One-Line Definitions (and Happy New Year / 2012)

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Universum

Universum | C. Flammarion, Holzschnitt, Paris 1888 (one of my favorite woodcuts)

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1) I had an email about a couple of months back from a male reader/customer around my age.

EMAIL:

“Jess: as we all know, you are a very talented writer. On my request, please describe all these in one line as you think — Jess C Scott, Old Man, Old Lady, Young Woman, God, Marriage, Evil, Gentleman, Woman Fantasy, Rape, Adult, Pleasure. Go for these and I wish you a lovely future.”
— reader/customer email, Nov 2011

I added two more in my answers below (Sexuality, Spirituality). I took longer than I expected to fill in my answers.

2) I completed a short story recently (Age of Aquarius), and have completed about 1/3 of Kylie. I’ll provide coupon codes for these newer pieces once I’m finally done with the latter (will post info on my social media accounts + newsletter).

3) I am not on Twitter or FB much these days so apologies if I take a while to respond — I’ve been quietly focusing on spiritual > financial goals (I’ll be following the same route in 2012). It keeps me focused/productive (due to a happy/healthy state of mind). Happy New Year in the meantime :)!

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JESS’S ANSWERS TO ABOVE EMAIL:

Jess C Scott: Author/Artist/Non-Conformist, http://www.jesscscott.com, Venus Scorpio.

Old Man: One who should be respected for his experience and practical advice.

Old Lady: One who should be respected for her experience and caring wisdom.

Young Woman: One who should celebrate/enjoy her youth/vitality without wasting it.

God: Love, peace, consciousness.

Marriage: Official record of the union of two souls “till death do them part” (not to be taken lightly).

Evil: Malevolent forces that harm, manipulate, exploit, and/or de-spiritualize.

Gentleman: A gentle man with manners and sincerity.

Woman Fantasy: To submit to what they envision as the perfect man (a “horny but sensitive” man, perhaps).

Rape: Non-consensual sexual intercourse; also a common sexual fantasy.

Adult: Someone mature who takes responsibility for their thoughts, words and actions.

Pleasure: A moment of mental/emotional/physical/spiritual ecstasy.

Spirituality: How attuned one’s spirit is to living a life with passion + purpose.

Sexuality: One’s sexual being (beliefs, attitudes, behavior with regards to anything of a sexual nature).

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Christian Fiction, Moral Compass (Part III)

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* This post is part of a short series:

7 Nov 2010: Christian Fiction, Background (Part I)
25 Nov 2011: Christian Fiction, Motivation (Part II)
21 Dec 2011: Christian Fiction, Moral Compass (Part III)

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moral_compass

Picture from www.MoralCompass.com

Christian Fiction, Moral Compass (PART III)

From the website, Moral Compass:

A useful way to think about your “moral compass” is to think of it like an ordinary compass with true North representing Integrity, South — Forgiveness, East — Compassion, and West — Responsibility.

These four universal principles are honored in some form by people of all races and religions, regardless of gender.

I’ve been doing some personal research on Christianity (and have come across interesting Catholic priests’ blogs) as of late. I have an interest in spiritual practices on the whole, something that involves the search for meaning and purpose, that involves themes which engage us with the wider world.

I guess the personal research will help fine-tune the rough outline for my first “Christian Fiction” project (which I’ll start working on next year). I’m aiming for an “edgy inspirational fiction” vibe (that’s not too radical).

Certain things I’ll keep in mind (from reading this page on Inspirational Fiction):

(1) lack of profanity and portrayal of explicit sex,

(2) project to be “based on Christian values,” rather than be seen as for “Christians only,”

(3) emphasize morals, values and life lessons,

(4) character’s relationship to God
(in a broad and literal way > narrow and didactic way).

I guess the “edge” will come from the characters dealing with their sexual thoughts, desires, and actions/choices in a realistic and authentic way — my sex drive and sexual nature are things I’ve never been completely able to kill and/or repress (so as an adult, I tend to approach the subject of sex without a Catholic guilt complex).

While I rebel against total sexual control, I can appreciate the Christian ideal of sex only within a monogamous marriage (something that, I think, still has a level of appeal to people of all religions).

And while I like having liberty in my way of life (I’ve Uranus in the 9th House — and here’s a good page on Astrology + Christianity), I’ve always sought to favor compassion over passion (or “alongside” passion, at the very least). I don’t support violence. I don’t support superficiality. In the case of extreme religious bigots (who do not accurately represent the “moderate others” within their religious community), it is hypocritical to preach about “love and compassion,” while actively condoning/participating in acts of violence and hatred towards those with other beliefs.

That being said, I’ve come to realize that the other extreme is just as bad (where “anything goes,” due to an absence of the subject of God/spirituality/some kind of moral compass). This allows for free reign of hedonism where acts such as excessive fornication/adultery/consumerism aren’t allowed to just run rampant, but are encouraged and promoted over values that are grounded in some kind of moral sense.

From an article on Buddhism and Sex:

A puritanical Church tradition (one extreme) has now been vigorously challenged by a secular spirit of permissiveness (the other extreme). For many people it is not at all easy to find the middle way between these two extremes.

After several years, I have come to realize it’s not education/religion/politics that is the problem. It is the corruption within all of these massive and powerful institutions that is the problem. Ordinary people are exploited as a result of misplacing their trust in corrupted leaders whose real gods are (usually some combination of) fame, power and money.

Not all leaders are corrupted, but those who are wreak a whole lot of damage. I like it best when creative work can somehow help/benefit others (fiction is a good avenue for individuals that could be categorized as scandalous moralists). It would certainly be a good cause to inspire others to map out a sane course in their own lives, between the two extremes of rigid puritanism and total permissiveness (paraphrased from Buddhism and Sex).

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“Christian Fiction” Posts:

7 Nov 2010: Christian Fiction, Background (Part I)
25 Nov 2011: Christian Fiction, Motivation (Part II)
21 Dec 2011: Christian Fiction, Moral Compass (Part III)

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Interview, Matt Posner / Tales of Christmas Magic

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Author Interview #37, with multi-genre writer (and NYC teacher), Matt Posner!

This is a customized Q&A in line with the author’s latest eBook: “Tales of Christmas Magic.”

matt_posner

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[Q&A with Matt Posner / Tales of Christmas Magic (7 questions)]

Jess: I like how the collection presents the magic that features in School of the Ages (magic which is based on the mind and spirit). What was the inspiration for presenting magic this way (realistically in “our world”)?

posner_xmas

Matt: I have read a lot about magic and the paranormal. Although I was interested in the subject from childhood, I took up the study more systematically when I was 21 as a result of feeling turmoil in my life. Learning to read tarot and understand Hermeticism gave me some structure at a time when other things weren’t helping.

Shortly I discovered the writing of Colin Wilson, beginning with The Occult and moving on to various other similar books, like Mysteries, Poltergeist!, and Beyond the Occult, and from these I became aware of how many amazing phenomena there were in the world that could be incorporated into fiction.

At first I tried to put them into an epic fantasy novel, which was agented for a while in New York around 1993, but then I left the subject alone for a while. When it came time to return to writing about magic, I used all that I had studied and learned to create the School of the Ages magical system.

Jess: Epic fantasy is a great foundation ;) I thought the underlying theme(s) in the story “Goldberry vs. Santa Claus” were very smoothly handled. Incidentally, the characters featured on the cover are from this story. Any reason for this? :)

Matt: I consider this the centerpiece story of the collection. It’s the one that is most Christmas-themed and has the strongest dramatic tension. Having a teen girl magician fight Santa Claus makes a good blurb also. Using that story enables me to get the school (actually Toronto’s Casa Loma castle) and Santa on the cover. Adding to that, my cover artist Eric Henty found a girl on a stock photo site who looks perfect as Goldberry, and then a boy on the same site who looks perfect for Simon.

What luck: the resulting image is just great!

Jess: Your School of the Ages project contains a very unique blend of elements (ranging from history, to religion, spirituality, and education!). Does it get confusing at times or does working with these themes come very naturally to you as a writer?

Matt: It comes naturally to me because of my multicultural past. My parents socialized with Indian immigrants beginning when I was a small child, and I read Amar Chitra Katha comics about the Ramayana and other Indian mythology.

In high school, I focused on Spanish classes as much as English. In college, I took a course in ethnomusicology and listened to world music while getting my bachelor’s in Humanities. It was one of my favorite courses.

Years later, getting married to Julie, who is from India, really strongly activated my desire to know more about non-Western cultures. Working in yeshiva high schools caused me to build some Jewish cultural identity (what they call Yiddishkeit).

Over the last few years, I have repeatedly taught a college course called World Civilizations (shoutout to my students!) which caused me to reflect on the vast range of cultural heritages there are and fed me ideas. I taught some art history in college too. I’ve been to some of Europe’s greatest art museums, although not enough of them yet in my opinion, and not to mention the great ones in New York City, where I live. These things have only whetted my appetite for multiculturalism.

Jess: Speaking about multiculturalism — something that I (and many other readers) like about the STA series is how it is multiculturally-inclusive. How would you define multiculturalism (along with its strengths and disadvantages, to be more specific)?

Matt: I define multiculturalism as the view that the world is made up of many traditions, faiths, arts, languages, societies, and that all of them are interesting and have some way to contribute to the lives of other human beings. I want to write about the interaction of these cultures and I want to draw cool stuff from all of them to make the School of the Ages books distinctive.

I’ll give you an example. In Level Three’s Dream, the students go to Paris where they have an unexpected battle with a group of older students from Paris’ magic school, Citadel d’If. Some of them are fairly unsurprising French ruffians, based loosely on the gang in the original La Femme Nikita, but pumped up with magic powers. However, one is distinctive: Arnaud le Vampire is an Algerian Arab. I know from studying history about the long and uncomfortable connection between France and Algeria, which was so severe that it nearly caused a civil war in France, and I wanted to reflect this history by putting a French-speaking Algerian into the school. He’s not a typical undead vampire, either; he’s fully alive, about 18 years old, and has the abilities of a psychic vampire, who can drain your energy by staring at you. (Many people believe this type of vampire actually exists!) When he fights, Arnaud shouts the Takbir, an expression used by Muslims for both prayer and battle: “Allahu Akbar!”

There are loads of vampires in the books these days, but I feel sure that there are no others like mine, and that readers will be excited by Arnaud’s contradictions and want to read his future appearances in my narrative.

Jess: I wouldn’t doubt the existence of such vampires either :P. I enjoyed “The Sphinx” (the last story in the collection, written when Matt Posner was 16 and bored in Honors English!). What are some of the things you notice with regards to your writing at that age, and in the years thereafter?

Matt: When I go back to my much older writing, my juvenilia such as “The Sphinx,” I’m struck by the fact that my prose style — sentence construction and such — has not changed tremendously. That’s why you can read “The Sphinx” in the same book as stories I wrote in 2011. The themes and meaning are immature, but the quality of the prose is much the same.

Maybe I should feel bad that my style hasn’t advanced as much as my content has, but I’d rather say that I knew very long ago what kind of writer I wanted to be. The truth is that I wrote more fluidly and confidently then, when the troubles of the world and the brutal pressures of limited time to work didn’t distract me from my voice and ideas. I put this story into the collection for a lot of reasons, but one of them was to show that not only do I have it, but I always had it.

Like Lady Gaga, “I’m on the right track, baby. I was born this way.”

6. Excellent! Writers/creative types have to have confidence in their own work :) Please share your favorite excerpt from this collection:

How about this:

Santa Claus had stopped laughing and was now closing in on Simon, who was between them. “Out of the way, or I’ll feed you to Mrs. Claus,” he said, not very jovially. “She gains about ten pounds a year from eating children on the naughty list, you know.”
Tales of Christmas Magic, Matt Posner

7. Comment on writing versus teaching, in your experience (Matt is a teacher in NYC):

Teaching has made me a better writer in that I understand better what goes into literature structurally. I have gotten more out of teaching literature than having it taught to me, or studying writing in graduate school, where I found that my experience was more about politics and personality, both of which I wasn’t good at then. I use writing skills in teaching. The other day I needed a simple example of an ironic poem, so I wrote one myself and then put a fake author’s name on it*.

Writing is solitary, teaching very public, and I need to be public part of the time, or else I will become too self-centered; it’s the phenomenon of the only child at work there. All this said, I feel that if I could only do one of the two, I would much prefer to write. If I were suddenly wealthy enough to quit working a teaching job and focus on writing, I would still want to teach, but I would just be more selective about it: do less of it and exercise more control over the details of the job than I can at present. As a teacher, I work with special education students, who are needy in a lot of ways, and often, though not always, difficult. It’s important to me to feel I’m the kind of person who can love those who are hard to love and who can make a difference in the lives of those who are hard to help. I want to test myself that way and I want to prove to myself day by day that I don’t have to be afraid. I don’t think I should give up doing this, but I wouldn’t mind if I did it a little less…

* My Dog
by Alan Smithee

My dog smells sour.
My dog has fleas.
She barks at night.
On the floor she pees.
She’s the best dog
I ever had.
For how could such
A dog be bad?

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Now go check out some of Matt’s work(s) — after reading his eclectic bio!

Author Bio + Website Links:

Matt Posner is a writer and teacher from New York City. Originally from Miami, FL, Matt lives in Queens with Julie, his wife of more than ten years, and works in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Matt is also the Dean of School of the Ages, America’s greatest magic school, located on a secret island in New York Harbor, and is pleased to tell stories about its people in the five-book series School of the Ages, which will be published between 2010 and 2015.

As the child of classically trained musicians, Matt is a performing poet and percussionist with The Exploration Project, New York’s premier avant-garde multimedia club band, along with the painter Eric Henty and founding musician and impresario Scott Rifkin. Matt teaches high school English, with a fondness for special education students, and teaches world civilizations at Metropolitan College of New York. His interests include magic and the paranormal, literature, movies, history and culture, visual arts, world music, religion, photography, and professional wrestling history.

Website: www.schooloftheages.webs.com

Twitter | Facebook “School of the Ages Series” | Goodreads

Author Interview, Kate Walker

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Author Interview #36, with multi-genre Australian writer (and animal lover), Kate Walker!

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Hi Kate! Please describe yourself in ~5 words:

Living Delights Me.

Great! Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Excerpt:

“He knew why he loved her and marvelled at the mystery, that without her he was just a man who filled a corner of a store, shifting ties and handkerchiefs, but with her he filled the whole world. Keeping a shelf tidy became a sacred duty, knowing that everything he did was either right or wrong, good or bad for his soul, damning or glorifying to his spirit. There were no meaningless actions any more, everything was significant and either exalted or bestialised him.”
The Man Who Loved His Wife (a short story)

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

I remember…Akira breaking off from what we were doing, tip-toeing to the balcony and leaning right over the rail, so far I feared he might topple over. Then when he came hurrying back, I noticed the strange grin had appeared on his face. The maid, he reported in a whisper, had as expected fallen asleep.

‘Now we must go in! Are you frighten, Christopher? Are you frighten?’

Arika had suddenly become so tense that for a moment all my old fears concerning Ling Tien came flooding back. But by this point a retreat for either of us was out of the question…
Once We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

WRITING is one of those occupations that oscillates between blissful ease and immeasurable toil.

You slip into the zone and the story writes itself. You’re taking down dictation and all you have to do is listen and be a faithful scribe. Words come, one after the other, in an order more exquisite than you could have conceived, and will remain in that order forever more.

Then next day the inaudible whisper is gone and you’re on your own. Words fall in clusters like rotten grapes or handfuls of flint, and you’re lucky if one in twenty will survive to serve your needs.

And then there’s the rewriting, interminable beyond belief. You rehash every sentence fifty times. And only when it reads like someone is again whispering the story into your ear do you know it’s ready and complete.

PUBLISHING, on the other hand, is like being a store keeper. Every job is clear cut. You actually know what you’re supposed to be doing, which is the opposite of writing. I’m talking about epublishing now. You know how the document needs to be formatted, and you can sit doing it late into the night and never flag. It’s just a checklist and when each job is done, it usually doesn’t need undoing…not like writing does.

Then you up-load. They ask the questions, you tick the boxes, press the right buttons, and that’s it — you’ve got a book out there. So little effort for such a grand achievement. It feels wonderful.

Of course, then you have to promote the book. That’s what takes the time out of your day and the skin off your knees. You get on-line and search the known universe for anyone at all who might conceivably give you a few pixels of space. It’s the total opposite of writing and how good is that? Just what every writer needs — a second job (still to do with writing) but nothing like it. Just more checklists and buttons to press. And for your trouble, there’s some pretty nice people out there in the known universe that you’re certain to stumble across.

WRITING vs PUBLISHING? Thumbs up to both.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

Good writing is a story that tells itself. It’s a book that turns its own pages. It’s a style the reader never notices, because it’s so at one with the story, the pain and labour that went into crafting it is totally invisible. There’s not a word that isn’t needed. And yet not a character that doesn’t move about before your very eyes, nor a setting that you don’t walk tangibly through.

For me, that makes a perfect book and I’ve read a few of them, such as: The Remains of the Day & Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro. Oscar and Lucinda & The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Meditate first. It wakens the muse and gets her whispering.

I’ve one more question for Kate, since one of her books is a dragon novel for children ;) What do you find most captivating about Dragons?

dragon_mith

[The Dragon of Mith, by Kate Walker (also posted on Dragonsinn.net)]

Dragons are us. They’re that great mysterious beast that is ourselves, projected large. They represent everything we can be: all powerful; treacherous; avaricious for gold; thirsty for blood; gentle; eternally patient; guardians of good. They’re us on a god-like scale, where we can stand back and see ourselves and be awed.

Excellent — I couldn’t have said it better myself (I’ll add your quote to the contributors’ page on Dragonsinn!). Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

www.katewalkerwriter4children.wordpress.com

www.katewalkeraustralia.wordpress.com

www.katewalker.com.au

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Much thanks to Kate Walker for stopping by!

Kate writes all sorts of books (picture books, novels, deep and meaningful short stories, etc.). She hates doing the same thing twice and loves the excitement of totally new ventures.

Be sure to check out her website for more info on her award-winning books [including The Dragon Mith, first published in Australia in 1989 and awarded second prize in the Australian Children’s Book of the Year Awards (Younger Readers].

Author Interview, John Hansen

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Author Interview #35, with teenage author of horror stories (and other random murderous pieces), John Hansen!

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Hey John! Please describe yourself in 5 words:

Creative. Passionate. Clever. Slightly insane.

Ah, a fellow insane person ;) Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Here’s an excerpt from a work in progress — but it gives you a good taste of my writing style:

“And for a moment — one terrible moment — Kyle’s cold, rigid expression softened. The ferocity that had burned within his eyes melted away into something that Hannah had not seen in Kyle in the longest time — regret. And in that one terrible instant, Hannah almost felt sympathetic for her suffering husband as she saw into that struggling soul of his, which had become trapped beneath his hard, unflappable exterior as it desperately sought out a way to reveal itself. Hannah wanted to reach out to him, to touch his hand, to fall sobbing into his outstretched arms and to have him tell her it would all be okay, to let her take him back no matter his past mistakes. But she knew better than that. Hannah could never again trust that cruel, sadistic man; much less take him back. The kids didn’t deserve him, she didn’t deserve him…no one did. No one deserved a man like Kyle. No one deserved a murderer.”

Gripping! Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

My favorite author is Rick Riordan. My favorite book by him is Mission Road. It’s illegal to reproduce an excerpt (according to Random House’s policy), so, keeping that in mind, I don’t think I’ll break the law today. An excerpt can be found online, though, if you’re interested.

Excerpt: http://www.randomhouse.com/
book/154524/mission-road-by-rick-riordan/#excerpt

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

In my opinion, writing is spontaneous, compulsive. I can sit down and write a book and I’d love it. It’s a hobby of mine and something I’d like to eventually do professionally. Writing comes naturally to me and many others but it is not the easy to do, even if you have a writing gift. Writing is not easy but it is many author’s calling. Anyone can write a book. I mean anyone. It could be awful or it could be amazing but just the writing aspect is nothing more than a compulsion.

Publishing is different. Publishing is difficult to do and should not discourage any of you authors, but publishing is really what takes your writing — your hobby and compulsion — to the test. As I said, anyone can write a novel and many people do because of this calling they get, but few books written are actually worthy of publishing. Lack of commercial (please don’t call it traditional because that doesn’t mean what you intend it to; it includes vanity presses like Publishing America in the ‘traditional publishing’ spectrum) publication does not wholly reflect the quality of your work, but no matter what many indies say, if you don’t succeed at all (I mean complete rejections) it should set off some alarms.

If you don’t get any requests for partials or fulls from agents, it means that there is something wrong with your writing or book. Just as simple as that. Don’t let this discourage you; it happened to me. I went back, read through my manuscript and realized that my characters were boring. The publishing industry — without doing anything more than rejecting my manuscript — changed me as an author. I took my passion to the test, and I failed. It was a slow recovery but in the recent months I’ve completely revamped my writing style and since then I’ve gotten a bunch of short story/poetry publications. I’ve been told that what I have written so far of my second novel is excellent, perfect.

To me, writing is a calling but there is a fine line between writing and publishing. Anyone can write. Only skilled writers can publish. If you fail in the publishing industry, go back to your work. Read through it again. Find what is wrong. Try again. It will work for you.

Yes, failure is part of the journey to success (whether commercially or independently published). What is your definition of “good writing”?

“Good writing” is as broad as any prose that evokes emotion from the reader. Every good book evokes emotion because that’s what makes books so enjoyable; if a book doesn’t, it is, frankly, bad. Who would want to read a book that gives you no emotion? Reading passively, as if you are at a distance from a book because no emotion escapes you, is probably the least enjoyable thing one can do. But if a book evokes emotion in the reader, the reader will feel a kinship to the author and characters and it will make the reading experience so much more enjoyable. It doesn’t matter how it is portrayed; any author’s goal is to captivate their readers. Good writing does this. Whether it is rich, beautiful prose for a love story or fast, flowing writing for a thriller, it doesn’t matter. Good writing evokes emotion within the reader, compels them to read on and ultimately enjoy the book.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

I hate to sound so stupidly redundant and repeat what I’m sure every guest here says as that is against my personality, but this is an exception. Heed my words, don’t grumble to yourselves about how annoying I am (well, you can do that too). As you all have heard, the #1 tip for writers is to never give up. Never. DO NOT let rejections from agents and publishers discourage you at all. It’s a tough industry and rejections don’t reflect the quality of your work.

If you have a book out somewhere, don’t think twice about 1-star reviews, no matter how harsh they are. Why? Because guess who else gets 1-star reviews? Hmm, let me think: Stephen King, John Grisham, Christopher Paolini, Suzanne Collins, James Patterson and I could go on (so, essentially, you’re in good company).

Guys, it takes years to publish. Decades. A fellow crime writer who is now commercially published went through two literary agents who could not sell her book. She did countless rewrites, submitted everywhere and for a period of twelve years, she could not get her book published. But did she give up? No. She dumped the agents, kept submitting and twelve years after the books’ completion, she got a publishing acceptance. Her book now sits on the shelves at your local bookstore. Never give up. Never get discouraged. All of you have a gift, have a unique way to tell a story; show it. Write, submit, and write some more. Let my author friend be your guide. It takes forever to publish but if you work at it as much as she did, you get great rewards.

Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

Please visit my book blog where I read and review books, host commercially published authors, agents, publishers and publicists for interviews (I have an interview with literary agent and published author, Mandy Hubbard coming up!), and give my tips on writing as well as your occasional insane and random post. It is appropriately titled “The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer” (http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com).

I tweet as @ABoredAuthor, and am on Facebook.

I’m also on:

Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MysteryRiter)

Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5148469.John_Hansen)

CrimeSpace (http://crimespace.ning.com/profile/JohnHansen)

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Much thanks to John for stopping by — be sure to check out his vibrant blog/website to learn more about his writing, reviews, and guest interviews!

Christian Fiction, Motivation (Part II)

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* This post is part of a short series:

7 Nov 2010: Christian Fiction, Background (Part I)
25 Nov 2011: Christian Fiction, Motivation (Part II)
21 Dec 2011: Christian Fiction, Moral Compass (Part III)

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Christian Fiction, Motivation (PART II)

holy_spirit

I had two “very interesting” emails this week (positive feedback from two guys). One was with regards to my deviant material, while the other was with regards to my writing perspective(s).

I’ve pasted the email below:

Email #2: Correspondence with reader:

Dear Jess!

By occasion I came to read some of your writings, which came to me as a fresh and original way of thinking/approach. I for myself belong many years to the Lord Jesus, whom I not only confess, but also experience that He really loves me, speaks to me, and even dwells in me. That’s Great Reality! But I am convinced, that each human can get this comparable relationship too.

The reason of my writings to you is, that already many years ago, I received a Word of the Lord in my mind, which is remarkably accurate with your vision of books. First I have to share with you, that in that time I was more or less enslaved in reading thrillers, which cost me much time.

Then on a certain Sunday morning during the visit of the church meeting, the following words came to me. (I will translate in English)

YOU ARE IN FACT EATING THE VOMIT OF OTHERS!

The meaning of this statement, came almost immediately: you are using as food the undigested thoughts of ungodly people!

So when I returned to my house, I shared my decision to my wife:

Stop reading this kind of books, which I now call pulp.

Remarkable was also that I received the power to act so with almost no problem and became free! Started to spend more time in searching the Lord, by praying, reading bible studies and books about the way of living of people, who were also searching to THE TRUTH, which is HE — JESUS in fact!

Now I am reading and studying from the life and works of the ministry of Smith Wigglesworth, which became a blessing for me, so that I can enlarge [my life experiences].

I really hope you can use some of this material I feel I had to share to you — also for the benefit of others.

Cordially Yours,
A Male Reader

As I mentioned in my old blog post, I’ve been (quietly) thinking of writing Christian fiction for some time (for some reason, quite a few of the readers/customers I’ve heard from are religious/spiritual individuals).

It will be less explicit than my deviant work of course, but I would like to try to present some of the underlying themes via a Christian lens (where Christian values can be mixed with a fresh/original approach via the story).

I can relate to the salvation that Christians seek and the inner conflicts involved, so I’ve been interested to try to work something out that is, as the writer of the above email says: (1) for the benefit of others, and (2) for people searching to The Truth (via the Christian concept).

I have a few ideas as to what I’d like to do (maybe in the later half of 2012 — wanna finish the Cyberpunk Elven Trilogy first), but I’ll need a bit more time to think about it (so that the writing does not come across as too boring, too preachy, or unintentionally offensive — I’d like to balance “positive Christian values” with “realistic post-modern issues”).

The drive/motivation/inspiration is very similar to my erotic (not p0rn0graphic) material — just less graphic and with a Christian slant that I believe the target audience will appreciate.

I’m not really bothered by the fact that I can be both deviant and morally inclined at the same time. It keeps boredom at bay and is part of my artistic/personal development.

I also feel better when I keep others in mind. It’s something I’m happier and more fulfilled to focus on, versus how much I’ll make/earn with this or that venture.

Work = Life, so I don’t want to waste my time on shallow values (spoken like a true Virgo!).

I recently viewed a Facebook friend’s profile where he wrote that he’s “here to share the searches, researches, and discoveries [he’s] encountering through [his] existence(s).”

I told him I thought that was excellent! Self-discovery is the best ^^.

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P.S. One person I admire a lot is James Cameron (!!!).

james cameron

There’s a long interview with him at the American Academy of Achievement (he was inducted in 1998), but I read through the entire interview and here’s an excerpt:

“There’s a tremendous temptation to do a work-around, or to do a moral or ethical work-around or a short cut in a lot of situations, because it’s easier and it’s just — you’re so needy to get those little breaks and so on. And I think a lot of people get sort of ethically short-circuited at that stage and they never recover, you know? Because I think a lot of people would say, “Well, you know, I’ll do what I have to do now, but then later I’ll be good.” It doesn’t work that way. You are who you are.”
(– James Cameron Interview / Master Filmmaker)

I’ve been tempted several times to take “short cuts” in several situations, though I’ve so far held back from doing so.

Doing honest work can be both a blessing and a curse — depending on how one looks at it.

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“Christian Fiction” Posts:

7 Nov 2010: Christian Fiction, Background (Part I)
25 Nov 2011: Christian Fiction, Motivation (Part II)
21 Dec 2011: Christian Fiction, Moral Compass (Part III)

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Author Interview, Susan Helene Gottfried

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Author Interview #34, with rock & roll writer, Susan Helene Gottfried!

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Hi Susan! Please describe yourself in 5 words:

Almost as cool as Trevor.

Nice! Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

trevors_song

The four (and counting) books in the Trevolution are Rock and Roll in a book. They follow the story of Trevor Wolff, bass player for ShapeShifter and not nearly as big a jerk as you’ll think when you first meet him.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

Oh, yikes. You want me to narrow my favorites down to one? Do you know how many people I’ll anger?

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience *while Jess tries to think of a number re: the previous answer…*:

It’s all tough: writing, editing, crafting. The publication process is another tough nut on top of that. This isn’t an industry for anyone who’s not brave, that’s for certain. However, the flip side is one of the best experiences a person can have in their lifetime. It’s filled with great fellow authors and readers who are outstanding people. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. Even those days when I’m grumpier than Mitchell.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

Something that lifts you up and transports you somewhere else.

Yes, I like that type of effect too :P (sounds very much like “good music”!). Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Hire a good editor. Like me.

Oh, wait. You want something serious.

Learn as much as possible. Including rules of grammar. Your editor will thank you for it later on.

Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

Website: www.westofmars.com

Blog: www.westofmars.com/blog

Twitter: @WestofMars

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WestofMarsFans

In other words: if it’s West of Mars, it’s probably me.

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Much thanks to Susan for stopping by — be sure to check out her website to learn more about the author and the multiple projects/websites she manages!

P.S. Susan is a member of the vibrant BestsellerBound writing community [as am I :)…].