On Finding a Tribe

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There’s been a lot of drama this week in Romancelandia otherwise known as #cockygate, that has extended itself to the rest of the Indie Author world and beyond. I won’t rehash it. I won’t give her any more of my energy.

The one thing that rang out to me in this mess was the Open Letter to Faleena Hopkins on Cassie Sharp’s blog. She spoke of finding your tribe. Your group of people you can celebrate with, mourn with, scream with, cry with and vent with. Your “safe space” where you can say anything without fear.

I learned this early on in my publishing journey. That other indie authors were not my competition. That if we lift each other up, and support each other – we all win. My tribe started with me and one other indie. It was small and lonely, but we had each other. Then we formed a group – and I had my tribe. We all clicked from day one. The level of trust we’ve formed is awesome and it’s become one of my favorite parts of my day to connect with the ladies of the KB 101 tribe.

To my tribe – thank you. Thank you for letting me vent, cry, celebrate – without fear.

I can’t tell you how to find your tribe. I can tell you to join groups and be active and engage in them. If you click with someone – reach out! Don’t be shy, don’t feel weird – reach out because you never know what kind of magic can happen when a group comes together and shares their collective knowledge.

 

Sitting down with horror author Chris Kosarich

I’m not sure how long I’ve known Chris. About ten years, maybe more. Chris and I met in a story-telling forum. Real old school, internet circa 1995 kinda stuff. We began chatting in private messages that progressed to email and formed a little bond around writing. When I decided to self-publish, Chris was probably one of the first five people that I told, and we’ve been talking each other through the journey ever since. 20180301_162210

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m married with three stepkids, enslaved to an adorable cat, and a 20 plus year retail bookstore veteran. I own enough books to probably open my own bookstore, still buy more books and will most likely never read them all. But I don’t plan on stopping my book addiction! I’m always usually reading something, either print books or digital, but prefer the former. I was born in Pittsburgh (Go Steelers!) but have lived in Florida most of my life. Besides writing and books, I love to cook, go swimming when its warm enough, and maybe one day learn to play the bass guitar I bought myself.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Make a living at it, but that’s awfully tough to do. Right now, it is to break into anthologies and possibly magazines to be more recognized. I have published short stories and nonfiction, along with my recent self-published ebook shorts, CLOWNING AROUND and THE LAST CHORD. Since the late 90’s, my stories have appeared in various small-press publications such as VIVID, IMPALER, BLACK MOON, and THE SWAMP. For 4 years, I wrote the Fiendish Endeavors column for the Horror Writers Association monthly newsletter.

Of course, my main goal right now is to get my first novel, THE RAVENING, published. I’m in the process of revising that as we speak. I also have a collection of stories and novellas called THE NIGHTMARE SEASON that I’d like to publish at some point, as well. And more books!

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?

As a kid, I was into drawing my own cartoons and comics. In middle school, we had to read a book and write a book report. One of my friends was reading this pulp action-adventure series called The Executioner and I got hooked immediately and started reading those, along with other similar type books. My creativity shifted from illustrating to creating images with words…and I haven’t looked back since. Shortly after high school, I picked up a Stephen King novel, PET SEMETARY, and found what I wanted to write.

Which writers inspire you?

As previously mentioned, Stephen King’s books made me fall in love with the horror genre and he remains my favorite author of all-time. And he still kicks ass, in my opinion. But there are plenty of other authors that I love who inspire me and don’t get nearly the attention they deserve. Some of those include Brian Keene, Edward Lee, Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Bryan Smith, Douglas Clegg, Bentley Little, Jonathan Maberry, Jonathan Janz, Nick Cutter, Ania Ahlborn, Tim Curran…to just name a few!

What have you written and where can we buy or see them?

Both my book shorts are available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

 

Do you work from an outline or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

Early on, I used to outline and I’d end up practically writing the whole damn thing out anyway…so yeah, I’m more of the organic type. I do take notes, that kind of thing, but I let the story take me where it wants to go.FB_IMG_1504454005608

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Like most of us, it is actually making the time to sit down and do it. With working a fulltime job and family responsibilities, as you know, that can be challenging at times. Being tired after work is probably the worst time to try and write, so I try to work on my stuff when I’m not that way. Love those writing day’s off!

Do you ever get writer’s Block and how do you combat it?

Happens to all of us, although I think the best advice is to step away from something if you’re having a tough time, and go back to it after a break, whether it be an hour or a day or a week. Work on something else. Read a favorite author. Or if you have a trusted fellow writer or reader, get their feedback.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read as much as you can, especially outside your beloved genre, and write as much as you can!

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Nope, and thanks so much, Alyne, for this opportunity…you’re the best!

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The Last Chord

Matt Hayden was just eighteen when he met Mister Black during a stormy Florida summer afternoon, but what the mysterious stranger offered him changed his life forever. Now, decades later, Matt runs into him once again…and they have unfinished business. And what he must do to protect the woman he loves may seal his fate.

Find The Last Chord HERE → books2read.com/u/mBMkGk

Find Clowning Around HERE → books2read.com/u/mYgX7w

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Sitting down with author Krysta MacDonald

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“The memories are lodged in my throat, and a part of me wonders if you can choke on something that isn’t physically there. Can you choke on hurt?” – QUOTE FROM THE GIRL WITH THE EMPTY SUITCASE

 

I met Krysta shortly after releasing my debut novel, The Island. We connected on Goodreads and soon after became friends on Facebook. The best part of all of this for me was watching Krysta prepare for her book launch – the parties, the signings, the readings. On top of that, she has an active and adventure-filled life that I get to experience vicariously through what she shares! Doing this interview was a real pleasure for me!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

When I was five years old, I decided I wanted to live in the mountains, write stories, and teach people about them. I now live in a small town in the Rocky Mountains of Canada with my husband, two dogs and three cats. I’ve been teaching English Language Arts for ten years, and last November I published my first novel, The Girl with the Empty Suitcase.

What are you working on at the minute?

I’m working on entering a few contests for shorter works. It’s something that I want to work on improving in my writing, for both fiction and nonfiction. I think it helps expand my horizons, and makes me venture outside my comfort zone a bit. I’m also beginning my second novel, which looks at a woman in the early 1960s. She’s trying to choose between a career and family, and doesn’t realize how she can do both.

What genre are your books and what draws you to that genre?

I write creative nonfiction and realistic fiction. There are so many little moments that make our lives so dramatic and worth living, and I want to explore reality through my words and characters. The struggles and identities and relationships that make existence so worth noting.

Do you work from an outline or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I’m a “plantser”. I start with an outline, and go from there. I don’t have a full plan, or at least not a very detailed one, but I do have an idea of what’s going to happen.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

For me, it’s time. Despite what many think, teaching is not a typical full-time job. I have hours and hours of marking that I do at home every night, not to mention planning and extra-curricular work. I love my job, but it takes up a lot of time. That whole idea of writing a bit every day does not work for me. I write in huge chunks during Christmas break, Easter break, an occasional weekend, and summer.

Do you ever get writer’s Block and how do you combat it?

Not necessarily “writer’s block” in that I don’t know what will happen next, but more how I want to word what will happen next. When that happens I go back and reread the last section or sections. If nothing else, I get some editing done, but typically it also helps me get back into the frame of where I want my characters to go next.

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When you aren’t writing, what are you doing?

Marking. Teaching. Planning. Marking. Reading. Hanging out with my husband. Marking. Reading. Watching movies. Traveling. Marking. Reading. Snuggling with my pets. Marking. Extolling the virtues of Shakespeare. Camping. Reading. And did I mention marking?

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I try to read as much as I can outside of school. I’m pretty eclectic in what I read, but pretty much any fiction is fair game. Science fiction has to be pretty good for me to like it, but I’ll still read it. I love classic literature. I’m a massive Shakespeare nerd. Last year I read all of Jane Austen’s works (well, reread most of them). I’ve also discovered Stephen King, and really am enjoying a lot of his pieces. And Margaret Atwood has always been an absolute favourite.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I actually wrote a blog post about this a few months back. Essentially, I think it depends why you’re trying to be published in the first place. I mostly just wanted to hold a book in my hands with my name on it. I got to do that by self-publishing. I’d stopped and started so many times that I knew if I had any excuse or hesitation, I wasn’t going to do it. Plus, this way I got to maintain creative control. On the negative side, it’s harder to get into bookstores or to be looked at for reviews and awards and such. Still, I was willing to do it all myself – and have the sense of accomplishment of figuring that all out – by self-publishing, and that was what I was after. Plus, I think my book looks pretty darn awesome.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

It works out. Someone once said, “Everything ends up okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” All those self-doubts, all those hesitations, all that bad stuff, none of it damages you permanently. You’re going to be fine. Moreover, you’re going to be pretty awesome. You can do this. You’re worth more than you think you are. You got this.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

It’s a toss-up! And they’re all writers. Shakespeare, probably. Or Jane Austen. How cool would it be to have tea with her? Or, living, Margaret Atwood. She just seems pretty bad-ass.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just do it already. Even if what you write is abysmal, it’s better than not writing anything at all. Read and write and read and write and read and write some more. Just get started.

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The suitcase sat at the top of Danielle’s closet for years, holding memories, promises, and undeveloped film. From struggling with homework to her final farewells with her parents, this is the story of one woman’s life and loves. Through hopes and laughter, heartaches and tears, Danielle is shaped by the family, friends, and romances around her. This emotional and nuanced story gives us a woman, a window through whom we may see our own realities, our own challenges, our own quiet triumphs.

 FOLLOW KRYSTA HERE:

Social Media Links

Website: https://krystamacdonald.wixsite.com/website

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/KrystaMacDonald

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/krystamac.writer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/krystamacwrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/krysta.macdonald

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