Monday, January 28, 2013

Reading and Writing: Finding the Balance

Hey all! Today I have the amazing C.M. Keller on MFB. Not only is she one of this month's amazing award sponsors, but she's a kick-ass writer. I hope you all enjoy her tips on how to balance your reading and writing lives. Take it away, Connie.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time 
(or the tools) to write.” 
Stephen King 

All writers have heard that quote or one like it. And we all know it’s true. But balancing the two is like herding cats. You can try, but you end up getting scratched. 

I know I tried. I’d begin writing and I get so involved with the story that I’d forget to read and I’d write and write until my creativity dried up and blew away. Then, I’d read until my eyes bled. I tried thrillers, devouring them (which helped me learn to craft tight plots) until I couldn’t stand another gun shot. So I focused on the classics (where I saw the power of understatement, metaphor, etc.) until I was ready to strangle yet another indecisive heroine. 

The only good thing was that when I finished the reading cycle, my creativity was recharged until I drained it dry. The cycle was not a good thing. Maybe a little OCD as well, but we won’t go there. 

I had to find a better, a more sane way of balancing my writer/reader issues. A way that would sustain me as a reader and a writer. I tried lots of things. They all failed. 

I’d like to say that I analyzed the situation and came up with a solution. But I found it by accident—I sort of fell into it. And it wasn’t until I realized the writing-reading was working, that I even wondered what I was doing differently. 

It started years ago, when a health problem made me commit to running, which I hate with a passion. So I bribed myself to run a treadmill. While I ran I could read “fun” books, thrillers, mysteries, and YA, but I could only read them when I ran. 

Then this fall, I decided that I’d devote all before-bedtime-reading to a classic or literary/upmarket novel. To make it even more fun, I asked/begged a writer friend to read the “classics” too—so we can exchange emails about what we’ve read. “Hey, did you finish chapter four last night? Did you notice how the author changed the mood, foreshadowing the end of the chapter?” 

The one final change I made was that any other free time belonged to writing. Even if a novel was calling out, “Read me, read me!” 

How did it work out? I’m reading more than I have in years. And writing…I finished a first draft in three months. (I’ve never written a novel in less than six months before.) 

So if you find yourself alternating between bleeding eyes and shriveled creativity, you could try what I’ve done. Either that, or give the Muse a call. I’ve tried, but I’m pretty sure she’s blocked my number. 

Thanks so much for this lovely post, Connie. I've been struggling with maintaining a sane balance, and now you made it sound so easy. :-)

So, lovely people, how do you strike a balance between reading and writing? Do you suck at it like me? 

Before you go! Remember to vote for awesome bloggers and to enter my Word Master Challenge

Friday, January 25, 2013

Flaws and Sympathy

Last week, I wrote a post about complex characters and how to write them.

Basically I think it comes down to showing more than one side of a personality, the good, the bad and the ugly.

It's amazing how often new writers are scared of doing this. I was too. When I started writing my fantasy epic, I was honestly terrified of my decision to write complex characters. After all, fantasy is traditionally the land of noble souls, so I was worried that writing something that veers of far from that, I'd alienate my readers.

And you know, it didn't.

In fact, I ended up loving all of my characters, although two of them are capable of being complete bastards. More importantly, the people who've read my novel so far do too.

There are more than one reason for this, but today I want to focus on one.


A reader is drawn into a story because of sympathy for the character leading them through it. There are a variety of ways to win sympathy for your character. If you're interested, I suggest you see Moody's series on it.

All of Mood's suggestions are valid. To summarize the series to date:
1) Put them in danger.
2) Make them suffer.
3) Strength of character
4) Have the character be an outcast.

I agree, but there's another aspect to emotional attachment between a reader and a character. Emotion. Specifically: the character's emotions.

You see, putting characters through the grinder isn't enough. In fact, it can be a very risky thing to do if it's not coming organically out of the story.

Aside: "organic" as I'm using it now applies to both plotters and pantsers. There are things that happen in a story because it makes sense within the story (organic). Or things happen because the authors need them for the story to make sense. (not-organic)

The risk comes from the fact that readers immediately pick up on non-organic events. (More on these later.) So instead of sympathy, just adding the four factors above will have readers rolling their eyes at best.

Instead, I propose to writers, the emotions themselves are what make the connection. A characters emotions make a reader's move in resonance. (I.E. they strike a chord.) Complexity of emotion along with complexity of character will move the reader completely. That's why characters can be terrible personalities, but still loved.

In every situation. What is the character feeling? Loss? Fear? Dread? Hope? Love? Anger? Resentment? The options go on and on. How the character reacts emotionally will give the reader something to hold on to.

For an example of what I mean, look at Katniss from the Hunger Games Trilogy. She's mean, cynical, stubborn and out for her own interests above those of others. Not exactly likable noble character material. Yet, she kept millions of readers interested through three books. Why? Because below everything she says and does, she has a depth of emotion that I hazard to say has been unrivaled by her fictional contemporaries. With all her flaws, she deeply loves her sister, which is why she basically agrees to go to killing fields instead of her. That love is what keeps her going in the killing fields despite the terror and all the other mixed emotions that go with it. I personally couldn't care less about a character named Katniss about to die. I care about a fictional person who did something completely against her personality traits because her love for her sister over-rode everything else. My suspicion is, I'm not alone.

So to evoke sympathy, let the reader see what's going on with a character, even when it's only glimpses. Don't only make them suffer and go on a murderous rampage. Have them howling in pain first. And for heaven's sake, motivate the pain by love.

Letting the reader see hurt and love and doubt, gives him or her a hold they won't release until the end.

If you manage to do those right, fitting with your character, all those dirty tricks needed for creating sympathy come out on their own.

How do you go about evoking sympathy for your characters?

Before you go, please remember to vote for some awesome bloggers, and to check out my Word Master Challenge. Six more days left to enter. Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Just resting up a bit

Hey lovely peeps! Just want to let you know I'll be back tomorrow. Just had a long couple of days at work, so I needed to rest. Will be back tomorrow.

In the mean time, please don't forget to vote for the award nominees and to check out the Word Master Challenge. You have a week left to enter.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

News Day Week 3: Announcing Nominees and Sponsors

It's News Day again! For those of you new to my blog, it's a series where I bring awareness to goings on in our writing community. If you have something you'd like me to share, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com. It can be anything. From blogfests to great beginners to posts you think everyone should read. It can also be your own bit of news, if you'd like.

Today, though, I have to focus on the biggest piece of news for MFB:

I present to you the nominees and sponsors for January's Paying Forward Award. By the way. I think the name's sort of lame. Anyone have a better one?


Before I get to the nominees, I want to give a special thank you to this month's sponsors and their prizes. Please go visit them all and give them some love. Why? Because they are all amazing.

Beta read or editing of first 100 pages

Critique of first three chapters

Redesign of a blog button, header or background

Her two YA time travel novels: Screwing Up Time and Screwing Up Babylon

Beta Read or Edit of first chapter 

Critique of first chapter

Critique of first 500 words. 

Finally, I will be giving away a $25 voucher to the vendor of your choice (assuming I can purchase it online).

Now, onto the Nominees by Category (in no particular order):

Most Encouraging Blogger: 

Best Reviewer: 

Best Writing and/or Inspirational Blog: 

Beginner and/or Small Blogger with Most Potential:

Thanks to every single person who nominated these extraordinary bloggers! Voting must please be done by email with "my vote" as the subject. E-mail address: mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Please pick one or no blogger for each category. Voting will stay open until 31 Jan and I'll announce the winners on 5 February. 

So people. Who are your favorites in each category? Got a better name for the awards?  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Presenting: Polar Night by Julie Flanders

Before I start today, I just want to do two quick announcements. Firstly, I decided to move the nominations and sponsor announcements to tomorrow, since nominations are still coming in. So if you haven't done it yet, please go nominate some awesome bloggers now! 

Then, you have 10 days to enter the Word Master Challenge


Today, I want to announce Julie Flanders's new release.


When Detective Danny Fitzpatrick leaves his hometown of Chicago and moves to Fairbanks, Alaska he wants nothing more than to escape the violence and heartbreak that left his life in pieces. Numbed by alcohol and the frozen temperatures of an Alaskan winter, Danny is content with a dead-end job investigating Fairbanks' cold cases. That all changes when a pretty blond woman goes missing on the winter solstice, and Danny stumbles upon some surprising connections between her disappearance and that of another Fairbanks woman three years earlier. Forced out of his lethargy, Danny sets out to both find the missing woman and solve his own cold case. 

The investigation points Danny towards Aleksei Nechayev, the handsome and charming proprietor of an old asylum turned haunted tourist attraction in the Arctic town of Coldfoot. As he tries to find a link between Nechayev and his case, Danny's instinct tells him that Nechayev is much more than what he seems. 

Danny has no idea that Nechayev is hiding a secret that is much more horrifying than anything he could ever have imagined. As his obsession with finding the missing women grows, Danny finds his own life in danger. And when the truth is finally revealed, the world as he knows it will never be the same. 


Julie Flanders is a librarian and a freelance writer who has written for both online and print publications. She is an avid animal lover and shares her home in Cincinnati, Ohio with her dog and cat. Polar Night, a suspense thriller with a supernatural twist, is her first novel. It will be published by Ink Smith Publishing on February 7, 2013. Find Julie online at her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

All the best, Julie!

Who out there are mystery-lovers like me? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Please send me awards nominations

Hey all! Before I start with today's post, just want to do two things. 1) Remind you that you have until 31 January to enter my Word Master Challenge. 2) Let you know that my query is being critiqued at The QQQE, if you're interested in seeing a tiny fraction of what Doorways is about.


So I mentioned here that I want to do awards ceremonies to pay things forward to other bloggers. Also, to make others aware of some amazing blogs out there.

Seven AMAZING people volunteered some prizes to pay forward. I'll announce them next week, but in the mean time...

Thank you again! 

With my prize, we have eight in total, so I decided to announce four categories this month so that the winner and runner up can both win something.

These will be January's categories (in no particular order):

Most Encouraging Blogger
Best Reviewer
Best Writing and/or Inspirational Post
Beginner with Most Potential

Please note: I will NOT be accepting nominations in the comments section as the links will probably shoot my spam filter to shreds. BUT, you can tell me what you think of this idea and which categories you want to see next month. Want to make sure I'm running something people like.

If you have nominations, please e-mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with the word "nominations" in the tagline. You don't have to nominate for every category, but if you have someone's name immediately popping into your thoughts, you should nominate him/her.

Please spread the word about this, because on Monday, I'll announce the nominees, prizes and sponsors. I'll need you all to vote for the winners.

That's me for today. Have a great one and a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A bit of a dilemma

As some of you might remember from November 2012, I explained how I picked my NaNo novel based on the thought of creating a production-line of sorts.

The plan is simple: Write all the current ideas in my mind. Stay in draft mode for as long as possible. Then move into edit mode and stay there for as long as possible.

My reasoning is that this way, I'll eventually get to a point where I have a finished novel to query while having a whole line-up of novels to edit at the same time.

Simple, yes. Except for one thing. The way my creative mind works involves lots of pauses while it sifts through its thoughts.

Like now. I know what I want to happen in my current rough draft, but for some reason, I just don't feel like writing. It's actually a bit worse than that, although I don't know how to put it in words.

Suffice it to say, something's telling me to give this WiP a break.

But if I do, will I get back to it in time for me to fit it into the production line?

My gut says yes. My brain is wondering.

On the other hand, I know that it's wise to give this one a break. I've spent years on the book before it and I'm querying that one as we speak. Maybe I should just relax and go with the flow.

Except I know it will be much better to have the sequel drafted by the time book 1 is out, which might be much sooner than I thought.

As I write this, however, I can feel a knot forming somewhere in my thoughts. I don't know what it is, exactly, but if I force myself to continue with the story, I'll be adding to the problem.

Guess that means I'm moving onto something else. Maybe for a day. Maybe longer.

Wonder which story I'll move to now.

Anyone else hit upon snags without knowing what they are? What do you do?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Writing a complex character

Well today I finally get to go back to my roots a little, as a writing blogger. Hmm. Sorry, that's a bit of a terrible way to put it.

I blog about writing. Sometimes I blog about my own writing progress, other times I dig into some aspect of writing for whoever feels the need for advice and/or information. 


Complex characters. 

If you think about it, complex characters are the Holy Grail of characterization. It's something even some best sellers fail miserably at. Not naming names, but I'm sure you can find a few in your memory where their books had great plot, but almost no character depth. 

I also get the feeling that, if you found this post in a search, you're probably plot-driven writer. There's nothing in the world wrong with that. You'll write page-turners, with your natural sense of plot. 

You also know that flat characters are standing between your novel and brilliance. 

Complexity isn't easy to create, though. Yet it is. Sorry. I know this seems confusing, but bear with me. 

Now I'm going to briefly confuse you more. In my own experience of writing, creating a complex character is about not creating him or her. It's simply about creating a character. 

But you've done that, you might say. 

Yes you have. What you haven't done, is give the reader subtle glimpses of the character's other sides. 

Yes, the baddy is amazingly evil. Why? Did someone hurt him? Is he secretly an idealist? Only you know. If your answer is that the baddy is evil because he's evil, odds are he's flat. 

Same goes for your protagonist. No person is perfect. And flat, perfect guys are boring. I'm not saying you should go and change the character into an anti-hero. Anti-heroes can be flat too. Because they're just assholes who stumble into saving the day. 

Everyone has good characteristics and bad ones. Everyone has things they want and don't want. Everyone has bad moments. Everyone has good moments. 

For an excellent and recent example of what I mean, watch Skyfall. The villain is capable of terrible cruelty. He's smart, ruthless and willing to kill to get what he wants. And what he wants is to destroy M. 

But. He's not all about murder and bloodshed. A significant portion of him is, yes. But there are moments when M makes him cry. He's even capable of being incredibly gentle and caring. When he tries to convince Bond to go rogue, he tries to make it look like it's the sensible thing to do. It honestly feels as if he's doing it because he thinks he'd help Bond. After all, if he didn't give a damn, he could have killed him. On the other hand, it might be because he knows he'd hurt M by turning Bond against her. 

All of that going on with a single villain. 

That's depth. 

Giving the character a chance to show more than one side to their personality. 

Your job is to do it with subtlety. Which is the hard part.  

How do you write complex characters? 

Before I go, I want to let you know that I'm willing to answer any writing and edit-related questions on my blog and by e-mail. If you have one, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com

OOH yes! Don't forget to check out my Word Master Challenge. It's a great, fun way to stretch your writing skills and there are prizes to be won.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

News Day Week 2

Welcome to another News Day. It's intended to bring some info I've found to my blog readers' attention. If you have any news you think I should share here, whether or not it's your own, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Offers to Help

First order of business for today is Beth Fred. She's offering to promote published novels and to crit queries

Competitions and Submissions

I'm holding my first ever writing competition: The Word Master Challenge. Prize: $10 voucher to the e-vendor of your choice or a ten chapter critique by me. 

Charity Bradford announced a High School Writing Competition, so if you know any writing teens, please let them go check it out. First Prize is $250. 

Rhonda Parrish is calling for submissions to an anthology around Cancer. A significant portions of the proceeds will go towards The American Cancer Society. 

Marketing Tactics

Susan Kaye Quinn now has her Mindjack Trilogy on sale. Really. If you haven't yet, just look at this trailer.

Michael Pierce is doing a blog tour for Provex City. Please go support him. Tour stops can be found here

Calls for help

Jamie Ayres is asking for people to help with a book bomb for her new release 18 Things. 

Nick Wilford is looking for stories by you to enter into an anthology. The proceeds of which will go towards further educating his son, who has Cerebral Palsy. Please go check out the post here


Maria Zannini is giving away her new book Self-Publisher's Punch List. It has its origins in a highly useful blog series for authors who want to self publish but are new to the experience. I'm DEFINITELY getting my copy

She and Gwen Gardner will also be hosting the Indies 4 Hire event on Facebook. Another good place to win freebies and find out more about going indie. 

Bloghops and Blogfests

Annalisa Crawford and Kyra Lennon are hosting The Imaginary Friend Bloghop. Prizes to be won. 

Mark Koopmans is hosting the Got Green? Blog O'hop again this year. The format will be a bit different though, so be sure to check out how it will work.

On of my amazing CP's M Pax is hosting the Back from the Future Blogfest with Suze from Subliminal Coffee and Nicky Elson. 

Worth A Look

I found this very informative post on the shapes, scopes, forms and names of various sorts of edits. Thought some of you might be interested.

If you are new to writing and would like a great, easy to understand resource on the craft, Moody should definitely be one of your first stops. 

That's it from me for today. Please feel free to bring more tidbits to my attention. I might not be able to update today's post (as I might be on the road), but send them anyway. If I can't get them in now, I'll try for next week. 

Have a wonderful day! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Am I ready yet?

That's the big question looming in my mind at the moment. How ready am I to return into the query trenches?

I'm both very eager and petrified of starting again. On the one hand, I know I now have a brilliant query. I also know that I have a one page synopsis that I like the look and sound of. I probably won't be able to refine it much further than it is now.

At the same time, I have come to a decision. Something has to happen to Doorways this year. Either an agent says yes, or a publisher says yes, or I publish it myself. Point being, I am NOT sitting on it for another year.

It's done.

So. By the time you read this post, I will have queried about 90 agents. Every single fantasy agent I know of. If none of them like the sound of my book, I'll be going to my small publisher's list.

And if someone still doesn't believe portal fantasies can't sell, I'll go it alone.

Some of you might wonder why I'm leaving it as the last option: no reason in particular. I'm just following a progression that seemed logical to me.

As for why I'm in a hurry? I'm hoping to get my answers by March or April. That way I have a few months for my book to be edited, formatted etc. and still be finished on time.

Another reason: I no longer doubt my query. I don't doubt my story. Not a single bit. So there will be no more revisions to my query and I'll only revise if someone asks me to. Other than that, there's no point for me to stretch out the process.

I know my book will go where it's supposed to.

Wish me luck!

Anyone think I'm nuts? (I partially do.) Have you done something like this?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Three Easy Steps to Harnessing Your Inner Monster-Hunting Badass

Hey everyone! Many thanks to Misha for sharing her blog with me today. Misha is a longtime blog-friend, and someone I've admired for her determination and dedication to the writing craft. So it's a real honor to be here.

I recently released the second of my Moonsongs Books, a series of New Adult, paranormal-horror-action novelettes (less than 17 k words each). Consequently, I'm slowly marching around the Web to share the news. 

You can learn all about the books below, but first, I thought I'd let Jenny (the heroine of Moonsongs) give you a few, quick pointers on how to cultivate your inner monster-hunting badass.

And as someone who recently learned she's the latest in a long line of Apache monster hunting warriors, Jenny is becoming something of an expert in that area.

Three Easy Steps to Harnessing Your Inner Monster-Hunting Badass

By Jenny Schmidt-Moonsong

1) Quit Caring - Okay, my best friend Marshal would probably tell you I never started caring, but he's a jerk, and that isn't true. Mostly... 

I do care, but only about important stuff, like video games, Marshal on occasion, and staying alive. Thing is, I just can't get bogged down with worrying about other people's expectations. Sure, having lost everyone in my life who I might've been interested in appeasing by the age of twenty-one probably made it a little easier for me to say, "to hell with it." But it also taught me that you only get one life to live, and  it might not be a very long one--especially in my family. So screw what others think you are or aren't, and just be.

2) Play Hard - I'm a girl who likes her hobbies. I mentioned my video game habit, but that isn't all I get up to when I'm not squaring off against some gnarly monster or other. No, you'll just as likely find me at the gun range (or out in the country shooting cans here in West Texas), or running down a dirt road to stay in shape.

I do them for fun, but my passion for running and shooting has kept me alive lately. The moral of the story? Play hard, play for keeps, but definitely play.

3) Embrace the Past, Especially the Crappy Parts - Okay, we've all had to deal with good and bad things in life, and usually it balances out. But sometimes the Universe screws you without a kiss goodbye or even a few bucks to cover the cab ride home. That's when you have to make things personal.

I tried to bury my past, and it damn near ate me alive (literally). Instead, I recommend harnessing the grief, annoyances, and pain, then take it out on the nearest supernatural thing trying to end your life. You'll sleep better at night, and probably live a little longer.


Description: After receiving an ancient tribal journal from her grandfather, Jenny is sent on a mission of discovery in an attempt to unravel clues to her family's monster hunting past. The journey becomes more than academic when she is asked to confront a coven of dangerous witches who plan to cast an insidious spell on the plains of West Texas. 

Witch's Nocturne is the second of the Moonsongs Books, a series of New Adult, paranormal-horror-action novelettes--with a Texas twist--by author E.J. Wesley. 

Witch's Nocturne is available now:


Blood Fugue, Moonsongs Book 1, is also available:

Amazon (Free to borrow for Amazon Prime members.)

(Note: These stories contain some language and content better suited for mature readers.)

~About the Author~

E.J. lives in South Texas. He likes his words and food spicy, and tries to give a little extra 'kick' to the stories he writes. He enjoys reading horror, sci-fi, YA, MG, New Adult--basically anything with words. In true Texas fashion, E.J. is very neighborly, and welcomes you to say 'howdy' at:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Announcing: The Word Master Challenge

Yesterday, another thought struck me as to how to make MFB even more fun for you ladies and gents.

I present to you:

The idea of the Word Master Challenge is simple. Every month, (except possibly April), I'll announce a theme for the challenge. It'll be writing related in some way, but I'll try to make every theme a little different. The winner of the month's challenge wins a voucher to the internet book vendor of their choice or a 10 chapter crit from me.

January's challenge will be:

How Not to Write a Novel Beginning.

In less than 300 words, I want to see your idea of the WORST beginning you can possibly write. The funnier and more creative you are, the better. To make it easier for me, you have the WHOLE of January to enter, but you must please enter the SPECIFIC entry link into the linky list below.

I'll announce the winner and the new theme on 8 February.

Who's in? Any Questions?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Beginnings Blogfest

Today I'm taking part in L.G. Keltner's Beginnings Blogfest. Being the nice person she is, she didn't give us any rules as to which beginning we should write about. So I thought I'd be all lazy and post the first post I ever did on this blog. But that's easy. And unnecessary. Because if you wanted to read it, you'd have gone to archives and picked the first post. 

Instead, I thought, I'd do something a bit more helpful to new bloggers. On this blog, I'm going to do two posts from my early blogging days. On my other one, I'm giving ten tips I wish I knew as a beginning blogger. 

Okay then... The first post is from 3 August, 2010. It's the second one I ever wrote. 

On the joys of being a new blogger

So... at the moment I'm still blogging to myself, which kind of feels strange. Almost like a new empty house. Everything I say reverberates in my mind and I wonder how I'm going to get this out there. 

For now though, just building this blog is bringing up complications. For example, do I continue with the use of my dark but beautiful background or do I go lighter. Do I allow advertising to cover my blog? I suppose that I should be worrying about this later, but somehow I just can't help myself... 

I will get over this overwhelming desire to put too much nonsense on my blog. I promise. This extends to my posts. Therefore... Thus closes this post.

As you can see, I was completely lost in the start. In fact, I'd e-mailed about five blog authors begging for advice. They were wonderful and gracious when they answered. Which is why I fell in love with blogging. But there was a problem...

Nearly a week. and... nothing but soul searching

I'm starting to feel rather down now, but maybe it's just that I want to sleep.

I've been blogging for almost a week now and this is the impact I've made: five profile views. Absolutely no followers. 

As much as I enjoy blogging, I never really enjoyed the idea of writing for myself. Not even my book. Since I was really small, everything I wrote was presented to someone to see. My mom (for honest crit) and my gran (full out support) were my favourite recipients. After I got the idea of short stories down, I wrote every assigned task with the idea that someone else is going to read this, namely my teacher.

I would ask, what am I supposed to do? What do you want to see on the blog... but... alas you are not here. So the empty house reverberations continue, leaving me to fight a slight sense of panic. 

What if... the same happens with my book... What if... I write all of it and no one cares. Should I even care at this stage of the game? I think so... everything I write comes straight from my heart. Repeating this process again and again and again without anyone actually seeing this makes me feel... well... terribly lonely. 

When people tell you that you should blog, they never warn you about the beginning days. The writing isn't hard. The honesty isn't hard. Sharing experiences isn't hard. But blogging to yourself is. It sucks. Big time... So much so that I'm wondering why I'm doing this to myself. 

[Huge amount of insightful but currently irrelevant soul searching withdrawn]

I guess that the only thing I can do is to just do my best to get followers for my blog and not get hit so hard by the apparent lack of interest. I'm sure that someone out there cares enough that he or she will stumble across my attempts and join me in the experience. Maybe it's just coincidence that they haven't stumbled across me already....

This same blog crossed 100 followers by the end of 2010. I hit 450 by end 2011 and by end 2012, almost 900. There is hope. Don't give up. 

To all you veteran bloggers out there, what were your first days like? 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

News Day Week 1

Hey lovely people! As I mentioned in this post, I want to spend more time on my blog bringing awareness to other bloggers in our community. I decided to do this in the form of a quick overview of stuff that I know of, every week on Tuesday.

If there's anything you think I should put in here next week (even if it's for your own blog), please let me know at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Calls for help: 

Firstly, MFB is still open for volunteers/sponsors for this month's prizes. If you want to help make MFB an amazing place for our community, please check out this post for details. I will be contacting the sponsors tomorrow.

Then, Tara Tyler is looking for published and about-to-be published authors with whom to do joint signings in their area. 

Ciara Knight wants to do a post on things to watch out for before signing a contract with an agent and/or editor. She invites anyone with experience in this to give some input. Please comment on this post.

Offers to Help: 

Nicole Singer is opening her blog twice a month for 300 word excerpt and query crits.

Blogfests and Hops:

In case you somehow missed it, Alex J. Cavanaugh announced the date of his new (mysterious) blogfest. Date: 18 March.

Also, L.G. Keltner is hosting the Beginnings Blogfest tomorrow. Sign ups here.


For today only, R. Patrick Hughes is offering his novel Only the Lonely for free. On the 15th, his short-story collection: Battles and Other Stories will be free as well. Please head over and give your support. 

Worth a Visit

For bloggers in general, I have one today: The lovely Livia Petersen. She's been around for a short while, but launched into the community with gusto. If you haven't met her yet, please head over and say hi for me.

Then, Sherri Larsen announced her Rebel Writer's Creed yesterday. Please go read it and sign up if you want to honor the creed with her and need a place to encourage and be encouraged through the year. 

Finally, I want to end this news segment on an encouraging note for those of us in query and submission trenches. Tired of being told no? You really should read this post... 

That's it for today! What do you ladies and gents think? Like? Don't like? Please don't hesitate to contact me with tidbits. These headlines aren't set in stone. Have a great day! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cover Reveal: Passing Time by Ellie Garratt

Hi all! Today I have the thrill of revealing the cover to Ellie Garratt's new anthology: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre 

Book Blurb 

Nine dark fiction stories that may just give you nightmares. 

A man lives to regret Passing Time. A father will do anything to save his son in Expiration Date. An author finds out her worst nightmare is back in The Devil’s Song. A woman gets more than the claim fee when she takes out vampire insurance in Luna Black

In Dining in Hell, the Death Valley Diner becomes the wrong place to stop. 

A serial killer wants to add another file to his collection in The Vegas Screamer. In Eating Mr. Bone, an undertaker could meet an unfortunate end. A con man meets his first ghost in Land of the Free. And will truth finally be set free in The Letter

Publication date: 11th February 2013 

About The Author

A life-long addiction to reading science fiction and horror, meant writing was the logical outlet for Ellie Garratt’s passions. She is a reader, writer, blogger, Trekkie, and would happily die to be an extra in The Walking Dead. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online. Passing Time is her first eBook collection and contains nine previously published stories. Her science fiction collection Taking Time will be published later in the year. 

Author Links




Please visit Ellie’s blog on Friday 11th January, when she will be interviewing Passing Time’s cover designer, Ida Jansson.

All the best, Ellie! Who thinks the cover looks stunning? Want to read her anthology too?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Messing around, but... not.

Hi all! If you haven't yet read about my plans for MFB this year, please check out this post.

Somehow, the past two days just whooshed past me. I'd thought I'll work on my synopsis. Or on some writing... or.. well... anything, really.

Truth is, though, I didn't.

Odd thing is, it's not really bothering all that much, cause the reason for this is me and my one CP's version of character interviews.

The way we do it is fun and different and incredibly insightful. Also, very addictive, because the interviews are a creative process unto themselves.

So in a sense, I did get a lot done. Just not in the conventional sense.

Soon, though, I really have to stop playing around and get back to "work". Good thing I enjoy both equally.

Do you also "play around" with your characters in seemingly unrelated ways to get to know them better?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Before I start with today's IWSG post, I just want to ask you to check out yesterday's post, if you haven't yet. It's all about making the bloggosphere a bit more awesome, but I need your help.

Now, it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. In case you don't know, every first Wednesday of the month, a group of us writers (led by Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh) share our insecurities and encouragement. If you want to sign up or just read more posts, click here.

My insecurity about queries actually vanished last night. Thanks to the amazing Erica Olson, I FINALLY think I understand how a query should be constructed.

Now, my insecurity turns to the synopsis. See, I wrote one, and I used to think it's pretty good. Except I now have a brilliant query letter that goes with it. So it needs to be better.

MUCH better. Thing is, I don't know how to make it so. *headdesk*

Still, thanks to you amazing guys who kept giving me tips, advice and links, I am learning. I just hope I have a good synopsis by the end of next week, because I want to start sending those suckers out again.

Anyone else querying/writing synopses? How is it going for you?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

ANNOUNCING: My First Book's Plans for 2013

Aaaaah... smell the air. I love the scent of new days and new possibilities.

Soon, things will return to a bit more of a normalized schedule, but I expect work to pick up a bit. However, I will definitely be returning to my early to bed, early to rise schedule. I have some projects I want to finish early this year, so it's best for me to get some writing, blogging and networking done while everyone in my house is still sleeping.

Then, there is the new direction I want to go into with my blog. I think it will be awesome, but only if 1) YOU want it and  2) YOU can help me.

See... I think last year had some great moments on this blog where people stopped by to give and even ask advice. Which was so amazing for me. And it really got me thinking about what I want this blog to become.

As writing blogs go, this is a pretty big one and I'd like to think that it has added value to the readers who stopped by in the past. (THANK YOU!!!)

Now, I want to make it even bigger and better. I want to spend 2013 and the foreseeable future giving back to the amazing writing community. So what I have in mind is two-fold:


I want to make people more aware of some awesome blogs out there that might or might not be off the beaten track. Also, I want to be made aware of those. Even if it's your own.

Also, whether I participate or not, I want to share any and all blogfests, competitions and or events happening. I'll be trying to get around as much as possible to find these events, BUT I am sadly not the Ninja Captain, so if you have something happening. Even if you think I should have found out already. PLEASE let me know.

Paying Forward

Once again, I am ready, willing and able to help with blog tours, interviews and guest posts. However, because of the fact that this is about us writing bloggers, content writers are STILL not welcome to submit.

Then there's something I'd really love to see coming off the ground, but that I'm terrified won't happen. I want to hold a monthly awards ceremony with a nomination and voting process. The awards, however, are the issue. I am going to give amazon vouchers every month (although the amounts may differ based on how much I have at the time), but will also be offering crits, blog analyses or anything within my skill-set that a writing blogger might find useful.

Here's the hard part: I want you guys to help me. I don't necessarily mean money. If you can donate time to help someone edit. Or help someone with a query letter and/or synopsis (cause heaven knows I CAN'T). Anything helpful or nice (and preferably open to all countries). From something small to something generous. Everything will be appreciated and best of all, it will brighten someone's day. I'm thinking that those of you who offer prizes (henceforth called the sponsors) will be listed among the most awesome of the most awesome on my blog.

Also, you will be welcome to take over for a day to plug your book, blog etc. to heart's content for a day (although I have found that it's usually better to disguise this in a helpful writing post). Heck, you can make a huge giveaway around your book.

I just think it will be amazing if this works, so I really hope you guys will find it helpful. And who knows, maybe there'll be a prize for the most generous blogger at the end of the year. The sky's the limit if we work together.

So... what do you say? Who's in? If you are, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with either AWARENESS or PAYING FORWARD as the subject. Comments are also welcome, but might be hard if I can't reach you by e-mail.

Have a WONDERFUL 2013!