Today’s topic is about getting beyond the blog. Personally, I don’t make any money through my blogging. The part of my book hobby that makes me money (though only a very small amount) is my writing itself – my self-published books. So, I’m going to talk about my writing beyond my blog and beyond reviewing books. This is the story of how I became a writer, why I chose self publishing, and where I post my writing.
How I Got Started
I was in junior high school, and I had had this story going around in my head for months. I would play it out in my mind on the bus rides to and from school, daydream about it in class, and think about it while I tried to fall asleep at night. The beginning of my writing might go back way before that, to my childhood “imaginary friends” who occupied my mind quite frequently, as well (Vamp the vampire was my most developed buddy, and 5-5 was a superhero with powers that changed all the time) but I never actually wrote about those characters. The first story I wrote was about a girl named Cyra who has to go on a quest to find out that she’s really a princess, and falls in love with her adoptive brother. I was 14 when I wrote it during Christmas break, and the first draft was exactly eleven pages long. I was impressed with myself at the time, but now I look back at the final draft (which was also the fifth draft and much longer than the original) and I cringe through most of it.
I finally had the drive to write the story, though, after reading the Immortals series by Tamora Pierce. She was my idol at the time, and I clearly found her realm of Tortall very interesting. I set about creating my own fantasy world (which I still use) and wrote several other stories about characters in that world. They all grew increasingly better as my writing ability grew. The final story involves Cyra’s son, Prince Jaimathan, and his adventures and challenges. Personally, I feel like that was the best fantasy novel I have ever written, and I doubt I will ever write something that great again. That’s why I gave up on my fantasy world a while after finishing that book, because I felt too discouraged by everything else I tried. So I went to young adult fiction.
The Angel started off as something completely different. It came from my desire to write a book series about high school bowling. I thought I could use five very different main characters and tell all five of their interwoven stories over the course of four books. The characters’ names were Ian Miliani, Jade Sophia, Jaysin Carson, Ward Fagan, and Ryle Salvadore. I had them all completely fleshed out and everyone had different challenges to overcome and everyone was going to fall in love (Jade Sophia eventually becomes Jade Miliani, if anyone has read the book and doesn’t recognize the last name). But I had more ideas for some characters than I had for others. So I gave up, even though I adored all of them. When the story of The Angel started forming in my head, I briefly thought of using those characters, but I just couldn’t bring myself to change the stories that they all already had. So I just stole their children.
Why I Did It Myself
A lot of people seem to think that anyone who chooses self-publishing does so because they have no other options. I never even submitted The Angel to anyone. To me, it just felt like I would be giving up my baby, and I wanted to take care of my baby. I also wanted to have a life outside of writing. It may sound like blasphemy to some, but for me writing is a hobby. I was also afraid that if I got accepted, that I would no longer enjoy writing because it would become my job and not my hobby. If I’m only writing for money, what’s the point of it? How can I create a good story if I can’t pour my passion into it because I’m not enjoying it? For me, writing is about the story and the characters. If I am happy with my characters and the story that I write, it doesn’t matter to me if I make any money off of it or even if anyone else likes it. I want to put it out there for others, but it’s my story, and that’s all it comes down to.
I also worried that my characters would get changed if I was accepted by a publisher. They would tell me that the cast isn’t realist, or censor the realistic swearing, or force me to take out the crazy religious neighbors, or change someone’s sexuality. I wasn’t going to consider letting someone else tell me how to please them with my characters. If you can’t sell it as-is (or after basic editing because I can never catch all my typos), then don’t bother.
I could rant about this for pages and pages, so I shall move on now.
Where I Post My Writing
I post novel snippets and short stories on a few sites other than this one.
DeviantArt (DA) is where I post many of my short stories. These stories include the old ones I wrote in high school as well as more recent ones.
Wattpad is the only place where you can read Meant to be Broken, in full, for free. I also have a few other stories there that are on DA and the blog.
Gay Authors (GA) is the primary posting location for King of Blades (also being posted here). KoB is my newest adventure back into my fantasy world, and is the sequel to Vows from Darkness, which I was slightly disappointed by. I am enjoying KoB much more than Vows. And yes, I will be completing KoB this summer. I’m hoping to get back to a rate of one chapter a day. School slowed down my writing process with a lack of time and too much stress to be creative.
Shield Brothers is my next big project, once KoB gets finished. I’ll be keeping you posted on that.
…share some of your favorite books so far this year, and/or the the books being promoted at BEA that you hope will end up among your favorites for the year!
I’m going to be biased here. There is only one book I had been looking forward to this year, so by default it is the best book of 2012.
Frankly, nothing can surpass it. Ever. There is no series better than this one.
Casket of Souls by Lynn Flewelling
The Nightrunners are back in this gripping novel full of Lynn Flewelling’s trademark action, intrigue, and richly imagined characters.
More than the dissolute noblemen they appear to be, Alec and Seregil are skillful spies, dedicated to serving queen and country. But when they stumble across evidence of a plot pitting Queen Phoria against Princess Klia, the two Nightrunners will find their loyalties torn as never before. Even at the best of times, the royal court at Rhíminee is a serpents’ nest of intrigue, but with the war against Plenimar going badly, treason simmers just below the surface.
And that’s not all that poses a threat: A mysterious plague is spreading through the crowded streets of the city, striking young and old alike. Now, as panic mounts and the body count rises, hidden secrets emerge. And as Seregil and Alec are about to learn, conspiracies and plagues have one thing in common: The cure can be as deadly as the disease.
Well, I did it last year, so why not do it again! I thought it was lots of fun, after all.
Today is day one, also known as the day for introductions, so here goes!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
My name is Nastasha, and I am a 21-year-old college student from New York (the state, not the city), USA. I have been blogging for about two years now. Originally I started this blog as place to talk about my writing, but pretty soon I started doing reviews and basically turned it into a combination book blog/author blog. I started finding all the other awesome blogs around the web and decided that, heck, I can do that, too. It was getting boring just talking about my writing, anyway. I suppose I also thought a bit about getting people interested in my books by getting them to my blog about books in general. That wasn’t the primary motive, though. I really just wanted to be a part of the community.
Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
Just one? I guess I would have to say that not many of my readers know that I collect model horses. It’s a fun hobby to be in, with model horse shows and the customizations that can be done. I don’t want to bore everyone by talking about it, but it’s been a big hobby of mine since 1999.
What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?
Heh, yeah. Well, I really fail at keeping up my blog when I’m in school, so most readers probably don’t even remember the features of my blog anymore… Personally, I like the Soundtrack Sunday feature that I do, where I post a music video – when I remember. It’s usually either something that fits with a book I’m reading or one of the stories I’m writing. Or it’s just a song I’ve become obsessed with that I feel like sharing.
If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?
I am going to do both a character and an author, instead of one or the other. For an author, I would love to dine with Lynn Flewelling. I think she’s freaking amazing. Her Nightrunner series is the best thing I have ever read, and I honestly doubt any other series will ever take its place as my favorite. Her Tamir Triad is also really good, though I’m not nearly as obsessed with it, because it doesn’t have the characters that I love from Nightrunner. Anyone who can create such amazingness must be brilliant. That’s why, for a character I would like to have dinner with, I choose Seregil, one of the main characters in the Nightrunner series. He’s just… purely awesome. I can’t even begin to describe his awesomeness.
What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?
Isengard. Because that’s where they’re taking the hobbits.
Really, though, I want to visit every location. Because that’s the purpose of reading, isn’t it? When I need an escape, I just pick up a book and away I go. Books are magical that way.
Pure Imagination – I love the events she hosts, like the Spring Blog Carnival and the upcoming Once Upon a Read-a-Thon. Her reviews are great, too, and have made me add numerous titles to my wishlist. Also, I absolutely LOVE watching her In My Mailbox posts because of her adorable cats!
Book Chick City – She has some great posts, and a ton of memes that she hosts. Really awesome.
Elisa – She mostly does reviews of GLBT books and movies, plus she hosts the Rainbow Awards for writers. I have also had to add titles to my wishlist after reading her reviews.
Talk in the Shadows - Author Lynn Flewelling’s blog. Her posts are always interesting, and not often about books. I like authors who give their readers a personal look inside their lives.
So, those are the blogs I check daily. There are some others that I tend to look at less (like once a week or so). You can check those out if you look at the list in the sidebar labeled “Places I Stalk.”
That’s all for me, keep enjoying Armchair BEA!
There are two books being promoted by BEA this year that are currently on my wishlist. I am really hoping to get around to ordering them soon!
The Survivors – Amanda Havard
In 1692, when witch trials gripped the community of Salem, Massachusetts, twenty-six children were accused as witches, exiled, and left for dead. Fourteen of them survived.
The Survivors is the first installment of the tantalizing tales of the fourteen ill-fated Survivors and their descendants, who have been content in hiding for over three centuries. Isolated on a Montana mountainside, only Sadie, the rogue daughter, dares to abandon the family’s sacred hiding place. But no matter how far Sadie runs, something always pulls her back.
On a muggy summer night in Tennessee, she witnesses a shocking scene that will change her life forever. It is the first in a sequence of events that will drag her from the human world she’s sought to belong to for over a century and send her back to her Puritanical family and into an uncertain future filled with cunning witches, mysterious nosferatu shape-shifters, dangerous eretica and vieczy vampires, millennia-old mythology, and the search for her own mortality. After all…
HOW DO YOU KILL A SURVIVOR?
The Survivors will steal your heart and invade your mind. Fall into the pages of Sadie’s life, a world so frighteningly similar to your own, you’ll find yourself wanting to go to the Montana mountains to find the Survivors for yourself.
And it is only the beginning. (Goodreads)
The Black Prism – Brent Weeks
Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals.
But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart. (Goodreads)