Saturday, January 28, 2012

Getting Out and About

By Keith N Fisher

With all the thought, and Feng Shui, writers put into their writing spaces, it seems strange to say, but I needed to get out of the house so I could write this morning. Do you ever feel trapped in a writing style? Like an office space, chosen genre and even subjects can be limiting sometimes.

The problem for published authors, however, arises after they spend their whole career building a writing style their readers have grown to expect. I’m not talking about the mechanics of writing, but the voice of the writer. No matter what else happens in the story, Lewis’ mythical creatures are going to be different than Tolkien’s

Of course a style can be a burden to some writers. Take Mary Higgins Clark, for instance. Readers have learned that, no matter the story, some of the characters will, at some point, have cheese and wine. She also seems to live in a world where almost everyone does the same things for a living.

Writers can also get trapped in their plot style. I’ve noticed this in my own writing and I now spend hours deliberating a better plan. I’m very careful to give different careers to different characters and even though a fantastic romantic scene worked in one book. I fight to come up with different ideas.

I’ve noticed some best selling authors have developed pseudonyms to write stories in different genres. I can relate to that. I get ideas all the time that don’t fit in women’s fiction. Or if they do, there are other elements that don’t fit with the established type of novel I’ve been writing.

Like getting out of the house this morning, it’s nice to be able to experiment a little. I went to a twenty-four hour restaurant and wrote this blog. The problem was the group in the corner who insisted on being loud and repulsive. Between four-letter words they’re grammar caught my attention. I wondered if they knew how unintelligent they sounded.

Just like the distractions in the restaurant forced me to concentrate harder, we need to be careful writing new genres. Don’t lose sight of what works for you. If you can tell the story in your voice, then great. If the new genre makes you develop new habits entirely, then pick one and stay with it.

I hope what I’ve written makes sense. If not, then blame the group in the corner. It’s late and I won’t have time to edit before posting. My greatest hope is that it helps you become the writer you want to be.

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Please Don't Steal My Babies

By Keith N Fisher

I got involved in a discussion on Facebook this week. An author wondered if the SOPA legislation might not be a good idea after all. His point was protection for his copyrighted work. There were many opinions from writers and artists and computer geeks. It proves there’s an issue we must face in the future.

I argued that the Internet is already a place where everything is public, and trying to stop piracy would be futile. Later, I had time to think a little. I didn’t change my opinions, but I felt it would be a good subject for this blog.

Those of you who have read my posts before, know about my misgivings on the subject of e-books and self-publishing, but this discussion might be a little different.

In 1990 I bought a computer that had a modem attached. At that time, the Internet was poised to take over our lives. The World Wide Web hadn’t even started yet. I signed up for an online service called Prodigy and found it fascinating. Soon Prodigy began to tutor us on how to access the World Wide Web.

There was some discussion about policing the Internet, but the big argument was how do you do that, when much of the content originates from other countries. Would we go to war with England over objectionable content?

A few years later, I developed a website devoted to Dutch oven cooking and made several graphic images for the site. The next thing I knew, those images were on other websites. People had captured my images and used them as their own. I didn’t even get a thank you, let alone, credit for creating them.

Yes, I was angry, but then, I realized the nature of a free content Internet. The alternative would be a place where we must use a credit card to gain access to everything. Yes there are dishonest people who will steal all your creations, but if you put it on the Internet . . .

What did you expect?

As writers, photographers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, we love to use the Internet for publicity. We even give enticing freebies away hoping to sell our next piece of work. Then, we’re shocked and demoralized when someone steals part of that work. I’m not saying it isn’t wrong, I’m asking, what did you expect? After all, it is the Internet.

Copyright infringement has been a problem since the beginning of time. Whether we pass more laws to prevent it or not, those of us who create, will always be violated. Recouping from piracy is expensive and time consuming. We could curse the invention of the photocopier, but I think it goes farther back. Artists have always worried about forgery. Other artists would paint a copy of their work and sell it as an original.

Should we just chill out, and accept piracy as the norm? NO! But, perhaps changing the face of the Internet isn’t the answer either.

On a related note: I’ve always wondered how so many writers can justify their complaints when they reuse software on a new computer. When you buy a new computer, do you buy new software to go with it? “Why should I do that?” you ask. “I own a copy of Microsoft Office.”

Yes, you probably do, but the license is for your old computer and it clearly states you can’t install it on two different computers. Did you know that? I’ve always objected to software companies charging for outdated versions. Microsoft Office has been upgraded several times since the 97 version. Why does Microsoft charge for 97 at all?

Royalties for writers is a tricky subject. Like the software companies, we want to keep charging the same price for the book we wrote twenty years ago, in fact, we’d like to charge today’s prices. We work hard writing and promoting books. Of course we should be paid.

I hope to someday, live in a perfect society, where creative people get paid at least as much as sports people. A place where we spend more on helping the poor than we spend on getting somebody elected. Until that time, Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Family by Design

A blog tour book review by Keith N Fisher

What would you do if two kids needed you, but in order to help them, you had to marry your friend? Rena must marry her best friend so he can get custody of his niece and nephew.

Rena chooses to do it, and just when things get settled, he gets called up into the war.

Family by Design, written by Heather Justesen will intrigue you. The author has written another book with an unusual premise. Along with Blank Slate, Family by Design will delight your desire for a different kind of story.

Published by CFI, you will find this book in all the usual places and there is a contest for you to enter at the bottom. Good luck and good reading. Oh, and the Utah county book launch is today Jan 21 at Pioneer books, Orem, Utah. See you there?

Cover Blurb
Before he could think better of it, he blurted out, “I understand your concerns. I’m going to speak to my commander about getting an early discharge. My girlfriend, Rena, and I have talked about getting married. There just hasn’t been any rush.”
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he wondered what he was thinking. Yes, they had discussed marriage, but not to each other! He and Rena had never even dated.

Tucker’s on his way to the biggest challenge of his life. Rena already has it all—except a family of her own. But neither one expected their friendship would take such a dramatic turn.

When Tucker becomes the guardian of his newly orphaned niece and nephew, he knows he can’t handle them alone, not when he might be shipped out with the Marines at any moment. Desperate, he turns to Rena for a major favor. His marriage proposal would give her everything she wants, but can she learn to live without the romance she’s always dreamed of?

As time, prayer, and a life-changing kiss work a little magic in her heart, Rena wonders if someone up there has a plan for her that’s better than anything she could’ve come up with on her own. And though it seems crazy at first, this could become her chance for a marriage that will last for eternity.

Also, as a special promotion for anyone who buys a book before January 31, you can get a free ebook for her companion novella, Shear Luck. Once you buy a copy of her book go here to get your free copy.

Cover Blurb
Chelsea Robison has never forgotten the older boy next door whom she crushed on as a teen, so when she runs into him at the restaurant he’s preparing to open, it’s a delightful shock. And learning he’s available again is more than a little tantalizing.

Vaughn Krenshaw had never seen his neighbor as more than a nice kid—but Chelsea had definitely grown up in the decade since they saw each other last. He’s attracted to the feisty red head, but still struggles over his wife’s death the previous year. And then there’s his five-year-old daughter, Molly, who really liked Chelsea—until she realized the woman was dating her dad.

As Chelsea starts to wonder if their love for each other will be enough to make things work, a specter from Vaughn’s past rises, making her question whether she really knew him at all.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Stray Thoughts

By Keith N Fisher

Well, it’s three am on Saturday morning, my usual time for posting a blog, and I haven’t got anything written. I just woke up from a nap with another book idea, but I need to work out the details before I tell you about it. I’m chasing stray thoughts like a man following a lost dog down the street.

During my deliberation about possible posts, this week. I considered the presidential race in this country. I asked a customer what he thought and his response surprised me. He’s always been good for an opposing opinion, or at least a strong point of view. Essentially, he suggested that we could take all the money every candidate wastes on getting elected and use it find homes for almost all the people who live under bridges.

I stood there in awe. He was right, but he’d always been an advocate of no government intervention. How did we get to a place where candidates spend more money on the campaign then they do helping the needy?

On another, more writerly note, I was pleased to pick up my copy of Writer’s Digest and read about Andy Ross. He runs a literary agency and I’m thrilled to see him succeed. You might remember I wrote about him when I talked about the demise of independent bookstores. You can find his contact info here.

Also, on a more local note, I made plans this week to attend two local writer’s conferences; Life the Universe, and Everything (LTUE) on February 9-11 at UVU (Utah Valley University), and LDStorymakers Conference on May 3-5. I hope to see you there.

I have two friends (and critique group partners), launching their books soon; Family by Design by Heather Justesen, and Targets in Ties by Tristi Pinkston. Heather, on Jan 21, and Tristi, in February. See you at Pioneer Books in Orem. Utah.

Now, on a personal note: I’m still waiting to hear from a publisher about The Hillside and I’m sitting on the sequel until I hear about the first. Every day I check the mail. And check my email about thrice. If any of you have any pull, say a little prayer for me?

I’m editing Star Crossed and writing Shadow Boxing. I think you’ll like them. Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Living the Dream

By Keith N Fisher

Every time he comes into my work, I ask my customer how he is. “Just living the dream,” he often says. Of course, he’s being sarcastic, but it got me thinking the other day.

When we were kids, we all dreamed of things that would happen in our lives. Some even chose a career path based on those dreams. Some followed that path, others took forks in the road. Most of us have yet to realize those dreams. Some of us never will.

I suppose fear plays a big role in that, but circumstances often get in the way, too. What are your dreams? Have you mapped your course? Many of the writers who read this, have the same dream: I want to be a best selling author. I want to be able to quit my other job and write full time.

I sat in a workshop once, listening to James Dashner talk about his dream and how he realized it. He said that he decided he wanted to write full time. He didn’t talk about goals or how to attain them, he didn’t really talk about focus. He mentioned how blessed he had been, which is an important key, but knowing James, I think for him it was focus. He wanted something bad enough to act, and keep after it, until it happened for him. Google him, it might give you hope.

I often talk about my desire to write full time, but responsibility often gets in the way. If I were to be honest with myself, however, I think it’s been a lack of focus. I’m a prolific writer. I have a full, project file. I’ve been focussing on the craft, not on the promotion.

I have another friend who found writing success by focussing on blogging and other promotion, so entirely, she now teaches others about it. She is published nationally, partly because publishers know how much work she is willing to do for success. Yes, her name is Elana Johnson.

It’s true. If we want something bad enough, we must focus and exclude other concerns. So with a little hard work, and perseverance, we can be living the dream. Whatever it might be.

There is, however, a possible dark side. Someone once said, “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.” I knew a man, who hated his job. He felt abused by his superiors and told himself that he could put up with abuse, if only his wages were higher. One thing led to another. He got the salary he wanted, but the abuse increased. This time, his boss was an ex Marine and he used the whipping boy method of management. My friend was the whipping boy. The salary almost compensated, but the abuse messed him up in the end.

We’ve all heard stories about people who get their wishes and find out they were happier before. We often appease our self by saying, if only. Or things will be better when . . . then, after achieving those dreams we discover unforeseen circumstances.

As for being able to write full time, promotion in the national market involves a lot of travel. Writing is often done in hotel rooms before leaving for some book-selling event. If your dream involved locking yourself away, writing your next best seller at home, you might be disappointed.

Good luck with your writing dreams---see you next week.