“How’s the Writing Coming?”, Plus the REAL Questions

Once upon a FAQs page made 6 years ago (which is a surprisingly balanced combination of ‘totally outdated’ and ‘still relevant to this day’), the world inquired:

How’s your book going?

To which Past Me replied:

Which one? A few have crossed the divide into publishing territory, and I’ve always got something in [various stages of] the works. Everything seems to be going reasonably well, though – maybe even /unreasonably/ well, depending on who you ask and whether or not they believe I’m a cyborg. If you’re asking how book /sales/ are going, that depends. Have you bought them?

Back then, I basically was a cyborg. I was never not writing. I was cranking out books faster than even my steadiest fans could keep pace with. I was… very much setting myself up for the psycho-emotional meltdown that finally caught up with me around the end of The Wilderhark Tales.

(Like, is there a reason “The Story’s End” dwelt more on death and disillusionment than the fairy tales that preceded it? All signs point to yes.)

So fast-forward to nowadays, when anyone who knows I’m an author will still inevitably ask:

How’s the writing coming?

And, I just…

How's Your Book Doing_via Twitter

…never quite know how to answer that.

Because I haven’t really written anything new since – *checks “Record of Stories Read and Written” document* – February of 2018. Blog posts, sure. Tweets ‘n’ things. A fun song. I’m making words. And I’ve been editing old words into new published books.

But is any of that writing?

Not as I once knew it.

Better if anyone were to ask me:

What are you working on, these days?

That, I could answer.

I could point to my picture-book-in-progress with Hannah Vale.

I could recall that I need to wrap up the little chores standing between me and ordering my first proof copy of #CamelotWIP.

(Why am I dawdling so hard on that? Could it be a subconscious foot-dragging born of the knowledge that, once “Camelot” is out in the world, I’ll be retreating into an indefinite authorial hiatus? Am I hesitant to unbind myself from the shackles I’ve forged from social media and self-promotion and straining to make myself seen by an indifferent world? Do I fear freedom? … Or am I just really not looking forward to all the fiddly work it’ll take to make the cover print right? <_<)

The question nobody asks:

How’s your inner author life?

I’ve had no practice answering that one.

But were I to try, maybe I’d mention the evenings I spend in the company of my characters (and Tirzah’s), listening as they hash out their own lives, their feelings, their fears. It’s not writing – and it may never be writing, as far as these specific storylines are concerned. Not every character crisis can adapt itself into another Outlaws of Avalon novel or “Reality As We Know It”. But in its way, it’s contributing to my craft. It’s growing my empathy. It’s coaching me in character development. It’s generating the stuff of imagination from which all art is born. It is – I must remind myself – worthwhile.

Another answer, and one I could give with some relief: I’m having ideas again. Am brainstorming again. Am rediscovering that itch in my heart that can only be scratched with creation. Even believing in my plan to walk away from my public author persona, for a while, it means more than I can express to realize that my writer spirit is waking up from its coma.

Maybe calling it temporarily quits on trying to sell myself will make room for a creative renaissance.

Maybe I’ll remember how to cyborg and return to writing like the wind.

Or maybe that self is never one I’ll get back, but my new self and her art will have just as much value.

Once upon an author bio page made 8 years ago, you hypothetically asked:

Who does this ‘deshipley’ person think he/she is?!

She’s not so sure anymore.

But she’s curious to find out.

The 5 Reasons I Blog

5 = The fun. More specifically, putting together a post I’m eager to share, and anticipating the readers’ response. We won’t talk about the letdown of there potentially being not much of a response at all. <_<

4 = The Will Scarlet factor. As in, he would pitch a fit if I took away his stage for nonsensical theatre and kiss-mongering. It’s not worth the struggle.

“What can I say?” Scarlet shrugs. “I love limelight and lip-locks.”
“What can I say?” Scarlet shrugs. “I love limelight and lip-locks.”

3 = The obligation. I’ve been dedicating two to four days a week (maybe even five, when things gets really crazy) to Ever On Word since 2011. Never mind that I’ve never officially promised anybody anything – I’ve created the expectation in myself that I’m going to keep it up. So as long as I continue to take my self-imposed commitments waaay too seriously, you’ll find me here.

2 = The free self-promo. It’s a noisy world, and from what I can tell, this tiny pocket of the internet is where I achieve the best acoustics. So heck yes, I’ll use it to shout the word about all the storymaking I get up to, with zero apology.

1 = The free friend-promo. The fun is negligible, Will Scarlet can be made to deal with the word “no”, and there may come a day where I tire of tooting my own horn simply because I feel I have to. But if there’s one reason I’m glad to keep my stubborn claim on a platform, it’s so I have the space to be a help.

We're All in This Together

If I know you and like you and you’re doing cool things or have a need, I want people to know about it! Or if you’re an author and your book made an impression and I’m in a “do unto others” kinda headspace, I want to gift you a review! (Because, as any number of authors will tell you, a gift is exactly what a review is.) Heck, I don’t even have to know who you are or have actually read your book, if the cover and/or premise look(s) interesting enough. So for that reason, if no other, Ever On Word is here to stay.

…Which, given reason #4, just makes my life easier.

Fellow bloggers in the house: Why do you do what you do?

Open Journal: “Sky-Child” Release Day

Another Launch Day is upon us. Y’know, the day where the book in question has probably already been available for days or weeks prior to this, in one format or another, but we consolidate as much of the excitement as we can on this one particular date because, whatever, it’s nice to have a single point on the calendar to rally around.

The book of the hour is “The Sky-Child and Other Stories”, subtitled either “(A Wilderhark Tales Collection”) or “(Book Six-and-a-Half of The Wilderhark Tales”), depending on whether you’re looking at the front or back cover.

Sky-Child cover, full spread

For Wilderhark Tales past, I saw your Launch Day and raised you an entire Launch Week – up to eight days of prizes and bonus materials and character interviews and guest posts in the web spaces of gracious fellow bloggers. It’s always quite the shindig. But this time around, I told myself, “No.”

Then I told myself, “Oh, heck, Lute’s gonna kill me…” ‘Cause any reader of “The Song Caster” could tell you how he reacts to feeling cheated.

And he was spitting mad at me for a few minutes, there. But then – unexpectedly – he got it.

He got how utterly exhausting it is to organize a blog tour and create hopefully exciting content and fight with the printer to produce custom bookmarks / postcards / art prints / what have you.

He got how drained I still was coming off of the Launch Week for Book Six, and how “Sky-Child”s launch right on the heels of the “Steel & Bone” anthology release would mean I’d have even less energy to generate another book’s buzz.

He got that I am just this side of completely burnt out, and that if I want to be able to give the Wilderhark Tales finale my best push in October, I need to allow myself a break.

He got that this wasn’t a matter of me acting against him. This is me vs. the weariness that comes of battling to be seen and heard and valued in an oblivious world.

He got that. Because, in a way, that’s his story.

So he forgave me my limitations, and said he would support me in whatever I chose to do or not do in regards to “Sky-Child”s launch.

And everybody in my head just gaped at him, because no one expects that level of understanding and compassion from Gant-o’-the-freaking-Lute.

“Because I never cease to amaze,” says Lute – adding with a pointed sniff, “Just as you people never cease to underestimate me.”

Sky-Child and Me 6

…All that to say, low key, “The Sky-Child” is out now, and I’d be super grateful were everyone to nab a paperback (Amazon or CreateSpace) or e-book (Kindle or Nook) and then, perchance, leave a review. (Because neither minstrels nor authors can take the world by storm very well without some word of mouth.)

And that’s all she wrote on the subject. …Until Friday, when Lute’s got an interview with a certain scarlet talk show host.

Unapologetically Yours

I’ve been seeing something in the social media world that disturbs me.

It’s this idea that if an author – (or any kind of person with an accomplishment they’d ideally like to be paid for, but we’ll use authors as the example, since that’s kind of my crowd) – wants to tell the world about their book, they’ve got to do it a certain way.

They’ve got to be all super-casual, or just kind of sneak it in, or try to be cute about it in the hopes that the cuteness will offset the fact that, le gasp, they dared to inform the public that their book is available for sale. I’ve even seen a tweet with the phrase “sorry for the shameless plug”.

Sorry?

Sorry?

The discord between “sorry” and “shameless” aside, why in the world is this person apologizing?

Why is it frowned upon to just boldly say, “I’ve finished a book! It’s available here! Go buy!”? You’re not twisting anybody’s arm. They’ll check out the link, or they won’t. They’ll buy the book, or they won’t. It’s not a gun to the head, it’s an advertisement.

Let’s go back to basics for a moment, here. Quick pop quiz. What is a writer’s job?

a) Writing

b) Selling what they write

c) Devoting their creative word energy to hilarious/relatable/inspirational tweets/statuses about anything but their book and hoping the power of positive thinking will be enough to write and sell their books for them

d) Mostly a), with some b) thrown in, in the hopes of maybe possibly earning a livelihood

Newsflash: The answer isn’t C.

Newsflash number 2: Declaring in your own webspace that you’ve got a product for sale is not spam.

Jumping into someone else’s space and plugging your book? That’s a no-no.

Butting into a conversation with nothing to say but, “Hi, buy my book”? That’s obnoxious.

Flooding people’s inboxes with a lot of cloned messages about your book, your book, your book? Just don’t.

Those things are invasive and rude in the way wallpapering your neighbor’s house in self-promotional flyers is invasive and rude. (And, y’know, vandalism.) But guess what? You can wallpaper your own house anyway you like, because it’s your house. Just like your website/blog/social media account is yours. Yours on which to say what you want to say. Is posting absolutely nothing but links to your books the most entertaining thing in the world? No. But neither is it a crime (unlike vandalism), and it’s nothing worth receiving dirty looks for.

Look, authors (and artists of all stripes). I know confidence can be hard to hang onto. Doubting yourself and the worth of your work is par for the course. But you poured your heart into this. You dedicated hours – weeks and months and years of hours – into this work of art that the world would never have had in quite that form without you. After nine months of pregnancy, does a mother deliver a baby and then shamefacedly whisper the birth announcement? NO! After years of study, does a researcher make a scientific breakthrough and just kind of hope that somebody will notice? NO! After I-don’t-even-know-how-long of training, does a marathon runner cross the finish line and never speak of the race again? No, no, NO!

Fellow authors, you have achieved something that, for many, is nothing more than a dream – that, once upon a time, was no more than a dream for you. You created a story – a product that can potentially touch people’s lives in a way so very few things can. The laborer is worthy of his wages! You deserve, at bare minimum, to be able to say, with all due levels of pride, that you wrote this thing! You have every right to point to it and claim it as yours, without apology!

Now, make like an introvert with stage fright and sociophobia who spends her summer weekends at a Renaissance Faire interacting with strangers anyway, and hold your head up high in the name of what you love.

Author and proud.
Author and proud.

Gosh, Would You mind? Promoting as a British Author

A grand giggle of a guest post today from my old friend/best nemesis forever, Rewan Tremethick, author of “Fallen on Good Times”. Be sure to read it in your best British accent.

<<<>>>

While hard selling gets you nowhere, it is a basic fact of being an author that there are times when you have to actually sell your book. As much as we’d all like it to be a case of ‘Release it and they will come’, unless the destination is a hospital and the ‘it’ is a weaponised virus, it really doesn’t work like that.

So here I am, paranormal detective noir coming out in two days’ time (or one and a half days, or four decades, or however time works in America), having to tell people they should buy it. All authors have a problem with this, as it involves being confident, outgoing, attention grabbing people. If we were all those things, we wouldn’t have spent our lives stuck inside writing books.

I have an extra problem. I’m British. Sorry about that.

It’s just not done

Being British has its upsides. We have the richest currency in the world, the most widely spoken language, and Led Zeppelin. We also have a lot of residual guilt about having invaded literally everyone at some point or another, and a crippling sense of politeness. The national pastimes in Britain are moaning, queuing, apologising for moaning, and queuing up to apologise for moaning whilst moaning about the big queues. Then apologising for that.

Quite frankly as a nation it’s amazing we’ve ever got anything done at all. But apparently our accents are cute, so I suppose that counts for something. Now, where are all the girls who also find copious apologies sexy?

Quite the dichotomy

So the author in me would like to tell you about this book I’ve written. People who have already had a peek have said it’s unique, funny and interesting. I’d quite like to say those things as well. The British person inside of me is scrabbling over the table, spilling his afternoon tea in the process, in order to chloroform me while shouting “By Jove, man, have you lost it? Apologise quickly and then tell them the book’s bloody awful just in case!”

Clearly this is somewhat of a problem. The inside of my head is like a rather dull Jekyll and Hyde, with one of me suggesting I say something positive about Fallen on Good Times, while the other shrugs and reaches for another muffin.

“Shall we promote the-?”

“No.”

“Fair enough, I suppose. Do you think we should apologise for something?”

“Wouldn’t hurt.”

“Right on.”

Fallen on Good Times

Thankfully the book can talk

Before you get too excited, it’s not a talking book. But its quality and the intricacies of plot and character will stand on their own. They are there for people to judge, and no doubt they will. People can make up their own minds after they have read it. My job is simply to communicate the fact that they should.

And why should they? Because, Britishness aside, no author, however humble they may be on the outside, publishes their book unless they think it’s good. So for me to pretend otherwise would be hypocritical.

And before my Britishness takes over again, I’ll simply say this:

I wrote the story I wanted to. I wanted to see a world in which gangsters and ghosts rubbed shoulders. Where the most unusual thing in a Speakeasy wasn’t the moonshine, but the creatures drinking it. A world seen through the eyes of a paranormal detective; not hard boiled, but with a runny yolk. A man trying to make his way in the world without getting stabbed, gored, possessed, disintegrated, bitten, infected, or tickled to death.

A world governed by a very simple rule: Fairy tales are warnings. Legend is history. Monsters are real.

Sorry about that…

Fallen on Good Times

Paranormal detective Laslo Kane learned the truth the hard way. He’s had enough of the supernatural trying to kill him, but his latest job offer could provide him with a way out. A desperate investor has come to him for help investigating the murder of his business partner, and the money he is offering could change Laslo’s life forever.

It quickly becomes apparent that the killing is just one of several and that they are all linked. Laslo must follow the trail, even though he knows exactly where it ends: the mob.

 

Fallen on Good Times is released in Paperback and on Kindle on the 31st of May. Visit www.rewantremethick.com/fallen-on-good-times-novel to sign up and get chapters 1-3 for free.

 

Rewan Black Background

Author Bio

Rewan (not pronounced ‘Rowan’) Tremethick is a British author who was named after a saint. St Ruan was invulnerable to wolves; Rewan isn’t. Rewan is a fan of clever plots, strong women who don’t have to be described using words like ‘feisty’, and epic music. He has dabbled in stand-up comedy, radio presenting, and writing sentences without trying to make a joke. He balances his desire to write something meaningful by wearing extremely tight jeans.

Fallen on Good Times, teasers

Click here to see the “Fallen on Good Times” trailer playlist on YouTube.