Friday, August 24, 2012

The POWER of Positive Thinking

Let me tell you, folks, that positive (+) and negative (-) thinking possess powerful attractions.

(+) will attract the RIGHT energy.

(-) will attract the WRONG energy.

Both of them will make things happen on their own terms.

Let me give you an example of a (+) thought: I write for a living. I support myself and my family with my writing.

The same thought in (-) is this: I am a struggling writer. Large houses do not want good authors like me.

Another example of a (+) thought: I eat healthy. I weigh xxx lbs. I exercise daily.

The same thought, (-): I am a fat pig. No matter what I do, I can't lose weight!

ALL of these statements are BLATANTLY FALSE! And yet they will lead you down their respective paths until they become true. Do you see what I mean here? If not, put on your thinking caps and read those statements again.

I challenge you in the comments to put a (+) thought about something in your life. It can be family, professional, writing, acting, poetry, singing, speaking, weight-loss, or anything else. But make it (+).

And see my latest author interview, DEBUT AUTHOR PHILLIP TWINING!

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric's work here: Publications

Friday, August 17, 2012

Please say Hello to Author DL Hammons!

Please say Hello to first-time Author DL Hammons! His debut short story, "Itinerary", will be published in Open Heart Publishing's An Honest Lie Volume 4: Petulant Parables. He comes to us through, well, let me let him tell you how he found Open Heart Publishing.

Donna Hole [a blogging friend], who is one of the authors included in this anthology, had one of her stories included in a previous volume of An Honest Lie and when she was spreading the news about that book she suggested that [writers] who were looking for ways to get their writing out there, submit to Open Heart. I took her up on the suggestion and here I am.

Well, I for one am very happy you found us. Donna came through us the same way, via me, so there is definitely something to be said for networking as an upcoming author. Can you tell us about your blogs?

I've maintained a writers blog since 2009 and its addrress is:

My Twitter account is: DL_H

I've held off establishing a Facebook Author page until I was actually published, so that is on the horizon shortly.

Outstanding. You have over a thousand followers on your blog, which is a lot of support from your online community. How about at home? Do your friends and family support your writing?

Everyone in my family, including my extended family, is totally behind all of my writing pursuits. I bounce plot idea's off my wife before I write word one, then she's my number one critique partner while I'm writing. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law, both avid readers, are next in line for critiques. The entire family has devoted long car rides taking turns reading my novel out loud to catch needed edits. I've developed and practiced my elevator pitch for hours with my daughter. My family is behind me 110%!

Wow. You're a lucky man to have so many devoted family members. Two questions: 1) Can you give us your elevator pitch for said novel? 2) What have you learned most about hearing someone else read your story aloud?

1) Elevator pitch: I like to compare my novel - FALLEN KNIGHT - to a hybrid between David Baldacci’s The Camel Club and a adult version of The Goonies. It revolves around small group of tight-knit friend’s quest to find the person responsible for beating one of their own into a coma. Teaming up with a female private investigator they are soon drawn into a murderous plan involving a copy-cat Columbine attack and a bio-terrorist threat targeting our nation’s capital. In over their heads they come to doubt themselves, their purpose, and most importantly, their safety, but there is one thing they will never doubt...each other.

2) Having someone else read your writing aloud to you really helps spot those area's that are clunky, needing more work to smooth out the flow. Even though you've gone over your manuscript a hundred times, they stick out like a sore thumb when read aloud. It's also great way to pick up on plot details that need more context.

Love the pitch for Fallen Knight! How about you personally? Tell us about how you grew up.

I was raised a military brat. Sandwiched between an older and younger brother with one other younger sister, both of our parents were in the Navy. Mom became stay-at-home when us kids started coming along, and we all found our own ways to deal with the constant moves and adapting to new environments that life in the military demands. Space was always an issue with military housing, but whenever the possibility arose I always had my own room because I kept my space the neatest. My wife now wonders whatever happened to that trait!

Sounds like you traveled quite a bit as a child. Where was your favorite place to live (as a child), and why?

This was a tough choice. We lived in Sheboygan Wisconsin to be near my Mom's family when my dad was in Vietnam, and I have very special memories from our time there. But I'm going to choose Havelock, North Carolina, for a couple reasons. First, we were stationed there for my entire four years of high school, so it has a special place in my heart. The second reason is that I just really loved the diversity of North Carolina. In thirty minutes and I could be laying on the beach catching rays, or a couple of hours in the other direction I could be hiking in the mountains.

Sounds like quite an adventurous and noble childhood. Let's talk about your writing style, now. Which is more important: That you make the reader see your viewpoint, or that you make the reader see theirs?

A combination of both. I hope that my writing elicits feelings within the reader that mirror the ones in me when I wrote it, but I'm constantly amazed at the depths some readers can see. The sub-conscious evels at play I wasn't even aware of when I write that their unique life experiences allow them access to.

That's an acute observation. I find that readers often see things in my writing that I never consciously intended. Part of being a writer is self-discovery. Which is more important: Writing without constraint, or within the confines of a publisher's guidelines?

They are equally important. We cannot grow as writers and improve our craft if we're constrained by whatever borders that exists. However, a publisher knows their market, their targeted readers, and what bodies of work will serve them best. Not staying within a publisher's guidelines is detrimental to them both, and ultimately the writer.

Well, I'll conclude on that remark -- which every writer should make note of -- and say THANK YOU to DL Hammons for taking the time to answer my questions. I have known him for quites some time in the blogosphere, and now through OHP. I know readers are as anxious as I am to read his debut story "Itinerary", in An Honest Lie Volume 4: Petulant Parables.

BIO: D.L. enjoys taking a break from writing technical journals and procedure manuals for his regular job and crafting an occasional short story or novel. Son of a military family, he grew up across the southeast and ultimately graduated with a Business degree from Louisiana State University. After a stint working in the big city (Atlanta), he packed up his family and settled in central Arkansas to be closer to family. His love for writing was seeded in high school where he wrote both news and feature articles for the school paper, but it wasn’t until his children began heading off to college that he found the time to resurrect his passion for prose. Although his novels fall mostly into the Mystery/Suspense vein, his short stories run the entire gamut of genres. Itinerary is his first published work.

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric's work here: Publications

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Zen in the Face of Rejection

Here's a little story I shall make up as I type. It is about REJECTION, and how to handle it.

Let's say a woman named Bethany wants to become a writer. Those who know her call her Bethy.

Bethy writes a short story for a writing class. She receives a tart response from the professor. "Far too much detail. I could hardly read it. C-minus."

Undeterred, she writes another short story and shows it to her sister. "Not my kind of story," the sister says. "I couldn't finish. It was boring."

Still unshaken, Bethy writes another short story and this time shows it to a friend who also writes. The friend laughs at her, and offers a bitter critique. "You need to take a writing class," the friend says, which makes Bethy think of the tart professor.

This troubles Bethy, and she quits writing forever, and secretly blames these people for discouraging her.

The End.

ALTERNATE ENDING: EXTENDED (HD) CUT, $6.00 rental through On-Demand ONLY

After Bethy's friend tells her to take a writing class, Bethy goes on a weekend binge with her good buddy Jack Daniel's. Jack tells her to MAN UP, and informs her this phrase is not at all sexist, that even women should man up from time to time, just as a man should find his feminine side.

So she tells Jack she will suck it up, not man it up, and stops showing her early work to everyone.

She writes ten short stories, alone, and edits each one. As she writes, she reads a few books on editing, and polishes her grammar, which, to her surprise, is not spelled grammer, nor is Kindergarten spelled Kindergarden. She learns to differentiate its and it's, and how to weed out weasel words and cliche phrases such as weed out, and so on.

She reads great authors, and analyzes their style. She tries to be like those authors, and writes a novel.

The novel is horrible, and is completely un-editable.

So she burns it, and from the ashes raises another novel. This is not so bad, and she edits a little, and then writes another novel.

The third novel is starting to look presentable, and so she queries it. Bethy stacks up rejections from dozens of agents, and cannot get a response from any publishers large or small.

She shows it to her writer friend, who is still unpublished herself, and the friend laughs at her Kinko-printed manuscript. "Not bad," the friend says. "But I still wouldn't buy it. It's too boring in the middle part."

Bethy realizes her friend actually read the book, which constitutes a huge victory! She understands that a truly, truly horrible book will die unread after a few pages.

Bethy writes a fourth and fifth book without querying, still studying the craft of the novel, and polishing her editing skills. She has a great idea for another novel, but shelves it to write a sixth novel.

This sixth one is published by a small press. She earns $80 in royalties. She was put through the editing gauntlet, and now understands a bit about the publishing and marketing process, and what it really takes to write a salable novel.

She gives her friend, who is still unpublished, an autographed copy of the novel. The friend no longer laughs.

Her seventh novel she titles A Day in the Life of Someone More Interesting. She hires her small-press editor to edit the book for her. Then, her fourth query to an agent results in a full request, which later turns into a contract with a large publishing and distribution house.

She receives a $25,000 advance, and a three-book deal. She immediately begins work on her next novel, which she decides to research thoroughly, such that it is better than the one before.

And so on.

All this spans ten years. Bethy did not do it all overnight, but she did it night-over-night. She took rejection as a sign to improve, rather than quit and whine, and strove always to grow in her craft.

Bethy possesses Zen in the Face of Rejection.

Do you?

- Eric

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric's work here: Publications