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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Writing Update: 06/30/13

36 chapters. This means I am now officially 2/3 of the way through the manuscript for Ryann's Brother. It's been an exciting week and the story is now spreading out in ways I couldn't have imagined when I started the book. That's the beauty of writing. No matter how much you plan, the story always knows better!

So, another couple of weeks or so and the manuscript should be done! That's a wonderful achievement. It will mean I'll have written about 165,000 words so far this year. And only another 200,000 words to write for books that will be published early next year. If all goes to plan, this will be my most prolific year of writing since I became an indie author.

Writing as much as I have been also means I am soon going to change a few things I do on a daily basis. One of those things is going to be to cut down on blog posts. Writing 20-25 blog post a month is starting to become a strain while working a full-time job and also trying to complete 1,500 words of a manuscript (did I mention that I'm also considering upping the amount of writing I do a day too?). This means that over the next month or so you'll see the last of my indie author interviews (get your request in now - I still have a few slots left). However, I will be starting a new project very soon. Watch out for a blog post in the next couple of days to see the detail.

There we have it. Another week, another 9,000 words written. Onwards...

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Author Interview: Dee Rayson

Today I am pleased to present to you all the 77th in a series of Author Interviews. Recently I sat down with the totally focused and inadequate workaholic, Dee Rayson,  and our conversation went something like this:

Paul:  I like to start my interviews by asking if you have any writing rituals?
Dee:  I write about intuition and that’s how I work. I’ve never had a very structured life and I find I get the best from my writing when I work intuitively. I always have faith that the direction I need to go in next will come, as long as I don’t push. I use drawings of my Arkrealm characters to keep my connection with them when writing. Almost everything in my life is geared around writing, including my holidays and I often dream my next chapters.

Paul:  If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Dee:  I’m always contemplating ways of getting the most from people and in particular my readers. So my creative mind is filled with ideas to inspire. Every word I write is angled towards helping people see the positive side of life.

Paul:  Do you have a favorite character in each of your series, aside from the lead? If so, which one and why? 
Dee:  I’m partial to two of the characters who create humor in an otherwise adventurous and dramatic journey. One is Replikye, Arkrealm’s orange leader and the other is the yellow apprentice, Yozone. I love riding the wave of tension and then being thrown into a comical scene.

Paul:  How do you find the time to write?
Dee:  If I’m starting a new book I like to do it while I’m on vacation. Being in a new setting always brings inspiration. I often write at night into the early morning. I taught dancing at night for most of my life so I’m an afternoon/night shift kind of girl. I rarely work in the morning because I love writing and once I start it is hard to stop and nothing else gets done.

Paul:  What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Dee:  That Sandy Miller’s feelings of inadequacy are based on my own feelings as a teenager.

Paul:  If you are self-published, what led to you going your own way?
Dee:  Because my series encompasses fiction and non-fiction working in harmony as a series and it was something that wasn’t normally done, I felt it may prove a struggle to get a publisher on board. Also I knew the exact direction I wanted my series to head in and I didn’t want publishers coming in and changing my vision just to fit in with their financial needs.

Paul:  Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Dee:  I have an outline of the story, start, end and major arcs. My characters are defined through my color system, so I then let them shape the story as their personalities come through. Sometimes the story goes in a direction I don’t suspect just because one of the characters jumps out of a scene and takes control. I go along for the ride. It’s exciting to write and not know all the answers.

Paul:  Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Dee:  In my early drafts of the first book I over-edited in an effort to reach perfection. It wasted a lot of time because by the time I got to the end of the story many of the heavily edited chapters were scrapped completely. I am currently writing the second novel and the workbook in unison with the approach of writing the whole thing before doing any major edits.

Paul:  Do you have to do much research for your stories?
Dee:  I have been studying and planning this series for eleven years, so much of my research has already been done and much of what I write about is from experience. However, I did have to research the information about The Country Fire Authority, protective services for wildlife and the environment, and motocross.

Paul:  What is your most recent book? Tell us a little about it
Dee:  My first book, Arkrealm The Apprentice, is about fifteen-year-old Sandy Miller becoming the first human apprentice for the ethereal world of Akrealm. Balancing her everyday teenage life with her secret identity of environmental superhero in training creates problems for Sandy. She fears she is losing the grip on her dream of dating heartthrob Ridge Elliot and when she faces the full force of Mother Nature and deadly enemies she fears she won’t live to experience her first kiss.

Paul:  What inspired you to write this book?
Dee:  I wanted to help young adults find themselves, and hopefully avoid the difficulties of the teen years. I wanted to do this in a fun way that would be inspiring, exciting and different because after working with teenagers for years I knew that teenagers respond to an approach that encourages them to embrace their passion.

Paul:  Do you also write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Dee:  I do all of the above. The workbooks in The Arkrealm Project are non-fiction self-help books and I have had articles published in magazines associated with psychic and spiritual development. I have always created poetry for birthday cards because I like to create a personal message, but I’ve never thought of publishing poetry. I enjoy writing short stories because I think it’s wonderful practice for the editing process, but I’ve never focused on them from a publishing prospective.

Paul:  What’s your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Dee:  It takes a lot of work to write a book. After years of work I smile when I hear someone say nonchalantly, “I think I’ll write a book.” If you are not passionate about writing don’t even try. If you do write and you get to the publishing stage it really hits you just how much competition you’re up against. Although I had focused on creating a series with brand and merchandise potential the hardest part has been the initial marketing stages. It is still early days so I won’t know for a while if all the work is paying off.

Paul:  What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?

Dee:  To be honest my life revolves around writing. I enjoy photography, but I focus on images I can use for my book trailers. I am an intuitive artist, which helped keep me visually connect with my characters. I am a member of a writer’s group because I enjoy working with other writers. I am always studying writing and am currently doing a screenwriting course. I am also doing courses on Photoshop and several other web development programs. I’m always looking for new ideas. I find learning exciting.

Paul:  Many thanks, Dee. That was most interesting. I wish you every success for the future.

About Dee Rayson: While co-running one of Melbourne’s largest ballroom studios, Dee Rayson studied writing, color analysis, kinesiology, Reiki, and psychic development. It took eleven years to develop The Arkrealm Project book series with the goal to encourage readers to care for the environment, embrace their individuality, and reach their full potential.

Dee's Blog: Dee Rayson
Dee on Twitter: @DeeRayson
Dee on Facebook: Dee Rayson
Dee's latest book: Arkrealm: The Apprentice (Amazon)

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Grammar Checking in Microsoft Word – The Computer Isn't Always Right

Today I am pleased to publish my 11th guest blog post. You too can have a post published on my blog. Just read the guidelines HERE. In the meantime, enjoy...

Grammar Checking in Microsoft Word – The Computer Isn't Always Right
By: Lily Bishop

As I've just finished a marathon two-month long final revision and editing of my novel, I noticed quirks in Word that may be causing writers to change their work in ways that make it less grammatically correct or hinder their overall style. Some of these issues may be obvious to you, but just in case you need a grammar refresher, here you are.

Primary Areas Where MS Word Was Incorrect

Fragments - Most contemporary fiction contains dialog full of fragments because people don't talk in complete sentences. Older novels didn't have as much dialog and fragments were rare. In today's "Show don't tell" writing environment, dialog moves most of the scenes along, and it's filled with fragments. I don't hit "Ignore Rule" only because occasionally a fragment happens by accident during editing changes, and this rule helps me catch those.

Comma Use - MS Word is a computer program, not a person, and comma rules are complicated. Unfortunately, more often than not, its advice on comma usage is incorrect. Remember, if you have two independent clauses joined by a conjunction, insert a comma before the conjunction. If they are not joined by a conjunction, use a semicolon. If one of the clauses is dependent (it does not have a subject and a verb), then you can use a conjunction to connect it without a comma.

Question Words - Using a question word such as why or how will often trigger MS Word to prompt you to insert a question mark at the end of the sentence. Often it's not a question. For example, one sentence that the grammar checker didn't like was "The why doesn't matter."

Possessive/Plurals - Don't automatically trust Word for possessives and plurals. For example, I used the plural of my character's given name (There were four Lauras in her class). Word went crazy wanting an apostrophe because it thought it was a possessive.

It's/Its - This is a word that many writers confuse. It's is only used as a contraction for the phrase it is. Its is a possessive pronoun. Every time that I run a grammar check, Word flags it's, even though it's a contraction every time. (It may be flagging it because it's a contraction, and it doesn't like contractions.) If you select See explanation, it only says to double-check the definition of the word you're using. However, it doesn't flag that for you/you're, so I'm not sure why it goes crazy over its. I'm convinced that the misuse of its that I see on Facebook and Twitter is because of over-correcting grammar people.

Reflexive Pronouns - If a character refers to herself in a story, she should use the reflexive pronoun (herself). In my manuscript, Word did not like the word herself, but it was correct in every case. So if it flags a reflexive pronoun, don't automatically assume you were wrong.

Fewer vs. Less - Fewer is used when the item can be counted (fewer pills), while less is used when the item cannot be counted (less rain).   

How to Check your Grammar Settings

Click on the start ribbon in Word. At the bottom, click Word Options. Choose the menu item Proofing. The screen will look something like this:


Here is a brief explanation of the options under Settings.

Comma required before last item:  The Oxford comma refers to the optional comma before the and in a multi-part list. For example: The bakery offers cakes, brownies, and cookies for sale. If you include the last comma, choose this option. If you do not like the Oxford comma, leave it unchecked. Interestingly enough, In Great Britain many styles do not use the Oxford comma, while in the United States it is generally preferred.

Punctuation required within quotes: In the U.S., the commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks. In the United Kingdom, the placement of the punctuation depends on whether it belongs to the quotation or to the sentence that contains the quotation. I usually choose "Inside."

Spaces required between sentences: If you grew up with a typewriter, you may habitually insert two spaces between sentences. In current style manuals, only one space is preferred due the use of proportional fonts. Use this setting to help yourself remember.

The next section, Grammar, shows each item that the grammar checker looks for. You can select or unselect these.



The last area that you can change is the style section. I couldn't get it to show on all one screen-shot, so here is the complete list:

Clich├ęs, Colloquialisms, and Jargon
Contractions
Fragment-Stylistic suggestions
Gender-specific words
Hyphenated and compound words
Misused words – stylistic suggestions
Numbers
Passive sentences
Possessives and plurals – stylistic suggestions
Punctuation – stylistic suggestions
Sentence length (more than 60 words)
Sentence structure
Sentences beginning with And, But, and Hopefully
Successive nouns (more than three)
Successive prepositional phrases
Unclear phrasing
Use of first person
Verb phrases – stylistic suggestions
Wordiness
Words in split infinitives (more than one)

I checked these just for grins, and the most helpful for my editing purposes were compound words. In another note, Word's definition of a passive sentence may just drive you over the edge into insanity.

A Final Word About Editing

After going through a round of editing using the grammar checker, it's a good idea to print your work again and read through it, preferably in a format that you haven't seen before. If you were reading in portrait, switch it to landscape and make the text in two columns like a book. If you have been editing in double-space, switch to single space. Anything that you can do to give the words a new look will trick your mind into thinking it is new material.


About Lily Bishop: Lily Bishop has just released her debut novel, No Strings Attached, available as an ebook on Amazon.com. (No Strings Attached)

Lily is a happily married mom of two who writes romantic suspense. In her day job she runs database queries at a university. At night, she thrusts unlikely couples together and watches sparks fly. Lily blogs about writing and publishing at lilybishop.com, and can be reached on facebook at www.facebook.com/authorlilybishop and on twitter at @bishoplily.


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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Help For The First Time Author - How To Write & Self-Publish Your First Novel

I have been fortunate to have received some wonderful reviews of my Writing For Success self-help book, How To Write & Self-Publish Your First Novel. Please check them out below and then head over to my website and pick up a copy today! It's only $3.99 for an ebook version. That's less than a pint of beer!
"[Paul Dorset] does a better job at teaching about writing than Stephen King." (Karen Einsel - Author) 
"I found this book to be chockfull of practical advice. The author covered everything from "Don't begin at the beginning" to plot and point of view. He covered characterization, dialogue and creating meaningful conflict.
I liked that the author put out some writing samples, both good and bad to illustrate his points. He would often put out the bad samples and then clean them up to illustrate good writing.
The last part of the book was quite informative. I hadn't heard of the concept of "pre-readers", so that information was worth the price of the book alone.
He describes how to format your book for self-publication, and where to go for more information.
This book is a useful, informative series of essays on how to become a published author and I would recommend it." (Amazon reviewer)
"Paul, I read 'How to Write and Selfpublish Your First Novel' and I loved it! What a wealth of wonderful information!! Thank you!" (Amazon Reviewer)
"Self-publishing is a mine field - this concise book will help any budding authors cut to the chase. Paul Dorset obviously speaks from experience. It's always good to learn from others and save yourself time and trouble. Writing your book is only a small, albeit very important part of becoming a successful author - getting it in front of your audience is the bigger challenge. How to Write and Self-publish your first Novel deals with both aspects so making the process achievable. My own success in writing and publishing The Hole Opportunity is due in part to this book." (Amazon Reviewer)



How To Write & Self-Publish Your First Novel

Age Group: All Ages
Genre: Reference / Self-Help
Pages: 125

INTRODUCTION
Writing and publishing your first novel is tough. It usually takes a long time. Years for most people. It can be soul destroying too. You finally complete your manuscript; you send off samples to agents and publishers, and anxiously watch the mail for the responses. Then they come in, one at a time, rejection after rejection.

How do I know this? I’ve been there. Does this mean I was a bad writer? No, but I could have used some help in those early days. Sure, I had purchased a few books on writing and I had tried to pay attention to the advice they gave, but there were so many of them and sometimes advice seemed to conflict other advice. It was way too much to take in.

But I persevered with my writing and now I have been writing for several years and I have completed several novels and other books, and my writing is a lot better. My early novels could still do with some major re-editing (which they will be finally getting this summer), but my later works, oh wow I can spot the differences!

So, a few months ago I decided I would go the self-publishing route to getting my books out there in the big world. Things are changing in the book markets and so many people now have Kindles and Nooks and iPads and other electronic book readers. I thought to myself, why not do it myself? I know I can write; I have that confidence. Enough complete strangers have told me they like what I write, so why shouldn’t I join that list of published authors? And why should I have to wait for some agent or publisher to take a chance on an unknown author before I get published? So I did it, and now I have the story to tell and the method you can use to generate your own success.

This ebook is a series of essays solely concerned with improving your writing skills and getting your first novel successfully self-published. It is written in a way that you can keep dipping into it, and keep coming back to parts of it, time and time again. It is concise and to the point and it is written from experience; thousands of hours of experience. Every essay in this book is relevant and has a purpose. Every essay will give you pause for thought.

Can I turn you into a bestselling author? No – only you can do that. But I can set you on a path to success. I can give you clear guidelines about what not to do, and how to do things better. And I can tell you exactly how to self-publish that novel. This ebook takes your novel from the beginning and leads you along a path of self-discovery. When you have finished reading you will be Writing for Success and be someone who has a better chance than most every other wannabe author out there of becoming the next Tom Clancy, JK Rowling, Stephen King, or whoever else is your writing hero.

Good luck!


CONTENTS
1. Don't Start the Story at the Beginning
2. Become a Successful Writer in 2,000 Hours
3. Poems and Short Stories
4. Creating a Good Plot
5. How Long Should a First Novel Be?
6. Writing in the First Person
7. Writing in the Third Person
8. Dialog Versus Narrative – Show Versus Tell
9. Writing Your First Novel: Words & Routine
10. Conflict and Its Importance
11. Plot Pace
12. Creating Believable and Well Rounded Characters
13. Writing Dialog – Or ‘He Said, She Said’
14. Creating a Page Turner
15. Letting the Book 'Cook'
16. Self-Editing Your Novel
17. The Process of Pre-Reads
18. Creating a World of Fantasy
19. How to Write & Self-Publish a Novel: The End-To-End Process Checklist
20. Creating a Writing Environment without Interruptions
21. Reading to Write
22. Encouraging All Would Be Authors
23. The Self-Publishing Process - The COMPLETE A-Z Instructions
24. Marketing Your Novel - The Relevance of Social Media, ARCs and Book Bloggers

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The 10 Hour Project Manager - A Book For Life

Over and over again, I am surprised at how well my book on Project Management continues to sell. So if you are looking to buy a gift for someone who is a Project Manager or someone who wants to become a Project Manager, this could be just what you're looking for. The 10 Hour Project Manager sells for $5.99 as a downloadable ebook from all the major bookstores (also available in paperback).

Read an excerpt form the book below and then check it outA lifetime of experience for the price of a beer!


CHAPTER 4: Juggle the balls or play the chess game?

Click Me!
Back in Chapter One I discussed how many project managers talk about ‘juggling balls’ as a way to explain how they run their projects. Personally I have a big problem with this. I’ve seen jugglers. They are amazing people. They pick up all sorts of objects, throw them up in the air, catch them, throw another, all the while moving and watching and praying that nothing will fall to the ground. Now don’t get me wrong, I admire jugglers. I just wouldn’t want them running any projects. You see, one of the impressions I’m always left with after seeing a juggler is that they’re out there for the ‘wow’ factor. How many objects they can keep up in the air at any one time. The more, the merrier. The more they have, the more they feel they will impress you. But it’s a game you can never win. To continue to impress you have to keep juggling more and more things and make the possible seem so close to impossible. Wait a minute, isn’t that how a lot of project managers appear to be? We’ve all seen them, laptops and bluster, scurrying from meeting to meeting, never a moment to spare. In the office before 8am and turning the lights off after 7pm. They must have really difficult projects to run!

Consider, on the other hand the world’s greatest chess players, the picture of serenity, water or coffee by their side, a quiet pensive look on their faces and concentration on all the things that are happening around them. They are even conscious about the time they take for things, pressing a button on a clock to signify the handover of participation in the event to someone else.

Now I’m not suggesting that either juggling or chess playing performed at the highest level is easy. And I’m not suggesting that both performers don’t practice for many hours to achieve what they do. But I will admit, jugglers do look damn impressive compared to chess players!

But let’s take a step back from these analogies and examine some of the parts behind the vision. Juggling involves becoming close with the objects you are juggling, getting to know them intimately and then controlling their every individual movement, never letting your guard down for a moment, even when objects aren’t quite in the exact place you had expected them to be. Chess, on the other hand, requires an understanding of the pieces at your disposal, understanding how they do and don’t work together, and how they can work together for you to achieve an end result against a somewhat unpredictable opponent. Like juggling, you can never let your guard down in case some of the pieces get out of place on the board.

There are lots of other analogies I could make, but hopefully you’re starting to get the picture by now. Juggling is ultimately about how many individual objects you can keep up in the air at any one moment and chess is about how you can tactically achieve an objective with a fixed set of pieces. Stated this way, why do any project managers ever talk about juggling balls? What has juggling got to do with successfully completing a project objective?

There’s another huge difference between juggling and chess playing that I alluded to in the last paragraph and that is how close you get to all the individual pieces. The juggler keeps everything up in the air, every problem and every issue. Every passing comment by a project member has to be juggled and kept moving. The chess player, on the other hand, understands who is responsible for each of the problems, issues, passing comment, and tracks with that person, not letting it interrupt the big picture.

I’m a chess player, and I’m proud of it!...

Read more about this book HERE or pick up a copy directly at Amazon. For the price of a beer you're going to get lessons that will last you a lifetime...

REVIEWS:
"This book is filled with genuine, practical insights from an expert in the field of project management. The author describes a project management approach that you can apply to any type of project, whether you are a new or seasoned project manager. Read this book if you desire to be a project manager who adds value to your team and organization."

"If you are looking to do a great job as a PM and still have a life, get this book. It is written by a very practical project manager for individuals who would like to be more effective and practical in their role as PM. How do I know this? I worked with him for several years on long term international projects with large multinational team. This book accurately reflects what he preached and practiced on the projects and hence my recommendation. I did not decide to write this recommendation as a favor to the author but as a favor to individuals, who can use a really practical guide to managing project and have a life. This author with his approach made it possible for all the team members to have a real work-life balance even on the road. Under him, our team excelled in every area imaginable on a project. I am glad that he decided to put his thoughts into writing so others can benefit from his approach. This would also be a great book for someone starting out as a Project Manager, as well."


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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Writing Update: 06/23/13

Ryann's Brother. As you know, that's the title of the current novel I'm writing. Well, I hit a major milestone this week - I got past the halfway mark in the manuscript. It's all downhill now. And I say 'downhill,' but that's just an expression. There's still a lot of the book to write, but I feel like I'm really a part of the journey. My goal is to finish the manuscript by about the middle of July. Gulp, that's only another three weeks!

For a change, I thought I'd give you all a small sneak preview from the raw manuscript today. Enjoy and see you all next week.

...As Ryann entered the city proper, the sounds and smells hit her with a force so strong she nearly retched. She put a hand to her mouth and swallowed. It had been a long time since she had wandered the city. Where was she headed? She wasn’t sure. Perhaps the market would be a good place to start.
She headed south and kept to the sides of the crowded streets as she walked. People stared at her. She knew she looked odd. A young girl wearing a sword with confidence was not something you saw in the city. Of course there were many people that carried swords, but most of those were merchants looking to protect their business. Ryann noticed a few people staring at her considering their chances of disarming her. She tried to glare at them as best she could and continued on her way. As the sun finally reached its high point, Ryann reached the market square. It was half-empty. Business for the day was almost done.
“A pie please,” Ryann said to an old man, reaching into her purse and pulling out a copper coin. The old man eyed her suspiciously but handed over a warm pie. Ryann accepted it gladly and let the old man take her coin. She bit into the pie, memories of her childhood flooding her senses. It wasn’t the best pie she had tasted but it was the first pie from the market for several months.
“You need something else, miss?” the old man asked.
Ryann caught herself daydreaming. She looked up at the old man. “What?”
“You in need of something else?”
“No thanks,” Ryann said, smiling. She turned to walk away but a thought suddenly crossed her mind. “Did you know my mother, Glenys Rees?”
The old man shook his head. “Never heard of her.”
“She used to work on a farm and she came to the market lots of times.”
The old man shook his head again. “Nope. Don’t know that name. Mind you, never was much point in names. What did she look like?”
“About my height with long black hair,” Ryann replied. “And freckles. She had a face full of freckles.”
The old man shook his head again. “Maybe try old Gareth.” He pointed off behind Ryann’s back. “He’s knows most folks here.”
Ryann put the last piece of the pie into her mouth and licked her fingers. She pulled out another copper coin and handed it to the man. “Thanks. I’ll have another pie for my journey.”
The old man reached out a hand and closed his fingers around Ryann’s hand. “You keep that copper, miss. You might be needing it later.” He picked up a pie with his other hand and offered it to Ryann. “And just you take good care of yourself. Some folks would wish you harm in these parts.” He gestured toward Ryann’s sword. “I hope you know how to use that.”
Ryann slipped the coin back into her purse and took the second pie. “I do, old man.” She smiled. “Old Gareth. Thank you. I will ask him about my mother.” Slipping the pie into her pack, Ryann half-turned. “And thanks for the extra pie. May your gods go with you.”...

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Author Interview: Robyn Oyeniyi

Today I am pleased to present to you all the 76th in a series of Author Interviews. Recently I sat down with the always honest and not yet writing from prison, Robyn Oyeniyi,  and our conversation went something like this:

Paul:  I like to start my interviews by asking if you have any writing rituals?
Robyn:  The only time I can write is early Sunday mornings and sometimes in the late evenings. Four children make for a noisy household and they sleep in Sunday mornings. I usually make myself a coffee and enjoy the peace and quiet of a sleeping house while I write.

Paul:  What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Robyn:  I’m not sure I have a favorite author right now. As a reader, I have always been a sci-fi and history fan. I loved “The Dice Man” by Luke Rhinehart and “The Shore of Women” by Pamela Sargent, two very different books by very different writers. I remember loving Barack Obama’s “Dreams from My Father” and Sidney Poitier’s memoir “The Measure of a Man”.
I have three books on my “to read” list right now, all by Australian authors. “Am I Black Enough For You” by the wonderful Anita Heiss, “The Happiness Show” by the very out there Catherine Deveny and “Tomorrow Never Comes” by Vera Berry Burrows.

Paul:  If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Robyn:  Aside from the fact my first published book is a memoir, I do have three other manuscripts in various stages. One is sci-fi, so anyone stepping into my mind at the moment would find nebulous aliens hovering over earth. On the other hand, if they stepped into my historical romance they would find semi-naked women and lions.

Paul:  What is a typical day for you? 
Robyn:  Wake at 6:30am, make sure the kids are getting themselves organized for school before I leave the house at 7:30am, work my day job, home somewhere between 6 and 7pm and do the normal family things. Sign excursion forms, hear about the school day, try to spend some time with my husband! During the week we can feel like ships in the night as he starts early and is often very tired.

It can be a long day. I have to fit in my website and book promotion as well.

Paul:  In all the years you’ve been publishing your work, what is the biggest mistake you made that you could share so others can avoid making it? 
Robyn:  Given this is my first book, I have probably made many mistakes. One was not choosing a specific proof reader. I thought my many beta readers would find all the typos, but this wasn’t the case, sadly. I am fixing before the print run! I am also fixing the digital edition. It makes me cringe that I missed the odd error.

Paul:  How do you find the time to write?
Robyn:  With great difficulty. It is not easy juggling a job, husband, four children, writing, a website and running the home (shopping, paying the bills, etc).

Paul:  What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Robyn:  What do you know that I don’t? I have been told I am so honest I will end up in jail due to my honesty, so while I hate to disappoint you, there isn’t anything!

Paul:  If you are self-published, what led to you going your own way?
Robyn:  My book is politically controversial. I was very close to a media article about the website at one stage, until a government agency read 44 pages of the website: at the last minute the article was pulled.

Asylum seekers are a political football. My book criticizes the government. That is a risk for Australian publishers. Overseas publishers tend to think “Oh, Australia, that little unimportant place” and are not interested.

Yet Professor Patrick McGorry, Australian of the Year 2010, says my book should be made into a movie. The story is one of civil and human rights and needs to be told.

Paul:  Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Robyn:  With Love versus Goliath, the plot was life. With the sci-fi I am running with it. I think that is how my brain works, although I tend to plot in my head – actions or emotions of the characters will just suddenly leap into my thoughts.

Paul:  Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Robyn:  I deliberately under-edited Love versus Goliath. It needed to be raw and emotional. Even so, I did about six editing passes.

I find the sci-fi is easier, it flows, I am not battling the constraints of reality as I was in the memoir.

Paul:  What is your most recent book? Tell us a little about it
Robyn:  Love versus Goliath is my debut publication.  It relates the battle I fought with the Australian government to be allowed to have my husband and step-children by my side. At one stage I was faced with the possibility of fleeing my own country when they denied my husband a visa. Many people do not realize that even though their country may be a party to the ICCPR, in many countries the provisions are not enshrined in domestic legislation. Hence the battle.

Paul:  What inspired you to write this book?
Robyn:  The pain we suffered. A country should care for citizens. What I went through was horrendous. One of our readers recently related to me his saga from 20 years ago. He was made to feel like a criminal for marrying an “Evil Oriental”. The pain is still there for him, 20 years later.

Paul:  Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
Robyn:  I entered #PitchWars and while I didn’t win, it was an amazing experience and brought me a mentor, Susan Spann. who has been wonderful.

Paul:  How much marketing do you do for your published works or for your ‘brand’?
Robyn:  As much as I can and I am learning every step of the way. I have a professional journal publishing a review of the book in April, a local paper is about to publish and article and I hit on you, didn’t I?

Paul:  What’s your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Robyn:  My least favorite is editing. My second least favorite is waiting for feedback!!!

Paul:  What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?

Robyn:  Did you read the answer to Question 7? Getting my hair cut is a MAJOR personal event! [Paul: I never did find a reference to hair.]

Paul:  Many thanks, Robyn. I truly wish you every success for the future.

About Robyn Oyeniyi: I am a CPA and IT professional who was nearly forced to flee my homeland to be with the man I love. My memoir, Love versus Goliath tells how I fought back, battled a government and won.

In 2010 I met and fell in love with an asylum seeker from Nigeria. Shortly thereafter, Australia denied my husband a protection visa and removed him, beginning our struggle against bureaucracy and prejudice. LOVE VERSUS GOLIATH chronicles our journey – and battle – to achieve recognition of our marriage and bring my husband and children home to Australia permanently.

LOVE VERSUS GOLIATH contains a riveting, first-person account of highly controversial topics such as asylum, immigration, human rights, racism and the impact of violence on children.

Robyn's Blog: Robyn Oyeniyi
Robyn on Twitter: @TeamOyeniyi
Robyn on Facebook: Robyn Oyeniyi
Robyn's latest book: Love Versus Goliath (Amazon)

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Looking For Ideas - Time For Some Comedy

For some time now I've been contemplating what my next blog series should be. It's been almost a year since my 'blog a book' experiment. Well, finally I have decided it's time I lightened up my posts a little with some comedy. And to that end I have decided to write a series of blog posts on How Not To Be An Author, or How To Be An Unsuccessful Author. Either way, you get my drift.

So, what am I looking for? Well, some ideas. I'm sure you've all got some great tips on the things not to do to be successful - true stories and made up ideas. I need them both.

If you have anything for me, drop me an email or write a comment at the end of the post. I look forward to writing more about this topic very soon.

Tip #1: Create a Facebook page and wait for the thousands of book orders to come flooding in.

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