Tag Archives: author

Help! I’m a Writer

So often people describe writing as a solitary endeavor. I have never agreed with this. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If a writer’s life is a solitary one, then it is by choice.

By design, writers are surrounded by others who are not only interested in their work, but eager for it. The world is filled with writers who crave support and encouragement. What they do [write] is for the masses. The stories and books are intended to be read and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of readers.

All that said, as writers, we also tend to let our insecurities get the better of us. We make our existence solitary by sequestering ourselves to avoid the shame of rejection. We are, also by design, a neurotic bunch.

In most cases, this does more harm than good. When we shut ourselves off from our peers, we miss out on many opportunities as well as crucial education that can possibly make us better writers and more successful authors.

We constantly hear about the value and importance of critique groups. Of course they have their place, but what about support. This is a whole different can of beans. Support, in my opinion, is far more important than the critique group, because if you don’t feel good about what you do, you probably can’t do it good…well.

Bottom line, before you tuck yourself away in your office, alcove, or other small hidey hole to become the next great American novel, find a few friendly writers you can spend a little time with and get things off your chest. Make sure that you can all talk shop, talk gardening, talk whatever you want, even bitching about the family.

I firmly believe whining is a necessity in life, as long as it has a specific purpose and is done in a specific environment.  😛

Who Wants to be a Brain Surgeon? (Guest Blog: Ella Grey)

When I was little I wanted to be a brain surgeon, or a gardener. Only when I turned fifteen did I start thinking about being a writer.

The author, Christopher Pike, inspired me. I remember reading his Last Vampire series and falling in love with the character he created. It was the first time I’d read a vampire story and it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Sati is content about being a vampire, she kills to survive and she doesn’t really let it bother her, and she’s funny. Not funny ha-ha, but witty.

I want my characters to be like that. Even if I write a supernatural character like Molly O’Brien, giving her a sense of humour makes her more human. Easier to identify with.

Click Cover to Buy

My character Rachel is human (mostly) who’s caught up in a supernatural situation.

A Difficult Decision (Rachel’s story) is available in multiple eBook formats from Quake’s Electric Shorts line. The first five of six installments are currently online for sale.

She came to London to find her brother. She ended up finding trouble.

Rachel Valentine isn’t the world’s most conventional girl. She ran away from a boarding school run by nuns to find her missing brother. The daughter to a government spy, she’s learnt a few of the tricks of the trade, but even she isn’t prepared for the story she’s about to hear.

It seems Rachel has a secret she didn’t even know she had and her brother has been dragged into a turf war. The only person she can trust is someone she doesn’t even know

Thanks to Karen for hosting me.

You can read my first post on this tour at http://authorthomasamo.blogspot.com/

Once Upon a Crime (Bookstore Spotlight by Carl Brookins)

Just down the street from Nicollet Avenue on Sixth Street, is an unremarkable three-story brick building of apartments. Its back door faces a poorly lit, unevenly paved alley, with a couple of narrow parking spaces. The basement houses two retail establishments with neon advertising in the half-windows. Over one flight of stone steps is a dark canopy covering steps that lead down half-a flight to a room filled with floor to ceiling shelves. The wooden shelves are crowded with books.

Nearly all of the 60,000+ books are works of crime fiction. This is the home of Once Upon A Crime, Minneapolis’s award winning premier mystery book store. It has been so for twenty-four years. Present owners are Gary Shulz and Pat Frovarp, two of the most knowledgeable people in the field. If you need a specific book, chances are they’ll have it. If they don’t have it they can usually get it for you.

If you’re looking for something in the field to read, Pat or Gary will ask you some leading questions and promptly point you to authors/books that are almost guaranteed to fill your needs.

I asked why they would invest in a bookstore of all things and Gary said he needed a change after 30 years and Pat suggested that the former owner, Steve Stilwell was ready to retire. The store filled an important need, therefore should be rescued. So, for nine blissful (their word, not mine) years P & G have done just that, admirably filling the mission and meanwhile, picking up a few important awards along the way.

The mission of Once Upon a Crime, along with breaking even financially, is to promote local mystery writers and to maintain as comprehensive a backlist as humanly possible. Along the way they love exposing great midlist authors that readers might miss.

Awards? Yes, they’ve managed to collect a few, in 2009 CrimeSpree Magazine’s favorite bookstore award and “Best Hole in the Wall,” from Metro Magazine. Then just this year, Mystery Writers of America awarded Once Upon a Crime a Raven.

Among the many crime fiction writers who have commented:

Author PETER MAY said: “Pat and Gary are two of the nicest and most knowledgeable folk on the subject of mysteries that you are ever likely to meet!

Along the way, Pat and Gary have experienced some interesting events. They got married at the store a few years ago, and more recently acquired Shamus, a three-year old Store Dog.

Author WILLIAM KENT KRUEGER said: “I think OUAC is a really good bookstore because they usually know what I want to read even before I walk into the store. And even if they aren’t exactly on target, by the time I walk out, I’m always happy with what they’ve convinced me I should have wanted when I came in.”

Next year the store will celebrate 25 years in business and the tenth anniversary of WRITE OF SPRING, a massive annual one-day gathering of local authors, readers and assorted hangers-on. WRITE OF SPRING is a terrific event and lots of fun besides. An anthology of short crime fiction will debut at about the time of the tenth. The stories are all written by past attendees with profits from sale of the anthology to be donated to local Memorial Blood Centers.

Author ELLEN HART said: “All indie bookstores have a specific character. OUAC is no different. It’s cozy, funky in a Minnesota kind of way, comfortable, and always welcoming. It’s not only a good bookstore, it’s a great one because the people who run it (Pat & Gary) love books and share that passion with their customers.”

Although, because Pat was already working there and Gary was a frequent customer, the store lost two good customers when they bought the place, their dedication, hard work, and expertise has made the store a warm and welcoming place for authors and readers alike.

Along with WOS, of course, Pat and Gary host many book events for visiting and local authors. The schedule can be found at their website, http://www.onceuponacrimebooks.com/.

Their phone number is 612-870-3785, and their email address is onceuponacrime@earthlink.net. Next time you are up our way, drop by and join the thousands who find warm and welcoming hosts behind that door under the canopy.

Carl Brookins:

Before he became a mystery writer and reviewer, Brookins was a faculty member at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has reviewed mystery fiction for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and for Mystery Scene Magazine. His reviews appear on his own blog and on several other Crime Fiction blogs and Internet sites. Brookins is an avid sailor and has sailed in many locations across the world. He is a member of Sisters in Crime, and Private Eye Writers of America. He can be found touring bookstores and libraries with his companions-in-crime, The Minnesota Crime Wave. He writes the sailing series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney,(Devils Island)  the Sean Sean private investigator detective series,(The Case of the Great Train Robbery), and the Jack Marston academic series. (Reunion) Several short stories published by Echelon Press are available for download.