Five tips for helping out an author . . . or any artist really

Here is a blog from one of my fellow writers. While I would probably reorder the list and put write a review at #1, I think it is pretty spot on.

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Ode to the Editor!

Editors are important. They are frustrating, sometimes grating, and annoying (did I mention frustrating) but absolutely essential.

I once worked with a guy who hated the idea of deleting any of his words at all. The mere suggestion that you delete even one word of this his prose would send him into a fit of despair. He no longer works around me, but he did teach me the importance of having a thick skin. Watching him devolve into fits of grandeur as he explained that what he wrote was absolutely gold was very unnerving. His final argument was always, “You just don’t understand.”

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Recently I got back my current work in progress with a lot of editing marks on it. It’s true that there was a time in my life where I would have run away screaming. You probably would have found me under my bed drinking out of a sippy cup filled with chardonnay Chardonnay.

But, I’m a big kid now. I’ve learned a couple of very important points that every professional writer needs to know and accept. The first, and maybe most important, is that you’re your editor doesn’t hate you. As a matter of fact, they have a vested interest in seeing you succeed and know that sometimes tough love is necessary.

He or she can be abrasive and sometimes irritating, but they want to see your book be the best it can be. However, it’s not a one-way street. You can’t just take what they give you and walk away sulking. You have to know when to push back a little.

For example, my present current editor is from a different region of the U.S. than I am. This should not make a huge difference, but it does. His word choices are not always what I would use. He is from the Western part of the US and I am from the Midwest. So, sometimes I don’t take his suggestions because it’s just not the word choices I would make. Not to say that he’s wrong, it is just that sometimes his word choices would never be my own.

You might ask yourself why I use someone who is from a completely different part of the country than I am? Well, that’s simple. He does a really good job and since he’s from a different part of the U.S., his inputs into my writing style help broaden the acupuncture aperture of my writing.

The editor/writer relationship is critical. It is somewhat like a marriage in some respects. You have to trust that they have your best interests at heart. You have to be willing to honest with them. Sometimes they are going to tell your things that you don’t want to hear. However, you have to shear here hear it either way. And it sucks, and it’ll be momentarily painful, but you have to hear it if you ever hope to be a better writer.

So, I’d like to take a moment out of my hectic vacation to raise a wine glase glass to the humble editor. The unsung hero of the writing world.

But …

The role of the editor does not absolve you from forcing yourself to do a little soul searching. Recently I found I had to dive farther into the writing craft to try and up my game. It’s not always easy to grow as a writer. I think the hardest part about it is to really learn to accept your own faults and try to address them. You do this knowing that anything you wrote in the past will carry those faults in perpetuity no matter what you do. The mistakes you make as an author in 2016 will be there for the world to see long after you have left this earthly form. Somewhere, out there, lurks a poorly structured sentence that I gave birth to.

So, once again I dive into the realm of self-reflection. I look at myself in the mirror and after marveling at how handsome I really am. After I am done indulging in my own delusions, I take a closer look at the blemishes and faults. They are there, that is for sure. Standing out for all the world to see. Addressing what is wrong with yourself can be hard, but it can be very therapeutic as well.

*Note: Errors are international intentional!

-Your humble servant,

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Gillian’s Island is A Must Read!

Gillian's IslandGillian’s Island by Val Tobin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I recently had the great pleasure to read Val Tobin’s, “Gillian’s Island”. If I were an award’s show and there were a category for Best Overall Fiction Novel, Val would definitely be getting that award. I was delighted from the very first page, to the very last.

The story centers on Gillian who is forced to sell the island resort she bought with her now ex-husband. As hard as it is for her to sell the resort, it is made complicated by her sudden love interest in the new owner. This situation is further complicated by the locals not appreciating the fact that the whole shebang was sold to an American.

Although there are bunches of reasons to go out and read this book, I have three great reasons which I’ll bring to the forefront of this review.

1) Val is a brilliant writer in her composition of the story line. The sub-plots of the story are handled amazingly well and seemingly with ease. At the point that the main character, Daylin, is being targeted by someone who wants to do him harm, you realize that you have this wonderful suspect list which is so well balanced that you have to keep reading to figure out who actually is the killer.

2) Val does a great job of character development. The acid test for me, on any book, is if I really feel the pain when the main character gets hurt. I connected with both Gillian and Daylin and that is the mark of a true artist when I can feel that level of emotion towards fictional characters.

3) I am not sure I would put this into a romance, thriller, mystery, or another category. It is just a well-constructed great read. The story keeps you moving along. Sometimes I just want a good story to sink my teeth into and Val has hit the ball out of the park with this one. You just have to read it!

Again, this goes on Bryan’s list of must reads. I am thrilled to recommend “Gillian’s Island”!

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But, I don’t Wanna Blog!

I don’t feel like blogging these days. Seriously I don’t. With the move and the upcoming Scares That Care Weekend, I really feel overwhelmed. I really just want to curl up the corner of the room and work on my next story. No collection of random thoughts, no attempts to be witty for the general public. I just want to sit back and let my imagination reek havoc on other parts of my imagination.

The reality is that most writers would love nothing more than to have someone to take care of all of the little things they would much rather not do. I would be content to sit in my house and plug away at my keyboard. Maybe take an occasional break to eat, read, and play the occasional video game.

Alas, that isn’t to be. See, I have news I need to share with you all! Next weekend is

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Come See Me!

the big event of the year and I am so excited about it I would shout out for joy if you could hear me. On Friday, we begin the Scares That Care Weekend in Williamsburg. I can’t wait. To be surrounded by those that love horror as much as I do is almost unimaginable. There are going to be signings, guest celebrities, and most importantly there will be me! In addition to a huge fundraiser for the philanthropic arm of the Horror Writer’s Association, it is also the chance to meet others in the horror community. I’m so stoked, I can hardly believe it’s finally here. I can’t really believe I am going to be part of this event. I worry that someone is going to pinch me and say, “Wake up Bryan, you’re dreaming.”

I really wasn’t very excited about it until today. I had to go to a craft store because I was looking for a piece of plastic for a project I’m working on. I didn’t find plastic, but what I did find was a couple of really cool book stands (for display), and a very cool jar to put my mints in. Yes, I offer mints to people who stop by my table or booth at events. I mean, who doesn’t like a mint? Anyway, the jar is awesome! It is labeled “Skeleton Medicine.” Yes, I know, it is a bit geeky. But I fell in love with the jar. And, it’s perfect for a horror writer!

If that weren’t enough, I’m edging ever closer to my next book. I expect Crimson Tassels to be out next month sometime. The book takes place in the corn country of Illinois. I really do hope you take a look. I’m really happy with the way it is coming along. I’ve also started exploring the possibility of turning The Dramatic Dead into an audio book. It won’t happen overnight, but I am excited about the possibility.

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There is a part of me that feels like I am about to turn the corner and enter a whole new world as an author. However, there is still a huge part of me that want’s nothing more than to just curl up in the corner and write my stories.

-Your Humble Servant,

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What Excites a Writer

What Excites a Writer? Honestly, have you ever given much thought to that question? Well, you may be shocked to realize that it really isn’t necessarily the money we get you when you buy the book. Let’s face it, our take on one book sale is actually pretty small when you think of the personal outlay we have to make as an indie author. But if not for the money, what is it?

For me, personally, I love seeing the project come together. An author is looking at 9-12 months worth of work to get a book to you, the reading audience. We are just as excited to see the final product as you are! For me, the cover art is a critical turning point. When I see the cover art, I swoon like a schoolgirl with her first crush.

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In the very near future, I’m going to start talking about my latest offering. The book is called Crimson Tassels. It takes place on a farm in Illinois and centers around a farmhouse possessed by the imprisoned spirit of a woman who died there. The spirit, after watching her family massacred day after day for thirty years, goes a little crazy. She needs another victim to take her place.

Look for Crimson Tassels to be available on or around August 15th!  I sure enjoyed writing it, I hope you enjoy reading it. After all, that is what we write the books for in the first place.

 

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A Review of Salby Damned

Salby DamnedSalby Damned by Ian D. Moore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a sucker for a good disaster story. I really am. It is sort of like the human predilection to watch a train wreck. You know what’s going to happen, but tearing your eyes away is almost impossible. From the very book title, Salby Damned, you know it is going to be one of those kinds of books. This is offering by Indie Author, Ian D. Moore is simply too good to pass up. Go ahead, watch the carnage … you just have to!

The story chronicles the actions of the protagonists Nathan and Evelyn as they end up fighting their way through a bio-weapons disaster of biblical proportions. Along the way, they find themselves in the company of Holly and Tom, who are two children who were separated from their mother. Along with a cast of characters, we see Nathan (who happens to be a former British Military Sargent) and Evelyn (who happens to be a Bio Scientist working for the military) work their way through a difficult situation.

During their work, Nathan becomes victim to the bio-weapons that it turns out Evelyn had a hand in creating.

Writing a book like this can be difficult. There are minor plot lines you have to entertain as a writer and ensure none of them are left unresolved. Ian does a masterful job at this as he ensures the reader is always wondering, but just long enough that when that plot points advance, you are rewarded for your short wait.

Character development can be difficult for a new author and even here Ian dealt with it like a true pro. I always tell people the mark of good writing is when you care about the characters. I truly cared about what happened to them. They seemed real to me and that is when you know the writing is good.

I will say that all-in-all, Ian did an excellent job on Salby Damned and I think it is highly likely I will be reading his second book in the series in the very near future.

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Transcript from the latest political scandle

Scandals abound in U.S. politics. There are places where people go to have supposedly private conversations. However, there is nowhere in the world you are safe from the prying eyes of the world. Recently a former U.S. official and a seated government official met at an airport, on a plane, to have a talk about something. Although both sides admit to not having any specific political discussions, Bryan the Writer has obtained a copy of the transcript.

After a lengthy discussion, both engaged in a drawn out conversation. Here are the relevant excerpts.

Male: I’m serious, this is really important. We need you on board.

Female: I just don’t know, I really am not supposed to do things like that, it shows partiality. And I am supposed to remain above the fray on these things.

Male: I know, but this is good for American and good for the party.

Female: Fine, but you owe me one. I will step in and ask everyone to read, The Dramatic Dead. It is a definite great read. And really, I’ll be doing it for the party. What does your wife think about it?

Male: Oh she says it is the best book she has read all summer and highly recommends it. When she wins the election … she is going to make it mandatory reading for everyone in the country. 

Female: Umm … you mean if she wins the election. Besides, I’m pretty sure that isn’t legal.

At Bryan the Writer, we cannot confirm the intent of the conversation, but we do know the scandal is ongoing at this time. Want to know more? Pick up your copy of The Dramatic Dead today!  Just follow the link below.

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-Your Humble Servant, Bryan the Writer