QUESTION: What is the one piece of writing advice that has stuck with you and why?
There has been a lot of writing advice that’s flown around. I’m sure most of it’s been heard before. Almost all of it’s good advice. It is. One thing that’s stayed with me all this time doesn’t have much to do with actual writing, but more about promoting your writing. The thing I’ve kept very much in the front of my mind is this: think about what you’re posting online and keep it positive. Sounds like something that should be well known, right? Think before you hit post and keep it upbeat. It’s one of my rules of thumb. There are days, for sure, that are down ones. There are things I’ve done that I thought, how can I make this a positive experience? How can I make this something online that will be positive? That’s important for me. I hear you thinking, not every experience is positive. I mean, gee whiz, we go through things that aren’t always rosy. You’ll want to talk about it. By all means. Talk. But when you’re getting a negative review or the editor has been super hard on you or when you’ve had a fight with someone…maybe you’ve gotten cover art that’s not your favorite. My advice is this: don’t air that dirty laundry on social media. Not only does it make you look petty, but your group of friends might be cool with what you’ve said, but others will take it wrong. Yep. Or it will be interpreted wrong. But being happy or putting a positive spin on the situation…my editor made me cry, but it’s making me stronger OR not my favorite review, but it happens and I’m learning…something like that. It’s the best advice I can think of. Write that new book, keep going, and keep it positive. That’s what you need to do. That’s the best advice I’ve ever been given and now it’s in your hands, too.
I have two different conventions I like to attend. I’m sort of an oddball, though. The first big convention I love to attend would be the Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together (#RAGT18) down in Cincinnati, Ohio. This convention always sells out and almost always in a matter of minutes.
The thing about this con is that it’s smallish. There are only 500 attendees, including the authors and it’s mostly readers. It’s all in one hotel and the hotel is small so there’s little worry of getting lost. One hallway and two turns…and you’ve seen it all. But it’s like being with family. Many of the same people attend and it’s fun. It’s not stuffy. You’re hanging out with your friends. Really.
There are raffles, lots of little things where you can hang with authors and the money for the raffles go to the animal shelter. You’re helping critters and could win a basket. I love it. Want to know more? http://readerauthorgettogether.com/
The other convention I like to attend that’s really not a convention, but rather a tiny event, is the Books and Brunch event put on by the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public Library. Now, I see you’re thinking…a friends of the library event? Must be small. It is. There are only four featured authors. It’s only a couple hour event. But being smallish helps. You get to talk to the authors and you’re served a wonderful brunch for only $12 a ticket. How can you beat that?
I love being able to talk to the authors, to have great food and mostly help the library. That’s the big thing for me. For this event, all the money goes to the library for the renovations to the existing building. How cool is that? Find out more right here: http://www.elyrialibrary.org/KLCLFriends_Home.html
My grandmother is 88 years old and sometimes doesn’t remember the things she says, but she used to give me nuggets of advice.
When I was a kid, she’d expect us grandkids to come to the farm to help with the chores and whatever else she could find to put us to work doing. You never knew if you’d be in the barn, the house or working on the landscaping. One day you could be on the wagon helping with straw and the next weeding the raised flower beds.
As I was outside weeding the other day, I thought about one of the things she’d tell me. A lady is measured by her garden. Like I said, she’s 88. She grew up in a different world than I did and isn’t shaped by today’s conventions. She was very much the housewife and took care of the children. She didn’t leave the farm much and took a lot of pride in her house and landscaping.
I’m guessing she learned about keeping a neat house from her mother. I don’t remember my great grandmother because she died when I was four. But I could see her being very meticulous about her gardening.
My grandmother was right–to a degree. I mean, if you have a neat house, it’s noticed. If you don’t…it’s noticed. I don’t know that it’s the measure of a lady, but it does show that you take pride in what you have. If you’re willing to work hard to make the garden, house or whatever the best you can make it with what you have, then that’s something. I think that’s what she meant. It’s not about having the best or newest or whatever. It’s about taking care of what you do have.
I have taken her advice to heart ever since I started my writing career. If the book isn’t up to snuff for me, then I’ll work to make it so. That might not please everyone and some might see my book as not being great, but I tried and did my best. That’s enough. Do the best you can do. So maybe I’m not measured by my garden, but I’m trying. That’s what she asked of me and I’ll do it.
I can’t be the only one whose grandmother (or someone else in their life) reminded them to finish their dinner. In my case, it was my grandmother. We’d sit down for family meals and she’d remind everyone to eat what’s on their plate. My grandfather had a saying, if you don’t like it, don’t take it…but that’s for another post. Grandma was adamant. You’ve put it on your plate, so you’d better eat it.
I won’t lie. When I was a kid, it drove me crazy. Not because I overloaded my plate, but because she’d ‘add’ things to it. Like the beets I never did enjoy or the mush. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand mush. Blech. But I ate what was on my plate.
This motto has translated to my writing career, though. Food and writing? Are you confused yet? Don’t be. I’m one of those people who tends to take on more than I should. I agree to a lot and try to accomplish as much as I can. If it’s on my plate, I do it. I’ve been told I have a healthy work ethic. I don’t know if that’s true. I just know when I have something to do, I do it.
I’m helping with a small author event in my local town. It’s going to be a nice event, but every time I think I’ve accomplished something, another task pops up. It feels like I’m not getting anywhere. But I keep going. I keep trying. I’m still trying to finish what I put on the plate and what was added for me.
Grandma was on to something. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. Know what you’re getting into, and don’t be shocked when it’s a lot.
What about you? Got any advice? I’m all ears. 🙂
I hadn’t given much thought to writing about sports until this weekend. I know that sounds crazy, being that I’ve written some sports romances. I’m partial to football, but I like a good racing story and one involving baseball, too. I know nothing about hockey and never tried to understand it. Hockey, forgive me, but it isn’t my thing. Oh, I do like a good cross country race, too. Grin.
But this past weekend, I went to a baseball game, then was able to take in a scrimmage for my football team. I was in heaven, let me tell you. There’s nothing, to me, like watching a great game and seeing fantastic athletes in action.
I’ve been neck deep in writing Christmas stories. I’m all about a good holiday tale, too. Almost as much as I like my sports. Seems sort of odd, writing Christmas in July, doesn’t it? Well, it’s as screwy as it seems. It’s not easy. I’m hot and it’s uncomfortable outside, and I’m trying to write snow, chill and carols. It’s hard to be in the thrill of the season when it’s over 90 degrees.
Writing sports is like writing holiday stories. It is for me at least. I have to be in the mood to write about home runs and tackles. I can’t just write football out of season. It’s hard to think of baseball in the middle of a blizzard. But it’s possible. Then there’s running. I know runners go out in all sorts of weather, but I’m not wild about writing cross country stories when it’s a thunderstorm or snowing.
I’d never thought about the parallel between Christmas and sports until this past weekend. I’m at the baseball game and characters for a story in my Cedarwood series showed up. They chatted through the rest of the game. I could only hope to jot down what they’d said by the time I got back to write it down. I had a notebook with me, but hey, I was there to watch the game, too. I wanted to pay attention. Grin.
But now I know. The game was the inspiration. Same with the scrimmage the next day and watching the binge of Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel. All of them got me in the mood in one way or another to write the respective story. When I’m immersed, I want to write that sport or holiday. Not bad, really. I’ve always got the characters talking so a little inspiration never hurt.
Speaking of inspiration, I’ve got a goddess and a few faeries to talk to. In the mean time, enjoy this snippet from my football romance, Making the Play.
Making the Play by Megan Slayer
Out of Bounds Series
M/M, Anal Sex, Masturbation
Sometimes switching things up really does mean getting the guy.
Allan Clark thought his life as a wide receiver for the Wildcats was over the moment he was told he’d be the new punt returner. He’d thought he didn’t want to be a special teams player. He’d rather have the limelight. But once he starts returning punts, he realizes this was where he should’ve been all along. Speaking of perks, he now gets to spend time with the sexy kicker, Tyler Leigh. Maybe this switch is the best thing that could’ve happened to him.
Unlike Allan, Tyler isn’t planning on going into the draft or playing football for the rest of his life. He’s got other plans, though a side trip in the sheets with Allan isn’t off his radar. He’s wanted Allan since he joined the team. But Tyler’s got baggage and an overzealous ex-boyfriend hell-bent on making his life miserable. With Allan, he sees a bright spot.
Will these two seeming opposites leave their desires on the field, or will they find common ground together and score?
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of masturbation, implied abuse as well as references to violence, physical assault and emotional abuse.
Available from Pride Publishing:
And from ebook retailers everywhere: https://books2read.com/u/mvYDRX
Copyright ©2017, Megan Slayer, All Rights Reserved
“Ride with me to Lorne’s. My car’s right over here and in the morning, we’ll call Dad. Deal?” He pressed the fob on his keys. The headlights on his coupé flashed as the doors unlocked. “Perfect for a twosome.”
“Okay.” Tyler inched up to the car. “Just— I can’t walk in with you.”
“Because of Blake and Devan?” The pair of asshats were starting to get on Allan’s nerves and they weren’t even within earshot.
“He can suck my ass.” Allan opened the car door for Tyler. “Get in. The bugs are starting to swarm under the bright lights and I don’t want to be eaten alive.”
Tyler acquiesced and slid into the passenger seat. He held his bag in both hands and didn’t look at Allan. “It’s nice. The car. You’ve got a nice car.” He blew out a long breath. “Sorry. I’m babbling.”
“You’re fine.” He shut the door and rounded the hood. Excitement surged through his veins. He had Tyler Leigh in his car. So the guy didn’t think he was popular. He probably didn’t think he was handsome, either. He was wrong. Popularity wasn’t that important, but damn, the man was cute. Allan collapsed onto the driver’s seat and basked in the comfort of the faux leather. Sitting down was a good thing for his aching body. He’d taken one too many hits on the last punt return and needed a break.
“I’m indebted to you,” Tyler said. “What do you want other than help with punts? Blow jobs? My ass?” His voice cracked.
Allan closed his car door and gripped the steering wheel. He wanted to lash out at Tyler, but having an attitude wouldn’t help the matter. Blake was the problem. Blake’s treatment of Tyler, to be more specific. The man was using Tyler and for some reason, Tyler didn’t seem to see he wasn’t worthless. Christ. He wasn’t even sure Tyler knew better.
“Sorry,” Tyler mumbled.
“No. There’s nothing to be sorry for.” He had to be delicate. If he moved too quickly or without tact, he’d screw everything up. “Was Blake your first boyfriend?”
When I sit down to write, I have a general plan for the story. General. I won’t say it’s ever a very well fleshed out outline. I’m not that organized. I have the idea and I’ll start plotting, but usually the characters start talking and I end up with chunks of dialogue within the outline. Now, I know there’s not a singular way to do an outline. It’s a matter of preference. But it can be kind of confusing to anyone reading my notes. Outline, outline, outline…DIALOGUE! Heh heh.
So I was asked to take part in an anthology. Sure. I had been debating doing this sub call anyhow and now that I was encouraged to take part, I set out to do it. I had this great idea. Planned the thing out. Like the whole thing. I even had chunks of dialogue. Like big chunks. I was jazzed. So jazzed…I might have written 2/3 of the story before I knew if it would fly for the call. I was excited. The story was flowing.
Then I heard from the powers that be. They didn’t want it. What? How…
Instead of getting upset or knocked down and not getting up again, I dusted myself off. Now if you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll see this isn’t the first time recently that I’ve been knocked down so to speak. It’s been kind of a rough couple of months.
I could’ve hidden for a while and said to hell with what I was doing. I could’ve gotten angry and lashed out. But what would getting mad do? Up my blood pressure and give me a headache. Hiding isn’t a bad idea, but I’m not the type to hide. The characters are there and when I can’t write, I’m not happy. I write because the characters demand to speak.
So, I dusted myself off and dove into a new outline. I saw a photo that inspired me and the topic happened to gel with the sub call. I wrote the plot and waited. It fit the call! Needless to say, plugging along and keeping going worked for me. I started over and I’m back to my happy place.
Has this ever happened to you? A thing you thought wouldn’t knock you down did, but you kept going? I’d love to hear about it. 🙂
Chasing Sparks by Megan Slayer
A FREE Read Available from Loose Id
Part of the Battle Scarred Series
M/M, Paranormal, Contemporary, Vampires
Two vampires have the chance to step into the sunshine without being charred. Most creatures of the night wouldn’t chance losing their undead life for good. But Anders and Galen have heightened abilities. They won’t char. What are they going to do? Celebrate summer, being together, and sunshine. Mix in hot sex under the veil of stars and fireworks…who wouldn’t want to take a step and chase sparks?