Friday, June 15, 2012

A Week of Inspiration, Day 4: Other Books

This week I'm celebrating and exploring the idea of inspiration--where it comes from, and how it can be stirred to life. On Wednesday we looked at travel as a source of inspiration, and how that can feed a writer's stories. Today we look at...

4. Other Books

Nobody creates art in a vacuum, and every writer stands on the shoulders of the ones that came before them in one way or another. Books are one of the biggest ways that writers are inspired, because reading is how most writers became interested in writing in the first place, and they are the best way to learn the craft. Award-winning author John Green even calls reading the "only apprenticeship [writers] have."

All authors have influences. Maybe those influences were characters and the stories themselves, the way Lord of the Rings has been inspiring fantasy fiction for years now, or maybe just the way the book made the writer FEEL.

If you're feeling creatively dry, return to the things that you love most. Ask yourself, why do you love ______ so much? What is it about that book, movie, or show that captivates you, keeping you coming back for me? Study that, whatever it might be, and try to capture and mimic it in your own unique way.

Learn from the people who came before you, and then make something special and passion-inspiring of your own.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Win a copy of one of my books!

Cool news!! Danielle from Known to Read has chosen to feature me in the Indie Author June Blog Hop. I'm thrilled and honored!!

If you want to win a free copy of one of my books, head on over to her blog and enter!

Enter to win a free copy of The Curse Girl, Frost, or Once Upon a Beanstalk!

A Week of Inspiration, Day 3: Travel

This week I'm celebrating and exploring the idea of inspiration--where it comes from, and how it can be stirred to life. Yesterday we talked about memories, and how that can feed a writer's stories. Directly related to memories is...

3. Travel

Visiting a new place can ignite a plethora of ideas in the writer's head. New sights, new experiences, new accents and food and weather and architecture...all these things can spark stories. And it doesn't have to be some place fantastic and glamorous, like Paris or London. For me, simply stopping at an unfamiliar gas station can fill my head with inspiration. Last year, my husband and I were driving to Michigan for a family vacation, and gazing at all those miles of uninterrupted cornfields and barns and tractors--Americana at its most stereotypical--out in the middle of nowhere gave me the first flash of an awesome sci fi story that I'm dying to write someday.

Even just a simple change of scenery can be inspiring. Next time you travel, be sure to take a notebook, and scribble down everything you see, hear, taste, or smell that inspires an idea.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Week of Inspiration, Day 2: Memories

This week I'm celebrating and exploring the idea of inspiration--where it comes from, and how it can be stirred to life. Yesterday we looked at music as a tool for inspiration. So if you're a writer wanting a tip or two about gaining inspiration for your work, or if you're a reader wondering about some of the ways authors craft the stories they tell, read on.

2. Memories

A childhood memory
Memories fascinate me. Why do we remember certain things about our childhood clearly, and not others? Some of my recollections are as faded as an old photograph, while others stand out as crisp and clear as if they'd happened yesterday. I often sift through my memories for inspiration when it comes to stories--memories of events, like weddings, funerals, or graduations. Memories of trips I took, doctor visits I had, surgeries I underwent.

These memories can be mined--not necessarily just for the facts and landscape of the events, although those are great, too--but for the sometimes startling emotions they dredged up. I write mainly fantasy, and while I've never lived in a snowy forest populated by monsters, I have been terrified, and while I've never been imprisoned on an old house and forced to break a curse, I have been in situations where I felt trapped, both literally and figuratively.

Sometimes memories inspire me as a reader, too, because certain books remind me of things in my own past--friendships, family, or old boyfriends in that sweet nostalgic way.

What memories inspire you?

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Week of Inspiration, Day 1: Music

Writers often get asked, "Where do you get your ideas?" This is sort of a pet peeve question for many people, because it's basically unanswerable, at least in that form. We don't know where we get our ideas! They come over most authors/writers in a burst, in that "light bulb moment" that's so stereotypical.

A better question to ask if you're chatting with a writer and want to delve into his or her creative psyche?

"What inspires you?"

That inspiration is the fodder for the creativity, even if the writer doesn't know quite why or how the process works.

I've recently been ruminating on what inspires me, and I thought I'd devote this week to the topic!

The first thing that inspires me?

1. Music

Hearing a beautiful song lights a fire in my soul. There's something magic about music, and for me, it's all deeply linked with stories. I try to listen to lots of music when I'm writing, because it fuels my creative process. But even more so, I've found that listening to music while brainstorming helps open up creative pathways and unlock secrets in my head. It's like the ideas are already there, just waiting for the music to pull them out into the open.

And sometimes, a song "imprints" on a story of mine, if you will. :) I'll be listening to the radio or Pandora or watching a show, and a song will come on that just pairs perfectly with what I'm writing at the moment. That song becomes the book's unofficial theme song, and often hearing and identifying it can help me understand the emotional core of the story itself.

So for me, music serves all kinds of functions in the creative process.

Are you inspired by music? What songs or artists have been getting your creative juices flowing lately?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Grand Opening: Sketcher Girl Studios!!!

Today is the day that Sketcher Girl Studios, LLC officially opens for business!

In celebration of this momentous event, Vic Caswell (owner/operator) is hosting a give-a-way.
Using the "Contact Us" form on the site, send her the secret word from the end of this post and you'll be entered to win.

Sketcher Girl Studios is a freelance illustration company with a focus on book cover design. Vic Caswell has produced the covers of Emily White's debut novel ELEMENTAL, as well as it's sequel FAE (release date not announced yet), and Kimberly Ann Miller's debut novel TRIANGLES (releasing June 2013).

SGStudios is passionate about books and getting them out there and into the hands of the readers who will love them.  Vic will read your book.  She will work with you to ensure that the design you end up with is something you love.  She doesn't use stock photography, so you are guaranteed an image that is original and she offers full legal usage of her cover images.  So, if you want to print it on swag, and sell that, the money goes straight to you.

Her prices are competitive- affordable for small press publishers as well as self-publishers.

She also provides other services- such as: tattoo design, logo design, header design, artistic prints, children's book illustration, and pretty much anything illustration that you can think up.

Stop by and drop the secret word: Mischief, for your chance to win one of these nifty prizes...

such as:   postcard sized prints of  her work titled PERCHED CREATURE, one of two copies of ELEMENTAL by Emily White, a ten dollar Amazon gift card, an original painting, and  free labor on a book cover (costs may be incurred for props/ models/ wardrobe) and more!

Sketcher Girl Studios
SGS on Facebook

Vic Caswell is brilliant! Not only is she super easy to work with, but the things she comes up with are so amazing. She was able to take the half-coherent ideas I was kind of able to articulate and come up with exactly what I was thinking of. I loved working with her on both my books' covers and I can't wait to work with her again!- Emily White (author of ELEMENTAL from Spencer Hill Press)

"I'm loving my new logo!!! Victoria Caswell did a MARVELOUS job and was such a joy to work with. She made the process effortless and I swear she could read my mind. So, if you need some work done, please send it her way! You won't be sorry!" ♥ Nancy  Fennell (owner of Scents of Adventure)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Author Spotlight and Book Tour: Misty Gatlin

Today at the blog I'm interviewing Misty Gatlin, author of A Princess Broken, as part of her book tour!

1.  Welcome, Misty! Can you tell us a little about A Princess Broken? What’s it about? What kind of readers will enjoy it?

Sarah defines herself as many things: broken, damaged, addicted, and hopeless.  Hurt at an early age by someone dear to her, she retaliates by living a life filled with destruction.  Her past has finally caught up with her, and she's ready to call it quits.  Her story unfolds when she meets a compassionate stranger who helps her realize past decisions don’t define who she is, and what she thought was the end of her story is only the beginning.  A life-changing decision is placed in front of her, and she's forced to face it head on.  What will she choose, and where will that path lead her?

Although there is definitely a Christian undertone in this book, it’s not what one would consider “Christian Fiction.”  I wrote this book in such a way that the reader, whether he or she believes in God or not, doesn’t feel uncomfortable when such topics are brought out.  This book was written with everyone in mind, and it doesn’t push any specific belief on the reader.

2. Is this your first book? How long did it take you to write it?

This is my first fiction book and my first published book.  It’s funny how this book came to be.   I had never written fiction, but I had this idea stirring inside of me to write a fiction series on my blog, and A Princess Broken was it.

I believe I began writing in October and finished in early January.  Of course, I had to spend several more weeks writing after I received the first round of comments from my editor.  I think I ended up writing another 100 pages or so after that first round.  I think that’s when Sarah and Kate really developed into real, relatable, and memorable people.

3. It often takes me half the first draft to flesh out my characters, too. Sometimes you have to write it to find it! 

What do you think is the hardest part of writing? The easiest?

Let me start with the easiest thing about writing.  The easiest thing, for me, is just the fact that I absolutely love writing.  I love testing the boundaries on my writing.  My non-fiction writing is almost totally faith based, but it’s never pushy, and it’s truly different than most typical faith-based writing.  I talk about topics most people are afraid to talk about, and I did that very thing in this book.  Let’s face it, life is not all rainbows and butterflies, and I feel like that’s what most Christian writing tries to show.  So many movies and books depict Christians and Christian living as perfect or like it’s easier to overcome everyday obstacles when that’s just not reality.

Today, our teenagers and young adults are faced with drugs, sex, alcohol, death, abandonment, a need for relationships, and the list can go on.  It doesn’t matter what they believe, they are faced with difficult issues.  Some choose to go down a path that leads them to a place that isn’t pretty.  Too often, they feel like there’s no turning back, so they have no hope in getting out of a life they hate.

The easiest part of writing is knowing that I touch on topics others tiptoe around, and I use my writing to provide hope to those readers who may feel hopeless.  In this book, Sarah is at a point in her life where she doesn’t think it can get any better.  She can’t forgive herself for some of the things she’s done and doesn’t believe anyone could ever forgive or love her if they knew.   I hope this book speaks to someone who feels similar to what she does and realizes there’s more to life, and it’s never too late to turn around.

The most difficult thing about writing is making sure I keep it interesting for my readers.  I write what’s interesting to me, so I don’t know if others will find it as interesting as I do, and I try to keep that in mind.  When I write, I take myself to the place of the character so I can feel and see everything she feels and sees.  Then I write what it is I’m experiencing.  This book was difficult because of the intensity in some of the scenes.  I felt like I was experiencing them, and sometimes it took me a few days to recuperate before I could continue writing.

I’m currently writing A Warrior Wounded, which has a male as the main character.  My current readers are mostly female, and I want to broaden my audience with this book.  It’s much easier to get inside the head of a female because I know how they react for the most part in certain situations.  I’m nervous about being able to portray a male realistically.  That’s definitely difficult for me.

4. I recently read an article that said something along the lines of "Art has to show the shadows and the light, or it doesn't give a real picture of life." Sounds like you're committed to that idea, too. 

Now, Misty, tell me a little about yourself... What’s one fun or interesting fact about you that most people don’t know?  

Oh my!  I don’t know that there’s much fun or interesting about me.  I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we’re probably two of the most boring people you could meet.  We’re both from a teeny little town that’s so small it doesn’t even have a known population (maybe 100 or so?)  Everyone knows everyone, and the whole town is like a close-knit family.  Somehow, though, my husband and I were dating for a while before I realized he lived less than a mile from me

5. That sounds so fun, though! I live in a big, impersonal city and sometimes I wish I lived in a small town where everybody knew everybody.

Do you have any other projects or books you’re working on right now?

I’m currently working on A Warrior Wounded, which follows Michael Johnson through his junior year of high school and on into college.  Like A Princess Broken, this book will have a few surprises that I believe will keep the reader turning the pages.

I’m always adding posts to my blog as well.  Many of my ideas come from things I’ve written in my blog or things I’ve experienced or witnessed in life.  I have several book ideas floating around, so I believe I’ll have many more projects to come.

6. Where can readers connect with you to learn more about A Princess Broken and your other projects?

I can be found on:
Twitter:  @mistygatlin
Facebook:  Misty Gatlin (Author)

A Princess Broken can be purchased on my website or through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  It is also available as an eBook for most eReaders.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Misty!

Below, you can view the book trailer:


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