of Forth. There are some lovely views across the Forth from Edinburgh to the county of Fife on the north of the river. There are three bridges crossing the Firth of Forth: the oldest is the Forth Rail Bridge, which was built in the nineteenth century, the Forth Road Bridge was built in the twentieth century, and the most modern, named Queensferry Crossing, is a bridge built for road traffic, and was completed in the early part of this century.
The delegated parliament of Scotland, is where Hunter’s nemesis, Sir Peter Myerscough serves as Justice Secretary. The Scottish Parliament has wide powers over how the people of Scotland are governed and meets in the Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood district of the city. Following a referendum in 1997, in which the Scottish electorate voted for devolution, the current Parliament was convened by the Scotland Act of 1998, which sets out its powers as a devolved legislature. Since September 2004, the official home of the Scottish Parliament has been a new Scottish Parliament Building in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh. The Scottish Parliament building was designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles. There was much concern at the time as the building was completed many years late and several times over budget.
Hunter Wilson is divorced. He lives in a flat in Leith, an area to the north of the City and drinks in his local pub, the Persevere Bar. His home is also close to one of the main soccer grounds in Edinburgh, the Hibernian Football Ground. Hibernian Football Club, commonly known as Hibs, is a Scottish professional football club based in Leith.
The other main character, Detective Constable Tim Myerscough is Sir Peter Myerscough’s son. He lives across the city from Hunter, in the south-west of the city. He moves into a flat Gillespie Crescent between Tollcross and Bruntsfield. His local pub is in the Golf Tavern, off the Bruntsfield Links.
A wonderful free activity to do all year round is to play golf on Brunstfield Links. It is believed to be one of the oldest sites of golf as it pre-dates the seventeenth century, the short hole course was founded in 1895. Situated south of Melville Drive, there are two courses available to play on. A summer short 36 hole course (open end of April to September) and a 9 hole winter course (open October to end of April).
DC Tim Myerscough’s father, Sir Peter Myerscough, lives even further to the south in the Morningside district of Edinburgh. From his large house, he has fine views across the Pentland Hills. The Pentland hills are situated just outside of Edinburgh. The reservoirs are picturesque and each hill is slightly different. If you are fit enough, you can go on top of all of the hills in one day.
Edinburgh is such a diverse and cultural city, home to The Edinburgh International Festivals that represent all aspects of art, three universities and several colleges and the Scottish national rugby ground at Murrayfield. It is the perfect location for my ‘Hunter’s Chase’ novel, and the cases DI Hunter Wilson has to solve. ~ Val Penny
by: Val Penny
Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.
Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city, and he needs to find the source, but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course.
Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder, but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: Detective Constable Tim Myerscough, the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable Sir Peter Myerscough.
Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this first novel in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series.
Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her first crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ set in Edinburgh, Scotland will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. She is now writing the sequel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’.
When I first started reading this wonderful story, the Prologue grabbed me instantly, because, like her character, Kassie, we have several things in common. I had a best friend who had an incurable disease as well. She lost her life due to an inoperable brain tumor when we were 8. The last times we had together with my other three best friends, were precious to all of us, but we never would be the same again. I am also a Professional Interior Decorator, so I love the scenes about construction, and remodeling. Finally, Tamara weaves a very engaging story about love at first sight, that lasts even when they are no longer together. Fighting this true love is always hard, but just another thing I believe in, since my husband and I fell in love at first sight.
And, that’s where similarities end. Her love interests were wide and varied until Michael Murphy enters the scene. He’s her parents’ godson, and wants to be an architect, but needs to learn some basics. Unknown to Kassie, Murphy has been brought in to help find who is taking their construction supplies. After pointing the reader into different directions, Tamara has the reader going in circles as to who the thief really is, and as usual, the villain in the piece isn’t the one you think it is, as her writing shows the jealousy of not just one man, but of others toward the main character. Kassie needs control of her own life, because her sister had been attacked, and she uses that control in an unique way. Not only did her best friend die at 14, but there have been murders and assaults over the years in this small community. Her own sister, Lucy, was also the victim of an assault, and the similarities abound for many little girls and women in the area. Thefts from her Father’s construction company, abound, yet no one, despite all the surveillance can figure out who is the culprit. It took me 3/4 of the way through, before I realized who the culprit had to be! At first, I had the suspects lined up, until. I saw the one thing that clued me into who it was.
Nope! I’m not going to tell you! This is a great read, and I truly enjoyed it immensely! You can’t go wrong with Tamara’s awesome books, and there is a reason why she wins all kinds of awards.
I am not only an editor and writer, but I am also an avid reader and I love reviewing books when I get a chance! Enjoy this amazing book, and others that she has written as well!
I have been asked over & over why I love watching disaster movies. I always answered, “I don’t know. I just do”. I never really stopped to consider it. When I did, I still couldn’t understand why.
Years have passed, and still, I couldn’t figure it all out – until early this morning. I recently watched San Andreas & Salvation’s 1st season. Then, my mind strayed to other disaster movies, and books as well, that I love & hate – even the silly ones. Finally, I have an answer to their questions.
This world is on the precipice of fast & severe change. I say this, because Earth does not belong to man. Whether by prophecy or physical destruction which may cause this change, is up for debate. Personally, I go the prophecy way. But, the biggest thing is that, regardless of what man thinks, it is completely out of our control. We can’t stop it or change it. We are but another species living here out of millions that were in charge before. It really doesn’t matter whether that species is or was intelligent. We are as insignificant as a grain of sand in the cosmos. While not so to the creator, who already has unbelievable and exciting plans for His faithful believers in Jesus, still we are doomed at some point.
I also realize that the key words in all of this are “out of our control”. The Earth has survived incredible changes over millions of years. However, Earth is the one who always comes out the winner. It’s tiny life forms never have. The Earth has survived worldwide floods, massive earthquakes in a scale that we only can imagine, and storms on an ecological scale. And, still the puny life forms lose every single time. It mattered not if they have logical and/or intelligence. They lost. Period. Earth has survived wars, atomic bombs, nuclear bomb tests, and other things none of know about, that have been all practiced in secrecy. We are just now witnessing climate changes that are cyclical. All anyone has to do is backtrack BEFORE RECORDED history of our weather. It’s so easy to find it’s embarrassing to think of those whose ignorance goes by recorded weather history only. If the past Earth wasn’t effected permanently by its inhabitants in even harsher events, then to think man is at fault for climate is ludicrous and beyond arrogant.
We are just a group of different passengers on this planet, as Disney’s Spaceship Earth imparts. We are as temporary as were those creatures who came before us, and if any come after us. Think about that for a minute. Life does not exist at our pleasure, nor anything that nature has to throw at us. We exist at nature’s pleasure.
And, that is why I like disaster movies and books as well. Neither the cast and crew along with their directors and producers, and authors, realize that they are actually showing and telling us that we are not in control of nature at all. On the contrary, they show us just how fragile our existence really is, and despite our efforts at trying to pretend we can control the planet, these movies and books show us that life can literally be changed or destroyed in an instant by what’s under our feet, swirling in the air, exploding from the depths and what can fall from above.
But perhaps I don’t totally believe that man cannot effect change. After all, we have an uncanny ability to destroy life as we know it by having invented the most deadly killers man has ever devised. But, you know what? The Earth will still survive, even though we might not. Forever? No. That, too, would be arrogant.
So, my answer is I watch and read disaster movies and books, because they remind me to never think that man is permanent. That neither we, nor those that came before or after, have any control over the effects of nature, whether they come from without or within. Arrogance will always be the downfall of man. The other species’ downfall was simply because they were here. It is not existing or intelligence that effect nature. It IS nature that effects itself. We are just at it’s mercy, and along for the ride.
In April, I was contacted by a lovely young woman for an interview. What makes this an extraordinary interview is that she chose me for her final, before graduation. The following is her assignment:
“Hi, my name is Alicia Brautigan. I’m in my final semester of getting my creative writing degree from UCA and there is an assignment where we have to interview published writers from outside the school. The interview has to be turned in on paper so it can be done through messenger. Please and thank you for your help.”
I was not only surprised, since this is the first time I have been interviewed by a writing student, I was absolutely honored! I am very pro-education, and I encourage all young writers to not wait until you are my age to begin writing. Trust me on this! I also promised her that I would publish it as soon as she graduated, which she did on May 14, 2017. I’m very proud of you, Alicia!
So, I hope you all enjoy my very first interview by a student with a major in Creative Writing, and again, thank you, Alicia! Your questions were excellent, and some I’ve never been asked before I truly enjoyed answering! ~ LK Kelley
Interview: LK Kelley
LK Kelley was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and adopted by Curtis and Jerry Smith. Her hometown from the age of seven months was Fort Smith, Arkansas. AT 17, she toured Europe. She graduated from Westark Community College (now known as University of Arkansas Fort Smith, or UAFS) with an Associate of Arts Degree in usic, and a minor in English. As of 2012, she is also a Freelance Book, Article, and website Editor. LK Kelley’s series, the White Wolf Prophecy, has four books in its series, and of January, 2017, published The Anaerris Code, her next series. LK Kelley lives in Barling, Arkansas, which is a suburb of Fort Smith, AR.
Interviewer: Alicia Brautigan
Brautigan: What made you interested in writing?
Kelley: This is a bit involved, Alicia, but to answer this correctly, I have to tell you a bit of my background. I have always been interested in writing, but never really realized it until 2013. That having been said, I was a straight “A” student in all my English classes from day one – until I reached the 7th grade, where I encountered the strangest, English Lit teacher I ever met! Her name was Mrs. Werner, and she made up strange, Sci Fi stories for basic diagramming of sentence structure. I had always been very good at this. However, not so much at that point. I couldn’t wrap my mind around her silliness in her writing! I was always a fan of Sci Fi, so that didn’t enter into the problem I was having with her. Not only did she write very strangely, but she spoke the same way she wrote. So, I went from an A to an F. I was devastated. After a while, I swallowed my pride, and asked her for help. Strangely enough, she was in a continuing education class, and the topic was how to help a struggling student. She asked if I would participate, and I said yes. So, every day for the first semester, she pulled me out of study hall (YEA!), and she applied what she was learning to tutoring me. The scariest part, at first, was the huge, suitcase, tape recorder that was used to tape our sessions. But, that scare disappeared by the third session. By the 2nd semester, I earned a D. Not a great improvement, but it was an improvement. By the end of the third semester, I had earned a “C”, and on my final, an “A+”. She had earned my full respect, and I have never forgotten what she did for me. From then on, I never made less. Because of Mrs. Werner, I could write rings around the other students. But, I was also very active in music, and was planning on becoming a music teacher. As fate would have it, that never came to pass, because I met my husband of 43 years as of this year. I never regretted it. But, in the interim, I found I had a amazing knack for being an office organizer. I’ve worked in that capacity for 20 doctors, and now, I manage an office for an audiologist, and love it! But, still, I never lost my interest in writing. And, I used my skill to write in these positions when my employers found I could writer. The closest I came to writing was when I served as my daughter’s editor – even before she started school. She had the same capacity for writing that I did, but she hated editing. However, that was not lost on her, either. She achieved what I waited most of my life to do. She interned as a writer and producer for KTHV Channel 11, Little Rock, AR as an intern, before graduating, and after, in 2003, she was employed there from for over three years. In 2006, Laura Kelley was snapped up by Gannett News Media in 2006 for writer and producer for KUSA, their flagship station in KUSA in Denver, Colorado. She was there for two years, until she was offered a lucrative position at The SolutionsPR in Denver, CO, and has been in PR for the last 8 years. I still edit for her. Editing, in and of itself, is absolutely fun, and I love it! But, it is highly specialized, and unfortunately, too many writers either do not use one, or they use a friend or family member.
But, finally, I decided to put myself out there, because I believed it was my turn to write. Today, I wonder why I didn’t do this in my earlier years!
Brautigan: How did you go from reading to writing your own book?
Kelley: That is a good question, Alicia. Actually, I didn’t. There was another step, before I began to write. I went from reading a great deal, which I have always done, to a friend who asked for my editing help for her books in 2012. (As I mentioned above, I became a professional book editor, first.) Anita Meyer is the author of a 5***** book series. The books in this series, include: “The Primordial Language – Confirmation of the Divine Creator”, “In Search Of The Holy Language”, and “Beyond The Bible Code”. And, I am presently editing her other book. I have edited many other author’s books since that time as well. She was needing someone to edit for her, and I although I had never edited a book before, so I said yes. It seemed like a fun way to not only get to read books for free, but to edit them for money. I was absolutely right! It has been a great learning curve for writing my own books. In 2013, I actually asked why I wasn’t writing. And, so, I sat down in July of 2013 to write my first series, and had all three books in “The White Wolf Prophecy” Series written by October of 2013. I wrote them in secret. No one knew – not even my husband or daughter! That was really fun! I also had a publisher, Michael Kiser of DragonEye Publishing House, lined up to publish them as well.
Brautigan: What sorts of genres or elements inspired you to write?
Kelley: For years, I have studied many mythologies, legends, and Science Fiction all my life. And, I spent 6 ½ weeks in Europe at the age of 17 actually visiting many of the sites of mythology and legends. I was also an Administrator on a forum owned by Atlantis Rising Magazine that dealt entirely with these subjects. I also had the amazing opportunity to speak with real researchers and writers, and included many famous people, between 2001 – 2015. So, this was my first My writing limited my time afterwards, and I also spent a lot of time studying Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur C. Clarke, Arthur Conan Doyle, JRR Tolkien as well as contemporary Science Fiction writer in the 20th Century in both books and in television and movies in new ideas as well as adaptations of older books into movies, such as Star Trek (Gene Roddenbury) and George Lucas. Studying TV and movies actually influenced how I write today. This will be explained in your next question.
Brautigan: What was the basic process that you take to write? Do you have a system? Does your system change with each novel that you write?
Kelley: Many writers use outlines, or notes. I found outlines to be far too restrictive in school, so I won’t use them. Why? The restrictions are required that you stick to your basic outline, but as writing progresses, you think of new, and exciting things to add, but if they do not fit into the outline, you can’t use them. I do take some notes, but usually it’s something I just thought about adding or subtracting from my writing. So, I don’t go overboard on them. Something I just thought about adding or subtracting from my writing. So, I don’t go overboard on them.
My very first, basic step? Choose the names of my characters. This is very important. You have to actually develop a real relationship with them – just as if they were real people. This is how you write each one with feeling. Your first goal is to make sure your reader feels a connection to them, and that means that you have to do the same. If you don’t, it won’t come through on paper.
Step 2: I use a process called “storyboarding”. I am a huge fan of commentaries that are associated with TV and movies. I watch, and listen, to all of them over and over. These venues use “storyboarding”. They draw out each scene, and post them to a wall, then the writers brainstorm together. My way is similar except I actually visualize each scene as I write – and act them out! Once I have that scene the way I desire, I sit down and write. You can imagine how silly I must look as I act each scene and dialogue! But, it’s a great way to keep the continuity of the story. I also have a page that lists each character’s name, who they are, their full descriptions, relation to the other characters, and more. I do this so that they remain consistent throughout the books.
I believe that every system is always changing, Alicia. And, it should be a writer’s basic desire – change. Not to change or grow in your writing will result in boredom for your readers. And, I also believe it contributes to the writer’s worst fear? Writer’s Block. So far, I have had no writer’s block. I do not stick with just one paranormal group, but I like to shake things up, and choose a different one for each stand-alone book and series.
Brautigan: What sorts of research did you take on the supernatural/paranormal parts of your books?
Kelley: As I said above, I have been studying these things all my life, so I have so much research already done, I just use what I have. However, as I said, a writer must seek out change at all times. So, while I know a lot about things, there are always things one knows nothing about, or little – such as entropy and time travel – both of which I know something about already. This is when I go online. Since the internet, research goes much faster. There are no trips to the library needed these days. I research people. I pay attention to how each person reacts to different situations. And, this is how a character seems to always be based on a real person! And, this is a really funpart of writing! Depending on the age of the character, you will find all of my characters based upon a real person. All four of my female leads in the White Wolf Prophecy, as well those in the Anaerris Code (out now), are based on real women. I use their personalities in my writing, and only they and their friends know who they are. They are usually very flattered by this.
After assigning a character and their personality, I then assign them to a paranormal/supernatural role. I try to fit the personality to the role – not the other way around. I find that my love of them grows when I do this, and it actually shows well in my writings.
Brautigan: What steps did you take post-writing?
Kelley: This is where the real work begins, Alicia, and it’s the part most writers just do not like.
Step 1: Find an editor! Never, EVER publish a book without having a real editor edit your book. There are many freelance editors out there at reasonable prices, but if your book does not read well, because of a great many mistakes, then I guarantee you, your readers will criticize you over it! Never make the mistake of believing that a reader doesn’t know anything about spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. You will invariably be wrong!
Step 2: While you are actually writing, begin your search for a publisher. If you are going to self-publish, be very aware that many of those who say they are self-publishing publisher to help you, are scams! Research, research, research. It may take you a long time to find a Publishing House, but self-publishing is also a good way to go.
Step 3: Once a publisher is located, and you have made contact with them, and your manuscript is back from the editor, it is time to submit it to the publisher for review. This could be a physical copy or a digital copy you can send by email. Make absolutely sure that it is an unalterable, PDF form! And, then, be prepared to wait…and wait…and wait…and wait. You may be accepted, or not, but either way, it’s a waiting game.
Step 4: You may get snatched up immediately, or eventually, or you’ll get a rejection notice.
Step 5: While many do go the self-publishing route, or not, be forewarned that you may have to pay for several things up to and including an ISBN number – absolutely necessary, your book cover, but unless you design it yourself like I do, these could cost upwards to $600 to $1000 or more. An editor, of course, is necessary. The fees vary wildly, so make sure you get references first. There are other fees that must be paid to different people such as all bookstores and online bookstores. Print seems to be on the way out, but not totally yet. Too many of us like the feel of the book. Bookstores will not always put your book on the shelf, so don’t be upset if they decline it. Also, they will not suffer any monetary loss, but will return your printed book to you if it doesn’t sell, or only sells a few. There are a great many other fees. Also, note…upfront Royalties are only paid to those authors whose books are known sellers.
One final note: You must pay fees to EACH type of format, and to each type of online bookseller.
If a large publishing house won’t consider you, then consider paying flat fees to a smaller publishing house. Again, do your research. My publisher loves to publish new, and upcoming writers. Try this site first, and tell Michael that LK Kelley sent you!
For me, I was lucky, because I was already freelance editing for him. He loved it when I asked him if he would publish my first book. But, there is a reason why we are called hungry writers. Most people will never see a lot of money from their books. It is the author’s responsibility to do all promotions. The publisher only does a minimum amount of advertising. You need your own website, twitter, facebook, instagram, and any number of other social media as well. And, you must be active on them at all times. If you want examples, please feel free to check some of my links below.
Brautigan: How did you feel after your first book was published?
Kelley: Surreal. Exciting. Nervous. To see your book on online bookstores and in a bookstore, give you a feeling that this isn’t real!
Brautigan: What sorts of criticism/praise were you given when you published your first novel?
Kelley: So far, I have had nothing but what is known as 5***** reviews, Alicia. I have also had three Independent Author Awards known as Indie Awards.
Brautigan: What have you done since the first book, i.e. conventions, readings?
Kelley: This is tough in Fort Smith, AR. There are no venues for booksignings. My first one was in Denver, CO, as was my second, both at Barnes and Noble. They were a blast! Setting these up in this area of Arkansas is almost impossible unless you lay out $500 plus at conventions where they will be accepted. Most of us don’t have that type of money, so it’s a useless way to do it. I contrast, Anita Meyer lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is great for authors! She is always going to one or another. It’s rather sad that Arkansas doesn’t support its authors.
Brautigan: How has the experience of writing changed from the first novel to your latest?
Kelley: More Descriptive. It’s something I have strived to achieve
Brautigan: What is your advice to beginning writers?
Kelley: EDIT EDIT EDIT! I cannot stress this enough! The range of errors I see in e-books today is actually horrendous! The main error? The use of “me” and “I” has deteriorated to the point that authors of today are copying this error. And, worse? Not only in print, but in Television and Movies! Other errors are in punctuation, sentence structure, etc. If you are not an editor, you will need one!