Guest Article: Signposts of Inspiration by Carol Es

Editor’s Note: This is Anthony Avina, and I wanted to personally welcome author Carol Es to my website. This insightful and honest article was something I wanted to share with you all, and I couldn’t appreciate it more that Carol took the time to write it for us. I hope you guys enjoy it. Now on to Carol’s article…


When people ask what inspires me, I never know what to say. Not because I’m lacking in the inspiration department—it’s just too general a question. “Everything,” I’ll say. If asked what my inspiration might be for something specific, you probably won’t be able to shut me up.

As both a writer and a visual artist, my work is predominantly autobiographical. I love anything with a narrative. Stories move me to create, they draw me in and take me on an escape, like a drug. When combining writing with art together, all the better. I have made many Artist’s books that mish-mash art and words, a genre unto itself, and it’s mostly what I’m used to working in.

However, I’ve been writing short stories and poetry since I was a kid. I wrote a screenplay when I was 17-18 that I never finished. (It was terrible.) Throughout my 20s, I made several attempts at writing novels, but had never been able to get more than 50 pages in. Most of the fiction I wrote was autobiographical. I’ve been inspired by authors Charles Bukowski since I was a young teenager, and later John Fante. It’s not that I wanted to write in either of their styles, but I wanted to be able to evoke a similar feeling from my writing.

Still working on that.

It was nerve-wracking writing in nonfiction, though I think it drove me to finish an entire book. At first, I didn’t write about myself much at all. I found the stories of people much more interesting, and so, I’ve written Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley several times over. It was hard to come to grips with, but a memoir is supposed to be self-indulgent. It just feels uncomfortable. I had to carve out an honest story and reveal my raw self to the world. It’s risky business.

Along the way, I probably couldn’t have finished it without bits of inspiration. My partner, Michael Phillips, also a writer pushed me and supported me immensely. I was also absolutely dazzled after seeing Jonathan’s Caouette’s documentary art film, Tarnation.

Caouette took 20 years of home movies, snapshots, and answering machine messages, stuck them into a blender and came out with a unique examination of his early life—his tumultuous childhood with his mentally ill mother. How could I not identify with that? My mother was bipolar.

This incredibly brave movie deeply inspired me to stop apologizing for my own dysfunctional family and embrace them as my muse. I also began to see the strength in vulnerability instead of viewing it as a weakness.

But I had been wanting to write this book in one version or another for a long time. At the start of it, I began to think back some 20 years when I lived off of Laurel Canyon—a winding road through the Santa Monica Mountains that connects the southeast San Fernando Valley to West Hollywood in Los Angeles. It was the most inspired time and place for me.

A few people in the apartment building I lived in donated books in the laundry room and we’d all give and take them. Once I found a big hardcover book that got me really into my Jewish genealogy (Finding our Fathers by Dan Rottenberg), which sent me on a wild and freaky ride to nowhere. Or maybe it sent me to a sad wasteland. I never quite got to the bottom of my family search, but I got a lot of stories from all the digging I did. Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley actually began with my parents’ backstories, but most of it wound up on the cutting room floor as they say.

Once I’d been working on the book for a couple of years, I found even more inspiration in Myla Goldberg’s Bee Season. I’d been living in San Pedro and picked it up at the free clinic, much in the same way I did Finding our Fathers.

Though Bee Season isn’t a work of nonfiction, it changed the way I saw memoir writing. It’s written from a young girl’s point of view looking back as an adult woman. She recalls the span of time in her life when she was able to win over her father’s love by excelling in national spelling competitions. Though I’m no good at spelling, I really identified with the character who was the youngest in a Jewish family of just four. She’s also been severely overshadowed by her older brother. More than her thoughts and desires to be loved, it was the way she was able to bring in each of her family members’ backstory so seamlessly. I loved that and wished I could have done that. Perhaps in the future.

I get wildly excited and inspired by other visual artists too. I’ll fall in love with painters, i.e.: Amy Sillman, or Lisa Sanditz. I’ll want their work to influence mine. Inevitably, it is nearly impossible to duplicate the same feelings or techniques because everyone has there own thing. My work always winds up looking like all my other paintings. It’s frustrating because I often like other artist’s work much more than my own. That happens. That’s life, I guess. We aspire to be better and are inspired by the beauty that surrounds us and keep on going.

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Author Bio

Carol Es

Carol Es is a self-taught artist, writer, and musician born in Los Angeles. Using a wide variety of media, she is known for creating personal narratives that transform a broken history into a positive resolution. Her paintings, drawings, installations, videos, and books have been exhibited nationwide in venues such as Riverside Art Museum, Torrance Art Museum, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, and Craft Contemporary in Los Angeles. Some of her works can be found in the collections at the Getty and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. Her collaborative film was also featured in the 2015 Jerusalem Biennale. 

Awarded many honors, including several grants from the National Arts and Disability Center and California Arts Council, she is a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation, a Pollock-Krasner Fellowship, and the Wynn Newhouse Award. She has written articles of art critique for the Huffington Post and Coagula Art Journal, as well as having poetry published with small presses. She also received a writing grant from Asylum-Arts—a Global Network for Jewish Culture.

Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley

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Guest Blog Post: Do you have to be a nerd to read science fiction? by Author Clive Fleury

What do Leonard diCaprio, Nicolas Cage, Mila Kunis, Megan Fox, and Ben Stiller have in common? Yes, I know they all movie stars but besides that? They are all devotees, lovers of science fiction books and movies, in fact, everything science fiction. And yet none of them lack social skills, and they don’t seem the type to be boringly studious. I wouldn’t describe any of them as losers either. So what the heck are they doing liking sci-fi!

What do Leonard diCaprio, Nicolas Cage, Mila Kunis, Megan Fox, and Ben Stiller have in common? Yes, I know they all movie stars but besides that? They are all devotees, lovers of science fiction books and movies, in fact, everything science fiction. And yet none of them lack social skills, and they don’t seem the type to be boringly studious. I wouldn’t describe any of them as losers either. So what the heck are they doing liking sci-fi!

Some see science fiction and nerds as being like salt and pepper, bacon and eggs, and tables and chairs – twin words that are inseparable. And yet are they? Sure, some nerds like sci-fi. There’s no denying that. But just because some nerds enjoy drinking milk, that doesn’t mean that everyone who drinks milk is a nerd, does it? Of course not… except if you are French! They argue ‘Milk is for babies’. So, if you are not a baby and drink milk they presumably consider you beyond the pale—a nerd in fact. But then doesn’t that say more about France and the French than anything else? After all it’s a nation whose people seem to spend an inordinate amount of time carrying around baguettes, wearing berets, and eating cheese as a desert. Weird!

But back to nerds. And before anyone raises any PC objections let me say straight out—no I don’t have it in for nerds. I could say that ‘some of my best friends are nerds,’ but that would raise all kinds of warning signals. I’ll leave it at: I like nerds. In fact, should some maniac drop a nuclear bomb to wipe out all of humanity, I know nerds would suddenly become everyone’s best friends. Then the ability to ask a girl to dance, or wear skinny jeans wouldn’t be such a high priority. Instead, we’d look to nerds to supply answers to questions like- If most of the world has just become one giant barbecue what do we do next?

Actually, that’s the type of question that’s asked in a few science fiction books, including my own—Kill Code: A Science Fiction Dystopian Novel. (Sorry, I had to get the plugin.) Seeking answers in an entertaining form to these dilemmas is one of the attractions of science fiction. I mean have you ever thought about what life would be like on a neutron star? Well, author Robert Forward did, in his book ‘Dragon’s Egg’ and though Nerdish—Mark 4 on the Nerd scale—it reminds us that life can take many forms. And have you ever considered what it would be like if a pod of whales came to Earth dressed up as people? No? Well, Captain Kirk did in one more bizarre than usual Star Trek episode.  

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And on the subject of things taking different forms, I’ve read that Dr. Jane Goodall, the UN Messenger of Peace, and primatologist, believes ‘The Story of Doctor Dolittle’ and ‘Tarzan of the Apes’ are science fiction novels. Before you shout: ‘But that’s not science fiction,’ maybe you didn’t know many consider the Harry Potter books science fiction too. See, that’s the beauty of the genre, it traverses everything from life on Mars, to a world run by apes and magicians, and everyone has the freedom to define what exactly they think science fiction is.  

But, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ and sci-fi is not for everyone. It produces some aggressive reactions. Someone once spat at me that she ‘detested science fiction books,’ and she is not alone. But what can you do with these haters? Burn them at the stake? I don’t think so! For all those who love the genre, don’t even bother to ask the obvious question—have you read any science fiction? You would be wasting your time. Sci-fi is like prunes, Brussels sprouts, and olives—something you either love or loathe.

So what are we to conclude from all this? Some nerds like science fiction books and movies. There’s no denying that. But so to do movie stars, scientists, fashionistas, politicians and on and on—actually a fairly large slice of the world. True, not as many as like romantic novels. Sci-fi books are country cousins to that tribe. But science fiction lovers still occupy a fair swathe of the population, of which nerds are just a sliver. So you definitely need not be a nerd to enjoy sci-fi!

Now that’s settled, please excuse me. I want to get back to reading Selin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft. I’m just getting to an exciting part.

About the Author

Clive Fleury is an award-winning writer of books and screenplays, and a TV and film director and producer.  He has worked for major broadcasters and studios on a wide variety of successful projects in the US, UK, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. Clive lives in Miami with his wife, his teenage daughter, and a cat called Louis.

© Clive Fleury 2019

Guest Post: International Book Fairs 2019 by Kotobee Blog

It is my pleasure today to share a link to a recent blog I befriended, Kotobee Blog. A great blog for any book lover, they recently reached out to me to share with you guys their comprehensive list for 2019 of book fairs from around the world. Each month has several book fairs happening in various parts of the world, and will give each and every one of you a chance to meet fellow book lovers, authors and publishers alike. You can check out the list using the link below. Please go check out this list and be sure to follow this incredible blog as well. Thank you to Kotobee Blog for sharing this list with me and my readers here on Author Anthony Avina’s blog.

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https://www.kotobee.com/blog/international-book-fairs-2019/


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Guest Blog Post: “Don’t know much about history.” Using fiction to write non-fiction by Author Anna Levine

This is Anthony Avina speaking. I am honored today to share with you all this exclusive guest blog post from the wonderful and talented author Anna Levine. Having been promoting her latest children’s book All Eyes on Alexandra, Anna is here to talk about how she uses fiction to write a non-fiction book. I hope you all will enjoy and be sure to look at the end of this post for all of Anna’s info.

This is Anthony Avina speaking. I am honored today to share with you all this exclusive guest blog post from the wonderful and talented author Anna Levine. Having been promoting her latest children’s book All Eyes on Alexandra, Anna is here to talk about how she uses fiction to write a non-fiction book. I hope you all will enjoy and be sure to look at the end of this post for all of Anna’s info.


Last year I was invited to speak to a group of children’s book writers who were touring Israel. I have a series of archaeology-themed picture books about a young girl who dreams of being an archaeologist. Since the writers were going to experience a dig, they invited me along.

Dressed in shorts, caps and running shoes, I looked at the group of authors and realized that archaeology is not only about digging up the past, but becoming the adventurous child you once were. These writers in their thirties, forties and some in their eighties had become younger versions of themselves. And once we’d entered the cave, had picks, trowels brushes and pails, the hunt for treasures began. The joy at discovering history could be heard in their shouts as they uncovered ancient shards. While Jodie, the protagonist of my archaeological series (Jodie’s Hanukkah Dig), is a work of fiction, all the details about being on an archeological dig are factual.

In my latest picture book, I move from the treasures hidden beneath to the wonders above us. In this part of my world, over five hundred millions birds fly across the skies twice a year on their way to and from Africa. The sight of these migrating birds is magical. Wanting to share this environmental wonder with young readers, I chose Alexandra, a young female bird with an adventurous spirit. I visited the Bird Observatory and spoke with the researches who helped me track the birds’ migration route. I drove up to the Hula Valley Reserve and observed the birds at sunrise and sunset, their busiest times.

As a novice writer I was told ‘write what you know,’ I’ve adapted the old adage to, ‘write what you wish to discover.’ Non-fiction and fiction can complement each other well as along as the facts are correct and the characters are emotionally endearing.


Book summary

 In All Eyes on Alexandra, young Alexandra Crane is terrible at following her family in their flying Vee. She can’t help it that the world is so full of interesting distracting sights! When it’s time for the Cranes to migrate to Israel’s Hula Valley for the winter, Alexandra is excited but her family is worried. Will Alexandra stay with the group, and what happens if a dangerous situation should arise? Might Alexandra—and the rest of the flock—discover that a bad follower can sometimes make a great leader?

Based on the true story of Israel’s annual crane migration.

Print Length: 32 Pages

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Publisher: Kar-Ben Pub

ISBN-10: 1512444391

ISBN-13: 978-1512444391

All Eyes on Alexandra is available to purchase on AmazonBarnes and NobleTarget and Thrift Books.

Explore the Best Books of 2018 at BN.com

About the Author, Anna Levine

Anna Levine is an award-winning children’s book author. Like Alexandra Crane, the character in her latest picture book, she loves to explore new worlds. Born in Canada, Anna has lived in the US and Europe.  She now lives in Israel, where she writes and teaches.

You can find Anna Levine online at —

Author website: http://www.annalevine.org/

Twitter: @LevineAnna 

Instagram: @booksfromanna 

About the Illustrator, Chiara Pasqualotto,

Chiara Pasqualotto was born in Padua, in northern Italy, currently teaches illustration and drawing classes to children and adults, in particular in Padua during the summer at the Scuola Internazionale di Comics and in Rome. Since 2008 she’s been living in Rome and working with illustration professionally: her first picture book, Mine, All Mine! was published in 2009 by Boxer Books (UK), since then she published with Oxford University Press, Giunti, Terranuova and some American publishers (Paraclete Press, Tyndale, LearningAZ, Kar-Ben Publisher).

You can find Chiara Pasqualotto online at –

Artist website – https://romeartweek.com/en/artists/?id=1495&ida=1004

Blog: http://chiarapasqualotto.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clairepaspage/

– Blog Tour Dates

December 3rd @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Make sure you visit WOW’s blog today and read an interview with the author and enter for a chance to win a copy of the book All Eyes on Alexandra.

muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

December 5th @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog where she shares her thoughts about Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

https://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com/

December 5th @ Break Even Books

Visit Erik’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about how to jog your inspiration.

https://breakevenbooks.com/

December 7th @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and visit Lacey’s blog where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com

December 8th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog today where he joins in the fun of celebrating and shares information about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 8th @ Christy’s Cozy Corners

Visit Christy’s blog and cozy up while you read her review of Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

https://christyscozycorners.com/

December 9th @ Coffee with Lacey

Visit Lacey’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about designing your ideal writing spot.

http://coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com

December 9th @ Christy’s Cozy Corner

Visit Christy’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about how she decided to use crane’s in her story.

https://christyscozycorners.com/


December 10th @ Thoughts in Progress

Visit Pamela’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about how authors use anthropomorphic animals.

http://masoncanyon.blogspot.com/

December 11th @ Read. Write. Sparkle. Coffee.

Make sure you visit Jeanie’s blog today and read her thoughts about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://www.readwritesparklecoffee.com/


December 12th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog where he interviews Anna Levine, author of All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 13th @ Read. Write. Sparkle. Coffee.

Make sure you visit Jeanie’s blog today and read Anna Levine’s guest post about building a theme day around a picture book.

http://www.readwritesparklecoffee.com/

December 13th @ Oh for the Hook of a Book

Visit Erin’s blog where she shares her thoughts on Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

www.hookofabook.wordpress.com

December 15th @ A Storybook World

Visit Deirdra’s blog where she features Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra in a spotlight post.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

December 17th @ World of My Imagination

Stop by Nicole’s blog today where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

December 19th @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about naming your characters.

https://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com

December 19th @ Linda’s Blog

Make sure you visit Linda’s blog today where you can read her thoughts about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

https://www.lindaleekane.com/blog

December 20th @ Word Magic: All About Books 

Visit Fiona’s blog where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

December 21st @ Bring on Lemons

Make sure you grab some lemonade and stop by Crystal’s blog today where she reviews Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

December 27th @ Linda’s Blog

Visit Linda’s blog again where you can read her interview with author Anna Levine.

https://www.lindaleekane.com/blog


December 28th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog today you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/


December 31st @ Strength 4 Spouses

Visit Wendi’s blog and read Anna Levine’s guest post on learning about families and different cultures.


January 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog where he shares his thoughts about Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra. 

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

January 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about getting into the head of your middle-grade characters.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

January 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about using fiction to write non-fiction.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

January 7th @ Strength 4 Spouses Blog

Visit Wendi’s blog again where you can read her thoughts about the book All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine.


Guest Blog Post: The Importance of Classical Literature in Today’s World By Cheryl Carpinello

Today I have the honor of sharing with you the exclusive guest blog post of author Cheryl Carpinello. The author of Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is here to share why classical literature holds great importance in today’s world. Be sure to check out the review of her novel and her blog tour stop I posted to my website here, and check out her social media sites and book information down below. Enjoy!

GuinevereDawnofLegend

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The Importance of Classical Literature in Today’s World

By Cheryl Carpinello

The world is a far difference place from the Golden Age of Greece in 500 BCE. Surely there is nothing to be gained from reading the stories, poetry, and drama of so long ago. Right? Wrong.

The one constant from the beginning of man’s time on this earth through today and beyond is human nature. Our surroundings and way of life have changed dramatically, but human beings have not. We are still dealing with the same emotions and situations as those who resided in ancient civilizations.

Love, anger, sadness, happiness, pride, despair, hunger, hatred, the need to succeed, the desire to be good and/or better, the frustrations of everyday life. These are just some of what drive our actions and our reactions. We evolve, and our world may get more complicated, but we can’t change those.

What classical literature brings are examples of how others have dealt with similar situations as ours, be that outcome good or bad. It is the Greek tragedies that have had the most impact. These stories by definition have tragic endings. But they also have something else: The Ancient Greeks called it catharsis—a cleansing; a release of emotions like fear, pity, and sadness through the viewing of some type of art. In this case the Greek tragedies.

Antigone by Sophocles deals with rash behavior and hubris (the Greek word for pride) in the two main characters: King Oedipus and his niece Antigone. When Oedipus the King decides that his rule about denying burial to a traitor must be followed for the better of the state, he ends up sentencing his niece and future wife of his son to death when Antigone buries her brother as the gods demanded. Ultimately his action also leads to the death of his son and wife. Even more relevant is the fact that each of the characters are right. Creon is obeying the law of the land; Antigone is obeying the law of the gods. How often we have seen similar situations play out on our streets today.

I mention Sophocles because a company called Theater of War Productions (founded in 2009) is using the plays of Sophocles—particularly Antigone and Ajax—to help veterans adjust to being home, to help First Responders deal with the tragedies they face, and to help communities understand and deal with the conflicts within their own neighborhoods. Some of the projects taken on include War & Mental Health, Domestic Violence, Racism & Social Justice, Police/Community Relations, Addiction & Substance Abuse, Gun Violence, and Caregiving & Death. A full list of the topics and literature used by Theater of War Productions is available on their website.

Antigone in Ferguson was presented in Ferguson, Missouri after the 2014, shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by a police officer. The play achieved what Theater of War Productions founder Bryan Doerries set out to do. In an article in Smithsonian (November 2107), he told readers his productions are not meant to solve problems, but to get conversations started between all involved. He has been so successful that in March 2017, he was appointed as the NYC Public Artist in Residence.

It is often heard that if we don’t study history, then we are bound to repeat the same mistakes over again. I believe the same is true for literature. There is no safer outlet for kids and adults to see the effects decisions can have on a life. Within the pages of Classical Literature, we are able to explore ways to deal with the difficult situations that arise and to get dialogs started.

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About the Author

Author Full Sphinx

Cheryl Carpinello is an author, retired high school English teacher, and Colorado native. Since retiring from teaching, she’s been able to devote her time to writing and traveling. Although she may be away from teaching, she is still a teacher at heart and especially enjoys meeting with kids and talking with them about reading and writing. Cheryl hopes through her books she can inspire young readers and reader’s young-at-heart to read more.

You can find Cheryl at –

Website: http://www.cherylcarpinello.com

Writing Blog:    http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com/

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.carpinello1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ccarpine1/

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Carpinello/e/B002GGGZY6

Twitter Home Page: https://twitter.com/ccarpinello

Linkedin Page:  www.linkedin.com/pub/cheryl-carpinello/25/671/a02

Google URL: https://plus.google.com/110918922081424857545/

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/ccarpine/

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What do you do when you finish your novel? (Guest Blog Post From Author Stefan Vucak)

Here is a guest blog post from author Stefan Vucak from his website. Check this post and more on his official website here!

Lifeliners - Page 2 - V2

The last scene is written, the last piece of dialogue done … and it is finished! After slaving over the damned thing for seven months, I can sit back, heave a huge sigh of relief, and toast myself with a nice tumbler of bourbon. Another novel done and dusted.

Well, not quite.

The cursor is blinking, daring me to change a word, sentence, or paragraph. Glass in hand, I stare at the last page, replaying the book in my mind, savouring the good parts, mulling over the bits that could stand some polishing. Not just yet, my dear characters! I have to finish my bourbon first, and then do some basic maintenance.

First, I make a copy of the manuscript on my internal and external backup drive. If my primary drive packs it in, I haven’t lost anything. I wince at the number of times I read tales of woe on LinkedIn and Facebook where authors have not done ongoing backups as they write. The computer fails and … well, you know what happens: tears, gnashing of teeth, tearing of hair. Not nice. Lesson? Always do backups as you write!

With the book done, it is not ready for publishing, not by a long shot! As I write a section, I always do an edit before moving on to the next bit. After some twenty or thirty pages, I print them out and proofread the stuff. I am always amazed at things I missed editing online. The human mind is tricky, and it will sometimes fool you, automatically correcting errors your eyes pick up. Reading a printed page tends to give a more accurate world view to the brain, enabling me to correct the little bloopers that managed to avoid online obliteration.

Learning to be a stern, objective self-editor takes time and perseverance. Writers can become possessive about their creations, unwilling to admit that the product of their genius could possibly have punctuation, grammar, or word usage errors. Cut out that word or sentence? Cut off my hand instead! But cutting out that word or sentences is exactly what every writer must be prepared to do. Not only cut out that sentence, but a paragraph or page. Every piece of freshly finished writing must be viewed critically and any rough elements polished off. How much polishing is required depends on how good a writer is at writing.

It takes time to go over several hundred pages of manuscript, pen savagely attacking everything out of place, then updating the computer version. Done, ready to be released on unsuspecting readers! Again, not quite. Even though I don’t do a bad job editing my stuff, I am sure there is a little blooper or two grinning with glee that has managed to escape my eyes. To make sure the manuscript is as clean as possible, I send it off to a proofreader to kill off those wayward bloopers. When I get the thing back, sure enough, dead bloopers. After applying the corrections, I print out the whole thing again and, you guessed it, I do a final proofread. As you might expect, by the time it is all finished, I am heartily sick and tired of the book!

Anyway, I can now confidently publish the masterpiece! Confidently? There is never a perfectly finished book. After rereading some of my old novels, I invariably spot a word or phrase that should be cut or changed. I could keep polishing a novel forever, which would mean I would never get around to writing a new one. At some point, I have to let go and let the novel face critical readers and their reviews. Writing a novel is like rearing a child. From initial toddler paragraphs, to developing middle teens, and finally a finished manuscript. Once done, you have to let it make its own way in the world, maybe with a sniff or two.

The final step? Publish, of course!

Well, that is not really the final step. There is the ongoing marketing, but I have suffered enough pain for the moment. Let me recover a bit, okay?

All right, I have finished the novel, the damned thing is published, I push it along with some marketing, and then what? I don’t know about you, but I usually take some time off to clear my head and perhaps start tossing ideas for the next novel. I have several ideas on tap, and it takes a bit of time to sift through them, and nurture an idea that can be developed into a novel, or perhaps a short story. With a short story, I can get stuck into it fairly quickly. For a novel, that takes considerably more effort…and several glasses of bourbon.

You may want to check out the following article on planning a novel.

 

Author bio and links:

Stefan Vucak

Stefan Vučak has written eight Shadow Gods Saga sci-fi novels and six contemporary political drama books. He started writing science fiction while still in college, but did not get published until 2001. His Cry of Eagles won the Readers’ Favorite silver medal award, and his All the Evils was the prestigious Eric Hoffer contest finalist and Readers’ Favorite silver medal winner. Strike for Honor won the gold medal.

Stefan leveraged a successful career in the Information Technology industry, which took him to the Middle East working on cellphone systems. He applied his IT discipline to create realistic storylines for his books. Writing has been a road of discovery, helping him broaden his horizons. He also spends time as an editor and book reviewer. Stefan lives in Melbourne, Australia.

To learn more about Stefan, visit his:

Website: www.stefanvucak.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/StefanVucakAuthor

Twitter: @stefanvucak

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stefan-vucak-65572360

Read more about ‘Lifeliners’ here: https://www.stefanvucak.com/books/lifeliners/

Why A Book Series Is So Good For Non-Readers | Guest Blog Post by Fiona Ingram

What many of us take for granted is reading, being able to read properly and fluently, and the availability of books. I am sure most people never even think about how they learned to read. For many people, including myself, it seemed that you just ‘knew’ how to read. How many people can remember growing up with books and more books and still more books in the house. I remember shelves and shelves of books, and I still have many of those beloved old friends with me.

What many parents don’t realise, however, is that the enjoyment of reading is not automatic; it is learned by association. When a parent reads with a child, that feeling of togetherness, that special time, creates in the child a sense of enjoyment that they then associate with reading, and thus as they grow up, reading is associated with pleasure.

However, for several reasons, a child just might not ‘click’ with reading. It can be disappointing when your child expresses absolutely no interest in reading. But, you can change that by coming up with new and interesting ways to ‘package’ the art of reading. Reading is a skill, just like any other skill. It has to be introduced, nurtured, and developed. A wise parent will pique their child’s interest in reading by taking the time to find out what kinds of stories interest them. There is so much on offer these days that it shouldn’t be hard to find a book series that your child will relate to.

  • So why do children love an exciting series? In a good, entertaining children’s series, children will suddenly discover a hero they can relate to and whose actions keep them riveted. Isn’t it wonderful when a child begs, nay, commands its parents to go out and buy the next in a favorite series because they ‘absolutely must know’ what is going to happen next.
  • A gifted author will be able to create characters that readers can relate to, and either love or hate. Young readers get to know the characters well as the action evolves and, as each book comes out, can explore something new about their heroes. If they ‘bond’ with a character such as a young hero/ine, they’ll be eager to continue reading the series as each new book comes out. Three of the most popular that spring to mind immediately are Chronicles of Narnia, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter. You can cement this enthusiasm by buying hard cover books for your child as ‘collectibles’—something to be cherished and read again and again. Movies (even better) and merchandising such as T-shirts, mugs, badges etc. keep the enthusiasm going.
  • Most successful book series have websites with interesting aspects to explore. Is the series set in a real or fantasy place? Do the characters have important choices to make? Don’t be afraid to let your child get onto the computer and read all about the series, the author, the movie, the actors, the settings, and the characters. Ask your child questions about what they have learned and praise their research.
  • Characters become friends to the avid young reader, who shares in the hopes, dreams and choices the characters make. Readers are amazingly loyal to their favorite characters, even though they may often disagree with the character’s choices. A good writer will explore these further, enabling young readers to begin to make their own choices, especially in a moral dilemma or emotional conflict.
  • Parents who make the time to read with their children, or who are interested in their children’s book choices, will be able to discuss these issues further. It’s a great way of dealing with ‘sticky’ issues because the discussion is less focused on the child and more on a fictional character. It may be easier for a child to express an opinion if discussing a topic via a character’s choices.

Books remain an integral part of boosting a child’s chance of a fuller, more imaginative and successful life. So, don’t be frugal when it comes to the printed word. A series is a great way to keep a child’s interest in reading alive. If you have kids, splash out and get them all the books their hearts desire!
The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is available to purchase on Amazon.com. 

About the Author

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Fiona Ingram is a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, she was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked her new career as an author—a family trip to Egypt with her mother and two young nephews. They had a great time and she thought she’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir…. Well, one book and a planned book series later, she had changed careers. She has now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in her middle grade adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book,

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! She also teaches online novel writing for aspiring authors and she finds that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds her enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. She loves doing research for her book series. Fiona loves animals and has written two animal rescue stories. She has two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.

You can find Fiona at –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretofthesacredscarab/

Website: www.chroniclesofthestone.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FionaRobyn

Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com

Blog: http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2868182.Fiona_Ingram