Category Archives: Original writing

Musing 10/16/17 – Are We Getting Too Old For This Sh**? Part 2 or: “So now blogs are obsolete?”

Well peeps, in about 12 days, I’ll be hitting a milestone birthday –that’s right, I’ll be um – 30.  Forget what I said about being 33 last year.

I’m taking a bit of a break from my current WIP, tentatively titled Gunslinger Witch, although my friend Robin says I should be careful it’s not confused with Stephen King’s, The Gunslinger.  I told him that was unlikely to happen.  I personally was thinking people may confuse it with the anime Gunslinger Girl.

OK, that’s not the subject of this Musing however.

I’m not a big newsletter reader.  I am subscribed to a few, mainly informational, genre-specific books or current markets accepting submissions.  One of the newsletters I receive is C. Hope Clark’s (You are absolutely fabulous, BTW), Funds for Writers.  The topic of her most recent newsletter?  How the blog is now passé.

It is?

Maybe she’s right.  In all the years I’ve had this blog I’ve had some wonderful people stop by and of course I appreciate it but not many at any given time.

On the other hand…

See above.  I don’t like a lot of newsletters crowding my in-box and I am very particular about the ones I choose.  I know that comes off a bit bougie.  My apologies.  I had a newsletter a long time ago when I had my published works out and it no more sent people here or to my site than any other social media type.  I ended up shutting it down a while ago.  Many of the email addresses were gone and no one bothered to let me know.

Also, people unless it’s specifically set up that way, people can’t respond to a newsletter.  I wanted to voice my opinion on the subject but there’s no way to do so.  Maybe she had some bad experiences with commenters and I certainly can’t blame her for making commenting impossible if that’s the case.

I want to hear from my readers.  I want to know their thoughts on various subjects.  Of course, that doesn’t mean someone can come on my blog and act like they don’t have any common sense or home training.  But I’m always interested in a good discourse.

So of course, I must look into this further.

Now the first things that came up in a search using, the term, “Are blogs passé?”  Most articles were from business bloggers who responded with a resounding no.  I couldn’t find anything very recent.  The first was from 2015.  A 2013 New York Times article touching on the removal of several of their blogs, the author asks why and are blogs outdated?  She received the usual corporate responses.  However, readers were quite vocal about the disappearances and said so.

There was another blog owner who asked himself this question because his readership was dwindling.  I give them props because they were doing fan better than I am but they said no matter what they would continue although that last post was March of 2016.

Jane Friedman has a guest blogger write an article back in 2013 on concerning the subject.  It was quite interesting.  Simon & Schuster apparently requires them.  Well, at least they did back then, I doubt that’s changed.  The author suggested to an aspiring author to become an editor for a site where she was managing editor.  But she also encourages new writers to do so however experienced writers should find larger platforms that they can contribute to if they’re looking to promote their work.  Well right at this second, I don’t have that problem.

I tightened my search parameters: “Is the author blog passé/out of date?”

Nothing specific came up.  Most of it was either how to work on your blog or the best author blogs.  I tried one more time, “Is the blog out of date?”  Mainly suggestions on updating blogs and deleting posts came up.

I’d be interested in knowing how Ms. Clark came to that conclusion or was it just personal preference?  I of course can only give my opinion which is this – it really depends on the person doing the reading.  Blogs are good for people who prefer to get their author news online instead of via email.  I can go either way myself.

I wonder how she feels about podcasts?

*****

I’m finding more things that are confusing the you-know-what out of me.  Apparently, six-guns and sorcery is now being replaced with gunpowder fantasy.  I have to admit it does sound better.  I’ve also seen something called latte-lit.  Anybody have any idea what it is specifically?  Books about coffee?  Books you can read with coffee?  I thought all books could be read while drinking coffee.  I do it all the time.

So of course, we must turn to the internet.

Apparently, I’m not the only one asking this question!

You know an explanation or references would be nice when people make these things up.

The only references I could find were a year-old posting on Agent Query, and it was still anybody’s guess.  All of a sudden, I want a latte and it’s after 8:00 PM.

Next thing, the acronym, STEM (or STEAM).  From what I gathered, it means books about:

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING and MATH.

When it applies to kids it means books that makes these subjects easy and fun to learn.  It would have been nice to have some books like these when I was growing up.  But here are some links which discuss the genre and gives examples:

The Educator’s Spin on It:

https://theeducatorsspinonit.com/2014/11/stem-books-for-children.html

Teach Beside Me:

https://teachbesideme.com/stem-books-kids/

What We Do All Day:

https://www.whatdowedoallday.com/tag/steam/

13 Cool STEM Books for Kids Who Love Science (and More)

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/13-cool-stem-books-for-kids-who-love-science-and-more

So, what have you seen that is confusing the you-know-what out of you?  Comment and I’ll work my magic.

Peace~

CJ

Read my previous blog posting:

Musing 9/12/17 ~ Are We Getting Too Old For This S***?

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Mini-Musing: 09/17/17 ~ It’s Hard to Let Go

With all the Musings, I’ve been writing for the past few weeks you would think this would be easier.

I’m considering letting my work go.

It took me five years to write my work mainly due to life throwing all types of crap at me and I’ve actually gotten some positive feedback not to mention a few requests for full copies. And before this, I had NEVER received requests for full copies. So of course, I realized that I had to be doing something right. The only problem is, so far none of the requests for a full have panned out. I think of the maybe six I’ve been asked for, only one agent has actually responded, although it was a rejection at least I wasn’t left hanging.

Of course, time has passed and IMHO my writing continues to improve or at least I like to think that it has. But any author will tell you when faced with this decision, it fills you with doubt. You wonder, what’s the point of starting something new? Maybe you just can’t write, pure and simple. Then your Muse tells you, “But the industry had shown interest!” But it’s difficult to keep that in your mind when nothing comes of it. It’s sort of like, when an author receives nine five-star review but the tenth review is a one-star. We focus on that one-star review. It drives us insane. We wonder for weeks or months what we did wrong. Which is why I, and many of my fellow writers, concentrate on our writing instead.

And if you’ve read my previous Musings, you will see my comments on current trends in the industry and what types of works are being requested. Not much that I want to write, so it’s hard to decide if I should go into semi-retirement or something like I mentioned before.

I’ve also mentioned while I’ve been hanging out that I have a new idea kicking around in my head but quite frankly, I have no idea if it will fit the current trends. Now of course, the last thing any author wants to do is write to trends. They can end in an instant. It’s just that this particular work, which I thought of long before this whole issue of Afrofuturism came into play, may just fit the trend. Notice I said may. It makes it near impossible to decide.

What can I do?

Well I suppose, write.

Everything else will likely work itself out.

Peace~

CJ

Musing 08/28/17– Weird is the New Brilliant?

I’m a big fan of the Nostalgia Critic! Well it’s sort of an off and on relationship. I gave him up a few times but came back. Why mention this? Because there is a question I was pondering concerning stories that are not quite well — they’re different and they seem to be the type of stories magazine publishers want.

I hadn’t watched before but now since I was pondering, I thought I’d give it a shot.

In this video, the Critic postulates that there is so much weirdness going on nowadays in current media, is really brilliance in disguise? To get the full picture watch the video, then if you don’t mind finish reading my post please. I’ll wait.

All done? OK, as my peeps may know, I was currently hit with a massive dose of inspiration. Yes, yes, I know, humor me, OK? The Muse was at her best and brightest and I wrote or re-wrote ten stories and have them out into the world right now.

Now of course there have been a couple of rejections but as any writer knows that’s a given. But one particular one I received invited me to first read their magazine – which I’d already done and in fact subscribed to it so I could get the exact feel for what they would like.

I thought the story I sent would be perfect but apparently not, so I continued reading/researching to be certain. Now yesterday evening, I read a story that well – I couldn’t follow at all. Absurdly weird is what I would call it but apparently there was something that caught the editors eye and it was accepted. Now I am NOT saying the story wasn’t good but to me it simply had no logic. But then again, as I’ve mentioned in the past, my Army buddies once told me I was too logical for the military.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen stories like this. Some I have understood and enjoyed perfectly well but others…

So I thought, am I missing something? And that is when I recalled the Nostalgia Critic video, so I sat and watched. Now some of the shows he touched upon were Adventure Time and Steven Universe, both *former favorites of mine.

He goes onto say how other stories we are familiar with uses their weirdness to tell the reader/watcher about important the social issues. I’ve always gotten the message despite the weirdness or at least I did once I got a little older.
But when weird goes to far and it gets crude and disgusting then there is no message no matter what the writer/animator says, IMHO. Yes, they have a right to create whatever they want. Not everything has to have a message weird or not but at least let it have some purpose besides shock value again, IMHO.

I’ll do weird every so often but it is impossible for me to write weird without there being a purpose or message. Does that still make it weird? Well according to the Critic, it can.

So what to do? Make up something weird to hopefully sell a story?

Nope, sorry, can’t do it. I may just need to leave that market behind. I really don’t want to but hey, what are you gonna do?

So do you do weird or what do you think of it? What would you do in this situation? post away.

Peace~

CJ

*Sorry but, I got out of Steven because Peridot was annoying and as for AT, Finn who was always a reasonably smart boy suddenly pulls a totally messed-up stunt with Flame Princess. Hey, don’t judge me.

Mini-Musing 8/1/16–More Authors Found!

I definitely need to go through my hundreds of books more often.  I found more authors who’s books I either don’t recall reading (probably because I hadn’t) or books where their were sequels that I lost track of.  But you know it’s like finding buried treasure.  Yes, I have THAT MANY books and my TBR pile is growing exponentially.

 

BTW, I just purchased Sharon Shinn’s, Royal Airs – Second in the Elemental Blessings Series.  Can’t wait for it to arrive! 

 

So I discovered the original version of Dawn Cook’s – a.k.a. Kim HarrisonFirst Truth.  So I’m relieved to learn you can get the remaining of the series although I’m trying to find the copies with the gorgeous new covers. 

 

And I can’t believe I found this really old book I bought at a used book store © 1961 called What Happened to Amy.  A mystery thriller by Jane Edwards.  I didn’t want to handle it too much so I placed it in a plastic storage bag.  I actually found it on Amazon and some insane person wants $2300.00 dollars for it.  Listen, I love books but no effing way.  Of course if someone wants to buy my copy for $2300.00…. Winking smile

 

Hazard’s Price by Robert S. Stone has a sequel but sadly, it appears the author passed away.  So it will continue to grace my shelves.

 

Animist by Eve Forward.  Not finding anything else about her online.  This may have to go onto my missing authors list.  However, I’m certain I haven’t read this book so I’m putting it on the front of the shelves.

 

The Sharing Knife Volume One: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold.  And it looks like the rest of the series is available!  So it will go on my wish list.  And I’ll read the first book…first.

 

So who knows what I will find next clean-up?

 

Peace~

CJ

Musings 7/10/16: These are a Few of my Favorite…Authors!

I thought since my last Musings was about the scarier aspect of the business, I thought I’d do something in contrast.  So with this Musing I’m going to discuss one of the best things about this business — US!  Authors I mean.  Hell, there wouldn’t be a business without us, right?  Anyway, I thought maybe I’d just mention some of my favorite authors and their works.  This list will not only present fantasy authors, but romance and paranormal as well.  And feel free to comment with your own works.  Who knows, maybe I’ll discover a new favorite?

Charlotte’s WebEB White

This is, and always will be, my favorite book.  More contemporary fantasy, I read this so many times as a child I committed it to memory!

The Chronicles of Narnia CS Lewis

Yes, that’s right.  I have the entire series.  And now that I’ve looked him up, I remembered he has a science-fiction series as well and I plan on getting that as well.  Which is my favorite?  Do you even have to ask?  And it looks like a movie for The Silver Chair is in the works!

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz L Frank Baum

The book, not the movie — although the movie is fabulous as well as we all know.  The link goes to the movie site.  I’ve only read the one so far but I want the whole series.

Let’s jump ahead a little bit.

The Death of the Necromancer Martha Wells

I’ve read a few more of her books but this is my favorite.  And I seriously need to catch up.

The Tortall Universe Tamora Pierce

For some unexplainable reason, I got out of her series.  yes, I know technically it’s for young adults but, so?  I want to pick up where I left off, although I may need to start over again.

Poison Study Maria V Snyder

I have the first three books in this series but once again, I got out of them but that’s going to change soon.  I actually met Ms. Snyder several years ago at a book signing.  Very nice lady.

The Evenmere Chronicles – James Stoddard

I haven’t seen or heard anything of this author in years.  The last time I saw his site, which appears to be gone now or at least I get an error message, he said he was working on something new.  A third book was published by a small press in the UK.  I guess he should have gone on my other list.

The Anteros Series Allan Cole and Chris Bunch

Starting with The Far Kingdoms.  I also met Allan Cole at a signing and made a complete  idiot of myself by acting like some silly fan-girl.  I’m cringing with embarrassment now even as I recall it and write this.  Hopefully I’ve matured.  But hey, I love me some Amalric Emilie Antero.

The Chronicles of the Necromancer Series –  Gail Z Martin

Another author and series I need to get back into.  Also I have the first three books in the series and the fourth waiting in the wings.

The Sword of Change and The Chronicles of Josan – Patricia Bray

I interviewed her on my website WAY BACK in the day before CJ Black ever came into existence.

Elemental Blessings Series Sharon Shinn

I’ve read other works of hers but I’m on Troubled Waters now and this is going to become one of my top favorites.  I just wish she was on Twitter or Facebook!

The Mist-Torn Witches (Series)Barb Hendee

I’m waiting to start on the second book of the series which is sitting on my shelf.

Here are a list of romance authors who have written too many books to mention and I’ve pretty much read everything of theirs that I can get my hands on.  Some you’ll probably know even if you don’t read romance.

Beverly Jenkins:  I absolutely love her African-American Historical Romances!  And yes, I pretty much have them all and I believe one of her contemporaries as well.  Have to check the shelves.  Hey and I just checked her site and saw she’s written others since I purchased Night Hawk.  Time for a trip to B&N.

Sharon Sala: Excellent author and Facebook friend.  Need to look over her site to see what I’m missing.  AKA Dinah McCall.

Debbie Macomber:  I am really missing a lot of new works in the romance aisles.  I need to hop to it!  And she has a series on the Hallmark Channel!

Linda Howard

Nora Roberts: Need I say more?

Dorothy Garlock

JoAnn Ross

Wow!  I have a ridiculous amount of catching up to do with some of these authors.  Time really does fly doesn’t it?  There are likely more so I may make a part two of this list.

So what are some of your favorite authors and why?

 

Peace~

CJ

p.s. Maybe I’ll tackle video-games next.

 

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