Meet Jax – Character Interview

Depositphotos_22638297_orig

Name: Jaxon Anthony West. Everyone calls me Jax.

Sex: Is this the set up for a cheesy fucking joke? I’m male.

Age: Twenty eight

Interesting physical characteristics: Define interesting. Like do I have a second head or three arms? I’m tall-if that’s interesting.

Background:

Where and when were you born? Twenty eight years ago in Walla Walla, Washington.

Where have you lived? Walla Walla and Chicago.

Interview:

1.    What do you carry in your pockets/purse/backpack, etc.? A notebook and tons of pens and pencils for writing. My iPad, phone charger, gym clothes-pretty basic shit really.

2.    How do you feel about your home/living space? It’s pretty small. It’s a six hundred square foot studio. But it works for me and Buzz, my cat.

3.    What early event shaped you the most? My uncle Kenny teaching me how to play guitar and introducing me to rock and roll. Led Zeppelin, The Stones. All the good shit.

4.    Where is your favorite place and why? I have a few. The gazebo at the park in Walla Walla is one of them. But nothing beats the stage, it’s a fucking rush.

5.    What are your most important values? I’ve never really thought about it. I guess that I never give up, and I give everything a hundred and fifty percent.

6.    What emotion/feeling are you afraid to experience? Failure. Is that a feeling? I’m my own worst critic so failure might mean something different to me.

Rocking Autumn is available now! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075KPTYMG

rocking autumn - cover

sig

Starting a Youtube Channel

pexels-photo-414548.jpeg

As a single mom of two, who has a full-time career and is an aspiring full-time Romance author – finding time to do it all is difficult. Sometimes it’s downright draining. The one thing I’ve loved since I decided to take this journey is the connections I’ve made along the way.

I’ve cherished the advice given to me, and I’ve tried to pass it along to other people I meet.

I’d like to take this process, this journey, to another level. A more personal one. I’d like to share this road I’m traveling with you – on video. I’d like to share my ups and downs, my daily life, some of my tips and tricks, how I manage my time and the things that I learn as I go. And I’ll do it all with my weird sense of humor and a smile!

I’ve started jotting down a few video ideas to get started with, I’ve found myself some official “vlogger” music and I will sit down and take the time to create a channel! I have every Monday off, my children are in school, so what better way to enjoy my quiet time, then chatting with you!

I look forward to sharing with everyone, and if there are specific videos you would like to see, I am always open to suggestion.

Until then,

sig

 

Sometimes They Just Said

Someone asked me the other day: “What’s your favorite part about writing?”

The answer was simple. Easy.

Dialogue. I love creating believable, sincere dialogue. I love getting into my characters head and creating their “voice”. Their way of speaking. Their nuances and mannerisms.

I particularly love writing men’s voices. I love the challenge of it. Guys speak differently to each other than they would to a woman. They speak differently to a woman they are flirting with than they would with a woman they have been dating for a long period of time.

I love digging in there and finding that authentic voice to create a realistic dialogue between my characters.

giphy

After I write dialogue (heck, after I write anything, but mostly dialogue) my trick is to read it out loud as if I am having this conversation. (Do I need to remind you that writers are weird?)

I took a class not too long ago. A writer’s course. One of the subjects was, of course, creating dialogue. A much-heated debate arose surrounding a particular word.

Said.

I just said it. The “dirty” word of authors.

Said is boring. (They said) You can’t use said. (They said) Here is a list of 500 words to use instead of said. (They said)

I looked over that list, mortified. I went through my manuscript. GASP. I used said. I changed every dialogue scene I could find to not only eradicate the word said as a dialogue tag, but to include action verbs. So, so many action verbs.

I re-read my manuscript, expecting to be blown away by the new, shiny and improved version.

I laughed out loud.

By the way, in the history of ever…have you ever bemoaned something? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Crossing that off my list of 500 words to use instead of said.

cool_it

Guess what?

Sometimes….you just said. Yeah, you heard me. I said that. My eyes weren’t begging. I wasn’t reaching for anything and I didn’t mutter it or cry through bone wracking sobs. I said it.

I just simply said it.

Go on authors. Say it. You won’t die. The world won’t stop spinning on its axis. You won’t start the apocalypse.

You’re on the couch talking to your best friend. You’ve already reached for a cup of tea and blew on it to cool it off before the first sip. You’ve leaned back. Maybe you’ve set the cup down and hugged a soft pillow to your chest. You’ve smiled. They’ve smiled. You’ve laughed. You’ve connected, exchanged glances. They’ve asked. You’ve responded. And then…one of you just says something.

6358361245587460801786459135_s-50771e6ef756ea5e7111fe84d230cad368757901

There’s no emotion in your eyes. No action to attach to the words. You just simply said.

Now I’m not saying all the time. Of course, we need to set the scene. The emotion. The tone. The visual in our reader’s heads.

But is it possible, that sometimes, something is just said?

 

Plotting or Pantsting?

Pantsting: writing by the seat of your pants and letting the story write itself.

Plotting: planning every chapter, every scene and basically write a book with a structure.

This is a widely debated topic among author circles. Should you plot or write by the seat of your pants?

I suppose I should start off by saying, I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert on the craft of writing. I’m a tryer. I’m a researcher. I’m an observer. I’m a learner.

fbfc02dd9ef9171015aceb4747659123

I’m a little of both. I plot my theme, my ending, my twists, my high and low points and conflicts both internal and external. I plot out what I want to have happen at certain points in my novel based on my expected word count and I’m done. I use a piece of graph paper (super old school) and I pencil everything in. Then I sit down with my coffee and write.

article1_coffee_giphy

Why?

One. I hate rules. If I plotted out every chapter and every scene I would feel too confined to be creative.

Two. Inspiration comes to me at the craziest times in the craziest places. I jot it all down and add it to my “outline”.

Three. Sometimes my story surprises even me. When I wrote The Island, it was all by the seat of my pants. I had a general idea of what the story was, but as I wrote it, it changed completely. My perspectives on WHO they were and WHAT motivated them changed. It changed everything I thought was going to happen. It changed my twist.

So where do I sit? Right in the middle.

tumblr_m74an6xMnm1rq44n4

I write with a basic: if this, then that theory and let the story take me where it will, within my plotted ideas.

Now, as an admitted previous pantster, it’s not without its drawbacks. I used to completely write by the seat of my pants. Any guesses on how many unfinished novels there are on my hard drive? (I’ll never admit to it) Because while I sat down with the intent of writing THE BEST NOVEL EVER I ran out of steam. My plots got lost. I had no ending. My subplots took over. I had no high and low points and no real direction other than I had great ideas but no end game.

nope

So authors, writers: what are you? A plotter, a pantster or a fine mix of both?

 

Things I have learned about being a self-published author

Before I published my book The Island, I knew absolutely nothing about the self-publishing world. I googled and researched everything – and I wound up WAY more confused than I had been before. Formatting, converting your files, choosing to do it on your own or use one of the hundreds of companies who will do it all for you. What the hell is an ISBN and what the F#@K  is metadata?

My head was swirling with too much information. (By the way, this is not an informational post – like seriously it took me a week to realize my book was formatted improperly and I had a few spelling errors that snuck through.) (ps, those are fixed)

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Other Indie Authors are helpful and a wealth of information! I’ve found my way into some great groups of Indie’s who share their knowledge, share their experiences and share what has and what has not worked for them.

If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I’d get on Goodreads and find some groups. Learn things before you do it, and find groups that celebrate each other’s successes rather than treat everything like a competition.

giphy

It’s endless self-promotion. Like, endless.

You don’t have an agent or a marketing team. You don’t have people working to get your book into the public eye while you get to work on your next book or prepare for book tours. The only way people are going to know about your book at first is through YOU. After you’ve exhausted your friends and family as potential readers; you’ve got to put in the work.

Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Websites….blah blah blah…it’s work!

giphy

There are a lot of vulture companies out there. There are tons of websites claiming to get your book in the public eye. All you gotta do is fork over some cash and they’ll Tweet the shit out of your book, or put it on their blog or whatever it is they claim to do. And they will Tweet the shit out of your book – but if you look at their list of followers – it’s almost always just Indie Writers and no actual potential customers.

I get DM’s from tons of these places daily.

Now hey, there are some super legit sights and I’ve used a couple of them with a success. But before I forked over my hard earned money – I consulted with the been there done that’s in my groups and by reading the blogs of successful Indie Writers and what to look out for and how to spot red flags.

giphy (1)

If it doesn’t work, try again.

Tags, metadata, blurbs, covers, categories. Promoting, blogging, handing out copies of your book for reviews.

It’s all trial and error. What may seem like the cleverest blurb to you, doesn’t actually draw attention. So you try again.

You hand out twenty free copies of your book, and only get 5 reviews.

No one follows you on Facebook or Goodreads or Twitter.

You buy an ad and no one buys your book.

So fucking what? You keep trying, you keep writing and you keep doing what you’re doing. Why? Because we’re writers. We constantly invent and re-invent and we can do it with ourselves too.

you-keep-trying

Friday top Five: weird things I do when I write

Writers are weird. Just as a breed, we are weird. We get inspiration at the strangest times and the the strangest hours. We carry notebooks around with us for when those strange inspirations come to us. We probably lurk around you like creeps, looking, listening and watching all to perfect our embodiment of human interaction – because you know, we aren’t normal so we have to watch you to figure it out. We drink too much coffee and stay in our pajama’s a lot.

Weird thing 1: I talk to myself. Like, constantly. Not just talk to myself, ask myself questions…and then answer them. I write something and talk it out, I give myself great feedback by the way.

Weird thing 2: I read my book aloud to myself. Especially the dialogue. BUT, it helps me find words and conversations that don’t flow!

Weird thing 3: If I’m right in the thick of it, and on a writing spree – I won’t get up. Not to pee. Not to eat. Not to feed my cats or hamster. My kids make themselves ramen noodles for lunch. I literally cannot get up. Well, I mean I can, but………….

Weird thing 4: I get weird about people reading my work. Yeah, hi, I’m Alyne. I’m an author who published her book but is afraid for you to read it. I need therapy.

Weird thing 5: I cannot write without music on. But I can’t write with the TV on, or other people talking in the background. I’m not so sure how that works, but it does…

Sorry I have ignored my blog this week! Work has been a bear, and I am exhausted every day when I get home.

XoXo,

Alyne