New author website!

Thanks to the wonderful tools provided by Squarespace and a wee bit of time on my part, I now have a new author website! (And, judging by this photo, a bunch of old-school tech devices lying around in my office…)

Website screenshot

As you’ll see, this site is all about my JB Dutton nom de plume, since I’ll be putting more focus over the next 12 months on other stories that feature the Embodied, as well as my dreadpunk series that will also be published under JB Dutton. I’m sending John B. Dutton out on a sabbatical and I hope he thoroughly enjoys it!

 

My first book tour!

Rather like one of my favourite literary characters, Don Quixote, I shall put on my suit of armour tomorrow morning and embark on a chivalrous quest, riding my trusty steed.

Okay, fine, just like the man from La Mancha, I’m letting my imagination get the better of me. But tomorrow morning I will drive my daughter to camp in my trusty Subaru and THEN… I shall be visiting the first of many stops on a month-long virtual tour of fantasy and science fiction book blogs.

embodied_851x315 (1)

Blog tours are a great way for a Young Adult author like me to get in touch with new readers and share some information about my books, my life and my writing. A tour is the online equivalent of travelling to a bunch of book stores across North America doing interviews and signing sessions.

During the tour, I’ll be promoting the new Embodied trilogy special edition ebook collection, which is out tomorrow. As the name suggests, it’s a 3-in-1 version of the entire series. But that’s not all! The reason it’s a special edition is that it also includes deleted scenes (basically an alternate ending) from Diamond Splinters, as well as a brand new foreword with author insights and a fun quiz/treasure hunt. As a bonus deal, for the duration of the tour, the trilogy ebook’s retail price is 20% off ($7.99 instead of $9.99).

Here’s the full tour schedule with details of what you can expect at each stop along the way. Thank you to the awesome Roxanne Rhoads at Bewitching Book Tours for organizing the whole thing. More dates may be added along the way. Now to grab my sword and shield…

July 11 Spotlight

Share My Destiny

http://sharemydestiny.blogspot.com


July 12 Interview

Deal Sharing Aunt 

http://dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/


July 13 Interview

Roxanne’s Realm 

http://www.roxannerhoads.com/


July 14 Interview and review

Happy Tails and Tales Blog

http://happytailsandtales.blogspot.com


July 15 Spotlight

3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, and Sissy, Too!

http://3partnersinshopping.blogspot.com/


July 18 Interview

Fang-tastic Books 

http://fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com/


July 19 Spotlight

Lisa’s World of Books

http://www.lisasworldofbooks.net/


July 20 Spotlight

Zenny's Awesome Book Reviews

https://zennysawesomebookreviews.wordpress.com/


July 22 Interview

Urban Fantasy Investigations

http://urbanfantasyinvestigations.blogspot.com/


July 25 Guest Blog/Top Ten List

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom 

http://creativelygreen.blogspot.com/


July 27 Interview

Sharon Buchibinder

http://sharonbuchbinder.blogspot.com/


July 28 Spotlight

JeanzBookReadNReview      

http://jeanzbookreadnreview.blogspot.co.uk/


July 29 Review

Romance Authors That Rock

https://pratr.wordpress.com/


August 1 Spotlight and review

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

http://silver-dagger-scriptorium.weebly.com/


August 2 Interview

The Violent Vixen

theviolentvixen.blogspot.com


August 3Interview

Diane’s Book Blog 

http://dianes-book.blogspot.com


August 4 Interview

House of Books 

http://www.house-of-books.com


August 5 Spotlight

Ramblings of a book nerd

www.booknerdramblings.com


August 8 Spotlight

T's Stuff  

http://teresanoel.blogspot.com/

 

Neil Gaiman demystifies writer’s block

Who hasn’t been there? The blank page. The blinking cursor. The author’s horrifically empty torture chamber: writer’s block.

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman  in a snuggly sweater

Well, according to Neil Gaiman, best-selling author of the Sandman comic book series, Coraline and many more super-imaginative works of fiction, writer’s block is just as much a fiction as anything else that pours out of an author’s mind. In this fascinating interview on the Goodreads website, he talks about how his ambition as a writer has evolved over the years and offers these pearls of wisdom about the dreaded you-know-what (shhhh… don’t say it out loud or it might come true!):

Writer’s block is this thing that is sent from the gods—you’ve offended them. You’ve trod on a crack on the pavement, and you’re through. The gods have decided. It’s not true. What is really true is you can have a bad day. You can have a bad week. You can get stuck. But what I learned when I was under deadline is that if you write on the bad days, even if you’re sure everything you’ve written is terrible, when you come to it tomorrow and you reread it, most of it’s fixable. It may not be the greatest thing you’ve ever written, but you fix it, and actually it’s a lot better than you remember it being. And the weird thing is a year later when you’re copyediting and reading the galleys through for the first time in months, you can remember that some of it was written on bad days. And you can remember that some of it was written on terrific days. But it all reads like you. Fantastic stuff doesn’t necessarily read better than the stuff written on the bad days. Writers have to be like sharks. We keep moving forward, or we die.

So on that note, here’s a toast to all the other authors out there: have lots of fun over the holiday season and then sit at your desk and work. Cheers!

Photo credit: Lvovsky via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Homegrown sales from foreign soil

Author Elliott Katz details how he went about selling the foreign language rights to his book and then leveraged those agreements to produce promotional fuel like this back home: “Translated into 24 languages by publishers in Europe, Asia and Latin America.”

The series of dreadpunk novellas I’m currently working on is set in nineteenth century Montreal, so it would make perfect sense for me to sell the rights for a French translation (at minimum) when the time comes. I’ll definitely refer back to Elliott’s success story.

Any followers of this blog had experience with foreign-language rights sales? Let me know down below!

Rejection dejection!

Are you an aspiring author who is feeling down about the number of rejections you’ve received? Instead of engaging in some retail therapy this Black Friday, take five minutes out of your writing schedule to peruse this incredible collection of rejection snippets.

Future best-selling author.

Future best-selling author.

Here are a few good ones:

Despite 14 consecutive agency rejections Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight goes on to sell 17 million copies and spends 91 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.

“An absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.” Rejection letter sent to William Golding for The Lord Of The Flies. 15 million sales.

“You have no business being a writer and should give up.” Zane Grey ignores the advice. There are believed to be over 250 million copies of his books in print.

Apparently, continual rejection may even be a sign of future success, so hang in there!

Photo credit: KatLevPhoto / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Underwriting can be deadly to any story

Great advice from Rachel Starr Thompson about the pitfalls of underwriting. No, that’s not the insurance industry kind of underwriting, it’s when an author tries too hard to show without telling and then skips the interesting stuff going on in the characters’ heads that actually makes any story compelling.

Nope, not this kind of underwriting.

Nope, not this kind of underwriting.

Photo credit: free pictures of money / Foter.com / CC BY

Where do you get your ideas?

This is a question that authors get asked a lot. I’ve thought about my own creative process before and produced unsatisfactory answers like, “They just come to me,” “When I’m in the shower,” or “I dreamed up my second book. Seriously, it literally came to me in a dream.”

But today an idea popped into my head as I was making my lunch. So that just proves that I have ideas because I’m hungry. No wait, that’s not it. This idea was about having ideas. And what I realized was that ideas come from reading a lot of non-fiction, be it news articles, books, scientific studies or bathroom graffiti:

graffiti

Thought-provoking bathroom graffiti.

Here’s why non-fiction can provide the inspiration for fiction: it’s because the human brain is wired to make connections and produce those sought-after eureka moments. That’s why human beings are so successful; our evolutionary advantage is that we can create solutions to problems. Of course “divine inspiration” is the non-scientific explanation for this phenomenon…

Even invertebrate animals come up with ideas based on their surroundings, so people definitely can (even those who lack backbones). The key thing is the fuel. Reading fiction might produce ideas – and it’s definitely important to read a wide range of fiction to learn about craft and style – but it’s all-to-easy to consciously or subconsciously fall in love with another author’s idea and simply reproduce it with a twist. Truly original creation comes from the juxtaposition of unrelated information that sparks something new.

Reading extensively is essential for any author, whatever their level of experience, but I would argue that while immersion in the very best fiction can provide stylistic inspiration, unique ideas are sparked by non-fiction. Maybe even by blog posts…

Photo credit: Chris Blakeley / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND