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Friday, September 30, 2011

R U OK: A Confession.

It's a commonly known fact that creative types, artistes if you will, seem to suffer from mood disorders such as depression and anxiety moreso than non-creative types.

And it's perfectly understandable. We pour our soul into our work, be it writing, painting, music, choreography or other types, we put our heart and ourselves out there for the world to see, to judge, to deem worthy or to reject.

There is a lot of rejection in creative fields. And a lot of depression.

You may not have noticed, but I noticed a significant absence of myself on this blog lately. I've been posting, sure, but they've been about other awesome folk. They have been lacking in me.

And that is because I had what I tend to call, a 'down period'.

I have depression. It's a clinical thing to do with hormone levels that I have to control with medication. And most of the time I am perfectly capable of operating in the real-world and getting shit done.

But sometimes I'm not. And I realised, a week into canceling plans with friends, ignoring important emails, watching a lot of TV and napping that I was in a down period. It suddenly dawned on me that wait a second, this isn't exactly normal for me and though I thought I was okay - I wasn't. I had withdrawn from the world.

The day I realised that I was not okay (yes, it took me awhile. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, this one), I spent the whole day out of the house interacting with people and confiding in close friends and that has helped me come around and get back my passion and determination and hell...get back into this game called life.

In Australia a couple of weeks ago we had national R U OK day. It took me a little while to be brave enough to post this, but I feel it's important to say.

As most of my readers are also creative people, I know that many of you will suffer from bouts of depression, and anxiety and feelings of failure.

So I want to ask you:

Are You Okay?

Take care of yourself,

Love Sairz

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cover Love #2: Bumper Edition!

I was at the Apocolypsies site today (site for YA authors debuting in 2012...the year of the apocalypse. At least they have a sense of humour about it.) and stumbled upon a goldmine of freaking awesome upcoming book covers. Here, in no particular order, are the ones that appealed to me.

I have no idea what these books are about but their covers have me intrigued.

I do feel for the boy readers out there. With so many girls on books - some of these look super creepy, but I don't know how many boys would want to pick them up. They'll miss out on the awesome because of the stylised chick on the cover.

This observation isn't based in fact, just...well...observation.

So what do you think of these apocalyptic book covers? Have you found anything lately that you love?

Much love


Friday, September 23, 2011

You Can Judge a Book by it’s Cover! Guest Post by Lynn Hubbard

Today I have special guest, romance author Lynn Hubbard on the blog talking about cover art. As you may know, I love book covers. If done right they can tell you so much about what you'll find inside, and hopefully make you think what you'll find inside will be AWESOME.

Take it away, Lynn!

 - Sairz

The Cover is the most important aspect of the book.  I don’t care how amazing your story is if you have a drab cover, it’s a hard sell. The cover is the first thing people see. You have maybe a second of their time for them to make a decision and click on your book.

It took me awhile to come to grips with that. For example my book Desperado. I originally had it published under a different name, “The Hand You’re Dealt” and a different cover. My sales were down so after consulting with family and friends I was told the title was depressing. The original cover which I LOVED had two people on horses staring into each other’s eyes. I saw a man and a woman. Others saw two men. Since it is a romance book I decided to put a hot guy on the cover. Where o where was I gonna find a hot guy? I turned to the internet. And so my quest began.

The vision of the new cover that popped into my head was of a handsome dark headed man with the queen of hearts tucked into his pocket.  So after searching through thousands of pictures of muscular men online I finally came across Julian Fantechi. He was perfect. Moreover, he was on facebook so I sent him a message. The next day I awoke to find several very hot pictures of Julian in my email box. Picking my favorite, I had my son design a card and tuck it into his pocket to keep the original poker theme going.

Below is the Original Cover and my Current Cover.

I also changed my Young Adult book. The original cover was perfect. I LOVED it, it  had a rustic feel with a bridge that perfectly expressed Joanie’s neighborhood and the feel of the book. And I loved the title. “Things Change.”  But apparently no one else did. So a little bit of my soul died and I changed the name, and I changed the cover. And people bought it. And people liked it. And I grew to like it as well.

My Third book was much easier. I again spent countless hours searching for the right guy for the cover. (Its hard work but someone has to do it!) Then there he was. Jeandre. This one was perfect from the start. I cropped him out and slapped him on a pic from my Vegas trip. Perfection. Now the cover is as hot as the inside!

 My current project Chase the Moon is a sequel to Run into the Wind.  I again went with Julian from my Desperado Cover. For my Chase the Moon Cover I wanted it monochromatic blue. I found a wonderful pic of Julian on the beach and matched it to a lake setting. An amazing graphic artist named Tamara made it come to life. Even though technically Chase is a western the cover does not scream Old West. But it does scream PICK ME UP! Which is what we are all aiming for!~Lynn Hubbard
Chase the Moon: Coming October 2011

You can pick up Lynn Hubbard’s books in Print or ebook at Amazon or Barnes and Noble
Desperado is .99 cents for a limited time on Nook, Kindle or Smashwords!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Author Interview: Mary Pat Hyland!

Today I have a special guest on the blog, indie author Mary Pat Hyland, author of books for grown ups (adult books has different connotations to me, you know?) A Sudden Gift of Fate, The Cyber Miracles, 3/17, and new release The Terminal Diner. 
Let's all welcome Mary Pat!

Diving in: When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in my early twenties and working as a paste-up artist at an offset printing company. The work was dreary (dull agricultural publications and such) and my imagination started blocking out my first attempt at a novel.

What made you decide you wanted to be an indie author?
I’d sent out a ton of query letters and got form letter responses that made me wonder if anyone had truly read my letter. I believed in my novel and felt the story needed to be published. Then I met a guy who self-published through Lulu and thought the concept was great, so I did some research and published with CreateSpace at first. This year I’ve gone digital via Kindle and Smashwords.

How long does it take you to write a book?
I’ve written first drafts of three of my novels in a month’s time each. My first novel took years—about a decade. With the several months spent editing, I’d say I average a year. 

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I write every day, usually in the morning but sometimes late at night.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Sometimes before I start I need to give my brain a workout by doing a logic puzzle or Sudoku.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Ideas pop into my mind every day and I try to jot down the best ones as soon as possible or else they go *poof*! I’ve used all sorts of online resources to research story lines. A woman in “A Sudden Gift of Fate” is a Holocaust survivor, so to research her character I watched videos of Auschwitz and Birkenau survivors. That was a difficult day, to say the least.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
That first novel was written about three quarters of the way through when I was around 25.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
In my day job I’m a cook, so I enjoy trying new ingredients or cooking methods. You’ll often see scenes involving cooking in my work. I also enjoy wine, especially varieties produced in New York’s Finger Lakes region. (In “A Sudden Gift of Fate,” an Irish couple gets a winery there to manage as a wedding gift.) Love the outdoors—walking, bird watching and gardening. Music and dance are also a big part of my life.

What do your family and friends think of your writing?
I’m blessed to have been raised in a creative family—we’re all artists, musicians, poets—so they think it’s cool.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Now that I can construct a story pretty well, I guess movie plots too soon. Sigh. I pick up all the hints the screenwriter laid down while constructing the story.

I do that too! And I'll say things like "well that's Plot B all wrapped up now". I can be impossible to watch a movie with. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written five so far; four are published. I think the writing in my latest, “The Terminal Diner,” is my best to date. There are some characters in the story that I’m very proud of and adore.

Do you have any suggestions to help budding authors write a good book? If so, what are they?
The most important thing is to write every day. It doesn’t have to be a work in progress; it can be a letter, journal entry, even a well-crafted tweet. Think of yourself the way an athlete does and be dedicated to working out—using your talent—every day. The more you use your writing ability, the finer it will be toned and your work will reflect that.

That's good advice. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes I do, quite often. Almost all of them discuss the characters I create and how real they seem to them. I think it’s amazing how words written on a paper (or typed on a screen) can elicit strong emotions such as love or hate toward imaginary people.

That's awesome. My readers don't seem to be that vocal, at least they aren't vocal to ME. What do you think makes a good story?
A good story leads you deep into your imagination, and takes you to a place where all the stresses of the modern world can’t bother you for an hour or so. When you close a good book it should linger in your mind like perfume from a handshake or kiss.

So true. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
First I wanted to marry Paul McCartney. When that didn’t pan out, I wanted to illustrate record album covers or be a pop star.

Tell me about your newest book.
The Terminal Diner is about a family that runs a restaurant near an airport terminal in upstate New York. The mother abandons the family suddenly when a trucker from Missoula stops by and samples her lemon meringue pie. That morning she’d ironically told her daughter Elaina (the main character) that “Men like pie.”
The story opens a decade later, Elaina is 26, and all she knows to be true about men is that thing about pie. It’s Sept. 10, 2001 and some customers come into the diner who will change her life forever, especially as she tries to figure out her path in the world after the terror attacks the next day.

And finally, where can we find your books?
On my web site I have a complete listing: I’m on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords among others.

Thanks for being my guest, Mary Pat!